Monthly Archives: December 2011

Boxing Day, sherry anyone?

Originally known as St Stephen’s Day, Boxing Day reputedly took its name from the ‘Christmas Boxes’ that were traditionally given as a thank you to tradespeople for their services throughout the year.

These boxes were usually given on the first working day after Christmas – the 26th December – hence the name Boxing Day.

So what will you be doing today? Possibly indulging in a small tipple? Sherry maybe?

Despite its reputation as an old fashioned drink attributed to old ladies, sherry is seeing something of a revival with bars dedicated to the fortified wine popping up across the country.

According to The Independent, ‘M&S, which has seen sherry sales rise 15 per cent in the past three months, talks of a “Downton effect”. Sue Daniels, its sherry winemaker, said: “Sherry is one of the best kept secrets in wine, and seeing it enjoyed by the Downton Abbey characters has obviously sparked our appetites for it – it’s great to see it having a revival.”’

So, during the Christmas special of Downton, if we see the cast tucking enthusiastically into a bowl of tripe, will we all follow suit? I seriously doubt it!

Raspberry Sherry Amaretto TrifleRaspberry, Sherry & Amaretto Trifle
A wonderfully flavoured trifle that’s perfect for the Christmas break

Recipe taken from Dairy Book of Home Cookery
which is available from the Dairy Diary store.


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Raspberry, Sherry & Amaretto Trifle

A wonderfully flavoured trifle that’s perfect for the Christmas break

Raspberry Sherry Amaretto TrifleSuitable for vegetarians
Serves 8
Time 35 mins plus cooling
Per portion: 442 kcals
30g fat (13.4g saturated)

4 trifle sponges
4 tbsp raspberry jam
150ml (¼ pint) sherry
3 tbsp amaretto liqueur (optional)
50g (2oz) ground almonds
50g (2oz) amaretti biscuits, crumbled
225g (8oz) frozen raspberries, thawed
4 egg yolks
50g (2oz) caster sugar
15g (½oz) cornflour
450ml (¾ pint) milk
300ml (½ pint) double cream
Toasted almonds to decorate

1 Halve trifle sponges and sandwich with jam. Cut each into 4 and arrange in a trifle dish.

2 Pour over sherry and 1 tbsp amaretto. Sprinkle with 25g (1oz) ground almonds and crumbled amaretti biscuits.

3 Reserve a few raspberries for decoration and place remainder in dish.

4 Blend yolks, sugar and cornflour with 1 tbsp milk. Heat remaining milk in a saucepan. When hot, blend in cornflour mixture and heat gently until thickened, stirring.

5 Remove from heat and stir in remaining liqueur, ground almonds and 3 tbsp cream. Pour over raspberries, then leave to cool.

6 Whip remaining cream until softly stiff. Decorate with whirls of cream, almonds and reserved raspberries.

Recipe taken from Dairy Book of Home Cookery which is available from the Dairy Diary store.

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Christmas Day Recipes

Christmas day recipes

It’s the final rush this week with Christmas Day on Sunday.

I usually love all the build up but with two extra little ones this year it’s been just a bit too hectic and I will be very glad when it’s Christmas morning and we can relax and enjoy it (especially as I am having lunch cooked for me this year!)

Winter officially starts on Wednesday, so I wonder if we will see a smattering of snow or some beautiful crisp frosty days. They would be a vast improvement on the wild and wet weather we have been experiencing recently.

Now, it may be last minute, but it’s not too late to create a fabulous feast on Christmas day.

Just follow these wonderful recipes for a meal to remember.

Here are my favourite recipes for the big day. Have a fantastic time everyone!

Traditional Roast Turkey

Treacle-Glazed Red Cabbage

French-style Peas

Roast Potatoes

Cranberry Sauce

Tropical Christmas puddings

Brandy Butter

Many of these recipes taken from Dairy Book of Home Cookery which is available from the Dairy Diary store.

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Traditional Roast Turkey

A traditional turkey roast is an essential part of Christmas. Try this recipe to guarantee perfect results.

Tradition roast turkeyPreparation time – 2 hours
Cooking time – 2 hours
Calories per portion – 1100 Kcal
Fat per portion – 50g of which saturated – 19.2g
Serves – 8 Suitable for freezing

Bronze turkey 6kg (12lb) oven-ready bird
Butter 25g (1 oz) softened

For the stock
Giblets from turkey, well washed
Onion 1 large, peeled and quartered
Carrot 1 large, peeled and sliced
Parsley 1 large sprig
Bay leaves 3
Rosemary 1 large sprig
Black peppercorns 1 tsp
Chicken stock or water 900ml (11⁄2 pints)

For the stuffing
Frozen peeled chestnuts 225g (8oz)
Chicken stock 300ml (1⁄2 pint)
Butter 50g (2oz)
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Smoked rindless streaky bacon rashers 225g (8oz), cut into thin strips widthways
Onion 1 large, peeled and finely chopped
Lean, good quality pork sausages 400g (14oz), skinned
Chopped parsley 4 tbsp
White breadcrumbs 110g (4oz)
Mixed dried herbs 1 tbsp
Lemon 1, finely grated rind only Egg 1 large, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cranberry sauce
Cranberries 250g (9oz), washed, any stalks removed
Orange 1 large, finely pared rind and strained juice
Caster sugar 175g (6oz)
Mixed ground spice 1⁄2–1 tsp

For the gravy
Roasting juices from turkey see method
White or red wine 2–3 tbsp, optional
Plain flour 2–3 tbsp
Chicken stock 500ml (1 pint)

1 On Christmas Eve, prepare the stock. Place all the giblets except the liver in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and skim off the scum that has risen to the surface. Add all the remaining ingredients, cover and cook gently for 11⁄2 hours. Strain through a sieve, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate.

2 To make the stuffing, place the chestnuts in a saucepan, add the stock, partially cover and cook gently for 25 minutes, or until softened and most of the stock has been absorbed. Pour the nuts into a sieve placed over a bowl to drain, and leave until cold.

3 Meanwhile, chop the turkey liver and put into a large bowl. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan, add the bacon and cook until browned and crispy. Add to the turkey liver.

4 Add the onion to the fat and cook gently until softened, then add to the liver and bacon and cool. Add the chestnuts and all the remaining ingredients, season well and mix together.

5 To make cranberry sauce, place all the ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan, partially cover and cook gently until the cranberries are softened and the juices are reduced by half. Transfer to a serving bowl, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate.

6 To prepare the turkey, wipe the inside clean with kitchen paper. Stuff the neck end only with the stuffing, but not too tightly. Make any excess stuffing into balls and cook separately.

7 Smooth the neck skin evenly over the stuffing and secure with fine skewers. Smear the turkey all over with the softened butter. Put onto a large plate, loosely cover with foil and refrigerate.

8 On Christmas Day, remove the turkey from the refrigerator early in the morning to allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Place a roasting trivet or wire rack in the roasting tin and put the prepared turkey on top.

9 Cooking times for turkeys will vary according to their size, and also their type. Generally, cook for 40 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and continue cooking for 11⁄2–2 hours, basting frequently until cooked. To test it’s done, pierce the thigh at the thickest part – the juices should run clear yellow.

10 Carefully remove it from the roasting tin onto a serving plate, loosely cover with foil and leave to stand. Cook the stuffing balls while preparing the gravy and attending to the vegetables.

11 To make gravy, skim the fat from the roasting juices into a bowl, strain through a sieve and set aside. Pour the wine into the roasting tin, and bring to the boil, scraping the browned residue from the pan’s bottom. Then strain into the bowl of juices.

12 Pour 3–4 tbsp of the turkey fat into a saucepan and stir in the flour. Add the stock and strained juices and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and allow to boil gently for 3–4 minutes, until reduced. Pour into a gravy boat for serving. Garnish the turkey with sprigs of rosemary and serve.

Cook’s tip
Grilled chipolata sausages and bacon rolls are a delicious and traditional accompaniment for a roast turkey. Cook with the stuffing balls: 35–45 minutes.

Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook

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Treacle-Glazed Red Cabbage

Serve this wonderful treacle-glazed red cabbage with traditional roast turkey 

Suitable for vegetarians
Serves 4

Red cabbage 700g (1lb9oz), cored and finely shredded
Red wine vinegar 4 tbsp
Demerara sugar 6 tbsp
Butter 25g (1oz)
Black treacle 1 tbsp
Parsley 1 tbsp, optional

1 Put cabbage, vinegar, sugar and 1 tsp salt into a non-aluminium saucepan. Add 225ml (8fl oz) water, cover and cook gently for 1 hour, until cabbage is tender.

2 Drain cabbage well, then return to the pan and mix in butter and treacle.

3 Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve sprinkled with parsley, if using.

Cook’s tip
Cooked chestnuts can be added just before serving.

A Dairy Diary recipe

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