December, 2010

Dec 10

Happy Christmas!


Turkey, check; potatoes, check; parsnips check. Onions? Bacon, sausages, stuffing (two types, mind you)? The all important liquid sustenance? Christmas pudding, christmas cake, mince pies…smoked salmon, croissants for breakfast, a few extra eggs, just in case. Butter, plenty of butter. And double cream. And brandy. Salt, pepper, goose fat? Oh, milk – mustn’t forget milk. Cranberries?

Well, if you’ve got all those things (and I’m sure I’m missing a few), then you’ll survive. Just about!

Anyway, this is me signing off and wishing you all a very merry, yummy Christmas.

Just don’t forget the sprouts.

Dec 10

Crimbo crumble


A classic crumble is a necessity at this time of year and can normally be whipped up with a few storecupboard essentials. You’d be hard pushed not to find at least the majority of these ingredients in your kitchen over the Christmas period – spices, cranberries and dried fruits.

The other great thing about these crowd-pleasing puds is that they are a doddle to make – ideal for a Christmas dinner party. A crumble is always greeted with murmurs of approval – a nostalgic, warming, comforting pudding that cries out for teeth-chattering ice cream.

This recipe comes from Roast in Borough Market, one of my regular haunts; it’s a rare occasion I have room left for pud but last time I just managed to squeeze in a few spoonfuls of this delicious, Christmassy crumble.

Click here for the recipe for mulled spices, bramley apple, sultana and cranberry crumble

Dec 10

Perfect pastry



If you’ve followed this blog from day one you may well remember my abject fear or all things pastry. Pastry and I don’t, let’s say, get along too well. My mother would tell me I had hot hands, but I’m pretty sure I don’t – to the point where I’ve even run my hands under the cold tap to get them cool. But the other night something bizarre happened.I got out flour, butter, water and salt and put them together in a bowl. I mixed then, gently, with a knife and then with my hand. I kneaded it ever so slightly before chilling it in the fridge.

Then I began the rolling process – this is rough puff and thus requires the roll, fold, fold, fold, chill and repeat process. It was with some surprise that it all came together, it stretched, didn’t crack and was, well, rather good, if I do say so myself.

Then – mincemeat turnovers. I rolled the pastry into squares, filled them with homemade mincemeat mixed with a little clementine zest and toasted flaked almonds and then folded them over and crimped the edge.

They were brushed with a little egg yolk, then a good sprinkle of demerera sugar before baking in a hot oven until golden. A perfect Christmas pudding, with a spoonful of thick, luscious clotted cream.

Dec 10

Beefed up


I love a recipe that’s virtually a one-pot wonder and a real crowd pleaser. Rather than faff around with pots and pans, cooking things in the oven and under the grill to put dinner together, this rendang recipe is all done in the one pot and is astoundingly good.

I’ve cooked it twice in the past couple of weeks – which will probably do for a little while as it is quite the rich dish. That’s a good thing though – just over a kilo of meat will easily feed 8-10 people.

It’s definitely one for the patient though – the ingredients take a short while to prepare but the simmering and reducing take three tantalising hours – the smell is incredible, aromatic, fragrant and will have you starving by the time it comes to the table.

The last few minutes of cooking while the coconut milk boils off and the beef begins to fry in the coconut oil are a little hairy – but stick with it, don’t panic and the results will astound. I normally serve this with a flatbread or naan, some finely sliced cucumber and red onion, a dollop of yogurt and a good sprinkling of mint, although rice would also be great. Serve with a lime cheek on the side to squeeze over.

Click here for my recipe for beef rendang

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