Showing posts with label Dinner Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dinner Party. Show all posts

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Chicken with Bacon Saffron Tomato and Potato - One Pot Meal

 Readers of this blog would have seen my recent review of the beautiful cook book 'Café Kitchen' by Shelagh Ryan.  As soon as I opened the book I knew I had to make this dish.  This is a lovely recipe full of flavour and easy since it's all cooked in one pot.  Suitable for everyday eating but I say would go down a treat at a dinner party too.


As I've already said Café Kitchen is a truly lovely cook book.  I did slightly titivated the original recipe as the book doesn't mention whether or not the potatoes should be precooked or not.  I decided they wouldn't be cooked through simply by adding them in the last 20 minutes of cooking as the book suggests and so I par boiled mine first. I also used one tin less of tomatoes and less chicken stock and wine.  I still had plenty of liquid so I've decided that's the way to go but of course it's just down to personal preference.  The recipe says it serves 8-12 people using eight to twelve chicken thighs - we are greedy so I used 9 to serve two people.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Mexican-style Spicy Pulled Brisket Fajitas

Brisket of beef is a cheaper cut of meat that requires slow cooking and when I say slow cooked I really mean it!  Yes 12 hours in a slow cooker is what's needed to get perfect melt in your mouth beef.  I'd never cooked brisket before and fancied it would be rather nice cooked in a spicy tomato based sauce.  The result we perfect and well worth the wait. 

  
Once done, simply pile onto soft warm tortillas and top with a corn and black bean salsa.
If you cook a bigger piece of brisket than I did, once cooled it can easily be popped into the freezer making this meal perfect for an informal dinner party with friends or family.

Monday, 18 August 2014

More Raclette Dinner Party Recipe Ideas

When I first bought my Raclette grill I had no idea we'd use it so much.  It's such fun making up your own mad food concoctions!  I wrote a post on Raclette Dinner Party Ideas a while back and as it's been so popular, I thought I'd share my latest and rather yummy ideas.  One being Nachos with Salsa, Cheese and Jalapeño Peppers - just crumble up your nachos, top with salsa and a little grated cheese then top with jalapeño peppers.  Once they've melted under the raclette you can top with sour cream. 

Please note - all pictures were taken before being cooked.

You don't have to do this but I like to prepare a few dishes beforehand for less faff at the table since we have little room - our table seats four but the food takes up all the room!
 
From left to right and ready to cook in the grill pans we have: 
Egg, Feta and Roasted Peppers (from a jar) sprinkled with a few Chilli Flakes.
Egg, Grated Cheese, Sweetcorn and a generous sprinkling of Smoked Paprika.
The 3rd pan along is a repeat of the first.
Then then Nachos, Salsa, Cheese and Jalapeño Peppers from a jar.
The next pan is a repeat of the 2nd pan.


Sliced bread drizzled with olive oil ready for toasting on the top of the raclette.
The chicken strips were marinated in a little oil along with a good dose of Chipotle Chilli Paste.

At the table serve a selection of whatever else you fancy.  Just remember meat and chicken most certainly have to be cooked on top of the grill (or with will not cook through) along with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, cooked potatoes, bread etc.  Things like cheese, eggs, cooked peppers are good to go into the grill pans - basically anything you want to heat up of melt.


 If you haven't got one of these marvelous inventions then you must get one immediately - great fun!
Your Raclette will come with little wooden spatula type thing you use to turn your food with - the dishwasher is the best place for these after use to get them beautifully clean.  Just remember to dry thoroughly before storing.  A pair of skinny tongs are good for adding any meat items to the grill.
Personally I think this raclette grill by Swan is great - the stone top is removable and really easy to clean once it's cooled down of course.  Some of these grills have a non stick top but to be honest nothing really sticks to this one and it has lasted ages and still looks like new.  I might be wrong but I suspect the coating wouldn't last long on some then they won't look as good a few uses down the line.

 The one thing I will point out is that once you have all your food on the table there isn't any room for anyone else - more reason to have a Raclette Party for Two! 
Enjoy.
   

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Pan-fried Skrei with Lemon Butter and Parsley Sauce

Skrei is a very special type of line caught cod and is a much loved Norwegian delicacy.  An extremely tasty and firm fish which is fantastic simply pan fried in a little butter and oil.  It's ready in just a couple of minutes and it doesn't break up during cooking.  
Here's my very simple recipe for pan-fried Skrei with a lovely lemon butter and parsley sauce.  The whole dish is ready in under 15 minutes from start to finish and the main part of that time is spent gathering the ingredients together!


  Print Recipe

https://sites.google.com/a/aglugofoil.com/a-glug-of-oil/skrei-with-lemon-butter-sauce

To make enough Sauce to Serve Two you will need:    
1 shallot - finely chopped
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon double (heavy) cream
120g unsalted butter - cut into cubes and kept cold in the fridge until needed
zest from a whole lemon and the juice from half the lemon
salt - just a pinch
cayenne pepper - a pinch or two

How to do it:
Put the shallots into a pan with the wine, white wine vinegar and water and reduce to a quarter of the original amount. This is important or your sauce will taste of vinegar.  Add the cream and boil for a minute.
Now, whisk in the butter cubes a few at a time, keep whisking whilst taking the sauce on and off the heat and keep adding a bit more butter.  The sauce should look smooth and shiny but with no sign of an oily film.
Now whisk in the lemon juice and zest and season to taste with a teeny bit of salt and a pinch of two of cayenne pepper.  Serve immediately over pan-fried Skrei or other white fish.


  
  Availability of Skrei:
Only available between January and April each year, Skrei is migratory and journeys thousands of miles annually from the Barents Sea to the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway to reproduce.
Thanks to this epic journey through icy, dark waters, Skrei has a lean, bright white firm flesh and is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, which makes it a hugely versatile, healthy and wholesome food.


Where to Buy:
Skrei is available in Harrods Food Halls, Booths or you can ask your local fishmonger.

More about Skrei:
 To be classified as SKREI® the fish needs to be:
   Caught fully grown - as a large mature cod before it has spawned (approx. five years old)
    The skin needs to be immaculate, with no scratches, bruising or injuries
     Packaged within 12 hours of being caught
     Stored on ice at a temperature between 0° and 4° Celsius
    Whole, fresh SKREI® is required to have the SKREI® brand fastened to the forward dorsal fin and put in a branded SKREI® box.

Thank you to Amelia and The Norwegian Seafood Council for sending me a box of Skrei.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sous Vide - Pork Belly with Honey and Apple Cider Glaze

There's nothing quite like slow cooked pork belly cooked sous vide.  The meat is so tender it melts in your mouth.  Pork belly with a sticky honey, apple and cider glaze can only ever be a good thing whether slow cooked in the oven or not.  But it has to be said, when cooked sous vide it takes on a whole new level and personally I don't think cooking it any other way can beat it. 


The idea for the glaze came from my reading the packaging of ready cooked pork belly in Marks and Spencer. So, making it up as I went along adding a bit of this and a bit of that I have to say the result was good and turned out as I expected.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

SousVide Supreme Dinner Made Easy - Tarragon Chicken

Readers of this blog will know I've recently been experimenting with The SousVide Supreme water oven.  Starter Courses, Party Food and now Everyday Dinners all cooked Sous Vide.  
Cooking in the SousVide Supreme keeps vegetables vibrant and meat and poultry succulent, juicy and totally delicious.


What exactly is Sous Vide?
Sous vide (pronounced soo-veed) means “under vacuum” in French, and sous vide cooking is a gourmet culinary technique long used by chefs worldwide.
Instead of good cooking relying on perfect timing to cook, sous vide relies on precise temperature control, but once you've set the temperature on the machine you don't have to fuss about it anymore - just leave your food to cook.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

SousVide Supreme - Chicken and Black Pudding Terrine

Chicken and Black Pudding Terrine with Paprika Popcorn.  Any meat or poultry cooked Sous Vide is incredibly moist and tender.  I added a little duck fat to this chicken terrine and it tasted seriously good!  


If you're serving something other than Turkey, for example Beef Wellington this is just perfect as a starter.
Or how about leaving out the popcorn and slice to serve at that Christmas or New Years Eve Party!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Twice Baked Cheddar Soufflés - Easy to Make Recipe

 These Twice Baked Cheddar Soufflés are so very easy to make and are great for a lovely light lunch or a starter course.  
But it has to be said, using Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar really gives them a truly fantastic flavour.  


The Barber family have been making cheese at Maryland Farm in Ditcheat, Somerset since 1833.
Matured for a minumum of 24 months provides a cheddar that is powerfully intense and has an exceptional depth of flavour.  It has a slightly brittle and crunchy texture that is a result of it's long and slow ageing.
 
Having recently been very kindly invited to the BBC Good Food Show to meet Daniel Barber.  Having now tasted this amazing Cheddar, as far as I'm concerned there's noting else out there like it.  Seriously, any cheese lover would be totally hooked on Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar.

Where to Buy:
  The good news is, you can either buy it from Barber's in their online shop or it can be found in Sainsbury's Waitrose and Morrisons stores.  

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Restaurant Quality Food - Delivered to your Door - Review

 If you hadn't noticed, I absolutely love food and cooking!  But of course, there are many people who either don't have the interest, or are simply too busy and can't spare the time to cook.
So if you are one of those people and would like to hold a dinner party, how about trying my choice (for the main course) Parmesan, Pancetta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken with a side of Dauphinoise Potatoes - without the bother of having to actually make it - sounds good?
Then read on!



Before I go on, I noticed that Free Range Eggs were always used in their food.  If they wasn't, I would have turned down the chance of this review.
 
More More More are an online company based in Newcastle (UK) and they deliver home-cooked food straight to your door.  Either your everyday meals or a fancy dinner party feast can be delivered, leaving you very little to do apart from pop it in the oven and take it to the table when it's done.
So, for my review I could place an order of 'home-cooked quality food' and have it delivered to my door.  Even though I don't have a problem cooking myself (in fact if we hold a dinner party I'm in my element) I even love the stress part but this still sounded good, so how did it go?
 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

SousVide Supreme - Entertaining Made Easy

 Whether you're hosting a dinner party or simply cooking meals for the family the SousVide Supreme water oven really is the bees knees of kitchen equipment.
 Here I've made three different starter courses, all inexpensive and simple to make but there's a difference to the norm, the chicken, peppers, egg and asparagus used in these dishes were cooked in a SousVide Supreme Water Oven.  Meaning you can cook ahead and without fuss, get on with your day and dinner is ready when you are.

First up - Sous Vide Indian-style Chicken and Pepper Tikka Skewers:


Sous Vide Soft Cooked Egg with Asparagus and Bacon Dust:


And lastly Goi Cuon - Vietnamese Chicken Spring Rolls 
with Pickled Cucumber:

 

 Just recently I was lucky enough to be sent an absolutely fantastic piece of kitchen equipment in the form of a SousVide Supreme Water Bath.
After seeing the water bath method of cooking programs such as Masterchef, you've no idea how much I've wanted one since.  That said, the ones in professional kitchens are far too big to fit in my tiny kitchen.
But the good news is, SousVide Supreme have made a smaller version which is perfect for the home cook and big enough to cope with a dinner party.

What exactly is Sous Vide?
Sous vide (pronounced soo-veed) means “under vacuum” in French, and sous vide cooking is a gourmet culinary technique long used by chefs worldwide.
Instead of good cooking relying on perfect timing to cook, sous vide relies on precise temperature control, but once you've set the temperature on the machine you don't have to fuss about it anymore - just leave your food to cook.
 
So what was in the Box?
   SousVide Supreme Water Oven:

SousVide Vacuum Sealer, which includes 10 pouches of different size, 2 boxes of vacuum seal cooking pouches, and the Easy Sous Vide Cookbook, a DVD and of course there are operating instructions for the water oven and the vacuum sealer.



 How easy it is to cook with the SousVide Supreme?
In return for receiving the SousVide Supreme I have to create a variety of recipes, all using the SousVide Supreme water bath.  So over the next few months I will be showing you exactly how easy it is to use.  In this post I'll show you three easy to make recipes suitable as starter courses.
 
Whilst this method of cooking is totally different to the norm once you see how amazingly tender and so perfectly cooked a medium-rare steak turns out, I think you too will be converted it makes you look like a professional chef turning out some of the best food ever.   

So for example if you like your steak medium-rare the precise temperature that a 1 inch thick piece of steak needs to be is to 56.5 C / 134F so once you've set the temperature on the machine as long as the steak has had the minimum time to cook it doesn't matter if you leave it there for another hour, two hours or even most of the day, your steak will stay safe to eat and perfectly medium-rare just as you wanted.

And when you're ready to serve?
All that's needed is an extremely quick flash-fry of 30 seconds in hot butter which will ensure your steak browns and looks as good as it's tastes.  

Of course it's not just steak:
 Poultry, Game, all Meats, Fish, Vegetables, Fruit and Eggs can all be cooked perfectly in the SousVide Supreme.

Chicken breast for example which is known for very easily becoming tough during cooking, with the SousVide Supreme chicken is perfectly cooked, meltingly tender and so, so juicy.  Because when cooking in a vacuum sealed pouch there simply isn't anywhere for the natural juices along with any seasonings you might add to go.
Seriously the results are truly outstanding - SousVide also delivers healthier and more nutritious food.      

Timings and recommended temperatures for your chosen cut of meat, chicken, fish and vegetables and even fruit are all listed
in a book as part of the kit.  But you can always check them here: 
Sous Vide Cooking Times and Temperatures Reference Guide.

Getting Started - Fill the Machine with Hot Water:
 Fill to just below the 'Max' as when the food is in the water level will rise, you can either add a little more or remove some if necessary.


Seal the food to be cooked in the special food grade pouches which are designed to be sealed by the heat.
For example, place asparagus evenly in a pouch.  Add a drizzle of olive oil, personally I find it best to season after cooking.
Make sure the special food grade bag is straight, and with the top of the pouch laying on the rippled surface just touching the air portal.


Close the lid and press 'Vacuum/Seal' - the air with be automatically drawn out and the bag will seal afterwards.


Your food is now ready to be cooked in the SousVide water oven!

Four Easy Steps to SousVide Cooking are simply;
 Season, Seal, Simmer and Serve.

 Season: Meat, chicken or fish or vegetables, fill the machine with hot water and set the temperature on the SousVide water oven.  Pop into the special food grade plastic pouches along with any chosen herbs you might fancy.
Seal: The pouch using a vacuum machine.
Simmer: Once your selected temperature has been reached, place the sealed vacuum pouch into the water bath by resting it in the rack.  Put the lid on along with the heat mat included and get on with enjoying your day whilst dinner is being cooked with the temperature being constantly monitored for you by the SousVide water oven.
Serve: When the time is up, take the pouch out of the machine and turn the machine off.  Open the pouch taking care of the hot steam on opening and you can either enjoy your beautifully cooked food straight away, or continue to cook further depending on your recipe. 
Leave the water to cool before emptying the machine.
Indian-style Chicken and Pepper Tikka Skewers:


 Print Recipe

 Allow 1 chicken breast fillet and half of a bell pepper for every 2 skewers you want to make.

Skinless chicken breast fillets - cut into bite sized pieces
Red bell pepper - cut into bite sized pieces
Tikka Masala Paste (Pataks or Sharwood's are both good)
vegetable oil

How to do it: 
Mix the paste and oil together in a bowl - about 1 tablespoon of paste to a drizzle of oil is enough for 1 chicken fillet. Leave to marinate for at least half an hour.  
Thread the chicken onto wooden skewers alternating with pepper.
Pop the skewers into a pouch - best to roll the top of the pouch so the marinade doesn't get on the top of the bag, if it does it wont seal properly.


Seal the pouch and fill the SousVide water oven with hot water and set the temperature to 63.5C or 146F
Once the temperature is reached pop the sealed bags into the water and allow to cook for a minimum of 1 hour but I left mine simmering away for 2 and a half hours.
*This is the great thing about Sous Vide cooking, only the temperature and minimum time has to be paid attention to, then you can leave most foods simmering all day - until you are ready to eat*

Remove the pouch from the oven and remember the food will be perfectly cooked though but for visual presentation just pop the skewers either onto the BBQ for literately 30 seconds each side, or onto a VERY hot griddle-pan as I did to achieve a nice char-grilled look.
Enjoy!


Sous Vide Soft Cooked Egg with Asparagus and Bacon Dust:


Print Recipe

Allow 1 egg and 4 or 5 asparagus tips per person and 1 rasher of bacon will make enough dust for 6 plates.

How to do it:

For perfectly cooked Asparagus Tips: 
Fill the machine with hot water and  at 88C/190.5 and pop in the vacuum sealed pouch and cook for just 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove and without opening the bag, see if it bends easily and when it does it's done.


    I cooked the asparagus in the Sous Vide water oven the day before, since the eggs and vegetables need different temperatures it was easier.
 Asparagus needs nothing but a tiny drizzle of oil added to the cooking pouch and I find it nicer if it's seasoned once it's cooked.  All vegetables keep their colour and look amazing.
 Once it was cooked I plunged the bag into ice cold water and left it to cool. Wiped the bag dry and stored still sealed in the bag until the following day.

Wipe a non-stick frying pan with a tiny amount of vegetable oil and fry a rasher of smoked back bacon until it's really crisp.  Now wrap in a couple of sheets of kitchen paper and pop into the microwave for 30 seconds and it should be very crisp.  If not pop it back for another 20 seconds but take care not to burn it.
Leave to cool and crush in a pestle and mortar or with under another sheet of kitchen paper with a rolling pin and voi·là bacon dust!

Perfect Soft Cooked Eggs:
 After a few experiments I found that a temperature of 65C and 45 minutes produced the perfect soft cooked egg and very fresh eggs work best.

There is no need to put your eggs in a bag.  Fill the Sous Vide with hot water and set the temperature to 65C/149F and once the temperature is carefully lower in your eggs one at a time and set the timer on the machine to 45 minutes.
Once the time is up the machine will give out a series of load beeps.  Remove the eggs and crack into a cup before placing on your finished dish, only because it's easier that way.  

Plate your dish up, add the egg and enjoy!


Goi Cuon - Vietnamese Chicken Spring Rolls with Pickled Cucumber:


Print Recipe

To serve 4 you will need:
about 4 inches of cucumber - seeds removed and diced
a pinch of salt
 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar 

1 x skinless chicken breast fillet - cooked Sous Vide with a tiny drizzle of oil and a splash of soy sauce - then cooled and thinly sliced
1 carrot, 1 spring onion - very thinly sliced into matchsticks
a few baby gem lettuce leaves - shredded  
8 Spring roll rice papers and Vermicelli Noodles - available in any good supermarket.

How to do it:
Fill the Sous Vide oven with hot water and set the temperature to 63.5C/146F
Once the temperature has been reached submerge the chicken fillet (prepared as above) into the water and as long as it's been simmering for a minimum of 1 hour, remember cooking Sous Vide means it can stay there all day if you wish without the chicken drying out, it will stay moist and full of flavour and is ready when you are.

  Meanwhile, make the Pickled Cucumber:
Sprinkle the diced cucumber with the salt and leave for 30 minutes.  Once ready, pat dry with kitchen paper and put the cucumber into a small bowl.  Add the rice vinegar and sugar and give it a good stir.  Leave for an hour or so and to serve just drain from the liquid.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove and cool in ice cold water whilst still in the pouch.  Then remove the pouch and slice the chicken into thin strips.

For the Spring Rolls:
Pop the vermicelli noodles into a bowl and add boiling water, leave for 5 minutes then rinse and drain.
Place one spring roll rice wrapper at a time into a large bowl of warm water and leave for just a couple of seconds so the rice paper has softened.
Lay on a plate and add the chicken, carrot, lettuce and spring onion filling along with a few noodles, taking care not to over fill.
Bring the bottom of the rice paper up to cover the filling, fold the side in and roll.  Cut each roll in half when you're ready to serve.


  Next time I'll be showing you three Main Courses including a selection of vegetables.
You can find more delicious Sous Vide recipes over at Karen's site;
Lavender and Lovage.

Disclaimer: I was sent a SousVide Supreme Promo Pack which consists of: a SousVide Supreme water oven, Vacuum sealer which includes 10 pouches.
2 boxes of vacuum seal cooking pouches, and the Easy Sous Vide cookbook
RRP: £506:98 (£422.48 excluding VAT) it is mine to keep in return for blog posts and a total of twelve recipes.

+SousVide Supreme 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Family and Friends Mexican-themed Fun Night In

For a quick and easy meal, tacos or tortillas make a great dinner the whole family will enjoy.  But how about holding a Mexican-themed dinner party for family and friends?
Mexican food is vibrant, colourful and tasty and can mostly be prepared in advance.  There's no need for any fancy cooking equipment or amazing cooking skills, making it the ideal choice for a fun night in. 
 
Meat, Chicken or Vegetarian?
Minced beef, thinly sliced beef and chicken are all good choices.  For vegetarians or for anyone wanting to try to eat less meat, Old el Paso have a seriously great recipe for spicy bean and cheese vegetarian burger tacos – now how good do they sound?!   All you need is their Stand and Stuff Dinner kit which includes the spice mix.  To make the burgers you just need cheese, breadcrumbs, kidney beans and pinto beans, red and green bell pepper, an egg and some freshly chopped coriander.  Shredded lettuce is good for serving and the whole meal can be made in 20 minutes.


Another idea - Quesadillas:
Not only do they look good but they take minutes to make.
First prepare your ingredients, chopping and slicing. Pop a soft corn or flour tortilla into a really hot frying pan and top with your choice of filling.  Add another tortilla on top like a sandwich, turn to cook the other side and serve.


Tortillas, Tacos or Wraps?
A hard decision to make, purely because there are so many choices available in the supermarket these days!  Do you fancy crispy crunchy tortillas, flour tortillas, wholewheat tortillas or a lovely soft floury wrap?  Fajitas are great and of course you can make them really mild for anyone that’s not too keen on spice and kids love them.


Once you’ve made a choice, you can fill your tacos, tortillas or wraps with meat and vegetables or just veg. 

Salads and other bits and bobs:
Sliced bell peppers in any colour you fancy, onions, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and in my opinion, grated cheese as far as I'm concerned is a must!
 Dips, salsas, sour cream and guacamole can be bought from the shop ready prepared.

Drinks:
Tequila sunrise is great since it’s so colourful and of course you can make a non-alcoholic version for the kids using pineapple.  Or what about Mojito which always goes down well. 

Whatever you decide to serve, enjoy your relaxed night in!  
 

Monday, 19 August 2013

How to Keep the Colour in Cooked Vegetables

Okay I know this isn't anything new, but for anyone wondering how to keep vegetables looking bright it's so very easy to do.  Fantastic too if you're hosting a dinner party, since you prepare and cook them in advance, what could be better than that? 

 My serving dishes are from the Sabichi Dine In Collection.

 Nothing worse than soggy, dull looking broccoli or green beans that aren't actually green anymore.

NEW Baileys Chocolat Luxe - A Fusion of Baileys and Chocolate‎

Let me share a bit of news, for the first time real Belgian chocolate has been fused with alcohol in this new alcoholic drink, Baileys Chocolat Luxe.  
Chocolate liqueur - a multi-sensory experience of chocolate in a glass!
If you're already a lover of Baileys Original Irish Cream then you're sure to love this, and my guess is it will sell out fast especially in the run up to Christmas.
 
 Created by Anthony Wilson, principal scientist and son of one of Baileys Original Irish Cream’s creators Steve Wilson, this latest innovation in drinks alchemy has been three years in the making. Traveling across three continents, Wilson was able to realise his vision that Baileys and real Belgian chocolate would be the perfect pairing.

The result is a unique drinking experience that brings together two favourite indulgences, Baileys and chocolate. 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Raclette Dinner Party - Recipe Ideas

 Okay, I know Raclette grills have been about for ages, and I've always wanted one, but since our house is already overrun with more kitchen gadgets than you can shake a stick at, I've controlled myself from buying one.....till last week that is.
   Oh my goodness they are such fun and I say everyone should rush out and get one immediately!  Relaxed and sociable eating along with drinking, a raclette meal can still be going on hours later.  What can be nicer than cooking your own meal at the table, picking and choosing for yourself just what you fancy?

    
Whoa, I've just noticed that cheese is missing from the table, I must have brought it out after the pictures - and in case you're wondering about drink....yes the wine hadn't got to the table at this point either!

The only slight problem I need to overcome is there isn't enough room at the table for anymore people once it's filled with the grill and all the food!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Baked Fig and Goats Cheese with Parma Ham

This is one seriously delicious combination - tangy warm goat cheese, sweetness from the baked fig and a slight saltiness from the Parma ham.
 Oh yes, this is just perfect as a starter for any good dinner party.


Easy to make and no need for any fancy equipment - just a non-stick baking sheet or very shallow tray.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Sauce Bois Boudrin - Perfect for Steak

Fillet steak and sauce Bois boudrin are a perfect match.  So very easy to make and since it is best made in advance it's just perfect for a dinner party.


 Print Recipe

To make sauce enough for 4 you will need:
1 large shallot - finely chopped
150g small cherry tomatoes - halved
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
a squeeze of lemon juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
a glug or two of good quality extra virgin olive oil - say a tablespoon
small handful tarragon leaves - finely chopped

How to do it:
Just mix everything together in a small bowl - that's it job done, told you it was simple!

Top Tip:  
You can make this in advance (but no more than the day before) then keep covered in the fridge.
You will need to remove from the fridge at least an hour before serving.  If you make it the same day there's no need to put it in the fridge - just cover it till needed.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Our Wedding Anniversary - Big Night In

Yes indeed, staying in is the new going out!  
These days, everything seems to be getting more and more expensive and whilst it is nice to go out, it can also be just as good to stay in.  With no taxis to pay for, no tips and no need to get all dressed up, you can totally relax and have a great time.
Having been set a challenge by MoneySupermarket to have a Big Night In for £50 since our wedding anniversary is in a few days time, I decided to cook up a right nice semi-posh Dinner Party for Two.


The Starter;
I kept everything simple, Baked Fig and Goat's Cheese with Parma ham, a few leaves and balsamic glaze.

Next up was the Main Course;
Fillet Steak Bois Boudrin with Homemade Thick Cut Potato Wedges.  The bois boudrin is so very easy to make, it literally takes 2 minutes and since it should be made in advance that's all the better for a no-fuss dinner party. 


My Strawberry, White Chocolate and Vanilla (no-bake) Cheesecake is an absolute doddle to make and can even be made the day before. However I wouldn't add the strawberry halves, which also act as portion control, anymore than a few hours before serving - just so they don't leak their lovely juice over your cheesecake.
   

Oh by the way, we didn't eat the whole 12 portion cheesecake last night, but I expect without too much effort, Paul will finish most of that off today!


My Top Tips for a Stress Free Dinner Party;
Prepare everything that can be prepared in advance, and that includes laying the table.


That way you too can join in the fun and enjoy the evening with a glass or two of wine - Cheers everyone!

Bargain BIG Night in for under £50!

Starter
Goat's cheese portions £2.56
Fresh figs £2.00
Few slices of Parma Ham £2.00
Salad leaves £1.00

Main
Two Fillet Steaks £15.58
Bois Boudrin is almost impossible to cost accurately as most ingredients are in such small quantities but the main ingredient is the Piccolini tomatoes cost £1.59 plus a lemon at 39p 
Potatoes for the wedges £1.00

Dessert (which serves 12 people)
300g Hobnob Biscuits for the base £1.39
500g Mascarpone cheese £3.00
200g Lindit White Chocolate with Vanilla £3.00
Strawberries £2.50

Drinks:
3 bottles of wine for £12.00 in Asda and after our dinner party we still have a bottle spare!

Entertainment:
Absolutely Free - we talked......Do you remember this, do you remember that?!
By the way, that all adds up to the bargain price of £48.01
    
 This is a sponsored post for MoneySupermarket who funded our big night in.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Chicken with Parma Ham and Goats Cheese

Simple to make and good to eat.  Lovely moist chicken with a slight saltiness from the Parma ham but also a bit tangy from the goats cheese - what's not to like?
Arm yourself with a shallow baking tray or one of those amazing tin foil trays which are disposable but you can re-use them as I do.  Just pop into a dishwasher or soak over night.  Okay, they go a funny colour but it's all okay.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Chicken Bouillabaisse Recipe

Chicken and potatoes cooked in a rich sweet garlic and tomato sauce along with saffron, Pernod, white wine, fennel seeds and rosemary.  Totally delicious and easy to make too as it's all cooked in one pot. 
 Oh yes this is now in my top five dinners of all dinners and has to be made again soon.
After seeing Ina Garten cook this the other night the Food Network TV show 'Back to Basics', it had to made there and then.
I believe this is usually made with fish and served with rouille (garlicky mayonnaise).  Because of my rush to make it I didn't have enough garlic to make the roullie so just served it with nice crusty bread.
According to Wikipedia, Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Chilli Beef Lettuce Wraps - Finger Food at it's Best

Who's been watching Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course?  Weeknights on Channel 4 at 5pm?  A fantastic show!  Everything he's made so far I want to make too.
  Spicy chilli beef served wrapped in gem lettuce with a lovely dipping sauce.
 Absolutely delicious and very easy to make - finger food at it's best.

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