Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Christmas dinner this year was what we no laughingly refer to as 'The Pasty' - my interpretation of Raymond Blanc's Pheasant Pithiviers. I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter, and rather than reproduce it, I have linked to the video from his 'Kitchen Secrets' programme that explains how to make it, about 10.30 in. It took 3 days, but was very nice and looked splendid. Essentially, it is confit pheasant legs mixed with pan-roasted pheasant breasts, chestnuts, onion, garlic, cranberries and mushrooms, then sandwiched between 2 sheets of all-butter puff pastry. This is deep-glazed with salted egg yolk, baked, and served with a delicious Pheasant, Port and Madeira gravy made from the carcase. Made a change from turkey!
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
If you are looking for a last-minute Christmas gift to make, then this is a doddle. It isn't realy fudge, but ends up as a fudgy treat. You need to melt 8oz of unsalted butter and a cup (American measure, sorry) of smooth peanut butter in a pot or microwave. Let the mix cook for a minute or two. Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a pound of icing sugar. It will go crumbly and stiff and difficult to beat. This is normal! Line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment and press the warm mixture evenly into the base. Cover it with another sheet of parchment and this makes it easier to press down and 'squidge' - technical term there. Allow to set and chill in the fridge for a good couple of hours or overnight. Cut into small pieces - it is rich and sweet. You can drizzle with melted chocolate too if liked. Best eaten with a syringe of insulin by your side and a defibrillator.
Saturday, 10 December 2011
Sea2Sea (check it out, he's cycling from the West to East Coast of the States to raise money for US and UK veterans). This is an easy one to do and tuck away. If you can open packs and heat a pan of water, you can make this. In a bowl over gently simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the bottom), melt 200g of milk chocolate, 100g dark chocolate, 100g butter, 100g of golden syrup until smooth and amalgamated. Don't rush this stage, keep the heat low, and leave it be, with just a little gentle stirring towards the end. You don't want it to go grainy - oh no! Then, add 200g of rich tea biscuits or shortbread biscuits, broken up (either by hand or by bashing in a plastic bag with a rolling pin) and 170g of dried cranberrries. You can also add around 60g of your choice of nut, such as pistachios, pecans or almonds. Mix gently until everything is coated and then spread into a 20cm sq baking tin, lined with cling film. Allow to set, then dredge with cocoa powder and cut into squares - this should yield 16 medium or 12 large pieces - or cut them into small bite-sized pieces and pack into cellophane bags for a yummy home-made Christmas pressie.
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Sunday, 4 December 2011
original recipe on the Good Food website - a nice way to use ubiquitous salmon, and filling and comforting as the nights get colder. You could vary this endlessly - use leeks, spinach, Swiss chard or mushrooms instead of broccoli, and chicken or ham instead of salmon (though I'd probably lightly cook the chicken first).