Here is a couple of festive recipes.
Contributions for future months are most welcome.
The first showcases the best recipe ever that includes a grapefruit.
36 cocktail sticks
18 silverskin onions
18 cocktail cherries
36 pineapple chunks
36 1cm or ½ inch cubes of mousetrap cheese (you may need some extra for ‘casualties’)
Take a cocktail stick and carefully skewer a pineapple chunk, cube of cheese and either an onion or a cocktail cherry. The order of these can vary to add interest.
Wrap the grapefruit in silver foil ensuring the fruit is fully covered.
Once all the cocktail sticks are prepared insert into the upper hemisphere of the grapefruit and serve.
After the content of all the cocktail stick have been consumed take the foil from the grapefruit, recycle the foil and carefully place said fruit and the cocktail sticks in the nearest compost bin.
Chef’s Top Tip – a great shortcut is to put the grapefruit directly into the compost bin and skip all the other stages.
Bûche de Noël (or Christmas Chocolate Log)
Soft butter for greasing
6 large eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
200g plain, dark chocolate, broken into squares
200g icing sugar
200g butter, room temperature
2 tbsp Camp chicory and coffee essence
Fresh holly leaves or leaves made from ready-to-roll coloured icing
Icing sugar or desiccated coconut
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Line a 23 x 33cm Swiss roll tin with baking parchment, grease with a little butter and set aside.
Put the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk with an electric beater until thick and creamy. Sift the cocoa powder over the egg mixture and whisk in thoroughly. Wash and dry the beaters and whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold a third of the egg whites into the cocoa mixture, then gently fold in the rest until evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the tin and spread gently with a spatula. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until well risen and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.
Remove the cake from the oven, loosen the edges with a round-bladed knife and leave to stand for a few minutes. Place a piece of baking parchment on the work surface, turn the cake onto the parchment and leave it to cool completely – 30–40 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the icing. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, but do not allow it to set. Put the icing sugar in a food processor, add the butter and blitz until smooth. Add the coffee essence and 2 tablespoons of melted chocolate, then blend until smooth. Make sure the chocolate is cool, or it will melt the butter.
Take just over half the icing mixture out of the processor and put it in a bowl to use for the filling. With the motor running, slowly add the remaining chocolate to the icing mixture in the processor and blend until smooth. This will be used for icing the cake.
When the cake is cool, trim off the crusty edges. Using a palette knife or spatula, spread the filling over the cake, taking it right to the edges. Starting at one of the long sides, gently roll up the sponge, keeping the first roll fairly tight so it forms a good spiral shape. Spread the icing evenly over the cake and drag a fork through it to resemble the ridges on the bark of a tree.
Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the icing to set. Decorate your chocolate log with sifted icing sugar.
Chef’s Top Tip – Don’t let the dog have any – and decorate with real holly, not plastic.