Month: December 2015

It’s the Sweet, Spicy, Splendid Smell of Christmas Eve, The Christmas Ham!

Cooking it all day long is Sooooo Christmas!  It’s a ritual and a tradition on Christmas Eve… It fills the house with sweet smells and warmth.  The whir of the oven warming while the pan bubbles on the hob.  It melts in the mouth once it’s cooked and it’s as good cold as it is warm… it’s just such a lovely addition to our Christmas food! Ingredients to boil the ham (serves 4 for several days or party of 10): We had a 2.8KGk Smoked Ham Enough water to cover 1 litre Cranberry Juice 1/2 litre Apple Juice 1 Onion (quartered) 1 orange (quartered) 2 garlic cloves 200mls red wine 2 cinnamon sticks 1 teaspoon peppercorns 3 cardamom pods 1 star anise 1/2 teaspoon allspice powder Ingredients for the glaze: 1 tbsp maple syrup 2 tbsp cranberry compote 2 tbsp honey juice of 1/2 lemon zest of 1 orange 1 tsp dijon mustard Enough cloves to stud the ham (30-40ish) Method: 1. Place the ham in a large pan on the hob, cover with water, …

Cranberry, Orange and Cinnamon Compote

It’s beginning to look (and smell) a lot like Christmas!  Tim’s at the supermarket now, doing the ‘big shop’ and I’ve been busy in the kitchen… There’s Sauerkraut fermenting, fresh bread baked and I’m enjoying a cup of chamomile and honey tea as I write this.  It’s blowing a gale outside but it’s warm in here… and cosy and smells like cranberry, orange & cinnamon compote!  I’m going to dollop this on my yoghurt in the morning, but there will also be plenty for the turkey on Friday! Ingredients: 200g Cranberries (fresh or frozen) Juice of 2 Satsumas 1 stick cinnamon 5 cardamom pods 3 tbsp Maple Syrup Method: 1. Put the cranberries in a pan on the hob and heat.  Add the Satsuma juice, cinnamon, cardamom pods and Maple syrup.  Bring to the boil and lower the heat to a simmer. 2. Allow the liquid to reduce and add a little extra water. 3.  Allow the water to reduce and add a little more. 4. Simmer for around 15 minutes before removing from the …

Rich Chocolate, Cardamom Tarts

“Three, more sleeps”… said my children on the way to bed tonight.  They’re so excited, I’m so excited, we’re all so excited!  We’re officially on holiday!  Fairy lights are blinking everywhere we look, food and drink is stacking up in every conceivable corner along with paper napkins, socks and sneaky chocolate wrappers…  The dog has only pulled the tree down once and luckily hasn’t eaten enough chocolate to make herself really sick.  So far so good…  Any moments of real stress are countered by a quick visit to the fridge for another chocolate tart or perhaps a glass of 4pm wine.  Welcome to Christmas… Ingredients for the tart case (makes 12): 250g plain flour 125g diced butter (or coconut oil for a vegan alternative) 2 tbsp cocoa powder 2 tbsp icing sugar 6 tbsp cold (or iced cold) water Ingredients for the Chocolate Cardamom Filling: 170g dark 70% chocolate 160g coconut cream 10 cardamom pods (seeds crushed) Stardust, or edible glitter to serve… Method: 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. In a mixing bowl or …

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs…

Kids love Meatballs!  It’s another food that could contain literally anything as far as they are concerned (and depending where they come from its possible they do)… but home-made it’s possible that they’re full of good nourishment, love and a few hidden extras if you like?  This recipe is very simple, it makes 18 meatballs which can be frozen.  If you’re feeling adventurous you could split the meat 50/50 beef & pork (or anything else you fancy), add baked sweet potato, beetroot, onions…Jello (no not really) Ingredients: 450g Organic Beef Mince 100g Homemade Breadcrumbs 1 egg yolk 1 tsp salt 2 tsp mixed herbs Method: 1. Use a food processor to blend the mince, breadcrumbs, egg yolk, salt & mixed herbs. 2. Use a desert spoon to scoop up the mixture and form balls between the palms. 3. If freezing, place them straight in to a plastic storage pot. 4. To cook immediately, heat a couple of tsps olive oil in a pan on the hob.  Add the meatballs, gently turning every couple of minutes …

Superfood makes Superheroes, Quick Fix Pasta & Home made Pesto

Pesto pasta is a regular 5pm meal fix in our house.  Especially when we get home at 4.30, after football, ballet or an afternoon at the park.  I usually grate a bowlful of cheese on the side and add a bowl of pitted green olives.   This week I found a bumper stock of reduced fresh coriander in the supermarket.  Needless to say, I nabbed it all… decided to make a coriander pesto and put the rest in the freezer for later… So here’s my coriander pesto recipe!  Of course if Basil is on offer ’round your way, nab that up instead!  And remember… all that green goodness is what we like to call superfood, and superfood makes superheroes don’t you know! Ingredients (fills a 14oz / 324ml Jam Jar): 80g Fresh Coriander 60g hard cheese, such as parmesan 60g olive oil 60g pine nuts pinch of pepper (taste before adding salt as the cheese is already salty) 2 cloves garlic Method: 1. Chop the coriander and add to a food processor (a small blade …

Thai Green Salad & Prawns

I love prawns, and I think prawns love chillies, garlic and ginger… This is a bit of a salad inspired by a Thai green curry (with prawns).  Really it’s me wanting another curry but thinking I ought to have a salad instead… You see I’d eat a curry in one form or another every day very happily!  So this is as far as as I can push a salad in the direction of a Thai curry!  Of course you could go so far as to serve a side of spring rolls with it… By the way, did you know avocado jokes were a thing?  The avocado link will take you to a few pictures which made me giggle! Ingredients (serves 2): 2 large handfuls baby leaf spinach 1 avocado 1/2 Red Pepper 150 King Prawns 60g Samphire 1 handful raw cashews 2 cloves garlic 1 red chilli 1/2 thumb grated ginger 2 tbsp coconut oil juice 1/2 lime salt & pepper Method: 1. Heat the coconut oil in a pan on the hob. Crush the …

Goats Cheese, Honey & Onion Tart

This is a great recipe for using up onions, or just to enjoy if you like onions!  And if you like onions, you’ll know when they’re cooked slowly they’re beautifully sweet, so with the addition of honey it’s more sweet and goats cheesy in flavour and delicious with a green salad.  The honey came from the school Christmas fete on Saturday and its made by the lovely bees on the school field!  So aside from honey toast in the mornings (Our little boy’s favourite breakfast) I’m looking to put it to good use!  And I’m quite pleased with how this tart turned out… Ingredients for the filling (serves 4): 150g goats cheese 200g natural greek yoghurt 2 eggs 4 small – medium onions 4 large cloves garlic 1 tbsp honey 2 sprigs fresh rosemary salt & pepper 20g butter Ingredients for the pastry: 250g plain flour 125g unsalted butter, cubed pinch salt & pepper 4 tbsp cold water Method: 1. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour with a little salt & pepper and …

Fish, Chips & Peas for the 5pm Dinner Crew… Plus the ‘Dirty Dozen’

I’ve said it before, but anything in breadcrumbs seems to please my 5pm dinner guests!  So with my newly regular sourdough making well under way, we’ve also got newly regular sourdough breadcrumbs and I’m newly able to liberally coat whatever the 5pm supper club requests!  So this evening was for Fish, Chips & Peas… Some lovely Trout (cheaper and milder in flavour than salmon but equally as nourishing), some organic potatoes, roasted in paprika & olive oil.  And peas.  It’s a simple kids supper and DIYing it means avoiding any uneccessary additives, processing or packaging and means we can mix it up with the fish.  These are made with trout, but could be made with salmon, cod or pollock. Ingredients (serves 2 hungry children): 2 trout fillets (approx 200g) 50g breadcrumbs 2 handfuls frozen peas 1 large baking potato* 1 egg Salt & pepper olive oil 1 serving homemade tomato ketchup Method: 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. 2. line a baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment.  Place the two trout fillets on …

Lasagne & Roast Potatoes Anyone? Or Herby Red Lentil Lasagne…

It wasn’t until I was a grown up that anyone questioned our standard family supper of lasagne and roast potatoes… It gives me quite a giggle to think about it now!  What a carb fest, extreme comfort food!  Although I’ve dropped the addition of roast potatoes from this dish, I do often make a lasagne, especially in the winter months and it’s usually always vegetarian.  It still feels like comfort food to me, and I’m sure my children are inheriting the same feeling… So here it is in all its carby, cheesy, tomato glory!   Ingredients (serves 6): 350g egg lasagne Ingredients for the tomato sauce: 2 tins tomatoes 100g red lentils 1 red onion, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, crushed 125mls red wine 2 tsp maple syrup 1 tsp mixed herbs 2 sprigs fresh rosemary salt & black pepper additional water to top up when the lentils absorb the liquid Ingredients for the cheese sauce: 100g butter* 100g flour 100g mature cheddar* 1 pint milk* 1 tsp dijon mustard 1/2 tsp ground nutmet crack …

Spicy Red Lentil & Cannellini Bean Soup & Soda Bread

Rustic, warming, hearty and nourishing… this is a true peasant’s supper!  I had a hankering for soda bread earlier but don’t usually have buttermilk at home so this one was made with yoghurt instead.  In fact it could be made with sour milk too (so don’t ever throw it out if you have it, bring it round… or make soda bread!).  Soda bread is really rewarding, it takes about 5 minutes to combine the ingredients, and 50 minutes to cook, so as long as you’re home you’ll have a tasty loaf in under an hour which requires zero skill but looks pro!  The soup here came about after seeing a tasty looking ham hock soup on instagram.  Not being much of a ham hock soup fan, I appreciated the chunky look and thought yes!  A chunky soup and soda bread supper… Yum!  That’s what I though… and here it is! Ingredients for the soup (Serves 4): 1 red onion, finely chopped 2 celery sticks, finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 …