Tag Archives: xmas

Home made Irish Cream Liqueur

Homemade Irish Cream
Homemade Irish Cream

Irish cream is a great Christmas drink, and batched into sterilised bottles make a great give away (if you can let it go, that is).

This is such an easy 2 minute recipe too, no cooking just mixing!  So it it can knocked for that last minute emergency forgotten present, that will be loved!

Once made store in a refrigerator.

Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 250ml single cream
  • 1 tin condensed milk (397g)
  • 350ml Irish whiskey
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 4 tsp chocolate sauce (use your favourite Gluten Free chocolate sauce for a gluten free recipe)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Just pour all of your ingredients into a blender and whizz it up on high speed for 30 – 40 seconds, or until everything has mixed thoroughly.

Serve over ice.

You can swap the Whiskey for a Dark Rum to give you a Caribbean feel!

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Bubble and Squeak

Bubble and Squeak
Bubble and Squeak

On those occasions that I cook a good old Sunday roast I try and ensure that I’ll have some vegetables left over to sautee the next day to go with some cold meat. Sometimes there just isn’t enough, so it’s good to have these stunning little cakes of ‘Bubble and Squeak’ in the freezer. Of course you can use leftovers, like my Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, if you have them or just start from scratch, they will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days and freeze for up to a month.

They are a British staple and go brilliantly with any cold meats I especially love them with thick slices of cooked ham and a fried egg.

Serves 6-8 Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 1kg floury potatoes, quartered (I use King Edward)
  • 40g butter
  • 500g Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 50g plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper (use a gluten free alternative like Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour, for a Gluten Free Version of the recipe)
  • olive oil, for frying

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes for 12-15 mins or until tender, then drain and return to the pan over a low heat for 1-2 mins to dry out. Add the butter and mash well
  2. Boil the sprouts for 3-5 mins until just tender. Drain and cool quickly under cold running water. Shake dry, then shred as finely as you can.
  3. Mix the sprouts with the potatoes and season to taste. Leave until cool enough to handle and shape into 8 round cakes.
  4. Tip the flour onto a plate, then coat the cakes, tapping off the excess.
  5. Heat a 5mm depth of oil in a large frying pan and shallow-fry the cakes in 2 batches for 2 mins each side, turning carefully.
  6. Drain on kitchen paper and transfer to a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Cool, then refrigerate or freeze.
  7. When ready to use, heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5, reheat the cakes for 15 mins until hot through and crisp on the outside.

It’s supposedly called ‘Bubble and Squeak’ because it makes bubbling and squeaking sounds during the cooking process, although I’ve never heard anything other than a gentle sizzle….

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Brussels Sprouts with Panchetta
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

The Brussels Sprout season is upon us again and I love these tiny tender green globes, steamed, boiled (as long as they aren’t boiled into oblivion) or broken down and sautéed in butter. This is by far my favourite recipe though, and it’s great on the side of any winter roast and special enough for your Christmas extravaganza.

If and that’s a big ‘IF’ you have any left over just add them to some cold potatoes and sautée for that delicious English leftover favourite ‘Bubble and Squeak’!

Serves 4-6 Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 500g Brussels Sprouts, trimmed but left whole
  • 120g thinly sliced Pancetta
  • 1tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2tbsp Marsala
  • 240g cooked sweet chestnuts

Serves 4  Gluten Free

Method

  1.  Steam the sprouts for 5-6 mins, depending on their size, until they are tender.
  2. Once cooked drain thoroughly and set aside.
  3. Heat a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat and lay the pancetta over the base.
  4. As the pancetta begins to melt and turn golden underneath scatter with the sugar.
  5. Turn the rashers and cook until burnished and crisp.
  6. Remove the pancetta from the pan and replace with the sprouts and chestnusts, stir thoroughly and add the Marsala, allowing to sizzle and steam off the alcohol.
  7. Season with black pepper and return the pancetta for a a few moments to heat through.

Serve in to a warm dish and enjoy…

This recipe works wonderfully as an accompaniment for a Sunday roast or the ‘Two Fat Ladies’ Roast Goose for Christmas.

Roasted Garlic Mash

Roasted Garlic Mash
Roasted Garlic Mash

Even though I love a serving of good buttery mashed potato, I’m always on the lookout for different ways to add some variety to my meals. This recipe adds an extra depth to the mash with the subtle roasted garlic giving a touch of luxury.

Serves 4-6 Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 2 whole Garlic bulbs
  • 4 tbls Olive Oil
  • 2kg Potatoes, peeled and halved is large (Desiree, King Edwards or Maris Piper are good mashing varieties).
  • 100ml single cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C(170C fan)
  2. Cut horizontally through the top of the garlic bulbs, exposing the bare cloves inside.
  3. Place the bulbs on a piece of foil and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Wrap the foil into a loose parcel around the garlic and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are soft to a knife point.
  6. Drain and return to the pan for a minute or two over a low heat to dry them off.
  7. Squeeze in three quarters of the roasted garlic, add the cream and olive oil and mash until smooth.
  8. Stir through the remaining garlic.

Serve and enjoy…

This recipe works wonderfully as an accompaniment for your favourite sausages or the ‘Two Fat Ladies’ Roast Goose for Christmas.

Roast Celeriac with Marsala

Roast Celeriac with Marsala
Roast Celeriac with Marsala
Image: bbc.co.uk/food

A winter Sunday favourite, as the celeriac roasts it absorbs some of the raisiny flavour of the marsala (but not the alcohol, which just burns off), while caramelising to a golden, sticky brownness.

Try this, I’m sure you’ll love it!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-large celeriac, peeled and cut into eight wedges
  • Sunflower oil, to coat
  • A knob of butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tbsp sweet Marsala

Serves 4  Gluten Free

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Place the celeriac wedges into a large bowl, drizzle with a little oil and stir to coat them.
  3. Smear the butter thickly around an ovenproof dish, just large enough to take the celeriac wedges lying down flat.
  4. Lay the celeriac in the dish, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and pour over the marsala.
  5. Pop into the oven and roast for about 45 minutes to an hour, turning the wedges and basting every now and then, until richly browned all over and very tender. You may need to add a little water towards the end of the cooking time to prevent burning.

Serve warm, works wonderfully as an accompaniment for a Sunday roast or the ‘Two Fat Ladies’ Roast Goose for Christmas

“Two Fat Ladies” Roast Goose

Roast Goose
Roast Goose

Christmas is fast approaching and it’s time to consider what to have on that special day. I find turkey dry and a bit tasteless and a duck isn’t enough to feed the extended family, so I like to splash out and get a traditional Goose. This recipe, originally by Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson better known and the ‘Two Fat Ladies’, is my favourite.

Like duck the goose is a fatty bird, make sure you have a good-sized roasting tin to fit the goose and a grid to place under it so that the fat can collect without the goose sitting in it. Keep the fat for roasting potatoes, it’s high smoke point means that the potatoes will be golden and crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy inside.

You can also make the stuffing in advance.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • Earl grey tea
  • 150ml Port
  • 450ml Goose stock; made from the goose gilblets
  • 4 Shallots; finely chopped
  • 150ml dry vermouth
  • 25gms Butter
  • 3 tb Fresh bread crumbs
  • 100gms Pate de foie gras
  • 50 Prunes
  • Goose liver; blanched, finely minced
  • 1 Pinch allspice and thyme
  • 5.5kg Oven ready Goose (with giblets, for the stock)

Method

  1. Soak the prunes in hot tea (Earl Grey) until soft, stone them and drain, or get pre-stoned ones (it’s a lot easier than stoning 50 prunes).
  2. Place prunes, vermouth and stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer for approx ten minutes until tender (if they are the ready to eat variety, be careful not to over cook).
  3. Strain but reserve the liquid.
  4. Melt the butter in a little pan and gently fry the shallots and liver for a couple of minutes, stirring all the while.
  5. Place in a mixing-bowl which is big enough to hold all the stuffing ingredients.
  6. Boil the port in the shallot pan until reduced to two tablespoons, making sure to scrape round the sides to get all the caramelised bits off and add to the liver mixture in the bowl.
  7. Beat the pate, bread crumbs, allspice and thyme together and combine thoroughly with the rest of the stuffing ingredients.
  8. Season with salt and a good quantity of the pepper.
  9. Gently stir the prunes into the mixture.
  10. Preheat the oven to Gas 7, 425F, 218C
  11. Put the goose in the sink and pour a kettle of boiling water over it. This ensures a good, crisp skin.
  12. Remove and dry with kitchen towels.
  13. Salt the cavity and fill loosely with the stuffing, then sew up the vent, use a big needle and butchers twine.
  14. Prick the skin all over but not the flesh, this will allow the fat to drain out.
  15. Place on the grid in the roasting pan and roast breast side up for 15 minutes.
  16. Lower heat to Gas 4, 350F, 177C, turn the goose onto its side.
  17. Halfway through, turn onto the other side.
  18. Then for the last 15 minutes onto its back again.
  19. Throughout the cooking, baste every 20 minutes with three tablespoons of boiling water and remove the fat from the pan into a bowl. The easiest way to perform both these operations is with a bulb baster.
  20. The whole cooking time should be 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Test by piercing the thickest part of the thigh: the juices should run pale yellow.
  21. When ready, the goose should be put on a very hot dish and covered with foil allowed to rest for at least 15 mins.
  22. Pour off the remaining fat from the roasting pan and make the gravy from the reserved prune liquid, adding it to the residual juices in the pan.
  23. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, adjust the seasoning, strain into a sauce boat and hand round separately.

To make the stock gently fry off the goose giblets, but not the liver (which you need for the stuffing), with some carrot, celery and leeks then add water, a couple of bay leaves and a Bouquet Garni. Bring to the boil and  then gently simmer for a couple of hours. Skimming the surface to remove any scum. Drain through a sieve or chinois pressing the veg to get as much flavour out as possible.

Serve with the regular Christmas trimmings, of roast potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Maple roast Parsnips and Tom’s Mum’s Red Cabbage.

Merry Christmas…..

Tom’s Mum’s Red Cabbage

Braised Red Cabbage

This was a recipe that I got from a friends mum, after a exceptionally good meal one News Years Night, too many years ago to remember. It’s become a regular on the Christmas table ever since. It can be cooked the day before and reheated, it’s better actually better on the second day as the flavours have had some time to mingle.

Try this, I’m sure you’ll love it!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium Red Cabbage, cored and shredded.
  • 1 Brambley apple, chopped (there’s no need to peel before chopping)
  • 2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 500 ml Beef Stock
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 3 tablespoon plain yoghurt

Method

  1. Fry the chopped onion in the oil for a few mins, until softened
  2. Add the sugar and allow to colour slightly.
  3. Stir in the cabbage and apple and cook for a further 2 mins.
  4. Add the Red Wine vinegar and give it a good stir.
  5. Pour over the beef stock, cover and cook on a low heat for 1/12 to 2 hours. Make sure it doesn’t dry out (add more stock if necessary).
  6. Mix the flour and yoghurt together and add to the mixture. You may not need all of it, you’ll need to judge this based on the amount of liquid that is left.
  7. Cook gently until the mixture is glossy and thick.
  8. Season with salt pepper and more sugar/vinegar to taste

To give it a an extra touch of sophistication you can scatter some light toasted Pine Nut or Walnut kernels before popping onto the table.