As the holiday season draws ever closer, I thought I would share some of the simple recipes I use for family get-togethers. Some are from the Good Housekeeping book of 1976 and some have been gifted to me by friends and family members. None are complicated nor do they involve expensive ingredients.
Smoked mackerel pate
1 tub of cream cheese
3 fillets/1pkt of smoked mackerel
Empty the tub of creamed cheese into a mixer and add the skinned and flaked fillets of mackerel. Mix together. Add the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon and mix again. Taste. Add more lemon juice if necessary to give a fresh flavour. Place in a ceramic tub and serve with cruditees, toast or as part of a cold spread. Store in the fridge. The mixture will freeze if you make too much and have to use it another time.
1lb of pig’s liver
1/4lb fat bacon
4 eggs beaten
1 clove garlic skinned and crushed
1/4pint thick white sauce
Salt and pepper
12 rashers streaky rindless bacon
Mince the liver and fat bacon finely then sieve it to ensure a really smooth result. Mix it with the beaten eggs, crushed garlic, sauce and seasongin to taste. Line a 2pint terrine with bacon rashers (I’ve always used a 1lb loaf tin), fill up with the liver mixture and place in a dish containing enough cold water to come halfway up the sides of the terrine. Bake in the oven at 170degreesC/Mark 3 for two hours. Cover the top of the liver mixture with greaseproof paper or foil. Press evenly and leave for 24 hours in a cold place before serving. Serve cold and sliced with toast and butter and a crisp salad.
Smoked haddock chowder
1 onion, skinned and sliced
2 rashers of bacon, rinded and chopped
Knob of butter
3 potatoes peeled and cubed
1lb smoked haddock, skinned and cubed
15oz can of tomatoes
1pt fish stock
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley to garnish
Lightly fry the onion and bacon in the butter for about 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the potatoes and the fish. Sieve the tomatoes with their juice, add them to the fish stock, combine with the fish mixture and add seasoning and flavourings. Cover and simmer for ½ hour, until all the fish is soft but still in shape. Remove the bayleaf and cloves and sprinkle with parsley before serving. Serve with freshly made bread.
Ham and sweetcorn soup
8oz leftover ham
1 large onion peeled and chopped
1 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2ozs flour (2or 3 level tblsps)
¾ pt milk
¾ pt stock (can be made from ham bone)
2 tblsps Worcestershire sauce
1lb potatoes peeled and diced
1 large can sweetcorn, drained (11.5oz)
Salt and pepper
Melt butter in a large saucepan, add onion and pepper abd frt gently for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in flour and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in milk and stock. Return to heat and slowly bring to the boil; stirring. Add remaining ingredients, lower heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until potato is cooked. Stir regularly as this soup will catch on the bottom and can burn if left unattended. Season to taste and serve with crusty bread.
1 pkt shortcrust or sweet pastry
4oz castor sugar
4oz ground almonds
1 tsp Vanilla essence
2oz flaked almonds
Apricot, redcurrant or quince jelly/jam to glaze
Mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs gradually, add vanilla essence then stir in the almonds and flour. This is the frangipane mixture. Roll out pastry and cut sufficient rounds to fill around 2 doz. cupcake trays (the same ones you use for mince pies). Place 1 tsp frangipane mixture in each pastry case then sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 12-15 minutes in pre-heated oven at 180degrees C, Gas mark 5. As soon as the tartlets are cooked, remove them from the moulds, brush the tops with hot jam to glaze. For extra decoration, you can sprinkle a thin line of ground almonds around the edges, but I’ve never bothered.
Krakalot (family name for flapjack)
4oz margarine or butter
1 dessertspoon golden syrup
1 tblsp hot water
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Melt all these ingredients together in a pan or microwave, mixing the bicarb with the hot water before adding to the pan.
4oz porridge oats
3 ½ oz sugar
2 ½ oz flour
Mix these dry ingredients together then pour over the melted margarine or butter and mix together. Place in well- greased baking trays and cook in oven at 180degress C, Gas Mark 5 for 15 minutes until brown. When cooked, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then score. If you leave scoring until fully cool, the flapjack pieces will break up. I usually cook double quantities for a normal amount of flapjack. You can add diced dried apricot, dried fruit and/or grated apple to this recipe. If adding dried fruit remove 2oz sugar from the ingredients and if adding grated apple, allow longer to cook.
I’ve been surprised how many people have enjoyed my hedgerow cordial this year. I served it at the Solihull Healer Christmas party we hosted on Monday and as we were away in Newcastle on Wednesday when Solihull Writer’s Workshop had their Christmas meeting, I had to send bottles along to be served without me. The remaining cordial were returned to me tonight along with the news that I won the short story competition!!! I’ve won the poetry and article writing competition before but never the short story one in all the sixteen years I've been a member, so I was very pleased!
I wish all my readers a happy and peaceful holiday season with lots of good thoughts for the coming year.