Loose Ends December

Make the most of your specially bought ingredients from the December issue of delicious. Magazine – use them up with these inventive ideas

Loose Ends December

Wasabi powder
To add a spicy kick to mayo, make up some wasabi paste by whisking the powder with a little water, then stir into ready-made mayonnaise. It’s great spread onto sandwiches or as a feisty accompaniment to meat or fish dishes.
Mix up a small amount of wasabi paste by mixing equal amounts of water and powder, then stir into mashed potato for a mustardy tang. Serve with spicy sausages or a beef stew.

For a warming drink, make mulled cider. Gently heat a good glug of Calvados with apple juice, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar and your favourite cider. Strain and serve on a cold winter night.
Calvados is great for cooking with. Sauté sliced leeks in a knob of butter with plenty of chopped garlic, fresh sage and seasoning. Add a good glug of Calvados, let the alcohol bubble away, then stir in a drizzle of double cream. Serve with grilled pork chops and mustard.
Add a splash of Calvados to your apple crumble filling for a sweet, boozy surprise.
Stir a good handful of quinoa into simmering soup (such as minestrone) instead of pasta or other grains. It’s wonderfully filling and gives a rounded, nutty flavour.
Perk up cooked quinoa with a handful of fresh herbs, some sliced spring onions, toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle over a garlicky dressing and serve with grilled chicken or fish as an alternative to rice or couscous.

Dark chocolate
For the perfect chocolate icing, melt in a heatproof bowl  set over a pan of simmering water with a generous knob of butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Beat in some double cream and a splash of rum. Cool and allow to thicken slightly, then spread over chocolate cakes. 
Make after-dinner goodies for your guests. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Line a tray with baking paper and use a teaspoon to make small rounds of melted chocolate. Scatter with different toppings such as chopped crystallised ginger, chilli flakes, nuts or chopped dried fruit. Leave to set, then peel from the paper and serve with coffee.

Fresh rosemary
Add a few sprigs of rosemary to your roasting potatoes for Christmas lunch, along with a handful of unpeeled garlic cloves. The herb and garlic will lend a wonderful aromatic flavour to the crispy spuds. You’ll never look back.
Throw some sprigs in the fireplace at Christmas and let it crackle, smoulder and fill the room with that incredible aroma only rosemary gives.

Natural marzipan
For quick, easy almond sweets, shape marzipan into little bite-size balls and coat with melted dark or white chocolate. Roll in toasted chopped hazelnuts or desiccated coconut, or dust with cocoa powder. Leave them to set, and then use to fill cellophane bags and tie with a Christmas ribbon for a cute handmade present.
Roughly chop marzipan and add to your favourite brownie batter or muffin mix. Bake as normal and enjoy the delicious marzipan moments.

Whole stoned prunes
Wrap each prune in half a rasher of streaky bacon, put on a lined baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and cook in the oven until crisp for a time-honoured classic: devils-on-horseback canapés.
Add a handful of prunes to a lamb or chicken tagine half an hour before serving to give an authentically sweet flavour.
Stuff stoned prunes with whole blanched almonds and drizzle with sticky honey for a sweet festive-
season treat.

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