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

Vegetarians Look away

Recipe Sweet Potato & Pork

Christmas Countdown. We all need a quick warming meal, in the run up to Christmas. this recipe for Sweet Potato & Pork fits the bill. All you need is a roasting tin, some veg and your pork, which has been placed in a quick, cheats marinade for a few hours. Throw it all in the oven & forget about it, while you wrap those presents. In 45mins to 1hr, depending on the thickness of your meat, you have a delicious, one pot pork dish ready for the family. If you want to add another veg, serve on some lightly steamed, kale or Cornish spring greens. Yum.

Veggies Look away NOW

Spicy Pork & Sweet Potato Bake.  

Serves 4. Equipment: Large Roasting Tin. Oven temp 200c 400F Gas 6. G/F D/F

For the cheats Marinade:

4 Tbspns Sweet Chilli Chutney.

2 Tbspns Runny Honey

2 Tbspns Light Soy Sauce

5 cm Fresh Ginger, grated.

2. Cloves garlic Crushed

2 Tbspns Red Wine Vinegar

Mix all the above ingredients together in a bowl, spread over the meat, turning occassionally.

1 kg Belly Pork Slices, or 4 Pork Chops.

4 Sweet Potatoes, Quartered, unpeeled.

2 Large red onions, peeled & quartered.

1/2 kg Carrots, cut into large chunks.

METHOD:

Place the chunky veg, in a single layer, in a large roasting tin.

Place in a preheated oven & cook for 45mins -1hr, depending on the thickness of the meat.

(If you do not like your meat as crispy as in the photo, move the tray down a shelf, 15mins before the end of the cooking time.

Serve with freshly steamed veg.

If you have any particular recipe requirements or questions, please leave a comment below & I will answer tomorrow.

Until then. Have a great evening.

Turkey thigh bake

Turkey Thigh Recipe

Day 15 of Christmas Countdown. Its that time of year, when everyone is talking Turkey, but do you want to be eating it for days?  As well as being an ecconomical dish to serve, at this time of year, you can also make variations, by changing the vegetables & spices. Turkey thighs can be bought quite cheaply at this time of the year, from you local butcher http://W J Beaven Quality Butchers    Your butcher will be selling the turkey breasts to local resaurants & will then bone & roll the thighs for sale in his shop. These are a far better buy £2.99 per kilo, (last week) than if you buy the Turkey drumsticks which you see in the large Supermakets, they are roughly the same price per kilo, but you are paying for a large amount of bone & gristle. If  you are a family of 2 or 3 this Christmas & don’t want to be eating Turkey until New Years Eve this could also be an cheap & time saving solution.

Of course, you don’t have to use a turkey thigh for this recipe, just as you can change the veg & spices, you can also use chicken thighs. But. You do have to adjust the cooking times *See note in recipe below.

RECIPE Serves 4. G/F D/F Lowfodmap. Prep time 30mins Cooking Time 1.5 hrs. Oven temp 350f 180c Gas Mk 4

  1. Boned & Rolled Turkey thigh joint ( approx 2.5k )
  2. 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, Unpeeled, & scrubbed, chopped into large chunks.
  3. 2. Red Onions, Peeled, Quartered & seperated.
  4. 4. Medium Carrots,  Unpeeled & scrubbed. Cut into large chunks.
  5. 4 Large sticks of celery. Cut into 5cm lengths.
  6. 1/2 medium Swede, Peeled & cut into large chunks.
  7. 4 Tbspns Cranberry Sauce.
  8. 2 Tbspns Rapeseed Oil
  9. Fresh Rosemary, Thyme, & Parsley Chopped
  10. 2 Tbspns Cider Vinegar.
  11. Seasoning.

METHOD

Preheat the oven, to the above temperature.  At the same time place the rapeseed oil in a large roasting tin in the oven. When the oven has reached the right temp. Remove the tray & place the turkey thigh in the oil, turning to coat.

Returm to oven & roast for 1/2hr. Remove the turkey thigh & add all the chopped veg, to the roasting tray. 

Add 2tbspns of Cranberry Sauce & toss with the juices & oil in the pan.

Coat the Turkey thigh with the remaining Cranberry sauce & place on top of the veg, together with the herbs & seasoning. Sprinkle over the Cider vingar. Return to the oven & roast for a futher hour, until the turkey is cooked through. ( Juices run clear when pierced with a knife).

Leave the turkey to rest for 15mins & carve into slices. Place on top of the veg & juices from the tin & serve with a green veg of choice.

turkey,chicken,christmas cooking,food,recipe, one pot cooking
Ready to serve.

*If using chicken thighs or breasts, place the poultry on top of the chopped veg & roast for 1hr (until cooked through). There is no need to roast the meat first, this only applies if you are using a larger joint of poultry.

*Use, courgettes, peppers & aubergine chunks & replace the Cranberry Sauce with pesto. Top with Chicken Thighs. Cook & serve with Pasta & grated Parmesan Cheese.

Well, there we have it. I hope I have given you the inspiration to ring the changes & think of your own combinations. There are many to be had. Enjoy.

chicken thighs,pasta partners,cook italian,cooking from scratch,fresh foods
The Italian touch.

Perfect pastry

How to make perfect pastry

Day 2 of our Christmas countdown deals with pastry. Ok, there are plenty of ready made pastries on the market, but there is nothing nicer & more satifying than making your own.

Apart from the fact that there will be no hidden, additives in your homemade pastry, you also have the opportunity, to ring the changes, by using different flours. You need to experiment with this, as some flours, Rye for example, produces a lovely nutty tasting pastry, but it can be quite heavy, needing the addition of a bit more liquid than when using normal plain flour.

Always, use the best quality flour that you can afford, cheap flours contain bleaching agents, to retain the whiteness & the quality of the wheat used in the milling, is not always of great quality. All this reflects in the final taste & texture of your finished result. I personal use Mathews Cotswold flours, in all my baking. In the photo above, you can see pastry made with their Maize flour, which make a beautifully crisp, golden pastry, suitable for quiches, tarts etc.  Recipe below:

Short crust pastry. 

Makes 1kg enough to line 4 x 20cm Quiche or Tart tins.  Allegens:: Wheat, Egg.

450g Maize Flour

115g Unsalted butter- chopped into small pieces.

115g White Cooking Fat – chopped into small pieces.

1 medium free range egg, beaten & made up to 8 tbspns with ice cold water.

Large pinch of salt.

METHOD

Place the flour & salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.

Using the K beater, mix on speed 3 until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. DO NOT OVER MIX.

With the mixer running, gradually add the egg & water. Until the mix forms a ball. Remove from the bowl & lightly knead on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film & chill for 30mins, untill ready to use. Never over work your dough, & keep all ingredients chilled. Warm over worked pastry, results in oily, heavy pastry. Always bake in a metal tin, placed on a pre heated oven tray (place in oven, when switching on). This conducts the heat better. NO soggy bottom. As a general rule, this pastry bakes at 200f 400c Gas 6 for 15mins, reducing to 180f 350c Gas 4 for a futher 20mins, depending on your recipe & oven.

The above recipe makes, 1kg of pastry. you can halve the quantity, but I think it is always better, from a time point of veiw, to make a larger quantity, & divide it into portions & freeze for later use. You can line 4 tins with the pastry & pop into the freezer. When needed you have them ready to fill & bake.  

To make a gluten free version of Shortcrust pastry. Replace the above flour with the following:

200g Buckwheat Flour

250 Brown Rice Flour.

Omit the egg & use nine tablespoons of chilled water. Follow the method as above.

Apple, shortcake. tart, pie
Fill you flan.

Have fun choosing your fillings, both sweet & savoury, get creative

On tomorrows Christmas Countdown, we will be dealing with Rough Puff Pastry & Christmas Cake Pies?

How do you like your Icing?

Ready to Roll Icing 

It’s that time of the year again. You’re rushing around like a headless turkey, trying to get everything done, buying presents for his parents, trying to calm down the over excited kids and all of a sudden, your remember. “Ahhhh I haven’t iced the cake”. Presuming you made one in the first place! Well, of course you did. You like to feed your family, wholesome, natural foods, not products loaded with chemicals, preservatives & goodness knows what else.

You are a domestic goddess, you know what’s good nutrition wise, for your brood, you substitute butter for low fat spreads, to keep their hearts healthy, buy low sugar products to help their teeth & weight & try to get them to eat their 8 a day – no chance – . But. During all this healthy eating campaign, are you aware of what is actually in those substitutes? & their  food mile foot prints?  Do you read the ingredients list, in small print, on the back of products?

We need to be a couple of generations older, to know what some of these additivies will do to us – think smoking – Are you mindful of the ecco damage we are doing to our planet? – think Orangutan –  What is wrong with cooking & making fresh healthy food from scratch. Yes, I can hear you all crying “TIME”.  Well it is time. Time to get yourself organised, spend less time on FB & that glass of Chardonay every night & prioritise your week, as you CAN do it, you owe it to yourself & your family. 

Time, verses ready made products. The food industry is well aware of this, by persuding us to buy these tempting, ready made, calorie & chemical laden products.

This brings me back to the title of this blog How do you like your Icing? Please read in conjunction with my previous blog Marzipan

ready to roll icing,royal icing,icing additives,icing sugar,homemadeicing
Always read the label
Icing, Icing sugar, ready made icing, royal icing, home made icing,
Thanks white stuff

Ready to roll, (cake covering or fondant) is the most common, store bought icing. While it takes a little while to make, but you can soon whip it up in that lovely food mixer that stands, unused on your work surface. One thing you can be sure of, you know exactly what it contains. Just take a look at the ingredients list in the store bought products above.

Royal icing (piping, decoration). Is much easier to make, again in the mixer. Both icings are also much cheaper to make than their store bought counterparts. 

What I really don’t understand, is that so many of us seem to be aware of & indeed want gluten free, dairy free, Lowfodmap, lactose free, vegan, vegetarian etc, but we don’t seem to care about the additives, artificial chemicals & goodness knows what that is added to our foods. 

Its also not just about the Supemarkets. Don’t forget those ready made cakes you purchase, whether from a Farm Shop, Bakery or a social media advertiser of home made cakes!  Do you check their ingredients?  Can you be sure that they home make their own cakes & icings & don’t resort to packet cake mixes, store bought icings & decorations? Always beware of the words “hand made”. 

Follow me on twitter & Instagram for ideas & ingredient lists

In the long term, all these additives could be doing us untold harm. Who knows, only time will tell. So. Make the time, to home make your food from scratch, or you my find YOUR time is shortenened, in the long run.

Next year, my blog will include a weekly update of seasonal foods, with recipes & ideas on how to priorotise your time & feed your family with healthy home made foods.

So. Whats in your icing this Christmas?

Halloween Butternut Squash

Autumn is finally upon us. Apart from the cold mornings the weather continues to be glorious. Walking my furry friend across the fields, the early morning mist creates an eerie atmosphere & evokes memories of smoky bonfires, leaves rustling underfoot and of course Halloween.

Here at TRUFFLEicious, we are preparing for the closure of Great Chalfield Manor for this year & concentrating on our winter activities.  Writing my recipe book  TRUFFLEicious, Nutritious, Nutrition is one of my projects for the winter months & continuing to retail my homemade Gluten free Cakes, Spelt & Rye Breads & of course, Chocolate Truffles (Full details on my website www.truffleicious.org) is another.

Right enough waffling back to Halloween with its Pumpkins & Gourds.  This month’s recipe is vegetarian, for the carnivores amongst you, some spicy sausages or chicken, would make a great addition. You can also make double the amount & serve one half hot & save the rest to have as a salad for the next day.

Oriental Butternut Squash, Black Kale & Spelt with Sesame & Pomegranate Dressing

Serves 6.  Low Fodmap. DF, V, Vegan.  Oven heat 180c, 350f, Gas 4

INGREDIENTS:

2 Medium Butternut Squash, Halved, seeds removed & chopped into large cubes.

1 Large Bag of fresh Black Kale. Shredded.

2 Red Onions, Peeled & quarted.

2 Red Peppers. Deseeded & cut into chunks.

Seasoning

4 Tbspns. Rape Seed Oil.

Sesame Oil to taste.

For the dressing:  Put all ingredients in a screw top jar. Shake to emulsify.  Adjust to taste.

100ml. Cider Vinegar.

tspns Lemon Grass Paste

2 Crushed Cloves Garlic

2 tspns Clear Honey.

50ml. Low Salt. Vegan Soy Sauce

Ground Black Pepper

200ml. Rape Seed Oil.

150g Brown Spelt. Cooked to packet instructions.

METHOD:

Preheat the oven.

Place the oil in a large roasting tray.  Add the Squash, onion, peppers, season well with salt & pepper.

Toss everything together to coat veg with the oil. Roast for 15 – 20 mins, until cooked but not mushy.

While the veg are roasting make the dressing & quickly stir fry the black kale in a large Wok.

Using a slotted spoon, place cooked veg in a large serving dish; add the drained spelt & kale.

Toss together, drizzle with Sesame Oil, to taste & serve either on its own with crusty bread or with grilled halloumi.

If you are having a Halloween or Bonfire party, this dish looks brilliant served in a pumpkin shell or individual halved, different coloured gourd shells.

Enjoy.

Chocolate & Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Recipe

It’s been a busy few weeks in my Stable Kitchen. Dreaming about chocolate & peanut butter one night – there are worst dreams -, I have created this decadent dessert, just for you.

I have been developing new recipes for my home made breads, which are now available from my Kitchen. Half-term also means more visitors keen to try my home made Ice Cream.  If you have made any of my recipes over the past few months, it would be great to hear your comments www.truffleicious.org/visitors-book 

The recipe below is great for a summer party. No need to spend hours in the kitchen with this one. You could also utilise the best of our summer fruits, by replacing the bananas with fresh raspberries & for extra decadence serve with extra raspberries & dark chocolate sauce.

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

CHOCOLATE & PEANUT BUTTER 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:

2 Bananas, sliced

170g Cream Cheese

140g. Smooth Peanut Butter

200ml Greek Yoghurt.

Lay the sliced bananas over the base of the cooled base. Beat together the remaining ingredients & spoon over the bananas. 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.

A Clucking good bake

You don’t always have to think of Sunday Lunch as a roast. In the recipe I am giving you this week I have used a whole chicken which I have jointed into six pieces. (you can always use chicken portions if you prefer, )

The vegetables & potatoes are all put in a roasting tin, with herbs & garlic tucked in between, you place the chicken pieces on top & pour over the magic cooking liquid. Pop it into the oven & you are ready to go. No messy carving & all you need to do is reduce the liquid left in the pan to concentrate the flavour & you have a tasty sauce, to pour over your finished dish.

You can use any veg you like, but cut them into the same sized chunks, so they are all cook at the same time.  You can also cook this dish, eat half, cool the other half quickly, store, covered in the fridge for up to two days or place in a freezer container & freeze for three months. (defrost thoroughly in the fridge before reheating) Always ensure that food is reheated in the middle, before serving.

CHICKEN & VEGETABLE BAKE       Serves 6. Gluten Free, Dairy Free.  Time taken 30mins + 1 to 11/2 hours Cooking. Oven Temp 200F 400c Gas 6

Ingredients.

I large chicken, jointed or 6 Chicken Portions.

1kg of Seasonal Winter Veg chopped into chunks. ( I used Celeriac, Carrots, Shallots, potatoes & Swede.)

4 Cloves of Garlic unpeeled.

Bay leaves, Fresh thyme, rosemary & sage.

In a jug mix together the magic mix:

200ml Red Wine.

3 tbspns Olive Oil

3tbspns Tomato Puree

1/2 tspn Sugar.

Seasoning

METHOD

Place the veg in the bottom of a large roasting tin. Put the chicken on top & tuck the herbs & garlic around the chicken.

Beat together the magic mixture in a jug & pour over the chicken & veg.

Bake in a preheated oven for 1 – 11/2 hours until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken & veg from the pan & keep warm.

Squeeze the garlic from the unpeeled cloves into the left over liquid, bring to the boil & reduce slightly.   Pour into a jug to serve with the chicken.

Serve with a green veg of choice.

If you had to open a new bottle of wine for this recipe, now’s the time to sit back, relax & enjoy a glass, or two.

chicken, red wine, seasonal veg, celeriac, carrots
Take it easy Sunday Lunch

 

 

West Wiltshire Magazine

I found a publication on Issuu that I think you’ll love. Find out more about our Cookery Lesson in this months issue of The West Wilts Magazine.

Check this out:

 

 

Dying for Dessert

Recipe,Apple Shortcake

Good afternoon foodies. The weekend is here. As you might have a little more time on your hands, I thought you may like a recipe which is equally good served hot for a Sunday Lunch dessert, or cold as a tea time treat.

APPLE & CLOTTED CREAM SHORTCAKE.  Serves 4. Vegetarian. Time taken 20 mins +  30 mins cooking.  Oven temp 200c ,Gas 6 , 400F    18 cm shallow cake tin.

INGREDIENTS: SHORTCAKE

130g Plain Flour

2 tspns Baking Powder

1tbspn Caster Sugar

50g Butter

5 Tbpns Milk

Pinch of Salt

INGREDIENTS: TOPPING

3, Eating Apples. Cored, peeled & cut into thin wedges.

150ml Double or Clotted Cream

75g Soft Brown Sugar

2 Large Egg Yolks.  Use the whites for meringues, or add to scrambled eggs or an omelette

1/4tspn Freshly grated Nutmeg

METHOD.

Put all the ingredients, except the milk) in a food processor & pulse until the mix becomes fine breadcrumbs. Add the milk, pulse to mix to a smooth dough. Remove from processor & spread over the bottom & up the sides of the tin.

Beat together the topping ingredients.

Arrange the apple over the top of the shortcake & pour over the cream mixture.

Place in the centre of a preheated oven, bake for 30-40mins, lowering the temperature to 180c, Gas 4, 350F after 15mins.  Until golden brown.

You can alter the fruit in this recipe according to whats in season. In the summer, raspberries are absolutely delicious especially served with ice cream & raspberry liqueur.

If you have made this recipe, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Sunday Foodies