Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

Archive for December, 2015

Trimmings and other stuff for tomorrow

OK. Three hours of cooking and washing up…just for once, it felt like being in a professional kitchen.  You know, that horrible feeling of lack of control because you are prepping 5 different dishes.  Only one casualty. A plastic egg slice got too close to the flame…so it is in the bin now.  Otherwise, ok!


Here’s the bits:

  1. Get the beef in beer stew fried off and into the slow cooker
  2. Make the cranberry sauce
  3. Make the Chicken Liver – orange infused – Pate
  4. Wash up….
  5. Make the sage and onion stuffing
  6. Make the Chestnut and Apple stuffing

Beef in beer was easy – just fry off an onion, then the beef (coated in flour and paprika) and a mushroom.  Wash out the pan with London Pride beer.  Add a bit of salt and pepper, Lea and Perrins and mushroom ketchup.  It sitting there now, waiting for us later…will put dumplings in about 6, to eat at 7:30 With mash and mashed carrot and swede.

Cranberry sauce – easy peasy.  Cranberries into a pan.  Add the zest and juice of an orange. Slow boil for 10 mins.  Add cloves, ginger and cinnamon.  Mash with potato masher (yes – it works).  And let cool for tomorrows feast…after adding a little port!

Pre cooking panic...

Pre cooking panic…


All on the go

All on the go


Chicken Liver Pate?  On the web site.   Not hard – and always goes down well at dinner parties.  We are having it on blinis…

And then the two stuffings.  Both based on sausage meat as the lubricant. The Sage and Onion (guess what’s in that then?) also has breadcrumbs and  a beaten egg.  The chestnut and apple (yep, you guessed right) has a bit of mushroom too.  I put the sage one under the breast skin of the turkey.  The chestnut and apple is in a small Le Creuset casserole and will cook in the oven alongside the turkey – not everyone likes it – so more for me!!!!

And all ready to go!

And all ready to go!

Christmas Dinner – The full on Turkey Roast

You will need to scroll down and open up the original blog to see all the advice! Enjoy your Christmas Feast!

Can Men Cook?

Earlier today we had 67 words that must be a record for a Christmas Turkey recipe! But at least with those timings, you can be confident of the main attraction being OK?

Frozen Berries at Christmas Frozen Berries at Christmas

I said earlier, perhaps you would like a little more detail?  Here we go!

I think the essence (and this is true for all our recipes and ideas in my book “Can Men Cook?”) is to keep things simple.  This is even truer on this particular day, which can be a bit stressful if you let it.  As there is likely to be a crowd of revellers interrupting and drinking and waiting, for many of you, this is even more important.

(Some of the foods may not be for you at all – it will be different for each of you.  I have kept to traditional fare – and other meats or vegetarian options…

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And so, it begins…The Feast of Christmas

Cranberry sauce – home made – just divine, and ever so easy

Can Men Cook?

Where do I begin?  This year – managed the Cranberry and Orange Relish a little early – bought fresh cranberries in panic 1 week early, just in case they run out…as you do.  Christmas is nearly always around the 25th, isn’t it?  And why does it always take us by surprise???

A bag of cranberries – weighing about half a pound.  £2.  OK – you can get  a sugary purple red concoction for less than that in a jar, but you don’t know where it’s been, do you? And you do know what’s in it?  Read the label, and weep…

I’m very happy to buy some convenience stuff, but this is one of those things that is just SO different if you make it yourself. And I am making it one week ahead – and will freeze it to be brought straight to table on the evening before…

and there they are - boiling away! and there…

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Orange Infused Chicken Liver Pate

My favourite recipe – always asked for when we visit!

Can Men Cook?

Isn’t it lovely when you are visiting friends and they request you to make one of your favourite dishes?  Such a feather in cap moment!

We tried for frozen chicken livers at our butchers.  “We can’t get them now.  The supplier has done an exclusive deal with Tesco, and they won’t let them supply small businesses”.  OK – I’m only getting one side of the story here, but if true, my chagrin muscle is overwrought.

Britain's Best Dish Pate

So we got a pack in the supermarket…50p a pack – amazing value nutrition!

You have to defrost thoroughly before use – I usually leave it overnight in the fridge.  Open it up, and chop it in the pot – scissors work well.  This saves losing any of the liquid (bloody, and tasty…).

I remember when I was on Britain’s Best dish that Gilly Goolden, one of the judges, said “He must be worried about…

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Turkey cooking…in a minimal world…

Hi there – it’s that time of year, and reblog seemed easiest!

Can Men Cook?

I had a panic text from a family friend last year, on Christmas morning.  Claire was helping her daughter to cook Christmas lunch – and they had not a single recipe book in the house with the advice on how to cook the turkey.  I managed to send them the entire recipe by text!.  If you can text a recipe, then it can’t be so difficult – can it?  Here it is, in its entirety:

“Turkey – 14lb, for serving at 1.45, cooked by 1.15, rested before carving. Start at 8.15 with bird at room temperature.  Loads of butter and strips of bacon on the breast.  First 45 minutes at 220 C or 200 C for fan oven.  Lower to 170 (160 fan).  Foil off / peeled back at 12.30.  Then lots of basting (every15 mins) to 1.15.  Usually takes longer than you think.”

67 words must be a…

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