Christmas/Thanksgiving Gravy Stock – Make Ahead

A fun thing to do this time of year is prepare your stock for your gravy for Christmas (or even Thanksgiving). This firstly takes the task away from you closer to Christmas as you can just whip it out of your freezer, but it also lets you spread the cost of ingredients between now and Christmas. I think the most efficient way to do this is to buy a turkey or chicken for Sunday lunch (one that includes ideally the giblets and neck) and just save them and make this recipe at the same time. Once done just allow to cool and freeze.

Ingredients

Turkey/Chicken giblets/neck

1 onion sliced and halved

1 carrot, sliced lengthways

1 celery stick

1 bay leaf

6 peppercorns

1 tbsp salt

1.5 pints cold water

Method

  1. Put all in pan and boil for 30 minutes
  2. Remove the surface scum with a spoon
  3. Remove giblets and onion
  4. Boil for another 30 minutes
  5. Allow to cool then freeze

When it’s time to use the stock this is the recipe to use below:

Gravy (see Giblet stock as optional above)

Ingredients

Turkey pan with fat and burnt bits stuck to the bottom once the Turkey has been removed

2 tbsp flour

1 pint giblet stock or beef stock from a packet

Pinch of salt and pepper

Splash red wine

1 tbsp cranberry sauce

Gravy browning if you want to cheat a little

Method

  1. Pour off the majority of the fat left in the pan
  2. Add the flour and put the pan on the hob on a medium heat
  3. Using a wooden spatula scrape the bottom of the pan until all the black bits mix with flour and it starts to form a paste and the flour cooks out for a few minutes
  4. Add the red wine and cook out for another 2-3 minutes
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the thickness of gravy you like
  6. If it’s not brown enough add a little gravy browning

Sephora in the UK

FeelUnique is one of my favourite online beauty stores in the UK. I particularly like their loyalty scheme of getting circa 10% off two brands you love. I wear Chanel Chance perfume and have done for many years, which is very expensive so whenever I see an opportunity to get it cheaper I’m very happy. Normally this only happens at duty free in the airport but at FeelUnique having the opportunity all the time was exceptional. They also sent you really high quality free gifts based on how much you spent. I recently received a full Elemis facial set.

However, FeelUnique does not compare to my favourite beauty store overall and that is Sephora. Whenever I visited America I would also make a point of going to the store and stocking up on all my makeup and beauty items. I wrote a blog post a long time ago this beauty palette I found excellent for travelling (https://modernmrsbeetonblog.uk/2018/03/07/sephora-makeup-palette/).

So when I got the email from FeelUnique advising they were becoming Sephora I could not have been more excited. The online presence launches today in the UK, enjoy!!

https://m.sephora.co.uk/welcome-to-sephora

https://m.sephora.co.uk

Homemade Burgers (loved by Max)

This week I finally managed to make the simplest and best burgers I’ve ever made before. Myself and my husband are not into very elaborate and expensive burgers. We have our own burger rankings and like to classify new burgers we try across the world.

Making a burger therefore is an interesting recipe challenge. I’ve tried recipes with chopped up little onions; breadcrumbs, eggs to bind and lots of different seasonings.

And now on keto I needed to adapt and make sure I was making as carb free as possible.

Here is is where I’m at with the more simple and best recipe.

  1. Buy the best beef ground meat you can afford.
  2. If you buy mince you can always grind it down a bit further if it stays chunky with a food processor. I like to do this a little so you get a good mix of textures.
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. A fun keto addition is crumbled up pork scratching (rinds)

5. Shape into thin patties. I’d rather have two think burgers than one fat undercooked burger. Press them down with your hands. Try and let them come to room temperature before cooking.

e2387e38-c326-4e7c-bb81-b6f939816991

6. Then cut your buns in half (my husband was having the buns) and I like to smear with butter and dry fry on a hot griddle or frying pan to give some crunch but keep the insides soft.

7. Set aside and add slices of your favourite cheese.

8. Put a pan on a high temperature and add the meat patties. If they are thin even they will char and brown quickly but the insides will cook too. Cook on both sides and lay on the buns.

9. I like to serve mine with copycat Mcdonald’s sauce. See my previous blog for this recipe.

Weber Steak and Chop seasoning on Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3fXqUcy

We cooked our burgers this time on the BBQ and as you can tell they were a complete hit with our son Max.

Keto: Bacon; cheese, jalapeño burgers

Tonight’s keto recipe isn’t so much a recipe but an assembly of ingredients. I love a good burger. Myself and my husband have burger rankings across the world of our favorites in both the UK and other countries including Carl’s Jr.; Five guys to White Castle. That’s how much I love a good burger. You will notice there’s no gourmet burger places on my list. There is nothing worse than a burger that’s been made “fancy” by a brioche bun and burnt onions.

So my burger recipe for tonight I’m looking for simplicity and minimal carbs. I’m also doing the same burger for my husband so he can have a bun and chips with it.

Ingredients:

Burgers (check the ingredients for added sugar if buying prepared)

Cheese slices

Jalapeños (check they aren’t in a sauce)

Smoked bacon ideally streaky

Sugar free/carb free ketchup (https://amzn.to/3s7YEqF)

For the husband: burger bun and chips (mustard; burger sauce and mayonnaise)

Method:

1. Grill the burgers and burger not to save fat but to get the best chargrill effect and therefore flavour

2. Just before the burgers are done add the cheese slices to melt them a little

3. Serve up with zero carb ketchup (https://amzn.to/3s7YEqF)

4. For my husband’s I served on a bun with chips and the sauces

Jalapeño bottle tops (copycat recipe)

I first had these in the states at a Hooters. We had spent the day in the Florida heat and stopped for an ice cold beer and some wings. I noticed these on the menu and thought we’d try them. They were ridiculously good. If you want a new year snack I’d highly recommend. Serve with sour cream or even ranch dressing.

Ingredients:

Fresh mini jalapeño peppers

100ml buttermilk or 2 eggs beaten if you can’t get hold of it

Bowl of flour with a teaspoon of garlic salt: salt, pepper, paprika and onion powcer

Method:

1. Slice your peppers into 1/2cm slices

2. Drench the slices in the buttermilk or eggs

3. Drop the slices into the flour and spices mixture

4. Fry until golden brown in a shallow pan with some cooking oil

Easy but dirty Mac and cheese

I have always loved the American classic Mac and cheese. I tend to buy the box stuff and make up but this thanksgiving I decided to try a slightly more complex version. It’s still super easy and tasty though.

Ingredients:

Pasta (macaroni classic but use what you have)

Flour tablespoon and splash of milk 100ml

50g butter

Cheddar 200g grated (don’t buy the pre-grated stuff as it’s covered in flour). Keep a little aside to sprinkle on top

50ml evaporated milk (https://amzn.to/3Tn1Km3)

Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Cool your pasta as normal in salted boiling water until just cooked

2. Heat your oven to 200 degrees c

3. To a saucepan add the butter and melt. Add a little flour and constantly stirring cook out the flour for a few minutes. Add a little milk at a time to make a roux sauce. Add the rest of the milk

4. Season with salt and pepper

5. Add the cheese and evaporated milk and simmer for about 3 minutes

6. Drain the pasta and put in an oven dish. Pour the sauce over the pasta

7. Sprinkle with some leftover grated cheese and season

8. Cook for 15 minutes until cheese has browned but check constantly

Pizza slice

My husband’s takeaway pizza recipe

My husband and I have a serious problem with eating pizza. It started when we were dating and he took me to Pizza Hut in the UK and introduced to me the simplicity of very good margarita pizzas. Before then I’d had the odd takeway pizza and really just ate the most debated pizza Hawaiian!

Now I still love a Hawaiian pizza don’t get me wrong but after a trip we took to New York I started to completely fall in love with pizza.

If you are ever in Manhattan we’d highly recommend a few places but I think my favourite was inside Penn Station called ‘Don pepi‘ and they served me a “white” which I’d never heard of which didn’t have tomato sauce! Amazing.

close up photo of person holding pizza

Photo by Muffin on Pexels.com

The pizza I think my husband would choose especially in the UK is the ‘Croma‘ piri piri. Gorgeous stuff.

Anyway, the point is that we are pizza eaters and pride ourselves on it so we decided we’d try and make our own.

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 200g of plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 packet (7g) yeast
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 120ml warm water
  • Any spices you like such as oregano. We found a really nice pizza spice mix in Aldi but the one from Amazon below looks very similar: https://amzn.to/3Ti050Y

Sauce

  • Tomato paste tablespoon
  • 2 cups passata
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 dash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Garlic paste tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon chilli flakes

Topping

  • Grated mozzarella
  • Sprinkle of oregano

Method:

  1. Add the dry dough ingredients to a bowl but keep the yeast and salt separate as salt can kill the yeast
  2. Mix and pour the warm water in to string with a metal knife (easier to clean)
  3. When it starts to come together start to knead for 10 to 15 minutes. Only add as much flour as you need to keep it from really sticking to your hands. It should be tacky
  4. Press into a pizza shape and let it rest for 30 minutes under a damp tea towel
  5. For the sauce add all the ingredients to a pan and stir on a low heat for about 20 minutes to simmer down.
  6. Take the pizza dough out and add the sauce and your cheese
  7. Cook on a high heat (220 degrees c) for about 8-10 minutes until golden brow
  8. Store your excess sauce in little pots for the freezer

Looking at other recipes I think our next purchase to enhance the process is a pizza stone. Link below to the one I just bought and I’ll feedback on whether it helps.

https://amzn.to/3rLJOpz

Buffalo Honey ‘copycat’ Boneless wings

Have you ever been to America and eaten the boneless buffalo wings in any of their famous restaurants? Myself and my husband literally adore them. Here’s a recent review I did of a ‘Wingstop’ that we stumbled across in central London and that’s the closest we could get to recreating the experience.

https://modernmrsbeeton.blog/2019/06/03/wing-restaurant-review-wing-stop-london/

That experience inspired me to try it at home. They would very good but not 100% perfect, however they were better than any you can order my any of my local takeaways in the UK.

Ingredients:

Chicken

  • Chicken breast strips
  • Cup of plain flour
  • Cup of milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • Inch of sunflower oil in a frying pen
  1. Add all the dry ingredients into one bowl
  2. Put the milk in another
  3. Drop the chicken into the flower and then into the milk
  4. Drop back into the dry mix and lay on a baking sheet
  5. Repeat until all the chicken is coated and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  6. Heat the oil until when you drop some batter mix onto it the mix sizzles and starts to cook
  7. Fry the chicken until golden brow
  8. If you are worried it’s not completely cooked you can pop in the oven for 10 minutes to cook through

Sauce

  • One jar of buffalo hot sauce
  • 1/2 jar honey
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 50g butter (melted)
  1. Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix
  2. When the chicken is cooked add to the bowl and coat the chicken by turning the sauce over the chicken
  3. Serve!

Some buffalo sauces to try out:

https://amzn.to/3ExoJXr

https://amzn.to/3VmqTPC

https://amzn.to/3g2WEx1

My ultimate tip for making pasta sauces

Not a recipe but more of a tip that we now do every single time we make a pasta sauce or in fact a lot of other sauces, but it’ll make more sense in the first instance with pasta.

We randomly received a free jar of jalapenos (three large ones to be exact) and were pondering what to do with them.

Pasta tip

We started with the obvious by adding them to fajitas and pizzas and then any other funky sandwiches we were making. I definitely think your resistance/ability to withstand the heat goes up the more you eat them.

Then one night we were doing our usual recipe after work making pasta sauce for our evening meal, to which we have progressively been making it more and more spicy (probably linked to the previous point!). We add a mix of chill power; onion powder, garlic powder and different types of paprika for a nice balanced background to the sauce. All credit for this goes to my husband who then proceeded to chop up some of jalapenos and add to the sauce.

The result is an immensely flavoured sauce with loads of background.

A word of warning though, do not add to many or you end up eating each spoonful with a dash or soured cream (not necessarily a bad thing!). I’d also recommend adding a little of the juice from the jar for a bit of background sweetness.

If you can’t get them in large quantities easily like we do try this link from Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3EBppeg

Meatloaf (American Classics)

The next in my series of American classic has been to try and make the elusive meatloaf. I’m quite sure this should be a simple dish and was made in harder times to make expensive cuts of meat go further but as an English person it was always a complete mystery to me.

Upon researching the recipe, I discovered the meatloaf is coated in a rich tomato sauce which tastes amazing. I think I’d liken it to meatball and tomato sauce recipes that we have in England but it’s not a close comparison.

The end result of the meatloaf is a hearty and extensive meal that can be sliced ans stored to make multiple meals and feed a very large family.

Ingredients

Meatloaf itself

12 slices white bread

2 cups whole milk

4lbs ground beef

Pinch of salt and pepper

2 cups parmesan cheese

8 beaten eggs

Fresh parsley chopped roughly

1 garlic clove crushed

8-12 slices bacon

Sauce

1 tbsp Worcester sauce

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 diced onion

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

1 carrot, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp Hot Sauce

1tsp mustard

1.5 cups brown sauce

Recipe

  1. Pour the milk over the bread
  2. Season the beef, adding the onion and garlic
  3. Add the eggs, cheese and carrot
  4. Add the bread and parsley
  5. Shape into a loaf and press into a tin
  6. Cover the loaf with the bacon wrapping it around like a parcel

7. Make the sauce by combining the ketchup; sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce

8. Pour half the mixture over the loaf and bake at 350f for 1 hour

9. Halfway through cooking pour over the rest of the sauce

Serve with mash potatoes and green beans.. nom!

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf

Some materials to buy to copy this:

Meatloaf tin

https://amzn.to/3esF9Wl

Worcestershire Sauce

https://amzn.to/3ECgj0O

Hot Sauce

https://amzn.to/3rQ5h0r