Friday, January 30, 2015

Recipe: Cheery Lemon Cheesecake

Now THAT is a ruddy cheesecake! Haha, so happy how this turned out, when I was taking it out of the tin I was practically laughing with happiness in my kitchen- my neighbours must think I'm completely barmy. They probably aren't wrong actually. This is creamy, tangy, with a sweet cheerio base, and it's also MASSIVE, so it's good for feeding a lot of people.

Cheery Lemon Cheesecake (serves 10)

150g Cheerios
90g butter
1kg cream cheese
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
325g lemon curd
85g sugar
1 x 4g sachet gelatine powder
100ml warm water
Optional: couple of slices of lemon for garnish

1) Blitz the Cheerios in a food processor to a fine crumb. Melt the butter, mix in the Cheerios, and press firmly into a loose bottomed 20cm tin.
2) Mix the gelatine powder in the warm water until dissolved. Mix the cream cheese, lemon zest and juice, lemon curd, sugar and gelatine mixture until very well combined. Pour into the tin, and set in the fridge for at least 5 hours.
3) Remove from the tin, and garnish as desired. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Recipe: Roasted Squash and Bacon Fusilli

Butternut squash is just the loveliest thing to roast- turns a slightly sweet and plain-ish vegetable into a delicious nutty smoky delight. Combined with bacon and rosemary in this pasta dish, it is just fabulous. Feel free to use whichever sort of pasta shape you want, i just fancied using fusilli with this one. 

Roasted Squash and Bacon Fusilli (serves 2)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
Salt and pepper
20g butter
250g smoked bacon, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150g mushrooms, sliced
1 spring fresh rosemary, finely chopped
300ml double cream
150ml skimmed milk
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
250g fusilli
90g grated mature cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste

1)  Preheat the oven to 200C. In a roasting tray, toss the butternut squash in the oil with a little salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 50 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2)  In a saucepan, fry the bacon in the butter for 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic and rosemary, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the cream, milk and mustard, and cook on a medium heat for 4 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, fill another saucepan with salted water, and cook the fusilli according to packet instructions. Drain, and add to the creamy sauce with the roasted squash. Stir until all ingredients are well combined and hot, season to taste, and serve, topped with the grated cheddar.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Recipe: Tangy Pork and Green Vegetable Stir Fry

I practically licked the plate clean with this one, absolutely delicious! Finely sliced stir fry pork, stir fried with tender green vegetables, in a tangy sweet oyster sauce. Mange tout seems horrifically expensive in the shops (£12 a kilo!?!?), but I guess that's because they aren't in season. Eh, when you want something, you want it I guess!

Tangy Pork and Green Vegetable Stir Fry (serves 2)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
250g pork stir fry strips
1 tsp hot chilli flakes
1 white onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
120g courgettes, sliced
120g mange tout
120g broccoli
2 tbsp fresh basil
100ml vegetable stock
2 x 120g Blue Dragon Oyster and Spring Onion sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Juice of half a lime
30g almonds
Noodles, to serve

1)      Mix together the vegetable stock, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and the lime juice. In a large wok, fry the pork in the oil on a high heat for 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, chilli flakes, courgettes, fresh basil, mange tout and broccoli, and stir fry for a further 4 minutes.
2)      Add the oyster sauce mixture. Cook on a high heat for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. Garnish with almonds, and serve with noodles or rice as desired. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Recipe: Sweet Potato Pie

Gosh, this really isn't going to last long in the fridge- I'm supposed to be taking half of it into work tomorrow but part of me wants to keep it all to myself! This is my attempt at making a sort of American style "Pumpkin pie", with the traditional spices and flavourings, but made with sweet potatoes- mainly because they are more easily available round where I am (unless it's Halloween you don't really see pumpkins in the shops do you??), cheap and I find them much easier to prepare than pumpkin (I find the tough peel with pumpkins very fiddly). Pre-bought tart case, so a cheat's recipe again, but I'm sure your dinner guests wouldn't be complaining!

Sweet Potato Pie (serves 6)

450g peeled and diced sweet potato
1 large egg
80g crème fraiche
100g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp gingerbread syrup
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 x 195g Edlers Sweet Pastry Case

1)      Preheat oven to 180C. Boil the sweet potato for about 25 minutes or until soft. Drain and mash. Mix with the crème fraiche, caster sugar, syrups, mixed spice and vanilla extract.
2)      Pour the Sweet potato mix into the tart case. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow at least 1 hour cooling in the fridge before serving. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Recipe: Tuna and Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake

I'm pretty sure almost every household will have a tuna pasta bake recipe- it's nice and simple, is popular with both kids and grown ups, and uses a tinned protein which is a good way of making sure you don't waste any valuable meat or fish that ends up going out of sell-by in the fridge.

Tuna and Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake
1 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

250g penne
40g butter
35g plain flour
300ml skimmed milk
90g cheddar, grated
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
2 x 160g Princes tin tuna chunks in sunflower oil, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp golden breadcrumbs

1)      Preheat an oven to 200C. Put the onion, carrot, pepper, rosemary, olive oil and salt and pepper in a roasting tray, and roast this for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
2)      Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the penne according to packet instructions, drain and set aside. In the same saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour, and gradually add the milk (forming a basic white sauce).
3) Add half of the grated cheese, reserved roasted vegetables, cooked penne, parsley, garlic, and tuna, and stir in until everything is well combined. Season to taste, and pour this mixture into an oven-proof dish.
4) Top with the other half of cheddar, and the breadcrumbs, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Put under a hot grill for about 5 minutes, until the top has become golden, and serve!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Recipe: Spaghetti Napolitana, With Caprese Topping

In my opinion, there is nothing as simple, as classic, and as delicious, as spaghetti napolitana- and I think every household, whether it's in Italy, America or good old Blighty, will have their own pasta with tomato sauce recipe. This my twist on a classic dish, as I have been challenged by luxury holiday provider Destinology to create. Spaghetti napolitana is from the Naples region of Italy, which I have visited and fallen in love with- I have had this dish in plenty of restaurants in Italy, and even had it in Little Italy in New York too!! I have been making this pasta and sauce recipe for my family since I was about 9, I know the vegetable stock cube isn't exactly authentic but that's how I like to make it. My twist on this classic dish is to sort of "combine" it with another very famous Italian dish, the "caprese" salad. Named thus as it was invented on the Neapolitan island of Capri (which I also have been lucky enough to visit!) - the caprese salad is delicious, and was supposedly invented to symbolise the green, red and white of the Italian flag. There we go, Italy on a plate, Bellissimo!! #DestinologyReimagine

Spaghetti Napolitana, with Caprese Topping (serves 2)

300g spaghetti
600g tinned tomatoes (or 1.2kg fresh very ripe tomatoes, diced)
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
¼ tsp mixed herbs
½ tsp Italian herb seasoning
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 vegetable stock cube
15g fresh parsley, finely chopped
10g fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
Salt and pepper to taste

2 x 125g balls fresh mozzarella, torn
100g pomodorini or cherry tomatoes
Handful fresh basil leaves
1)      In boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions, making sure the pasta is “al dente” (meaning still has a bit of “bite to it”). At the same time, in another saucepan, heat up the tinned tomatoes, garlic, mixed herbs, Italian herbs, sugar, stock cube, parsley, basil and olive oil on a high heat, stirring occasionally. If you use fresh tomatoes, cook with the lid on, to help the tomatoes to stew down. 
2.  Season the tomato sauce to taste. Drain the spaghetti and mix the tomato sauce in until well combined. Plate up, and top with the mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil leaves. Finally, drizzle in a little extra virgin olive oil, and serve!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Recipe: Triple Chocolate Chilli Cookies

You know, I never really understood the whole chilli chocolate thing. That is, until NOW. These cookies are really lovely and moreish, and I like to use a mix of chocolates, Because I don't like too much dark chocolate (too bitter, not sweet enough), too much milk chocolate, or too much white chocolate (a little sickly), so having a mix is really nice. You can taste the chilli as a slight tingle, like an after-taste after eating the cookies, really nice.

Triple Chocolate Chilli Cookies (makes about 40)

225 salted butter
275g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
270g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp hot chilli flakes/ hot chilli powder
100g Lindt dark chocolate with chilli, finely chopped
100g milk chocolate, finely chopped
100g white chocolate, finely chopped

1)      Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the vanilla extract and eggs. Mix in all the other ingredients until well combined.
2)      Roll the dough into roughly 30g balls. Line a tray with greaseproof paper. Bake the cookies (I bake these in batches of 8, as they spread) for 11 minutes. Remove, and allow to cool. These are then ready to serve, perfect with a cuppa!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Recipe: Spicy Chicken and Sweetcorn Pasties, with Potato Salad

Nice quick and easy dinner, and a little bit different from the normal meat pie and gravy. These are good hot and cold- and the pies and salad are great items to bring to a barbecue or on a picnic. Mind you, the weather isn't really good enough for either of those yet is it! I use Lloyd Grossman's tomato and chilli pasta sauce for this recipe, but feel free to use any brand you want, or homemade if you prefer.

Spicy Chicken and Sweetcorn Pasties, with new potato salad (serves 4)

2 x rolls puff pastry sheets
Knob of butter
1 large red onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp mixed herbs
½ tsp chilli flakes or hot chilli powder
200g tinned sweetcorn
350g tomato and chilli pasta sauce
200g leftover roast chicken, finely diced
50g emmental
Salt and pepper to taste

850g cooked new potatoes, diced
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 generous tsp Dijon mustard
300g mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

1)      Preheat the oven to 200C. In a saucepan, fry the onions, garlic and mixed herbs in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the chilli, sauce, sweetcorn and chicken, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste, and transfer this mix to a bowl and allow to cool in the fridge for at least half an hour.
2)      Lay the pastry sheets out, and cut into 8 equal rectangles. Spoon the filling evenly onto the pastry, and fold over, crimping the pies at the edges. Prick a little mark in the top of the pies (to allow steam to escape). Place pies on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, and bake for 30 minutes.
3)      Mix together the cooked new potatoes, red onion, mustard and mayonnaise. Season this to taste. Serve the pies with the potato salad!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Recipe: Pan Fried Duck Breast, with Sautéed New Potatoes and Cabbage, and a Red Wine Orange Sauce

OK, OK, So not all my recipes are based on a low budget! This is a perfect date-night dinner, a real show-off meal for the one you love or for someone you want to impress! Really really easy to make as well. I have used Gressingham duck breasts with orange sauce- the breasts have been trimmed nicely, the skin has already been scored, and seasoned with different peppercorns, and it comes with a sachet of about 100ml tangy orange sauce. And it's only £6 for the packet which is pretty good, so it might be a little exotic but the whole recipe would only set you back £4 per person- beats spilling out £25 per person on a steak in a restaurant or something! Plus the good thing about the gressingham duck product is you sear it, then put it back in the container and back in the oven, less washing up! Love this product.

Pan Fried Duck Breast, with Sautéed New Potatoes and Cabbage, and a Red Wine and Orange Sauce (serves 2)

750g new potatoes, quartered
½ small savoy cabbage, chopped
1 x 350g Gressingham Simply Duck Orange
100ml strong beef stock
100ml red wine
1 rasher of smoked bacon, finely chopped
Knob of butter
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

1)      Preheat oven to 200C. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Boil the new potatoes for 16 minutes. 1 minute prior to the end of cooking, add the savoy cabbage. Drain the potatoes and cabbage and set aside.
2)      In a large frying pan, fry the duck breasts 2 minutes on each side (in a dry pan, you need no oil to cook it). Return to the tin container. Mix together the orange sauce  sachet with the beef stock and the red wine, and a little bit of salt sugar and pepper. Add this sauce to the tin container with the duck.
3)      Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, remove, and allow the duck 5 minutes to rest prior to carving. Meanwhile, In the same frying pan that the duck was cooked in, fry the bacon on a high heat for 1 minute. Add the pre-cooked cabbage, potatoes, butter and Worcestershire sauce to the pan, and fry for 10 minutes, stirring often.
4)      Season the vegetables to taste, season the sauce to taste, carve the duck, and serve the duck on top of the potatoes and cabbage, with the sauce poured on top. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Recipe: Sausage, Red Onion and Pepper Hotpot

Another lovely and warming wintery dish. I love a good hotpot me! I tend to serve them with buttered peas, just because that's what my mum always served with her hotpot when I was growing up. A nice economic meal too- I've found recently that the cheapest meats I can get, that doesn't necessarily have to be on offer or anything, is either a whole chicken, or sausages- I think the best meats for those wanting to keep on a strict budget, but still want to eat healthily.

Sausage,  Red onion and Pepper Hotpot (serves 2-3)

5 cooked pork sausages, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large red onions
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large yellow pepper, seeded and sliced
1 tsp mixed herbs
200ml red wine
200ml beef stock
1 generous tablespoon spiced date chutney (or your preferred chutney)
800g potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
40g butter, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

1)  Preheat the oven to 180C. In an oven proof dish/casserole, Fry the onions, garlic, peppers and mixed herbs in the vegetable oil for 10 minutes.
2)  Add the cooked sausages, red wine, stock and chutney, and cook on a medium heat for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the sauce to taste. Layer the sliced potatoes on top, season with salt and pepper, and dot with the diced butter.
3) Put a lid on the dish and bake in the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove the lid, and heat under the grill for about 5 minutes, or until the sliced potato topping has gone golden and crispy. Serve, with your vegetables of choice. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Recipe: Soy Roast Silverside Beef with Mushrooms

You guys know by now that I don't tend to make traditional recipes. I like to do something different with my Sunday roasts, and love my fusion recipes. Either that or it's an exscuse to add soy sauce to anything, haha. Got a delicious silverside beef joint (half price at co-op atm!) and decided to make this, the beef turns out most, a little bit pink, flavoursome and delicious, and the roasting juices makes the nicest savoury sauce. If you cant get raspberry vinegar, use red wine vinegar instead.

Soy Roast Aberdeen Angus Silverside Beef, with Mushrooms and Red Onions (serves 4)

1.4kg Aberdeen Angus Silverside Beef Joint
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
½ tsp hot chilli flakes/ powder
½ tsp mixed herbs
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
25g ginger, finely chopped
2 large red onions, roughly diced
900ml water

1 tbsp vegetable oil
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic
½ tsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
100g frozen peas
2 tsp cornflour, mixed with a little water
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown basmati rice to serve (optional)

1)      Mix together the dark soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chilli flakes, mixed herbs, garlic and ginger. Marinade the beef in this mixture, for anything between 30 minutes- 24 hours (the longer the better!).
2)      Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the water and red onions in a roasting tray, and top with the beef and any leftover marinade. Roast for 1 hour 25 minutes (for “medium” roast beef with a little pink to it). Remove from the oven and allow the beef to rest at least 20 minutes before carving.
3)      Whilst the beef is resting, in a wok, fry the mushrooms and garlic with the mixed herbs for 10 minutes. Add all the pan juices/onions, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the peas and cornflour, and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened nicely.
4)      Season the sauce to taste, carve the beef, and serve with your desired carb- rice, noodles and potatoes all work well!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Recipe: Celeriac and Bacon Pie with Potato and Carrot Mash

Winter is certainly the time for eating lots of scrummy root vegetables. Celeriac is just the best, I think it's such an underrated ingredient in Britain- I know so many people that don't know what it is, and never cook with it. I'm hoping maybe, like Kale or butternut squash, that it'll be the next food trend or something. I served this with a simple onion gravy- it doesn't necessarily need a sauce, it's all quite moist, but I generally love gravy with anything. Gawd, I don't sound like a Somerset lass any more do I?? If I keep talking about gravy like this I may as well become a Northerner!

Celeriac and Bacon Pie, with Potato and Carrot Mash (serves 3)

1 x packet Jus Rol Shortcrust pastry
1 celeriac, peeled and diced
Knob of butter
½ red onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp mixed herbs
125g smoked bacon, diced
200ml single cream
Salt and pepper to taste
125g emmental, finely grated

1 kg potatoes, peeled and diced
800g carrots, peeled and diced
Knob of butter
Splash of milk
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Par-boil the diced celeriac for 5 minutes, drain and set aside. In the same pan, fry the red onion, garlic, mixed herbs and bacon for 5 minutes. Add the celeriac, and fry for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the single cream, and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. Season to taste, remove from the heat, and allow to cool a little. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
3. Lay the shortcrust pastry on the baking sheet. Fold over the edges of the pastry, to form a border, and prick in the middle with a fork (to prevent the middle from rising). Put the celeriac filling in the middle of the pie evenly. Top with the emmental cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil, and boil the potatoes and carrots until soft enough to mash. Drain, and mash with the butter, milk and seasoning.
5. Once the pie has had 25 minutes, turn the oven onto grill, and grill the pie until the emmental on top has turned golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve with the mash!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Recipe: Chocolate Loaf Cake

This is so moist on the inside, chocolatey and crusty on the outside, with soft melted chocolate on the top, sooooo scrummy! I must admit first time I made this it wasn't going to have pink chocolate on top, just white- I melted a posh gourmet bar of white chocolate I got for Christmas, but then it turned out the be pink inside to my surprise, but actually I think the pink looks quite good actually!!

Pink Chocolate Loaf (serves 8)

190g softened butter
190g sugar
4 medium eggs
150g self raising flour
90g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
120ml semi-skimmed milk
65g cocoa powder
60g milk chocolate, chopped up into fine pieces
50g white chocolate
Couple of drops red food colouring
1 tbsp flaked almonds

1)      Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in all the other ingredients (except the white  chocolate, food colouring and almonds) until all well combined.
2)      Pour the mix into the lined loaf tin. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove from the tin and allow to cool for at least an hour. Melt the white chocolate with a little food colouring in a bowl over a pan of bowling water.
3)      Pour the pink chocolate over the cooled chocolate cake, and top with the flaked almonds. Serve!