Sunday, 30 December 2012

Lancashire hotpot - recipe

Hope you are all having a great Christmas? Here is a recipe for new year!

Its a bit of a tradition in these 'northern' parts to make a hotpot on New Years Eve for supper...why I'm not sure but it seems the ideal one pot meal you can bung in the oven, go to the local pub for a few 'cocktails' and return to a house with an appetite and to a supper that smells and tastes just amazing.

Cooked slowly in an oven in a big pot and served traditionally with pickled red cabbage, pickled onions (my own pickled onions turned out really well by the way) or a favourite accompaniment...what's not to like?

Hotpot can be made in various ways, but in Lancashire you MUST use lamb on the bone (and preferably mutton) as your meat base and if you are making a traditional Lancashire hotpot you should really use some lamb kidneys, but on this occasion I am leaving these out and using a local black pudding as well as the lamb. My delicious recipe will serve 4.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

A Christmas biscuit tin - frosty cherry shortbread recipe

Its becoming a tradition here that at Christmas I make shortbread. They are one of my favourite biscuits, not hard or tricky to make with the right ingredients (you MUST use unsalted butter though) and a little bit of effort. Last year I made heavenly scented ones this year its frosty cherry shortbreads, hubby loves cherries so I had him in mind for these. When I made them and coated them in vanilla caster sugar (warm from the oven) they reminded me of the really hard cold frosty mornings we have had in Lancashire this week, hence the name!

These make a nice change from spicy things at Christmas, lovely with a hot chocolate too.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Tasty olives from Spain and wishing you all Feliz Navidad! - recipes

It's getting closer to Christmas and its time for a) panic to set in, b) time to put the blog to bed for a doze and spend time with loved ones and c) to get thinking about how and what I'm going to feed the hungry throngs of guests coming in a matter of weeks.

When I have the folks round I always try and have a few tasty things on the table to nibble on while they are waiting for the main event. I don't tend to do buffets or buffet foods as such, as those ads on TV before Christmas tend to put me right off, if you come to eat at my table you'll get proper stuff and its all homemade. I'm a blogger and I write about food, its the law!

So to impress your guests here are three different and very simple recipes for marinated olives from Spain, you can make these really quickly and easily at home with just a few ingredients...try them out on your guests at Christmas they'll be impressed you had a hand in making these...even better put some in a jar and top up with Spanish olive oil as a gift and they'll think you really are Santa.
For a fresh take on a classic olive marinade...in a bowl mix Spanish olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary, chopped fresh sage, fresh thyme leaves and one minced garlic clove. Simply take any kind of drained olives (green or black) and add to them to the herby mix. Leave to marinade at least overnight if possible. Serve in a bowl with a sage garnish.

For the warming scents and flavours of of Christmas...In a bowl mix Spanish olive oil, the grated zest from one small orange, the juice of half of the orange, 1 tsp cloves, about an inch of fresh ginger grated and about 3 whole star anaise. Add drained olives (green or black) and mix them to the oil mixture coating all the olives. Leave to marinade at least overnight of possible. Serve in a bowl with a couple of slices of orange to garnish.
For olives with a hot zingy kick...In a bowl mix Spanish olive oil, half a red chili de-seeded and sliced finely, the zest of half a lemon (use a potato peeler for slices) cut into strips and the juice of half a lemon. Simply take drained olives (green or black) and add to them to the chilli/lemon/oil mix. Leave to marinade overnight if possible. Serve in a bowl with a slice of lemon as a garnish.