Back in the kitchen

I have been making more edible Christmas presents, and also doing some practice dishes for the Christmas celebrations. Last weekend before the trip to Paris I made Nigella’s rocky road – it’s very rich and delicious, although I substitute the amaretti biscuits for shortbread and miss out the nuts completely. I also made welsh beer mustard, using Brains beer. It’s so easy to make, and it is very tasty. It made tons of the stuff, so we have been eating it to try and get through it!

This weekend we had friends over on Saturday and Sunday, and I decided to do a kind of Christmas help yourself. I have wanted to try making pate for ages, and when I saw the latest article in The Guardian, I knew now was the time to try. I made a few tweaks as follows: port instead of brandy and ditched the spices completely. I also used an onion instead of shallots, and dried thyme instead of fresh. I made it yesterday and ate some last night, but the flavour is much improved today, so I recommend leaving it overnight. I made Nigella’s irish oaten rolls, but used Brains stout instead of Guinness, so they were Welsh!

I also made my usual sausage rolls (shop bought puff pastry and waitrose gourmet sausagemeat), corned beef pie (a Welsh speciality of corned beef, boiled potatoes and onion mixed together and baked in shortcrust pastry – eaten cold for preference), potato cakes with horseradish and smoked salmon (mashed potato mixed with enough plain flour to bind, then fried in butter).

I finished with normal fairy cakes iced with buttercream made to look like Christmas trees, and Nigella’s christmas cookies (delicious, and huge!).

I am really pleased with how the pate and rolls turned out, and I will certainly be making them and the potato cakes / salmon / horseradish mix again.


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