Saturday, 2 January 2010

Pork terrine and cranberry chutney

A tasty starter or simple lunch, spiced up with some chutney that handily uses the fresh cranberries being sold off after Christmas...

Coarse pork and herb terrine
(Delicious magazine)

Aiming to serve six rather than twelve, and I didn't have the recipe while shopping so things, especially the meat component, varied from the recipe. I used half a medium onion and two large cloves of garlic, three reasonably lean, medium-cut pork loin steaks, and 250g sausagemeat with cranberries and bramley apple, plus 225g streaky bacon with Christmas spices, and no liver. I chopped the steaks coarsely in the food processor, and used all the bacon bar two rashers to line a loaf tin. I had no mace and no sage, used 2tbsp rum (no brandy!) and no port or white wine.

The hard thing was finding a tray deep enough to place the loaf tin in water to half its height. Everything else worked well and the terrine went down really well as a starter at New Year. It served six comfortably, and another two for lunch as leftovers :)

Ingredients
  • 350g shallots, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 900g rindless boned belly of pork or pork shoulder (ask your butcher to mince or dice it for you)
  • 325g streaky bacon rashers
  • 100g pork liver, diced
  • 100g good-quality pork sausage meat
  • 120ml dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp port
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbes de Provence
  • ¼ tsp each ground allspice, ground cloves and ground mace
Method
  1. Put the shallots and garlic into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chopped shallots and garlic and fry gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. If you haven’t asked your butcher to mince or dice the pork for you, chop it into pieces, put it into the food processor and, using the pulse button, whizz until it’s a coarse paste. Transfer to the bowl with the onions and garlic. Chop 100g of the streaky bacon and add to the food processor with the liver. Pulse to coarsely chop, then add to the mixing bowl, too. Add all the other ingredients to the bowl except the remaining 225g bacon. Using your hands, mix it all together well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line a 28.5 x 13 x 6cm loaf tin or 1.5-litre terrine dish with the reserved bacon, leaving the edges overhanging. Fill with the mixture and fold the overhanging bacon back over the top. Cover the loaf tin or terrine with a lid or some foil, put it into a small, deep roasting tin and pour hot water into the tin to come halfway up the sides of the loaf tin or terrine. Bake for 1 ½ hours. Uncover and cook for a further 15 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.
  5. Remove the tin or terrine from the hot water and tip off any liquid on the surface of the terrine. Set aside to cool. Cover the top of the terrine with cling film then with foil-covered cardboard, cut to fit inside the rim of the tin or dish. Put a few cans along the top to compress. Chill overnight.
  6. The next day, remove the cans and cardboard and, if cooked in a loaf tin, remove from the tin.
  7. Serve in slices with chutneys, pickled onions, red onion marmalade, small gherkins and crusty French bread. The terrine will keep well in the fridge for 5 days.


Apricot and cranberry chutney
(Allrecipes)

This was very easy to make. I reduced the sugar a little to 75g, but on the first tasting (while still warm) there was a distinct vinegary burn upon swallowing, and I stirred in about a tablespoon of runny honey. As this was to take elsewhere for serving later, it got to sit for a couple of hours, and mellowed very nicely. A great match for the slightly rich terrine.

Ingredients
  • 50g (2 oz) diced dried apricots
  • 350g (12 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 125g (4 oz) sultanas
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 250ml (8 fl oz) water
  • 150g (5 oz) caster sugar
  • 125ml (4 fl oz) cider vinegar

Method
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the apricots, cranberries, sultanas, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves.
  2. In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Add the dried fruit mixture and vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Parsnip and cauliflower curry

A nice contrast to Christmas food - comforting, but not rich, and plenty of veg.

Vegetable curry with parsnip and cauliflower
(Waitrose)

I omitted the (nasty, yukky, slimy) okra that would have been in the curry kit, and guessed at 2 medium chillies, a lime, a thumb of ginger, half a medium bunch of coriander for the rest of its contents. Surprised there was no garlic. Very tasty, definitely one to make again.

Ingredients
  • 1 Waitrose Fresh Indian Curry Kit *
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 3 tbsp Patak's Korma Curry Paste
  • 400ml can Bart Spices Coconut Milk
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 cauliflower, about 950g, cut into large florets
  • 1 large parsnip, about 300g, peeled and diced into 2cm chunks
* Kits no longer on sale - they contained onion, ginger, chillies, okra, fresh coriander and a lime.

Method
  1. Prepare the curry kit ingredients: cut the onion into chunks, peel and finely chop the ginger, and deseed and finely chop the chillies. Top and tail the okra, cut in half then wash and dry thoroughly.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, wide pan or wok with a tight-fitting lid. Add the ginger, half the chilli and the okra. Stir-fry over a high heat for 4 minutes, or until just starting to soften, then season to taste. Place the okra mixture on a plate and reserve.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and add the korma curry paste and onion. Reduce to a medium heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Add the coconut milk and ground almonds and stir in the cauliflower and parsnip. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender. Add the reserved okra and cook 1 minute to heat through.
  4. Roughly chop the coriander from the curry kit, and cut the lime in half lengthways. Squeeze the juice of half the lime over the curry and scatter with the remaining chilli and coriander. Serve with the remaining lime cut into wedges, and naan bread.

Truffles

You can't go wrong with chocolate, cream and booze.

Boozy bitter chocolate truffles
(Maison du Chocolat, via Chez Pim)

I didn't chop the chocolate into small enough pieces and had to put it and the cream over some simmering water to melt it fully. I used amaretto as the alcohol, and rolled half the truffles in ground almonds, half in cocoa. And 30-40 truffles? Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha ha ha. I think I got 20.

Ingredients
8oz very dark, very bitter chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream [= whipping cream in the UK*]
1/8 to 1/4 cup armagnac or rum

Method
Chop up the 8oz chocolate very small, and place in a medium glass bowl. In a small pan, bring the cream to a boil, then remove from heat immediately and pour it over the chocolate. Let stand for a couple of minutes to melt.

Stir the chocolate and cream until well incorporated. Add the alcohol, mix well. Chill until firm.

Put the cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop up slightly less than the tablespoon of chocolate and gently roll it into a ball, then coat it in the cocoa.

* searching for the UK equivalent to heavy cream led me to this post and an interesting blog about UK/US language differences.

Christmas spice cookies

Not a new one - I made these last year.

Christmas spice biscuits
(Nigella, via Food Glorious Food)

I substituted treacle for the honey, giving a slightly darker flavour. The only difference to the method was a lack of a food processor. I rubbed the butter into the flour/spices by hand, as for crumble, then added the sugar and went from there. I forgot the caution about not adding all the egg/honey, and had to add quite a bit more flour as it was far too sticky.

This would make good gingerbread people as well, just roll a bit thicker, omit the black pepper and up the ginger.


Ingredients

  • 150g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 50g soft butter
  • 50g soft dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • royal icing
Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170C. Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper or non-stick baking sheets.
  2. Whizz together flour and spices in a food processor. Add butter and sugar and whizz until you have fine breadcrumb consistency.
  3. Beat together the egg with the honey. With the motor running, slowly add the egg mixture. Go carefully as you may not need to add it all - stop when a dough is just formed.
  4. Chill the mixture for 10 minutes or so.
  5. Liberally dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough to 3-4mm. (Go thicker if you like, but they may need extra baking time.) Cut out your favourite festive shapes. Work quite quickly and set the biscuits on the tin.
  6. For decorations: Using a skewer, cut a small hole just below the top of each biscuit so that you'll be able to tie ribbon through later for hanging on the tree.
  7. Bake for around 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are no longer dough-ey in the middle. Watch them to be sure the edges don't burn. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack and allow to cool. Mix up the royal icing according to the sugar packet's instructions. Spoon into a piping bag and decorate the biscuits once cool.
  8. Be patient and leave the icing to set. Once set, wait another ten minutes or so (just to be sure) and carefully thread pretty ribbon through the holes.

Christmas goodies

OK, so I forgot about this blog ;)

Christmas has seen a few new recipes for me, so here they are. First up, cookies:

White chocolate and cranberry cookies
(UKTV Food)

This is an adaptable recipe - I made two batches of white chocolate and cranberry, and two of dark chocolate and (candied) ginger. I added cocoa powder and ground ginger to the mix for the second variety. Also tried some with Werther's chewy toffees mixed in, but they melted/ran all over the place and stuck badly to the baking tray. (Cookies still edible, but not presentable!) I would try them once more, forming the balls and then poking half a toffee into the top of each one, so it can't stick or go anywhere when it melts.

I made two slight amendments to the recipe, using just 75g golden caster sugar (they were plenty sweet enough) and using one whole medium egg instead of just 1-2 yolks. Thanks to the melted butter, the cookie mixture is quite greasy to handle. I tried adding a little extra flour but then the cookies didn't spread as well (and had to be squished with a fork halfway through baking). The mix as given makes 18-24 cookies depending on size.

They go soft and cakey rather than crunchy or gooey, although they taste good and have some added interest from the oats and ground almonds. I think I will keep searching for the perfect cookie base recipe...

I'm going to paste the recipes into my posts here from now on, to guard against the links expiring in the future.

Ingredients
  • 150g butter
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 50 g porridge oats
  • 50 g dried cranberries, raisins, sultanas or currants
  • 50g brown sugar and 50g caster sugar, or 100g demerara sugar
  • 100g white chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 1 large egg yolk, or 2 small egg yolks
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
  2. Melt the butter, and allow to cool.
  3. Sift the flour and the bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the ground almonds, oats, dried fruit, soft brown sugar, caster sugar and the chocolate chunks and mix well.
  5. Mix the cooled melted butter with the egg yolk and pour into the dry ingredients, stirring to combine.
  6. With your hands, form into walnut-sized balls and arrange slightly apart from each other on 2 baking trays.
  7. Gently flatten the biscuits slightly and place in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden.
  8. Allow to cool a little on the trays before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.