The beginning of the New Year always seems to call for a lighter approach to cooking especially after the full on approach to the Christmas cooking, maybe a little bit of detox is called for, but cold frosty days call for full on comfort food, like one pot wonders, stews, roast joints and a selection of root vegetables.
I find in these cold days I get a lot of pleasure in cooking for family and friends. We can cut back a small amount on certain foods. I know it is hard to get excited about Bramley apples in January the way we did when they came in September but how long is it since we made an Eve's Pudding with custard, well this is the time of year for it, so enjoy.
2lb/900g Peeled Bramley Apples
2oz/56g Brown Sugar
2 Free Range Eggs
4oz/112g Self Raising Flour
3oz/84g Raisins or Sultanas
4oz/112g Castor Sugar
Custard to serve
Slice the apples into a greased Pyrex dish (3pt) or similar dish. Scatter the raisins or sultanas over the apple; sprinkle with the brown sugar (if you wish at this point you can put in a pinch of ground cloves or nutmeg).
Cream the castor sugar and butter together then add in the beaten egg followed by the flour, spoon the mixture over the apples. Place in a hot oven 180 and bake for about 40 minutes until golden, serve warm with custard or thick double cream.
PEPPERED BEEF WITH A COGNAC & THYME SAUCE
4 x 6-8oz/168g-224g Striploin Steaks or Fillet Steaks
20 Black Peppercorns, crushed
1tbsp Olive Oil
3fl oz/85ml Brandy (Cognac)
1tbsp Chopped Thyme Leaves
Salt & Pepper
Pinch of Sugar
Season the steaks with salt and press the crushed peppercorns onto the steak. Heat the oil & butter in a frying pan, fry the steaks on the hot pan about 3 minutes each side or until cooked to your liking. Remove the steaks from the pan and place on a plate, cover and allow to rest.
Keep the juices in the pan, add in the brandy and a pinch of sugar, allow to boil, if you are using a gas flame the brandy might catch alight, don't worry just add in the pouring cream, allow to boil and add in the chopped thyme leaves, season with a little salt and pepper. Place a steak on a warm plate and pour over some of the sauce. Serve with a tossed green salad, chunky chips or roast potatoes and a vegetable of your choice. The steaks can be cooked without the pepper if you wish.
Cognac is a brandy produced in Cognac, France. Every Cognac is a brandy but not every brandy is a Cognac!
This is the time of year when we see the lovely Seville Oranges in the shops, so it is time to make marmalade. We only have the Seville Oranges until the end of February, so let's get preserving. I have to fill my freezer with oranges so that I have enough for the year, especially Christmas.
2lb/56g Seville Oranges
About 5 pints/3.150litres of Water
Cut the oranges in half and gather up all the pips, the reason for this is that they are full of pectin which makes the marmalade set. Slice up the oranges and place in a saucepan with 4 pints of the water, bring to the boil and simmer hard for about 2 hours, until the orange rind is nice and soft.
It is very important that the rind is soft. Place the pips in a small saucepan and cover with 1 pints/863ml of water, bring to the boil for 20 minutes to make the pectin. When the rind is ready, add the sugar, the strained water from the pips and the juice from the 2 lemons, bring to a rolling boil and boil for 15 minutes. Test for a set, pour into clean warm jars, cover with a wax disc and clear plastic cover and label.
This will give you about 7 lb/3kg of marmalade.
My cookbook "Jim's Kitchen" sold out before Christmas and has gone for reprint. It will be available again on January 20th.