Christmassy Cranberry Sauce

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Cranberry sauce – traditionally accompanying the roast turkey on Christmas Day, it’s rarely regarded as the great all-round year perfect partner for white meats that it is, adding an air of vibrancy and a tart taste to sandwiches, too.

Ingredients

450g of fresh cranberries, washed

500g of sugar (any kind)

330ml of water

1 orange

Method

  • Grate or pare the rind from the orange, avoiding carrying the white pith off it. Juice the juice from the orange.
  • Place the orange rind, cranberries and sugar in a saucepan adding the water.
  • Bring the ingredients to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Then simmer for about 20 minutes or until the cranberries begin to burst.

Dawn: At this point, I taste the mixture and slowly add the orange juice as I prefer a hint of orange rather than an overwhelming explosion of orangey flavours. 

Andrew: That’s a good tip, Dawn and this recipe is so easy to make! 

Dawn: It is, isn’t it? And the thing is, once you make your own cranberry sauce, your taste buds will really tell the difference when you next sample mass manufactured. 

Andrew: Also, it’s worth checking that the ingredients might need a little more hot water added as they cook, to prevent them from sticking to the saucepan. 

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Magical Meringues

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Making a superb alternative ‘afters’ to traditional Christmas pudding, meringue is extremely easy to make and can be made well in advance of the big day.

Ingredients

Serves 8

8 egg whites

450g castor sugar

200g of raspberries/blackberries/red and black currants (or any fruit you have to hand)

Filling

300g of double or whipping cream

100g of dark chocolate

25g of flaked almonds, toasted

Mixed berries coulis

100g of frozen mixed berries

20g of castor sugar (or granulated)

6 tbsp of water

Dawn: Meringues look the most decadent pud when ‘dressed for the occasion’!

Andrew: Don’t they just?! And can keep for up to six weeks which is excellent for planning ahead. 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 1, 140 °C electric.
  • Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk or food processor while gradually adding the castor sugar.
  • The egg whites and castor sugar will start to combine to become white, opaque and fluffy.
  • When the mixture is stiff, perky peeks will be formed enabling you can turn the bowl upside down with the mixture remaining inside.

Dawn: Now’s the fun part!

  • Scoop the breath-takingly gorgeous mixture out on to a lined ovenproof baking tray. Either mound or nest the meringue mixture into equal sized portions.
  • Place the baking tray in the centre of the preheated oven and cook for about one hour on this gentle heat.

Andrew: How will I know when the meringues are cooked, Dawn?

Dawn: I go by look: are they golden brown in colour yet? And by touch with a  gentle squeeze. If they’re ‘bouncy’ in touch, they’re cooked and ready to cool .

Andrew: And you can add a little ‘zing’ to their flavours by slightly sprinkling a little cinnamon or nutmeg on them before cooking.

Dawn: Yummy! Yes, either spice will make a tasty alternative flavour, Andrew. Good idea.

  • Once the meringues are cool, they can either be stored in an airtight container and will last for up to six weeks or they can be decorated.

Dawn: Decorating! “Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la!”…but I digress! Yes, time to decorate these shiny, glistening peeks of gooey loveliness. And again, you’re only limited by your imagination in how you do this.

Andrew: What have you used here, Dawn? They look fit for a King!

Dawn: Why, thank you, Andrew. They do look rather ‘regal’, don’t they? And so easy to do! I’ve lightly crushed the top of each peek and added a tablespoon of the cream, topped with a mixture of raspberries, blackberries, black and redcurrants. Over the top of each meringue, I’ve melted the dark chocolate and drizzled this runny yumminess over each peek and then dusted with icing sugar. The ‘look’ is completed with a smattering of the roasted flaked almonds on each. 

Andrew: You’ve used dark chocolate but can any chocolate be used? 

Dawn: I’ve used dark to give a flavour contrast to the sweetness of the meringue, Andrew and yes, any chocolate can be used. It’s really down to individual taste. 

Andrew: And each peek sits within a river of mixed berries coulis, speaking of which the recipe follows on here:

  • Place the berries, sugar and water in a saucepan and lightly heat until the berries are soft and the sugar is dissolved.
  • Next, heat the berries until boiling away and the mixture thickens.
  • Now, press the berries through a fine sieve and the remaining pulp can be frozen to use in our Perfect Pancakes recipe.

Dawn: When chilled, simply drizzle the coulis around each fruit filled laden peek and hey presto! A beautiful pudding!

For more simple and easy to cook at home recipes, follow this blog and our Twitter account for regular updates and cooking tips over @Love_Food_UK

Amazing Apple and Cinnamon Crumble

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Filling, scrumptious and simply delicious, our apple and cinnamon crumble can be made as one large dish or cooked in seperate ramekins – whatever your preference, this is a firm traditional British staple pudding.

Andrew: I like the cinnamon twist to this. 

Ingredients

Serves 4

Fruit base

4 cooking apples or 7-8 eating apples (any kind)

10g sugar

4 tbsp water

Crumble Topping

50g plain flour

25g porridge oats

20g softened low fat spread

10g sugar (granulated, castor, muscovado are all possibilities)

15g flaked almonds (toasted, optional)

¼ tsp of ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

Method

  • Peel and cut into chunks the apples. Put in a saucepan.
  • Add the 10g of sugar and water.
  • Cook on the hob until the apples are partially softened, stirring so that the apples don’t stick to the saucepan base.
  • Once softened, spoon the mushy-looking apples into a large cooking dish or four ramekins. Set aside to make the crumble topping.

Dawn: You can add additional soft fruits at this point, too.

Andrew: Like blackberries?

Dawn: Yes, Andrew or dribble 20-30g of sultanas or currants into the apples so they are generously strewn amongst the apples. I do like blackberries added at this point especially if they’re hedgerow ‘freebies’.

Andrew: It’s worth pointing out that if you use cooking apples, you may decide to add a little more sugar as they tend to be less sweet than eating apples. 

Dawn: Excellent point, Andrew.

  • To make the crumble topping, put the flour, spread, sugar and salt into a large bowl and using your fingertips, rub these ingredients together until they have combined to form what resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the flaked almonds and gently combine.

Andrew: Be gentle at this point as you don’t want the almonds to become too fine.

Dawn: That’s right. I personally like the almonds to retain much of their size and shape as it adds to the finished texture and almost crunch-like quality of the topping when cooked.

  • Next, add the oats and with equal care shown to the almonds, combine these with the existing crumble mixture.
  • Add and combine the cinnamon.

Andrew: If you haven’t any cinnamon, use mixed spice. nutmeg or ginger. Whatever ground spices you may have in will all work really well here. 

  • You are now ready to sprinkle the crumble topping over the apple base. So, spooning the mixture, spread the topping equally over the apple fruit base.
  • Place a pre-heated oven at gas mark 4/electric 180 degrees for about 35-40 minutes until the apple juices are bubbling and the crumble base has turned a nice golden light brown colour.

Andrew: Serve warm with either ice cream or fresh cream.

Dawn: Simply scrumptious! Or, custard and we’ll be bringing you homemade custard in our forthcoming recipes, too. Stay tuned to updates by following this food blog and over on Twitter @Love_Food_UK