Tuesday, December 19, 2006

ICED CHRISTMAS STAR CAKE


OK!! so I did't dream up all of the design for the Christmas Cake. The idea was taken from the December issue of GoodFood Magazine and the gold stars were used after seeing Nigella's Christmas! The stars can be purchased from www.Jane-Asher.co.uk

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Christmas Cake

In a few days time I will publish my finished cake. In the meantime, please let me know how you have decorated your cake, and we can then compare notes about the sourcing of decorative finishes etc. Happy cake decorating!!

The Year 2006

This year I made a real effort in the fruit and veg department and joined the box scheme - every Thursday its 'what's in the box'. We've had a cabbage so big it wouldn't fit into the fridge!! A butternut squash of similar proportions. I was frantically trying to think of how many ways you can cook a squash. A bit like the turkey after Christmas Day when you try to invent ways to use the thing up!! To sum up, the box scheme has been a hit and it is one of the better things I have done this year. In the Summer I tried growing some strawberries - out of a total crop of four the squirrel had two and I had two. The runner beans were a dismal failure for the first time. The dwarf beans and rhubarb were a definate winner. I have also planted a variety of small fruit bushes and only time will tell if they are going to be a hit. In the Summer of 2007 I will be able to tell you about my successes and failures on the small vegetable patch.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Table Decoration


This was made last night from cuttings off the Christmas tree, holly with beautiful bright red berries, and a few wired cones and baubles. A perfect addition to the dining room table before enjoying some kitchen delights over the festive period.

SQUIDGY CHOCOLATE LOG


I make this without fail every year for Christmas!! It gives me the chance to be very messy in the kitchen - cocoa powder and icing sugar everywhere. The food mixer comes into its own whisking all those egg whites. Unless you want muscles like Mr Universe then I wouldn't even consider making this by hand.

DELIA SMITH'S COMPLETE COOKERY COURSE - A NEW EDITION FOR THE 1990's.

ISBN 780563214540 - PAGE 486

Serves: 8 people.

Skill Level: Moderate.

Taste Test: Light and moist, a good hit of chocolate but not too overpowering.

For this one I would suggest that you make sure you have everything ready to hand, ingredients weighed out, tin lined etc. You can't afford to walk away half way through making this, otherwise the end result will be as flat as a pancake! The method might seem to be quite long, but it is really a case of working your way through it carefully. Mostly I do not make the chocolate filling suggested by Delia but instead I fill the log with 275 ml of whipping cream, whipped to the floppy stage and then I whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of brandy. The chocolate log freezes perfectly with this filling. Serve with fresh raspberries.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Kenwood Chef.

Monday, December 11, 2006

PANETTONE PUDDING


Hidden inside beautiful boxes at Christmas time are panettone. These are Italian and are a cross between bread and cake. They come in all different flavours, chocolate, plain, mixed fruit etc. For this pudding you will need a fruit panettone. Also, if you do not use all of this bread, it freezes well.

COMFORT FOOD - BBC GOOD FOOD.

ISBN 0563488492 - Page 113

Go to www.bbcgoodfood.co.uk to view this recipe.

Serves: 4 people

Skill Level: Easy

Taste Test: A very creamy sauce with a good kick of vanilla, the bread is light and fluffy.

The recipe suggests buttering the panettone but I think it is rich enough and so I do not bother doing this. If I do not have any double cream then I have used light Elmlea double cream, the only difference this makes is that the sauce does not set but is the consistency of double cream. I always reduce the amount of sugar i.e. one tablespoon instead of the two tablespoons suggested. I find it too sweet otherwise. Cook this for 30 minutes and check to make sure the custard hasn't set too much, if it is still too runny give it another 5 minutes.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Balloon Whisk.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

STEAK AND KIDNEY PUDDING


This recipe and method was an amalgamation taken from two cookery books. I made this on a cold Autumn day and was delighted with both the recipe and method. The suet pastry is simplicity itself. Light servings of vegetables are the only accompaniment required.

The recipe was taken from:

GASTROPUB CLASSICS by TRISH HILFERTY

ISBN: 1904573533 - PAGE 178

SKILL LEVEL: Moderate.

TASTE TEST: The red wine sauce was delicious, as was the filling. The suet pastry was not too heavy.

This is steak and kidney pudding with a twist, as red wine, as well as beef stock is used to cook the stewing steak. The filling ingredients are left to cool and then the individual pies can be assembled. By using this method the pies cook in 2 hours instead of the usual 5 hours steaming time. I did not use the quantities stated, as I was going to make the puddings in four small basins, but used the quantity of meat specified in the book mentioned below.

The method used was taken from:

THE COOK'S BOOK

ISBN: 1405303379 - PAGE 310 - (Marcus Wareing recipe)
For a similar Marcus Wareing recipe

The method used to line the individual basins (lining them with clingfilm) was something I had not come across before, but I will be using this method again as the puddings came out of the tins so easily.





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