Thursday, 30 October 2014

Coconut, marshmellow and all spice brownies

If it has chocolate in it, I am sold. Many of the sweet baking that I do includes the well-loved ingredient chocolate in one way or the other, it has to be done. One of my other favourite ingredients is coconut, it is so tropical and exotic and to be honest quite addictive. With an impending Caribbean holiday looming, I thought I would get myself in the tropical mood by making my own exotic twist on a classic rocky road brownies. I like to have a nice supply of chocolate bakes in the freezer, it sounds weird but I like to have a slice or square of chocolate cake or even a no-bake like rocky road within 5 minutes of deciding I need chocolate. Being a fan of all things Caribbean, I added some traditional Caribbean flavours; all spice and nutmeg alongside the coconut  which made this brownies a caribbean dream with every bite. I also had to add some peanuts, I actually wanted to use cashews but there was none in my cupboard so I went along with this family favourite ingredient.The brownies are topped with my quick chocolate ganache which makes the bake rich and several marshmallows are scattered over.
Would I make this again? Of course, but next time I'll have a bite with a sip pina colada.
Here is how my coconut, marshmallow and all spice brownies turned out:

Dry ingredients

Eggs and butter added

Coconut and marshmellows

Peanuts and mini eggs

Pre bake

Chocolate ganache

Recipe for coconut, marshmellows and all spice brownies.

225g butter, melted
100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
140g caster sugar
3tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
50 g dessicatted coconut
50g peanuts
1tbsp all spice
1tsp nutmeg
50g marshmellows
100g white chocolate
A packet of mini eggs or smarties (optional)

For the frosting
125g dark chocolate
100g butter, melted
50g marshmellows

Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas mark 3. Grease a 23cm/9 inch square shallow baking tin and dust lightly with four.
Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, spices and baking powder and make a well in the centre. Stir in the melted butter and eggs and beat well to mix throughouly.
Stir in the peanuts, coconut, marshmallows, mini eggs. Pour into the prepared tin, scatter the pieces of white chocolate in the tin and bake for 35 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. Place the dark chocolate and butter in a heatproof jug and heat in the microwave in 30 second blasts, stirring after each blast. When the chocolate and butter is melted, leave to cool, this will thicken.
Once the brownies are baked, leave to cool and then pour over the chocolate ganache.


Monday, 27 October 2014

The Slow Cooker Cookbook, Review and Giveaway

I'm back! After a relaxing Caribbean break, I'm back to fully embrace the cold crisp nights that Autumn brings. This time of the year, gone are the salads and girls and they are replaced with hearty soups, stews, pies and casseroles. The Slow Cooker Cookbook by Gina Steer is the perfect book for me to fully embrace the months ahead and to create succulent, tender and flavour-packed dishes, in a Slow Cooker. I must admit I did not own a slow cooker prior to receiving this book to review, but promptly brought one to fully test the recipes in this book, (which I brought for a barginous £15 from B and M stores. I studied many of the recipes in this book and I was spoilt for choice in choosing a recipe to review. I decided on making the Cajun dirty rice, which is very similar to the jambalaya. However, this recipe includes the use of pork mince, instead of the chorizo of the jambalaya which when cooked in the dish the mince almost is lost visually due to the chicken taking over, but certainly comes through with each bite. There are several recipes that I will be trying out over the next couple of months, especially for my mid-week meals when I would usually be too tired to rustle up a hearty dish after work. I do have one criticism of this book,  many of the recipes are required to pre cooked before placing in the slow cooker.

This cook book is split into the following chapters:

  • Starters and Sauces - standout starters include duck pate, farmhouse terrine and spicy squash soup.
  • Fish and Seafood - recipes to try include fish and pasta bake, fish creole and scallops, prawn and saffron rice.
  • Meat - standout recipes include chill con carne, barbecued ribs and fruity pork chops. 
  • My favourite chapter Poultry, recipes to try include Cajun Dirty Rice, Mexican Chicken Drumstick and Teryaki Poussin.
  • Vegetables - recipes to try include Tuscan Bean Stew, Spicy Vegetables with Coconut Winter Vegetable Casserole and Warm Bean and Pumpkin Salad.
  • Desserts - stand out recipes include Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding, Creme Brûlée and Gingerbread.
I made the recipe for the Cajun Dirty Rice which was minimum effort but maximum flavour.
Cajun dirty rice

Cajun dirty rice cooking

Cajun dirty rice in slow cooker


Recipe for Cajun Dirty Rice
Serves 4 to 6, Preparation Time for 15 minutes, Cooking Time: Cook on high 2 to 4 hours.

6 rashers streaky bacon chopped
350g chicken livers
225g fresh pork mince
1 onion, peeled and chopped fine
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 celery, trimmed and chopped fine
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
900ml chicken stock
1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning
salt and black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
1tsp paprika
225g quick long grain rice
6 spring onion, trimmed and copped, to garnish

Preheat the cooker on high while preparing the ingredients. Place the bacon in a nonstick frying pan and yea gently until the fat begins to run. Meanwhile, discard any sinew or gristle from the chicken livers and chop fine. Add the liver and pork mince to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until seared. Stir in the onion, garlic, celery and pepper and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Pour in the stock with the seasonings and rick and bring to the boil, then spoon into the cooking pot. Cover with the lid and cook on high for 2 to 4 hours. Adjust seasoning and serve sprinkled with the chopped spring onions.

The lovely people at The Quarto Group are giving three lucky  readers a copy of this book, perfect for the Autumn months. Just follow the instructions on the rafflecopter.

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The competition will run from 27.10.14 - 23.11.14
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The competition is open to UK residences only.

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Monday, 6 October 2014

BBC Good Food Show , plus ticket giveaway

BBC Good Food Show Winter returns to the NEC 27-30 November 2014. This fabulous food show is quickly becoming a firm favourite in my diary, I visited the Summer show earlier this year and have previously visited the Winter show on two occasions. What I absolutely love about this winter show is there are several ideas for Christmas presents and ideas for the Christmas season. As stated before, this is by far the best food show out there so I look forward to sharing my review post. 

This year I'm visiting on press day and am looking forward to meeting the other BBC Good Food Show Bloggers. This year, the Supertheatre returns and I hope to see a demonstration by James Martin who I'm sure will be serving up culinary delights.

The Belling Live Cook Stage also returns this year with visitors being able to view the latest collection of cooking technology. I'm looking forward to seeing the bee-hive baker Stacie Stewart this year as she will be demonstrating some delicious bakes on Press Day. 

Also returning is the Saturday Kitchen Live Stage and hopefully I'll get to view the legendary omelet challenge. 

There is also a Magimix cook along and am hoping to see Marcus Bean bake some delicious cakes and bakes. 

And Finally, I'm looking forward to watching a couple of demonstrations at The Hotpoint Kitchen and take away some recipe cards. I've watched Lisa Faulkner perform a couple of demos at the Spring Show and hopefully I will get chance to see a festive recipe from her.

I am also very excited to offer three lucky readers of my blog a pair of tickets for the BBC Good Food Show Summer. For those who are not lucky to win a pair of tickets, I have an exclusive discount code: 15% off tickets from not until the show. 

To enter the giveaway, please follow the instructions on the rafflecopter bellow. 

  • Follow the instructions on the rafflecopter widget.
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the site and join using Google friend connector) this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT.
  • For additional entries, like my Facebook page follow foodgloriousfoodx on Twitter,
  • All entries will be checked and verified 
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random
  • The competition will run from 06.10.14 - 09.11.14
  • Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted.
  • River Street Events will dispatch the pairs of ticks to three lucky winners.
  • The competition is open to UK Residence only. 
  • All tickets are general admission excluding Saturday
  • Tickets do not include entry to the Supertheare. 
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway and good luck.
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Friday, 3 October 2014

Bistro Jacques Shrewsbury

Bistro Jacques  in Shrewsbury is one of those restaurants which you will want to visit again.  Trust me, it has become a firm favourite amongst my friends and now I am truly converted. I rarely visit French restaurants, bar the occasional chain restaurants a couple of trips to Bistro Jacques has given me a longing for French food.  This is the second time I visited Bistro Jacques and I have been pleasantly pleased on both occasions. Located in the heart of Shrewsbury, this authentic French restaurant is perfect for shoppers, theatre goers or those who fancy a delicious French meal. The restaurant is  spread over two floors, is light, airy with French drawings on the wall, for me it has a cosy feel. On the two occasions I visited, I dined from the "Pre- Theatre Offer" 3 courses for £12.90. This extremely great value for money deal offers the best in seasonal cuisine and features French classics.

My most recent visit, I chose Homemade chicken liver pate, for the starter, Penne pasta and raspberry and chocolate tore. The homemade chicken liver (apologies for no photos, I ate first and realised no pictures were taken after!) was very rich, creamy, seasoned perfectly and was a hearty portion. So hearty was this starter I required two additional pieces of French bread to eat with the chicken liver. The next dish was penne pasta, tossed with chicken and green olives. This was also a large portion and the pasta and chicken was cooked to perfection. I perhaps would not have ordered this if I knew hoe many olives were in this dish, as it was not too my liking. For the final course, I chose a rich dark, raspberry chocolate torte served with whipped cream. This was one of my favourite desserts I have tried all year and it was everything a chocoholic like me adores.
Bistro Jacques

My previous time I visited I ordered Cajun fish cakes, Coq au van and Eton Mess. I do hope that the Coq au van makes a reappearance on the pre theatre menu and this was sublime. 
Bistro Jacques

A real positive of this restaurant is that the staff are very friendly, helpful and are happy to ask any questions about the dishes you are about to order. I also like the rustic charm of this restaurant. Needless to say, I will be visiting again.

Positives: Prime location in Shrewsbury, delicious food, helpful staff.
Negatives: Bring back coq au van on the pre-theatre menu

I reviewed this restaurant because I love eating out.


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