All posts filed under: Festive Recipes

Pomegranate, mandarine and bulgur salad

After the delicious leg of lamb on Sunday I had plenty of meat left over but felt like something light and refreshing for the following day. Pomegranates and mandarines are in season at this time of year so I decided to combine these refreshing ingredients together with some bulgur. Combining mint with lamb is a natural, very traditional flavour combination – particularly in Britain where roast lamb and mint sauce is a firm favourtie. You can also, of course, just make this salad without any meat. Bulgur originates in the middle east where it forms a core ingredient in tabbouleh and pilaf. Bulgur should not be confused with couscous, which originates in North Africa. Couscous is a form of semolina deriving from durum wheat. Bulgur, on the other hand, derives from the wheat kernel where it is steamed, dried and crushed.It can be eaten raw or cooked and because it is a whole grain retains a lot of the wheat’s nutrition. It has a more chewy texture and has a slightly more nutty flavour, which I …

Gentleman’s Dessert

This recipe comes courtesy of my mother. In Germany it is commonly known as “Herrencreme” – and is associated with Westphalia, or so I gather. It is typically served on festive occasions – be it a christening or Christmas. A simple, quick recipe that is bound to impress. Ingredients 1 lt. milk. 1 vanilla pod or vanilla essence. 2 whole eggs. 2 egg yokes. 80 gr. sugar or 100 ml dark maple syrup. 3 tsp. arrow root or corn flour 200 ml whipping cream. 2 tbs. rum or cognac or whiskey. 100 gr grated chocolate. Directions Whisk the sugar, eggs and flour together. If you are using essence of vanilla add it as well. Set to one side Pour the milk and vanilla pod into a saucepan. Heat-up on a medium heat making sure not to boil the milk. When the milk is steaming remove from the heat and remove the vanilla pod. Cut the vanilla pod down the centre and scrape out the seeds and stir them back into the milk. Rinse the pod …

Leg of lamb soaked in mulled wine

The festive season is a great occasion to try out some amazingly simple and delicious traditional cooking. Lamb is not often associated with the Christmas season but the mulled wine works brilliantly with lamb and a whole leg is a great way to feed many mouths if you have plenty of visitors over for a meal. This is a slow cook and the smell of mulled wine and spices spreading through the house will soon put everyone in the festive spirit! The recipe below combines tasty ingredients with a long soak and slow cook. A classic example of how slow, traditional food is neither a sickly nor needy patient requiring round the clock attention. Rather these age-old cooking methods are star performers in terms of results, which will razzle-dazzle all those who are lucky enough to share in the meal. I served this alongside some red cabbage and roast potatoes this week-end for G.’s father and brother. Ingredients 1 leg of lamb 1 (or2) bottle(s) of mulled wine A handful of dried apricots A handful …

Buttered Spinach

For years I thought blanching was a total waste of time and unnecessary. In fact it is essential and not much of an extra effort. Blanching vegetables in salt water for 1-2 minutes improves the flavours and texture of the spinach considerably. Children are much more likely to eat this vegetable if it has been prepared the traditional way by blanching and coating the leaves in pat of natural fat. Blanching removes any anti-nutrients present in the dark leaves that are responsible for leaving a bitter, unpleasant flavour. Butter is rich in fat soluble vitamins meaning your body will absorb, not waste, the bountiful supply of excellent nutrients in this dark green vegetable. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, protein, and choline. Additionally, spinach is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, pantothenic acid, and selenium. While …

Traditional Red Cabbage

One whole cabbage may seem like a lot but I freeze any extra portions. Alternatively if you’re just making this for a small number of people see if you can buy half or a quarter from the green-grocer. Ingredients 1 red cabbage. 1 red onion. (Or any onion if you don’t have a red one). 4 apples. Beef drippings, lard, goose-fat or clarified butter. Apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Brown sugar. Cloves. Star Anise. Salt & pepper. Directions Cut the cabbage into quarters. With a mandolin grate the cabbage into thin stripes – it goes surprisingly quickly. If you have a food processor use that – it will go even quicker but you may have more washing-up. In a large pot heat up either the drippings, lard, goose far or clarified butter and fry the red onions. You can use butter – but it will burn quicker so keep the temperature lower if using butter. Start adding the shredded red cabbage. Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces. Stir into the mixture. Add …

Creamed Spinach

For years I thought blanching was a total waste of time and unnecessary. In fact it is essential and not much of an extra effort. Blanching vegetables in salt water for 1-2 minutes improves the flavours and texture of the spinach considerably. Children are much more likely to eat this vegetable if it has been prepared the traditional way by blanching and coating in pat of natural fat. Blanching removes any anti-nutrients present in the dark leaves that are responsible for leaving a bitter, unpleasant flavour. Butter is rich in fat soluble vitamins meaning your body will absorb, not waste, the bountiful supply of excellent nutrients in this dark green vegetable. I bought my spinach from Rashid who advised me not to discard the tips of the stems. He swore they were rich in nutrients and flavour. Following his advice I kept mine and I have to agree – they tasted good. Give it a go. Ingredients 1 kg of spinach. A generous glug of cream. A generous glug of buttermilk. Salt & pepper. Directions Bring …

A traditional meat pie

This is not a traditional mince pie, which entails soaking dried fruit with shredded suet in a jar for up to four weeks before encasing it as a filling in pastry. It is, however, inspired by the spices and flavours many associate with the Christmas period. Dried fruit was often the only source of sweetness traditional societies would have known which is why it was such a special treat for Christmas. I made the pastry with lard and it was a real hit! Even the children, normally by biggest critics, gave this dish the thumbs up and asked for more. I used the left-over meat and marrow from the veal shanks I cooked on the previous Sunday to make a delicious gravy combining it with cinnamon, cloves, sultanas, raisins, dried apricots, barberries and a good shot of cognac. Six quality beef shanks costing EUR 40 delivered three nourishing meals: veal-shank stew, a hearty cauliflower and curry soup and this meat pie. When government officials and industry talk about the need for a GMO mono-culture and …