Showing posts with label Starter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Starter. Show all posts

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Tefal ActiFry - Sweet Chilli Chicken Wings

Much excitement in our house when a Tefal ActiFry arrived last week.  I've wanted one for an age as I've been curious to see if the ActiFry really is as good as people say.  I mean really?  Chips cooked in just a spoonful of oil can't taste good can they?  Fact is they do!
Chips was the first thing I cooked - within an hour of this machine arriving chips had to happen.  Soft and fluffy on the inside, crispy (yes really) on the outside, but we'll talk about chips another day.....

Chicken wings with a nice sweet and spicy coating topped with toasted sesame seeds are so good to eat.  But for good measure I wanted more - how about if they were coated in a Chinese Five Spice batter, fried using hardly any oil, and then coated in Sticky Sweet Chilli goodness - how does that sound?    




















Would the batter actually stay on the wings or would my bright idea turn into a disaster?  Read on to find out.

My ActiFry arrived as a result of a challenge set by Tefal which was to cook my guilty pleasure.  The lovely Camilla over at Fab Food 4 All was sent an ActiFry for the challenge.  Once she had cooked her guilty pleasure she had to nominate someone else to take on the challenge and she chose me - Cheers Camilla!

On with my Sweet Chilli Chicken Wings. You will notice the batter is quite thick - I decided it would have more chance staying on the wings once cooking in the ActiFry.

Print Recipe

https://sites.google.com/a/aglugofoil.com/a-glug-of-oil/home/tefal-actifry-sweet-chilli-chicken-wings





You will need a Tefal ActiFry:
20 chicken wings
40g plain
40g cornflour
1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
1 egg - free range of course and lightly beaten
50ml water

*You will also need 1 tablespoon oil for cooking in the ActiFry

The sauce isn't anything tricky - mix together in a small bowl and set aside:
100ml (half a bottle) Sweet Chilli Sauce (Blue Dragon original dipping sauce) available in any good supermarket.
1 tablespoon Ketjap Manis - Indonesian sweet soy sauce - just use dark soy if you can't get it
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
a couple of tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds to sprinkle

How to do it:
Put the flour and cornflour into a bowl along with the Chinese Five Spice and add the egg and give it a good mix.  Add the water and whisk till there aren't any lumps.  The batter will be quite thick but fear not - it will be fine. No need to add salt to this mixture just the five spice will be fine.  

Trim the very end part (the bit with no meat) off of each chicken wing and discard.  Pop them into a large bowl and pour over the batter.  Mix using your hand to coat each wing well.
Add the wings one at a time to the ActiFry.  Drizzle with one spoonful of oil, shut the lid and set the time to 30 minutes. 

Now after a few minutes of cooking I thought I'd done a wrongen - oh my, the batter wasn't looking good in the ActiFry.  BUT after 15 minutes it all looked okay and although the wings didn't stay perfectly coated they were looking good.
In any case these wings were going to get a coating of sticky sweet chilli goodness and since they weren't being judged by Monica on MasterChef it really didn't matter.

Once they emerge from the ActiFry using tongs as they are piping hot, coat each wing in the sticky sauce and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.  The wings were perfectly cooked and not at all dry.  Yep we're very impressed with the Tefal Actifry. 


The #ActiFry Guilty Pleasure Challenge:
I'm nominating Jo over at Jo's Kitchen to receive an ActiFry from Tefal and take on the Tefal #ActiFry challenge - can't wait to see what Jo will cook!

Pop over to see how Camilla got on with the #ActiFry guilty pleasure over at Fab Food 4 All.

Do you have a Tefal ActiFry?  If so please tell me your favorite recipe in a comments below.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Tefal for sending me an ActiFry Family along with a few goodies and a Salisbury's gift voucher.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not required to write anything positive.  
  

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Spicy Red Pepper and Sweet Paprika Soup

Rich, vibrant, thick and creamy warming soup is perfect for these cold 'almost winter' like days.  Homemade soup is really easy to make and the best thing is you can make up your own flavours combinations.  With good quality ingredients soup takes no time at all to make especially in a soup maker. 


Make the best of those bargains you see in your local supermarket or better still your local farm shop or greengrocer. Whether you use a soup maker to do the work for you, or manually cook your soup and then blend with a stick (immersion) blender is up to you.  I used a soup maker by Judge Cookware and the result was excellent.  Soup can be frozen too so you always have some ready for for lunch on those lazy do nothing days.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Low Fat - Greek-style Baked Yogurt Tomatoes Peppers Onions and Chilli

 National Yogurt Week runs from 19th to the 25th May and is a celebration of all things yogurt!  
Yogurt is a fantastic versatile, convenient and great food staple suitable for the whole family.  Containing a range of nutrients important in a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle yogurt is an amazing food product.

  Having been asked to come up with a recipe that uses yogurt for National Yogurt Week, the first thought that came to mind was the much loved Greek dish 'Bouyiourdi' which is in my opinion is totally addictive.  Usual ingredients are Feta, Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions and Chilli sprinkled with Oregano. 
But - no feta cheese is used here, my version is far Lower in Calories and Fat - yogurt replaces the feta.
   Yes you can bake Greek yogurt! 

 
  Of course, traditionally this dish uses Feta but my version is not only lower in fat and calories but more to the point, it tastes pretty good too.
          For further information on all things yogurt please visit Love Yogurt.org.
  You can follow LoveYogurt UK on Facebook and Twitter too @LoveYogurtUK

Print Recipe

https://sites.google.com/a/aglugofoil.com/a-glug-of-oil/low-fat---greek-style-baked-peppers-and-onions

 On with my recipe - to serve 4 you will need:
4 shallow dishes - I used tapas dishes
1 x 500g tub of Greek yogurt
 olive oil
sea salt
Dried Chilli flakes
Dried Oregano
2 ripe tomatoes - thinly sliced
2 medium sized red onions - thinly sliced 
3 fat cloves of garlic - peeled and very finely chopped
1 x jar of roasted peppers in oil - drained
1 long green chilli pepper - medium heat, deseeded and thinly sliced

 
   How to do it:
Preheat your oven to 200C/400F or Gas 6
Spoon a dollop of Greek yogurt into the bottom of each dish.  Top with a layer of onion, tomato, roasted peppers, garlic and chilli flakes.  Sprinkle with a little salt and a few more chilli flakes along with a little oregano.  Repeat this then drizzle with a little oil.
Pop the dishes into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes - by this time the yogurt should have taken on a firm but springy texture and look quite like feta.
Once cooked, serve immediately with slices of crusty bread for dipping.


 Other Yummy Yogurt Recipes by Food Bloggers for National Yogurt Week can be found here:
Rich Chocolate Cake by Michelle
       
Disclosure:  I was compensated for my time creating this recipe for National Yogurt Week 
   

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Simple Recipe Ideas - using Maille Vinegar Mustard and Oil

Maille are are famous for their outstanding range of mustard's, vinegars, oils, dressings and pickles and they recently sent me a few products to try.  
I'm already a huge fan of Maille Dijon Mustard, Wholegrain Mustard with White Wine and Black Olives and also their Balsamic Vinegar. 


I must admit I'd never tried Maille Tomate Séchée - Sherry Vinegar with Sun-dried Tomatoes or Maille Ail et Citron - Mustard with White Wine, Lemon and Garlic and I couldn't wait to give them a go.

So what to make using these lovelies from Maille?  
  I marinated chicken pieces in Maille Ail et Citron Mustard (mixed with a tiny splash of olive oil) for about 30 minutes before threading onto skewers along with red and yellow bell peppers.  I then char-grilled them on a very hot griddle pan - Simple, and very tasty.


Of course I also wanted to try the Tomate Séchée.  I rather fancied some sauteed peppers, onions and tomatoes so I added a splash of the tomato vinegar during cooking which really gave the pepper mixture a lovely slightly tangy taste.  In a separate pan I added a little olive oil and over a high heat, stir-fried some cubes of ciabatta bread to make croutons which I then tossed through the cooked peppers, onions and tomatoes.  The whole thing took under 15 minutes, if that.


  Maille Velours de Balsamique - This Balsamic Vinegar Glaze is perfect for making a balsamic dipping oil for bread.  Just mix together 1 part Maille Balsamic Glaze with 2 parts of extra virgin olive oil and serve with chunks of ciabatta along with a few olives.  A perfect pre-dinner appetizer. 

  
Maille products are easily available in the UK and they’ve even opened their own Mustard Boutique which can be found in London’s Piccadilly Arcade.  Or you can pop over Maille and order online.

This post featuring Maille products was commissioned by Maille for a fee.  I was sent the Maille products mentioned to try.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

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.  

Monday, 25 November 2013

SousVide Supreme Party Food Made Easy - Indian Spiced Lamb Patties

Last month I made a selection of starter course dishes that were all ideal for entertaining and were made using the SousVide Supreme water oven.  For the month of November with Christmas and New Year coming up fast, I'm making party food and the main part of each recipe can be prepared in advance, ready to cook using the Sous Vide cooking method.
These Mini Indian Spiced Lamb Patties can be made now and frozen in the special vacuum pouches ready to pop into the water oven on party day.  To serve,all that's left to do is a 30 second turn in oil in a very hot pan to give the patties colour then pop each one onto mini naan breads, garnish and enjoy!


The great thing about this method of cooking is these lamb patties can sit in the water oven for hours and they will still be cooked to a perfect medium-rare (or however you choose) ready to brown and they can be ready when you are.  
 
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.

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 

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.

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.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Thai Red Curry Foam - YOKO Design Cream Whipper Video

 Cream Whippers are not all about Cream!
There are so many more amazing things you can do with them once you've mastered using it.  That said, they are not at all difficult to use, it's just about getting your recipe right.  


 At first my Thai red curry foam either set too much or didn't set enough.  But I wasn't going to let a cream whipper get the better of me, so I now have the recipe perfected.  I'm still learning new things but in my video I'll show you how to use one and just a couple of things you can create with a cream whipper.

My video shows how to make a cold Thai Red Curry Foam that's great for serving as a starter by adding a few Prawns and there's Fizzy Fruit!
I've also mastered edible coffee but I'll show you that later on in this blog.

Soft Touch Cream Whipper 500ml:
Now, there are many cream whippers out there to choose from, but it has to be said very few are as stylish as this one by YOKO Design.
This good-looking Soft Touch Cream Whipper is available in bright green, bright orange or black.

 Smooth and soft to the touch, perfect for vegetable or fruit mousses, sauces, and hot or cold creams.  The cream whipper comes with three innovative nozzles, so you can be as creative as you like.  Everything is easy to clean with the bottle brush provided.
Requires nitrous oxide gas cartridges (not included in the box) but sold separately.  It is made from aluminium and is rubber coated.

Apologies in advance for my not too professional video! 

*If the video doesn't show on your device it can be found here.

My recipe for Thai Red Curry Foam can be printed by clicking on the icon below.

A short while ago I reviewed the YOKO Design Silicone Cooking Bag, Popcorn Maker and Omelette Cooker - you can find my post and video here.  
YOKO Design products can be purchased from Emporium Direct over at Amazon.

Many thanks to Sergio at YOKO Design for sending me this amazing cream whipper.
All opinions and thoughts are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.  I only ever post reviews on products I like the look of, and therefore would buy myself.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Sweet Chilli Pork Patties and Mincing your own Meat!

This recipe came about as a result of trying out my shiny new Multi-function mincer by Judge.  I had to mince something to test it out and as pork came to mind - sweet chilli pork patties had to happen. 
    I never buy prepacked ready made burgers because you just don't know what you're going to get.  I always buy good quality mince but it has to be said there's nothing better than to mince your own meat so you know exactly what you're eating!

 To make 6 to 8 small patties you will need:
a glug of vegetable oil for frying
360g minced pork (approx 3 pork loin steaks)
3 spring onions - chopped
1 red chilli pepper - de-seeded and finely chopped
2 nice fat cloves of garlic - finely chopped
1 egg - yolk only and free range of course
2 teaspoons of Mirin - Japanese sort of sweet rice wine
2 teaspoons of Ketjap Manis - Indonesian sweet soy
salt and black pepper to season

How to do it:
Chop your ingredients and either mince your pork loin steaks in the Judge Mincer (after removing all the fat) or use ready minced pork with a low fat content.
Put the mince into a bowl along with the spring onions, chilli, garlic, egg yolk, Mirin and Ketjap Manis along with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
Mix together well but don't over mix or the mixture will become 'over processed' and look quite horrid.

Shape into 6 or 7 small patties or of course 2 nice fat burgers - whichever takes your fancy.
Heat up a frying pan large enough to cook them all at the same time.
You can fry a tiny amount of the mixture and have a taste to check the seasoning if you wish.
Fry the patties until they're nicely cooked through.  The exact time of course will depend on how big you make them, so I'll leave that to you to decide.
Whatever, don't over cook as there isn't any fat they will soon end up dry.
I served my patties in warm pitta bread with salad and skinny chips.

 Well here's the mincer by Judge:
This easy to use hand powered rotary mincer by Judge has steel mincing plates giving you the choice of course and fine.  It also comes with a four-shape cookie press.

It is relatively easy to clean although the mincer isn't dishwasher safe and so personally I'd recommend using an antibacterial spray after washing and before rinsing again.

 And on to the test:
The mincer was easy to assemble. There's a clamp to hold the mincer in place whilst in use.  It will stick to many different work surfaces - I tried wood and that worked too.
 However, I found the rubber suction doesn't work for more than a minute or so without making the rubber bottom damp and the instructions didn't mention that.  Paul the husband that never ever cooks a thing, said it was obvious to him that you would need to make it damp.....Okay, well he was correct and the problem was remedied in a second!
Once the rubber bottom was made damp by wiping with a cloth the mincer wasn't moving for anyone until you released it by the clamp of course.
Ten out of ten for good grip!

And now the mincing:
 Too easy to use - cut your choice of meat into cubes trimming off any fat and pop into the top along with the plunger thingy.  This was one of the pork loin steaks I used to make the patties.   
Attach the handle, and away you go.
 Make pork patties knowing you're eating only good things.
This mincer retails at around £16 for more information can be found over at www.judge.co.uk
Thank you to Pam for sending me this to review.

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