It’s almost that wonderful time of the year again. We are avid fans of the Festive Season here in Newhaven Kitchens and there is nothing this kitchen crew loves more than spending time in the kitchen over the Christmas Season.
We’ve done a few blogs on how to get the most out of your kitchen for Christmas – but this year we thought we’d share some of our favourite gadgets, tips and recipes.
Favourite Kitchen Accessories & Gadgets:
Let’s face it – there’s a gadget out there for things that you never imagined that you’d need a gadget for!!! Some gadgets are wonderful – and others are a huge waste of time and money. Here are some of the items that are a must in a kitchen – and some are so simple!
Tongs – be it for turning the grill-up on St. Stephens morning or dishing out sliced turkey – tongs are THE way to go! No more trying to pick things up with forks and spoons.
Good Knives – did you know that you are more likely to get badly hurt from a set of blunt knives than a good set of sharp ones? Invest in an excellent set of knives and treat them with care. They ARE worth the money.
Bowls – get lots and lots of bowls!!! Soups, dips, nibbles, nuts, crackers – you’ll need them all. Is there anything more inviting than a bowl of stewy soup on a couch in front of the fire if you’re not up to much??
Drawer tidies – it’s a great thing when you open your utensil or cutlery drawer and everything is in it’s place. No more fumbling around to find the skewer. Invest in some drawer tidies.
Herb Garden – I love fresh herbs in my cooking. Either plant them outside or create a herb garden on your windowsill or in some cool pots. There are lots of options on the market. Your style, budget and imagination will decide what works for you.
Bluetooth Speaker – if you’re going to be cooking for a long time then you’re going to need some carols and Christmas songs to sing along to. My crooner of choice is Michael Bublé – and I’ll be singing along all the way!
Coffee Pod Machine – if you’re feeling the energy zapping out of you or need to recover a bit then the coffee pod machine is your go-to appliance! They vary in price – but the one in our showroom is just super. It’s a Nespresso and the pod options are extensive.
Food Processor – who has time to chop onions for stuffing? Grab your mini-processor and save those tears!
Induction Hob – there is nothing more wonderful than an induction hob. Energy efficient, time saving, controlleable and with almost NO cleaning required. What’s not to love!?
Microplane – so handy for grating small quantities.
Zester – add lemon or orange zest for instant Christmassyness! Try it in your cream or your tea!
Favourite Christmas Cookbooks
There is a holy trinity of UK celebrity chefs in our house! Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Nigel Slater on TV just sums up Christmas!
When it comes to Irish chefs we’re fond of local chef Edward Hayden, Clodagh Mc Kenna and we just love the ICA Christmas Cookbook.
I could be here all day – but here are a few!
- Stock those pantries early. Don’t leave the shopping until last thing or you’ll be standing in long queue.
- Visit the local farmers market for your fresh produce. The quality and flavours are wonderful.
- Decorate your kitchen – with pretty jars of herbs, decorations and a festive candle or diffuser.
- Make sure you have some nice non-alcoholic drinks in the house. Juices, sparkling water, schloer champagne and non-alcoholic punch all help the designated driver feel at home.
- Check before you cook if you have a guest with a special dietary requirement, intolerance or allergy.
- Wear an apron – our pic is a fabulous apron by Carlow business Other Mammys – your clothes will thank you!
- Tie away hair and be hygienic in your kitchen.
- Wear flat shoes whilst you’re prepping and getting ready – you can glam up with minutes to spare before your guests arrive.
Most of us will be doing the seasonal Turkey and Ham – but here are a few recipes to consider for this traditional festive season.
Starter: French Onion Soup
Our recipe serves 8:
- 1.1 kg White Onions – peeled and sliced
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme leaves
- 4 Garlic Cloves – peeled and sliced
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 50g Butter
- Olive oil
- 40ml Brandy
- 1.3 Litres of Beef Stock
- Sea Salt & Pepper
In a heavy based saucepan slowly fry off all the finely sliced onions, garlic, bay leaf and thyme with the butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Place a lid on and slowly cook for about 15 minutes over a low heat – the slower the better.
Remove the lid and turn up the heat and start to colour the onions until they are brown. Don’t let them burn though! Stir all the time and then add the brandy. Cook for another minute.
Add the stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with crusty bread!
Braised Red Cabbage
Our recipe serves 6.
- 150g butter
- 1/2 head of red cabbage – cut finely
- 2 onions – sliced thinly
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 300ml red wine
- 100ml red wine vinegar
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 2 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly
- handful of sultanas
Place butter in a preheated pot, add shredded cabbage and onion, stir well and cook for a few minutes to soften.
Season with salt, pepper and add the cinnamon sticks.
Add the red wine, red wine vinegar and sugar. Cover with a tight fitting lid and place on a low heat for about 55 minutes. Halfway after 25 minutes add in the apples, sultanas and take out the cinnamon sticks.
When cooked add the redcurrant jelly and season.
Dads Favourite Trifle
Our recipe serves 6
- 10 Trifle sponge fingers
- 200g BlackberryJam
- 400g Blackberries
- 400g Raspberries
- 1 carton of readymade custard (the richer and more delicious the better!)
- 800g Marcarpone Cheese
- 50g flaked almonds toasted
- 50g Amaretti Biscuits, crushed
- a little brandy! (to taste)
Clean and prepare your berries and set aside. Toast almonds and split sponge in half and spread with a little of the jam and sandwich together.
Warm jam slightly – adding the berries. Stir and keep quarter of the berries to line the base of your bowl.
Scatter berries in the bottom of your bowl. Arrange sponge fingers on top. Pour your alcohol on top. Add the berry and jam mixture. Add the custard to the cheese and blend until smooth. Put custard and cheese mix on top of the jam/berry mix. Leave overnight and decorate with flaked almonds and crushed biscuits.
On behalf of the team at Newhaven Kitchens we would like to wish you and your families a healthy and happy Christmas. Enjoy this wonderful time with your loved ones.
If you want to talk to us about your 2020 Newhaven Kitchen then please call us on 059 9176873 or email email@example.com