Sunday, 26 February 2017

Orange, Date & Chili Salad

I was in my local Poundland tossing in bits and bobs in my basket, when I discovered a healthy collection of cookery books. I was spoilt for choice, a cook book on Tuscan cuisine, Spanish cuisine, utilising your own vegetables in your garden and a Chocolate baking book. Having become easily distracted by a cookery book focusing on one of my favourite cuisines: Middle Eastern Food, I decided on purchasing entitled "200 easy tanginess & more". Rich hearty tagines, light refreshing fish dishes and sweet and savoury salad combinations. I strongly recommend that you take a trip to Poundland and treat yourself to an absolute bargain and a gem of a cookery book. 

This cookery book focused on 200-Moroccan-style recipes including tanginess, salads and snacks. The first recipe I tried was incredibly simple: Orange, Date & Chili Salad. Sweet, yet the chili adds a quick and I served this as part of a Middle Eastern Feast which included a hearty tagine and Middle Eastern spiced vegetables and pitta bread. If you can manage to get your hands on a pomegranate, sprinkle the seeds of half a pomegranate over salad, it adds a crunch. 



Orange, Date & Chili Salad
Ingredients
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
3-4 ripe sweet oranges
150g ready to eat soft pitted dates, finely sliced
2-3 tbsp orange blossom water
1 red chili, deseeded and finely sliced
finely sliced rind of 1/2 preserved lemon. 
handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)

Method
Remove the peel and pith from the oranges with a sharp knife. Place the oranges on a plate to catch the juice and thinly slice into circles or half moons, removing any seeds. Place the oranges and juice in a shallow bowl. 
Scatter over the dates, then pour over the orange blossom water. Cover and leave to stand for 15 minutes to let the flavours mingle and date soften. 
Sprinkle over the chili and preserved lemon and toss together. If you are using pomegranate seeds scatter over. 


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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.

xxx
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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
xxx
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