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The cooking Journal

Posts in 'Christmas'

Vegan and Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Recipes
Whether you’re a seasoned veggie, this is your first Christmas as a vegan or you have a vegetarian or vegan guest for Christmas, there's no reason the main dish can't be as flavoursome and impressive as a classic turkey version!
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Three Alternative Turkey Recipes
There are classic Christmas turkey recipes for a reason - they're tried and tested and always a crowd pleaser, except for the part where you have to fight over who gets some of the crispy bacon which enrobes the turkey during cooking. But why not shake it up and spice it up this Christmas by serving up a turkey that is equally as delicious but with an altogether different flavour profile. Read on for three alternative ways to serve up your fantastic festive bird.
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How to cook the best turkey of your life!
Whether you know your Christmas turkey recipe like the back of your hand or it's your first time in charge of cooking up the festive lunch, I'm sure you'll want to know a little secret to cooking THE best turkey of your life!? We've all been there - the long hours lovingly cooking a turkey, basting it regularly to make sure it turns out perfectly only for it to come out dry as a bone. It's heartbreaking. But we've learned about a life-changing tip, popular in America, that will put an end to dry turkey forever! It doesn’t involve braising it in coke or cooking it upside down- the secret is brine.
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Cinnamon Spring Lamb
Spring lamb is coming into the shops and this tender meat is traditionally eaten at Easter.   Our recipe for cinnamon spring lamb is a great way to serve lamb.  It uses a formidable list of spices, but don’t be daunted by that as they are all working to making you work better and the lamb even more delicious.
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Christmas cooking – it’s all about timing
Does the thought of preparing the Christmas meal fill you with fear and trepidation?  Does your mother and/or mother-in-law tell you how to do things their way?  All those people offering to help, and then disappearing with a drink when the moment to serve up comes! As with most things, it’s all in the planning.  Work out what time you want people to sit down for the meal, and work back from that.  There are a number of things you can do to get things prepared in advance, what you can do to ‘cheat’, and how to get your head round the timings so that everything is ready and piping hot at the right time.
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Cranberry Brownies
Do not let any leftovers from Christmas go to waste! Transform any unused cranberry sauce & chocolate into these gooey chocolate brownies!
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Seasonal Spuds
Our roast potatoes topped with garlic and rosemary are the perfect accompaniment to your Christmas dinner!
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Partridges topped with Crispy Bacon & Balsamic Dressing
On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a partridge in a pear tree! Partridges have a lovely delicate, subtle taste, which isn’t too strong and gamey as some other birds can be.
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Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Parcels
If you have plenty of leftovers from your Christmas dinner you're probably looking for creative ways to use them up that don't just include using them in a sandwich. If you're having guests around on boxing day this is the perfect finger food which makes use of your leftover food for zero waste. Enjoy!
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Samosas of a Christmas kind
Samosas are another great way to use your Christmas leftovers to create a brand new dish. By adding a selection of aromatic spices you'll be able to create a festive yet spicy snack to enjoy! Use any filling, even a sweet one, left over Christmas pudding is a good one served with brandy cream!
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Lamb Raan-Spiced Roast Lamb
This is by far one of the best lamb dishes I have ever created and its gets better each time I do it.  It is a magnificent way to present a show case dish and long before the serving, the aromas in the kitchen will tantalise the taste buds, drawing your guests into the kitchen.  The texture of the lamb should be so tender that its almost like pulled pork as you serve it.   The red onion and potatoes caramelise wonderfully throughout the cooking process so add more than you need as they’ll go down a treat.  
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Vegetable Tart - My Vegetarian Alternative
This tart can be a real showstopper at any dinner table. It makes a wonderful vegetarian centrepiece and often prompts little gasps and many a 'how did you do that?!'  The concept is simple: celebrate the roots, the vegetables and make them the stars of the show but putting them on show. Many vegetarian main course dishes hide underneath blankets of mashed potato or simply substitute meat for mushrooms. This will show your vegetarian guests that you made a real effort for them, and I promise you they'll appreciate it!
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A Partridge in a pear tree
As the game shooting season is well underway, leaves are not the only things we’ll see falling out of the trees. Though this is where the similarity ends, as partridge stays in season from October through to February.  If you’re not a big game fan then partridge is a great place to start your foray into game cooking, for it has a very mild gamey flavour.  So what better time to serve this hugely underrated meat than at Christmas as one of the original Christmas birds served as a traditional dinner along with Goose.
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Port and Cranberry Sauce
Regular readers of the blog may well recognise this recipe, but it's always so popular that I couldn't resist sharing it again this year. If you're fed up with the usual cranberry sauce as an accompaniment to your turkey, then you may wish to try my alternative this Christmas. I’ve pepped up this rather sweet little number by adding a few Christmas twists and giving it a little edge. It also doubles up as a great dip for your savoury nibbles. As usual, it also very easy to make which, as you know, always gets my vote.
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Brussels Sprouts Three Ways
Brussels sprouts are a Marmite food – you either love them or hate them! But if it's the latter and all you’re doing is boiling or steaming them, then I’m not surprised – stop!Sprouts have such a delicate texture they cook in no time at all. They are a member of the cruciferous family like cabbage and cauliflower and I’d say they should be at the top of the food tree since they are nutritionally very dense (see below).
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Turkey and Ham Cranberry Tarts
Our mini tarts are an excellent way of using up left over turkey, ham and even cranberry sauce, plus you can treat yourself to a sip of port whilst making them. You can use shortcrust pastry or puff pastry, and if you haven’t got time to make your own (and let's face it, few of us do around Christmas) use a shop bought ready roll version – they are just as good!
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Oat and Cranberry Biscuits
It's week 3 of your Christmas Cookbook, and this week we have some great Oat and Cranberry Biscuits take take over to loved ones during the festive period, if you can bring yourself to, that is!
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Parsley & Garlic Crusted Salmon
Week 2 of your Christmas Cookbook is this wonderfully fragrant Parsley & Garlic Crusted Salmon. Whether you make it on Boxing Day as a post-christmas meal, or use the recipe when you have visitors over, it's sure to go down well.
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Roasted Parsnips with Thyme and Parmesan
Welcome to Week 1 of our Christmas Cookbook. This week is a great side dish of Roasted Parsnips with Thyme and Parmesan. Be sure to check back each week for five more scrumptious recipes to use over the festive period!
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