Glazed Gammon with Clemengold Preserve + Yum Sides

December 18, 2014 in Meat, Roasts, vegetables

Glazed gammonThe Christmas table is not complete without a juicy glazed gammon in my family. Yes, we have stuffed turkey and corned beef too but I am a big fan of smoky, sweet and tender glazed gammon. Delicious hot or cold and even better 1 or 2 days later on sandwiches with coleslaw and mustard.

I was going to do the whole traditional gammon with pineapple rings and cherries but then I found a jar of Clemengold Preserve (mandarin preserve) in my cupboard decided to go with that.  I’m so glad I did. The AMC cookware team and I could not stop eating this glorious piece of meat – the combination is out of this world! We served “the works” with this gammon. Honey and thyme roasted rainbow carrots,  rosemary and rock salt hasselback potatoes and a lush little salad of baby spinach, grilled courgette ribbons, pickled red onion, chevin and pomegranate rubies with a punchy citrus dressing. And to make this scene shot even more festive, we threw a light summer fruit pavlova into the mix. Doesn’t just looks so summery and festive? Makes my heart happy. I for one and so excited for our Christmas. It’s my favourite time of year, a time to reflect on the past year and be with your loved ones. But most of all, it’s a time for a good face stuffing. Yay! So what are you cooking for Christmas?

christmas lunch table

Glazed Gammon with Clemengold Preserve

3 kg boneless gammon
1 onion, roughly sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery sticks
2 bay leaves
1 t ( 5ml) black peppercorns
2 c (500 ml) ginger beer
1/4 c (60 ml) whole grain mustard
handful of whole cloves
1/3 c (80 ml) soft brown sugar (treacle)
1 jar of ClemenGold Preserve* (mandarin preserve)

For the method and recipes for the sides, click here to view on my Bits of Carey website.

Christmas gammon and sides

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Chilled Eggnog

December 15, 2014 in desserts, drinks and cocktails, Randoms

eggnog chilledThis year, I will most certainly be making this chilled eggnog. It just tastes of Christmas! Creamy, spicy and boozy with a hint of orange zest. Perfect for welcome drinks or as a pre dessert. Be careful though, I got pretty plonkered when I prepared this as I kept tasting if the rum and spice balance was correct. You can reduce the amount of rum in the recipe, but I’m happy with the balance now, it will definitely keep things festive and merry! Once you taste it, you can’t stop!

Michelle Parkin and I really enjoyed shooting (and drinking) this.

Chilled eggnog

Serves: 8

2 cups (500 ml) full cream milk
4 whole cloves
¼ t (1.25 ml) vanilla essence
½ t (2.5 ml) ground cinnamon
good pinch of nutmeg
½ t (2.5 ml) ground ginger
1 t (5 ml) mixed spice
zest of 1 orange
6 egg yolks
¾ c (180 ml) brown sugar
+- ¾ c (180 ml) rum – I add a full cup for an extra kick!
2 c (500 ml) pouring cream
1 t (5 ml) vanilla essence

For the method: Click here to view full recipe on my website.

Chilled eggnogRecipe and styling by Bits of Carey (Carey Erasmus)
Photography by Michelle Parkin 

Sticky Brandy Puddings

December 11, 2014 in Baking, desserts

Brandy puddings

Brandy pudding was a big thing over Christmas time when my Great Granny Ida was still around, she used to wrap pennies in rice paper and plant them into the batter. It was so magical to find a penny in your bowl of pud. She would do the same thing with her Christmas pudding. What a great memory. I don’t have her recipe unfortunately, but this is a recipe we used often at PnP Good Food Studio for functions and classes.

Who doesn’t love tipsy tart? Sweet, sticky and boozy. Brilliant.

Sticky Brandy Puddings
Sticky Brandy Puddings

Serves: 6

250 g dates, chopped
175 ml boiling water
1 t (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda
1 T (15 ml) butter
85 g (100 ml) castor sugar
1 egg
225 g (375 ml) cake flour
1 T (15 ml) baking powder
pinch of salt

Click here to see the full recipe on my website.

Photography by Michelle Parkin.

For more of my recipes and ramblings:
Visit my website: www.bitsofcarey.co.za
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Exotic Mushroom & Bacon Pate

December 11, 2014 in Snacks

Mushroom and bacon pateI had loads of Nouvelle exotic mushrooms in my fridge recently and thought, “How about a mushroom pate? Better yet, how about a mushroom and BACON pate?!”  As much as I love chicken liver as well as snoek pate, I needed to create another option, ring the changes somewhat. Leave out the bacon for a lush vegetarian option – but I love the smokiness and depth of flavour bacon brings to this pate and it plays so nicely with the mushrooms.  I also added a glug of cognac for good measure – it just rounds off all the flavours so deliciously. This pate will surely be a winner at any dinner party this festive season. This mixture makes enough for 4-6 ramekins (depending on the size of the dishes). Enjoy!

Mushroom and bacon pate
Exotic Mushroom & Bacon Pate

Makes: +- 6 ramekins or pots

Ingredients:
200 g streaky bacon, finely chopped
50 g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 sprig of thyme, finely chopped
10 g dried porcini mushrooms soaked in hot water
500 g assorted exotic mushrooms (king oyster, enoki, shitake etc), chopped
2 T (30 ml) cognac, brandy or dry sherry
+- 125 g full fat cream cheese ( add more if you enjoy a creamier pate)
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
Topping:
2 T (30 ml) melted butter
a few small sprigs of thyme

Method:
Click here to see the method on my website :-)

mushroom and baocn pate
Mushroom and bacon pate
mushroom and bacon pate

Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs & Mushrooms

November 26, 2014 in Chicken

Pan roasted chicken thighs and mushrooms
I used my AMC Cookware 24 cm gourmet frying pan to prepare this gloriously easy and moreish one pot wonder. From stove, to oven, to table – Fab!  Succulent chicken thighs roasted with assorted mushrooms, fresh herbs, garlic and white wine, then finished off with lemon zest and an optional glug of cream. Delicious served with garlic bruschetta to mop up all the saucy goodness or simply on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes and Bob’s your Uncle.  I love using chicken thighs because they are tender when cooked due to their higher fat content and the darker meat has bags of flavour!

Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs & Mushrooms

Ingredients:
5-6 large chicken thighs (skin and bone intact), lightly seasoned with salt
2 T (30 ml) butter
300 g assorted mushrooms ( I used baby button, shitake, brown mushroom and enoki), chop the bigger ones
2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
8 sage leaves, roughly chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
3/4 c (180 ml) dry white wine or replace with chicken stock if you don’t do alcohol.
1/4 c (60 ml) cream – optional
zest of 1 lemon
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

For the method, click here 

pan roasted chicken thighs and mushrooms

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Homemade Playdough

November 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Homemade Playdough

You must be thinking that I’m going bonkers. Playdough on a food blog? Well yes, I’ve had so many requests for a good play dough recipe and even dog biscuits. Dog bikkies, I’ll get to another time. This recipe is made from simple pantry ingredients: flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil and water. All edible stuff but definitely not palatable! I divided the dough and kneaded my 2 favourite colours into them. I must say, the feeling of squishing and kneading cool play dough in your hands is rather therapeutic and I even got a bit “Carey’d” away and made a cute little duckling, what do you think of my creation? LOL.

We don’t have kids yet, but if or when we do, I’d like to think that I’d make a big batch of dough with assorted colours and allow our little one/s to get creative at the kitchen table. As an adult, play dough is a super way to work off stress or simply to relax and let creative juices flow. I for one, will have a stash in a jar from now on for when I’m having a creative block or our friends’ children come to visit.

How about making play dough for gifts this year? Experiment with different food colourings or add a few drops of aromatherapy oils (lavender, rose geranium etc) to the dough to make “homemade de-stress playdough” for adults! Bottle them in consol jars (they are airtight so will prevent the dough from drying out and it looks awesome) and decorate with ribbons and cute labels. How fun!

homemade play dough

Homemade Playdough

Makes: enough to fill 4 x 500 ml medium containers or jars.

1 c salt
4 c hot water
4 c cake flour
1/2 c cream of tartar *
4 T cooking oil
Food colouring of your choice

In a large bowl, dissolve salt in the hot water.
Sift the dry ingredients.
Add salt water to a large heavy based pot together with the remaining ingredients and stir constantly over moderate heat until a dough is formed. This will take about 7 minutes of labour intensive stirring. When no longer sticky on touch and the dough is firm, remove from the pot. Allow to cool slightly – not too long, or it will dry out.
Divide dough in 2.
Knead a few drops of food colouring into each dough ball until evenly combined and the dough is firm and smooth.
Store in airtight containers or glass jars.

* Cream of tartar is a vital ingredient to make play dough. It is also called acid potassium tartrate. Commonly used in baking. It is an acid which reacts with an alkaline (bicarb) to release carbon dioxide which in turn aerates cake mixtures. It is also used to stiffen liquids and mixtures such as egg whites when manipulated. In this case, the cream of tartar makes the dough firm and pliable.

playdough and amc cookware
This recipe was developed for AMC Cookware 
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Margherita Tray Bake Pizza

November 21, 2014 in Baking, Meatless meals

Margherita Tray Bake PizzaThis is the type of pizza I grew up with.  A quick-mix dough pressed into a baking tray and topped with tinned tomato & onion and lots of cheese. If it was a good time of the month, we would have the addition of bacon & banana or ham & pineapple – you get the picture. It was a firm family favourite in our household.  I opted to do a simple one with the must-have sweetish tomato & onion base, a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar, thin slices of ripe tomato and fresh basil. When Michelle Parkin &  I shot this, we couldn’t resist tucking in. This pizza brought back some fond food memories for the both of us. Thick doughy base, “tomatoey” goodness and stringy cheese. Pure nostalgia.

Margherita Tray Bake Pizza

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Base:
350 g cake flour
1 c (250 ml) sour cream or buttermilk
½ c (125 ml) milk
1/3 c (80 ml) olive oil
½ t (2.5 ml) baking powder
½ t (2.5 ml) salt

Topping:
½ a 400 g tin tomato and onion mix
3 T (45 ml) sundried tomato pesto ( I use Ina Paarman’s)
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
2 t (10 m) dried oregano
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 c (250 ml) cheddar cheese
1 c (250 ml) mozzarella cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves

For the method, click here

margherita pizzaFor more of my recipes and ramblings:
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Sweet Melon Wedges, Prosciutto & Goat’s Cheese

November 21, 2014 in salads

sweet melon and prosciutto

I did a fun project with talented photographer, Michelle Parkin, recently. I love it when two creatives just mesh and work so effortlessly together. After a fab 3 day shoot, I’m sure we’ll be doing a lot more collaborations. So watch this space. Yay!

This sweet melon dish is just a sneak peek of the many meals we shot together.  It is inspired by my childhood where we’d eat “spanspek” (sweet melon) with every meal whether it was a roast lunch or braai. I wasn’t a huge fan of sweet melon as a child so I naturally avoided it as an adult until J and I visited Florence, Italy, a few years ago and we tried their sweet melon adorned with generous amounts of prosciutto served with crusty bread and grassy olive oil. OMG, it was a flavour explosion of the sweetest most fragrant melon I’ve ever tasted with salty ham. Pure heaven. Since then I often serve sweet melon the way the Italians do, prosciutto e melone!

To take it to the next level, I add creamy goats cheese and mint to the mix and drizzle with lush olive oil. This makes a divine starter, accompaniment to a tapas spread or as a salad. Personally, I eat it as a meal with loads a freshly baked ciabatta, olive oil and balsamic.

Now that sweet melons are in season, give this a go. It just tastes of summer!

Sweet Melon, Prosciutto & Goat’s Cheese with Fresh Mint

Ingredients:
1 sweet melon, peeled and cut into thin wedges and pips removed
12-16 slices prosciutto/Parma ham
200 g chevin goat’s cheese, broken into bite size pieces
handful of small mint leaves
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
To serve (optional):
Freshly baked ciabatta
Good quality balsamic

Method:
Wrap slices of proscuitto around each wedge of melon.
Arrange onto a board with goats cheese and mint leaves.
Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste.
Enjoy with crusty bread, balsamic and extra olive oil.

sweet melon and prosciuttoFor more of my recipes and ramblings:
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Fudgy Chocolate & Marie Biscuit Squares

November 13, 2014 in Sweet treats

Chocolate and marie biscuit squaresRemember these? I sat a few weeks ago just thinking about these old fashioned choc marie biscuit squares and the packets upon packets I’d wolf down as a kid. What a delight they were. I’d use my tuck shop money to stock up on these and hide them under my bed so my big brother (and dad) wouldn’t find them…ahh good times. Even then, I was such an oinker. I’m not so territorial over food now, in fact, I love sharing food (except for niknaks, I’ll rip your arm off if you go for my packet). *smiles innocently*

This is such an easy recipe, some people even call these “cheat’s no bake chocolate brownies”. I have to agree somewhat, they are uber chocolatey, sweet and fudgy. It hits the spot without all the fuss and baking. These are seriaasly naughty, so this is definitely a once in a while treat, okay? Be good

Fudgy Chocolate & Marie Biscuit Squares

Makes: 16

Ingredients:
250g butter
500g icing sugar
1 c (250 ml) good quality cocoa powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 t (5 ml) vanilla essence
1 packet Marie biscuits broken into pieces (bash in a packet or use a food processor)
Other options:
For a less sweet option with more texture: replace 250 g of icing sugar with 200 g ground almonds
Replace vanilla essence with (½ t) 2.5 ml peppermint essence – so yum!!!

For the method, click here to view complete recipe on my website. 

Blueberry Flapjacks with Creme Fraiche and Honey

October 16, 2014 in Breakfast, cakes, desserts, Snacks


blueberry flapjacks, creme fraiche and honeyFlapjacks or crumpets remind me of school holidays. My gran used to make a huge batch of flapjacks in the morning and we would tuck into them with butter, cinnamon and sugar while watching “KTV”.  So whenever I bite into a flapjack, I have this fond memory.  When I spotted lush blueberries at Woolies, I just had to make a batch of Blueberry Flapjacks served with creme fraiche and honey. It was a craving I needed to satiate.  If you don’t have creme fraiche, use thick Greek-style yoghurt. This will surely bring smiles to the breakfast table.

Blueberry flap jacks Copyright Bits of CareyBlueBerry Flapjacks
Makes: 16
Ingredients:
1/2 c (125 ml) milk
1/2 c (125 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 c (125 ml) castor sugar
3 eggs
1/2 t (2.5 ml) vanilla essence
1 1/2 c (375 ml) cake flour
2 t (10 ml) baking powder
a good pinch of salt
125 g fresh blueberries
To serve:
100 g extra fresh blueberries
1 c (250 ml) Creme fraiche or Greek Yoghurt
Honey for drizzling

For the method or full recipe print out, hop over to my website, www.bitsofcarey.co.za

amc frying panThis recipe was developed for AMC Cookware.

amc logo For more of my recipes and ramblings:
Visit my website: www.bitsofcarey.co.za
Follow me on twitter: @bitsofcarey
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