Thursday, 30 December 2010

Beefburgers with Left-over Stuffing

I always make too much stuffing on the basis of "better too much than not enough".  I think I went a bit mad this year, we had 2 days of turkey and stuffing dinners, numerous turkey, ham and stuffing sandwiches and sometimes some of us had just slices of cold stuffing with some salad leaves (an attempt at "lets have something healthy".) 

Finally the dregs of the stuffing were chopped up, added to some minced beef and formed into burgers which were grilled for 4 minutes each side.   The result was delicious and we could still taste the fresh herbs, chestnuts and chopped dates which went into the original recipe (posted 24.11.10.)

Serve with chutney or relish.

Friday, 24 December 2010

The Icing on the Cake

I'm not great with icing so I like to keep things simple.  I think it worked out quite well this year.

This year's Christmas day menu.

Warm Crab mousse  (recipe below)

Turkey with pork chestnut and date stuffing  (Posted 24.11.10)

Steamed clementine puddings (posted 09.12.10)

Warm Crab Mousse

120 g dark crab meat
120 g light crab meat
4 eggs, lightly beaten
400 ml double cream
4 tsp dry sherry1
tsp Dijon mustard
Large pinch cayenne pepper
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Lightly butter 6 small ramekin dishes.

Mix the crab meat, eggs, cream, pepper, mustard, and sherry together in a blender until you have a velvety smooth puree.

Add the parmesan cheese and season to taste.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared ramekins and cover each with a small disc of greaseproof paper. 

Sit the ramekins in a roasting dish and pour enough hot water into it to come three quarters the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly set.

Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Merry Christmas to all my blog visitors.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Chocolate Brownies with Cranberries Soaked in Cherry Brandy


200g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
60g cocoa
60g plain flour
100g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp dried cranberries
3 tbsp cherry brandy

Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Soak the cranberries in the cherry brandy for 1 hour.

Break up the chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the chocolate.

Seive the flour and cocoa into the bowl and stir gently to mix (the mixture may be slightly lumpy).

Pour the mixture into a 15cm square tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes.

Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

Serve sprinkled with icing sugar

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Christmas Garibaldi Biscuits

Garibaldi biscuits have been around for many years and are a great favourite for dunking. Try this recipe for spicy Christmas Garibaldi biscuits and serve them warm with mulled wine. If you prefer the traditional plain biscuit just leave out the spices.


100g butter, melted
100g icing sugar, sifted
100g plain flour
100g egg whites
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg
A good pinch of ground Ginger
200g currants


Mix together the icing sugar, flour, spices and butter until smooth. Gradually add the egg whites, a little at a time and mix well then fold in the currants.

Bring together, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2" thick. Cut into 12 rectangles, place on a baking tray and chill for a further 30 minutes.

Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire tray and store in an airtight tin until needed.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Thai Green Chicken Curry with Fragrant Rice

Although there are a lot of ingredients in the curry paste it's so easy to make if you just put all the paste ingredients in a food processor and whizz.  Even if you blend it in a pestle and mortar it's well worth the effort for the delicious result.

For the curry

5 cloves garlic chopped
6 green chillies, seeds removed and chopped
2 stalks lemongrass 
3 tbsp coriander roots, chopped
2 cm galangal
1 large shallot
1 tsp kaffir lime peel
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander 
1 tsp black peppercorns

For the chicken thighs

3 tbsp groundnut oil
10 small chicken thighs
500 ml coconut milk
3 tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 tbsp coriander chopped + extra to garnish

For the Thai curry paste, combine the garlic cloves, green chillies, lemon grass, coriander roots, galangal, shallot, lime rind and juice, salt, cumin, coriander seeds and peppercorns. Grind to a smooth paste using a mortar and pestle, or tip everything into an electric food processor and blend.

Heat the groundnut oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the chicken thighs and fry for 10-12 minutes, turning frequently, until they're golden all over - the chicken should be cooked through. Remove from the pan and leave on one side while you make the curry.
Turn the heat down a tad and pour in the coconut milk, followed by 4 tablespoons of the green curry paste.

Bring to a simmer.  Return the chicken to the pan, reheat and scatter with coriander leaves before serving.

For the rice

200g basmati rice
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
1 tbsp coriander stalks
Zest of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Measure the rice in a jug and use the same measurement of water to cook it.

Wash the rice thoroughly tip into a pan and cover with cold water.  Add the coriander stalks, lemongrass and lime zest.  Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook with the lid on for 4 minutes switch off the heat and leave in the pan, still with the lid on for 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and fluff up the rice.  Serve with the chicken curry.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Steamed Pork Dumplings

Delicious little parcels of pork cooked in boiling water for a few minutes, a great and quick starter or snack.  Try them with prawns or minced chicken too.  For the dip, I mixed 2 tbsp soy sauce with the juice of 1/2 a lime and a pinch of sugar.  The dough can be bought ready made, rolled and cut from Chinese supermarkets.

For the filling

200g lean minced pork, chicken or prawns
2 spring onions, very finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1" fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp shrimp paste
A little salt and pepper

Mix all the filling ingredients together thoroughly and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Put large pan of water on to boil.

Make the dumplings by placing a teaspoon of the pork mixture in the centre of each dough round, wet round the edges and seal with your fingers to make a crescent shape.  You can also make little pork purses by wetting the edges of the pastry and bringing them together in the centre.

Cook in batches in the boiling water for a couple of minutes they should then float to the top.  Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon.

Serve warm with a dip.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Spicy Mince Pie

With just a few spices you can transform an ordinary minced beef pie into a warming winter dish.  Serve with sweet potato mash and peas for a comforting supper in this cold dreary winter weather.  You can also replace the diced carrot with tinned kidney beans, add them 10 minutes before the end of cooking the minced beef.

300g lean minced beef
2 carrots, diced
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp medium heat chilli powder
1 dessert spoon plain flour
1 pint beef stock
Salt and pepper
A little oil for cooking onions, diced carrots and browning minced beef
1 tsp tomato puree
1 pack ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg lightly beaten

Heat a little oil in a heavy based pan and add the onions, cook until softened but not brown.  Add the diced carrot and cook for a further 2 minutes then add the mince and stir until browned.  Stir in the spices and combine well.

Add the flour and stir for 1 minute to slightly cook then add the beef stock and tomato puree.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until the mince is tender and thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Leave to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

On a floured surface cut out the pastry lid for your pie and decorate with the pastry scraps cut into leaves.  Brush beaten egg over the pastry and bake on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Steamed Clementine Puddings

These lovely little puddings can be made ahead and reheated in the oven for 25 minutes at 180C/gas 6 and can be frozen and defrosted at room temperature.


150g unsalted butter, softened
6 tbsp golden syrup
150g caster sugar
Juice and zest of 6 Clementines
150g self raising flour
40g fresh breadcrumbs
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
Creme Fraiche to serve

6 small pudding basins or ramekins, buttered, foil and elastic bands


If not using a steamer preheat the oven to 180C/gas 6.

Cream together the butter and sugar, sift in the flour and baking powder, beat in the breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, zest and juice a little at a time. The mixture will look slightly curdled but that is normal.

Put 1 tbsp of syrup in each basin or ramekin then divide the mixture between them.

Cover each one with a square of buttered foil and secure with an elastic band.

To steam: Steam the puddings for 40 minutes.

To bake: Place the puddings in a deep roasting tin half filled with boiling water and bake for 40 minutes.

Turn out and eat warm with chilled Creme Fraiche.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Cranberry Muffins
280g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
110g caster sugar
110g fresh cranberries
1 tsp orange zest, cut into thin strips
240 ml milk
90 ml vegetable oil
60 g walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 190C/400F/ gas6

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Stir in the orange zest, oil and milk.

Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and fold in until just combined, carefully stir in the nuts and cranberries. The mixture should be lumpy but with no dry flour visible.

Spoon into muffin cases inside a muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are light brown and spring back when pressed.

Store in an airtight container.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Thai Pork Meatballs


200g lean pork mince
3 cloves garlic
2 green chillies, finely chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped spring onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp sugar
2 egg whites
2 tbsp very cold water
2 tsp fish sauce (nam pla)
Groundnut oil for frying
Plain flour for dusting
Place the pork mince in a processor with the egg whites and water, blend briefly, add the rest of the ingredients except the oil and flour, blend for a few seconds more.
Form into rounds about the size of a golf ball, dust each one with flour and shake off any excess.
Heat the oil over a high setting and when almost to the point of smoking, gently spoon in the meatballs and cook for about 4 minutes each batch until golden and crisp on the outside.
Serve hot with a dipping sauce.

Seafood Paella

Paella is the taste of Summer for me.  As soon as the sun is out so is the paella pan. I cooked this one on the hob, using two burners but i...