Random Recipes, Day Nine on the Advent Calendar and Goat’s Cheese Salad with Quick Cranberry Chutney

Random Recipes, 
Day Nine on the Advent Calendar 
Goat’s Cheese Salad 
with Quick Cranberry Chutney

9th December
Window number nine is
Christmas Bells

Ding dong merrily on high,
In heav’n the bells are ringing:
Ding dong! verily the sky
Is riv’n with angel singing.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!

E’en so here below, below,
Let steeple bells be swungen,
And “Io, io, io!”
By priest and people sungen.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!

Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers;
May you beautifully rime
Your evetime song, ye singers.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!

When Dom announced his new Random Recipe Challenge for December, I got all in a dither, as he suggested that we make space and GIVE some cookbooks away! Eeeeeek, I don’t normally give books away; I am that sad soul pounding the floorboards in charity shops for “new old books” or in extreme cases I can be spotted riffling through books on sale at the library ~ you know the ones, all dog-eared and musty smelling with library stamps all over them and iffy plastic covers ~ so to give away some books seemed liked Festive madness to me! However, I threw myself into the challenge and rooted out a few books, that to be honest, I have not used in ages……..

I whittled the pile down to three……..and then decided on The Reader’s Digest  30 Minute Cookbook; now this is a good book as it happens, but I know someone who will appreciate it more than me, so I am willing to give it away, just for Dom and his Random Recipe challenge. I am lucky enough to have the time to cook now and don’t feel the need for a large book on rapid recipes, so my daughter will be the lucky recipient of this book, as she works long hours and is always on the look out for quick tasty meals.

My random number was page 63 and I was DELIGHTED when I saw that it was a salad, we are big salad eaters and a salad with cheese too, even better! But there was a wee snag ~ I had the goat’s cheese and the bacon, but NO rocket ~ the recipe on the opposite page however, with Camembert, used lamb’s lettuce which I did have, as well as suggesting a rather nice cranberry chutney idea……so, I combined the recipes for a double Random Recipe whammy! I had NO fresh cranberries, so I rehydrated some dried ones in a glass of red wine ~ and why not! 

I was rather pleased with the result, which was a hearty plate of salad with crispy bacon pieces and melting cheese ~ the cranberry orange chutney was a culinary triumph and the whole salad was singing my tune……we ate this with the usual ubiquitous crusty bread and were pleasantly full. I have combined the recipes below and added my version of the quick cranberry and orange chutney, which is our new seasonal favourite now. This salad looked so cheery and seasonal~ green and red on a plate is always so Christmassy! Thanks Dom for another thought provoking challenge and have a Cool Yule!
See you all tomorrow with more naughty Christmas Advent Calendar treats!

 Goat’s Cheese Salad 
with Quick Cranberry Chutney

(Serves 2)


110g bag of lamb’s lettuce, or leaves of your choice
50g smoked bacon lardons, or streaky bacon cut into small pieces
100g Chèvre log, goat’s cheese log, cut into 6 discs

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar or Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

100g dried cranberries, craisins
1 wine glass of red wine
juice and zest of one large orange
50g Demerara sugar
2 tablespoons chunky orange marmalade


Chutney: Place the dried cranberries in a bowl and pour over the red wine ~ allow to rehydrate for about 30 minutes. Place the cranberries and wine into a saucepan and heat gently, before adding the orange juice, zest and sugar. Increase the heat and boil for about 5 minutes before reducing the heat and allowing to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the marmalade and allow to melt, heat for a further 5 minutes and then take of heat and set aside to cool and thicken. 

Dressing: Put all the ingredients in to a jar or jug and shake/mix thoroughly ~ check seasoning before using. 

Salad: Gently fry the bacon in a frying pan until crispy, drain well and set aside to cool slightly. Arrange the salad leaves on serving plates. Place the goat’s cheese discs under a hot grill for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until just starting to melt. Remove the cheese and carefully place it on top of the salad leaves before scattering the bacon over the top and drizzling the salad dressing over. Spoon some chutney over the melted goat’s cheese and serve with crusty bread. 


  1. Jen says

    This salad looks delicious! I have adored your recipes on food.com for a while now and happened to see that you listed your blog on your profile. So glad that I found you here. I'm your newest follower :)

    What frosting did you use on your mulled wine fruit and nut Christmas cake? I was also wondering if you could share where you got your sugar snowflakes and stars!

  2. A Trifle Rushed says

    Karen, what a great idea. I love a goats cheese salad and amazingly have some chevre in the fridge so I think tomorrows lunch is sorted.

  3. Dom at Belleau Kitchen says

    What a lovely entry!! I think I used to have that cookbook too. I'm so glad you found time to do this and hope your daughter enjoys your charity! I love the idea of rehydrating the cranberries in red wine. That's wonderful!! Thanks for taking part Karen. You're a doll!

  4. Marie says

    That looks quite, quite delicious Karen! I can well imagine how lovely the tangy goat's cheese flavour would go with the sweet cranberries. Looks like a real winner! I am like you, if I had to pick cookery books to give away it would be like having major surgery. I don't give them up easily at all!

  5. From Beyond My Kitchen Window says

    This salad looks so delicious. I am on a salad kick until Christmas. I just might make this for Sunday's lunch.

  6. linda @spiceboxtravels says

    Beautiful salad! Found you through MasalaHerb on Twitter. I'm @spiceboxtravels– hope to see you on Twitter.

  7. Kentish Keg-Meg says

    Would be so difficult to give away a cookery book. Quite a challenge. Salad looks so festive and tasty.

  8. Choclette says

    Now that, Karen, is a good wheeze. If you ever get a 30 minute meal yearning, you can just borrow the book back again 😉

    The salad looks delicious and very festive too – hmm, think I might have some goat's cheese in the fridge.

  9. Laura@howtocookgoodfood says

    I am with you on this one Karen. Not very good at all at giving cookbooks away but will force myself this month just so I can enter my FIRST random recipe!
    Lucky choice for you, goats cheese salad is still one of my all time faves. Love the clever use of dried cranberries too xx

  10. Lauren says

    Paul's a big fan of chèvre (he absolutely adores it!), so we'll have to give this a try. I actually forced myself to give some cookbooks away earlier this year, because we thought we were going to be moving across the country. We didn't move, but I don't miss the cookbooks, so I guess it was a win/win. More room for cookbooks I really want!

  11. Ruth Ellis says

    The quick chutney sounds brilliant – I'm often at a loss to do with a half packed of dried cranberries or other fruits that seem to lurk at the back of the cupboard – now I know!

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