Friday, 21 December 2012

On the last day of create christmas

Richard Groves made for me...Christmas Mince Pies
Orange pastry:
500g plain flour
175g icing or caster sugar (I use icing)
375g butter
Finely grated rind and juice of one large orange

Sift the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces, stir these into the flour and rub gently with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the grated rind. Then, using a knife, stir in the orange juice until the dough just begins to stick together, add more fresh orange juice if the orange was not juicy enough!

Gather up the dough, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
This quantity will make about 24 mince pies.


If you use bought in mincemeat the addition of a little grated orange rind, chopped apple and brandy will improve its flavour.

Roll out the pastry and use a 7.5cm fluted pastry cutter, grease your pie moulds and pop the bottoms in. Fill with mincemeat and put a 5cm top on after moistening the edge of the bottom. Brush the top with milk and bake in a preheated oven (gas mark 7/220c/425f) for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Deluxe version: Cream 250g full fat cream cheese and 50g caster sugar until smooth. Put a teaspoon of the cheese mixture on top of the mincemeat in each pastry bottom and top with a smaller round top.

Serve warm if possible and dust with icing sugar.

If you are being a complete show off, put a pinch of cinnamon powder in the icing sugar before dusting the mincies and serve with soft brandy butter to complete the hedonistic mince pie ritual.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

on the 11th day of create christmas

The kitchen reduced  for me... spiced Christmas gravy

Every morning in the create kitchen huge stock pots bubble away, with all of the trimmings from the onions, vegetables and herbs thrown in too. When it comes to Christmas we pop in some cinnamon sticks and star anise as well for some festive spice. We guess that you probably don't have 100 litre stock pots at home so use the biggest pan you can find.
25g butter
Turkey giblets (neck, heart and liver) 
3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 fresh bay leaves
8 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
8 black peppercorns
3 tbsp plain flour
150ml red wine
a dash of Worcestershire sauce

1) melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat, add the giblets and vegetables and fry for 8 minutes, until golden.
2) add the bay leaves and spices and 1.5 litres water, gently bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.
3) strain the stock into a jug – you should have around 600ml. Set aside to cool slightly, then discard the fat from the surface.
4) once your turkey has roasted remove it from the pan and place the turkey’s roasting tin on the hob over a medium-high heat, add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the wine, bring to the boil and reduce by half, then add the stock and any of the turkey’s cooking juices and bring back to the boil, allow to simmer for 15 minutes, to thicken. Discard any film from the surface, then season with the Worcestershire sauce.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

on the 10th day of create christmas

Turkey Finder found for me... the best free range turkey
I have become a little obsessed recently with the concept of PYOT (or pick your own turkey in case you didn't already know). What could nicer than going to the farm and choosing your own bird and then getting it delivered to your door. Agreed it might not be up everyone's pear tree but if you want to know you are eating a turkey which is truly free range then give it a go, just enter your postcode into the search box and call up the friendly if not slight stressed farmer to arrange a viewing!
There have been many theories over the last few years on how to avoid dry tasteless turkey, from Nigella and her rather strange soaking your turkey overnight in a spice bath to wrapping and roasting your turkey in a buttered muslin cloak. If you start with the best quality free range turkey you can find then you are already half way there.

We find that wrapping the turkey breast in lots and lots of bacon and putting a herbed or spiced butter under the skin always works well. Breast side down may deform your turkey a little but you will have deliciously moist and flavoursome meat!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

on the 9th day of create christmas

the pastry kitchen made for me... boozy brandy butter

Possibly the simplest Christmas recipe but definitely the most un-healthy! 3 ingredients never tasted so good especially when eaten with a warm mince pie or Christmas pudd...


125g unsalted softened butter
125g icing sugar
2 tbsp boiling water
3 tbsp brandy

1) whip the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy
2) gently beat in the boiling water and brandy
3) refrigerate and repeat the process as brandy butter never lasts long if left un-attended.

on the 8th day of create christmas

the kitchen sauteed for me... brussel sprouts with chestnuts and bacon
Sprouts get a lot of bad press and we are not sure why, we love sprouts at create, possibly because we don't believe in crossing their sprout bottoms. Whoever the clever chap was who decided to sauteed them with bacon and chestnuts in lots of butter, was, in my opinion a bit of genius, who doesn't like bacon and butter?

6 thick rashers of English pancetta from the Wild Pig Charcuterie, Worcs
2kg of brussel sprouts
1kg of fresh chestnuts (you can buy these pre roasted and vac packed or alternatively roast them your selves)
150g unsalted butter
1 nutmeg

1) cut your pancetta into little pieces and in a hot pan saute until crispy and golden
2) meanwhile boil a large pan of salted water and cook your sprouts for 5-7 mins, the common mistake is to over cook sprouts so keep an eye of them, they want to have a little bit of bite.
3) once cooked drain the sprouts and put them in a bowl of ice water, this will stop them cooking.
4) roughly chop your chestnuts and add these to the pan of bacon and toss around, add you butter to the pan, once melted grate in a few good grates of fresh nutmeg
5) remove your sprouts from the iced water and pat dry add these to the pan of bacon and chestnuts and toss around over a medium heat until all the sprouts are coated and hot.

Monday, 17 December 2012

on the 7th day of create christmas

The kitchen made for me... pear and celeriac stuffing

However you like you like your stuffing, in rustic round balls, baked through the oven or stuffed into your Christmas bird, this delicious recipe gives you something slightly different...

2-3 tbsp goose fat
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
½ small celeriac, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
Juice and zest of 1 orange
3 pears peeled and cored and cut into 1cm cubes
500g of coarsely minced sausage meat
80g finely chopped chicken livers
100g finely chopped almonds
1 handful fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tbsp finely chopped sage
1 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves
Pinch ground mace
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the goose fat in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over a low heat, add the onion and cook gently until soft and translucent, throw in the celeriac and cook until soft.
Squeeze the orange juice into a large mixing bowl and add the pears into the juice and toss to stop discolouring.
Remove the onions and celeriac from the heat and mix thoroughly with the pears, sausage meat, chicken livers, breadcrumbs, herbs and spices and season well with salt and pepper.
Shape into small balls and roast in the oven for about 20-30mins until golden brown and slightly crisp.

on the 6th day of create christmas

The Butchers delivered to me... pigs in blankets 

We scoured the country's butchers for the finest sausages and the best cured bacon for what we think makes up the ultimate pigs in blankets and little did we know that the winner would be our very own butcher! With their meat reared on The Buccleuch Estates spread across Scotland these master butchers know more about meat than most, and when it comes to pigs in blankets only the best will do.

We are hoping that you don't need a recipe for how to make pigs in blankets but just in case here is a quick reminder

1) wrap your little chipolatas in rashers of streaky bacon (you can cut the rashers in half and they will roll better) and roast through the oven until golden and delicious.

Pretty simple really!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Create's Exciting Partnership with Adam Byatt

As Chef Patron of Trinity and Bistro Union restaurants in Clapham, Adam Byatt has won over the likes of London's most ruthless critics. Giles Coren of The Times regarded his experience at Trinity as, 'As close to an absolutely perfect experience of eating out as it is possible to have.' Trinity was named 'London Restaurant of the Year' at the AA Hospitality Awards in 2008.

Adam has joined forces with create in an exciting new relationship. Adam is exclusively available to create, designing a range of seasonal menus whilst offering his culinary expertise and presence at a selection of tastings and events. Caroline Gardiner, Managing Director of create said "This exciting partnership adds a new dimension to create, with a celebrated consultant chef on board whose love of food design and sourcing of great British suppliers has a close synergy with create's food ethos. We are delighted to be working with Adam". 
Adam's first book How to Eat In was published by Random House in April 2010 and is full of enduring recipes that take classic heritage cooking techniques into the modern era. As one of Britain's leading chefs and culinary experts, Adam's skills can also be seen on top-rated BBC 1 programme Saturday Kitchen, on which he regularly features as a guest presenter.

"As someone who is passionate about locally sourced food & using the best in British produce, I look forward to working with create, whose approach to delicious food is based on sound traditional kitchen practices & is totally in line with my way of thinking. The way create offer apprenticeships to local people really appeals to me too, they are a fantastic company to be associated with & I look forward to getting started!"
Adam Byatt

on the 5th day of create christmas

I made for myself... lots of bread sauce (sung like 5 gold rings!)

In my humble opinion, bread sauce is the king of all sauces.

110g stale crustless white bread - chop in a processor
1 large onion
1 pint of whole milk
50g butter
2 tbsp double cream
1 nutmeg
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme
15 cloves
5 black peppercorns
2 peeled garlic cloves
salt to taste

Stud your peeled onion with cloves and peppercorns & place in a pan with the bay leaves, thyme, smashed garlic and the milk. slowly bring to the boil with a lid on to let all the flavours infuse.
Add the bread & stir gently, switch off & leave to cool.
Once cool remove the bay, thyme, garlic & studded onion, if you like you can grate some of the cooked onion into your sauce.
When ready to use heat gently & add the double cream, some salt and pepper and a little grated fresh nutmeg.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

on the 4th day of create christmas

The create kitchen roasted  for me,
crispy goose fat roast potatoes.....

No Christmas lunch is complete without roast potatoes, there are a million and one different schools of thought for how to achieve the ultimate crispy outside and fluffy inside.

I have been doing some very difficult research into the ultimate roast potato and made some interesting discoveries.

Desiree potatoes they have been scientifically proven to be the best roaster (by scientific I mean my tested by my tummy)

Don't discard the peelings, wash them thoroughly and wrap them in muslin and add this to your pan of boiling water, it will give your potatoes a much fuller flavour.

Don't discard the water which you boil the potatoes in either, use it as a stock when it comes to making your gravy, all the starch will act as a natural thickener.

The larger surface area, edges and corners you have on your potatoes the crispier they will go.

Par boil potatoes for around 4 minutes, drain & shake in the collander to rough up the edges and if you are feeling particularly cheffy you could use a fork to fluff up the edges.

Make sure your goose fat is really hot; the potatoes should sizzle when you throw them in.

Season and pop into the oven until golden, crispy & delicious.

On the 3rd day of create christmas

There must be hundreds of mulled wine concoctions but here in the create kitchen as far as recipes go we have the fairy godmother of all, passed down through the generations of the Gardiner family.
Caroline gave to me...a secret mulled wine recipe

Take one bottle of decent red wine – don’t cheat as using cheap wine will give you a headache!!

Add a couple of shots of homemade damson gin or brandy, it adds a little warmth...

Throw in a couple of cinnamon sticks, two-three star anise, the old fashioned orange studded with cloves or some clementines, grate some fresh nutmeg and add some brown sugar (about 3-4oz) but depends on your palette.

Gently warm and once nearly bubbled, switch off, cover and leave overnight for the spices to infuse. Warm gently the next day and pour into warmed glasses and serve with some fresh orange and a star anise in each glass.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

On the 2nd day of create christmas

 Alan stewed for me... kilners of cranberry sauce

No Christmas lunch is complete without cranberry sauce. Although not native to the British farm and field, cranberries are the best thing to come out of America (followed closely by Britney Spears).


450g fresh or frozen cranberries if you can't get fresh
200ml of red wine
50ml red wine vinegar
125ml of fresh orange juice
25ml of cherry brandy
150g caster sugar
2 strips of orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
5 cloves

1) Tie your cloves, cinamon stick, star anise and orange zest into a little piece of muslin, make sure you leaves a long piece of string on the end so you can fish it out later.
2) Pour your cranberries into a large sauce pan and over a gentle heat allow them to gently stew away so the skins pop and some of the natural juices are released
3) As soon as you have a little juice in the bottom of the pan add the sugar and stir until all the cranberries and coated and allow to simmer for a minute or so.
4) Add the wine, orange juice and cherry brandy and pop in the little spice bag you made earlier, tie the end onto the sauce pan handle so you can easily pull this out later
5) Allow to simmer until the liquid has reduced by a third and you have a losse cranberry compot

Once cooled you can freeze the sauce and that is one less thing to worry about on Christmas eve, as long as you remember to take it out of the freezer!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

12 days of create christmas, the edible advent calender

From the 1st week of December the create kitchen will be sharing with you their secret recipes for how to cook, what we think, are the most important 12 elements to make up the best Christmas lunch. From curing your own salmon to sourcing the best blankets for your pigs, we think we have it sussed, and as a thank you to everyone who has been supporting, contributing and providing us here at create with blog-able stories we have decided to share our secrets of Christmas with you.

On the first day of create christmas......

Alan cured for me, sides of scottish salmon


1 side of fresh Scottish salmon pin boned and trimmed from James Knight of Mayfair, supplier to The Queen and create
5 raw beetroot, chopped into cubes
A large thumb sized  root of fresh horseradish (depends on the size of your thumb of course)
500g rock salt
250g refined caster sugar
2 bunches of fresh tarragon

1) Lay your side of salmon skin side down in a large dish (be aware don't use your favourite dish as the beetroot will more than likely stain in).
2) In your food processor, blend the beetroot, horseradish, sea salt, sugar and tarragon into a smooth paste.
3) Evenly pour the purée over the salmon, cling film and place in the fridge.
4) After a night of curing in the fridge turn the salmon over and leave for a further 24 hours.
5) At this stage the salmon should have taken on a beautiful deep purple colour and it is ready to eat, just wash off the cure and pat dry with a clean cloth.