19 Dec 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

13 Dec 2006

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

Recipe

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.

11 Dec 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.

2 Dec 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.





27 Nov 2006

TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS PUDDING

I mostly like to make these in small 6 oz aluminium basins, this way you do not have to cut into a huge pudding and wonder what you are going to do with the rest of it. Also, they look prettier when you serve them. The photograph shows my puddings from last year after they have been re-heated for some 2 hours. Unfortunately, I didn't put them in an airtight container and they have dried out somewhat (but you will be glad to know I did wrap them in clingfilm and they were stored in a tin).



DELIA SMITH'S CHRISTMAS

ISBN 0563370645 – PAGE 37

Recipe

Serves: 8-10 people or makes 8 individual puddings.

Skill Level: Moderately Easy.

Taste Test: A good burst of fruit and spices come through and the pudding is not too heavy.
Again, use good quality dried fruit - Waitrose own brand is excellent. Don't use fusty old spices from the back of the cupboard, always buy new for your Christmas baking. I had to leave the nuts out - its all that chomping - I just don't like it. Barley wine is an ingredient mentioned in the recipe, I have never managed to find a bottle of it and so I just use more stout (Guiness). By the way, Guiness freezes well and the remainder can be used in a stew. I never bother to cover steamed puddings with greased greaseproof paper, then foil and the usual fight with the string. Let calmness prevail - buy BacoFoil Release non-stick foil and all will be well. If you are making the large pudding, put two long pieces of folded foil crossways under the pudding basin to help you take it out of the steamer safely when it has finished cooking.

Equipment Used: Mermaid small aluminium pudding basins.

20 Nov 2006

HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS MINCEMEAT



This has been made by me every year, and has never disappointed either myself or anyone who eats my mince pies etc. I listened to the Very Best of Nina Simone whilst making this – they are to me a match made in heaven (although obviously they do not bear any resemblance to each other). Why buy sweet readymade mincemeat that always boils out of the mince pies when this is so quick and easy to make.



DELIA SMITH’S CHRISTMAS

ISBN 0563370645 –PAGE 41

Recipe

Makes: 6 lb (2.75 KG)

Skill Level: Easy

Taste Test: Not at all sweet and sticky, and has all the elements that make a great mincemeat.

Use good quality dried fruit – I find Waitrose own make to be the best as the fruit is fresh and plump. Peel is a difficult one, I have used the whole mixed candied peel as Delia suggests in the past, but I wasn’t particularly fond of this, maybe this is because I am not very keen on peel. Anyway, I have now found Tesco Italian chopped peel to be the best and I only use a very small amount and make the rest of the recipe up with dried fruit. Also, I don’t like chomping on nuts in my mincemeat and so I also leave these out. The mincemeat doesn’t suffer for this. Delia says it is ok to use vegetarian suet, I have tried this and find it does not affect the end result. Please do not use the lighter suet – this makes the texture of the mincemeat gluey. The mincemeat is put in the oven for a few hours to melt the suet, which in turn coats everything, and because of this you will find the mincemeat stores very well.

Equipment Used: Microplane Grater.

12 Nov 2006

PARMESAN-BAKED PARSNIPS


This is one of the very best ways to cook parsnips and they go beautifully with the Sunday Roast. A great recipe to make if you have received too many parsnips in your box scheme.

DELIA SMITH’S CHRISTMAS

ISBN 0563370645 – PAGE 142

Recipe

Serves: 8 people.

Skill Level: Easy

Taste Test: Parmesan cheese and parsnips is an unlikely combination of flavours but they compliment each other perfectly.

I find it is always best to put a timer on when cooking the parsnips, and not to be tempted to cook them for any longer than the 3 minutes stated, otherwise when you thaw them out/roast them, they will be overcooked. A recipe where you need to follow the method carefully. The parsnips coated in the parmesan cheese and flour mix can be frozen, and then they must be thawed out completely before roasting. The remaining parmesan and flour mix can also be frozen to use another time. This recipe is an all round winner.

Equipment Used: Bamix Hand Blender for grating the Parmesan cheese.

7 Nov 2006

BRAISED RED CABBAGE WITH APPLES


The cold weather has now arrived and braised red cabbage is a wonderful dish for both colour and flavour – to serve with poultry, pork and sausages. This recipe freezes beautifully and can be reheated in the microwave oven.

DELIA SMITH’S COMPLETE COOKERY COURSE – A NEW EDITION FOR THE 1990’s.

ISBN 780563214540 – PAGE 213

Recipe

Serves: 4 people


Skill Level: Easy

Taste Test: An excellent sweet and sour red cabbage recipe by Delia Smith.

I have made Braised Red Cabbage with Apples many times and my preference is to leave the garlic out. A good quality red wine vinegar works well, otherwise the red cabbage will taste too acidic. I always place a sheet of greaseproof paper over the casserole dish before putting the lid on as this prevents the cabbage from drying out during the long slow cooking. Make sure you have a go at cooking this for Christmas Day.

Kitchen Equipment Used: A large Meyer stainless steel casserole dish.

5 Nov 2006

PORK STROGANOFF WITH THREE MUSTARDS


This takes less than half an hour to make and is a light Stroganoff sauce, but nevertheless extremely tasty.

DELIA SMITH’S WINTER COLLECTION
ISBN 0563364777 – PAGE 131.

Serves: 2 people.

Skill Level: Easy

Taste Test: Pork Stroganoff with three Mustards is wonderful and even though it uses three different types of mustard they are not overwhelming. Using crème fraiche meant that the sauce wasn’t too rich.

TIP 1: Use good quality mustards – they make all the difference.

TIP 2: Scatter a little freshly chopped parsley over the plain boiled rice to give the dish some colour, if you decide not to serve the green salad.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Tefal non-stick frying pan.

2 Nov 2006

BASIC PANCAKES




I made these Delia pancakes because – well, for no specific reason other than I like making pancakes..


DELIA SMITH’S COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED COOKERY COURSE – A NEW EDITION FOR THE 1990s.

ISBN 780563214540
– PAGE 296

Makes: 12-14 pancakes.

Skill Level: Easy

Taste Test – Excellent – this really is the very best recipe for Basic Pancakes you will come across because using melted butter and also using some water instead of all milk makes a much lighter pancake.

TIP 1: Make sure your pan is really hot before adding the batter.

TIP 2: Try using freshly squeezed orange instead of lemon – you will be glad you did!

Kitchen Equipment Used: A Bamix Hand Blender.

29 Oct 2006

SULTANA LOAF CAKE





The hubby requested his favourite Delia fruit loaf – no fat required for this one.




DELIA SMITH’S BOOK OF CAKES

ISBN 0
340223766 – PAGE 54

Makes: A 2-lb loaf or two 1-lb loaves.

Skill Level – Easy

Taste Test: This loaf is very moist and has a slight crunch to it. It improves after keeping for a couple of days and becomes sticky in texture.

8 oz (225g) wholewheat self-raising flour (or white self-raising flour)
6 oz (175g) demerara sugar
6 fl oz cold tea
8 oz (225g) sultanas
1 large egg
pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 4 (350°F) (180°C) at least twenty minutes before baking.

Use a very well greased (preferably lined) 2-lb(900g) loaf tin or two 1-lb(450g) loaf tins.

Place the sultanas in a basin and pour cold tea on them, leave to soak for about five hours or preferably, overnight. After soaking, the sultanas will have become large, plump and juicy. Then stir the flour, salt and sugar into the sultana mixture. Beat the egg and stir this in. Spoon into the prepared tin, spread it out evenly and bake the cake for 1 hour. Leave in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out. Cool and serve in slices spread with butter.

TIP 1: Buy cake liners to go inside the tins – this makes life much easier.
TIP 2: I make a little extra tea for this – sometimes the cake needs an extra tablespoon of liquid after mixing in all of the ingredients.
TIP 3: For the 2-lb loaf, if it isn't cooked after the 1 hour cooking, cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes. The 1-lb loaves will only take 1 hour to cook.
TIP 4: It is easier to slice after being in the fridge for a few hours.
TIP 5: If you feel the top of the loaf is a little hard after cooking, cover with a teatowel whilst cooling and the steam from the loaf will soften the crust, although it will soften with keeping.
TIP 6: Slice the loaf and keep in the freezer, it will also improve whilst it is in there.
TIP 7: I like to make this loaf with white self-raising flour and also a mixture of currants, raisins and sultanas.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Loaf tin liners purchased from Lakeland Limited.

26 Oct 2006

TRADITIONAL LEMON MERINGUE PIE


We had a couple of beautiful lemons in the box scheme and these helped to make the best Traditional Lemon Meringue Pie ever. You can’t beat Delia’s recipe – the meringue topping is the best – try it and see!

DELIA’S HOW TO COOK – BOOK THREE


ISBN 0563534699 – PAGE 28

Recipe

Serves: 6 people.

Taste Test: Good hit of lemon in the filling – the top of the meringue is crisp, and underneath a light cloud of soft meringue.

TIP 1: Try to buy organic lemons, or unwaxed lemons.

TIP 2: Drowning this in cream would be a sin.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Kenwood Food Mixer.

20 Oct 2006

PORK BRAISED IN CIDER VINEGAR SAUCE

Pork and cider marry so well - how could I resist making up this recipe?

DELIA SMITH’S WINTER COLLECTION

ISBN 0563364777 – PAGE 109

Recipe

Serves: 4 people.

Skill Level: Easy.

Taste Test: I found this to taste too acidic. In fairness to Delia she does say it’s important to use a good quality cider vinegar. I thought the vinegar I bought would be o.k. Maybe that was the problem with the end result.

TIP 1: Make sure you dry the pieces of meat before browning them, or they will not brown properly.

TIP 2: Use good quality cider vinegar.

TIP 3: Eat the next day to give the flavours time to develop.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Meyer shallow stainless steel casserole.

16 Oct 2006

TRADITIONAL ROAST STUFFED CHICKEN WITH CRANBERRY,SAGE AND BALSAMIC SAUCE

I made this at the weekend for the hubby and myself – we love everything about this Delia dish.

DELIA SMITH’S WINTER COLLECTION

ISBN 0563364777 – PAGE 76

Recipe

Serves: 8 people.

Skill Level: Moderate.

Taste Test: This recipe puts Sunday roast chicken dinner onto another level, and every mouthful is delicious.

TIP 1: This recipe can easily be halved i.e. only buy one chicken, to feed four people.

TIP 2: If your chicken comes without the livers for the stuffing it does not matter at all to leave them out.

TIP 3: If you do not have any sage leaves or parsley to hand, buy good quality herb pork sausage instead of the plain pork sausage.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Magimix Food Processor.

13 Oct 2006

BEEF IN DESIGNER BEER

Beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike will want to make this simply because of the recipe’s name.

DELIA SMITH’S WINTER COLLECTION

ISBN 0563364777 – PAGE 124

Recipe

Serves: 4-6 people.

Skill Level: Easy

Taste Test: The sauce in this was very bitter, this must have been because of the beer I chose. Don’t be tempted to leave out the croutons they are delicious.

TIP 1: Ask someone who drinks beer for some advice on which to buy for this dish.

TIP 2: Make sure you buy good quality braising steak.

TIP 3: The croutons are a must for this recipe.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Tefal non-stick frying pan.

9 Oct 2006

HUNGARIAN GOULASH


A colourful and tasty one-pot dish to serve with lots of mashed potato and vegetables or perhaps just plain boiled rice.

DELIA SMITH’S COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED COOKERY COURSE – A NEW EDITION FOR THE 1990s.

ISBN780563214540 – PAGE 152.


Serves: 4 people.

Skill Level: Easy.

Taste Test: Eat this with your eyes – the sauce is a beautiful colour and tastes wonderful. A brilliant autumnal dish.

TIP 1: Use good quality beef from a reputable butcher.

TIP 2: If you can’t obtain soured cream – I have used natural yoghurt very successfully.

TIP 3: Make this in advance, refrigerate and eat the next day it will then taste even better.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Le Creuset Casserole Dish – this is enamelled cast ironware, comes in a range of colours and is very useful for making casseroles etc.

7 Oct 2006

BOEUF BOURGUIGNONNE

Boeuf Bourguignonne
Another slow cooked dish with plenty of flavours, it might not be picture perfect but it tastes delicious.

DELIA SMITH’S COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED COOKERY COURSE – A NEW EDITION FOR THE 1990s.

ISBN780563214540 – PAGE 153

Recipe

Serves: 6 people.

Skill Level: Moderately Easy.

Taste Test: Excellent – the sauce is fabulous, it tastes as good as it looks.

TIP 1: To make this more economical, I use a small bottle of red wine and 5fl oz of beef stock.

TIP 2: I have used slices of streaky bacon and this is fine.

TIP 3: Dark flat mushrooms – sometimes called field mushrooms – must be used to give the sauce a good colour and flavour.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Meyer stainless steel casserole dish.

3 Oct 2006

COQ AU VIN

A fairly economical but impressive dinner party dish.

DELIA SMITH’S COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED COOKERY COURSE – A NEW EDITION FOR THE 1990s.

ISBN780563214540 – PAGE 173

Recipe

Serves: 6 – 8 people.

Skill Level: Moderately Easy.

Taste Test: This looks and tastes delicious, well worth spending the time required to cook this.

TIP 1: This recipe can easily be halved.

TIP 2: Using streaky bacon is OK.

TIP 3: Dark flat mushrooms (field mushrooms) must be used for colour and flavour.

TIP 4: To make a more economical version of this recipe substitute half of the red wine for chicken stock.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Large Meyer Stainless Steel Casserole Dish with a wide base.

28 Sep 2006

ENGLISH POT-ROAST

A wonderful Sunday one-pot dinner to lift the spirits when the weather is grey and miserable.

DELIA SMITH’S COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED COOKERY COURSE – A NEW EDITION FOR THE 1990s.

ISBN780563214540 – PAGE 132.


Serves: 4 - 6 people.

Skill Level: Easy.

Taste Test: Excellent – This is home comfort food at its best, and the meat is very tender.

TIP 1: I left out the swede and the end result was still very good.

TIP 2: Eat with Delia’s Yorkshire Pudding Page 130 and reviewed on my blog.

Kitchen Equipment Used: Large Le Creuset Casserole Dish – this is enamelled cast ironware and is great for making casseroles etc.

26 Sep 2006

YORKSHIRE PUDDING

Yorkshire Puddings

I love to watch this pudding rising in the oven – delicious also served cold with lots of jam.

DELIA SMITH’S COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED COOKERY COURSE – A NEW EDITION FOR THE 1990s.

ISBN780563214540 – PAGE 130.

Serves: 4 people – or 2 hungry people.

Skill Level: Easy

Taste Test: – Excellent – this Yorkshire Pudding is not at all stodgy, this recipe is my favourite. You will not find a better Yorkshire Pudding recipe than this. The texture is superb and you will have success every time.

TIP 1: I use two eggs and not one as in the recipe - this seems to give a better rise.

TIP 2: Use lard for the roasting tin and make sure it is very hot before pouring in the batter.

TIP 3: I use a muffin tin and this makes four individual Yorkshire Puddings.

Kitchen Equipment Used: A Bamix Hand Blender to mix the batter – this adds in plenty of air and makes a smooth batter.

25 Sep 2006

FRESH TOMATO SOUP WITH BASIL

A wonderful fresh soup to make in the summer when tomatoes are at their very best.

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

ISBN780563214540

FRESH TOMATO SOUP WITH BASIL - PAGE 73.


Serves: 4 people - or 2 people with second helpings.

Skill Level: Easy

Taste Test: Excellent - This must be the best fresh tomato soup ever!!

TIP 1: Use ripe tomatoes (because they’re sweeter). If you use under ripe tomatoes the soup will be very pale in colour and the tomato taste won’t come through very well.

TIP 2: For the stock, use half a vegetable stock cube or preferably vegetable bouillon powder (you can buy this in most supermarkets or health food shops - and this will last for ages).

Kitchen Equipment Used:A Meyer stainless steel saucepan – I like this because it’s a good conductor of heat, easy to clean and stylish.