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Category Archives: Kitchen Triumphs

Rich Christmas Cake (part 2)

A little while back we introduced you to Julie, a guest Kitchen Bitch, and her amazingly rich Christmas cake recipe: now she’s back to tell you how to get it looking and tasting great…

Well folks, now your Christmas cake is well fed with alcohol, it’s time to marzipan and ice it. I love the simple but effective use of the icing to create a snowy landscape!

Firstly the marzipan

The perfect base: a gorgeously rich Christmas cake

The perfect base: a gorgeously rich Christmas cake

You’ll need:

  • 454g ready to roll marzipan
  • Apricot jam or glaze
  • A little icing sugar

Get prepping!

Like a blanket of snow

Like a blanket of snow

  1. Knead the marzipan until pliable
  2. Lightly dust your surface and rolling pin with icing sugar then roll out until it’s approx 5mm thick
  3. Use a knife to thinly cover the sides and top of the cake with jam or glaze
  4. Cover the cake with marzipan, trimming away any excess with a sharp knife
  5. Allow to dry for 24 hours before icing

For the icing

You’ll need:

  • 450g icing sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 dessertspoons lemon juice
  • Few drops glycerine, optional

Get decorating!

Snowy peaks of loveliness

Snowy peaks of loveliness

  1. Beat the egg whites lightly
  2. Sieve icing sugar then add this and the lemon juice to the egg whites
  3. Beat until the mixture is very white, and firm enough to stand in peaks
  4. A  few drops of glycerine beaten in will prevent the icing from going too hard
  5. Spread the icing all over the sides and top of the cake, using a fork to bring up into peaks
  6. Leave to harden before adding your final touches of decoration
Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

Love Julie xx

Gravy for Christmas Day – make it now

Enough procrastination, it’s December for goodness’ sake!

Let’s nail this Christmas dinner thing before the big day, starting with the gravy. It’s a little bit more work to do it now, but you’ll be so glad you did. Here’s how:
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Turkey* gravy (warning, does not contain turkey)

1. Heat oven to 190/gas 6
2. Tip a pack (mine was 0.75kg) of chicken wings into a roasting dish and add a couple of carrots and celery sticks, an onion, half a leek and a few cloves of garlic (all chopped), with 4 rashers of bacon and a couple of sprigs of rosemary
3. Roast for about an hour, giving them a good stir or two along the way
4. When the chicken is nice and brown, remove the tin from the oven and resist the temptation to eat it all straight away (it smells and looks pretty good). Tip everything into a large pan, breaking up the wings with your fingers. It now resembles the contents of a witch’s cauldron. Pour some boiling water into the roasting tin and use a spatula to scrape every last bit of flavour and colour off the bottom
5. Meanwhile, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of plain flour over the contents of the pan and stir really well, then gradually add the water from the roasting tin, stirring all the time
6. Add enough cold water to cover the contents of the pan (plus a little more) and a chicken stock cube, bring to the boil then simmer for an hour or so until it has reduced and is tasting great
7. Sieve well using a spoon to push through as much flavour as possible from the bones, meat and veg, then put it in the fridge until cold and skim the fat off the top before bagging up for the freezer.

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Remember to label it clearly, or you may find yourself heating up and serving grandma’s frozen urine sample over the turkey…

On the day, bring it gently to the boil and either serve it as is, and/or add juices from your turkey pan (discard fat first), a glass of wine (red or white), the water that your veg has cooked in (if it needs thinning) or some cornflour dissolved in a little water (to thicken). Or even another stock cube if it needs a bit more oomph!

Tis the season to use up your leftovers

Ok, so this may not be a festive dish (or even Christmas leftovers), but at this time of year (when, let’s face it, we’re all skint), you just can’t let food go to waste.

I have Chinese most weekends because, well, I’m just not the healthiest of people, but I usually end up ordering WAY too much egg fried rice. So, rather than throw the leftovers in the bin, I whipped up a super simple (and incredibly tasty) chicken fried rice for two.

You’ll need

2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
Half a bunch of spring onions, chopped
A handful of frozen petit pois
Olive oil
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Ground ginger

Get cooking

1. Heat a little olive oil in a wok and throw in your chicken. The small pieces should cook in about five minutes.
2. When cooked, sprinkle over your ginger (I do this by eye, but you can add as much as you like depending on the strength of your penchant for ginger).

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3. Throw in your chopped spring onions and frozen peas, and cook on a high heat for about a minute.
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4. Next, add in your leftover rice, followed by a good glug of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame oil. 20121206-143223.jpg

5. Serve in bowls and enjoy :)
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Love Dolly xx

Rosemary Lamb Rack and Stirfried Veggies – Outdoor Style!

Our mouths are seriously watering!

Being back in the land of Oz means a number of great things, but something I have dearly missed is the local produce from my region. I spent some quality time over the weekend with my Dad who is an utter barbecue whiz with a knack for lamb. Australian lamb is unlike any other I’ve tried on my many travels and is mouth-wateringly perfect when done on the barbie. I have officially traded my cozy Sunday roasts in Brighton for Sunday summertime alfresco dinners!

To tantalize your tastebuds with this winner, you’ll need:

So pretty

  • A rack of lamb (we used Amelia Park lamb for this recipe, local to the south-west region of Western Australia)
  • Fresh rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 whole white onion
  • Half a Japanese pumpkin
  • 4-5 button mushrooms
  • A bunch of broccollini
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • An optional dash of satay sauce

Then throw it all together by following this very simple method:

Now that’s what we call a BBQ!

  1. Chop your onion, potato, pumpkin, mushrooms and broccollini
  2. Baste rack of lamb with oil, salt & pepper
  3. Pluck some fresh rosemary from the garden (I’m just showing off now) and rub into the lamb
  4. Roast lamb at 180 degrees for an hour
  5. Throw your veggies into the wok with oil, garlic and satay cause, stir fry for 15 minutes – don’t forget to check your potato is cooked
  6. Serve with a rosemary garnish and a smile

This is a great, simple recipe that involves more patience than it does skill; which is perfect as you can enjoy a wine or two whilst waiting for your lamb to roast!

Love, Barbie xx

Wheat Free, Meat Free and Completely Raw Fabby Christmas Pudding

As the Queen of all that is healthy, the day that my microwave blew up left me feeling rather pleased to say the least – and it has never been missed. Well, I say never; it is missed once a year on Christmas Day when it’s time for that Christmassy tradition of Crimbo pudding.

We all love a traditional Christmas pud

I once managed a seriously burnt black offering after thinking that 10 minutes in the oven would work (and forgetting that it was in the oven until smoke was seeping out), so I was very pleased to see the latest recipe from my super good friend and Raw Food Goddess Rebecca Kane: wheat free, meat free and completely raw fabby Christmas Pudding.

You too can ditch the microwave and enjoy a pud that is rather delicious and uber good for you, and I SO want to know if you give this a go, so do feed back and next time (if you are good) I will tell you about Rebecca’s yumtastic raw mince pies (see more at www.shineonraw.com).

Who doesn’t want to shine?

Raw Christmas Pudding

Ingredients

For the pudding

  • 1 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 6 medjool dates
  • 3 dried figs
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup carob
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • A little water if necessary to help bind the mixture

For the frosting

  • 1 cup macadamias
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut butter
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • Blender
  • Pudding moulds

Directions

  1. Place all of the pudding ingredients in the food processor and blend until the mixture becomes sticky
  2. Place cling film in the pudding moulds and add the mixture
  3. Place in the fridge so that they can firm up
  4. Add of all the frosting ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, then spread it over the firm pudding

Love,

Veggie Vision xx

Rude food: sexing up the kitchen

Men, they say, think about sex every 15 minutes. Perhaps that’s how Jamie O has come to write his new book (smutty thought, rustle up a quick meal, smutty thought…). Well, I’m sorry guys but we women are far too busy thinking about food – what we’d like to eat, what we should eat, what we shouldn’t eat, when we’re going to eat it, and what the hell are we going to give the family for dinner when we’ve been too busy to get to the supermarket?

My mission is to bring you delicious food which can be plonked on the table with minimal fuss and in minimal time. But today, let’s forget the kids and concentrate on some adult pleasures.

For optimal oral gratification you might like to consider this (from one of the Fat Ladies cookery books):

Talk about tongue-in-cheek!

Or maybe not.

Let’s start with some Hardcore Prawn

Cooking’s better with someone you love…

Ingredients

  • For 2 consenting adults, take about 500g uncooked (grey) prawns – use the naked ones with no shell
  • Half to a whole red chilli, chopped finely
  • A couple of garlic cloves, crushed
  • A large knob of butter
  • A generous splash of olive oil
  • A glug of white wine

Get cooking!

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over a medium-high heat until the butter has melted
  2. Add the prawns, chilli and garlic, and stir everything round a bit
  3. Pour in the wine and keep stirring until all the prawns have turned pink
  4. Serve at once, in warmed bowls, with hunks of bread to mop up all the juices
  5. If you want to show off, you could sprinkle over a bit of chopped parsley or coriander

This is sure to warm your cockles!

If you’re feeling fruity, there’s nothing more satisfying than ending a meal with some balls in your mouth.

Mojito Melon Balls

Perfectly smooth, fruity balls

Ingredients

  • Half a melon
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white rum
  • Juice and grated zest of half a lime
  • Mint leaves (about 6)

Get preparing!

  1. Use a melon baller to scoop the flesh into balls and place them in a bowl
  2. Pound the mint leaves and sugar together in a pestle and mortar
  3. Stir in the lime juice and rum, pour over the melon, toss gently to mix and chill for at least an hour or so
  4. Serve sprinkled with lime zest
  5. Gobble

Finished? Now slip on some rubber gloves and have fun!

Until next time…

Venison with black cherry sauce, sprouts mash & parsnip chips

Masterchef contestant Alec Tomasso is once again gracing the KB pages, and this time, he’s bringing us a delectable recipe for a rather Christmassy sounding venison dish. I don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to try this one!

Making a sauce or gravy can vary from being the hardest to the easiest part of a recipe. In any decent restaurant you will find a stock-pot filled to the brim with bones, veg and herbs. Trimmings of this and that find their way into what is essentially a symphony of flavour that is kept just below simmering point for hours on end, enriching the awesome flavour endlessly. At home however, it’s a different story: there’s not an endless supply of bones and veg trimmings, and if you did get bones from the butcher, by the time you roasted and cooked them down to a rich sauce of heavenly concentrated meaty deliciousness, it would have cost you the best part of a day’s time and be more expensive than your average roast dinner (if you think of how much gas/electric you’ll use).

In this recipe I’m using an in-between method to give you something nicer than a pack of liquid stock and much nicer than your average stock-cube. The sprouts are inspired by my childhood memories of Christmas, when I had to eat at least 3 sprouts to qualify for pudding. I hated sprouts so much I’d cut them up, cover them in gravy and swallow the pieces whole!

Perfect Venison

Perfect Venison

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rich fruity red wine
  • Chicken bones or chicken wings
  • Bouquet garni or bay, thyme, & parsley
  • 500ml liquid beef stock
  • AGAR-AGAR powder (you can easily buy this online)
  • Venison steak
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Parsnips
  • Maris piper potatoes
  • Double cream
  • 1-2tsp black cherry jam
  • Salt & pepper

Get cooking!

  • Preheat oven to 200°C
  • Start baking your potatoes slightly in advance until they give when pressed lightly – two or three hours depending on size
  • If you want your mash to be slightly garlicky, place a few fat cloves of garlic in the oven 20 minutes before the potatoes are done (leave the skins on)
  • When the potatoes and garlic are done lower the temperature to 100°C
  • Place a few bits of dried mushrooms to soak in 300ml of warm water
  • In a pan, sweat down the diced onion, carrot, and celery with a tiny bit of oil, then add chicken bones or some chopped skinless roasted chicken wings
  • With the heat on full, add a glass of red wine and let it bubble so the alcohol can evaporate
  • Add 300ml of water along with the soaked mushrooms (making sure you don’t pour in any grit), then add 500ml liquid beef stock and leave to simmer until reduced by half. Strain, separate the fat and set aside
  • Clean, criss-cross the bases, and blanch the sprouts in salted water for a few minutes (they need to be barely cooked). Plunge in ice-water to cool, then skewer each with a toothpick and place in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes (this will make them easy to coat)
  • Peel and cut your parsnip into fattish matchsticks, fry at 160°C until lightly golden, drain on a paper towel and place in the oven to finish drying until they are crisp
  • In a new pan, pour 250ml of the stock, add ¼ tsp agar-agar and boil – whisking by hand continuously for 5 minutes (it might foam a bit at first) then take off the heat. You can add a splash of double cream (not more than 50ml) if you wish to lighten the colour, and mix in well
  • Take the sprouts and dip one at the time in the hot sauce, twirling the toothpick to get an even coating all over the sprout, then lift out and keep spinning the toothpick for a few seconds. The gravy will set quite rapidly. Repeat a few times to build layers and set aside in iced water
  • Once you have finished preparing all of the sprouts, place them in a pot of water at 60°C to reheat and finish cooking (do not go too far above 60 or the gel will dissolve again)
Groovy gravy sprouts

Groovy gravy sprouts

Gravy coated sprouts inspired by childhood memories of Christmas

  • Trim any gristly bits off a decent size venison steak, rub with some oil, season both sides with salt and pepper and place in a hot heavy base non stick frying pan without moving it for 3 minutes each side (if it starts smoking the pan is too hot, take the steak out, cool the pan and try again) then place on a plate to rest in the oven at 100°C (rest for 1½ minutes on each side if the steak is 1 finger thick, and 3 minutes if it’s 2 fingers thick)
  • Cut the baked potatoes in half and scoop out the soft insides. Pass the potato through a ricer into a pan with some warmed double cream & mix in well, add chilled cubes of butter, salt, pepper and the pulp from the roasted garlic. Combine with an electric whisk for a supple creamy texture
  • To the remaining stock add 1/2 tbsp black cherry jam (or a little more if you like your favours strong – just make sure you taste it first)
  • Just before serving whisk in a few bits of very cold butter until melted; this is called montè au beurre and will make the sauce glossy and rich.
  • To check how your steak is cooked prod the thickest part of it with your finger, then prod the meaty lump at the base of your thumb whilst the tips of your thumb and finger are touching: for medium rare use the index finger, for medium well use the “rude” finger, if your steak is not done enough sear it again for 1 minute each side in hot foaming butter (basting it frantically), then rest again for 2 minutes at room temperature
  • Slice to serve

Bon appetit!

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