Caramelised red onion and sherry Christmas gravy recipe

gravy

Perfect gravy

You will need:

100ml sherry

500ml good quality liquid chicken stock

3 tbsp The English Provender Co. Caramelised Red Onion Chutney

Method:

Place the sherry in a pan and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the stock and reduce on a high heat until you are left with about 100ml. Stir in the chutney and serve.

How do you make gravy?

As with most things food-related I have strong memories of my mother’s kitchen. If you had asked her what the secret to her luscious gravy was, she would have said to always use meat juices and add plenty of onions. Gravy was thick and thin gravy was a novelty when I grew up and went out and about.

I confess that I tend to take the easy option if I am making gravy and use gravy powder. I do add in the meat juices and these days frozen diced onions make everything a lot easier.

Him Indoors is very creative when it comes to sauces and gravy. He likes to experiment. This means sometimes you are in for a real treat and sometimes it does not quite work.

We recently received a Mathable Junior game to review.

I love playing board games with the children and especially at Christmas. They bring families together for love, laughter and learning.

Mathable Junior is about mathematics and is approved by Carol Vorderman, she of Countdown and Loose Women fame.

The game includes a double-sided gaming board to allow you to play the game in two ways. Two for the price of one – we like that.

The look of the game reminded us of Scrabble in that 4 racks and numbered tiles.

Two to four players sit around a table with a rack and collect 5 tiles and keep them to themselves, again very reminiscent of Scrabble but with numbers.

The aim of the game is to get rid of your tiles by putting down sums of addition or subtraction. You start at the centre like in Scrabble and get points for the amount on the tile. So if you play a 4, you get 4 points and so on. You can play strategically to get double scores again very like in Scrabble.

You win by having the most points when all the tiles are played.

There is another game you can play on the other side of the board, again building up your maths skills.

We liked the game. It is attractively packaged with colours and caricatures. It took us a little while to figure out the rules of the game but that is usual with new games. For me, it is fabulous that it is educational and all of my children enjoyed playing it. It is aimed at ages 5 and over.

Roast Poussin recipe

If you are not planning a large Christmas lunch, why not opt instead for a special dinner for two; serve these quick to roast baby chickens with delicious blackberry sauce flavoured with orange rind, winter spices and just a hint of redcurrant jelly.

Serves 2

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

2 x 500g (1lb 2oz) baby poussin
40g (11/2oz) butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 fresh bay leaves
4 rashers streaky bacon
175g (6oz) shallots, peeled, halved if large
450g (1lb) baby new potatoes, washed
2-3 tbsp olive oil

Sauce
½ orange
6 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
Large pinch ground ginger
Large pinch ground cinnamon
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
100g (4oz) small blackberries
Watercress or rocket salad to serve

1 Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Rinse each poussin inside and out with cold water, drain well then put in a roasting tin. Dot the breast of each with the butter then season with salt and pepper and put 2 bay leaves and 2 rashers of bacon on the top of each. Loosely cover the poussin with foil folding down over the sides. Add the shallots, potatoes and remaining bay leaves to the roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
2 Roast for 45 minutes, removing the foil and bacon from the poussin for the last 20 minutes and turning the potatoes and shallots and basting with the pan juices until golden. To test the poussin are ready, insert a small sharp knife or skewer through the thickest part of the leg into the breast, the juices will run clear when ready.
3 Transfer the poussin and vegetables to a serving plate, cover with foil and keep hot in the turned off oven, allowing the poussin to rest while you make the sauce.
4 To make the sauce, pare the rind from the half the orange with a vegetable peeler then cut into very thin shreds. Squeeze the juice, add both to a small saucepan with the red wine, water and redcurrant jelly. Add the spices, sugar, mustard and a little salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then cook over a medium heat, stirring until syrupy. Add the blackberries and simmer gently for 3 minutes until the berries are just cooked.
5 Serve the sauce with the roasted poussin, potatoes and shallots and a side dish of watercress or rocket salad.

Tips
– Pare the rind from the half the orange with a vegetable peeler before you cut it, that way it is easier to do then squeeze it afterwards.
– Rather than cooking two poussin, you could also give a small everyday chicken the five star treatment. Roast with butter, bay leaves and bacon for the timings given on the wrapper, then add the potatoes, shallots, bay and olive oil for the last 45 minutes of cooking, removing the foil 20 minutes or so before it is ready so that the skin can brown. Serve with the warm blackberry Cumberland sauce and salad as above.