Posts Tagged ‘E J Catering’

Christmas nibbles by E J Catering

December 19, 2011

Christmas nibbles to put in the freezer.

MAKING Christmas food ahead for the freezer, spreads the cost, the hassle, the pressure and the mess but, as I found out this week, the most important part of cooking for the freezer is to make sure you have room in it before you start!

I spent an evening prepping, imagining Christmas and all the noise and mess with just a small amount of dread but the radio was on and the tunes helped my thoughts flow away – until I opened the freezer and discovered it was full.

This weekend’s job is to defrost and eat. At work my freezer is 3mx2m, big enough to keep a snowman in there, so I know my Christmas nibbles will be safe, even if they are six miles away from my house!

Twisted cheese and chorizo straws

2 sheets of puff pastry

1 egg

1 tablespoon of mustard – any type

100g chorizo or smoked bacon

4 spring onions

60g parmesan cheese

1 stick of celery

Remove the skin from the chorizo and dice small, or slice the bacon and cook in a hot pan until crispy.

In a small chopper or magimix put the chorizo / bacon, chopped spring onions, grated parmesan, celery stick and whizz it to a chunky paste

Lay a sheet of puff pastry on the work top and stab it all over with a fork. Now crack the egg and beat it with the mustard. Spread this generously over the pastry before spreading on  the chunky paste.

Lay down the second sheet of pastry, stab it and egg wash it and now put it on top. Gently stick them together. Put this all back in the fridge because it is much easier to cut and twist when it is firm and chilled.

A few hours later, remove from the fridge and cut strips lengthwise about a centimetre wide. Twist one hand to the right and another to the left till you have a lovely twist of pastry with the colour of the chorizo coiled through. Put them back on the baking tray and into the freezer.

On Christmas morning put them on a baking tray from frozen and into the oven at 175C for about 8-12 minutes. The family will be queuing at the oven door for the twists which look a little like sticks of savoury candy

Other fillings:

Sautéed leek and brie; red onion, tomato and Caerphilly (use a squeeze of good quality sundried tomato paste); blue cheese, walnut and celery – all delicious.

Christmas shortbread – make, roll and freeze

2 oz caster sugar

4oz butter

6oz flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves or lemon or orange zest whichever takes your fancy

Cream the butter and sugar together, add the flour and spice and work into a dough. Rest it in the fridge. Roll it out onto a floured surface about ½cm thick and cut into a shape. Freeze these on greaseproof paper until you are ready and cook from frozen at 140C for 8-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and lightly dust with sugar. Warning: the family will be queuing again!

Superwoman by E J Catering – How the Rhino got his Skin

September 5, 2011

My children Molly, Jake and I spent our summer holiday in my grandmother’s house in the heart of the Lake District.    Everyday we made pasties filled with the leftover supper from the night before, we packed drinks, a book and headed out for a walk around a lake, along a river, or up a small fell in search of a water fall.  The weather just held to a typical British summer and the kids threw stones, leaves and twigs, scrambled, climbed, moaned, ran, jumped and paddled.  We were constantly on hunt alert for slugs, mushrooms, frogs and Penguin biscuit rocks – amazing rocks found only on certain special mountains that conceal Penguin biscuits for little people with tired legs.

My Granny Anne’s house is full of old leather books with titles such as Ancient Foods of England, Collection of the Giant Moths of the British Isles, Birds of New Zealand, five volumes of  lectures by Winston Churchill, Games for Children, something for anybody and everybody.  I found a small red leather book printed in 1942, Rudyard Kipling’s Just so Stories. I packed it safely in our lunch sack and under a large oak tree read How the rhino got his skin.  At the beginning of time the rhino had a very smart, tight coat with three large buttons under his belly.  One day he came across a cake baked by a local warrior which he stole and ate.  The warrior was cross with the rhino and so the next time the sun shone and the rhino took off his coat to bathe the warrior rubbed sticky cake crumbs into the inside of the coat.  After bathing the happy Rhino put back on his coat and started to itch and itch, he rubbed against trees, posts and rocks to relieve the itching, his buttons broke off , his skin stretched and sagged and the rhino got his grumpy face because ever since he’s suffered itching under the skin!

Sticky plum cake

225g soft butter

450g  ripe plums

1 lemon zest and half its juice

225g caster sugar

3 eggs  225g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

25g ground almonds

1 tbsp demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a deep cake tin.  Stone the plums and slice into eight crescent moons.  Cream together the butter, caster sugar, lemon zest and juice in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, sift the flour and the baking powder into the bowl and fold in with the ground almonds. Add the fresh plums to the mixture.  Spoon into the cake tin, lightly level the top and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake in the oven for 45-55 mins or until well-risen, brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If the cake starts to look a little too brown, cover with a sheet of baking paper  Leave to cool slightly and remove the cake from the tin.  Serve with lightly whipped cream and a spoonful of honey.  And never steal anyone’s cake – you have been warned!

Superwoman by E J Catering – National Ice Cream Day

August 3, 2011

TWO weeks last Monday was National Ice Cream Day. I am sorry I missed it and with two small children how could I?
But who knew? Hands up, honestly if you knew!  Who decides these things, which national body, world wide organisation, local council of where comes up with this stuff?  Did you eat an ice cream two weeks last Monday?
Looking at my calendar for the rest of year its National Dog Day and Women Equality Day on FridayAugust 26 – why are they sharing, are there not enough days in the year?
It’s National Grandparent Day on Sunday, September 11 –  now that is an important one.
And why is not more commonly known? Someone  tell the card companies!
My mum is very active with my kids, has a great relationship with them  and we will be making a card, so in hindsight no one tell the card companies because homemade  is always the best way to a grandparent’s heart.
There’s UN Peace Day on Wednesday, September 21 and get this one, National Chocolate Covered Anything Day on December 15 – maybe my calendar is having a laugh or is there a Cover Everything in Chocolate group, where and when do they meet, is there one in Cardiff or should we start one?
Back to the ice cream and who says we can’t have a  second national ice cream day just incase you missed the first.

Recipe for vanilla ice cream, makes about a pint and half
½ pint double cream
½ pint full fat milk
1 fresh vanilla pod
6 egg yolks
6oz caster sugar
In a saucepan mix the cream and milk and gently heat.  Slit the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, add to the cream along with the pod (we will remove it later).
In a bowl whisk the egg yolks and the sugar.
When the cream is simmering pour it over the yolks, whisk it and return to the saucepan on a gentle heat until it thickens just like a custard.  If you overheat and split the custard immediately sieve into a cool bowl and beat the mixture well.
Allow to cool and churn in an ice cream maker until doubled in size.  Place in a freezer container and freeze until ready.
If you don’t have a churn or don’t fancy making your own I recommend Hapus ice cream on Caerphilly Mountain.
All that is left for me to say is Happy National Ice Cream Day the Second!