Slow Cooker Mediterranean Stew

I'm quite pleased with myself as I made this up as I went along.  I wasn't sure what to call it, but yes, I'm calling it a stew.
I had stuff in the fridge that needed using, peppers etc.  Of course, you can add whatever else you fancy
If you have a bread maker, get that on the go too - and when you get home you'll have nothing do but pour some wine - large glass of red for me please!

Beef, Ale and Barley Stew with a Mustard Suet Crust

Just the thing for cold weather, a rich beef, ale and barley stew topped with a mustard suet crust. 
You could of course, easily make this into a pie - I was just trying to be fancy!

Spicy Chicken Curry for the Slow Cooker

Nice and spicy Chicken Curry for when you're not in a hurry like Nigella Lawson!  This is probably the nicest tasting curry ever so it's well worth the little extra bit of effort toasting spices etc.  Oh, and it freezes well too.

slow cooker chicken curry

Adapted from a Gordon Ramsay's Spicy Beef Curry recipe from his book Healthy Appetite.  I decided that it could also be made with chicken.  So I followed it to a point, then put the lot into a slow cooker.


National Curry Week with Cobra Beer - Celebrate with 2 for 1 Curry Deals

This week 21st to 27th of November is National Curry Week!  To celebrate this, Cobra Beer is working with curry houses across the UK to spice up the Nation’s favourite regional dishes.
Cobra Beers (made-for-curry beer) having teamed up with culinary talent and best-selling Indian cookery writer Pat Chapman.  Cobra conducted a survey which identified the nation’s top ten favourite regional foods.
Various ‘Br-Indian’ versions were then created of each of the nation’s ten favourite traditional dishes. While the humble Yorkshire pudding has been named Britain’s number one favourite regional dish, the results of the survey also includes the Cornish pasty, the Devonshire cream tea, the Bakewell tart, haggis and Welsh rarebit – all of which have been ‘curried’ in celebration
of Cobra National Curry Week 2010.
Ten new delicious recipes – including:
Devonshire cream chai, a spice-infused take on the teatime classic served with chilli jam.  Ha-ghee-s’, Traditional Haggis served with Curry Sauce 
and even ‘Pie, Madras and Liquor’!  An Eastern twist on the East end favourite will be sold in participating regional Indian restaurants across the country throughout Cobra National Curry Week 2010.
200 years on since the very first curry house opened in Britain in 1810.
But for those wanting to eat more traditional dishes, Cobra has also teamed up with 500 restaurants across Britain to offer a two for one promotion on main meals from Monday 21st November to Thursday 25th November with the purchase of Cobra Beer.
Just log onto or for details of your nearest participating curry house.  You can also find the recipes and details of the curry houses selling the special dishes during National Curry Week.

Competition - Linda McCartney Foods in Search of UK'S Tastiest Meat Free Dish

 Linda McCartney Foods launched a new campaign to find the UK's tastiest meat free dish.   Linda McCartney Foods, the family favourite, is looking for budding chefs across the UK to submit their tastiest vegetarian dish by January 2011 - with the winner's dish joining the Linda McCartney Foods range!  This dish will hit the shelves next September.
Following the successful launch of the Meat Free Monday campaign in June 2009, the new Kitchen Table campaign continues to support meat reduction. The kitchen was always considered the heart of the Linda McCartney home and much of Linda's inspiration for her dishes was created around the kitchen table. So with winter looming, there is no better time to gather with your family round your kitchen table, put on your aprons and start cooking.

Linda McCartney's love of vegetarian food enabled people to have confidence, enthusiasm and know-how to prepare home-cooked meat-free meals for all the family.  This passion continues today with Linda McCartney Foods offering the UK public the chance to create a dish that will join the current range.

James Gentle, Marketing Manager at Hain Frozen Foods said: "The search for the tastiest meat-free dish is the natural next step of taking the Linda McCartney brand passion for wholesome delicious meals for all, to the next level. Many people still think meat-free equals taste free! We are very excited to directly engage with our customers this way and create a new meal by the people and for the people. The campaign will bring some much needed new life into the category."
How to Enter:
From 22nd November 2010, hopefuls will have ten weeks to submit their recipes until 28 January 2011. From here a judging panel will whittle down the entries to just three finalists who will receive a Baumatic oven of their choice*.
In addition Linda McCartney Foods will come to your hometown to create a mini documentary of you creating your tastiest meat free dish which will then be aired on ITV in April 2011. 
The next Linda McCartney dish will be chosen by the public through online votes and announced in late April 2011. 
In addition the winner will receive a handmade kitchen table provided by world renowned English Furniture maker Titchmarsh & Goodwin.

To enter and for further information on the Linda McCartney Food's search for the UK's tastiest meat free dish visit

*Finalists will be able to choose from a selection of three Baumatic cookers

Garlic and Coriander Naan Bread - Easy Recipe

I've made naan a few times before but I must say these were the best yet, really soft and perfectly cooked and looked the part too; although my photo isn't too amazing.   But all in all they were totally yummy and that's all that matters! This recipe was adapted from one by the lovely Madhur Jaffery.

Garlic and Coriander Naan

A Quick Word on Yeast:
You really need to use Dried Active Yeast for hand baking and not Easy Bake or Fast Action.  Easy bake yeast is suited to bread machine and you will not get the same result.
How do I know these things?  Because I made this mistake in the past and my naan turned out horrid and hard!

Print Recipe

To make 4 to 6 naan you will need:
150ml warm milk
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons dried active yeast
450g plain flour
1/2 a teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus a little extra
150ml natural yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

You will also need:
5 fat garlic cloves and a big handful of coriander leaves finely chopped and mixed with a tiny amount of oil - just to make the mixture spreadable.

How to do it:
Put the milk in a bowl. Add just 1 tsp of the sugar, and the yeast. Stir to mix. Set aside for 15-20 minutes or until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture is frothy.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 tsp sugar, the yeast mixture, 2 tbsp vegetable oil and the yogurt and egg. Mix and form a ball of dough.
Empty the ball of dough on to a clean surface and knead it for 10 minutes or more, until it is smooth. Form into a ball.

Pour a teeny amount of oil into a large mixing bowl and roll the ball of dough in it. Cover the bowl with a piece of cling film and set aside in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Pre-heat your oven to the highest temperature.  Put the heaviest baking tray you own to heat in the oven.

Punch down the dough and knead it again. Divide into 6 equal balls. Keep five of them covered while you work with the sixth.

Roll this ball into a tear-shaped naan, about 8 inches in length and about 6 at its widest.  Mine wasn't exactly the perfect shape but hey-ho does it really matter?!
Spread over the garlic and coriander mixture over each naan.

Now remove the hot baking tray from the oven and put the naan on to it, you can do 2 at a time.  Put the tray back into the oven immediately for 5 or 6 minutes. They should puff up nicely.

Remove from the oven and brush each naan with a little ghee or melted butter, wrap in foil to keep warm and soft while you make the others.  When you're done serve straight away.

Tate and Lyle - We Love Baking Competition

Tate and Lyle will be appearing at the 'Taste of Christmas' event at the Excel Conference in London from 3-5 December 2010.
 'Taste of Christmas' is London's largest festive food and drink event, where you can shop for Christmas gifts and have a great day out, over 30,000 people are expected to attend.
Tate and Lyle will be appearing with their 'We Love Baking' stall (stand 308) bringing their Facebook Community to life.  A selection of different baking master class events will be hosted, as well as recipe cards being handed out.

In celebration of this event, Tate and Lyle are organizing a competition! Prizes up for grabs include baking goodies courtesy of Holly Cupcakes, a stylish apron from Posh Pinnies, plus VIP tickets to the event.
For a chance to win, all you have to do is simply send a photo of your Christmas Cake, Snowy Cupcakes or Festive Christmas creations to by Tuesday, 30th November 2010.

Please follow this link for more information and Terms and Conditions.

Kitchen Shears from Pampered Chef - Review

I was very kindly sent a pair of Pampered Chef kitchen shears to review from Julie of Tulips Kitchen. Since writing this post back in 2010 I've removed the link as it seems Tulips Kitchen isn't being updated any longer. 😞 

I have to add that I'm updating this post and it's now 2017 and these kitchen shears have had a LOT of use and are still perfect.  Every time I use them they go in the dishwasher and as I say they are still in perfect shape.

I found the shears to be excellent, they do a great job at snip snipping their way through chicken joints, bones and all!  They're made from stainless steal and they are sharp.  

The shears are also suitable for snipping herbs and spring onions.  They come with a 3 year guarantee (for non-commercial use) and are dishwasher safe.

Pampered Chef Kitchen Shears
The shears have a safety catch to keep them closed and can be stored safely in their hard plastic cover.

Pampered Chef Kitchen Shears close up

Here they are open and ready to snip!

Pampered Chef Kitchen Shears open

Disclosure: Many thanks to Tulips Kitchen for sending me these to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not required to write anything positive.

Toad in the Hole with Brown Onion and Madeira Gravy

 Yummy, yummy, but I took the picture before the gravy and then forgot to take another.  So, no gravy to be seen here but the recipe is below!
I only used 6 sausages since there are only two of us - this will easily serve 4 you just need 8 sausages.

Jerk Chicken with Rice and Black Eyed Peas

Nice and juicy, spicy chicken - adapted from Levi Roots recipe.
Top tip - be sure to wear rubber gloves when chopping a Scotch bonnet chilli as they are a bit hot!
Just serve with rice and peas.  You can of course add another chilli if you wish.


Tesco's Christmas Cupcake Decortating Competiton

 Tesco Real Food has just launched a Christmas cupcake decorating competition!
Two lucky winners will get to spend an afternoon of baking alongside a celebrity chef on Friday 10th December 2010 in London! There are also 10 runner up prizes of a cupcake decorating kit.
  All you have to do it pop over to the Tesco Real Food and upload a photo of your cupcake.
There will be 2 winners and they will be judged on the attractiveness of their cupcake - well that counts me out then!!  I am so useless when it comes to baking.  I did find the Tesco cupcake recipe easy to follow and I'm quite sure anyone can do better then me, so have a go! 
 The last day for entries is Monday 29th November.

For ideas and cupcake recipes pop over to the Tesco Real Food website.
It's packed with thousands of inspiring, delicious recipes to suit any occasion. Whether you're looking for a quick mid-week meal for the family or something for a special event, you are sure to find exactly what you're looking for. 
In addition, a range of step-by-step cooking tips and videos to help improve kitchen skills can be found, as well as healthy eating and a cooking with kids sections. To make shopping even easier, every recipe has a ready-made shopping list that can be used to add all the ingredients to your shopping basket in just a few clicks.


CSN Stores and a Review of Jamie Oliver Grill Pan

I was asked to do a review of a product from CSN Stores UK.  I choose this Jamie Oliver Grill Pan by Tefal.  The pan is made from cast aluminum and it's of course non-stick.  When the heat spot turns solid red and you know you're ready to cook!
 Another good thing is the whole pan can go into the oven up to 260C.
Last night I used it for the first time and gave it a good test - for it's first time of being used I made jerk chicken. 
I really ought to have taken a picture - the grill pan looked like it was totally ruined!  Sticky chicken pieces with spicy sauce burnt on.  I thought I'd never get it clean. As you can see by the above picture I did - and it took all of 3 minutes to get it looking like new.  It can go into a dishwasher but personally I wouldn't put such a nice pan into a dishwasher just in case it did harm it.
I let it cool (as it says to in the booklet that came with it) and put it into hot soapy water and all the burnt bits just came away easily. 

CSN Stores are really quick to deliver - I ordered this on Thursday and it arrived Saturday! It was perfectly packaged too.
Delivery is FREE with CSN Stores on almost everything over £40 so why not pop over now and take a look for yourself.
Click here for CSN Stores UK and here for CSN Stores USA and Canada.
Thank you again to Eileen at CSN Stores.


Pan Fried Pork Chops with Juniper Berries and Peppercorns

Spicy, aromatic, dark berries of the juniper tree can be used fresh or dried, crushed or whole, to flavour casseroles, marinades and stuffing's.
The other night I felt the need to make a sort of spice rub for pork chops.  The chops had a lovely dark colour and crispiness round the edges from the small amount of sugar in the rub.
Juniper berries can also be used in sweet dishes such as fruitcake. Juniper berries also provide the main flavouring for gin.

CSN Stores - Everything from Bedroom Furniture to Cookware!

 'CSN Stores has amazing online stores where you can find everything from beautiful Bedroom Furniture to great cookware to chic lighting pieces!
I've been asked to review another product from CSN stores, so as soon as it arrives I will be doing a post.  
Oooh what will I order?!
Before you buy anything online, pop over to CSN Stores because with such a wide range of products, they're sure to have what you're looking for and at a great price too!
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