Sunday, 27 May 2018

Caramelised Red Onion, Cream and Stilton Quiche

I love quiche, the famous French tart is a regular favourite at home. I love making quiche and trying the different variations that this robust tart can offer. This quiche is a rather grown up quiche, the caramelised red onion offers a sweet flavour, the cream a creamy texture (as expected) and the Stilton offers a further depth to this. This is perfect quiche to make over a lazy Sunday or over the Bank Holiday. Any leftovers also make a fabulous lunch. 




Serves 4-6
Takes 15 minutes to make (plus cooling), 1 hour 5 minutes to cook.

Ingredients
50g unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 large red onions, thinly sliced
couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 deep 25 cm blind-baked shortcrust pastry tart case
4 eggs
300ml single cream
200g Stilton, crumbled
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of rocket leaves

Method 
Melt the butter with the oil in a large, deep saucepan. Stir through the onions and thyme sprigs, then cook, uncovered, over a very low heat for at least 30 minutes or until they are really soft, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the thyme stalks.
Pour in the balsamic vinegar, increase the heat a little and continue to cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes until you are left with a dark rich mass of caramelised onions. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool - the onions will be very hot indeed so let them cool down until they are cool enough to touch.
Once the onions are cool, preheat the oven to 200C/180Cfan/Gas mark 6.
Spoon the onion mixture into the pastry tart case and spread evenly. In a bowl, beat together the eggs and cream and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Slowly pour into the pastry tart case, allowing it to settle and find its own level gradually around the filling, then sprinkle over the Stilton.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the filling is just set and the cheese is melted. Carefully remove the quiche from the tin and transfer it to a serving plate or wooden board. Serve hot or warm, scattered with a generous handful of rocket. This is a very rich quiche, so a simple salad dressed with a sharp dressing with work nicely as an accompaniment.

xxx
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Thursday, 24 May 2018

Chaophraya Restaurant Review

Located in Saint Martins Square, Chaporhya restaurant is one of Birmingham's leading restaurants specialising in Thai cuisine. The two floor restaurant is fantastically located in the heart of the Bull ring and features outdoor seating. Inside, the decor is light, striking and there is a chefs cooking area where you can watch the chefs prepare your meal. The feel of the restaurant is light, airy and welcoming.

Image from the Bullring website

Image from the bull ring 

The restaurant is ideal if you fancy a quick drink with friends or want to do business with colleagues as there are flexible spaces and a private room. Chaoporhya also offers Thai masterclasses if you want to become a culinary expert in Thai cook. The waiting  staff were attentive and helpful, they were able to offer recommendations and suggestions for the new menu.

Chaophraya has a brand new menu which is worth checking out. To start off with, I ordered the Grilled Pork Skewers £7.45, pork marinated with coconut milk, coriander, garlic, palm sugar, honey & oyster sauce. My friend  ordered the Thai Fish Cakes £7.95, spicy fish cakes blended with green beans, lime leaves and red curry with a sweet chilli sauce and crushed peanuts. Both starters were beautifully presented and tasted delicious. The pork was tender and the dipping sauce complimented it well. My friend said the fish cakes were crispy on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside.




For our main courses I ordered Prawn Pad Thai £11.95, the national dish of Thailand, restaurants own famous recipe of Thai rice noodles, stir-fried with egg, vegetables and tamarind sauce. The Prawn Pad Thai had a fiery kick to is and the prawns were succulent. I liked how the tamarind had a tangy flavour. The portion size looked deceptive small but I was pleasantly surprised at how filling the Pad Thai was.



My friend ordered the Royal Sous Vide Lamb Massaman Curry £14.95, Caramelised slow cooked lamb, with home-style massaman curry, coconut milk, carrots and potatoes topped with crispy shallots and cashew nuts. The steamed Jasmine Rice £3.45 was served separately.  My friend said that the curry had a good balance of flavours. 

A lovely dish of what I can only describe as Thai fried chicken, crispy chicken pieces marinated in Thai spices and deep fried was also served. I really enjoyed the crispy fried chicken and could of teen much more.



For desserts my friend and I shared the coconut milk pudding £7.45, A Creamy Rich Coconut Milk Pudding, Served with Sweet Coconut Milk and Toasted Coconut. We also ordered the Sticky Thai Rice £7.45, sweet sticky classic fragrant sweet mango, with sticky rice and warm coconut sauce. I'll be honest the milk pudding was not what I was expecting as it was very wobbly. I much preferred the sticky rice with mango.





Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest of Chaophraya.

xxx

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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Basque Scrambled Eggs

There's so many recipes and breakfast ideas I feel I'm spoilt for choice. I'm trying to eat much more eggs in my diet especially for breakfast so I'm always on the look out for recipe inspiration. This recipe is incredibly easy and takes the average scrambled eggs to another level. The chorizo is full of flavour and the peppers added a crunchy flavour.




Serves 4 -6
Ingredients
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 large green pepper, deseeded and chopped
55g chorizo sausage, sliced thinly, outer casing removed if preferred
35g butter
10 large eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
4-6 thick sliced country style bread, toasted to serve.

Method

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes and heat through. Transfer to a heatproof plate and keep warm in a preheated low oven.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the frying pan. Add the chorizo to the reserved vegetables.
Add a little extra olive oil, if necessary, to bring it back to 2 tablespoons. Add the butter and let it melt. Season the eggs with salt and pepper then add to the frying pan and scramble until cooked to the desired degree of firmness. Return the vegetables to the pan and stir through. Serve immediately with hot toast.
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Friday, 11 May 2018

Date Crunch

Baking and healthy eating are not words that are normally associated with each other. It is possible to enjoy delicious baked sweet treats with some clever twists and baking methods. My latest cookery book purchase, Weight Watchers Seriously Satisfying has two chapters dedicated to sweet treats. I made the chocolate flapjacks a few weeks ago, but my new favourite is the date crunch. The crunch reminds me of a shortbread and the gooeyness from the dates reminds me of the cornflake tart I baked a few weeks prior.





Ingredients
Low fat cooking spray
150g pitted dates
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
125 g self raising flour
125g semolina or cornmeal
75g low fat spread
75g light brown sugar
3 teaspoon of strawberry jam (optional).

Method
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/190C/Fan Oven 170C. Spray the baking tin with the cooking spray. Place the dates in a small pan with the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water. Simmer gently for 5 minutes until soft and mushy. Beat or mash to a smooth paste and set aside to cool.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and stir in the semolina. Place the low fat spread and sugar in a small pan over a low heat and gently, then stir in the lemon zest. Pour over a low heat and melt gently, then stir in the lemon zest. Pour over the flour and mix to a stiff dough. Press half of the dough into the tin. If using the strawberry jam, spread this over the dough mixture. Spread the date mixture over the dough, then top with the remaining dough, passing down gently. Bake for 30 minutes until golden.
Remove from the oven.  Cut into squares. Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

xxx
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Sunday, 6 May 2018

April 2018 Monthly Eatings

Another month, more fantastic restaurants to indulge in. I visited restaurants in Stafford and Wolverhampton in April.

Zizzi Stafford 



Bella Italia Wolverhampton


The Crown, Wergs Road



Fiume Restaurant Wolverhampton

Chiquitos Wolverhampton


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