A Sugary Treat….

Yesterday I went to the launch of Tate and Lyle Sugar’s new Fairtrade Beverage Syrups range. I was able to sample the syrups in Lattes and also sodas. They have three new flavours which are available now – Vanilla, Caramel and Hazelnut. Tate & Lyle have created recipes to show how the products can be used. Today I received a beautiful hamper with the syrups in to test the recipes for myself, I can’t wait to try them out!

tate

Thai Red Chicken Curry and Egg Fried Rice….

I often find when making a curry that you need so many spices and ingredients and it can often take me a long time to prepare. Why not try Verstegen spices and pastes. I used the Red Thai Curry paste to make this recipe. They are so so easy to use and take away all the pressure and extremely tasty too!

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You Will Need:

  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250g skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into wide strips
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
  • Verstegen Red Thai Curry Paste
  • 100ml of water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 2 cups of water

Preparation Method:

Thai Red Curry:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and add the chicken. Cook over a medium-high heat for 4-5mins, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is sealed and browned.
  2. Add the sweet potato and fry for 4 minutes
  3. Add the onion and fry for 2 minutes
  4. Add the water and curry paste and simmer for 5 minutes

Egg Fried Rice:

  1. Boil 1cup of rice to 2 cups of water for ten minutes
  2. whilst this is boiling chop you spring onions very finely and throw in a frying pan with a little oil
  3. Then break two eggs into the frying pan and scramble
  4. Then add your rice, covering it with your egg and onions and fry for 3 minutes

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Distractions….

Doesn’t it get annoying when you plan things in your head to do and you never quite get to them? Distractions! There is always a distraction or two. A spreadsheet that needs writing or a phone that needs answering. Not to mention drive here then and everywhere shopping, visiting people and the like. Recently I have found myself distracted from writing on my blog.

I took the plunge at the weekend and bought myself a new notepad and I must say its made things so much easier. No longer does it take 20 minutes to start my blasted laptop up :0)

I suppose what I’m trying to say is don’t loose faith in me Ill be back to writing about food and all the wonders I discover. I have a box of treats under my desk at work just waiting for me to review haha. I cant wait to dig in. I also have to tell you all about the Eat Out Awards that I went to with work. Watch this space guys. I’ll be back to writing soon.

:0)

Home Cooked Heaven….

You Will Need:

  • 2 fillets of any fish of your choice- firm fish works best but it can be anything from pollack, cod, haddock or salmon etc roughly 600g
  • 1 fillet of a smoked fish for flavour- about 200g
  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs- peeled and quartered
  • 1kg Maris Piper Potatoes
  • Bechamel
  • 20g Orkney cheddar – grated
  • 1 egg- for egg wash

Court Bouillon:

  • 1 Lt water
  • 2 cups white wine
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bouquet garni  
  • Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper

Bechamel:

  • 60g butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 2 tbsp Grain Mustard
  • 100g Orkney cheddar – grated

Preparation Method:

Hard Boiled Eggs

  1. Cover eggs with water and place over heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and take off the heat.
  3. Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then cool before peeling.

To make the béchamel sauce:

  1. First bring the milk up to a simmer in a small pot and set aside
  2. Next in another pan, melt the butter gently over medium heat, then add flour and stir until the mixture is smooth
  3. Now begin adding the milk a little at a time to avoid lumps. Keep adding milk and stirring, until you have a rich creamy sauce
  4. Allow to cook slowly for 5 minutes and then add the grain mustard and Orkney cheddar
  5. Mix well and set aside

Cooking the fish:

  1. Add all the ingredients of the Court Bouillon in a large deep sauce pan. Bring to a gentle simmer before adding your fish to gently poach. Remembering to poach the smoked fish last
  2. Once cooked through, remove from liquid, let cool and remove any bones and skin
  3. Flake fish into nice small pieces and set aside

To make the mashed potato:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.  Place the potatoes on a tray and bake in a hot oven until crispy and soft
  2. While still hot, scoop out the flesh, discard the skins and pass the potato through a drum sieve to remove any lumps
  3. Heat the milk used for poaching the fish previously and add 2 tbsp butter and fold through potato mixture. Season to taste

To make the pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5.  Butter a baking dish and start to make the pie by first spreading a small amount of bechamel on the bottom of the dish
  2. On top of that spread the poached fish and quartered eggs
  3. Spread with the remaining bechamel
  4. Top with the mashed potatoes and brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with grated cheese
  5. Place baking dish on a tray and put into a preheated gas mark 5 oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubblingfishy

 

Crumb Corner…. Gypsy Tart

You will need:

  • 50g icing sugar
  • 500g all-butter shortcrust pastry
  • 410g tins of evaporated milk
  • 350g dark muscavado sugar

Preparation Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.
  2. Dust a worktop with the icing sugar and lay out the pastry, also dusting the top with the sugar. Roll this out so that it’s just larger than the tart tin
  3. Roll it around the pin, and unroll over the tin.
  4. Press the sides down and into the edges and then roll the pin over the pastry for a perfect scalloped edge.
  5. Press fork marks all around the base. Line with baking parchment and pour in baking beans.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the pastry edge is just beginning to turn golden.
  7. Remove the baking parchment and beans, and return the pastry to the oven for 5 more minutes to dry out the base.
  8. Meanwhile put the evaporated milk and sugar in a bowl. Using a hand-held whisk beat for 15 minutes.
  9. Pour this mix into the pastry case.
  10. Return to the oven, having reduced the heat to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 for 10-15 minutes.
  11. It should have a slightly tacky surface and will continue to set as it cools.
  12. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Serve and enjoy :0)

Home Cooked Heaven…. Lamb Chops

You will need:

  • Lamb chops
  • Two potatoes
  • Two carrots
  • Broccoli

Preparation Method:

  1. Firstly you need to bring your potatoes to boil for your mash this will take around 3o mins
  2. While this is cooking cook your carrots and broccoli, I cook them in the same pan which will take about 20 mins
  3. For your lamb rub salt and pepper each side
  4. Place your lamb chops into a hot pan with a little oil
  5. Fry each chop for approximately 3minutes each side (at most)
  6. By now your potatoes will be ready to mash, I like to add a little butter and a splash of milk when mashing.

Serve and enjoy :0)

Something for the weekend…. Nandos

Nandos is a chain of restaurants which focuses on chicken dishes. The restaurants are very nicely decorated. The buildings themselves are nearly always painted white on the outside. On the inside, soft lighting and a Portuguese theme. Lots of brown wooden decoration, green plants and a nice ambience. The kitchen is very often open for all to see.

The atmosphere in their restaurants is really nice. It’s always pretty full but noise is at a nice level and the whole place just feels chilled and relaxing. The staff are usually not authentically Portuguese, although the odd one often is. They are mostly friendly and nice.

The food at Nandos is second to none. The overall cuisine of the restaurant is Portuguese, although there is a little something for everyone here! Their speciality is their Peri Peri chicken although there are a range of meals available.

I went with my friend to Nandos and we decided to share the whole chicken with two sides – whilst all chicken here is peri peri, you can opt to with either lemon and herb, mild spice, medium spice or hot spice marinade! We decided to have the medium marinade with spicy rice and seasoned chips. The food here is lush! I find that the portions are usually just right. I feel full but not overstuffed which I always think just ruins a meal. The chicken itself is tender and tasty, and all food is served nice and hot!

Nandos is pretty cheap for what you get in my opinion, for our platter it cost £18.95 which include two bottomless soft drinks. Great value for money!

Check out your neatest Nandos at – www.nandos.co.uk

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