the recipe sharer

Holiday Food

Mashed sweet potatoes with banana and rum

Don’t be put off by the “baby-food” look of this dish. The flavor is FAR from baby food! It’s from the Silver Palate cook book and is a super addition to the Holiday table.

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8 cups peeled, diced sweet potatoes
3 ripe bananas
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 tbsp rum
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
salt to taste
1 cup sliced almonds

Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan and add water to cover. Cook covered until very tender. Drain.

Cut the bananas into 1 inch pieces and puree in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the hot potatoes, 4 tbsp of the butter, the rum and the brown sugar.
Process until smooth. Add the grated nutmeg and salt to taste and process just to blend. Keep warm.

Melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter in a small skillet. Add the almonds and sauté until lightly browned. Sprinkle wth a little salt.
Top each serving of the sweet potato with a generous amount of toasted almonds or scatter the whole dish with them.

Slow-cooked spiced red cabbage

This is wonderful with roast turkey or beef and divine with a crown roast of pork. The aromas and flavors are so Christmassy and it literally cooks itself for 2 hours in the oven.

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Serves 6 – 8

1 good sized red cabbage
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 large red onions, halved and sliced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
a good glass of Ruby port
3 tbsp dark Muscovado sugar. (or as dark a sugar as possible)
2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1 cinnamon stick, split in 2
4 oz butter, cut into cubes
finely grated zest and the juice of 1 large orange

Heat the oven to 250 F
Put all the ingredients in a Dutch oven with a lid.
Put over medium heat, stir well then cook everything for 5 minutes until the butter is melted and everything is well mixed together.

Transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours. Season before serving.

Fig “carpaccio” with blue cheese, walnuts & white balsamic

I have always thought of figs as rather bland and pulpy until we planted our own tree several years ago and now walk out into the garden to pick over 15 per day through the season.
This is such a super and different way of eating them. Thanks to Matt Wilkinson.

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Serves 2, sharing

5 ripe figs, cut in half
2 oz blue cheese; I like to use a creamy gorgonzola.
10 walnuts, toasted and chopped
8 basil leaves, washed and torn
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or if you can’t get it, regular balsamic vinegar)
2 tbsp good-quality olive oil
1 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted
good pinch of salt flakes
a few turns of white pepper
2 slices bread, toasted on a char-grill

Take two sheets of baking paper, each about 12 inches long. On one sheet place the figs, flesh side down, then cover with the other piece of baking paper. Now gently smash the figs using your fingers until they are flat. Once smashed, take off the top layer of paper, leaving the figs on the bottom sheet.

Turn the bottom sheet of paper upside down on to a plate, then gently remove the paper. Now crumble the cheese over the figs, then scatter with the walnuts and basil.

Drizzle the vinegar and olive oil all over, then sprinkle with the pepitas, salt and pepper. Serve with toasted bread on the side.

Easy beet and goat cheese terrine with pistachios and basil

I saw this recipe by Amy Stafford on her blog, “A healthy life for me” and immediately loved the idea of it. We adore beets and goat cheese and it’s a fairly easy one to put together and impress your guests.

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Serves: 8

6 red beet
6 yellow beets
10 oz of goat cheese, room temperature
¼ cup of salted pistachios, shelled and finely crushed in food processor
Fresh basil leaves, cut into slivers (about 6 large leaves)
zest from ½ lemon
Pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup of olive oil + more for drizzling

In two separate pans boil water.
Add the yellow beets to one pan and the red to the other and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
Take plastic wrap and line a loaf pan letting the plastic wrap overhang on both sides, enough so that you can grab wrap to lift out finished terrine.

In a bowl, add the goat cheese, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, pepper and pistachios and stir to blend.
When the beets have cooled, peel and slice thinly.
Line the pan with a layer of yellow beets, slightly overlapping.
Then add a ¼ cup of goat cheese mixture, spreading over the beets.
Add a sprinkle of basil slivers and a drizzle of olive oil.
Continue layering the yellow beets, goat cheese, basil and olive oil four times and then start with red, continuing the layering four times.

Make sure that you finish with a beet layer and drizzle of olive oil. (you will not reach the top of the pan.
Take the plastic wrap flaps and cover your last layer
Place heavy cans on top of the plastic to compress the terrine.
Place in the refrigerator for 2 or more hours.
When you remove, unwrap and use the plastic to lift the terrine out of the pan.
Slice and serve with a drizzle of olive oil

Easy meringue gelato cake with chocolate sauce

This must be one of the easiest recipes I have seen for something that looks so elegant and complicated. Thanks to Nigella Lawson for this gem.
You don’t spend long making it, can do it it ahead of time and everyone thinks you’re a genius! I’ll take it!

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For the meringue gelato cake
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
1 oz bittersweet chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
1 tbsp coffee liqueur (and/or rum)
4 oz shop-bought meringue cookies
8 oz raspberries (to serve, optional)

For the chocolate sauce
1 cup heavy cream
⅔ cup bittersweet chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
2 tbsp coffee liqueur (and/or rum)

For the Meringue Gelato Cake:
Line a 450g / 1lb loaf tin with clingfilm, making sure you have enough overhang to cover the top later.
Whip the cream until thick but still soft.
Chop the chocolate very finely so that you have a pile of dark splinters, and fold them into the cream, along with the liqueur.
Now, using brute force, crumble the meringue cookies and fold these in, too.
Pack this mixture into the prepared loaf tin, pressing it down with a spatula as you go, and bring the clingfilm up and over to seal the top, then get out more clingfilm to wrap around the whole tin. Freeze until solid, which should take around 8 hours, or overnight.

To serve, unwrap the outer layer of plastic wrap, then unpeel the top and use these bits of long overhanging wrap to lift out the ice-cream brick. Unwrap and unmould it onto a board and cut the frozen meringue cake into slabs to serve. I like to zig-zag a little chocolate sauce over each slice, and sprinkle a few raspberries alongside on each plate.

For the Chocolate Sauce:
Pour the cream into a saucepan and add the tiny bits of chocolate.
Put over a gentle heat and whisk as the chocolate melts, taking the pan off the heat once the chocolate is almost all melted. If the mixture gets too hot, the chocolate will seize, whereas it will happily continue melting in the warm cream off the heat.
Add the liqueur, still off the heat, and whisk again to amalgamate the sauce completely. Pour into a jug, whisking every now and again until it cools to just subtly warm.

Dried apricot-cured salmon

This recipe comes from “The Girl and the Fig” cookbook and it really stood out as something worth doing.

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Apricot-Cured Salmon
Yield depends on usage 

½ cup dried apricots
½ cup Pernod
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 fennel fronds
1 pound wild salmon, skin on

Place the apricots in a bowl with ½ cup hot water and the Pernod and rehydrate for 20 minutes. Purée the apricots in a food processor. Mix the purée with the salt, sugar, pepper, and fennel fronds.

Cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to cover the salmon. Place the cheesecloth in a large baking dish and lay the salmon skin-side down on the cheesecloth. Cover the salmon evenly with the apricot-salt mixture and wrap it with the cheesecloth. Place another baking pan over the cheesecloth and weigh it down with at least 3 pounds of pressure (you can use water jugs, tomato cans, or even books). Refrigerate for 48 to 72 hours. Remove the weights and unwrap the salmon. Remove the excess salt mixture from the salmon and pat dry.

Slice very thin to serve.

Hot Cross Scones

I adore hot cross buns but can’t seem to find them in Los Angeles. These hot cross “scones” have the flavor of hot cross buns but are much easier to make and they’re moist and moreish!

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8oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
3oz butter, softened
3 tbsp light muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
1/3 cup small golden raisins (sultanas)
1/4 cup cut mixed peel
½ tsp ground mixed spice, see the recipe below. (It’s nothing like allspice)
1 large egg, beaten
3 tbsp buttermilk or 4 tbsp milk, plus extra for brushing
1/4 cup plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Sift the self-raising flour into a large bowl; rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir in the muscovado sugar, sultanas, peel and spice.

In a pitcher, beat together the egg, buttermilk and a pinch of salt. Pour into the flour mixture and bring together to make a soft dough.
Lightly dust a work surface with extra flour, then roll out the dough to no thinner than 1/2 inch. Using a 1 inch cutter, stamp out the rounds – try not to twist the cutter as this makes the scones rise unevenly.

Re-roll the trimmings and stamp out more. Transfer to a non-stick baking sheet.
Make the crosses. Mix together the plain flour and 1-2 tablespoons of water and knead to make a smooth dough. Roll out, cut into thin strips and put a cross on top of each scone. Brush with milk, then bake for 15 minutes, until well risen and golden.

For the glaze, dissolve the sugar in 2 tablespoons boiling water. Use to brush the tops of the scones as soon as they come out of the oven. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Eat while warm, or split and toast the next day and serve with a smudge of butter.

Allspice recipe

1 Tbsp ground allspice
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground mace
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground Ginger
Blend all spices together, and store in a sealed jar away from light.

Roasted butternut squash with pistachio pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds

There are limitless ways of having your roasted butternut squash, but this has to be one of the prettiest and tastiest out there. Wonderful Persian inspiration behind this dish!

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For the butternut squash

1 large butternut squash, quartered lengthways (skin-on) and seeds removed (You could try other squashes too)
4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz feta
4 oz pomegranate seeds

For the pesto

4 oz shelled pistachio nuts
3 oz parmesan cheese, chopped into rough chunks
4 fl oz oz good olive oil
1 small bunch fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 small bunch fresh parsley
1 small bunch fresh dill
1 hot red chilli or 1 tbsp chilli oil (optional)
1 lemon, juice only
2 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

For the butternut squash, rub each wedge of butternut squash with oil and season generously with sea salt and black pepper. Place on the lined baking tray.

Roast the squash for about 45-50 minutes, just until the edges have begun to brown slightly (you want to blacken the edges a little to give them a nice chewy texture). Check the squash is cooked by inserting a knife – if it slides in easily the squash is cooked.

For the pesto, add the pistachios and cheese to a food processor. Pulse to break them into small pieces and add enough olive oil to slacken the mixture to your desired consistency (you may not need all the oil). Add all the herbs, the chilli (if using) and lemon juice. Pulse again to combine the herbs and add a little more olive oil. Season generously with sea salt and give the mixture one last pulse. Taste the pesto, to make sure it has enough salt and acidity, and allow it to rest in the fridge until you need it.

To serve, serve the butternut squash on plates, drizzled generously with the pesto. Crumble your feta over the top and scatter some pomegranate seeds over to finish.

 

 

Spaghetti with cream, vodka and caviar

This is a terrific New Years Eve recipe and a richer version of the other spaghetti /caviar recipe I have posted previously.

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Serves 4

1/2 lb spaghetti
6 tablespoons butter
6 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups cream
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
2 ounces sevruga black caviar

Cook spaghetti until al dente; drain.
Toss with 2 tbsp butter.
Melt remaining 4 tbsp butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Add shallots and stir 3 minutes.
Add cream and vodka and bring to boil.
Boil until thickened to sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Add spaghetti and toss until heated through.
Season.
Divide among plates; sprinkle with chives and top with caviar.
Serve immediately.

Kiwi apricot slice with brown sugar icing

Here’s another great slice or tray-bake recipe from New Zealand which is really delicious! The flavor of apricots is fabulous in this no-bake winner

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For the base
4 oz butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk (7 fl oz)
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
9 oz graham crackers or another plain sweet cookie, finely crushed

For the brown sugar icing
4.5 oz butter
3 tsp milk
3 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Lightly grease a 8″ by 12″ Swiss roll tin.
Place the butter, sugar and condensed milk in a saucepan and heat until melted. Do not boil.
Stir in the apricots and crushed cookies. Press into the tin and allow to set in the fridge.

For the brown sugar icing, place the butter, milk and brown sugar into a pan and bring to boil for 2 minutes.
Take off the heat and mix in the icing (powdered) sugar to form a smooth consistency.
Spread over the base and return to the fridge to set. Once set, cut into slices and store in an airtight container in the fridge.