Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Winter fruit salad (4 colours)

This makes a lovely change from all the stodgy desserts we usually eat over Christmas. I halved the amount of syrup from the original recipe as we all thought it made far too much.

Caster sugar - 90 g
Water - 500 ml
Vanilla bean - quarter, split in half lengthwise
Dried figs - 4, quartered
Dried apricots - 10, halved
Pears - 3
Granny smith apple - 1
Lemon - 1
Pomegranate - jewels from half (pith and skin discarded)

1) First make the syrup. Place the sugar, water, vanilla bean and four 5cm long strips of lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then add the figs and apricots. Leave to cool completely.
2) Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a bowl. Peel and core the apple and pears and slice thinly. Immediately after slicing toss them in the lemon juice and then place them in a large serving bowl. Pour over the cooled syrup and then sprinkle over the pomegranate jewels.
3) Refrigerate for at least an hour and then remove the vanilla bean (which can be dried and reused) and lemon zest before serving. Serves 4-6.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Cranberry pancakes (1 colour)

I used our blueberry pancake recipe today, but replaced the blueberries with 45 g of cranberries for a Christmassy breakfast. Delicious.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Reindeer noses (1 colour)

Cooking chocolate - 80 g (I used plain, but I'm sure milk would be good too)
Single cream - 2 tbsp
Butter - 30 g
Icing sugar - 155 g
Glace cherries - about 10 (depending on how many noses you make), halved
Dessicated coconut - about 60 g

1) Melt the chocolate, butter and cream together in a bowl over a pan of hot water. When melted, stir well and then sieve in the icing sugar. Cool the bowl in the fridge for at least an hour.
2) Take a teaspoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Gently press half a cherry into the ball and then roll in the coconut. Repeat until all the mixture is used up and then return to the fridge. These can be warmed to room temperature before serving, but we found that they were just as good straight from the fridge.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Pear, cranberry & white chocolate pastry (2 colours)

My version of this looked rather messy as for some reason the white chocolate didn't melt enough to become runny. I don't think I overcooked it so am not sure what went wrong.

I might try adding some ground cinnamon or cloves to the filling next time, but it's delicious without.

Puff pastry - 500 g
Dried cranberries - 35 g
Pear halves - 2 * 400 g tins, drained and sliced
White chocolate - 150 g, chopped into small pieces
Egg - 1, beaten with 1 tbsp of water

1) Halve the puff pastry and roll out into 2 large squares. Cut off the corners and save the pastry trimmings for decorating. Place one square on a greased baking tray.
2) Mix together the cranberries, pears and 100 g of the chocolate and spoon over the pastry on the baking tray, leaving an inch at each edge.
3) Mix the egg and water together and brush the edges of the pastry. Top with the remaining square and brush all over with the egg and water. Press down the edges with a fork and then make several 2 inch slits, 2 inches apart through the top of the pastry. Decorate with the extra pastry (we made it into some holly leaves).
4) Bake at 190°C for about half an hour until the pastry is golden brown. Leave to cool and then melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Drizzle over the pastry to decorate. Serves 8.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Christmas recipes 2012

I've updated my list of Christmas recipes and separated it into those I've made (and blogged) and those I'd like to make...


Canape crackers
Smoked aubergine and yoghurt vol-au-vents
Smoked garlic and mozzarella canapes
Sweet potato puffs with coconut dipping sauce
Tomato and feta pesto bites

Christmas bulgur with vegetables
Christmas slaw 
Citrus and pomegranate salad with chilli-honey dressing
Clementine, feta and leaf salad
Feta and pomegranate

Main dishes:
Carrot and cashew crisp with hot lentil salad
Christmas cob
Christmas pies
Christmas pilau
Pine nut and carrot roast
Pumpkin, cranberry and red onin tagine
Leek and cranberry caerphilly strudel
Salmon with cranberry and almond crust 
Wild rice, cranberry and hazelnut stuffing

Cakes & biscuits:
Gingerbread cookies
Gingerbread house
Minty chocolate cookies
Pear and mincemeat crumble cake
Snow-topped cupcakes
Stollen wreath

Apple and pecan strudel
Apple, mincemeat and nut strudel
Lime and cranberry bread and butter pudding
Limoncello syllabub
Little iced Christmas puds
Meringue roulade
Roasted plum strudel
Tropical Christmas pudding

Vanilla-coconut panna cotta with pomegranate jelly

Candied walnuts
Chocolate Christmas trees
Peppermint oreo cookie balls
Sparkling cranberries
Sugar plums

Mulled wine
Santa shot


Main dishes:
Aubergine and goat's cheese parcels with cranberry sauce
Christmas cous cous 

Cakes & biscuits:
Fruit and nut Yule slice
Ginger biscuits
Snowy clementine cakes
White chocolate cranberry pear pastry 

Winter fruit salad

Reindeer noses

Mulled wine