Honey Roast Pork Belly Strips with Anise

Nigel Slater used ribs for this brilliant recipe of his, Honey Roast Ribs with Star Anise.  But I didn't have any and was desperate to make it, so instead I used boneless pork belly strips and the end result was amazing.  

I chose quite lean belly slices, since some can be a lot more fatty but that said, most of the fat seemed to disappear during cooking and they just melted in your mouth.  

Honey Roast Pork Belly Strips

If you're thinking they look burnt, they wasn't but I can see you could easily burn them towards the end of cooking so you need to keep an eye on them.  Mine took 20 minutes less than Nigel Slater's recipe.

Spiced Lamb Patties in Pitta Bread

These are truly delicious, tasty and juicy little morsels.  They have a lovely sticky glaze to them due to the addition of mango chutney in the mixture.  Although these patties or mini burgers are spicy, I'd class them as nowhere near hot, but of course you can add more heat simply by adding more chilli.
Spiced Lamb Patties in Pitta Bread

 I particularly like Sharwood's Mango Chutney with Kashmiri Chillies.


LivLife - Bread with Half the Carbs

Great news for anyone either on a diet, or just wanting to eat more healthily.  You may or may not know that regular bread contains on average 42.7g carbohydrate per 100g, but imagine a bread that contains only 14.6g carbohydrate per 100g well here it is - LivLife Seriously Seeded Bread.  

LivLife bread
Okay so this bread has 50% less carbs per 100g compared to regular seeded, white and brown sliced loaves:

How to Keep the Colour in Cooked Vegetables

Okay I know this isn't anything new, but for anyone wondering how to keep vegetables looking bright it's so very easy to do.  Fantastic too if you're hosting a dinner party or cooking for a lot of people, since you prepare and cook the veg in advance.

To be honest this is what I do when cooking the Sunday roast (and there are only two of us), it's far less stressful I find as my kitchen is so tiny so at least I can clear away all those saucepans!


Nothing worse than soggy, dull looking broccoli or green beans that aren't actually green anymore!

Oh and in case you are loving the serving dishes as much as I do, they are from The Sabichi Dine In Collection.

NEW Baileys Chocolat Luxe - A Fusion of Baileys and Chocolate‎

Let me share a bit of news, for the first time real Belgian chocolate has been fused with alcohol in this new alcoholic drink, Baileys Chocolat Luxe.  

Chocolate liqueur - a multi-sensory experience of chocolate in a glass!
If you're already a lover of Baileys Original Irish Cream then you're sure to love this, and my guess is it will sell out fast especially in the run up to Christmas.
Baileys Chocolat Luxe

Created by Anthony Wilson, principal scientist and son of one of Baileys Original Irish Cream’s creators Steve Wilson, this latest innovation in drinks alchemy has been three years in the making. Traveling across three continents, Wilson was able to realise his vision that Baileys and real Belgian chocolate would be the perfect pairing.

The result is a unique drinking experience that brings together two favourite indulgences, Baileys and chocolate. 


Raclette Dinner Party - Recipe Ideas

Okay, I know Raclette grills have been about for ages, and I've always wanted one, but since our house is already overrun with more kitchen gadgets than you can shake a stick at, I've controlled myself from buying one.....till last week that is.

Oh my goodness they are such fun and I say everyone should rush out and get one immediately!
Relaxed and sociable eating along with drinking, a raclette meal can still be going on hours later.

What can be nicer than cooking your own meal at the table, picking and choosing for yourself just what you fancy?

Whoa, I've just noticed that cheese is missing from the table, I must have brought it out after the pictures - and in case you're wondering about drink....yes the wine hadn't got to the table at this point either!  The only slight problem I need to overcome is there isn't enough room at the table for anymore people once it's filled with the grill and all the food.

More about Raclette:
The name 'Raclette' refers to a meal and also to a type of cheese with the same name.  Which as yet I've not been able to find here in the UK, that said I haven't looked hard enough as I've discovered you can get it here.

Traditionally raclette is a dish is of melted cheese and boiled potatoes, served with small gherkins and pickled onions along with dried meats, ham and sausages etc.
These days we can now buy one as an electrical appliance called Raclette grills, which are table top machines.  They come with either a stone top or a metal griddle and or pancake griddle.
Raclette grills also come with individual melting pans (called coupelles) that sit underneath the top and are used to melt cheese or heat already cooked foods such as boiled potatoes.

The Food:
You can have whatever takes your fancy but cheese is a must.
Clockwise from the top starting with the Lazy Susan turntable;
Sliced mushrooms, sliced red and green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, sweetcorn, baby tomatoes.
Sliced new potatoes (feeling lazy myself I used the ones in a tin).
Thinly sliced strips of beef marinated in Jack Daniel's Hot Pepper Steak Sauce, thinly sliced chicken fillet marinated in Old El Paso Original Smoky BBQ spicy mix for fajitas.
Pepperoni, soured cream and chives (only because I had some living on the fridge which needed to be used up) and sliced onion.

The raclette grill came with 8 melting pans and since there were only two of us at this 'raclette party for two' I made a couple of dishes ready to take out to the table and for these pictures....coz once I've started eating and drinking, pictures just ain't gonna happen!

Here they are BEFORE being cooked:

Above is a concoction of egg (just crack into the melting pan) top with a slice of Monterey Jack cheese and sprinkle with a little paprika for a bit of colour.  Verdict, very moreish and truly delicious.

And my next concoction, a pizza style fiery mixture of cheesy goodness!

Into the melting pan, slices of cooked new potatoes, topped with a mix of grated cheeses fiery from the added crushed chillies (available in any good supermarket) add to that slices of pepperoni halved baby tomatoes a a couple of jalapeno peppers taken from a jar.  A few snipped chives, why? because I had some left from making the soured cream earlier.

All that's left to do is pop the pan underneath the raclette to bubble and melt then enjoy.
Check out some more of my raclette recipes.

I hope this post has made you want a raclette grill - yes or no?

Fridge Clearout Recipe - Ratatouille

Fantastic dish for using up any odd peppers and courgettes you might happen to have living in your fridge, and a great way for your family to eat more veg too!
With nice fresh crusty bread this is a meal on it's own, but ratatouille is perfect as a side dish to chicken or whatever else you fancy for that matter.

There's nothing tricky involved to make it either, which is great if you're not really into cooking but want something different for a change.

Htipiti - Greek Feta Cheese and Pepper Spread Recipe

So, you've just got back from a lovely holiday in Greece and now feel the need to make that truly delicious (and very moreish) Feta cheese dip you had there?

Well it's seriously easy to make and there's nothing fancy involved.
A good few years ago I wanted to know how to make it and of course I found Peter's recipe over at Kalofagas and I've made it regularly ever since - but a word of warning, it is addictive!

So all you need to do is put equal amounts of proper Greek Feta cheese and Ricotta into a bowl and mash along with a little olive oil with a fork till smooth.  100g of each make a reasonable amount of dip for 2 to 4 people.

Pierce a banana pepper or chilli pepper (so it doesn't explode) and then roast the pepper or peppers depending on how much dip you want to make, over a flame until they are charred.  Pop them into a plastic bag to cool.  The skins can then be removed easily along with the seeds.  Add the chopped pepper to the cheese mixture until you have the heat required - you can make it as hot as you like or not, it's up to you.
Finally drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Six Ways to Save Money While Eating at Restaurants

Visit Instawares Restaurant and Food Service Blog to get the latest news on what’s happening in the restaurant industry.
  If you are intent on saving money, you can simply avoid eating out altogether. But in some cases, you may not be able to skip the occasional eating out to a local restaurant. You may have grown tired of your brown-bagged lunch or have no time to prepare one. When you are hard-pressed to eat out, then consider the following six tips to minimize your restaurant check.

 1.    Select an entrée that has some extras thrown in. If you dine on a budget, your best options are entrées that come with a salad, soup, or dessert. If you can’t finish the rest of the food offerings, then take them home. You can also do the same when you eat breakfast at a fast food chain. You must order, at least, a meal that already includes your morning coffee so that you don’t end up paying for it separately.

2.    Go with an appetizer instead of an entrée. Appetizers like buffalo chicken wings or quesadillas are filling enough to be considered as meals. What’s special about appetizers is that they are normally less expensive. If you eat with a group of people, then you can save money when everyone orders and shares different appetizers. Everyone enjoys the variety of food offerings, too.

3.    Leave out the wine. In restaurants, liquor, soda, and fruit drinks are heavily marked up. This is true even for budget-friendly chain restaurants. Skip the drinks and stick to water. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.

4.    Stock up on discounted gift certificates from Restaurant.com. Some local restaurants offer $25 certificates you can buy for $10 and $50 certificates sold for $20.  Having these gift certificates handy inside your purse can help you save money when you are pressed to dine out with friends or coworkers.

5.    Take advantage of the cash back you can earn from accomplishing iDine.com surveys. Register to iDine and get from five to fifteen percent when you dine out provided you complete the survey within thirty days of your meal.  Every survey earns you cash back.  When your iDine earnings reach $20, you will receive an American Express gift card in the mail.

6.    Scour daily deals sites like Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com. They are your prime sources of restaurant discounts. Watching out for promotions featured in daily deals sites also helps you score inexpensive meals on newly opened restaurants in your area.


Best iPad Leather Case from The Snugg - Review

To say this is a really rather nice case for the iPad Mini from The Snugg is an understatement - I think you'll agree, it looks seriously good!

Whats-more, it lived up to my expectations and a bit like the name suggests, the iPad Mini fits snugly into this case and is very well protected without looking bulky. 

The elasticated strap you can see on the left side of the picture above is used to hold the iPad by sliding your hand into it when the case is folded backwards so there's no chance of it falling out of your hand when you're on the move.

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?

Cheat's Char-Grilled Pepper Salsa Recipe

My salsa recipe is so easy to make and requires no cooking at all.  Salsa adds vibrant colours to chicken or fish and of course Mexican dishes and as a dip for tortillas. 

No need to fuss around roasting or char-grilling peppers, just buy a jar of ready char-grilled ones and apart from a bit of chopping your all set to go.

So simple you don't really need a recipe - just throw the lot into a bowl as you go.
Chop into small dice a red onion, halve a few baby cherry tomatoes and finely chop one red chilli.
Take a few char-grilled red and yellow peppers from a jar and also chop into dice.

Dine In Collection from Sabichi - Review

The new 'Dine In' collection from Sabichi is both classy and modern.  Brilliant white porcelain bowls against the lovely rich colour of Acacia wood look so good together.  I really love the minimalist look of the whole 'Dine In' collection.

Fantastic for entertaining in style!

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