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It’s nearly Christmas : So here is the Perfect Christmas Dinner !


Well christmas dinner is different for everyone, but this is what we do every year. Now it may be a bit much, but my birthday is also on the same day as… yes you heard it Jesus Christ… so it is my favourite time or year, and yes I need me some delicious Christmas goodness to make up for the fact that I only get presents once a year ! I always serve my christmas dinner with bread sauce, cranberry sauce and of course gravy! Now I personally don’t make my own gravy, and I know it is a ridiculous reason, but I don’t like the idea of eating giblets… so I prefer the pre-bought version (Bisto). I’m also adding a christmas pudding recipe, but I hardly ever make it. I do however make mince pies, which may I say are very yummy!

The Roast Turkey

Step 1

Ingredients

  • 1 5 -7 kg turkey
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 bunch of sage, thyme and rosemary
  • 25 g butter, softened
  • 1/2 lemon or orange

Method

1. Remove the turkey from the fridge 2-3 hours before you want to cook it, to allow it to reach room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 (if oven is fan assisted, use 160C).

3. Place the onion and herbs into the body cavity. Squeeze the juice of lemon or orange over the bird and put the fruit into the cavity. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.

4. Smear the turkey skin with butter and then season with salt and pepper, starting with breast side up. Then flip the turkey and repeat on the underside.

5. In a large roasting pan, place the turkey ready to roast breast side down. This allows fat to trickle from the back down to the breast to keep it moist.

6. Roast the turkey upside down for the first 2 hours (or, slightly less for the smaller bird).

7. Remove the turkey from the oven. Now, turn the turkey right side up for the remaining cooking time (30 – 45 minutes). Protect your hands with thick towel or clean Marigolds. (You can wrap these in plastic bags to keep them clean.) Hold the drumsticks to turn the turkey.

8. Return turkey to oven for 30 – 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted. If the juices are pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again in 10 minutes. You don’t need to overcook the turkey as the internal temperature of the meat will continue to rise as the turkey rests. A dry turkey is often just overcooked!

9. Remove turkey from the oven. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 30 – 60 minutes so the juices settle into the meat.

10. Carve the turkey into the pan juices to keep mois

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Lardons

Step 2

Ingredients

  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • 25 g vacuum-packed cooked and peeledchestnuts, chopped
  • 50g (or more if you like) of lardons
  • 300 g brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 3 Garlic cloves, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 chopped onions

Method

1. Drizzle the oil in  a frying pan and fry the garlic, lardons and onion.

2. Cook the Brussels sprouts in salted boiling water for 5-8 minutes, or until tender, then drain.

3. Then in the large frying pan, put the cooked brussels sprouts in and make sure they are cooked well.

4. Then put the chestnuts in. Leave to cook for a while. I like mine a bit mushy.

Goose Fat Roast Potatoes

Step 3

Ingredients

  • salt
  • 600 g potatoes, peeled and chopped into even-sized chunks
  • 150 g goose fat
  • Rosemary sprigs

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add in the potatoes. Once the water comes back to the boil parboil the potatoes for 10 minutes; drain and return to the pan. Shake the pan vigorously to roughen the potatoes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the goose fat to smoking point in a roasting tin. Add in the potatoes, using tongs to place them in the tin cut side down. Add the rosemary sprigs.

4. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning over twice during the roasting period.

Sticky Cumin and Apricot Roast Carrots and Parsnips

Step 4

Ingredients

  • 500 g small carrots
  • 500 g small parsnips, halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander

 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

2. Place the carrots and parsnips in a large roasting tin and drizzle with the olive oil. Scatter over the cumin seeds, season with salt and pepper and toss everything together to coat evenly.

3. Roast in the oven for 40–45 minutes, tossing occasionally in the oil during cooking, until tender and golden.

4. Heat the apricot jam and lemon juice for a few minutes in a small saucepan, stirring until you have a smooth, runny sauce. Pour this over the carrots and parsnips for the last 10 minutes of cooking, tossing the vegetables in the sauce to coat evenly. Scatter with the coriander just before serving.

Traditional Bread Sauce

Step 5

Ingredients

  • 300 ml milk
  • 150 ml single cream
  • 1 onions
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 25 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinches salt
  • 1 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 25 g butter

Method

1. Bring the milk and cream to a simmering boil in a saucepan. Add the onion, cloves and bay leaf.

2. Set aside to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain into a clean pan.

3. Add the breadcrumbs and simmer for 2 minutes until thickened. Season with the salt and cayenne pepper.

4. Remove from the heat, and melt the butter on top, which will form a seal until ready to serve.

5. When read to use, gently heat through, mix the butter in and serve.

Cranberry Sauce

Step 6

Ingredients

  • 170 g cranberries
  • sloe gin, to marinate
  • 150 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 2 pinches ground allspice
  • 1 pinches ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinches ground cinnamon

Method

1. Leave the cranberries to marinate in a splash of sloe gin in a shallow non-reactive bowl.

2. Combine the orange juice and sugar in a separate bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Pour the orange-sugar mixture into a pan, add the marinated cranberries and spices and simmer until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed.

4. Leave to cool and serve with turkey. The sauce can be stored, covered, in the fridge for 2-3 days or frozen for up to a month.

Christmas Pudding

Step 7

Ingredients

  • 350 g sultanas
  • 350 g raisins, or currants
  • 150 g dried figs, chopped
  • 125 g mixed candied peel, chopped
  • 100 g dried apricots, chopped
  • 75 g dark glacé cherries, halved
  • 150 ml brandy, plus some for flaming
  • 2 apples, or quince
  • 2 oranges, juice and zest
  • 6 eggs
  • 250 g shredded suet
  • 350 g soft muscovado sugar
  • 250 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice

Method

1. You will need two 1.5 litre plastic pudding basins and lids, buttered, two old sixpences or two pound coins, scrupulously scrubbed, two circles of greaseproof paper, buttered, large enough to cover the top of each pudding, with a single pleat folded down the centre of each.

2. Soak the sultanas, raisins or currants, figs, candied peel, apricots and cherries in the brandy overnight. The liquid won’t cover the fruit but no matter; just give it a good stir now and again.

3. Mix the grated apples, orange juice and zest, beaten eggs, suet, sugar, crumbs and pour in a very large mixing bowl, then stir in the soaked fruit and the spice. Divide the mixture between the buttered pudding basins, tucking the coins in as you go. Cover with the greaseproof paper, folded with a pleat in the centre.

4. Pop the lids on and steam for three and a half hours. Allow the puddings to cool, then remove the greaseproof paper, cover tightly with cling ?lm and the plastic lid and store in a cool, dry place till Christmas.

5. To reheat: steam the puddings for a further three and a half hours. Turn out and flame with brandy.

 

 

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You Gotta Eat Your Greens… No No I Mean Oranges!


Everyone knows that in Sweden it gets dark in winter… really early. So what to do during the night hours? Ah ha! Well that’s for you to decide. But what is important is eating your oranges… or to put it simply, you need you vitamin C!

Vitamin C is important to fight SAD disorder. You think I’m joking don’t you. A disorder called SAD? Really? Yes really! SAD stands for “Season Affective Disorder”.It is in fact a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in Autumn and Winter. It is believed that affected people react adversely to the decreasing amounts of sunlight and the colder temperatures. So, to put it simply, it is a disorder which makes you depressed because there is little sunlight and heat.

How do we counter this? Well there are many ways. Some suggest going in front of very bright lights for a certain period of time (which is also called phototherapy). Some say changing climats to a warmer one (which I think is pretty obvious). Of course there are antidepressant medications (but I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are really suffering really badly!) but a lot of people say that eating a good variety or fresh vegetables and lots of vitamin C can help a lot too.

So, what shall we do in Stockholm right now? I think we should all run around in the sunlight eating oranges and tangerines all the while screaming and laughing and listening to crazy party music until we are all tired. I have a few friends who also recommend having sex with all the lights in too, and I’m sure that that will help some of you (but I’m pretty sure not all of you!).

So, eat your oranges!

YUMMMMMMMY!

 

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Where is Home?


Home?

Sometimes I’m not sure. I don’t think I know any more. I don’t want to complain. I’ve been really lucky in life. I’ve had so many opportunities, met so many amazing people and I’ve been so happy it hurts. But you can’t just forget those times that you’ve been so unhappy that everything seems so dark and bleak. I’m not going to talk about certain things on this blog. I’ve done things which I regret with all my heart, some things that only a handful of people know and some things that I don’t want to admit out loud.

I haven’t moved around as much as other people I know, but I don’t believe it’s the amount of countries you’ve lived in that makes it seem as though you don’t have a true home. It’s in your heart.

When I didn’t know anything else, London was my home… but I moved. We went to France, to a place where I don’t and never will feel like home to me. Why? I don’t know. It doesn’t feel right to me. it feels like a prolonged holiday home. It’s the place where my parents live. I don’t live there. Ever since we moved to France, I’ve either been in boarding school or in Toulouse at University. So I haven’t ever really lived there.

I don’t want to move and live back in London. London… has changed, I’ve changed. I feel like it isn’t something I want anymore. I’ve grown up, and grown out of London. I’m looking for a new place. I want to find a new home. A new place to start anew. They say that “Home is where the heart is”. Well that’s probably true, but I don’t know where my heart is. I haven’t found a place that shouts “welcome home Roxane”.

Life doesn’t seem to get easier as we go on. There’s always the same problems. I wish, I wish… I wish you could take a vacation from reality. But you can’t. Even sleeping is controlled by your brain, what you dream about (well hello my subconscience!) and how long you sleep!

I love travelling, but I feel that I only have wings… and I sometimes need to land and make roots… but I don’t feel like there is anywhere I really can. Meeting new people? I love it. I really do. I have a great passion for learning new things. Art, music, architecture etc I love. But… I want to find someone and make a nest. I just don’t know yet…

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