The last couple of days, we may as well have installed a turnstile on the front door and just let people come in and out. I’m actually just physically exhausted from climbing the stairs to let people in (for those who don’t know my house it’s upside down and the front door is upstairs – we have many stairs!) and we’ve seen some wonderful old friends but both the boy and I are exhausted from cooking and so physically full, we mostly lie around holding our stomachs and groaning.
It’s 2011 which is brilliant news! I had grown weary of 2010 and was ready for a fresh start and I have high hopes for this year. These include updating this more often as well as the more prosaic, such as washing up more frequently and buying fewer Chanel nail polishes. Happy New Year to all. This year, we’ve resolved to see old friends more and it’s for this reason that we’re both drooping a little but we’ve had a wonderful couple of days and it’s been such a treat to eat and drink with our loved ones.
I have about 100 write-ups waiting to go on but my dongle has fallen out with my digital camera (now that’s a sentence) and it’s seem a shame to post without the photos so I shall wait and do these at a later date.
In the meantime, Ant and I have been desperately trying to use up the contents of our fridge on all those who’ve been to visit. This has meant more cheese and bread than most people have been able to fit in! We’ve also laid out bowls of olives, sundried tomatoes and slices of the Christmas ham. I like to cook something hot and filling to go with things like cold ham or leftover roast, or as my granny would call them ‘cold cuts’, and I tend to lean heavily on my granny’s cheese, leek and potato pie to do so. It’s not worthy of a recipe but involves mashing potatoes with cream and butter, adding sauteed leeks and folding in handfuls of a good strong grated cheddar. This mixture is tipped into a lasagne dish and baked at 180 ish (a hot oven) for about 20 minutes or until hot and browned. It’s a family classic, just as likely to come round over Christmas as Santa himself and it’s comforting and kind which is what we all need this time of year.
Today, we decided to use up the pack of filo pastry and a jar of unused homemade mincemeat from last year and so I decided to fashion a Christmas cracker from them and serve them with a brandy and orange cream. A great use of leftover mincemeat but you could also use homemade cranberry sauce or leftover Christmas pudding… And any Christmassy spirit, spice or flavour in the cream. You could even use puff pastry and fashion into a different shape!
A recipe is really quite unnecessary as they are so simple but I have included one because it’s nice to record things that have ‘accidentally’ worked out well with leftovers! I make no apologies for the amount of butter – I excuse it as filo being temperamental and needing it!!
Christmas Mincemeat Crackers
- jar of mincemeat/leftover christmas pudding
- 1 orange
- pack of ready made filo pastry
- 300g of butter
- icing sugar
- Roll out the filo on to a large board or counter. I cut my filo into 4 smaller squares but the shape is up to you! My crackers weren’t the neatest by a long way! Butter 2 pieces of filo and lay one of top of the other.
- Spoon a small (teaspoon size) lump of mincemeat on to the filo and squeeze a little orange juice on.
- Roll the pastry up into a tube and then squeeze the two ends to create a cracker shape. I tried many ways but think that diagonally worked best.
- Lay at a distance on a well greased tray and bake in the oven for about 15 mins at 180 degrees C. Or until golden brown and crispy to touch.
Orange and Brandy Cream
I believe this recipe to be a godsend. I haven’t whipped cream since I discovered this little knack and I don’t miss it!
- 300ml of double cream
- 4 tblsp of golden caster sugar
- a capful of brandy
- 2 tsp of lemon juice
- 5 tsp of orange juice
- Tip into a bowl and stir. Within seconds, the mixture should start to thicken beneath your spoon. If it doesn’t, add more lemon juice and repeat.