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There are things one just knows without the need of much explanation – one just feels it. I haven’t, to this day, watched “The King’s Speech” but I know, deep down in my heart, that its winning of the Best Picture Award last year was so, so wrong. And I know that because I’ve seen five of the movies that were nominated with it – if the world were a fair place that would never have happened. And don’t even get me started on Tom Hooper winning for best director – that was heresy. I watched “We Need to Talk About Kevin” last night and I left the theater with a mix of emotions that is hard to describe. If it was up to me this year’s best actress in a leading role award would go to Tilda and I don’t need to watch the other performances to know that – I just feel deep down in my heart that no one could beat Tilda this year, despite my love for Close and Streep; it’s humanly impossible. *Spoilers* If the movie had this effect on me it must be devastating for parents. I can’t imagine what it feels like for a mother, or for anyone for that matter, to watch a psychopath in the making – all those signs, no matter what anyone does or says. It seems that it cannot be stopped. Kevin’s eyes –throughout all the different ages – creeped me out. A human being without feelings, someone who is capable of being so mean. During those two hours I caught myself holding my breath dozens of times; all that noise, all that red – it makes you uncomfortable, suffocated. You feel the mother’s desperation and fear, the father being such an idiot makes you angry. The minute I saw the little girl with a patch over her eye I knew her brother had had something to do with it – the more you see of him the more evil you expect. As the film goes one, in a non-linear way, Eva’s feelings – of course her name would have to be Eva – became my feelings, all the guilt she carries with her. The brief dialogue and the hug in the final scene felt like a punch in the stomach. I don’t like to play the gender card but in this case I strongly believe that being directed by a woman made this movie what it is – looking forward to seeing more of Lynne Ramsay’s work; to me, she deserved the nomination more than Alexander Payne or Woody Allen this year. Out of eggs after baking two cakes I still wanted to bake cookies; therefore, shortbread seemed the perfect choice. Martha’s book on cookies had just what I needed: an easy recipe that turned out delicious. Dried cranberry shortbread adapted from the absolutely delicious Martha Stewart's Cookies 1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature ¾ cup (105g) confectioners' sugar, sifted 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour, sifted ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup (55g) dried cranberries, finely chopped Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F*. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper. Combine butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer, in low speed, just until combined. Stir in dried cranberries. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Roll out dough between two sheets of lightly floured baking paper until 3mm thick. Use a 4cm (1½in) cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Use a paring knife to trim stray bits of cranberry from edges – if the dough gets too soft, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Place cookies onto prepared sheets, 5cm (2in) apart, and bake until lightly golden on the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on the sheets over a wire rack. Cookies will keep for 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container. * I baked my cookies at 180°C/350°F for 15 minutes Makes about 60 cookiesSource: technicolorkitcheninenglish.blogspot.com
OK, I know this is not Christmas related (unless you eat Indian food at Christmas), but I made this the other day and it is so easy and tastes so amazing that I had to share it. The recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape Cookbook (hence the metric measurements), but uses chickpeas instead. Who knew tomatoes and coconut milk tasted so awesome together? I used some diced tomatoes from my garden that I had frozen at the end of the summer--they were awesome and far superior to canned. INGREDIENTS - 3 cups cooked chickpeas - salt and pepper - 2 tbsp oil - 1/2 tsp cinnamon - 1/4 tsp cloves - 1 tsp garam masala - 1 tsp chili powder - 4 curry leaves - 1 sweet onion, diced - 2 garlic cloves, minced - 500g chopped fresh tomatoes, skinned - 400 ml can light coconut milk METHOD 1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Toss chickpeas with salt and pepper and set aside. 2. Add spices and curry leaves to the pan and fry for a min, until nice and fragrant. Add onions and garlic and saute for 6-8 mins, until soft. Add a splash of water to deglaze the pan, if needed. 3. Add chickpeas and tomatoes, mix well, and season to taste. Heat to bubbling, then add coconut milk. Simmer gently until ready to serve (over rice). The dish tastes best if it has sat for a while so the flavours can blend. Even better the next day!Source: vegandad.blogspot.com
1 small red onion 1 red chilli 1 pinch ground clove 1/2 tsp fennel seeds 1/2 tsp ping peppercorns (use green or white if pink are unavailable) 1 tsp turmeric...
4 flat mushrooms 1 bunch vine ripened cherry tomato 1 10 g bunch sourdough bread (3 chunky slices, approx) 6 large eggs (free range) 25 g butter (ice cold) 1...
1 lb chicken leg , about 8-10 salt and pepper 4 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons soy sauce 3 -4 tablespoons honey 1 head garlic , each clove sliced in half 1 whole lemon , Sliced 1/4-1/3 cup water 1 tablespoon thyme 1/4 cup fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons dried parsley 1 In a large skillet pan, add the oil to Med/High Heat. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for about 5-6 minutes, turning each piece. 2 Add the garlic cloves, soy sauce, and honey to the pan, making sure to get all the chicken in the sauces. Coninue to cook for a 5 minutes. 3 Add the water and lay the slices of lemon on top of the chicken in the pan. Put a lid on the pan and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes. 4 Season the chicken with thyme and parlsey. Continue to cook until the chicken cooked through and no longer pink.Source: food.com
600 g filet of beef 1 sheet pastry dough 2 tablespoons English mustard 3 large mushrooms 100 g thinly sliced parma ham salt and pepper 1 egg 1 Season your fillet steak with salt and pepper. 2 In a skillet fry the fillet. Make sure you lock it so that all the sides are cooked. Do not over cook because it will soon go into the oven - make sure it is cooked rare. 3 Brush English Mustard around all sides of the steak. 4 Cut up mushrooms and put in blender. 5 Season. 6 Blend until fine but not yet into a paste. 7 Take mushrooms out of blender - be sure to try and get rid of the excess water that the mushrooms let out. 8 Put mushrooms straight into a pan - no butter or oil. Cook for 3 minutes. 9 Lay down plastic wrap. 10 On top of the plastic wrap lay down slices of parma ham. 11 On top of the parma ham evenly layer the mushrooms. 12 Put the mustard steak in the middle. 13 Roll all together tightly (like you are rolling sushi) and refrigerate for 10 minutes. 14 Preheat oven to 200°C. 15 Lay down sheet of pastry. Take steak out of fridge, unwrap the plastic and put in the middle of pastry sheet. 16 Lightly whisk egg. Baste around sides to be sure that the pastry sticks together well. 17 Fold sides up carefully and tuck in (just as though you are wrapping a present). 18 Baste all the pastry with remaining egg. 19 Set on an oven pan and cook until pastry is golden brown and crispy. 20 Cut pieces an inch think with a bread knife and serve hot!Source: food.com
1/2 teaspoon olive oil 1 red onion , sliced 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes 1 teaspoon ras el hanout spice mix (Moroccan mixed spice) 2 zucchini , cut into chunks 1 red pepper, cut into chunks 1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks 2 (14 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes 2 ounces sunflower margarine , cubed 2 ounces plain flour 3 shredded wheat cereal, crumbled 1 ounce sesame seeds 1 Preheat the oven to 374°F 2 Heat a frying pan until hot then add the olive oil and red onion and cook for 2 minutes 3 Add the butternut squash and fry for 5 mins until it begins to soften. Add the ras el hanout or spices and stir well to combine. 4 Add the zucchini and peppers and cook for a further 2 minutes Then tip in the canned tomatoes, season with black pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes 5 Meanwhile, rub the sunflower spread and flour together to form breadcrumbs. Add the shredded wheat and sesame seeds and season with black pepper. Mix well to combine thoroughly. 6 Check the seasoning of the vegetables and adjust if necessary. Then pour into the baking dish and spread evenly. 7 Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the vegetables, to cover evenly. Bake in the oven for 15 mins until the crumble is golden and bubbling.Source: food.com
14 ounces farfalle pasta 3 tablespoons olive oil 8 slices streaky bacon , chopped 1 garlic clove , finely chopped 1 cup heavy cream 5 ounces peas , thawed if frozen 2 1/2 ounces parmesan cheese , freshly grated, plus extra to sprinkle 1 small handful sage leaf , and flat-leaf parsley leaves 1 Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Tip in the farfalle and cook according to packet instructions until the pasta is al dente. 2 Heat the oil in another pan and add the bacon. Fry over high heat for 3 - 4 minutes until the bacon is golden brown. 3 Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Pour in the cream and bring to the boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes until reduced and thickened slightly. 4 Tip in the peas, bring back to a simmer and cook for another 3- 4 minutes. Stir the grated parmesan into the sauce, then taste and adjust the seasoning. 5 When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander and immediately tip into the sauce. 6 Add the herbs, then toss the pasta until well coated with the creamy sauce. 7 Divide among warm plates and sprinkle over a little more parmesan to serve.Source: food.com
275 g red lentils , rinsed 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion 2 large garlic cloves 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground coriander 2 teaspoons garam masala 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 tablespoon tomato puree 800 ml stock 1 Fry the onion and garlic until golden. 2 Stir in the spices and tomato puree and fry for two minutes. 3 Add lentils and stock. 4 Simmer for 25 - 30 mins, or until cooked. 5 Puree a little bit if you want.Source: food.com
50 g melted butter , for brushing cocoa powder , for dusting 200 g dark chocolate , best quality you can get, chopped into small pieces 200 g butter , chopped into small pieces 200 g golden caster sugar 4 eggs 4 egg yolks 200 g plain flour 1 Using upward strokes, heavily brush the melted butter all over the inside of nine 150 ml pudding moulds. Place them into the fridge or freezer. Once they are chilled, brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the mould. Tip the mould so the powder completely coats the butter. Tap any excess cocoa out, and then repeat with all of the moulds. 2 Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, and then slowly melt the chocolate and butter together. Remove bowl from heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about ten minutes. 3 In another bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail. Sift the flour into the eggs, and then beat together. 4 Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter. 5 Tip the fondant into a jug, then evenly divide between the moulds. These can now be frozen for up to a month and cooked from frozen. If not freezing, chill for a minimum of 20 minutes or up to 24 hours. 6 Heat the oven to 200/180/Gas 6. 7 Place the fondants on a baking tray then cook for 10-12 minutes until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven, and then let them sit for 1 minute before turning out. 8 Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds. Tip each one slightly onto your hand so you know that it has come away, then tip back into the mould, put a plate on top and turn it over. 9 Serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.Source: food.com
2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup risotto rice 2 cups hot chicken stock 1 cup jerusalem artichoke, washed and sliced 7 tablespoons butter 1/3 cup cream 1/4 cup parmesan cheese , grated sea salt fresh ground black pepper 8 large scallops , sliced 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar 1 Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, add the rice, and stir for 2-3 minutes so the rice absorbs the oil. Add the stock a little at a time, stirring constantly, until it has all been absorbed and the rice is cooked - around 25-30 minutes. 2 Meanwhile, cook the artichokes in 3 1/2 tablespoons of the butter until soft. Add the cream. Reduce down until the cream has almost evaporated and the artichokes are velvety in texture, stirring every now and then to make sure it’s not catching on the bottom of the pan. Purée in a food processor. Mix the artichoke purée into the rice and add the remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons of butter and the parmesan. Check for seasoning. 3 Slice each scallop into three pieces and sauté in hot oil for 1 minute on each side until they’re medium-rare. Place on top of the risotto. In a heavy-based pan, heat the sugar until it’s a dark golden colour. Carefully add the sherry vinegar and reduce until you have a thick syrup. Drizzle this over the risotto, and serve.Source: food.com
for the herb butter 9oz pack unsalted butter , softened 1 sprig fresh rosemary , chopped leaves only 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves , chopped salt fresh ground black pepper 11-13lb medium-sized turkey 3 -4 thick sausages , skins removed for the prepared stuffing 7oz white breadcrumb 4 1/2oz butter 1 onion , finely chopped 1 large sprigs of thyme and rosemary , chopped leaves only 6 fresh sage leaves 1 lemon , zest only 2oz pine nuts 3 tablespoons fresh parsley , chopped 1 teaspoon sea salt fresh ground black pepper for the gravy 1 onions or 1 large shallot , chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 fl.ozs. dry white wine 1 bay leaf 17 fl.ozs. chicken stock 7 fl.ozs. double cream pan juices, from roasting sea salt fresh ground black pepper 1 Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. 2 Make the herb butter, mix herbs and butter together to form a paste, season well and chill. 3 Prepare the turkey, to remove legs, cut through the skin and pull joint firmly away from body then cut through ball and socket joints. 4 Cut away the 'oyster' on the back of the turkey so leg and thigh comes away cleanly. 5 With a thin, sharp knife, bone both legs and stuff with sausage meat. 6 Wrap tightly in tin foil and chill to set the shape. 7 Prepare the crown, cut off wing tips and, for easier carving, take out the wishbone and cut away back bone with poultry shears. 8 Lift up the breast skin with your fingers and separate it from the flesh. 9 Divide the herb butter between the two breast flaps and pull the skin back over. 10 Season well, place in a roasting tin and cover loosely with butter paper or foil. 11 Cook the turkey, put the foil-wrapped legs in a roasting pan and cook at 180C/350F/Gas4 for 45 minutes. Reduce temperature to 160C/320F/Gas 2 and cook for a further 15 minutes then remove foil and cook for a further 30 minutes, straining off any juices for the gravy. 12 Cook the crown for 1-1½ hours at 180C/350F/Gas 4 until juices run clear and let the bird rest for 30 minutes before carving. 13 Make the stuffing, melt butter in a large frying pan and gently sauté onion and garlic for five minutes until soft. 14 Stir in the herbs for one minute then add breadcrumbs to absorb butter. 15 Mix in zest, pine nuts and seasoning and cook over medium heat for about seven minutes until crumbs start to brown and crisp. 16 Take off the heat, mix in the parsley and serve warm. 17 Make the gravy, sauté the onion in the olive oil for about five minutes. Pour in the wine, add the thyme and bay and boil until reduced right down. 18 Add stock and boil until reduced by half then add cream and boil for further five minutes. Season with freshly ground black pepper. 19 Remove from heat, cool for ten minutes and strain. 20 Add turkey pan juices, boil for two minutes, season with salt and strain. (This can be made in advance and frozen before the juices are added. When thawed, simply heat until boiling and follow point 20.).Source: food.com