Joined a Photography Group

Our first “assignment” was to bring in photos of our local ferry.  Since I live right down from the Kingston Ferry, I just looked back to see what I had photographed in the last year.  Here are my offerings. I would love to know which one you like best.  This is more “Food for Thought” than food, although the Hot Dogs on the ferry are not bad!  f10f11f12f16f20f22f24f25ferry 1

Joined a Photography Group

Shaved Mushroom & Celery Salad

salad

I found this recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Mediterranean Cookbook and since I had all the ingredients, decided to give it a try.  I added a little and left out a little.  I made notes below the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ pound cremini or white button mushrooms, very thinly sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, from the heart of the celery, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives or tarragon
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, or 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces shaved Parmesan

Toss together the mushrooms, celery, parsley, and chives, and season with salt and pepper. Mix together the lemon juice (or lemon juice and vinegar) and olive oil, and toss with the vegetables. Just before serving, toss again with the Parmesan.

Notes:

I used a little dried tarragon, as my chives are way out in the garden and probably frozen.  I did not use any vinegar as the recipe from the book did not call for any, but I did use EVOO (1/4 cup) and mixed it with the lemon juice, then added the very thinly (1/8 inch or less) mushrooms and thinly sliced celery to the mix and let it set for 10 minutes.

Since I had 2 ounces of grated regiano parmesano in the refrigerator I add that, then shaved the same for the top of the salad.  My garden is a little short of parsley this time of year, so I added baby arugula.

This would be a lovely salad to serve for dinner with friends, as it is a bit different, but delicious.  Hope you enjoy making it.

 

Shaved Mushroom & Celery Salad

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter

Made this the other day and forgot to take a photo of it, but it was SO easy and SO delicious I just wanted to share with a photo I stole online.

Screen Shot 2018-01-21 at 9.19.12 AM

I think I am in love with gnocchi.  I have some purple sweet potatoes in the refrigerator that I found at our local market, so am excited to see how gnocchi made with them will turn out!

So here is a simple recipe for Butternut Squash Gnocchi that I found in Bon Appetit.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1-pound butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 12- to 14-ounce russet potato, peeled, quartered
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (or more) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • Additional grated Parmesan cheese

RECIPE PREPARATION

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut squash lengthwise in half; discard seeds. Place squash halves, cut side up, on baking sheet and brush with oil. Roast until squash is very tender when pierced with skewer and browned in spots, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh from squash into processor; puree until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan; stir constantly over medium heat until juices evaporate and puree thickens, about 5 minutes. Cool. Measure 1 cup (packed) squash puree (reserve remaining squash for another use).

  • Meanwhile, cook potato in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. While potato is warm, press through potato ricer into medium bowl; cool completely. Measure 2 cups (loosely packed) riced potato (reserve remaining potato for another use).

  • Mix squash, potato, 1/2 cup Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, and salt in large bowl. Gradually add 1 3/4 cups flour, kneading gently into mixture in bowl until dough holds together and is almost smooth. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls. Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead gently but briefly just until smooth. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.

  • Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Sprinkle parchment lightly with flour. Working with 1 dough piece at a time, roll dough out on floured surface to about 1/2-inch-thick rope. Cut rope crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll gnocchi along back of fork tines dipped in flour, making ridges on 1 side. Transfer gnocchi to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

  • Working in 2 batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, 15 to 17 minutes (gnocchi will float to surface but may come to surface before being fully cooked). Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to same parchment-lined baking sheets. Cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover loosely and chill.

  • Cook butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat just until golden, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Add sage; stir 1 minute. Add gnocchi; cook until heated through and coated with butter, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan.

    Here is a useful Utube for making gnocchi using a gnocchi board.  It makes it so fast and so simple.  So worth the $5.99 and the space it takes in a drawer when not using.

    Using a gnocchi board

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter

One tip to perfect pasta

pasta

I found this article online and thought I would share it with my pasta eating friends. This takes no additional time and makes perfect sense to me.  I have always been told to immediately rinse my pasta, so it stops cooking.  But if you just take it off a little more al dente, then this works perfectly.

By GRACE ELKUS

There are few dishes as satisfying as a steaming plate of pasta, especially when it’s enjoyed at the end of a long day. But in addition to the strands of spaghetti or twists of tortellini, there’s another component vital to pasta night—and that’s the sauce.

A noodle is nothing without a sauce to cling to (when’s the last time you sat down to a plate of plain pasta?), which is why it’s important to leverage the pasta’s natural starchiness, so the pasta and the sauce can work together. You don’t need to agonize over the sauce itself, but rather how it’s going to adhere to the pasta.

Let’s start at the beginning. After dropping the dry noodles into a pot of boiling water, you may be tempted to add a tablespoon of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking. But adding oil will only make the noodles slippery, and prevent them from mixing nicely with the sauce later on. Instead, when you drop the pasta in the water, use a set of tongs (or a spoon) to separate the noodles inside the pot—then stir the pasta occasionally to prevent it from clumping as it cooks.

When you’re ready to drain the pasta, reserve some of the cooking liquid to thicken a tomato sauceloosen a pesto, or help ricotta adhere to the noodles. Add your sauce of choice immediately after draining, and never rinse the pasta with water. Running water over the noodles will strip them of their starches (which is what helps glue the sauce to the pasta), and will make your dish water-y and less flavorful.

One tip to perfect pasta

Gnocchi is so tasty!

gnocchi

Went to a local cooking class today and made this yummy and very easy gnocchi.  We made the gnocchi in class, then I came home and finished it for dinner.  It was a bit hit with the husband.  Gnocchi is so very easy to make and so yummy to eat.

Today we all brought 1-3 baked potatoes. ( Bake not boil ) I boiled mine and my potato ricer is now being replaced by a new industrial one.  It sort of leans to the right in the trash right now.  A very nice man in the class strong-armed a bit too much.  My potatoes were too hard, even after microwaving them.

Ingredients:

1-2 russet potatoes

1-2 eggs

2-3 cups of white flour

Nutmeg – a little dab will do

Make a basin for the egg in the middle of the riced potato and mix with hands. You can do this with the potato or the flour.  Blend it with your hands till looks like the picture in the middle and kind of medium soft to the touch. If it is too wet, add more flour. It just has to feel right.  Roll it into cigar shapes and cut into 1/2 lengths.

Flour your gnocchi board if you have one. I bought mine on Amazon (of course) for about $6.00.

gnocchi board

Putting a little flour on the board makes all the difference.  I like to roll my little cigar segments at an angle across the board.

how-to-make-potato-gnocchi

You can do this with your fingers and a spoon and fork, but the gnocchi board cuts the time, so you can do a whole batch in under five minutes with a little practice.  The one I have has a stand, so you can just put it right on the counter and roll the little gnocchi on to a piece of parchment.

Heat a pot of water and when it is boiling, just drop them in the water.  When they float to the top they are just about done.  I let them float about a minute, then take them out with a Chinese Strainerstrainer

Sauce is up to you.  Tonight I sautéed some pancetta, add a few sliced garlic cloves, some sliced cherry tomatoes and after I added the gnocchi to the sauce, I added a handful of fresh basil.  I grated fresh parmesano regiano  cheese on top, threw some spinach in another bowel, added some good oil and citrus vinegar and dinner was wonderfully ready.

Gnocchi is so tasty!

Michael Symon’s Mom’s Lasagna

Total:  2 hr 50 min
Prep:  20 min
Inactive:  20 min
Cook:  2 hr 10 min
Yield:  6 servings
Level:  Intermediate

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound pork neck bones
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, loose or removed from casings
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound dried lasagna noodles
  • 2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for final topping
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a three-finger pinch of salt and sweat them until they’re translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the neck bones and let them brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ground veal, beef and sausage, and season with another healthy pinch of salt. Cook until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine, tomatoes and their juice, and the bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, making sure to get all of the browned bits into the sauce. Season the sauce with salt, to taste, and simmer for 2 hours over medium heat. Remove the bay leaves and neck bones and let cool. Skim any fat that rises to the surface.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add enough salt so that it tastes seasoned and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain well and set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, parsley, basil, oregano, eggs, and Parmesan with a pinch of salt.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Ladle about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan. Arrange a layer of noodles followed by a layer of sauce and then some of the ricotta mixture. Top with a layer of mozzarella, smoothing it with a spatula to the edges. Repeat the process until the pan is full. Finish with a final layer of noodles, sauce, the mozzarella, and Parmesan.

Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest, 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

The chef was raised on his mother’s next-level, thirty-layer lasagna, which he serves at his new Atlantic city restaurant.

REGAN STEPHENS

September 05, 2017

Every Italian dutifully swears his mom’s cooking is the best, but in Michael Symon’s case, it may actually be true. The Iron Chef recently opened Angeline in Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa as an homage to his mom, Angel. The menu, inspired by family recipes, is a roundup of the classic, red-sauce-style Italian dishes Symon grew up eating: handmade linguini with clams, arancini, eggplant parm and a daily “Sunday Supper” that includes a feast of prosciutto, ricotta and red peppers, cavatelli, garlic bread, meatballs and more. But one dish evokes a particularly strong sense of nostalgia for Symon: lasagna.

“Every Wednesday at my parents’ house was lasagna night—the night all my friends begged to eat over,” he says. “You could smell the lasagna baking houses away, and Wednesday was the only night of the week I was more than happy to be early for dinner. I’ve eaten lasagna from every corner of the earth, and I have yet to find one as good as Mom’s.”

Symon recreates Angel’s recipe in the thirty-layered dish he named “Mom’s Lasagna.” In a glossy dining room designed with little touches to recall his mom’s home (floral wallpaper, lace curtains and a built-in hutch displaying cake plates and other nonna-approved knick-knacks) servers present towering rectangles of pasta and cheese that sit atop pools of meaty red sauce. If you aren’t getting an invite to Mrs. Symon’s house on lasagna night, this is the next best thing.

To start your own Wednesday night tradition, use the chef’s best tips for building an architecturally-impressive, nostalgia-inducing lasagna.

The Noodles

According to Symon, cutting corners sacrifices taste. “Don’t bother with those no-boil noodles—they compromise the texture,” he says. “Go the extra mile and use the real thing.” He also quotes his co-host on The Chew: “When boiling the noodles, salt your water until, in the words of Mario Batali, it’s ‘as salty as the sea.’ This is your chance to season your pasta.”

The Cheese

To help keep layers smooth and mess-free, use Angel’s trick. “One of the things my mom always did is put the ricotta mixture in a plastic zip bag or piping bag,” he shares. “That way it goes right where you want it to go, and you don’t have to fight with it. It spreads quickly and evenly.”

The Pan

The chef says a 9 x 13-inch pan is the optimal size and shape for baking lasagna. “It keeps the ingredients condensed so the final product is nice and thick, versus each layer being spread thinly in a larger pan,” he says.

The Finish

There’s really no such thing as too much cheese, so Symon likes to grate fresh mozzarella and fresh parmesan on top to make it extra cheesy. “Another tip from my mom: always cover it with foil at the beginning of the cooking process, then remove it for the last 10 minutes to let the cheese on top get brown and crispy.”

Michael Symon’s Mom’s Lasagna

The Trick That Will Keep You From Ever Burning Your Garlic Again

I found this interesting article online this morning a site called “My Recipes”.  Since most of us love cooking with garlic and have most likely burned it somewhere along the way, I thought this information might be useful.

getty-garlic-image

Michael Goldman/Getty Images

Garlic might be one of the worst foods to burn, because there’s no turning back once you do. Unlike other veggies or meats that aren’t completely ruined if you just so happen to give them a little extra char than you intended for, garlic cannot withstand even 10 seconds too long over a flame. It turns black almost immediately and acquires an off-putting, bitter taste that can ruin an entire dish. The only fix to burning garlic is starting over.

So here’s how it usually happens: You’ve got your oil heating in a skillet, maybe with an onion or some other aromatics, and you add a clove or two of minced/finely chopped garlic. Seems legit, right? We’ve got to start building the flavor of this dish at some point, so we might as well start now. Ehhhh…sure, you can do this, but just know, that if you’re going to burn your garlic, this is how it’s done. Despite the lovely, garlicky aroma that will immediately engulf your kitchen upon dumping this fresh garlic into hot oil, this is oftentimes where things take a turn for the worst. Take your eyes away from that pan for more than a minute or two (especially if you turned on the heat with no abandon), and you’ve got yourself a handful of garlic that’s burned to a crisp. Not only that, but the oil and whatever other veggies are in that pan are going to taste pretty darn rotten, too.

Instead, if you simply punch down on a whole garlic clove with the side of your knife, gently crushing it so that it’s paper skin falls off and it’s slightly cracked open, you’ll still be able to impart that garlicky flavor into the oil. By prepping the garlic this way, you’ll avoid creating so much exposed surface area (like you do when you mince it) that the whole chopped clove immediately turns to a pile of ashes after 60 seconds of sizzling. Smaller bits burn quicker. If you really want to go the minced clove route, wait until the middle of your cooking process to add it to the concoction. This way, there’s less cooking time for your precious garlic to burn, and likely, more ingredients in the pan to help disperse the heat and act as a buffer for your delicate aromatic. Once you’ve got your slightly flattened cloves, put them in a skillet with oil (don’t be shy, a couple of generous glugs will do) over LOW HEAT. This temperature adjustment is crucial.

Once you’ve got your cloves gently cooking in oil over low heat, this is where the magic happens. Give the cloves some time to release their essence throughout the oil. As they start to cook, you can increase your heat to medium-high so that the white-ish cloves turn a warm, golden brown. If you rush this, however (shame, shame), your cloves are apt to turn black, so it’s important to keep a close eye. Before you go ahead and serve these babies, make sure that you’ve cooked them long enough. Because the cloves are whole, it’s going to take a little longer to soften and they may hold on to that raw, sharp taste.

When your cloves appear caramelized on the outside and creamy on the inside, you better be salivating, because you just created a garlic-infused oil. At this point, you can fish out the cloves, and add them to the blender to make a pesto, hummus or any other dip/sauce that could use a garlicky punch, or spread them atop a piece of toast, which should then rightfully be finished with a frizzled egg. One of my favorite restaurants, that is no longer open served baked garlic on toasted pita bread.  It was delicious. That and a nice Cabernet Sauvignon was delightful with conversation.  Not the best for a first date, if you live in “that” world.

With the wonderful oil that you’ve so carefully concocted, you can make stir-fries, one-pan pasta sauces, soups, or whatever dish you want to be laced with fresh, garlicky flavor. Ultimately, this is not the only way to cook garlic, however it’s, in my opinion, a foolproof method that consistently creates a pronounced yet not-too-overwhelming garlic flavor. And I’ve burnt garlic too many times to go back to my old ways.

Sara Tane wrote the original article.  January 2018

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The Trick That Will Keep You From Ever Burning Your Garlic Again

Chorizo Corn Cakes

Chorizo Corn Cakes

Looking through Eating Light Magazine and thinking it is time to cut back on calories I found this interestingly different recipe and thought I would give a try.  Luckily my local Albertsons had fresh and “soft” Chorizo, so it turned out perfect!

Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Serves 8 (serving size: 2 cakes, 1 egg, and about 1/2 tsp. syrup mixture)

How to Make It

Step 1

Place chorizo, corn, and jalapeño in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until corn is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 2

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and 1 egg. Add buttermilk mixture and chorizo mixture to flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Gently stir in butter. Let stand 5 minutes.

Step 3

Preheat an electric griddle to 350°F, or heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high. Lightly grease griddle or skillet with cooking spray. Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons batter for each of 16 cakes onto griddle; gently spread into 3-inch rounds using back of spoon. Cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and keep warm, or follow freezing instructions.

Step 4

Crack remaining 8 eggs on lightly greased griddle; cover, and cook 3 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are cooked to desired degree of doneness.

Step 5

In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and adobo sauce. Place 2 cakes on each of 8 plates; top each serving with 1 egg. Drizzle syrup over eggs and corn cakes. Sprinkle evenly with black pepper and cilantro.

Step 6

FREEZE: Cool cooked corn cakes completely. Wrap corn cakes tightly in plastic wrap in stacks of 4 with parchment paper or plastic wrap between each cake. Place in a large ziplock plastic freezer bag; seal and freeze up to 2 months.

Step 7

REHEAT: Toast frozen corn cakes in a toaster or in a toaster oven on medium until heated through, 4 to 5 minutes.

 

According to the recipe it is only 249 calories per serving.  One serving is one egg and one cake!  I served them with a multi-lettuce salad with raspberries and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  YUMMY!  My husband loved it and he is a very picky meat and potato guy, but is trying to break out of that mold.

Chorizo Corn Cakes

How to keep that All-Clad clean!

Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 10.05.11 AMOver the years, I have had many pans that I loved and that I hated.  I love all my All Clad pans and their Slow-Cooker is the most even one I have owned.  That being said, my dear sweet husband likes to help clean up the kitchen, as he does not ever cook and I love cooking.

All Clad are not as easy as Teflon, but with a little man-power or woman-power and little help from a couple friends, they can remain spotless.  I keep SOS or Brillo on hand and scrub away every use.  I do use a new one every time, as I can’t stand the yucky thing after it has been used once, and luckily they are really cheap.  They even sell them at the local Dollar Store.

If I can’t get it clean with just SOS or Brillo, I add Bar Keeper’s Friend to the mix.  I read somewhere that people thought it was toxic, so I looked up their website to see what they had to say.  Here is it, and it is quite natural.  You might want to wear gloves, but it is not going to hurt the environment any more than rhubarb or spinach, as it contains natural oxalic acid.

Family-owned, Customer-driven

After World War II, U.S. Army veteran Dr. Beurt SerVaas found that the customers at his small plating shop kept asking him how to clean metal items. “My grandmother used Bar Keepers Friend,” he told them. Inspired to serve his customers, Dr. SerVaas purchased Bar Keepers Friend from the Gisler Polish Corporation in 1956.

Over the years, more and more people got in on the secret of Bar Keepers Friend, and found ever more varied and unique uses for our oxalic acid-based cleaning powder. We’re still a family-owned company manufacturing in Indianapolis, and we’re still motivated by solving problems for our customers. Bar Keepers Friend now goes to market with minor variations in ingredients and packaging, but our products remain essentially the same as the ones that polished bar rails over a century ago.

  • “Bar Keepers Friend is extremely popular among musicians, especially drummers. It is excellent at removing stains, fingerprints and stick marks from cymbals”
  • My mother always told me to use Bar Keepers Friend to keep my stainless steel pots clean, and she was right. I finally tried it and was so surprised it worked great. Thank you so much
  • Thanks for making a product that actually cleans my sink and pots and pans without tons of elbow grease. I use Bar Keepers Friend for all kinds of clean up around the house. Thanks for making a superior product!
  • This is my favorite kitchen cleaning product! Saves so much time and effort when cleaning baked-on and stained items. You have a customer for life! Thanks
How to keep that All-Clad clean!

How about Turkey Wellington for Christmas??

Turkey Wellington

SERVES 10
 From Jamie’s Oliver’s “Christmas with Bells On”837_1_1439210788

Ingredients

  • 1.6 kg turkey breast , skin off, preferably higher welfare
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme , leaves picked
  • 1 x 340 g jar cranberry jam
  • 25 g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 rashers quality smoked streaky bacon , thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 600 g mixed mushrooms , chopped
  • 1 turkey leg
  • 1 carrot , roughly chopped
  • 1 leek , trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion , peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 knob unsalted butter
  • 2 x 500 g packets all butter puff pastry , chilled
  • 1 large free-range egg , beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Place the turkey breast upside-down on a board. Gently slice into the natural join of the breast muscle to open it out and make a sort of pocket. Season well and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over half the thyme leaves, then spread over an even layer of cranberry jam, pushing it into all the nooks and crannies. Fold it back into shape to seal the mixture inside – swiss roll-stylie – and push a few cocktail sticks into the seam to keep it together. Transfer the turkey to a roasting tray, season the outside with the remaining thyme leaves, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Rub it all over, cover in tin foil and roast in the hot oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until just cooked through – using a thermometer, you want it to be 72°C at the thickest point.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the porcini in a dish of just-boiled water. After 5 minutes, stir with a fork so any bits of grit sink to the bottom. Add the bacon to a large frying pan with a splash of oil on a medium heat and fry for 5 to 10 minutes, or until beautifully golden and super crispy. Strip in the leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs for the last 30 seconds or so. Remove everything from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon fat behind. Add the fresh mushrooms to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drain and chop the porcini, saving the water, then stir into the pan. Add a splash of the water, avoiding the grit, then cook for around 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pan starts to sizzle again and the mushrooms are golden, soft and sticky with caramelly edges.
  3. To make the gravy, cut the thigh off the turkey leg and slash into it slightly. Throw the leg and thigh into a pot along with the carrot, leek and onion. Stir in the flour, add a good pinch of salt and pepper and 2 litres of boiling water. Add a heaped tablespoon of cranberry jam, the balsamic vinegar and remaining rosemary sprig. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for around 2 hours, or until thick. Strain it through a sieve and reheat before serving.
  4. When the mushroom pan is dry, add a knob of butter and toss to coat. Tip the mushrooms into the food processor and whiz until you get a good mixture of smooth and chunky. Leave to cool. Once the turkey breast and stuffing have cooled, you can get on with assembling the wellington.
  5. Dust a clean surface with flour, then roll out each packet of puff pastry to the size of a shoe box (one will be the base, one the lid – roll the lid ever so slightly bigger). Line a large roasting tray with greaseproof paper, dust with flour, then add the smaller piece of pastry. Spread half of the mushroom stuffing onto the middle of the base to cover an area the same size as your turkey breast. Remove the cocktail sticks, then place the turkey breast on top and spread the remaining stuffing over the top packing it all in and smoothing it out so that the whole breast is covered. Sprinkle with the crispy bacon and rosemary, then brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Lay the second sheet of pastry over the top, gently mold it round the shape of the breast, pushing all the air out and seal together. Trim the edges to around 4cm, then pull, twist, tuck and pinch in the pastry (like in the picture).
  6. Brush the whole thing with beaten egg then all the hard work’s done. Leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight until you’re ready to cook. On Christmas day, cook at 180°/350°F/gas 4 for 50 to 60 minutes, or until risen, puffy and beautifully golden and the turkey is piping hot throughout. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for around 10 minutes before carving. Serve carved into 2.5cm with the gravy and all the usual. Christmas in a mouthful.
How about Turkey Wellington for Christmas??