Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas 2011 - a Nigella affair

Christmas a time for over indulgence, and the time between Christmas and New Year ideal for a few posthumous recipes...

A first this year for me as I brined my turkey prior to cooking it. I made a brine mixture of salt, sugar, thyme, sage, lemons, bay leaves and peppercorns and there would have been rosemary in there if
a) I could have bought some and b) I hadn't over pruned the rosemary in the garden
to a mere twig! However I was happy with my little fragrant concoction minus the rosemary.

Brining is quite easy really, the hardest bit is finding a vessel large enough to hold the brine and a large bird. You submerge your bird then your it somewhere cool in the brine (I added a lot of ice to it too) for at least 24 hrs, you can try for longer but I was a first timer and did not want to risk an overbrined bird. My turkey was free range and bought from my local fishmongers who also supplies the best poultry.
Once the turkey has done its brining thing, its time for a quick shower in cold running water, (that's the turkey not me) a dry off with kitchen towel/paper and leaving it to come up to room temperate before roasting, and doing any of that pre roasting attention.

I don't stuff mine as such but I do cover with bacon and fill the cavity with apple and onions and make a foil covering for it.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Bread and Butter Panettone Pudding - recipe

This recipe originated from using up leftovers after Christmas (not sure which celebrity chef Christmas Special it was now?) but we love it so much more than Panetone itself we just buy a Panettone to make the pudding. Why not?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Gingerbread House - recipe

I made this LAST Christmas...I haven't made another one...I haven't got over this one yet, it was the hardest thing I ever made...not sure whether it was my lack of patience or inability to bake/construct a straight sided house (suspect the latter) but it was a swine very hard thing to put together.

The joy comes with sticking the sweet adornments on (for which you need to take a bank loan out at today's prices) and eating the leftovers. Here is how you can make one, but don't blame me when you are pulling your hair out!

You will need to allow about 3 days (not full days granted) to make this one, make the gingerbread and bake the house; day two assemble the house and prepare the garden cake board; day three get hiding all the mistakes you have made decorating with sweets and finishing off etc. If you follow this rule it should help and when you get to the fun bit of decorating *laughs hysterically* the children can help you.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Christmas inspired cupcakes in pictures

Here are the result of last weeks Sunday afternoon cake decorating session with like minded friends.

The recipe for these vanilla cupcakes is here.

I'm linking back to English Mum's Big Christmas Bake Off


Monday, 12 December 2011

Fruit and Nut Christmas Mince Pies - recipe

Yes its predictable and yes its a mince pie recipe...not going to claim these are the best ever in the world, or this is a handed down recipe from generations, or its my own mincemeat, as none of these claims may apply (but I have made my own mincemeat in the past, and these are VERY good honest!).
I found a recipe for something like this in a little tiny book, I liked the sound of them, tried them with what I had in the cupboard my twist and the rest is...a really lovely mince pie and...well a few more calories on the hips really (and its not really even Christmas yet!). 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Short and Sweet - book review

Where to start?...I was sent a copy of 'Short and Sweet' by Dan Lepard quite a few weeks ago now...and I have to admit that I just be in awe of the whole book, chapter by chapter and page by page, its taken me so long to write this review because I keep getting distracted by a) making another recipe and b) looking and drooling over what other food bloggers are making from this book (more on that later).

Short and Sweet is one of those recipe books you will have forever, and will wonder how you ever baked without it, I for one wish I'd had this book years ago, if I had I would have been a much better baker than I am now. Short and Sweet is packed full of recipes, its not packed with photographs but this is not to the detriment of what his book is offering. Its not so much a recipe book or a recipe book giving baking instructions or advice on 'how to get the best of',  its more like a baking recipe reference book, its been called a 'baking bible' and I could not describe it better.

There are more than 280 recipes in this book and its one that any home baker/cake maker/pastry cook/bread lover will turn to time and time again, both for new and inspirational recipes, for traditional favourites and for advice on such things as how to get the best cake crumb, loaf or rise. The chapters cover everything from bread, cakes, small things, biscuits and cookies, doughnuts, batters and baba's, sugar, sugar (sweets), desserts and supper.