A Casual Thanksgiving: Turkey Wings and Trimmings.

Casual Thanksgiving

I’m not a huge fan of turkey, but as I was browsing in the supermarket (yes browsing, I enjoy grocery stores) my eyes came across turkey wings. I saw the possibility of making a fun twist on Thanksgiving dinner.

So, what’s on the menu? Roasted turkey wings, vegetable slaw, sweet tattie wedges with cranberry ketchup and a cocktail, that Cobra Commander named The Pilgrim.

Everything is really quick to whip up and would be great to have the day after Turkey day.

Cranberry Ketchup

Makes about 22oz

12oz Fresh cranberries

1 Small white onion

1 Garlic clove

1 1/2 Light brown sugar

3/4 Tsp mustard powder

1/4 Tsp salt

1/4 Tsp pepper

1/8 Tsp ancho chili powder

1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar

3/4 Cup water

You’ll also need enough canning jars to hold 22-24oz.

In a saucepan combine the cranberries, onion, garlic and water. Stirring constantly, bring to the boil over high heat. Once merrily bubbling and boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the cranberries are soft.

Take off the heat and use an immersion blender or regular blender to blitz until smooth. You might need to add a dash more water, to get a smooth texture.

Return the sauce to the pan and add in the sugar and spice and vinegar. Bring to the boil again over high heat. Once boiling simmer for 30 minutes stirring frequently.

Cranberry ketchup

While the ketchup is simmering prepare your jars, by soaking them in some hot water. I do this in the canning pot. It kills two birds with one stone, the jars are simmering and the water is on its way to boiling. Just dont’ let the water get to the boil.

Spoon the ketchup into the jars, It’ll be hot so take care. Leave about 1/2 inch clear at the top of each jar. Gently knock the jars on the counter to remover any air bubbles. You may need to add more ketchup. Wipe the rims and add the lids or bands, remember not to over tighten if using bands.

Put the jars in to boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Casual Thanksgiving

Vegetable Pecan Cranberry Slaw

This yields a lot, but it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days. I also find that I enjoy it more if it’s made a day ahead of when it’s needed.

Vegetable slaw with cranberries and pecans

1 Small red onion

1 Broccoli crown

1/2 cauliflower head

1 1/2 cups of grated carrots

1 1/2 cups Sliced brussels sprouts

3/4 Cup pecan chips

1 5oz bag of dried cranberries

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp Dijon country mustard

1/4 Cup Apple cider vinegar

1/4 plus 2 Tbsp Cup Apple cider

Finely chop the onion, place this in a bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and 2tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Set this aside and prepare the other vegetables.

Chop the broccoli and cauliflower into small pieces and put in a large mixing bowl. Add to this the grated carrot, Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, pecan chips and onion. Mix this thoroughly.

In a jug beat together the Greek yogurt, mustard, apple cider vinegar and apple cider. Pour this over the vegetables and toss.

Put this into an air tight container and into the fridge. I like to give it a good shake in the container every so often.

Taste test before serving and add salt and pepper accordingly.

Turkey Wings and Sweet Potato Wedges

Turkey wings

1 Turkey wings

1 Tbsp Unsalted butter

2 Tbsp dried Oregano

1 Tbsp fennel seeds

1 Tsp paprika



1 Tbsp Olive oil

2 Tbsp honey

2 Small sweet potatoes

Pre heat the oven to 350°F.

Mix 1 Tbsp of oregano, the fennel and paprika together with the butter and rub over the wings. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.Place them in an oven proof dish and covered with foil, put in the oven for 1 hour.

After an hour turn the oven up to 420°F.

While the oven is heating peel the sweet potatoes, cut in half and cut each half into thirds. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle over the oil, season with the rest of the oregano, salt and pepper. Place on the upper rack of the oven.

Baste the turkey wings with half of the honey and the pan juices. Set the timer for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, Turn the turkey wings and baste with the rest of the honey and some more pan juices. Rotate the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes on it. Set timer for an additional 15 minutes.

Casual Thanksgiving

Remove from the oven and plate up.

The Pilgrim

All through the summer I have been making frozen cocktails. It’s a trend that has carried on into late Autumn. I make a batch and freeze.

1 1/2 Cups of Moscato

3/4 Cup of Wild Turkey honey bourbon

1/4 Raspberry or cranberry vodka

1/4 Apple liqueur

3/4 Cup Apple cider

1/4 Cup Sparkling blueberry pomegranate juice

Combine all the ingredients in a jug and distribute into freezer safe containers. Or you can keep the cocktail in a pitcher in the fridge.

If they are frozen, remove from the freeze 5 minutes before serving, I love it when they turn to slush, I use a spoon straw to ingest these.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Apple Butter

20131008-132332.jpgApples are so abundant late September, early October.  Florrie and I had gone apple picking the weekend before and I had a bag filled with apples in my kitchen, looking questioningly at me. I like apples, but I’m not a big apple eater, preferring instead to bake them into lovely goodness.   Since my bag of apples was starting to languish – it was inevitable- I figured I would make something that requires 4lbs of apples.  Apple Butter!  I love me some apple butter. Its great on toast, pancakes, ice cream, mixed in to yogurt. It can take the place of jam in a range of food scenarios too.  I mixed a gorgeous combination of tart and sweet and crisp apples to make this batch of butter.  Honey Crisp, Jonah Gold, Cortland (the best baking apples in my opinion)  If you use a food mill don’t worry about peeling and coring. If you aren’t, peel and core before chucking into the pot.

I looked over some apple butter recipes before I decided what I would do.  I was shocked at the amount of sugar some of them called for.  4lbs apples:4 cups sugar. UGH. Gross. No.  These little beauties were already sweet, and I knew that once they had cooked down, condensed and caramelized they would be even sweeter.  I pared that measurement down to 1/2 cup.  I wanted the apples to really shine.

To Make:

4lbs apples (dealer’s choice)  quartered

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground clove

1/8 tsp ground all spice

jars to store the butter

Put quartered apples into a heavy bottomed pot with the water and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes until apples are cooked through and soft.   I was using the same pot to reduce the apples, so I poured the hot mixture into a big bowl so I could mill the apples directly into the pot.

Set your food mill, with the medium plate inserted over the pot and ladle in the apples, milling them to remove the seeds, cores and skins.  Discard solids.


Add spices and sugar to the apples, stir and simmer, uncovered over very low heat for about 90 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes or so. You want the water to evaporate and the apples to condense and caramelize. Scrape the bottom to make sure you don’t get scorch marks.  You should notice the bottom getting lovely and dark and thick.  The overall texture will thicken over time and darken as the sugars in the apples begin to caramelize.

Its ‘done’ when you can drag the spoon along the bottom of the pot and the apple butter doesn’t immediately fill the gap back in.  You can now can the apple butter to keep it and give as gifts, or just fill up a container and pop it in the fridge. Un-canned apple butter will last at least two weeks in the fridge.


I know what you may be thinking… “Where’s the cinnamon?”  I find that its a common tendency to smother anything baked with apples in cinnamon.  I think that’s generally a bad idea. I find cinnamon cloying, overpowering and I wanted the apples to really shine with just a hint of spice to it.  I nearly always substitute all spice for cinnamon  and nearly always reduce the quantity as well.  I imagined some of these apple butter recipes coming out like cinnamon apple candy, and that thought didn’t make me happy.  No sir.

This batch of apple butter though, made me very happy! Its tangy, a little bit sweet, gently spiced and so so so apple-y. Its gorgeous! Coffee,toast, butter and apple butter for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do!




I have been wanting to try out my new canning pot since I bought it last weekend, and with the great deals on strawberries and rhubarb in season this weekend was the perfect opportunity.

Just look at those gorgeous berries!

Don’t even get me started on the beautiful ruby-red rhubarb.

I started out by washing, hulling and slicing the berries. I bought 4 flats and it took a while but it was worth it. I used about 2/3rd for the jam and put a little sugar on the rest and popped it into the fridge for later.

That made a LOT of berries. That’s my big green bowl, filled past the brim!

Next I washed and chopped the rhubarb. It’s a pretty fibrous veg so I wanted to make sure that it was cut up well. Look at that beautiful interior.

The rhubarb is much tougher than the berries so I popped it into the pot first, with a cup of sugar to cook down a bit.

Meanwhile I put the empty jars in the canning pot and let them heat up.

Mix in the berries and give it a good stir. Bring to a boil and add in your sugar.

Add in your package of pectin (helps you achieve a nice jelly like consistency)

Juice a whole lemon into the pot and mix everything well.

Add in a little pat of butter to reduce the amount of foam. Trust me, it’s a needed step!

Boil it again until it is done, usually about 13 minutes at a rolling boil.

Use a spoon to skim off as much of the foam as you can, its ok if you can’t get it all, but if you want a nice clear jam its a necessary step.

It’s actually quite tasty, the foam.

Carefully take the sterilized jars out of the hot water and fill it nearly to the top with hot jam. Wipe of any jam that gets on the lip of the jar. Place a new lid on the jar and screw on the neck rings. Carefully put the jars back into the canning pot with some tongs.

Cover the pot, crank up the heat and when it comes to a rapid boil let her go for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the jars sit for a few minutes more.

Carefully remove the jars and let them sit on a rack or some towels overnight. You’ll hear a little chorus of clicks as the jars cool and the lids seal themselves. The next day label your jars with the contents and date canned. Any that have tight seals will keep in your pantry until needed, any with compromised seals can just be put in the fridge and eaten within a week or two.

Beautiful AND delicious! It requires a bit of time, but not a lot of effort. Next up is raspberry, peach and something spiked with real vanilla bean. I’m thinking golden raspberries. Later this summer I am trying pickles again! Take advantage of all the great seasonal produce out there. Its so totally worth it.