Thursday, November 08, 2007

Time Savers

We don't need to be vegetarian to enjoy this festive dish. I urge everyone to eat and enjoy more meatless meals. For one thing they save money, and even this recipe doesn't work out that expensive compared to one made with meat.
Christmas Roll: serves 4 (F)
1 tblsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
6 oz (150g) wholemeal breadcrumbs
2 oz (50g) shelled pistachio nuts, chopped
2 oz (50g) no-soak apricots, chopped
1 tblsp fresh sage, chopped
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
8 oz (225g) curd cheese
1 lb (450g) frozen spinach, thawed
good pinch ground nutmeg
375g pack puff pastry
egg for glazing
Put the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion, celery and garlic for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, nuts, apricots, sage, and egg. Season to taste and leave to cool. Put the curd cheese in a bowl, put the spinach into a sieve and press to extract as much liquid as possible.
Roll out the pastry to make a 14" x 12" (35 x 30cm) rectangle. Place half the stuffing mixture along the centre, lengthways, cover this with half the spinach, and place all the cheese on the top, then reverse by covering the cheese with the remaining spinach, and finally the last of the stuffing mixture on top of that. Wet the pastry edges, and bring up and overlap the filling, seal the ends, then place the roll, seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Brush all over with egg and decorate with pastry trimmings if you wish.
Bake for 15 20 minutes at 220C, 435F, gas 7 or until the pastry is well risen and golden.
To freeze: Overwrap and seal. Use within 3 months. To cook: thaw at room temperature for approx 3 hours, then re-heat in a hot oven (200C etc) for 15 minutes.

Although not a dessert recipe, today am finishing with a more unusual jam which is made in a microwave. Kiwi fruits can often be bought in 'value packs', and this could make an interesting addition to the hampers full of home-cooked goodies that are often given at Christmas time.
Kiwi Fruits Jam: makes approx a pound and a half (675g)
1 lb (450g) kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
2 tblsp lemon juice
1 lb (450g) caster sugar
Put the fruit and the lemon juice into a large heatproof microwave bowl, cover and cook on High for five minutes. Add the sugar and stir well. Cook, this time uncovered, on High for 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Then cook on High for 12-15 minutes, stirring every 2 - 3 minutes until setting point is reached. Pot up into hot sterilised jars and seal.