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Showing posts from December, 2011

Hot and cold buffet Ideas.

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Here is a list of ideas if you are looking for inspiration for some thing to do for a party. Just pick the odd one or two and then all you have to do is get a pig dish and serve it all in.  There is something so nice I think about the hot and cold buffet, you get to move a round talk to people and all depending on how much effort you put in to it can look pretty spectacular as well.


For your cold you could try Tuna Nicoise Potato chive and whole grain mustard salad Classic coleslaw Seafood Platter (Prawns, Salmon, Langoustines and Crab) Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Fresh Basil Parma Ham and Rocket Salad with a Grapefruit Dressing  Farmhouse Pate with Country Bread Plate of Roasted Meats and Pickles
Or you make a tart or two
Broccoli and Stilton Tart
Leek, Mushroom & Cheddar Tart
Goats Cheese and Red Onions Tart
Vine Tomato, Cheddar & Fresh Basil Tart
Roasted Vine Tomato, Shallot & Mozzarella Tart
Red Onion, Mushroom & Mascarpone Tart

For a hot…

Some Whisky Cocktails

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Well with new years just upon us and most thing to do with the new year seem to have a Scottish feel to them I have put together some of my favourite whiskey cocktails.  Some will ask if you have a good whiskey, why would you mix it with any thing and I will say you have a good point, but the fact remains that some people do not like whiskey.
I should not like whiskey as it has got me in to more trouble then it has done me good but at the end of the day I have my Achilles heel and that might be it , well one of them .
The Manhattan, this is real high society stuff now that you know is perhaps on of the grate cocktails of the world.  Now it is up to you and you can use either sweet vermouth or dry vermouth, or a mix of both. But one thing you will need is the very slight splash in the glass of Angostura’s bitters.
You will need 3 measures of whiskey 2 measures of vermouth, sweet or dry or half-and-half. Dash of angostura bitters
Mix over ice for 30 seconds then pour in to a glass.…

Canapé Ideas

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Well if you are looking to impress your gests then nothing goes better than a few drinks and some Canapé.  So below are a list of some hot and ones that you can have a go at making.  You do not have to do them all in fact you would be mad to try to but it does give you some ideas that you can use if you are organising a party. 
Cold
Roast scallop with yellow pepper vinaigrette
Peppered lamb loin with mint chutney
Sake marinated salmon with tobiko
Brie cheese on pumpernickel, red currant compote
Thai minced chicken salad rolled in rice paper
Maguro tartar, lemon grass gazpacho
Mousse of foie gras, quince jelly
Salad of lobster and scallop with pink guava dressing
Rolled salmon with crab meat and walnut
Rillette of barbeque duck with coriander ‘Guacamole’ foam
Venison tataki with Belgian endive and chocolate dressing
Monk fish foie gras, cherry-balsamic jello
Smoked chicken with mango salsa
Brie filled with raspberry chutney
Smoked salmon parcel with chilli dip
Marinated squid with co…

Sticky hot and sweet ribs

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Hot and sweet sticky ribs ideal for parties just bang them in the oven and bring them out when they are ready . The sweet and sour from the honey and the lime and the heat from the chilli makes it a very memorable dish to eat, Also it is exselnet finger food that you have to get stuck in to and messy with or you will not enjoy so it helps break the ice as well.
You will need 6 tbsp honey Juice from two limes 6 heaped tbsp oyster sauce ¼ tsp chilli flakes ¼ Five spice ¼ tsp salt Fresh ground black pepper 4 cloves garlic Equal quantity of fresh ginger to garlic 1.5kg/3lb 5oz meaty pork ribs
The reason why this works so well is that you marinade the ribs for at least 2 to 3 hours but to give the best result leave them over night.
Mix your honey, limejuice, and oyster sauce together in a large bow or dish that you will be putting your ribs in to.  Then crush your garlic and ginger and add that to the bowl.  Now add your seasoning and make sure that every thing is well mixed together.…

A Very Merry Christmas to you all.

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Well it has come to that time when you can do no more than just finish the job tomorrow.  Roast potatoes are done, turkey is ready to roast, lemon tart is cooked, no one in out house like Christmas pudding and every year it always lemon tart.  I can make a million different things but lemon tart is the one I am always asked for. The vegetables are prepared  and in bags with a little water so they do not dry out and I am just about to sit down with a nice glass of beer safe in the knowledge that every thing is ready .
So that leaves me just one more thing to do and that is wish you all a very merry Christmas .
And I will be back blogging after tomorrow with some ideas for New years Eve party’s as well.

The classic Prawn cocktail, the starter every one knows.

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A prawn cocktail the sort of starter that has stood the test of time and has been reborn so many times.  When I first started to work, in catering, it was consider a bit of a joke or old hat but it never went away and then it was reborn and made retort.  Weather you love it or hate it you will know it and if you are like me secretly you love it, but we cannot say that, or can we.  Yes, I love the prawn cocktail and if it is well made I like black forest gateaux and a good steak.  There I have said it and I mean it not as a tong in cheek, trying to be cleaver, nostalgic way but because they are really good flavour combinations.  And if you use good ingredients and do it well then why not praise them.
275g/10oz mayonnaise 2 small garlic cloves 2 tbsp limejuice 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce Dash of Tabasco 1 red pepper salt and freshly ground black pepper 900g/2lb mixed cooked prawns 1 iceberg lettuce 1 cucumber 1 apple  10 spring onions small handful fresh coriander leaves dash of lim…

Left over risotto

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With any kind of poultry, this works quite well and once more is a fast and easy to cook dish that you can just nock together in a few moments. This is a great for using up leftover turkey chicken or goose.
Ingredients 3 tbsp olive oil 1 large onion   2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 litre/1¾ pints chicken stock 400g/14½oz risotto rice 2 tbsp butter 250g/9oz mushrooms 500g leftover meat Some mixed fresh herbs sage, rosemary, parsley, tarragon, chives 4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan salt and freshly ground black pepper
Take your onion and peeled and finely chop it.  Then in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat, heat your oil and gently cook the onion.  Now crush the garlic and add that to the pan along with the rice and let it cook so that it becomes slightly translucent.
Meanwhile, In another pan have your stock gentle simmer. Now to be honest I do not know if it really makes that much of a difference if you stock is hot or not , but it does cook quicker. Or you could cheat add a …

Turkey, leek and chorizo pie

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This is a fast and simple dish that you can make out of the left over turkey on Christmas day. Just cook the fill roll out the pastry and cover the fill, glaze with some egg and bake it in the oven. If you wanted, you could just cook some pasta and through that in to the fill, no need to bake the pie, even easier. And on boxing day you do not want to be all day in the kitchen, not after Christmas day as well so keep it simple that’s what I say.
You will need. A Little butter 1 large onion, chopped 2 large leeks 200ml/7fl oz double cream 200ml/7fl oz chicken or turkey stock 500g/1lb 2oz cooked turkey 200g/7oz cooked chorizo 10 button mushrooms Fresh tarragon Fresh thyme 100g/ 3oz grated cheddar cheese Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 225g/8oz puff pastry Egg to glaze  beaten
Get your leeks and dice them up and give them a good was then dice the onion . now add some butter to the pot and on a low heat slowly cook down the leeks and onions . add the button mushrooms a…

Christmas pudding ice cream

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This recipe is very much like a recipe that I posted a few week ago of a ice cream that you can make with out using a ice cream making machine. At the time I said that it could be adapted to all sorts of flavour and this one is a real festive treat and a real alternative to Christmas pudding . Set it in small pudding bowls and turn them out on a plate.
For the basic ice cream you will need
1 pint/ 570ml of whipping cream 4 eggs 4oz/110g caster or icing sugar 1 apples pealed cored and diced 25g/1oz candied peel, chopped 25g/1oz sultanas 25g/1oz raisins 25g/1oz currants ⅓ tsp mixed spice 2tdsp  brandy
To start by separating your eggs so you have egg whites and yolks all nicely separated in two bowls. Then add just a little of the whipping cream No more than a quarter of the pint to a pan and heat up. Take it of the heat before it gets to hot and add it to the egg yolk . Whisk the egg yolks and the cream together, then to this add the candied peel, sultanas, raisins, currants, mixed …

Roast winter vegetable pudding .

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Take the very best winter vegetables and roast then set them in a vegetarian suet pastry and bake, yes bake a very jolly Christmas vegetarian alternative. But with this one I hope that you will get a layer affect that will be very satisfying indeed.
You will need the following  For the suet pastry case 200g/7oz self-raising flour 50g/2 oz vegetable suet 50g/ 2oz butter pinch salt 1 tbsp whole grain mustard Good pinch of freak thyme Good pinch of fresh rosemary Good pinch of fresh sage 120ml/4fl oz water For the filling olive oil Honey Lemon juice 8 small shallots 6 garlic cloves 3 goos ized carrots 3 beetroots 3 parsnips 1 butternut sqwash salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste For the sauce A slash of oil 1 lager onion 1 Glass of wine ¾ port 1 tsp Tomato puree 1 tsp redcurrant jelly. A little butter Slat and pepper to taste
To stat make your suet pastry . Now for this you just make it like you would ordinary pastry but you add all the herbs and mustard to it as w…

Talking turkey, cooking tips

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The big question that I am always asked at Christmas is how do I cook a turkey. Followed by we always get one that is to big for us.  So for every one who want to know this is the basics.
For one serving, you will need about 200g or 8 oz per person.  Now if you are roasting a whole turkey you will have a lot of bones in that so you have to take them out of the equations so say a quarter of the bird will be bones, half barest meat and one quarter leg meat.
So a 4.5kg/ 9lb 15oz bird will have 2.25kg/ 4lb 15oz  white meat so  and 1.125kg/ 2lb 8oz brown meat approximately. Now in cooking it you will get about a 40% loss in roasting the bird so you will get 1.35kg/ 3ld 1 oz cooked white meat and 675g / 1lb 4oz  cooked brown meat .  Therefore, that will go round and make servings for 10 people.
So you will need 450g or 1ld of raw bird for each person if the bird is whole .
So if you are getting a turkey crown then you will need 280g or 12oz of meat per person.
So to roast your turkey,…

Last minute Christmas pudding

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This recipe is for those of us who have forgotten to make the Christmas pudding. Like all good fruitcakes, you are supposed to have it sitting around maturing and well you know what it is like.  You keep putting it off and then you think I will get one from the shops and you go down and you only have the really cheap ones and the ones you need to take a second mortgage out on. Well this is a easy cheap and fast Christmas pudding that you can make.
For this you will need 900g/2lb mixed dried fruit  150ml/5fl oz brandy or whisky The juice and zest of 1 large orange 225g/8oz butter 225g/8oz dark brown sugar 4 large eggs 110g/4oz self-raising flour 110g/4oz fresh breadcrumbs 85g/3oz chopped nuts 2 tsp mixed spice
Start by adding all the fruits, orange juice and zest and alcohol in to one big bowl .  Now cover this with cling film and then set it in the microwave for about five minutes, or on top of a pan of hot water.  What you want to do is to kick-start the fruits soaking up the alc…

Victorian Christmas Dinner.

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Well I was looking at some things and doing some research on Christmas menus from the past I a cam across this, just thought it interesting as what was done then as to today.
CHRISTMAS DINNER MENU 1890 Raw Oysters **** Bouillon **** Fried smelts and Sauce tartare Potatoes a la Maitre d' Hotel **** Sweetbread Pates and Peas **** Roast Turkey and Cranberry Sauce **** Roman Punch **** Quail with Truffles and Rice Croquettes **** Parisian Salad Crackers and Cheese **** Nesselrode Pudding or Fancy Cakes **** Fruit with Coffee



Raw Oyster, sever on a half shell, laid on a bed of ice. About five or six oyster per person with a wedge of lemon.
Bouillon, a very beefy in flavour but rather thin stock , served in a bouillon cup .
Fired smelts are what you would call white bate if you have not had them before. The interesting thing about this is that it is a traditional dish served in some parts Italy on Christmas Eve. The sauce tartar is very much like you would get today, a mayonnaise sauce flavoured with cappers a…

food&drink towers predicts 10 Top Trends for 2012

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14 December 2011
food&drink towers predicts 10 Top Trends for 2012 food&drink industry Sixth annual edition of the Ten Top Trends Report will be published this week – and it is free to everyone!
The Ten Top Trends For 2012:
1.         Regional producers get a boost The food&drink towers Ten Top Trends for 2012 Survey identified that authenticity; provenance and ‘localness’ will be very important (19%) or important (51%) next year. Closely aligned to the sustainability benefits of ‘going local’, reducing the environmental footprint and increasing sustainability will be important to more than half of respondents. Despite this, ethical consumption including organics is expected to decline in importance in 2012, according to the food&drink towers survey.
2.         Uplifting food and drink to improve our moods Depression, which affects many people within society, stands out as a major area for development in the mood foods category. 25% say there is strong growth potentia…

Tesco Real Food sets SOS helpline to save Christmas dinner nightmares

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15 December 2011
Tesco Real Food has set up a unique Christmas dinner SOS helpline to rescue Brits from kitchen disasters as they prepare their festive feasts.
The supermarket has pulled together a crack team of expert chefs who will be on hand to offer personalised first rate advice on how to create the perfect Christmas dinner and avoid any potential nightmares.
Anyone running into difficulties on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be able to contact the team via the supermarket's Twitter site to get immediate solutions to their culinary problems.
Tesco senior marketing manager Breige Donaghy said: "Imagine the scenario - your guests are due to arrive for the most celebrated meal of the year and to your horror your turkey is undercooked, your bread sauce too thick and your roasties aren’t crispy enough.
"But instead of panicking, cooks will now be able to speak to our team of expert chefs who have cooked thousands of meals between them and who know all the tricks of…

How to plan Christmas dinner not get stressed and enjoy yourself.

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Christmas is just around the corner, do not panic it’s only food.
Here are my top tips for trying to get the Christmas dinner on the table with out you ending up in a nervous wreck. I remember a long time ago I was a guest to some ones house who was cooking Christmas dinner. Back then it was unusual for me as I normally would have been working but not that time. I turned up a bottle of wine in hand to find the lady of the house as stressed as a person with OCD and nothing to do. The husband was looking for salvation in cooking sherry. And the children wonder if all mummies and daddies did this at Christmas. Things where not going well.
So as you do if you’re ill and you see a doctor everyone looks at the doctor to save the day, every one looked at me. The truth was we needed more time to cook the turkey and every thing else was just about ready. Not a big problem and easily sorted by carving the turkey a little under cooked laying it in a try of boiling water from the kettle and pu…

Chestnut and apple stuffing

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This stuffing is a very traditional kind of stuffing that once would have been served with turkey. Now days you think of turkey and you automatically think of cranberries but apples and applesauce has been served with goose for years. And the introduction of the apple gives a very normal sage and onion stuffing a little tar almost sharp note that cuts threw the herbs and chestnuts giving it another dimension of flavour.
 “Another dimension of flavour.”  That all sound like I am at work, far to chef like for me and my blog, its just very taste and it goes really well with the turkey, that sound better.
1 onion zest of 1 lemon 1oz /25g butter 4oz /110g white breadcrumbs 1 tbsp /15g chopped parsley 1 tbsp /15g chopped sage 2 apples 6oz /150g chestnuts 2 medium eggs salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Simply start with taking your onion and dicing it then pop it in a pan on a very low heat with the butter and the lemon zest and soften the onions.
Now  peeled, core and chop your app…

Bread sauce

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Quintessentially a very British thing to have at Christmas as far as I know. But sadly so often just made with a packet and some hot water so never quite the way it should be. And why not make it the way you are supposed to make it. After all, if you do make it out of a packet you will find that you have made just as much washing up as you do if you make it properly.  So make your  Christmas dinner complete with your own bread sauce to go with the turkey?
You will need. 550ml/1 pint whole milk 1 onion 3 cloves 2 fresh bay leaves 150g/5¼oz sliced white bread 1 tsp English mustard 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, diced Salt, freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste
Put the milk, bay leaf and cloves in to a pan and bring them up to a boil then remove from the heat and strain threw a sieve. This will impart all the flavours of the spice in to the milk a bit like make a béchamel sauce. Now if you like you can put your onion in to the milk as well but I like to have my onio…

Mulled wine Cranberry sauce.

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For Christmas, you always want to have things that are really of the season.  And with this recipe you get the flavour of both  in one , mulled wine and cranberry sauce. It is a mix of sweet sharp and good old red wine spice that goes really well with your roast, what ever it is, on the day.
Ingredients 450g /1lb fresh cranberries 290ml/10fl oz water 340g/12oz sugar The juice and zest of one orange 3 tbsp port. ½ glass of red wine Pinch of cinnamon Pinch of nutmeg
Star by getting your wine sugar and water in a large pan. Add the mixed spice, give it all a good stir, and then bring it to a boil.  Turn this down to simmer and let it reduce a little. 
Once it has reduced add the orange juice and zest of the orange and let that cook some more.
Once all the liquids have reduced so you have more than ¾ of the liquid left, then add the cranberries, bring it to the boil ounce more, and then simmer for about 10 minutes till all the cranberries have burst.
Finally add the port and level o…

Plan your shopping and save your money

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The weekly shop or the monthly shop can be a big drain on the amount of money that you have. And it’s not just food; it’s all the things that you need as well such as soap, washing powder and all the other cleaning materials that you need.  Sometimes, it can seem like you have got nothing to eat and the fridge looks empty.  But you have spent a fortune on all sorts of things that you need for the house.  So the last thing you want to do is come home with a load of things that you do not want or worse then that food you end up throwing away as you have not eaten it.
Now it is the retailer’s job to get you to part with your money and they will employ any number of tricks so that you do. They are not subtle and are easy to spot and that is what they want you to do.  To see them and be tempted to get what ever it is so that you spend and they make money. And to be truthful there is nothing wrong with this. If a supermarket did not discount or get in to any kind of price war then prices w…

The little Be-ro cookbook.

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A few cookbooks have stood the test of time, Mrs. Beeton’s, Elisabeth David ,  Julia Child to name but a few. In fact television show and films have been made about them all and have gone on to introduce them to new generations of cooks a round the world.
All are in there own ways land mark books that have been published over and over again and probably will be for years to come .  But I know of one book as far there is one book that I know that my mother had.  I know that my grandmother had and I know that we have in out cupboard right now. This book I have never seen take a place on the bookshelf or be seen rubbing shoulder with the hard back bound books of knowledge.  Normally like the one in the kitchen right now it is tucked away next to the flour or in a draw.
It is the Be-ro book.  A book that I have known and use all my cooking life and will continue to do so.  In fact, the inspiration for writing this now is that I have just made some biscuits with my youngest daughter and…