Showing posts with label Fruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fruit. Show all posts

Tefal Optigrill - Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Pineapple Pepper and Chilli Salsa

Having recently been sent the Tefal Optigrill I wondered if it really would be as good as they say it is.
But in the short time I've had it I've used it to cook all sorts;  Bacon, Chicken, Burgers, Pork Steaks and Corn on the Cob and every one has turned out perfectly - yep this grill is excellent. 



The Tefal Optigrill uses sensor technology to measure the weight and thickness of different meats to decide how long it will take to cook them.  For steak, the grill alerts you when the meat is rare, medium and well done.  Fantastic as you can take out a rare steak while leaving the rest to continue cooking.
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Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with Goji Berries

Goji-berries, also known as Chinese Wolfberry, grow on the common matrimony vine, a shrub up to 4m high.  The fruits can be harvested from August to October. The name "goji" is derived from the Chinese term "Ningxia gouqi", which apparently means something along of the lines of "from the region of Ningxia wolfberry". In China, they have been revered as a vitality and energy source for millennia.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with Goji Berries
  
Goji Berries are Good for You!
These amazing little berries are rich in high levels of iron including B12, vitamins and carotenoids (pro-vitamin A) B vitamins and other ingredients.  Containing over 20 trace elements and minerals as well as all essential amino acids.  It is especially valued for its "adaptogenic effect" (promoting vitality and resistance to stress).  They can be eaten raw or used in any recipe to enrich your meal.  
Western medicine is only beginning to discover the goji berry.  In traditional Chinese medicine, the goji berry has been used for a long time.
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Marsala Honey, Date and Walnut - Pancake Recipe

With Pancake Day coming up this Tuesday, which pancake style and topping will you be making - Do you prefer American style pancakes or the thinner crepe type?
I'd never actually made American pancakes until now and although I think mine are probably a bit on on the thick side, they were still light, fluffy and good to eat. 

Marsala Honey, Date and Walnut Pancake

These pancakes are for grown ups!  Although you can of course leave out the Marsala for children.  I wondered my mixture of dates along with honey and Marsala would make them too sweet but as it turned out they were fine.  I'm not really a dessert lover but Paul (the husband) loved them. 
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Pancakes with Summer Berries and White Chocolate

I was recently asked to try out three different Tefal frying pans and to come up with a pancake recipe for Pancake Day.  With spring around the corner and really hoping to see some sunshine soon, I came up with these pancakes filled with summer berries which I drizzled with melted white chocolate.

Pancakes with Summer Berries and White Chocolate

The three lovely pans Tefal sent me were quickly put to the test and all did a great job of making perfect pancakes as they all heated up quickly and are non-stick.
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Banoffee Pancakes - Easy Dessert Recipe

Light fluffy pancakes filled with caramel sauce, bananas, whipped cream and topped with flaked chocolate can only be a good thing.  Since they can be eaten cold and still look and taste every bit as good later on the same day, why not make them before dinner cover the plate in cling film for a no fuss delicious dessert.


Banoffee Pancakes

Having been sent a couple of  OXO Good Grips products and set a challenge of coming up with a pancake recipe here's how it went.  Okay, I'm a bit early as Pancake Day isn't until 4th March but yesterday I was in a pancake making mood.  In any case it doesn't have to officially be Pancake Day to enjoy pancakes!
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Baked Apples Stuffed with Dates and Ginger - Flora Pro.activ

With all the fancy rich and sugary foods that most of us eat at this time of year, it's good to know you can still have a delicious dessert without it being bad for you.


Flora pro.activ contains plant sterols.  Plant sterols have been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.  Consuming 1.5-2.4g of plant sterols per day can lower cholesterol by 7-10% in 2-3 weeks when consumed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle with sufficient fruit and vegetables.
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Sponge Cake with Summer Berries

Well let me tell you, me and this 'I Heart Cake Mould' are best friends!
A truly marvelous silicone cake mould that enables you to easily create six heart shaped slices of cake.

Now, the mould isn’t actually heart shaped, but instead it's made up of six heart shapes.  Simply bake your favourite cake and all you have to do is divide the cake up equally and you'll have half a dozen cute heart shaped slices!


The silicone I Heart Cake Mould is perfect for baking a cake at anytime but would be fantastic for your loved ones birthday and especially Valentines day.
You might already know that I'm not really a cake making kind of person, I simply am not very good with baking of any sort and so not too much baking happens in this house.  As you can imagine, Paul (the husband) was really pleased to know I'd been sent this fantastic silicone mould as he knew it meant I would have to make a cake!
 Of course, you don’t have to stick to sponges, how about making some heart shaped jellies?
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Favourite British Pie - Lemon Meringue

These days it's so easy to go out and buy a ready-made dessert from a supermarket or shop but easier still not to bother having one at all. Even though there's something quite satisfying about making a nice dessert for everyone to ooh and aah over, I wonder why most of us still don't bother.

Is it because most people think like me and that it would be too complicated?  Well it isn't, I'd never made a lemon meringue pie before in my life.  Fear not and trust me, it's a doddle - if I can do it anyone can!
  

I was set a challenge by Most Wanted, the lifestyle magazine for their 'Making Summer Taste Better' series asking if I could make a dessert that was fairly easy, not over complicated and perfect for alfresco dining but costing no more than £7.00

So in an attempt to inspire everyone to have a go and make your own desserts instead of buying ready-made, here I go with lemon meringue pie.

By the way this pie serves 8 to 10 people and actually cost less than the challenge set and cost just £5.99 to make which is fantastic.  You can find the ingredient price list at the end of this post. 

Time for a small confession; I've been writing this blog for over five years and have never made meringue before until now and it has to be said I'm quite proud of my meringue!

My top tip for success when baking or cooking in general:
Get everything ready before you begin.  Have a quick read of your chosen recipe prepare your ingredients.  For example in this recipe, zest your lemons, separate your egg yolks from the whites, get the pastry out of the fridge.

Yes I know I used ready-made pastry, but one step at a time here please, I've only just got to mastering meringue never mind making pastry.

Also, have you got the right equipment at the ready, saucepans baking tin?  Have a quick check and your good to go!

Print Recipe


 For the filling you will need:

grated zest and juice of 4 large lemons
90g cornflour
600ml cold water
4 large egg yolks
175g caster sugar


For the meringue you will need:

5 large egg whites
250g  caster sugar
 
For the pastry base you will need:
1 x 500g ready-made shortcrust pastry 


How to do it:

While your getting everything ready, remove the pastry from the fridge as it's better if it's at room temperature.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough and line your loose-bottomed flan tin (mine was 24cm).  Prick the pastry base all over with a fork and line with a piece of greaseproof paper, allowing it to come above the rim so it can be easily lifted out after baking.  Fill the shell with ceramic baking beans, or uncooked rice, and bake in a preheated oven at 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beans and foil and bake the pastry shell for 5 minutes or until the base has dried out, then remove from the oven.
If the pastry has risen during baking, gently press it down with your hand.


Reduce the temperature to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2 and get on with the filling:

Mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour. Bring the water to a boil, then stir into the lemon mixture. Return to the pan and bring back to a boil, stirring, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
Leave to cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks mixed with the sugar. Return to a low heat and cook, stirring, until just simmering. Leave to cool a bit before pouring into the pastry shell.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff then whisk in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time on maximum speed.
 

Pile on top of the filling and spread over - don't fuss too much, I didn't and mine turned out okay.



Bake for 45 minutes or until crisp and brown on top.  Leave to cool a bit before attempting to remove from the tin.  Recipe adapted from Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook


Ingredients purchased from a well known top UK supermarket cost:

Pastry £1.25
Kitty Campbell's Free range very large eggs £2.00
Cornflour 75p
4 lemons £1.00 on offer 4 for the price of 3
Caster sugar 99p - and of course you wont need to use the whole box

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Fruit Gift Basket from First4Hampers - Review

Having been very kindly sent this 'Detox and Relax' Fruit Gift basket from First4Hampers to review, I have to say I'm totally impressed. 

Fruit

The fruit basket was perfectly packaged and I know it was only ordered for me on Thursday afternoon (just before 1pm) and it arrived the next morning.
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Apple and Boozy Sultana Filo Pastry Pie

Apples with nice fat Rum soaked sultanas encased in crispy filo pastry is not only yummy but looks good and more to the point it's nice and easy to make too.

Now, British Pie week is about to be upon us (4th to 10th March) so whatever pie you like best, you must be making one!  From traditional Steak or Steak and Kidney, Chicken and Mushroom,  Chicken and Ham though to savoury pies such as the much loved by almost everyone, the Apple Pie.

Apple and Boozy Sultana Filo Pastry Pie

Readers of this blog will know by now I don't really do baking. Why? Because I can't do it - I have no patience for measuring flour and stuff. So for me, the easiest and 'cheats' option to buy ready made pastry. 

Filo pastry is marvelous stuff and makes everything so much easier - there's no need to fuss about trying to make it look good - just wrap your pie in filo and throw some extra sheets on top and the jobs a good'un!
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Pork and Date Stuffing Recipe

Perfect with Sunday roast chicken, but this stuffing is especially nice at Christmas and is so very easy to make too. 
 
Pork and Date Stuffing

If you use pork that hasn't been previously frozen you can make these now, freeze them and that's another job done for Christmas day! 

Of course you don't have to make the stuffing into balls, you can just put it in a tray and cook.
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Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Dates and Honey

You may remember a while back I went to a Masterclass with Marco Pierre White and Knorr.  We all loved his idea of using something other than water to dissolve the Knorr stock pot.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Dates and Honey
 
Recently I was kindly sent another Seasonal box from Knorr which included two baby chickens and given the challenge to either cook Marco Pierre White's recipe of Spatchcocked Chicken with Chipolatas and Rosemary, or come up with a recipe of my own.....

Inspired by Marco's idea with the Knorr stock pot, I used tomato juice in this 'make it up as I go along recipe'.  Even if I do say so myself, the result was something truly delicious, chicken in a lightly spiced and slightly jammy rich and thick sauce.
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Sunvil Supper Club - Karlaby Kro's Berry Pie

For me a big part of the fun of going abroad for a holiday is trying the different food from that country.  

I enjoy strolling along and stopping to read the menus that seem to be outside all the restaurants and then deciding what to have.  I love to try different things and go to different places.  I've never been to Sweden but someday I'd really like to go, in fact if I was rich I'd go everywhere!

Berry Crumble

Berries are a big part of the Swedish diet - from berries that are familiar to the UK, such as blueberries and raspberries to the more exotic cloudberries and lingonberries. 
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The Best Guacamole Recipe

Simply the best guacamole ever - once you make this you will never buy it ready made from a supermarket again.  This recipe by Thomasina Miers from her book 'Mexican Food Made Simple' takes minutes to make and tastes amazing.

Guacamole

Flavours of lime and chilli with tomato, red onion are perfectly balanced.
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Picadillo - Mexican Fruity Chilli

Okay I know this sounds a bit odd, regular chilli made with the usual minced meat, but with the addition of banana, apples and raisins?..... 

Picadillo Mexican Fruity Chilli

However, if you saw Thomasina Miers cooking this on her TV series 'Mexican Food made Simple' on Channel 5 then I'm pretty sure you'd want to make it too.  It was totally delicious, very hot but the heat is nicely balanced with the sweetness from the raisins.  Yes I will make this again and again.
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The Best Apple Strudel Recipe

Almost everyone in the UK will have seen the Marks and Spencer advert for their apple strudel on television and I think nearly everyone has tried one!


Although I'm not one for desserts I had a go at making it myself.  Now I'm so not into pastry or baking but the result (although it didn't quite look like the M&S one) was good.
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Nicely Spiced Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Preserved Lemons

A nicely spiced, easy to make, very tasty Moroccan chicken dish.  Just the right amount of sweetness and great for a dinner party.
I think a Tagine looks impressive taken straight to the table and dinner served from the Tagine.
Don't you just love the combination of fruit and nuts used in Moroccan cooking?
 So - here's my much titivated 'made up as I went along' recipe that turned out very nice indeed!

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Ice Cream Recipe - Strawberry and Clotted Cream

Okay I've been going on about my new ice cream maker that was kindly sent to me by the Fairy Hobmother from Appliances Online.  
Just take a look at this please!  Strawberries and Clotted Cream - ice cream!!
 The Strawberriest ice cream ever!
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Parma Ham Pizza with Two Cheeses, Pear and Honey Caramelised Onions

Discover the Origin is a campaign promoted by the European Union, Italy, France and Portugal and achieved by the office representative of five key European products: Burgundy wines, Port and Douro Valley Wines, Parma Ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese. 
This scrummy Pizza was total yum on a plate!
Recipe taken from the book - Discover the Origin which sadly, isn't available to buy, I was very kindly sent a Promotional copy.
The aim of all of them is to enhance knowledge of the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) among consumers, distributors and food professionals and to educate on the benefits of the provenance indicator schemes, the relevant checks, controls and traceability systems that are put in place to ensure ongoing quality, and to differentiate the products and raise their profiles.
All five of these products carry a guarantee of their provenance and quality: the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for Parma Ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, AOC for Burgundy wines and DOC for Port and Douro Valley wines.  If you see these labels on any food or drinks, you can rest assured that you will be rewarded with excellent quality.
Over at the Discover the Origin website you can learn more about the campaign and also watch a video of chef Lesley Waters making rather yummy looking 'Parmigiano-Reggiano and Parma Ham Polenta Muffins'
Thank you to Louise for sending me the book.
If you would like the recipe for the Parma Ham Pizza click continue reading:
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Apple Crumble - Everyone Loves a Fruit Crumble

So easy to make - apple crumble is at it's best freshly made and still bubbling from the oven. 
Try adding a sprinkling of soft brown sugar over the top - it will go slightly crunchy but will be a bit chewy at the same time.
 Of course it doesn't have to be made with apples, you can use whatever fruit you fancy.

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