Friday, 17 December 2010

Christmas Treats

I have started to make a few lovely things to eat over the Christmas period including these mini caramelised cheese and onion tarts which are the easiest thing in the world to make, just caramelised some onions in butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar, make an egg custard with cream and an egg, throw in lot's of good quality mature cheddar cheese, add the onions and mix together. I just used shop bought puff pastry because that's how I role, put it into Yorkshire pudding trays, put a blob of my cheese and onion mix into each one and put it in the oven for 25 mins and voila!!!


I also made some chicken liver paté by trimming any yucky or green bits off the livers, sauté some onions in butter the add the livers and a good slug of brandy making sure you burn the alcohol off and as it's Christmas I put a dash of double cream in and then seasoned. To finish it off pour clarified butter over the paté and put it in the fridge to set and you are done.
And to celebrate my culinary achievements I'm going to have several drinks of the mulled variety!


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Christmas Shopping list....Done!


I am cooking Christmas dinner for the first time this year as it would usually be my Mum but she is currently living in Portugal on a foodie adventure so I am cooking for Mercer's family and there are 12 of them.
I'm sure it will be fine as I am one of life's obsessive list writers and have had everything planned for around a month, Ive got my Christmas and boxing day menus written down with corresponding shopping list's (don't laugh) and have already made my mincemeat for my mince pies and enough sausage rolls to feed a small country.
This year I am planning to do a rib of beef and goose, normally it would just be the goose but as there are 12 of us it's not really feasible, and of course a glazed ham on Boxing day!
I'm also going to attempt a salt caramel cheesecake, chocolate roulade, damson trifle and some Bompass and Par style jellies for the munchkins!!!
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope all your culinary dreams come true!xx

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Lamb and Red Wine Stew with Roasted New Potatoes

I was talking to my brother the other day about food like we always do as we have a shared passion for all things edible and he told me of a rather impressive amount of meat he had in his freezer, and for a young man of 23 with little cash I thought how was this possible? Well it turns out that my brother has taken to going to his local Sainsburys just before closing time and buying all the highly reduced produce on the meat and fish counters and got some ridiculously good bargains!! Well I thought I must have a go myself and so I did and got a huge slab of pork belly for £2.20, two fillet steaks for £1.80 and 8 pieces of organic lamb stewing steak for 30p a piece....I was very pleased to say the least!
I made a very tasty stew out of the lamb by frying the meat and sealing it before covering in flour and sauteing onions and carrots with the meat and then pouring half a bottle of red over it and then adding bay leaves, beef stock, peppercorns and tomato puree and letting in simmer for around an hour and 45 mins.
I am a bit of a mash addict and would never even think of having stew with anything but buttery mash potato's but I felt like this lamb stew would benefit with some new potato's roasted in olive oil, rosemary and garlic so that's what I did and they went together perfectly along with some brussle sprouts and mashed root veg (needed something that was mashed!)


A few of my favourite things....Cauliflower Cheese

Personally I love the snow because it makes me all festive and happy and gives everyone the perfect excuses to eat lot's of hot, scrummy, fatty things that make you feel all warm inside and what better to give you a snugly culinary hug than home-made cauliflower cheese.Cauliflower cheese is most definitely one of my favourite things to eat so any excuses really. I always make my cheese sauce from scratch starting with a roux, I am known for putting criminal amounts of cheese in it and also for eating most of the sauce before the cauliflower even see's it, but somehow my sauce to cauliflower ratio always favours heavily on the sauce side so it's more like eating cheese sauce with a bit of cauliflower in it.


I just make my roux with butter and flour and begin to slowly pour in full fat milk little by little whilst stirring with my trusty wooden spoon and then when the sauce is the right kind of consistency I start to add big handfuls of grated mature cheddar, pepper and sometimes a bit of nutmeg to! When the sauce is ready I add the cauliflower to it, put it in a baking dish, put more cheese on top and chuck it in the oven until the top is crisp and bubbling.
I had mine with gammon staeks and brussle sprouts and I could not have been happier.