Tuesday, 8 December 2015

2 Perfect Recipes for the Holiday Season - #TipsTuesdays 16

Good morning and welcome to Tasha's Thinkings. Today I would like to revisit 2 recipes that I love and which are absolutely perfect for the holiday season, or any celebration actually.

2 Perfect Recipes for the Holiday Season

These are the prefect compliment to each other, or can be used completely separately, whichever is best for your party or gathering.

Last Minute Christmas Chutney (Easy)

Now this recipe is the perfect accompaniment to cold meats or cheeses, so for those in the UK, it's great for Boxing Day, and for everyone else, it's great for leftovers, or as a side to the recipe that follows. It is incredibly easy and we all know how useful an easy recipe is this time of year :).

It is based off of this recipe from the Hairy Bikers on the BBC, but I made some changes so here is my version. If you don't like the specific fruit used, just swap in something you do like, the joy of this recipe is its versatility.

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  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh root ginger (or stem ginger in syrup)
  • 200g/7oz ready to eat dried apricots, 1/3 roughly chopped, 2/3 minced
  • 175g/6.2oz ready to eat dried figs, 1/3 roughly chopped, 2/3 minced
  • 100g/3.5oz raisins, 1/2 minced, 1/2 whole
  • 150g/5.5oz demerara sugar
  • 150ml/5fl oz white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg, grated
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a glug of port (to your own taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a large non-reactive saucepan and sweat down the onions over a low heat until soft and not coloured (about 10 mins).
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another 2-3 mins to release the flavours.
  3. Bring up the heat a little and fry for a further 4-5 minutes until the onions start to brown slightly. Keep stirring all the time and make sure they do not crisp, you want them to remain completely soft - you're just caramelising the sugars in the onions.
  4. Add all the fruit and cook for 2-3 minutes until the dried fruit begins to plump up.
  5. Sprinkle over the sugar, the vinegar and the spices and mix, adding salt and pepper to your own taste (don't add too much at first because you can add more later if you need to, but you can't take it out).
  6. Your mixture will be quite thick because of the minced fruit so add your glug of port to loosen it up a bit.
  7. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered for 30 mins, keeping an eye on it and stirring. If it looks too dry too soon add a glug more port and taste it every now and then to see if it needs more seasoning.
  8. You should have no free liquid left once it is ready, but it should still be nice and moist. Remove it from the heat and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
  9. Spoon the chutney into sterilised jars if you want to keep it, but I just popped mine into Tupperware because I knew it would all be eaten very rapidly.
Bryn William's Chicken Liver Parfait (not so Easy)

This recipe comes from Bryn William's book "Bryn's Kitchen", which is a great book if you can lay your hands on it. Mine now falls open at this recipe whenever I get it off the shelf :). This is most definitely a celebration recipe with the amount of butter and other good things in it. However, you don't have to eat too much, if you have the will power to stop. I know I don't.

It makes a great starter for a special meal when you can slice it neatly, or as part of a buffet at a party. I am making it Friday for our Christmas party on Sat.

The recipe uses pink rock salt (Himalayan), but you don't have to worry if you can't get it. The normal salt means your parfait will be grey, but still just as tasty, it stays pinkish with the pink salt. For those in the UK B&M usually have loads of pink salt really cheap and I have seen it in Morrisons so I expect it's in all the other supermarkets as well.

The original recipe also uses 250g of chicken livers and 250g of Foie Gras, which I have changed to just 500g chicken livers because a) I disagree with how Fois Gras is produced and b) it's expensive! If you want to swap it back in, that's up to you.

You'll need a 25x5x7cm terrine dish (loaf tin) and a deep roasting tin for the cooking, although this time I am using several small tins rather than one big one so that I can spread it around various tables.

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  • 125ml Port (1/2 cup)
  • 125ml Maderia (1/2 cup)
  • 50ml Brandy (1/5 cup)
  • 6 shallots (finely sliced)
  • 1 Sprig of thyme
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed) - I used squeezy garlic from a tube
  • 500g (17.63 oz) Chicken Livers (trimmed and chopped)
  • 1 tsp pink salt (ordinary salt gives the same taste)
  • 1 tsp normal salt
  • black pepper
  • 5 eggs
  • 500g unsalted butter (the first time I made this I only had salted butter and I left out the tspn of ordinary salt and it still worked well)
  1. Put the port, madeira, brandy, shallots, garlic and thyme in a saucepan and reduce over a medium heat until almost dry.
  2. Leave to cool and once cool put in the fridge for at least an hour.
  3. Place the chicken livers in a bowl and add the cold port/shallot etc reduction and the salts and the pepper and mix. Cover with cling film.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan and leave to come to room temperature.
  5. If you keep your eggs in the fridge, crack them into a bowl and allow to come to room temperature, otherwise, just crack them into a bowl to make sure they are good.
  6. Line a 25x5x7cm terrine dish (loaf tin) with cling film (plastic wrap).
  7. Preheat the oven to 160C (325F)
  8. Blend the chicken livers with a hand blender, in a blender or in a food processor.
  9. Once they are all room temp, mix all the ingredients together and then blend again.
  10. Pass through a fine sieve and pour into the lined terrine dish.
  11. Cover the top of the terrine tightly with foil.
  12. Place the terrine in a roasting dish and fill the roasting dish with warm water up to half the height of the terrine dish.
  13. Place in the oven and cook for 45 mins.
  14. Allow to cool and then place in the fridge over night for use the next day.
Thank you for reading and I very much hope you get as much joy from the recipes as I always do. The second one takes some effort, especially the sieving :), but it is so worth it.

Do you have any holiday recipes you would like to share?


  1. Hi Natasha - chutneys and parfaits are always good extras to have around at Christmas .. these look good recipes ... cheers Hilary


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