Monday, 16 January 2012
Happily I started to prepare the wellingtons, this involves chopping millions of mushrooms, which I don't like and cooking them down in butter. You also seal the beef. Here is the biggest mistake I made. Everything was too warm when I started putting the wellingtons together. First rule of using pastry IT NEEDS TO STAY COOL!!!! I made two versions of the wellington, two with mushrooms and two without. This produced very different results.
Monday, 9 January 2012
Let me start with the truffles, Lorraine makes them look so simple, the recipe is so simple. But it does help that I bought the completely wrong type of goats cheese. I was in the supermarket doing a random shop and spotted the cheese and something in my head went, I'm sure I need some goats cheese I better buy it. As it got closer to christmas and I was reminded about making nibbles I happily checked the cheese, reading soft goats cheese and went, yes it's fine I've got the cheese. Well it was completely the wrong sort of soft cheese. Not knowing goats cheese very well I didn't realise there were varieties of softness and I had it very wrong. The worst thing was I made these christmas morning so no chance of nipping to the shops to buy more. So I had to mould some pretty hard cheese into little boulders and cover them. Thankfully you do brush them with honey first anyway, but these needed extra. Only one was eaten on the day and I'm not surprised, I didn't want one. So lesson is check the softness of your cheese.
The second nibble were the cheese twists. I had everything in the house for these, but I became very impatient. I got the pastry out of the freezer far to late and was waiting for it to thaw. So much that there was no time to put the twists back into the fridge before baking so what came out were these strange oozing cheesy things, not pretty. Again, not many got eaten. Thankfully my wonderful sister in law had some smoked salmon on blinis ready to go so we didn't get hungry.
Sunday, 8 January 2012
Very nice on it's own but day two (it lasted a while) we had it with chocolate sauce. I was so impressed with myself, no recipe and spur of the moment. I had the end of a tub of cream and some chocolate buttons. Heated the cream and then let the buttons melt in it for a while before mixing, so the same method as ganache but different quantities.
So this is the bowl of sweetness. I didn't manage to get to the end of this, try as I might. I'm not a fan of bread and butter pudding anyway despite my Dads best efforts when I was younger, just bread in a pudding is wrong and the added problem of currants. The banana definitely made it slightly more tempting and changing the bread to cake. But be warned it is seriously sweet. The chocolate sauce did help but make it a dark chocolate, really dark.
Saturday, 7 January 2012
Winter spiced lemon curd with cinnamon and cloves. There was a moment while I was making this that I thought the world was about to come and swallow me home. I know looking back it wasn't that big a deal, but I do go into slight neurotic meltdowns when things don't quite go to plan. It looked like the mixture had completely curdled until I realised that the butter wasn't melting. I must have had the heat so low in a worry about curdling that nothing was cooking so I wacked the heat up and it was fine. When I make it in future I think I'll melt the butter before I start. It didn't get quite as thick as a shop bought curd and maybe if I'd boiled it for longer it would have. But it still tasted good.
Peanut Butter Truffles. I love peanut butter and I love chocolate but I'm not a big fan of combining them. I wasn't sure about putting something into a hamper that I wouldn't eat but Mark said they were nice so in they went. The last time I tried to make truffles the mixture just didn't get hard so I was very relieved when these worked. Really need to make sure the peanut butter is stirred in though because when I was rolling them I had huge lumps of the stuff.
Apple and Blackberry Chutney. I love chutney with cheese, but strangely I haven't tried it yet. I have a huge jar of it still sitting in the garage but I just can't bring myself to try it. The smell of cooking vinegar was so potent while I was making it that I can't face tasting it, incase that's all I can taste. Soon I will.
Marshmallow and brown sugar fudge. This recipe is amazing. The last time I made fudge it just didn't harden or you felt like you would have a heart attack with each piece. My husbands answer to failing fudge is to stick it in melted chocolate and it'll be fine. But this one, it was hardening almost as soon as it hit the tin. After the lemon curd this was my favourite thing in the hamper and we will definitely be making it again.
Overall the hampers were well received, although no news on the chutney yet. So I will do it again, but maybe not next year I don't think I could take the stress so soon.
Friday, 6 January 2012
Wednesday, 4 January 2012
The sauce is very simple, fry bacon/pancetta add mushrooms and stir in cream. Although it turned out we didn't have any cream in the house (I'd used it to make a chocolate sauce the night before, whoops!) so I ended up using the end of a creme fraise tub which was fine, but wasn't quite enough. I made the excuse it was the low fat version which is completely true! The best thing was that the children eat it all, so I don't think I'll make the pasta again, although it was delicious I will definitely be serving up the dish again, the low fat version.