Summer Leek and Lemon Pasta

Recipe courtesy of The Co-operative Food Magazine.

Serves : 4

Cook time : 30 minutes

leek and lemon pastaIngredients :
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 leeks, chopped
150g broad beans
50ml dry white wine
Juice and zest of 1 to 2 lemons
300ml crème fraiche
50g Parmesan cheese
150g peas
275g linguine
Small bunch of basil
1 dessertspoon mint
75g rocket

Step One : Heat oil in a large heavy-based frying pan. Season and fry garlic and leeks over low to medium heat until soft and sweet

Step Two : Stir in beans, wine, lemon juice and zest. Simmer gently for about 3 to 4 minutes and then add crème fraiche, Parmesan and peas.

Step Three : Cook linguine according to packet instructions and then drain and combine with sauce in pan. Add basil, mint and rocket and stir. Season to taste. Serve with extra lemon zest grated over each plate.

Quick Mincemeat Ice Cream

Recipe courtesy of Prima Magazine.

If you want a really quick, cool dessert on Christmas Day, this rich ice cream is just unbeatable.

quick mincemeat icecream

Ingredients:
3 1/2 pt (2 litres) good quality vanilla ice cream
1 lb (450g) mincemeat
2 tblsp (30ml) orange juice
8 tblsp (120ml) brandy

Step One : Remove ice cream from the carton and place in a bowl. Leave out of freezer to soften slightly.

Step Two : Place mincemeat and orange juice in a saucepan and heat gently until suet melts. Cool.

Step Three : Stir mixture into softened ice cream, incorporating it as evenly as possible. Return to freezer. Beat well after an hour.

Step Four : Scoop ice cream into balls and place in serving dishes. Drizzle a spoonful of brandy over each dish and serve.

Other ice cream recipes can be found here …
 

Lobster Thermidor

Lobster Thermidor is a rich and delicious dish that is luxurious enough to serve at Christmas-time.  Serve one lobster per person as a main course or one filled shell each for a starter.

Ingredients:
Lobster Thermidor

2 live lobsters, about 675g (1 1/2 lb) each
20g (3/4 oz)butter
30ml (2 tblsp) plain flour
30ml (2 tblsp) brandy
120ml (4 fl oz) milk
90ml (6 tblsp) whipping cream
15ml (1 tblsp) Dijon mustard
lemon juice, salt and white pepper
grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
fresh parsley and dill, to garnish.

Serves: 2-4

Step One : Boil the lobsters in a large saucepan of salted water for 8-10 minutes.

Step Two : Cut the lobsters in half lengthways and discard the dark sac behind the eyes, then pull out the string-like intestine from the tail. Remove the meat from the shells, reserving the coral and liver, then rinse the shells thoroughly under running water and wipe dry. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces.

Step Three : Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring until slightly golden. Pour in the brandy and milk, whisking vigorously until smooth, then whisk in the cream and mustard.

Step Four : Push the lobster coral and liver through a sieve into the sauce and whisk briskly to blend. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until thickened. Season the sauce with salt, if needed, then add pepper and lemon juice.

Step Five : Preheat the grill. Arrange the lobster shells in a gratin dish or shallow flameproof baking dish.

Step Six : Stir the lobster meat into the sauce and divide the mixture evenly among the shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and grill until golden. Serve piping hot, garnished with fresh herbs.

Other lobster recipes can be found here …

Recipe from the Ultimate Christmas Cookbook

Mulled Wine

IMG_1651It’s the perfect drink for chilly festive evenings and, with just a splash of brandy, it makes a great addition to a cocktail party menu.

For the best flavour, use a slightly fruity red wine.  While red wine and apple cider are the most traditional of the spiced winter warmers, you can also use cranberry juice or white wine to add some variation.  Just don’t let the mixture boil as this will evaporate the alcohol.

How to make …

Step One : Combine a bottle of red wine, a 10cm x 0.5cm (4 in x 1/4 in) slice of orange zest with the white pith removed, 3 orange slices, a thin slice of fresh ginger, 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 2 cardamom pods, 2 cinnamon sticks and 4 whole cloves in a large saucepan.

Step Two : Bring the mixture to just under a simmer over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Do not allow the wine to boil.

Step Three : The mulled wine is hot enough when the sugar has dissolved and lifting a spoon from the wine brings up steam.  To serve, add 1-2 teaspoons of brandy to a cup or mug and ladle the mulled wine over it.  Serves 6.

Keep the wine warm in a Mulled Wine Pot Warmer 

Nut and Glace Fruit Ring

The cake can be made two or three weeks before Christmas. Store it in a tin in a cool place until needed.

Ingredients:-
4 tblsp rum, brandy or sherry
115g (4oz) glace cherries, quartered
115g (4oz) cup raisins or sultanas
115g (4oz) dried apricots, quartered
115g (4oz) prunes, stones and quartered
115g (4oz) stoned and chopped dates
115g (4oz) butter
115g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten
50g (2oz) ground almonds
115g (4oz) coarsely chopped walnuts
225g (8oz) self-raising flour

To finish:-
2 tblsp rum, brandy or sherry
4 tblsp apricot jam
Whole blanched almonds, split
3 glace cherries, halved
Few strips angelica

Makes 1 ring

Step One : The day before you want to bake the cake, put the rum, brandy or sherry in a large mixing bowl and add all the dried fruit. Cover the bowl with clear film and leave overnight in a cool place so that the fruit is well soaked. Meanwhile, grease a 23cm (9in) ring mould, with a 1.5 litre (2 ½ pint) capacity.

Step Two : The next day, preheat the oven to 160oC / 325oF / Gas 3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter, sugar and spices together until they are light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, and then fold in the soaked fruits, with any of the remaining liquid. Mix the ground almonds and chopped walnuts into the bowl and sift in the flour and mix until combined.

Step Three : Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the top of the mixture with the back of a spoon and bake in the preheat oven for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Brush the cake with the rum, brandy or sherry.

Step Four : Put the apricot jam in a small pan and heat it gently to melt it. Sieve the jam. Brush the hot glaze over the top of the cake. Arrange the nuts and fruit in a flower design on top of the cake and brush them liberally with more apricot glaze. The glaze must be used very hot, or the decoration will lift while you are brushing the jam over it.

More sweet Christmas treats can be found in this book …

Truffle Cheesecake

Light sponge with a rich chocolate and almond topping laced with rum for an extra special dessert.

Serves: 10

Prep time: 25 mins; Cook time: 1 hour

Base Ingredients:
1 egg;
1oz (25g) caster sugar
1oz (25g) plain flour, sifted;
Few drops vanilla essence

Topping Ingredients:
1 ½ lb (675g) cream cheese
175g/6oz caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
200g/7oz plain chocolate, melted
2 tblsp milk
5 tblsp dark rum
7oz (200g) carton fromage frais
2oz (50g) ground almonds
cocoa powder for dusting

Step One : Grease and line a 21cm/8 1/2 in spring clip tin.

Step Two : Preheat the oven to Mark 5 / 190oC / 375oF.

Step Three : Whisk egg and sugar together until mixture leaves a trail. Fold in the flour and vanilla essence. Pour into tin, spread evenly and bake for 10 minutes until golden and risen.

Step Four : Turn the sponge onto sugared paper. Wash, grease and re-line the base and sides of spring clip tin. Return sponge to tin. Lower oven to Mark 4 / 180oC / 350oF.

Step Five : Put cream cheese into a bowl and beat in caster sugar and eggs. Add the chocolate, milk, rum, fromage frais and almonds. Beat well and pour on top of sponge base. Bake for 45-50 minutes until set.

Step Six : Turn off oven and leave cheesecake to cool in oven for 2-3 hours.

Step Seven : Dust with cocoa before serving.

Tip: This rich cheesecake is delicious served slightly warm or at room temperature. It is best eaten within 24 hours and is not suitable for freezing.

Click on the book cover to find more cheesecake recipes …

English Apple and Tipsy Bread and Butter Pudding

Serves 4

Ingredients:
175g (6oz) dry, crusty French bread, cut into bite-size pieces
3 English apples, cored and diced
25g (1oz) raisins
85ml (3fl oz) whisky
400ml (14fl oz) milk
Butter
4 eggs
100g (4oz) caster sugar

Step One : Preheat oven to Gas 5, 190°C, 375°F. Put bread, apple and raisins in a bowl, pour over whisky and half the milk and leave to soak. Butter 4 ramekin dishes.

Step Two : In a large bowl, whisk eggs with the sugar. Slowly whisk in rest of milk until smooth. Divide bread mixture between the ramekins, pour egg custard over each and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins. The custard should be just set and the top of the pudding golden.

Serve Warm.

Find more Apple dessert recipe’s here …

Chicken Casserole

Take succulent chicken quarters and ad a selection of your favourite vegetables, spice up with a little salami and herbs, add a splash of port … and you’ve got a meal in one.

Serves: 4;   Approx. Cals per portion: 739
Prep time: 25 mins; Cooking time: approx. 55 mins

Ingredients:
1 1/2lb (675g) new potatoes, scrubbed
225g (8oz) shallots
225g (8oz) baby sweetcorn
225g (8oz) sugar-snap peas
Small bunch of fresh coriander, washed and tied together with string
175g (6oz) mushrooms
4 chicken quarters, each weighing approx. 300g (10oz)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
100g (4oz) sliced salami, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1/4pt/750ml fresh chicken stock
2 tbsp cornflour
1/4pt/150ml white port or dry sherry

Step One : Depending on the size, halve or quarter potatoes. Peel and halve the shallots and place in a bowl with the potatoes. Reserve. Wash the baby corn and sugar-snap peas, then trim corn and top and tail peas. Place the bunch of coriander in a large casserole dish, then place the prepared peas and corn on top. Wipe and slice the mushrooms.

Step Two : Wash the chicken quarters and pat dry with kitchen paper. Trim away excess fat from the chicken and cut each portion in half to make eight pieces. Season with black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the chicken for 6-7 mins until golden brown on both sides. Drain and add to the casserole.

Step Three : In the same frying pan, sauté the new potatoes, shallots, mushrooms, chopped salami and garlic for 4-5 mins until lightly golden. Drain and place in the casserole. Mix the casserole ingredients well. Preheat the oven to Gas 5 / 375oF / 190oC.

Step Four : Spoon 1 tbsp of the frying pan juices into a saucepan and season.
Pour chicken stock into the saucepan. Blend cornflour with a little of the port or sherry and add to pan with remainder. Bring to the boil, stirring, and cook until thickened. Pour into casserole, then cover and bake in oven for 45 mins, or until cooked through. Discard bunch of coriander before serving casserole with crusty bread.

Find other Casserole recipes here …

Almond and Cherry Florentines

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living

Makes about 30

Ingredients:
450g (14oz) cherries, stoned
1 tsp caster sugar; 220g (7oz) almonds
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, cubed
150g (5oz) brown sugar
175g (6oz) golden syrup
1 tsp Amaretto (optional)
100g (3 ½ oz) plain flour, sifted
2 tsp ground ginger
300g (10oz) good-quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

Step One: Heat the oven to 180oC (Gas Mark 6). Place the cherries on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake in the oven for 50-60 mins, until the cherries are shrivelled and caramelised. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile scatter the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 7-10 mins. Coarsely chop half the almonds, saving the remainder.

Step Two: Melt the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and Amaretto (if using) in a saucepan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and ground ginger. Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Pour half the mixture into the middle of one of the trays and, using a spatula, very gently spread the mixture out to form a rough rectangle about 2-3 mm thick, leaving a 5cm (2 in) border all around. Repeat with the second baking tray, then transfer both to the oven and cook for 5 mins.

Step Three: Remove and scatter over the cherries and all the almonds, then return to the oven and cook for 12-15 mins or until the mixture is bubbling and golden. Set aside to cool for 4-5 mins. Starting from the outside and working inwards use a cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Place the Florentines on a lined baking tray and chill in the fridge for 10 mins.

Step Four: Cover your work surface with foil (this makes cleaning up easier) and place two or three wire racks on top. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove the Florentines from the fridge and dip each one halfway into the melted chocolate, then place on a rack and leave for 15 mins. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, or until the chocolate has set.

For other biscuit recipes:-

Winter Trifle

winter trifleIngredients: 

4 tbsp Grand Marnier
100g (3 ½ oz) dried cherries
100g (3 ½ oz) dried sultanas
250g (8oz) Jamaican ginger cake
600ml (20 fl oz) chilled custard
Toasted flaked almonds, to serve

For the Syllabub:

Grated zest of ½ lemon
2-3 tbsp caster sugar
100ml (3 ½ fl oz) sweet white wine
300ml (9 ½ fl oz) cream

Serves:  8    Prep time:  25 mins, plus refrigeration and standing time

Step One:  Soak the dried fruit in the alcohol for 6 hours or overnight.  Strain, reserving both the fruit and alcohol.  Cut the cut into slices 1 cm (½ in) thick and arrange a single layer over the base of a large glass trifle bowl.  Pour over the fruit and alcohol.  Pour the custard over the cake covering with cling film and chill for at least 3 hours.

Step Two:  To make the syllabub cream, mix together the lemon zest, sugar and wine and leave for 30 minutes.  Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl, then add the cream and whip until the mixture just holds it shape.  Be careful not to over whip it.

Step Three: Spoon the cream over the trifle and return it to the fridge until you are ready to serve.  Just before serving, decorate with toasted almonds and silver dragees, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine