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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 large shallot , chopped finely 4 tablespoons olive oil 8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms , sliced 10 ounces arborio rice 1/2 cup dry white wine 4 cups low sodium chicken broth 8 ounces plum tomatoes , skinned, seeded and finely chopped 1 tablespoon fresh basil , chopped 1 tablespoon fresh chives , chopped 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese sea salt fresh ground black pepper 1 In a large saucepan sauté the shallots with the olive oil for about 3 to 4 minutes and then add the mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently until softened. 2 Stir in the rice and cook for another minute or two. Add the wine, stir and cook until absorbed. Pour in a quarter of the chicken broth, bring to a boil and cook until absorbed, stirring frequently. 3 Gradually stir in the rest of the broth over a period of about 15 minutes, adding more as each previous amount is absorbed. This helps to give you a creamy risotto. 4 When the rice is al dente, mix in the tomatoes and herbs. Check the seasoning and stir in the cheeses. Serve in warmed bowls topped with shaved aged Parmesan.Source: food.com
6 eggs 25 g butter , cold and cubed 1 tablespoon creme fraiche 1 Break eggs into a pan and add the cubed butter. 2 Stir over a medium heat until the eggs clump and then add the creme fraiche. 3 Remove from heat when eggs are clumpy, but soft. 4 Season with freshly ground black pepper and garnish with a sprinkling of chopped chives.Source: food.com
2 tablespoons olive oil 2 lbs lean ground lamb fresh ground black pepper 2 cups onions , peeled and finely chopped 2 sprigs fresh thyme , chopped 2 garlic cloves 1 ounce butter 2 tablespoons tomato puree 2 tablespoons flour 7 ounces red wine 2 1/2 ounces Worcestershire sauce 1 liter chicken stock 2 lbs boiled potatoes 2 ounces butter 5 ounces milk 2 egg yolks fresh ground white pepper salt 1 In a large frying pan, heat the oil until hot, add half the mince, season with pepper and fry until well browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and place in a metal colander to allow the excess fat to drain. Repeat with the second batch of mince and place in the colander. 2 Add the onion to the pan with the thyme and garlic and a knob of butter,and cook until soft and translucent. Add the meat and tomato purée, then sprinkle over the flour. Cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour. 3 Add the red wine and Worcestershire sauce and cook until the liquid has reduced to half the original volume. Add the chicken stock, bring back to the boil, then simmer for 30-40 minutes. The mixture should be thick and glossy. Allow to cool, then check the seasoning. 4 Mash the potato until creamy and smooth or pass through a Mouli or potato-ricer. Put into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Place the milk and butter into a small pan and heat until the butter is melted and the milk is about to boil. Pour over the potatoes and beat well, adding the egg yolks and seasoning with salt and white pepper. 5 Put the mince into a large baking dish, then top with the creamed potato. Use a fork to rough up the top. 6 Place in a preheated oven at 400°F for 30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown in color.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 5/8 kg salmon , scaled, gutted and washed (1 whole salmon) olive oil , and drizzling (for cooking) sea salt fresh ground black pepper 2 bay leaves 3 sprigs rosemary 3 sprigs thyme 3 sprigs basil 3 sprigs sage 3 sprigs parsley 1 head garlic , halved horizontally, then broken into cloves (unpeeled) 2 -3 stalks lemongrass , split in half lenghtways and bruised with the back of a knife 3 small lemons , thickly sliced 5 -6 star anise 1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns (or black) 1 Trim a little of the tail and fins of the salmon with kitchen scissors and pat dry with kitchen paper. Pat the cavity dry as well. Score the skins of the salmon on both sides with a sharp knife at 1 - 2 intervals. Rub all over with olive oil, salt and pepper. 2 Tear two sheets of foil, large enough to envelope the salmon easily. Lay one on top of the other on the work surface and scatter the bay leaves, herb sprigs, garlic and lemongrass over the middle o the foil. Lay the fish on the bed of herbs and tuck some of the flavourings into the cavity. 3 Fry the lemon slices in a little olive oil for 2 - 3 minutes until caramelized around the edges, seasoning them with salt and pepper. Allow to cool slightly. Tuck the caramelized lemon slices around the fish, placing some in the cavity and some on top. Scatter the star anise and peppercorns over and around the fish, putting some inside the cavity. Drizzle the salmon with a little olive oil. Heat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade. 4 Fold the edges of the foil tightly together over the salmon to seal, leaving some space in the parcel for steam to surround and cook the fish. Put the salmon parcel in the roasting tin and cook in the centre of the oven for 25 - 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon. Remove from the oven and without unwrapping the foil parcel, rest the fish for 5 - 10 minutes. 5 Unwrap the salmon and peel off the skin with a palette knife. Use the back of a spoon to slide the fish off the bone. Serve individual portions garnished with the caramelized lemons.Source: food.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 large chicken breasts 8 sage leaves 6 tablespoons ricotta cheese sea salt and black pepper 8 parma ham slices 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil handful fresh thyme sprig 1 Cut a deep slit along one side of each chicken breast, without slicing right through, then open it out like a book. On a clean chopping board, finely chop 4 sage leaves, then mix into the ricotta and season with salt and pepper to taste. 2 Lay two Parma ham slices on the board, overlapping them slightly. Put a sage leaf in the middle and lay an open chicken breast on top. Spoon a quarter of the ricotta mixture onto the middle of the chicken, then fold the sides together again, to enclose the filling. Now wrap the Parma ham slices around the stuffed chicken breast. Wrap in cling film. Repeat with the rest of the chicken breasts and chill for 1-2hrs to firm up slightly. 3 Heat the oven to 350F and place a roasting pan in the oven to heat up. Heat a heavy-based frying pan and add the olive oil. When hot, fry the Parma-wrapped chicken, in batches if necessary, for 2 mins on each side until browned. 4 Lay a few thyme sprigs on each chicken breast, then place in the hot roasting pan. Cook in the oven for 12-15 mins, depending on size, or until the meat feels just firm when lightly pressed. 5 Rest the chicken, covered with foil, in a warm place for 5-10 minutes Slice each stuffed breast thickly on the diagonal and arrange on warm plates.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
1 (5 kg) turkey sea salt & freshly ground black pepper 2 onions , peeled and halved 1 lemon , halved 1 head garlic , halved horizontally 6 bay leaves olive oil , to drizzle 8 slices smoked streaky bacon lemon 375 g butter , at room temperature 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 finely grated small lemons, zest and juice 3 garlic cloves , peeled and crushed 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley , leaves only, chopped 1 Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7. Meanwhile, prepare the herb butter. Put the butter into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic and chopped parsley. Mix well to combine. 2 Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, lemon, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves. 3 With your hands, loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the bird so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter underneath it, making sure you keep the skin intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs – from the lower side of the breast feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap. 4 Stuff half the butter mix into the opened spaces under the skin. From the outside of the skin, gently massage the butter around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered. Finally, insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts. 5 Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up. Spread the rest of the butter all over the skin. Season well with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil. (If preparing a day ahead, cover the turkey with foil and refrigerate at this stage.). 6 Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10–15 minutes. Take the tray out of the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the bacon rashers over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again. Lower the setting to 180°C/Gas 4 and cook for about 2½ hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg), basting occasionally. 7 To test whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear, rather than pink. As oven temperatures and turkey shapes and sizes vary, it is crucial to check your turkey about 30 minutes before the calculated roasting time. If the juices are pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked. 8 Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter and remove the parson’s nose, wings and tips of the drumsticks; reserve these for the gravy. Leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for at least 45 minutes; make the gravy in the meantime. Remove the bay leaves from under the skin before carving. Serve the turkey with the piping hot gravy, stuffing and accompaniments.Source: food.com