I recently wrote an opinion about the buffet I intend to prepare on New Years Eve and Daseaford asked if anyone had any ideas for vegetarian buffet food, so Daseaford - this one's for you! Firstly I'll mention the mincemeat as its Christmas. I have already done an opinion giving my recipe for making your own mincemeat. If you're interested its under gourmet food and drink, the home made section on preserves. Suffice it to say here that this is totally suitable for vegetarians. I use the vegetarian equivalent of suet, which is available in any supermarket, and this not only makes the mincemeat OK for vegetarians it makes it a lot lower in saturated fat too. I make my pasty using White Flora and sunflower margarine rather than lard and butter so that's also OK for vegetarians. There you are then the mince pies are a winner with everyone, except mom who is a diabetic so I make special mincemeat for her! But I digress! I also make my own samosas using a packet of filo pastry from the supermarket and a vegetable filling. For which my sister gave me the recipe. You can also make meat samosas but I prefer the vegetable ones even though I am not a vegetarian. Another easy, and very tasty, buffet item to make at home is cheese scones. I always make mine using my smallest cutter and then spread them with sunflower spread before putting them out on the buffet. Now I'll go onto the other things on my buffet that the vegetarians can eat. The obvious starting point has to be bread. Make sure it's interesting, and not just a Mothers Pride sliced loaf. I have nothing against a sliced loaf in its place, but that place is not a buffet! Use French sticks and cut them into chunks, or how about the speciality breads such as ciabatta or you could make your own with a breadmaker. Get a decent selection of cheeses too. You don't have to spend a fortune, just go to the delicatessen counter a
t the supermarket and buy a small amount of each of a few nice cheeses. Remember to get some tasty cheddar for the cheese and pineapple on sticks too. It's worth also getting a selection of crackers and biscuits for eating with cheese. I find that these always go down well. Especially with me!! There are plenty of snacks of the crisp type that vegetarians can eat, but be careful that you read the labels as sometimes the ones that you would expect to contain meat don't and vice versa! Bread sticks and savoury twists usually appear at my buffets too. Nuts of all varieties are another good source of protein for the vegetarians, so make sure you have a selection of these too. Quiches are another of my favourites and they do an excellent range in Tesco's at moderate prices. Just cook and cut into small slices and arrange on the plate. Again it's worth checking the ingredients on the box just in case. I usually prepare some vol au vents, purchased frozen from the supermarket, and fill them with egg mayonnaise or mushroom mayonnaise. I always buy a set of dips from our local Asda (scrummy!) and make crudités from carrots, peppers, celery, pitta bread and of course a pack or two of Doritos! Of course if you?re making a special buffet, as opposed to just a finger food one for a party, everyone, not just the vegetarians, appreciates plenty of nice salad stuff.If you have time a fresh fruit salad is another healthy idea. I'm sure that there are plenty more vegetarian ideas out there, but I thought that I would share mine with you in the hope that it would be of some help. Happy Christmas!
I've got to tell you this as Im still excited that I made something that actually tastes nice! Just to let you know my boyfriend would rather cook himself dinner than have me cook him something because my culinery skills are a slight problem! We are having a small Christmas gathering at work and everyone has been given something to make ie Mince pies, sausage rolls and all that tasty Christmas stuff. I got Rum Truffles! I was praying they might ask me to bring the mulled wine but oh no...I get rum truffles. So off to work I go, searching the internet to find out how on earth to make these things. Of course, being a complete chocoholic it didnt bring me out in a sweat as I new at the end what ever happened it would taste of CHOCOLATE. Here's what I found: 150g Plain cooking CHOCOLATE!! 1OZ butter 150ml extra thick double cream 2 tbsp (look I even know the abbreviations now) of Rum or a liquer of your choice Some CHOCOLATE chips or chopped nuts to finish off Boyfriend aside (watching a film with his mate) I set to my task. I put everything out on the kitchen top and followed the instructions: *heat on a low setting in a saucepan the chocolate, butter and cream. *once melted stir in your liquer (mine was whiskey...yum yum). OK, all going well. Although feeling a bit squiffy as have already drunk half the bottle and am giggling to myself at the thought of my Mum actually seeing me cook something! *transfer into a bowl and leave in the fridge overnight. EASY! the only washing up I had to do was a spoon and a saucepan. This morning I actually got up earlier to see what my CHOCOLATE gunge looked like. FANTASTIC! *Roll into small balls and cover with a coating of your choice (CHOCOLATE chips in my case) The funny thing was there was also a huge chunk eaten from it. Yes, my boyfriend had actually eaten something I made. Yippee! At
last! I brought them to work...they've all gone! they went down a treat, cost about £3 to make 24 and you guessed it....I'll be making them for Christmas day!
Here is my attempt at Mince Pies, which I thought I would share with you. I havent made them for years, but they did go down a treat last Friday night. You will need: (This recipe should make approx 30 mince pies) One baking sheet, for mince pies Pastry cutter 2.5” in diameter Pastry cutter 2.0” in diameter. Pastry Brush Rolling Pin To Make Mince Pies 1lb Plain Flour 4-oz butter chilled 4-oz lard chilled 2 oz caster sugar Drop of milk for binding and browning pastry Large Jar mincemeat A little flour for dusting your rolling pin, work-surface, clothes etc 1. Sieve flour into a large mixing bowl. If you sieve with a bit of ‘height’ this will allow more air to enter the flour and help the lightness of the pastry (So Delia tells me, in her 'How to make Pastry' section) 2. Coat the butter and lard blocks in the flour, and then chop into small cubes. 3. Rub Fat into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (Very therapeutic this part, or at the very least it will remind you of Home Economics Lessons when you were at school.) 4. Add the sugar to the mix, and stir in gently. 5. Add the smallest drop of water, and bind the mixture together with your hands. Better to add too little, you can always add more. 6. The mixture should come together very quickly and leave the bowl clean. 7. Place the Pastry ball on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so. 8. Lightly grease the baking sheet, to prevent the pastry sticking. 9. Lightly dust your clean, dry work-surface with flour 10. Roll out the dough ball using the rolling pin, and rotating the rolled out pastry through 90 degrees, after each ‘roll’. You will probably find it easier to split the dough into two or three. 11. Continue to roll the pastry, until it is just a few mm thick. Using the larger pastry cutter, cut out your circle base
s and place these on the baking sheet 12. Fill each base with a spoonful of mincemeat, careful not to overfill, as the contents will spill over 13. Lightly milk the edges of the pastry circles, to allow you to stick the pastry tops to them 14. Re-roll your pastry, utilising all the scraps, and cut out the pastry tops using the smaller cutter 15. Place these on top of the bases and mincemeat, and lightly pinch the pastry edges together with your fingers. 16. Brush the tops with milk and place in the over on Gas Mark 5, 180 degrees C for 18-20 minutes. Can be served warm or cold, but they are best served warm with a splash of brandy cream! If served cold, lightly dust the tops by shaking Icing sugar over them. Make sure you leave one out for Santa, and don’t forget to leave a snack for Rudolph! PS Apologies for imperial measurements, have done a conversion course yet (LOL)
I love mince pies and as I have now had 4 to 5 weeks sampling various shop bought ones have now decided that one outlet has come very near to the home made variety. Nothing beats a home made pie but with busy life styles if you are like me then time is at a premium and we have to make do with the next best thing. Here are the results of my findings.
MARKS AND SPENCER
M$S have a wide range, my favourites being the lattice top. These are shallow, fruity and the pastry is nice and short. The deeper mince pies are too sweet for my taste but if you have a sweet tooth then they will probably be ok for you. The mini pies are excellent, just a mouthful and are ideal for buffets and for children.
Prices average at £1.30 for six.
I didn't like these pies at all. The pastry was mass produced and didn't have that home baked taste or look, in fact it was quite rubbery. The filling was far too sugary.
Price £1.18 for six.
Surprising good and excellent value for money. The pastry was short and the filling was fruity although there wasn't too much of it. If you are not a lover of mincemeat then I suggest you try these.
Price a staggering 56p for six.
The pastry was a little fatty for my liking and the filling was a little glutinous but it wasn't too sweet.
Price £1.49 for six.
Too much sugar on the pastry and very little filling.
Price £1.39 for six.
My favourite of the Fenwicks range is the Viennese which comes with a delicious viennese topping and is cased a rich, buttery pastry. The filling contains alcohol and the fruit is quite succulent. These are large pies and one pie is more than enough.
Price £1.09 for three.
In my opinion Greggs the bakers have come up with the best mince pie this year. It looks home-made and tastes as good as it looks. The pastry is nice and s
hort and literally melts in the mouth. The fruity filling is mouth watering, fresh and not too sweet. The pie has a light sprinkling of icing sugar. Excellent all rounder.
Price again excellent valur for money 99p for six.
This was the only place on Dooyoo I could find to review some great new snacks. And they'd do for christmas parties too. A couple of days ago I found somegreat new crisp things in Sainsburys - Simpsons snacks. They come in multipacks of 6 or 10 packets I think. I got a 6 pack of 2 bags of Eat my Shorts (Short shaped pepperoni things), Barts Lava Rocks (Spicy balls) and finally Ha Ha Wedgies (Cheese balls in the shape of arses (Soory about the language)) THese are great snacks and should not be missed at any Christmas Parties
This is a fabulous treat for those with a sweet tooth (and without). You can't buy it in the shops (not quite like this). Anybody can doo it. Can yoodoo it? Take a large empty coffee jar and fill it with skinned, stoned peaches. Get as many in as possible. Add a few tablespoons of brown sugar (two or three heaped ones according to jar size). Fill the jar up with brandy. It doesn't take much brandy as most of the space is taken by the peaches. Screw the top on. Shake the jar to mix the sugar in. This will keep until Christmas. Serve with fresh cream. (Not just for Christmas!)