Friday, 18 January 2013

Christmas Starters and Sides are here!

Happy Snow Day all - I have some time to write my blog. Hurrah!

So here goes.... The Starters and Sides!

These bad boys are my

Brie and Cranberry Twists.

I cooked these as one of my starters on family day, everyone loves a little nibbley bit. I got this out of mu BBC Good Food magazine and they are super easy and a crowd pleaser (my father-in-law was even enjoying them)

You will need:

  • 12 sheets of filo pastry
  • 1 block of brie - chopped into chunks
  • Cranberry Sauce (I made my own which I will detail underneath)

So you need 3 sheets of the filo pastry to be together, the longest edge facing you. Brush the whole top sheet with a little melted butter. Along the bottom space 3 blocks of your brie equally making sure that you leave gaps at the end too and then add 1 tsp of cranberry sauce per block of brie. Slowly roll the filo pastry away from you so the brie and cranberry are enveloped. Cut out brie blocks leaving enough pastry each side to twist. Brush again with butter and grind a little black pepper. Pop in the oven for around 10 mins and viola!

So you'll want the cranberry sauce recipe. Here goes...This one I got from a tesco magazine for our first Christmas (so about 2 years ago) and i love it. Simple and zingy and def brightens up a simple roast.

Port and Cranberry Sauce

You will need:

  • 400gs of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3-4 tablespoons of port
  • 2 clementines, zested and juices
  • 75g of caster sugar.

Pop the cranberries, port and clementine zest and juice into the pain. Warm using a medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the cranberries have softened. Add the sugar, mix well and leave to warm for another couple of minutes. Set aside and cool at room temperature!

Asparagus, Parma Ham and Camembert Tart

I think out of all the starters this was my favourite. In fact writing about it makes me want to eat it. I cooked this for me and Josh on Christmas Day and did another for games night around Josh's parents house - it all went so i'm assuming that's a good sign.

Find the recipe right HERE!

For some reason I found the hunt for individual tart tins very challenging so opted for one big tart which was great for me as I got the chance to pick away at it on Christmas day night instead of the usual turkey sandwich.

The ingredients, sorry for the blur
torn parma ham and chopped up Camembert

pastry after first cook

ahh lovely asparagus

chopped and separated  May be worth waiting to chop once they have cooled, i was far too keen!

 Out of the oven....YUM!
And Out of the tin!

 The tart was great. I served it up with some rocket salad and a little drizzle of balsamic glaze. In the second tart i didn't quite have enough Camembert so opted for a brie/Camembert mix which worked a treat!

The Alternative Parsnip

This is what you will need - honey, turmeric  cayenne pepper and zests of an orange and lemon.

Prepare your parsnips in the usual way and par boil for around 10 mins. Place in a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and  drizzle over a good amount of honey (to coat) a pinch of cayenne and turmeric and mix in. add the zest and place back in the oven until cooked.

The first time I made this I added a *little* too much cayenne and they were very spicy but it gave kick to the roast. Worked well on some roast potatoes too! This is why I adore Thomasina Miers - she is great!

I ate these far too quickly so no photo - sorry guys!

Curried Carrot Soup

Another Tesco classic. Get the recipe from right here!

I cooked this for family day as another optional starter. It manages to make around 6 portions but they arent particularly big. 

love the carrots

The spices I Used

spice covered onions!

The recipe gives you the option to make the cumin snaps, I have made them before and they were lovely but opted out for family day as not everyone likes the spice. Really gorgeous thick soup - I added lots of pepper to make it have that extra kick!

Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Stuffing

Another recipe that I have used for the past 2 years at christmas, the rosemary sprig really adds to the appearance!

The recipe calls that you buy sausages and then remove the meat from the skins but sausage meat is readily available over Christmas from the butchers or supermarket and saves the messing around!

all ingredients mixed together in a large bowl, try not to handle the meat too much as it will make it less tender.
Make the sausage meat into little stumps and tear the streaky back bacon in half if you can (mine from Edmonstons Butchers was really wide so helped when doing this) Roll the bacon around sausage meat mixture (its ok to overlap)

Good thing is if it is a tight fit, adding the rosemary sprig looks pretty and keeps it together

Cook for 30 mins or thereabouts and all done.

These were Tamsin's first sausage meat stuffing balls so I will let her be the judge of what it was like. Fancy one? come and get me :)

Prosciutto Wrapped Bread Sticks with a pesto dip.

By far the easiest of all of the starters to make - there is no cooking!

You will need:

  • One pack of bread sticks
  • 2 packs of prosciutto
  • 125g of soft cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of pesto (add more according to taste)

Place cream cheese in a bowl, add the pesto and mix thoroughly
Tear prosciutto slices in half and wrap around the top part of the bread stick  Pop them in a tall glass to serve.

I don't think i need to tell you to dunk your bread sticks in the mix, do I?

And there you have starters installment!

Whats your fave of this lot then?

Eat Drink and Be Merry

H x

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