Friday, 17 November 2017

Wine Lover's Kitchen Review, Recipe and Giveaway

A lovely cookery book arrived whilst I was away on holiday in Jamaica. Wine Lover's Kitchen by Fiona Beckett is a stunning collection of recipes featuring one of the nations most loved alcoholic beverage, wine.  Fiona is one of the nations leading and authoritative voices in food and drink, having published an impressive  23 books and is the current wine columnist for The Guardian.
I enjoy drinking a lovely glass of of wine, whether it's a rich full bodied red wine,  fruity white wine, crisp prosecco and my current favourite, mulled wine. But cooking with it, I'm not so sure,  I occasionally add a glug of red wine to stews, chili con carne and the like but that's about it. Wine Lovers Kitchen features a number of inspiring innovative recipes where wine is featured from starters to desserts. Retailing at £12, this book contains 70 recipes, many with accompanying photos. 
Having had a a thorough read of his book I would say it isn't aimed for beginner cooks, but for the more confident and ambitious cook. 


Wine Lovers Kitchen is split into the following chapters:

Wine - the magic ingredient discussing the benefits of wine. 
10 things you need to know about cooking with wine
Soups, Salads and Appetisers: Recipes to try include: Smoked Duck, Mandarin and Pecan Salad with Pinot Noir, Warm Scallop Salad with Crispy Pancetta and Parsnip Chips and Luxury Cheese Fondue.
Pasta and Grains: Stand out recipes include: Rigatoni with Aubergine, Sausage and Zinfandel Sauce, Wild Mushroom and Champagne Risotto and Beetroot and Pinot Risotto. 
Fish and Seafood: Recipes to try include: Moules Marinieres with Muscadet, Quick Tiger Prawns with Pinot Grigio, Fresh Tomato and Basil and Roast Monkfish with Pancetta, Rosemary and Red Wine Gravy. 
Meat and Poultry: Stand out recipes include: Burgundy-style pork with white wine and mustard, sauce, Slow-braised lamb shanks with red wine, rosemary and garlic, Venison Sausages with Red Wine and Rosemary Gravy,  Entrecôte Marchand de Vin and Pepper-crusted steak with Red Wine Sauce. 
Vegetable Dishes and Pulses: Recipes to try include: Vignarole (spring vegetable stew), Fennel and Parmesan Sourdough Gratin and Courgettes and Mushrooms a la Grecque. 
Sauces, Butters and Relishes: Stand out recipes include: Plum and Pinot Jam, Apricot and Moscatel Relish and Roast Chicken Salad.
Sweet Things and Baking: Recipes to try include: Red Wine and Cherry Ripple Ice Cream, Super Boozy Christmas Fruit Cake, Roasted Pears with Sweet Wine, Honey and Pin Nuts and Red Wine and Chocolate Frosted Cake. 

So far, I've made the Entrecôte Marchand De Vin but have booked marked many more recipes.



Recipe for Entrecote Marchand De Vin
Ingredients
2 entrecote or sirloin steaks (225g/8oz each)
1 tbsp olive oil
40g tablespoons butter, softened
2 shallots, very finely chopped
125ml cup good quality red wine, such as Bordeaux or Shiraz
2 rounded tablespoons freshly chopped flat parsley 
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
sautéed potatoes and a mixed leaf salad, to serve

Method
Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Heat a heavy-based frying pan/skillet over a medium to high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, when it is hot, add 15g of butter. Wait until the foaming subsides, then put the steaks in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes for a medium-rare steak. Transfer to a warm plate and cover lightly with aluminium foil.
Discard the fat in the pan and add half the remaining butter. Once it has melted, add the shallots and cook over a low heat for about 2 minutes. 
Increase the heat, pour in the wine and let bubble away for 2-3 minutes until it has reduced by about two thirds. Gradually whisk the remaining butter, pour in any juices that have accumulated under the steak and stir, Season with salt and pepper , then add the parsley. 
Serve the steaks with the sauce poured over, accompanied by sautéed potatoes and a mixed salad leaves.


The lovely people at Ryland Peters and Smalls are giving one lucky reader a copy or the Wine Lovers Kitchen. 

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Friday, 26 August 2016

Beef Koftas

I adore Middle Eastern food and will regular prepare a Middle Eastern spread to indulge on a Friday or Saturday evening. It occurred to me recently that although I've cooked a lot of recipes from the award winning and Honey and Co restaurant but never actually shared a recipe here on my blog. For me, after work eatings should always be quick and easy, yet flavoursome. This is where koftas come in, in particular these wonderful scented beef koftas (I normally have lamb koftas) were delicious. I served this alongside a lovely Middle Eastern spread of tabouleh, hummus and some salad.




For the kofta
2 slices of thick white bread 
enough milk to soak the bread (about 240ml)
1 large onion, peeled (about 120g)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
600g beef mince
4 teaspoon whole caraway seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
130g kashkaval cheese (I used cheddar cheese)

Method 
Remove the crusts from the bread and soak it in the cold milk for 10 minutes. In the meantime puree the onion and garlic together in a food processor till completely smooth. Squeeze the soaked bread and put in a large bowl with all the other kofta ingredients. Mix well until combined.

Divide the mixture into 12 balls of about 80g each (about the size of clementine). Cover and chill for at least an hour before cooking. This will help the flavours to combine and enable the protein in the meat to stick everything together. 

 To cook the kofta, set your grill to the highest setting. Lightly grease a roasting tin or baking tray and place the kofta on it with a little space around each one. Cook for about 6 minutes, then turn them and cook on the other side for another 6 minutes. They should be a roasted brown colour and bouncy to the touch. 
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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Bar and Block Restaurant Review

There's a fabulous new restaurant in Birmingham, a contemporary and modern take on the iconic Beefeater: Bar and Block, which is wonderful steak house. Located on Waterloo Street, Bar and Block opened last month and during my visit, the day before good Friday, this restaurant was jam backed and buzzing with people. As me and my friend walked in almost all the tables were full of hungry customers, so I was glad that my table was reserved. This restaurant is relatively large and there is a large bar area and some interesting wall features. I also liked that you could see the kitchen area, it's always refreshing to see the chefs preparing dishes, none of this microwaved foods. 


No onto the food,  we feasted on a three course meal including cocktails. It wouldn't be a girly meal without cocktails, I ordered the Cosmopolitan (£6.99) and my friend ordered Chambord Royale (£6.99).



We ordered starters of Garlic King Prawns (£7.50) which was served with crusty ciabatta and Cheese and Herb Topped Mushrooms (£5.50), whilst we waited for our starters our lovely waiter brought popcorn coated in beef dripping. I mean popcorn coated in beef dripping, I was intrigued and after having a few handfuls, this flavour needs to be stocked in supermarkets as it's incredibly moreish. My prawns were so succulent, refreshing and light, the ciabatta was perfect for mopping up the prawn and lemon juice. My friend, praised the cheese and her mushrooms, stating that it was gooey.



Now onto the mains, there's a selection of main courses such as Slow Cooked Pork Belly, Beef Short Rib and Beer Battered Fish and Chips, but if you are going to a steakhouse, you really should be ordering steak. There's a good selection of steaks from rump, ribeye, sirloin and spiral cut. My friend and I both ordered the 8oz Rib Eye Steak (£15.50), I ordered the traditional bernaise sauce and my friend ordered the  creamy mushroom. My steak was medium and my friend's was well done, I love the succulent flavours of my medium steak, it was perfectly chargrilled on the outside and moist on the inside. Delightful.

After such a gorgeous steak, we refreshed with more cocktails, mine being a Mitango (£3.25) , a virgin mojito - I never even missed the rum and my friend ordered a cosmopolitan (£6.99).

When it comes for desserts, I am all for chocolate so what better way to get chocolate wasted as I like to affectionately call it and order the impressive Chocolate Toffee Fondue for Two (£9.95). This chocolate delight comes with cinnamon coated banana fritters, warm bread & butter bites, chocolate brownie bites and fresh fruit, served with a warm chocolate toffee sauce for dipping. Well, I was in heaven, my friend and I loved dunking the fruits and brownies into the rich chocolate sauce.



Did I tell you that I was impressed with the decor and the vibe of this restaurant. I loved the bar area and the interior.




Disclaimer: I dined as guests of Bar and Block.

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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Steak with Blue Cheese and Mushroom Pappardelle

Fancy something, quick and easy to make, delicious to taste and a crowd pleaser? I think I have the answer for you in form of this delicious steak with blue cheese and mushroom pasta. The title name includes pappardelle, which I unfortunately did not have, so I made it with it's cousin, tagliatelle. What I love about this dish is after a hard day at work, you can rustle up a gorgeous and simple dish which is rich, moreish and hearty. Although not the cheapest of meals to make, this is the perfect mid-week dinner (especially on a Wednesday) something to perk you up to face the rest of the week.
Here is my Steak with Blue Cheese and Mushroom Tagliatelle.
Steak with Blue Cheese and Mushroom Tagliatelle.
Recipe from my Good Housekeeping 30 Minute Cookbook.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: About 15 minutes
Serves 4
Ingredients
350g dried pappardelle pasta or use tagliatelle
1tbsp sunflower oil
2 x 200g rump steaks
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
200g half-fat creme fraiche
40g blue cheese, plus extra to garnish
100g baby leaf spinach
25g walnuts, chopped to garnish
salt and ground black pepper

Nutritional Information per serving
655 calories, 25g fat (of which 9g saturates), 69g carbohydrate, 0.5g salt.

Method 
1) Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the pack instructions. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Pat the steaks dry the kitchen paper, season week and fry for 5-6 minutes on a medium heat, turning once (cook for shorter/longer if you prefer). Lift the steaks out of the pan to one side on a board.
2) Carefully wipe the empty pan clean with kitchen paper. Return to the heat and add the remaining oil. Fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the creme fraiche and blue cheese and leave to melt. Meanwhile, slice the steaks.
3) Drain the cooked pasta, reserving a cupful of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the empty pan, then toss through the sauce, sliced steak and spinach. If needed, add some of the pasta cooking water to slacken the mixture. Check the seasoning, then divide among 4 plates and garnish with walnuts and a little extra crumbled blue cheese. Serve immediately.

xxx
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Friday, 5 June 2015

Spicy Beef Patties with Briani Celebration Rice

It's officially Summer and that means one thing in my Kitchen, Summer recipes.  Light, exotic, fresh and easy, that's what I love about Summer food, alongside, of course, al fresco dining. I have fallen in love with Shelina Permalloo's debut cookbook Sunshine on a Plate. I think in part this is due to the beautiful photos alongside the fact that many of the ingredients that I am familiar with and use in my Caribbean cooking are featured in this book. I made two recipes from Shelina's book Spicy Beef Patties and Briani Celebration Rice yesterday which was wonderful, vibrant, exotic and flavoursome. Shelina describes the Briani rice as celebration rice, eaten at Weddings, Christening and other family events. These recipes were surprisingly easy to make and tasted sublime, my family enjoyed this!  The Spicy Beef Patties, were very spicy and brought a warmth sensation with every bite. You will simply just have to try it for yourself. I have adapted the recipe to what I had in my store cupboards, however I have shared the recipe as stated in Sunshine On A Plate.

Spicy Beef Patties with Briani Celebration Rice.

Briani Celebration Rice.



For the Spicy Beef Patties
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for frying
2 tbsp chopped spring onions
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp ground turmeric
400g lean minced beef
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
1 tbsp freshly chopped mint
1/4 red scotch bonnet, seeded and finely chopped.
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce.

Method
1) Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the spiny onions and add the spring onion, garlic, peppercorns and turmeric and cook for a few minutes until soft. Allow to cool slightly and then tip into a large mixing bow. Add the minced bed to the bowl with all the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. Shape the mixture into 12- 16 patties (or make 4 large patties like moi)), using your hands.
2) Heat some more oil in the same pan that you cooked spring onions in and fry patties until they are coked though, about 3-4 minutes on each side (longer if you are making larger attics). Drain on kitchen part and serve immediately.

For the Briani Celebration Rice
Vegetable Oil for deep frying
1 white onion, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
1 tbsp ground cumin
a tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp garam masala
1- whole cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
300g basmati rice
pinch of salt
2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
pinch of saffron strands
20g unsalted butter

To Garnish
3 semi-soft boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
2 tbsp fresh coriander

1) Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a deep sided, heavy based pan until a cube of day old bread dropped into it sizzled and turns golden brown in 30 seconds. Alternatively heat a deep-fat fryer to 180C
2) Lower the onion and garlic slices into the hot oil and deep-fry until golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
3) Add the potatoes and deep-fry for around 4-5 minutes until the potatoes are golden on the outside and cooked al the way through. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
4) Put the spices, rice, fried garlic, onions, potatoes, salt, coriander and mint in a separate large pan with a tight fitting lid and mix together. Sprinkle over the saffron strands (don't mix in as you don't want a uniform colour) and dot with the butter. Add enough water to cover the rice with 2.5 cm liquid. Cover with a piece of foil and then the lid and cook over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
5) Remove the rice from the heat and leave to steam with the lid on - you need the residual heat to steam the rice for another 15 minutes
6) Spoon on to a large platter and garnish with the eggs and coriander.

xxx
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Monday, 30 March 2015

Hoar Cross Hall Luxury Spa Resort - Review

Hoar Cross Hall, Luxury Grade 2 Listed Spa Resort and Hotel, located in the heart of Staffordshire is probably the best known and most revered spa in the Midlands. I have heard friends talk about their visit to Hoar Cross Hall,  how fabulous the different steam rooms and facilities are and how relaxed they felt after visiting. I've heard all about the luxurious the treatments and how grand the rooms and the Italian gardens are, so this place has been on my "must visit place for 2015. When I saw a spa package deal on Secret Escapes earlier on this year I thought Christmas had come early. The spa package, for £200 included breakfast lunch and dinner and overnight stay for two people, which is some discount, considering the usual price for this package is  £160 per person. I booked this deal for a Monday night stay as I wanted to fully explore the spa on a relatively quiet day. 
On the day of my overnight stay, my expectations remained high and the driveway leading up to the spa was incredibly impressive. I felt I was approaching Downtown Abbey, so grand and regal was the imposing buildings and vast the land, I had a glimmer of what it would be like to be the lady of the manor.

Image courtesy of Hoar Cross Hall
There are two entrances to enter the spa, one for overnight stays and for day spas. As my nan and I were staying overnight, we enterd via the overnight stay entrance, as we entered we were greeted by beaming friendly staff, grand Italian chairs and fresh fruit. The following day, I spent time near the day entrance, which was equally grand with beaming staff, fresh fruit and Italian furniture. My only thought is that there were two separate entrances as the spa is located on lower ground level alongside the day entrance and the overnight spa entrance is nearer the bedrooms. Check in times were at 2pm and whereas in other hotels you can request to check in earlier, the sophisticated wrist band that we were given meant that the rooms could not be opened for check until 2pm. The spa access was granted from 11am and luggage could be held in storage which was handy as we arrived at 1pm. During check in, I was informed that tours of Hoar Cross Hall estate were available, but I decided to pass on this tour. 

Spa
There are two main areas for spa use: both areas have two beautiful 26 meter pools.  The first area has a steam room and sauna, jacuzzi with an adjourning relaxing lounge are I spent time briefly in there when visiting the steam room. I observed an aqua class occurring there, which looked like a lot of fun. I spent the majority of the time in the hydrotherapy section, where there was two powerful jacuzzis which operated on a 15 minute on and off basis. In the hydrotherapy section, there were four other spa sections; a back section, a foot massage section, power jet and the cold plunge which was only for the brave. The large swimming pool also has a cave style section, which although looked interesting I did not venture in there. I spent the first and following day mainly in the jacuzzi area I found this the most relaxing and I'm in love with the jacuzzi. The photos that I have taken are quite limited due to no photographs to be taken in the spa (I do hope they forgive me!), but I have also included some from their website. 
Spa area.

Image courtesy of Hoar Cross Hall.

Image courtesy of Hoar Cross Hall.


Treatments
There is a range of treatments available from manicures, pedicures, hair treatments, to facials and full body massages. I initially planned to have a hot stone back massage, but due to a recent horse riding accident, I had to give this plan a miss. My nan had a First Element Facial, which uses natural mineral products to address your needs and concern, resulting in a revived and rebalanced complexion. My nan spoke highly of how relaxing and revitalising this facial was and stated that I must have a facial the next time I visit the spa. The treatments range from £35 - £100. 

Food
I had high expectations of the food at Hoar Cross Hall, not because I was dining in a regal stately home, but because of the rave reviews friends have spoken about the gourmet culinary experience. As we arrived at 1pm, we ordered lunch from the champagne bar a chicken club sandwich and Staffordshire beef burgers, hand cut chips.
For the evening meal, there was a 3 course set meal. We ordered a pear and walnut salad and prawn and crab ravioli for starters, I felt the prawn and crab ravioli was nice but he sauce was lacking something. For the main courses we ordered the T Bone steak for a £6 supplement with homemade chips and the leg of lamb. The steak cooked medium, a perfect pink, succulent texture and the crispiness of the chips. My nan reported that the lamb was succulent, lightly seasoned and came of the bone. For dessert, I chose the passion fruit tart with a peppered meringue (the dessert name sounds oh so Michelin) and my nan chose mandarin cheesecake which having a mouthful I found this not to sweet, perfect creamy texture. The following day was breakfast and after a hearty evening meal, I decided to go light with granola jars and watermelon juice for breakfast. My nan chose the full English, which was reportedly traditional and delicious. For lunch, there was a buffet with a variety of hot dishes such as lamb stew, jacket potatoes, mini tarts and vegetables. There was also a selection of cold dishes of roasted vegetables and hummus, and a selection of cold salads. 

Lunch in the champagne bar.

Set menu for dinner.


Dining room area.

Breakfast and lunch.

Bedrooms
The bedrooms were also a beautiful feature of the package, each room is named using a princess or countess title which added to the regal element of the spa package. The standard room features a double bed or twin bed, Italian sofa, chair, television, dressing table and stool. The bathrooms were light and simplistic. Complimentary shower gels, body lotions and shower caps.  The majority of the rooms have views of the Italian gardens. I was in love with the Italian furniture and design throughout the rooms such as the curtains and the bedding. 
Bedroom.

Staff
All the staff were incredibly helpful, from the waiter to the receptionist to the handy man. No-one walked past without saying hello, which I feel is important. I just fell in love with the grounds and the beautiful decorations.
Vase.

Overall: This is a fabulous spa break in the heart of Midlands if you desire rest and relaxation.

Disclaimer: I paid for this via Secret Escapes, I was not asked to write a review, but thought I would share how fabulous this spa is. 

xxx
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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Bank Restaurant Review.

I haven't been to Bank  restaurant for a good few years now. I first discovered this restaurant after visiting with an ex, one Saturday evening many moons ago. I vividly remember that the starter that I ordered was amazing (duck rolls, not like what you get an all you can eat Chinese restaurant) and in my opinion, an overpriced chicken and coconut curry. Although I visited a few years ago, the fact that I remembered the menu, means that the restaurant made a positive impression on me. The location, located in the trendy Brindley Place attracts the trendiest of crowds and for  some is the place to "be seen".
I fancied an impromptu visit to Brindley Place and after visiting the nearby Ikon Gallery, my cousin and I took our seat to dine Al Fresco on the comfortable heated sofas outside with blankets and outdoor heating, I was instantly sold. As we visited at lunchtime, we ate from the Quick Lunch menu, which is more affordable than the main menu. For £15 you receive, sourdough bread and oil and two courses. For my starter, I chose Potted Beef and Piccalilli and my cousin chose Chilli Squid, Thai Herbs and Noodle Salad. The Potted Beef and Piccali was rich, luxurious and delicious with sourdough toast. My cousin stated that Chilli Squid was delicious, which I promptly took a squid piece, which was was crunchy on the outside, tender in the inside and I loved the texture of the chewy squid and spicy chilli.
Bank restaurant - image from the website.

Sourdough bread

Cocktails. 

Potted Beef.

Chili Squid
There was a considerable wait for our main courses: Fish and Chips and Steak and Chips. After 40 minutes of patiently waiting for our main course to appear, I enquired whether the dishes were on it's way and I was informed that the mains were not sent through to the kitchen as the waiter forget to press the send button, brilliant! So after another 15 minutes (a whopping 55 minutes in total) our main courses, arrived. The Fish and Chips was the BEST fish and chips I have ever eaten, the batter was crisp, tasty and well seasoned, the fish was beautifully cooked, tender and moist in the inside. The chip were delicious, much more than chips placed in the deep fryer, I suspect they were twice fried, they were crisp and fluffy in the inside. My cousin spoke highly of her Steak and Chips, which was beautifully presented.
Fish and Chips.

Steak and Chips.

Steak and Chips.
I refrained from ordering a dessert as I was so full from eating my main course, my cousin, however had other ideas and ordered the malteser chocolate sundae. I managed to have a mouthful (I rarely show such restraint) and it tasted amazing, I had to take out my phone to ensure that I didn't take the sundae away from her. 
Malteser sundae.
Overall, this is a wonderfully located location, a trendy and glamorous restaurant, offering exceptional modern European food. I so wanted to give this restaurant a 5 star rating as the food was amazing, location perfect and the restaurant is beautiful. However, due to the mishap with the mains, Bank restaurant gets a 4.5 star rating from me.


Bank on Urbanspoon
Square Meal xxx
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Saturday, 7 March 2015

Steak and Homemade Chips.

As much as I am adventurous with the food that I eat, I can quickly get myself into weekly cycles. Spaghetti Carbonara once featured, alongside, meat curries cooked in coconut milk, sticky ribs and this dish, steak and homemade chips in my weekly food cycles. Come to think about it, I eat this dish mainly on a Friday  evening, shunning the traditional fish and chips and instead opting for this beautiful upgrade on the meat and potato classic. My favourite cut for a steak is sirloin, but I have become fond of the rump steak of late, which is what is featured in this dish. The key to making this dish work, is all in the preparation, ideally overnight or in the morning (for those of us who have to go to work), but for those who are pressed on time, my method shared in this post, is what I have used when I haven't had the chance to prepare beforehand. I like to mix the potatoes and use a combination of white waxy potatoes with sweet potatoes; I love the contrast with each bite. I prefer to cook my chips in the oven as this is healthier than the traditional fried chips and so I do not feel guilty with eating a cave man portion. Now, with something as indulgent as a steak, perhaps this should have been served with a traditional Bearnaise sauce, but I served mine with ketchup and mayonnaise: classy. 
Here is how my Steak and Homemade Chips turned out:
Steak and Homemade Chips.
Serves 2 
Ingredients  
2 rump steaks (around 200g).
1 teaspoon sea salt.
1 teaspoon black peppercorn.
1 teaspoon paprika.
2 tablespoon olive oil.

For the Homemade Chips
2 white potatoes, peeled, washed and cut, resembling chunky chips. 
1 sweet potato, peeled, washed and cut, resembling chunky chips. 
1 tablespoon paprika.
1 teaspoon sea sat.
1 teaspoon mixed herbs.
3 tablespoon vegetable oil.

Method
Preheat the oven on gas mark 6. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl, add the seasoning and ensure everything is fully in-cooperated. Meanwhile, place 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in an oven dish and place the dish in the oven for around 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the oven dish and add the potatoes (be careful the oil is hot!) cook in the oven for 45 minutes, turning the chips over midway. Whilst the chips are cooking, Season the steak with the spices and leave to marinade for 30 minutes. 10 minutes before removing the chips from the oven, heat a griddle pan on the stove, add the vegetable oil and cook each rump steak for 4 minutes each side (if you like it coked medium). Transfer the rump steaks on a plate and leave to rest for 3 minutes. Remove the chips from the oven and plate up the steak with the chips, add a dollop of ketchup, mayo (or sauteed spinach) and enjoy.

Yum
xxx
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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Chilli and garlic bread bake

You know when you are in a supermarket ( in this example it was Sainsbury's) and they have a BBC Good Food book for £1.50 what to you do? Well I had to purchase Speedy Supers way back in December 2013, especially as so many of my mid-week meals are the same as the title states: Speedy Supers. Now, I could write a whole essay on my love of mince and indeed this is covered on this blog, alongside my social media sites, but this time I wanted to have a nice change on a traditional recipe. This is far from authentic, but with the cold crisp autumn nights I long for comfort food and as an addict to garlic bread I was happy to try this recipe. The chilli con carne took moments to make, I had it on the table within 30 minutes. I would however, next time add more chilli to the recipe as it did not have the usual kick that I am used to. I refrained from adding kidney beans to the chilli as I served this dish with Jamaican rice and peas which also has kidney beans. The highlight of this dish for me was the topped garlic bread, crisp, flavoursome and the underneath soaking in the mince mixture, it was perfect for mopping up the flavours. I am glad I served this with rice and peas as this had some form of kick to it. Would I make it again? Yes, but I would add guacamole and add the additional chill. With all these proposals of amending this dish, perhaps I need to remake sooner rather than later.
Here is how my Garlic Bread Topped Chilli Con Carne turned out:



Recipe for Chilli and garlic bread bake
Ingredients
500g lean beef mince
2 onions, quartered
2tsp olive oil
2tsp cumin
1-2 tsp mild chilli powder
400g chopped tomatoes
1 beef stock cube
1 garlic bread, split into slices.

Takes 30 minutes, serves 4.

Method
1) Brown the mince in a large non-stick frying pan for a few minutes, then tip into a bowl. Whiz the onions in a food processor until finely chopped.
2) Heat the oil in the pan then fry the onions for 2 minutes. Add the spices and cook for another minute. Return the mince to the pan with the tomatoes, stock cube and a can of hot water, bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
3) Heat the grill to medium. Spoon the mince into an ovenproof dish. Arrange the baguette slices over the mince, then frill for 5 minutes until golden and crisp.

Nutritional information, per serving 498 calories, protein 37g, carbohydrate 33g, fat 25g, saturated fat 6g, fibre 2g, sugar 7g, salt 2.5 g 

xxx 

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Toute Hache, review and giveaway

I love cookery books, that's no secret, so I was pleased to receive a copy of Tout Hache, many thanks to Jacqui Small Publishers for my review copy. Any book which contains several recipes using mince quickly becomes a firm favourite of mine as I love this cheaper cut of beef. The idea behind Tout Hache hails from three cooking enthusiastics Thierry, Lucile and Ahmed  in France with the later two being heavily influenced by American culinary ideas came up with the ingenious idea of combining the flavours of these two countries.  Inspired by the Cafe Moderne menu, this book sets about restoring the meatball to it's former glory. What I love about this book is that it shows all the different flavours that can be in-cooperated in a meatball alongside sauces. There are many recipes which I have book marked to cook and as well as the main theme of meatballs, I love the side dishes recipes which includes; broad been salad, creamy polenta, pan fried vegetables, french fries and sauté potatoes. So far, I've made two recipes immediately appealed to me; oriental burgers which I have included in this post for and lemon pork meatball sandwich. exotic
Tout Hache



Lemon pork meatball sandwich
Oriental Burgers


This book is split into the following chapters:
  • Techniques - techniques in making meatballs, fish balls, tartares and burgers.
  • Sauces - Recipes to try include the classic barbecue sauce, curried raita sauce and parmesan sauce.
  • Meatballs - tempting recipes include meatballs with choizo, Greek lamb meatballs, fried chicken meatballs and lemon pork meatballs.
  • Fishballs, recipes to try include cod and coconut fish balls.
  • Truffles - for the sweet lovers the chocolate coconut.
  • Tartares - tempting recipes include Lebanese lamb tartare and Cambodian veal tartare - how exotic.
  • Fish tartares - recipes to try include prawn and mango tartare with coconut milk.
  • Burgers - my favourite chapter where standout recipes include tandoori burgers, Italian veal burgers and oriental burgers.
  • Minced meat - The meatloaf recipe is one to try.
  • Side dishes - Recipes to try and enjoy are pan-fried vegetables and sauté potatoes.

Recipe for Oriental Burgers
Ingredients
2 red onion
3 tbsp Olive Oil
5tbsp raisins
1/2 tsp curry powder
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
700g minced beef
1/2 cucumber
1 tomato
4 burger buns

White Cheese Sauce
5 tbsp Greek yoghurt
3 tbsp Creme fraiche
1/2 tsp cumin

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time 20 minutes

Method
Make the white cheese sauce by mixing together all the ingredients.
Peel and chop the onions. Heat the olive oil in a frying pam, then add the onions. Cook over a high heat until they are transparent, making sure that they do not stick. Add the raisins and curry powder. Mix thoroughly.
In a large bowl, mix the onion mixture with the tomato ketchup and the minced beef. Mix throughly and make into 4 patties.
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2. Cut the cucumber into thin slices and slice the tomatoes. Cut the buns in half and put the halves in the preheated oven.
Cook the patties on both sides in a hot non-stick frying pan.
Remove the buns from the oven. Spread each half with 1 tbsp of white cheese sauce, and put 2 slices of tomato, 1 patty and some cucumber slices on the bottom halves. Cover the burgers with the top halves of the buns.

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