Archive for December 31st, 2009

December ‘Meanderings’ …

Pictured (top to bottom)
Christmas Chutney
Last Minute Mincemeat & Mince Pies
 Crunchy Cheese Biscuits

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

We were a bit short on the usual Christmas decorations in the home this year but I have made up for it with the Christmas cooking.  In the end time caught up with me and I didn’t make everything I had planned:  it was the shortbread and Christmas pudding ice cream that didn’t happen.  Another year …   Christmas (which literally translates Christ Celebration) was lovely – and peaceful – and tasty!       

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Almost all my posts in December have been connected with Christmas.  This year I made my own Cranberry (and orange) Relish and some delicious spicy Christmas Chutney.  There were some Sloes in the freezer, so I made a bottle of Sloe Gin at the start of December which was just ready for drinking on 25th.   It is such an easy job to do and the result is absolutely delicious.  My Christmas baking included several batches of Mince Pies using Last Minute Mincemeat.  I also made my usual rich fruit cake, using my Nanna’s handed down recipe, finished this year with a cherry and nut Florentine topping, an idea taken from the November/December 2009 Tesco instore free magazine.  I will post the recipe and pictures of toppings for various Christmas and Simnel cakes at some point.  I also made the usual loaf of Stollen for Christmas morning, but for the first time this year I made the Marzipan (Almond Paste) used for the Stollen centre as well.  It was very easy, plus I was pleased as knew it was additive free. This has to be a must for Christmas from now on, especially as it can be made a week or two before it is needed.  After a hunt I managed to get a recipe for Lebkuchen from a friend.  The spicy slightly chewy biscuits, covered in white icing or chocolate, were a great success and I will be making them in future years, although I think I would add a little more spice next time. 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

I added just two post Christmas recipes: St Stephen’s Pudding, a recipe from Delia Smith, which in our house we usually eat on St Stephen’s Day (26th December) and Turkey Flan with Leeks & Cheese, a great way for using up some of the meat left over from Christmas day.  Finally, for nibbles at the Christmas and New Year buffet table there were Crunchy Cheese Biscuits: more-ish little cheesy bites.  Tasty and time consuming to make, be warned, but great for keeping small children occupied I imagine, if you let them loose with the pastry cutters.  All good food, but not for dieters – never mind!    

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

For a full list of postings since my December Meanderings see below. (Recipes already posted have been highlighted and the others will appear in coming weeks.)        

December Recipes …

Christmas Chutney
Cranberry & Orange Relish
Crunchy Cheese Biscuits
Gingered Glazed Ham
‘Jolly’ Ginger Biscuits
Last Minute Mincemeat & Mince Pies
Sloe Gin
Sweetcorn Pancake Fritters
St Stephen’s Pudding
Turkey Flan with Leeks & Cheese        

Back to basics:
Basic Recipe: Marzipan (Almond Paste)           

Read Meanderings ‘a la carte’ from previous months         

Looking back over 2009, or at least for the months since March when I started to write these food posts, it has been an interesting journey. In particular I was not aware of the variety of items I have cooked and the recording here has, I’m sure, made me research and experiment more. Great fun for me and, I hope, a good experience for my long suffering family who have often had to wait just a bit longer than normal as I photograph their dinner!     

There have been a few ingredient surprises as well: I had never heard of Sumac powder, Dulce de Leche or Orzo pasta, but have now bought and used them all (recipe for Grilled Chicken with Sumac & Roasted Banana, Toffee Apple Croissant (Bread & Butter) Pudding (Dulce de Leche recipe) and recipe for Greek Style Meatballs with Orzo to follow eventually).  I have also discovered how using dried orange peel can enhance the flavours of Mediterranean dishes and have posted my version of Ratatouille Niçoise/Provençale which includes this as an ingredient.   

I have done some research and on 1 January there will be a list of my top 10 posts of 2009, as viewed by my visitors. Thank you for visiting to ‘meander’ through my cookbook.  Please do come back again to see what’s cooking in my kitchen as I continue my ‘meanderings’ in 2010.  Read on to see what I have in store for January …  

‘For what we are about to receive…’ January 2010 and beyond

Food Focus – Warming Soups & Stews for Winter – Beans & Pulses
Recipe Books:
…from my shelf
– Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook (see Posts/Recipes)
…from the Library – Women’s Institute Soups for all Seasons by Liz Herbert
Non Fiction Food bookIn the Devil’s Garden: a sinful history of forbidden food by Stewart Lee Allen (I still have this on long loan from the library and plan to get back to it now life is a bit less busy.  It’s one of those ‘dip in and read a bit at a time’ books, so I will leave it out and do just that.)          

At New Year I have promised to make a family favourite, a Sherry Jelly Berry Trifle, so that will be the first post of the New Year.  After that, as we enter the coldest months of the British Winter I will add some lovely warming soups.  There is nothing better than a comforting bowlful of soup on a chilly day and I have found the perfect soup recipe book, the Women’s Institute Soups for all Seasons, which has plenty of tasty sounding recipes.  Good hearty stews too, some with beans and pulses – good comfort food.  The Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook is a tried and trusted book I have had for many years and I know there will be some good ideas inside.  Chicken & Rice Casserole is just one delicious recipe I usually make in the winter.       

I don’t really make New Year resolutions but I do plan to keep up posting on this site, which is proving a very useful ‘aide memoire’ for me as I add in recipes which we have tried and liked.  If you make something I have posted please do respond and let me know what you thought.    

Wishing you a very Happy New Year 2010 and…

…Happy Eating!

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