Wednesday, December 09, 2009

One Thing Leads to Another...

Many people are now cutting down on how much they spend on gifts, and even if the home-made is not for you, try the new idea of setting a small amount (say £5) so that no-one in the family spends more than that on any gift they give. If a family is large and £5 is too much, then make it £1 or even 50p. This way, far more thought goes into what is bought. It is a challenge to see what can be bought for that amount, and when scouring the charity shops and jumble sales, you would be surprised at what you can find. Who says that a present has to be 'new'. As long as it is something that someone wants or can use, then that is the right gift to give. Even the time spent trying to find the 'right something' to give, and opening gifts given to you then makes this far more fun. Getting the sense of achievement is almost a present in its own right.

One recipe today, and although this is made with minced RAW chicken, it cries out for being made with leftover cooked poultry (any kind) , so another to file away as a Xmas 'left-over' recipe. If so, the amount of cooked flesh may not be enough, so add more cheese and breadcrumbs to make up the shortfall, or just make a smaller amount.
If the chicken has already been cooked, the cooking/reheating time can be slightly less than when using raw chicken. Instead of the 'balls', the mixture could be flattened to make small 'burgers' and fried off in a pan instead of using the oven. The amount makes 2 dozen, as intended to be 'buffet bites', but can be made larger as part of a main course or supper snack.
Chicken (or other) Balls: makes up to 24
1 lb (450g) minced chicken (see above)
6 oz (175g) breadcrumbs
5 oz (150g) Cheddar cheese, grated
1 tblsp mayonnaise
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
1 large egg
Put the chicken into a bowl with half the breadcrumbs, all the cheese, the herbs and the mayo. Add seasoning to taste and mix well (if using cooked chicken the mixture may be slightly too dry, so add a little beat egg to help bind).
Shape into ping-pong ball shapes and size. Roll in beaten egg and then into the remaining breadcrumbs. Chill for an hour, then place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 25 or so minutes at 180C, 350F, gas 4 or until cooked through (20 minutes if using cooked chicken).
Serve with a tartare dipping sauce, and a crispy green mixed leaf salad.