Anna & Darcy xxx
These mini breakfast bites were one of the first things I invented for myself in 3rd year food tech! They are now a staple tradition in our household and I couldn’t imagine Christmas without them!
24 slices of white bread (2 meduim sliced loaves)
1/2 cup sunflower oil
24 quails eggs
12 rashers streaky bacon or pancetta
24 tiny button mushrooms (or 6 small mushrooms cut into quarters)
December is here and ’tis the season for cocktails and canapé at every turn! I thought I’d take the opportunity to share one of my favourite canapé from last year’s Christmas festivities, Mini Yorkshire Puddings!
These are a fabulous little morsel that are quick and easy to prepare, you can even cook the Yorkshire puddings in advance and then reheat them but I do recommend using an oven to reheat rather than a microwave as you get a much better texture. You can even serve these at room temperature if there’s too much pressure on the oven space. Keep it simple and enjoy your party!
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
oil/lard/trex for cooking (I favour Lard unless I have a vegetarian about in which case I switch to trex)
200ml creme fraiche
2 tsp horseradish sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
~6 thin slices of roast beef
parsley sprigs for decoration
This Christmas Tree Tear-and-Share Bread is the perfect side to any holiday meal, it’s cute, easy, and can be made ahead the night before for a low stress gathering all round! It’s not so garlicy or cheesy as to overwhelm, but feel free to dial it up!
Bread making doesn’t have to be hard, in fact this takes about 20 minutes hands on time, total! It’s a real crowd pleaser and could easily be scaled up to suit any size of gathering.
250g strong bread flour
4g fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
150ml warm water
100g shredded mozzarella
1 tsp crushed garlic
small handful fresh parsley or basil, shredded
– Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the yeas to one side and the salt to the other.
– Mix to combine.
– Add the olive oil and most of the water, keep a little in reserve in case it’s too sticky.
– Start to bring the dough together in the bowl with your hand, or a dough hook attachment on a mixer.
– If using your hands, when the dough has formed tip out onto a worksurface and continue to knead by hand until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic. If using the dough hooks continue to knead in the bowl.
– Set in a clean, oiled bowl and cover. Leave in a warm, draft free place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
– When the dough has risen add the cheese and garlic and knock it down. Knead in the bowl until the cheese and garlic are evenly distributed.
– Grease an oven proof dish.
– Pinch off small balls of dough, about the size of a walnut. I needed 23 balls.
– Roll them in your hands and arrange them in the dish to form a Christmas tree!
– Now you can cover the dish with clingfilm and keep in the fridge overnight, or you can set aside at room temperature for another 30 minute rise.
– When you are ready for your bread get the dough out of the fridge and heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C or higher.
– Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown on top.
– Immediately upon removing from the oven, dot the bread with butter.
– Scatter the parsley on top for a green Christmas tree!
Tis the season to stuff our faces!!!!!! Here are all of the recipes I think you need to see you through the festive season! Don’t forget to check out my Recipe Index too if you’re looking for some inspiration for cakes, bakes, mains and sides and everything in between!
So, in previous years I have made a Turkey Wellington, and I have made a Turkey Roulade… this year the two have been unitied in glorious harmony, I give to you the Turkey Wellington Roulade! You’re welcome! This is an impressive centre piece for any Christmas celebration, it looks great bringing it out, all covered in golden pastry, and when you slice into it it is simply stunning! It also makes a fantastic sandwich if you have leftovers!
I made this for a small Christmas Party I had at the weekend as part of a buffet, because the turkey part is thin it can happily be eaten with just a fork, which is handy! Again, this recipe may look tricky but when you break it into individual steps it really really isn’t. Give it a go and wow your guests this year!
Serves 8 comfortably
1 x ~1.6kg Turkey Breast (I get a frozen butter basted one from Tescos, defrost it and trim it so I just have the meat, no skin)
400g sausage meat (I use Lincolnshire sausages coz I like the flavour)
100g bread crumbs
75g dried cranberries
1/2 tin chopped chestnuts
1 small egg
250g smoked bacon lardons
~30 rashers pancetta
500g puff pastrya little milk for brushing (or beaten egg, either works)
– Take your Turkey Breast and trim it so all you have left is the meat. Turn it over so the good side is downwards.
– Carefully split the breast about 1/3 through the breast, making sure to not cut all the way through.
– Repeat the split halfway through the remaining meat cutting from the fold towards the outer edge.
– The breast should unfold like a letter.
Here is a (hopefully somewhat) illustrative diagram for you.
– If you need to flatten it more you can score cuts partly through the meat to help it lie flat.
– Now take a rolling pin and give it a bit of a bash, especially if you have any fatter sections, beat it until it is mostly uniform and as close to a rectangle as you can get it without splitting the meat.
– In a medium size bowl mix together the sausage meat, breadcrumbs, cranberries, chestnuts, lardons and egg. Add a little bit of seasoning and give it a really good squidge together with your hands.
– Spread the stuffing mixture over the turkey, spreading it into a layer of even thickness across the turkey. You may not need all of the stuffing, in fact it is a good idea to keep some back for evening things out later.
– Choose which edge looks the straightest and then start rolling from the oposite edge so you finish with a cleaner line.
– If you have any vastly different thicknesses you can pad it with stuffing so you get a nice smooth roll. Gently shape the ends so they are more squared off.
– On a clean, floured worksurface roll out your puff pastry so that it is wide enough and long enought to wrap around your turkey. It should be around the thickness of a £1 coin. Keep rolling, it’ll get there!- Place a layer of pancetta rashers in the centre of the pastry, then place the turkey on top, with the join pointing to the top.
– Pull the pancetta rashers up the side of the turkey and place another layer over the top and round the sides so that the whole thing is encased in pancetta.
– Now gently wrap the pastry around the turkey, brushing the edges that join with milk to make them stick.
– Neatly fold the ends up and make sure that all of the joins are on the top side of the turkey.
– Now, carefully and gently pick up / roll your turkey into an oven proof tin or dish so that all of the seams are underneath and you have a nice, clean pastry top.
– Now you can add any decoarations that you wish, use spare pastry to create shapes, or simply use your fingers to pinch or crimp a pattern on top.
– Brush with milk and bake in the oven at gas mark 6/200C for 2 hours.
– When the tme is up get two spatulas/fish slices and carefully lift the Wellington out and onto your carving board/serving platter.
– There will be an amount of juice in the tray so this will have something of a soggy bottom. If you want to avoid this then you can try pan cooking your sausage meat first before making the stuffing and draining off the excess fat. This should cut down on the amount of liquid produced, but I like to drain it off and make a gravy out of it all. You could also try baking it on a rack over a roasting tin but I’ve never tried it so I’m not sure how the pastry might hold up to that kind of treatment. .
– Allow the Wellington to rest on a carving board/serving platter for 20 minutes or so before serving.
So… this has been a rather long and unplanned hiatus. I want to apologise to anyone who has missed my random ramblings. This year has been a strange one and has been rather challenging in a lot of ways. Life has been throwing me some curve balls and there have been a lot of ups and downs. However, I’m back, I’m healthy, I’m happy and I am determined that 2014 is going to be a brilliant year and that I will not allow this blog to suffer any longer. I love blogging, I love sharing all of my foodie thoughts and experiments with you guys. I love receiving comments from people who have tried things and being able to offer and receive advice.
In order to motivate myself I have even gone and got myself a domain name, just to pretty things up! If you want to add http://www.annainthekitchen.co.uk to your bookmarks and check back with me in the year to come then I promise not to go AWOL again and to keep the recipes coming!
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, I always have so much fun trying new and exciting Christmas recipes and I hope you find some things to try yourself on this blog. There are always some recipes I revisit every year so here’s a quick reminder of some things I’ve shared previously that I love to cook:
My Christmas Cake Recipe. Can be made even as late as Christmas Eve (If you start first thing in the morning!)
An excellent Christmas breakfast, my Christmas Tree Chelsea Buns are full of christmas flavours!
Anna’s Breakfast Bites are an essential part of our Christmas. If you prefer something savoury, or just need some brunch to keep the munchies at bay while waiting on the turkey, these are a fantastic crowd pleaser!
If you are in need of a very quick recipe to whip up and take into the office may I suggest my Christmas Muffins.
Cranberry Fool, a brilliant way to finish a Christmas meal if the traditional Christmas Pudding just isn’t for you!
And finally, Fudge! That perennial favourite for home made gifts. You can make this in so many different flavours, it’s perfect for that personal touch, and so much easier than you think it will be!
I held my annual Pre-Christmas Dinner at the beginning of December. My aim was to have it posted by Christmas… then the New Year… then within a month of the dinner… and now I’ve reached the point where all of these deadlines have gleefully sailed by and I have finally managed to sit down and “put pen to paper” as it were.
This year I had a theme to follow. Chocolate! With the new year I have finally left my boring office job behind and have made a very exciting move to work at York Cocoa House. This is, in part at least, why I have been so busy and have not managed to post my special Chocolate Themed Pre-Christmas Dinner before now.
For a starter we had Christmas Tree Raviolli. Green spinach pasta stuffed with a wild mushroom, ricotta and cocoa filling. To make spinach pasta you follow the same method as for regular pasta but you start with 200g fresh spinach and rinse it with water. Put it in a pan on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the spinach wilts. Put the wilted spinach in a sieve over a bowl and leave to drain. Give it a bit of a squidge with the back of a spoon to encourage it. When it has drained you want to chop it into incredibly fine bits. Just keep chopping at it. You can practice your cheffy knife skills a bit!
Then you take your wilted spinach, 1 egg and 250g pasta flour and mix it into a smooth dough with your hands. Roll the dough, either by hand or using a pasta maker if you haev one. Then you cut out Chritmas tree shapes from the dough and put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of one of your shapes. Brush water round the edge and press another shape on top of the first to seal in the filling. Repeat as necessary until all of your dough and filling is used up.
The filling was essentially finely chopped mushrooms and shallots sauteed and repeatedly reduced down with white wine, mushroom stock and eventually ricotta stirred through with 2 tbsp 100% cocoa grated in. I was freestyling rather so I don’t have an exact recipe!
For our main course we had Turkey Roulade. I took a frozen butter basted turkey crown from Tescos and defrosted it, removed the skin and butterflied it.
I made a stuffing out of 400g italian sausage meat, 125g smoked bacon lardons, 100g bread crumbs, 75g dried cranberries, 3 tbsp cocoa nibs, 1 tbsp grated 100% cocoa, 1/2 tin of chopped chestnuts and 1 small egg. Season well then mash it all together with your hands.
Spread it over the butterflied turkey crown. Roll it up tightly. Wrap the whole thing tightly with pancetta. Roast the whole thing in an oven heated to gas mark 6 for 2 hours. Slice and serve with seasonal vegetables of your choice.
For dessert we had Black Forest Mousses. I made Nigella’s Chocolate Mousse but with Cherry Liqueur instead of Cointreau. Topped with a lick of whipped cream and scattered with cocoa nibs I spooned Amarena Cherries into the bottom of martini glasses before filling them.
It was a lovely evening with my mum, dad, sister and her new boyfriend, and let’s not forget the dog! I’m having fun experimenting with chocolate in a number of different ways now that I have discovered a whole range of possibilities that I never knew exited before. This meal was a nice little way to dip my toe into those possibilities and I look forward to experimenting some more!