Archive for cranberry sauce

Thanksgiving Feast

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, events, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , , , , on November 23, 2010 by helenphillips

So this Thursday is Thanksgiving, and as we have only been in the US for 7 months, it’s our first.

New England,  Autumn 1621 – the early settlers that had managed to survive the first harsh year (as a whole, they had arrived unprepared) gathered together for a celebration that was to consist of 3 days of eating, drinking, dancing and playing games. They were joined by their neighbours, the Wampanoag tribe, who had dropped by to see what all the shooting was about. However, Thanksgiving didn’t become an annual tradition until the 1780s, and became a national holiday in 1863. And now Thanksgiving is the day of the year (always the last Thursday in November) dedicated to eating copious amounts of food, and settling down to a game of football.

Thanksgiving is also a time for parades, the most famous (and largest) of which is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in Manhattan. Here in Minneapolis, Friday sees the start of the annual Holidazzle celebration, which will continue every weekend through December.

The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. As gloomy as it sounds, it actually marks the start of the Christmas shopping season, and is famous for it’s sales madness (people have been know to be trampled in the rush to get to the bargains). One chain of stores has been advertising that they will open at 3am on Friday, but I am determined to stick to internet shopping.

Our Thanksgiving Day will be spent with just the two of us eating and drinking more than is usually sensible. Having done some research into traditional dishes (most of which seem to involve copious amounts of butter and/or cream), I think it’s safe to say that the most traditional part of our feast will be the Turkey and the Cranberry Sauce. The trimmings are mostly influenced by our own British Christmas favourites – for this year at least. So here’s what’s on the Menu –


The tomato soup recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay’s Secrets, and is the first of his recipes I ever tried. I remember being quite intimidated by the book back then, but excited by the beautiful and colourful images. Over time I have gained more confidence (and a roomier Kitchen), and the recipes don’t seem so daunting now. The soup has already been made, making life a tiny bit simpler on Thursday.


The Turkey will be roasted – I’m not inclined to try the other method that is traditional in the US, which is deep frying. As there are only 2 of us eating on the day, we bought the smallest crown / breast we could find, which is still around 5lbs. I expect to be making lots of use of leftover turkey recipes in the months to come.

The Cranberry Sauce will the same that I’ve made for the previous 2 Christmas dinners. This year, we’ll also have Lingonberry sauce. Lingonberries come from Sweden, where Eddie spent most of his working life before we moved to the US, so an extra sauce was his suggestion after spotting the berries in the supermarket.

The Chestnut Stuffing will be based on a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Feast. Unfortunately I am currently having difficulty obtained canned puréed chestnuts, so some modification may be required!

The rest of the accompaniments will simply be roast potatoes (the American favourite seems to be creamy mashed), parsnips, savoy cabbage (this at least will be buttery), peas, and pigs in blankets. For those not familiar with the term, these are sausages wrapped in bacon, and the omission of these would cause great consternation.

Finally (possibly after a break, and a walk), dessert will be Crème Brulee (Aha! There will be a creamy dish). This will be the most challenging dish of the day for me, as it is my first attempt. If it’s a success, maybe I’ll even blog about it….

Happy Holidays!


Cranberry Sauce

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, events, Food, Home Cooked Food with tags , , , , on December 24, 2008 by helenphillips

I’ve never been a big fan of cranberry sauce, but I’ve only really had the jarred stuff, and I am starting to enjoy more fruit & meat combinations.

So, when I came across Jeannie.H’s wonderful looking recipe on Flickr, I thought maybe I should give it a try. I’d bought some fresh cranberries anyway to go with the duck that we’re having for Christmas dinner, so all the ingredients were already available to me.
As there are only 2 of us, I scaled down the recipe to use just 100g cranberries, and adjusted the rest of the ingredients accordingly. I also found that it cooked a lot quicker because of the reduced quantities, so it’s best to keep an eye on how the mixture is doing!

100g of fresh cranberries
Juice of one small orange and it’s zest
25g golden caster sugar
35ml of Port


Place the all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer dissolving the sugar. Taste the sauce at this stage, I found this amount was quite sweet enough but more sugar can be added if required. Simmer gently and the cranberries start popping (don’t worry, it’s a gentle pop, they won’t start flying around the kitchen!). Turn the heat down and gently simmer (the sauce gets quite frothy) until the mixture thickens. I found this took around 6 minutes.
Spoon into a bowl, cover with some cling film, and leave to cool, before storing in the fridge.

I couldn’t believe how simple this recipe was, and am really looking forward to tasting it properly tomorrow!