Sunday, 27 December 2015

Hairy Bikers Honey and Marmalade Glazed Ham

As an alternative to the usual honey and mustard ham that we enjoy over Christmas, I sought out something different and was really pleased with the result. I found a Hairy Bikers recipe for a 6kg joint covered in a honey and marmalade glaze and studded with cloves and whilst it took a lot of cooking and preparation it really was spectacular and it served 8 of us for Boxing Day dinner plus we have a stash of it leftover for sandwiches and other delicious things.

You can find the recipe here on the BBC Good Food website - I cooked it to the letter with the only slight addition being the grating in of the zest of one whole orange into the glaze as I thought it would look pretty and add another hit of orange.

Here it is in all it's glory after resting:

Hairy Bikers Hony and Marmalade Glazed Ham

Leek, Potato and Cauliflower Soup

This is a lovely, quick and easy soup recipe that uses the classic combination of leek and potatoes and adds cauliflower to bulk up a little and if you need to try and sneakily get extra vegetables into your little ones this is a great way!

Leek, potato and cauliflower soup

Here's how:

  • 2 large leeks
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp cream or creme fraiche (optional - leave out if you're counting calories as it's delicious with or without)

Firstly add the rapeseed oil to a heavy bottomed saucepan and place onto a gentle heat. 

Now roughly slice the leeks and the garlic and add to the pan.

While these are softening, peel and wash the potatoes and cut into rough cubes about 1cm width. Once the leeks and garlic are softened add the potatoes to the pan and allow to saute for 2-3 minutes, coating in the oil.

Chop the cauliflower into florets and add to the pan (you can use the leaves too if you wish) and then cover with the stock. Add the black pepper and the bay leaves and pop the lid on. 

Slowly simmer for thirty minutes until the potato is cooked through and will easily mash with a fork. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for at least twenty minutes.

Now pour into a blender or use a hand blender to blitz into a finer consistency which will create the gorgeous creamy hue and texture. 

Return to the pan and place back on the heat, gently. Once warmed through, stir in the cream or creme fraiche if you are using and then ladle into bowls.

Just as a final, added extra grate over a little fresh nutmeg onto each bowl before serving and a tiny dollop of cream or creme fraiche. Enjoy!

Cheese Muffins

After Christmas, there is usually a stack of odds and ends of cheese left in the fridge and these cheesy breakfast muffins are a great way of using them up and serving up a delicious baked breakfast treat that are sure to be loved by all the family - they are great for toddlers too as a finger food if just one is eaten as you do need a little salt here for these savouries.

You could use almost any cheese in this quick and simple recipe but milder creamy ones may be a little too subtle. I recommend using some Cheddar, Red Leicester and a Goat's which will add a lovely oozy gooey quality too. 

Cheese Muffins

Here's how:

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp Worcester Sauce
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 150-200g cheese (selection of your choice but here I used Strong Cheddar, Red Leicester and a Welsh Goat's cheese) - grate some and tear/chop some into the little cubes
  • 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Firstly pre-heat the oven to 180 and place 12 muffin cases into a tin and set aside.

In one bowl combine all of the dried ingredients (flours, mustard powder, baking powder, salt, pepper, thyme) and mix well.

In a different bowl mix all of the wet ingredients (everything else) and the cheese well. 

Add the dried ingredients slowly to the wet mixing well until all is combined and then spoon out equal amounts into each muffin case.

Place into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least ten minutes before serving - but be warned these are completely addictive if enjoyed warm. Enjoy!

Quick Pork Noodle Soup

If you have leftover roast pork, chicken, turkey or even beef this is a lovely, quick and easy noodle soup recipe that is fragrant, warming and makes a welcome change from a traditional British leftover stew.

Using Asian flavours such as Chinese Five Spice, a smidge of Thai Green Curry Paste and plenty of chilli, ginger, garlic and coriander this is an utterly addictive recipe and once you've made it I'm sure it will become a leftover staple.

Quick Pork Noodle Soup

Serves two.

Here's how:

  • Three slices of leftover roast pork
  • 1 tbsp Chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoon green Thai curry paste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Bunch spring onions
  • Two thumbnail sized pieces of ginger
  • 1 and a half large red chillis
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red pepper
  • Handful mushrooms
  • Handful bean shoots
  • Some green leaves - I used cavello nero here but you can use cabbage, lettuce, greens - whatever you have in stock
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 packet instant noodles
  • Bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Shaohsing wine

Firstly slice the pork into bite-sized pieces and pop into a bowl with a drizzle of the sesame oil and the Chinese five spice. Use a spoon to toss the meat to absorb all the flavours and leave to one side whilst you prepare everything else.

Now crush the garlic, and finely slice the ginger and chill. Place the remaining sesame oil into a wok on a gentle heat and add the garlic, ginger and  half of the chilli to slowly soften and flavour the oil. 

Whilst these are softening in the wok, peel the carrot and very finely chop into matchsticks, slice the pepper, spring onions and mushrooms and shred the greens. 

By then the oil should be full of flavour - now add the marinaded pork including anything left in the bowl to the wok and allow to cook for several minutes until the pork becomes nicely gnarly from the five spice coating. Next add the carrots and pepper and allow to cook for a minute or so.

Now add the coconut milk which will make the basis for the soup, stir in the Thai curry paste and add the mushrooms, most of the bean shoots and greens. Add the soy and Shaohsing wine and squeeze in the juice of a whole lime and give a gentle stir. 

Now gently slice the coriander and remove the stalks - place the stalks into the wok with the soup. 

After the soup has simmered for four-five minutes add the instant noodles to the mix which should cook in three minutes. 

Whilst the noodles are cooking place the red chilli, the other half of lime and a bunch of fresh coriander onto a little plate as additional seasoning for the table and then dish up your soup into deep bowls. Enjoy!

Roast Pork with Jewelled Vegetable Couscous

This quick and easy meal works brilliantly with leftover roast pork - or in fact any leftover roasted meats that are probably plentiful after the onslaught of Christmas and Boxing Day! 

I use fresh mint and coriander to make the couscous lovely and fragrant but you could use parsley, dill or any other herb - experiment and use the flavours you like. The 'jewels' are the gorgeous pips from a pomegranate which add a lovely taste and crunchy texture to the dish.

The below serves four or two with leftovers for lunch the following day.

Leftover roast pork with jewelled couscous

Here's how:

  • 4-6 slices of leftover Roast Pork or other meat of your choice
  • 200g couscous
  • 400ml boiling water
  • Handful cherry tomatoes
  • Bunch spring onions
  • 1 courgette
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 1 orange pepper
  • Seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Handful each of fresh mint and coriander or your preferred herbs
  • 1 lime
  • Some fresh green salad leaves - I used watercress here for a peppery addition

Firstly place the couscous into a jug or bowl and cover with the boiling water. Now use a fork to stir vigorously and then cover with a plate and leave to one side for five minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

In the meantime finely dice the courgette, chilli, spring onions, pepper, cherry tomatoes and any other vegetables you want to add to the couscous and half one lime. Shred the herbs

Slice as much meat as you need for the meal and set aside. 

Once the water has been absorbed fluff up with a fork, season generously and add the extra virgin olive oil and stir. Now add the vegetables and pomegranate seeds as well as the herbs and stir thoroughly. 

Plate up the meat and salad and serve the couscous in a bowl with a lime for additional seasoning in the middle of the table and let everyone dive in. Enjoy!

Roast Pork Shoulder with Crispy Crackling

Roast pork with crackling is one of the most delicious things to eat and is so simple to do. With all the trimmings (roast potatoes, a selection of vegetables and gravy) it's a truly beautiful thing and here's how to get a gorgeous joint of meat that will make a fantastic roast dinner and provide leftovers for a selection of delicious tasting meals. Ask the butcher to score the fat for you if you're not comfortable doing yourself or give it a go for spectacular crackling.

Roast pork shoulder with crispy crackling

Here's how:

  • 1 shoulder of pork - roughly 2.5-3kg 
  • 1-2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme or three to four sprigs of fresh
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary or three sprigs of fresh
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil

Firstly take the pork from the fridge, remove any packaging and allow to sit for twenty minutes or so to get back to room temperature and preheat the oven to 180.

In the meantime roughly chop the carrots, parsnips, celery and onion (no need to peel either) and place into a large roasting tin - this will be a trivet for the meat to sit on. Add a whole bulb of garlic broken into cloves which will give fantastic flavour to the meat. 

Now place the meat on top of the vegetables and firstly drizzle over the oil. Next add the black pepper and salt to the outer flesh of the meat and rub in with your hands - you can wear gloves if you prefer. Now add at least one tablespoon of sea salt to the skin on top which will help to crisp up the crackling. Finally add the herbs and then loosely cover with tin foil and place into the oven.

Cook the meat for thirty five minutes per 0.5kg and then an extra 25 minutes and remove the foil for the final 30-40 minutes of cooking for really crispy crackling.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about forty minutes before serving.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Heinz Chilli Sauce Off: Gourmet Seafood Burger


Me with Lisa Faulkner

At the end of October I was invited by my sister, Bistro Becs and the people from Heinz Chilli Sauces to take part in a 'Sauce Off' challenge; a cookery contest amongst foodie journalists and bloggers to create and cook a delicious and innovative dish using one of the five Heinz Chilli Sauces (Fiery Sriracha, Jerk BBQ, Peri Peri, Sweet Chilli and Hot Pepper) at L'Atelier des Chefs on Wigmore Street. What's more the evening was hosted and judged by TV cook and personality Lisa Faulkner

As the sauces are supposed to represent various personality traits, it was a must for me to use the Fiery Sriracha being as I am hot and fiery myself and whilst I had time to think up a dish, it was a busy work time for me so I hadn't had time to practise at home prior to the event.

After careful consideration my dish was selected, a gourmet seafood burger comprising prawns, scallops and salmon and a generous helping of the Fiery Sriracha sauce - I also added a bit of the Sweet Chilli to the brioche buns too and the finish was great. 

Heinz Chilli Sauce Gourmet Seafood Burger

We had 45 minutes to cook and then the lovely Lisa tasted all of the dishes and made her decision. We then sat down as a group and tucked into each other's dishes too with a glass or two of wine - lovely. Stand-out dishes on the evening included Eat Cook Explore's Spicy Crab dish which was announced, unsurprisingly as the winner but I also loved Big Spud's Jerked Halloumi Kebabs too - and there was some other great dishes - also I got photobombed by William from Gogglebox who was also taking part! 

Not just that but it was a really fun evening and I realised that cooking competitively can be more than a little stressful, as can cooking to a time limit! Was also great meeting lots of nice blogger sorts such as the above as well as Jo Eats London, Rock N Roller Baby, Circus Mum, Chloe Pierre,  London Unattached, and Secret Temple not to mention a lovely lady from The Sun.

When I sat down with Lisa to taste and give her comments to me, she was complimentary about the flavours and presentation of the dish - and whilst I wasn't one of the winners I was chuffed she liked the burger and I thought it was frankly delicious!

Here's how:

(Makes x4 burgers)
  • 1 pack prawns
  • 8 large scallops 
  • 2 fillets salmon
  • 6 spring onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Thumbnail of fresh ginger
  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 lime
  • Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Heinz Fiery Sriracha Sauce
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • x4 Brioche Buns
  • Heinz Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • Gherkins

Firstly pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Now roughly chop the sping onions, garlic, chilli and coriander and place into a bowl. Peel and grate in the ginger too. 

Now roughly chop the prawns, scallops and flake in the salmon, add the juice of a whole lime and a  generous tablespoon of Fiery Sriracha Sauce and 3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs and use a wooden spoon to combine. Once fully mixed, use your hands to mould into four rounds and pat down into even sized tight patty's. 

Now add the rapeseed oil to a pan and get on a high heat, before placing each patty in and frying for 4 minutes, then turning over and doing the same on the other side. Now place onto a baking tray and place into the oven for a further 8-10 minutes until cooked through.

In the meantime, dry fry the brioche buns in a griddle pan, then place onto a plate. Add a teaspoon of the Sweet Chilli Sauce onto the bottom bun and once the burgers are ready place on top, and then add a gherkin, halved on top. Voila - enjoy!

Guilt Free Apple Cake

This is a delicious and moreish apple cake, perfect with a cup of tea - and what's more it's low in calories compared to most cakes as there's no oil or butter required and yet the cake remains moist and tasty thanks to the liquid from the apples. 

Guilt Free Apple Cake

Here's how:

  • 500g apples (I use Granny Smiths but most would work here)
  • 110g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest of a lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 75ml full fat milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

Firstly pop your oven on at around 180 degrees and grease and line a 20cm round tin and set aside.

Peel and core the apples and thinly slice and then squeeze over a drop of lemon juice to prevent them browning.

Combine the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and mix well. Add half of the apples to the mix and mix then pour into the tin.

Now neatly arrange the rest of the apple into a nice pattern on top. Sprinkle with a teaspoon more of brown sugar and pop into the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer comes out dry. 

Enjoy alone or with a little creme fraiche for a treat. Enjoy!