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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Friday, 4 May 2018

Vegetarian 101 Recipes Celebrating Fresh Seasonal Ingredients Review

This classic vegetarian book by Alice Hart has recently been reissued. The first edition published in 2011 was a classic and critically acclaimed cookery book specialising in Vegetarian cuisine. There are many vegetarian and vegan cookery books being released at the moment, but this book in my opinion will be a classic. There are a number of fresh and delicious recipes which challenges people to change the way they think about vegetarian cooking. I like the flavour combinations and innovative recipes used throughout and although the recipes are innovative, the recipes are accessible. The cookery book has a sleek design with illustrations on the cover and there are a number of accompanying recipes. Vegetarian is currently retailing at £9.99  and is a welcome addition for any discerning cook. 


The cookery book is split into the following chapters:
  • Breakfast and Brunch, recipes to try include: Pear and Walnut Bircher Muesli and Blackberry Milkshake.
  • Small Bites: stand out recipes include Cumin Potato Skins and Guacamole Salsa, Spring Vegetable Pakoras and Pressed Leek Terrine with Dijon Rice.
  • Big Salads: recipes to try include Warm Salad of Slow-Roast Tomatoes and Labne on Murjadhara, Blood Orange, Mozzarella, Toasted Sourdough and Radicchio Salad.
  • Soups: Stand out recipes include: Summer Minestrone , Beetroot and Porcini Broth.
  • Breads: Recipes to try include: Quick Soda Bread and Pizza Bianca.
  • Fast: Stand out recipes include: Chilli and Crushed Walnut Rigatoni, Potato Cakes with Olives and Poached Eggs and Cashew Fried Rice.
  • One Pots and Bakes: Stand out recipes include: Malaysian Egg Curry and Mushroom Basil Lasagne.
  • Special: Recipes to try include: Pan-Fried Mushrooms and Sour Cherries and Rich Almond Tart. 
There's also handy bits in this cookery book such as sharing a variety of tomato recipes, salad toppings and flavoured water. So far, I've made the Camembert, Watercress and Marinated Figs with Walnut Dressing. Not only was this salad incredibly fresh and light. 


Recipe for Camembert, Watercress and Marinated Figs with Walnut Dressing.
Serves 4
Ingredients
200ml balsamic vinegar
100g caster sugar
2 garlic cloves, brushed
6 thyme sprigs
6 plump figs, halved length ways
4 tablespoon walnut oil
a large handful of watercress, thick stalks trimmed
150g ripe Camembert or brie, sliced
75g walnuts

Method
Place the vinegar, sugar, garlic and 4 of the thyme sprigs in a saucepan and add 100ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute to dissolve the sugar and cook out some of the vinegary flavour. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then pour the halved figs and leave to marinate for an hour or two.
Discard the thyme sprigs and garlic from the marinade and spoon 5 tablespoons into a small lidded jar. Strip the leaves from the remaining 2 thyme sprigs and add to the jar with the walnut oil, a little salt and plenty of pepper. Screw on the lid and shake well until combined to make a dressing.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and sear the drained figs, cut sides down for a minute or so until they caramelise. Remove the pan from the heat, turn the figs over and set aside.
Put the watercress in a large bowl and drizzle with a little of the dressing , tossing to coat the leaves. Add the Camembert or brie, walnuts and divide among serving plates. Spoon the remaining dressing over each plate of salad.

Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publishers.

xxx
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Friday, 27 April 2018

Cajun Pork Burgers

I thoroughly enjoy a good burger, especially one which is meaty and full of flavour. I normally make 
beef burgers but I fancied something different and as I have 5 cookbooks dedicated to burgers I decide to make a burger that was slightly different. Pork mince is full of flavour and relatively low in fact so I thought I would make the Cajun pork burgers. The Cajun spice adds a warmth flavour and the mashed sweet potato adds an (obviously) sweet flavour. 




Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus chilling
Cook Time : 35-45 minutes

Ingredients
225g sweet potatoes , cut into chunks
450g pork mince
1 eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
450g onions
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp sunflower oil
8-12 lean back bacon rashers
salt and pepper

Method
Cook the sweet potato in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes, or until soft when pierced with a fork. Drain well, then mash and reserve.
Place the pork in a bowl, add the mashed potato, apple and Cajun seasoning. Grate one of the onions and add to the pork mixture with the coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together, then shape into four to six equal-sized patties. Cover and leave to chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Slice the remaining onions. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan. Add the onions and cook over a low heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring until soft. Remove the frying pan from the heat and reserve. Wrap each patty in two bacon rashers. 
Preheat the barbecue. Cook the patties over the to coals, bruising with the remaining oil, for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until thoroughly cooked. Alternatively, cook in a griddle pan or under a hot grill. Serve immediately with the fried onions.

xxx
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