Monday, 5 December 2016

Monthly Eatings

November proved to be a month of adventure, trying old favourites and trying new cuisines. From carvery to Nigerian and some peri peri in-between, here is what I ate in November.

Shabab - a lovely Indian restaurant, one which I have visited on numerous occasions. On this visit, I ordered a delicious sagwalla, the first time truing this and was scrumptious. 






Toby Carvery - Home of the British institution that is a carver. I piled my plate high and dived in.




Silverspoon - My first time trying Nigerian food in a restaurant setting. I went very traditional with an egusi. Delicious, but very peppery.



Nandos - This month, I visited a lot of chain restaurants including this one which I have previously snubbed. The chicken platter went down well.

Harvester - another family favourite, pub grub at it's best.




xxx
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Monday, 28 November 2016

Spanish Tomato Breakfast Toast

Hardly a recipe and is something you can quickly through together, I really wanted to share a breakfast that I''ve been eaten most this month: Spanish Tomato Breakfast Toast. You have probably seen some snaps on my Instagram, but there is something moerish about about the tomato and garlic  on top of warm toasted bread. My only rule for this, is to let the tomatoes stand for the required time, as ice cold tomotates on toast is not good. I also like this breakfast as it's good for you, Shelina Permalloo, winner of Masterchef, who also lost an amazing 3 stone, states that this recipe is 140 calories per serving. Wonderful.



Ingredients
3 plum tomatoes
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt 
2 sliced pumpernickel bread (I used bog standard brown) bread

Method
Finely chop the tomatoes and garlic and place in a bowl. Stir in the olive il and salt, then leave to stand for around 15 minutes. Drain off some of the excess juice from the tomato mixture before you serve it.

Warm or toast the bread slices, top with the tomato mixture and eat straight away.

xxx
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Monday, 21 November 2016

Cakes, Bakes & Biscuits - review

When I think of the National Trust, I think of imposing stately homes, rich English culture and stunning countryside views. Until last year, I didn't realise that The National Trust released cookery or baking books until I reviewed the fabulous The Picnic Cookbook. Well there's another book from The National Trust specialising on baking. There's a strong emphasis on English baking as per expected as there is an historic love affair in Britain and cakes. The majority of the recipes are beautifully illustrated and all the recipes have clear instructions. 
My favourite chapter in this baking book is Regional Cakes, not only are the cakes look delicious, many of the recipes are historical and unique to that particular region.With so many baking books on the market, I like the feel of this book: accessible, compact and informative. The rrp is £9.99, but it's currently on Amazon for £7.99. I also think this baking book would make a great Christmas present for all your baking friends. 



This baking book is split into the following chapters:
  • The Basics: Classic recipes include Maderia cake, Lemon Drizzle Cake and All-in-one chocolate cake. 
  • Traditional Favourites: Recipes to try include Victoria Cake, Everyday Coffee Cake and Carrot Cake with Lime Topping. 
  • Regional Cakes: Stand out recipes to try include: Suffolk Fourses, Bath Buns, 18th Century Pepper Cake, Kedleston Marmalade and Norfolk Tart. 
  • Scones and Slices: Delicious recipes include: Florentine Slice, Ginger and Treacle Scones and Cherry Almond Scones. 
  • Teabreads and Loaves: luscious recipes to try include: Date & Wanut Loaf, Barm Brack and Marmalade & Apricot Teabread. 
  • Bite-sized treats: recipes to try include: English Madeleines, Espresso Express and Battenburn Cupcakes. 
  • Fun for Little Ones: Stand out recipes to try with your little ones: Jam donuts, Cheery Buns and Rocky Roadsters. 
  • Savoury Treats & Breads: Recipes to try include: Courgette, Feta & Spring Onion Cupcake and Beautiful Bread. 
  • A Lighter Bite: Luscious recipes to try include: Upside-down Polenta Plum Cake, Cranberry, Pecan & Maple Syrup Flapjacks, 
  • Sweet Something: A lovely selection of jams & preserves including: Apricot Jam and High Dumpsie Dearie. 
I baked the Date & Walnut Loaf, which I adapted to Date & Cashew Loaf as I didn't have any walnuts at hand. I think you could use whatever nuts you have at hand. I found this cake incredibly moreish, I didn't think the combination of dates with nuts would work, but it did superbly. 






Ingredients
225g self-raising flour 
50g walnut loaves (I used cashew nuts)
1 tsp mixed spice
75g butter
100g light or dark soft brown sugar
225g whole dates
150ml water
2 large free range eggs, beaten
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 180C, 350 F , gas mark 4. Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
2) Mix together the flour, walnuts and mixed spice.
3) Place the butter, sugar, dates and water in a pan and bring gently to the boil. Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes. Add to the flour, spice and nuts with the beaten eggs and beat well.
4) Turn into the prepared tin, hollow the centre a little and sprinkle the top with the sesame seeds. Bake for 1-1 1/4 hours until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
5) Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve sliced with butter.

Many thanks to Pavillion books for the review copy. 

xxx
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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Ackee and Bacon Tart revisited

Ackee and Bacon Tart
Ackee, the plump yellow fruit with black seeds, which tastes similar to scrambeled eggs is the national fruit of Jamaica. It also is one half of the national dish “Ackee and Saltfish”. Although ackee is a fruit, it is primarily eaten in savoury dishes and must be cooked before eating. Ackee only grows 
in warmer climates so I have always eaten tinned ackee, but that’s ok, the plump yellow fruit still tastes wonderful, whether it’s from a tin or not.

 My nan would often cook my sister and I, Ackee and Saltfish, or Ackee & Bacon for a quick and easy evening meal. In this dish, I combine my love for ackee and bacon with my love of pastry, in particular tarts to create this wonderful breakfast tart. Depending upon my mood, I will have a slice of my ackee and bacon tart with a dollop of ketchup, or garlic mushrooms.



Ackee and Bacon tart
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Number of servings 6

You will need
A frying pan, measuring jug, whisk and a 28cm fluted loose bottom flan tin.

Ingredients
For the pastry
1 ready to roll shortcrust packet

For the filling
1 tbsp vegetable oil
155g bacon lardons
1 red pepper, stems removed, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, stems removed, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, stems removed, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced.
300g creme fraiche
3 eggs, lightly beaten
75g medium cheddar cheese.
1 tin (280g) of ackee

Method
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, place the pastry in the tin, trimming off the excess, line the tin with the baking parchment and fill with dried pulses. Bake on the top shelf for 15 minutes, remove the dried pulses and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Whilst the pastry is blind baking, pour the oil in the frying pan and cook the bacon lardons, sliced peppers and spring onions for around 8 minutes.

Pour 300ml crème fraiche, eggs and 30g of the cheese in a measuring jug and whisk. Open the tin of ackee, drain the water from the tin and set aside. 

Once the pastry has blind baked, remove from the oven, scatterthe bacon, peppers, spring onions, ackee and pour over the egg - creme fraiche mixture. Finally, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the tart. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the filling no longer wobbles.  Leave to rest for 5 minutes before slicing to wedges.

xxx
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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Spiced Roast Cauliflower with Almonds & Tahini Dressing

This dish is quite unusual. I usually eat cauliflower boiled or in a well-loved cauliflower cheese. Never have I roasted cauliflower before but it was a welcoming change. Crispy and yet crunchy, this makes a wonderful side dish.


Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tsp baharat spice mix
1 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
25g blanched almonds, toasted to garnish
3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander, to garnish.

Tahini dressing
20g tahini
4 tbsp Greek-style natural yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of sea salt
pinch of pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Put the cauliflower in a large roasting tin. Sprinkle over the baharat mix, salt and oil and mix well. Roast for 25-35 minutes or until lightly charred but still with some bite.
Meanwhile, for the dressing, mix the tahini, yogurt and lemon juice together in a bowl then season with the salt and pepper.
Transfer the cauliflower to a serving plate, dot with the tahini dressing and scatter over the almonds and coriander.
Serve immediately.

Cooks tip: If you can't find baharat spice mix, use an equal mixture of ground coriander, ground cumin and ground cinnamon instead.


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