Pumpkin fillo triangles December 24, 2009Posted by Helen in nibbles, Uncategorized.
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I normally make these little triangles with goat’s cheese and wild mushrooms, but as I was serving stuffed mushrooms alongside them this Christmas Eve, I decided to try a different filling. They’re called pumpkin triangles, but I cheated and used sweet potato instead. Actually, it wasn’t so much cheating as improvising as I was unable to find any pumpkin purée. I just baked one quite large sweet potato, and it yielded enough mashed contents for this recipe.
300g pumpkin or sweet potato purée
200g feta cheese, crumbled (next time, I think I’d add more feta for an extra zing)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp dried red chili flakes
Ground black pepper
Frozen or fresh fillo pastry
Lots of melted butter
Mix together the sweet potato, feta cheese, egg, salt, chili flakes and black pepper.
If using frozen fillo, make sure it’s thawed completely. Put one sheet of the pastry on your worktop with the long edges facing you. Brush it with melted butter. Top with a second sheet and brush with more butter, then top with a third. (Make sure that you keep the fillo you’re not working with covered with a damp teatowel so it doesn’t dry out!)
Cut the three-layered fillo into six strips the short way. Put a small spoonful of the sweet potato filling about half an inch from the top of each strip. Don’t overfill, or the triangles will split. Then the complicated folding begins. This is the fun part. Gently lift the pastry corner and fold it tightly diagonally over the filling to create a triangle (take care not to tear pastry). Continue folding, keeping the triangle shape. I’m probably not explaining it very well, but this website has some better instructions, along with photos to demonstrate the technique. It’s very easy once you get the hang of it.
Spray the triangles or brush them lightly with olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes at 200C.
Smoked oyster puffs December 24, 2009Posted by Helen in fish, nibbles.
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These were the easiest things in the world to put together, yet looked rather impressive and tasted wonderful! They were less about cooking and more about assembling!
100g cream cheese
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tin smoked oysters
10-12 frozen puff pastry vol-au-vent cases
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, pepper and one of the smoked oysters in either a blender or food processor. Bake the vol-au-vent cases according to the directions. Put a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture in each case and top with a whole smoked oyster.
Cranberry sauce December 9, 2009Posted by Helen in christmas, miscellaneous.
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I’ve been making this every Christmas for as long as I can remember, and it just smells and tastes like Christmas to me. It’s great with dinner on the big day, but also fabulous with cold turkey or in turkey sandwiches. Although, to be honest, I’d be perfectly happy eating it with a spoon straight out of the jar.
2 cups (475 ml) water
2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
1 orange, peel and juice (+ a little more orange juice if needed)
1 lb (455g) cranberries
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
Put the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Peel the orange using a potato peeler, making sure to only get the peel, not the pith. Slice up the orange peel into thin matchstick-length pieces. Juice the orange and try to get ½ cup (118 ml). If your orange didn’t yield enough juice, just top up with some ordinary orange juice. Add the juice and orange peel to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a good 20 minutes until it’s thick and syrupy.
Rinse your cranberries and add them to the saucepan. Put the lid on and wait about 5 minutes until the berries have finished popping – like popcorn, but not as noisy.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool a bit before stirring in the Grand Marnier.
That’s it! Then just pop it in some sterilised jars and try not to eat it all before Christmas. Mine yielded about 4 ½ jam jars-ful.