Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And here's an extra little gift for Christmas!

Thank you for reading my blog, and here’s an extra special festive gift for you all as we dash up to the end of 2011! One of you contacted me a short while ago wishing for advice on my fabulous Strawberry Vinaigrette to accompany salads and also for one of my chicken salad recipes…so – Merry Christmas to you all once again, and here’s an extra little something fabulous…

Poached Chicken Summer Salad

(This is utterly glorious, so easy, and will delight everyone who tries it…ENJOY!)

Serves 6

4 chicken breasts, poached and shredded
½ cup mayonnaise
400g tin mango slices, drained and chopped
zest and juice of 1 lime
¼ cup each chopped coriander and mint
1 cup seedless green grapes
good bunch watercress, washed and picked over
3 spring onions, chopped
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss to combine.

Et voila!

Strawberry Vinegar (and Vinaigrette)

1 punnet strawberries
1 cup sugar
2 cups white vinegar
Bring to the boil and simmer together for 15 minutes. Strain and bottle.

For vinaigrette:

Combine 2 parts canola oil to 1 part vinegar.
Cook it, love it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Father Christmas is packing his sleigh....

It’s the “silly season” when we all love to try and cram in as many gatherings with friends and families as possible … what a time of the year for us all! It’s wonderful to mark this very special celebration and isn’t it great that nowadays celebrating the holiday season doesn’t necessarily need to be with a huge meal? We celebrate in as many guises as there are people – picnics, barbecues, ornate meals with specially laid tables and decorative theming, right through to an intimate celebration with smoked salmon and champagne…

I’ve just made some Christmas Marshmallow – a recipe I featured during my “Tart Up Christmas” cooking class held in October – and which we all love! I know we normally associate marshmallow with children’s parties and lollie cake but this one is really an ‘adults marshmallow’ and to be honest, when put out in a lovely bowl it doesn’t stay around long!

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to give – and I think something delicious, made with love, is the ultimate Christmas gift … I love to parcel up these delicious morsels to give to someone special …

I hope everyone has a joyous, relaxing and fulfilling holiday – that your Christmas, in whatever way you celebrate, is a happy one. Stay safe and smiling everyone – it’s holiday time! I wish you all a Happy Christmas and my warmest wishes for 2012

So...Christmas Marshmallow - cook it, love it!

Makes 40-50 pieces
3 tablespoons powdered gelatine
½ cup cold water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Icing sugar for dredging

In a bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatine over the ½ cup of water. Soak for 10 minutes.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, spices and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Pour boiling syrup into gelatine, and mix at a high speed. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes. Add vanilla and scrape into a 9” x 9” cake tin lined with oiled plastic wrap and spread evenly. (Note: lightly oil hands and spatula). After pouring marshmallow mixture into the tin, take another piece of oiled plastic wrap and press over mixture in tin.

Let mixture sit for a few hours. Remove from tin, dredge the marshmallow slab with icing sugar and cut with scissors – the best tool for the job.

Completely coat marshmallow in icing sugar.