Sunday, 30 November 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
First of all I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately and have fallen behind in leaving comments. I am a stressed woman since the TV thing!
I can't say much about this television programme, but I want to say a big thank you to my Niece Sarah and her chef boyfriend Ant who has taught me how to make a red wine jus. It was like 'cook along live' via text messages and phone calls the other night but I did it thanks to Ant!
Also to Zen Chef over at Chefs Gone Wild for giving me help the other day with posh vegetables!
And to James over at The Cotswold Food Year for how to make some fancy potatoes. I won't give the name of the potato dish, as it's top secret info at the moment. I can't be having other contestants from the show knowing what I'm going to make!!
I am trying to come up with a dessert (I don't do desserts) for the TV thing. Now as I said, I can't say much about it apart from the filming starts this Thursday with a celebrity chef, who is giving me and the other three people in the team for Shropshire cooking lessons!
As you know my presentation of food is one of my biggest problems! I just can't be 'posh'. This was my attempt at posh yesterday. I wont be making this though, it was an experiment!
I've decided it must taste quite horrid. Paul the husband and taster, thought it was really nice (but he would do as he loves chocolate) he just thought I'd gone slightly overboard with the amount of booze I'd put in!
It wasn't too fancy in the fact that all it consists of is an oaty biscuit base with Grand Marnier flavoured ganache on top, dusted with cocoa powder!
I can think of quite a few desserts to make, but the problem I have is, I will have 1 hour and 45 minutes from start to finish. So for me, everything I think of would either be way to quick or would take too long - I am a bit stuck. I really wanted to make a tiny cheesecake, but again even the no bake ones need time to chill. I will keep trying!
Friday, 21 November 2008
Thursday, 20 November 2008
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
2 largish onions - finely chopped
1 red chili pepper medium heat - seeds in - finely chopped
2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
2 teaspoons of chilli powder
1 tablespoons of tomato puree
1 x 400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes - including the juice
**1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste
a few freshly chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cardamon pods
2.5cm (1 inch) cinnamon stick
6 black peppercorns
After you've ground the above you will also need:
1 green chilli (medium heat) - chopped leaving the seeds in
2.5cm (1 inch) of fresh root ginger - chopped
4 garlic cloves - peeled
3 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
How to do it:
Start by making the spice paste.
The only big bits left at this stage should be the cardamon pod shells/skins or whatever they're called.
So in the processor you will have the spice powder the green chili, ginger, garlic,and the lemon juice. Make this into a fine paste.
When all that's done put the mixture into a small bowl and add the chicken giving it a good stir to coat the chicken pieces well.
Cover with cling film and set aside in the refrigerator for a good 2 hours - better still overnight.
When you are ready to cook, heat the oil in a large frying pan and onions and the red chilli. Cook, stirring now and again until the onions are nice and golden but not burnt!
Now add the garlic and saute for another minute or so.
Add the turmeric, chili powder, tomato puree, tin of tomatoes and the white wine vinegar.
**Take care not to add anymore than 1 and a half to 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar or the dish will be horrid.
Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade and give it all a good stir.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the chicken has cooked through and the sauce has thickened - it will take about 40 minutes. Whatever, check on it now and again as you may need to add a little water if it's getting too thick.
Make sure the chicken is cooked through and serve wit h rice and top with the coriander leaves if you feel like you need to!
Sunday, 16 November 2008
- I dressed a few salad leaves in a little extra virgin olive oil, lemon and black pepper
- I made a few candied lemon slices just for show (from Gordon Ramsay's 3 star chef book **Please note anyone in the UK that WH Smiths were selling this book for just £12.50 a few weeks ago, although I'm not sure if they still are or not)
- The pancetta slices were just pan fried
- The scallops were pan fried in a little butter and Olive oil
- 30g finely chopped shallots
- 30ml white wine vinegar
- 30ml of water
- 45ml of dry white wine
- 15ml double (heavy) cream
- 120g unsalted butter - cut into cubes and kept cold in the fridge until needed
- Juice from half a lemon and the zest from a whole lemon
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
Friday, 14 November 2008
If you've never cooked Chinese before, then you should have a go at this as it really is very easy.
Just prepare everything before you start cooking and it'll be a doddle!
a small amount of vegetable oil - for frying
2 large boneless chicken breasts - cut into bite sized pieces
a good handful of cashew nuts
1 green bell pepper - cut into bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper - cut into bite sized pieces
6 thin slices of ginger - grated or chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic - chopped
1 large onion - cut into bite sized pieces
For the Marinade:
2 teaspoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) if you can't get it you could use dry pale sherry
2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
For the Sauce:
3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 and a half tablespoons of dark soy sauce
1/2 a tablespoon of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of water
a good pinch of white pepper
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine - as above)
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
How to do it:
Put the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl along with the chicken pieces. Leave for about 30 minutes.
Mix all the ingredients of the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
When you're ready to cook, remove the chicken and pat it dry using kitchen paper.
Heat up the oil in your wok and stir-fry the chicken until it is almost cooked. Remove and set aside.
Wipe out the wok add a bit more oil and heat it up again. Once heated stir-fry the bell peppers and onions
for a minute or so and then add the garlic and ginger.
Stir-fry for a couple of minutes and then put the chicken back into the wok. Cook, stirring all the while and put in the cashew nuts.
Cook for a about 30 seconds.
Give the sauce another mix as the sugar would have gone to the bottom,
before adding it to the wok.
Stir continuously until the chicken is cooked through and is well coated with
Add a tiny amount of salt to taste, if you think it needs it, then serve immediately.
I served mine with egg fried rice.
Monday, 10 November 2008
I actually don't. But as I've said before I do need to get into being able to make desserts, which Paul thinks is a great idea.
Also, Marks and Spencer sell their version of this dessert and it sells really well - especially when they advertise it on the TV.
I personally could only eat a spoonful of this, but saying that I can see that if you like chocolate - go no further and just make this dessert because you'll love it!
Just double the amount of everything to easily serve 6
- 2 Pain au Chocolat
- Butter for greasing
- 150ml milk
- 150ml double cream (heavy cream)
- 1/2 a vanilla pod - split length ways
- 2 eggs - yolks only. Free range of course
- 65g golden caster sugar
- 50g plain chocolate 70% cocoa solids - grated
- a little icing sugar for dusting
How to do it:
- Cut the pain au chocolat into thick slices and place into a suitably sized greased dish to hold the slices nicely - leave no big gaps
- Put the milk, cream and vanilla pod into a saucepan and over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, until almost boiling
- Then remove from heat
Preheat your oven to 180c/Fan160c/Gas 4
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until creamy
- Strain the milk into the egg mixture, making sure you give it a good whisk
- Now whisk in 3 quarters of the grated chocolate
- Pour the mixture over the pain au chocolat and leave for about 10 minutes for the mixture to soak into the pain au chocolat
- After 10 minutes you can now sprinkle over the remaining chocolate
- Put the baking dish in a large tin and pour boiling water in the tin to come halfway up the sides of the dish with the pain au chocolat in.
- Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes until the custard is softly set
- Lift the dish out of the tin with the water in and set aside until just warm
- When you are ready to serve, sprinkle with a little icing sugar
- Serve with with cream
When it comes out of the oven you will need to let it cool until just warm before serving.
Friday, 7 November 2008
Thursday, 6 November 2008
- Nice big potatoes - however many you fancy
- Grated Extra Matured Cheddar cheese - amount depending on how many potatoes you are cooking
- Fried bacon - I used sliced, smoked back bacon cut into pieces
- Salt and butter to your taste
Wash the potatoes and then dry them. Now rub the skins with a little olive oil and rub on a little crushed sea salt.
Prick the skin of the potatoes here and there with a sharp knife a few times all over.
Bake directly on the bars of a preheated oven for at about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
**The actual time will of course, will depend on the size of your potatoes and the variety.
The potatoes are done when you can very easily insert a knife into them. The skin should be nice and crisp. There is nothing worse than a baked potato that's not cooked through so make sure it is.
Now, cut each one in half and scoop out the potato from the skin using a spoon, and put into a bowl. Add a nice lot of of butter and some salt - to your taste and give it a good mash with a fork.
You don't have to add salt but it just won't taste the same. Once you are happy with the seasoning and amount of butter, mix in some grated Extra Matured Cheddar.
Add the cooked bacon and mix. Put the mixture back into the skins and top with more grated cheese. Place the filled skins on a baking tray and return to the oven until they are piping hot and the cheese has melted.
Be sure to serve straight away.
Sunday, 2 November 2008
I saw a recipe for chocolate mouse with chili in Gino D'Acampo's book Fantastico and had to make it.
You may be thinking I've gone mad, suddenly doing all these desserts when I don't even like desserts too much!
If you are into chocolate you will LOVE these! Paul thinks they are lovely.
What you need:
Melt all the chocolate together in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring that the base of the bowl does not touch the water.
Saturday, 1 November 2008
I made some sausage rolls yesterday, but fancied putting wholegrain mustard in them. They turned out rather nice I must say.
What you need:
1 x 500g pack of ready made puff pastry
450g of good quality sausages - skin removed
Approx. 4 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 egg - beaten, to glaze
How to do it:
Preheat oven to 220C/200ºC for fan assisted /425F or Gas Mark 7
Cut the pastry in half so it's an easier size to manage. Roll out one half to make an oblong about 0.5mm thick and cut that in half.
Repeat with the other half of the pastry so you now have 4 oblong pieces of pastry. Spread the centre of each pastry piece with some mustard, leaving a border on each long side.
With a sharp knife tidy the edges, cut the roll into equal sized sausage rolls. They can be however long or short if you want cocktail size rolls.
Brush the tops with beaten egg. Make 2-3 slashes in the top of each sausage roll.
Now place the sausage rolls on a baking sheet and bake for approx. 15 minutes until pastry is risen and golden brown, serve either hot or cold.