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Recipes

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RECIPE: Foolproof Turkey

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Looking for the best turkey recipes for Christmas? Do you want to know how to cook the perfect Christmas turkey? Check out our tips and tricks, from buying and cooking your turkey, to some of our chef’s top tips for preparing your Christmas centrepiece.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 turkey (defrosted, if frozen)
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • A large roasting pan of fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and sage
  • 40g unsalted butter, melted
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

Wipe the turkey inside and out with kitchen roll, and remove the giblets if the turkey has them. Place the lemon and herbs inside the bird, then weigh it and calculate the cooking time (see below). Put the turkey in a sturdy roasting pan, brush it with the butter and season. Loosely cover the turkey with foil and refrigerate.

Christmas day

Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5.

Cook for the time you calculated, basting the turkey occasionally to prevent it from becoming dry. Thirty minutes before the turkey is cooked, remove the foil so the bird can brown.

After the time you calculated has elapsed, check if the bird is cooked and insert a skewer into the thickest part of the bird. If the juices run clear, the bird is cooked. If there is any pink in the juices, return the turkey to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a hot serving plate, cover with foil and leave to stand for 15-30 minutes, before carving and serving.

 

Sizes and Times

It is vital that you get your timings right; too long and you’ll end up with dry turkey, too short and you’ll be giving the gift of food poisoning. But don’t worry, stick to this guide and you’ll be fine!

To calculate the cooking time, allow 45 minutes per kg. The following is a handy guide to the size of bird you’ll need:

  • 2-2.8kg – 5 servings
  • 3-3.8kg – 6 servings
  • 4-4.8kg – 8 servings
  • 4.6-5.8kg – 12 servings
  • 6-6.8kg – 14 servings
  • 7-7.8kg – 20 servings

 

If you buy a frozen turkey, defrost it completely in the fridge or a cool room. The following is a guide to minimum defrosting times in a cool room. Double the time for defrosting in the fridge. When you check to see if the turkey has completely defrosted, the cavity should be free of ice crystals.

  • 2-4kg 20 hours
  • 4-5kg 22-24hours
  • 5-7kg 24-28hours
  • 8-9kg 40-48hours

 

Turkey Tips

  • Order your turkey as early as possible
  • Check the turkey will fit in your oven before ordering it. A turkey of up to 7kg will generally fit into a standard oven.
  • If the turkey comes with giblets, don’t throw them out! Use them to make stock for the gravy.
  • If your fridge is too small to fit the turkey, put it in a cardboard box with a couple of ice packs and store it in a cool secure location, such as a garage or shed.
  • If you use a large bird, make sure the legs are not trussed too tightly or the cooking will take longer.
  • Any leftover turkey should be refrigerated and eaten within 2 days. If you’re using it in a cooked dish, such as in a curry, make sure it is reheated till it is piping hot.
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RECIPE: Winter Warmer Drink

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What would Christmas be without cinnamon and cloves? Today, our chefs have shared a recipe for a warming spiced drink. Depending on preference this can be made alcoholic – either way it is delicious.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 8 Bay Leaves
  • 4 Star Anise
  • 20 Cardamom Pods
  • 20 Cloves
  • 1lt Cranberry Juice
  • 1lt Orange Juice
  • 800g Sugar
  • 5 Fresh Oranges
  • 3 Fresh Lemons

METHOD

Zest the oranges and lemons, slice and place into a bowl. Mix all the other ingredients together and leave to infuse.

 

Christmas day

Place the winter warmer mixture into a pan and dilute with either water or red wine (or both) to taste. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat, serve warm.

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RECIPE: Christmas Pudding

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A Christmas tradition that dates back to the 14th Century, the Christmas Pudding has been adapted over the centuries, finally modified into the flaming ball of danger we all know and love (or not) today. A homemade Christmas pudding is easy to make and can be enjoyed along with your Christmas meal, or the leftovers can be made into a Christmas Pudding ice cream!

INGREDIENTS

  • 150g Sultanas
  • 150g Currants
  • 150g Raisins
  • 50g Mixed peel
  • 50g Vegetable suet
  • 1 Grated apple
  • 150g Self raising flour
  • 2tsp Mixed spice
  • 100g Dark brown sugar
  • 100g Minced dates
  • 150g Fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 Lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 Oranges, zested and juiced
  • 3 Whole eggs
  • 50ml Guinness
  • 50ml Brandy
  • A 1.5L pudding base

METHOD

Thoroughly mix all ingredients together then fill the greased pudding basin up to an inch from the rim, place a greased circle of parchment on top of the mix, then make sure the lid is on tightly and steam for 5 hours.

 

Christmas day

Half fill a deep saucepan with boiling water. Place an upturned saucer with the pudding on top. Cook for 1 hour. Serve and enjoy!

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RECIPE: Seasonal Beetroot, Cranberry & Feta Tarts

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These beetroot, cranberry & feta tarts look amazing and taste delicious, too. It requires a bit of time, but the recipe itself is easy. They’re vegetarian and serve 10, so it’s perfect for Christmas entertaining.

MAKES 10 TARTS

INGREDIENTS

  • 10cm Pastry Tarts x 10
  • Cranberry Sauce x 150g
  • Beetroot x 500g
  • Fresh Eggs x 3 Each
  • Milk x 425ml
  • Feta cheese x 150g
  • Thyme x 10g
  • Vegetable oil x 20ml
  • Salt x 5g
  • Pepper x 5g

METHOD

  • Wash the beetroot and trim off any excess stem, keeping the top and tail intact.
  • Place the beetroot in a large pan and cover with water, bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Once the beetroot is fork tender, drain and cool slightly, rub off the skin.
  • Top and tail the beetroot and cut into 2cm wide wedges, place in a bowl with the oil, half the salt and pepper, toss the ingredients together ensuring the oil covers the beetroot.
  • Place on a parchment lined tray and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes until caramelised.
  • Finely chop the thyme.
  • Spread the base of each tart case with 15g (1 Tbsp) of cranberry sauce.
  • In a bowl whisk the eggs, milk, thyme and remaining salt and pepper together. Divide the beetroot amongst each tart case laying wedges over the cranberry sauce.
  • Crumble the feta cheese and distribute it evenly into the tart cases filling the cracks between the beetroot.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the tarts leaving a half cm gap to the top.
  • Place in the oven and bake at 165C/145C Fan/Gas 3 until the egg mix has set, and the tops are golden brown.
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RECIPE: Winter Spice Sweet Potato & Roasted Root Vegetable Tarts

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A Tart doesn’t have to be sweet, our chefs show this with a delicious winter spice vegetable version. This recipe is great for using up any leftover seasonal vegetables in the fridge or for a quick savoury snack.

MAKES 10 TARTS

INGREDIENTS

  • 10cm Pastry Tarts x 10
  • Sweet Potato x 200g
  • Mixed Spice x 10g
  • Baking Fat x 30g
  • Beetroot x 200g
  • Carrots x 200g
  • Parsnips x 200g
  • Thyme x 10g
  • Vegetable oil x 30ml
  • Salt x 5g
  • Pepper x 5g

METHOD

  • Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 5cm chunks, place in a colander and give them a good wash.
  • Place the cut sweet potato into a pan and cover with water, place over a high heat and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 25-30 minutes until ready to mash.
  • Once the potatoes are tender enough to mash remove from the heat and drain well.
  • Mash well so they are smooth and add the baking fat and mixed spice. Mix well, reserve and keep warm.
  • Wash the beetroot and trim off any excess stem, keeping the top and tail intact.
  • Place the beetroot in a large pan and cover with water, place over a high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 45-60 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Once the beetroot is fork tender, drain and cool slightly.
  • With gloved hands, rub the skin off the warm beetroot.
  • Top and tail the beetroot and cut into 2cm wide wedges, place in a bowl with half the oil and half the salt and pepper, toss the ingredients together ensuring the oil covers the beetroot.
  • Place on a parchment lined tray and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes until caramelised.
  • Peel, top and tail the carrots and parsnips, cut them into wedges similar in size to the beetroot, place in a bowl with remaining oil, salt and pepper and give them a good mix.
  • Place on a parchment lined tray and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes until nicely roasted
  • Finely chop the thyme.
  • Place the warm sweet potato mash in a piping bag and pipe equal amounts into the bottom of each of the tart cases.
  • Place pieces of the carrot, parsnip and beetroot into the sweet potato mash and press down slightly.
  • Sprinkle with the chopped thyme and place in the oven for a few minutes to heat through.
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RECIPE: Mince Pie Streusel Traybake

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This Christmas traybake is quick and easy – much faster than making mince pies. The cooked streusel freezes very well and serves perfectly warm with cream or brandy butter.

MAKES 10

INGREDIENTS

For the Base

  • Baking Fat x 225g
  • Caster Sugar x 110g
  • Plain Flour x 225g
  • Cornflour x 110g
  • Salt x 1g
  • Mincemeat x 400g

For the Topping

  • Plain Flour x 110g
  • Ground Almonds x 110g
  • Baking Powder x 5g
  • Baking Fat x 150g
  • Caster Sugar x 150g

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3
  • Grease and parchment line a shallow traybake pan.
  • To make the base, mix baking fat and sugar until creamed.
  • Sieve Flour and cornflour and add half with salt to the butter and sugar, mix slowly.
  • After a few seconds slowly add the remaining flour and mix until it comes together into a dough. Making sure not to overwork the dough.
  • Roll out on a floured surface into the size of the pan and place on it.
  • Prick the dough with a fork and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked leave to cool for 15 minutes.
  • To make the topping, sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and mix in the ground almonds.
  • Cut the baking fat into cubes and rub into the flour mix until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the sugar.
  • Spread the mincemeat over the base and scatter the topping over the mincemeat.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cut into 10 pieces.
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RECIPE: Gingerbread Muffins

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These gingerbread muffins are a great change to a traditional fruit Christmas cake, they also double as a brilliant activity to keep the whole family occupied as the excitement of Christmas mounts.

MAKES 12

INGREDIENTS

  • Self Raising Flour x 570g
  • Light Brown Sugar x 280g
  • Milk x 500ml
  • Vegetable Oil x 110g
  • Mixed Spice x 5g
  • Ground Ginger x 10g
  • Ground Cinnamon x 20g
  • Honey x 50g
  • Eggs x 2
  • Vanilla Essence x 1Tbsp

METHOD

  • Place all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine.
  • Whisk all the wet ingredients until foamy.
  • Fold the wet mix into the dry ingredients making sure you are careful not to over mix.
  • Allow the mix to chill for at least an hour.
  • Pipe the mix into the muffin cases, filling them about ¾ full.
  • Bake at 210C/190C Fan/Gas 6 for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  • Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
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RECIPE: Chocolate Orange Tarts

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Rather decadent, but deliciously easy, these Chocolate Orange Tarts are great as an alternative to Christmas pudding or perfect for a Christmas party.

MAKES 10

INGREDIENTS

  • 5cm Sweet Pastry Tarts x 10
  • Orange Marmalade x 300g
  • Caster Sugar x 30g
  • Cocoa Powder x 50g
  • Fresh Eggs x 5 Each
  • Semi Skimmed Milk x 750ml

METHOD

  • Place the pastry cases on to a baking tray straight from frozen.
  • DO NOT remove the pastry cases from their paper case.
  • Bake at 165C/145C Fan/Gas 3 for 7 minutes, remove from the oven & allow to cool slightly.
  • Spread the base of each pastry case with 30g of orange marmalade.
  • Whisk the caster sugar, cocoa powder, eggs & milk together.
  • Allow the sweet egg mixture to settle slightly to remove any bubbles.
  • Pour the sweet custard over the marmalade tarts.
  • Place onto a baking tray and cook until the custard mixture has a wobble but is no longer wet.
  • Gently remove the tarts from their paper cases, dust with icing sugar or cocoa powder.
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RECIPE: Spiced Carrot Cake Muffins

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These Spiced Carrot Cake Muffins have all the flavours of a traditional carrot cake, but with a festive twist. Sweet, ultra-moist, with a hint of cinnamon and perfectly fluffy texture. Great for a Christmas get together or a sweet treat.

MAKES 12

INGREDIENTS

Cake
– Plain Flour x 330g
– Ground Cinnamon x 23g
– Bicarbonate of Soda x 15g
– Baking Powder x 13g
– Salt x 5g
– Eggs x 6
– Caster Sugar x 400g
– Vegetable Oil x 360ml
– Vanilla Essence x 5ml
– Grated Carrot x 530g

Icing
– Cream Cheese x 90g
– Baking Fat x 60g
– Vanilla Essence x 5ml
– Icing Sugar x 380g

METHOD

To make muffins:
– Preheat oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
– Sift together the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt, then set aside.
– Beat the eggs and sugar until frothy and lightened in colour.
– Stir in the oil, vanilla extract and grated carrot, and then fold in the flour mixture you set aside before.
– Pour the mixture into muffin cases.
– Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top is springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
– Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing:
– Beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and sifted icing sugar until fluffy.
– Spread icing over tops of cooled muffins and chill until ready to serve.

Thanksgiving

RECIPE: Thanksgiving American Pumpkin Cake

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While not officially a holiday in the UK, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate Thanksgiving, which this year falls on Thursday 25 November 2021. A typical Thanksgiving dinner involves turkey, stuffing and various other trimmings, cranberry sauce, sweet potato pie and mac ‘n’ cheese, followed by a helping of pumpkin or pecan pie.

Aside from food, Thanksgiving is a beloved time of year when Americans come together to celebrate what they are thankful for, with their friends and family. Thanksgiving is a cultural holiday that symbolises peace, thankfulness, and the beginning of the holiday season.

In celebration of the holiday, our team of Development Chefs have created a delicious Choctaw Fall cake recipe, a native American pumpkin cake.

Choctaw Fall Cake (American Pumpkin Cake)

Ingredients:

  • 250g flour
  • 440g sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 190g pumpkin
  • 375ml oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Whipped cream to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
  2. Grease and lightly flour a small bundt tin
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and cocoa. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add the pumpkin, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat this into the wet ingredients for 2-3 minutes until it is thick and smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt tin. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Sticky Coffee Pork from Angel Hill

Recipe: Sticky Singapore Coffee Cart Pork

By 1 | by Dan Kirkpatrick, Recipes | No Comments

Sticky Coffee Pork might sound like an odd combination, but in Singapore, it is a household favourite! The original ribs recipe shot to fame after being created by local celebrity chef Sam Leong. At Angel Hill, we found this inspiring and decided to put our spin on it, combining this with a popular street food to give a real taste of south-east Asia.

We recommend using ethically sourced coffee which will give you a high-quality flavour and positively impacts the lives of the farmers. When buying coffee look out for the Fairtrade symbol, USDA organic seal and the Rainforest Alliance certification on the packaging.

Fair Trade, USDA and Rain Forest Alliance

We use pork collar for this recipe. Pork collar is an often forgotten cut which is perfect for slow cooking or roasting. The meat is marbled with fat which helps ensure it remains moist during slow cooking for a tender and delicious dish. Unlike other cuts, there is also virtually zero waste throughout cooking. Find the full recipe below.

Sticky Singapore coffee cart pork, coconut rice, scallions and crispy shallots

Serves 5

Ingredients

  • Half a garlic bulb
  • 500g pork collar
  • 125ml sweet chilli sauce
  • 75ml dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 250g long grain rice
  • 75ml toasted sesame oil
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 fresh lime
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 0.5 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 0.5 tbsp table salt
  • 0.5 tbsp ground white pepper
  • Half a bunch of spring onions
  • 1 red chillies
  • 2.5 tbsp crispy shallots

Method

Preheat your oven to 200⁰C.

Mix the instant coffee with 100ml of warm water, set aside and allow to completely cool. Peel & mince the garlic then mix the dark soy, coffee, sesame oil, caster sugar, lime zest, lime juice, ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli flakes, minced garlic and sweet chilli sauce together then set aside for later.

Place the pork collar into a deep sided tray and fill half the tray with cold water, then cover tightly with parchment paper and tin foil and roast at 200⁰C for 2 hours.

After one hour, check the water level and top back up to half if needed, then re-cover and return to the oven for a further hour.

After an hour take out the tray from the oven and drain away any cooking juices. Then using forks shred the meat to make pulled pork. Mix the coffee sauce and add it to the pork. Mix the pork and coffee well before returning to the oven and cook it uncovered for 35 minutes.

Add the coconut water and the rice into a pan and bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is done. Make sure to check and top up the rice with cold water if needed. Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the desiccated coconut. Drain the rice well and season to taste. Wash and finely shred the spring onions and red chillies.

Top the hot coconut rice with the sticky coffee cart pork, shredded scallions, chillies and crispy shallots and enjoy.

Top Tip

Simply double the number of chilli flakes for a spicier dish or add 2 tablespoons of runny honey to the marinade to cool the heat slightly whilst still getting the flavour of the chilli.

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Video Recipe: Homemade Scotch Eggs

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Ingredients (per Scotch Egg):
1 sausage
1 soft boiled egg
4 eggs, beaten
Flour
Breadcrumbs

Method:
Skin the sausage
Soft boil the egg, and peel
Wrap the egg in the sausage meat
Coat in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Repeat.
Deep fry for 8-10mins, until golden brown.
Eat!

sweet pot

Recipe: Stuffed Sweet Potato Light Lunch

By 37 | Recipes | No Comments

In our video, we did a half portion. Here’s the recipe to feed yourself and 3 friends.

Prep Time: 35 Minutes

Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients
4 Sweet Potatoes (Pricked with a fork) Each approx. 275g
6 Large Sausages (Skins Removed)
2 Leeks (Thinly Sliced)
200g Cream Cheese
4 Eggs (Hard Boiled)
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Vine Tomatoes
100g Mixed Leaf Salad

Method

Preheat the oven to 220c (450F, gas mark 7)

Microwave the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes, turning half way through. Leave to cool, then cut in half lengthways, scoop out the middle of the potato flesh into a bowl, keeping the skins intact.

Skin the sausages and rip them into small pieces, add to frying pan and cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, until they’re golden and cooked through. Remove from the pan, add sliced leeks and cook until tender.

Put leeks and sausages into the bowl with the sweet potato flesh and ¾ of the cream cheese (keep ¼ to top potatoes when cooked). Mix it all together and then spoon mixture back into the sweet potato skins.

Place on baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Once baked arrange on plate with 1/4s of hardboiled egg, a spoon of cream cheese on top, garnish with mixed leaves and tomato wedges, season with black pepper & sea salt.

Yum!

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Recipe: Tony’s Jerk Chicken

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Background

In this recipe, Tony Stephens, Executive Head Chef at one of our most prestigious sites, shares his mum’s fantastic Jamaican jerk chicken recipe. Below is a bit of background on what makes this stunning dish so special.

“Back in the 1970s my dad got paid on a Thursday and my mum would buy a chicken. She’d then clean it, cut it and marinade it, military style! When my mum cooks she cooks with love, her jerk chicken always tasted amazing and she’d always always add just the right amount of ingredients to get the same taste every time – that’s experience for you! The marinading process takes three days, so the chicken was always ready for our Sunday lunch. I know lots of people have chicken for their Sunday lunch, but I promise you, this is special.

Sundays back then were a magical time for us, Dad used to play Bob Marley albums and make our favourite drinks – Guinness punch and carrot juice. We always sat around the table as a family, except when friends and family came over, then it was every man, woman and child for him or her self! They were great times; loads of talking, jokes, smiles and empty plates. I know everyone says their mum’s the best cook, but mine is truly awesome, she still cooks jerk chicken and my kids love it.”

Recipe (serves 4)

Jerk chicken recipe

4 chicken quarters with skin on

1 lemon

3 tablespoons oil

1 bunch spring onions roughly sliced

Thumb size piece of ginger peeled & chopped

6 garlic gloves chopped

2-3 scotch bonnets finely chopped (if you don’t want it hot, just use one. If you want it even milder, take out the seeds and discard)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground allspice

6-8 tablespoons Dunn’s River Jamaican jerk seasoning

3 tablespoons oil

  • Rinse the chicken under cold water, dry and slash the skin 3 times – but not too deep. Squeeze the lemon juice over chicken and massage. Leave to rest in fridge for around an hour.
  • In a bowl, mix all the other ingredients together. You should get a dry paste, now rub over the chicken making sure every part of it is well coated.
  • Place the chicken in the fridge for a maximum of 3 days and a minimum of 24 hours (I prefer 3 days)
  • Cook in an oven for around 45 minutes at 180c
  • While the chicken is cooking make the rice ‘n’ peas (recipe below)

Rice ‘n’ peas

200g dried kidney beans (soak them overnight in cold water in the fridge. Dried kidney beans are best as they taste better and give the rice the correct colour, but you can use canned kidney beans. Just don’t soak them.)

2 tablespoons cooking oil

½ onion finely chopped

3 spring onions finely chopped

3 sprigs of thyme

2 garlic cloves chopped

¼ scotch bonnet (if you want the rice hotter, use more)

1tsp Dunn’s River all-purpose seasoning

200g block coconut cream grated

2 teaspoons salt

400g Long grain white rice (I love long grain rice, but basmati rice can be used)

  • Drain kidney beans and rinse with cold water. Fill a saucepan with 1.5 litres of cold water, bring to the boil and add kidney beans. Boil for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 35 minutes until the beans are soft.
  • In another pan, fry the onions with oil, spring onions, thyme, garlic, all-purpose seasoning and scotch bonnet. Cook for 7 minutes on a medium heat and then add to the beans
  • Wash the rice and add to the beans, cook for about 20-25 mins until all the liquid has evaporated.

To Serve

It is always served with coleslaw and often with a Jamaican style hot sauce. When you want to impress, add a portion of fried plantain. So grab a glass of Guinness punch and carrot juice and enjoy!

vietamese squid

Recipe: Vietnamese stuffed squid and green papaya salad

By 3 | by Chris Ince, Recipes | No Comments

Background

The spring festival or Chinese New Year falls on January 28th this year. It’s always been a good opportunity for caterers to put on a theme day, dress the unit up a bit and put on some great food that is perhaps rarely cooked at other times in the year. While this is always a great celebration and always popular with customers, those looking to change things up a little bit could do far worse than looking south and putting on a second theme day featuring the fascinating and beautiful cuisine of Vietnam.

Vietnamese cooking has several immediate benefits to the contract caterer. It’s light, full of flavour, healthy and simple to make. It also has the added benefit of being relatively un-explored in the contract world.
Vietnamese cooking has evolved over thousands of years. In addition to what was already happening inside its many regions, the influence of thousands of years of Chinese rule has can clearly be seen; chopsticks are widely used and stir frying is a frequently used technique. French colonial rule brought with it not only greater variety of ingredients but also some refinement in technique. Added to this are influences from Cambodia and the spices of India and you have a cuisine that is among the most sophisticated and delicate in the world.

The featured dish is a stuffed squid. It’s very quick to cook and full of great flavour and texture, with the noodles and finely chopped mushrooms holding the filling together. The green papaya salad is borrowed from Thai cookery, but it stands up to the bolder flavours of the dressing and is very refreshing when eaten as an accompaniment.

There isn’t a sauce or dressing with this dish but if you’d like one then some sweet chilli, water and a pinch of 5 spice once the squid has been cooked makes a good rudimentary pan sauce. Some sticky rice would be the best accompaniment.

Stuffed squid
10 large squid tubes (or more smaller ones) – cleaned dried and tentacles removed
500g minced pork
2 finely diced shallots
6 spring onions
Fish sauce, soy sauce
200g finely chopped mushrooms
300g glass noodles
1 finely chopped red chilli
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
Veg oil

Green papaya salad
600g green papaya (very finely shredded)
Thai basil
Fish sauce
Mint
Lime juice
Chopped red chilli
Handful cut cherry tomatoes
Sugar
Ginger
Garlic

Method

Sweat the shallots, garlic and chilli. Turn up the pan and brown the pork mince.

When the meat is cooked add the glass noodles, mushrooms, herbs, spring onion and seasonings to taste. Leave to cool.

Stuff the squid about ¾ full and secure the end with a cocktail stick. Poke a hole in one end so that the tubes don’t expand and burst.

Heat some veg oil and brown the squid all over. Cover with a lid and cook for a couple of minutes until cooked through. De-glaze, if you like, with some sweet chilli sauce, water and a pinch of 5 spice to drizzle over. Leave to rest before slicing.

For the dressing, put everything except the papaya, tomatoes and herbs into a bowl and pummel with the end of a rolling pin. When the balance of the dressing is about right, add the herbs.

When ready to serve, lightly dress the papaya and scatter in the tomatoes. Enjoy!

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An Angel Hill Xmas: The Pud

By 37 | by Chris Ince, Recipes | No Comments

Ah, the Christmas Pud. Usually comes with the added danger of someone attempting to light it on fire (we do not endorse such behaviour). What better way to finish off a gargantuan meal than to tuck into a heavy pudding? Get it down you!

Christmas Pudding

Ingredients
150g Sultanas
150g Currants
150g Raisins
50g Mixed peel
50g Vegetable suet
1 Grated apple
150g Self raising flour
2tsp Mixed spice
100g Dark brown sugar
100g Minced dates
150g Fresh white breadcrumbs
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
3 Oranges, zested and juiced
3 Whole eggs
50ml Guinness
50ml Brandy
A 1.5L pudding base

Thoroughly mix all ingredients together then fill the greased pudding basin up to an inch from the rim, place a greased circle of parchment on top of the mix, then make sure the lid is on tightly and steam for 5 hours.

Christmas day
Put an upturned saucer in a deep saucepan, sit the pudding basin on top of the saucer and then fill the pan half full with boiling water. Cook for 1 hour. Serve and enjoy!

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An Angel Hill Xmas: Spiced Sides

By 37 | by Chris Ince, Recipes | No Comments

The name of the game today is festive spice, what would Christmas be without loads of cinnamon and cloves? We shudder to think.

So there’s a warming Christmas drink, a spiced chutney and a delicious red cabbage dish to try (the cabbage goes fantastically well with roast duck, if you ask me). Enjoy!

Winter Warmer Drink

Ingredients

8 cinnamon sticks
8 bay leaves
4 star anise
20 cardamom pods
20 cloves
1lt cranberry juice
1lt orange juice
800g sugar
5 fresh oranges
3 fresh lemons

Method

Zest the oranges and lemons, slice and place into a bowl. Mix all the other ingredients together and leave to infuse.

Christmas day

Place the winter warmer mixture into a pan and dilute with either water or red wine (or both) to taste. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat, serve warm.

Spiced cranberry chutney

Ingredients

1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
225g cranberries
1tbsp freshly grated root ginger
½ red onion
175g Demerara sugar
1 Grated zest and juice of an orange
200ml red wine vinegar

Method

Place all the ingredients into a pan and bring up to simmering point and stir well. Continue simmering for about 45 minutes or until you can draw a wooden spoon across the surface and leave a trail that doesn’t fill up with the vinegar. Don’t forget, it will thicken as it cools, so don’t let it get too thick. Pour into a sterilised container and seal.

Red cabbage with apples and sultanas

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Method

35g unsalted butter
2no onions finely chopped
50g sultanas
2 cloves of garlic
1 red cabbage shredded
1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp ground cloves
3tbsp dark brown sugar
3tbsp cider vinegar
2 bramley apples cored and cut into chunks
1 oranges zested and juiced

23rd December

Preheat the oven to 150c, melt the butter in a large oven dish and cook the onion and sultanas for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions have started to colour. Add the remaining ingredients, except the apples and orange zest, cover with a tight fitting lid. Place the oven dish into the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours stirring at half hour intervals. Remove from the oven, stir in the orange zest and the apples, then cook for a further 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

Christmas day

Reheat in a sauce pan for 15 minutes season and serve.

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An Angel Hill Xmas: The Fowl

By 37 | Blogs, by Chris Ince, Recipes | No Comments

Christmas Fowl

Bronze turkey has the best flavour. Choose a plump-looking bird and if you would like leftovers, allow 350g-450g per person for birds up to 4.5kg and 200g-350g for birds over 4.5kg.

Goose makes a rich-flavoured alternative to turkey. Choose a plump breasted bird. If stuffed, a 5-5.5kg goose will serve eight people. When roasting, drain off the excess fat at regular intervals and save for scrumptious roast potatoes cooked with rosemary and whole garlic cloves. Goose tastes wonderful when partnered with apple, prunes, sausagemeat or spiced red cabbage.

Grey-legged English partridge has a lovely delicate flavour. Allow one bird per person and roast, basting with lemony butter. Serve with game chips and watercress.

Pheasant is ideal for one or two people – roast two birds if you would like leftovers. Wipe clean before roasting, encase in a streaky bacon jacket and baste with butter. It is delicious eaten with bread sauce or fried breadcrumbs, clear gravy, apple and rowanberry, or redcurrant jelly.

Foolproof turkey

Ingredients

1 turkey (defrosted, if frozen)
1 lemon, cut into quarters
A large roasting pan of fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and sage
40g unsalted butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5.
Wipe the turkey inside and out with kitchen roll, removing the giblets if it has them. Put the lemon and herbs inside the bird, weigh it, and calculate the cooking time (see below). Put the turkey in a sturdy roasting pan, brush with the butter and season well. Loosely cover with foil refrigerate.

Christmas day

Cook for the calculated time, basting now and then to prevent drying. Thirty minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil so the bird can brown.

At the end of the cooking time, check if the bird is cooked and insert a skewer into the thickest part of the bird. If the juices run clear, the bird is cooked. If there is any pink in the juices, return the turkey to the oven for 15-20 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a hot serving plate and leave to stand for 15-30 minutes, covered with foil, before carving.

Sizes and Times

To calculate cooking time, allow 45 minutes per kg. The following is a good guide to the size of bird you’ll need:

2-2.8kg 5 servings
3-3.8kg 6 servings
4-4.8kg 8 servings
4.6-5.8kg 12 servings
6-6.8kg 14 servings
7-7.8kg 20 servings

It is very important to get your timings right; too long and you’ll end up with dry inedible turkey, too short and you’ll be giving the gift of food poisoning. But don’t worry, stick to the guide and you’ll be fine!

If you buy a frozen turkey, defrost it completely in a cool room, or the fridge. It is completely defrosted when the cavity is free of ice crystals. The following is a guide to minimum defrosting times in a cool room. Double the time for defrosting in the fridge.

2-4kg 20 hours
4-5kg 22-24hours
5-7kg 24-28hours
8-9kg 40-48hours

Turkey Tips
• Order your turkey as early as possible
• Make sure the turkey will fit in your oven before ordering it. A turkey of up to 7kg will generally fit into a standard main oven.
• If the turkey comes with giblets, use them to make stock for the gravy.
• If your fridge is too small to fit the turkey in, put it into a cardboard box with a couple of ice packs and keep in a cool, safe place such as a garage or shed.
• If you’re using a large bird, make sure the legs are not trussed too tightly or the cooking may take longer.
• Any leftover turkey should be refrigerated and eaten within 2 days. If you’re using it in a cooked dish, such as a curry, make sure it is thoroughly reheated, until piping hot.

matt-vernon3

Matt Vernon: What got me into cooking

By 1 | Blogs, by Matt Vernon, Recipes | No Comments

What got me into cooking

I decided to do A-levels when I finished school – maths and physics – very boring stuff, as I’ve always been a very passionate and creative person. After 2 years of skipping class to do more exciting things, I found myself at 18 not knowing what I wanted to do for a career. I had always had a bit flair for cooking, which I’d done at GCSE level (and got top marks!), but was told by teachers is wasn’t a good career choice (what do they know?!).

So after taking a gap year travelling and doing odd jobs, I heard an advert for Birmingham College of Food on the radio and remember thinking that I should check it out. I went to the open day and enrolled myself, they had some really welcoming chef lecturers and I felt at home straight away. They asked me what I wanted to be and told me that I had the A-levels to do a degree course in hotel management. I told them I wanted to be a chef and they put me on the 2 year NVQ course – in hindsight, it wasn’t such a bad choice after all!

I spent 2 of the best years of my life at the college, learning from the very best Michelin-starred chefs and I felt that cheffing is exactly what I was meant to be. I completed the NVQ course and a chef lecturer told me of a potential job at Raymond Blanc’s restaurant. I couldn’t wait to start work in a professional kitchen, so I headed down there, did a trial and got my first chef’s job.

What got me to where I am now with Servest

I first came into contact with Servest whilst working at a Football Club in the directors’ kitchen. A Servest catering manager saw that I was a talented, passionate chef and gave me the opportunity to work at Worcester Bosch as the hospitality chef. I spent my time there implementing a lot of new ideas and concepts that I had learnt along the way, from working in high volume al a carte restaurants, 5 star hotels and gastro pubs. Whilst working at Worcester Bosch I met Chris Ince, our Chef Director, we clicked instantly and so I got involved with some of the projects he was working on. As the company grew larger there was a need for another development chef on the team, which I was offered by Chris and only too happy to accept. I have been working under Chris for almost a year now, this is a perfect role me as it allows me to be at the forefront of food development and work with many other chefs in all of our units and implement new concepts across the board – so exciting.

Hobbies

I am a very keen golfer and like to play almost every week, even in our harsh winter conditions, and summer ones too! I love travelling the globe and going on holiday to exotic locations (when I get time off!), one of my favourite things to see and do is experience the food in other countries, after a recent trip to South Africa I discovered a whole new range of ingredients, dishes and a culture built around food, especially their fantastic wines and vineyards.

What I’ll be doing in these blogs is sharing some of my expertise with you by writing a topical blog and recipe that you can try at home. Give them a shot, I’m sure you won’t leave hungry!

Plum Tarte Tatin with Honeycomb Ice Cream (serves 8)

A recipe very close to my heart, using the best in season British plums, this dessert combines hot spiced plums with a cold, easy to make, homemade ice cream

For the honeycomb

For the ice cream

  • 200ml double cream, whipped until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed
  • 1 tbsp clear honey

For the tarte tatin

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 25g butter
  • flour, for dusting
  • 375g ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 20 plums, stone removed and cut into halves
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 star anis
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. For the honeycomb, place the sugar, honey, glucose and water into a heavy-based pan, insert a sugar thermometer and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet. When the mixture reaches 160C, which is a light caramel, remove from the heat.
  2. Add the bicarbonate of soda and stir in quickly, then immediately pour the mixture onto the greased baking sheet – it will start to bubble up straightaway. Leave to cool.
  3. When the honeycomb has cooled completely, break it up into small pieces (don’t worry – you’ll have plenty leftover to eat!)
  4. For the ice cream, place the whipped cream into a large bowl and fold in the honey and about two large handfuls of the broken honeycomb.
  5. Pour the mixture into a container and place into the freezer to set for about 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  7. For the tarte tatin, place the sugar into an ovenproof pan (approx 20cm) and heat gently without stirring until it turns golden brown. Remove from the heat, add the butter and stir in gently.
  8. Place the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and cut out a circle slightly larger than the pan.
  9. Place the plums flesh-side down into the pan with the caramel and add the cinnamon, star anis and vanilla. Cover the plums and caramel mixture with the pastry and tuck the edges down the side of the pan.
  10. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and leave to rest for a minute before turning it out. To do this, place a plate on top of the pan and invert so that the tart slips out, pastry to the base, plums on top.
  12. Serve the tarte tatin warm with a scoop of the honeycomb and ice cream
  13. Enjoy with a glass of dry white Muscat!
chris-ince

Recipe: Maryland style crab cakes

By 3 | Blogs, by Chris Ince, Recipes | No Comments

Maryland style crab cakes

It’s in the nature of cooks that while we’re using the best products of the season, we’re also looking ahead to what we can cook with next month, and the month after that, and possibly the month after that. From a personal perspective, May is the month that I anticipate most for one reason alone – we can start eating British crab again, something that continues right throughout the summer.

Crab should be avoided during the winter months as it is the breeding season. However, during the summer months, the meat is sweet and delicious, not to mention extremely versatile.

I know that most kitchens are hard pressed to make their margins and that Cornish brown crab might not be the first thing the chef thinks of when planning meals to send out at £3 a plate. But, if there was ever a product that still has a perception of luxury and that could feature as a tariff-busting, top line driving seasonal special, then perhaps crab is it.

Opinions vary on the best way to cook a crab. While the creature should be alive when you buy it, I believe it should be dead before it enters the pot. This means locating the small hole under the triangular flap on the underside of the crab and giving a screwdriver a sharp tap until it reaches the shell on the other side, then move it from side to side. Boil the crab in plenty of salted water for 15mins (for one that weighs up to 1kg). Rinse the crab off in cold water and leave to cool before going to work on extracting the meat.

The featured recipe is for Maryland crab cakes, a stunning delicacy. It’s really nothing more than white meat, loosely bound with a little egg and seasoned with English mustard powder, Worcester sauce and chopped parsley. Its most natural home in the contract environment might well be as a hot bite on a canapé menu, but consider it as part of a Friday fish offer on the mains counter. If served with a lightly toasted bun and a little dressed watercress, this would make the most delicious lunch.

Move over, the omnipresent ‘posh’ fish finger sandwich.

The brown meat also makes a brilliant lunch if spread on a thick slice of sourdough toast and served with a tomato salad.

You could of course buy packs of picked crab meat but the danger here is that the texture will be lost. What we are looking for is large nuggets of juicy sweet crab, barely held together. Not small shards of pasteurised meat bound up with too much filler to taste of anything. Best to talk to your fish supplier and see what they suggest.

Serves 10

  • 80g cream crackers
  • 800g white crab meat
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 4tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2tbsp English mustard powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put the crackers into a blender and blitz to a fine crumb. Add this to the picked crab meat and leave to absorb the moisture for an hour. Beat together the eggs, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce and mayonnaise. Pour enough into the crab meat for it to bind together then add the seasonings, parsley and a little lemon juice. Fry in some foaming butter. Enjoy!