Monday, 27 December 2010

Flip side....

I woke up at 430am on Christmas Day but lay on the sofa watching Christmas films waiting for the other half to wake up. Finally at 7am it got too much and I woke him, sliding into the bedroom wearing festive socks shouting "It's Christmas!". (I am very irritating in the morning.) He took it quite well and we opened our stockings. His first open was a magic garden. He was given one last year and loved it.

My first present was some fancy weighing scales which I love.....This morning I made pancakes or breakfast and christened them.....

Breakfast pancakes with cinnamon and honey butter (serves 4 generously).......

8oz self raising flour
1oz butter
1oz sugar
9floz milk
1 pinch salt
2oz extra butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 heaped teaspoon honey

Put the flour, butter, sugar, salt and milk in a bowl and mix together into a batter.

Grease a frying pan or griddle with a tiny bit of oil and drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the hot pan. Once little bubbles form flip over with a fork or fish slice.

Put a pan on the hob and add the extra butter, cinnamon and honey. As soon as it bubbles take off the heat. Mix together.

Pop the pancakes on a plate and pour the butter over the top. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar if you like. I add a pinch of sea salt over the top.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Get left-over it...

There's two days a year when a fry up is essential. Boxing Day and New Years Day. What I love about Christmas fry ups is your have a whole fridge full of leftovers to be creative with making a standard fry up so much more fun. And when you're dressed is festive PJ's with a hot water bottle up your jumper it makes the cold weather a lot more bearable....

Leftover fry up cakes......(serves 1)

2 cold roast potatoes

4 cooked sprouts

3 cold roast parsnips

1oz/25g butter

Chop the cold vegetables into rough chunks.

Press together with your hands into a small cake shape.

Melt the butter in a pan and carefully place the cake in the pan. Let is cook for 2 or 3 minutes without moving otherwise it might fall apart. Carefully flip over and cook until brown and crispy.

Serve with a poached egg and Primrose Herd bacon. (Just a word on the bacon, I bought 4 packets from the Cornish Food Box and it is completely fantastic. Buy buy buy.)

Friday, 24 December 2010

Hamming it up....

My Christmas Cornish Food Box arrived today.....

I now have a fridge full of fresh smoked bacon, sausages, elderflower fizz, treacle pudding...the list goes on. In the box was a 225g pot of honey and I wondered if it was enough for my Christmas Eve ham....But it was so thick and treacle, it was just perfect. (Don't be put off by the amount of ingredients because you can wing most of on).

Christmas Eve ham with honey, cloves and chestnuts........(serves 5)

1.5kg ham
fennel seeds
2 onions
4 bay leaves
2 leeks
allspice berries
a few cloves for the ham jacuzzi
3 satsumas
225g Cornish honey
4 tbsp demerara sugar
1 handful vacuum packed chestnuts
1 more handful of cloves

Place the ham in a large, heavy saucepan and cover with water. Add anything in the fridge you think might make a lovely stock. I used a couple of red onions with the skins still on, a sprinkling of fennel seeds, allspice berries, a couple of crispy old leeks, some satsumas chopped in half and some bay leaves.
Bring to the boil and boil for 1 hour. Carefully remove from the pan and pop on a draining board. After a couple of minutes get a sharp knife and run a criss cross pattern over the fat. Press the cloves into each diamond. Pour the honey and sprinkle the sugar over the top. Sprinkle the chestnuts into the honey that has run off the ham.

Put in a pre heated oven (180'c) for about 20-30 mins.

Slice and serve with salad and jacket potatoes. Spoon a little of the melted honey and chestnuts over the meat.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A mere trifle.....

The drama is what I love most about Christmas. Everything being sparkly and glittery. Houses being covered in twinkly lights, people being covered in sequins, drinking champagne at 11am and eating chocolate at 11pm.

On Sunday we met up for a last meal together before Christmas when everyone goes their separate ways.

We ate roast dinner with each of us bringing a different part.

I was in charge of the pudding and copped out completely by making a cheat's trifle. But I got out the gold spray and silver bowls and added a bit of Christmas drama...

Easy peasy Christmas trifle......(serves 10)

250g frozen berries (mine we all picked in the summer #smugface)
1 small jam jar of cherry conserve
2 star anise
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 shop bought Madeira loaves
1 litre posh supermarket vanilla custard
600ml double cream
1 handful silver balls
gold edible spray

Slice the cake into 1 cm slices.
Layer in the bottom of a large glass bowl. Defrost the berries in a pan. Add the spices and stir in the jam. Spoon half the warm berries on top of the sponge. Add the rest of the sponge and then the fruit mix. Leave for an hour or so.

Spoon the custard over the fruit and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours. Whip the cream until it is soft and marshmallowy. Spread over the top of the custard. Sprinkle the balls over the top. Then give it a light spray with the edible gold.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Check it sprout.....

We've decided to spend Christmas Day with the in laws and I have no involvement at all. It's the first proper Christmas I have spent without my family (2 years ago I had to work but that doesn't count.) No Christmas dinner cooking to do. No stormy boat rides home. It feels completely weird.

Last night we had a mini Christmas dinner with Team Bramble (a group of friends we holiday with on Scilly every year.) We exchanged gifts.....lots of homemade goodies.....

I've already eaten most of the chocolate truffles I was given.

But even though I'm not involved in Christmas dinner I'm still making dishes here and there to remind me of home.

Sprouts with Creme Fraiche.......(serves 4 as part of Christmas dinner)

20 sprouts
1 large leek
1 oz butter
2 tubs creme fraiche (I forgot to check the actual size but it was these ones!)
1 handful breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 180'c. Cut off the woody bottom of the sprouts and slice each one vertically into three. Slice the leeks thinly. In a pan melt the butter. Over a low heat fry the leeks and sprouts until they start to soften.

Add the creme fraiche and let it bubble over the heat. Pour into a heatproof bowl and put in the oven for 10 minutes or so until the breadcrumbs have browned and the dish is bubbling.

I could easily eat this on it's own and would be great for dairy loving vegetarians.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Sprouting positive....

While the rest of the country seems to be waist deep in snow we've missed the best of it. Note the word "best" as snow can only be a good thing. (I'm conveniently forgetting the people stuck for hours on planes and snow bound pubs up country.) We've had bursts of it which leads to bursts of excitement in our household only to be met ten minutes later with disappointment and another ten minutes of checking Internet weather forecasts.

At least it's made the allotment look a bit less "horrendous mess" and a bit more "shabby chic."

I had high hopes for the sprouts being ready for Christmas but they are no bigger than the size of maltesers.
Brussels Sprouts in brown butter with chestnuts and Cornish sea salt.....(serves 4)

About 40 sprouts (10 per person is plenty)
1 handful of vacuum packed chestnuts
1 good pinch Cornish Sea Salt

Chop the hard bottoms off each sprout. The top two leaves should fall away but if they don't, gently peel them off. Pop in boiling water until just tender.
Drain and pop into ice cold water until you need them. In a pan melt the butter until it foams. Add the chopped chestnuts and stir around until the butter starts to turn a brown colour. Add the sprouts and toss around for a couple of minutes until they are warmed through.

Sprinkle with the sea salt and serve.

Friday, 17 December 2010

The smell of fudge is dancing around the kitchen. There's a huge black cloud hanging over the town about to spit out fat snowflakes. I say spit but that makes it sound unwelcome. It's not. I've been waiting for the snow all week.

Today is the first day of Christmas. The day I make fudge for Christmas presents.

The flat is decorated now. All the presents are wrapped (apart from the fudge)....and I'm not sure what else I'm meant to be doing except enjoying myself. I've managed to cram in four parties this weekend....if the snow allows....

So until those begin I'll sit back and enjoy the snow.......

Chocolate Coin Spice Hot Chocolate......(makes one mug)

Place three large chocolate coins in a mug. Measure out a mug of milk and place in a saucepan with a clove. Bring to the boil (but don't let it boil.)

Fish out the clove and pour over the coins. Stir until all the chocolate is melted. Top with mini marshmallows and a pinch of ground cinnamon.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Boxing Day.....

I'm wearing socks in bed now. Socks, pyjamas, a jumper and occasionally a hat. When I leave for work in the pitch black morning I have told hold on to the rails as the frosted wooden steps turn me into Bambi on ice. I'm holding out for a white Christmas when I can wear pretty wooly coats and bobble hats and enjoy the snow instead of muttering under my breath.

You can't get much more Christmassy than the Victorian Christmas Market in Truro at the moment. Why do the Victorians seem more Christmassy than us? (Thanks to my friend Lisa for these photos).

I love Truro. I lived there for 3 years and would happily move back if the thought of moving wasn't so hideous. On Tuesday night I was invited to my lovely friend Tor's new business launch. It's called the Cornish Food Box Company and at the moment is only available for Truro but is bound to spread across Cornwall soon.

The idea is basically that you pick and choose the Cornish food you want, then they put in a box and deliver it to you! I can't wait to do my Christmas order. Duck from the Cornish Duck Company will definately be on the order form for Boxing Day!