Hang on a cotton picking second…wasn’t it July literally yesterday? How has December managed to swoop in with such stealth that none of us noticed until it was sitting in our laps? As we all gear up for Christmas, Jew’s the world over have been making preparations for Hanukkah (which has actually been and gone now since it landed on the 8th of December this year).
If like me, you’re a total ignoramus whose knowledge of Hanukkah stretches as far as the Friends episode in which Ross dresses up as a giant armadillo, here is the very rough and very short version of the story of Hanukkah.
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, but lets face it during the week nobody has the time or the inclination to fanny about cooking up an elaborate breakie. So come the weekend its always nice to pull your finger out and make a bit more of effort. This was a bit of a spur of the moment thing, I only had a basic recipe which I changed and embellished and this was the fruits of my labour, or not as the case may be as its a super quick and really easy recipe with loads of ways you can customise it to your tastes.
Pumpkins. As a nation us Brits probably only encounter a pumpkin when Halloween rolls round and even then I doubt many of us eat the innards after we’ve finished hacking a face into one. I know Pumpkin Pie is a Thanksgiving staple in the U.S but we don’t have anything like that here and I think a lot of people are a bit daunted about where to start with a pumpkin and what to do it, and most of the time pumpkins are generally bigger than the International Space Station and unless you have a meat cleaver it’s a bit of a battle trying to slice them to bits.
I’ve got to be honest and say I’m not keen on traditional X-mas desserts like Figgy Pudding, and since I became chef de jour at casa de Jeffs the responsibility has fallen to me to do the pud for Christmas day, and the past few years it has gone well (although we shan’t mention the disaster with a Jamie yule log recipe…I’m still bitter). Last year I made these Eggnog creams and they were yummy and not massively heavy either which you don’t want when your so full to bursting with turkey and ’tatoes that you couldn’t even wedge a sprout in.
Can you tell I’m starting to run out of adjectives for my recipe posts? The recipe can be used to make mulled wine or cider, although please forgive me for having not tried it with cider since even mentioning the word cider brings back haunting memories of my first ever escapade into alcohol at 13 which resulted in much barfing and eventually being picked up by my dad after my friends exhausted their combined powers of patience and nursing care as as I lay gagging in a bush.
I’m usually the sort of person who is repelled by fruit in salads, or nuts in curries or any of that other faff. Its like drinking a pint of water when you need a wee, it goes against the grain. But saying all that my dad made this marvelous little salad from the September issue of Delicious magazine (which if you don’t read you should since it’s awesome) and after I tinkered about with it and made it to my liking, I thought I’d shove it (belatedly) up on here for you to have a butchers at.
Another new feature I’ve dragged out for the depths of my imagination (which, judging by my groundbreaking titles is more like a puddle than a never ending abyss of creativeness).
As you probably gathered from the highly innovative concept, each edition will feature one ingredient used two different ways. The two recipes featured here came about after I was sent the Dietary Specials new recipe Shortcrust Pastry.
I must preface this now by saying this is NOT a sponsored post, I just really love this product.
This is the first edition of one of my new features Speedy Sides (racked my brains to think of that title didn’t I?). The name speaks for itself, each edition will be a super quick and easy dish which will work great as a perfect side,with, or as an addition to a main meal (Depending on whether you eat for England or enjoy mini meals).
700g New potatoes 100g Radishes 100g Half fat creme fresh (or you can use full fat if your already bikini ready!
We all know by now that I am a total lemon slut. I love anything with/near/like lemon and as a result I perhaps post more lemon recipes than any other. I had promised that I wouldn’t do anymore lemon containing recipes for a while, but after I converted this one from the The Hummingbird Bakery book I knew it was far too yummy not to post it on here (despite it being a doppelganger of one I posted last year)
The best thing about these bad boys is that they taste just as awesome with or without the rum. Plus fruit (even if it is mixed with a sugar laced syrup) surely counts as one of your five a day. I’ve seen quite a few recipes which use sugar cane syrup, but it’s not always easy to get hold of. This recipe uses a super duper easy home made sugar syrup which you can knock up and keep in the fridge until the earth ends because it never goes off.
After you’ve finished yakking after reading my vom worthy ‘Daddy Cool’ post I thought you might like to indulge in a yummy-o, calorific Apple Upside Down Cake (the point being you turn the cake upside down,not eat it whilst upside down…but you knew that already). I wouldn’t have ever attempted an upside down anything due to my innate ability to pretty much drop anything I pick up, but my Dad found it while flicking though my new Rachel Allen cook book (a barginlicious £5 from W H Smith) and I had promised him a dessert of his choice for Fathers Day and this was what he chose, and blow me if it didn’t actually come out pretty much perfectly!
I always use sparkling water for batters because you get a much lighter,less greasy batter. Feel free to use beer for the batter if you want, although with this recipe a beer batter will probably overpower the taste of the prawns. Ingredients
200g King prawns (uncooked) 100g Plain gluten-free flour (Doves Farm,Glutafin) 250ml Sparkling water 25g Cornflour (or you could use potato flour) 1 Egg 2 Pinches of salt 200g Plain yogurt (I used Greek) 2-3 Tbsp’s of mango chutney (Sharwood’s is g/f.
Scones are one of those things that are hard enough to get right when they’re not gluten-free, and they’re even harder to re-produce when you take gluten out of the mix (literally). This recipe is one that I’ve adapted from a Phil Vickery recipe. Phil uses his own flour mixes, but I find the Doves Farm flour mixes are brilliant and work great for this recipe. Ingredients
300g Self raising gluten-free flour (we need to give these bad boys a fair chance at rising!
As I said before this was adapted from a Delicious recipe. It’s actually gluten-free, but I nearly took the roof of my mouth off with the spices so I have tweaked it a wee bit in order to make it not so spicey, but I’ll also list the ingriedents if you like a bit of spice in your life and aren’t a total wuss like me. Ingredients
4 Cod steaks (or any other white fish) Sunflower oil A couple of limes to squeeze over your fish or for making your plate look fancy!
100g Cream cheese (Philadelphia) 200g Plus x2 25g caster sugar 175g Cranberries (I used frozen cranberries defrosted ) 1 Tsp vanilla extract 2 Eggs 2 1/2fl Sunflower oil (don’t be tempted to use olive oil,it will make the muffins taste vile!) 200g Plain flour (Doves Farm,Glutafin) 2 Tsps Gluten-Free Baking Powder Makes 12
12 Muffins cases 12 Hole muffin tray Small pan Method
Pop the oven up to Gas mark 5 and get on with beating 25g of sugar into a bowl with the cream cheese, mix well until its all combined and whack it in the fridge until you need it later.
So here we go a lovely gluten free macaroon recipe you can get your teeth into. Make sure you make these on a day when you have no appointments/things to do/people to see/sleep to be had. The times I’ve had to ring up and cancel appointments because my macaron’s aren’t ready.. The original recipe is gluten-free anyway, but I couldn’t resist twiddling with the recipe and changing the lemon curd around so I could use my own recipe for it.
Millionaires shortbread seems like one of those things that should be super duper hard to make, but this recipe is actually surprisingly easy. The recipe is in part inspired by a Phil Vickery recipe, but the rest I’ve tweaked and changed to make it easier and even more yummy (if I do say so myself).
120g Butter 60g Golden caster sugar 160g Plain flour mix (Doves Farm, Glutafin) 397g Tin Carnation Caramel (Nestle) 200g Milk chocolate 100g White chocolate A few drops of vanilla extract Extras
A lot of peoples prevailing idea of gluten-free food is that it tastes profoundly different from non gluten-free food. This is another one of those recipes where I dare any non gluten freer to taste the difference. The original recipe is from the February issue of Delicious magazine and I’ve tweaked it here and there to make it gluten-free. It’s not vastly different from a normal pancake recipe but I think the little differences that are there make for a far nicer pancake.
I call these cookies, but technically they should be called shortbread since they have no eggs in and loads of flour. They’re called Happiness Cookie’s because they make me very popular in my house (which in turn makes me happy), everyone seems to like them and they’re my Baking Trump Card which I usually play when a person who has previously been cynical about gluten-free food comes over for coffee and I palm them off at non G/F.
When I was at uni I was something of a drunken sot, but since leaving I rarely drink if at all, apart from two exceptions; Eggnog and Mulled Wine.
I know a lot of people don’t like Eggnog because of the raw egg element, and it’s not a traditional or popular a drink in the UK as it is in the US.
If eggnog isn’t your thing, you can’t go wrong with mulled wine, there’s something about warmed wine that has an almost sedative like quality, I’ve missed many a Christmas day film after a glass or two of the mulled stuff only to wake up during the closing credits.
An ability to produce homemade mince pie’s is a skill in other people that I greatly admire, and at the start of the year I decided I wanted to be one of these clever people and endeavoured to make my very own mince pies, from scratch, from the pastry to the mincemeat, every last bit of it would be made by my own fair hands. I talked about the hitch I had with the mincemeat, but luckily I found a Gluten-Free mincemeat recipe (god bless Nigella) which I made at the very start of November, and finally this week I decided the time was right to unite mince with pie and bake a batch.
1 Sachet of powdered gelatin 250g Granulated sugar (the same sugar you would use for jam making) 1 Egg white A few drops of pink food colouring 1-2 Tbsp’s cornflour 1-2 Tbsp’s icing sugar 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract Vegetable/sunflower oil Baking parchment and a shallow baking tray Method
Start by using the oil to grease a shallow tin. I used round cake tins to make my marshmallow, but you could use any sort of tin as long as its shallow enough.
I harked on about Snicker-doodles in yesterdays post, but actually failed to explain what they are. According to Nigella they’re sort of like an oven baked doughnut and a cross between a cookie and sponge, they remind me of those massive sweet pretzels with the cinnamon sugar, and everyone knows I’m a slut for cinnamon. They’re the sort of thing that could be varied in so many different ways, but for now I’m going to give you the original recipe without any variations.
Phil’s original recipe contains chicken, while I have nothing against chicken, it sometimes doesn’t agree with me, so I generally leave it out. I’ll put the amounts and instructions if you want to add chicken to yours, or you can follow the amounts that I use and add extra prawns./
Ingredients Serves 4
2 Inch wedge or chorizo (you can get this cut to size at the Deli counter at your supermarket) cut into smallish chunks 200g/7oz Prawns (if your omitting the chicken, 180g if not) 1 Large red pepper diced 1 Large onion (i use white, but red is fine) finely diced 1 Crushed clove of garlic A big glug of olive oil 2 Tsp’s of smoked paprika 600ml strong stock (I use veggie stock, but feel free to use chicken) 2 Tsp’s tomato puree Small bunch of spring onions 160g white long grained rice (feel free to use brown rice if you’d like) salt and pepper If you want to add chicken you’ll need one large chicken breast cut into 2cm chunks.
Ingredients Makes 12
125g/5oz Butter (softened) 125g/5oz Caster sugar 125g/5oz Gluten-Free self raising flour (Doves Farm, Glutafin) 2 Eggs 2 Tsp’s instant coffee + a few drops of water 1 Tsp of vanilla essence (or extract, whichever your prefer) For the frosting
125g/5oz Full fat cream cheese (lite or half fat versions work just was well) 50g/2oz Softened butter 300g/ 10 1/2oz Icing sugar 1-2 Tsps instant coffee Method
Before we get started you will need a sterilised jar or two to store your cooked mincemeat in. I used a Kilner jar with a one litre capacity. if your new to sterilising jars I’ve included a Tips for Dummies guide just for you!
250g Dark, soft muscovado sugar 250ml Dry cider (I used Henney’s) 6 Tablespoons of brandy Juice and rind of a small lemon 1 kg Cooking apples 1/2 Tsp cinnamon 1/2 Tsp nutmeg 1/2 Tsp ginger 250g Currants 250g Raisins 80g Glace cherries quartered If almonds don’t make your toes curl, you might want to include 75g’s of them finely chopped Method
I adapted this recipe from ye old faithful Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook who’s cakes and biccies are on a par with my one and only Nigella.
Ingredients Makes 20
270g Soft butter 160g Caster sugar 160g Soft brown demerara sugar 2 Large eggs 1/4 Tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp of vanilla essence 380g Plain Flour (as always Doves Farm are great, but any plain flour mix works just as well) 1 Tsp bicarbonate of soda 1/2 Tsp salt 1/2 Tsp cinnamon 110g Rolled oats (omit if you can’t tolerate oats) 220g Sultana’s Note: I use Sultana’s in this cookie recipe becauseIi think they’re not so shriveled as raisins and tend not to burn as easily either, but feel free to use raisins if you prefer.
This recipe is so easy, and you can also triple the ingredients and make one big crumble if you wanted or even swap the apple for rhubarb (which I prefer) or cherries or pretty much anything you want really, it’s quite versatile. Whether I make up a one-person crumble or not I always make a large batch of crumble mix and freeze it so I can just take it out of the freezer when I need it so below are the larger quantities (quarter them if your making a one person crumble).