Greek Mezé and Entertaining Made Easy with Gaea

Beautiful Greek products from Gaea make it easy to create lovely Greek mezé - we're talking effortless entertaining and perfect summer eating.  We love this kind of food, you can take your time eating, drinking and talking about your day together or of course with friends and family.



Having received some goodies from Gaea; Greek Olive Oil, Garlic Stuffed Olives, Flame Roasted Red Peppers, Sweet Pepper and Goats Cheese Tapenade and Green Olive Tapenade. I was instantly transported to Greece - Oh we love that place, but sadly we haven't been there for a few years now the last time we went it was to the Greek island of Thassos. 

Anyway, it was off to the kitchen to make some Chicken Skewers which were nothing fancy - peppers, onions and chicken which had marinated in the Greek Olive Oil with a good pinch of dried Oregano and just before cooking I added sea salt and lemon.  
I also pan-fried some leftover cooked potatoes in a mixture of lemon and oregano too.

Lovely fat olives stuffed with garlic along with some cubed feta.  The Gaea flame roasted peppers are another easy one as you just use straight from the jar.  We loved the sweet pepper and goats cheese tapenade which was delicious spread onto some Mediterranean bread.  
Top left of the picture you can see the popular Greek dip Htipiti which is so, so good, you can find out how to make it in a previous post of mine here.

Disclaimer:  Many thanks to Gaea for the lovely products.  I wasn't required to write a post but chose to do so since I really like these products. 

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Tuscan inspired Chicken Dish - Easy to Make Recipe

Just recently Filippo Berio launched their premium Gran Cru range of Extra Virgin Olive Oils and having been sent them to try, I couldn't wait to use them.  For this dish I used Gran Cru Toscano - a chicken dish which just seemed to happen, purely because I happened to have some lovely peppers and tomatoes in the fridge but also because I was feeling inspired by the wonderful oils I'd been sent. 

  

Nothing but good fresh ingredients, it's easy to make and ended up as something quite wonderful. 
Tuscany is somewhere I've always really fancied visiting - in fact Italy in general really interests me and the food always looks so, so good.  Of course I'm not claiming this to be authentic Tuscan food, just Tuscan flavours and something I made up as I went along.

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OXO Good Grips Clean Cut Pizza Wheel - Review

New from OXO Good Grips is this rather ingenious pizza wheel. The Clean Cut Pizza Wheel is comfortable to hold and easy to use and the large (approx 4 inch) stainless steel wheel cuts though pizza thin or thick crust effortlessly.  As the Good Grips name suggests it really does give non-slip grip.


The blade guard makes it safe to store since it doesn't fall off easily which is a good thing but it pulls off quite easily when you're ready to the pizza wheel.  I love the slim-line design which makes it suitable to store in a kitchen drawer.  So it was out with my old and rather bulky pizza wheel and into my kitchen drawer with this one!
 

Cleaning:
It opens a bit like a CD case allowing the blade to be completely removed for easy cleaning and is dishwasher safe too.


Yep, I say this is yet another excellent product from OXO Good Grips and with a RRP at £10 - I say it's well worth investing in one.

Many thanks to Zara and OXO Good Grips for sending me this product to review.

Disclaimer:  All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.  I only post reviews on products I truly like and therefore would but myself. 
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Hot Steak Ciabatta Sandwich with Mustard Mayo

Cooked correctly a good steak is something truly special.  Easy, simple no fuss cooking is all that's needed.  Oh yes this is thing of deliciousness.  But of course a good piece of steak and mine came from Market Porter who have recently hanged their name to Heartier.   


Apologies to any vegetarians out there.  Personally I'm a fan of rump steak over sirloin - why?  Because it seems to have more flavour than sirloin.  A decent amount of fat around the edge is vital for cooking in a grill pan since it adds flavour and keeps the steak moist and tender.  Rump steak also happens to be cheaper than sirloin too!

Medium rare is the way to go, although being awkward I like my steak to be more rare than medium, if that makes sense - I know what I mean anyway!

You may have seen my recent post about the lovely meat box I received from Market Porter (now Heartier) - if you didn't, you can see it here.

Along with the rest of the meat included in my box the rump steak didn't disappoint, it was just perfect and cooked really well, it was tasty and juicy just as you'd expect. 

Now, as a food blogger you might be expecting a recipe for mustard mayo and if so you're in the wrong place - this is simple, easy and quick.  No messing about with whisks here.  Maille are makers of good fine foods including mayonnaise with a hint of mustard and I am addicted to it!
So, now you can see my steak sandwich really is easy and nothing revolutionary either, since there will be thousands of similar recipes if you search for them.

How to Cook Perfect Steak:

Take your steak out of the fridge and remove any packaging.  Rub all over with a little olive oil and season with black and a tiny amount of sea salt.  Leave lightly covered with cling film for about 20 minutes to allow the steak to come to room temperature before cooking.
By the way, I'm assuming your steak to 2cms thick for this to work.  Heat up a grill pan - you can use a normal frying pan if you don't have a grill pan.  Bring the pan to a really high heat.  Remember you only oil the steak and not the pan or you'll have a kitchen full of smoke which is never a good thing.
Pop the steak on to cook - it's best to never cook more than two in the same pan at once since the temperature will drop causing the steak so stew rather than fry.
Be sure to get good grill markings on your steak which by the way should happen pretty quickly if your pan is hot enough.

For medium rare steak cook for for about 2 minutes before turning to cook the other side for a further 2 minutes.  It's very near impossible to give exact times since everything depends of the thickness of your steak and and how hot your pan is.
For medium steak cook as above for 2 and a half minutes each side.
Remove from the pan an place onto a warm plate and cover with kitchen foil - leave for about 3 minutes before serving.

  Slice the steak and pop into warm ciabatta rolls which have been generously spread with Maille mustard mayo.  For a meal fit for greedy folk like ourselves serve with mushrooms, tomato and a side of chips.  Oh and a glass of red for me please.
Afterwards you wont need to eat for a week - Enjoy!


 For more information on Heartier and their excellent meat delivery service pop over to their website.
    
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Giveaway - Set of ZING Silicone Kitchen Tools

How do you fancy winning a this lovely set of kitchen tools?  Well one lucky reader will do just that in this easy to enter giveaway.  ZING silicone kitchen tools from Premier Housewares are already available in seven ZING colours but now they've added new Sunshine Yellow making a total of eight fabulous colours to choose from. Spatulas, spoons, whisks, colanders and sieves all feature as well as trivets, spoon rests, kitchen scales and rolling pins!


Made from silicone, the range is durable and heat resistant to 240 ᵒc so it not only looks good and performs better for longer.
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Banana Caramel and Chocolate Dessert Pizza

The Italian Restaurant Zizzi recently set me a challenge to create a dessert pizza or any savoury dish that could be turned sweet.  I first came up with a possible of a Cinnamon and Caramelised Apple Lasagne but sadly although it tasted okay it wasn't somehow quite right and certainly didn't work photography wise.
I'm not one to give up easily and although I had to let it go this time, I'll work on it!


If you'd like have a go at making my easy to make Banana, Caramel and Chocolate Pizza you can find the recipe here.

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Caramelita Ice Cream Sundae with Caramel and Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Along with a few other food bloggers, Mövenpick recently set me a challenge which was to create an Ice Cream Sundae using Mövenpick ice cream and I could add any additional non-ice cream ingredients I fancied.  But I had another challenge of my own, which was to try to take photographs before it melted!


That said, this Sundae made with Mövenpick Caramelita ice cream makes for perfect eating with the lovely hot weather we're currently enjoying here in the UK.
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Meat Box Delivery from Heartier - Review

There's nothing quite like a good sized English Breakfast to keep you full pretty much all day long.
Of course good quality ingredients are essential.  Proper bacon (smoked back bacon is the only way to go in my opinion) and nicely seasoned meaty sausages  - both have to be just right.


Okay that's the meat sorted so now for the mushrooms, I love these baby portobello mushrooms.  A nice big tomato is essential, baked beans are good too and any leftover cooked potatoes are perfect - just fry them till they start to brown along with the rest of the breakfast.  Another essential is a lovely golden yolked fried egg or two.  Pop some fresh crusty buttered bread on the side of the plate and you're done.



Having recently been sent a rather nice box of meat from Market Porter (since writing they are now known as Heartier), a full English breakfast just had to happen.
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Cherry and Chocolate Meringue Dessert

How can anyone resist a bowl of lovely cherries?  This simple dessert can be made in a flash - Meringue nests and whipped cream topped with fresh cherries and drizzled with melted chocolate.  


Did you know that tomorrow July 16th is National Cherry Day?  Cherries are so nice to eat but the pesty stone inside does make them a bit messy.  However, the new Cherry/Olive Pitter from OXO Good-Grips makes it a doddle to remove cherry stones without mess, making them so much nicer to eat and ready form some sort of dessert or make a sauce.

Here are a couple of pictures I've taken showing the Cherry Pitter in action:


Remove the stem from a cherry and pop it into the holder - stem side up.  Press down to remove the stone.  
 

The OXO Good-Grips Cherry Pitter also works on large cherries too.  Once you've finished just remove the splatter shield by twisting to clean.  Dishwasher safe but it really isn't necessary, hot sudsy water will do the trick. 

Why Cherries are Good for You - text from The Guardian Online.
Anthocyanins in cherries appear to have a marked anti-inflammatory action. Specifically, these compounds seem to be highly effective in treating gout, a condition that causes painful swelling in joints. Last year, a Boston Medical Center study reported that eating cherries reduces gout attacks by 35%. Cherries are also one of the few food sources of the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep patterns. A study published in 2011 in the European Journal of Nutrition, reported that eating tart montmorency (or morello) cherries significantly raised levels of melatonin and improved sleep. Compared to most other fruits, cherries are low in sugar, which makes them an ideal choice for people who want to lose weight.

 To find out more about the Cherry/Olive Pitter and their other great products pop over to the

Celebrate National Cherry day and have a go at this dessert!
 

Many thanks to Zara and OXO Good-Grips for sending me this product to review.

Disclaimer: All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Fro-Fru Frozen Fruit Dessert Maker - Review

Frozen Fruit (Fro-Fru) This refreshing pineapple sorbet was made in less than a minute (after freezing the fruit beforehand) thanks to this great little gadget 'Fro-Fru' from Judge Cookware.  
Of course you can use whatever fruit takes your fancy, bananas, strawberries, blackberries, peaches, raspberries - the list is endless.  Dairy products - milk, cream and yogurt can be used to conjure up a delicious dessert in no time at all.  Kids and adults alike will love this little machine! 


 Here's a few proper pictures of the Fro-Fru from Judge Cookware:
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Butternut Squash Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Looking at the ingredients list at first glance may seem like this is a bit too much faffing about for your liking, but I think you'll find the end result is so worth it.

Panch Phoran is a bland of a few simple spices and doesn't require grinding - the spices are kept whole so it can be made very easily in just one minute.  Fantastic to keep in the store cupboard and will make a huge difference to any Indian style curry you make. You can see in a previous post of mine just how easy it is to make Panch Phoran - also known as Indian Five-spice.

Vegetable Curry

The butternut adds lovely vibrant colour and a slightly sweet taste to this richly spiced curry.  Be assured that the word 'spiced' does not actually mean this is extra hot (as in spicy) this is just a lovely warming delicious and very tasty curry.  That said if you do want it hotter just add more chilli.
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A GLUG OF OIL