Showing posts with label New Year. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Year. Show all posts

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Cocktail Recipes - The Perfect Mix

Christmas and New Year are the perfect excuse for a cheeky cocktail or two.  But of course a cocktail is good at any time of the year; in moderation of course.

Whether the refreshing flavours of a good Mojito is what you're after, or a colourful Sangria to remind you of summer, check out this innovative Cocktail Wheel.  It's so easy to use - to find the recipe of your choice just click on the name of the cocktail and the necessary ingredients plus correct measurements needed to create the perfect cocktail are revealed.

So now you're armed with the recipe, all you need now is some stylish cocktail glasses to show of your cocktail making skills.  I especially like these Margarita glasses from House of Fraser.

Margarita glasses are also perfect for making the most ordinary dessert look stylish.  Back in the summer I made a Cherry Ice Cream Sundae but for Christmas you could use these glasses to serve up small slices of Christmas pudding with Brandy Butter; just an idea but I may well have to give it a go!

Happy cocktail making - please drink responsibly.

Disclosure:  I received a set of cocktail glasses from House of Fraser.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not required to write anything positive.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas and New Year Drinks and Treats - Budgens Supermarket

Budgens supermarket have kindly sent us some truly lovely Christmassy products to try.  They have a fantastic range of drinks to entertain your guests in style.

It's great to start Christmas and New Year off with a nice glass of bubbly, but it doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune; La Gioiosa Prosecco is £7.99 or the Mionetto Prosecco is only very slightly more at £8.99 both in our opinion equally good so we decided we couldn't pick a favorite.


Rosé sparkling wine is great with a starter course but is just as nice served with dinner.  Seddlescombe Organic English Sparkling Wine at £24.99 - okay this is a little on the expensive side but having checked the price on the net Budgens is the best price and it is an organic wine produced to strict EU Organic standards.

Stocking fillers and gifts such as this cute Lindt Santa is just £3.00 and at the time of writing, are on offer; 2 for £5 so even better.

The Monty Bojangles Berry Bubbly Truffles at £3.00 are amazing; raspberry and popping candy cocoa dusted truffles - yes they fizz in your mouth!

If you like Turkish Delight and you like Chocolate, then these Mr Stanley Chocolate Enrobed Turkish Delight (the best of both worlds) and the price is £8.00 a box.

Little bit about Budgens:
Budgens is believed to be the oldest supermarket in Great Britain. Initially a small, local grocer, the company has expanded and over time the Budgens name appeared on a number of stores throughout the South of England, establishing a reputation for servicing the local communities around England’s high streets and suburban towns with quality products.

In 2015, Budgens became part of the Booker Group and today Budgens has over 150 stores and are known for their great quality food and drink.

Budgens also have a luxurious range of party food too that's well worth checking out.  To find out more and to locate your nearest store pop over to Budgens.

Twitter @DiscoverBudgens

*Please note the prices I've mentioned in this post are subject to change.

Disclaimer:  I was sent the above products to try.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

How to Make the Perfect Liqueur Coffee

Hands up who doesn't like a nice liqueur coffee at the end of a special dinner - not many I people expect!  The perfect after dinner drink at Christmas, Thanksgiving or of course New Year.

But how do you make the cream float on top?  Well it's actually really easy; follow my recipe for success!

Aldi have some seriously good priced Wines, Beers and Spirits.  Exclusive to Aldi this Chevalier Cognac is a great price at just £15.99 for a 70cl bottle.

Of course if you don't like Cognac you can make liqueur coffee with Whisky, Grand Marnier, Tia Maria,  Cointreau, Bourbon, Drambuie, the list is endless.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Port and Redcurrant Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables - SCANPAN Review

My Christmassy Roasted Root Vegetables glazed with Port and Redcurrant Jelly are, in a word, delicious. Perfect for Christmas dinner or of course the usual Sunday roast.  So very easy to do too, and as long as you have a good non-stick pan you can't go wrong.

Usually I'd recommend you use a disposable foil tray since the honey can be hard to clean from a regular non-stick roasting tin.  But having been sent this beautiful Scanpan I put it to the test - would it be easy to clean afterwards?  Answer is yep it was a doddle.
Scanpan not only looks good but performs really well both in the oven and on the hob too.

Scanpan products are made in Denmark and the Scanpan roasting pan has a non-stick ceramic titanium coating and is metal utensil and dishwasher safe.  This roasting pan is multi-purpose too since it has a base like a frying pan and it can also be used in the oven, under the grill and on the stove top.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

SousVide Supreme - Szechuan Pork Belly Bites with a BBQ Glaze

Still along the theme of 'Party Food Made Easy' here I've made Szechuan and Sea Salt Pork Belly Bites with a BBQ glaze, fantastic for all those Christmas and New Year parties!

After spending 8 hours in the water oven the pork belly melts in your mouth, so delicious!

Monday, 18 November 2013

SousVide Supreme Party Food Made Easy - Teriyaki Sesame Chicken Bites

Last month I made a selection of Starter Course Dishes that are all ideal for entertaining and were made using the SousVide Supreme water oven.  This month with Christmas and New Year coming up fast, I'm making party food.  The main part of each recipe can be prepared in advance, ready to cook using the Sous Vide cooking method.

Teriyaki Chicken

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.

Thanks to The SousVide Supreme You can now have one of these amazing machines in your own home as their range is especially designed for home kitchens.  The Sous Vide method takes the guess work out of cooking, so anyone can create for example the perfect medium-rare steak just as you'd find in a top restaurant - at home.

Food to be cooked is first sealed in a special pouch and sealed with the vacuum sealer that's included in the SousVide Supreme Promo pack.

Chicken is tender and so moist when cooked sous vide.

Print Recipe

To make 16 - 20 (depending on the size of the fillets) Teriyaki Sesame Chicken Bites you will need:
2 skinless chicken breast fillets
Toasted sesame seeds, gem lettuce, finely chopped red chilli and spring onions for garnish

To make the marinade you will need: 
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 a tablespoon dark soy sauce
5 tablespoons of clear honey
1 tablespoon Mirin
1 tablespoon caster sugar
a pinch of ginger powder - fresh ginger doesn't work well in sous vide cooking
a teaspoon of white pepper 

** Please note if you are planning on freezing the chicken before cooking you will only need to make half of this marinade mixture as it wont keep longer than a day.
Also the chicken will need to be fully defrosted before cooking in the sous vide.

How to do it:

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl.
Cut each chicken fillet into large bite sized pieces and pop into a bowl.  Add just a couple of tablespoons of the marinade mixture to the fillets and stir well to coat keeping the rest of the marinade for later.  
Fill and heat the Sous Vide to 63.5C

Drain and put the chicken pieces into a suitably sized cooking pouch and vacuum seal. Pop the sealed pouch into the Sous Vide water oven and leave to cook for a minimum of one hour, but of course they can stay there for a good few hours until you are ready to finish them for serving.
Once the chicken has had the minimum time in the water oven, remove the pouch and carefully cut open with scissors taking care of the hot steam.  Please don't be fussed that at this stage the chicken will look like all the pieces have stuck together, they haven't - just carefully part each one.

Pour some toasted sesame seeds into a small bowl.

Heat up a frying pan, give the marinade a stir and add to the pan with the chicken pieces.  As this was an experiment I only used one small chicken fillet, just saying in case you're thinking there's not much food at her party! 😨  

Quickly stir the chicken pieces (remember they are already cooked) and coat in the syrupy marinade. Using a cocktail stick, dip one side of each chicken piece into the toasted sesame seeds. 

Now remove for the cocktail stick and turn the chicken piece over inserting the cocktail stick back in so the sesame coated side is up.  Set aside and assemble for serving.  Put each one on a piece of lettuce and sprinkle with finely chopped red chilli and spring onions and enjoy!  

Teriyaki Chicken Bites

My recipe for Party Food Mini Burgers can be found here and you can find more delicious recipes made in the SousVide Supreme over at my friend Karen's blog 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.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Pie Pops Book - Miniature Sweet and Savoury Treats

Pie Pops - easy to make miniature treats for all occasions.  This new title by Carol Hilker is packed full of all your favourite pies, but in miniature lollipop form! 
Sweet Pie Pops:
Covering sweet pies from deliciously sticky Butterscotch Pecan Pies and the light-as-a-cloud Coconut Cream Pies.  Fruit Pies includes all-time classics such as Cherry Pies or the traditional Blueberry Pie Pops. For the ultimate indulgence, bake a batch of Chocolate Pies.  Boston Cream Pie Pops or the luxurious Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pies or how about Sundae Alaska Pie Pops?

When the weather gets warmer, then Ice-cream Pies make the perfect dessert.  From Chocolate-dipped Key Lime Pie Pops or Orangesicle Pie Pops.

Savoury Pie Pops:
This book is perfect for creating show-stopping canapés for any party with Savory Pies such as miniature Chicken Pot Pies Pops or tiny Quiche Lorraine tartlets.

All in all:
I really like this book and personally I love the Mini Pork Pie Pops - they look amazing!  Little pastry pigs on sticks filled with nicely spiced pork.  

The recipes look easy to follow and only calls for regular ingredients - looking through it I'd say you everything is easily available in the UK.
All measurements are shown in both grams and cups, making recipes easy to follow by everyone.  So if you like pies and entertaining this book is well worth buying.

Pie Pops by Carol Hilker is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £9.99 and is available from

Thank you to Lauren for sending me a copy to review.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

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

As soon as I saw this recipe on Gordon Ramsay's 'Ultimate Cookery Course' on Channel 4 I had to make it.  What a  fantastic show, everything he's made so far I want to make immediately! 

Gordon Ramsay

Spicy chilli beef served wrapped in gem lettuce with a lovely dipping sauce.

Lettuce Wraps

Absolutely delicious and very easy to make - finger food at it's best.

Monday, 9 July 2012

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.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Chocolate Ice Cream Bombe - Dessert

Chocolate lovers will just love this dessert - rich chocolate ice cream encased in slices of chocolate Swiss roll and topped with even more chocolate!
   It's really, really easy to make too - continue reading for my step by step picture instructions! 
 So the next time you have people round for dinner, it's well worth giving this a go. 

Monday, 26 December 2011

Mulled Wine - How to Make

Some mulled wines can taste like medicine, which is not what I was looking for and neither are you I'm sure.  After searching many recipes, Jean-Christophe Novelli's was the one.  

Lovely vanilla, star anise, cinnamon, lemon grass, cardamom pods, bay leaves and cloves, what's not to like?  I did titivate his recipe, but only very slightly...... 

recipe mulled wine

He did add a pomegranate to his but I couldn't get one. So with my way of thinking as Port also begins with a 'P' I thought a glass of Port would substitute nicely!  I also added dark Muscovado sugar.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Best Cranberry and Port Sauce - Very Easy to Make

Seriously easy Cranberry sauce with port. This recipe makes enough for loads of people.

All you need is Cranberries, port, a saucepan and a few other bits and bobs and you'll have the best cranberry and port sauce ever!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Seriously Good Coleslaw - easy to make

Coleslaw, easy to make for a Christmas or New Year's eve party.
I used to hate coleslaw and couldn't think why anyone would want to eat such a thing!  However, I suppose it's because I'd only ever encountered the stuff that comes in a plastic tub from the shop that was made at the very least, a few days ago.  Now when you have a go at making it yourself you end up with something completely different.
 With the addition of a few bits and bobs to the shredded veg you can whip up a great big bowl in next to no time.  If you are making it for a Christmas or New Years eve, party you can just double the amount.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Wishing Everyone a Very Happy 2011

I'd like to wish all the readers of this blog and all the very best for 2011

 A Very Happy New Year to you and your families, love from Jan xx

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Choi Sum in Oyster Sauce with Fried Shallots and Garlic

First of all, Happy Chinese New Year!  
A perfect side dish to any Chinese meal - choi sum.

Also spelt 'choy' sum is much the same as bok choi or pak choi, they are all part of the Chinese cabbage family.

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.