Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Friday, 23 December 2011

A Gorgeously Scrummy Assortment of Christmas Lunch Sides

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As promised here is a delicious assortment of fabulous side dishes that go very nicely with your Christmas turkey, ham or roast beast! None are hard and with careful planning most can be done ahead of time and warmed up on the day once the main dish comes out of the oven and is resting.

There is still time to get in any ingredients that you are lacking! Two more sleeps! Enjoy!

*Brussels Sprouts with Buttered Chestnuts*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Another delicious way of preparing your sprouts.

350g of brussels sprouts, trimmed (3/4 of a pound)
3 TBS butter
100g of tinned whole chestnuts (3 1/2 ounces)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g flaked almonds to garnish, toasted lightly ( about 1/4 cup)

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the sprouts and cook for 5 minutes, then drain thoroughly.

Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Add the drained sprouts and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes or so, then add the chestnuts and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring all together well. Cook and heat through for a further 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Transfer to a warm serving dish, sprinkle with the almonds and serve.

*Sugar Glazed Parsnips*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

One of our favourite side dishes!

24 small parsnips, peeled
scant tsp of fine seasalt
4 ounces butter (1/2 cup)
115g of soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup)

Place the parsnips in a saucepan with lightly salted water just to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until tender. Drain well.

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet. Add the parsnips and toss together well. Sprinkle with the sugar. Cook, stirring frequently to help prevent the sugar from sticking to the pan or burning. Cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden and glazed. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.

*Spring Onions and Baby Peas*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

A delicious and easy way to prepare and serve peas that is most impressive.

60g of unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
12 small bulbed spring onions (green or salad onions, or scallions as they are sometimes called)
trimmed (cut the bulbs off and discard the green bits or save for another use)
1 large bag of frozen petit pois (about 4 cups)
1 TBS caster sugar
4 sprigs of mint
3 or 4 large iceberg lettuce leaves

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion bulbs and cook for about 2 minutes or so. Stir in the peas and season to taste with some seasalt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle on the sugar and mint. cover with the lettuce leaves and 2 fluid ounces of water (1/4 cup). Place a tight fitting lid over all, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the peas are tender. Discard the lettuce and mint. Place into a heated serving dish and serve immediately.

*Braised Red Cabbage*
Serves 6 to 8
Printable Recipe

Wonderful with pork, goose, turkey. Spicy and slightly sweet.

2 TBS olive oil
500g (1 pound 2 ounces) red cabbage, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated
100ml (3.5 fluid ounces) red wine vinegar
60g (1/3 cup packed) soft light brown sugar
250ml of dry white wine (1 cup)
250ml chicken stock (1 cup)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage, onion, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring for several minutes, then stir in the apple, vinegar and brown sugar. Cook for a further 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and stock. Allow to simmer over low heat for a further 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is quite tender and the liquid reduced. Serve warm.

*Spiced and Roasted Winter Vegetables*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

These are perfect for Christmas lunch because they offer a nice variety of vegetables without taking up most of the hob and dirtying a bunch of saucepans!

4 parsnips, scrubbed and trimmed, but unpeeled
4 carrots, scrummed and trimmed, but unpeeled
2 brown onions, peeled and quartered
1 red onion, peeled and quartered
3 leeks, trimmed and cut into 2 1/2 inch slices
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled and left whole
6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp mild chili powder
pinch of sweet paprika
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.

Cut the parsnips and carrots into wedges of similar size. Add them to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain well and place into an ovenproof dish along with the onions, leeks and garlic. Pour over the oil, sprinkle with the spices and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together to coat the vegetables.

Roast in the preheated oven for about an hour, stirring occasionally from time to time, until they are tender and starting to colour.

Remove to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.

*Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing*
Serves 6 to 8
Printable Recipe

One of our favourite stuffings. You may either use to stuff the bird, or shape into balls and baked separately. This is a delicious stuffing which goes very well with the richness of turkey or goose. It smells fabulous when baking.

225g of pork sausage meat (1/2 pound)
225g of unsweetened chestnut puree (1/2 pound)
85g of toasted walnuts, chopped (a scant 1/4 pound
115g of ready to eat dried apricots, chopped (1/4 pound)
2 TBs chopped fresh parsley
2 TBS snipped fresh chives
2 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
4 to 5 TBS double cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the sausage meat and chestnut puree in a bowl. Stir in the walnuts, apricots, parsley, chives and sage. Stir in enough cream to make a firm, but not dry mixture. Season to taste with some salt and black pepper. (I cook a tiny bit in a frying pan to have a taste.) If you are planning on stuffing a turkey or a goose, fill the neck cavity only to ensure that the bird cooks all the way through. It is safer and more reliable to cook the stuffing separately, either rolled into small balls and places on a baking sheet, or spooned into an ovenproof dish.

Cook the separate stuffing in a preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes at 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. If you are cooking a bird at a lower temperature in the same oven, then it may take longer.

*Sprouts with Chestnuts and Pancetta*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

One of my favourite ways to have sprouts!! Everyone seems to like these!

1 pound roasted chestnuts, peeled ( 2 cups)
300g of brussels sprouts (about 3/4 pound)
100g piece of pancetta, finely diced (about 1/4 poud)
50g of butter (3 TBS)
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 TBS fresh thyme leaves
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove and discard the tough outer leaves from the brussels sprouts. Trim the bases and peel the leaves away, one at a time, continuing to peel and trim until all the leaves have been removed. Set aside.

Saute the pancetta in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, until the fat has been rendered and the pancetta is crisp. Scoop the pancetta out of the pan with a slotted spoon to a plate. Melt half of the butter in with the fat from the pancetta. Add the onion and saute until softened, but not browned. Add the chestnuts and toss to warm through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Toss in the brussels sprout leaves, thyme and garlic. Cook, tossing together, until the leaves are crispy tender and bright green. Season to taste with seasalt and freshly ground black pepper. Return the pancetta, onion and chestnuts to the pan and heat through gently. Place into a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.

*Cranberry Sauce*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

The flavour of citrus and cranberry go very well together. Delicious with roasted turkey, game, duck or chicken. This can be made ahead.

the thinly pared zest and juice of one unwaxed lemon
the thinly pared zest and juice of 1 large orange
350g (about 3/4 pound) of cranberries, thawed if frozen
140g of caster sugar (1 cup)
2 TBS cornflour mixed with 3 TBS cold water

Cut the peels of the lemon and orange rind into thin shreds and place in a heavy based saucepan. If you are using fresh cranberries, rinse well and remove any bits of leaf and stem. Add the berries, citrus juices and sugar to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the berries begin to burst. Strain the juice into a clean saucepan. Reserve the cranberries. Stir the cornflour mixture into the juice and then bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved cranberries. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely before covering with some plastic cling film and refrigerating.

Cooking in The Cottage today, some scrumdiddlyumptious Portugese Custard Tarts!


  1. wow, some great side dishes, I love them all! The brussel sprouts sound womdeful and I think i should try those for our dinner.
    I want to thank you for the beautiful ecard you sent Garry and I, its beautiful, we watched it several times, thankyou so much.
    Great news about your Dad and I hope Todd feels better soon, I imagine it takes time to figure out what he can eat and can't,,
    best wishes from G and I,, love Laurie

  2. Fantastic assortment of sides! I also love the winter poem and the adorable vintage snow people.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours Marie!

  3. Everything looks so yummy, Marie! I need to make those brussel sprouts...still trying to find a recipe my family will like, and I think you might just have it! (of course you do!)

    Sending lots and lots of warm Christmas wishes your way today, dear know I love you loads. Hope its a wonderful Christmas for you and your sweet hubby!

    Merry Christmas!



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