The Crazy Kitchen: November 2016

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Tuesday 22 November 2016

Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle

Christmas is a time for eating and drinking and getting together with family, for more eating and drinking and lots of game playing. Last year the fun family must have game was Pie Face, but I never managed to get my hands on one in time, so this year I've already got my hands on the game that every family will be playing this Christmas - Speak Out. If you haven't seen it you really must watch some videos on You Tube, it's hilarious! 

Back to the food and drink. Every Christmas, for as long as I can remember, my mum has made a trifle. It's nothing posh and it's nothing glamorous, but she whips it up in no time and it tastes great, and there's no jelly or sherry (haven't touched that stuff since I was 14, but that's another story) in sight. 

When I was challenged by Bonne Maman to make a festive dessert that makes use of their Madeleines I immediately thought of a trifle. A boozy trifle. A boozy trifle that doesn't contain either sherry or jelly. There are certain ingredients, flavours and smells that we associate with Christmas, and two of those are cranberry and clementine, and I've included both of those in this trifle, as they go really well together.

Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle

You can make the cranberry jam in advance, or if you don't want to go to that trouble it can be replaced by one of the many delicious conserves that Bonne Maman make - Berries & Cherries Conserve would make a great alternative. If you're not using the home made cranberry jam then you may need to add some additional liquid to the Madeleines, as they really do hold the liquid well. There are a few steps to this recipe but as I said, the jam can be made in advance, as can the sugared cranberries. It's then a case of layering the trifle up. If you want to prepare it earlier in the day and refrigerate then I would recommend adding the cream on just before serving.

Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau TrifleCranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle - makes a 17cm trifle

for the cranberry jam
150g fresh cranberries
300g granulated sugar
cinnamon stick
zest & juice of 2 clementines (you can replace some or all of this with Cointreau)

  • place all the ingredients into a saucepan
  • bring to a slow boil, making sure that the sugar dissolves
  • turn down the heat to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes
  • leave to cool fully before removing the cinnamon stick & using in the trifle
Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle
for the sugared cranberries
handful of fresh cranberries
equal parts granulated sugar & water (I use 1/2 measuring cup of each)
extra sugar for rolling in
  • place the sugar and water in a pan and stir to dissolve the sugar
  • bring to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes
  • drop the cranberries into the syrup and remove with a slotted spoon onto a cake rack
  • leave for approx 30 mins 
  • after 30 mins drop the cranberries into the syrup again & remove (dripping excess syrup into the pan) with a slotted spoon into the sugar
  • roll in the sugar to coat with crystals
  • allow to dry for at least 30 mins before using
for the trifle
4-5 Bonne Maman Madeleines, cut into cubes
3 tbsp Cointreau (or replace with orange juice)
cooled Cranberry jam
500g fresh custard (either home made or store bought would work)
250g mascarpone
grated zest of 1 clementine
250ml double cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • place the Madeleine cubes into your trifle dish 
  • spoon 2tbsp of Cointreau or orange juice over the sponge 
  • spoon your cooled jam into the trifle dish - you may not need all of it
  • place in the fridge for an hour before adding the rest of the ingredients
  • whisk the custard together with the mascarpone, clementine zest & 1tbsp Cointreau (or orange juice) until smooth
  • spoon into the trifle dish and smooth the top over
  • whisk the cream with the cinnamon until soft peaks form (you could add some Cointreau here too for an extra boozy trifle)
  • pipe or spoon on top of the custard layer
  • top with sugared cranberries and clementine zest before serving
Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle

Alternative ways to use Bonne Maman Madeleines :

Cute Madeleine Reindeer by Here Come the Girls
Alternative Christmas Pudding by Mummy Mishaps

recipe commissioned for Bonne Maman

Thursday 17 November 2016

Christmas Recipes with Mincemeat

The Christmas hype is setting in here. Already there has been a letter sent to Santa, and we're in countdown mode, so I thought it was about time that I started to think about Christmas recipes. What better way to get me in the spirit of things than to look through some of my old recipes, as well as finding some new ones on Pinterest.

I've got a couple of jars of mincemeat in the cupboard that I made last year, using my mincemeat recipe so I thought I would put together a list of my recipes that use mincemeat, as well as sharing a few others that I've come across on my Pinterest travels.


Iced Mince Wreath - Delicious Magazine

If you want to have a go at making Chocolate Mincemeat I also have a recipe for that.

There are many, many more recipes on my 'ways with mincemeat' Pinterest board, so pop the kettle on, put your feet up and prepare to get hungry!

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney

I admit to being one of those people that doesn't crave a Sunday roast (yes I'm weird), although it is rather comforting on a hangover, but only if someone else has cooked it. If I cook a joint of meat it's not always accompanied by the usual trimmings of a roast dinner, and instead I like to serve it up a little differently, and usually in a way that takes less effort and makes less washing up.

Large joints of meat may seem like a great idea, but have you ever been that person that starts preparing the Sunday dinner at 4pm, forgetting that the meat is going to take 4 hours to cook? I have. Regularly.

Mini roasts are ideal for those of us that like to enjoy our day, and not have to think about cooking dinner until the evening. They are also perfectly sized for a couple, or small family, although if you find a larger mini roast (approx 600g) and bulk the rest of the meal out you can make it stretch to a family of five!
Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney

I bought my 30 day dry aged Hereford Beef miniroast from Waitrose, but they can also be found in M&S and other butchers listed in the Simply Beef & Lamb 'Find a Butcher' search.

Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney

This dish is based on a lamb recipe, but worked great with the beef. It's a great family dish and can be served on a platter, Jamie Oliver style, and everyone can tuck in!

Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney

Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney - serves 4/5

600g Beef miniroast
olive oil
salt & pepper 
3 tbsp good quality mango chutney

to serve
pilau rice
carrot salad
mini poppadoms
  • allow the beef to come up to room temperature for an hour or so before cooking
  • rub the beef with a little olive oil, salt & pepper & place into a small roasting dish
  • cook in a preheated 190C oven for approx 30 (for a 600g joint cooked med/rare)
  • remove from the oven and spoon the mango chutney over before returning to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 56 degrees C
  • allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving 
  • mix a little boiling water into the juices in your roasting dish & drizzle over the beef when serving
Spiced Carrot Salad - serves 4/5

handful of sultanas
3-4 large carrots, grated
tsp cumin seeds, ground
tbsp white wine vinegar
tbsp olive oil
fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • add the sultanas to a a small bowl & cover with boiling water
  • soak for 10 minutes and then drain
  • add to a bowl with the freshly ground cumin, grated carrots, vinegar, olive oil, coriander & almonds, and mix well
Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney
Look how moist and tender that beef looks. If you're going to buy a good joint of meat, whether large or small, you really don't want to ruin it by overcooking it, and the best way to avoid that is by using an accurate and quick reading thermometer, like the Thermapen. This reading was taken just before the end of cooking time and I knew that it only needed a few more minutes before the beef reached the perfect temperature for us.
 photo thermapen_zpsymjlqsyn.jpg
Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney

Why wait until Sunday to have a roast! Make sure you look out for the Red Tractor quality mark when shopping for your Mini Roasts, which means it's traceable from the farm.

For more recipes visit Simply Beef & Lamb.

 photo red tractor_zpsflmdnkpo.jpg

post commissioned for Simply Beef & Lamb

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