Entries in Christmas (10)
I tried this dish last Christmas when my future Father - in - law made it and I loved it so much that I resolved to make it too. The recipe has sat open beside my bed for the best part of a year now and when we decided that I was going to do a birthday meal for my Dad, it was the first thing I thought of.
My first problem was how was I going to get a hold of a really fresh side of salmon living in the midlands, but surprisingly the local large supermarket came up with the goods.
The recipe is surprisingly easy, requiring you to throw the marinade ingredients together and rub on the salmon, then leave for 48 hours. All you then have to do is slice and serve, simple. The cucumber and dill salad, I feel, is an essential accompaniment and some lovely buttered brown soda bread.
This is perfect to wow your dinner guests over the festive period.
This is a Mark Hix recipe from Good Food magazine
Serves 8 - 10
1 Salmon fillet (with skin), about 750-1kg trimmed
80g black treacle
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
grated zest 1 lemon
50g sea salt
1 tbsp English mustard
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Lay the salmon on a piece of cling film, skin side down. Warm the treacle slightly in a pan until it becomes runny then mix in all the other ingredients. Smear the mixture all over the flesh of the salmon until evenly coated. Wrap tightly in the cling film, place the salmon on a tray skin side down, leave at room temperature for an hour then put in the fridge for 48hrs.
When ready to serve, unwrap the salmon, drain off the excess liquid and pat dry. Slice the salmon into thin (about 2mm thick) slices. Serve with the Pickled cucumber and some buttered brown soda bread.
2 medium cucumbers
2 tbsp good-quality white wine vinegar
grated zest 2 lemons
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
good pinch salt
4 tbsp chopped dill
Halve the cucumbers and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Slice the cucumber into 3mm slices then put into a bowl with all the other ingredients. Mix well and let the flavours mingle for about 45mins before serving.
It's getting close to the big day, so now is the time to lug crates of booze into the house, organise your elderly relatives so they don't forget what time lunch is and plan the delicious treats you are going to enjoy over the festive period.
I absolutely love Christmas pudding, doused in flaming brandy and served nice and hot with a big dollop of homemade brandy butter melting over it. Wonderful as it is, not everybody likes it, so this dessert is a nice simple alternative and a fitting finale to the delicious food you have just enjoyed.
A fool is a creamy dessert that you can adapt to use any fruit you feel like, the most common ones being rhubarb and gooseberry. I thought a cranberry and orange fool would make a nice Christmassy treat and that some shortbread would be a good accompaniment.
Recipe to serve 2
For the Fool:
1 medium carton of whipping cream
150g fresh cranberries
75g caster sugar
zest and juice of one orange
glug of Cointreau
2 tblsp icing sugar
For the shortbread:
- 250g plain flour
- 250g unsalted butter
- 125g semolina or cornflour
- 125g golden caster sugar
- More caster sugar and flour for dusting
- 8 inch square tin, greased
- 50g walnuts, blitzed finely in a food processor
Begin by putting the cranberries into a saucepan with the zest and juice of the orange, a tblsp of water and the caster sugar. Cook on a moderate heat until the cranberries have burst,and have started to cook down a little and the sugar has dissolved. Leave to one side to cool and then add about a 1 1/2 tblsp cointreau or more if you want.
Whip the cream to soft peak consistency, add the icing sugar and then take about two tblsp of the cranberry mixture and lightly mix through the cream to give a nice marbled effect. Take a couple of cocktail glasses and put a heaped tsp of the cranberry mixture in the bottom, then top with the cream. To finish it off put another tsp of the cranberries on top of the cream and chill the dessert in the fridge until needed.
To make the shortbread, cream the butter and sugar together and add the finely ground walnuts. Then sift the flours and stir in gently, finally bringing the mixture together with your hands. Roll out about 1/4 inch thick on a well floured surface, then cut out different shapes with a christmassy cutter and place on a baking sheet. Put into a 160 degree centigrade oven for about 25 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on a rack and serve with the chilled cranberry and orange fool.
A while ago I was tucked up on the sofa enjoying watching Hugh Fernley Whittingstall's River cottage program. In the last series he had gathered together a small group of neighbours and got them started on the road to self sufficiency. They cleared a patch of land to grow vegetables, fruit, keep chickens and then pigs and one of the group was then given butchery lessons so they could get the best from their pork.
One of the things they did with the pork was to cure one of the legs. It looked reasonably easy and I was really keen to try it out. I couldn't really afford to get a whole pork leg and for two of us it might have been a little on the gluttonous side so I had part of a boned leg of Gloucester old spot, just over a kg in weight.
Here is the recipe I used. It took seven days to cure mine, then I boiled it and roasted it with a sugar, mustard and clove glaze. It was so delicious it only took 1 day to eat. Next time I will get a bigger joint but I will have to find something big enough to brine it in.
It really is worth the effort. Graeme said it was possibly the best ham he had ever tasted. Give it a go.
We've all had presents like that but we keep our mouths shut and store it in the back of the cupboard only to find it years later during a spring clean. These are a few things I've seen and thought 'why?' 'what's the point of that?' You may disagree and feel that the following items do serve a useful purpose, but you'd be wrong.
So when your nearest and dearest are browsing in a department store and I say "I know what she needs, a musical cake slice!", you may want to take out a court injunction against them. Surely there can be no void in your culinary world that could be filled with a musical cake slice. Completely pointless!
2. So you enjoy cooking and you don't want to get your clothes dirty, but do you really have to wear this monstrosity? Nothing says tacky quite like a muscly man in tight pants on your apron. This is the sort of thing some aging Dad wears whilst successfully cremating sausages on the BBQ and chugging down a can of Fosters. Do you think Gordon Ramsay would be caught dead in this? It's not big and it's not clever.
3. An Antony Worrall Thompson cook book. Need I say more?
4. Ok, we've all got less time for cooking these days and many of us would rather spend some of that time sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine, but have we really got that lazy that we need an electric cheese grater. Surely it takes longer trying to fiddle about putting the cheese into the damn thing than it takes to just grate it yourself. Why not buy a chef to make the whole meal for you and be done with it! Might struggle to fit him under the Christmas tree though.
5.There aren't many times in my life that I have felt it necessary to have a novelty wine bottle holder, not least because a bottle of wine never stays unopened or unconsumed for long in our house. Surely the following item comes under the heading of mindless clutter. I imagine a normal wine rack full of nice wine would be better received.
Well that about tops my list of inane presents I would not be best pleased to receive. If you have been presented with any silly presents from the culinary world I would be interested to hear from you.