Wednesday, 19 December 2012

slow cooked lamb pasta (Youvetsi)

Here is something to bring warmth and comfort into all homes before the big feast.  It's a very rich and rewarding meal.

I truly love it, but the real secret is the tender fall-off-the-bone meat which is cooked slowly in a rich tomato sauce.

Also known as Youvetsi, it's a typical Greek dish made traditionally by baking rice pasta.  This version is a simple rendition which my aunt introduced me to using Penne pasta, transforming it into a very tasty pasta dish.

Serves 4

You'll need
  • 8 or 10 lamb chops (or stewing lamb on bone)
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500g Penne pasta

1) Gently fry the chopped onion in the olive oil
2) Add the meat and brown
3) Add the tinned tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and bay leaves, simmer on low heat for approx 2 hours, adding boiling water to ensure it does not dry out.  Meat should be tender and falling off the bone.
4) In a separate pan, boil the pasta
5) Mix all together and serve immediately.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

easy cranberry sauce

Christmas is all about 'Giving' and 'Eating'.  This year for the first time I made my own home-made cranberry sauce and I will never look back, after all a traditional turkey is not complete without it.

I've said this before and not sure why, but for some reason people are intimidated with things that come in jars.  Chutneys, jams and sauces are some of the easiest things to make and this recipe proves it.

The reason the idea dawned on me was solely down to my husband.  I sent him out to buy some fresh red currants which I was going to use to decorate a cheese board.  He returned with, wait for it.....a frozen packet of cranberries :)

I kept my cool as I realised I hadn't explained myself properly (lesson No.1 learnt) and secondly thought, good work Jimbob.  Instead of leaving these little puppies sit in the freezer for months on end, I decided to put them to good use.

Our annual Christmas dinner with friends is always a great success with everyone taking turns to host.  This year was our turn.  I tend not to get involved in the cooking as it's all down to hubby, his tradition, his mates. However I did contribute this little jar of red heaven and would encourage you to try it too.

It's the quickest, easiest preserve I've ever made, taking 5 minutes, or slightly more if you prefer it less runny and an absolute delight.  Eat that Mr Oliver's 15 minute meals, GF does it in 10.

You'll need:

  • 1 Pkt frozen cranberries
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • juice from 1 orange
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 Tbs port (optional)


1) Place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to boil
2) Simmer for 5 - 10 mins (or till sauce thickens slightly)
3) Pour into jar and let cool, serve with Christmas meal.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

strawberries and cream, Santa style

When my sister sent me a picture of little strawberry Santa's I couldn't resist making them to share with you all.  They are just so adorable and so simple. 

The original recipe, not entirely sure where it came from seemed to be a festive mailer, using cream cheese however I think these work just as well with whipped thick cream and icing sugar.

The next time you're asked to take a plate of eats rounds to friends, why not take a plate of Santa's

You'll need:
  • 1 punnet of strawberries
  • 1 tub of double cream, whipped till thick
  • a handful of linseeds
  • 3 Tbs icing sugar


1) Wash the strawberries and remove the stalks, cutting the bottom of the strawberries so they stand straight.
2) Slice the top half of the strawberry to create the hat.
3) Using a paring knife, remove the inner core of the strawberry
4) Fill the strawberry with cream and using a piping bag pipe the buttons down the front and the tip of the hat.
5) Place two linseeds for the eyes and sprinkle with icing sugar