The Crazy Kitchen: December 2016

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Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Breakfast - Pigs In Blankets & Cinnamon Pancakes

With Christmas just around the corner we're getting into full Christmas mode. Lights have been switched on, presents have been wrapped, snowballs have been drunk and tubs of chocolates have been emptied. My eldest child once said that the best part about Christmas is the pigs in blankets. I've never really been that keen and would be more than happy to give up my share to the teenagers to fulfil their needs. That was until one day when I decided that they would make an awesome accompaniment to pancakes! For brunch we often enjoy tasty chipolata sausages and crispy bacon with pancakes and waffles, so why not combine the two and have festive pigs in blankets with the pancakes instead. They were a huge hit and I will definitely be adding them to the breakfast menu on Christmas morning.

Christmas Breakfast - Pigs In Blankets & Cinnamon PancakesWARM CINNAMON PANCAKES WITH PIGS IN BLANKETS AND MAPLE SYRUP

Christmas Breakfast - Pigs In Blankets & Cinnamon Pancakes

Pigs In Blankets & Cinnamon Pancakes - serves 4/5

12 good quality Chipolata sausages (I buy Asda Extra Special Pork Chipolatas)
12 rashers of good quality streaky bacon (I buy Asda Extra Special Oak Smoked)
2 eggs
100ml buttermilk
150ml milk
75g melted butter
180g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
  • Cut the chipolatas & bacon rashers in half
  • Stretch the bacon out with the back of a knife on a chopping board to thin it out
  • Wrap the bacon around the chipolatas
  • Place into a roasting tin or oven dish in a preheated 200℃ oven for approx 25 minutes, until the bacon is crispy
  • In the meantime make the pancakes by whisking the eggs, buttermilk, milk & melted butter together in a bowl or jug
  • In another large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar & cinnamon
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry & mix until just combined
  • Heat a non stick pan over a medium/high heat
  • Spoon some of the batter into the pan and cook 3 or 4 pancakes at a time - flipping over when the bases are golden brown 
  • Serve with wonderful Maple syrup

Christmas Breakfast - Pigs In Blankets & Cinnamon Pancakes

Baked Camembert with Spicy Cranberry & Rhubarb Chutney

For many of us, Christmas is all about eating and drinking. The kids love tucking into their chocolate Christmas morning, and when I was their age I loved nothing more than scoffing a box of Hazelnut whirls, which, in my opinion, were the best ones from the Roses jar - remember Roses jars? no plastic boxes in the 80's, it was quality glass jars all the way. In fact I still have one. 

These days I'm more into savoury delights, especially cheese. To enjoy cheese to its fullest there also needs to be chutney. Upon checking my pantry for my stash of home made chutney I was horrified to find that I only have one jar left - it's unlabelled so I'm not quite sure if it's Asian Chilli or Caramelised Onion, but either way I needed to rectify the situation immediately.

I needed to empty some excess from the freezer & found some cranberries and rhubarb in there so decided to put them to good use and make some spicy chutney. You can make chutney out of pretty much any fruit or veg so if you don't have exact ingredients don't worry, just replace them with something else - extra onion, courgettes, carrots, peppers, butternut squash. Anything with a bit of substance to it, otherwise it will end up like a smoothie. 

Once I'd made the chutney I wanted to try it out immediately, so I bought a camembert, and lunch was sorted.

Baked Camembert with Spicy Cranberry & Rhubarb Chutney

Spicy Cranberry & Rhubarb Chutney - makes approx 3 jars

2 onions
2 apples
375g rhubarb
3 tomatoes
1 red pepper
175g cranberries
2 red chillies
2 cloves of garlic
300ml white wine vinegar
350g granulated sugar
tbsp mixed spice
  • roughly chop the onions, apples, rhubarb, tomatoes & pepper, and add them to a large saucepan
  • add thinly sliced chilli, crushed garlic, vinegar, sugar & mixed spice
  • bring to the boil and simmer for approx 30-45 minutes, until it's thick
  • pour into sterilised jars

Baked Camembert

1 whole camembert
home made chutney
olive oil
sprigs of rosemary
  • remove any plastic packaging from the camembert
  • if it comes in a wooden box place it back into it & onto a baking tray, or into a suitably sized ovenproof dish
  • using a sharp knife, cut a crosshatch pattern in the top of the camembert
  • drizzle with a little olive oil & spoon some chutney on top
  • stick a few sprigs of rosemary into the cheese
  • bake in a preheated 200C oven for around 10-15 minutes, until the cheese has melted

Serve with bread or crackers, a few rocket leaves and some balsamic roasted tomatoes

Baked Camembert with Spicy Cranberry & Rhubarb Chutney Baked Camembert with Spicy Cranberry & Rhubarb Chutney

Perfect as an appetiser to share, as a lunch, or just because.

Baked Camembert with Spicy Cranberry & Rhubarb Chutney Baked Camembert with Spicy Cranberry & Rhubarb Chutney

If you're looking for a really impressive way to serve your camembert, then you must see this beaut from Jenny - it's her very aptly named Bad Boy Brioche.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Ciao Gusto Authentic Italian Cuisine

I absolutely love a Christmas hamper, and usually make at least one up for members of the family. This year I bought a lovely crate from Waitrose for just £5 and filled it with goodies for my parents. My mum often gives hampers too so I guess we have hamper giving in our blood. She's much better at the ribbon curling than me though so mine are usually finished with a bow.

I think the lovely people at Ciao Gusto must've known about my love of hampers and sent me this amazing basket filled with Italian goodies.

Ciao Gusto Authentic Italian Foods

If you're not familiar with Ciao Gusto, they are a unique family of iconic Italian food and drink brands, such as Lavazza, Cirio, Barilla and Filippo Berio, to name a few. There's a dedicated Ciao Gusto shop online at Ocado where you can find all the authentic Italian foods that you need.

Ciao Gusto brands Ciao Gusto brands

The Ciao Gusto site is full of recipe inspiration to get the best out of your ingredients, and I'm particularly keen to try the Cheese & Amarena Cherry Tartlets as I love a cheese & fruit combo, and these will make a great appetiser over the festive period.

I couldn't wait to tuck into the mini panettone, and made it into an indulgent dessert using cherry jam, mascarpone and a drizzle of Prosecco, inspired by one of the Ciao Gusto recipes.

Panettone for one


Panettone Dessert for one (or maybe 2 if you're feeling generous)

1 small Bauli Panettone (100g)
130g mascarpone
75g Santa Rosa Italian Cherry Jam
1-2 tbsp Prosecco
10-20g dark chocolate, grated
  • Slice the panettone into 5 equal slices
  • fold the mascarpone, jam, prosecco and grated chocolate together (reserving a little for decoration)
  • spread or pipe the mascarpone filling in between slices of panettone
  • top with grated chocolate before serving with a large glass of Prosecco

Follow Ciao Gusto :

I was provided with a Ciao Gusto hamper in exchange for this post

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