Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Happy New Year!

Boxing Day

I hope that everyone enjoyed the Christmas break. Despite my reservations about Christmas without 'my' family, we had a wonderful time and I'm pleased to report that it all went without a hitch. For the turkey, I used Nigella's brining method. I'm a total convert - I really think it results in a juicier bird, even if you cook it for longer than she suggests. We also pushed the boat out and went for a bronze turkey as we were a small gathering and the flavour was superb. It was equally good cold and sliced like a dream and the various dishes we made afterwards were superb, the slightly stronger flavour of the bronze turkey shining through. As well as a delicious turkey hash (Nigella again), an indulgent turkey and ham pie and a reviving thai green curry we also boiled up the carcass to make stock which is now all sitting happily in the freezer. I'm looking forward to the soup that will follow in the weeks ahead. Truth be told, I've never enjoyed a turkey so much and, whilst the initial outlay was eye-wateringly high, the number of meals it has provided makes it a very economical bird.

Enough about the turkey. We've all moved on, right? I was a little lax about taking photos of food over Christmas (mainly due to the fact that I was busy getting it ready for and serving it to guests who thought my camera habit a little odd). I was particularly pleased with our New Year feast though. We were just a small group of four which meant we could really enjoy cooking a special meal. My husband has suddenly got into making canapes and made an impressive trio on the night. We then served up oriental steamed seabass, followed by Persian slow-roasted shoulder of lamb and a very moreish chocolate and chestnut roulade.

Oriental Steamed Seabass

Chocolate Chestnut Roulade

Of all the nibbles that I've been offered this Christmas, the platter that enticed me the most contained these very simple cucumber canapes (please excuse the lack of accents - I can't seem to work out how to do them on blogger). Nothing fancy, but they really are very visually appealing (the less romantic could choose a star design instead) and surprisingly tasty, especially if you use on of those wonderfully nobbly, crunchy organic cucumbers whose skin you have to peel.

Cucumber Cream Canapes
Makes 20


1/2 cucumber (or a whole small nobbly, organic one)
200g cream cheese
10 thin white bread slices
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley (either type will do, we used flat-leaf as we had it to hand)
salt and pepper (recipe specifies white, we used regular black)

You will also need two cookie cutters of the same shape, one slightly larger than the other.

1. Cut the cucumber into slices - around 0.5cm thick, 1/4 inch.

2. Stamp out 20 hearts (or stars etc...) with the small cutter.

3. Spread cream cheese on the bread and then stamp out 20 hearts/stars with the larger cutter.

4. Place parsley in a small dish and dip the edges of the bread hearts in parsley. Top with cucumber hearts and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Notes - we thought these were best served chilled. They can be made 3 hours in advance. Simply cover in cling film and pop in the fridge.

1 comment:

Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) said...

The seabass looks amazing. I haven't used Nigellas method before - mainly because we always pop over to my parents for Crimbo Day Lunch. Perhaps next year i will be brave enough to invite them here