Tag Archives: christmas

Turkey Wellington Roulade

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.


Filed under Christmas, Mains, Moderately easy

Honey, I’m home!

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

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!

Christmas Muffins

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!


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My Pre-Christmas Dinner 2012

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.

Green Pasta 1

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!

Green Pasta 3

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!

Turkey Roulade 1

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.

Turkey Roulade 2

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.

Black Forest Mousse

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!

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Filed under Christmas, Desserts, Easy, Mains, Starters

Christmas Tree Chelsea Buns

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a good one and Santa brought you all the presents you wanted. Now commences the traditional week of turkey sandwiches in my household so I thought this would be a good time to catch up on posting the recipes I’ve been using over the past few days.

When I returned home for Christmas one of the first things my mum did was thrust a page torn out from a magazine at me and say “You could do this, couldn’t you?”. It was a picture of Chelsea buns done in the shape of a Christmas tree and would be prefect for breakfast on Christmas morning. (Which made a nice change from our usual breakfast of as much chocolate as you can eat.)

I made the dough and assembled the buns in a Christmas tree shaped paper case on Christmas Eve. Then popped them in the fridge overnight and then bunged them in the oven on Christmas morning to bake while we opened presents. For once I trusted a recipe totally. It is Paul Hollywood’s recipe from the BBC site so I was convinced that he would not lead me astray. It’s not often I put that much faith in a recipe’s author!(Although I have, of course, made a few changes to the recipe. I’m never satisfied!) However, I’m very glad that my faith was rewarded. There was a time when I was kneading the dough and it was sticking to everything that I thought I was going to have to give up and just add more flour but I persevered and it came together in the end!

It’s a lovely recipe full of Christmassy flavours. Orange, cranberry, cinnamon and mixed fruits all gloriously sweet and sticky but still not too heavy for all that. The zingyness of the orange lifts it all and it’s just really tasty! I think I’ll be making this recipe a lot more in the future, it does make me wonder hat other seasonal shapes I could make it into!

Makes 10 buns

500g strong bread flour
7g sachet fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
300ml milk
40g butter
1 medium egg

25g melted butter
Zest of one orange
2 tsp cinnamon
75g light brown muscovado sugar
100g mixed dried fruit
100g dried cranberries
100g dried apricots, chopped

2 tbsp marmalade, warmed
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp orange juice

– Take a large mixing bowl and add your flour.
– Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Mix well and make a well in the centre of the flour.
– Put the milk and the butter in a jug and microwave for 1 minute until the butter is melted and the milk warm. Don’t heat it too much! The milk wants to be warm not hot.
– Add the milk and the egg to the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a soft dough. It will be very soft.
– When everything is combined tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and start kneading. It will be sticky so having a dough scraper in one had to lift it and kneading with the other had is probably the best bet.
– Knead it until it is smooth and elastic and looks more like a ball of dough. It will still be sticky but it will lift more easily and look smoother.
– Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave somewhere warm and draft free for 1 hour until doubled in size.
– Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to make a rectangle about 30cm by 40cm and about 1cm thick.
– Squidge the dough with your fingers along the long side nearest to you to tack it down onto the work surface.
– Brush the dough all over with melted butter.
– Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over it then scatter the dried fruits evenly over the dough.
– Starting from the far side roll the dough towards you, keeping the roll quite tight.
– Press down on the join to seal it together.
– Slice the roll into 10 slices, approximately 4cm thick.
– Place the slices cut side up in a well buttered tin. You can leave about 1cm between the slices as they will spread out. (I didn’t have space in my ‘tin’ to leave any room but it worked just fine!)
– At this point you can cover it and leave it in the fridge overnight or leave at room temperature for 30 minutes for the second rise.
– When ready to bake heat the oven to gas mark 5/190C and bake for 20-25 mins until just browning and cooked through.
– Take out of the oven and leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin (I couldn’t remove mine as they had stuck to the paper and the shape would be destroyed).
– While the buns are still warm brush with the warm marmalade.
– Mix the icing sugar and orange juice together in a bowl the drizzle all over the buns.
– Serve warm and don’t forget the napkins for sticky fingers!



Filed under Breads, Breakfasts, Christmas, Moderately easy, Teatime Treats

Spice Biscuits

I love all the spice biscuits that come out of the woodwork around Christmas time. Be they Anna’s Pepperkakor (naturally) or Speculoos/Spekulatius/etc or just plain old Gingerbread they all make me feel warm and full of festive cheer. These biscuits aren’t any particular spice biscuit but rather they pull together the best features of many recipes I’ve tried over time.


We like a strongly spiced biscuit in my family where the warmth stays with you. And we all know I love any biscuit that can be cut into cute shapes. I’m quite the sucker for them in fact. These are great because they hold their shape brilliantly and retain a clear, crisp edge. They are incredibly versatile. I’ve made tiny gingerbread shapes for snacking on on Christmas morning, large ones for the tree, and even a few Gingerbread people for my family. They are so easy to throw together and exactly the pick me up needed sometimes at this time of year.


300g plain flour
4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp whole cloves, ground
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
150g light brown muscovado sugar
225g unsalted butter
3 tbsp milk

– Blitz the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and sugar in a food processor.
– Add the butter, chopped into chunks, and process until it forms breadcrumbs.
– Add the milk with the motor running.
– Turn out onto a work surface and bring together with your hands to form a smooth dough. If it’s sticking then another 25g or so of flour can be kneaded into the dough.
– Divide the dough into 3, form into discs and wrap.
– Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, overnight if possible.
– When ready heat the oven to gas mark 4/ 180 C and line a few baking trays.
– Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll out on a floured work surface to a thickness of just a few mm. I like mine to be at least as thin as a £1 coin.
– Use cutters to cut out your biscuits and place on a baking tray. They don’t need much space between them.
– If making tree decorations don’t forget to cut a hole for the string too! I use the tip of an icing nozzle.
– Bake in batches for 12-15 minutes in the centre of the oven until firm but not too dark.
– Cool completely on a wire rack.
– You can now decorate the biscuits if you wish.


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Filed under Cookies and Biscuits, Easy

Pre-Christmas Dinner 2011

Since I have already had my Pre-Christmas Dinner for 2012 I thought I had really better publish the Menu from 2011!  I had got all caught up in the hecticness of Christmas last year and by the time January rolled around I thought I may as well publish this in December as inspiration for anyone needing it for their Christmas cooking.

Christmas has, once again, got the better of me!


We had a starter of Lobster Thermidor I have to confess, I didn’t like it!  I didn’t care for the herbs and the lobsters I’d bought, were rather disappointing little things.  I didn’t have high hopes for them, they seemed too good to be true, and, while very impressive visually to serve, I thought they were rather lacking in the flavour department.  As you will see above, my sister, being a vegetarian, got a square of puff pastry filled with creamy mushrooms and did not have to eat any defenceless sea creatures.


For our main course I took my inspiration from The 12 Days of Christmas and served roast partridge with pears and seasonal vegetables.

The partridge were shot specially for my by arrangement with our lovely local butcher.  I have to say, I got rather squeamish about them and their little feet and had to draft in my father to sort that out for me.  You also have to be careful to search out any shot that ti still in them.  They’re tiny little pellets but they’re hell on the teeth if found that way!

I wrapped my partridge with streaky bacon, having rubbed them all over with a herb butter and stuffed them with a handfull of thyme sprigs and a clove of garlic.  They are small and can dry out so the herb butter was generous and the bacon served to both add flavour and retain moistness.

The partridge and the pears were roasted at Gas mark 6 for 45-50 minutes.  I erred on the side of caution with cooking these as I needed them to be cooked through.  I knew from a trial run that a supermarket bought one took 45 mins but that was smaller than these wild ones.


Finally, for dessert we had a Clementine Syllabub. I had specially bought a sweet dessert wine to go in and with this.  It proved undrinkable!  However, as a dessert it was lovely.

It’s a brilliantly quick dessert to whip up.  You simply whip a small (300ml) tub of cream with 4tbsp icing sugar and 200ml sweet wine until it forms soft peaks.  Then you stir in a tin of drained clementine segments (mandarin segments will do just as well) reserving a few whole ones for decoration.


So, there you are.  Hopefully it may provide a little inspiration if you are in need of any for your upcoming festivities.  I will now try to get this year’s menu published at some point before Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas!

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Filed under Christmas, Desserts, For the Keen Cook, Mains, Starters

Galette des Rois

Galette des Rois or “King Cake” is a French Christmas tradition, eaten on January 6th, or Epiphany.  It is essentially puff pastry filled with frangipane.  Just in case anyone felt the need to do some (very) last minute seasonal baking I thought I had better get this recipe up fast before tomorrow.  Not that you need to limit yourself to Epiphany, the French actually eat these for the whole of January but I’m a traditionalist at heart.  Well, not too traditional actually, I went with the Hairy Bikers’ recipe, which includes a lovely layer of raspberry jam.  I couldn’t resist!  One traditional aspect I kept was la fève which is usually a figurine that is hidden in the cake, in this case it is an almond, for ease of eating and to minimise choking hazards! Whoever gets la fève in their slice becomes king for the day.  (See this article for some fun history regarding Twelth Night and Misrule.)

Serves 8

500g puff pastry
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g ground almonds
2 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp raspberry jam
1 whole almond (if your almond has skin put it in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes, the skin will then pop right off)

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6, 200C
– In a medium sized mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar. 
– Add the eggs, keeping back about 2 tbsp for brushing, and the vanilla. Beat until smooth. 
– Add the ground almonds and flour, mix until smooth. 
– Roll out half of the puff pastry until it is the size of a dinner plate. 
– Cut round a plate as a template to make a circle of pastry.   
– Place this pastry on a lined baking tray. 
– Roll out the second half of the pastry to the same size. 
– Score this half of the pastry with whatever pattern you desire. 
– Spoon the raspberry jam into the centre of the pastry ont he tray and spread out leaving a gap of about 4cm round the edge. 
– Spoon the frangipane on top and nestle the whole almond in somewhere. 
– Brush egg around the border you have left. 
– Carefully place the second sheet of pastry on top. 
– Press down firmly around the edge to seal. *
– Roughen the edges of the pastry with a sharp knife. (Hold the knife at a 90 degree angle and sort of tap the pastry, this encourages the layers to separate and rise nicely.)
– Brush the top with egg, avoid brushing the sides as this will interupt the rise of the pastry. 
– Place in the centre of the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes. 
– Take out and either serve warm or cool.  Don’t forget to have a crown ready for your “King”. 

* No, really.  I didn’t take the proper care to seal about 2″ of my Galette, as a result frangipane escaped everywhere! Although, I have to say it made a lovely dinner as I just ate that with an extra spoon of jam!  It does mean that one side of my Galette isn’t too pretty and may even be hollow in places so take care. 

(And can I just admit down here at the end just how proud I am of that decoration.  I took a gamble and went well outside my comfort zone and it worked so well!!)

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Filed under Cakes, Christmas, Easy, Teatime Treats