Spiced Beef with Chestnuts and Cranberries

This is a tasty winter warmer that I adapted from a recipe that I was given, when I went on a cookery day out in Somerset. It uses seasonal ingredients such as chestnuts and cranberries, cheaper cuts of beef and would be perfect for a New Year’s party, especially after all the turkey consumed at Christmas!

What is really good about this recipe, is that it can be made upto 4 days in advance, being kept in the fridge and also it freezes well, making this handy for busy people at this time of the year.

It is fairly simple to make but looks very impressive served up.

(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:
9ozs/250g Smoked Back Bacon Cubes
3 tbsp Gluten Free Plain Flour - seasoned with salt, pepper and a pinch of paprika (not smoked or hot)
3 ½ lbs/1.6Kg Lean Beef Cubed – skirt or chuck steak
2-3 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
3 Red Onions – peeled and finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves – peeled and finely chopped
9ozs/250g Chestnut Button Mushrooms
½ Bottle Red Wine
6ozs/170g Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
4ozs/113g Fresh Chestnuts - peeled and chopped in half
1-2 tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
1 ½ pints/300ml Beef Stock
2 tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
¼-½ tsp Crushed Chillies
3 Bay Leaves
Fresh Parsley, chopped to garnish

Preheat oven to 180C/350F Gas 4 or 170C Fan Oven.

1 In a large flame-proof casserole dish, cook the bacon over a medium heat until crispy and then remove.

2 Tip the flour into a plastic bag, add the meat and shake to coat.

3 Add half the oil to the casserole dish and brown the meat in batches, adding more oil as necessary.

4 Remove the meat and set aside and add the onions and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until they start to brown.

5 Add the garlic and mushrooms to the onions and cook for a further 5 minutes.

6 Return the meat and bacon to the casserole, add the bay leaves, red wine, beef stock, sweet chilli sauce and crushed chillies, bring to the boil and cook in a pre-heated oven for one hour.

7 While the casserole is cooking, prepare the chestnuts by splitting the skin, then putting them in a covered dish and microwave each chestnut for 10 secs on high power. Once heated, peel off the outer skin and cut in half.

8 After cooking for an hour, add the cranberries, chestnuts and sugar, season with a little black pepper, stir well and return to the oven for another 45 minutes to one hour.

9 Check that the meat is tender, the cranberries are cooked and not tart, adding more sugar if necessay.

10 Re-check the seasoning, scatter with chopped parsley and serve.

Serve with green vegetables, roast or jacket potatoes, or if preferred, rice!

Enjoy!

Cranberries on Foodista

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Venison Curry with Sweet Potato

As it is National Curry Week (22-28 November 2009), I thought I would have a go at making a seasonal curry.

Having a Venison Steak in the fridge, I thought that it would be ideal as the basis to my curry. So I set about looking for a decent recipe and came across the following from the BBC Food Site which I adapted to my own tastes…

Vension Curry with Sweet Potato.

It was very easy to prepare and cook, and with the meat being so lean, it meant that it tasted very tender and full of flavour. If you want to try something other than beef or lamb in a curry, I highly recommend giving venison a go.

(Printable Recipe)

Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
150g/ 5½oz Venison diced
1 tbsp Garam Masala or medium curry powder
1 tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Cumin seeds
2 Bay leaves
Pinch Chilli flakes
50g/ 1¾oz Sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 Baby leeks, chopped
4 tbsp Red wine
1 Lime, juice only

1 For the curry, heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a high heat, add the venison and fry for two minutes.

2 Add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin seeds, bay leaves and chilli flakes and cook for a further three minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

3 In the frying pan, heat a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat and add the sweet potato and leeks. Cover with a lid and cook for five minutes.

4 Add the venison back to the sweet potato and leeks and cook for three minutes.

5 Add the red wine and lime juice and cook for two minutes. Remove from the heat.

6 To finish, stir some coriander into the curry and for an extra twist, add a spoonful of Greek yoghurt on top and garnish with more coriander.

Serve with some pilau rice.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato on Foodista

Toad in the hole

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Having seen this being made on some show on the Good Food Channel, when Rachel Allen visited Galton Blackiston at his home, I knew that I wanted to give this a go when I had some decent pork sausages to make it with.

I logged on to the Good Food Channel website and found his recipe very quickly. It looked very easy to make and I only needed to buy a couple of extra ingredients – the nutmeg and dripping. The caption along with the recipe is: ‘Galton Blackiston’s version of this traditional dish bears no resemblance to soggy school dinners – your family will love it’ and i completely agree. It tastes fantastic with an Onion gravy too!

(Printable Recipe)

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
225g Plain flour
Pinch Sugar
Pinch freshly grated Nutmeg
3 Eggs
275ml Milk
25g Dripping
8 best-quality, locally sourced pork Sausages, pricked with a fork

Serve with salad or steamed green vegetables.

1 Sieve the flour, sugar and grated nutmeg into a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Make a well in the centre and break in the eggs.

2 Using a hand-held whisk, start to slowly incorporate the eggs. Then, while continuing to whisk slowly, add the milk. You may need a little extra milk – the batter should be the consistency of double cream. Whisk thoroughly to ensure there are no lumps of flour in the mixture.

3 Put the batter in the fridge to rest for at least 1 hour.

4 Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Put a 30 x 20 x 6cm roasting tin in the oven to get really hot.

5 Add the dripping and the sausages to the hot tin and return to the oven. Shake the roasting tin frequently to keep the sausages moving, till they are coloured all over and the fat in the tin is really hot.

6 Remove the batter from the fridge, give it a quick whisk and, when the sausages are evenly coloured, remove the tin from the oven and immediately pour the batter over the hot sausages in the tin – the batter should really sizzle.

7 Return the tin to the oven immediately and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the batter is well risen and golden.

8 Serve immediately with onion gravy and either a salad or a green vegetable.

Enjoy!

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Blackberry and Apple Jam

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Blackberry and Apple jam is a perfect autumn recipe – delicious, straightforward and very satisfying, especially when the fruit comes straight from the garden, making it organic too. I love that this is another of those family recipes handed down from generation to generation. As ever, I asked my mum where she first learnt about it and this is what she told me…

My grandma always said that blackberries should not be picked in October as they must be left for the rest of nature to enjoy and also the witches! I disobeyed her this year as the blackberries were so plentiful and juicy and hoped that there was enough for us all! Her jam recipe is a favourite of mine as I remember having it piled onto hot toast for tea as the evenings drew in. A good Autumn recipe. It is also good on real vanilla ice-cream.

(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:
4lbs (1.8g) Blackberries
1½lbs (680g) Cooking Apples
½pint Water
Juice of ½lemon
Sugar – either jam sugar or granulated

1 Put the blackberries and ¼ pint of water into a pan and simmer until the fruit is soft. They can be left whole or sieved to remove seeds.

2 Peel, core & slice apples, add remaining water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender and cook together until thick.

3 Weigh the pulp and add equal amounts of warmed sugar and simmer until all the sugar is dissolved.

4 * Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached.

5 Leave to cool slightly in the pan, having removed any scum that collects around the edge, and stir.

6 Pour into warm sterilised jars, leave to cool and cover.

Enjoy!

* NB To know if the setting point is reached, put a saucer to get cold in the fridge. Remove the pan from the heat, pour a teaspoonful of the jam onto the cold saucer and if the jam wrinkles when pushed with the finger setting point has been reached. If it doesn’t wrinkle put it back on the heat and cook and test until it does.

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Farewell Floyd Event – A Winning Recipe: Coq au Vin

FarewellFloyd

Having waited just over a week for the judges, Julia and James, to choose their winning top 3 entries to the Farewell Floyd Food Blogging Event, I received an email from them yesterday morning, letting me know that my blog post Coq au Vin – A Tribute to Keith Floyd had been chosen as one of their Top 3 Winners, therefore winning myself a copy of ‘Floyd’s Food’ from Absolute Press. It was lovely to receive their email and kind words about my dish, first thing on a Monday morning and it made my day!

I had such great fun creating my tribute to Keith Floyd, for me and my family, and several glasses were consumed on his behalf during the cooking and eating, true Floyd style!

I was astounded by the lovely dishes the other winners and entrants had made and realised that there are other big Floyd fans out there that will miss him.

The other 2 winners were:
Going With My Gut: Kenyan Goat Feast — For Farewell Floyd: Food Blogging Event
Foodycat: Farewell Floyd – Jambalaya
both of which are fantastic recipes.

I cant wait to cook up my first dish from Floyds first publication and blog about too.

For the announcements and round-up from the judges please read the following posts:

Farewell Floyd: The Round-up
Farewell Floyd: Round-up and Winners Announced

FloydsFood

Chocolate Roulade (Gluten Free)

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Having missed out on my post for Chocolate Week due to feeling unwell and then having a busy couple of weeks at work, I decided to make my mum’s chocolate roulade recipe as a pudding after my Coq au Vin dish last weekend.

My first ever post, 2 months ago, was my mum’s Meringue Roulade recipe and it has been a very popular post since then. This is a delicious alternative that was just as fun to make, especially as it was filled with fresh raspberries straight from the garden so late on in October. I cant remember the first time I had it, so as usual I asked my mum where it came from…

My children don’t like Christmas cake so I used to make a chocolate Yule-log. When I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease I had to find an alternative recipe that didn’t have flour in it. This chocolate roulade recipe was just the idea, but it makes a wonderful gooey pudding too, as you can see from the recipe. If using the recipe for a Yule-log, either fill with a liqueur or chocolate cream, cover in chocolate ganache, mark with a fork, stick on fake robin, and enjoy.

This is a chocolate mousse mixture, baked like a soft meringue and rolled up with cream. Prepare in advance by baking the roulade the day before. Then fill and roll up several hours before serving.

(Printable Recipe)

Serves 8

Ingredients:
6ozs Plain Chocolate
5 Large Eggs
6ozs Caster Sugar
2 Tablespoons Hot Water (see recipe)
A little Icing Sugar
Cream and fruit for filling

Swiss roll tin approx. 13½” x 9″ brushed with oil, lined with non-stick paper cut to fit width of tin but long enough to overlap the two ends. Lightly Oil Paper

Oven 180ºC, 350ºF, 160ºC Fan Oven, Gas Mark 4

1 Break chocolate into a bowl over a saucepan of hot water – leave until soft.

2 Separate eggs; put yolks into a large bowl, add sugar & using a whisk beat until pale in colour and thickened.

3 When chocolate has melted remove from heat & stir in 2tbls of hot water from the pan beneath, leave to cool a little.

4 Using a slow whisk incorporate the chocolate into the egg mixture.

5 In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff. Using a large spoon mix 1 spoonful into the chocolate mixture to loosen it.

6 Then carefully, gently & evenly fold in the rest of the egg whites.

7 Pour mixture into the tin & spread evenly, paying particular attention to the corners.

8 Bake in the centre of oven for 15 – 20 mins, should be firm to touch.

9 Remove from heat and while hot cover, first with a sheet of greaseproof paper and then a tea-towel and leave undisturbed until quite cold

10 Turn out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper that has been dusted with icing sugar. Peel away the baking paper, whip cream and spread over, sprinkle with desired fruit.

11 Roll up using the sugared paper to help, it may crack but push it together and sprinkle with more icing sugar. Chill for several hours before serving.

Enjoy!

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FoodCandy Featured Blog Post – Coq Au Vin

FoodCandy

Having had a busy week at work, I have been playing catch up on all my emails, tweets and blog posts. One nice email to receive was from the new Food Social Network – FoodCandy.

They featured my blog post “Coq au Vin – A Tribute to Keith Floyd” on the front page of their site with the following note – ‘Enjoy the celebrity!’