Sunday, 27 December 2009

Creamy and Dreamy

A proper, old-fashioned cream-style soup is a real joy to cook and to eat.  At this time of year it also allows for judicious using up of leftovers in a way that they seem freshly comforting and welcome.  It's nice, also, when hanging around the house, to have the rhythms that cooking can bring to your life; it is all too easy to allow oneself to flop, unoccupied, in front of the television  at this time of year.  Getting up once in a while to potter in the kitchen provides a focus and, in some ways, an escape.  Here, I've infused the milk with some 'bread sauce' flavourings to the milk to bump up the festive factor!  Making stock with the turkey carcass is an annual job for Boxing Day; most of goes for soup of one sort or another, though I do siphon off a little to make a velouté sauce for a Turkey and Ham pie filling.

Cream of Turkey Soup

500ml milk
1 small onion, peeled and halved
few cloves
few peppercorns
2 small bay leaves
grating of fresh nutmeg
450ml turkey stock
30g turkey dripping (or butter)
30g plain flour
leftover turkey meat, cut into small shreds
a splash of double cream, if you have some to hand (well, it is Christmas!)
white pepper and salt, to taste

Stick a couple of cloves into each onion half, then place all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring just to boiling point.  Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse. Add the turkey stock to the cold milk, then add the fat and flour and bring to the boil, whisking continuously.

When it is smooth and combined, add the shreds of turkey meat and then, when it has returned to boiling point, turn the heat down and simmer until thickened.  Swirl in the cream and then season with white pepper (to keep that creamy beige unspeckled) and add a little salt if you think it needs it.

 Lovely, creamy soup like this with homemade bread, could only be improved upon as a meal by a tranche of this year's Christmas cake and a fine chunk of Stilton... Bliss!
Cath xx

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Building the Ultimate...

Ah, the turkey sandwich.  Cornerstone of Christmas; much joked about, often belittled but enjoyed nationwide on Boxing Day.  I have spent a not inconsiderable number of years adjusting and improving my turkey sandwiches and now, I believe, that the once-humble TV snack has reached the apotheosis.  In fact, I spend (almost) as much time looking forward to it as I do to the Christmas lunch itself.  I know it looks a little 'Scooby Doo' but believe me, y'all, it's worth it!  If you're lucky enough to have a few pigs in blankets left over, snaffle them up quick with your sandwich

Cath's Ultimate Turkey Sandwich

The bread should be good, preferably homemade, but at least a decent loaf; no claggy 'plastic' sliced, thank you.  It has neither the satisfying bite, nor the structural integrity necessary for sandwich-construction on this higher plane!

White bread, 2 slices
Leftover Bread Sauce
Leftover Cranberry Sauce
Turkey meat, sliced (I love the dark meat in my sandwich, but you may be a 'whitey')
Leftover Stuffing, sliced or squashed
Watercress, a generous handful

Butter the bread, then spread one slice with bread sauce and the other with cranberry sauce.  Lay your slices of turky over the top of the bread sauce and cover it with stuffing as best you can.  Pile the watercress atop, then slap of the cranberry sauce-covered slice.  Squash down gently and cut in half.  Slump on the sofa and watch your choice of Christmas special... enjoy!

Cath xx

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Why I Love Christmas

 I am so busy, mainly with the children and their very active social lives, that I hardly have time to breathe, let alone blog!  This is definitely my absolute best time of year, because of:

  • Making the Christmas cake in October and starting to get excited...
  • The Christmas Story
  • My Christmas hat 
  • The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge 
  • Making Paper-Chains
  • Wrapping presents 
  • Getting the decorations out and adding the new ones to the pile
  • Tins of Quality Street  
  • It’s A Wonderful Life
  • Wishing really hard for snow 
  • Collecting holly, ivy, pine-cones and herbs to decorate the house
  • Satsumas and Chocolate Coins 
  • Reading magazines and making lists, fantasy and reality
  • Cuddles in front of a roaring, crackling log fire
  • Singing Christmas songs, like, all the time
  • Groaning at cracker jokes
  • The smell of giblet stock on Christmas Eve
  • My children being so excited that they don’t know what to do with themselves
  • Drinking to absent friends
  • Leaving sherry and a mince pie for Father Christmas.  Don’t forget a carrot for Rudolph!
  • That very first bite of Christmas lunch
  • The Doctor Who Christmas Special
  • My ‘Ultimate’ Turkey Sandwiches and a bowl of Christmas Soup

And that's just for starters!  Hope the season is going well for you, too. 
Cath xx


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