Gastronomically Terrific

January 1, 2015

Redder-than-red cranberry sauce

Filed under: Christmas, freezer, main — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 4:45 pm

Cranberry sauce mixtureAnother recipe I made in advance and froze in preparation for Christmas Day. It’s a Nigella Christmas recipe, and incredibly simple.

You put cranberries, caster sugar, cherry brandy and water in a pan, then simmer it all together until the cranberries pop. It takes minutes to do, smells lovely and makes you feel virtuous because you haven’t just gone out and bought a jar of cranberry sauce. The hardest thing about the whole affair is finding fresh cranberries in the shop in the first place.

It was easy to get ready on Christmas Day too – I just removed it from the freezer a couple of days in advance and left it to defrost at room temperature. Five minutes before dinner was ready, I reheated it on the hob and gave it a stir to remove any lumpy bits.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 119


January 31, 2010


Filed under: pudding — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 4:37 pm

The final stop in our three course dinner was:


Cream, fat, and chocolate.  On a plate.

Profiteroles: an excuse to have chocolate. Mmm, chocolate.

I’ve never been that fond of profiteroles, and until making them, I never understood why.  It turns out that there are two styles of profiterole: the “true” ones that we made, but there is also a sweetened version that I suspect you most often get from bakeries and supermarkets.  It turns out I like the sweetened version most.

The “bun” part of the profiterole is “choux” pastry: butter, flour and egg.  Notice the lack of sugar.  As they are, these taste the same as a scone, with a slightly lighter texture.  As you can see from our picture, ours didn’t come out in the nice round circles I’m used to seeing, but actually looked like mini buns.  They are also quite finicky about how long you cook them; half of ours were a bit too crispy, though the rest were just fine.

You then chop these in half and fill them with whipped cream.  Here comes my second disappointment; I don’t really like cream.  When its sweetened, its just great, but these aren’t.  So: we basically have cream sandwiches at this stage; chocolate éclair without the chocolate.  They don’t taste any better than shop bought ones, and it is fairly tricky to get right.

Finally, you drizzle the whole lot in chocolate sauce, and finally I begin to see the point in profiteroles.  The recipe calls for brandy to give the sauce a little extra, but we took a gambit and came up trumps by instead adding Cherry Brandy.  I’ve only recently discovered this stuff (see here), and I’m forming the following hypothesis:

“Everything tastes better with Cherry Brandy.”

Now this is still an open question; we need to do some experiments before I can call this a true theory!  But it certainly works here; it turns a dull pile of cream sandwiches into a cherry chocolate explosion.   I don’t really see any purpose in making profiteroles again – not unless I find sweeter recipe – but I’m certainly going to take the next excuse I can to make chocolate sauce with Cherry Brandy.  Yum!

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: “Halleyujah! Chocolate!” , page 44.

January 22, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Gateau

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:10 pm

This is Black Forest Gateau with a twist – a hint of Cherry Brandy.  A question: what doesn’t taste better with Cherry Brandy?

Chocolate Cherry Gateau

What doesn't taste better with Cherry Brandy?

This is a simple recipe from “Hallelujah! Chocolate!” and consists of a chocolate cake, which you have to cut into 3 very thin horizontal slices, sandwiched together with a layer of sweet cherry syrup and two of cream, and liberally coated in cherry brandy cream.  It tastes pretty awesome and our visitors (Hi Gemma and Andrew!) helped us gobble this bad boy up in one joyous weekend.

This is a cake for the cake enthusiast – its short shelf life is unlikely to be a problem.  Whilst not being hugely different to a high quality shop-bought gateau, it has a melting quality and a brandy twang that are subtle yet distinctive.  Highly recommended.

Who made it: Anna baked it, and Dan helped with the cutting and decor.

Recipe: “Hallelujah! Chocolate!” page 34.

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