Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Steak and Guinness Pie

I absolutely love pies, nothing is more comforting than a steaming homemade pie on these cold dark nights. I love the versatility in pie fillings from a light and fresh filling to something hearty like the recipe I will be sharing. Steak and Guinness Pie, has a lovely Irish twist on a traditional Steak Pie - the addition of Guinness adds an intense warmth flavour. The steak is slow cooked in the oven for a few hours which makes the meat tender and full of flavour. Although this pie isn't a 30 minute wonder, as the oven does the hard work for you, once the meat browns, you can sit back and relax. A perfect dish to make over the weekend. 




Recipe from Leiths How to Cook

1 packet puff pastry (extra flour to dust)
1 egg

For the filling

1 onion
3 tbsp olive oil
handful mixed herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano
1kg beef chuck steak
450ml Guinness
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 tsp butter, softened and mixed with 2 tsp flour, if needed
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method
  1. For the filling, halve and peel the onion and cut each half into 4 wedges. Place in a medium flameproof casserole or ovenproof pan with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, cover, ideally with a cartouche, and sweat over a low heat until soft and translucent but not taking on any colour.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop enough herb leaves to give you 1–2 tablespoons and set aside. Trim off any excess fat and sinew from the beef and cut it into 2–3 cm cubes.
  3. Heat the oven to 150°C.
  4. Once the onion is soft, remove it from the pan and set aside. Brown the meat in batches in the pan, using as much of the remaining oil as necessary and deglazing with a little water after each batch.
  5. Return the onion to the pan and add the Guinness, tomatoes, chopped mixed herbs, bay leaf and some salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Return all the meat to the pan and add a little water if the meat is not covered.
  6. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook gently for 2–2½ hours, or until the beef is tender. To check, remove a piece of beef; you should be able to cut through it with the side of a fork or spoon.
  7. Remove from the oven and drain the cooking liquid into a small pan. Discard the bay leaf, then taste and reduce the sauce, if necessary, to a consistency that lightly clings to the meat and a good concentration of flavour. If the sauce needs thickening, use a little beurre mani矇 (the butter and flour mixture).
  8. Add the beef back to the sauce and transfer to a lipped pie dish, ensuring the filling fills the dish generously. Use a pie funnel if necessary. Leave to cool completely.
  9. Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 3 mm thick and 3 cm bigger all round than the pie dish. Cut off strips that together will line the lip of the pie dish. Lightly beat the egg with a very small pinch of salt, using a fork, then pass through a sieve into a bowl.
  10. Press the pastry strips onto the dish lip and brush with a little beaten egg. Carefully lift the pastry rectangle on top and press gently over the lip, to join the edges. Trim off the excess pastry and cut up the sides. Place 2 fingers lightly on the edge of the pastry and draw the back of a cutlery knife between your fingers and upwards, to create a scalloped effect. Make a hole in the centre of the lid to allow steam to escape. Cut out leaves or decorations from the pastry trimmings, if desired, and stick to the pie lid with beaten egg. Glaze the pastry with the beaten egg. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm the pastry. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C.
  11. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg again. Bake the pie in the top of the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until the pastry is well risen and golden and the filling is piping hot when tested with a skewer.

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Friday, 26 January 2018

The Salted Caramel Chocolate Hamper by Hotel Chocolat

What is a better way to say "I love you" to the one you love on Valentines Day then with a chocolate hamper. I adore chocolates especially luxury chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. New to the Valentines Day chocolate gift ideas is The Salted Caramel Chocolate Hamper, retailing at £25. This perfectly packaged elegant hamper includes some salted caramel favourites includes.

  • Salted Caramel Chocolate Puddles
  • Salted Caramel & Pecan Chocolate Spread
  • 50ml Sated Caramel Vodka Liqueur
  • Salted Caramel Shortbread
  • Caramel Cheesecakes Selector
  • Salted Caramel Hot Chocolat   

Each chocolate has a dash of sea salt which lifts the caramel chocolate recipe and bring out the deep maltiness and notes of dulce de leche. I particularly enjoyed demolishing the Salted Caramel Chocolate Puddles and the Caramel Cheesecakes Selector.
There are a range of other Valentine Day gift ideas on the Hotel Chocolat website if you want to treat yourself to something extra.


The lovely people at Hotel Chocolate are giving one lucky reader The Salted Caramel Chocolat Hamper. To be in with a chance, follow the below instructions.

  • Leave a comment on my blog (This is an Essential Requirement) 
  • For additional entries, join my blog (left hand side via Google Friend Connector), follow me on Instagram, Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter
  • All entries will be checked and verified
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 26.1.18 - 6.2.18
  • The winner will need to respond in 2 working days. 
  • The competition is open to UK residents aged 18 and over.
  • Hotel chocolate will post the chocolate to the winner. 
xxx

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Saturday, 20 January 2018

Fabulous Falafel

I've been trying to eat more vegetarian dishes in my weekly diet, trying to up my usual once a week meat free meal to twice a week. With so many bloggers having a meat free January or participating in veganuary there has been a number of inspiring recipes on social media which I'll be sharing in the coming weeks. 
After flicking through my new cookbooks that I brought in the January sale, I found this incredibly easy recipe for falafels from The Greedy Girl Diet. Falafels, a popular middle Eastern dish are perfect for a light lunch or dinner. What's better, this recipe is low in calories and fat, so you can treat yourself to an extra falafel. This recipe is lightly spice, full of flavour and easy to make. I served the falafel with a beetroot dip as I had beetroot use and of course, pitta bread.




245 calories, 4g fat per serving
Serves 4
1x 400g can chick peas, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
zest of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon very finely chopped fresh coriander 
vegetable oil spray
4 warmed wholemeal pitta breads

For the dressing 
150g low-fat Greek yogurt
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
100g chopped rocket.

Method 
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Put the chick peas, salt, spiced, garlic, lemon zest, bicarbonate of soda and chopped coriander into a food processor and lightly blend to a coarse puree. 
Wet your hands to stop the mixture sticking to them and shape the mixture into 16 patties. Spray a baking tray with oil, arrange your falafels on top and lightly spray them all over a find midst of oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning once.

While the falafels are cooking, make the dressing by beating together the yogurt with the crushed garlic and rocket in a bowl. If necessary, you may need to thin the mixture with a couple of tablespoons warm water to a coating consistency. Serve the falafels inside the warmed pitta breads and top with yogurt dressing. 

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Thursday, 18 January 2018

Mango Salsa Chutney

Mango chutney in January, I hear you say. These days you can buy Summer fruits, all year round in most markets and supermarkets. I am fully aware that mangoes in January is not seasonal, but we all could benefit from a tropical burst in our lives. I used to eat mango chutney, shop brought and to serve alongside a curry. However, making Newton and Pott mango salsa chutney, I don't think I'll go back to shop brought mango salsa chutney. For one, the mango pieces are chunky and juicy instead of the mainly pureed shop brought version. The mango salsa chutney was incredibly easy to make and even easier to eat.





Ingredients 
2 red peppers
500g red onions
3 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 small garlic cloves
3 birds eye chillies
2 limes
30g fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili flakes
250g light brown sugar
4 large mangoes
350ml cider vinegar

makes 3-4 300ml jars

Method
Preheat the oven to 120C/100 (fan), gas mark 1/2. Halve the red peppers, remove their stalks and seeds then place them on a baking tray and cook in the oven for at least 1 hour. Once soft and browned, remove from the oven, peel off their skins then finely slice and dice them.
Peel and dice the onions. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, then add the onions and a little salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the garlic, de-seed the chillies the finely chop them both.
Zest the limes then halve them. Peel and grate the ginger. Add the garlic, chillies, lime zest and halves, ginger, cinnamon and chili flakes to the onions and cook for another 10 minutes.
Add the sugar to the pan and caramelise for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, stone and cube the mangoes. Add to the pan with the vinegar and gently bring to the boil.
Simmer, stirring continuously for 20-30 minutes, until the chutney starts to thicken, add the diced red pepper and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and take out the lime halves. Ladel into warm, dry sterilised jars, then seal.
You can eat this one the very next day but it will mature nicely if left for at least 4 weeks.
Keeps for up to 6-8 months unopened. Once opened, refrigerate and consume within 4 months.

xxx
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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Feeling Green Hangover Helper

I wasn't hungover when I made this juice, I can assure you. But what I wanted was a green juice which had a caffeine kick and one which would make me feel a little more alive first thing on a cold money. What I found was this refreshing and nutritious green juice from my much loved 1000 juices book. A great way to start the week. 





Ingredients
1 white tea bag
175ml very hot boiling water
2 green apples, quartered
75g piece cucumber
50g fresh spinach
15g fresh mint leaves
1/4 lemon
2tbsp honey
2 sprigs of mint

Method
Put the tea bag in a teapot or heatproof jug. Steep in the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove tea bag; leave to cool.
Process all the ingredients except the honey and mint sprigs through the juice extractor. Pour into 2 glasses, sweeten with the honey and serve immediately garnished with a sprig of mint.

Makes 2 glasses.
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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Pumpkin, Black-Eyed Bean and Coconut Curry

I'm trying to include more vegetables in my diet this January by replacing my animal rich diet with vegetables and attempting to eat more vegetarian based meals. One of my favourite vegetarian dishes is making a vegetarian curry following a fridge raid of vegetables that had a better life but need to be cooked quickly. This recipe hails from my latest addition to my cookbook collection, Fresh India by Meera Sodha. I opted to use butternut squash rather than pumpkin as this features weekly on my shopping list. The rest of the ingredients for this curry, I had knocking about in the fridge/cupboards. What I found really interesting is the use of roasting butternut squash. It made the curry more earthy and as the butternut squash is naturally sweet, there was a slight sweet tang. The curry was moderately spiced, there was certainly a kick to the curry with the use of chilli. I served with coconut flavoured curry with corn (cornmeal based) roti, the recipe is also included in this book.




Ingredients

Serves 4 as a main course
1.2kg pumpkin or squash
1 tablespoon garam masala
salt and black pepper
coconut or rapessed oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 green chillies, slit lengthways
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic
1 x 400g tin of black-eyed beans, drained
150g ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 x 400ml coconut milk.

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6 and line two baking trays with foil. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out and discard the seeds, then cut it into crescents around 2cm at widest part. Transfer to a big bowl, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with garam masala, 1 teaspoon of sale and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat evenly, ten arrange in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes, or until soft and tender.
Meanwhile, put 2 tablespoons of oil into a large lidded frying pan over a medium heat and when hot, add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the slit green chilies and the onion. Cook for 12 minutes, or until the onion is soft and golden then add the garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the drained beans and stir to mix together. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes until soft and jammy around the edges.

Next, add the turmeric, 1/3 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the coconut milk. Tip the roasted pumpkin into the pan and stir to mix. Cover with the lid and leave to heat through for 5 minutes. Check the salt and chilli, adjusting if you wish, then transfer to a serving dish.

xxx


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Tuesday, 2 January 2018

December 2017 Monthly Eatings

 December was another foodtastic month, I visited restaurants in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury and thoroughly enjoyed the culinary delights.

Bella Italia - Wolverhampton




Westacres - Wolverhampton



House of The Rising Sun - Shrewsbury



Natural Healthy Food - I wrote a review earlier in December 

D'arcys - Ironbridge





Thank you everyone who viewed my blog in 2017, I hope to share more foodlicious treats with you over 2018.

xxx
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