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Christmas sauces to make at home

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Fresh cranberries for a delicious sauce

Heather's Christmas Sauces

Heather Hurley takes us up to Christmas with her sauce recipes. Don't forget to check out her other delicious ideas in our Cookery Section. She tells us about what we can eat with the turkey and a little sweetness to go with her Christmas pudding.
Heather reminds us to spare a thought for those living alone not only in the expat community but also those who are living near us anywhere. If you have made mince pies, Christmas cake and puddings following Heather's recipes, why not share a glass of wine and a bit of something festive? A small thought can mean an awful lot to those alone or in difficult circumstances.

Bread sauce Heather tells us is easy.
Start with white bread. White sliced bread is fine but it must be at least three days old. Leave it out in the kitchen and let it go stale. Remove the crusts and crumble up into bread crumbs. You can do it in your food processor if you wish. Make the crumbs chunky not fine.
Take 1 pint of milk and an onion that you stick three or four cloves into plus 1 large or two small bay leaves.
Put the onion and the bay leaves into the milk and bring it to the boil. Take it off the heat and leave it to infuse in the milk until it goes cold. Take out the onion and remove the cloves. Chop the onion up really fine, remove the bay leaves and pop the chopped onion back into the milk and bring back to the boil. Add a pinch of salt, ground black pepper and once the milk is up to the boil, start adding the bread beating all the time. You will need about three good handfuls of bread for a pint of milk but don't throw the rest away! These can be stored in an airtight container and used for coating food.

Cranberry sauce.
Buy fresh cranberries in a pack of about 500grams. Take out any that are discoloured or too soft. Add 1/2 pint port and 1/4 pint of water. Put in a touch of salt and pepper plus two good tablespoons of caster sugar.
Bring the mixture up to the boil and then reduce to a simmer until the cranberries pop. Let it cool and then taste it. If you find it too sharp then add more sugar to taste.

Vanilla custard,
This simple recipe is a perfect complement to your pudding.
1 cup/ 250mls/ 8 fl oz milk
1/4 cup/ 60mls/ 2 fl oz cream
Put these in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove immediately.
In a bowl whisk three egg yolks, 1/2 cup or 125gms / 4oz caster sugar and 2 teaspoons of cornflour until it becomes slightly pale.
Slowly pour the hot milk and cream onto the egg mixture whisking continuously. Put it all back into the pan and onto a low heat whisking for 5 minutes until it thickens. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and stir in a half teaspoon of vanilla essence.
To make a sauce with different flavours such as brandy or rum just replace the vanilla essence with 80mls of brandy.

Creme Anglaise,
For this you need 3 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. Whisk together until they are light and creamy.
Heat 11/2 cups/ 375mls/ 12 fl oz of milk until almost boiling and then pour into the mixture whisking constantly.
Return it to a clan pan and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes or until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Don't let it boil. Remove from the hat and stir in a half teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Flavoured butters.
You beat 250grams / 8 oz of softened unsalted butter with 185 grams or 6 oz of sifted icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Gradually add in 60mls or 2 fl oz of your chosen alcohol beating thoroughly whilst adding the liquid. Refrigerate until needed. Heather suggests some variations on this theme including adding orange zest.
Heather tells us about how we can obtain wines from her region.

Link to Heather's new UK restaurant website at: www.carpentersarmsgastropub.co.uk
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