Cooking Corner

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Christmas Pudding

375g seeded raisins, chopped
375g sultanas
250g currants
185g prunes, chopped
185 g mixed peel
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
90g blanched almonds, chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
4 ¼ cups soft white breadcrumbs
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain flour
½ tspn salt
½ tspn nutmeg
1 tspn mixed spice
4 eggs
¾ cup milk
½ cup brandy (can use orange juice as an alternative to alcohol)
½ cup stout (can use orange juice as an alternative to alcohol)
250g butter

Grease two 4 cup (1 litre) basins or one
8 cup (2 litre) basin.

Mix together in a large bowl the raisins, sultanas, currants, prunes, chopped mixed peel, grated lemon rind, almonds, carrot, breadcrumbs and sugar. Sift the flour with the salt, nutmeg and mixed spice and add to the fruit mixture and stir.

Fill the prepared basins, leaving a space of about one centimetre at the top. Cut a round each of greaseproof paper and foil larger than the circumference of the basin and place over the top of the basin. Tie securely with string, leaving a large loop with which to lift the basin in and out of the boiling water. Put a trivet or old plate with the base facing up in the bottom of a large saucepan half filled with boiling water. Carefully place the pudding basin in the saucepan making sure that the water comes two-thirds of the way up the sides of the basin. Put the lid on the saucepan and boil gently for five hours for one two litre pudding and three hours for one litre size puddings.

As the water boils away, top it up with more boiling water. On the day the pudding is to be served, boil it for a further two hours or one hour depending on the pudding size.
Serve with brandy cream or custard.

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By Dougie – The General Foodstore

This is a fiery dish. You can reduce the chilli and black pepper quantities if you like… but not too much as they really make this dish sing.

Serves 4

800g firm tofu
Cornflour for dusting
Oil for frying
150g nuttelex or butter
12 small shallots, thinly sliced
6 long red chillies, seeds removed,
thinly sliced
12 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp finely grated ginger
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns
16 small spring onions cut into
3cm segments

Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil in a wok or deep frypan to come 5mm up the sides and heat. Cut tofu into large cubes (3cm) and dust with cornflour, shaking off excess. Fry in small batches so you don’t stew them in the pan! Turn them as you go so they are golden all over. Once cooked, transfer to kitchen paper and set aside.

Remove the oil and wipe your pan clean, then put the nuttelex/butter in and melt it. Add shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger. Sauté on a medium low heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have turned shiny and totally soft.

Next add the soy sauces and sugar.
Stir well and finally add the tofu and spring onion to warm through.
Serve with steamed rice.

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I love Mexican Food, and really enjoy cooking it at home. I have to admit I am guilty of using the old packet mixes mid-week to get something quick and easy on the table.

However, I have started experimenting with my slow cooker and have found that I can cook some great Mexican food without having to use all the additives that come with packet mixes. Our family doesn’t have any allergies to additives but I am becoming more conscious of how much of it is in our diet.

This recipe is so easy and there’s always plenty of left overs for lunch the next day.

Depending on your tastes you can add fresh coriander and chillies to the meat mixture at the end. You could also top the tortillas with guacamole before baking, and substitute the beef for chicken. It’s really up to you!

Ingredients Mexican-Enchiladas

1kg gravy beef
1 tin five bean mix – drained
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 tbs tomato paste
1 stock cube or stock paste
2 tbs cumin
1 tbs paprika
1 tsb curry powder
12 packet or flour tortillas
Grated cheese
Sour Cream




Throw meat, beans, garlic, onion, tom paste and spices into your slow cooker and set on low for roughly 6 – 8 hours. Don’t be tempted to throw in extra liquid: you can do this at the end if your meat mixture is too dry, but you don’t want it sloppy.

When cooked through, stir the meat around and break it up into very small pieces.

Place a layer of the meat mixture down the middle of the tortilla. Top with grated cheese and roll. Place into a well-greased dish (a lasagne dish works well).

Once the tortillas are all lined up, dribble sour cream and salsa in a line over the top of the tortillas.

Bake in a 180 degree oven for approximately 25 mins. Serve with Mexican rice and a salad.