Saturday, December 30, 2006

Andalusian Pork

This has some great flavours and the meat is kept really moist from the dried fruit. It would be really nice with a saffron rice, but the people I made it for wouldn't have gone for that, so we had it with potatoes and veg...I got the recipe from the bbc website, its one by James Martin

Serves 6

3 medium to large pork fillet (800g)
4oz prunes, chopped
40z soft dried apricots,
handful chopped parsley,
3 tbsp paprika
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried or fresh chopped thyme
2 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp coarse salt
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

1. Cut the pork open with a sharp knife and open the fillet out along its length, being careful not to cut all the way through the fillet.
2. In a bowl, mix together the prunes, apricots and parsley and insert along the length of the fillet. Season well.
3. Roll the fillet up and securely fasten with string.4. Mix up the paprika, the remaining herbs, the garlic, the salt and the oil to make a thick paste. Spread over the surface of the meat, and leave it in the fridge, ideally overnight, but don't worry if you don't have time, 1/2 hour was delicious too
5. Preheat the oven to 200C/400C/Gas
6. Season the meat and sear on all sides in a heavy pan. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.
6. Rest the meat before serving with lemon wedges.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Beef Wellington, prepare in advance method..

I found this method by Luiska on the BBC forum website, it worked a treat and led to a lot less stressful Christmas day! I had served it with chunky ovenbaked chips, which I guess some people would see a travesty, but it was yum! I used onions instead of mushrooms as I'm allergic to mushrooms...

Fillet or sirloin beef
2 chopped onions
200g pate
2 packets ready made puff pastry..

Fry up the onions until caramelised, and when cold ( this is really important for food hygiene)., mix with the pate. then follow the method below...
Sear the outside of the beef & then put it on a rack to cool and drain. Roll puff pastry, cut a piece somewhat bigger than fillet, prick with fork and bake until crisp & golden. Cool. Spread cooked pastry with half paté-onion mix, top with fillet spread with remainder, cut off excess cooked pastry corners & cover with raw pastry sheet, tucking edges underneath, making sure that the tuck-in is fairly minimal or it gets stodgy. Decorate with pastry strips or leaves or whatever, but don't glaze. Refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temp somewhere dry, make a couple of steam holes, then glaze with egg wash and bake.

Christmas baked ham

I used this recipe for our baked ham for Christmas Eve, which I found on the bbc website, but which I modified a little. It was delicious. I got all our Christmas meat from Harveys, the organic butcher in Norwich... It was just as good, hot as cold..

4.5-5.5kg/10-12lb gammon joint - unsmoked
1 pint of dry cider
2 carrots, chopped into chunky pieces
2 onions, peeled and studded with cloves
4 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp brown sugar
12 peppercorns
1 orange, cut in half
For the glaze:
cloves for spiking
8 tbsp shredless orange marmalade
juice of half a lemon

1. Soak the gammon joint overnight.
2. Drain and discard the water and pat the gammon dry. Place the gammon in a large pan and then pour over the cider and enough water to cover the joint.
3. Add all the other ingredients to the pan. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and gently simmer for 3 - 3 ½ hours. Skim off any scum during the cooking.
4. When cooked, remove the ham from the pan and place in a roasting tin. Let it cool slightly and then peel away the skin.
5. Preheat the oven 190C/375 F / Gas 5.
6. Score diamond shapes on the fat and stud each diamond with a clove.
7. Heat the marmalade and lemon juice in a pan for a few minutes until it thickens to a sticky glaze. Brush the marmalade glaze over the surface of the ham.
8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the glaze has set.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas gingerbread biscuits

125g soft butter
100g firmly packed brown sugar
75 ml runny honey or golden syrup
50ml black treacle ( substitute for honey or golden syrup if you don't have any, or prefer a lighter taste)
1 egg yolk
375g plain flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
silver balls and /or edible glitter

Royal Icing:Royal icing sugar is very good and easy to use...
Beat butter and sugar in small bowl until light and fluffy;

beat in treacle golden syrup/honey and egg yolk.
Transfer mixture to large bowl, stir in sifted dry ingredients.
Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth; wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate 30 minutes.Roll dough until about 5mm think.
Cut shapes from dough using Christmas cutter.
Cut a small hole in shapes for hanging, if desired.
Place shapes 3cm apart on greased oven trays.
Bake at 180C for 10 minutes or until lightly browned (time depends on the size of the shapes). Transfer shapes to wire racks to cool.
Spread or pipe royal icing onto shapes, and decorate with silver balls and/ or edible glitter...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Risotto Tricolore

This is a simple risotto, with the colours of the italian flag, hence the cheesy name ;-). You can make the base for the risotto with celery, which is more authentic, but i didn't have any last night...The basic risotto recipe is Jamie's but the additions are made up by me!

Feeds 2
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 onion
150g risotto rice
oliver oil
10 cherry tomatoes ( I used the baby plum ones)
1 glass of white wine
1/2 packet of watercress, rocket, and spinach salad
a few sprigs thyme
100g taleggio cheese ( you could try brie or camembert)
50g grated parmesan

Make the stock up with boiling water , or heat up ready made stock
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion, and fry gently for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice to the pan and turn up the heat. Cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly, until the rice looks slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring - any alcohol flavours will evaporate.Once the wine has been absorbed by the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of pepper and the thyme leaves. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is cooked but still holds its shape - this takes about 15 minutes.

While you are doing this, fry the cut in half tomatoes and 1 crushed clove of garlic together until the tomatoes are soft and brown.

Cut up the salad and when the risotto is ready stir in until wilted. Add the tomatoes and taleggio, and stir until you see the taleggio start to melt. Serve in bowls, with the parmesan sprinkled on top...