roasted cauliflower with chilli and anchovies

This recipe is Spanish and it’s a really tasty way to cook cauliflower. It’s got lots of garlic and chilli so it’s a fantastic side dish to cook with baked fish or with other salads. It’s also got healthy lemon and parsley so it’s packed with vitamins and also very low carb. It can be served hot or at room temperature.

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caramelised roasted red onions

  • These onions are roasted until they are caramelised and sitting in an unctuous balsamic syrupy sauce. This recipe pays tribute to the humble onion as a vegetable in its own right. They are fab with a roast dinner or as a side dish and they are also great at room temperature along side salads and bread. But apart from being delicious, studies  have shown that rosemary has amazing anti ageing properties, ten percent of the population in the town of Acciaroli in Italy are over 100 years and scientists are putting it down to the rosemary in their diet and scientific studies have also shows that rosemary helps maintain and improve brain function and memory. So I’m adding Rosemary to my diet whenever I can, which is easy as I love the taste and smell.

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the perfect roasted fries

It’s the simple things that are the best and I love fries as much as the next person. No carb free living for me, and I don’t care if I have a muffin top, life’s too short to be eating just ‘clean food’. Food should be delicious, beautiful and sensual and a bit of what you fancy. I eat mostly healthy food which is unprocessed with lots of vegetables, fish and of course cake. I don’t have a microwave and am still mistaken for someone at least fifteen years younger so I must be doing something right.

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the perfect roast potatoes

Roast potatoes are one of the best inventions in the food world along with chips, in my humble opinion. Heston Blumenthal and most of the top cooks recommend Maris Piper potatoes. The reason for this is they are very starchy which means you get a fluffy inside and a crispy outside. If Maris Pipers are not available get a floury potato like a Desiree or a King Edward, the varieties and names of potatoes vary from country to country, so if in doubt just make sure it’s a floury type as opposed to waxy. Roast potatoes are always best served straight away while they are still hot and crisp.

Recipe

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:
1 kg of potatoes, peeled and halved
3 tablespoons of olive oil (or goose fat or duck fat)
Salt and pepper to taste

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vegetarian gravy

This silky smooth gravy is super delicious for vegetarians, vegans and even non vegetarians. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the nut loaf on my blog. It can be made in advance and frozen, then defrosted the night before in the fridge..then reheated. This will lessen your work load when preparing your Christmas or Thanksgiving feast… but of course you might just want to make it for Sunday lunch too..it’s perfect if you are a gravy fan like me and it’s a massive hit when I serve it.

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poussin

Poussin (Cornish hens) make a great and very easy alternative to turkey on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving. Instead of cooking a turkey for hours and hours they take about 45 minutes to an hour. The meat is much more delicate and juicy than turkey, which can be dry and tough, and the bay leaves give them an amazing flavour. The ancient Romans always flavoured their meat simply with bay leaves and I can see why, it’s the perfect flavour and the meat will be subtly perfumed by the bay. Also if you are new to cooking, this recipe is far less daunting and more manageable than a turkey which requires a lot more time and attending to. I really love this recipe and it’s great with my cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, maple roasted root vegetables, brussel sprouts, red cabbage and all the trimmings.

Recipe

Ingredients:
Poussin (1 per person)
A glug of olive oil
Fresh bay leaves (a few per bird)

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maple roasted root vegetables

You can use other root vegetables for this recipe like sweet potato, but I use carrots and parsnips because I love them. The maple syrup makes them sweet and sticky which work really well with the flavours of the carrots and parsnips. They also become soft on the inside and sticky and crunchy-ish on the outside,  which as you know is always a great combo in my book. I don’t peel the parsnips and carrots as I think all the flavour and fibre are in the skin, and life’s too short.

Recipe

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:
1 kg of assorted root vegetables
3 tablespoons of olive oil
5 tablespoons of maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

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red cabbage

This red cabbage recipe is full of Christmas flavours and tastes super fab with the Christmas roast. It is my favourite combo of sweet and sour with orange, apple, spices and port, which work really well together. It doesn’t have to just be for Christmas or thanksgiving, but you can eat it all year round. It’s also delicious with sausage and mash or baked potatoes and perfect with ham. Everyone I know who has cooked this really loves it as much as me. Its origins are loosely based on a Danish recipe and traditionally in Denmark it is served with rich meats, such as duck and pork. I spent many a Christmas in Denmark or with Danes as a child so this tastes very comforting to me and no one does Christmas better than the Danes. It is also fab with the Boxing Day leftovers the next day and its flavour improves with age.

Recipe

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:
1 small red cabbage, shredded
1 apple, grated
1 chopped onion
1 orange, zest and juice
3 cloves
150ml Port
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
A handful of sultanas
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

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brussels sprouts with chestnuts

Boiled brussels sprouts are a bit boring and are a hundred times nicer fried or roasted. I have served these to people who don’t even like brussels and they were converted into sprout fans. This might be a good way to get kids to eat them too. They are a really healthy part of any meal, as they contain astonishing levels of Vitamin C. Perfect with Thanksgiving or Christmas fare, but also really delish as a side dish to dinner anytime and of course they are an essential ingredient to the Boxing Day bubble and squeak.

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the perfect cranberry sauce

Trust me on this one, this is one of the best recipes for cranberry sauce ever, shop bought cranberry sauce doesn’t even compare to it. I think it’s the star of the show on the Christmas dinner plate and is perfect with cold cuts and sandwiches after Christmas day. For me it kind of makes Christmas food far more delicious. A friend of mine and her children so look forward to my yearly Christmas batch, not only for their Christmas meal but they love it enough to even put it on their toast.
And jars of your own cranberry sauce tied with a red ribbon make great home made Christmas presents for loved ones.

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