Sunday, 20 December 2009

Goats Cheese with Red Onion and Chilli Marmalade

Oooh yummy yum yum - I love goats cheese! I made a red onion and chilli marmalade to serve with it which turned out to be really good.

This makes a really nice starter and would be great at Christmas. It's also very easy to make too.

To serve 2 you will need:
1 glug of olive oil
2 red onions - sliced thinly
half of a medium heat red chilli - chopped finely and seeds removed
1 star anise
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
100ml of red wine

2 rounds of goats cheese

Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan and add the onion and the chilli.
Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes over a low heat. You don't want the onions to brown very much.

Now add the star anise, sugar and red wine vinegar. Cook for a bit and then add the red wine.
Cook over a low heat for a good while (30 minutes plus) until you're happy with the consistency and it is all nice and glossy. Remove the star anise before serving.

I served mine with the goats cheese while it was still warm.

Pop two rounds of goats cheese under the grill for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them and remove just before they start to melt.
I sprinkle a little brown sugar on top of each cheese and finish with a cooks blowtorch.

Just gives me an excuse to get that gadget out - I love it!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Save Money on Kitchen Gadgets and More!

I've been raving on about wanting a Cameron Stovetop Smoker for a while now - hint hint to Mr Bennett (the husband).
However, I was very kindly sent one this week by Nick at

It's a fantastic kitchen gadget I must say and I can not wait to use it.

If you want to save money on kitchen gadgets, or almost anything
else for that matter, visit and get your
Amazon Promotional Voucher now!

Of course it's not just Amazon they have vouchers for.
You'll be pleased to know you can get 10% off at
Hotel Chocolat which could be of use for that last minute Christmas present!

As I said I can't wait to get smoking! Recipes to follow as soon as I can escape work (it's like a mad house in there at the moment)!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Scallops Baked in Their Shells - Fantastic Starter Dish

This is a Martin Blunos recipe for scallops baked in their shells - a fantastic starter course to a meal.
A couple of post back you will see that I cooked them at the Miele Cookery Experience at the BBC Good Food Show.

For each person you need:
3 nice and fat diver caught scallops, removed from their shells keeping both side of the shell

250g of ready made puff pastry

1 small carrot

1 small leek

1/2 a stick of celery

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon black onion seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
olive oil

a good glug of Noilly Prat or dry white wine

100ml fish stock

1 egg yolk

50g butter

To serve you will need:
lemon wedges
rock salt
- enough to cover a plate

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas 4
Cut about 4cm from the end of the peeled carrot and slice it very finely into matchsticks. Do the same with 4cm pieces of leek and celery, and keep each pile separate.
Now heat about a tablespoon of butter and a little olive oil in the bottom of three separate small saucepans.

Now add a half teaspoon of the seeds to each pan making sure you put a different one in each pan - don't mix the seeds together!

Cook for a minute or two until fragrant, then add the carrot to the pan with coriander.
Add the leek to the pan with black onion seeds and the celery to the pan with the cumin.
Add a splash of Noilly prat (or white wine) and a little stock to each pan
and cook gently until the vegetables are softened.
Take the orange roe from the edge of each scallop, removing and discarding the membrane that attaches it to the
flesh at the same time.
Put the roe into a blender with the egg yolk and whiz briefly till you have a smooth intensely coloured egg mixture.

Flour a board and roll out the pastry into an oblong roughly 30cm by 12cm then cut into three matching long strips, you need each strip to be long enough to wrap around each scallop shell.
When the vegetables are softened add about a teaspoon of
diced butter to each pan, then shake the pans about a bit to emulsify the liquids to make a sauce.
Make three 'doughnuts' with kitchen foil on a baking tray so you can rest the finished scallops - you need them to sit straight in the oven.
Place three half shells on a tea towel so they sit flat.
Spoon the leeks into one, carrots into another and celery into the third.
Slice the scallops - each one into three pieces and put the scallop slices on top of each of the vegetables.
Spoon over the corresponding butter sauce.

With a pastry brush make a generous ring of the egg roe wash around the outside edge of one of the empty scallop shells.

Now it gets a bit tricky!
Make a ring of the egg mixture around the outside of the shell that is holding the leeks and scallops.

Take one of the strips of pastry and put th
e two shells together, seal all the way round the shell.
Put the finished shell onto one of the foil rings on the tray. Repeat this with the other two scallops.

Carefully put the tray into the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes, till the pastry is puffed and golden.

Serve on a bed of rock salt with lemon wedges and the idea is you pull of the pastry and dip it into the buttery vegetable mixture in each opened scallop.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Galler Luxury Belgian Chocolates

Marion from Galler chocolates very kindly sent me another box of their chocolates to try. This time she sent a lovely tube of gold wrapped Belgian chocolates with tiny bits of Praline inside.

"Each new Galler chocolate gift sensation represents Jean Galler’s ideologies about chocolate"

Stuck for a last minute Christmas Present?
Then why not pop over now to see the full range that
Galler has to offer.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Cottage Pie with Guinness and Other Good Things

Who can't love a nice cottage pie?
I came across this recipe by Gordon Ramsay that has Guinness in it. I made it exactly (which is strange for me to follow a recipe exactly) and it was totally delicious.

I did put come cooked peas and carrots in the bottom of mine.
If you've never used a potato ricer you must immediately go out and get one - they are amazing! I brought mine for just £5 from Marks and Spencer.

Print Recipe

To serve 6 you will need:
a large pie dish
2 tbsp olive oil

900g good quality (low fat) minced beef

sea salt and black pepper
3 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

a few thyme sprigs, leaves only

2 nice fat plum tomatoes, ch
2 tablespoons of tomato purée

330ml bottle of Guinness

5 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

300ml chicken stock (I used fresh h
ome made chicken stock) but you can use a Knorr chicken stock cube
1 kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or King Edward, peeled and roughly cubed

50g butter
a handful of grated cheddar, plus extra for the top of the pie
1 large egg yolk

plus a good handful of cooked peas and carrots if you fancy

How to do it:
Put a large frying pan over a
high heat and add a thin layer of olive oil. Season the mince with salt and pepper and fry, stirring, in two or three batches, until nicely browned.
Drain off any fat, although you shouldn't really have worth worrying about if you used good quality mince.
Put the cooked mince into a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan you just used, put it over a medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. When it's nice and hot, fry the onions,
with the garlic for a few minutes until until soft and golden.
Now add the thyme and cook for another minute or so.

Add the browned mince, tomatoes and tomato puree. Stir constantly for 4-5 minut
Add the Guinness and Worcestershire sauce and boil until the liquid has
reduced by half. Pour in the stock and return to the boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer for 20-25 minutes, by which time the mixture should be lovely and thick and glossy.

Continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes if it doesn’t seem quite thick enough. Once done remove it from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas 4

Meanwhile, add the potatoes to a pan of salted water, bring to the boil and cook until tender.
Drain and return to the hot pan for 15 seconds or so, to dry out, then take off the heat.
Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer back into the pan or mash smoothly.
Mix through the butter, cheese and egg yolk.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Put the cooked peas and carrots into the bottom of the dish if you are using them and then spoon the mince mixture on top.

Spoon the m
ashed potato on top and rough up the surface with a fork. Grate over some extra cheese and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

Friday, 4 December 2009

BBC Good Food Show with Miele

Well what a fantastic time we all had at the BBC Good Food Show on Saturday.
I was very kindly invited to go along again, courtesy of Miele (who are big sponsors of the show) by Lauren and Cherry from Miele's PR company 'Forever Better'.

From left to right the other foodie people that were there:
Bronwin from Practically Daily, Cara from Gourmet Chick and Kits and her friend from The Cooking Forum. I'm on the far right.

We also got to join in the Miele Cookery Experience on stage cooking with Martin Blunos. It was fantastic, Martin cooked a baked scallop dish and we all followed him. I will post the recipe separately. The scallops were cooked in a rather fancy Miele oven - we all wanted one!

This is me and Kits cooking away.

A rather funny photo of me and Martin Blunos - I was asking him if I had the right amount of butter on the end of my knife!

The end result - my scallops baked in their shells.

Each scallop shell had a different filling.

We then got shown Miele's amazing range of ovens. I am in need of the steam oven and their top of the range all singing all dancing oven too shown below!

This is their 'basic' oven but even that is amazing!

After lunch we then went into the Super Theater to see Gordon Ramsay. He was really good to see.

The food show its self was just great! Everything from cheese to olives to coffee and sausages. From haggis and buffalo burgers to every kind of vegetable and more kitchen gadgets than you could shake a stick at!

The show was sooooo busy! It was quite a thing to get around properly to see everything.

The Hairy Bikers were there again too!

Yep buffalo burgers!

Tagines too!

It was too busy to get to take any proper photos. But once again I'd like to thank Lauren and Cherry and Miele for such a brilliant day!