Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's what's inside that counts

3 years ago AB and I hosted our first family Christmas.
I do believe in the go hard or go home philosophy when I comes to Christmas so it had to be better than Ben Hur.
Naturally a Turducken was the only way to go!
AB gives me a look whenever I mention Turkducken and recounts a tale of sobbing on the floor at 2am when the roasting pan was too small to fit the birds.
My version of the event doesn't include the crying but a whole Navy of expletives, words that had never passed my lips till that morning.
The draw card to this rolled turkey is my love of a boneless bird mainly because I'm pretty useless when it comes to carving. (Plus AB hates bones)
So this year it's our turn again and I've said not to worry about any dramas I'm just doing a rolled turkey......we'll just keep quiet about the duck and the chicken till later's ok I've got a bigger pan!
No matter whether it's a boneless or whole bird "The Stuffing" to end all stuffing is a major star of this show.
"The Stuffing"
  • 8-10 dried figs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 500g Italian sausage skin removed or sausage mince
  • 1 large brown onion grated
  • 1 large red onion grated
  • Half a preserved blood orange or lemon finely chopped
  • 80g pistachio
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • Soak the figs in lemon juice for about 30 minutes
  • Fry off the sausages or mince with the grated onions
  • When sausage is cooked, add to a mixing bowl and allow to cool
  • Slice the figs and add with the soaking liquid to the sausage
  • Add the remaining ingredients and combine well
The stuffing is almost like Christmas lights!
  • For the boned turkey flatten the stuffing on the meat (skin side down) and then roll the sides in on each other so it looks like a turkey again.
  • Cover in bacon to keep the breasts moist.
  • Roast covered at 160°C for about 25-30 per 500g, then uncovered for last 20-30 minutes.  
(the bathroom scales may finally get a use after all)

Can be joined together with a metal skewer down it's back

The big day will have woven bacon as while I went for quick and easy it would look a million times better.

The turkey looks really dry in the photo but it was my hatchet job of cutting and snapping in 3 minutes before I was late for work.
This crazy move was purely so I could have it for lunch, I honestly could not wait!
It was moist, delicious and we may need to stage a turkey intervention.....again!
The Turkey can be made a day ahead and cut cold and reheated in tinfoil parcels with a splash of water, in the oven with the vegetable for about 20 minutes. (careful not to dry it out)

The best thing about this demo bird is I have the most amazing turkey stock in the freezer just waiting to be part of the Christmas gravy.

Here are a few pictures of how I boned the turkey (may be too graphic for some), you could always try and con your butcher into doing it for you.

For me the key is a sharp knife and letting it find it's way through the bird.

Plus take your time, don't start it 10 minutes before it is due to go into the oven.

Ditch the wings, aint nobody got time for that.....

 Remove the white tendons from the legs
Looks better finished for sure!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Strawberry and Blood Orange Jam

Way back in October's In My Kitchen I wrote about Strawberry and Blood Orange Jam, well all things come to those who wait, so here is the recipe.
I make jam in small batches rather than having jars and jars of it, as I don't eat jam every day and I like to have varieties when I do.
This batch has also made it's way into my Christmas cake!
The combination of the berry and citrus flavours reminds me a little of fruit cup cordial.
Strawberry and Blood Orange Jam
  • 500g whole strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 2 blood oranges*
  • 250g sugar
  • Zest and juice the blood oranges (I like long strands)
  • In a large saucepan add the strawberries, zest and juice and sugar
  • Stir occasionally
  • Simmer on low to medium for about 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Test the jam is ready by putting a couple of small plates in the freezer, add a tsp. of jam to the frozen plate, if it sets, you're done.
  • I like the slow gentle approach to keep the strawberries intact
  • Now just to whip up a batch of scones and cream, bliss!
*Redbelly Citrus supplied the blood oranges for this recipe.


Store in a sterilised jar in the fridge, my small batches are usually gone in a month.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Nutty Christmas Cake

    Along with the carols one familiar sound from my Christmas past was the sound of Dad popping open a plastic container then a shriek "Robert! Stop eating the nuts off the top of the cake!"

    This was as regular as clockwork till the nuts were, eventually no more. Cashews and Brazil nuts were a particular favourite.

    This would go on every year and I would think why don't you just add more nuts??

    So then it came to me making a cake for him as part of a hamper, I was very clear on the brief......NUTS!

    Right on track the whole top was covered, not a single crumb was visible. 

    I must have done ok as this year I had the phone call "you ARE making the cake again?" so I guess that meant I was.

    I think there is something to be said about knowing your audience as he is divorced and now married to a bloke called Bruce, let's face it my Dad really, really likes........Fruitcake!

    (Where were you going with that sentence?? Filthy!)

    Nutty Christmas Cake
  • 650g dried fruit (see note)
  • 150ml brandy
  • 250g butter soften unsalted
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 30g treacle
  • 30g jam (any kind I had strawberry and blood orange)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon ground (2g)
  • 2 tsp. mixed spice (4g)
  • 100g almond meal
  • 300g plain flour
  • 100g nuts (a mix of those listed below)
  • Additional hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias, walnuts, slivered almonds to decorate
  • Extra brandy for feeding
  • Soak the fruit in the brandy for about 24 hours
  • Roughly chop the 100g of nuts
  • Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl till paler and fluffy
  • Slowly add eggs and beat till combined
  • Add treacle, jam and spices beat through for 30 seconds
  • Stir through flour and almond meal
  • Stir through fruits and nuts till mixture is well combined
  • Spoon into a lined 20cm square cake time (or shape of your preference)
  • Smooth over the top
  • Decorate with as little or as many nuts as you like (more is more)
  • Bake at 150°C for 3 hours till a skewer comes out clean
  • Let cool and then remove from tin
  • Brush top with additional brandy about 10-15ml, repeat weekly till ready to serve.
  • Store in a plastic container
Note: My fruit mix varies so I think of it as a total of fruit rather than individual quantities of each. It has raisin, sultanas, currents, figs, cranberries, dates, mixed peel, sometimes pineapple or ginger and even the almost compulsory but loathed glace cherry (but only 1, 2 tops!)
     If your eggs look let they have curdled, as mine because butter and eggs are never the exact some temperature, a tbsp. of the weighed flour will bring it back together.

     You can present the cake with a decorative border either, paper, foil or material, fastened with a pin to be removed before serving.
    Some food writers if in a rush may stick it together with a Band-Aid not shown in the picture, but they would almost never write about it.

I had run out of mixed spice (I must have done some baking recently) so whipped up some of my own and used 3 tsp. of this mix.
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 tsp. of ground ginger
1 tsp. of ground coriander
1 tsp. of all spice
1/2 a nutmeg grated

I may not buy mixed spice again but I will certainly be buying a new spice mill!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

In My Kitchen - December

This month's In My Kitchen will be a bit of a wrap up of last month as I had lots of comments asking me about the purple cauliflower and spices. Thanks for the comments I love it!!

Also please check out At My Tradition and feel free to join in and share your tradition for this time of year with us. This is my offering.

In my kitchen.... the magically aroma of Christmas.
The spices from last month's in my kitchen have been bagged up or put into jars ready for whenever you need an emergency dose of Christmas. They will be a table gift on Christmas day.

In my kitchen.... the answer to all the purple cauliflower questions.
  • The flavour is the same
  • The colour fades a little with cooking but this variety did not  turn white when cooked
  • Blanching it and tossing into an acidy vinaigrette turns it hot pink!!
  • Thinking back to my Science of Gastronomy course adding bi carb soda would turn it blue...yum

 I left it a bit too long before picking so it looked a bit like coral
 It doesn't look the most appetising cauliflower cheese but I loved it.
 Delicious as a salad with broadbeans too
In my kitchen/garden.....
....are small pots of herbs growing to be a gift for each of my guests at Christmas. I have planted, basil, thyme and parsley seeds which will then get a bow added before the big day. It doesn't look like it in the picture but there are little green leaves sprouting so I think we will be on track in another 3 weeks.....worse case scenario I have a nursery up the road for any emergency lack of growth lol

In my Kitchen..... an abundance of Christmas baking which I will eventually get to documenting the recipes for, maybe I'm just really really prepared for next year!

They come in regular and xtra large...

 In my kitchen..... a note book of all my baking plans which is totally inspired by the bake off pictures, I just wish I could get down on paper the images in my head.
The result of all these dreams is a Christmas CroquenNutbouche and a whole heap of dishes!

Thanks AB, you have to do everything around here!
Thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the monthly In My Kitchen, check out the other kitchens.