Archive for the 'Christmas recipes' Category

Let’s get ready to rum baba!

Rum baba, aka baba au rhum, is a sticky-sweet dessert made from a yeast-based cake soaked in, you guessed it, rum – after first being soused in a simple sugar syrup.

* Jump to the Rum baba recipe

We first tried rum baba in Montreal at a restaurant called L’Express when we were Crash Testing our way across Canada. After that we tracked it down in a few other restaurants in different parts of the world, but none of them were quite the same as that first baba, so we decided that one day we’d have to try making it ourselves. Continue reading ‘Let’s get ready to rum baba!’

Pavlova recipe from the end of the oeuf


* Go to the Pavlova recipe

We’ve moved back to Australia and thought the first effort in our dowdy but spacious new kitchen should be pavlova. This is an Australian, New Zealand and, oddly, Norwegian dessert favourite that we prepare using a simple recipe that has a few special touches.

A pavlova is basically a giant meringue, but rather than being crunchy or chewy right through it’s meant to be crisp on the outside, with a soft and fluffy interior. A while back I was making ile flottante and encountered what Lenny and I have dubbed the ‘warm method’ of heating the egg whites before beating. We reckon it makes the pavlova mixture more stable and less likely to collapse when shaping and baking, and the inside more marshmallowy when you come to devour it. Continue reading ‘Pavlova recipe from the end of the oeuf’

Panettone pudding recipe – a twist on bread and butter pudding


Windows video (small)
mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for Bread and butter pudding

Our friend Anthony brought round one of those panettone things on Christmas Day. In the end not a lot of it got eaten – we had a decent spread lined up already, and the panettone was kind of a last-minute whim on Anthony’s part.

For those not familiar, panettone is a kind of domed bready cake, often containing dried fruit and other goodies. It’s usually risen with yeast as opposed to baking powder. Panettone is a centrepiece at Italian Christmas tables and seems to be becoming more popular in other countries.

So Christmas came and went, as did Boxing Day, New Year’s, and the thing was still sitting there in its box, with only a few slices taken off. Continue reading ‘Panettone pudding recipe – a twist on bread and butter pudding’

How to make rum balls: two ways, humble and posh


Windows video (small)
mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for Humble rum balls
Go to the recipe for Lenny’s faff-tastic wonder balls

It’s a good idea to have a few snack-like goodies prepared for the Christmas period and rum balls always do the trick. Our friend Angie mentioned she’d made a batch to her Nana’s recipe so Waz thought he’d follow suit.

They are based on Weetbix or Weetabix, a cereal bar made out of wheat flakes, and include condensed milk for sweetening. Instead of Weetbix, if there’s no such thing where you live, you can use a plain graham cracker, digestive biscuit or similar cookie. Continue reading ‘How to make rum balls: two ways, humble and posh’

How to roast a duck, the slow and tender way

Windows video (small)
mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for Christmas duck

Let’s talk turkey. Actually let’s talk about something else this Christmas. Let’s talk turkey alternatives.

This is a first for Crash Test Kitchen. We’ve never done a Christmas episode before. So we thought we’d focus on two of the basic elements you want on your table: crispy roast potatoes and a lovely bird.

But instead of turkey, we’ve chosen duck. Continue reading ‘How to roast a duck, the slow and tender way’

Uncle Kev’s sausage rolls

Windows video (small)
mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for sausage rolls

This is my Uncle Kev’s sausage roll recipe, and it’s fantastic for parties. Or you can even make a double or triple batch before Christmas, Thanksgiving or local festive holiday and freeze them, then heat them up in the oven for a really quick finger-food for a big group of people. Continue reading ‘Uncle Kev’s sausage rolls’

Duck a l’orange

Windows video (small)
mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe (duck breasts)
Go to the recipe (whole duck)

When I found whole duck on sale at our local supermarket, I got very excited. And I remembered that we had an episode up our sleeve not yet launched on the wider Crash Test Kitchen viewing public.

Friends and family were coming over for dinner this week and I had planned to do a simple roast chicken – but I had never cooked a whole duck before, and I want to have one next Christmas. So this would be the trial run.

It might be a tad retro, but duck a l’orange remains synonymous with birds that swim. A while back we did a show for the Word of Mouth blog that involved duck breasts and a recipe by Stefan Reynaud. Recipe-wise, what I’ll detail here is how we did the breasts-only version shown in the video, and how I handled the whole bird – a Gressingham duck in our case. Continue reading ‘Duck a l’orange’

Pudding it simply


Windows video
mp4 video

Go to the recipe for baked treacle pudding

We’ve been cooking up a few videos for the Word of Mouth food blog, as we’ve mentioned before. Here’s another one, where we make a gorgeous and failsafe baked treacle pudding by Fergus Henderson of St John restaurant, London.

OK, straight away you North Americans are asking “What’s treacle?” Basically it’s a sugar syrup, lighter than molasses but heavier than golden syrup. These days you’re likely to find golden syrup used in its place, as with this recipe. I guess pancake syrup (not maple) as found in the US/Canada is fairly similar. Continue reading ‘Pudding it simply’

Rice to the occasion


Windows video
mp4 video

Lenny is a whiz with fried rice. Last time she made it I was well impressed, to the point that I would eat it over stuff from a Chinese restaurant any day.

And that’s saying something. I reckon it’s really hard to replicate the flavours of your better-than-average Chinese takeaway. Maybe it’s down to MSG, which in some Asian cultures is literally known as “taste” (oh, if only you could buy good taste in powdered form). We’ve got nothing against MSG, really – it’s either in the food we buy or it isn’t – but we don’t have it in our kitchen, and don’t have any idea how, or how much of it, to use. Continue reading ‘Rice to the occasion’

We larb turkey


Windows video
mp4 video

The leftover Christmas turkey was on its last legs, and sandwiches had long since lost their appeal … time for what Lenny calls a “flavour changer”.

Larb is a simple Laotian dish of spicy mince (usually pork or chicken) that is eaten with sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice. In Laos the rice comes in a little hopper-style basket made of bamboo and woven grass. The lime and chili flavours are heaven together, and ground rice powder adds a bit of crunch. Continue reading ‘We larb turkey’