Now the Sugar plums, for the smaller children, simply slice open, take out pip and pop them together. The story of the ‘Sugar Plum’ fairy is a must along with the dance from the ‘Nutcracker Suite’ written in 1891-92 by Tchaikovsky. There is a story version on CD for adults and kids also motion picture. The kids will be glued to the story.
2 tbs butter, melted and cooled slightly (I browned this first, which probably won’t surprise you)
½ cup milk (fat level shouldn’t matter, but I use whole)
2 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
Two pinches of salt
Few gratings fresh nutmeg
2 tbs honey
For the Plums:
10 plums, pitted and cut into quarters
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 tbs honey
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Juice of half a lemon
For the Asssembly:
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tbs fresh mint leaves
Toasted and chopped pistachios or almonds
Additional honey, if desired
To Make crepes: In a blender, combine crepe ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat a crepe pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, brush pan lightly with melted butter or oil. Pour ¼ cup batter into skillet, swirling it until it evenly coats the bottom and cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is golden and the top is set, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip and cook on other side for 5 to 10 seconds. Transfer wrapper to paper towel covered plate. Continue with remaining batter.
To Prepare filling: Melt the butter in heavy, large frypan over a moderately high heat. Add the plums and cook them for 2 minutes, tossing them about until they’re warmed through. Add the honey and cinnamon and cook them for 1 minute more. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over them and transfer to a bowl. Cover the bowl with foil if you’re looking to keep them warm for a while.
To Assemble: Lay a crepe on a plate. Dollop a couple spoonfuls of ricotta down middle of crepe. Add a spoonful or two of warm plums. Sprinkle with pistachios and mint, if using. Drizzle with extra honey, if desired. Fold crepe sides over each other, so that they slightly overlap. Garnish with extra mint.
In a bowl, whisk together 150g of plain flour, 50g almond meal, 100g sugar, 50g dark brown sugar, ½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and ground cardamom. Slowly drizzle in 120g of melted butter and mix with a fork until it forms small crumbs. Break up any large crumbs so that none is bigger than 1cm. Pit and quarter 1kg of sugar plums and toss in a bowl with 50g of sugar. Spoon the plums into buttered individual ovenproof moulds and sprinkle the crumbs evenly on top.
Bake for 30 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the crumble is crisp.
Place the marsala, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar plums in a baking dish and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes then drain juice into a saucepan and place plums in a serving dish. Combine the arrowroot with a little cold water, add to the plum juice, then cook over low heat, stirring until thickened. Pour over the plums and allow to cool.
To make the mascarpone custard:
Place the eggs, sugar, cornflour and vanilla in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and beat until thick.
Remove the mixture from the heat and beat over a bowl of iced water until cool. Stir in the mascarpone. Serve with the cooled sugar plums.
50g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing pan
For dusting: pure icing sugar
For caramelising ruby grapefruit:
2 ruby grapefruit
400g castor sugar
In a bowl sift together dry ingredients and ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisk milk, eggs and melted butter in a separate bowl to combine, add to dry mixture, whisking to combine. Pass through a sieve into a jug. Add a little extra milk, if necessary, to thin to pouring consistency and refrigerate to rest (2-3 hours).
Preheat oven to 160C.
For caramelising Ruby grapefruit:
Remove rind from grapefruit with a peeler, then remove and discard pith, finely slice rind and set aside. Slice grapefruit into rounds, place in a bowl with their juice, set aside. Bring sugar and 50ml water to boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar, then brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush. Cook over medium heat until caramelised (15-20 minutes). Add rind, grapefruit and brandy (be careful, it will flame) and cook until rind is tender and caramel is of drizzling consistency (1 minute).
Meanwhile, heat a 25cm diameter frying pan over medium heat, brush pan with butter and pour enough mix to thinly cover the bottom of the pan (about 60ml). Cook until brown (2-3 minutes), turn and cook until cooked through (1 minute). Transfer to a tray, set aside to cool and repeat with remaining mixture.
Spread crêpes with mascarpone, then fold into quarters. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle with icing sugar and warm in oven (2-3 minutes). Transfer to plates, spoon over grapefruit mixture and serve immediately.
4 portions of skinless fish fillets such as cod, haddock or whiting (about 150 g each)
2 Ruby grapefruit
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs olive oil
4 tbs butter, room temperature
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tbs minced fresh parsley
Preheat the grill.
Arrange the fish in one layer in a shallow dish. with a sharp knife, remove the skin and pith from the grapefruit. Working over a bowl to catch the grapefruit juice, cut the grapefruit segments from their surrounding membranes putting aside the segments in a small bowl. Blend the coriander, olive oil, reserved grapefruit juice and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Pour over the fish and let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Arrange the fish on a shallow oven dish and grill for 4 to 5 minutes in middle of oven. Combine the butter, lemon juice and parsley and spoon over the cooked fish. Serve with the grapefruit sections.