Wednesday, 17 December 2008

December musings

I find it hard to believe that it is nearly Christmas, where do the years go? Here are my last gathering of roses from the garden for the year. I have cut them all back, not pruned, just cut back in order to protect them from rocking in the wind and loosening the roots.At least it is nice to enjoy them indoors for a few days.

We enjoy having friends in for dinner and on one such occasion recently we had home made soup to start with then Chicken Divan served with fine green beans. This was followed with individual Upside Down Caramelised Apple Sponge served with ice-cream. (Recipes below)

Chicken Divan (4)

1 medium chicken cooked or ready-to-eat roast chicken
500g broccoli (weight before trimming) 1 x 295g tin condensed cream of chicken soup 1 x 200ml tub ½ fat crème fraiche
3 heaped tblspns mayonnaise 2 tspns lemon juice
1 heaped tspn medium curry powder 4 oz fresh breadcrumbs
2 oz butter 2 oz mature cheddar, grated

Shallow oven-proof dish 13 x 10 inches, lightly greased. Mk 3/170C

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Meanwhile remove the skin from the chicken, take off all the meat, then discard the skin and bones. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and leave to one side.
Trim the broccoli and cut into florets, then cut each floret into 3 pieces. Blanch in the boiling water for 1 minute, then drain thoroughly in a colander.
To make the sauce, mix together the soup, crème fraiche, mayonnaise, lemon juice and curry powder. Season with black pepper. Fry the breadcrumbs in butter until golden brown.
To assemble, place the broccoli in the baking dish, followed by chicken pieces, then spread the sauce on top. Sprinkle over the grated cheese, followed by the fried breadcrumbs. Cook in the top half of pre-heated oven for 50 minutes.
Serve with a crisp green salad or fresh green vegetables.

Upside-down caramelised apple sponge

2 ¾ oz butter, plus extra for greasing 2 ¾ oz dark brown sugar
4 dessert apples
Sponge 1 ½ oz butter, softened 2 ¼ oz caster sugar 1 egg at room temperature
2 ¾ oz self-raising flour 2 fl. oz milk few drops of vanilla essence

Gently melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until smooth and combined to make a toffee mixture. Lightly butter 4 x 7 fl. oz ramekins.
Spoon the toffee into the ramekins. Peel and core the apples and cut into quarters. Place 4 quarters in each of the ramekins on top of the toffee.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/ gas 4. To make the sponge, cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the egg. Fold in the flour, milk and vanilla. Spoon the sponge mixture onto the apples, allowing it to flow around the apple pieces. Leave a small space between the top of the mixture and the rim of the ramekin to allow the sponge to rise.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 min s until risen and golden.

This recipe here was not the success that I had anticipated. It was from one of the internationally well known TV celebrity chefs. Namely a Sticky Gingerbread. The ingredients were scrumptious, including lots of spices and ground ginger as well as grated fresh ginger and molasses, etc. etc., but the end result in my estimation was soggy and not too digestable. I love a good Gingerbread so had to try it but will not be doing so again.


Jeanne said...

I have 16 mixes ready for your holiday magic.
Fa La La
Love you
Merry Christmas

Willow said...

And I see Lyle's Golden Syrup in the background of one of the pictures! Mmmm~

It all does look really good!

Penless Thoughts said...

All looks very good and lovely.

bennie and patsy said...

Your dinner looks delicious and you are welcome for the award I sent you. Hugs and a Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Now that's a good honest review of the gingerbread. Your table looks so pleasant. I could happily join you for the Chicken Divan.

I know what you's just one week from Christmas? Ackkk! Must get going...

Sara said...

Those roses are simply gorgeous...I enlarged the photo and it was amazing....I can almost smell them!

I'll be right over to have dinner at your house anytime you say! I have no doubts that the chicken divan was divine...with all that cream and mayo and curry. And the dessert looks just right after a rich meal.

Tea Time With Melody said...

Very pretty table setting. Those look like Partylite candle etc. I have them too. Very pretty.

Willow said...

I gave you the Christmas spirit award on my blog.

Cousin Pam said...

Thanks for the recipes - they look and sound delicious. Shame about the gingerbread, it certainly looked ok. I tend to stick to my good old tried and tested Nottingham Gingerbread recipe - always sticky on the top and delicious!

Needled Mom said...

It all sounds wonderful. We, too, love a good gingerbread and it is amazing how difficult it is to find one that is just right.

I do NOT know where the year has gone. They do seem to be going faster and faster.

Aubrey said...

Your roses are so pretty--I forgot to even prune or cut mine back, so we'll see what happens in the spring. I hope one day I'll be an expert like you have get bounties of beautiful blossoms.

Anonymous said...

Lovely recipes.

It's lovely that you have some roses still in bloom. Is the striped one Rosa mundi?

Congratulations on all your awards. I know you work hard on your blog so they are well deserved.

a woman who is said...

What a lovely dinner. Barbara, I just happened to be reminded of my favorite English dessert, when I read about your ginger cake. Do you happen to have a good recipe for English Sticky Toffee Pudding? You can get it to me after the holidays, no rush. That is if you have one...I fell in love with that dessert when I visited your country. I have not had much success myself with celebrity chef's recipes for this particular dessert.

Betty said...

The dinner sounds delicious...sharing a meal with friends and family is such a blessing...

Wishing you a blessed Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.....Betty

Susan Skitt said...

Barbara, you always put together such a nice table and setting. And I think your food looks absolutely yummy. I feel like hopping on a plane just to taste a bite :)

Have a blessed Christmas!

Elizabeth said...

I spy Golden Syrup - something that doesn't exist here.
Quick chocolate sauce for vanilla ice cream

3 tablespoons Golden syrup warmed in saucepan
I tablespoon cocoa or Drinking chocolate

Warm together until almost boiling
Take off stove

a tablespoon of butter.

I know it sounds very unhealthy - bt, boy-o-boy is it wonderful.
Your dinner party menu is a delight.

Wild Rose said...

Now my mouth is watering!

Merry Christmas Barbara.

Marie x

Linda said...

Well, it sure does look good. Don't you hate it when a recipe doesn't work out? Hope your Christmas is fabulous and that the new year to come is full of health, happiness and prosperity.