Archive for December 2010

Turkey, Ham and Leek Pie (Jamie Oliver)

Posted 30 December 2010 by
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Are you a bit sick of Christmas dinner leftovers? I love turkey and ham, but realistically there are only so many days after Christmas you can keep eating cold cuts. On Boxing Day, I watched Jamie’s Best Ever Christmas and he had a recipe for Turkey and Sweet Leek Pie. It looked delicious. So, with our leftovers, I made a turkey pie based on Jamie’s recipe. I say based on, because I didn’t have quite enough leeks, or any crème fraiche, or indeed any chestnuts to put in the pastry. I also added leftover Christmas ham. It was pretty close though.

It makes a pretty big pie (as Jamie says, it’s not a “pretty-boy pie”.) I’m not sure how many people it is supposed to serve, although even with smaller amounts than Jamie used, half of my pie was enough for four people.

A dish with Jamie Oliver's turkey, leek and ham pie, cut to show the insides.

No, that's not a real corn on the cob, that's just the dish.

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Tangy Red Onion Chutney

Posted 28 December 2010 by
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This red onion chutney is a great basic onion chutney recipe which would probably appeal to a lot of people who don’t normally “do” chutney. It’s sweet, doesn’t have an overwhelmingly strong taste and is along the same lines as the caramelised onion chutney and red onion marmalade type things that are all the rage. This recipe is for tangy onion chutney and comes from BBC Good Food.

Spoonful of red onion chutney on a plate. Continue reading “Tangy Red Onion Chutney”…

Chocolate Alternative Christmas Pudding

Posted 26 December 2010 by
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Christmas pudding is one of the iconic dishes for Christmas dinner, but lots of people aren’t that keen. Obviously, there are countless alternative dessert out there, and many people would prefer a lighter option. However, if you’re looking for something that’s as dense and rich as traditional Christmas pudding, just without all the dried fruit, this chocolate alternative Christmas pudding might be just the thing. It really is rich, (you only need a small portion at a time, and it might be worth saving it for a few hours after the turkey has been eaten) and has the kind of intense chocolatey decadence that’s only right for Christmas.

Chocolate alternative Christmas pudding, cooked and cut to serve.

This recipe is adapted from one by Safeway (remember them?) and BBC GoodFood and is a microwave recipe. You can do it in a conventional oven though, details below. The pudding contains breadcrumbs, cocoa and lots and lots of chocolate. It’s also very quick & easy to whip up while you’re waiting for the turkey to digest, especially if you prepare a few bits the day before.

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5 Essential Dishes for Christmas Dinner

Posted 26 December 2010 by
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Well, Christmas Day is upon us, and it’s a white Christmas here. The presents have been opened, and the turkey eaten. This guy turned up on our doorstep this morning and narrowly avoided getting in on the Christmas dinner action:

A pheasant in the snow.

A Christmas pheasant

Across the nation, people are snoring in front of Poirot. I thought I’d share what I consider some of the essential dishes for Christmas dinner. It has been said that Christmas dinner is nothing more than a jumped up Sunday roast. These dishes can elevate the humble roast to something special. I’m not going to mention the obvious; let’s assume there’s some kind of poultry, roast potatoes and veggies. These are just the Christmas essentials.

Baubles, tinsel and Christmas lights on a Christmas tree

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Christmas Sausage-meat Stuffing

Posted 25 December 2010 by
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For me, pork forcemeat stuffing is the one and only “ultimate” stuffing for Christmas dinner. Keep your sage & onion for ordinary Sunday roast dinners, this is the good stuff. Now, I have seen recipes for forcemeat stuffing that includes dried fruit, chestnuts, celery etc, but I prefer to keep it simple. You can make your own pork forcemeat from pork and added fat, buy it as it is, or even just use the insides of sausages. I must admit, this stuffing may not be the prettiest dish on the table, but my goodness it is tasty!

Ball of pork forcemeat stuffing

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Bread Sauce

Posted 25 December 2010 by
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Bread sauce is a white sauce that dates back to medieval times and is traditionally served with Christmas dinner. It’s easy to make; you can start infusing the milk in between preparing vegetables and other trimmings and then finish the sauce off while the turkey is resting. If you’re just concentrating on the sauce, it takes about half an hour in total. Onions studded with cloves, infusing millk for bread sauce Continue reading “Bread Sauce”…

Brandy (or Rum) Butter

Posted 24 December 2010 by
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Well, there’s just one day left until Christmas and I thought I’d share what I consider one of the essentials for Christmas Day. It is also one of the easiest things you can make! I’m talking about brandy butter, essential for dolloping onto Christmas pudding, mince pies, chocolate yule log… ice cream, er… anything! It’s so easy to make, consisting of buttercream, with added brandy. This recipe is so easy to tweak to make it a different flavour, like rum butter. Just swap the added alcohol and use brown sugar instead of white if you prefer.

Brandy butter in a glass.

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Nigella’s Chocolate Yule Log

Posted 23 December 2010 by
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Every year at Christmas, I ice a chocolate swiss roll, as a yule log. This year is the first time I have made the whole thing. Actually, that’s not strictly true. There was that one time in home economics when I was about 12, when I attempted to make a chocolate yule log. The sponge turned out like rubber, and the “icing” was liquid. It was one big, chocolatey mess. Happily, this one turned out much better. This recipe for a flourless chocolate yule log, or Bûche de Noël, comes from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Christmas.

Chocolate yule log decorated with chocolate buttercream and icing sugar.

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Nutella Palmiers

Posted 22 December 2010 by
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Palmiers are not only tasty, they’re really quick and easy to make, especially if you use ready-made puff pastry! (Homemade puff pastry will make them even more delicious though…) My first attempt – nutmeg and white chocolate palmiers – were lovely, but not too pretty. These nutella ones were definitely an improvement, but more practise may be needed! A major selling point is, of course, that they are made of nutella… lovely chocolatey, hazelnutty, gooey nutella…

Puff pastry palmier with nutella chocolate spread. Continue reading “Nutella Palmiers”…

Comfort Food: Chicken and Cheese Pie

Posted 19 December 2010 by
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Comfort food’s a funny thing: everyone’s got their own take on it. I can understand counting sweet things as comfort food, or starchy dishes like pasta. I’ve always found it strange though that some people describe dishes like stews or casseroles as comfort food. I suppose it often has to do with what we associate with childhood, or home. For me, this is comfort food: the chicken and cheese pie (or turkey and cheese, depending on the season) that my mum always used to make. The recipe is adapted from one in All in One Cook Book by Stork & Oxo. I like to use a mixture of shortcrust and puff pastry; shortcrust on the bottom/sides of the pie, and puff pastry on the top. I especially love it when the puff pastry that’s in contact with the pie filling gets a bit soggy!

Slice of chicken and cheese pie on a plate. Continue reading “Comfort Food: Chicken and Cheese Pie”…