Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year From Kitchen Delights!

Happy New Year from Kitchen Delights - back again in 2013

The shot glasses are filled with buttery apple puree, a thin layer of mincemeat, topped with mascarpone and a scattering of gold dragees.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Catch A Falling Star Christmas Cake


This years Christmas Cake is perhaps one of my easiest.  I used a large star shape to cut through to the marzipan layer, carefully lifted out the fondant star and filled with small silver dragees.  The silver beads around the base of the cake and the rope of silver stars I used as a cake topper are Christmas tree decorations.

Why Catch A Falling Star?  The silver star cake topper wouldn't stay on top of the cake whilst I was trying to arrange them and I had to keep catching the falling stars!

Happy Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chocolate and Redcurrant Christmas Cupcakes


The sharpness of redcurrants and the richness from chocolate go beautifully together. I made chocolate cupcakes and added some redcurrants to the batter. After baking and cooling they were topped with my favourite cupcake chocolate fudge icing.

To make the frosted redcurrants all you have to do is whisk an egg very lightly and brush the fruit with the egg white, dip the fruit into sugar and leave to dry overnight on baking paper - frosted redcurrants are delicious.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

TV's Gadget Queen, Suzi Perry, Demonstrates Her Top Christmas Gizmo Must Haves!



Suzi Perry knows a thing or two about must have gadgets and in this short video demonstrates a wow Philips Saeco Xelsis Digital ID Espresso Machine which uses fingerprint recognition and demonstrates a fabulous personal wireless lighting system.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sage Sausage Rolls - Recipe


These well dressed little beauties are filled with good quality sausage meat from my trusted butcher, I then add a grated apple, a few breadcrumbs, chopped sage and parsley.  Decorate with fresh sage leaves.  The recipe is from Delicious Magazine and because I have never found a recipe to upstage this one, I use this time and again!  I use my Stellar Eazistore trays because the sausage rolls don't stick whilst cooking.

Open freeze the uncooked sausage rolls on trays and when frozen pop into ziplock freezer bags ready for cooking - easy!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chocolate Truffles


Home made chocolate truffles are fun to make and I just love getting into a chocolaty mess. I'm not sure how it's possible to make truffles without getting sieved cocoa powder and icing sugar everywhere, most things in my kitchen were coated with a fine dusting of both, including me.

I find the best way to deal with edible gold lustre spray is to place the rolled truffles onto cling wrap and carefully spray directly onto the truffle,  also spray the clingwrap surrounding the truffle.  Take the cling wrap and wrap around the truffle and roll the truffle back and forth until totally coated - this also prevents lustre spray coating all of your kitchen gold, which is fine for Christmas, but not such a bright idea when the New Year arrives.

Despite the mess they are well worth making, they can be flavoured to your own taste with Baileys, Cointreau, Brandy to name a few ideas. The chocolate truffles can be rolled in a variety of coatings - I coated mine with icing sugar, cocoa powder and sprayed some of the truffles with edible gold lustre - they can be coated with toasted desiccated coconut, chopped pistachios or dipped into melted chocolate. After you have made them place into gold petit fours cases. They will make a lovely Christmas gift too.

Keep in the fridge or they can be frozen.  They taste fabulous chilled......

The recipe is from the BBC GoodFood website.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Sponsored Video: Blacksticks Blue


A Taste of the Unexpected - A must watch fun and quirky video.

Blacksticks Blue is a unique British blue veined handmade cheese, by award winning Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses at Inglewhite Dairy in Lancashire. A family business, Butlers have been making speciality cheeses since 1932.  Blacksticks Blue cheese has an amber hue, which isn't something we readily associate with blue cheese, and a creamy, smooth yet tangy taste. 'The daddy of all blue cheeses with an after taste of sheer blue cheese - Heaven!' - celebrity chef Simon Rimmer.  There are four blue cheeses in the range - Blacksticks Blue, Creamy, Silk and Velvet each with their own unique characteristics. Butlers also produce a wide range of handmade hard and soft cheeses using local milk.

My perfect cheese board is a wedge of blue cheese, and Blacksticks Blue will look magnificent - a soft cheese and also a hard cheese, but I do tend to get carried away and buy other cheeses too. I like to serve these with a selection of fruits, nuts, chutney, speciality biscuits for cheese and home made bread.

Butlers have a recipe on their website for Blacksticks Blue and Basil Brioche which shows the cheese is not only for the cheeseboard but can be used as an ingredient in recipes too.

For those last minute foodie ideas, Butlers have the perfect Speciality Cheese and Beer gift set, a Chunky Cheeseboard and Three Truckles of Love, which can be purchased from their online shop.

Butlers can be found on their fabulous website, Facebook and Twitter. Their cheeses can be purchased direct from Butlers online shop and are also available at supermarkets.

Sponsored Post.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Chocolate and Vanilla Berry Pavlova - Recipe


The cream filling is softly whipped double cream mixed with natural yogurt - this lightens the cream and also gives a subtle tang.  The fruit is a pack of good quality frozen summer berries mixed with a few frozen redcurrants from my garden.  Tip the frozen berries, with the exception of the raspberries, into a sieve and allow the berries to thaw and release some of their juices, otherwise the cream will become stained with fruit juice.  I used the reserved frozen raspberries to decorate the top, this enables them to keep their shape for longer.

The adapted Nigella Lawson  pavlova recipe is one I have used many, many times and always works.

You will need:  large oven tray - draw a 20cm diameter circle on a sheet of baking paper (I use a plate). Turn the baking paper over and place onto the oven tray. TIP: Take some of the vanilla meringue and place blobs at each corner of the tray, place the baking paper on top, the meringue will secure the baking paper.

Ingredients:

4 large egg whites
250g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp sifted cocoa powder
300ml double cream
150ml natural yogurt

Method:

1.   Preheat the oven to 180ºC
2.   Whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt until they reach the stiff peak stage.
3.   Gradually add the caster sugar a teaspoon at a time, whisking well in between.  Keep on whisking until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
4.   Whisk in the cornflour, vanilla extract and white wine vinegar.
5.   Remove a third of the meringue mixture to a bowl.  Add the sieved cocoa powder and stir in to combine.
6.   Take alternate blobs of vanilla meringue and chocolate meringue and place onto the marked out circle on the baking paper.  Swirl the two together.
7.   Turn the oven temperature down to 150ºC and cook for one hour.
8.   Leave the pavlova in the oven overnight.
9.   Remove the pavlova and place onto a large plate.
10. Whip the cream into soft folds and gently fold in the natural yogurt.
11. Decorate.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

BBC Good Food Show Birmingham Winter 2012

Click on the photograph for a magnified view.
The BBC Good Food Show is always a fabulous fun event for foodies. The show has a great buzz and it's always a pleasure to see lots of foodies enjoying a great day out.  I also had the opportunity to meet a few exhibitors who have kindly sent me their products to review.

The Great British Bake Off attracted a huge crowd all eager to see this years finalist John Whaite. His adoring fans had waited patiently and everyone, including me, gave him a huge cheer when he appeared on stage. 

We had fabulous seats in the Supertheatre to see MasterChef Live with John Torode, Gregg Wallace, Shelina Permallo MasterChef Finalist 2012 and Emma Kennedy Celebrity MasterChef Finalist 2012.

James Martin busy signing Stellar knife sets on his stand.

Olives, Turkish Delight, pastries and nuts on this fabulous stand.

Beautifully decorated cupcakes.

A huge thank you to Haymarket Exhibitions - Ginny and Kate for a fabulous day.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Visit to Chateau Siaurac, Bordeaux


A visit to Chateau Siaurac, Bordeaux by Kitchen Delights Roving Reporter.

A short drive away from the centre of Bordeaux, I continued my journey of wine exploration to Chateau Siaurac.

Set in 60 hectares of beautiful grounds, this family run chateau which is steeped in history and brimming with character, offers a unique wine experience. 

Dating back to 1832, the family is proud to have carried on the tradition of making wine, continually innovating to produce the very best. On the day of our visit, we were able to see the cellars where the wines are kept in French oak barrels and also taught about the daily working life within the vineyard. 

Afterwards in a private tasting session, we sampled exquisitely made food and had great fun pairing food to wines. The key lesson here was to appreciate how a wine can taste so different when paired with different foods, all of which is of course subjective.

For lunch, there was the option to eat from a gourmet style lunch box containing brioche style rolls, soup and a crumble, or you could opt for a VIP lunch and enjoy a more formal dining experience in a private space (I could have spent all day eating – feast your eyes on the divine chocolate dessert in the photograph).

This vineyard is special because it is accessible to everyone. For young families with toddlers, you can opt for a package which allows you to taste wines, and also explore the grounds and historic chateau with an activity pack (you may even discover little Babouche the puppy pictured). Whilst for groups of friends, you may choose the food and wine pairing workshop or the VIP package. With so many chateaux to choose from in Bordeaux – I recommend putting this one at the very top of your bucket list.

To find out more about the packages available email vivrelevin@chateausiaurac.com or visit www.baronneguichard.com

www.facebook.com/BordeauxWinesUK
twitter.com/BordeauxWinesUK

A huge thank you to Carey, Rosamund and Natasha at R&R Teamwork.

Disclosure:  The trip was funded by The Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) www.bordeaux.com/uk

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Judge Thermal Gravy Pot - Review

Images courtesy of Judge Cookware
The Judge Cookware Thermal Gravy Pot has arrived at my home in time for the Christmas frenzy. This fabulous pot has a 500ml capacity, double wall insulation to keep liquids either hot or cold, a hinged lid, pours well (no drips), and will earn its place on the dining table.

Keeping extra gravy hot is always a struggle and the thermal gravy pot will be used over the Christmas holiday, alongside my regular Sunday roast, and at other times when I need to keep liquids hot.

After Christmas Dinner the gravy pot will be washed and then filled with custard, to serve with my Christmas pudding. Later in the day the thermal pot will make another appearance, but this time as a cream chiller.

RRP £15 Available from Amazon.

Thank you Pam and Judge Cookware for the review sample.




Monday, December 03, 2012

Kitchen Delights Christmas Gift Ideas




A round up of some of the fabulous items I have been sent for review - they will all make great Christmas Gifts.



                                                         PO Egg Cups and Cosies



                                               Joseph Joseph Nest Plus 9 Multi-Coloured Set



                                       Montezuma's Orange and Geranium Chocolate Snowballs 



                                                            Judge Heated Milk Frother



                                                       The Kraken Black Spiced Rum



                                           Eddingtons Meat Thermometer/Temperature Probe



                                               Stellar Easy Lift Cast Iron Saute/Server Pan

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Christmas Mini Mince Pies


I love a good mince pie, made with a buttery flaky pastry and lots of mincemeat inside. The filling can't have any peel, nuts of any description and definitely not a fresh cranberry in sight. My mince pie has to look home made too, I don't want it to look as though it came off a production line. The mincemeat must have lots of Brandy added to it - this is essential because I need to eat lots of mince pies in the run up to Christmas.

The mincemeat recipe is by Delia Smith and I make this every year without fail, I exclude the nuts and peel. The pastry recipe is from Women's Institute Complete Christmas.

Makes 18-20

225g plain flour, 115g butter, 50g lard, 25g icing sugar, 1 egg, 2 teaspoons iced water, 450g luxury mincemeat.

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Sift flour into a bowl and the butter and lard. Rub fat into flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in icing sugar and then the beaten egg and water. Bring together to form a smooth dough. Place in plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Roll out just over half the pastry to 3mm thickness and cut out circles large enough to fit the base of tart tins.
3. Fill with mincemeat.
4. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out the tops. Brush the tops with water and place on top of the mincemeat, lightly press the tops onto the base pastry.
5. Bake in oven for 15-20 mins.
6. Cool in tin for a few minutes then transfer to wire rack to completely cold.
7. To serve dust with icing sugar.
8. The cooked and cooled mince pies can be frozen and defrost at room temperature.