Month: December 2014

All-The-Alliums Soup – or onion and garlic, to you and me…

Serves 4 700g assorted onions – I managed to use up half a red one, a large white one, six straggly spring ones and a contender for the worlds smallest shallot, but any old onions will do, even dried up stragglers and bits and pieces… 4 fat cloves of garlic 2 tbsp oil (or butter if you’re feeling profligate, tis the season after all) A pinch of salt 1 tsp mixed herbs, fresh or dried 2 tbsp vinegar – red, white or cider vin all work well to cut through the super sweetness of the onions A splash of...

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Perfect Yorkshire Puddings

The trick to making perfect Yorkshire puddings is to get the fat really hot before you spoon in the batter. Then, once they’re in, resist the urge to open the oven door or you risk flaccid puds. Nobody loves a flaccid pud. Makes 6 in muffin tins or 1 large tin 2 tablespoons oil, sunflower or groundnut 125g flour a pinch of salt 1⁄2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (optional) 2 eggs 150ml milk Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Drop a little oil into the bottom of each muffin tin, or the whole lot into a large tin, and stick them straight into the oven to heat. Tip the flour into a mixing bowl or jug (I mix my batter in a jug to make pouring it into the muffin tins or single tin easier). Add the salt and herbs, if using, and stir briefly to distribute. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients – admittedly a bit more difficult in a jug than in a bowl but not insurmountable. Break in the eggs, pour in half of the milk and beat to form a smooth batter. Gradually beat in the rest of the milk. Check your muffin tins or the large tin: the fat should be smoking hot. Pour or spoon in the batter until each muffin tin is around a third full, or tip...

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Sneaky Sprouts

Brussels sprouts: you either love them or you hate them, but if your only experience of them is as an accompaniment to your Christmas dinner, you should definitely give these a go. Sliced and pan-fried with cabbage and butter: this is how I smuggle them into the toddlers . . . Serves 4 as a side dish 200g Brussels sprouts, fresh or frozen and defrosted 30g butter or a splash of oil 1 onion 4 fat cloves of garlic, or 6 smaller ones 1⁄2 savoy cabbage salt and pepper a grating of nutmeg (optional) 50ml cream (optional) Slice or quarter the sprouts, discarding any tough outer leaves. Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan, toss in the sprouts and cook over a low heat. Peel and finely slice the onion and garlic, then add to the pan and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally. Slice the cabbage, discarding any tough outer leaves and stalk, and add to the pan. Season well, and stir in. Turn up the heat and cook for a further few minutes until the edges of the sprouts are slightly golden. If you’ve opted for nutmeg and cream, add them now, and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Serve hot. From ‘A Year In 120 Recipes’ by Jack Monroe, available to order here from the Hive, a...

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Pears poached in spiced red wine with dark chocolate

This recipe is so easy that it’s hardly a recipe at all. I use tinned pears, because they’re cheaper and easy to tuck away at the back of a store cupboard, and serve them in a bowl with ice cream and a little grated dark chocolate. Serves 4 1 x 400g tin of pear halves 1 large glass of red wine 100g sugar, white or brown a scant 1⁄4 teaspoon of cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick each for presentation if you’re feeling fancy…) dark chocolate, to serve Drain two-thirds of the juice from the pears and pour the remainder...

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Have yourself a cheaper little Christmas… I made a wreath!!

I’ll keep this one short and sweet: I read an article in one of the free London papers the other day about the best Christmas wreaths on the market, pored through it, wondered if we should get one, and quite liked the look of the brightly coloured pom-pom one….and then got home to a world of toddlers needing dinner and baths and bedtime and all thoughts of shopping for wreaths went out of the window. Life is like that, with small children, and many good intentions or passing thoughts just -vanish- (!!) … And then, boringly rummaging around the...

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