Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Turkey and Ham Terrine – Christmas leftovers recipe


Well, before I begin today, I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Father Christmas was extremely generous this year and I’m now enjoying all the lovely presents he, my parents and my husband delivered! I am loving Windows 7 and am trying out writing my blog via a new tool (!) and have got lots of exciting books to blog about too!


So, what was Christmas like this year? It was the first year I’ve ever cooked turkey, and due to the quality of it, and a quick recap of what Delia does before I began, it was delicious. I stuffed it both ends; in the cavity and under the skin, covered it in butter, salt and peppered it and wrapped streaky bacon over the top. Served with all the trimmings, even though everyone’s favourites are the pigs in blankets, it was a success!

But what about all those leftovers? As usual, taking hubby to the supermarket before Christmas was a mistake and several more items than usual were found in the trolley when unloading. So as well as a 14lb turkey from the farm for dinner, we also have the leftovers of a large on the bone ham to eat up! We’ve already done triple decker sandwiches, gravy included, and last night was the turn of ham, eggs and chips! Tonight it’s Ham with Parsley sauce, and a day to remove all the meat from the bones and see what else it can be turned into! A turkey stock is first up, then a soup or some sort, depending on which meat there is most of, then a terrine with whatever’s left!


Last year, I went to Hepburns for a ham hock and a couple of trotters to make a Ham Terrine I’d had as part of a Christmas celebration at a restaurants, (the chef was kind enough to pass the recipe on to me!), and it was really delicious. This year, mum found a recipe in the Telegraph, and although it uses gelatine, I’m going to combine the two recipes and see what happens!


3kg ham hocks

2 pigs' trotters

25g chives and 25g parsley

50g onion, 50g capers, and 50g gherkins

75cl white wine

10cl white wine vinegar

coriander root

salt and pepper


The original recipe consists of boiling the hocks (3kg) and trotters (2) in a stock pot with cold water for ten minutes, skimming off the scum as you go, then removing the meat and discarding the water. You then return the meat, add chopped coriander root, ground pepper and finely chopped onion (50g).  Pour in the white wine (75cl) and white wine vinegar (10cl) and add enough water to cover the ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently without covering for at least 2 hours, until the hocks are tender and the meat falls off. Cool in the liquid, remove the hocks, cover in cling film and set aside. Discard the trotters. Strain the liquid through a muslin-lined sieve into a clean pan and boil rapidly until reduced  to a pint. Strain again and set aside. Line a terrine tin with a double layer of cling film, peel the skin off the hocks and shred the meat. Mix with the capers and gherkins, 50g of each, and the parsley and chives, 25g of each. Season with pepper and only add salt if necessary. Pile and push the mixture into the lined tin and press down firmly. Pour the reduced liquid in to cover the meat and tap the tin to remove air pockets. Cover with overhanging cling film and chill over night. Serve in thick slices!


Thursday, 17 December 2009

CDwM Main Course recipe - Chicken with wild mushroom and spinach sauce.

From Bon Appétit

I've cooked this dish a few times before and it's always really tasty. It's sort of an up-to-date version of that old classic, Chicken Tarragon that my mum used to make. Now, having watched quite a few 'Something for the Weekends', I have noticed that Simon has a penchant for this herb, and, I believe, quite rightly so! It's one of those things I don't think we use often enough and tends to be in dried form at the back of the cupboard from the early 1970s! Well, this recipe uses fresh tarragon. You can't make it ahead of schedule, in terms of the day before, but pan frying the chicken and beginning the sauce is something you could do earlier in the evening, before your guests arrive.

For the real recipe, click here, or for my version, carry on reading!

Chicken breasts with skin on, preferably free-range
chicken stock
wild mushrooms
white wine

basmati rice
flaked almonds

Pan fry the seasoned chicken breast until browned, ensuring the skin is crispy.
Turn skin side up, pop into an oven-proof dish and pour chicken stock around them, until it reaches a third up the breasts.
Cook in a hot oven, about 180-200 degrees celcius, until cooked through: about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the butter until sizzling, then add the torn wild mushrooms. Don't shake the pan around; let them sit there for a few minutes first.
When they are soft and browned, add a glass of wine and bubble 'til it's nearly gone.
Add the spinach, cream, I used double, and the chopped tarragon and season to taste.

Serve with the rice: Cook the rice as per the packet instructions, toast the almonds, either in a hot, dry frying pan or in the oven (keep an eye on them, I usually end up making two batches, the first always being very burnt as I get easily distracted!) Once done, combine them with the rice and add a blob of butter to taste.

On the night, I slightly overcooked the chicken and this is something to be aware of! If the sauce isn't quite ready, remove the chicken from the oven, and pop it back to heat before serving. It's a quick and easy recipe but, if you serve it attractively, looks more complex than it really is!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Come Dine with Merlotti - Mackerel Pate

From Bon Appétit

This is a really simple recipe and perfect for making the day before if you want to get ahead - which is exactly what I did for my CDwM night!

You'll need:

mackerel fillets (I buy the ones with the peppercorns on as you don't have to add as much seasoning then!)
creme fraiche
lemon juice
melted butter

Now, I mentioned that this was incredibly easy, and it is, so the recipe isn't really a recipe so much as a combination of ingredients! You throw it all into and blender and turn on until the desired texture is achieved!

Put the fish fillets, minus the skin, into the blender and blitz.
Add 1 large dollop of creme fraiche for every 3 fillets you use as the mackerel is very oily anyway.
Blitz again until combined. If you prefer a looser texture, then add a little more creme fraiche, but remember, it's easier to add more than take-away once combined!
Taste, add a squeeze of lemon and season with salt as preferred.

To serve, either use two spoons to make quenelles, or for ease, push into ramekins, ensuring the top is quite flat and there are no large air pockets. Cover with the melted butter and chill.

I always serve with shop-bought brown seed bread, toasted, and a green salad with a dash of oil and balsamic vinegar. Delicious!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Come Dine with Merlotti - Amuse Bouche recipes

From Bon Appétit

So, here's the first in a set of posts detailing the recipes from my recent Come Dine with Me session with the girls from school!

Part 1 includes the amuse-bouche, although I think the only recipe I haven't previously documented is the Tomato and chilli gazpacho.

tomatoes - deseeded and chopped
garlic - crushed
chilli flakes
vegetable stock
herbs - I used chopped fresh basil

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and add the chopped tomatoes.
Fry until they start to go mushy, then add the garlic and chilli flakes.
Stir in the stock, a little at a time until the sauce has loosened.
Simmer gently for about 25 minutes, adding stock so it remains runny.
Taste and season as desired.
Stir in the chopped basil and leave to cool.
Pour into shot glasses and chill.
Garnish with a basil leaf and serve at room temperature.

As for the Tadpoles in Holes and Smoked Haddock Pot au Feux, simply click their names to find the recipes! For the Tadpoles, cut sausages into small pieces first and use little tiny tart cases, cooking for no more than 15 minutes. For the Smoked Haddock, simply poach the fish in milk first, then break into bite-sized pieces and place into individual moulds. Use the milk to make the sauce, pour over the fish, cover in grated cheese and pop into the oven until the cheese bubbles.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Come Dine with Merlotti

Last night was the night - my hosting of three friends for dinner. Now, it was a school night, so we knew it wouldn't be a late one, and I also knew I'd only have about an hour and a half to cook. With that in mind, I spent a couple of hours on Sunday evening sorting things out and preparing what I could.

So, here it is...

I began by preparing the amuse bouches: tomato and chilli gazpacho; tadpoles in holes with onion gravy; smoked haddock pot au feu bites.

Having never made a tomato soup before, let alone a cold one, this was a bit of trial and error! I basically combined and cooked tomatoes, garlic, herbs and chilli flakes, then cooled and served in shot glasses with a straw! For the tadpoles, I browned the mini-sausages (bought rather than home-made I'm afraid) and mixed up the batter. This I spooned into hot oil inside mini silicone cases, popped in a sausage and cooked for about 5 minutes. I also made the onion gravy ready to heat up on Monday evening. The smoked haddock was the most phaff, but also one of the tastiest! I cooked everything ready to assembly come the night, and so it was very easy to prepare when my guests arrived.

Monday night arrived and we sat down at the table after a glass of Cava and some nuts, and began with the amuse bouche. These are always my favourite part of any meal and last night was no exception. I could eat things like this forever without ever having a main course. The Yorkshire puddings were a little overbrowned due to the re-heating, and the Quails' eggs never made it to the top of the haddock bites, (if anyone knows how to peel soft boiled Quails' eggs, or poach them successfully, please let me know! I gave up in the end!) but all tasted fine, even the trial and error gazpacho!

Next was a very simple mackerel pate which I covered with a layer of butter, just so it looked nice, and so we could use it on our toast! Again, I was able to make this the day before and keep it chilled until it was needed! I removed it from the fridge earlier in the evening and had it all plated up ready to serve. All that was necessary before leaving the kitchen for the table was a drizzle of oil and vinegar and some freshly toasted seed bread: no, I didn't have time to make my own!

Main course was Chicken with Mushroom, Spinach and Tarragon cream sauce, served with toasted almond rice. This was something I had to make on the night, but I'd done it several times before so knew how long it took and what I could get done early on in the evening. Now, I'm usually rubbish with rice - I tend to forget about it and it very quickly goes soggy - but this time I kept an eye out and ran it under cold water when done. The chicken was just about on the right side of begin done, but would have benefited from several minutes fewer in the oven. And the rice? It was cooked to perfection, but I struggled to re-heat on the hob so was only luke warm when served. Sorry girls.

The finale of the meal was Dan's Chocolate Fondants. Now, all the girls are foodies so know the difficulties often associated with this dessert. Again though, having made it previously several times and trusting this fabulous recipe implicitly, I knew that if I followed the instructions, nothing would go wrong...and it didn't! I made all the ganache-type mix the day before and kept it chilled until the evening itself. I popped the bowl into a pot of hot water on the night to ensure the mixture was runny enough to spoon into the dariole moulds, and as usual, after 10 minutes in a hot oven and a sprinkling of icing sugar, they were cooked to crispy on the outside and runny in the middle.

The chatter flowed, along with the wine, and before we knew it, the clock read half past ten, on a school night, and it was time for bed! Thanks girls, a lovely evening.

I'll add recipes in my next few posts so we're not overrun if that's ok!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Cottage Pie

Definitely an all time classic and something I make many times a year as it's so easy and so scrummy every time! It's one of those recipes you can adapt and play with as you like, but mine goes something like this...

lean steak mince
onions - cut as you wish
carrots - diced small
beef stock cube
red wine
brown sauce (HP, not Daddies!)

First, fry off the mince until browned.
Remove from the pan and use the juices to fry off the onions and carrots until just tender.
Return the mince to the pan, crumble in a stock cube, pour over a good glug of red wine, add a splodge of HP and stir. Let simmer until the meat is cooked through and a thick gravy has formed. If necessary, add a little more wine or water.

Put mixture into a large oven-proof dish and dollop mash over the top. cover with cheese and heat til hot and the cheese bubbles and browns.

Serve with crusty bread to mop up the sauce!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

CDwM - Round 2

Have just decided the next round, 2 / 4, will be with me hosting this Monday! Agghhh. Well, i've got all day Sunday to prepare, so looking forward to the challenge: bring it on Girls!
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