Steak and Guinness Pie

This has to be the best steak and Steak and Guinness pie ever!

Although I based this recipe on one from Jamie Oliver's book 'Happy Days with the Naked Chef' I then did my own thing with adding Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, sugar, stock and Coleman's mustard. The end result was double yum as I served it with cheesy mash and savoy cabbage.
***There is a method in my madness of the usual sealing the meat in the pan first as recipes usually suggest. This is because, the flour from the meat tends to stick to the bottom of the pan, so if you were to then put your vegetables in to brown they wont get done so nicely due to the left over flour, which will burn.......
So, when you've browned the vegetables, I find it best to remove them, do the meat and then add the veg back to the pan. Now the flour that is stuck to the bottom will come away easily when you add the Guinness, adding to the deliciousness of the recipe - da da!
Yes, that was another top 'Jan' tip I've given away!


Lime and Chilli Dip

I fancied making a dip to go with breaded chicken wrapped in soft chilli & jalapeno tortilla's.
I personally am a fan of the ones made by 'Discovery', they're not too hot - just right.

Now, I can't do with 'not too hot' so made a dip that was!
Seriously, this dip doesn't have to be too hot - just adjust the chilli you put in.

I always use 'Hellmanns' mayonnaise;
You will need:
8 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 lime - the zest and juice of
a little lemon juice - not quite half a lemon
2 red chillies - de-seeded and finely chopped
black pepper to taste
So simple to make:
Mix the mayonnaise, lime zest and juice, lemon juice together. Stir in the chopped chillies, a little at a time, until you get the taste that's right for you. Mix in a little black pepper and your all done.

A stroll around Much Wenlock, Shropshire

This post has nothing to do with food, it's just something I thought some people might find interesting. On Saturday just gone, we went for a walk around Much Wenlock. It's about 5 miles from where we live, so we went in the car, parked up and had a walk about. Anyway, here are a few pictures.

Picture Below;
The 'Police station' on the left is now someones house! It looks very similar to the old Police station in Ironbridge that has now become a really nice Indian restaurant.

Below; I had to take a picture of this - it's called 'The Mutton Shut' - you can read about it here.

Apparently 'shuts' were cobbled short cuts to other areas and usually named after nearby pubs. There is also a George and Dragon Shut in Much Wenlock.

Passing by some of the shops in Much Wenlock.

In this picture you can see a bit of a queue to get into butchers - I have heard from several people that it is such a good butchers that there is always a queue and at Christmas it goes into the next street!

You can read more about the history of Much Wenlock here

How to Make the Perfect Moussaka

I just love Greek food! I had a fit in my head yesterday and I 'needed' to make Greek foodie things.
I think you might have noticed by now that Moussaka is one of my favourites, which I do believe, I have now perfected!

Remember my first attempt to make cheese saganaki a while back? Well, I tried and failed - for some reason I decided that it must be deep fried (wrong)! All the batter went to the top of the fryer and the cheese, well most of it sank to the bottom and the result was a huge mess.

Anyway, you live and learn! This second attempt of mine was much better.
I just dipped the feta into egg, then into seasoned flour, then egg and flour again and shallow fried it........Success!


Pollo alla Cacciatora - Hunter's Chicken

Nigella Lawson was on the tele the other night, she was making ‘Pollo Alla Cacciatora’ (Hunter’s Chicken). I’ve never made it before, and last night I felt the need to have a go at it.

However, I looked into several versions of this recipe on the net and also looked at Jamie Oliver’s version he has in his book 'Jamie's Italy'.

Nigella’s sounded good and I like the fact that she added a can of cannellini beans to it. But as the recipe was from her ‘Nigella Express’ book it was therefore, was made very quickly. Obviously, this is the point of the book and programme, Nigella Express. Please don’t get me wrong, she makes loads of great recipes and I am a fan of her ‘Quick Chilli’ since I made it.

Lime Leaf Chicken with Sweet Chilli and Peanut Dipping Sauce

I saw these in the October issue of 'Olive' magazine and HAD to make them!
You can of course, make them bigger by just using more and chicken and using longer skewers. As suggested in the magazine I served them in shot glasses as canapes.

Lime leaves are available in most supermarkets now by 'Bart's' spices, however if you can find an Asian shop then you can be sure to buy a huge bag for the price you'd pay for a tiny handful in the supermarket.
They come freeze dried - however I have made a discovery! If you soak them in water for about half an hour, they come alive again! Rice vinegar is sold in most supermarkets too.

**Please note: The following amounts of ingredients are as stated in the magazine and are to make about 20 canapes.

What you need:
20 small wooded skewers
20 lime leaves
4 skinless chicken breast fillets - cut into small cubes
2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
1 teaspoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of runny honey
3 spring onions - finely chopped
2 tablespoons of lime zest
1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil

For the Dipping Sauce:
150ml rice vinegar
175g caster sugar
coriander - chopped to make about 1 tablespoon
1 red chili - de-seeded and finely sliced
1 tablespoon of roasted peanuts - ground

Hot to do it:
If your lime leaves are dried ones, soak your lime leaves in water for half an hour to soften them.

Mix together the garlic, fish sauce, honey, spring onions, lime zest and oil in a dish.
Add the chicken cubes and leave to marinade for at least half an hour in the refrigerator.

To make the dipping sauce:
Heat the rice vinegar and sugar. Once it comes to boil. turn the heat down and cook for about 5 minutes until thickened.
Remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
Now transfer the liquid to a jug (so it's easier to pour later). Once it has cooled completely stir in the remaining ingredients and pour into your shot glasses.

Meanwhile, thread each skewer with one lime leave.
Now you can fry your chicken cubes in pan until nicely cooked through.
Thread one piece of chicken onto each skewer and serve as pictured.
Serve immediately.


Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce

I saw this dessert in the Autumn issue of Woman and Home 'Feel Good Food' magazine.

Now I'm not into desserts but as we had Paul's mum and dad round last night I had to give these a go!


Chinese Special Fried Rice

This is a really good recipe for special fried rice.  It's just like the kind you get from a Chinese restaurant or take away.

After taking bits from one recipe and bits from another - then doing my own thing, I came up with this. I have to say it wasn't bad at all and I will be making this again when I feel the need to eat Chinese!

**Please don't miss out putting the chicken in the marinade as this makes the chicken so soft. It will not be the same if you don't do it.

Print Recipe

You will need: Plus the marinade below.
2 Cups of Rice – cooked and cooled ***See note at the bottom on storing cooked rice
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 and a 1/2 Teaspoons Sweet Soy Sauce (Ketjap Manis - sold in Tesco)
1/4 Teaspoon White Pepper
1 Skinless and Boneless Chicken Breast - cut into small cubes
80g of Cooked Prawns
60g of Cured Ham – diced into very small cubes
A Handful of Cooked Peas
1 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 Cloves Garlic - finely chopped
2 Eggs - lightly beaten

In a small bowl, mix together the following to make a marinade for the chicken:
1 Tablespoon Cornflour
1 Tablespoon of Dark Soy Sauce
1/2 a Tablespoon of Shaoxing or Rice Wine, such as Saki
1/2 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil

How to do it:
Marinade the chicken cubes in the above for half an hour of more.
Get your wok out, heat it up and add the oil. Fry the beaten eggs just for a few seconds - you don't want it cooked too much at this stage. Remove the egg, break into pieces and set aside.

Fry the garlic for a minute, now, remove the chicken from the marinade, drain and add to the wok, stir fry until it is almost cooked.
Now add the cooked rice and whilst giving it a good stir, add the ham, prawns, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, white pepper and continue to fry the rice for a couple of minutes.

Add the cooked peas and stir fry for a minutes or so. Make sure the chicken is cooked through.

Now return the egg to the wok, it will cook in a few seconds. Stir for another minute or so.

Serve immediately.

Read on if you want to know about how to store cooked rice to avoid food poisoning:

It's true that you could get food poisoning from eating reheated rice. But it's not actually the reheating that's the problem – it's the way the rice has been stored before reheating.

Uncooked rice can contain spores of Bacillus cereus, bacteria that can cause food poisoning. When the rice is cooked, the spores can survive. Then, if the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will germinate into bacteria. These bacteria will multiply and may produce toxins (poisons) that cause vomiting or diarrhoea. Reheating the rice won't get rid of these toxins.

So, the longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that bacteria, or the toxins they produce, could stop the rice being safe to eat.It's best to serve rice when it has just been cooked. If that isn't possible, cool the rice as quickly as possible (ideally within one hour) and keep it in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating.Remember that when you reheat any food, you should always check that it's piping hot all the way through, and avoid reheating more than once.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Pork in Batter Recipe

After reading loads of recipes for Chinese sweet and sour pork in batter, I came up with this. This recipe is well worth making the effort - it was serioulsy good.

 The pork was so tender - you have to use pork tenderloin I'd say or it will not be half as nice.


Pork Chops with Apple, Sage and Stilton

I came across this in a Jamie Oliver book 'Cook with Jamie' and had to give it a go - Pork, cheese, apples - my kind of food! So this is Jamie's recipe but in my words!

What you need:
Two Boneless Pork Loin Chops - get nice big fat ones!
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste
Olive Oil
2 Eating Apples - unpeeled, cored and each cut into 4 wedges
A Few Fresh Sage Leaves - left whole
Two Big Chunky Slices of Stilton (or whatever cheese you fancy, but a nice strong one would be better)

How to do it:
Preheat the oven to 200C/400°F or Gas 6

Lay the pork chops out on a board and, using a sharp knife, make 1-inch-deep cuts all along the fatty side of them. This will help to make the skin nice and crispy. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper.
Pour a glug of olive oil into a hot frying pan. Place your chops in it and cook them for 4 to 6 minutes (depending on their thickness) on each side until golden brown.

When the chops are nearly done, add the apples to the pan and cook till nice and golden and on their way to getting soft.

Now,lift them out of the pan and put them in a lightly oiled baking tray.
Put the wedges of apple on top of each pork chop and dip your sage leaves in the pan oil just to dress them. Place the leaves on top of the apples.
Add the Stilton. Put them into the oven for 4 to 6 minutes until everything is golden and melted.

They should at this stage, look something like this:

When they come out of the oven the cheese should have melted nicely.

I served mine with some shredded savoy cabbage - just stir fried on Worcestershire sauce along with some mustard mash (just mashed potato with wholegrain mustard stirred though).
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