Watercress, Apple and Stilton Salad

This was our starter for Christmas Day. And so nice was it that I had it for my supper on Xmas day too!

To serve 4 people as a starter you need:
1 large pack of watercress (preferably organic) washed and drained
1 apple, julienned
100g crumbled stilton
handful walnut halves
1 tsp french mustard
2 tbsp walnut oil
2 tbsp light olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinager
salt and pepper

Scatter the leaves on the plate and then scatter over the cheese and walnuts. Drizzle over some dressing on each plate and scoff. Simple yet light and delicious at the same time.

Stilton & Onion/Cranberry & Cambozola Breads with Apple, Date and Nut Salad

Leftovers, Leftovers (cheese and salad in this case). What to do with all those pesky leftovers? I am determined not to toss too many of them this year, so am trying to be inventive. Today’s lunch was toasted stilton and onion breads, cambozola and cranberry sauce breads served with an apple, date and nut salad and celmentine & chilli dressing. Quantities are approximate and can be varied depending on what you have left.

For the breads:
Slice a day old baguette into thin rounds and then top with stilton or cambozola as below

Stilton: mash/whizz stilton with a couple of tbsp of milk until smooth. Spread on to the sliced baguettes and then top with a tsp of onion relish.

Cambozola: spread cranberry sauce onto the bread and then top with a slice of cheese

Bake the breads in the oven for 15-20 mins until melted and warmed.

For the salad you need:
Salad leaves (I used a rocket salad mix)
An apple, juilienned
4 dates, thinly sliced
a handful of mixed nuts (unsalted)
1 generous tbsp of chilli jam
juice of 2 clementines
a good glug of olive oil (3 tbsp or so)
salt and pepper

Mix up all the salad ingredients apart from the leaves in a bowl and stir thoroughly to combine and to break up the sticky slivers of date. Place the leaves on a plate and then top with a stack of the dressed fruits in their sticky sauce. Place the warm breads in each corner and devour. Leftovers never tasted so good!!

Christmas Food Reflections

Having never hosted a ‘proper’ Christmas I thought it would be a good idea to review what went well so I can mosey on back to this post next year and see what I don’t want to do again!

The highs
Delia’s Cheese and Onion Sausage Rolls. Yum yum indeed and everyone enjoyed them
Home made mince pies with with homemade mince meat
The Christmas cake was pronounced a success by all who tried it. I’ve got a little bit left but to be honest am all Xmassed out now and don’t fancy eating it. Maybe next week once I am back at work…

The big meal itself went well. I served a delicious watercress, apple and stilton salad with a walnut dressing. Those who didn’t want it were given smoked salmon with lemon and brown bread and butter. The main course was scoffed and I was pleased to be able to fit everything in to the oven. Using the steamer for the veggies was a good idea as it left more space on top. I also steamed the pudding early and left it in the pan to stay warm whilst we ate the first two courses.

The pudding was not a success! I think the taste/smell from the pudding basin had somehow leached into it and it tasted strange 😦 The texture was lovely – really light and had it not been tainted with odour of plastic I am sure it would have been great. But it wasn’t! I’ll try making xmas pud again next year but will use a ceramic basin instead of a plastic one in the hope that it won’t taste the same. I’ll also tweak the recipe a bit and use darker sugar as the pudding itself was very light and I think it would need to be moister. Setting indoor fireworks off on it pleased the children (and inner child!) as did pouring flaming brandy over the top after the fireworks!

My trifle didn’t work very well either. I’d gone upmarket and used no jelly as I couldn’t find any veggie jelly crystals. I’d also used nice custard rather than the more gelatinous ambrosia which meant the cream sank into it too much. The cream, whilst lovely and airy the first day I whipped it, also sank so the result was very watery by the time we ate it. It tasted OK but didn’t have the right trifle consistency imho.

Delia’s Chocolate Truffle Torte was a pig to make but tasted lovely and was a success with everyone who had some. I’ll definitely make it again but will leave out the liquid glucose as it didn’t seem to do anything to the texture and just left me with a shiney oozy mess of chocolate before I mixed it with the whipped cream.

As always we’re left with far too many leftovers, mainly in the cheese and cream department. Am off to google for some recipes to use up the leftovers now starting with stilton…

Happy New Year!