Monday, December 17, 2012

Brenda’s Recipe for roast spiced Winter vegetables


Red Onion
[You can also add squash and red pepper but it works very well with just carrots and parsnips]
Ground cumin
Ground coriander
Orange zest
Garlic (fresh or ground]
Brown sugar
Salt and pepper

Cut and prepare the carrots and parsnips into uneven wedge/chunks about 1 – 2 inches
Par boil the veg so as they are soft but with a little bit of resistance – you will finish them in the oven
Cut and slice the onion into large uneven chunks – you actually break it up into layers and cut the layers
Put a shallow dish of a decent amount of olive oil into an oven and heat until it is piping hot

The spice mix: 
While that is happening you can prepare the spice mix
Add two teaspoons of ground coriander and ground cumin to a dish/mixing bowl (I use a mug at times)
Add two teaspoons of brown sugar (light or medium rather than muscovado)
Zest a large orange and add that to the mix
Add a couple of grinds of salt and pepper from a grinder
Crush and mince one garlic clove or add half a teaspoon of dried garlic
Mix all of this together and set to one side
The smell should be fantastic

Back to the veg: 
Drain the parsnips and carrots very well – there should be no moisture as it will cool down the oil
Take the tray of oil out out of the oven and if you can place it over a ring of the hob turned up high so as the veg sizzle when they hit it. Then add the onion and mix around – all the time getting a good sizzle.
Finally add the mix of spices and seasoning and give it a good mix around.
The smell at this stage should be of pungent orange and garlic and spices.
Get the mix back into a hot oven and bake until the veg are all soft and caramelised and gorgeous. I always give it about 25-30 minutes.

Serving suggestion:
Serve with your Christmas turkey for a real heart warming taste of seasonal sumptuousness. For an even better effect, bring to the table straight from the oven and let people help themselves to large dollops. 

For larger gatherings you will have to increase the amount of veg and also adjust the spices accordingly. This is also great with roast chicken and roast beef all year round.


Brenda’s Recipe for Christmas Day Stuffing

This serves 6 – 8 people

  • 3 sticks of celery
  • One whole green/red apple
  • Breadcrumbs
  • One white onion
  • One small yellow or orange pepper
  • Salt/pepper
  • Fresh herbs
  • Butter

Method - 

  • Chop the onion, pepper, apple and celery into small pieces – very small diced pieces are preferable.
  • Put a small amount of cooking oil and a knob of butter into a pan
  • Add the onions, pepper, celery and garlic. When they start to hiss and sizzle, turn them down to simmer. You are not so much cooking them but sweating them off.
  • After a couple of minutes take them off the heat and place to one side
The Breadcrumbs 

  • In a large mixing bowl add the breadcrumbs – you can buy ready-made breadcrumbs in the shops – go for one large bag. If you are making your own breadcrumbs I go by the rule of 2 slices per person and then 2 for the pot!
  • Pour the breadcrumbs into the bowl and add some pepper.
  • Then it’s time for the herbs. Fresh herbs are preferable – parsley, thyme, sage etc
  • If you can’t be bothered with all that hassle then use a jar of mixed herbs and be generous. I would add 3-4 tea spoons of mixed herbs.
  • Then add in some paprika for a nice wintery kick – about half a teaspoon. Make sure to add pepper to the mix at this stage but go easy on the salt – just a pinch or two.
  • Now add in all the vegetables that you have already sweated in the pot and mix it all together.
  • The smell should be divine. If it’s not then you need to add more herbs!
  • Through a decent number of knobs of butter into the pot you sweated the veg in and heat until melted. Then add to the stuffing mix and watch it all coming together nicely.
  • If it is looking a bit dry then de glaze the pan using a small amount of hot water and add that to the stuffing.

  • Place in a wide/shallow dish and cover with tinfoil.
  • Bake for about 30-40 minutes and half way through the cooking take it out of the oven and mix it all up to make sure you are getting it all cooked through. About 10 minutes from the end of the cooking take off the tinfoil so as you get a nice crispy crust on the top.
  • Serve to a very happy family on Christmas day.

And finally
  • You can vary the fruit/veg that you add seasonally – cranberries work well or apricots instead of the apple. You can also try walnuts along with the apple and the celery.
  • This is one of the nicest stuffing recipes you will ever taste.
  • Save some [if you can] for a cold sandwich later in the day.
  • Enjoy and let me know how it turned out.

Happy Christmas xx

Brenda Drumm