Merry Christmas

Christmas Countdown 22 Recipes for a Merry Christmas

If you have been. Thank you for reading. This concludes the 22 recipe Christmas Countdown. All thats left for me to say is “I hope you have found these recipes useful & you have enjoyed, reading these blogs.

Click the photos below to take you to the individual recipes. OR the blue link below will take you to all the recipes, mentioned below in the drop down menu of Christmas Countdown.

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HEALTHY & HAPPY NEW YEAR

Christmas Get Aheads

Time saving Christmas Tips.

Christmas Countdown. The big day is nearly here. Could you be interested in any time saving tips, on the run up to that festive feast. No. Of course not, you are not worried, or panicked, no doubt you are sitting down, with your feet up watching your favourite Christmas movie. Or, maybe you are tearing your hair out, bitting those finger nails & wondering how you are going to cope? Have a read, you might find something to assist you.

Lots of things can be prepared, ahead of the big day, saving you time & allowing you to demonstrate just how good a hostess you are:

  1. Laying the festive table, the day before is alway a good idea. Delegate the task to someone else and check that all is in order, with nothing forgotten. Make sure you have enough glasses for all those festive drinks. Don’t stress if they are mis-matched. No one will notice, as long as they have a drink.
  2. Peel the spuds & par boil them. place in a bowl, & toss in whichever hot oil you are using, on the day.
  3. If you are serving mash, invest in a potato ricer. No only can you have your own, cheap, cauliflower, brocolli or carrot rice. It saves time trying to mash those lumps out. Start a new trend, to impress your guests. Place the rice potato in a serving dish, & hand butter or oil seperately. (will satisfy all dietry requirements!)
  1. Of course, if you have chosen a cold starter, this can be prepared the day before. Was salad veg ready & wrap in kitchen towels & store in the fridge.
  2. Slice carrots & celery sticks into chunky strips. Plave in a casserole or roasting tin. Sprinle with chopped parsley & pop in the oven to cook. Drain, reserving the stock for the gravy. & serve. (Any root veg can be cooked in the same way)
  3. Make your gravy the day before, thicker than usual. when the Turkey is cooked pour some of the juices from the roasting tin, into the made gravy to add more flavour & thin it down. If lumpy, pass it through a sieve.
  4. If you need a quick extra pud. Keep a shop bought pastry case to hand. Spread mincemeat over the base & arrange apple slices on top. Grate over some marzipan & bake. Sprinkle with icing sugar & serve.

Hope you find some of this useful. Just remember, delegation is the key. This is after all, just another roast dinner. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Above all. ENJOY. It is your Christmas too.

Glace fruits, nuts, vegan Christmas Cake

Veg & Leftovers

Vegetarian Recipes

Afternoon foodies from a gloomy, wet, Wiltshire. Veg & leftovers are the topic for day 16 of Christmas Countdown. From a warming Cauliflower dish with a twist, to what to do with those leftovers.

We are all familiar with cauliflower cheese, but have you thought about using different cheeses & turning it into a soup? Below you will find my, lighter,  adaptation of that classic french soup Creme Dubarry. (Creme of Cauliflower Soup). Experiment away with different cheeses, use up those leftover bits of mousetrap from the Christmas Cheese board & if cauliflower is not your thing, substitue it for broccoli.

Cauliflower & Blue Cheese Soup.

Serves 4. Time taken 45mins.         G/F. Vegetarian.  Allergens: Milk. Nuts.

Ingredients:

Large Cauliflower, broken into florets.

Large potato, peeled & chopped into chunks.

2 Bay leaves

2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed

600ml Vegetable or Chicken Stock

175g Blue Cheese, crumbled

150ml Milk

White pepper & a little grated nutmeg 

200g Walnuts, Toasted & chopped.

METHOD:

In a large saucepan, place the cauliflower, potato, stock, bayleaves & garlic. Bring to the boil & simmer for 30mins, until tender.

Take off the heat, remove the bay leaves & using a stick blender, blend until smooth.

Add the crumbled cheese & stir over a low heat, until the cheese has melted.

Season with pepper & grated nutmeg

If you prefer a thinner, soup add the milk.

Serve, sprinkled with the toasted, chopped walnuts.

Thats the left over cheese & some nuts dealt with.

You will find another vegetarian recipe using cauliflower in a previous blog:  Cauliflower & Canellonni Burgers

Veg, burgers, beans, cheese, healthy eating,
Veggie Burgers

Left overs

If you have left over roast potatoes & bacon wrapped sausages, make yourself a breakfast fritatta.

Slice the left over potatoes & fry over a medium heat until golden, add the bacon & sausages & fry for a few minutes longer.  Turn up the heat.

Preheat the grill on high.

Beat together, 6 large eggs with seasoning & quickly pour over the potatoes, bacon & sausages in the pan. Lifting the edges, to let the egg run under the veg & set.   While the top is still slightly runny. Sprinke with some more of that leftover cheese & place under the grill, until the cheese is melted. Serve with those soft leftover tomatoes.

leftovers, fritatta, roast potatoes, cheese, pigs in blankets
Left overs. Breakfast Frittata

Thats all for today foodies.  Any comments or requests will be answered tomorrow. Enjoy your evening.

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.

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.

The Icing on the cake

Recipe for Fondant Icing

Day 9 of the Christmas Countdown. On day 7, you had The late Cake recipe  on day & Marzipan & today Home made fondant icing, for covering.

Must just say, I am feeling very lucky today, the lovely Emma Coleman from BBC Radio Wiltshire visited my little Stable kitchen, last week, to interview me.  That was luck in itself, but just imagine my feeling of elation when my recorded interview appeared not just on one, but both the Rachel Houghton’s morning show & the lovely James Thomas afternoon show.

I will also be talking about Truffleicious & my blog on The Social, with Sue Kinnear & Tim Weeks. BBC Radio Wiltshire, Mon 17th December 2018 at 7pm 

Now. If you heard the programmes & read my previous blog on store bought icing  – link in red below – you may wish to make your own Fondant Icing (Ready rolled). The recipe follows:

FONDANT ICING. Covers 1 x 10cm cake.

1, level dessertspoon powdered gelatine, mixed with 3 dessertspoons of cold water.

100gm Granulated Sugar

6.Tbspns hot water

1.Tbspn Fresh Lemon Juice

2.tspns vanilla essence

25ml Vegetable oil

1/2 – 3/4 kg Sifted Icing Sugar.

METHOD

Place granulated sugar, hot water & lemon juice in a small saucepan & bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve.

Cover & boil for 2mins, uncover & boil for a futher 5mins until a little of the syrup forms a soft ball when dropped into very cold water.

Add the gelatine mix, essence & oil & stir to dissolve. Cool until luke warm.

Put half the icing sugar in a large boil & add the syrup mixture,stir well to combine. Gradually work in the remaining icing sugar, with the fingers, kneading until the mix becomes, smooth & pliable.

Place in a plastic bag & leave at room temperature overnight.

Roll out on a board dusted with sifted icing sugar & use to cover your cake. At this stage you can knead any colourings into the icing. This icing is also suitable for moulding. See the little snow men in the photo above.

You will also find my original blog, regarding the nasties in store bought icing, by clicking the link below:How do you like your icing

If you have any questions on your Christmas cookery please feel free to ask.

Just leave your question in the comment box below.

If you have been. Thank you for reading & possibly listenening.