Category Archives: Cook from scratch

Eat Smart! Eat Healthily…Breakfast!

 

Good morning from not so sunny Thailand(10 degrees) even hubby and it is first for him since we landed here 8 years ago(he) who has always laughed at me for donning warm clothes has succumbed and is wearing jogging pants and a jumper…

I hope you are all well and getting over the Christmas festivities it is such a busy time of year and sometimes we don’t have time to eat or eat on the run…Don’t we???

Today I am going to repost and have revamped one of my healthy eating posts from a few years ago starting with the first meal of the day… Breakfasts which I hope will help sustain you until lunch and which you can prepare really quickly… there is something for everyone…vegetarians, vegans whatever your eating plan…Breakfast is served…

Firstly…Porridge…

If you don’t know already I had six children, a dog, a cat, a snake, a parrot and a horse…Get the picture all who I had to feed and get off to school before I went to work….lol

Breakfast time was busy…My slow cooker was a lifesaver during the cold winter months …I put the porridge on at night before I went to bed and come the morning it was ready and waiting…So easy…

Hubby was first out of the door having had his bowl of porridge and as the kids appeared they could get theirs it was always fresh and hot…

You can serve porridge with honey, fruit compote, fresh fruit or even a sprinkling of brown sugar which was an occasional treat for me…a throwback to my childhood…

Other toppings:

  • Mango and toasted coconut
  • Bacon and maple syrup
  • Peanut Butter and grapes

I cannot pick a favourite out of these as I love them all…

How about some nice wholemeal Toast with peanut butter and sliced banana maybe a sprinkling of cinnamon and /or honey…for my US cousins it’s jam/jelly…

Or slice some strawberries..anything goes really or some mashed avocado and a hardboiled egg roughly chopped… Quick, easy and nutritious…

Love Peanut Butter then here is the link to make your own…quick and easier than anything you have ever made and no nasties.

Eggs are always a good way to start your day…

Softly scrambled or poached…they are one of my favourite things. Hubby has bread with his eggs I just eat scrambled eggs on their own sometimes I grill some tomatoes as I really love eggs and tomatoes.

Here is a lovely video on how to poach an egg something that many including me have had problems getting the perfect poached egg… And if everyone wants a poached egg this man shows you how to do six eggs at once…

A yoghurt is a great option if you don’t have time to eat it at home put it in a mason jar with a lid and eat it when you get to work…

What I love about these jars is you can take them you and any fruit of your choice you can layer it or just top the yoghurt with it.

Easy to make oats to top your yoghurt or porridge.

Quick crunchy Oats…

  • 1 cup of uncooked oats…
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar…
  • 3 tbsp butter.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder ( optional)

Let’s Bake!

Mix all 3 ingredients together and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes stirring  I love to add a bit of cinnamon…

Allow to cool and top your porridge or yoghurt.

Thank you for reading I hope some of these breakfast ideas has made your tastebuds zing xxx

What is your favourite breakfast?

That’s all for this morning thank you for popping in today I hope you have enjoyed this breakfast edition …as always I look forward to your comments as you all know I love to chat…Thanx Carol xx

 

It’s Friday …Time for Fish Pie…

Fish Pie can be pastry topped or topped with mashed potato…you can slice potatoes and mix white and sweet potatoes or parsnips even pastry if you wish…The potatoes sprinkled with bread crumbs and maybe some parmesan…

For a special occasion get creative and make a pish shaped pie…

My mum always used to make it topped with potatoes sometimes she sliced them and other times she boiled them and mashed them with milk and butter… I think the slices potatoes look very pretty if you are having someone to dinner but when I am making especially here as I don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen…It’s hot!

I top with mashed potatoes either sweet potatoes ( which) I love but everyone one else likes the normal mashed potato as they call it…

Ingredients:

For the filling

  • 400ml/14fl oz whole milk
  • 1 small onion finely sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g/1lb 2oz thick white fish fillets, skinned…although if I can I get a pack of mixed fish pieces which includes salmon, smoked fish and other fish I do and it is very nice.
  • 40g/1½oz butter
  • 40g/1½oz plain flour
  • 150g/5½oz frozen peas/sweetcorn
  • 200g/7oz large raw prawns, peeled
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 800g/1lb 12oz medium  potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 40g/1½oz butter, cubed
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 100g/3½oz mature cheddar cheese, grated/ or breadcrumbs and parmesan makes for a nice topping.

Let’s Cook! Fish Pie…

fish pie with peas

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

To make the filling, pour the milk into a large pan and add the sliced onion and bay leaves. Season with salt and black pepper.

Place the fish fillets in the pan and bring to a very gentle simmer, cover and cook for two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand and infuse for 20 minutes. Remove the fish and transfer to a colander over a bowl, then pour the milk into a jug.

Half fill a large saucepan with cold water. Add the potatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Drain the potatoes and cover with a clean teatowel which absorbs the steam. Mash with the butter, milk and three-quarters of the grated cheese. If I have cream in the fridge and feel a bit decadent then I omit the butter and milk and mash with cream.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To finish the filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few seconds, then gradually add the infused milk, stirring constantly, and simmer over medium heat for 3–4 minutes until the sauce is smooth and thick. Stir in the peas and season with salt and black pepper.

Special occasion? then add some white wine…

Spread one-third of the sauce into the base of a 1.5 litre/2¾ pint ovenproof dish. Scatter half the fish fillets over the sauce, breaking them into chunky pieces as you go and discarding the onion and bay leaves.

Arrange half the prawns on top of the fish and pour over another third of the sauce. Repeat this with the remaining fish and prawns and finish with the final third of the sauce on top.

Spoon the mash over the fish mixture, spreading to the edges with a palette knife. With a fork just take it across the surface and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

Sometimes I also slice some tomatoes and arrange them around the side of the dish.

Place the dish on a baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling.

fish pie with peas

 

Serve with some lemon slices.

Add some steamed vegetables or green peas if a more substantial meal is required.

N.B This is also a nice recipe which can be made in individual servings just divide the mix between 4 bowls and brown the top for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

Christmas dinner for one…Part One.

I know Christmas for many people for a variety of reasons and Covid…sigh… social isolating and bubbles which could mean Christmas dinner for one…

Christmas in a household of 4, for example, may mean a few compromises…especially if there is a fussy eater…then we get the TV and the music…maybe the games there is always a sore loser…

Christmas for one...means you can indulge yourself with your food choices…TV or music…your choice…there is no one to hog and eat all the best chocolates…less washing up and clearing away…you can veg out on the sofa after dinner…you can take a nap, read a book and eat chocolate, have a choice of TV channels, your choices are endless…It sounds close to heaven on earth to me…

What’s for dinner then? 

You could ask your butcher to cut you small lamb rack of 2/3 lamb cutlets and make a lovely crumb… its fairly quick to cook,

A nice piece of steak with new potatoes and a salad or a beautiful red wine sauce.

Pork fillet with a nice peppercorn sauce.

Salmon with new potatoes and asparagus.

A small turkey crown or a stuffed turkey thigh…

I did think about a nice quail, pigeon or venison but my son told me that they could be quite difficult to cook if you weren’t familiar with the cooking of them so, I discarded that thought unless of course, you are a cordon bleu chef and then it is a doddle.

If you just want traditional then here’s how…

A traditional Christmas dinner for one…

Ingredients:

  • 3 pork chipolata sausages
  • 1 small apple, cored, ½ grated, ½ cut into wedges
  • 4 walnut halves, chopped
  • 2 slices brown bread, chopped into small pieces
  • pinch of dried sage
  • 1 skinless chicken breast
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon
  • 5 Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 2 small potatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium parsnip, trimmed
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp vegetable, or sunflower oil
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 250ml red wine
  • 250ml beef or chicken stock (can be made with 1/2 stock cube)

Let’s Cook Christmas Dinner:

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Squeeze the meat from one of the chipolatas into a bowl, discarding the skin. Put the grated apple in a clean tea towel and squeeze out any excess liquid, then add to the sausagemeat with the walnuts, a quarter of the bread and the sage. Season, then combine using your hands and form into a fat sausage shape.

Cut a long slit in the chicken breast lengthways on one side, being careful not to cut it in half (you should be able to open it up like a book). Stuff the chicken breast with the stuffing sausage, then wrap two of the bacon rashers around it so it’s fully enclosed, securing it with a couple of cocktail sticks.

Put the stuffed chicken breast in a large roasting tin. Wrap the remaining bacon rashers around the remaining chipolatas and add to the tin around the chicken.

Christmas lunch would be the same without our pigs in blankets although I did see a recipe the other day for ducks in duvets which I found amusing…That recipe is for another day.

Add the apple wedges, sprouts and potatoes to the roasting tin. Cut the parsnip in half lengthways and put it, cut-side down, on a chopping board. Make very thin, close cuts into the parsnip halves that go almost but not fully through just to fancy it up like a Hasselback potato it is Christmas after all…

Transfer to the roasting tin with the garlic and two of the bay leaves. Drizzle over the oil and season everything with salt and pepper. Roast for 40-45 mins, or until everything is cooked through. Brush the vegetables in the oil and meat juices once or twice near the end of the cooking time. 

Now a traditional Christmas dinner would not be the same without bread sauce…which we can make while waiting for the meat and veggies to cook.

Pour the milk into a small saucepan with the remaining bay leaf, the cloves and shallot. Heat gently for 5-6 mins, stirring occasionally, or until the shallot is starting to soften. Strain the milk into a heatproof jug, reserving the shallot and discarding the bay leaf and cloves. Return the milk to the pan with the remaining bread and cook, stirring, until you have a thick, porridge-like sauce. Add half the butter and stir until melted, then season, remove from the heat and set aside. 

That’s the bread sauce done…x

Time for a glass of wine…

Now slice the reserved shallot, then add to a frying pan with the rest of the butter. Fry until just golden, then pour in the balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook until the vinegar has reduced and is thick and sticky, then add the wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, then stir in the stock and bubble until the sauce is glossy and slightly thickened. 

Gently reheat the bread sauce. Slice half the chicken (reserving the rest for leftovers) and put on a plate with the pigs in blankets and the roast apple, sprouts, potatoes and parsnip. Drizzle over the red wine gravy and serve with the pickled red cabbage and cranberry and bread sauces on the side. 

Serve with cranberry sauce and my spiced red cabbage. This red cabbage can be made in advance it freezes well and keeps in the fridge well for at least 2/3 weeks. You can make as little or as much as you like by adjusting the recipe and it also pairs well with a roast dinner so there will some left if you are cooking for one for a few other meals.

Enjoy!

Until next time stay safe and well and have a joyous festive season…xxx

 

 

Christmas Recipes…Homemade Stuffing…

 

Wow..where does the time go??? We think we have lots of time and then that clock just whizzes around and before we know it…Christmas is upon us…

To me, there is nothing nicer than seeing that stuffing oozing out of the turkey…

I have a few recipes ( 7) for homemade stuffing for you it is very easy to make and makes much more than you get out of a box and no nasties…It freezes well so you can make it and pop it into the freezer all ready for Christmas day…

This first stuffing is not a traditional one as I used to know it..we always had sage and onion never anything else but since I discovered how easy stuffing is to make it has opened up a whole new world…

Rice, walnut and squash stuffing.

Serves 8.

  • The bottom half of 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 200 gm walnuts, chopped….I use walnuts as I can’t always get chestnuts but chestnuts can be used
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4  sage leaves, chopped plus extra sage leaves, to serve
  • 200g mixed wild and basmati rice
  • 500 ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 25 gm parmesan(optional) or a vegetarian alternative, grated

Heat oven to 200 C /180 C fan/gas 6.
Tip the onion, squash, and walnuts into a roasting tin with the oil, chopped sage, and seasoning, then toss well with your hands. Roast for 20 mins or until the edges of the squash start to tinge brown. If your oven is full, you can simply fry the lot together in a large frying pan.

Add the rice and stir to coat it, then tip the lot into a saucepan. Add the stock and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-25 mins or until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. Add cheese, if using, and tip into a baking dish. You can now cover and chill the stuffing for up to a day. 

To finish, heat grill to high, then cook until the top is browned and crisp and the stuffing is hot through.

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Date and bacon stuffing.

stuffed pork loin-386802_640

  • slices bacon, chopped
  • stalks celery, finely chopped
  • medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4cup snipped pitted whole dates
  • tbsp snipped fresh thyme
  • clove garlic, minced
  • cups dry cubes sourdough bread
  • 1 – 1 1/3cups vegetable or chicken broth

Let’s Cook!

In a large pan, cook bacon until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tbsp. of drippings. Add celery and onion to skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in dates, thyme, and garlic.

In a large bowl combine bread cubes, date mixture, and bacon. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten, stirring to combine.

You can then cook the stuffing and serve as an accompaniment or use to stuff a piece of loin as I have done we love pork loin with stuffing.

To stuff, the pork loin either cut a pocket and stuff or cut the loin but not right through put the stuffing down the middle and roll and tie with string.

This recipe is for stuffed pork loin but with a different stuffing but more detailed on how to stuff a pork loin if you are a beginner.

You can then wrap the loin in bacon if desired.

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My stuffing is a mushroom stuffing using porcini mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 25 gm pack dried porcini mushrooms
  • 425 ml hot vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp shredded basil
  • 4-6 tbsp grated parmesan

Let’s Cook!

Heat oven to 200 C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Oil a non-stick 12-hole bun tin and line holes with two strips baking parchment, to form a cross. Put the mushrooms in a bowl and pour over the hot vegetable stock. Leave for 20 mins, then strain, reserve the stock and chop the mushrooms, if large.

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and fry for 5 mins until softened. Add the pine nuts and fry until lightly toasted. Add the garlic, rice and cook for 2 mins.

Tip in wine, let it bubble, then add the reserved stock, mushrooms and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 mins, until the rice is just cooked. Remove from heat and cool, then stir in the egg, basil, pepper, and salt, if using.

Fill the tins with stuffing, sprinkle over parmesan. Bake for 20-25 mins, until golden on top. Cool in the tins, or for 5 mins if serving straight away. Remove by pulling up the parchment crosses.

You can make these up to two days ahead.  Then reheat on an oiled baking sheet, at 200 C/fan 180C/gas 6 for 10 mins.

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My next stuffing is a little more of a traditional stuffing and has my beloved herb sage…I love sage…this stuffing is our family favourite…I love rice and rice-based stuffings not so the menfolk in my house especially at Christmas so this one it is…

Pork, Sage and Onion Stuffing

  • 800 gm Cumberland Sausages removed from the skin.
  • 10 rindless streaky bacon rashers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Bramley apple, peeled and chopped (about 325 gm)
  • 85 gm fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 5 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • 1 large egg

Let’s Cook!

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the celery and onion, and cook for about 5 mins until starting to soften.

Tip into a bowl to cool while you remove the sausage meat from the skins. Add the apple, sausage meat, breadcrumbs, herbs, egg, and seasoning. Mix well – the easiest way is to knead it together in the bowl with your hands. I use about 1/4  of this mix to stuff the neck cavity of the turkey.

Stuffing Mix

For the remainder, I line a 900 gm loaf tin with 8 rashers of streaky bacon, spoon in the stuffing, lift the bacon over and cover with the last 2 rashers. Heat oven to 180C/160 C fan/gas 4 and bake the stuffing for 40-50 mins.

It can be made ahead up to this point and chilled for 2-3 days.

Turn out onto a baking-parchment-lined baking tray and return to the oven (once the turkey has come out) at 220 C/200C fan/gas 7 for 15-20 mins more to brown the bacon.

If chilled, reheat at the lower temperature for 45 mins, covered in foil, then turn out for the extra 15 mins at the higher temperature. Allow standing, then scatter with parsley (if you like), slice and serve.

Next one of my favourite Christmas fruits a stuffing made with cranberries …

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Bacon, Chestnut, and Cranberry Stuffing

  • 2 rashers unsmoked back bacon, cut into strips
  • 450 gm sausage meat
  • 100 gm dried cranberries
  • 50 ml ruby port
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 50 gm butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 140 gm fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 140 gm peeled, cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium egg,  beaten

Let’s Cook!

Soak the cranberries in the port for an hour.

Fry the onion and bacon gently in the butter, until the onion is tender and the bacon is cooked. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so.

Cool slightly, then mix with all the remaining ingredients, including the cranberries and port, adding enough egg to bind  I find it easiest to use my hands so get those hands in and mix thoroughly.

This stuffing can be baked in a dish or rolled into balls that will be crisp on the outside and moist inside.

Stuffing Balls

Bake in a greased dish at 190 C/gas 5/fan 170 C for about 40 minutes, until browned and, in the case of sausage meat stuffing, cooked right through.

Alternatively, roll into balls that are about 4cm in diameter. Roast the stuffing balls in hot fat (they can be tucked around the turkey or done in a roasting tin of their own) for 30-40 minutes, until crisp and nicely browned on the outside.

Spicy Pork Balls (5)

These are lovely stuffing balls and probably my favourite at Christmas as I love cranberries…

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Water Chestnut and Bacon Stuffing.

  • 3/4 to 1 pound of bacon, diced
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 to 4 stalks celery, diced (about a 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large onion or 2 small, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 oz pack of mushrooms, diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can of whole water chestnuts, roughly chopped, optional…I am lucky I can get fresh water chestnuts.
  • 12 oz breadcrumbs
  • Poultry seasoning to taste (recipe to make your own here)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Any of your favourite herbs or seasoning: additional thyme, rosemary, sage or 1/2 a teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes, etc.
  • Chicken stock to moisten (2 to 2 1/2 cups)

In a large pan, fry bacon until crisp, remove and put to one side. Discard all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of drippings. Add butter and stir till melted. Add celery and onion and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms & garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

Remove from heat and add the breadcrumbs, the reserved bacon and water chestnuts, if using. Toss together and add chicken broth to moisten. Taste for seasoning & add in salt, pepper and additional desired herbs.

This is best left overnight in the refrigerator before baking. Check for the desired amount of moistness and add additional broth, if needed, before baking. Stuffing should not be wet.

Bake in a buttered casserole, covered, at 325 to 350 degrees for about an hour, uncover and continue to bake until top is a little crispy and crunchy, an additional 15 minutes or so.

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Last but not least some healthy (ish) stuffing balls…

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, stringed and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 15g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 75g peeled chestnuts
  • 75g almonds
  • 100g wholemeal bread, crusts removed and roughly torn (about 6 slices)
  • large bunch parsley, chopped
  • large pinch dried sage
  • 1 egg

Let’s Cook!

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Gently heat the oil in a shallow saucepan then add the onion, celery and garlic. Keep everything sizzling on medium heat for 15 mins until soft.

Tip into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients, except the egg, plus a small pinch of salt, if you like. Pulse until everything is chopped, then add the egg and pulse until combined.

Use wet hands to roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls, then place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins until golden and hot through.

Will freeze for up to three months; defrost fully before reheating.

Next, I  always do a little tester, in fact, I generally do that with all my stuffing as it is the only way to tell if the seasoning is correct. Fry a knob of stuffing in a little butter, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

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That’s all for Homemade stuffing, easy to make and freeze ahead…Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week please stay safe and well xx

Fruity Friday…does Christmas with Chestnuts…

 

I hear you...I can see that puzzled look…It’s Fruity Friday…Are Chestnuts a fruit?

YES, they are!

If we want to be correct and proper most nuts are the seeds of a fruit, but true nuts such as chestnuts, acorns and hazelnuts are fruits in and as of themselves…Peanuts are the exception as they are legumes and therefore technically a vegetable…A source of plant-based protein they have many health benefits…

Chestnuts to me are synonymous with winter and Christmas my memories are my father putting the chestnuts in the ash pan under the fire they are also of toasting crumpets and toast over an open fire and if you got too close getting burnt legs all red and mottled… Health and Safety would have kittens now and get all freaked out methinks…

So today I am going to share a few of my favourite dishes using chestnuts…

Not only are they delicious but their health benefits are enormous… Dr Mehmet Oz, MD said…Chestnuts are the only low-fat nuts, containing just 1 gram of fat and a little less than 70 calories per ounce of dried or roasted nuts. Additionally, chestnuts are the only nuts that contain vitamin C; in fact, just 3 ounces of chestnuts supply about 45% of the recommended daily amount of this vital antioxidant nutrient. And they’re a great source of dietary fibre, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels. When chestnuts are in season, you can roast them in the oven. If you’re pressed for time, you can buy them prepackaged and ready to eat any time of year. You should eat up to 3 ounces of chestnuts a day to maximize their benefits.

https://www.sharecare.com/health/health-value-of-foods/the-health-benefits-eating-chestnuts

This dish is a recipe I have had for a long time… These little cakes are very tasty and lovely with some steamed vegetables or a salad. This mix makes 6 rice cakes. If you haven’t made risotto before please don’t let it put you off. As long as your liquid is hot and you let each addition of stock become absorbed into the rice before adding more stock it is a doddle.

So much easier than most people think it is certainly don’t let the disasters on the TV cooking shows put you off.

Risotto Cakes with Chestnuts and Brussel Sprouts.

chestnuts sprouts risotto

These lovely risotto cakes also are vegetarian and the first time I made them was at Christmas for a veggie friend and they loved them.

I also think meat-free dishes have come a very long way…Don’t you? There is so much more on restaurant menus and I also think home cooks are more adventurous with flavours.

These risotto cakes certainly fit the bill even if you are a die-hard meat-eater.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz risotto rice
  • 8 oz Brussel sprouts finely shredded
  • 6 shallots finely chopped
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 oz cooked, shelled chestnuts, chopped finely
  • 1 3/4 – 2 pints of hot vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 8 oz fresh breadcrumbs.

15-20 sage leaves for garnish, a little flour for dusting and a pinch of paprika.

Oil of your choice for deep-frying.

Line 6 x 4-inch cooking rings with cling film.

Cook the shredded Brussel sprouts in lightly salted water for 1 minute. Drain set to one side.

Melt the butter in a pan and cook the shallots for 2 mins until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir until the rice is evenly coated with the melted butter.

Stir in 1-2 ladles of the hot vegetable stock at a time and stirring until the rice has absorbed the stock before adding your next ladles of stock. Do this until the rice is just tender but with a little bite. This will take about 25 minutes as does any risotto.

Add the cheese and season being careful of the salt as both the cheese and the stock contain salt. Gently stir in the chestnuts and the sprouts. If the mixture seems too thick add a little more stock.

Divide your mixture between the cooking rings. Leave to cool and then chill until set and firm.

When the rice cakes are nicely chilled remove the rings and the clingfilm.

Double dip the lightly floured rice cakes in egg and then breadcrumbs…repeat. You may need to reshape the cakes.

Heat the oil until a small crouton of bread turns golden within a minute and dust the sage leaves with the flour and paprika and fry for 1-2 minutes…set aside on kitchen paper.

Deep fry the cakes for 5-7 minutes until they are golden and crisp. It is probably best to do these 2 at a time while keeping the cooked ones warm in the oven.

To serve:

Add some deep-fried sage leaves to the top of the cake served with your Christmas vegetables it is wonderfully tasty and makes a lovely Christmas main course for anyone who isn’t eating turkey.

Wandering around a food market in Wanong, Northern Thailand…and losing myself among the sights and smells of beautiful tempting Thai food. I spied a few fruits and vegetables which were unknown to me and this one. Although once I knew what it was then I recognised the taste ….without knowing the name I was puzzled I sort of knew the taste but didn’t connect the dots…lol

We were talking and looking for these a few weeks ago when we were thinking about what to cook for dinner and reminiscing about the Chinese food we remembered having years ago with these crunchy water chestnuts in..you never got many just a few slices… I was then looking in the shops at imported goods to see if I could them and no luck…Then there they were the other day right under my nose and fresh ones….strange world…When your thoughts take you unexpectedly to what you were looking for.

Water chestnuts

Usually available in speciality groceries or supermarkets, they should be washed thoroughly and peeled with a sharp knife, especially if to be eaten raw. At this point, adding a few drops of lemon juice keeps them from turning brown when steamed or sautéed.

Once peeled, they’ll only remain fresh in water that’s changed daily for two to three days.

Chinese Chicken with Water Chestnuts.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb of chicken breasts or pork finely sliced.
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of cornflour or tapioca flour
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp of spring onions
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated or Julienne
  • 2 cups of water chestnuts peeled and sliced ( tinned are fine) and can be found in most Asian sections of supermarkets.
  • 1 cup of bamboo sliced (optional) or bean sprouts.

N.B…I have started using arrowroot instead of cornflour it is tasteless and gives a glossy sauce and where corn flour has a slight taste and cloudy appearance arrowroot is glossy and clear. It is a great thickener and can easily replace cornflour.

Arrowroot powder is fast gaining in popularity in the western world as people are looking for substitutes and alternatives to cornstarch either because they have corn allergies/sensitivities or they want to avoid anything GMO and laden with pesticides.

Let’s Cook!

Mix the sherry, soy sauce and arrowroot together, set to one side.

Heat the oil in a pan and add chicken /pork and stir-fry for 2 minutes add garlic, spring onions, ginger and bamboo and stir-fry for a further 3 minutes or until meat is cooked.

Add water chestnuts and stir-fry I minute then add the arrowroot mix and stir-fry for another minute or two until juice thickens slightly add beans sprouts if using.

I always add my bean sprouts if using add the very end as I like mine crisp and just cooked.

I also add other vegetables if I have a few odds and ends like broccoli or mange tout, baby corn.

Serve immediately with steamed rice or noodles…

chicken and water chestnuts

Enjoy!

Who doesn’t love stuffing at Christmas??? If it contains chestnuts I am happy…

Stuffing Mix with Chestnuts.

Now stuffing mix is hard to get here and because it is imported also expensive. I have tried various stuffings in the past with limited success…we didn’t like them!

I found this recipe on a blog the other week and it sounded great…It had bacon in it…

Picture this…. I thought I had all the ingredients .. wrong!….no bacon and nearest shops were a way away so I put my thinking cap on and tweaked the recipe and it turned out brilliant…..Replaced the bacon with Minced Pork, The stuffing mix( which) I had not heard of became just breadcrumbs. Chestnuts …tick…

Ingredients:

  • 200 gm of Minced Pork
  • 6 oz  of breadcrumbs
  • 3 oz finely chopped chestnuts
  • 5 shallots finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Bunch of Thai celery chopped finely. Which when chopped did take on more of a celery smell.
  • Freshly made chicken stock.
  • Salt, fresh ground pepper.
  • Tbsp dried Sage
  • Fresh rosemary.
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme.

Heat pan with a glug of olive oil and 1 oz butter. Add shallots and garlic cook 2/3 mins until soft but not coloured add mince and celery and chestnuts if using cook for a further 4/5 mins. Add breadcrumbs gradually moistening mix with spoonfuls of stock as required.

The mix should be fairly thick but soft so you are able to form balls.

 

Add herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Allow to cool slightly and then form into balls.

Stuffing Balls

If you want to freeze them then do it at this stage. Pack into a freezer box and all ready for Christmas day.

If not then cook in oven until lightly browned and crispy approx 20/30 mins on 180 degrees. I didn’t need to add any additional fat as the oil and butter already incorporated in the stuffing mix kept them moist and not too dry but if required add more oil.

I generally don’t like meat in stuffing mixes but the amount I added was small and gave a nice texture and flavour but wasn’t the overriding taste.

This is now going to be my Christmas stuffing.

This lovely dessert is a popular Thai dessert made from water chestnuts. It is called  Ta-Ko Haew…..Sweet Water Chestnut with Coconut Custard.

Ingredients:

  • For base:
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour.
  • 1 3/4 cup water.
  • 1/4 cup pandan leaf juice. This gives lovely soft green colour which is often seen in Thai desserts.
  • 8 oz can water chestnuts or fresh if you can get them.
  • 1/3 cup sugar.
  • For topping:
  • 1 can coconut milk or again fresh coconut milk if you can get some.
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1 tsp salt.

Let’s Cook!

Dice the chestnuts very small.

Mix both flours and sugar together add water and pandan leaf juice. Mix well. Put in pan and bring to the boil, stirring it until the mixture thickens add the diced water chestnuts and bring back to the boil then remove from the heat.

Spoon the mixture into small individual foil cups. Or if you have banana leaves then they would be traditionally wrapped in a banana leaf or on the markets they are sliced into squares and displayed.

Now make the topping.

Mix the coconut milk, sugar, rice flour and salt together bring slowly to a soft boil whilst stirring until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and spoon over the bases.

Allow to cool and serve immediately.

These are lovely if you enjoy sweet desserts… Also an ideal Christmas dessert with a difference for those who don’t like Christmas Pudding.

I hope you have enjoyed my favourite recipe using chestnuts or water chestnuts…

About Carol Taylor:

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great weekend xx

 

#A Christmas Special… #A Vegetarian Christmas Menu…

There is a definite trend towards more plant-based recipes and this time of year with cranberries and other delicious fruits/vegetables some of them are just awesome and so tasty…I hope you find something that will tickle your taste buds …Merry Christmas xxx

Welcome to a Christmas menu with vegetarians in mind and I have tried to think of tasty dishes that as dare I say it a carnivore I would eat… In fact, I eat both because as long as a meal is tasty then that is what matters and I love vegetables.

The starters are quick and easy to make and ooze taste and most of the dishes can be made in advance as we don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on Christmas morning while everyone else has fun…Do we?

I always try to cook at least one dish I haven’t cooked before for Christmas as we all have our tried and tested family favourites, don’t we? It is just nice to try something new although some of the family favourites I dare not leave off the menu…

Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts.

• 2 tbsp of maple syrup
• 150 gm blackberries
• 4 slices of your favourite bread I used sourdough
• 100 gm soft ricotta
• 1 tbsp toasted walnuts
• A few mint leaves

Let’s Cook!

Warm the maple syrup in a small pan and add the blackberries cook for 3-4 mins gently squashing a few blackberries with the back of your wooden spoon.

Toast the bread.

To serve spread some ricotta over the toast then spoon over the warm syrup and fruit, top with your toasted walnuts and a few mint leaves.

Enjoy!

Mushroom Pate.

• 2 cups of mixed mushrooms…
• 1 cup of walnuts
• 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
• 1 onion chopped finely
• 1 tbsp oil
• ½ cup of parsley
• 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper

Let’s Cook!

Toast the walnuts carefully as nuts always burn if you take your eye of them well mine do…Set to one side…

Add the oil to a pan add onions and cook 2 mins and add the garlic cook until onions and garlic is soft watching the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add all the other ingredients and saute for 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. If the mix gets too dry then add a little water. Allow the mixture to cool a little and then blitz; scraping down the sides I like mine a little coarse.

Put the mixture into a dish and press the mix down and smooth the top.

Serve with crackers of your choice or sliced cucumber and peppers.

Mushrooms on toast with Brie.

• 2 slices of bread halved I use sourdough.
• 8 mushrooms sliced…I use chestnut mushrooms
• 170 gm brie sliced
• 1-2 cloves of garlic
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp oil
• 6 sprigs of thyme

Let’s Cook!

Heat the butter and the oil in a small pan add the mushroom and saute on a medium to high heat until browned and a little crispy around the edges about 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat and add the garlic and cook for a further minute turn of the heat. Strip two of the thyme leaves and stir into the mushroom mix.

Lightly toast the bread top with the slices of brie put the toast back under the grill until the brie has melted top with the mushroom mix, as sprig of thyme and some freshly ground black pepper.

These toast starters serve two people but are easy recipes to double or triple up.

 

 

 

 

Spiced Red Cabbage

Red cabbage…our Christmas dinner would not be the same without it…I have been making this …Well, it seems like forever but it must be at least for the last 35 years so it is a well, tried and tested recipe and one which we absolutely love. The recipe was originally given to me by a very dear friend whom sadly is no longer with us…but every time we have this dish we remember you with much love Pauline…x

The recipe has German origins which is where Pauline’s husband came from.

Cooked with Apples, red onion or shallots, some spices, balsamic and a tinsy, winsy drop of Red Wine….mmm…try a glassful…lol…

It is a lovely accompaniment to Roast Dinners and tastes even better when kept a day or two before eating…well if it lasts that long …and it freezes well. It wouldn’t be a Christmas Dinner without it…we love it.

• One medium-size Red Cabbage.
• One medium to large Red Onion Or about 8 shallots…
• 2/3 cloves of garlic
• One large Bramley Apple peeled, cored and roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar.
• A half to whole glass red wine.
• Salt and Pepper to season.
• 1-2 tsp Cinnamon or mixed spice.
• Cinnamon Stick ( optional)

Let’s Cook!

Chop cabbage, Onions, garlic and Apple.

Cook Onions and garlic in butter or olive oil until onions are soft.

Add chopped cabbage and apple, half of the balsamic and half of wine.

Season and add spices.

Cook for at least 2 hours (I cook mine for 3 generally) and add more wine and balsamic to taste. If you think it is a bit dry then add a little water.

Tip: If like me the Bramley cooking apples are unavailable where you live then its trial and error. I tried green apples, and it was ok but this week I used 4 dessert apples and it was the best, the same with seasoning and spices its personal taste so play with it and adjust to your taste which is what I do with all my cooking ….and especially now I live here it has taught me a totally new way of cooking, I was very recipe and measurement-driven.

Now I just look inside the fridge or freezer and cook with what I have because it is about taste, taste and taste again… or it could be just certain ingredients are unavailable here…….the only time I now measure is when I make pastry or cakes and that does have to be more precise but any other dishes then I play with ingredients and I have much more fun when I am cooking.

This dish can be made at least a week in advance if you are keeping it in the fridge or longer if you are freezing it.

To serve just gently reheat and check the seasoning…

Crispy Fried Kale

• 2 bunches curly kale (about 2 1/2 pounds)
• 1/4 cup good olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Sea Salt Flakes

Let’s cook

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange 3 oven racks evenly spaced in the oven.

Lay each kale leaf on a board and, with a small sharp knife, cut out the hard stem. Tear large leaves in half. Place the kale in a large bowl of water and wash it well. Drain the kale and dry it in a salad spinner. Dry the bowl, and put the kale back in the bowl.

Toss the kale with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Divide the kale among 3 sheet pans or roast them in batches. If you put too much kale on one pan, it will steam rather than roast and will never become crisp. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp.

Sprinkle with the sea salt flakes and serve hot.

I like these as a side as they add a bit of crunch to the otherwise soft dishes.

Potatoes, parsnips baked in garlic and cream

• 3 large potatoes about 1 ½ lb
• 12 oz parsnips
• 2-3 cloves of garlic
• ¾- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 1 cup of single cream
• 105 ml of milk
• 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Let’s cook

Peel the potatoes and parsnips and thinly slice then place in a steamer and cook for 5 mins.

Leave to cool slightly.

Put the cream and milk into a heavy pan with the garlic slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat . Remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for about 10 mins so the garlic can infuse into the milk.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Using a 10 in a rectangular ovenproof dish, grease the dish and arrange the sliced potatoes and parsnips in layers sprinkle each layer with I use lots of black pepper and a little grated nutmeg.

Pour the reserved cream and garlic mix over the potatoes and parsnips pressing the vegetables down. The liquid should come to just under the top layer.

Cover the dish with a piece of baking parchment or buttered foil and bake for 45minutes remove the dish from the oven and remove the paper or foil the sprinkle over the cheddar cheese and return the dish to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown.

For a recipe variation, you could use sweet potato, carrots, Swede or artichokes. or alternate the layer with white potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Mushroom and Chestnut Stuffing.

I love mushrooms and chestnuts and although a meat eater I prefer my stuffing with no meat.

• 1 tbsp oil
• 300 g mushrooms (10 medium mushrooms)
• 180 g/ 1 cup cooked and peeled chestnuts, e.g. tinned or vacuum-packed
• 1 small onion, diced I prefer shallots
• 1 small red onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
• 1/4 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp dried sage
• 100 g wholemeal bread/sourdough bread
• Small bunch fresh flat leafed parsley
• Salt
• Black pepper

Let’s Cook

Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).

Heat the oil in a frying pan; add the diced onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and any excess liquid has evaporated.

Transfer the vegetables to a food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Season generously, and blitz until the mixture just comes together.

Transfer the stuffing mixture to a baking dish, and bake for around 40 minutes, until crispy on top. Serve warm.

 

Nut Roast with salsa

• 40 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
• 100 g quinoa
• 150 g onion squash or cooking pumpkin
• 1 onion
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 2 sticks of celery
• olive oil
• 200 g tinned or vac-packed chestnuts
• 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 pinch of sweet smoked paprika
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 2 large field mushrooms
• 1 lemon
• 60 g fresh breadcrumbs
• 80 g dried cranberries
• 100 g dried apricots
• 100 g mixed nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and brazil nuts
• 4 large free-range eggs
• 40 g mature vegetarian  cheese

 Salsa.

• 2 fresh red chillies
• 1 stick of cinnamon
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 small onion
• ½ bunch of fresh thyme, (15g)
• 2 x 400 g tins of quality plum tomatoes or the equivalent in fresh tomatoes.
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Let’s Cook

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 1-litre loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper.

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the packet and set to one side.

Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, then chop the flesh into rough 1cm chunks (you don’t need to peel the skin) unless you are using cooking pumpkin. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel and finely slice the garlic, then trim and roughly chop the celery.

Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into a large pan over medium heat, add the chopped vegetables and crumble in the chestnuts. Add the picked rosemary leaves, discard the stalks.

Add the cayenne, paprika and oregano and season with salt and pepper stir well and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 15 mins or until slightly softened add the chopped mushrooms to the pan for the last 5 mins of cooking.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and grate in half of the lemon zest.

Put mixture into a bowl and stir in the cooled quinoa, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and nuts if you prefer your nuts less chunky then chop into smaller pieces.

Crack the eggs into the mixture and stir well to combine then put the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Put into the preheated oven and cook for 45-50 minutes until cooked through and set.

When there is about 30 minutes to go make the salsa… Over a low –medium heat put a pan with a glug of olive oil and add the pricked chillies and the cinnamon. Add the finely sliced garlic and the onions cut into 8 wedges. Pick some of the time leaves reserving a few sprigs for garnish. Add the tomatoes plus 2 cups of water stir well breaking up the tomatoes.

Season and stir in the balsamic vinegar then bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and reduced.

Once the tomato mix is ready remove 1 chilli, carefully halve and deseed and roughly chop and return to the mix. If required loosen the salsa with a little water remove the whole chilli and cinnamon stick and put to one side.

Remove the nut roast from the oven and carefully remove from the tin. Put the nut roast into the tin containing the salsa and grate the cheese over the top. Put the cinnamon stick and reserved chilli back into the mix and put the reserved thyme sprigs over the top.

Return to the oven for 10-15m minutes or until bubbling and golden.

Baked Celeriac

• 1 celeriac 600-800 gm
• 60 gm walnuts toasted and chopped
• 1 tsp of thyme leaves
• 100 gm of blue cheese crumbled
• 50 gm butter
• 100 ml honey/maple syrup

Let’s Cook

Peel the celeriac keeping the shape as natural as possible. Using a 6-7 cm biscuit cutter make an indent in the top of the celeriac or like me, you can use a knife ( carefully) and then using a melon baller or apple corer scoop out the flesh to about halfway down.

Heat the oven to 180c/160 fan/gas 4

Toss the walnuts, thyme and blue cheese together and pack into the cavity of the celeriac if it is higher than the top don’t worry just pack it in…

Take a sheet of foil large enough to cover the celeriac…Dot the top of the celeriac with the butter then drizzle with the honey and season with salt.

Wrap the celeriac completely in the foil making sure there are no gaps and roast for 1 hr 15 mins or until the celeriac is soft. Open the foil and cook for a further 15 mins or until the top is golden…Serve on a chopping board and reserve any juices to spoon over the celeriac when serving.

 

Coconut and Lime Cheesecake.

For the base.

• Flavourless oil for greasing
• 300g digestive biscuits
• 50g desiccated coconut
• 160g unsalted butter, melted
• 25g coconut oil, melted

For the filling

• 560g full-fat cream cheese
• 250ml coconut cream
• 397ml tin condensed milk
• Juice 4 limes
• 4 medium free-range eggs

For the caramel

• 100g caster sugar
• 25g unsalted butter
• Good splash rum
• 75ml double cream, at room temperature
• 1-2 pinches sea salt flakes
• Pulp from 3 ripe passion fruits

Let’s Bake!

For the base, lightly oil a 20cm diameter, 8-10cm deep loose-bottomed cake tin and set aside.

Put the biscuits and coconut in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs.

With the mixer running, pour in the melted butter and coconut oil and process until combined.

Tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin.

Using the back of a metal spoon, press down on the crumbs to form the base, working them all the way up the sides of the tin to form a deep tart case.

Smooth the base until even, and then chill until needed.

Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/ gas 3.

To make the filling, put the cream cheese, coconut cream and condensed milk in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until combined.

Gradually beat in the lime juice, then the eggs.

Pour the mixture into the biscuit base (don’t let it come over the sides of the biscuit).

Bake for 50-60 minutes until lightly set – it should wobble in the centre a lot when gently pushed, but it will firm up in the fridge.

Remove to a wire rack, still in its tin, and cool completely, then chill.

To serve, bring back to room temperature before removing from the tin.

To make the caramel, put the sugar in a heavy-based frying pan and heat very gently until completely dissolved – every now and then gently stir it back and forth with a fork to distribute the sugar evenly.

Turn the heat up and bubble to a rich golden-red colour, then remove from the heat quickly and add the butter and rum. It will spit, so be careful.

Stir to combine everything, putting the pan back on the heat if the caramel hardens.

Once smooth, stir through the double cream and the sea salt flakes.

Put in a heatproof bowl, cover with a piece of cling film directly touching the surface, then leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Mix the passion fruit pulp into the caramel, then serve drizzled over the cheesecake while the caramel is still a little warm.

N.B.The cheesecake will keep chilled for 6 hours or wrapped in cling film and frozen for up to 1 month.

Once defrosted then drizzle with the caramel.

Fresh Fruit Salad.

The beauty of a fresh fruit salad is that you can make it as large or as small as you like one portion or ten. You can use any fruit that you have and it can different every time.

The one I always make is straightforward, I use Oranges, Apples, Grapes, Pear, and section and slice them and add lemon/ lime juice to stop the fruit going brown.

Sometimes I also add some freshly squeezed orange juice or other fruit juice.

This is now when it gets interesting as you can add a little freshly grated ginger, some crushed lemongrass even treat yourself to one of those exotic fruits you have seen in your local shop or farmers market just to liven it up, change it.

Maybe even a touch of chilli???

Some sesame seeds? Some poppy seeds?? Even a few sprigs of mint…

If I use a soft fruit like banana, melon, mango, strawberries, peaches, apricots, watermelon or kiwi then I put those in about 15 mins before I serve the fruit salad. Otherwise, they can go too mushy and we like our fruit salad fresh and vibrant, nice and crisp.

And of course here I have access to plenty of fresh pineapples, Lychees and Dragon fruit are plentiful and in season here at the moment so into the mix they go…What is your favourite fruit salad mix???

You can use any combination of fruit that you like just make sure you use lemon/ lime

Juice to stop the fruit from discolouring and keep in the fridge until you is ready to serve.

It can be served quite simply with fresh cream or clotted cream if you can get it… Ice cream or even custard which hubby prefers.

That’s it for my vegetarian menu…Enjoy!

Next week it will be a Tradition Christmas Menu and the week after A menu for one as I know this Christmas there will (because) of Covid-19  more people eating Christmas dinner on their own…It can still be tasty and when you have your zoom chat you can show your family just what you have prepared for one…xx