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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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The true allure of the Xmas meal is all the trimmings

SO, THE big day approaches!

We’re guessing that most of you will be cooking a turkey on Christmas Day. We love to keep a traditional menu, and comment that we must have turkey more often. However, on closer inspection we feel the true allure of the Christmas meal is all the trimmings that go with it. Well, normally you just wouldn’t bother with all the palaver, would you?

None of these accompaniments take long to prepare but they’ll make all the difference to the meal. You may have your own recipe for stuffing. Why not use it to stuff the bird and do these stuffing balls separately? Some believe that stuffing is the best part of the meal after all.

The easy cranberry sauce will make enough to use through the whole festive period with your leftovers. Simply halve the quantities if you only want to serve it with lunch.

6 good quality Cumberland sausages, skins removed

1 onion finely chopped

1 apple peeled and finely chopped or grated

50g dried cranberries

50g dried apricots chopped

Zest of one orange

Pinch of grated nutmeg (optional)

100g breadcrumbs (make your own if you can)

1 small handful of fresh chopped sage

8-10 rashers streaky bacon

Salt and pepper

A little oil

In a frying pan, add the dash of oil and sauté the onion ’til soft and slightly golden. Add the apple and dried fruit. Cook for a minute. Remove from the stove and allow them to cool.

Transfer to a bowl and add the orange zest, nutmeg, breadcrumbs and sage. Mix thoroughly.

Shape the stuffing into balls the size of large meatballs, wrap each ball in a rasher of bacon and place on a non-stick baking tray.

The balls will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to cook at 180 degrees.

85g butter

2 onions, sliced

2 bay leaves

1 pint milk

6 cloves

140g crustless white bread

40ml double cream

Salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a pan. Add the onions and bay leaves and gently fry until soft but not coloured (around 10 minutes).

Add the milk and cloves and simmer for roughly 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Pick out the bay leaves and cloves then tip the mixture into a food processor. Blitz until smooth. This part can be done in advance if you prefer.

Once you are ready to serve, tip the cream into a saucepan and add the bread mixture. Mix until smooth. You may want to add a little extra milk if you feel the consistency is too thick.

Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

300ml port (we use the cheapest variety in this – no sense in wasting the good stuff)

175g light brown sugar

2 x 250g packs fresh or frozen cranberries

Tip the port and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Add the cranberries and simmer for around 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced slightly. The sauce will look quite thin but will thicken as it cools. Serve at room temperature.

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