Hello, everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday and today was lovely, quiet and involved no cooking. Yesterday, we went to a gathering at a friend’s house. As we left, we were handed a parcel of left-over turkey and ham… so guess what we had for dinner?
My contribution to the Christmas dinner was the pre-dinner platter. I am so proud of it. I love how it looked.
The actual platter is the top of an old wine barrel. I have had it for ages but it must not have been properly dry before it was made into a platter because, over time, it buckled. Maus spend quite a few hours before Christmas pulling it apart, straightening it and then reassembling it. It is wonderful and straight now. She then nailed tiny nails around the edge. I made the wreath of rosemary and we wired it onto the nails. The lovely Maus painted the gum nuts for me and I then wired them to the wreath. I think the idea is a keeper.
Because platters are all the go this time of year, I thought I would show you how pretty you can make them and give you a couple of recipes. Three items on the platter have already appeared on this blog: beetroot chutney, chicken liver pate with blueberry and balsamic glaze and veal, chicken and apricot terrine.
The beetroot chutney is my favourite chutney recipe. We always have jars of it in the pantry.
We make the terrine quite regularly. It is very easy and makes two which is an added bonus. We slice it and freeze the slices separately for when we need something for a platter or don’t feel like cooking dinner.
I don’t make the paté that often and now I remember why. The recipe is simple enough and it does make a lot. And … it is great having little containers of it in the freezer. But … I forgot what a pain it is to get smooth. I blended it in my Vitamix, I then put it through my electric mouli and still it felt grainy so I pushed it through a sieve with the back of a spoon. I say “I” but really I should have said “Maus”. I was so pissed off I left her to it after a very short while. I think every dish in the kitchen was dirty by the end of it.
The biscuits on the platter are those fab gourmet biscuits that are all the rage at the moment. I love them but, geez, they are expensive. Today, I went searching on the web for a take-off recipe and found one! I have just made them and they are in the oven. They look just like the commercial crackers. I will let you know how they taste. That recipe might be my next post.
For todays’ recipes… Firstly, the big cheese ball with the pomegranate seeds. I found the recipe on GrateBlog. Here is the link. I am going to include the recipe here as well because, the last time I only included a link, it didn’t work when I needed the recipe. And this blog is as much for my benefit as yours :). This one is definitely a keeper. You will note I adjusted the recipe slightly. These quantities will make one ball.
Pomegranate goat cheese ball
- ½ tsp dried sage
- 150g goat cheese (I used Meredith Dairy Chevre. It comes in a 150g pack and I love it.)
- 25g cream cheese (The next recipe requires 225g of cream cheese so it worked out well)
- a pinch of black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped pistachios (I was generous with my ¼ cup)
- seeds from 1 pomegranate
- With a fork, mix the goat cheese, cream cheese, pepper and pistachios until combined.
- Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and scoop the cheese mixture out of the bowl and onto the counter. Wrap up the cheese forming a rough ball. Place in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up.
- Once the cheese is firm, reshape into a ball.
- Place the pomegranate seeds in a shallow bowl and roll the ball in the seeds. Gently push the seeds into the cheese to adhere.
The second recipe is for the little cheese balls you can see on the platter. I have made this recipe before. The recipe was originally called Festive Cheese Spread from the Yummly site but I can’t find the on-line page to provide a link. I have had a print-out in my recipe file for ages and I used that. Sorry.
Festive cheese balls
- 225g cream cheese
- 75g cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup dried apricots
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (This time I skipped the apricots and used ½ cup dried cranberries. I thought it was more festive, but you choose)
- ½ a bunch of chives (I know, I know… what is a bunch? You decide.)
- ½ cup chopped slivered almonds
- In a small bowl, mix the cheeses together, then mix in the fruit and chives.
- Roll the mixture into balls. Maus used a dessert spoon and I thought the size was perfect. You could, if you like, make a couple of large balls or even a log.
- Roll balls in the almonds until completely coated.
- Refrigerate to firm up.
The crackers are out of the oven. They taste fabulous.