Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Poached Pears in Mulled Wine

A really simple and delicious Christmas inspired dish, which fills your home with warm spices and fragrant smells. I can be hit and miss with pears, but I love how juicy and succulent the pears are soaked in the mulled wine. What's more, they make a great low fat dessert and are incredibly easier to make. My photos do not do this dish justice, but go beyond that and you will discover a wonderful Winter delight.

Makes 2 jars
1 lemon, halved
4 pears

For the mulled wine
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
225g caster sugar
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg, grated
1 vanilla pod
1 bottle red wine

You will need
2 sterilised Kiner jars

Put all the mulled wine ingredients into a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
Meanwhile, squeeze the halved lemons into a bowl of cold water. Peel the pears and, as you peel each one, place in straight into the bowl of lemon water.
Add the pears to the simmering wine and then remove the pan from the heat. Take a large sheet of greaseproof paper, scrunch it up and press on to the pears to keep them submerged. Cover the pan with a lid and leave for 1 - 1/2 hours until tender.
Remove the pears from the liquid and set aside. Bring the wine to the boil and then boil vigorously for 10-12 minutes until the liquid reduced by one-third and is syrupy. Strain the liquid. Place the pear into sterilised jars, pour over the liquid and seal.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Sweetcorn Fritters with Chorizo Salsa & Soured Cream.

There's nothing quite like eating a hearty weekend breakfast. I don't know about you, but after the slog of Monday-Friday and eating the same routine of either granola, juice or fruit (I try to be healthy mid-week). There are endless ways to make gorgeous, hearty, delicious and exotic breakfasts from around the world these days which is fabulous for adventurous foodies. Not that you need to venture far and wide for this beautiful breakfast and brunch recipe (and would also make a fabulous lunch). Sweetcorn and chorizo are readily available and this dish can be prepared in under 30 minutes. I loved how the sweetcorn complimented and worked so well in the batter and the intense flavour of the chorizo topped with soured cream is a taste sensation to behold.
Here is my Sweetcorn Fritters with Chorizo Salsa and Soured Cream.

Recipe for Sweetcorn Fritters with Chorizo Salsa and Soured Cream, taken from Lisa Faulkner The Way I Cook.
For the Fritters
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
125 milk
300g sweetcorn
1-2 tbsp oil
salt and pepper
soured cream, to serve.

For the salsa 
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped 
150g chorizo chopped
1 garlic clove

Sift the flour, baking powder and some salt into a bowl. Make
a well in the centre.
In a jug, beat together the egg and milk and pour into the
flour. Whisk until you have a reasonably thick batter (you may
not need to use all the milk).
Put the sweetcorn in another bowl and add the batter. You
may not need to use all the batter – you are aiming for quite a
thick sweetcorn mixture.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and, when
hot, spoon in tablespoons of the batter. Fry for a few minutes
on each side. Keep warm while you make the salsa.
Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook over a
medium heat until soft. Add the chorizo and the garlic, and,
once the chorizo has a nice bit of colour, add the tomatoes
and the purée. Season and cook until the tomatoes have
softened and the sauce is coming together but still chunky.
Stir in the sugar and cook for a further minute. Stir through
the coriander.
Serve the salsa warm, on top of the fritters, with a dollop of
soured cream and an extra sprinkle of coriander.


Friday, 20 March 2015

Crunchy Nut Chicken

I'm such a big fan of Lisa Faulkner's The Way I Cook cookery book, the recipes are easy to make and taste delicious. This recipe, in it's original form was cornflake chicken which immediately caught my eye when I brought this book. I amended the original recipe and used crunchy nut as it was the only cereal I had at the time. Apparently coating chicken in cornflakes and rice krispies was in vogue in the 1980's he decade I was born, but by the time I was a little older, it was a dish no longer in fashion. I was puzzled why would anyone coat chicken pieces with cereal, but as they say, don't knock something until you try it. I found using the crunchy nut added a moerish sweet element and was a healthier alternative of one of my favourite dishes, fried chicken. I think this dish is fab for children and for grown ups who want a quick and tasty meal. 
Here is how my Crunchy Nut Chicken turned out:
Crunchy Nut Chicken

Crunchy Nut Chicken pre cook.

Crunchy Nut Chicken
Recipe for Crunchy Nut Chicken.
Serves 4-6
Olive oil
250g crunchy nut cornflakes
1 egg
50g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
125ml milk
1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
8 skinless chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks or a mixture)
sea salt and pepper
salad and garlic, mayonnaise, to serve.

Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4 and lightly grease 2 baking sheets with olive oil.
Pour the crunchy flakes into a large sandwich bag; seal and then lightly crush with a rolling pin. Pour into a large flat dish or roasting tin and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, flour, milk and cayenne pepper until smooth. Put the chicken pieces into a bag with dusting flour and plenty of salt and pepper. Seal the bag and shake to coat the chicken evenly.
Dip each chicken piece in the egg and milk mixture first and then roll it in the crushed cornflakes, making sure each piece is evenly coated.
Lay the coated chicken on the prepared baking trays and then transfer to the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve with a side salad and some garlic mayonnaise.


Friday, 5 September 2014

American Peanut butter & banana pancakes

I love weekend breakfast, take a look at my folder on Facebook entitled Weekend Breakfast where you can see my favourite weekend dishes. The weekends for me are usually a more laid back affair; there is not the rush to get to work so time can be spent lingering in the kitchen up until brunch time. Monday-Friday my breakfasts usually consist of a big bowl of fruit salad, porridge or a bowl of fruit and salad. I try to make my mid-week breakfast filling, healthy and most importantly delicious. But it is the weekend when I really go to town, no healthy breakfasts here, instead I enjoy making pancakes, fritters, waffles, quiches and Jamacian classic breakfast dishes. This dish, from Lisa Faulkner's The Way I Cook is one of those fabulous American inspired dishes, raised pancakes with peanut butter and banana topped with a drizzle of syrup with your choice. Not only this dish is delicious, it is easy to make, a crowd pleaser and quite filling.
Here is how my American peanut butter and banana pancakes turned out:

Recipe for American Peanut butter and banana pancakes
Makes about 12 pancakes
350ml milk
2 eggs
200g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon caster sugar
4 tbsp peanut butter
banana, sliced
golden or maple syrup for drizzling

If you have a blender, pour in the milk and eggs and blend then add the flour, sugar and salt and blend again. If not, sift the flour into a large bowl, add the sugar, peanut butter and combine. Make a well in the centre, whisk the milk and eggs together in a jug and pour into the well and beat together.
Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and brush with a little vegetable oil. When the pan is hot, pour in just over half a ladleful of the batter so that it makes a pancake about 10cm (4 inches) in diameter. Once the bubble start forming add the sliced banana, the pancake is ready to turn over.
Once you've turned the pancake, cook for 30 seconds until golden.


Monday, 14 July 2014


Do not be put off by the long ingredients in this recipe, most of them will be in your cupboard in your seasoning cabinets and the rest can be easily brought. I love jambayla and have previously shared a blog post about this creole favourite. The good thing about a base recipe is that you can amend and change to what ever you have available in the fridge, for example chorizo can be swapped for sausages and chicken for turkey depending upon what you have - although this will take the authenticity out of it. I made this dish when I had friends over and coincidental this is what Lisa Faulkner shared in her book this is a dish she would make when having friends over. The chicken, chorizo and prawns compliment each other and what this dish is a flavoursome, spicy one pot which is quite easy to make. I must also add that The Way I cook is a fantastic cookery book to which I look forward to sharing further blog posts and recipes from.
Here is how my jambayla turned out:

Jambayla tomato added

Jambayla chicken cooking

Recipe for jambayla
Serves 4 
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken breasts
400g chorizo, chopped
2 onions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 peppers (red, yellow or green) deseeded and sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped 
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
a pinch of white pepper
300g long-grain rice
1 x 400g chopped tomatoes
300ml chicken stock
300g prawns
about 12 mussels
1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped
spring onions, sliced

Place a heavy-based casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the sliced chicken breasts. When the chicken is starting to brown, add the chroizo and cook for 2-3 minutes until it browns a little too. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken and chorizo and set aside on a plate.
Return the pan to the heat and add the onions. Cook until softened and then add the garlic, peppers, celery, thyme and oregano and stir through to mix. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan, add the onion salt, garlic salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard powder and white pepper. Stir well.
Add the rice, tomatoes and stock and give it a good stir. Bring to the boil and let it simmer, covered for about 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Give it a good stir every now and then so that it doesn't stick to the base of the pan.
Add the prawns and cook for a few minutes, then add the mussels and cover and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley and the spring onions and serve.  

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Cowboy breakfast

It's Saturday, yay. I love the weekend, this is where I get the opportunity to dedicate more time to cooking and baking. I often cook from my favourite comprehensive book such as Leiths How to Cook and attempt to recreate some restaurant style dishes. But before I can get on with my day, I have to start my day with a hearty breakfast. I have shared many of my weekend breakfast on here and also my Facebook page and this dish is no exception. Lisa Faulkner's The Way I Cook features a fabulous weekend breakfast, entitled Cowboy breakfast. The idea is that it is a one-pan dish which would be suited for busy cowboys or cowgirls. I liked the idea that the oven does all the hard work for a twist on a classic English breakfast. The use of potato wedges cooked and flavoured with the juices from the sausages really done it for me.
Here is how my weekend breakfast turned out:
Cowboy breakfast

Serves 4
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large potato, cut into wedges
8 sausages
8 streaky bacon rashers
4 plum tomatoes
4 eggs salt

Preheat the oven to 190C, gas mark 5
Pour the oil into a large ovenproof dish or pan with a metal handle and heat for a few minutes over a medium heat.
Add the potato wedges, coat with the hot oil and a little salt, and then transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, turn the potatoes and then add the sausages and bacon. Return to the oven for 20 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and crack the eggs over the top of everything. Cook for a further 5-6 minutes or until the egg whites have set.
Serve with toast and a big pot of tea.

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