Braised Red Cabbage

Boxing Day leftovers would simply not be complete in our house, without a goodly portion of Mum’s Red Cabbage.

This is one of those wonderful old family recipes, that has added that special touch to the Christmas table, for as long as I can remember. It pairs beautifully with Turkey and all the trimmings, particularly Chipolatas or Sausage-meat stuffing. It’s not a difficult dish to make AT ALL. But it does take a bit of time to do it right.

It’s so worth it though. I always make mine in advance, normally on Christmas Eve, whilst listening to my favourite Christmas Album, of course…. (It’s A Wonderful Christmas, by Michael W Smith, in case you were wondering).

It can then be cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container overnight. And then on Christmas day, it can be whipped out, and really easily reheated on the hob.

1. Start by finely slicing 1 red cabbage.

2. Melt 2oz butter in a large lidded pan. Add in the sliced cabbage, plus 1-2 finely chopped dessert apples (I used Pink Lady)

3. Saute the cabbage and apple in the butter for 25-30 mins, moving continuously, until the cabbage has softened.

Now, this may sound laborious, but it’s THE single-most important instruction. Cabbage, being a rather fibrous vegetable, takes a while to soften, and it will turn a horrible murky colour if it catches and browns.

Follow this step, and in turn you will be rewarded with a dish that is gloriously vibrant in colour. The apples will turn a gorgeous pink, infused with the colour of the cabbage, and the dish will end up glossy and sumptuous.

4. Add in 1/4 pint of beef stock, 1 generous tablespoon of Golden Syrup and 2 fl oz of Vinegar (I used Balsamic, but Red or White Wine Vinegar work well too). Stir everything well, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 40 mins. Check and stir every 10 mins or so.

Tangy, sweet , and slightly al dente – this dish is the perfect accompaniment to all that rich Christmas Meat. It goes brilliantly well with sliced Ham!

So if you’re in the supermarket, and you spy a Red Cabbage hanging around, grab one and give this dish a try. It might become a festive favourite in your family too!

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read about the time I burnt the Turkey…https://everydayencounters.blog/2018/12/28/redeeming-christmas/

Somerset Chicken with Braised Leeks

This is a really simple family meal that always goes down a treat! It’s got the tastiest sauce – the kids lick their plates!

I call it Somerset Chicken, due to its killer ingredient, which gives it a very moreish sweet flavour – Apple Cider!

Here’s the instructions:

  1. Gently stir fry some chopped chicken, plus one small onion in some olive oil. (I used Chicken Thigh fillets, as they tend to be very flavoursome and succulent, plus some leftover Roast Chicken I needed to use up). Season generously.

2. Add some flour (approx 1 heaped tbsp) to act as a thickener for the sauce, which is made from cider and stock.

3. Add half a pint of Dry Cider and half pint of chicken stock, plus some dried Rosemary or Thyme. Stir well. Season again.

That’s the prep done – couldn’t be simpler!

Optional Variation

Sometimes I jazz things up by adding some bacon lardons at stage 1 – this works really well as the salty bacon offsets the sweet cider beautifully – just use less seasoning, to avoid things getting too salty!

4. Cook for 1 1/2 hours in a crock pot or lidded casserole dish at 180 degrees. Check half way through to ensure sauce has not reduced too much. Add a little more water if needed.

Braised Leeks

My mum taught me how to prepare these leeks – they’re brilliant! Really tasty, and a great accompaniment to so many dishes, particularly chicken dishes, or Sausage n Mash!

  1. Gently saute 2 chopped leeks in 1 tbsp butter. Season.
  2. When leeks are soft and glossy, add approx 30ml boiling water, just enough to shallowly cover bottom of pan.
  1. Add a few handfuls of Frozen Peas. If you like, add a little Rosemary or Tarragon. Bring to boil, then turn down low and simmer in a lidded frying pan for 5-6 minutes with lid partly ajar to allow excess liquid to reduce.

Serve both dishes with some creamy, mashed potato.

Super satisfying, especially with a glass of leftover cider!

Bangin’ Salmon!

This Salmon dish was one of those really fortunate experiments that turned out right first time! It’s seriously tasty, and an absolute doddle to make. It’s become a fast favourite of mine for occasions when I’m entertaining, as it can be prepared in advance, and it’s soooo easy to make, that it frees you up to concentrate on catching up with your friends! Also, it’s pretty healthy, so you don’t need to feel too guilty about having dessert!

I’ve named it ‘Bangin’ Salmon’ – as this seems to be my three teenage kids’ new word for anything that’s ‘cool’, ‘fab’ or in any way ‘good!’ (And because ‘Serendipitous Salmon’ just doesn’t have quite the same ring…)

Anyway, here’s how I made it:

Step 1:

Place some Salmon Fillets in a foil lined tray. Season generously and add some finely chopped red onions, red peppers and Vine/Cherry Tomatoes.

Step 2 – Glaze

My glaze consisted of:

  • a chunk of finely chopped fresh ginger,
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon or so of freshly squeezed lime juice

I made this up really quickly in a dish.

Step 3

Pour the glaze all over the Salmon, and pocket the salmon loosely in foil, adding some fresh coriander, if you like it.

Looks pretty, too!

Cook for about 25-30 mins on a moderate heat (I cooked mine in a fan oven at 180 degrees). You’ll know everything’s ready when the fish turns pale and flakes easily, and the tomatoes are close to bursting. And the smell of all that yummy glaze will make your mouth water.

Serve with new potatoes, broccoli, or a crisp green salad, and of course a glass of Pinot Grigio! And be sure to spoon over some of that glaze – delicious!

Delicious Home-made Tomato Soup

Our family have all been really poorly this week. When you need a bit of a pick-me-up, this homemade tomato soup is like sunshine in a bowl.

It’s zingy, tangy, sweet and savoury, bursting with the vibrant flavour of roasted Vine Ripened Tomatoes.

I constantly find myself marveling at the abundant array of foods that God has provided for us! And in my humble opinion, tomatoes are up there with the best.

Tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants, which promote heart health.

Some people say that God gives us visible clues about the nutritional benefits of foods. I don’t know how true that is, but cross-section a tomato and you find a sort of four-chambered interior!

They are also choc-full of Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin K and Folate.

And best of all, they’re absolutely yummy. So what are you waiting for?

Step 1

Place a selection of fresh tomatoes, preferably Vine-Ripened into a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Oven roast at approx 180 degrees for 20 mins.

Step 2

Chop an onion and 2-3 stalks of celery. Saute in a swig of olive oil until softening. Add one chopped clove garlic and some grated fresh ginger, for extra depth.

Step 3

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes. Fill up the empty tin with water a few times to get all the juice that’s stuck to the sides, and add the water to the pan to form a stock. Add a vegetable stock cube and a generous teaspoon or two of sugar.

Step Four

Bring to the boil and then turn down heat to a simmer. Add in 2-3 handfuls of red lentils. These provide a lovely, chunky thickness to the soup, and the added bonus is, they’re good for you! Add a little more seasoning. Cover and simmer for approx 20 mins, being careful to stir every so often so the lentils don’t stick to bottom of the pan. Add more water if stock is getting too thick.

Step 5

By now your roasted tomatoes should be cooked literally to bursting point.

The red lentils should have softened too. Add the roasted tomatoes into the soup and blitz everything up with a hand blender, (or crush with a masher if you don’t have one).

Add a squeeze of lemon if you have any. Season to taste. Add some torn basil leaves…and dive on in! You’ll be back for more!

Absolutely beautiful with a hunk of bread and cheese!