Monday, 13 February 2017

Buyer's Guide to Olive Oil

Olive oil has gone from a rarely known product in the UK (I'm thinking 1970's) to the must have product from chefs and keen food enthusiastic. I'm such a convert and will regularly use extra-olive oil with balsamic vinegar as a dipping condiment. There is well known health benefits for using olive oil such as omega 6, omega 3 fatty acids and monsosaturated fat called oleic acid, which is very healthy.
Whenever, I visit Mediterranean countries, there is always a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil on the table, which always goes down a treat. Spain is one the largest producers of olive oil with 825,700 tonnes being produced followed by Italy (302, 500 tonnes) and Greece (300,000 tonnes).

If you are an olive oil novice, where do you start when shopping around for the best oil. Jamie's Italian have produced a handy guide all about olive oil, which type is best for what, how experts taste olive oil and many more.

Olive oil
  • Pure Olive Oil - best for Grilling, Frying and Sauteing.
  • Extra Virgin Olive - best for Dipping Breads, Cold Dishes and Dressing.
  • Light Olive Oil - best for Grilling, Baking and Frying. 

Olive oil

Disclaimer: This post was made with collaboration with Jamie's Italian.


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Peanut Butter Squares

I fancied a sweet treat and with a jar of peanut butter needing to be used, I drew up several ideas for sweet treats. Peanut butter cake, peanut butter blondies, peanut butter and jelly, peanut and banana sandwich; the list was endless. But, I decided that it was recipe that I bookmarked in Lorraine Pascale's Fast, Fresh and Easy for Peanut Butter Squares. It sounded so moreish, peanut butter and 
chocolate, with digestive biscuits and sugar. Nom, nom, nom. 
This dish is simple to make and I made sure it was even easier as I microwaved the chocolates in 30 second blasts, as I did with the butter. The rest, the food processor done for me. The taste is highly addictive, I couldn't stop at 2 or 3 squares, it didn't last a full 24 hours in my home. 

Here are my Peanut Butter Squares turned out:

  • Ingredients
  • 150g/5½oz butter
  • 200g/7oz dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa solids) or milk chocolate (or a mixture of both)
  • 250g/9oz digestive biscuits
  • 200g/7oz soft light brown sugar
  • 300g/10½oz crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Elvis Presley Fried Peanut - Butter and Banana Sandwich

I love trashy food: peanut butter and jelly, vol au vants, cheese and pineapple sticks and my favourite of all: Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, made popular by the king of rock, Elvis Presely. I'm no stranger to this combination of peanut butter and banana having created my own version a couple of years ago in a pancake form
I made this sandwich one Saturday when I had a jar of peanut butter to use and some very ripe bananas, it was a decision that paid off. Although the recipe is from Nigella Lawson's Bites, I've added a couple of rashers of bacon - as some commentators shared that the addition of bacon was also a popular addition by the king himself. 

Serves 1  
1 small ripe banana
2 slices white bread
2 scant tablespoons smooth peanut butter (don't use extra smooth)
2 tablespoons butter
2 rashers of cooked lean bacon (optional) 

Mash or slice the banana.
Lightly toast the bread, and then spread the peanut butter on one piece and the banana on the other.
Sandwich together then fry in the butter, turning once, until each side is golden-brown.
Remove to a plate, cut the sandwich carefully in half on the diagonal and eat.



Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Cauliflower, Pumpkin and Bean soup

A hearty and soothing bowl of goodness. This really is the season for comforting bowl of soup, one which i'm enjoying. This recipe hails from my BBC Good Food: More Low Fat Feasts and I suggest you make a large batch and pop half in the freezer. If you don't have all the ingredients, feel free to swap, amend and change as I did. I liked the texture of the soup and the flavours, well, they tasted earthy and warmth.

Serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped 
500g pumpkin or squash, peeled seeded and chopped 
1 potato, chopped 
several thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
1 litre 1 3/4 pints vegetable stock
500g cauliflower cut into small florets
400g can haricot beans, drained and rinsed
a handful of chopped parsley
crusty bread, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions then fry for about 10 minutes until soft and lightly coloured. Stir in the garlic, pumpkin or squash, potato and thyme, then cook for 1 minute.
Pour the stock, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover, simmer for around 20 minutes, then add the cauliflower and beans, and cook for a further 10 minutia until all the vegetables are tender.
Remove about two ladles of soup and pour into a food processor, then add the parsley and process until smooth - taking good care not to splash yourself with the liquid. Return to the pan, then reheat an serve some crusty bread.


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Smashed Avocado & Crab Bruschetta

I vividly remember having a similar lunch, an avocado and crab sandwich on Jamaican hard ouch bread, whilst on holiday to Jamaica a few years ago at my aunties home. It's amazing the tropical delights you can rustle up for a quick lunch when you are residing in a warm tropical climate. I've recreated my tasty lunch but using tinned crab, which is perfectly fine as after all, who goes to source fresh crab to put in a sandwich.

Serves 3-4 (depending upon appetite)

170 g cooked crabmeat
1 teaspoon crushed dried chillies
large squeeze of half a lime
1 small avocado, skin and stone removed
1 spring onion, finely diced.
salt and pepper to taste.
1 baguette, sliced. 

In a small bowl mix the crab meat, crushed chillies and lime and set aside. In another small bowl, mash the avocado using a fork, add the spring onions, salt and pepper and mix well. Slice the baguette 1cm thick and lightly toast until they are light brown on each side. Spoon a tablespoon of the avocado on the baguette slices followed by a tablespoon of the crab.


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