Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Favourite French Lentils

I've never really been into lentils. I can on only recall two occasions, once when my friend's mum made it in a Middle Eastern dish and another at a curry house. I wasn't keen on either dish so I made a conscious effort not to eat lentils ever again. I flicked through one of my favourite cookbooks Bacon: Recipes For Curing, Smoking and Eating by Theresa Gilliam and discovered this recipe. I was enticed by all the ingredients which I love bar the lentils. So what's my verdict? The other flavours, the bacon, carrots and shallots compliment the lentils and help brings out an otherwise bland flavour. I served this as a side dish, however, due to the substantial portion and bold flavours,  this could be served as a main course. 

Recipe for Favourite French Lentils
Serves 4 
175g white pearl onions
6 rashers of bacon, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
170g French green lentils
1 litre water
5 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
French crusty bread

To peel the pearl onions, bring a saucepan of water to the boil and arrange an ice bath alongside. Blanch the onions in the water for 1 minute. Scoop the onions out of the water and plunge them into the waiting ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain the onions and use your fingers to pop the onions from their loosened skins.

Cook the bacon in a large frying pan over a medium heat until almost crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the peeled onions and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the carrots, garlic, sat and pepper and cook until the vegetables are soft and the onions are slightly caramelised, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils, water, thyme, sprigs and bay leaf. Bring the lentils to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 20-30 minutes.

Add the butter and mustard just before serving. Stir until the butter is melted and the ingredients are evenly combined.

Serve warm with bread or toasted baguette slices.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Bumper book review: Bacon, Bombay Lunchbox and Artisan Drinks plus giveaway

Here at Food Glorious Food, there are many cookery books being read, tested and reviewed. I am in love with the variety of cookery books  and I genuinely like having a good read and marking recipes that I like to try. Once again, thank you to Jacqui Small Publishers and Francis Lincon Publishers for sending me an array of cookery books.  I have a bumper review and bumper giveaway to share with you and as it is the season for giving, perhaps you could treat yourself or  a family member to a brand new shiny cookery book. This month, I have decided to share three new books on my shelf: Bombay Lunchbox, Artisan Drinks and Bacon. 

Bombay Lunchbox by Carolyn Caldicott, feature Anglo-Indian recipes based on the traditional "tiffin" lunchbox. To be honest, I was unaware what a tiffin (well I am aware of the sweet dish of the same name)  lunch box actually was. Carolyn Caldicott informs the reader that tiffin was developed by the British residing in India in the late eighteenth century; the rituals for a full lunch needed to be accommodate the hot days. Quite simply, tiffin is lunch.
This book is divided into 5 chapters: Classic Anglo-Indian Favourites, Lunch in A Box, Afternoon Tiffin and Tiffin Snacks. There were some familiar favourites features in this book including: Egg Curry, Kedgree, Aloo Gobbi. There were also some new and interesting recipes including Mulligatawny Soup, Uttapam, and Bhel Puri. I decided to make a dish from the Afternoon Tiffin chapter, a recipe which is inspired by the classic British Afternoon tea, however this is a spicy taste on a true classic. The carrot, cheese and homemade tomato chutney wrap was certainly a spicy, exotic and unusual change from my usual lunch. I liked how super easy the tomato chutney was to make and plan on making some more chutneys. My only criticism is that for me a lot of the recipes can be quite lengthy in time. Although this book has an array of wonderful recipes, I feel that this book would be more suited to those who are not pressed for time.

Carrot, cheese and tomato chutney wrap.

Artisan drinks: Delicious alcoholic and soft drinks to make at home by Lindy Smith, is a book exactly what the states, delicious drinks to make at home.  For someone who has never made their own drink before (I'm not talking squash or tea) such as homemade lemonades or cordials, I was pleased with a thorough introduction, covering everything from sterilisation to storing in the bottles to making your own drinks, alongside the fruits and flowers that are in season. This book is spit into 8 chapters, which for me is surprisingly a lot, I initially thought, how many drinks can you make at home, but having read each recipe, there is a variety of drinks that can be made.
 The chapters are the following: Still Waters Run Deep, Family Fizz, A Global Resurgence, A Very Good Year, And now for Something Stronger, Taking the Plunge, Happy Hours and Oasis of Calm. There are clear step-by-step instructions on each recipe and after some consideration, I decided to make an Italian lime Siroppo, partly because I was reminiscing of my time in Italy and secondly because I love limes and have never heard or tried this drink so thought I would give it a try. I quickly realised that this book is not ideal for a busy cook, perhaps a cook with lots of time on their hands. The dismantling of the lime rind, alongside, the straining and keeping the flesh and ensuring it fit to my taste buds was all a bit laborious. I do have plans to make some of the hot drink recipes in the book such as the Middle Eastern Cardamom coffee which looks a lot less complicated. Overall, a beautifully illustrated book which is suited for those who are not so rushed for time.

Italian lime siroppo in the making

Italian lime siroppo

Bacon: Recipes for Curing, Smoking and Eating by Theresa Gilliam is the must have book for all lovers of bacon. That, is then, the majority of us then. There is a comprehensive guide to the different types of bacon including green cured and wet cured, both types which I have never heard of before. In fact, this book has been an education lesson for me and has encouraged me to deviate from unsmoked bacon that I usually use. The photographs are stunning and left me drooling.
This book is divided into 4 chapters: Dawn, Midday, Dusk and Dark. The recipes in this book shows how versatile bacon is and as the recipes are clearly written with easy to follow steps, dishes such as bacon baklava and breakfast hand pies are easier to make. I made the Gingerbread Bacon Waffles (perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast) and Pasta Alla Carbonara which I have shared in the post. There are so many recipes that I want to try this book such as: bacon ricotta corn cakes, BLT mac and cheese, chicken Normandy of all sorts and Apple pie with bacon streusel. I would highly recommend this book and certainly think it would make a fabulous Christmas  present.

Gingerbread bacon waffles.

Gingerbread bacon waffles

Pasta alla Carbonara

Pasta alla Carbonara

Recipe for Pasta Alla Carbonara
Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 rashers of bacon, diced
80g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra to serve
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
120ml double cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
285g fresh linguine
125g frozen peas, thawed

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium head. Add the bacon and cook until it is almost crisp, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir now and then while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cheese, eggs, egg yolks, cream, salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta until al dente, following the instructions on the packet. When there is 1 minute remaining on the pasta, add the peas, reserving a ladelful of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta, peas and reserved liquid to the pan with the bacon. Toss gently to combine. Add the cheese and egg mixture and toss gently. Cook until the pasta is warm and thoroughly coated in the sauce about 2 minutes. Serve immediately with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and black pepper alongside.

The lovely people at Jacqui Small Publishing and Francis Lincoln Publishing are one copy of each book. Please scroll across to enter into the three giveaways

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of Bacon, Bombay and Lunchbox and Artisan Drinks to review. I received no payment to write this post and all views and opinions are my own.
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