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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 cookies

Source: 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

4 tablespoons olive oil 10 plum tomatoes , halved 1 white onion, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves , halved 2 fresh thyme sprigs 1 teaspoon white sugar 2 bunches basil 1 quart vegetable stock salt & freshly ground black pepper 1 Combine the tomatoes, onion and garlic in a mixing bowl and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay out on a baking tray and sprinkle with the thyme, basil and sugar. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees until caramelized. 2 Pour the tomatoes into a blender and puree. While the blender is running, ladle in hot stock to smooth the soup. You may not use all of the stock. Chicken Stock may be subsitituted for vegetable stock. 3 For garnish, heat 2 tbsp olive oil, lightly sauté 4 small clusters of cherry tomatos on the vine. Serve on top of the soup with 4 basil leaves, thinly sliced.

Source: food.com

5 - 6 Dried Lasagna Sheets 2 Tbsp Olive Oil 2 Medium Leeks , trimmed and sliced 5 - 6 Button Mushrooms , washed, trimmed and sliced 2 Garlic Cloves, sliced ¼ Cup Fresh Cream 1 Cup Chicken Stock (see recipe here) or Vegetable Stock For seasoning: Salt and Black Pepper , as per taste Oregano , red chilly flakes Fistful of flat parsley Heat oil in a pan and saute sliced mushrooms for 5 minutes. Add garlic cloves and stir nicely. Mix in chopped leeks and pour chicken stock, season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer on low flame for 5 minutes until liquids are reduced, add cream and again let it simmer for 3 - 4 minutes. Boil water in a pan and when it is bubbling hot drop in lasagna sheets. Make sure lasagna sheets do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Once pasta is cooked drain it in colander and rinse under cold water. Pile lasagna sheets one on top of other and cut lengthwise into 2 inch wide strips. Add the lasagna strips into the simmering sauce and let it sit there for 5 minutes so that pasta absorbs the sauce. Switch of the gas and finish with oregano, chilly flakes and parsley. Serve hot with grilled toast!!

Source: cookeatshare.com

I believe that the movie industry would be a better place if more women stepped behind the camera: there aren’t many female directors out there, which is a shame. Jane Campion wowed the world twenty years ago with one of my all time favorite movies , and I’m forever in her debt for introducing me to Mark Ruffalo *sigh*. :) Nora Ephron added romance to our lives, Vera Farmiga discussed religion, Kathryn Bigelow makes movies many men would like to make, and Lynne Ramsay gave us one of the best movies of 2011 (with certainly the best acting of that year, the glorious Tilda). A couple of days ago I watched the beautiful After the Wedding and then I could see how fantastic Susanne Bier is ( In a Better World is one of the best movies I have seen in the last ten years, maybe fifteen). Never dull or boring, After the Wedding is a delight to watch – it is well written and well played by a very good cast, and what a breath of fresh air it is to watch actors with crooked teeth, facial hair, lines around their eyes – more “human” than most of people from Hollywood. If that still hasn’t convinced you to watch After the Wedding , Mads Mikkelsen *sigh* plays the lead and delivers another great performance, something completely different from Le Chiffre , Hannibal Lecter , Draco or Ivan (the guy is a chameleon, isn’t he?). Oh, and ladies: there are a couple of scenes in which he is shirtless. Just saying. ;) Now that I have spent all my convincing cards on the movie I don’t have much left to say to convince you to make this cake; I’ll give you this: it is super tender, it is delicious, and coconut and blueberry are great together – I hope that is enough. :D Blueberry and coconut cake slightly adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks (I bought mine here ) 200g all purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder pinch of salt 1 cup (2 sticks/226g) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar 4 large eggs finely grated zest of 1 lemon ¼ cup (25g) sweetened flaked coconut 150g blueberries, fresh or frozen (unthawed), dusted with 1 heaping teaspoon all purpose flour icing sugar, for dusting Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 20x7cm (8x2.8in) cake pan, line the bottom with a circle of baking paper and butter the paper as well. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients and coconut and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the blueberries. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack. Carefully unmold, remove the paper, then turn the cake onto a serving plate. Sift with icing sugar to serve. Serves 8-10

Source: technicolorkitcheninenglish.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...

For The chicken: 6 chicken legs or thighs 1 hanful fresh flat leaf parsley 1 egg (yolk only) 350 g good quality pork sausage meat 1 handful shelled pistahio ...

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 medium pumpkin (approximately 2 pounds) 2 tablespoons butter 4 cups risotto rice 6 quarts vegetable stock, or 6 quarts salt water 2 cups mixed mushrooms, cooked 2 minced shallots 1/2 tablespoon garlic (chopped) 2 ounces white wine 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (Shredded) 1/2 cup mushroom salt and pepper olive oil 1 Roughly chop pumpkin into small pieces. Sweat in a sauté pan with whole butter until soft. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Return to a sauté pan and simmer until the liquid is dissolved and the puree is dry. 2 For the Risotto.4 cups risotto rice, 6 quarts vegetable stock or salted water, 2 cups mixed mushrooms, cooked. 3 Bring half the stock to a boil and season with salt. Boil the rice for 6 minutes or until al dente. Strain and transfer to a baking tray and cool. 4 To Finish. Cooked risotto rice. The remaining vegetable stock or salted water, Pumpkin Puree, 2 shallots minced, 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic, 2 oz white wine,2 tbsp mascarpone cheese,2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese,-1/2 cup cooked mushrooms, Salt and pepper, Olive oil for sautéing. 5 Sweat the garlic and shallots with olive oil. Add white wine and reduce until almost dry. Add risotto rice and in small amounts add stock until rice is cooked. Finish with the pumpkin puree, mascarpone, cooked mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parmesan cheese. 6 *can substitute w/ butternut squash if necessary.

Source: food.com

2 egg yolks 2 eggs 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1/2 cup pastry flour 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (64% cocoa) 1/2 cup butter 2 1/2 cups milk 2 1/2 cups heavy cream 3/4 cup sugar 1 cup , malt granules 12 egg yolks 1 Melt the chocolate with the butter and allow to cool. Whisk the egg yolks and eggs with the sugar then add the flour. Grease the moulds and then dust with cocoa. Pipe the mixture into the greased moulds and then bake at 350ºF for 8-12 minutes, rotating half way through. 2 Malt ice cream, 2 1/2 cups milk, 2 1/2 cups double cream, 3/4 cup of caster sugar, About 1 cup of malt granules, 12 free-range egg yolks. 3 Bring the milk and cream to the boil in a large pan. Turn down the heat and whisk in the malt. Stir until completely dissolved and the liquid is smooth. 4 In a large bowl, beat the yolks and sugar together then trickle in the hot liquid to mix, stirring vigorously to prevent the yolks from scrambling. Pour the combined mixture back into the pan and stir continuously over low heat until it thickens to a light custard consistency. 5 Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and cool down in an ice-bath, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. When cool, churn in an ice cream machine until almost firm. Transfer to a container and freeze until set. 6 To serve, remove the fondant from the mould and place on a plate. Top with malt ice cream.

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

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