Honey Rum Butter (not brandy for Christmas puddings)

I’m in complete Christmas preparation mode at the moment and I had to include this but it is absolutely not a recipe just a throw together of ingredients to melt on top of your Christmas pudding.

Ingredients:

175g butter

175g brown sugar

6 tablespoons brandy (or in my case honey rum as I thought the sweetness would go very well indeed)

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Method:

  1. Blend the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk
  2. Add the alcohol
  3. Freeze if it’s before Christmas and bring out on Christmas morning to melt a little before applying to your cooked Christmas pudding that you’ve hopefully given a little flame!

Merry Christmas!!

 

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Making homemade ‘Mcdonald’s’ Burgers

Have you ever been sat watching a TV show or documentary and they are eating a well known branded burger or one that looks just like it. We were watching ‘The Founder’ on TV recently which illustrates the very sad story of the real ‘Mcdonalds’ brothers showing how they were unique and special. So in my usual style I went to the internet to see if it was possible or somebody had cracked how to duplicate the famous ‘Big mac’ burger and lots of people had indeed. I have pulled together a few of the elements that I thought would get me close to it and you have to admit when you see the final picture they look really good! Next time however I think I will take more effort to really season the burgers or use better quality meat and they were nice but not quite the perfect patties; everything else however was pretty damn close.

 

Famous Burger Sauce

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup mayo
  • 4 teaspoons finely diced sweet pickles or relish (burger gherkins)
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced white onion
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mild mustard
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

 

Method:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in a sterilized jar

 

The rest of the burger

 

  1. Either buy or make your own burgers. The best homemade burger recipes are not made of breadcrumbs or onions just simple ground beef (the better quality the pepper) squashed into thin patties; seasoned and cooked on high heat so they get a little charring
  2. For the buns I took some standard floury baps and added a spray of oil and some sesame seeds as they were seedless. The spray gives a little shine which looks great. Try toasting your buns in a dry hot pan first to get a nice texture. I used one of the bottom buns to made a middle bun like the famous burger has
  3. For the filling finely dice some ice cold lettuce and add 2 pickles per bun. Add one splodge of sauce per bun, one slice of cheese and a burger. Stack to made a 3 bun; 2 burger structure.
  4. For the fries I finely chopped up some Maris piper potatoes and fried them once. I saw a tip that said ‘Mcdonald’s’ dip their fries in a mixture of beef stock and spices before a second fry so I made up a bowl of beef stock and added the fries. After 20 minutes I dried them carefully and fried again. They were amazing. If you can add some of the beef pan fat to the mix after cooking the burgers and it will all harmonize up.

Serve and enjoy!

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Get Ahead Christmas Gravy (Jamie Oliver recipe)

After spending a Sunday afternoon lost completely in Jamie Oliver ‘Foodtube’ on ‘Youtube’ I came across his recipe for getting ahead on Christmas day gravy by making a mini batch now and adding it to the turkey tray on Christmas day. I love gravy and pride myself on it even having my own jar at home of gravy browning mix which is a mix of lots commercial brownings; my favourite spices and seasonings so I just have to add a spoon to the tray on Sunday lunch alongside the other ingredients. Therefore, the ability to an extra depth of gravy flavour on Christmas Day making it even more special really appealed to me.

 

I’ve taken his recipe almost literally except I was already making a roast chicken anyway on Sunday so I used that instead of especially buying chicken wings.

 

Ingredients:

  • Pack of chicken wings (or the wings and legs off a cooked chicken)
  • Couple of sage and bay leaves
  • 1 pint chicken stock or even hot water
  • Trivet of chopped carrots; celery, onion, garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce or some sweet jam sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour

 

Method:

  1. Add the trivet vegetables and the leaves to the tray
  2. Top with wings (or chicken if you are cooking it)
  3. Cook the chicken for as long as it needs
  4. Remove the wings and legs from the chicken and place back in the dish (I removed the breast for Sunday dinner)
  5. Add the plain flour
  6. Add the liquid ingredients and fill up with hot water
  7. Simmer for 20-30 minutes
  8. Drain through a sieve
  9. Allow to cool and freeze until Christmas eve when you remove ready to add the turkey dish after cooking on Christmas Day so you get double the flavour

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Christmas Chutney (for cheese & crackers)

Wandering around the Christmas markets this year we picked up a lot of new cheeses to try at Christmas with family. Imagine cheddar with chilli or lime; honey soft cheeses and various hard cheeses with fruits like cranberry and apricots. As we were going to the one off effort of the cheeses I figured the least I could do is make some fruity chutney to go with it. I also had a load of Christmassy mixed fruits and spices leftover from making mincepies (https://modernmrsbeeton.blog/?s=mince+) and my pudding (recipe to come).

Serve up with a lovely mulled wine!

https://modernmrsbeeton.blog/2018/10/01/cheats-mulled-wine-recipe/

Ingredients:

  • 1kg dried fruit (I had sultanas; raisins and cranberries)
  • 450g white onions
  • 1 pint cider vinegar
  • 1 heaped spoon ginger
  • 50g sea salt
  • 1 pinch all spice (and any other Christmassy spices you have)
  • 450g brown sugar
  • 1 litre jar

Obviously tailor the quantities up and down to how much you want to make. This makes just over a 1 litre but I’m planning on keeping it until next year to see if ages well (or not).

Method:

  1. Chop everything into small pieces.
  2. Put all in a big pan or slow cooker if you don’t have one big enough.
  3. Cook on low for 1.5 hours.
  4. Test the jam on a cold plate to see if it firms up to a good consistency.
  5. Seal in the sterilised (dishwasher or boiling water) jar.

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If you prefer something more sweet and fruity go for my pear jam to have on your Christmas crumpets.

https://modernmrsbeeton.blog/2018/06/05/pear-jam/

Serve with lots of cheese; crackers, pate and butter.

Simple Caramel Custard Tarts

After a conversation with my other half recently and the topic of desserts came up we ended up discussing the humble custard tart. Now I’ve only ever had these things from shops and I do remember one of my friends from school being obsessed with them.

I therefore went off in search of a recipe and apart from the pastry which of course you can just go and buy it is the most simple recipe to date I’ve blogged about and considering I thought it would be scary to work with cooking eggs (picturing scrambled sweet egg tarts) it turned out great.

Using my simple shortcrust party recipe as detailed below make up a batch of pastry; cover in clingfilm and store in the fridge for a few hours to really chill down.

https://modernmrsbeeton.blog/2018/11/11/basic-pastry-and-beef-pie-sunday-leftovers/

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 45ml (3 level tbsp) white sugar
  • 400ml (3/4 pint milk)
  • Pinch nutmeg

Recipe:

  1. Get your pastry out of the fridge and on a lightly floured board or surface roll it out. Lay over either a large or individual (greased) pie tin. Even cup cake tins will work.  Using an extra bit of pastry as a tool push the pastry into the corners and cut off the edge to make pretty.
  2. Whisk the eggs into the sugar and add warm milk slowly.
  3. Put the pie tin in the fridge and using a jug pour the mix into the case so not quite filling it. Push into the oven very slowly.
  4. Sprinkle with the nutmeg or cinnamon if you prefer. A little sugar also caramelizes quite nicely.
  5. Back at 220 degrees c for 10 minutes and then 180 degrees c for a further 20 minutes until the dish doesn’t wobbly a lot, only slightly.

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Basic Pastry and Beef Pie (Sunday leftovers)

Pastry is never something I particularly like making. When I do make it I tend to make quite a big batch so I double or triple my standard recipe ingredients (below) and divide the pastry into balls; cover with cling film and put in the freezer.

The next time you need it just pop it out of the freezer an hour before and when you use it will be cold and rested but easy to use. I also tend to use my pastry metal cutter as it minimizes the time my warm hands touch the dough. I don’t exactly understand why this makes a difference but it does work and stops it being tough.

This Sunday I used the pastry to make some jam tarts (https://modernmrsbeeton.blog/2018/11/09/perfect-jam-tarts/) and a steak pie to use up the left over beef from our Sunday lunch.

 

Recipe for Pastry:

Pastry

1 + 1/3 cup plain flour

1/2 stick butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp cold water

Recipe

  1. Cut the butter and flour together. I have a metal pastry cutter that keeps the mix really cold as really good pastry in order to stay crumbly and short needs to be handled as little as possibleIMG_1514
  2. Add the wet ingredients and combine into a ball. Put in the freezer to really chill for 30 minutes

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Recipe for Pie:

 

Ingredients:

 

Leftover bits of beef (shredded)

Spoon of cornflour

Sunflower oil for browning

Leftover vegetables (carrots; swede)

Leftover gravy

Eggs for egg washing

 

Instructions:

  1. Grease a pie dish and add the shredded bits of piece (if cooked already)
  2. If you are using fresh beef add the beef to a pan and brown in oil. Don’t cook all the way through but just enough brown each side leaving the insides raw. Coat the beef in cornflour
  3. Add the leftover vegetables
  4. Put your leftover gravy in pan and add 100ml of hot water and a beef stock cube to loosen it a bit as it will be cooked again
  5. Add egg wash to edge of your pie dish and lay on the pastry making sure you add an air hole to allow steam to escape without making the pastry soggy
  6. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and bake for 20-25 minutes at 190 degrees c or until golden brown
  7. Serve with even more gravy!

Perfect Jam Tarts

After a recent conversation with my better half when I recently asked on Sunday what dessert he would like after Sunday dinner, he declared he really loved jam tarts as a kid so I went looking for recipe.

Little did I know but jam tarts are the simplest thing in the world to make and I make a lot of simple things. Once you knock up a little short crust party (or be super lazy and buy the frozen stuff) you simply put little shells in a cake tin as if you were making mince pies.

On top of the pastry you add a spoon full of the jam of your choice and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees c.  I also added some little pastry cutter shaped hearts on top and a brush with egg wash  to make then brown.

Simple; quick retro dessert.

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Basic Pumpkin Pie in England

Happy Halloween! Well Happy season of anyway. Pumpkin pies are very American and the only ones I’ve ever eaten have been in America so I’ve they have been of the very sweet variety. Therefore, in order to source a recipe I went straight to Martha Stewart and the various other classic American cooks. I did however then realise I live in England so don’t have quite the same ingredients so I’ve done a cheat’s version. It does taste rather good though.

 

Ingredients:

Either buy some shortcrust frozen pastry or make your own

 

If you make your own you need:

1 and 1/3 cup plain flour

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp cold water

 

Method:

  1. Combine the ingredients and put in cling film in the freezer for 30 minutes
  2. Press the pastry into a greased tin of your choice
  3. Put in the fridge

 

Filling Ingredients:

2 large eggs

1 can evaporated milk

1 can pumpkin filling (if you can’t get in the supermarket you can buy online from American food stores)

½ cup white sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground ginger (powdery stuff)

1-2 ground cloves (be careful not to add more or it can taste like medicine)

 

Method:

  1. Beat the eggs and then add everything else
  2. Pour the mix into the pastry case from the fridge
  3. Bake for 15 minutes at 325F
  4. Bake for 45 minutes at 350F
  5. Store in the fridge

Sorry for the American temperate measurements but it was an American recipe.

Wedding Post Box

The wedding prep continues.. This weekend’s task was a Wedding Post Box in order to hopefully hold any lovely cards we get from our wedding guests.

I will completely own this though as a cheat. I thought about making one and then I saw the prices of the ones to buy and the vary between £10 and £50! I came to a compromise of buying a kit on eBay and customising it to the colour theme of the wedding. As with all of my wedding blogs I won’t spoil the end result but will do that post wedding but hopefully you can see enough of it and see how you can make something fairly cheaply but special.

This is the kit. It comes flat packed with the cut out pieces still in their single sheet ready to push out.

wed post box 3

My next decision was colour. The wedding color themes are duck egg blue and rose gold so that’s what I went with. I choose some acrylic blue in a matte and some shiny metallic rose gold which i then used on a whole range of wedding crafts for consistency.

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So using some PVC glue I stick the letters and trim; painted the core box in blue and the trim in gold.

 

If you like any of my wedding planning items please see my ‘Super Simple Wedding Planner’ book on Amazon:

Christmas Mincemeat (slow cooker)

So it’s that time of year again. It’s time to get my mincemeat for mince pies ready. This year I saw an article in a magazine about using your slow cooker so decided to give it a whizz. The slow cooker is the perfect size for making mince meat and heats up everything together so the suet melts but you don’t risk boiling it or boiling any alcohol away. Just reduce a little of any liquids you add in as they won’t evaporate.

I tend to make my mincemeat at the same time as I do my Christmas cake as the ingredients are broadly the same and you can avoid wasting items. You can add whatever else you really like such as cherries or different fruits or spices to make it really personal. Let people know if you’ve add the alcohol if you are giving them away.

This year I added white rum as my alcohol so let’s see how it goes at Christmas time!

Ingredients:

175g currants

175g raisins

175g sultanas

175g dried cranberries

100g mixed peel

1 small apple diced and cored

125 butter or suet

50g blanched or flaked almonds

225g brown sugar

½ tbs cinnamon

1 tbsp mixed spice

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

200 ml of brandy, rum, sherry or orange juice

Method:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a pan/slow cooker and warm through on simmer for about 25 minutes.
  2. Cool and add the alcohol.
  3. Store in glass jars (sterilize with boiling water or in the dishwasher first).

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