Saturday, November 29, 2008

'Yule' be Pleased with These

Firstly the 'snacks' - all aimed to be made from ingredients we usually keep in store, and all easy to make. None require a 'recipe' as such, the method only given of how to prepare/present the snacks.

Ham and Egg 'Squeak': Mash up leftover greens and potato to form 'veggieburgers'. Fry until hot and crispy and place each over a sliced of cooked ham, top the 'burgers' with a poached egg, and top this with a spoon of your favourite relish.

Tex-Mex Tortilla Wrap:
Heat chosen cooked beans (borlotti, cannellini, butterbeans etc), drain if necessary and mash in a little crushed garlic and lemon juice. Mash a small avocado with lemon juice and spread warm tortillas with the bean mixture topped with the avocado. Top with grated cheese and pop under the grill for half a minute to allow the cheese to melt, then roll up the tortilla, slice across diagonally and eat while hot.

Kick Start Sardines on Toast:
Spread thick sliced white toast with butter and wholegrain mustard. Top with canned drained sardines and cover with grated Cheddar cheese. Grill until the cheese has melted and bubbling, and serve with a handful of watercress.

Tuna and Sweetcorn Toasties:
Mash drained canned tuna with canned sweetcorn, chopped spring onions, may0nnaise and seasoning to taste. Place some salad leaves on top of freshly cooked toast, and top with the tuna mixture. Season with salt, pepper or paprika to taste.

Breakfast Toast:
Toast and butter muffin halves, top with grilled tomato and bacon and top with a poached egg.

The following recipe is for a hot sweet pickle that is just perfect to eat with any cold meats and cheeses around Christmas time. Of course also good to eat any time of the year - try it with a Ploughman's. As this pickle is best left for a month to allow flavours to develop, then this weekend could be a good time to make a pot or two. Omit the chillis if you don't wish the pickle to be too hot. You may prefer to add grated ginger root instead. Other ingredients such as raisins and walnuts can also be added.
If sterilized and sealed properly, this pickle will keep for up to a year. Once opened, keep in the fridge and eat within a month.
Sweet Tangy Winter Pickle: fills 6 jam jars (1 kg total)
4 oz (100g) carrots, finely diced
6 oz (175g) swede, finely diced
half small cauliflower, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 courgette, finely diced
4 oz (100g) raw beetroot, peeled and finely diced
1 large apple, peeled and finely diced
3 oz (75g) dried dates, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 oz (100g) dark muscovado sugar
half tsp salt
2 tblsp lemon juice
6 fl oz (175ml) malt vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp dried crushed chillies
1 tsp allspice
Put all the ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat so that the mixture just simmers, and keep it simmering for 1 1/2 hours until the vegetables are tender but still have some bite (if cooked at too high a heat the vegetables will go mushy). Unlike most pickle, this mixture will still have liquid visible. Carefully spoon the pickle into hot, sterilised jars, packing it down firmly so the liquid is pushed to the top. Screw on vinegar-proof lids, but fairly loosely, then tighten lids when the contents of the jars have cooled completely. Store in a cool place.

Now to the cake recipes, and with a celebration cake it is more often the decoration that fits the occasion rather than the content. So when adding a chocolate or white icing, pipe on a seasonal or anniversary message, sift over icing sugar to represent snow, and/or add a decoration (robin, holly?).
Mocha Christmas Roulade: (F)
7 oz (200g) plain dark chocolate
2 tblsp instant coffee powder (the richer the better)
4 tblsp water
5 eggs, separated
9 oz (250g) caster sugar
1 x 284 carton double cream
icing sugar
Take 6 oz (175g) of the chocolate, break into pieces and put into a bowl with 1 tblsp of the coffee powder and 3 tblsp of the water. Heat over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate has melted, stir to combine then leave to cool slightly.
Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the sugar and beat until very thick and creamy, then fold in the cooled chocolate mixture. Whisk the eggs whites until stiff, and fold a little into the chocolate mixture to slacken it slightly, then fold in the remainder of the whites. Spoon into a lined and greased 8" x 12" (20 x 30cm) Swiss roll tin, and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 20 - 25 minutes until slightly risen and firm. Leave in the tin for five minutes, then cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave for several hours, or overnight. Carefully remove the cloth, turn the 'roulade' onto a sheet of greaseproof paper that has been dusted with icing sugar, and peel away the lining paper.
Place remaining chocolate and coffee powder into a bowl with the last tablespoon of water and melt as above, over simmering water. Whip the cream to standing peaks, then fold in the chocolate mixture and spread evenly over the roulade base. Roll up like a Swiss roll. The cake will crack - so don't be put off - and transfer to a serving plate. It will keep in the fridge for several hours until ready to serve. Prior to serving sift over more icing sugar, then serve.
To freeze: place the completed roulade in the freezer, and open-freeze until as solid as it will go, then wrap loosely in foil. Store up to 4 weeks. The day before serving, unwrap and allow to defrost overnight in the fridge.

This next cake is almost an everyday one, but can be adapted to make an excellent party cake, either by serving the cake as-is with a decorated chocolate topping, or using the recipe to make a shallow cake (baked in a Swiss roll tin, covering it with ganache (equal quantities of dark chocolate and cream heated together until dissolved, then cooled and beaten - with or without added liqueur). Spread this over the sponge base in a really thick filling, then when that has cooled an set in the fridge, top with a layer of melted chocolate.
Now that I come back to the recipe, have a deja vu feeling that it might be one previously posted under the name of Chocananna Cake. But worth a second showing.
Chocolate and Banana Cake: serves 10
6 oz (175g) butter, softened
6 oz (175g) brown sugar
6 oz (175g) self-raising flour
1 oz (25g) cocoa powder
4 large eggs, beaten
4 tblsp golden syrup
4 tblsp water
3 oz (75g) dark chocolate, chopped
1 large banana, sliced
Beat together all the ingredients except the banana and the chocolate. When smooth and creamy fold in the chocolate and banana then tip into a 2 lb (1kg) base-lined loaf tin, and level the surface.
Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then remove, peel off the paper and spread the chocolate icing (recipe below) over the top and sides. Leave to set then decorate as required. Serve sliced.
chocolate icing:
1o oz (275g) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
4 tblsp water
4 tblsp double cream
3 tblsp icing sugar, sifted
Put the chocolate and water into a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted, then remove from heat, beat in the cream and icing sugar, and set aside to cool slightly and thicken, then spread over the cake (see above) and leave to set.

Panettone: makes 1 loaf (serves 8 - 10)
12 oz (350g) strong white bread flour
good pinch of salt
1 sachet (7g) easy-blend dried yeast
2 oz (50g) caster sugar
4 oz (100g) sultanas
2 oz (50g) chopped mixed peel
zest of 1 small lemon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tblsp warm milk
4 oz (100g) butter, melted
half ounce (12g) butter, melted
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, stir in the yeast, sugar, sultanas, peel and lemon zest. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, milk and butter. Beat together for five minutes until the dough becomes elastic and leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, then shape into a round, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. Note: because of the extra ingredients this dough will take longer to rise than normal.
When the dough has risen, tip onto a lightly floured surface and knock back slightly, not too much, then shape it into a ball and place in a round 7" (18cm) greased and lined cake tin. Using string, tie a double layer of greaseproof paper around the outside of the tin leaving a collar about 3" (7.5cm) above the rim.
Slash a cross in the top of the dough, cover and leave to rise again for about half an hour or until again doubled in size.
When ready, brush the top of the panettone with all the melted butter, and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat down to 180C, 350F, gas 4 and bake for a further 30 - 35 minutes or until the top is golden and crisp. Turn out and cool on a cake airer. Cut in wedges to serve.

This next recipe is again bread-dough based, with a touch of not just Stollen about it, but also Chelsea buns and Hot Cross buns. this 'crown' is made by baking small rolls together to 'tear and share'.
Festive Fruit Crown: serves 16
1 x 500g packet white bread mix
2 oz (50g) butter, diced
1 oz (25g) caster sugar
zest of 1 small orange or tangerine
2 - 3 tsp orange (or tangerine) juice (for the icing)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
approx 9 fl.oz (250ml) warm water
6 oz (175g) sultanas
4 oz (100g) marzipan, cut into 16 cubes
4 oz (100) icing sugar
1 oz (25g) toasted flaked almonds
Put the bread mix in a bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in the sugar and orange zest, then add the egg with enough water to mix to form a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic., then knead the sultanas into the dough. Divide into 16 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Press one cube of the marzipan into the centre of each ball, then re-roll to make sure the marzipan is enclosed.
Arrange 11 balls around inside edge of a greased 9" (23cm) diameter deepish round cake tin (could be slightly larger tin) then fit the remaining 5 balls in the centre. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Bake the 'crown' at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for 45 - 50 minutes or until risen and golden brown, tenting loosely with foil after about 30 minutes if browning too quickly. Turn out and cool on a cake airer.
Blend the icing sugar with the orange juice to make a smooth icing and spread over the rounded top of the loaf, scattering over the almonds. Pull rolls apart to serve. Can be eaten hot or cold.