Thursday, 31 December 2009

Fresh from the Oven Round Up

The Fresh from the Oven Round Up of all the lovely Stollen can be seen on the blog HERE

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Turkey 'Cassoulet'

I'm still eating up the turkey! I had half a bag of haricot beans and thought I would make a Turkey 'Cassoulet', not the real deal of course, but a warming dish for a cold winter's day.

There is no real 'recipe' here because I made it up as I went along, but here is what I did. I soaked the beans overnight then boiled them for about half an hour until they were just soft but not mushy.


Here are the basic ingredients, two stalks of celery, three carrots, a smoked garlic sausage (I would have like a chorizo, but had to make do with this Polish sausage instead), an onion and garlic and the left over turkey and some bits of bacon that were cooked on the turkey breast.

Gently fry the onion and garlic until soft but not brown, add the sliced sausage and chopped bacon and cook until the juices run. Then add the celery and carrots and saute them for 5 minutes with the other ingredients.
Now add some spices. My SIL gave me some Turkish spice packs she had brought back from holiday and this was one of them 'Osmanish Mix'. I Googled it but cannot find out what is in this mix so if anyone knows I would be interested to find out. It doesn't seem to be chilli based as it is not hot. I put in 1 teaspoon of this mix and a teaspoon of paprika.
Mix that all in and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the beans and mix through, then add enough stock to cover the mixture and bring to a simmer.
I then put the casserole in the oven at 150C for about an hour. After it was cooked I added some freshly ground black pepper and a dessertspoon of redcurrant jelly.

Oh yes, and I had some brussel sprouts left over too (uncooked) so cooked them up and served them with the cassoulet.

What have you made with your left overs?

Monday, 28 December 2009

Fresh from the oven - German Stollen

The challenge this month at Fresh from the Oven was set by Jules , here is what she says:

"As this is the December challenge I thought we should try baking something festive. It's tradition in our house to bake a stollen for Christmas and this year is no exception. The shape of stollen is meant to represent Jesus swaddled in a blanket."

Well I love Stollen so thought I would have a go at this, I'd not managed to do the last two challenges and I was delighted when I also noticed in another book that you could freeze Stollen.
The recipe made two large loaves and was very easy to make, I mixed it in my bread machine on the dough setting then baked in the oven in the traditional way.

What I really liked about it was that it is not too sweet in the way bought Stollen can be, it is more like a semi-sweet fruit bread. It was delicious as it is but my favourite way to eat it is toasted with butter or apricot preserve. We have been eating it for breakfast over Christmas and everyone who tried it was very complimentary.




Stollen
based on a Simon Rimmer recipe

100ml/3½fl oz warm milk
6g (1 sachet) fast action yeast or 2 tsp dried yeast or 20g fresh yeast
pinch salt
1 tsp caster sugar
225g/8oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp ground mixed spice
200g/7oz mixed dried fruit (including glacé cherries)
25g/1oz flaked almonds
50g/2oz unsalted butter
1 free-range egg, beaten
250g/9oz marzipan

To finish
rum
25g/1oz butter, melted
50g/2oz icing sugar
Method

1. Place the milk and yeast into a bowl and mix well. Leave to sit for 5-6 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, sift the salt, sugar, flour and mixed spice into a large bowl. Add the dried fruit, almonds and butter and mix well then stir in the yeasty milk and mix well.

3. Add the egg and stir to form a dough. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, then cover and leave to prove for 20 minutes. Uncover the dough and turn out onto a clean, floured work surface. Knock the dough back to reduce the volume, then knead the dough for 3-4 minutes.

4. Push the dough out by hand into a flat oval shape about 23cm x 18cm/9in x 7in. Roll the marzipan into a sausage shape about 6cm/2in shorter than the dough. Place the marzipan into the centre of the dough, then fold over the sides of the dough to seal in the marzipan. Then fold in the ends of the dough to contain the marzipan and help give the dough shape. Place the stollen seal-side down onto a greased baking tray. Cover and place somewhere warm to prove for one hour.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C/365F/Gas 4. Place the stollen on the baking tray into the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden-brown and cooked through.

6. To finish, remove the stollen from the oven, brush with the rum then melted butter and dust liberally with icing sugar immediately. Allow the stollen to cool, then serve in slices.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Katiecakes Giveaway

Katiecakes is giving away a copy of this book over on her blog, why not drop in and see if you can win it?

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas Cake

A very simple cake decoration, but it looks festive enough and another job ticked off my list. There are pictures of the snow that fell last night over on my other blog Serial Crafter if you'd like to see them.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The feast before the feast

Every year, just before Christmas, we invite my husband's cousins over for lunch. It is traditional for us to have a cold buffet style lunch, but we sit at the table to eat it! Here is my dining room ready for the food. We started with Spiced Parsnip Soup which drew very favourable comments, but I forgot to take a photo!

I made a baked ham and roasted a turkey breast, both served cold.
We love to eat pickles with the cold meat, pickled onions, gherkins and beetroot. In the centre of the dish is the homemade cranberry relish which was delicious.
I made a few things from Delia Smith's Happy Christmas book, this is the Spiced Brown Rice Salad which was really tasty with a mild curry flavour and lots of bits of veg, nuts and seeds mixed through.
The pasta salad is simply pasta, sweetcorn and some cheese chopped into little cubes, dressed with mayonnaise.
This is Delia's Christmas Coleslaw which includes celeriac and an amazing dressing made with sour cream and garlic amongst other things. I wouldn't say I could taste the celeriac but the whole dish had a great overall flavour. I didn't get a photo but the whole thing was served with a green salad and roast potatoes.
I usually make a 'real' trifle which means no jelly (jello), just sponge soaked with alcohol, in this case cherry brandy, raspberries, topped with real egg custard and then cream and decorated with toasted flaked almonds. Delia's verision of 'English Trifle' is pretty similar to the one I usually make BUT she makes the custard with double cream :o and I have to say, it was fantastic! I don't think I can go back to the one I usually make with full cream milk.
I also served Apple Pecan Cheesecake, which I've shown on my blog before. The recipe came from Judy's Kitchen and is now a favourite of mine.

I've been asked for the link to the Cheesecake recipe you can find it HERE

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Two nations...

The Imperfect Housewife left a kind comment on my last blog post. We have a little thing going here about 'two nations divided by one language' lol!

So to the thorny problem of measurements and translations! You will see that I have a little gizmo on the side of my blog called Culiverter, this will help you to work out the quantities into cups.

Yes, your cookies are our biscuits.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say: A biscuit (pronounced /ˈbɪskɨt/) is a kind of small, flat-baked bread product that is usually made with a chemical leavener such as baking powder. The exact meaning varies markedly in different parts of the world, and the meanings in British English and American English are quite distinct. The origin of the word "biscuit" is from Latin via Middle French and means "cooked twice,"[1] hence biscotti in Medieval Italian (similar to the German Zwieback, and still present in Dutch "beschuit"). In modern Italian usage the term biscotto is used to refer to any type of cookie, but not a savory cracker. Some of the original biscuits were British naval hard tack; such hard tack was made in the United States through the 19th century. Throughout most of the world, the term biscuit still means a hard, crisp, brittle bread, except in the United States and Canada, where it now denotes a softer bread product baked only once. The word 'biscuit' transliterated into Russian or Ukrainian has come to mean 'sponge cake'.

What you call biscuits we call scones and we eat them with butter and jam (jelly to you) or with cheese or if you are my husband with cheese and marmalade (orange jelly) eeeuch!

In England some people pronounce 'scones' like 'stones', but in Scotland we pronounce them like prawns - scawns.

How confused are you now, bet you wish you'd never asked.

Monday, 7 December 2009

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

My Christmas decorations went up yesterday, the earliest I've ever put them up, and today I made Uma Wylde's Spiced Cranberry Relish it was really easy to make, I made four times the recipe using 600g of fresh cranberries. Of course I had to have a little taste and it is delicious, not too sweet and lovely spicy flavours.

I also made some Shortbread Biscuits. My mum makes these every Christmas, she used to make up a box full for my Grandpa who really loved them. I usually make them too as they are easy to make and melt in your mouth.

Here is the recipe I use, you must use butter it's what makes the shortbread so delicious.

Shortbread Biscuits (Cookies)

300g (10oz) plain flour
100g ( 4oz) caster sugar
200g (8oz) butter
caster (superfine) sugar for dredging

1. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the sugar. Work in the butter with your fingertips - keep it in one piece and gradually work in the dry ingredients. Knead well.
2. Pat down on a work surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about 1/2 cm (1/8 in) and cut out with a cookie cutter. You will probably have to keep pushing the dough back together again as it is very crumbly.
3. Slide the cut biscuits off the work surface with a knife and onto a baking sheet.
4. Bake in the oven at 170C (325F) Mark 3 for about 8 minutes until firm and pale golden brown.
5. Lift onto a cooling tray with a spatula and dredge with caster (superfine) sugar.
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