Sunday, 9 January 2011

Christmas Tart-December an alternative to mince tarts

This dish is popular with the men folk amongst our friends. There is a race at the Christmas party to gain a slice of the tart as it comes out of the oven.

4oz butter
4oz caster sugar
4oz ground rice (ground ordinary rice in coffee grinder)
3 tblsp of Homemade Mincemeat tart
1 egg
Blind baked pastry tart

Using a coffee grinder, to grind ordinary rice to make ground rice, this provides ground rice with effective gritty texture for this recipe. Melt the butter and sugar in a pan, allow to cool for a little while, then beat in an egg, and rice. In the pastry tart (blind baked), spread mincemeat, pour over the rice topping and bake for 15-20mins or until golden in gas mark 3/4.

Serve with cream, vanilla ice cream or brandy butter.

Homemade Port Mincemeat-October Christmas count down begin with apple picking

I am not particularly fond of candy peel in any my Christmas food. My solution was to make my own as I like it. This recipe is my mish mash of my ideas, Delia Smith's Homemade Christmas Mincemeat and Prima Magazine November 2001 Mincemeat recipes. My friends place an order early now each year for a jar.

1lb Cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
8oz veggie suet
12oz raisins
8oz sultanas
8oz currants
4oz glace cherries chopped
4oz dried cranberries or blueberris or mix of both
zest of 2 oranges
zest of 2 lemons
4tsp mixed spice
Grated Nutmeg
6tblsp Port
4tblsp Black Treacle
8oz Dark Brown Sugar

In a bowl mix all the ingredients. The place in an oven at 100oC for 2-3hrs, until all suet and sugar melted. Stir and coat all the fruit in the suet and sugar, spoon into large sterilised jars. Seal with lids.

To make non-alcholic version replace Port with apple juice, this is equally delicious.

Tangy Christmas Pudding with Brandy Butter- End of November, counting down the days

About many years ago started to make my own pudding as my Gran was no-longer with us and the source of my puddings. My original recipe was mish mash of Delia Smith's Traditional Christmas Pudding and Prima Magazine November 2001 Christmas Pudding Recipe. However this year I was inspired by Heston Blumenthal's Christmas Pudding for Waitrose, with crystallised orange inside. My pudding doesn't result in a crystalised orange, but results in a rich tangy orange scented and flavoured pudding that we all found quite remarkably morish. It was even very delicious cold the next day, which was rather unexpected as in the past Christmas pudding in my opinion was always disappointing cold. This year I am not sure which I preferred it the most; cold or hot.

4oz raisins
6oz currants
4oz sultanas
3oz cranberries
2tspn mixed spice
4oz SR flour sifted
4oz Veggie Suet
4oz stale bread crumbs
6oz muscovado sugar
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated
grated zest of orange
grated zest of lemon
juice of an orange
3 eggs
1/4 pt of ale
2tblspn of Port
1 washed tangerine

In a bowl place all the dried fruit, add the citrus fruit zest, orange juice, mixed spice, grated apple, sugar, ale, port. Mix in the beaten eggs, stir in slowly suet, bread crumbs, and flour until well mix. Grease a 2pt pudding bowl; place half the mix into the bowl. Take the tangerine make a hole at the top where the stalk was attached; pour tsp of port into the tangerine. Place the tangerine in the pudding bowl; pour the rest of pudding mix on top. Place circle disk of greaseproof paper over the pudding, then lay a sheet of greaseproof paper and foil over the top. Tie string around the pudding bowl to secure the paper and foil as a tight lid to the pudding. Tie another piece of string across the pudding to make a handle. Place the pudding in large casserole dish with tight fitting lid containing 2" of water. Place the lid on the casserole dish, place in the oven for at 100oC for 3-4hrs, essentially steaming the pudding.

Replace the greaseproof and foil lid and store until Christmas, but will keep for another month after Christmas. On the day either steam the pudding again for an hour or remove foil lid and microwave for 5 mins in 900W microwave full power. Turn out onto plate, you can flame as per usual by pouring brandy or port over the pudding light immediately. When serving cut into the pudding take care not to cut into the tangerine, which is not crystalised and looks to be intact as a tangerine, but if you open it up the entire contents has evaporated into the pudding, creating that rich orange flavor and scent. Serve with Brandy Butter, vanilla ice-cream, or cream.

Brandy Butter
2oz Butter
4oz Icing Sugar
2oz Ground Almonds
good 1tblsp Brandy

Cream butter and sugar together, mix in the brandy and almonds. Place in bowl, rest in the fridge before serving.

Christmas cake-November-Long chimes to Christmas calling

Mother-in-law and I are not very fond of nuts in Christmas cake or pud' so it came to pass that in 2001, derived the following Christmas cake recipe modification of Prima Magazine November 2001 to our taste. Last year to make non-alcholic cake I subsituted Stout for apple juice, and did not feed the cake port, or used brandy in apricot jam in cake decorating. Last year one these non-alcholic cakes was not decorated, left wrapped up in an air tight tin until July. When we did eat it on holiday in the caravan it had matured into a lovely rich moist cake, and was lovely with a bit of cheese, personally enjoyed it more in a deck chair on the beach than ever do during the bustle of Christmas.

12oz SR flour
1 large tsp mixed spice
9oz roughly chopped glace cherries
9oz roughly chopped dried apricots
9oz roughly chopped dates
12oz raisins
12oz currants
12oz sultanas
9oz butter
9oz dark brown sugar
6 eggs
grated zest of an orange
5tbsp Stout (Murphy's or Guiness)

Preheat oven to gas mark 2.
Greaseproof Line 3*2lb loaf tins

Beat butter and sugar to together. In a jug beat the eggs, slowly add and beat into the buttered sugar mix until fluffy. Once all the eggs have been beaten into the mix, until have an even mix. In another bowl mix all the dried fruit, add the stout and the mixed spice, add the grated zest of orange, stir into the fruit. Stir in the sifted flour to the egg mix until smooth mix. Stir in the dried fruit mix, into the cake mix. Spoon even quantises of the mix into the tins. Bake in the oven Gas mark 2 until cooked, i.e. inserted skew comes out clean from the cake, approximately 2 1/2 hrs. Rest in tin for 1/2hr, then place on wire rack. Once cool wrap well in greaseproof paper, place in air tight tin. Once a week pour capful of port over each cake, until when you want to decorate the cakes.

To decorate:

3tblsp Apricot Jam
1tblsp Brandy

In a pan, gently warm the jam, stir in the brandy.

If marzipaning the cake, coat all the sides to be marzipaned with the jam/brandy mix. Roll out marzipan and coat around all the sides to be covered with marzipan. Leave in air tight tin for a week. Make royal icing coat over the marzipan.

Alternatively, dry fruit decorate the cake, spread the jam and brandy mix over the top of the cake, decorate the top of cake with halves of glace cherries, dates, and apricots. Coat the dried fruit cake decoration with coat of jam and brandy mix.

Chilli Crab Apple Jelly-October-Bottling the fall

Based on The Cottage Smallholder recipe.

I have always loved crab jelly for its colour, blushes of the fall, sweet scent, and sweetness that is delicious on buttered toast. The addition of chilli produces a jelly that has the refreshing characterstics of mango chutney, delicious spread on cheese and crackers.

3lb Red/Pink Ripe Crab Apples, washed and cutting off any bruised parts of the apple
4pts of Water
7 Washed Red Chilli peppers
1lb sugar for each pint of juice produced

Place apples and water in a jamming pan or large heavy stainless steel pan. C red chilli peppers add including seeds to the pan. Bring to boil and let the stewing apples simmer, occasionally mashing the apples with potato masher. When you have apple stew mush, less than hour, prepare jelly bag to receive the apple stew. Strain the apple stew through the jelly bag, and leave the mix to strain overnight.

In a jamming pan or large heavy stainless pan add 1lb sugar for each pint of chilli crab apple juice. Seed the remainder chilli peppers, chop and add to the pan. Gently heat the pan, stirring occasionally to prevent the mix from sticking and burning to the base of the pan, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to bring to boil, skim the mix, gently boil until the jelly reaches the setting point, I have found this takes an hour or more. While bringing the jelly to setting point, wash and rinse several 1lb jam jars, and metal jam jar lids, place in oven at 100oC to warm and sterilize the jars. Setting point is when teaspoon of jelly placed on a plate, when cooled and pushed by a finger the mix ripples and sticky viscous. Skim, stir and pour into sterilized jars and screw on lids. I have found this recipe usually will make 4lb of jelly.

Pour the jell

Pork Rosy Cider- October-Apple Picking

A variation on the previous recipe, but slow cooker casserole that goes down well with Jacket Potatoes

2 Small Roll of Pork Joints
Splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 large carrots peeled and sliced
Half packet of Dried Apricots
2 medium cooking apples
1 medium onion
1 500ml Bottle of Descent Cider
2 Bay leafs
Pinch of Ground Black Pepper and Sea Salt

I prefer the original sauté Crock Pot as slow cooker of choice. This is as the stoneware dish can be used directly on the stove heat, therefore ingredients can be sautéed before slow cooking, which enables you to add the richness of flavor as if slow cooked in an oven at low temp', but without cost of running the oven.

Finely chop the onion and sauté in Oliver Oil in the Stoneware dish on the stove, until golden. Add the carrots. Cut the pork joints into 1" cubes, add to dish, sauté and seal the pork. Add handful of dried apricots, peeled and 1" cubed cooking apple, seasoning, bay leaves, and a small amount cider to reduce down and flavor. Then add the reminder of the cider, when gently simmering place the lid on the stoneware and place on the heated base. Cook for 1/2hr at high heat, then 4hrs at low heat.

Serve with jacket potato.

Plum Pudding Hot, Plum Pudding Cold-September Plums plucked under the drunken wasps noses

At the end of the summer we return from Whitby to the plum trees groaning under the wieght of ripe plums. Since we have lived here we have yet to experience a poor year for plums, if one tree struggles, the other flourishes, this year it was turn of the self set greengages, though we still picked over 40lb of red plums vaiation of the victorian plum.

2lb Red Plums
1lb Greengage Plums
4oz plain flour
4oz porridge oats
6oz brown sugar
3oz butter

Wash, half the red plum and stone the plums. Wash the greengages plums, if you have time stone the plums, but greengages are small and it is a fiddlely job. Place the plums into large dish, (I am fortunate to have two very large round glazed stoneware pate dishes), sprinkle 1oz sugar over the fruit.

In a mixing bowl place all the other ingredients, rub the fat into the sugar, flour and oats. When the mix looks likes breadcrumbs speard over the fruit. Bake in low heat oven, gas mark 3oz for 3/4hr-1hr.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, cream or custard.

Delicious hot, but equally delicious the following day cold.