Thursday, 25 December 2014

Have a merry, Minxy Christmas

All best wishes to all the lovely people who have stopped by this blog over the past year.

With lots of love from Seren, D and Minx

Now, what to write next year.....?

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Recipe corner: super quick cucumber pickle

I hesitate to call this a recipe.  More of an extended tip.  But it is absolutely perfect for this time of year when, if you are anything like us, you will have a fridge groaning with cold cuts and cheeses.  It is a wonderfully simple, sweet-sour foil to anything from leftover turkey to gammon to wodges of Cheddar.  And, unlike most chutneys, it is quick to make.  Just allow about an hour for the salting and, if possible, a half hour at room temperature for the cucumbers to soak up some of the liquor.


1 cucumber
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp dill*
Salt and pepper

Serves 4, 1 pro point per portion

*I always tend to use dried dill because the real thing is so delicate that is doesn't last. Considering its delicacy, the dried stuff is really pretty good and provides excellent flavour.  I wouldn't be without it in my store cupboard.

Using a potato peeler, or an appropriate attachment on a food processor, reduce your cucumber to fat ribbons (rather than slices or shreds).  Peel down until the seeds just about start peeping through - the seeds themselves can be discarded.

Place the ribbons in a colander and sprinkle over several hefty pieces of good salt.  Toss well/  Then, cover the ribbons with kitchen paper and weight down with a bowl or plate and a couple of tins.  Leave for about an hour so the salt can draw the water out.  Meanwhile, you can whisk together the vinegar, sugar, dill and a couple of grinds of pepper.

When the cucumber is ready, rinse off the salt and then wring it out as thoroughly as you can - I tend to do it in small fistfuls, transferring it to the vinegar once it is, er, wrung.  Then, stir through and, if you have time, leave it to sit for a while to absorb the dressing.

That's it!  C'est tout!  You could try varying the herbs, perhaps adding a pinch of dried chilli flakes for background heat, and you may wish to alter the ratio of vinegar to sugar to suit your own tastes.

Let the Christmas feasting commence!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Hibernation and a tremendous steak sandwich

When a blogger goes quiet for a while it is traditional to start the next post with an apology.  Since I doubt very much that the dearth of ramblings in this little corner of the internet has impacted anyone adversely I am sure that my beloved band of readers will forgive me and allow us all to move on.

So, nearly Christmas: how on earth did that happen?  For me, the majority of presents are wrapped, the lights are up in the living room, giving it a pleasingly grotto-esque feel, but we haven't yet started prep for the lunch we are cooking on Christmas Day.  We'll be getting on to that tomorrow.  How about you?

If you're looking for something a little different but incredibly indulgent to nibble - perhaps on those grey old days between Christmas and New Year, then I have a lovely recipe to commend to your attention.

Basically, you hollow out a loaf of bread, fill it with layers of seared steak and a garlicky mushroom duxelle, smear the lid with mustard before replacing and then press it for a good few hours.  The result is a kind of cross between a beef Wellington and a steak sandwich.  Fabulous.

More precise instructions to be found here.  You're welcome - and merry Christmas!