MMmmmm...mmulled wine & mince pies

Tuesday was a sad day for me in terms of my beloved blog. As the hours flew by, and I squeezed in my homework, lessons, meetings, friends and salsa class I was distantly aware, especially as I worked late to finish my work for Wednesday, that it was a milestone in time: the very first time I had not posted on my blog for over a week.

However, this is not the beginning of a new pattern. In fact, in the last couple of weeks I have been cooking and laughing away amongst the textbooks and essays, and have much to share! Just no time to share it in. So today, I’m shunning the reading which I wouldn’t be able to finish in time anyway, and I’m going to bring you some… food!

Roasting away

First of all, a mulled wine and mince pie craving which morphed into dragging a few old friends together for a Thanksgiving/Christmas/Any Excuse Roast Dinner. Cooking with friends… one of my favourite things to do! The fact that none of us had cooked a roast chicken before proved interesting… but after several hours (and I mean, several) in our dysfunctional oven and a chicken with its skin filled with a cream cheese stuffing (yum!) six of us filled up on our roast while playing silly board games. So much fun! The recipes I chose were a mix of affordable but good quality ingredients:
Cream cheese stuffing
Quick Braised lettuce and peas (I highly recommend this Gordon Ramsay recipe!)
A few tips from this one-pan roast dinner

Having a Nigella moment

Unfortunately, my clumsy streak has been worsening of late, perhaps due to tiredness or hastiness… recent mishaps including pouring ginger tea into my extension cable, spilling my flask all over myself in a seminar on Tuesday, falling heavily onto my bum during iceskating rendering cycling impossible today … and during our roast dinner, I sent a glass of mulled wine flying across the room, and we now appear to have irremovable blood-looking-stains on the wall!

Cluedo anyone?

Slightly less sinister is another meal I wanted to share – which is more along the lines of cheap student food. If you don’t know how to make basic shortcrust pastry, then you should (it takes about 10 minutes, and it’s simply flour, butter and water). This opens up all sorts of possibilities when you have nothing other than a few eggs and some butter in your fridge… which seems desperately often these days! Aside from the fact you can now make your own mince pies, with just a few eggs, a dash of milk, some cheese and whatever vegetables happen to be on offer that day, you have a delicious quiche in no time at all. The best thing about quiche is that you can just fill it with whatever ingredients you have left over!

Asparagus quiche

Speaking of left-overs – you didn’t expect me to throw the chicken carcass away did you? This genius tradition inherited from my mother simply says that you take the leftover chicken, stuffing and vegetables, roll out a bit of puff pastry (about £2 from tesco) and fill a dish with these ingredients.

What to do with leftover chicken

Then just make yourself a white sauce – another staple recipe you need to know, in my opinion! Just ask Delia if you’re not sure – all it takes is melting together a small amount of butter and flour, and adding milk bit by bit. Pour the white sauce in, fold the excess pastry over and voilà, an open chicken pie!

Homemade chicken pie

I went a bit arty-farty and added some leaves on top of mine. Is that creative enough for you? No? Well I have one more food-spree to share. And it involves chocolate.Many people by now are familiar with my chocolate-making lessons which have been done with friends, students, and the Good Food Society (watch this space around February 2011 in fact!)… and I get rather excited when I have someone new to teach. So, despite the fact it feels like years ago now, here are the lovely Rose water and Raspberry flavour truffles Seb and I made together.

Rose and raspberry truffles

I seem to remember that that particular day, after a trip to Miette chocolate shop in Stow-on-the-Wold to sample some REAL chocolates, and then playing with melted chocolate for hours, I ate more chocolate than I ever have before in one day! And that is a lot…So I hope to be able to share a few more things with you soon. I’m full of big ideas at the moment… and Christmas is hurtling fast towards us. For now, I’m off to enjoy a few moments of peace when I can, also known as the amazing Amaretto Latte’s from Curiositea, which are topped with whipped cream and crushed amaretti biscuits… mmm…

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