Pannetone Bread Pudding

The best way to use Pannetone over the festive season. Be sure to buy an organic brand if you are able to find it.

125 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
4 tablespoons demarara sugar
750 g panettone
1 vanilla pod
300 ml of double cream
300 ml whole milk
5 large free-range eggs
100 g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. Lightly grease an oven-proof dish with butter. Coat the dish with 2 tablespoons demarara sugar.

Thinly cut off the edges of the panettone and use them to coat the base and sides of the dish, press down firmly to create a pastry-like base.

Halve the vanilla pods lengthwise and scrape the seeds out, then put the seeds and the pod in a pan over a medium heat with the cream, milk and butter and simmer for 5 minutes or until the butter has melted.

In the meantime, whisk the eggs and caster sugar in a large bowl for 2 minutes until smooth. Add the warm cream mixture to the bowl  and whisk until combined. Discard the vanilla pod.

Pour a third of the egg mixture into the bottom of the cake and let it soak in for a few minutes.
Tear all remaining panettone into large pieces, leave them for a minute or two in the custard (the more it soaks up, the better!), then place it in to the oven dish. There is no need to be neat about it, you want a  both soft and crispy pieces..

Pour over the remaining custard, soak a little longer if you want and sprinkle with the remaining demarara sugar.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until set. Let the pudding rest for 10 minutes and then serve with cream, custard or ice cream if you want - it is also delicious served cold!

Pheasant with Creamy Brussel Sprouts, Chestnuts and Bacon

With just a few more weeks to go until Christmas, it's time to find ideas of what to serve. This is a delicious main course using pheasant, a great change from the traditional turkey or ham. This dish is also quick and simple to prepare and won't require hours of slaving in the kitchen.

Serves 2

3 pheasant breasts
100 gr pack vacuum packed chestnuts
100 gr lardons
250 gr Brussel sprouts
125 ml tub cream
20 gr cube butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
75 ml red wine
75 ml port

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the Brussel sprouts to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the sprouts to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and fry the lardons until golden brown. Check the pheasant breasts for any shot (little pieces of bullet).

Add the chestnuts and Brussel sprouts and fry for 1 minute. Add the cream, salt and pepper and leave over a low heat.

Season the pheasant breasts with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Lay the pheasant, skin-side down in the pan and fry for 2 minutes. Turn over and fry for a further 1 minute (the pheasant breasts should still be pink inside).

Remove the pheasant from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with 75 ml red wine and 75 ml port and reduce until the sauce becomes thicker. Stir 1 cube butter through. Slice the pheasant breasts diagonally. Spoon the creamy Brussel sprouts and chestnuts in the middle of 2 plates. Lay the pheasant on top and spoon over the sauce.