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Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Forever Nigella - Cranberry Jam

I found this Forever Nigella Challenge over at Maison Cupcake blog you can find all the details and rules (they are not restricting rules which is great because I struggle with some challenges) anyway I was a bit fed up becuase I had made Nigella's Easy Sticky Toffee Pudding from Nigella Bites for our Christmas Pudding, but hadn't taken any photographs and that would have been a perfect entry.

However, not to be beaten, I had flick through Feast and found chapter called 'If it's Christmas it must be Cranberries'.  I had a bag of fresh cranberries in the fridge and no immediate plans for them so I decided to make Cranberry Jam. One of the rules is that you can't reproduce any of Nigella's recipes verbatim, so as I didn't make 'two changes' to this recipe, you will need to buy the book if you want to find out how to make it!

Cranberry Jam 
Nigella Lawson - Feast

I tested mine on a chilled saucer to check for set

Nigella suggests spreading this lovely, sweet and sharp, jam on croissants or you can use it in the cranberry Bakewell Tart which also features in Feast

Label I made for my jam

Head over to Maison Cupcake to enter the contest yourself!

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Monday, 27 December 2010

Lovely Leftovers - Caesar Salad-ish

Time for something less rich after all the Christmas excesses.  So half a bag of salad leaves, some celery, spring onions, tomatoes and left over turkey breast cut into chunks.  Add some croutons made with left over walnut bread (highly recommended) served with a baked potato.  Hmmm probably more of a chef's salad than a Caesar, but I did dress it with Mary Berry's Caesar Salad Dressing which is the best bought dressing I've tried.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Lovely Leftovers - Christmas Quiche

It's leftover time and I think the volume of bits of pieces in my fridge brings out my inventiveness.  This year I decided to use up some of the little bits in a Christmas Quiche.  I had some turkey, stuffing, a couple of sausages wrapped in bacon, some ham, cooked baby carrots, sprouts and some tiny tomatoes.  I also had some of the prawns we had for our starter yesterday all needing used up.

The pastry recipe is adapted from Rachel Allen's book Bake.  I added some Philadelphia cheese a bit less butter and the egg as recommended, but any s/crust pastry would do, including ready made.  I baked the pastry case blind and then loaded on the the leftover ingredients along with some sauteed spring onions and garlic.

after loading on the left-overs, I crumbled some cheshire cheese and then poured over two whole beaten eggs, two egg yolks and some soured cream (left over lol!)  seasoned well and beaten together.

Stick it back in the oven for 40 minutes, I found some tomatoes that were starting to wrinkle, so I shoved them on the top too.  We ate it with roast potatoes and roast parsnips reheated in the oven till nice and crispy again and some coleslaw.  Delicious!

What did you do with your leftovers?

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Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas to all my Blog readers

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my blog readers,  I wish you all that you would wish for yourself.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas Cake Bling!

Here is my Christmas Cake decorated with holographic gold edible glitter and little gold  cupcake stars - ooh I love a bit of bling!  That was as far as I had got last weekend and there was definitely something missing.  I found these cream and gold poinsettias at the local garden centre, they just finish it off perfectly!

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Saturday, 18 December 2010

Peach and salted caramel trifle

I should have been entertaining my husband's cousins tomorrow, but we have had to call it off because of the snow.  However, I had already bought all the stuff for this trifle recipe so I made it anyway.  We will be eating it all week, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing is it?

The recipe has been adapted from one in the Woman & Home Magazine supplement 'Tastes of Christmas'.

Peach and salted caramel trifle
Serves 8-12

8 trifle sponges
2 400g jars peach slices in light syrup
1 tbsp Amaretto liquer (or brandy)
397g can Carnation Caramel
1 tsp Maldon sea salt
1 litre (1 3/4 pint) ready-made vanilla custard ( I used Tesco Cornish Custard)
284ml carton double cream
2 tbsp toffee sauce
handful of hazelnuts roughly chopped

1. Place the trifle sponges in the bottom of the trifle dish.  Cover with the peaches and the syrup from one of the tins mixed with the Amaretto or brandy.
2. Mix the caramel with the sea salt and pour over the peaches and sponge.
Spoon the custard on top.  Chill while you whip the cream.
3. Whip the cream to soft peaks, spoon over the caramel.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.
4. Just before serving, drizzle with toffee sauce and scatter the nuts over the top.

I have to say it doesn't look that great in the bowl, but it tastes divine ...mmmmmm.

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Saturday, 11 December 2010

Beef in Ale - from A Slice of Cherry Pie!

It's a funny thing, but through the world of food blogging, you get to know people in a way that would never have been  possible in the past.  I first 'met' Julia Parsons through the UK Food Bloggers Association Forum and her blog 'A Slice of Cherry Pie', so when she published a recipe book I just had to buy it.   I've had it for a couple of weeks now, but hadn't had a chance to make any of the recipes, so this week  I checked out a couple of recipes and shopped accordingly.

Beef in Ale

First brown your beef

Then add your vegetables

Now I have to confess that I didn't have any Ale (failed on the shopping accoridingly!) so I used the equivalent quantity of red wine (I always have red wine!), this would give a different flavour.  I've used ale in previous stews and it does give a lovely depth of flavour, but the wine worked very well.

I love dumplings, these were very simple, just self raising flour, suet and salt and they were really lovely and light and fluffy.

There was lots of delicious gravy and the meat was very tender after three hours in a low oven.  Highly recommended on a winter day.

I haven't given you the recipe and quantities as I would recommend that you buy Julia's book.  Although I am an experienced cook and know how to make a stew, Julia does provide very full and clear instructions and a good explanation of techniques which also makes it ideal for anyone who is less confident in their cooking skills.

I'll be back with more recipes from 'A Slice of Cherry Pie' very soon.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Toffee Apple Yogurt Muffins

I wanted to use up the last of the apples I got from my neighbour and also the last of the Total Greek Yogurt, so I adapted a basic muffin recipe to include these ingredients. I also found half a bag of fudge pieces in my cupboard so threw them in as well.  The mixture was quite dry but the muffins turned out really moist and they also kept well and were delicious when warmed through in the microwave for 20 seconds.

Toffee Apple Muffins
Makes 6-8 (but I doubled all the ingredients)

150g/5oz self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
50g/2oz dark muscovado sugar
120ml/4fl oz Greek Yogurt
25g/1oz butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
2 peeled cored and chopped apples
50g/2oz fudge pieces

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
2. Mix the sugar, yogurt, butter and egg in another bowl.
3. Fold the flour mix into the wet mix and then fold in the chopped apple and fudge pieces.
4. Spoon the mixture into greased muffin tins or paper cases.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch.  Leave in the tins for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or cool.

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Monday, 6 December 2010

Drumlanrig Castle Christmas Fair & Farmers Market

I've posted all about the Christmas Fair and Farmers Market I visited yesterday on my other blog HERE


Saturday, 4 December 2010

Easy All-in-one Lamb Curry

It's Total Yogurt time again!  This time I'm marinading lamb chops in a super easy recipe by Anjum Anand in her book Indian Food Made Easy.

Easy All-in-one Lamb Curry
Serves 4 - 6

800g lamb, cut into small pieces with the bone in
300ml Total Greek Yogurt
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ground mustard seeds (ideally grind them yourself in a spice grinder)
1 heaped tbsp white poppy seeds, made into a paste with a pestle & mortar and a splash of water)  I didn't have any and it tasted fine without.
Salt to taste
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 green chillies forked once
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
good handful of fresh coriander stalks and leaves, chopped ( I didn't have any of this either and I know it would definitely bring a freshness to the dish)

Mix the lamb with the yogurt, turmeric, ginger and garlic pastes, cumin, coriander and mustard seed powder, poppy seed paste and salt.  Leave to marinate in a non-metallic bowl for as long as possible or at least until you chip and cook the next batch of ingredients.
Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan, add the onion and green chillies and fry until the onions are brown, around 6-7 minutes.  Add the meat, and its marinade and stir-fry over a low heat for 3 minutes.  Cover and continue to cook over a low heat for 45-50 minutes or until done, giving the pot a gentle stir every now and then.  If the pan is running dry, add a splash of water from the kettle.

Once tender, stir in the garam masala and black pepper; check and adjust seasoning.  Always make sure there is enough water in the pan for a little gravy by adding extra from the kettle or cook the lamb over a high flame to dry of any excess water.  Stir in the coriander and serve.
I added some french beans to the sauce and served with basmati rice, it would definitely have looked prettier if I had had some coriander!!

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