High days and holidays….Thanksgiving Dinner

Last Saturday we had friends over to celebrate Thanksgiving….

Of course there was Turkey but cooked more in the British than American tradition….I always use the stuffing mum used to make…bread, onions, pears and apples and parsley, sage, thyme and some oregano….with lemon and orange zest….

Here’s our menu:

Mushroom Soup
Gravadlax (home cured)
Melanzane parmigiana
Roast turkey roast potatoes and roast parsnips, cranberry sauce with orange, brussel sprouts and peas
Italian cheeses (provolone, dolcelatte and taleggio)
Saffron Poached Pear
Pecan pie with Maple syrup ice cream
Coffee and mints

Here’s a couple of the recipes….I’ll add some more over the week….

Mushroom Soup (10 servings)

This is such a classy soup….but like all soups please remember no matter how good your liquidiser or blender….push the soup through a medium sieve….
I kilo mushrooms….big flat ones are better than small cup mushrooms but if you cook them properly all mushrooms will serve….
2 bunches of spring onions….
½ to 3/4 of a bottle of decent white wine – Vouvray is excellent for this soup….
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Juice of a lemon
I tablespoon of Anchovy Sauce (or Worcester sauce)
I tablespoon of dark sherry
Olive oil (non virgin)
Grated nutmeg and 500ml of double cream
3 Tablespoons of mascarpone
I use skimmed milk, ad libitum, to thin instead of water….

Chop the onions and finely slice the mushrooms. Heat the oil. You will need enough oil to generously cover the bottom of a good deep saucepan. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook on a high heat, using a long wooden spoon to move the mushrooms, moving them constantly until the spring onions have wilted and the finely sliced mushrooms start to soften.

Reduce the heat to low and put a tight-fitting lid on the saucepan and cook, shaking occasionally, until the mushroom juices run….(about ten minutes).

Leave overnight…..
(In the morning some of these on a thick slice of wholemeal bread toasted makes a great breakfast).

The next day gently reheat the mushrooms and onions, adding the wine and other ingredients – except nutmeg, cream and mascarpone – and salt and pepper to taste. White pepper is much the best. Simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Put a little skim milk in blender and using a slotted spoon add half the mushrooms and blend…repeat until all the mushrooms are blended to a paste. Stir the paste back into the liquid…

Then put the soup through a sieve, using the back of a spoon the force the mushrooms through. You can discard the mushroom pulp that will not go through the sieve…take your time, force the mushroom pulp through the sieve until it is a dry pulp. I have also re-blended the dry pulp with a little more skim milk to get the last of the flavour from the mushrooms.

This is the process that makes all the difference between a good soup and a great soup. Allow yourself a good half hour or more for this part of the recipe. Your time will be repaid twice over and more….
Warm the soup, then add the mascarpone and allow it to melt and then finally add the cream.

You can then thin the soup a little with skim milk until you have the consistency you desire….a thinner soup for a larger meal…thicker soup for a family meal or supper…
Just prior to serving you can add nutmeg which wonderfully compliments mushrooms…I love it over fried mushrooms on toast for a weekend breakfast….

This soup should be served with decent bread….soda bread is good… garlic croutons also work well….


I’ll be honest I thought this wouldn’t work as well as it did….Richard had been out on one his shopping trips with his mum and had come across a half salmon for £10.00. he bought it…and I wondered what to do with it in the middle of November…when salmon mayonnaise somehow doesn’t seem right…
I found this recipe in an old Swedish cook book

Half fresh salmon
500grm golden caster sugar
500grm sea salt
Juice and zest of 2 lemons 2 decent oranges and two limes
(If you haven’t invested in one…buy a zester…you’ll never look back)
Two decent bunches of fresh dill (stalks off)
2 cloves,
I teaspoon coriander seeds
I teaspoon fennel seeds
I teaspoon white pepper
I combined all the ingredients in a blender.
I then lined a clean roasting dish with cling film.
I scored the salmon skin with a very sharp knife. I placed it skin face up and poured the marinade over the salmon. I then turned the salmon over back and forth until it was well covered with the marinade. I then covered it with cling film and put it in the fridge. Every 12 hours I repeated turning the salmon in the marinade, each time finishing the opposite way up.

It’s ready after 24 hours…though I left mine for 2 days…and it looked rather like wild smoked salmon…dark and dry and highly aromatic…it also sliced beautifully….

Take the salmon from the marinade and the rinse it in running cold water and pat in dry with a clean teacloth. Put the salmon on a fish plate and cover with another finely chopped bunch of dill.

Slice as if smoked salmon…serve with dill mustard…make your own or buy it from a supermarket.

You will wish you’d made this years ago…it’s to die for….

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