A Very Berry Christmas

4th December 2009

Rich sauces and indulgent fillings are characteristic of Christmas cookery… and lack of time to create all that is necessary for the festive season is characteristic of most cooks’ lives.

Here’s a selection of recipes from bottlegreen that use a variety of their cordials to spice up some lovely dishes (and save a few precious minutes…)

Chocolate Roulade with Spiced Berry Compote and Cointreau Cream

pictured above

Dark and indulgent, this chocolate roulade oozing with its luscious spiced berry filling is perfect for Christmas entertaining. It can be made ahead of time and frozen… then simply defrost, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Serves 8 • Preparation: 30 minutes • Cooking: 20 minutes

175g plain chocolate • 5 eggs • 175g caster sugar • 300ml double cream • 2tbsps Cointreau • 200g mixed berries, such as cranberries, raspberries, redcurrants • 4tbsps Bottlegreen Spiced Berry Cordial

1. Preheat oven to 180c, 350f, gas mark 4. Line a 34 x 24cm baking tray with greased baking paper.

2. Break the chocolate into pieces, place in a small bowl, set over a pan of simmering water, stir until melted. Alternatively heat in a microwave for approx 1 minute, taking care not to overheat.

3. Separate the eggs, placing in large bowls. Add the caster sugar to the yolks, beat with an electric whisk until light and creamy. Wash the beaters and whisk the egg whites until standing in soft peaks.

4. Fold the chocolate into the egg yolk mixture then fold in the egg white. Pour into the tin, level and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with a damp tea towel. Leave for several hours or overnight.

5. To make the compote, place the berries in a saucepan, add the cordial and allow to cook gently for several minutes until softened. Cool.

6. Whisk the cream and Cointreau until standing in soft peaks.

7. Turn the roulade onto a sheet of baking paper dusted with icing sugar, peel off the paper. Spread the cream evenly over the surface then top with the compote, roll up like a swiss roll, don’t worry if it cracks a little. Place on a serving plate and chill until ready to serve.

Poussin with Spiced Berry Sauce:

This is a very flexible recipe: also excellent with partridge, or with blackcurrants/raspberries.

Serves 4 • Preparation: 20 minutes • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

• 4 poussins (about 450g each) • 1 medium orange, quartered • Fresh thyme • Olive oil • 300ml hot chicken stock

Spiced Berry Sauce:
• 20g butter • 2 shallots, finely chopped • 150ml red wine • 150g blackberries • 4 tbsps Bottlegreen Spiced Berry Cordial • 1 tsp cornflour

1. Heat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/Mark 6. Rinse the poussin, and dry on kitchen paper. Season inside the cavity of each poussin and then place a portion of orange and three sprigs of thyme into each. Place poussin in a roasting tin, brush the birds with oil, and then pour in the hot chicken stock. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes until the poussin are golden.

2. Meanwhile, start to make the sauce. Heat the butter in a medium pan, add the shallots and cook gently until softened. Pour in the wine, bring to boil and continue to boil until reduced to about 4 tablespoons. Take the pan off the heat.

3. Lift the poussin from the roasting tin and keep warm in the oven. Pour the juices into a separating jug. Once settled, pour the juices through a sieve into the saucepan, leaving behind the fat.

4. Bring the sauce back to the boil and simmer 3-4 minutes to reduce by about one-third. Stir in the Spiced Berry Cordial and the blackberries. Blend the cornflour with a tablespoon of water, stir into the sauce, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Season if needed. Place a poussin on each serving plate and spoon the berry sauce around.

Ready to serve.

Stilton, Spinach and Walnut Parcels with Blackberry and Russet Apple Sauce

Crisp little filo parcels bursting with Christmas flavours, perfect as a starter or drinks nibble.

Make ahead of time and simply
reheat just before serving.

Makes 8 • Preparation: 30 minutes • Cooking: 15-20 minutes

• 150g spinach
• 50g Stilton • 25g walnuts
• 6 x 25x24cm sheets filo pastry
• 40g butter • chives, optional

• 4tbsps Bottlegreen Blackberry & Russet Apple Cordial
• Juice of 1 clementine

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC, 400ºF, Gas Mark 6. Place the spinach into a large pan with a little water, wilt for a few minutes, drain and squeeze out any juice. Chop finely.

2. Place in a bowl, cut the Stilton into small cubes and add with the roughly chopped walnuts. Mix together.

3. Melt the butter. Brush a sheet of filo lightly with the melted butter, top with another piece of filo and brush again, repeat with a third sheet. Cut into four.

4. Place teaspoonfuls of the spinach mixture into the centre of each parcel, brush with a little butter, draw up and twist carefully to secure the top of each of the parcels, brush with butter and place on a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining three filo sheets. Cook for approx 10-15 minutes until golden. Tie with the chives if using.

5. To make the sauce, place the Cordial and clementine juice in a small pan, boil for several minutes until reduced and thickened slightly. Serve with the parcels as a dipping sauce.

Meringue topped Mince Pies with Cox’s Apple and Plum Mincemeat

Nothing beats the flavour of homemade mincemeat, and this delicious recipe is spiked with Bottlegreen Cox’s Apple and Plum Cordial. Any left over mincemeat can be kept for longer by either freezing or adding a good slug of brandy.

Makes approx 24 • Preparation: 1 hour • Cooking: 30 minutes

• 500g cooking apples • 500g mixed dried fruit • 75g dried cranberries • 120ml Bottlegreen Cox’s Apple & Plum Cordial • 1tsp ground cinnamon • 200g dark soft brown sugar • 100g whole blanched almonds • 100g vegetable suet

For the mince pies:
500g prepared shortcrust pastry • 2 egg whites • 100g caster sugar

1. Place brown sugar and cordial in a large saucepan, dissolve over a low heat. Peel and grate apple, add to the saucepan with the suet, mixed dried fruit, cinnamon and the coarsely chopped almonds. Mix together, cook over a gentle heat for 20 minutes, stirring often. Cool. Pack in a sterilised jar and store in the fridge for up to a week.

2. To make the mince pies, pre-heat the oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, Gas Mark 4. Roll out pastry to approx 3mm thick on a lightly floured surface. With a 6cm round cutter cut circles of pastry and use to line patty tins. Place 2 teaspoons of the mincemeat into the centre of each pie.

3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, and fold in the caster sugar. Top the mince pies with spoonfuls of meringue, swirling the tops.

4. Place in the oven and cook for approx 20-25 minutes, reducing heat after 10 minutes if meringue starts to brown too quickly. Cool a little, carefully remove from the tins and serve with brandy butter.

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