Tabbouleh without Mint

Bulgur wheat is a good source of fibre which can help maintain a healthy digestive system.  A great alternative to rice and is used to make tabbouleh which is a lovely side dish for many things especially salmon.  
The even better news is it is so very easy to make too.... 
   Mint is usually a key ingredient in tabbouleh but I can't say I'm a fan unless it's chocolate chip and mint ice cream of course!  So since I don't like it I didn't put any in my tabbouleh but of course you can add as much or as little as you fancy - just use the leaves only, chop and stir in.
  

Chicken and Aubergine Curry in a Hurry

We've all seen these ready made jars of curry cooking sauces in supermarkets which are amazing to have in the store cupboard and taste good.  Asda in particular do one that is in my opinion excellent.  Just think of it as it having done all the hard work for you and there's just a tiny bit more to do to make it extra, extra special. 
So, have you ever fancied a curry that tastes as good as any from a takeaway, but really don't have time to mess about with toasting and grinding spices and buying the necessary bits and bobs involved?  
Or maybe, you've never made a curry from scratch because you neither have the time or couldn't be bothered anyway with what seems like too much messing about?
If any of the above applies then this is the recipe for you!
 Now of course you don't have to add the aubergine or indeed you can use it and add more veg to create a totally vegetarian curry. 

Search for a Connoisseur of Beer and Food

The nation’s biggest food and beer pairing competition ever!
To launch the new Connoisseur’s Choice range of premium beers, Sharp's Brewery have teamed up with three of the UK’s most inspiring chefs to search for a true connoisseur of beer and food.
  The Connoisseurs Choice 2011 range offers drinkers three unique beers: 
   Single Brew 4.5% AVB
Mid golden in colour with a fresh, herbal citrus aroma and a clean, refreshing finish, the beer is excellent when paired with light white fish dishes or as an aperitif.

Honey Spice Triple 10% AVB
A specialist Trappist yeast is used, giving the beer a wonderful tartness and a long dry finish. This beer could be matched with desserts featuring banana or toffee or a creamy goats cheese dish.

Quadrupel Ale 10% AVB
This dark ruby beer is full and warming with a wonderful fruit aroma and intense bittersweet flavour. Quadrupel Ale could work really well with dark chocolate, fruit flavours or strong cheese and is an excellent alternative to a dessert wine.

The Prize:
Our three chefs will each choose their favourite dish and beer pairing. The three finalists will receive a day of mentoring with the chef that chooses their dish; a unique opportunity to hone your skills with one of the UK’s finest!
The three finalists will then compete in a ‘cook-off’ to be held at The Seafood School in Padstow, Cornwall, after which one winner will be crowned ‘Sharp’s Connoisseur for 2012’!
As our ‘Sharp’s Connoisseur’, you’ll be provided with exclusive first tastes of any new beers released during your winning period, a meal for two at your chef-mentor’s restaurant, a private tour of the brewery and beer tasting plus a night’s accommodation for two in Cornwall.

The Competition:
With the help of Nathan Outlaw, Jack Stein and Alyn Williams, we’re on the search to find the UK’s ultimate beer and food connoisseur.
Watch the videos starring our celebrity chefs to discover how they’ve paired quality food with each of the three beers, and then enter the competition to create a dish yourself.
Choose your beer, try the range (or read the tasting notes), then create a dish that you believe will go perfectly with your chosen ale. Name your dish, list your ingredients and describe your method, then tell us about your dish. For bonus points, take a picture of your dish or submit a video of you preparing it (the more entertaining the better!)
 The competition is now open over at FaceBook until 15th September 2012



Southern Indian Vegetable Curry

On the back of a pack of curry leaves purchased from one of the UK's top supermarkets was this recipe 'Southern Indian Vegetable Curry with Curry Leaves'.  Quite liking the sound of it I gave it a go.

 However, it pays to know a tiny bit about cooking when following some of these 'back of packet' recipes as I find most are not very well written and they hardly ever work.
  This was no exception, just reading the recipe I decided that there was no way that raw cubed potatoes added to a curry would cook in under 15 minutes.  In reality they took a good hour or so!
No problem at least I was ready for this.
The original recipe didn't have anywhere near enough liquid or spices so I titivated it and the end result was actually very nice.
Since cooking this I've discovered Jamie Oliver has the same recipe in one of his books 'Jamie's Dinners' but at least he doesn't say how long it will take for the potatoes to cook - he just says cook until the potatoes are soft.

Marinated Peppers - Healthy and Delicious

 Did you know a large red pepper contains three times more vitamin C than an orange?  In fact peppers in general contain three times more Vitamin C than oranges and other citrus fruit.  A red pepper contains twice the Vitamin C of a green one, and ten times the Vitamin A.  How marvelous!
Now, there's nothing quite as nice as a roasted or grilled blackened pepper - not only does it make them easy to peel but it brings out their natural sweetness and they taste amazing.
If you've never tried this get roasting or grilling and have a go at making marinated peppers.  Great with some lovely warm fresh crusty bread.

Philly Chilli Pasta Bake - Super Quick Recipe

Philadelphia have just launched some super speedy recipes that even Paul (the husband) could make!  I was asked to give one of them a go to see if they really are that easy and quick.
Okay my picture isn't the best but at least you can see I really did make it.

Baked Chicken with Cheese Bacon and Pineapple

Easy tray baked chicken topped melted cheese, pineapple and crispy smokey bacon.  Sort of pub grub food - what's not to like?   
 I use those disposable foil baking trays (which can actually be washed and re-used) to make life easier.  You can also prepare this a few hours or so in advance - just cover with cling film, pop in the fridge ready to bake later on.

Forman and Field Tasting Hamper - Review

I was recently sent a lovely 'Tasting Hamper' to review from Forman and Field.
The hamper arrived around early in the morning, was perfectly packed and full of loads of yummy food.....
 What was inside?!

Gran Stead's Ginger Wine - Review

Non-alcoholic ginger wine, great for BBQ's and party's!  Prepared by the Knox family at Mile Oak farm in Sussex, England.



Both bottles contain no artificial preservatives.

Perfect Mushroom Tarragon Cream Sauce

How to Make a Perfect Cream Sauce.  
A really nice, tasty sauce that's seriously easy to make.  Great with chicken, steak, or of course whatever else takes your fancy!  I served it with pan fried chicken mini fillets.
Oh and yes, as you can see I overcooked the  broccoli - oops never mind!

Polenta Crusted Flatbread - Easy to Make Recipe

Okay my flatbread wasn't exactly what you'd call flat!  But it was rather moreish and so easy to make.  Polenta is ground cornmeal and available in any good supermarket usually somewhere near to the pasta shelf. 
 It also was the nearest taste I've ever got trying to make the 'Hearty Italian' bread they serve in SubWay the high street sandwich shop.

Reaping the Rewards of Buying Local Food

It might be easier to get in the car and pop to the supermarket, but supporting local independent food and drink businesses can make the world of difference according to LocalFoodSurrey.com 
  Get Fresh!
Local food tends to be fresher, especially if you buy it from a farm shop or local store where the producer has delivered directly, as opposed to the food traveling many miles to a central distribution depot, which is usually the case with supermarkets.  Caroline Davies, a Reigate farmer who hand makes ice-cream at her St Joan’s Farm Dairy, in Leigh, Surrey, uses only milk and cream from her own cows. “We could easily buy it in, but instead we milk in the morning and turn it into ice-cream by the afternoon,” says Caroline. “Not many ice-cream producers can say that and we feel it makes for a much better product.”
Getting back in touch with British food seasons can not only save food miles but money too; out of season fruit and vegetables can cost you more. Shopping for food in season gives you a better idea of your own regional identity and can be a great way to meet local farmers and growers.  It’s also worth seeking out farms that offer “pick your own”.  Sadly, these are in decline, due to the unpredictability of the business, but there are still quite a few going strong. Don’t expect your “pick your own” harvest to be cheap as chips though – you may even end up paying a premium, but you are guaranteed the freshest pickings and an hour or so of good country air.


Support your Local Economy – and the Environment!
It’s said that for every £10 spent in an independent shop, £25 is generated for the local economy, so it pays to shop locally. According to the National Farmers' Retail & Markets Association (FARMA), buying locally produced foods from a farm shop or market, for example, can help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions associated with distribution by up to 99.8 per cent. And your food is less likely to be swathed in plastic and other unnecessary packaging.


You can also Save Money. 
Independent research conducted by Deliciously Yorkshire, the regional food group for Yorkshire and Humber, found that vegetables such as baking potatoes and tomatoes cost about a third less, and leeks were on average 14 per cent cheaper at farm shops compared with supermarkets.  You may also be saving on fuel!
It’s much easier to play a part in local life, find out about events and news and make friends with people in your neighbourhood if you shop in your own town or village.  So, grab your basket and help us fly that flag for local!
 
Sponsored article by www.LocalFoodSurrey.com – follow them on Twitter @localfoodfinder

Giveaway - Chicken Chasseur Seasonal Box from Knorr

Giveaway - The ingredients to make Marco Pierre White's Chicken Chasseur!
 You may remember a couple of weeks ago I went Marco Pierre White's Masterclass with Knorr?  Well this week I received another lovely seasonal box from Knorr and Forman and Field.  This one contained all the ingredients to make Marco's Chicken Chasseur.
  Marco's Recipe:
I followed the recipe exactly apart from adding a handful of sliced, cooked streaky bacon for the simple reason I had some in the fridge doing nothing.  His recipe is very easy to follow and the meal was really tasty and delicious with a nice amount of sauce. I love the way Marco uses tomato juice to dilute the Knorr stock pot.

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