Pancetta and chestnut stuffing

xmas-stuffing

Method:

Pre heat the oven to 180c.  Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the shallot, celery, leek and chopped pancetta. Cook for about 5 mins until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a minute. Cool. Add the sausages to the cooled mixture with the parsley, chestnuts, breadcrumbs and egg. Season and mix well.

Shape 2/3 of the mixture into 12 balls and wrap each ball in a rasher of pancetta. Arrange on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 25-30 mins. Put the remaining stuffing into an ovenproof dish – this can be cooked alongside the stuffing balls.

Alternatively you can line a loaf tin with the extra pancetta. fill with the stuffing and cook in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out hot.

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with beef and horseradish

mini-yorkshire-puds

Method:

Yorkshire puds: lightly beat the egg, whisk in flour and baking powder, then the milk until you have batter the consistency of double cream. Season and leave to rest for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 190C. Put a little oil in the bottom of each dip in 12 hole mini muffin tin and warm for a short while in the oven. Then put 1 teaspoon of the mixture in each dip and bake for 10 mins or until well risen and golden. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

Horseradish cream: whip the cream with the horseradish sauce – don’t overdo it as it will thicken as it sits.

Cook the beef: turn up the oven to 220C. Cut the beef in half lengthways, then trim up each half so they are more log-like in shape and about 2.5cm across – when sliced the beef should fit the top of the Yorkshire puddings.

Season then quickly sear all over in a really hot pan. Transfer to a roasting tin with butter, rosemary, thyme, garlic and olive oil. Roast for 3-4 mins. Rest for 10 mins then roll each piece in cling film to help keep its shape.

To assemble, trim the tops of the Yorkshires if they are not flat and slice the beef through the clingfilm into discs the thickness of a pound coin. Peel off the cling film. Put a teasoonful of the horseradish cream onto each Yorkshire and then place a piece of beef on top. Sprinkle with some salt.

Alternative way to cook the turkey recipe

alternative Xmas Turkey

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.  Season the turkey well inside and out and tie the legs and parson’s nose together with string.

Chop all the vegetables into large chunks and place in the bottom of a large baking tray – it should be large enough so the turkey has at least a 5cm (2in) gap around it. Place the bird on top.  Add the white wine, cold water, stock cubes and bay leaves then place the whole tray on to the hob.

Bring to the boil, cover and seal tightly all around the tray with two layers of foil. This really is the important bit – if it’s not sealed completely, the steam will escape and the bird will not cook quickly or in a moist state.  Put the turkey into the preheated oven and cook it for about 2 hours.

To check if the bird is cooked, remove it from the oven carefully as there will be a lot of stock, wine and juices. Remove the foil and insert a knife where the thigh attaches itself to the body of the bird – the juices should run clear. If not, cover with foil and cook for another 20 minutes.

When the turkey is cooked, remove it from the oven, turn the oven up to 230°C/450°F/gas 8, brush with the melted butter and return to the oven for about 15 minutes, until browned.  When the turkey is nicely browned, remove it from the oven and carefully tip out all the stock and keep warm. Wrap the turkey in foil to keep warm – it will keep perfectly wrapped for 1 hour.

Re-boil the stock and juices – you may need to add a little more water – in a saucepan and skim well. Mix the cornflour and water together and thicken the stock, carve the bird – the flesh will be soft and juicy – and serve the gravy and stuffing separately.

Smoked fish pate

Method:

In a bowl, flake the fish and mash slightly with a fork. Add the lemon zest, half the juice, creme fraiche, horseradish and parsley. Season to taste. Add more lemon juice if you think it needs it.

Chill until needed. This will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Serve on mini oatcakes.

Spiced lamb pies

If making your own pastry, make it now using the recipe above and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the lamb mince to the pan and brown over a high heat. Return the onion and garlic to the pan along with the cinnamon, cayenne, cumin and ginger. Add the red wine and allow to bubble and slightly reduce for a few minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and enough stock just to cover the mince. Add the carrots and season. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat right down. Simmer for about 40 minutes until the lamb is tender and the sauce has thickened and reduced – it shouldn’t be too wet, simmer for some of the time with the lid off if it is.

Remove from the heat, add the pine nuts, sultanas and mint and leave to cool. (To speed up the cooling process, tip the lamb out onto a baking tray and spread out).
To make the pies, grease your pie tins with butter – we used a 6 hole muffin tin. Roll out the pastry fairly thinly and cut 6 circles big enough to fit in the tins with a slight overlap. Keep the leftover pastry in the fridge until needed for the lids. Line the tins with the pastry and chill for 15 minutes.

Heat your oven to 180C. Fill the pies with the cooled lamb mince mixture. Cut out 6 lids. Brush water round the edges of the pies and seal the lids. Using a skewer or knife, make a steam hole in the top. Brush the pies with beaten egg or milk and bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Rest the pies for 5 minutes before serving.

Chicken and pancetta terrine

Ingredients:

  • 1kg Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 3x100g Packs thinly sliced pancetta
  • 50g Dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 6 Shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • A large handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 100ml Dry white wine
  • A good grating of whole nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • You will also need:
  • a 2lb loaf tin, plus greaseproof paper and foil and a piece of thick card slightly larger than the top of the loaf tin

Method:

Use 2 packs of the pancetta to line the loaf tin, making sure the slices overlap slightly on the base and there is enough overhang to cover the top when the tin has been filled.
Finely slice the rest of the pancetta and put it in a large bowl with the chicken. Put the dried porcini in another bowl and add 200ml boiling water to rehydrate. Leave to soak for 10 mins. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add shallots. Cook over fairly high heat for about 5 mins then add garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.

Strain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid and chop finely.  Preheat oven to 180C.

Put liquid from mushrooms in a pan (make sure there is no grit at the bottom of the bowl first) and place over high heat to reduce to about 1 tablespoon. Leave to cool. Add the herbs to the chicken and pancetta, along with the cooled shallots, white wine and mushrooms and season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Strain the reduced mushroom liquid then add to meat mixture. Mix well using clean hands.

Pack the mixture into the pancetta-lined loaf tin and cover well with the overlapping pancetta, making sure there are no gaps.  Cover the surface of the terrine with greasproof paper, followed by a double layer of foil folded under the rim to seal. Next, place the terrine in a roasting tray and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 1 hour 15 mins.

After this time, remove the terrine from the oven and uncover. Insert a metal skewer into the centre and wait a few seconds. The juices should run clear. Place the skewer gently on your lower lip – it should feel hot. Empty the water from the roasting tray and return the terine to it, covering it with greasproof paper. It is important to press the terrine at this stage so that it will become compact and easy to slice.

To do this cut the card to fit snugly on top of the terrine and cover it with foil. Place a few weights or tins on top and leave for 1 hour. Then, remove the weights and cover with with fresh foil. When cool, put in the fridge to chill. To serve, cut into thick slices and serve with salad and crusty bread.

Carrots with sweet orange and thyme glaze

This vegetable side dish goes really well with a roast chicken or turkey dinner.

Cut the carrots into batons. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add carrots and salt and cook, covered until tender.
Meanwhile, mix the orange zest and juice with the thyme, lemon juice and honey in a small bowl, adding some seasoning.

When the carrots are done, drain in a colander.

Return pan to the heat, melt the butter and soften the garlic in it for about 30 seconds, then add the honey-orange glaze. Turn up the heat and allow the mixture to bubble down by about half, until sticky and thickened. Return the carrots to the pan, season and mix well to coat in the glaze.

Pork, apricot and pistachio terrine

Ingredients:

  • 300g Pork tenderloin fillet, trimmed of fat and diced
  • 2 Cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tbsp Brandy
  • 250g Dry-cured rindless streaky bacon
  • 1kg Sausagemeat – good quality or use sausages, skinned
  • A small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • A small bunch of chives, chopped
  • 100g Shelled pistachios
  • 8-10 Dried apricots
  • Cornichons to serve

Method:

1. Put the pork, garlic, 1 thyme sprig and brandy in a bowl. Cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.

2. Heat the oven to 180C. Butter a 1kg terrine mould or loaf tin. Put the remaining thyme sprig in the bottom and line it with overlapping strips of bacon, leaving any extra hanging over the edge. Loosen the sausagemeat with a fork and add it to the bowl with the marinated pork and mix well. Stir through the parsley, chives and pistachios and season well. Pinch off a small piece and fry until cooked. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

3. Pach the terrine with half of the pork mixture and lay the apricots in a row down the centre. Pack the remaining pork on the top. Flatten and stretch over the bacon. Cover with buttered foil and wrap the whole terrine in a double layer of cling film.

4. Put the terrine in a roasting tin half-filled with boiling water and bake for 1 hour. Cool and chill overnight. You can press the terrine as it cools by placing a board on top and weighting it down with a couple of tins. This will give a firmer texture.

5. Release the terrine by dipping it briefly in hot water and turning it out onto a plate. There will be some jelly aroud the terrine – you can remove this by scraping it off if you wish. Serve with cornichon

Black pearl

Ingredients:

  • 180ml vodka
  • 2 cups/500ml tangerine juice
  • 120ml lime juice
  • 120ml creme de cassis
  • 1 bottle champagne or other dry fizz
  • lime slices and blackberries for garnish
  •  

Method:

Apparently this cocktail is “eminently appropriate for any time of the day”!

Combine the tangerine juice, lime juice and vodka in a jug. Mix well.

Fill 6 tumblers with ice cubes and pour over a splash of cassis. Fill the tumblers three-quarters full with the vodka and juice mixture and then top with champagne. Garnish with lime and berries.

Drink.