Caesar Salad, Pancetta wrapped Cod, Jelly, Ice Cream and Chocolate

Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents dearly. But for two immensely talented and successful people, they are absolutely hopeless at feeding themselves. People think I’m joking when they ask where I learnt to cook and I tell them it wasn’t so much where but why, it was a necessity if I didn’t want to live off fish cakes for the majority of my teenage years. Take this weekend when I came home. I had offered to cook dinner for the parents and the man upstairs, and in return my mum had bought in a shopping order. I had left basic items like stock and dried herbs off the list assuming anyone who isn’t a student, lives in a house full time and presumably eats would have these staples, I was wrong. My mothers response? ‘We had some at christmas’, yes we did, and I used it up, the last time I cooked in our house. My father is I’m afraid no better, while very good at selecting wines for our dinner, he took in the food order and left out most of the veg and salad because they wouldn’t fit in the fridge, the fridge was full of potatoes…. Anyway, for those of you who know how to store vegetables, here is a standard, albeit slightly middle class, quick dinner party menu.

Posh Caesar Salad (Serves 4) 

2 iceberg lettuces, 2 chicken breasts, 4 quails eggs, 10 anchovies, 1 small sourdough roll, 1 egg yolk, 1/3 tsp of English mustard, 1/2 tsp of garlic, finely chopped, 1 1/4 tsp of white wine vinegar, 1 1/4 tsp of lemon juice 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce, 10g of Parmesan, grated, 120ml of vegetable oil

1. Sprinkle chicken with sea salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil and top with 1/2 crushed garlic clove each. Roast for 12-15mins at 180*C, leave to rest. 

  1. Meanwhile boil the quails eggs for 2 1/2mins, then run under cold water to stop the cooking process. When cool, peel and set aside. Cut the roll into croutons and toast on both sides under a grill, seasoned with a little salt, pepper and olive oil.
  2. For the dressing, blend 2 anchovies, egg yolk, mustard, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly add oil whilst blitzing. Add Worcester sauce, lemon juice and Parmesan, season to taste.

  3. Serve drizzled over Iceberg lettuce topped with chicken, anchovies, quails egg and Parmesan slivers.  

Pancetta wrapped cod, pearl barley risotto, garlic mushrooms, crispy kale, Early Grey jus

4 cod fillets, boneless and skinless, 12 rashes pancetta, 100g button mushrooms, 2 cloves garlic, 100g kale, dried rosemary, 320g pearl barley, 2 stock cubes, 1 onion, dried thyme, drizzle of truffle oil, 3tbsp Brandy. 2 earl grey tea bags.

  1. Soak the tea bags in 300ml hot water for at least 1hr. Wrap 3 pancetta rashes around each fish and set aside in a baking tray. Meanwhile place the kale in a baking dish, sprinkled with salt, pepper, rosemary and a small drizzle of oil. Place in the oven at 140*C for 25mins, stirring occasionally, until crispy.
  • .Meanwhile, slice the onions into small pieces. Sauté for 2-3mins in olive oil and salt. Add the pearl barley, thyme then brandy. Add 600ml stock and cook, stirring occasionally for 30mins, adding more water if needed. Season with lemon juice, pepper, salt and truffle oil and set aside.

  • Forthe mushrooms, finely chop garlic and cook in truffle oil for 1min. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5mins over a high heat, set aside. Put the fish on to cook in 140*C oven for 15mins.

  • Meanwhile, make jus. Combine earl grey stock with stock cube, salt, pepper and lemon juice, reduce by about half.

  • Just before serving, heat jus and risotto. Make a bed with the risotto, scatter around mushrooms, place fish on top, drizzle jus and scatter with kale chips.  

  • Grown-up Jelly, Ice cream and chocolate sauce

    A nostalgic nod to my primary school, The Rowans, where we indulgently were given those wonderful ice cream squares, strawberry jelly and chocolate custard, my favourite dessert. We used to mix them all up together in a wonderful synthtic, sugary mess we loved. This thankfully is more refined, very simple and quick and tasty, try adding ginger to the ice cream.

    1 tub vanilla ice cream, 200g shortbread biscuits, 4tbsp maple syrup, Silicone half sphere moulds, 300ml grapefruit juice, 4 gelatine leaves, 200g dark chocolate, 50g sugar, 50ml water, pinch of sea salt.

    1. Let the ice cream soften, until it can be squeezed out of its tub. Use a pastry brush to coat 4 silicone moulds. Crush shortbread in a plastic bag with a rolling pin to fine crumbs. Pour into moulds to coat and shake out so you have an even layer lining the moulds. Scoop ice cream into each mould, using a knife to level the base. Freeze.
  • For the jelly, heat grapefruit juice to boiling. Soak gelatine leaves in cold water, squeeze out and stir into grapefruit juice. Pour into a base lined square dish and refrigerate for at least 2hrs.

  • For the sauce, heat water and sugar to boiling. Stir in chocolate and salt until melted. Chop grapefruit jelly into squares. Serve beside ice cream and jelly in a little jug.

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    Wine: The classy way to get drunk.

    I’ve never been a scientist. As my mother will tell you, I managed to get through my physics GCSE through a mixture of learning the text book and sheer luck. I’m sure my A-levels of Ancient Greek, Latin and Music (which of course I use all the time in everyday life…..) have something to do with the creative side of cooking, but one thing I never expected to find so fascinating was the science behind cooking. From the moment I discovered that some vague memory about how osmosis worked could actually be usefully applied when boiling potatoes, using osmosis to infuse the potatoes with flavour before mashing, I was hooked. It’s not just the science of food that has interested me recently, but I’ve been finding out a lot about wine as well. While I’m not going to be able to spill out all the information I accumulated about wine over a qualification i did this summer in one blog post, and it is almost impossible to understand how different wines taste unless you taste a lot of similar wines one after the other, there are a few things that might surprise you. For anyone who declares I only like Chardonnay; Chardonnay tastes completely different based on the climate – citrusy, fresh in a cool climate, tropical and rich in a warm climate. Red wine can only be made with red grapes but white can be made with both (as long as the red skins are removed). The colour (tannins) are in the skin. Italian wines are almost certainly high in acidity, it’s just how the Italians like it. If a wine says Grand Cru on it, the wine is one of the best, but Special Reserve technically has no guarantee of a good wine. Generally a grape that produces high tannin wine (thick skins e.g Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah) will be better when it is aged and the tannins softened, but thinner skinned grapes (Merlot, Grenache, Pinot Noir) can be drunk earlier. And that is why I always drink Merlot in a pub. I could probably go on like this all day, proper wine geek.

    In terms of wine/food pairings – there are a few rules: (If you do one of these courses you get given a handy card you can carry with you – which of course I use all the time…..)

     

    While overkilling the wine geekery in a conversation with my friend, Madam Jojo,  she insisted that I design a wine tasting for her and some friends to put my skills to the test. Here is the menu, a little bit about what they taste like and the dishes I matched them with… on that note Majestic Wine were fantastic, great value, delivered to the house for free and huge selection.

    Lindauer Special Reserve Blanc de Blancs
    Sparkling White New Zealand, 100% Chardonnay, Butter, Biscuit, lemon
    Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2012, Vocoret
    White Burgundy, 100% Chardonnay, citrus, green apple, minerality

    Smoked Salmon, Crab Salad, Fennel, Apple, Avocado, Sourdough Bread

    Marquis de Pennautier Chardonnay ‘Terroirs d’Altitude’, 2012 Pays D’oc
    Southern France White, 100% Chardonnay, stone and tropical fruits, cloves
    Château Tour du Haut Moulin, 2007, Cru Bourgeoise, Haut Medoc
    Red Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Merlot/Cab blend, blackberry, spice, smooth tannins

    Spicy Black Beans, Bacon, Confit Potato, Creme Fraiche, Toasted Almonds

    Matsu El Recio 2012, Toro
    Intense Red, 100% Tempranillo, coffee beans, chocolate, overripe plums, smooth tannins
    Royal Tokaji Late Harvest, 2012
    Hungarian dessert wine, ripe peach, apricots, nectarine, high acidity so not cloying on palate

    Orange Cream, Basil Jelly, Honey toasted oatmeal

      

      

    Christmas Dinner: Round 1

    I will not call our Christmas dinner at the house the ‘practice round’, despite it being nearly a week early since all three housemates are leaving to spend the actual day with their parents. It was rather impressive in its own right, especially as it only took us around 2 hours to make. Despite Mark Francis’ pleas we did not get a turkey for the three of us; impractical considering 2/3 of us were leaving a day later. Instead I picked up a chicken on the way home from work. I turned up to discover a beautifully laid table with champagne, wine and dessert wine glasses, place mats and candles. The house had been decorated top to toe in tinsel and some wonderfully garish red fairy lights (Santa’s grotto in our home). We even had a mini wooden tree, Aldi’s finest crackers, (I’ve always wanted a fortune telling fish), and numerous Christmas cards. As I pootled around the cupboards preparing the main course, I even found unnecessary christmas bargains picked up from Aldi – a gift set containing stollen bites and rum, more mince pies (we have a never ending supply), and star-shaped biscuits (which turned out to be great in coffee cocktails).
    So with St John’s College Choir’s carol CD blaring from the speakers (interspersed with snippets from the Gospel Messiah Claire Balding had found on YouTube), I set down to work, over-catering as always.
    After some craftily-posed cracker-pulling selfies, it was time to actually eat. The starter was pulled out of the fridge, made ahead and stylishly plated up in cocktail glasses. The lovely Claire Balding’s take on the traditional prawn cocktail used horseradish and tomato and chilli relish for a less synthetically tasting Marie Rose sauce, and was delicious.

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    Gradually I began loading the table with dishes for the main course. I decided this year just to make up the recipes as I went along; sometimes it’s more fun to live life on the edge. I think at this point even Mark Francis was pretty pleased we hadn’t gone for the turkey. We had a roast chicken. Over the years I have tried and failed many times to roast a chicken perfectly – the results have usually been either too dry or undercooked. After some years perfecting it, my fail safe method is to rub the chicken liberally with sea salt and pepper, adding a tbsp of butter massaged under the skin (a bizarrely satisfying thing to do), stuff the cavity with various fresh herbs (I used bay leaves, thyme, sage, rosemary), and then put in the oven for 1 hour at 180ºc with a 1 inch level of water (or white wine?) in the bottom of the roasting tin. After 1 hour, uncover and cook for a further 20-30mins until the juices run clear. Leave to rest for 20mins and you have a ready-made gravy base!

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    Next up were the roast potatoes. I have tried so many times to make these healthy, but I’m afraid while using olive oil produces fairly crunchy and tasty potatoes, nothing can beat goose fat for top-notch roasties. I peeled and cut some King Edward potatoes into uneven knobbly lumps (very important as the more edges, the better the roast potatoes will be). I boiled them for 7-8mins, adding salt, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, rosemary and thyme to the water. Meanwhile I heated 1 large tbsp goose fat in the oven until melted. To this, I added the drained potatoes and herbs and roasted at 180ºC for 30-40mins. Even Mark Francis broke his usual 3 potato limit for these. In my opinion though, the Chef’s treat has to be the virtually deep-fried crunchy herbs you are left with at the end.
    No Christmas dinner would be complete without parsnips. These are again something I rarely have except at Christmas. But that may be because I am snobby enough only to like my roasted parsnips. I positively turn my nose up at those barely-cooked chunks of parsnips that are usually served up at mass-produced roast dinners. For me a perfect roast parsnip should be thin and slightly caramelised: chewy and crunchy at the same time. So this year I sliced some carrots and parsnips into batons, tossing them in salt, pepper, thyme, truffle oil, olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and a drizzle of honey. I roasted these at 180ºC for 30-40mins until caramelised, stirring every so often.
    I am a fan of creamed spinach. I understand it is not everybody’s cup of tea, but since I was forgoing the most delicious part of the Christmas spread (the bread sauce), this was the nearest substitute I could manage at short notice. Simply melt 2 tbsp butter and whisk in 1 tbsp flour, add milk, whisking at small intervals until you get a white sauce. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. When ready to serve, pour boiling water over a colander of spinach to wilt. Stir the spinach into the white sauce, add cream if desired.
    The cranberry sauce is another thing people rarely seem to want to make, which for me makes absolutely no sense. It’s so easy and always sooo much nicer than the stuff from a jar. All you do is put 300g sugar and 300g cranberries in a pan with a splash of vanilla extract, port and water. Add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp ground cloves. Bring to the boil and stir for 2-3mins, and hey presto! Cranberry sauce that will keep for ages.

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    On to the stuffing. Mark Francis couldn’t quite believe I was willing to squeeze the meat out of sausage skins in order to make this, but agreed that the end result was worth it. I believe the line CB used to describe them was ‘cakes of fun’, although I think the revised version ‘balls of fun’ has a better ring to it. To make the stuffing I simply mixed the meat of 8 sausages with a handful of cranberries, 1 egg, salt, pepper, a handful of chopped sage leaves, a sprinkling of parsley, 200g chopped chestnuts and 3 tbsp golden breadcrumbs. I shaped this mix into little balls and roasted in the oven at 180ºC for 30 mins.
    My final addition to the table was the gravy. This really needs no recipe as thanks to the method of roasting the chicken above, the juices had already collected in the bottom of the pan. I simply whisked in 1 tbsp sifted cornflour to thicken, and added a stock cube to flavour.
    Mark Francis’ main contribution were the ‘Ancient Roman style’ brussels sprouts, using an old family recipe. Unfortunately Mark Francis’ mother works along the same lines as me when it comes to cooking, providing him only a list of ingredients with no specific cooking times of amounts. This could have all gone so wrong. But in fact they went down so well I am planning using the recipe for my own Christmas dinner tomorrow. Simply take Brussels sprouts, raisins and olives, braise them in stock for 4-5mins until reduced, and then stir through some pine nuts. When in Rome or indeed Cambridge…

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    After sitting and groaning at our stomachs for a bit, we decided we would play some games before dessert. While ‘Pass the bomb’ using the Great British Bake Off music instead of a timer was great fun, I’m not sure ‘Twister’ was the wisest idea given the quantity of food consumed… Luckily Claire Balding had made a delightful light dessert of baked pears, which she had stuffed with ricotta and sprinkled with amaretti biscuits. We served it with a discovery of Mark Francis – Aldi’s Finest: a box set of sparkling Asti dessert wine and Cantucci biscuits. While at first we were unsure what “Aldi’s Finest” would entail, it was a wonderful dessert wine, only 5%, sweet but not cloying. Shame you can only buy it in the box set.

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    Altogether, a fine warm-up for the big day. I will let you know if I manage to persuade the 90 year old grandparents to play Twister!

    Round the World flavours

    Round the World flavours

    (nb the photos are not my own, but inspiration)

    I had a bad evening last night. So to cheer myself up I designed a menu.

    Vodka marinated caramelized tomato and fennel, whipped basil cream, balsamic drizzle, salted cashew nut crumble, rocket leaves.

    Paprika dusted Lobster, flambé chorizo, diced roast pumpkin, deep fried fish bones, sweet peas, coconut marinated whiting, coconut foam.

    Untitled

    Smoked Lamb fillet, cumin spiced pistachio butter, crispy sweetbreads, samphire, sweet carrot puree, minted yoghurt, beetroot ketchup, giant croutons, wild flowers. 

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    Lime and ginger sponge, foaming hot chocolate, avocado cream, iced white chocolate snow, sour pineapple, coconut flakes.

    Recipes to follow

    If I could make my perfect menu….2

    If I could make my perfect menu….2
    you may have seen this post under the title of my 21st menu – so my 21st came and and for some unknown reason I didn’t manage to find anyone who wanted to foot the bill for me to create this menu. I decided the next feasible opportunity for this menu is my wedding – so for my future husband (if you are reading this whoever you may be) we are blowing are entire budget on the food, I’ll wear jeans.

    I’ve tweaked the menu a bit – and of course added some canapé ideas and dietary alternatives for my weird gluten free, nut allergy, veggie friends.

    Canapés
    Beetroot Macaroons, Creamy goats cheese filling (gf) (v) (n)
    Crispy Salmon skin, Seaweed cone, seaweed salad, soy dressing, sesame seeds (gf) (n)
    Crab, Pink Grapefruit and dill mayonnaise, blinis, caviar (n)
    Ras el Hanout seared lamb, pistachio crust, mint and cilantro, harissa sauce, lemon yogurt

    Oyster Ceviche

    Oysters with tequila, lime, chilli, salt 
    Bollinger R.D 1996 Extra Brut
    OR
    Palm heart and avocado ceviche with soy, ginger and lime (v)(gf)(n)

    Blackamole
    Twice fried Black Bean, Guacamole, baked corn tortilla strips, crispy fried coriander
    Passion Fruit Margarita –
    Passion fruit, lime juice, Triple Sec, 1921 Tequila Blanco
    Phish Eggs
    Smoked Trout, Poached quails eggs, asparagus, hollandaise foam, toasted almonds, crispy toast disc, Lemon Zest
    Casa Coste Piane Prosecco Valdobbiadene
    OR
    Wild Garlic scrambled eggs, toasted sunflower seeds, crispy toast discs, Bloody mary coulis (v)(n)
    – Gluten free toast alternative option

    Ravioli
    Chicken Ravioli, Spinach Foam, Honey barbecue toasted Hazelnuts, Ricotta quenelle, Chicken and sage consommé, sage crisps 
    Villa Masetti Pinot Grigio 2009
    OR
    Wild truffle and mushroom ravioli, spinach foam, creamed white wine and tarragon sauce, tarragon crisps, butter toasted walnut pieces (v)
    – Gluten free pasta alternative
    – nut allergy, replace nuts with sunflower seeds

    Venison
    Seared Chard wrapped Venison loin, Venison Confit Shepherds pie topped with black garlic creamed potatoes, Chanterelle mushrooms, spicy chocolate sauce, Carrot and Parsnip crisps (gf) (n)
    The Black Shiraz 2010 Berton Vineyards
    OR
    Butternut, spinach and ricotta Wellingtons, three cheese potato gratin, caramelised onions, maple pecans (v)

    Scoup
    Iced Melon Soup, Cayenne Pepper, Mint syrup
    Campari Sorbetta, Balsamic drizzle (v) (gf) (n)
    Cherry Ripe
    Custard Cream Quenelle, Warm Cognac soaked Black Cherries, Warm Vanilla sponge, Cherry Blossom Sugar shards (v) (n)
    Limoncello Di Capri
    – Gluten free sponge alternative

    Reese’s Piece
    60% Bittersweet Chocolate cylinder, Peanut Butter Core, Frozen yoghurt parfait filling, Salted Peanut brittle, Raspberry Jelly crystals (v) (gf)
    OR
    Jaffa Cake
    Milk chocolate bubbly Mousse, bubble wrap dark chocolate, marmalade, salted popcorn (n)

    Holy Choly
    Black Pepper and Chedder Shortbread (gf)
    All Butter Cranberry studded sugar cookies 
    Vin Santo Sante Bucciarelli

    Coffee
    Affogato truffle
    Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel
    Tomato and Basil Praline

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year

    It’s that time of year, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, the goose is getting fat, santa is all over the shops…..oh no wait it’s October! However that doesn’t seem to stop Ocado from reminding me it’s time to book the christmas food shop. Well if I must spend my day planning christmas food rather than reading up on Prokofiev, I must. I am also feeling the creative juices flowing after U8 has told me that she is going to Midsummer house this evening and we have spent the morning looking at the menu and pictures of food.

    Over the years I have built up a number of traditions in our house for christmas I’m sure everyone has their own opinions

    1. 3 course dinner on christmas eve before heading over to sing in Midnight mass followed by the first champagne of christmas day (usually involves fish main course)
    2. Smoked Salmon and Scrambled egg champagne breakfast
    3. Some sort of cured fish lunch starter
    4. Traditional turkey but no rules as to the trimmings!
    5. Christmas pudding is homemade, no suet and made at least a month in advance, everyone in the house has to stir it
    6. Only mum and I will eat the bread sauce but that still means we need at least 3 times what Nigella suggests for a dinner for 6
    7. LEFTOVERS (for what feels like the rest of your life)

    I’ve decided that this year I have sufficiently introduced my parents to enough new flavours to actually make something with a little spice this year, although piri-piri turkey may be a little far. So for christmas eve I thought we could have a Moroccan theme. Mostly my cooking is french inspired but given the opportunity it would be great to experiment with different cuisines. Although realistically it’s like learning a language, to actually be able to do it right you need to live in the country for a while. Anyway. I started with mackerel with orange and Harissa glaze, usually sweetness and spice are good with oily fish as they cut through the oiliness. What to serve with it is tricky. Too much spice or sugar won’t match the glaze as it already has both. So after trawling the internet for what feels like 3 hours (but what is more realistically 1) I decide on giant couscous (if you haven’t discovered this yet do so soon) AND roasted butternut squash with texture of crunchy almonds and saltiness of olives YUM. At the moment the plate feels a little too orange…. I need some green veg but have no idea what to add to the dish – green beans?? sauteed cabbage? Buttered Leeks….
    Starter. I know mezze would make sense but i’m not sure because christmas is such a busy time for cooking and I am morally obliged to make everything from scratch, plus the rest of the meal is now a little on the heavy side and it will be christmas the next day…. So second idea is a simple trio of dips (lemon and coriander hummus, smokey baba ganoush and tzatziki) with melba toast, sorry did I say simple…
    Now I know Baklava isn’t technically Moroccan BUT they do eat versions of it in Morocco (or at least according to wikipedia they do) ‘baklava snake’. So for dessert I want to have a go at making a sort of deconstructed baklava consisting of a rolled baklava slice, topped with ground pistachios, with a rosewater and orange yoghurt mousse and orange coulis.

    Breakfast Christmas day is technically already set but I still think there’s room for experimentation. This year I’m going to serve the scrambled eggs (beaten eggs, salt, pepper, dash of cream and herb of choice poured into an already hot pan with a knob of butter, already melted and cook over a medium heat stirring till consistency is not too solid -remember it still keeps cooking off the heat-) with thyme, smoked salmon, squeeze of lemon on a bagel with toasted pumpkin seeds (thank you very much for the idea Bills eggs royale breakfast).

    For starter on christmas day I’m looking for a cured fish. Since U8 has told me about her recent midsummer house experience (yes this blog post is taking me two days) i am quite keen to try combining salmon and apple, which apparently they have on their menu. Searching for a recipe I’m afraid I didn’t find a good version – that recipe will have to wait for a few months (thinking apple puree, apple crisps, confit salmon…), plus I figure cured salmon and apple might be too strong a flavour, confit is better. But I did find a really interesting idea, if I cure the salmon and combine fennel, beetroot and dill I could make a sort of salad with dill mayonnaise dressing, the beetroot just sweet enough to cut through the oiliness of the salmon (plus U8 was also talking about an amazing beetroot dish…)

    Someone once told me that all good meals start with the sides but of course here we already know what the main is. When cooking potatoes there are a couple of rules: fat must be hot before you put the potatoes in, you need a little acidity (maybe vinegar), a herb/spice, pepper and lots of salt. This year I’m thinking, bay leaves, thyme, and truffle oil (my new love). Since christmas is a time for overindulgence the other sides this year will consist of creamed spinach, two types of stuffing (chestnut and cherry/pistachio), cranberry red cabbage, garlic and cumin roasted carrots, parmesan roasted parsnips and dijon braised brussel sprouts. For the piece de resistance as it were I could go really outlandish and go crazy with flavours but to be honest I think the side dishes speak for themselves so a simple
    clementine and sage gravy with madeira gravy is all it’s going to be, the real trick is butter under the skin for extra crispy skin! Now I am a big fan of gin (nothing better than a gin and tonic) so in order to incorporate this into the menu I’m thinking sloe gin cranberry sauce with cloves and juniper berries…. Bread sauce has to be a bit more traditional, so turn to Nigella with extra nutmeg grated on top – some things never change.
    The pudding is always special – we tend to go heavy on the fruit and less on the suet. Now I wouldnt normally do this but it’s getting late and the pudding last year was particularly good soooo I’m going to use the same one as last year – in fact this one has no suet, just raisins sultanas, apple, prunes, cranberries and more… I am probably just creating unnecessary extra work for myself but I really want to make grand marnier and clementine custard to serve with the christmas pudding as well as brandy butter – it is just soooo good. Plus christmas always needs more booze! Still haven’t got very far on the turkey but found a great recipe for cranberry and white chocolate panettone which will be great for boxing day brunch (and to be honest any time we get peckish) and of course Nigella’s mince pies which are the only mince pies you should ever really make.

    So final menu

    Christmas eve

    Lunch – Roasted Tomato and Basil Quiche

    Dinner – crunchy chickpeas
               – lemon and coriander hummus, smokey baba ganoush, tzatziki and melba toast
               – mackerel with orange and harissa glaze, giant couscous with roasted butternut squash
              – baklava cigar, rosewater and orange yoghurt mousse and orange coulis

    Christmas Day

    Breakfast – Smoked Salmon, thyme and truffle scrambled eggs on bagels with toasted pumpkin seeds

    Lunch – Cured Salmon and beetroot
               – clementine and sage turkey with madeira gravy
               – creamed spinach, chestnut stuffing roll, cranberry red cabbage, cherry and pistachio stuffing, cumin and garlic carrots, parmesan baked parsnips, truffle and thyme roasties, dijon braised brussel sprouts, bread sauce, sloe gin cranberry sauce (somehow I think we’re going to have leftovers)
               – fruity christmas pudding
              – clementine and grand mariner custard, brandy butter

    Dinner – LEFTOVERS
             

    My Perfect 21st Menu

    If I could make my perfect menu….
    Oyster Ceviche
    Oysters with tequila, lime, chilli, salt
    Bollinger R.D 1996 Extra Brut
    Blackamole
    Twice fried Black Bean, Guacamole, baked tortilla strips, crispy fried coriander
    Passion Fruit Margarita –
    Passion fruit, lime juice, Triple Sec, 1921 Tequila Blanco
    Phish Eggs
    Smoked Trout, Poached quails eggs, asparagus, hollandaise foam, toasted almonds, crispy toast disc, Lemon Zest
    Casa Coste Piane Prosecco Valdobbiadene
    Ravioli
    Chicken Ravioli, Spinach Foam, Honey barbecue toasted Hazelnuts, Ricotta quenelle, Chicken and sage consommé, sage crisps
    Villa Masetti Pinot Grigio 2009
    Venison
    Seared Chard wrapped Venison loin, Venison Confit Shepherds pie topped with black garlic creamed potatoes, Chanterelle mushrooms, spicy chocolate sauce, Carrot and Parsnip crisps
    The Black Shiraz 2010 Berton Vineyards
    Scoup
    Iced Melon Soup, Cayenne Pepper, Mint syrup
    Campari Sorbetta, Balsamic drizzle
    Cherry Ripe
    Custard Cream Quenelle, Cognac soaked Black Cherries, Wafer, Cherry Blossom Sugar shards
    Limoncello Di Capri
    Reese’s Piece
    60% Bittersweet Chocolate cylinder, Peanut Butter Core, Frozen yoghurt parfait filling, Salted Peanut brittle, Raspberry Jelly crystals
    Holy Choly
    Black Pepper and Chedder Shortbread
    All Butter Cranberry studded sugar cookies
    Vin Santo Sante Bucciarelli

    The Competition Entry

    The  Competition Entry
    For my menu, I wanted to show the ultimate British summer. I felt this would not only show off the best of British produce, specifically from all four areas of the United Kingdom, but also celebrate and support our British athletes in the games and show other countries what it means to be British, and that British cuisine is classic, tasty and summery. Each course is based around a typical British meal, bringing in elements from all areas of British cuisine and each containing 5 elements as a further tongue in cheek celebration of the Olympics, representing the 5 olympic rings.
    The first course would be based on a British Picnic, for a typical summer’s day. Consisting of: 1.A mini pork pie, made with british pork; 2. an Indian spiced lamb scotch quails egg, bringing in the huge influence Indian cooking has had on British cuisine, made with welsh lamb mince, and west sussex quail’s eggs, on a spoonful of spiced mayonnaise made with british eggs; 3. a small triangle sandwich filled with smoked salmon and dill butter, pierced with a mini union jack flag on a cocktail stick, made with scottish smoked salmon and british cucumbers; 4. A small spoonful of potato salad, using irish potatoes, british walnuts and walnut oil; 5. A small spoonful of broad bean and pea shoot salad with an apple cider vinaigerette, made with somerset broad beans and cider vinegar, wiltshire pea shoots and british bacon.
    The second course is a twist on Fish and Chips, what could be more traditionally British summer seaside. 1. A beer battered pea mousse, suprisingly delicious, playing on the mushy peas accompaniment, the deep fried mousse is crispy on the outside with a melting warm pea centre, made using east anglia peas and real ale. 2. The mousse will be in a small cone of newspaper with 1948 london olympic games reported along with thick triple cooked chips using Irish potatoes and finely grated flecks of warickshire berkwell hard sheeps cheese. 3. This would all be served on a rectangular plate with the cone far right and next to it a fillet of cornish pollack with a caper, lemon zest and parsley breadcrumb ‘sand’ topping (british seaside) on top of 4. ribbons of lemon and black pepper marinated raw new forest courgette ‘sea’. 5. This is all drizzled with a thin white wine vinegar mayonnaise.
    The final course is based on an Afternoon tea, what could be more quintessentially British, and more associated with British sports. 1. The main event would be a cornish clotted cream cheesecake on a scone-like pastry base with a thin layer of strawberry jam ontop of the base, drizzled with 2. a strawberry sauce; 3. topped with an earl grey tea caramel shard. All accompanied by a 4. strawberry marshmallow on a stick, and 5. a single fresh strawberry – all using staffordshire strawberries.
    -Pork Pie – made with british pork,
    – Indian spiced lamb scotch quails egg – made with welsh lamb mince, influenced by indian influence on England and west sussex quails eggs, on a spoonful of spiced mayonnaise made with british eggs
    -smoked salmon and dill butter sandwiches – made with scottish smoked salmon, british cucumbers
    -Potato salad using irish potatoes, british walnuts+walnut oil
    – broad bean and pea shoot salad with an apple cider vinegerette fresh mint and british bacon – using somerset broad beans and cider vinegar, wiltshire pea shoots and british bacon
    Fish and Chips twist
            Beer battered pea mousse, using real ale, english peas form east anglia
            Thick chips triple cooked, using irish potatoes and finely grated flecks of warickshire berkwell hard sheeps cheese, all served in a small cone of newspaper with 1948 olympic games (last london games)
            Cornish Pollack fillet with a caper, lemon zest and parsley breadcrumb ‘sand’
            On top of ribbons of lemon and black pepper marinated raw courgette ‘sea’ – using new forest courgettes
            Drizzled with a thin white wine vinegar mayonnaise – using british eggs
    Afternoon tea cheesecake
            Cornish Clotted cream cheesecake with a layer of strawberry jam made using stafforshire strawberries
            Earl Grey caramel shards
            Strawberry marshmallow
            Fresh strawberry garnish
            Strawberry sauce