A little knowledge

Cookery Tips & recipes

Day 14 of the Christmas Countdown. Do hope you are all enjoying the daily recipes & hopefully trying them out. All have been tried & tested in various households, during my 40 years as a cook.

Today I am going to give you a recipe & a few food tips, which you may find useful. Also a couple of excellent suppliers which I can highly recommend.

The little cheese biscuits in the photo are so easy to make, they really melt in the mouth & are great for those Christmas drinks parties. You can sandwich them with cream cheese, either on its own, or with the addition of chopped herbs, garlic or some chopped ham & mustard. They can also be used as the base for a canape. Pipe pate, creamed cheese etc  on top & decorate with smoked salmon, caviar, chopped sundried tomatoes. The choice is yours.

To make the biscuits, mix together, equal amounts of butter (real, not a spread) grated cheese, & plain flour together. Season & chill in the fridge for 30mins. When ready to use, roll out & bake at 200c 400f Gas 6 for 7-10mins. DO WATCH THEM AS THEY BURN QUITE EASILY.  Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes, before removing to a cooling rack.

The raw dough will keep in the fridge for 1 week. Store cooked biscuits in an air tight container for 1 week.

Whilst on the subject of cheese, you will be needing some Chutneys or pickles to go with it. You can do no better that POT OF WHAT 

Delicious home made tracklements from the Cotswolds

This lovely company, home makes the most delicious, Jams, Marmalades, Chutneys & Pickles, with many of their fruits & veg, being grown by themselves. Their Hot Chilli Jam is to die for. Add a couple of tablespoons to a casserole to give it some extra Omph! or spice up a salad by using it as a base for a chilli dressing. Its usefulness has no limits.

Gin, pink gin, botanic, tipples, party time,

To go with the Canapes (Alcohol) GIN 

Wicked Wolf Gin is a small batch, handcrafted Gin, made in Devon on Exmoor. It’s light pepper notes, layers of citrus with juniper & corriander, make it, to me, a Queen of Gins. Try it with a slice of orange & a sprig of fresh Rosemary.  The perfect libation, at any time of the year.

sharon fruit, recipes, persimmon, healthy eating

Persimmon a delicious, versitile fruit

Also know a Sharon Fruit, these fruits originate from Japan & are pentiful at this time of the year. The fruit is high in antioxidants & is brimful of fibre & nutrients. There is no need to peel, as like all fruit, most of the nutrients lurk, just under the skin, which also provides more fibre. If you like a baked apple, try baking this filled with dried cranberries & pistachio nuts, for a low calorie, winter dessert. Served with yoghurt, of course. It is also delicious gated into a salad with chopped celery & walnuts. Serve with a blue cheese dressing. YUM.

Have a browse of the websites I have given you the links for & give them a try.  

Thats all for today. Be with you all again tomorrow, for day 15 of Christmas Countdown.

Christmas Leftovers

Recipes for leftovers

In Day 13 of Christmas countdown you will find a couple of recipes for leftovers.

Christmas present, can soon become Christmas past. By past I mean, “Past that best before date”. That’s why you need to learn to loveyourleftovers. We all buy too much food over the Festive Season, whether it be for the unexpected visitor who may drop byor just because we are tempted by a vast array of food choices.

Looking in the fridge you come across a piece of mousetrap, a few slices of ham or salami, that piece of Parmesan you meant to grate over the Caesar Salad, along with the olives.  Slices of smoked salmon & in the chiller draw, half empty bags of herbs & limp veg.  You then look in the tins on the work surface & discover odd pieces of cake, broken biscuits, stale bread. Sound like you? Well, don’t throw them away, continue reading.

While the kids are at home for the Christmas holidays, get creative with them & make some mini Christmas Pud Truffles.

Christmas food, leftovers, cookery, recipes, sweet, savoury

BOOZY CHRISTMAS PUD TRUFFLES

Melt some chocolate over a bowl of simmering water & gather together your left over bits of cake & biscuits – made into crumbs – & stir into the melted chocolate. You can also add those bits of dried fruit, nuts or seeds, left in the bottom of the packet. For the adults you can add a tablespoon of Brandy or liqueur. Cool and roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls.  Melt some white chocolate in the same way & put a blob on the top of each ball & decorate.  Chill before serving.

The ones in the picture are made with my Gluten Free alternative Christmas cake, which contains, hazelnuts, beetroot, apple, dates and cranberries. The white chocolate topping is decorated with Pumpkin Seeds & cranberries.

The photo above is my Italian Savoury Truffles, made by pulsing together in a food processor, Salami, pine nuts, olives & Sun dried Tomatoes with garlic & black pepper. Add some fresh basil. If the mixture is looking a little dry add a drop of olive oil. Make teaspoons of the mixture into balls & roll in grated Parmesan Cheese & chill before serving.  These savoury truffles can be enjoyed as a canape, used on the cheese board to spread onto flat breads or as stuffing for the centres of halved, deseeded cherry tomatoes.

As for the limp veg. chop or dice, add a tin of tomatoes & some herbs & simmer up a tasty soup.

If you would like to hear more I will be on The Social, with Sue Kinnear  & Tim Weeks   BBC RADIO WILTSHIRE  on Monday 17th December 2018 at 7pm.

To find out more about cooking you can also visit my web site page COOKERY TUITION 

Use your imagination & you will soon whip up some tasty treats & save money into the bargain.

If you would like to ask a question or leave a comment, please use the form below:

Chocolate. Please

Chocolate dessert recipe.

Day twelve of Countdown to Christmas & its time for a chocolate dessert,

It’s been a busy few weeks in my Stable Kitchen. Both, developing new recipes for a local food company & making my chocolate truffles for Christmas orders.  Dreaming about chocolate the other night – there are worst dreams -, I have created this decadent dessert, just for you.

The recipe below is great for for a dessert, if you are not a fan of the traditional Christmas Pud. No need to spend hours in the kitchen with this one, make ahead, keep in the fridge & its ready when you are. You could also use other fruits, but I think the cherries make it a sort of a lighter rehash of that old favourite Black Forest Gateau!!.  For extra decadence serve with extra cherries & dark chocolate sauce with a couple of tablespoons of cherry brandy added.

Food, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Raspberries, Recipe
A decadent dessert

CHOCOLATE & CHERRY & ALMOND PIE

Serves 12.  V. Contains nuts. Oven 180c/359f/Gas Mk 4. Prep:  15 mins, plus cooling & chilling Cooking 10 mins.  Equipment: 1.23cm Flan Dish.

For the Base:

250g Chocolate Biscuits, finely crushed.

70g Melted Butter

Mix the above ingredients together & press into the base & sides of the flan dish. Cook for  10 mins, until set & leave to cool.

For the filling:

200g Frozen Black Cherries. Defrosted & drained.

3 Tbpns Black Cherry Jam

170g Cream Cheese

140g. Almond Butter

200ml Greek Yoghurt.

Lay the drained cherries over the base of the cooled base. Beat together the remaining ingredients & spoon over the cherries. Level the surface & chill in the fridge for 30mins.

For the topping:

115g Plain Chocolate, broken into pieces

25g Unsalted Butter

150ml Double Cream.

Melt the butter & chocolate together over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat, stir in the cream & beat until the mixture is smooth. Level to cool for 15-20 mins until the mixture thickens. Gently spread over the top of the filling. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Serve, deorated with seived cocoa powder or, grated chocolate.

If you would like see to a particular recipe on the blog, or have a question about your festive cookery, plase leave a comment in the box below.

Until tomorrow.

A change from Sage & Onion

Stuffing recipes

Day 11 of The Christmas Countdown is STUFFINGS. Below you will find three different recipes to help you “Stuff that bird”. If you fancy a change from good old sage & onion, then read on. You will find a gluten free & vegetarian option.

Always keep in mind that stuffing can be used in numerous ways.   Try stuffing different vegetables & baking them.  A good hearty stew, either with meat, poultry or vegetables can be turned into a flavoursome dish with the addition of some homemade stuffing balls, dropped into the pan 30 mins before the end of the cooking time. A healthier option to dumplings.

APRICOT & PISTACHIO STUFFING  *

50g Butter or Olive oil

1 Large Onion, peeled & finely chopped

2, Stalks Celery, Finely chopped

150g Dried Apricots, chopped

200g Breadcrumbs,

Grated rind & juice of 1 Orange

150g Pistachio Nuts, Shelled & chopped

Chopped, Fresh Parsley & Thyme

Chicken Stock or White wine.

Seasoning.

METHOD:

Heat the oil & better in a pan & fry onion & celery until golden.

Put the remaining ingredients in the pan & mix well until all ingredients are combined.

If you fell the mixture is to dry, add a little stock or white wine.

SWEET POTATO & LIVER STUFFING   *

1kg Sweet Potato, freshly cooked

50g Butter Softened

1 Large Onion, peeled & finely grated

Liver from the Turkey, chopped

2 Eggs, beaten

2 Tbspns Chopped fresh, Parsley

1 Tbspn Chopped fresh Sage

Sprinkle of Chilli Flakes, or more according to taste,

Seasoning

METHOD:

Mash the potatoes finely, add all remaining ingredients & mix well. Leave until cold before using.

SAVOURY RICE STUFFING.  *

1 Large Onion, peeled & chopped

1 Large Yellow Pepper, deseeded & finely chopped

100g Smoked bacon lardons

1 Tbspn Olive oil

2 Large Tomatoes, skinned & chopped

Finely chopped Basil & Oregano

200g boiled brown basmatti  Rice (cooked weight)

Seasoning to taste.

METHOD:

Heat the oil in a pan & slowly fry the onion, bacon & pepper until the onion is golden.

Remove from heat & stir in the rest of the ingredients until well combined.

Leave until cold before using.

*   Food Hygiene. Always remember when making stuffing in advance, to cover & store in the fridge until needed, especially those containing raw meat or rice. Always stuff the turkey, just prior to cooking, not in advance.

As always, if you have a question about any of the recipe, or you have a particular recipe request, please leave your comment in the box below.

Until tomorrow, enjoy your evening.

The Christmas Starter

Smoked Trout & Avocado recipe

There’s a touch of vintage to day ten of the Christmas Countdown. 

If you want a nod to the 70’s you could fill the centre of this ring -when you have turned it out-. with good old Prawn Cocktail. This would make a substantial starter, or a fishy addition to the Boxing day Buffet. You could even serve Melba toast as an accompaniment.

For myself, I would fill the centre with some fresh leafy shoots & herbs, in a light lemon dressing.

This recipe can be make a couple of days ahead & kept, covered in the fridge. When the time comes to serve,  dip the mould in hot watet for a few seconds, place a plate on the mould & quickly turn over, to release. Place back in the fridge, until ready to decorate & serve.

avocado, smoked trout, greek yoghurt, mascapone, dill
Smoked Trout & Avocado

Smoked Trout & Avocado ring.

Serves 6.  G/F, V.  Allergens:  Dairy, Fish      Equipment: 800ml ring mould

Time taken:  45 mins + chilling time 

INGREDIENTS 

200g Pack Smoked Trout         

2. Ready to eat Avocado’s  Peeled & chopped 

Fresh Dill to decorate

225g Mascapone Cheese

225g Greek Yoghurt

1/2 level tspn salt

White pepper

1 Tbspn Creamed Horseradish

150ml Cold Water

15g powdered gelatine (Vegetarian)

METHOD

Measure the cold water into a small saucepan, add the salt & sprinkle over the gelatine. Allow to soak for 5mins, & heat gently, stiring, until the gelatine has dissolved. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL Remove from the heat & allow to cool.

Rinse out the rind mould with cold water & line,  with the smoked trout slices.

Place the Mascapone, 1/2 the yoghurt, horseradish & pepper to taste into a bowl & mix well to blend.

Stir in the cold gelatine & chopped avocado & gently fold in the remaining yoghurt.

Spoon the mixture into the fish lined mould. Cover with cling film & place in the fridge until set.

When ready to serve, turn out, see above. Decorate & serve.

Variations: 

Substitute the trout, for thinly sliced parma ham, & the avocado for diced sundried tomatoes & olives.  Fill the centre with rocket leaves, dressed in olive oil & shaved parmesan.

For a vegan option. Line the mould with thinly sliced cucumber. Replace the cheese & yoghurt with vegan substitutes.

I am sure you can all get your creative caps on & experiment with many different variations on the above recipe.

That all for today. As always, if you have any questions about your festive cookery. Please ask, by leaving a comment in the box below. I will answer tomorrow.

Have a great evening.