Falafel are great… or can be if they’re made right! The thing is you need to put bags of flavour in there. You need serious amounts of garlic, lemon juice, pepper and salt. And then of course there’s the spices. For me it has to be heavy on the cumin, probably my favourite spice and a little paprika and ginger help give an extra zing to the proceedings. A good handful of fresh herbs give the finishing touch.
Falafel are surprisingly easy to make. The main ingredient, chickpeas, are incredibly cheap too!
I like to have Falafel just as they are accompanied by a nice salad, maybe some Tabbouleh and lashings of Tzatziki… Oops, I’m beginning to sound like a vegetarian!
Once cooked they can also be warmed in a sauce, a nice rich tomato sauce works well. They’re almost like a vegetarian version of a meatballs.
So here’s a recipe you can follow to make your own. It uses dried chickpeas which have to be soaked overnight. I’m sure if you wanted you could cheat and use tinned, if you do you’ll want about double the amount of dried.
‘Ome Made Falafel
You will need:
- 500g dried chickpeas
- 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chilli
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain and rinse the chickpeas then grind to a course pulp in a food processor.
Mix in all the other ingredients using your hands to really work the mixture together.
Form into 4cm balls and place on greaseproof paper on a tray in a single layer.
To cook the Falafel are best deep fried or shallow fried and then finished off in an oven.If deep frying the oil wants to be around 160°C so that they will cook through without the outside getting too well done Take the Falafel out of the oil when they are firmed up and just starting to colour. The Falafel can be par cooked like this and then cooled and refrigerated or frozen. The Falafel can then just be popped into an oven to finish cooking.
Alternatively the Falafel can just be deep or shallow fried.
Last year I posted a blog on Stir Up Sunday with a recipe for Christmas Pudding. Click on this link ‘Christmas Pudding’ if you want to see it.
This Year I’m giving a recipe for Christmas Cake. You may think it’s a bit early but this cake tastes better for a bit of maturing. Put it this way. Last year we made two cakes. We started the second in the Summer holidays it was superb and still lovely and moist (something to do with the alcohol content me thinks!). In fact this year I’m wondering whether to do extra so we have a cake for next Christmas too!
This recipe will give a large 10″ cake and a smaller one. Or you could try two 8″ size tins. It depends on what sort of depth you want on your cake.
You can use whatever dried fruit you like in your cake. I put mainly vine fruits in mine with a little currants and angelica. If you want to push the boat out a few dried Morello cherries and cranberries make a luxurious addition.
Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake
800g Mixed dried fruit
300g nibbed almonds
200g glace cherries
100g crystalized ginger (roughly chopped)
Soak the above in 350ml of port, 350ml brandy and 1 bottle of Kreik overnight (or whatever alcohol you like)
4 medium eggs beaten
zest and juice of 2 oranges
200g melted butter
2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a good grating of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of all spice (pimento)
200g Muscavado sugar
2 tablespoons of black treacle
300g self raising flour
Once your fruit has had it’s alcoholic bath simply put all the ingredients in a very big basin and give a very thorough mix.
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 4.
Grease and line your baking tins/moulds.
Fill your tins leaving at least 3cm gap from the top.
Bake in the oven for 2 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes.
If the top is browning a bit too quickly loosely cover with a little baking parchment.
Too check if the cake is done pierce the centre with a bamboo skewer. The cake is done when the skewer comes out virtually clean.
Leave the cakes to cool in the tin then take out.
Pierce the bottom of the cake with a skewer. Now you can feed your cake with whatever spirit you like! I find Brandy works the best but Whiskey also gives a great result. Simply spoon some alcohol over the cake and let it soak in. This can be repeated every 2 to 3 weeks or every week as it nears Christmas. Once the cake has had it’s first feed, wrap in greaseproof/baking paper then tin foil and then cling film. We keep ours in a cool box in a cool place.
We don’t ice our cake as we tend to enjoy it with a nice slab of vintage Cheddar and glass of wine, Port or Madeira but of course you can cover it with marzipan and icing of your choice or try glazing with some warmed apricot jam and decorating with nuts or glace fruit.
The only hard part I find about making this cake? Waiting until Christmas to eat it!
I wish I could have my cake and eat it now!
It’s that time of year again! It seems like the Kids have only just gone back to school and then the next thing you know Halloween is here!
We normally let the kids stay up a bit later on Halloween. They don’t go out trick or treating but they love it when other children come knocking on our door.
We have our own bag of tricks and treats to give out… we have a bag full of sweet things but lurking within are a few unpleasant surprises that I have made. In the past we have had chocolate coated sprouts, last year it was chocolate coated Fishermans Friends! This year… Ahhh, that would be telling!
Kit will have used her artistic skills to make them all masks. A task which needs a lot of patience! For those that haven’t got as much may want to head over to The Amazon Halloween Store
I’m sure we will have to have a pumpkin carved out. I can’t wait until the kids are old enough to do it themselves!
We tend not to cook something special for Halloween. If anything we’ll have some jacket potatoes and fillings. Easy to prepare and fuss free. Although we quite often have baked beans with them.
Now there’s nothing wrong with the tinned variety but you just can’t beat ‘Ome Made!
It’s really quite easy to make your own baked beans and of course it’s loads cheaper. You really can customize your recipe.
Here’s a recipe that I’ve used many times. I used to make these when I was working at a Bar opposite the Sheffield Crucible and Lyceum. There was one gentleman that used to come in especially to have beans on toast (even though it wasn’t on the menu!) because they were so good!
‘Ome Made Baked Beans
500g dried Haricot beans (soaked overnight in cold water).
800g of chopped tomatoes (tinned or fresh)
140g tomato puree.
250ml of water.
2 teaspoon of veg bouillon.
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of chilli powder.
2 teaspoons of paprika.
2 teaspoons of dried basil.
2 teaspoons of dried oregano.
2 teaspoons of dried parsley.
3 teaspoons of sugar.
Drain and rinse the beans. Place the beans in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for ten minutes. Turn down the heat and simmer for another twenty minutes.
Drain the beans and then put in a casserole dish or oven proof pan along with all the other ingredients. There should be enough liquid to cover the beans, if not add a little more water. Put a lid on the pan and place in an oven preheated to 160°C (140°C if fan assisted). The beans should be ready after 6 hours but could happily left for 8.
This basic recipe could easily be customized to your own liking. You could try adding some fried onion, bacon, a bit of diced pork or even sausages. A little diced carrot and/or celery gives your beans a bit more depth.
If your really brave you could make your own curried beans… just don’t blame me for the after effects!
Things really could go ‘Pump’ in the night!
Mike, our butcher, had got a couple of Ox Cheeks in. I’ve never had them before but I thought I’d give them a go.
I’d read about them and understood that they needed a nice slow cook. Apparently they make an absolutely wicked chilli, or should that be cheeky chilli!
I think the bit of Irish in me had attuned to the fact that St Patricks day was approaching so I decided to cook these cheeky chappies in Guinness (other stouts are available…)with a few flat mushrooms, carrots and onions and serve them with a good dollop of Champ, that comforting dish of mashed potato with spring onions and lots of butter!
I have to say that I was not disappointed with the results. After quite a few hours of cooking I had a gorgeous dark gravy and the cheeks were moist and succulent and had a lovely beefy flavour that reminded me of a cross between beef shin and Ox tail.
The Cheeks went a long way too. They are quite rich due to the gelatinous nature of them so a little seems to go a long way. You shouldn’t pay a lot for them either which makes them a real bargain.
With the leftover meat, champ and gravy I made some potato cakes with the meat in the middle, baked them in the oven and served them with some peas and the leftover gravy… I’ll tell you something, leftovers don’t get much better!
I would recommend anyone to give Ox cheeks a go. They are a very forgiving meat to cook as long as they are cooked for plenty of time, they are cheap and extremely tasty. Don’t be put off by the look of them or the part of the animal they are from. They really are delicious which is probably why all the celebrity chefs are coming out with recipes for them… lets hope they don’t succeed in pushing up the price of these cheeky little morsels!
Recipe (to serve 8 adults)
2 Ox Cheeks (about 900g – 1 Kilo
1 large or two medium onions chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
4 large carrots cubed/sliced
8 – 12 flat mushrooms sliced
Plain flour (some)
About 400ml beef stock
2 x 500ml bottles of Guinness
1 or two star anise
1 Tablespoon muscavado sugar or other dark sugar
Pinch of thyme
Good pinch of salt to taste and a really good grind of black pepper
For the Champ
2 kilo peeled potatoes
2 bunch spring onions (12-16)
50 gram butter
When we had this we prepared it the day before we were going to have it so that it could be put straight in the oven to be ready for teatime. It’s a good idea to do if you have a busy day.
First off dice your onions and finely chop your garlic and fry gently in a large oven proof pan. Add the carrot, thickly sliced and continue to gently fry.
Prepare your Ox Cheek by taking off the outer thick bits of fat and any thick bits of membrane. Don’t worry too much about the state of your cheeks being perfect, after a long slow cook they’ll be fine.
Once the onion has softened and the carrot is stating too take on a bit of colour add your cheeks to brown.
Heat your stock ready to go in the pan.
Once your cheeks are nice and brown sprinkle over some flour to roughly coat everything in the pan. Continue to cook gently for a couple more minutes.
Add your stock a little at a time while giving everything a bit of a stir. You should end up with a thick paste. If it’s a little lumpy don’t worry as after a long cook it should cook out.
Now pour in your two bottles of Guinness. Remember to do a quality control taste on each bottle before adding!
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.
Once the liquid has come to the simmer you can either take off the heat, cool and refrigerate to cook the next day or it can be put in the oven to finish off.
The Stew can be cooked,covered, on 165°C for three hours or 150°C for about six hours. We put our stew straight in the oven from the fridge. We put it in a cold oven set to 150°c where it stayed for three hours and then we turned it up to 160°c for another three hours, after which it was cooked perfectly. The cheeks were lifted out of the gravy to rest while the gravy was put in the oven uncovered to reduce slightly.
As for the champ, well thats dead easy. Peel and cut your potatoes into approximately 1 1/2’’ chunks. Plonk into a pan and just cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes and put on a very low heat until the steam almost stops (meaning all the excess water has evaporated and you’ll have nice fluffy potatoes).
While your potatoes are finishing, put the onions, milk, butter and seasoning in a pan and warm gently allowing all the flavours to infuse.
When your potatoes are ready give them a good mashing and then fold the milk, butter and onion mixture into the potatoes.
Once your ready to plate up the Ox cheeks can be sliced or pulled apart with a fork. Simply put a dollop of Champ into a dish, place some Ox cheek on top then ladle some gravy over the top. We finished our dish off with a little purple sprouting broccoli.
A nice cheap meal that really tasted like something you should be paying a lot of money for in a trendy ‘Gastro’ pub.
Happy St Patricks Day everybody… enjoy your Guinness, in moderation… of course!
Here’s a traditional English dish given an ‘Ome Made twist, to be fair it was Kits idea. I was just going to do the plain English dish of lamb shoulder baked on top of layers of potato and onion, which in it’s own right is delicious. Add some spice, herbs and a curry sauce though and it takes the dish to a completely different level… This really was scrumptious! This is a fantastic dish to prepare the day before so that you can bang it in the oven the next day, forget about it and get on with all those things you need to catch up on, take the kids out or… go to the pub!
It really is simple. You will need a full or 1/2 shoulder of lamb. Some White potatoes, onions and garlic. I also used some dried mint, fresh coriander and some red chillies.
First of all slice some potatoes (skin on) thinly and some onions. These need to be layered in a deep buttered baking dish. I did about four layers adding seasoning as I went along. On the middle layer I put a heap of chopped fresh coriander, a couple of chopped red chillies and some dried mint. On the top layer I sprinkled some more mint and some black cumin seeds.
I then fried some mild curry masala in a little oil and added some chicken stock and let this cook for twenty minutes or so. Next prepare the lamb. With a sharp knife make a few slits in the meat and push in some pieces of garlic. Now rub the lamb all over with some Kashmiri Chilli powder and some ground cumin. Sit the lamb on top of the layered potatoes and onions and give it a good grind of black pepper and a good sprinkling of salt. Pour your curry sauce into the corners of the baking dish. You want enough so that it comes about 1/2 way up your potato and onion layer. Now cover the whole baking dish with a double layer of foil, creating a tight seal. When your ready to cook pre heat your oven to 200°c. Put the lamb in the oven and then turn the temperature down to 165°c Which means the lamb will be ready after about four hours (but should be fine up to six). If you want to cook it for longer (or your having a really long session in the pub!) then you can cook the lamb on 145°c. The lamb will then be ready after six hours but be even better after around eight hours. To finish the dish off, remove the baking dish from the oven. Carefully remove the lamb to a warmed plate or dish. The meat should be falling off the bone. The layered potatoes then need to go back in a hot oven to brown and start to crisp up. If the liquid is above the potatoes just spoon some off ’till you can see the top layer. Put the baking dish back in the oven for about twenty minutes.
To serve, pull apart the lamb, spoon out some potato into a dish and place the lamb on top, spoon a bit more of the curry sauce over. A nice dollop of natural yoghurt goes nicely with the dish but that’s all it really needs. A tasty, warming and comforting dish for a lovely lazy Sunday. Give it a go!
Chicken Tandoori seems to be quite popular in our house at the moment. It makes a nice Sunday roast!
We use a whole chicken… well actually three!
The leftovers of course go into the Kids school pack-up and they make a rather nice curry (Chicken Tikka Massala Madras hot is a favourite!)
Of course you don’t have to do three chickens, you don’t even have to do a whole chicken! Chicken joints work just as well and of course you can even do Tikka with just the breast meat.
I do recommend that you try doing a whole chicken though, it needs a little longer cooking than if you do joints but the flavour is great and the marinade keeps the meat nice and moist. And of course as a center piece on the table it looks amazing.
I’m not going to give a full on recipe because my way is rather long winded and… top secret. I will suggest some ingredients that you can add to make it a little special though.
The easiest way of doing this of course is to buy a jar of Tandoori paste and add yoghurt and lemon juice to make your marinade.
My method is this (For three chickens)
1 tablespoon mild curry massala (’Ome Made in our case)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder
1 level tablespoon dried mint
Big chunk of ginger (3’’ by 1’’)
Lots of garlic, roughly 9 cloves
Couple of green chillies
Big handful of fresh coriander
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
Fry your spices (not the chilli) gently in a quite a bit of oil to make a paste.
Blitz or finely chop your ginger, garlic, green chillies and coriander.
Mix all the marinade ingredients (apart from the Kashmiri Chilli) together.
Now you need to skin your chicken, this bit always grosses out the Kids! You could leave the skin on but the marinade tends to slide off and the skin doesn’t go crispy so it’s not particularly nice.
Once you’ve skinned your chicken score it (SEVERRN! Sorry!)
Now rub the Kashmiri chilli powder into the chicken, if you have some gloves to wear, I would. The other option is a freezer bag!
Slap on the rest of the marinade and give your bird a good massage (That’s the chicken!)
The chicken can now be left to marinate for up to 24 hours or for as long as you have (I’ve given it 30 minutes before and it’s still been lovely).
To cook preheat an oven to 225ºC (200ºC if using fan assisted).
Put the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes and then turn down the temperature to moderate about 170ºC. The chicken then needs to be in for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or if your doing three about two hours. Test the chicken is done by testing with your usual method. The joints should be nice and flexible and easily pull away from the bird.
Let the Chicken rest for 20 minutes or so and then pull apart or carve to serve.
We like to serve ours with some Tomato, Onion and Mint salad, Pilau rice, Naan bread and lashings of Tandoori Yoghurt Raita.
Proper finger lickin’ fun.
I can’t wait for the weather to turn drier and warmer so I can do Whole Tandoori Chicken in the smoker and BBQ…
Soup… We absolutely love it in our house. Not the tinned variety of course. It has to be ‘Ome-made! And it’s so easy to make. You take your favourite ingredients sweat them off in some butter add some stock, cook for a bit and then blitz. Not leek and potato soup though, that can’t be blitzed. That’s completely breaking the rules, that has to be… ‘lumpy’.
If you make your own stock it’s even better. Even if it’s chucking the bones from the leftover roast chicken in a pot and boiling for an hour, you will be left with a nice base for a soup. Of course if your one of those non-meat eating types you can make a stock from those manky left over carrots at the back of the fridge any veg trimmings and some onion. If you roast the veg for 20 minutes or so you’ll get more flavour and a deeper colour to your stock too.
So heres a recipe for a soup I made the other day along with a recipe for some cumin, ginger and garlic croutons. If you don’t have the croutons with this soup I suggest putting the spices used to flavour them in the soup. Although this recipe has chillies and spices in it it is no way spicy. If you prefer it spicier just up the amount of red chili in the recipe.
Sweet Potato & Red Chili Soup
1 medium onion roughly sliced
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
200g (a large baker) potato cubed
700g sweet potatoes (4 small or 3 medium)cubed
1 large carrot diced
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (or extra black if you haven’t)
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaped teaspoon mild curry massala (or curry powder)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 litre of stock
2 medium sized red chillies deseeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
Ground black pepper and salt to taste
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Gently fry the onion and garlic for about 10 minutes.
Add both types of potato and carrot to the pan along with the white pepper, salt, curry massala, allspice and thyme. Gently sweat all the veg off for a further 10 minutes stirring so the spices don’t stick and burn.
Add your stock which should just cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately forty minutes or until all the veg is cooked through and soft. Take off the heat and carefully blitz with a hand blender, blender or food processor.
Put back on the heat and add the remaining ingredients. The soup will be ready after 20 minutes.
Cumin Ginger & Garlic Croutons
8 slices white bread
2 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and black pepper
Cut the bread into cubes and put in a shallow roasting/baking tin.
Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the garlic, cumin and ginger. Give the croutons a good toss and then sprinkle a little more olive oil on them and toss them again.
Put in an oven preheated to 165°C on fan setting (185°C for conventional)the croutons will take 30 – 40 minutes but you need to regularly check on them and give them a shake or turn every 10 minutes or so.
Once the croutons are cooked they can be used straight away. Once the croutons are completely cool they can be put in a sealed container where they should be good for up to five days.
Happy soup making!
Most people I know seem to remember this from their schooldays… I don’t! What a deprived childhood I must have had!
It’s one of Kits favourites. I remember her telling me about it and I was just looking at her with a vacant “what are you on about?” look on my face.
Then Kit turns up with a slice from a little buttie shop up the road “see! Cornflake Tart!”.
OK, I have to admit, looks like I was missing out.
Kits’ workplace has a thing about colleagues bringing something in on their Birthday so when Kits came round I suggested a Cornflake Tart… (Hence the title of the Blog… not that I’m saying Kits old, or a tart… can someone pass me a shovel please!)
This really is the easiest thing in the world to make. If you have Kids they’ll love it! However I don’t see why kids should have all the fun! Everybody loves a bit of retro these days, and when it tastes this good!
225g plain flour
100g cold diced butter
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp icing sugar
Mix the dry ingredients and then rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 2 – 3 tbsp iced cold water to bring the mixture together. Leave to rest in a cool (not a fridge) place for 30 minutes.
Roll the pastry out to about 3mm thickness and use to line a greased flan/quiche tin or shallow baking dish. Prick (snigger!) the base all over with a fork.
Place some baking paper in the tin followed by some tin foil and then fill with some baking beans. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes take out of the oven and remove the baking beans, foil and paper. Put back in the oven for 5 minutes or so until the pastry is cooked and beginning to colour then take out of the oven.
Warm 150g – 200g of jam (Strawberry is traditional but I used raspberry for that nice hint of tartness against the sweetness of the topping) once the jam has loosened up pour into the pastry case and carefully spread out to cover the bottom evenly.
120g golden syrup
30g caster sugar
Melt the butter, golden syrup and sugar together in a pan. Once melted and bubbling take off the heat and add the cornflakes. Gently but thoroughly mix so all the cornflakes are coated then spoon onto the jam filled tart case. Gently spread the topping out so it is even then pop back into the oven for 5 minutes or so to set and firm up. Remove from the oven.
The tart is best eaten warm with a good dollop of custard but is equally as nice cold on it’s own. Just don’t try and sneak some when nobody’s looking as you may find yourself in detention!
So one Friday I get a call from Mick the Butcher… “Jez” (Yeah, I know it’s Jerome or ‘Ome, I’ve never been a Jez but then Mick is Mike so I guess we’re even!) “I’ve got some Highland short ribs in d’ya want ’em?”
It turns out that a restaurant had ordered them but then decided at the last minute to change their mind, more fool them… what a treat!
The beast that the ribs hailed from came from a very well looked after herd of Highland Cross (Cross as in crossed with another breed not a bit ticked off… although if they knew what was coming I’m sure they’d be pretty livid!) cattle that reside about ten minutes walk from our house. Well you can’t get much more local than that!
If you have never cooked short ribs at first glance they seem particularly fatty. However you have to remember that these tasty hunks of meat need slow cooking at a temperature that allows the fat to render down and flavour the rest of the meat before being given a blast on a high heat to crisp up the remaining fat.
When it comes to cooking big chunks of meat I have to admit that the Americans seem to have it right. So, dry rub of spices, seasoning, sugar and herbs it is before a last minute glaze of something slightly sweet and spicy… I just know that the kids are going to get messy for this tea time!
The best thing to have with these ribs is a nice side of chips… or fries if you want to be really Americanised, salad and a nice vinegary ‘slaw’ to cut through the richness of the meat. We even had a squirt of tomato ketchup to finish it off, to be fair it went really well!
BBQ Short Rib Of Beef
I used 4.5 Kilo of ribs which would feed 8 hungry people. They do heat up quite well so if you have any left over you could always freeze until needed or you could halve the amount if you wanted to do less.
2 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoon smoked paprika (If you have it)
2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoon Muscavado sugar (or dark brown or molasses)
2 teaspoons of salt
a good grind of black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Mix all the ingredients together and then rub into the ribs using your hands. The ribs can then be left to marinate up to 24 hours.
To cook preheat the oven to 220°C/428°F (slightly less if using a fan oven).
Place the ribs on a rack in a large roasting dish. Cover with a double layer of foil and then place in the oven. Turn the temperature down to165°C/330°F (145°C/290°F if using fan assisted oven).
The ribs can now be left to cook for 6 hours.
Sweet Chilli Glaze
50ml of vinegar (white wine or cider)
2 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon chilli powder (or more if you like a real kick!)
dash of ‘Ome Made Chilli Sauce (or your favourite hot sauce)
1 tablespoon Tomato Ketchup
pinch of salt/pepper
1 teaspoon (about 1 clove) of crushed garlic
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes
Once the ribs have finished their slow cooking take out of the oven and turn the oven temperature up to a high heat (alternatively the ribs can be finished on a BBQ or can be left to cool and finished off another day)
Take the foil off the ribs and using a pastry brush give the ribs a good coating of glaze all over.
Put back in the oven (or on a BBQ) for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes take out of the oven again, give another coating of glaze and cook for a further 20 minutes after which the ribs should look shiny, sticky and slightly charred, if not cook for a little longer.
Once finished leave the ribs for ten minutes or so before serving, you don’t want to take the roof of your mouth off while eating… the ribs can be like the food equivalent to Napalm!
Oh… and make sure you have a hose ready to clean the kids down with afterwards!
If you haven’t already made your Christmas Puddings then Sunday the 24th of November is the time to do it, the last Sunday before the start of Advent and traditionally known as Stir Up Sunday.
Here is a fail safe recipe for a lovely moist, boozy pudding!
600g mixed dried fruit and nuts. I use roughly 500g of mixed dried fruits (predominately raisins, sultanas and currants with a few cranberries, sour cherries and a good handful of glace cherries). For the nuts I usually use nibbed almonds.
500ml bottle of Guinness
200g shredded suet (proper beef is best, you can use vegetarian of course)
zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
2 medium cooking apples grated
freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
250g muscavado sugar
75g plain flour
3 medium eggs beaten
Soak the fruit for at least 24 hours in the alcohol (if you don’t want to use alcohol then you could use tea and orange juice)
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together. Get the whole family to give it a stir and make a wish at the same time (my wish is that the pudding turns out ok!)
Grease a large pudding bowl and a few smaller ones (ideal for giving away to friends, family and neighbours), pour the pudding mixture into the bowls leaving an inch from the top.
Cover the mixture with a circle of greaseproof paper. cover the bowl with tinfoil (with a pleat in it to allow for the pudding to expand) and then place in a large pan on a trivet with a folded strip of tin foil underneath to allow you to lift the pudding out. Pour water into the pan to come up 2/3 of the way up the pudding basin.
Put the pan on to boil. When boiling turn down to a simmer and cover the pan. A large pudding will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook (test with a skewer, the skewer wants to come out clean). I usually take the pan off the heat but leave the pudding in the water for an hour just to make sure the pudding is evenly cooked through.
Lift the pudding out of the water and set aside to cool. Once cool I take the pudding out of the basin, wrap in greaseproof paper, then cling film and then tin foil. I then put in a spare cool box where it stays until the big day.
On the day you are eating having the pudding it can either be put back in the basin it was cooked in and boiled again for an hour to heat up or it can be microwaved in short bursts (a couple of minutes at a time leaving a minute in between).
To serve place the pudding on a heatproof plate. Pour a couple tablespoons of Brandy into a ladle and gently heat over a low flame. Once the Brandy starts to shimmer pour over the pudding and light with a match.
Remember to have a bucket of water and fire extinguisher on hand… just in case!
P.S try slices of leftover pudding fried in butter for breakfast… Fantastic!