Gastronomically Terrific

November 26, 2013

Seasonal Breeze

Filed under: cocktail — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 9:30 pm
Seasonal Breeze mocktail

Seasonal Breeze mocktail

In an attempt to use up left-over cranberry juice, and because we had relatives visiting who we knew were unlikely to want to drink alcohol, we made this mocktail. A combination of cranberry juice, apple juice and orange juice, it’s tastes just like it sounds. Which wasn’t great news for me, as I’m not a massive fan of either apple juice or cranberry juice. It just all tasted a bit too sweet for my liking. Thankfully, the other 7 people drinking it seemed to enjoy it a lot more, so there weren’t too many problems filling off a pitcher of this.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg.11


November 25, 2013

Christmas Chocolate Biscuits

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , — thinkingdan @ 10:51 pm
Biscuits for Christmas. You can tell by the little snowflakes on top.

Biscuits for Christmas. You can tell by the little snowflakes on top.

We were initially not that impressed by these biscuits – they are very bitter, and have a strange crumbly texture that when they were still hot from the oven we weren’t keen on. We had an abrupt change of heart the next day, when they seemed really rather pleasant and rich and melt slightly in your mouth like a chocolate brownie with an identity crisis. So overall these are certainly worth a try if you like your chocolate bitter.

They are really rather simple, too. To make 24, you’ll need 250g butter, 150g caster sugar, 40g cocoa powder, 300g plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda and 1 teaspoon baking powder. You can basically just mix the whole lot together and bake at 170 degrees celsius for 15 minutes (for a batch of 12).  It is that easy.

The topping is basically just melted chocolate.  To make it, take some chocolate, and melt it.  Pour it on the biscuits, then use your finger to clean the bowl.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, page 207.


November 24, 2013

Redcurrant and whole grain mustard sauce

Filed under: side — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 9:29 pm

This sauce is exactly what it says it is – a mix of redcurrant jelly and whole grain mustard. You basically just mix the two together (although I had to warm the mixture up to get the two ingredients to meld properly). I made it to go with the Aromatic Christmas Ham, and it worked well with that – and to dip the bacon-wrapped chipolatas into as well. A nice easy, but pretty decent tasting, sauce.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 67

November 23, 2013

Bacon-wrapped chipolatas

Filed under: meat, side — Tags: , — lawsonanna @ 3:20 pm

Dan didn’t want to include info about these on the blog, as they’re ‘just sausages wrapped in bacon’. Well, yes, they are sausages wrapped in bacon. But there’s no just about it. They are one of my favourite things. Ever. Silly vegetarians who don’t understand these things. It also takes up a whole page in Nigella’s recipe book, so I didn’t want to do my lovely chipolatas the injustice of not including them here.

Having said all that, after having read the first couple of sentences of the recipe, my friend and I basically just went ahead and made these guys the way I normally do (which, it turns out, was pretty similar to what the recipe said – as I discovered upon reading it a day later). They’re not difficult to make; you get a chipolata, take a piece of streaky bacon and wrap it around the sausage. Don’t use too much bacon or it falls off. Don’t use too little bacon or it falls off. Obviously though, more is better than not enough. Then put them in the oven with anything else you’re roasting for about 30 mins.

Have a look at the pic under the ‘Aromatic Christmas Ham’ post for a glimpse of these guys.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg 127

November 22, 2013

Aromatic Christmas Ham

Filed under: main — Tags: — thinkingdan @ 10:50 pm

This decidedly non-vegetarian main was cruelly  lorded over me whilst Anna was “entertaining guests” (otherwise known as getting drunk with old friends).  Naturally, I abstained, but I confess that it did look and smell really rather appealing.

With Chipolatas of course. In case a whole hock of ham between two people isn't enough.

Served with Chipolatas of course. In case a whole hock of ham between two people isn’t enough.

I can’t really comment on the process of either making or eating this, except that the event was accompanied by much “yumm”ing and “mmm”ing, and plenty of eating way too much and really wanting more but not being able to fit it in. So the evidence for whether it was tasty is a bit mixed. Draw your own conclusion.

The key feature appears to be cooking it in 250ml of red wine, and adding a whole bunch of spices including star anise, garlic, fennel, coriander seed, and so on.  Then there is the glaze which I did get to try, made with cranberry jelly with cloves, cinnamon and paprika.  It was tasty with my vegetarian shop bought pie…

Postscript from Anna: This was actually really fun to make. Basically you boil the ham in a whole bunch of amazing smelling spices and wine (as listed above), then make a lovely cranbelly jelly glaze which you drizzle over the ham before studding the meat with cloves and cooking it in the oven for 10-15 mins (bear in mind this was a 750g ham, not a massive 5/6kg one; there were only 2 of us after all). The recipe was Nigella’s, but the timings were (to all intents and purposes) my mums. My mum’s flavourings might be more basic than this, but she still makes a lovely ham.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, page 33.

Poinsettia – the cocktail

Filed under: cocktail — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:40 pm
Prosecco with added happiness

Prosecco with added happiness

This cocktail recipe comes from Nigella Christmas, which shows.  To make more than you probably need, take 1 bottle of Prosecco (or other fizzy wine), add 125ml of Cointreau (you can use Gran Marnier but Cointreau is best) and 500ml of cranberry juice. Then mix and drink.

Five people tried this and all agreed universally that it was really rather tasty. The dryness of the Prosecco counteracts the sweetness of the Cointreau, making the whole very easy to drink and full of flavour. Highly recommended.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, page 3.

November 20, 2013

Nigella Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonanna @ 3:01 pm

Over the coming months, you’ll probably notice a number of recipes appearing on this blog from the Nigella Christmas book. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first (and primary) reason is that for the past couple of Christmasses I keep coming back to this book and looking at all the lovely recipes it contains. And then I don’t manage to make them because, well, Christmas only happens once a year. The problem with this is that I really want to make them. So many of the recipes look lovely, and really fun to try. So, in my normal crazy way, I decided that if I made recipes from Nigella Christmas throughout the year, I’d actually get to cook (and eat, and drink) some of these lovely sounding concoctions.

The second, perhaps more practical reason, is that it would be nice to build up something of a repertoire of Christmas food that I actually know I’m good at making and would like to offer guests over the Christmas period. Now, we don’t often spend Christmas at home, but the plan is to do so more in future years. And if I’m inviting people over for Christmas, I want them to enjoy my food – and, more importantly, my cake and my cocktails (and not just because I’m better at making those; but, well, yes, partly because I’m better at making those). Which has now got me thinking about all those other Christmas recipes I have lying around that I could practice  or attempt…

Anyway, the third, somewhat less gluttonous, reason for picking out this book to make recipes from is to give this blog a bit of new life. As you may have noticed, blog posts after early 2012 are somewhat lacking (alternatively read that as ‘there aren’t any’). My original hope was that it would persuade both my hubby and I to give this blog a kick-start, but it seems that as this is all my idea (or fault?) it’s going to be up to me to maintain the cooking and the blog. I suspect I’ll have some help with the eating and drinking part though. Oh, and if I’m lucky, with the photo bit too.

Having said all that, the following post from my first Nigella Christmas recipe is for her Poinsettia cocktail, and Dan wrote it. But if you can’t be bothered to read the lovingly-crafted post, here’s a spoiler: The cocktail is really, really nice.

Blog at