RSS Feed

Category Archives: Festive Food

It’s Christmas!

I’ve been having a bit of break from the bloggin’ world for a little while as I was off fighting with giant anaconda & crocodiles for a tongue-in-cheek style movie; playing a rather fun, evil villainess character! My husband and I have also been designing our narrowboat which is going to be built in January 2015! Exciting and busy times ahead!

Before I forget: Merry Christmas to you all and may you have a very prosperous, happy and healthy new year! 🙂

Here is my Christmas pud recipe. I tested it for the first time last year and this year I feel it’s time to shout about it because it was really rather delicious!  My Christmas inspiration brings forth a big batch of mincemeat which can lend itself to stuffed baked apples or topping for natural yoghurt or little pies. It is also the main ingredient in my pud!

Buying dried fruit in bulk is often cheaper. I also think it’s worth looking for the most naturally dried fruits: just check the label for any added extras.  These recipes can easily be halved when catering for small gatherings.

Mincemeat: Fills 2 large 1.5l kilner jars…

500g dried currants

200g dried apricots, chopped

250g dried cranberries

200g dried prunes

500g dried date paste (soak the dates for a couple of hours and then blitz in the food processor to a smooth paste)

250g goat butter, frozen and then grated

juice and zest of 1 large orange

juice and zest of 2 clementines

100g chopped mixed peel

1/4 pint of brandy

1/4 pint of Cointreau

500g Macadamia Nuts, chopped

2 tsps mixed spice (I like to add an extra 2 tsps cinnamon)

Method:

Prep the ingredients as described. Add to a very large mixing bowl and get stuck in with the mixing! Store in the sterilized kilner jars and place in the fridge ready for use!

I love stuffing the mixure into large, cored cooking apples (make sure you score them around the circumference to stop them exploding!) and baking them in a deep roasting tray with a little water and foil to cover them (160C for about 45 minutes). I don’t add any extra sugar as the mincemeat is very sweet with all the dried fruits. Serve it with coconut cream or natural sheep yoghurt and, if needed, add a little extra sweetness with a drizzle of maple syrup!

Here is the Christmas pud recipe:

This can be made well in advance as long as it is sealed well and stored in a cool dry place. Equally, there’s no harm in making it on the big day if you haven’t got too many other cooking chores going on! It is super rich with the cacao element so this pud will stretch far!

Serves 10

Ingredients:

2lbs mincemeat (from the recipe above there will be plenty left over for other festive treats too!)

1 grated cooking apple

2 tbsps coconut oil, melted

2 tbsps pysllium husks, mixed with a splash of water to form gel-like consistency

3 level tbsps of GF brown bread flour (or coconut flour – whichever you prefer)

200g ground almonds

6 free-range eggs

2 tsps cinnamon

75g grated cacao from solid block (halve this if using ground cacao powder)

2.5 tsps bicarb of soda

1 tsp vit C powder

splash of brandy for setting it alight to serve!

Method:

Line and grease a large pudding basin (mine is big, it is 12cm in height and 19cm in width! This size takes about 3 pints I believe…) &  making sure there is enough parchment to go over the top of the pudding to ‘tuck it in’. I find cutting a few slits around the edge helps to sort of pleat and fold the paper to fit around bowl.

Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl apart from the vitamin C and the bicarbonate of soda. You can mix the ingredients by hand but a dough hook on an electric mixer gets everything integrated really efficiently and keeps the batter nice and light. Finish by adding the vitamin C and the Bicarbonate of soda and giving it a quick whizz through.

Pour the mixture into the basin (making sure there is about an inch space from the mixture to the top of the basin for growing room!) and tuck the baking parchment over the top – not too tightly. More firmly wrap the foil over the top and tie a string around the rim of the bowl. It’s worth attaching a loop (via the string already in place) over the top of the basin to act as a handle, making it easier to pull out of the saucepan (and saving your paws) once it’s cooked. Poke a couple of holes into the foil with a skewer to allow for air flow as the pud cooks. Then place the basin into a large saucepan (filled 3/4 with water when basin is inside). Put a lid on and bring to the boil and simmer for about 3.5-4 hours, making sure the water doesn’t boil dry. The pudding will have expanded and will feel firm to the touch. If cooking and eating on the day leave in the basin to cool a bit before turning out. To heat a pre-cooked pud put it back into a saucepan water bath and simmer for about 1 hour with the lid on. Decorate the serving dish with holly, drizzle the pudding with brandy and set alight. Serve with coconut cream or brandy-infused custard (I make custard with coconut milk, egg yolks and sweeten it with agave syrup).

Enjoy!

I will be posting pictures at a later date!

 

Chicken Liver Pate – festive nibbles anyone?

IMG_3097

Now I am starting to think about stocking up on things I can have ready to hand to serve to guests, for impromptu festive drinks over the next month or so.  A little pate in the fridge goes a long way at this time of year as it is so rich and indulgent and can be served up really quickly – the perfect accompaniment to bubbles or a glass of wine.

Liver is apparently a great source of trace elements such as Zinc, Copper, Chromium, plus Folate, Iron and is also rich in Choline which aids several metabolic pathways in the body and aids detoxification… perhaps the perfect antidote to the Christmas cheer this season! 😉 It is also high in Vit A and B12 – so good for radiant skin & energy levels. Also brilliant for promoting healthy immunity and digestion and not to mention improved mental function – who doesn’t need that?

Chicken liver is really inexpensive to buy.  I highly recommend going organic on the livers – if you want the optimum detox values, you want a “clean living”  chicken! 😉

I like to serve mine on my Almond & Linseed crackers or thinly sliced toast (all low GI and GF of course!).

Ingredients:

350g Organic Chicken Livers (cleaned)

1 Echallon Shallot finely chopped

100g Coconut Oil (you can use Goat butter if you prefer but I’m quite partial to the Coconut oil for this recipe, it just seems to work really well)

75g Organic Coconut Cream

75ml Madeira

Small bunch of Taragon, leaves gently torn

Small bunch of Thyme, pull the leaves off the main woody stalk

1/2 tsp ground Ginger

1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon

grated Nutmeg to taste

good pinch Himalayan Salt

ground black Pepper to taste

Method:

1) Clean the livers – this basically means cutting away any white, stringy, or sinewy bits which can taste bitter, so worth a little effort here. Then chop into bite sized chunks.

IMG_2980

2) Fry the Shallot in about 2tsp of  the Coconut Oil ( large frying pan) with tarrogon and thyme until slightly softened. Then add the chopped livers (medium heat) and cook until the meat is browned but still slightly pink on the inside should take just a couple of minutes.  Place the mixture into a food processor and allow to cool with the lid off for a bit.

IMG_2990

3) Meanwhile add the madeira, ginger and cinnamon, to the frying pan and simmer for a couple of minutes until reduced by half.  Allow to cool for 5 mins.

IMG_2994

4) Next add the coconut cream to the food processor with liver mixture and blitz until smooth.

IMG_2996

5) Add the madeira mixture to the liver mixture along with 2 tbsp  of coconut oil, salt, pepper and good amount of freshly grated nutmeg to taste.  Then off you go with the whizz button.  Give it a taste and see if the seasoning needs adjusting – it’s really personal taste here.

6) Allow the mixture to completely cool before pouring into a sterilized, kilner jar (I find this mix makes enough to almost fill a 0.5L jar) and place in the fridge for at least 40 minutes to set.

IMG_3000

7) Finally melt the remaining Coconut Oil (or Goat butter if using) – take off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before pouring on top of the set pate.  Back in the fridge for a final setting (about 30 mins should be fine). This will keep for about a 7 days in the fridge.

IMG_3048

For the Almond & Linseed Crackers.  These are great because they are high in protein, they compliment the pate really well.  They are also a great vehicle for Sunbutter or Pumpkin seed butter, Manchego (sheep) or Goat cheese.  For those with nut allergies my GF loaf thinly sliced and toasted works really well too.

Ingredients:

400g ground Almonds

2 Egg whites (I use the yolks up to make Mayo or Custard)

3 tbsp light Olive oil

good pinch Himalayan Salt

Black Pepper to taste

75g linseed

1/2 tbsp dried Thyme or Oregano (Or you can use 2 tbsp chopped black olives instead – great for a cheese board!)

Method: Easy peasy!

Preheat the oven to 150C

1) Add the ground almonds to a large mixing bowl along with the egg whites. Mix well with the linseed, dried herbs (olives), salt & pepper and finally add the oil a tablespoon at a time. This should bring the mixture together, enough that you can make a dough ball.  Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 3o minutes.

2) Between two sheets of baking paper roll out the dough, this prevents the dough from sticking and falling apart.  You can either use a small cookie cutter or for a more rustic look cut into squares.  Put the cut pieces on a lined baking sheet and keep cutting and rolling until you have used up all the mixture.  It really depends on how thin you roll the dough and how big you cut them, as to how many you will make, but I usually end up with about 30-40 crackers.

IMG_3039

3) Now bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden – don’t worry if they are still a little “soft” when you pull them out as they kind of set once cooled, as long as they have a nice golden colour to them they should be fine.  Also try to let cool completely before sampling! 😉

To serve the pate I like to top with a little chopped fresh tarragon and a thin slice of radish for a bit of colour!

IMG_3097