Category Archives: food

A Swedish Meal and a German Meal

 

The Swedish Meal

Mom’s on this health craze so we are going through a wide range of salads at the moment. This salad is simple and nom.

Toast some whole almonds in a pan and then drizzle with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Once a bubbly thick caramel, make sure all the almonds are covered, pull aside and let cool. In the meantime, prepare a salad bowl full of kale and carrots, grated if you’re a normal person, sliced if you’re my mom! With the kale and carrot in a bowel, chop up the almonds in to fine toasty-crunchy-sweet bits and throw on top of the salad. Finally grab 2-3 apples and chop into small cubes and pop on top of the salad. Serve with a balsamic dressing made with walnut oil.

With the salad we had swedish meatballs made from a pork-veal combo (made sure to get good quality pork and veal mince from a nice butchers. Serve meatballs with lingonberry jelly and horseradish cream. Om nom nom.

Kale, carrot and apple salad

Kale salad and swedish meatballs

 

 

A German Dinner

This was genuinely eaten so quickly I couldn’t snap a proper picture of it.

Sweat 2-3 chopped onions in a little bit of butter until browning and then add in 300-400grams of chopped bacon (or if you can get your hands on it some delicious smoked German speck!). Then add 500g of chopped button mushrooms and cook until soft and brown and there is a lovely juice sweating out of it all. Add 750g of German spatzle (funny shaped noodles) and stir well into meat, mushrooms and onion. Add 250ml of creme fraiche (half fat stuff if you feel a little guilty) and 75g of cheddar or emmental grated. Stir well and bung it all into a casserole dish. Top off again with some cheddar or emmental. Serve hot with a salad.

Spatzle Ready to go

Spatzle Nom

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A Dessert Party

Myself and a delegation of students were invited to our sister college – St. John’s College Cambridge. This is the feast we were fed (excuse the port stain!).

Dessert Party at St. John's College Cambridge

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Chicken Calvados

We were having people over and wanted to make a hearty nommy dish, given the cold Spring it is. We threw some butter in a pan and seared seasoned chicken breast until browned, but not cooked inside. We placed them in to a casserole dish.

Seared chicken

Then in the butter left of the pan we glazed and softened shallots (use as much as you want, we used 450grams), but we were feeding 10 people.

Sweat the shallots until glassy

Add shallots on top of chicken in casserole dish.

Stock

Then in a pan heat 6 tablespoons of calvados, set alight and pour over chicken and shallots.

Calvados

flaming calvados

Pour 2 litres of chicken stock and 500mL of cider into the casserole dish and heat in oven for 40 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Stir

Cider

In a separate dish cut 8 cooking apples in to edible chunks and leave them in water until needed. With a small amount of oil in the pan heat the apple chunks and toss them in oil. Then remove the casserole dish and add the apples stirring them in.  Return to the oven until the apples have softened. 

Apples tossed in oil

Ready for the oven

Serve with bread and a green salad. Nom

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Red Cabbage, Like the In-Law German Granny Does

Red cabbage nom

There was this odd head of red-cabbage sitting in the fridge for a good while, so I decided I had to do something with it. We happened to have a ham too and what’s better than a glazed ham (Neven Maguire’s recipe is amazing, we used this at Christmas!), mash potatoes and some red cabbage. So I gave it a bash.

80g of butter into the bottom of the casserole dish, with the head of red cabbage chopped into small strips/slices. Soften the cabbage, stirring every so often, until the blue-ish red colouring is staining all the cabbage. Then add three chopped apples, (we genuinely had no apples in the house), so I added a small bottle of apple puree I had made ages ago (for pork!).

Butter and a Head of Red Cabbage

Sweat it out, add wine, cider vinegar and stock

Then add 500ml of red wine, 75ml of cider vinegar, 400ml of stock (I used ham stock, but stock of your choice works too!) and 200ml of red current jelly.

Delicous

Cook under tender. Then add another 75ml of cider vinegar.

Spices at the ready

Finally sprinkle a teaspoon of ground cloves, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of salt and three juniper berries into the pot. Stir well to get the spice everywhere. Then add 6 tablespoons of sugar and stir well.

Add the caster sugar

Cook until sauce is reduced and all the cabbage is soft and looks like it would just go SO well with a small bowel of steaming mashed potatoe.

Reduce the sauce

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The Zingy Lemon Curd Cake

Ready to Nom Lemon Curd Cake

350g self raising flour

3 level teaspoons of baking powder (this is my trick, you really want a bouncy fluffy sponge!)

350g butter, at room temperature, unsalted

350g caster sugar

6 eggs

rind of 2 lemons

juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon (depending on how zingy you like it)

Get the sponges on, this is quick and easy. Grab a hand held whisk or a food processor and through all the above into a bowl and mix together. If you want to be fancy, sieve the flour first (but for some reason self raising flour is the poofiest thing and just flies everywhere, so I avoid that where possible). You’ll end up with a lovely consistent cake batter, which you should split equally between two 20cm cake spring form tins, lined with greaseproof paper at the bottom.

Bake for 40 minutes at 175 degrees celcius (335 degrees fahrenheit). They’ll be ready when golden brown, when a skewer comes out clean and when it bounces back on light pressing. Cool for a couple minutes and turn out on to a wire rack. Allow to cool fully.

Sponges Cooling

300g caster sugar

zest of 4 lemons

juice of 4 lemons

8 eggs

200g butter, unsalted

While the cake cooks, make the lemon curd. In one bowl (one that fits nicely over a pot of water) pop the sugar and lemon zest. In another bowl beat the eggs and add the lemon juice. Mix into the first bowl with the sugar and place the unsalted butter in little bits into the bowel. Heat the pot of water, with the bowl on top. Stir at intervals, allowing the sugar to dissolve and the butter to melt. This might take up to 30 minutes, but you’ll get a lovely thick lemon curd at the end of it. I always make more than I need. It’s the best on a slice of toast in the morning!

Wait for the curd to cool a little. Go back to your now cooled cakes.

Curd Delicious

With a wonderfully sharp knife, a steady hand and a good eye – cut each cake horizontally into two, to double the layers of the cake. Place the bottom layer on a cake stand or plate and spoon a big dollop, around a cup of the curd in the middle of the bottom layer. Spread outwards, add the second layer and add curd again. Repeat with the third layer. Finally, add the top layer, ensuring that the gold brown side of the cake is on top.

Dollop that curd

Half way there with the layringFinished layering

With the juice of half a lemon and 50-100g of icing sugar (go for a consistency you like, we like a thin runny icing on the top), make your icing and pour into the middle of the top layer of the cake. Smooth outwards trying to cover everything. With the rind of 1-2 lemons decorate the top. For the occasion I used some lime zest too!

Extra Curd Saved for Breakfast

Slice and serve. Moist, tangy, sweet, nommy. (Is moist even allowed to be used anymore? Totally un-food related.)

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An Unbelievable 50th Feast

Ever wanted a birthday menu. This is what whipped together for our parents joint Birthday celebrations. All home made by the children. We were a little too busy cooking for 35 people to take photos, but the menu is better than nothing!

Champagne Aperitif

Taitinger

Starter

A hot spicy crabby ginger tart with salad garnish and a chili dressing

White Wine

 Sophie Bertin Sancerre 2011

Main

Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, Ireland Sirloin Beef

with Roast potatoes, Salsa Verde and a Rosemary Jus

Red Wine 

Ch. Puygueraud 2005 Bordeaux cotes de Francs  (3L bottle=Jeroboam)

Ch. Latour-Martillac 1999 Pessac-Leognan Gand cru classe de Graves (1.5L bottle=Magnum)

Torbeck 2009 Barossa Valley Grenache-Shiray-Mourverdre

Villa Novare 2009 Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso

Dessert

Lemon Drizzle Cake or Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte

or Both! served with Berries and Creme Fraiche

Dessert Wine

Chateau de Rolland 1989 Barsac

Cheese

A large selection of Irish, French and Swiss cheeses served with rye crackers with linseed.

Port 

A bottle of Dow’s 1963 Port (from the year of Mom and Dad’s birth) and a bottle of Taylor’s 1977 Port (supposedly the best vintage for port of the entire 20th century)

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Absolutely Nutty Not-Just-Pecan Pie

Nommy Nutty Mix

This is absolutely delicious. It genuinely very quick to make. Took the filling from Nigella, but did not like the dough she used, so I whipped up a batch a la Delia Smith – the Quick Flaky Pastry (we basically use this as a standard in pastry in our house).

So whip up a batch of that by grating 110g butter (which I pop into the freezer before hand) into 175g of plain flour. Once grated use a metal spoon to stir all the grated butter into the flour, ensuring all little bits are covered. Then add a small amount of cold water and using your hands, but minimising your touching of the dough, bind it together. Adding a little more cold water if needed. Once its a consistent ball of pastry, wrap in cling film and through it in the fridge for at least 30-45mins.

Take the pastry out and roll it to 5mm thick to fill a 25cm flan dish. Press it into the sides and cut off excess pastry, but leaving a little above the rim. Pop the flan dish into the freezer (I had to find space for it, but managed) for 20 minutes, while you make the filling. (Pop it in the fridge if you can’t fit it in a freezer).

To get the filling together; start with a pot or saucepan and let 200g of light brown sugar, 150g unsalted butter and 4 large tablespoons of golden syrup (I only use Lyle’s Golden Syrup, but I believe corn syrup, maple syrup or molasses could do the trick too). Once melted, stir together, although the butter tends to separate, don’t worry about that. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence, stir again and pull off the heat and leave for ten minutes to cool. Whisk 3 eggs in a bowl and leave ready for after.

Golden syrup, butter, brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius (or 350 fahrenheit). In the mean time grab the flan dish from the freezer and check that its nice and cold. The freezing protects the shape of the pastry once it gets into the hot oven, so it’s important its crisp and cold.

Grab at least 350g of mixed nuts (they have to be unsalted and ideally with no additives in them). If you want feel free to use only pecans, but its handy to use all the half packs of almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans etc. I do love an odd brazil nut in here too or a cashew, so be daring. It is delicious after all. Arrange them nicely in the flan dish.

Nutty Mix Arranged in Frozen Pastry Flan Case

Pop back over to the now slightly cooled filling mix and with your whisk, mix in the beaten eggs, until its a lovely thick caramel-like nom.

Syrupy Mix and Eggs Ready to Go

Pour gently over the nuts into the pastry case. Pop into the now heated oven for at least 40 minutes or until the the filling has set.

Pre Baked Nom

Let it cool a little. Serve with a dash of lightly whipped cream.

Post Baked Nom - The Not-Just-Pecan Pie

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The most delicious and easiest Cranberry Sauce

Doing a normal shop in Tesco, I saw a load of cranberries that were reduced after Christmas. The best accompaniment to chicken or turkey, all year round is Cranberry sauce!

This is a super easy one I made, its delicious and quick and we bottle it and keep it for the year. There is nothing like homemade cranberry sauce.

Ready to Bottle Nom

Double, triple or quadruple this recipe depending on how much cranberry you have:

350g fresh cranberries

1 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of Kirsch Wasser

1 tablespoons of Port

2 tablespoons of Water

Throw everything into a pot and cook until cranberries are soft. They are absolutely chocked full of pectin, so it’ll be a very jellified sauce, but break the berries open as they cook and mix well, cooking off the alcohol. While the sauce looks runny, it’ll solidify a lot once cooled, so don’t over cook it just because it appears watery.

Cooking off the Kirsch and Port

Heat bottles in the oven. Bottle, serve with Christmas dinner or eat with a turkey sandwich!

Bottle Cranberry Sauce

Nom nom nom!

Turkey Sandwich

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Post-Christmas Left Over Turkey Curry Nom

Om Nom Nom

Everyone has turkey left over and doesn’t always know what to do with it and there’s only so many turkey sandwiches one can eat (apparently?). This curry is pretty easy and quick to whip up.

Onion, Chili, Fenugreek, Mustard Seeds.

Grab a tablespoon of mustard seeds and heat them in a large pot or casserole dish with a couple of glugs of vegetable oil until the seeds start popping. Throw in two chopped chilis and a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and 1-2 chunks of fresh ginger (I grate it, but chopped is fine too). Stir quickly, don’t let the spices burn and then throw 3 chopped red onions on top.

Add the Ginger

Let  this cook until the onions are wonderfully golden and softened. 

Soften

Then add a teaspoon of chili powder and a teaspoon of tumeric. The colour change of the onions is noticeble, as the tumeric starts staining everything a lovely yellow.

Spice

Then a tin of chopped tomatoes (or blitz a can of whole plum tomatoes) is added to the pot and two glasses of water.

Add Tomatoe and Water

Whack 400ml of full fat coconut milk in (if you use reduced fat coconut milk, it looks as if its split, although its still edible!). Add a teaspoon of rock salt to season. I added a handful or two of chopped coriander at this point. 

Coconut Milk

Add Fresh Coriander

This is the perfect base sauce for a curry and anything can be added to it at this point, fish, chicken.. turkey!

Ready for Meat, Veg or Fish

Chop the turkey (600g) up into small strips and bit size chunks, this is great because you can use all the bits of the turkey that people don’t like using on their post-christmas turkey sandwiches.  In a pan heat a tablespoon of lightly crushed coriander seeds and toss the turkey in it.

Post-Christmas Turkey Left Overs Hot Coriander Seeds

Then add the turkey to the sauce and simmer for 15 minutes until the turkey is soft and has soaked up the colour and spice from curry. Serve with rice for post-christmas noms (or just annual noms). 

Turkey

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The Pig Spit

My parents celebrated their 50th birthdays with a summer garden party – with a pig on a spit. Just thought I’d share. It was slow roasted for 14 hours and was definitely quite the centre piece at the party. Everyone got a nice chunk of pork and a bit of crackling if they wanted as well!

Babe Pig on the Spit

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