Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

This is my go to roast turkey recipe. Enjoy the holidays!!

Since Thanksgiving is almost upon us, I thought I would post one of my favorite turkey recipes. I have been using this recipe for over ten years now, I adapted it from Bon Apitit. I'll be using a different recipe this year which I will post after preparing it, which I will not be doing until after Thanksgiving when my Mom is in town. I typically stuff this turkey with a quartered onion and some celery stalks, leaves and all, sometimes I will add a halved lemon and pour a can of chicken broth in the roasting pan.

Roast Turkey w/ Garlic-Ancho Chili Paste

3 large heads garlic
3 large ancho chilies, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, torn into pieces
1/2 olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. honey
1 17 to 18 lb. turkey, neck and giblets removed

For paste: Preheat oven to 350. Wrap garlic in foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Peel garlic and remove hard tips, place into 1/2 cup measuring cup to fill. Reserve any remaining garlic. Blend 1/2 cup in processor to form coarse puree.
Meanwhile, place chilies in small saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Simmer over medium low heat until soft and most of water evaporates, about 15 minutes. Add chili mixture, oil, cumin and honey to garlic in processor. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (This can be made 1 week ahead.)
For turkey: Rinse turkey and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Slide hand under skin of the breast to loosen. Spread 1/2 cup of paste over breast under skin. Run 2 tablespoons of paste over turkey. Reserve any remaining paste for the gravy. Tie legs to hold shape. Place turkey on rack in roasting pan.
Position rack in lowest third of preheated 325 degree oven. Roast turkey for 30 minutes, remove from oven and loosely tent with foil. Continue roasting until thermometer inserted in thickest past of thigh registers 180( about 2 hours and 20 minutes). Place turkey on platter. tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Christmas is so different in the UK compared to the USA. It seems to come a little earlier, but not as commercial. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving so Christmas just seems to loom larger and quicker here. They turn on the lights earlier and they have these wonderful German markets and other types of fairs that just lend a more celebratory atmosphere to the holiday, as opposed to the rush to the mall and all. One of the great things from the German markets is Gluhwein. Gluhwein is pretty much mulled wine or as I like to say hot sangria. One of my favorites was a cherry flavored gluwein that I bought in Manchester. I came up with this recipe and I think it's pretty close. Cheers!
  • 3/4 cup sugar    
  • 3/4 cup orange juice                
  • 1 cinnamon stick                      
  • 1  orange, cut in 1/2, juice reserved              
  • 10 whole cloves                      
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle red wine   
  • 1 cup cherry brandy                     

  • Directions:

    1. In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
    2. Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place peel in the simmering water. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
    3. Pour in the wine and brandy, and heat until steaming but not simmering.
    4. Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water.

    Today in Leeds

    Some scenery from Leeds, UK


    The last time I made chili while here in in the UK, I had to forgo making cornbread because there were no little boxes of Jiffy Cornbread mix or cornmeal for that matter. Yesterday, I decided to make chili again and while I was in the organic grocery store I looked across the aisle and saw polenta. Polenta is of course cornmeal, so I now could serve up some warm, home made cornbread with my chili!!

    • Olive oil, to grease
    • Plain flour, to dust
    • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
    • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 170g (1 cup) polenta           
    • 60g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
    • 250ml (1 cup) milk
    • 60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
    • 1 egg, lightly whisked

    1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Brush a square baking dish with the olive oil to lightly grease. Lightly dust with flour and shake out the excess.
    2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add cornmeal, sugar, milk, oil and egg, and use a wooden spoon to stir until well combined.
    3. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Mac 'n 'Cheese

    I love mac 'n 'cheese, but have never found a recipe that that I really like, until now. This recipe comes from the December 2013 BBC Good Food magazine. The recipe was meant as a way to use left over turkey, but you can really add whatever you have. I added some cooked, crumbled sausage, but it would have been good without it. Whatever meat you use, just throw in a handful and call it done. You can also use whatever cheese you like. The real reason this dish works so well is the crème fraiche. I never would have thought of using it, but it gives the mixture that creamy consistency that most recipes lack. Enjoy this one, it's quick and simple and will serve four.

    Mac 'n' Cheese

    Heat oven to 200 Celsius. Cook 350g macaroni or penne about 3 minutes less than package guidelines. Stir together 250g half-fat crème fraiche, 125g grated mozzarella, 125g grated English medium cheddar and a handful of leftover meat in a large baking dish. Drain the pasta and stir into the dish, stirring everything together well. Season with salt and pepper. Top with 50g of bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp and golden.

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    Changegate Fisheries - Haworth

    This Saturday we took a train into Keighley (pronounced Keithley) so we could ride a steam train into Haworth. The village of Haworth is the home of the Bronte sisters and the only train that goes there is an old steam one. The village sits on a high hill with a nice long, steep climb, then the main street is all up hill. There are wonderful little shops, boutiques and restaurants along the way, so it's not that bad. We were fortunate enough to be there on the Steampunk Weekend and an Arts & Crafts Festival.

    We ate lunch at this little fish & chips cafe that was recommended by some other shopkeepers. Both Dan and I ordered the Haddock & Chips (7.50 pounds) that also included white bread, hot tea, coffee or soda. Dan added a side of mushy peas that were very good. The food was good and so was the service and there were no bones!! The name on the restaurant and menu were not the same, so I'm not sure of the true name.

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Artisan Bread

    Here is the bread I made from the previous post Bread Dough and Neil Young. Turned out beautifully! Thanks Alicia!!

    Matt's Sherry Cake

    This incredibly easy and tasty cake comes from Delicious Magazine's November 2013 edition. Of course, I do not have any of the proper tools in this flat for baking, but I have been trying. This one was done by hand since there is no mixer. If I can do it by hand as easily as I did with such great results, anyone can do it. The flavor is so rich and the sherry gives it an incredible taste. I could not find any proper vanilla extract so I used vanilla paste instead. It's a lovely little goo filled with hundreds of vanilla seeds, no more extract for me. My favorite ingredient was the bicarbonate of soda for bubbly batters. Enjoy this recipe, it's a good company cake!

    Matt's Sherry Cake

    125g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing cake tin
    225g self-rising flour, plus extra for dusting cake tin
    125g caster sugar
    2 medium free-range eggs
    1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
    1 tsp. vanilla paste
    200ml sweet sherry

    Preheat oven to 180 Celsius. Grease 23cm cake tin with butter, then dust with flour.
    Beat together butter and sugar in a stand mixer or by hand until fluffy and pale. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then, using a metal spoon, gently fold in half of flour, the bicarbonate and vanilla. Add the sherry and fold in along with remaining flour.
    Pour into cake tin and bake 35-45 minutes until risen and cooked through. Allow cake to cool in tin, then turn out onto wire rack to cool fully.

    Bread Dough and Neil Young

    My good friend, Alicia, sent me this cookbook and plastic tub knowing that I would have time on my hands to do some baking. Her boyfriend Jim uses this book and makes some amazingly beautiful loaves, so I am giving it a go. A little Neil Young coming through the Bose speaker, a good cookbook and a cold cloudy day are perfect for cooking. I will let this rise and use it later to start baking some different artisan breads. The great thing about the recipe is that you can refrigerate the dough and use it as needed. I’ll let it rise and see what happens.
    Artisan Bread Dough
    • 3 cups lukewarm water                                      
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt                                                     
    • 6 1/2 cups flour, un-sifted, unbleached, all-purpose                                            


    1. Preparing Dough for Storage:.
    2. Warm the water slightly. It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature. Warm water will rise the dough to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. With cold water it will need 3-4 hours.
    3. Add the yeast to the water in a 5 quart bowl or, preferably, in a re-sealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket. Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve.
    4. Mix in the flour and salt - kneading is unnecessary. Add all of the flour at once, measuring it in with dry-ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping up the flour, then sweeping the top level with a knife or spatula. Don't press down into the flour as you scoop or you'll throw off the measurement. Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor (14 cups or larger) fitted with the dough attachment, or a heavy duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until the mixture is uniform. If you're hand mixing and it becomes too difficult to incorporate all the flour with the spoon, you can reach into your mixing vessel with very wet hands and press the mixture together. Don't knead, it isn't necessary. You're finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. It takes a few minutes, and will yield a dough that is wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of its container.
    5. Allow to rise. Cover with lid (not airtight or it could explode the lid off). Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flattens on the top), approx 2 hours, depending on room temperature, and initial water temperature Longer rising times, up to 5 hours, won't harm the result.
    6. You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period. Fully refrigerated dough is less sticky and easier to work with than dough at room temperature.
    7. On Baking Day:.
    8. prepare your loaf tin, tray, or whatever you're baking it in/on. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with four. Pull up and cut of a grapefruit-size piece of dough (c 1 lb.), using a serrated knife.
    9. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won't stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all 4 sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off - that's fine, it isn't meant to be incorporated. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will sort itself out during resting and baking.
    10. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 - 60 seconds.
    11. Rest the loaf and let it rise in the form, on the tray/pizza peel, for about 40 minutes Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise during this period. That's fine, more rising will occur during baking.
    12. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.
    13. Dust and Slash. Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a quarter inch deep cross, diagonal lines, or tic-tac-toe pattern on top using a serrated knife.
    14. After a 20 min preheat you're ready to bake, even though the oven thermometer won't be at full temperature yet. Put your loaf in the oven. Pour about 1 cup of hot water (from the tap) into the broiler tray and close the oven to trap the steam.
    15. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch.
    16. Store the rest of the dough in the fridge in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next 14 days. The flavor and texture improves, becoming like sourdough. Even 24 hours of storage improves the flavor.
    17. This is the standard bread. There are loads of variations - both savory and sweet - in the book.

    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Manchester UK Christmas Markets

    Christmas is a big deal in the UK. They have been advertising Christmas meals in the restaurants since we’ve been here and selling Christmas items almost as early. Here in Leeds, the German Christmas street market opened the 1st weekend of this month. In Manchester, they waited until last weekend. We just happened to plan our weekend there to coincide with the opening.

    They have German, French and local vendor markets set up. They all are within walking distance of one another, sometimes just flowing into each other. They have built wonderful wooden structures selling everything from ornaments to Gluhwein or mulled wine. Of course there are also tasty brats to eat as well as candy, chocolates and cheese and even gluten–free options. One of my favorite things were the still warm from the oven coconut macaroons. There were thousands of people walking through and spending lots of money. Looks like a tradition that should get started in Kansas City.


    Here is a link to the cities Christmas  Market website:

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Byron - Manchester UK


    Proper Hamburger, that’s what the neon lights proclaim above the windows of Byron, a Manchester UK burger joint. And proper they are. We arrived here for a late dinner after a show on Saturday night, in fact it was just about closing time when we were welcomed in. The place was bright and clean and had the feel of a large American diner. We were seated in a booth and the waiter promptly took our beer orders. Dan ordered the Byron Pale Ale, while I chose the Camden Gentlemen’s Wit. We both enjoyed them and they were served ice cold.

    For dinner, Dan ordered the Cheese burger (7.95 pounds) served with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo. I went with the Chilli burger (8.95 pounds). It was served with green chillis, American cheese, shredded lettuce and chipotle mayo. Very spicy, very good and quite proper to say the least. The beef is Scottish and they cook them to medium, unless otherwise specified. We ordered a side of homemade skin-on chips, that were crispy and creamy (3.25 pounds) and onion rings that were very good (3.25 pounds). We were the last people in the place and they never tried to rush us out, in fact, our waiter came over and talked with us for a while. If you need a good burger and you happen to be in Manchester, this is the place to come.

    They are located at 115 Deansgate, Manchester UK M32 M32