The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Christmas Day and all the trimmings.

Kilkeel Harbour on Christmas morning

It was Christmas morning and we had a nice glass of Bubbly and I made the breakfast, well if your going to do it then go overboard.

Bob had his porridge and slice of toast and I made Oeuf's Royale for Linda and I.

Hot buttered crumpet, with a thick slice of ham, a slice of fois gras topped with poached egg, drizzle some fresh home made hollandaise over this then top with a slice of smoked salmon (Irish of course) and a spoonful of caviar crowning the lot.

muffins split, toasted and buttered

A nice slice of ham and some Fois Gras

Topped with a poached egg

drizzelled with a thyme hollandaise sauce and a slice of Irish smoked salmon

And the lot topped off with a dollop of caviar

This meant that I wouldn't need a lot until Christmas Dinner. In between friends came around for a Little Christmas drink and Ivan the terrible and Rich the rascal had a little sing song:

Christmas Dinner was a lobster salad for starter (I had got a fresh one on Christmas eve from the fish waggon).

Lind becoming a little better aquainted with her starter

poaching the lobster in a court boullion.

Browning the shells for the sauce

Blending the sauce, in the back ground the legs for dressing

This I cooked in a court boullion of cellery, carrot, green of a leek, onion, bay leaf and some herbs and a few coves. Once cooked, I shelled it removing the meat, toasted the shells and boiling again in the court boullion, these I pounded down and put through the mixer pouring all through a sieve lined with muslin. I made  a Marie Rose sauce using some of the stock as the base. Shredded some salad leaves and lambs lettuce, topped with lobster and decorated with the lobster feet, drizzling over the sauce. served with lemon wedges. 

Next was  Mamta's Carrot and Tomato soup.

The recipe for this is on Mamta's webb:  Just have a search and you will find it, it is also on this blog under soups!!!!

The main was stuffed goose ( herb stuffing in the bottom and sausage meat in the top. Roast potatoes in goose fat, Brussels and glazed carrots.

The goose in the cool box

The goose was prepared and set into the oven to at quite a low heat this was to release the wonderful goose fat that was going to be used to cook the roasties in.

Salting and peppering the goose , I also added a good rub of Savoury

After the mains we had  lindas mince pies and Christmas pud for the hardy lot, I do think I had none! We had some the next day though.

Phew! it does take it out of you this Christmas lark good job it doesn't come around too often only three more to go!!!!

Christmas tour 2010 - 2011 - Run up to Christmas

Next day 22 Dec, was a visit to the hospital to see Bob (Linda's Dad) he had been put into an isolation ward as the couldn't find what was wrong with him, but he seemed quite perky considering what he had been through. ( He had returned from Lanzerotte, with bug of some description and had very, very serious vomiting and diarrhea).

We then went shopping in the Town (Newry) popped into T-K Max it is always worth a visit just to see what they have lying around. (I am a licorice junkie and they sell big bags of good soft licorice)
We also done some food shopping in Sainsbury's, I like Newry it has two compact adjacent shopping centres, the Quays and The Buttery.

Shopping done we headed back to Kilkeel, first filling up with LPG (why is so rare in Ireland, both North and South?).

We had a pleasant surprise, the doctors had decided (the couldn't find any thing) that Linda's father was better off at home so would be released the next day. This was great as we had arranged to pick up our Christmas goose from the other side of Strangford lough Marlfield Farm).

We had purchased our goose from here last year and it was so tasty that we had ordered a one for Christmas dinner this year as well.

We crossed the Lough by the ferry that plies it's trade between Strangford and Portaferry, it is a short trip but on a nice day a very pleasant day, today was clear but cold. If you are ever in Strangford in summer do pop into the Lobster pot and sit in their very pleasant garden and sample the wonderful sea food. This time it was winter, too early and too cold.

We next had a fantastic drive around the shore of the lough, first to Marlfield farm

How does the saying "a goose under the arm?" go

then to Newton Ards via the snowy lough full of bird life.

Then round to Killinchy ending up at Danny Millars  Balloo house for lunch.

Now that was fantastic, the Christmas menu was on the go and it was a real eye opener, this was to be my first Christmas dinner of the season. Now I am not normally a "Turkey man" prefering goose, duck, game or even a good farmyard chicken. But I must say Danny done us proud, this is the second time I have been to Balloo house and both times it has been a pleasure.

I started with a smoked sea food chowder

and Linda had the crab cakes

I next had the Turkey Christmas dinner and Linda the roast belly pork

I finished off with the Christmas pud and boy was I stuffed!!!

A fantastic meal, in a fantastic setting, Danny your food is wonerful, you are a great Ambassador of Irelands food.

After that we headed back to down Patrick and then via Newcastle, Annalong and then to Kilkeel.

Feet up and a bit of tele as we where to pick up Bob the next day, though we did not know what time.

Cookery Club Christmas Dinner (belated)

We had, had a bit of a problem getting a date that suited everyone prior or near to Christmas so had decided to go for the last Saturday in Jan.

The theme was quite traditional British and I had been looking forward to it since last year.

The Menu was arranged well in advance and so it was to be:

A wonderful bottle of Champagne

An Amuse gaul:

A Surprise


A duck terrine and a hare pate, served with Dan Lepards oat crackers and Gillthepainters oat cakes. Chillibutter to accompany.


Leek and blue vinney soup with toasted pita wedges.

A palate cleanser:

Champagne sorbet.

Main Course:

Roast turkey, with 2 types of stuffing, giblet gravy, Cranberry sauce, bread sauce, in goose fat roast potatoes, Carrots in a ginger dressing and spiced red cabbage.

Desert No 1:

 A strawberry composition in a glass

Dessert No 2:

Carolyn's homemade Christmas pudding with Irish brandy butter (it was a present from Joan in Ireland)

Kalles Amuse Gaul.

A square of sour dough bread fried in olive oil, spread with creme frais, this was topped with a cube of fresh sautéed salmon and drizzled with Cumberland sauce.

My Starter:

Mallard, Blood-orange, pistachio terrine


First shoot yourself a nice Mallard, pluck and dress

150gr of pork collar

Some slices of pork back pure fat

100g of Chicken livers (you can soak these overnight in milk to remove any bitterness)

2 blood oranges

20to 25 unsalted pistachio nuts

3 shallots diced and softened in a little of the duck fat

1 teaspoon of game spices

20 ml cointreau

2 sheets of gelatin

Salt and pepper

Skin it removing as much of the fat as possible (render this down, this will be used later)

Remove as much meat from the carcass as possible ( the carcass will be used as part of a game stock)

Take 2 nice filet's off the breast, dice the rest of the meat and put it through a mincer or roughly blend (do not over blend this is meant to have bits in it) remove and mince the pork collar. Mix both meats together. Chop the pistachio and add this with the shallots to the mixture. Peel one of the blood oranges, remove half of the filet's (do this over the mixture and any juice will drop into it), squeeze all of the juice from the rest of the orange into the mixture, add the game spices and 10ml of cointreau mix and carefully mix in the orange filet's that have been cut into 3, season with Salt and Pepper.

Take a small spoonful of the mixture and fry in a little duck fat, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Also fry the filet's in duck fat but don't over cook!!!

Put 1/2 of the mixture into a well greased form, put the reserved duck filet's on top and cover with the remainder, cover all with slices of back fat.

Knock the form on a kitchen towel on a work surface a couple of times (this will get rid of any air bubbles). place in a roasting tin, pour in enough boiling water to come 3/4 of the way up the form.

Put into a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 1.5 hours.

Remove from the oven put the form onto a board and press with a weight or as I do use a plywood form and press with joiners clamps.

When pressed (24 hours) remove the clamps.

Cut the other blood orange in half, taking a slice off each half (this will give you 2 even slices) squeeze the juice into a small saucepan with the remainder of the cointreau (you can use more if you wish) add enough game stock to make up to about 400ml add the orange slices and poach reducing the liquid by half. In the mean time soak the gelatin in cold water.

Remove the orange slices from the liquid, cut in half, add the gelatin, when dissolved spoon a little over the top of the terrine, put into the refrigerator to set (this is very quick) now decorate the top with the orange pieces and bay leaves. spoon over the rest of the gelatin. put in the refrigerator to set.

Allow to mature for a couple of days.

Hare, Port and Cranberry Pate

Shoot a young hare.

Any hare blood that you are able to save

Skin, paunch and cut into portions ( 2 front, 2 back legs, the saddle and the thorax (rib cage etc))

Remove the filet's from the rib cage and set aside (add the rib cage to the duck carcass with a few root veg, onion game spices and boil up for a wonderful game stock),

Remove the meat from 1 of the hind legs, dice.

The ingredients:

The hares liver

Mild cured belly pork  (speck or streaky bacon)

A piece (4cm²) of juniper smoked and cooked belly (small dice)

10 cranberries Chopped plus enough to decorate

1 teaspoon of green peppers

1 large mushroom diced

enough bacon to cover the form

1 egg

2 or 3 shallots finely diced

1/2 bread roll or 1 slice of white bread rind removed (from the previous day)

20 ml of Port (or so)

2 teaspoon of plum sauce (I used this as it was a present from Gill at Christmas)

1 teaspoon of game spices

Salt and pepper to taste.

Enough game stock for the glaze and to loosen the mixture

1 sheet of gelatin (soaked in cold water)

Soak the bread in the port

Blend the hare meat minus the filet's, add the mild cured belly pork, the liver, the egg, the soaked bread, the game spices and blend.

Add the cranberries, green peppers and any port not soaked up, mix this into the pate mixture, taste and adjust with plum sauce (the hare livers can be a little strong and bitter so the addition of the sweet plum sauce will compensate for this).

Fry the diced shallots until just soft add to mixture. The mixture should be a nice dropping consistency, if too thick add a little game stock to slacken, if too thin don't worry it will set when cooked.

Now adjust the seasoning, fry a small dollop (teaspoon full) of the mixture and do any final adjustment now.

Season the filet's, fry gently, still bloody and just coloured.

Grease a form, put half of the mixture into the bottom, place the filet's on top and push down.

Cover with the remainder of the mixture, banging down on the work top to remove any air pockets. Cover the top with bacon, then tie foil on top with kitchen string. Place into a roasting tin half top up with boiling water into a 200°C pre-heated oven for 30 min reduce to 180°C for a final hour.

Remove from oven allow to cool a little take of foil, and press for 24 hours.

Next day make up 400ml of port/stock, reduce by half add the gelatin and allow to dissolve

Decorate the top of the pate with halved cranberries and a few green peppers corns.

Spoon the gelatin over the top and allow to set, let it mature for at least a day before using (2 days is better)

 The finished duck terrine and hare pate

I served the terrine and pate with Dan Lepards oatmeal crackers, these I cut out with a 5ch pastry cutter and rolled into longish ovals. I made 2 variations, 1 with salt flakes and 1 with salt flakes and cracked pepper.

Also Gillthepainters oatmeal biscuits (a little darker than I would have liked but that's life)

I had made a pot of Chilli Butter for those that wanted (they all did)

Dead easy Chilli butter

250g of unsalted sauerrahm butter

1 medium chilli de-seeded de-veined and chopped very very fine,

1/2 teaspoon of marigold vegetable stock powder

Grinding of game spices.

Mix all together with a fork and put into a ramekin.

The starter board.

From 12O'clock, chilli butter, Duck and Orange terrine, oatmeal and sea salt crackers, Hare, Cranberry and Port pate, sea salt, cracked pepper oat crackers. Center oat cakes.

Linda's Leek and Blue Vinney Soup

30g of butter

2 leeks white part diced

1kg of potatoes, peeled and diced

1.25 ltr of chicken stock

125ml cream

100g of Blue Vinney

Fresh thyme sprig to decorate.

Melt the butter in a large pot, add the leek and soften,add the chicken stock and potatoes, put on lid and cook until potatoes are cooked. Transfer the contents to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer all back into the pot and  add the cream and the cheese and over a low heat melt the cheese (do not allow to boil). Serve  decorated with a thyme twig.

Serve with  pita bread cut in two discs, cut each disc into 8 and put on a baking sheet. sprinkle with a mixture of 50g of Parmesan cheese and fresh thyme leaves. Bake in a pre-heated 180°C oven until golden brown and crispy.

Kalles Champagne Sorbet.

Make sugar/water solution. allow to cool, add bottle of champagne, pour into a freezable container. Freeze, scraping at regular intervals so that you get large Chrystal's.

Chill sorbet glasses, when ready to serve scrape with a spoon and put into the glasses.

Carolyn's Main course:
with Marianne's carrots

Roast Turkey and, and, and!!!

The Bird

The red cabbage, carrots and the meat

The roasties and the meat

    Martins Desert in a glass.

                                                                                   Carolyn's Christmas Pudding with Brandy butter

Christmas tour 2010-20121 - Through the valleys and into Ireland

We said our fare wells to Carol and Bill on the evening, with a big thank you for your kind hospitality, it will be returned when you get across to Germany.

We set off on a very clear morning, headed to the M6 in a Northerly direction. The fields where clothed in a deep white blanket of snow but the gritting lorries had been out and the main roads and motorways clear with no hold ups. We where booked on the 13:00 ferry from Holyhead to Dublin, I had left plenty of time as we didn't know how the weather would be further North when we got near to Manchester and the M56 to take us across the top of Wales. NOW I had reckoned with out my Navigator she decided that the best rout was cutting straight through the centre of Wales and Snowdonia (My Navigator is female and electronic). I since realised it was in all probability my own fault, as I had put in optimal route instead of the fastest. Never the less by the time I realised this, it was too late and I was on the M54 heading for Shrewsbury and before you knew it had crossed into Cymru and the land of the Celts.

It was a smashing journey along the A5, the sun was shining and the roads clear, not a lot of traffic about. We passed by many areas that I had been to in my youth, did quite a bit of rock climbing and mountaineering in North Wales.

Passing the frozen Llyn Ogwen

The only bit of a hold up on the trip through Wales was at Bethesda and even then it wasn't too bad. But don't walk too near to the houses.

We reached Holyhead, the ferry that had a delay due to having to wait for the train from London, an unevetful crossing, got into the River Liffey and Dublin, snow was falling (a most unusual occassion in Dublin) and the traffic had come to a stand still took us 4 hours to travel the 1 Km to the tunnel that was supposed to relieve the  traffic conjestion in Dublin, well not this day it didn't. We done a quick visit to friends that live in Malahide (we where going to stay the night but due to Linda's dad taking ill after a holiday in lanzerote) and then up North to Kilkeel getting there at 01:30 and hit the feathers straight away.

So tomorrow was a trip into Newry and visit to Bob in hospital.