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

Stir up Sunday Shopping List: Victoria Christmas Cake and Mincemeat

Stir up Sunday is November 20th. This is the day whereby you prepare your Christmas cake and Christmas mincemeat so it can age beautifully over the weeks before Christmas so it tastes incredible on Christmas Day. It also allows you to add alcohol such as rum or brandy to the cake every week to let it soak in slowly. This year I’ve chosen to use a bottle I already had of Black forest Gâteaux flavoured rum.

In preparation I’ve included my ingredient lists so you can shop in advance.

Victorian Christmas Cake

Ingredients

Cake

175g raisins

350g glace cherries

500g currants

350g sultanas

150ml sherry or brandy or rum

2 oranges juiced and zested

250g butter softened

250g brown sugar

4 eggs beaten

1 tbsp black treacle

75g blanched almonds

75g self raising flour sifted

175 plain flour sifted

Decoration

Marzipan pack

Apricot jam or any if you are stuck

Icing pack

Any decorations you like

Christmas Mincemeat

I tend to make my mincemeat at the same time as I do my Christmas cake as the ingredients are broadly the same and you can avoid wasting items. You can add whatever else you really like such as cherries or different fruits or spices to make it really personal. Let people know if you’ve add the alcohol if you are giving them away.

Ingredients:

175g currants

175g raisins

175g sultanas

175g dried cranberries

100g mixed peel

1 small apple diced and cored

125 butter or suet

50g blanched or flaked almonds

225g brown sugar

½ tbs cinnamon

1 tbsp mixed spice

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

200 ml of brandy, rum, sherry or orange juice

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.

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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 fried halloumi sticks

Whilst making my husbands dinner which included mozzarella sticks (and discovering the carb count if each one was 10g) I went in search of the fridge contents to make something similar. As this was on the fly I didn’t have the time or energy to coat cheese in almond or coconut flour and fry them but I did have in a block of halloumi cheese. Simply laying these in a pan with olive oil and frying them like are chips makes super fabulous melting sticks of cheese that rivaled my husband’s mozzarella.

Ingredients:

1 block halloumi cheese

Olive oil

Method:

1. Slice into chunky chip sized chunks

2. Fry in olive oil until lightly browned turning regularly

Tip: Drain off the water so they don’t just steam part way through

Trying hot apple cider vinegar bedtime drink

I’ve seen many variations of this recipe online so I’ve kept it simple in the hope I can add to it in future. I won’t go into the benefits of apple cider vinegar as there’s so much info out there already. I will say this was lovely, reminiscent of hot Christmas cider and made me feel very calm before bed.

Ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 cup of chamomile tea (nothing added)

Couple of drops of vanilla stevia

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Method:

1. Add all the ingredients to the cup of camomile tea

Camomile tea and cider vinegar on Amazon to purchase:

https://amzn.to/3eo4sc3

https://amzn.to/3yAhWsc

New recipe for 15 minute keto pizza

I’ve previously tried the fathead dough recipe, made with cream cheese on Keto and it’s a bit of a faff. I was therefore pleased to see some people have evolved the recipe to a much simpler one so I tried it and tweaked it to make it my own.

Ingredients:

Pizza base:

200g almond flour

2 -3 tablespoons MCT oil (https://amzn.to/3SXt0rl)

2 eggs

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Baking parchment

Toppings:

Mozzarella cheese grated

Parmesan cheese grated

Skinny ketchup or low carb tinned tomatoes crushed

Toppings of choice. I liked anchovies and onion

Method:

1. Mix all the pizza base ingredients together with a wooden spoon until incorporated

2. Spoon the mixture onto a piece of baking parchment lay on a pizza tray or metal baking sheet

3. Place a second piece of parchment on top and press until you have a 1/2 cm thick base

4. Peel off the top papet

5. Bake at 200 degrees c until the edges just start to colour which for me was about 7 minutes

6. Remove from the oven and add your Keto toppings of choice

7. Bake for around 10 minutes at the same temperature

Trying bullet coffee keto (MCT oil and grass fed butter)

A few years ago I’m sure the recipe of what people were calling bullet coffee was different but I could have remembered wrong. Anyhow doing a bit of research this is the latest recipe. I know there is debate over the ability of our bodies to breakdown MCT oil but I wanted to try it at least. I also have grass fed butter and next time I think I’ll try ghee.

I used my smoothie blender which I’d highly recommend as mine comes with a lid so you can keep it warm or store it for later (the butter with separate but you can easily heat or reblend.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of instant coffee to 2 cups of hot water

1-2 tablespoons MCT oil (https://amzn.to/3SXt0rl)

1 tablespoon butter

1 splash of sugar free carb free butterscotch syrup or a splash of liquid stevia (https://amzn.to/3CReax1) (https://amzn.to/3Tar3aI)

People add vanilla but be careful the one I had had sugar in it so I didn’t use it

Method:

1. Make up the coffee by adding hot water to the coffee first (or make in a coffee machine)

2. Blend everything together

I adore this. I thought it would greasy but it’s really not. This will be my morning breakfast for the next few days. I’m also looking to make it iced. Lovely

Keto microwave 2 minute toast

I’ve previously tried making fat head dough and keto pizza crust but it’s quite a lengthy process. I also adore white toast with butter. When I’m not dieting it is my daily breakfast. So when I saw a quick recipe to make toast in any way shape or form quickly I had to try it. Jumping to the end I love this. It might be the toasted texture or just the melted butter into it but when I’m really craving toast a little bite of this is perfect.

Ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons of almond flour (https://amzn.to/3yAiqOT)

One egg

1 tablespoon of olive oil or knob of butter (grass fed). I did a bit of both

Salt and pepper

Butter

Method:

1. Mix the ingredients in a cup with a fork

2. Microwave for 1-2 minutes checking has set

3. Turn out and slice

4. Toast and butter

The simplest of keto desserts – jelly and cream!

This isn’t really a recipe but I have to share it as it never fails to cheer me up and fill a sweet spot when I need it.

Ingredients:

10 calorie jelly (https://amzn.to/3RTyVfR)

Full fat whipping cream

Method:

1. As per the jelly instructions make up the jelly at least a few hours before you want to eat it

2. Let it set in the fridge for a few hours

3. Serve with cream

I like to make individual glasses ratter than one big bowl