Little green love bombs

Sprouts have been polarising opinions the length and breadth of Blighty since christmas was invented by Coca Cola in the 30s. At their worst they are horrid little bitter balls of moosh; at their best they can be horny little love bombs. Our simple recipe will help you create a unified table of sprout love this Christmas!

You will need:
Sprouts, 1 bag
1 pack diced Pancetta
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
Salt & pepper for seasoning

Core and finely shred the sprouts. In true Delia fashion you should get up at 5.30 on christmas day to do this, or if you are normal, do it on the day once full of fizzy wine.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, a wok is a little easier for volumetric reasons, and add the pancetta. After some of the fat has rendered add the garlic and sprouts. Toss together for around five minutes or until soft but with a tiny amount of bite. We don’t want squishy sprouts here!

Sprinkle in the vinegar and season to taste. There we are. simple yummy Christmas sprouts. No colander required.

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Stovies Food Favourites #4: Rekorderlig Winter Cider

Cold wintery evenings call for cozying up by the fire with a warming tipple. You might fancy a Hot Toddie or mulled wine but in Stovies house nothing beats a mulled cider.

We stumbled upon this during a recent supermarket jaunt and were mightily impressed, despite having been prepared for something rather unpleasant – previous experience of pre mulled wine / spiced loo cleaner being our reference point.

Rekorderlig’s everyday cider is a pleasant and crisp tipple which we enjoyed plenty of at Taste of Edinburgh this summer. The addition of vanilla and cinnamon is a pleasant evolution. It makes for a much sweeter taste which doesn’t work amazingly when drunk cold, hot however is another story. Fragrant, fruity, homely and festive, it’s a hug in a mug.

We tried tarted ours up a little by adding a star anise and some grated nutmeg whilst we were warming it in the pan. You could add any spice combo you like really but the beauty of this beverage is that it is ready to go provided you have a bottle opener to hand. You could even do the warming in the microwave.

We made our discovery in Lidl setting us back abut £1.50. You may find it in other large supermarkets and local wine shoppes. We’ve even heard that it’s being served in bars around town.

Chin chin.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a mince pie or two. We know that it’s only the beginning of December but this mincemeat does benefit from a couple of weeks in the jar to develop the flavour. If you do forget though don’t fret, this recipe tastes great anyway and can be used instantly.

You will need:

1 Large cooking apple, peeled & cored
1tbsp Water
350g Mixed fruit
50g Mixed candied peel
1 tbsp Marmalade
500g Dark muscovado sugar
1 Lemon, juiced and zested
200g Vegetable suet
30 ml Whisky
1/2 tsp Ground allspice

Stew the apple in the water until soft. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour it into a sterilised jar until you need it.

To make catherine wheel mince pies like the one in our pick simply spread some mincemeat over a sheet of ready made puff pastry, roll up into a sausage then cut into 2cm thick rounds. Bake according to the pastry instructions.

In a tangle

Stovies were first introduced to Courgette Carbonara by a good friend few months ago. It went down a storm with both of us then and has become a regular dish each time a courgette pops up in our organic veg bag. This recipe serves four. You can of course leave out the meat for veggies or leave out the courgette for a traditional Carbonara.

What you need:

1 Courgette, grated
150g Smoked pancetta, diced
1 Small onion, finely chopped
4 Egg yolks, beaten
75g Pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated
Olive oil
Fresh black pepper

Enough pasta for four – spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle are all good choices

If you pasta is dried get it on the boil before making the sauce.

Drizzle a little oil into a large frying pan and fry the pancetta until cooked but not crispy, add in the onion and keep on the heat until it is soft and clear but has not taken on any colour. Take off the heat and introduce the grated courgette to the pan.

In separate a bowl beat the egg yolks, add in the cheese and season with black pepper.

Once the pasta is cooked fill a mug with some of the cooking water and set aside. Now drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan.

Whilst quickly stirring the eggy mix pour a little of the hot cooking liquor in – about 1/4 of the mug will do. Keep stirring and pour into the pan with the pasta and other tasty bits. The heat from the pasta and cooking liquor will cook the egg but to keep it from scrambling you do need to keep it moving.

If the sauce is looking a little claggy just add in a little more cooking liquor to loosen it up. When the sauce is creamy and glossy it’s ready to eat.

Dish up with another sprinkling of black pepper and if you really want to push the boat out, garlic bread.