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Treats for Christmas

Yule log

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Cranberry, apricot and sage stuffing

Cranberry, apricot and sage stuffing

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Black pudding in blankets

Festive Black pudding in blankets

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Chocolate posset, cranberry compote and pistachio shortbread

Chocolate posset, cranberry compote and pistachio shortbread

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Soda bread

Winter Pumpkin soup, spiced lentil cake and soda bread

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Treats for Christmas

Yule log

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INGREDIENTS

Ingredients for the buttercream:

250g of soft butter

350g icing sugar (put through a sieve to remove any lumps)

25g cocoa powder

50ml cream

.

Ingredients for the sponge:

5 eggs

150g caster sugar

100g plain flour

20g cocoa powder

40g melted butter

METHOD

For the buttercream:

1.  Place the softened butter, sieved icing sugar and cocoa powder into the mixing bowl and slowly mix in the mixer using the paddle attachment on a low speed

2.  When all of the icing sugar has gone into the butter making a smooth paste add in the cream and mix on a high speed for 5 seconds

3.  When the mix has all come together it can sit in the bowl until needed to use for the finishing of the yule log

       For the sponge:

      1.  Pre heat the oven to 180°C


      2.  Whisk the sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy.  Meanwhile sieve the cocoa and flour together to remove the lumps and melt the butter in a separate pan


      3.  Once the eggs and sugar have doubled in size and become light and fluffy sieve in the cocoa and flour and fold in without knocking out to much of air trying to keep it light and airy


      4.  Drizzle in the melted butter and ensure a smooth aerated batter is achieved


      5.  Pour the sponge mix directly on to flat oven tray lined withgrease proof paperand spread evenly to 5mm thick
      Carefully place another sheet of greaseproof over the top, place in to the oven and bake for 6 minutes or until the sponge mix sets


      6.  Have some flour and sugar to hand to dust the sponge once it comes out of the oven


      7.  Take out of the oven and carefully remove the top sheet of grease proof paper and place on the work top.  Sprinkle some flour and sugar on to the worktop, carefully put the sponge on the flour and sugar mix then remove the other sheet


      8.  When still slightly warm, evenly spread the chocolate butter cream all over leaving a 2cm gap from the outside of the sponge this will allow for the mix to spread out when rolling


      9.  When it is rolled cut the log at an angle around 8cm long and place against the remaining log so that it looks like a branch


      10.  Place onto a cake board or plate and finish covering with chocolate butter cream, with a fork run it along all the butter cream to give the bark effect of the log.


      11.  Garnish with a dusting of icing sugar and some holy leaves and redcurrants 

      Cranberry, apricot and sage stuffing

      Cranberry, apricot and sage stuffing

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      INGREDIENTS

      100g chopped dried apricots

      50g dried cranberries

      100g finely diced onion

      100g white wine

      100g panko bread crumbs

      5g chopped sage

      250g sausage meat

      METHOD

      Stuffing can be changed to suit the season, at Christmas time cranberries are perfect but you may like to add chestnuts, and/or mixed spice too.  Stuffing can be cooked on its own or can be put into the leg meat and braised in the crown of the turkey.


      Method of work 

      1. Place apricots, cranberries, onions and wine into a pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes, then add the bread crumbs into the pan

      2. Cling film and leave to cool for 2 to 3 hours

      3. Mix all the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper

      4. When the apricot mix is cooled add into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients, mix well

      5. Place in a loaf tin lined with a grease proof cake liner and make sure it is flat on top, cover with foil and then place into the oven at 100°C and cook for 45 minutes

      6. Serve straight away or chill until required

      7. If chilling when reheating the stuffing, take out of the tin and slice, then place onto an oiled tray and put in an oven for 8 minutes at 180°C degrees


      Black pudding in blankets

      Festive Black pudding in blankets

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      INGREDIENTS

      10g butter

      65g diced onion

      6g minced garlic

      5g salt

      4g curry powder

      50ml double cream

      80g minced pork belly (raw)

      40g prunes chopped

      75g chopped dried apple

      90g dried pigs blood (available from good butchers* or online) soaked in 160ml warm water for 20 minutes

      24 slices of smoky streaky bacon

      * local to us we get our dried pigs blood from our butcher Vicars Game. If you wanted to give them a call they can organise some for you too – tel: 01635 579662.

      METHOD

      Method of work:


      1. Gently fry the onions and garlic in the butter and salt for 5 minutes until soft but with no colour


      2. Add the curry powder and cook out for 2-3 minutes


      3. Then add the cream and cook on a low heat until reduced by half


      4. Add this to the pork mince, prunes and apples in a suitable bowl allowing you to mix it all together


      5. Now add the soaked pig’s blood into the same bowl so all the mix is combined, mix with a spoon to help you


      6. Place in a lined loaf tin either with cling film or a grease proof liner and make sure you push down the mix so is flat on top


      7. Place in an oven at 130°C for 40 minutes.  To check it is cooked, like a cake place a knife in the middle and if it comes out clean it is ready, take out and chill


      8. When it has chilled cut into small rectangles and wrap in thin slices of smoky bacon


      9. To cook place on an oiled dish or tray and place in an oven at 180°C for 10 minutes


      Chocolate posset, cranberry compote and pistachio shortbread

      Chocolate posset, cranberry compote and pistachio shortbread

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      INGREDIENTS

      Ingredients for the cranberry compote:

      100g cranberries

      80ml red wine

      40g sugar

      Zest and juice of one orange

      1 cinnamon stick

      1 star anise

      .

      Ingredients for the posset:

      250ml milk

      250ml double cream

      100ml egg yolk

      50ml sugar

      1 orange juice and ½ zest

      30g dried cranberries

      15ml white wine vinegar

      240g dark chocolate - 50% to 60%

      .

      Ingredients for the shortbread:

      135g flour

      15g rice flour

      100g butter

      55g sugar

      75g chopped pistachios

      Cinnamon sugar to dust (50g sugar and 5g ground cinnamon)

      METHOD

      Chocolate posset, cranberry compote and pistachio shortbread


      Serves 4


      Chocolate posset:


      Posset is amazingly simple to make, the resulting silky texture is almost magical.  At Christmas a cranberry compote is the perfect accompaniment.


      Cranberry compote - method of work 

      1. Place all ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil

      2. Turn down and simmer for 30 minutes or until all is soft and becomes a sticky consistency looking like jam



      Chocolate posset - method of work

      1. Scald the milk and cream just bringing it to just under boiling

      2. Whisk the yolks and the sugar together in a bowl

      3. Pour the milk and cream over the egg mix whilst whisking all the time

      4. Put back into the pan and add the orange zest and juice with dried cranberries and vinegar

      5. Place back on a medium heat not allowing it to boil and you are looking for the mix to coat the back of the spoon without running all off, then add the chocolate and mix well

      6. Pour into the preferred dishes and allow to set in the fridge.  These can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days

      7. When serving add the cranberry compote on top and around and finish with segments of clementine or orange



      Pistachio shortbread:


      We like to use rice flour in our shortbread as this gives it a more crumbly texture.  Adding pistachios and cinnamon sugar too is our nod to Christmas. 


      These shortbread will add a crunch your dessert when served alongside the chocolate posset. 


      Method of work

      1. Sieve the flours together into a bowl

      2. Mix together the butter and sugar to a smooth paste in another bowl

      3. Now crumb the fat mix into the flours and pistachio, bring to a smooth dough working it in quickly

      4. Roll out into a rectangle approx. 1cm deep and allow to rest in the fridge

      5. After 15 minutes of resting, create small holes with a fork ensuring not to go fully through to the work surface, 50% depth is good.  Bake at 140°C until crisp this will take around 40 minutes

      6. When you have removed from the oven cut into finger size pieces with a serrated knife whilst hot and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and allow to cool.


      Soda bread

      Winter Pumpkin soup, spiced lentil cake and soda bread

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      INGREDIENTS

      For the soup:

      500g pumpkin – peeled, seeded and diced in to 1 inch cubes

      1 large shallot - peeled and sliced

      200g unsalted butter - diced

      5g table salt

      10g parmesan - grated

      600ml chicken or vegetable stock

      Crème fraiche – to serve

      .

      For the soda bread

      250g bread flour

      5g salt

      7g bicarbonate of soda

      50g sunflower seeds

      55g feta cheese – cut into cubes

      250ml buttermilk

      5g fresh mint - chopped

      .

      For the spiced lentils

      100g cooked puy lentils

      50g red onion finely chopped

      60ml soy sauce

      60ml balsamic vinegar

      40ml tomato sauce (ketchup)

      20ml sweet chilli sauce

      15g chopped pickled ginger

      Pinch ground cumin

      .

      For the cake

      340g spiced lentils (the above recipe makes this)

      100g diced onion

      160g flat mushrooms diced small

      2g coriander seeds (about 15 seeds)

      350g pumpkin seeds

      20g sesame seeds

      40g pine nuts

      30g chopped tarragon

      80g panko breadcrumbs

      METHOD

      We love the smooth velvety texture of this soup, and for an everyday recipe the soup alone is delicious.  However, if serving for an occasion making the soda bread and spiced lentil cake too is well worth the effort.

      For the soup:

      1.  Over a medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pan soften the shallot and the diced pumpkin with the butter 

      2.  Once softened add the salt and stock, bring to a simmer

      3.  Place a lid on the pan and gently simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked through

      4.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly

      5.  Add the grated parmesan and mix well

      6.  Blend the soup until smooth in a liquidiser

      7.  Check for seasoning and add a little more salt if you like

      8.  If serving alone, serve with crème fraiche and a twist of black pepper (or omit the crème fraiche if serving with spiced lentil cake)

      Try roasting your pumpkin seeds, they make a great crunchy addition to soups, salads, casseroles and curries. Alternatively put them raw on your bird table.

      For the soda bread:

      1.  Place the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl and rub together

      2.  Add the seeds and cheese and stir in, then add the buttermilk and mint and fold together gently until all the dry flour is incorporated

      3.  Once it is all together, take out of the bowl and roll it around in some flour to make it easier to handle

      4.  Place on to a grease proof tray and put 2 cuts on top 2cm deep to make a cross and place into the oven as soon as it is finished – (this will not require any proving)

       Bake at 240℃ for about 17 minutes

       For the spiced lentils:

      1. Cook the onions without colour and when translucent add the cumin and cook out for 5 minutes without burning

      2. Add the soy sauce and balsamic and reduce by half

      3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked lentils and the rest of the ingredients, check the seasoning and allow to cool

      For the cakes:

      1.  Roast the nuts and seeds in oil until golden brown

      2.  Add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes

      3.  Add the spice lentil mix, panko breadcrumbs and tarragon, mix well

      4.  Season and allow to rest for 1 hr to allow the panko breadcrumbs to take on the flavour and tighten the mix

      5.  When ready give a good mix again and then weigh into 50g balls and shape

      6.  Coat with a little flour, egg and breadcrumbs and then store until required

      To finish the cakes for the soup, either deep fry on 180 for 3 minutes until golden or pan fry until golden on both side in a little oil on a moderate heat and place in the oven for 2 minutes at 180℃ to ensure the core temperature is hot.