Archive for 2012

Cranberry Sauce

Posted 23 December 2012 by
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Cranberry sauce is one of the staples of the modern British Christmas dinner. I made some cranberry jelly a few weeks ago which, preserved, keeps well. Now Christmas is only a few days away, it’s time to make the cranberry sauce, as an alternative.

A dish of homemade cranberry sauce

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Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Yule Log

Posted 22 December 2012 by
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This seasonal recipe for chocolate and chestnut yule log is from Jamie Oliver. A chocolate yule log is really an essential for me at Christmas. Having tried recipes from Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith, I thought I’d give Jamie’s a go this year.

An iced chocolate yule og on a plate

I like chocolate logs because of their chocolate-y goodness, but also because they evoke the ancient European yule tradition of bringing a log into the house in the depths of winter. That’s bound to make you feel all warm and cosy at this time of year.

Making your own yule log from scratch means making a swiss roll, which can be a bit scary if you haven’t attempted this before. Never fear though, it’s actually very easy.

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Cranberry Jelly

Posted 7 December 2012 by
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This recipe for cranberry jelly comes from The Complete Book of Preserves and Pickles by Catherine Atkinson and Maggie Mahew. Cranberry jelly, or its relation cranberry sauce, has become a staple of the Christmas table.

Cranberries and chopped apples in a pan

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Squidgy Chocolate Log (Delia)

Posted 4 December 2012 by
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Christmas just ain’t Christmas without a chocolate yule log. Two years ago, I made Nigella Lawson’s Bûche de Noël. That was a huge success, absolutely delicious, but last year I decided to try a different one and made a squidgy chocolate log with this recipe from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course. Again, this recipe is flourless, giving a light sponge.

Chocolate yule log on a plate

Now, you may notice that Delia’s version is not smothered with lashings of chocolate ganache or buttercream, but the cream and chocolate mousse filling means that this log is still extremely indulgent, and well worth a try.

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Celeriac and Apple Soup

Posted 3 December 2012 by
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This celeriac and apple soup follows on the heels of last month’s plain old celeriac soup, and is using up some of the apple harvest. This recipe comes from Angela Hartnett on the Guardian website. I’ve never used apples in a soup, but their sweetness goes well with the earthy er… celery-ness of the celeriac, and the flavours balance really well.

A bowl of celeriac and apple soup

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Multigrain Quark Bread

Posted 2 December 2012 by
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This recipe for multigrain bread is made with quark, a curd cheese popular in Germany. The addition of the quark to the bread dough gives a loaf that is quite moist, with a subtle tangy flavour. I used malted flake (granary) flour, and added wheat bran and pearl barley for an extra dimension of texture.

A loaf of multigran quark bread.

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Nutty Apple Loaf

Posted 25 November 2012 by
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Autumn brings a glut of apples, and the search for recipes to use them up in. This recipe for nutty apple loaf comes from the Hummingbird Bakery recipe book. It’s a lovely tea loaf, slightly spiced, with some cheeky chocolate pieces thrown in. The recipe calls for mixed nuts; I used walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds.

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Pecan Pie

Posted 22 November 2012 by
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I thought I’d make some pecan pie as a nod to American Thanksgiving, which is today. I used this recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. I love pecan pie, the nuts go so well with the toffee-like syrup. Corn syrup is not very easy to get hold of in the UK, although you can get it online. If you can’t get any, you can substitute golden syrup, or a combination of golden syrup and black treacle.

Pecan pie

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Pâte Brisée (Shortcrust Pastry)

Posted 22 November 2012 by
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Pâte brisée is a shortcrust pastry. It’s not sweet, so it can be used for both savoury and sweet dishes, and it is a little bit lighter and more delicate than pâte a foncer (flan pastry). Shortcrust pastry is ideal for pies and tarts. Here, I’ve used Michel Roux’s recipe for pâte brisée, from his Pastry book (which is excellent).

Pate brisee shortcrust pastry, wrapped around a rolling pin

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Raspberry Curd

Posted 15 November 2012 by
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Imagine the fruity, summery fragrance of homemade raspberry jam. Now picture the smooth, creamy texture and citrous tartness of lemon curd. Can you imagine combining those two delights into one jar? This recipe for raspberry curd does just that!

A pile of raspberries

As gorgeous as this curd is, it’s extremely hard to find it anywhere to buy. I had my first taste of it when I discovered a jar of it in the food tent at a local agricultural show. A couple of years later, I was brought back a jar from Scotland. Apart from those two occasions, I’ve never seen it, so I knew I’d have to find a recipe to make my own.

Now, you don’t have to include lemon juice to make raspberry curd, but I think it gives a better taste. Without the lemon, the end result is a bit sweeter, and tastes a little like sherbet. So, it comes down to personal preference, but I find the tart lemon offsets the sweet raspberries perfectly.

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