Sunday, 30 June 2013

Neapolitan Spicy Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.

The first Gino book I brought was entitled Buonissimo and I was enticed by the low sale price at WH SMITH (was £5 at the time) and that Gino was very popular Let's Do Lunch on ITV serving up delicious Italian meals on his show with Mel Sykes. I now have three Gino cook books (The Italian Diet and Gino Pasta) and can honestly say that I have not cooked a recipe that did not taste delicious. What intrigued me about this recipe, is the use of salami in the meatball mixture and how this would taste as I have only made meatballs using one meat before. The meatballs were delicious and very easy to make. Here is how they turned out:
Neapolitan spicy meatballs.

Neapolitan spicy meatballs.

Recipe for Neapolitan spicy meatballs in tomato sauce.

500g minced beef
100g salami, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
70g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 x 720g bottles of passata (sieved tomatoes)
4 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper

Combine the minced beef, salami, garlic, breadcrumbs, chili flakes and Parmesan in a large bowl. Season with salt and break the egg. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly with your hands and shape into 8 balls. Place on a plate and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the passatta into a large saucepan and place over a medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil then remove from the heat.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs for about 5 minutes until golden brown all over.
Place the meatballs in the tomato sauce and continue to cook on a medium heat for around 30 minutes with the pan half covered. Stir occasionally and, if the sauce gets too thick add a little water.
Serve the meatballs with the sauce and some freshly cooked pasta or plain rice.


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Roasted duck legs with potatoes and butternut squash.

If you fancy a delicious and special evening meal, I would suggest you make Nigella's roasted duck legs and potatoes from her Kitchen cookbook. I've always wanted to try cooking duck at home, as I am used to having duck, shredded and placed in a Chinese pancake, but to recreate duck at home would be different. Duck is readily available in most supermarkets thanks to the Gressingham company (they also sell whole ducks, and duck breasts) and is easy to prepare. I simply seasoned the duck with salt, pepper and mixed herbs and placed in an oven dish, alongside potato pieces and butternut squash pieces ofaround 1 hour and 45 minutes. The oven does all the hard work, and the fat from the duck cooks the potatoes beautifully and gives the dish a real deep flavour. I accompanied this dish with a glass of red wine.
Here is how my duck, potatoes and butternut squash dish turned out:

Roast duck, potatoes and butternut squash.

Roasted duck, potatoes and butternut squash.

The recipe can be found when you click on the link.


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Mustardy pork and apples.

I have recently tried to reduce my carbohydrate intake, in order to lose some weight. I have found that this is quite achievable on weekdays and easier when I  increase my vegetable and meat intake. I have shared before that I am a big fan of the BBC Good Food books and have recently noticed that they have published a low carb cookbook, which is on my wish list as the recipes look delicious.
This recipe of mustardy pork and apples came from BBC Good Food More Low Fat Feasts book and decided on making it after reading the low fat and carbohydrate content (8 grams fat, 9 grams carbohydrate). Also, the dish used chicken stock which to me always enhances an one pot (in this case oven) dish. I added aubergines to bulk out the meal and served with garden peas and a piece of garlic bread (I'm working on the low carb thing). I definitely feel the use of mustard and red apples gave the dish a lovely spicy and sweet kick to it.
Here is how my mustardy pork and apple dish turned out:
Mustardy pork chops.

Mustardy pork chops with apples and aubergines
Mustardy pork chops.
The recipe can be found if you click on the link mustardy pork and apples.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

I just don't give a damn chocolate cake.

I started to get into baking in 2010 and Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy was one of the first Baking books I brought, and remains a close favourite in my baking book collection. I have tried several of her recipes from this book, and all have been easy to make and the results were delicious. A lot of my blog posts for cakes is a variation of some form of chocolate cake, but I was on the hunt for a super easy and super quick chocolate cake using my favourite all in one bowl method. Lorraine Pascale described this cake as "I just don't give a damn chocolate cake" due to the quickness, easiness and simplicity of this cake. I decorated with white chocolate buttons as this was a nice contrast against the milk chocolate ganache. Also, for super quickness, I baked this cake in a square tin instead of two cake tins, and omitted slicing the cake into two and spreading the ganache in the middle (I certainly was in a rush that day).
Here is how my cake turned out:
I just don't give a damn chocolate cake

I first started by mixing the butter and sugar together in a bowl.
Butter and sugar mixed together
Once this was combined I added the remanding mixture (flour, coco, eggs, milk) until all was combined.
Remaining ingredients
I then placed the mixture in a square tin and left to bake for around 30 minutes.
Mixture in cake tin
Once baked and left to cool (in the fridge admittedly) , I made the ganache, placed this over the tops and sides of the cake, left to set slightly before decorating with white chocolate buttons.
Crumb layer

Recipe for I just don't give a damn chocolate cake.

Vegetable oil, for oiling
140g creme fraiche (I used semi-skimmed milk)
130g butter
230g soft brown sugar (I used muscavodo)
Vegetable oil
230g self-raising flour
4 eggs
40 cocoa powder

For the ganache
80g dark chocolate,
130 g butter, softened
250g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease the tin and place baking paper inside the tin.
Put all the mixture for the cake into a bowl and beat well with with a hand-held mixture of by hand until everything is in-cooperated. Place the mixture in the prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked.
Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool before turning int out onto wire racks.

To make the frosting, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water and leave to melt. Once the chocolate has melted set aside to cool. put the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk together until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate and beat until combined. Spread the ganache over the cake and enjoy.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Chocolate and banana muffins - a quick and easy weekend breakfast.

I'm a big fan of chocolate and thought I would try and in cooperate this into one of my very much looked forwards to weekend treats. I initially thought of making chocolate pancakes or chocolate waffles but having re found my love for Nigella's Kitchen I flicked through the cook book and found a lovely recipe for chocolate and banana muffins which Nigella described as a treaty weekend breakfast. I must agree that chocolate and banana muffins are a treaty weekend breakfast and much more gratifying as I defrosted some very ripe bananas that I placed in the freezer to make this muffin. The chocolate element cake from coco powder as opposed to milk or dark chocolate and this made it much more palatable to the mixture and less chocolatey which is perfect for a Saturday morning.
Here is how my chocolate and banana muffins turned out:
Chocolate and banana muffins

Chocolate and banana muffins

Here is the link to the chocolate and banana muffins.


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Moroccan lamb burgers.

I can safely say that The Burger, published by Love Foods is my favourite cook book purchase of the year and I probably have made more recipes out of this book than any other cook book this year. This burger takes inspiration from North Africa, Morocco to be exact. The combination of harisa paste for the seasoning, cumin seeds and paprika gives the aroma of the Middle East when seasoning the meat. The burger, as with all of the burgers in this book is super easy to make and I placed my burger in a lovely pitta bread and topped it with tzatski sauce, which, when eating it reminded me of my holiday to Tunisia as this is the sort of cuisine that is eaten there. I recommend this dish for a perfect mid week meal and for those who fancy a change from their usual burger recipe.
Here is how my Moroccan lamb burgers turned out:
Moroccan lamb burgers

Moroccan lamb burgers
Makes 4
550g fresh lamb mince
1 onion, grated
2tsp harrisa paste
1 garlic clove, crushed
2tbsp mint
1 tsp paprika
oil, for greasing
4 pitta breads, warmed and split
red onion slices
shredded lettuce leaves

a tub of tzatski

1) Combine the lamb, onion, harissa sauce, garlic, mint and paprika. Season to taste with alt and pepper, mixing well with a fork. Divide into four equal-sized portions and flatten the patties about 2.5cm/1 inch thick. Cover and leave to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2) Heat the grill and add 2 tbsp of oil to the frying pan. Cook each burger for around 8-10 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
3) Stuff the burgers into warmed pitta breads with the onion, lettuce leaves and a spoonful of the tzatski. Serve immediately.


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Chocolate and Lime cake with candied lime peel

 I recently purchased Levi Roots Sweet Baking book and was amazed of the wide variety of Caribbean inspired cakes, puddings, desserts and biscuits, many which are new to my me. The first recipe that appealed to me is a lovely moist looking chocolate and lime cake with candied lime peel. I love trying new recipes and flavour combinations and I have made coconut and lime cake, and chocolate and lemon cake, but never have I thought of combining chocolate and lime together. I wondered how it would turn out as lime can be quite sharp and as I have never made candied peel before and wondered whether it would turn out ok. Well, I had nothing to worry about as the recipe is straightforward and easy to follow, and more importantly it tasted delicious. I had to tear myself away from eating the whole cake!
Here is how my chocolate and lime cake turned out:

Chocolate and Lime cake.

 Chocolate and Lime cake.

Chocolate and Lime cake

Slice of chocolate and lime cake.
I first started by mixing butter with soft dark brown sugar until it reached a loose consistency.
Butter and brown sugar mixed

I then added the eggs one at a time and folded in the flour and coco.
Eggs, coco and flour added.

Once everything was combined, I placed the mixture in a loose bottom cake tin.

Pre bake
Meanwhile the cake was baking I made the candied lime peel by placing sugar and water in a small pan, adding the lime rind, letting it cook for 10 minutes then transferring to a non-stick baking paper.
Candied lime

Candied Lime.
I also made the buttercream whilst the lime peel was setting, which is included in the recipe.

Serves 8
175g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
175g soft dark brown sugar
3 free range eggs
175g self-raising flour
4tbsp cocoa powder

For the candied lime rind
50g granulated sugar
4tbsp water
grated rind of 3 unwaxed limes

For the buttercream:
100g unsalted butter, slightly softened
200g icing sugar
grated rind of 3 unwaxed limes, and juice of 2-3 juice to make a firm but spreadable buttercream.
dark chocolate, roughly chopped to decorate.

1) Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Beat the butte and sugar together, using an electric mixer or hand, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Fold in the flour and coco powder. Spoon into a greased and based-lined 20cm (8 inch) diameter, deep round cake tin and bake for 35-40 minute or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake come out clean. Turn out the cake onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
2) Meanwhile, make the candied lime rind. Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan get over s low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lime rind and cook over for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as the syrup thickens, until the sugar syrup has reduced and the lime rind is soft. Using a fork, transfer the rind to a baking sheet lined with nonstick baking paper and leave to cool and harden.
3) To make the buttercream, beat the butter and icing sugar together, with an electric mixer or by hand, until pale and light, but don't beat it for long that it gets too fluffy. Add the lime rind and juice and beat again. Chill in the refrigerator until the buttercream is firm and spreadable.
4) Spread the buttercream over the top of the cake using a palette knife. Decorate with candied lime rind and dark chocolate.


Monday, 3 June 2013

Maple syrup hot dogs and Cajun turkey wraps.

I'm all for quick and easy evening meals and that's where some of the BBC Good Food books come in handy.  One of my favourite books from the series which I have resurrected is BBC Good Food 30 Minute Suppers, available from Amazon and some Asda stores. I picked this cook book up for £3 and this  contains 100 recipes. This cook book is divided into 6 chapters:
*Quicker than a takeaway
*Keep the kids happy
* Superhealthy but super-quick
*Meat-free favourites
* Easy Entertaining
* Something Sweet

Both of my two recent creations from this book is under the chapter "keep the kids happy" which shows how much I am a young kid at heart. The Maple syrup hot dogs were super easy, I used good quality pork sausages, drizzled with maple syrup and baked these in the oven for around 40 minutes, turning over half way through the cooking. The reason why this took longer than the 30 minutes, is I do not have the best cooker, but with most good cookers the sausages could cook in 30 minutes. I then placed the sausages in baguettes and served with a side salad, simple easy and delicious.
Maple syrup hot dogs

The Cajun turkey wraps turned into Cajun turkey baguettes as unfortunately my tortilla wraps had bits of mould (oops). However, the turkey baguettes tasted delicious and was cheap and healthy quick mid week meal.
Cajun turkey baguettes

Here is the link to maple syrup hotdogs and cajun turkey wraps

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