Thursday, 24 November 2011

Top Christmas Tip!! A Turkey Named Jake The Peg. With His Extra Legs! Diddle,Diddle,Diddle Dum!

Well NORAD will be tracking Santa soon and you'll be fretting about the number of people you've invited for Christmas dinner after you said 'Never again' after last year. Well it's too late now but at least here is a way to get more breast meat from ya bird and enough brown leg meat for the savages to gnaw on. Buy a large fresh turkey crown which costs a lot less than a monster turkey from many good outlets and then seperately by as many turkey drumsticks as you need from your local major supermarket (Morrisons do the best deal) about £2.99 for 2 massive legs. I buy 4. That way, when you come to cook the turkey crown, you rest the breast joint on the legs in the roasting tin with a couple of carrots an onion some garlic cloves and a big slosh of white wine. This makes an amazing meaty stock inducing trivet. Cover the whole shaboodle in Roasting foil and slow cook. The leg meat will become incredibly tender whilst cooking and the steam from the broth created will ensure the white meat stays moist. When the breast meat is done remove the foil and drain off the stock and set aside to make the gravy. Now arrange the legs around the crown in the roasting tray and back in the oven to brown for about 15 minutes basting once with some of the broth. Voila! ''I'm Jake the Turkey, diddle diddle diddle dum, wid my extra legs diddle diddle diddle dum!!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Winter's A Coming!! Time For Some Comfort Food! Pork Steaks With Apple Sauce & Red Leicester!

Well today was a chilly one, which led me to thinking I should share with you all one of my favourite, ''Can't wait to get home'' dishes that unfortunately is horribly fattening but oh so yummy and doesn't hurt once in a while. Pork steaks with apple sauce and Red Leicester cheese served with a caramelized red onion mash. It makes my juices flow just thinking about it. For 4 people you will need:-

4 Thick pork steaks. (Make sure the rind is cut off. This can be used seperately to make quick crackling)
2 Eating apples. Cox's works best I find.
4 Thick slices of a good Red Leicester cheese
Olive oil for frying
Salt and Pepper to season.

For the Caramelized red onion mash.
8 Medium sized potatoes. Maris Piper is favourite.
2 Large red onions
 Knob of butter and a splash of olive oil for frying
2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar
Salt & Pepper to season.

Probably best to make the mash first, as this can be reheated before serving. Slice the Onions and place in a lidded frying pan with the olive oil , butter and brown sugar, start to fry on a medium heat turning the onions to cover in the oil and sugar and then cover with the lid and turn the heat down so as not to burn the contents. Fry gently, stirring occasionally until the onions turn a rich brown colour and look a little like melted toffee, take off the heat and set aside.
Slice the potatoes with the skins on and place in a large saucepan, rinse them thoroughly then cover with boiling water and simmer on the stove with a large pinch of salt until soft, drain and then mash with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper, add the onions and any remaining oil from the pan to the potatoes and with a wooden spoon cream until smooth. Taste and season to suit.

For the apple sauce, peel, core and dice the apples and put in a small covered pan on a low heat with a 50mls of water. Cook until the apple turns to a soft mush and that's ya sauce sorted!

Heat a splash of olive oil in the pan that the onions cooked in and place the pork steaks in the oil to fry gently for at least 8 minutes on one side, resist the temptation to turn them. Season the side facing you with a little salt and pepper and then turn each one over and cook again for another 8 minutes. Now being pork it needs to be cooked all the way through, so with a sharp knife make 2 deep incisions in each steak to check that the meat is cooked all the way through, at this point if you are happy place a spoonful of your apple sauce on each one and then a slice of the cheese. Place under a hot grill until bubbling and serve immediately with the mash. Eat with a really good dry white wine and smile a lot as this plate of happiness warms you to the core!!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Amazing Fig Cake! The Gluten Free Answer To Christmas Pud!!

Gluten! A word that strikes fear into the heart's of too many people these days, especially as Christmas is around the corner. Well on my recent trip to Portugal I was fortunate to eat in a fantastic small family restaurant where I discovered this little gem which I have tweaked to make this the perfect alternative to Christmas pudding, it contains no flour, eggs, milk, cream, or butter but tastes amazing and is also great cold with a cup of expresso. It is very dense and rich though so it tastes really indulgent and goes a long way as the portions do not need to be large!  To make 8 generous portions, you will need:-

250 gms of Soft dried figs blended to a paste
250 gms of Ground almonds                                                  
250 gms of Castor sugar
25   gms of good quality Cocoa
2.5  gms of Ground Cinnamon
2.5  gms of Ground Mixed Spice
Grated Zest/peel of half a lemon
150 mls of cold water.

Place the water, sugar, lemon zest, cocoa, cinnamon and mixed spice in a large saucepan, slowly heat to a boil and stir constantly for about 5 minutes to reduce to a point where if you drag a spoon through the mixture it leaves a brief wake exposing the base of the pan. At this point it gets really exciting and you have to be really quick. Add the ground almonds and the fig paste and stir like your life depends on it. The mixture will tighten immediately into a really thick paste like cookie dough. Make sure the almonds and figs are mixed thoroughly then remove from the stove. You will feel like you have done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson but believe me it will be worth it. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes and then spoon out onto a smooth surface. At this point you can mould the mixture into individual shapes, a ball,  or any damn shape you want really. I prefer a  traditional shallow cake shape as it is easier to divide. Dust with icing sugar and serve with Ice cream, vanilla cream, custard or just on its own. It also tastes divine if you feed it before serving with a little Disarrono You can keep it in the fridge and slice a bit when you need it and just blitz it in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Versatile, gluten free and although I say it myself, absolutely delicious!! Enjoy.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Work in progress!!

Just a quick note to everyone to say that I will be resuming shortly with a whole host of new recipes in the next few days. I am trying out some new and exciting salads, inspired by my trip to Portugal and as I speak I am working on a fabulous gluten free indulgent Christmas sweet treat that kicks the usual stodgy pud in the goolies!! Stay tuned lovely people!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Off To Portugal For Some Fishy Inspiration!!

Well sorry I have been sadly negligent lately with my blog but a few Family foibles put the mockers on my week, but hey ho these things are sent to try us. Anyhow, just a brief note to let you all know that my long suffering Wife Janey and I are off to Portugal for a little rest and some serious 'Foodie' research, so some more exciting recipes are on the cards on my return along with some fantastic recipes I have been working on. See you all in a week!! Ta ra!