Recipe: Smoked Chilli Chocolate Brownies with Tabasco Chipotle

Finally, here is my dessert course for the Tabasco #FunWithFlavour challenge! As you know, I am not the best at baking (a little out of practice, as I usually focus on savoury dishes). So for my Tabasco dessert recipe, I adapted a standard chocolate brownie recipe from the BBC Good Food website, and they turned out a treat!

Smoked Chilli Chocolate Brownies with Tabasco Chipotle
Smoked Chilli Chocolate Brownies with Tabasco Chipotle

The recipe takes about 1 hour in total, and makes 16 squares of brownie. You’ll also need a brownie tin, approx. 20cm by 20cm works best.

What you need:

  • 185g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 185g best quality dark chocolate
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 100g milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks (for chocolate chips)
  • 4 tsp Tabasco Chipotle
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar

What to do:

  1. Cut 185g unsalted butter into small cubes and tip into a medium bowl. Break the 185g of best quality dark chocolate into small pieces and add to the same bowl. Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, then sit the bowl on top so it rests on the rim of the pan, not touching the water. Put over a low heat until the butter and chocolate have melted, stirring occasionally to mix. Once melted and combined, remove the bowl from the pan and leave the mixture to cool to room temperature.
  2. While you wait for the chocolate to cool, position a shelf in the middle of the oven and turn on to 160C Fan, 180C conventional or Gas mark 4. Coat your 20cm square tin with butter and add a some flour – tapping the tin and turning it on each side until the inside of the pan is completely coated in a very thin layer of butter then flour (this will help prevent the brownies sticking). Alternatively you could line the pan with greaseproof paper.
  3. Next, sieve 85g plain flour, 40g cocoa powder and the 1 tsp cinnamon into a medium bowl (to get rid of any lumps).
  4. Break 3 large eggs and 275g golden caster sugar into a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on maximum speed, whisk the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy, like a milk shake. This can take 5-8 minutes, depending on how powerful your mixer is. You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture becomes really pale and about double its original volume.
  5. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture from earlier over the eggy mousse, then gently fold together with a rubber spatula. Continue folding in a ‘figure of eight’ motion, moving the bowl round after each fold, until the two mixtures are one. The idea is to marry them without knocking out the air, so be as gentle and slow as you like – you don’t want to undo all the work you did in step 4.
  6. Hold the sieve over the bowl of eggy chocolate mixture and resift the cocoa/flour/cinnamon mixture in, shaking the sieve from side to side to cover the top evenly. Add the 4 tsp of Tabasco Chipotle sauce. Gently fold in the sieved powder using the same ‘figure of eight’ action as before. The mixture will look dry and dusty at first, but if you keep going gently and patiently, it will end up looking gungy and fudgy. Stop just before you feel you should, as you don’t want to overdo the mixing.
  7. Stir in the milk chocolate chunks until they’re dotted throughout.
  8. Pour all of the mixture into the prepared tin, ensuring it is level. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, open the oven, pull the shelf out a bit and gently shake the tin. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it’s not quite done, so slide it back in and bake for another 5 minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin. Take out of the oven.
  9. Leave the whole thing in the tin until completely cold. Remove from the tin using a knife to gently ease it away from the edges. Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into four squares.
  10. These brownies will keep in an airtight container for a good two weeks and in the freezer for up to a month.
Tabasco Fun with Flavour Challenge, Smoked Chilli and Chocolate Brownies with Tabasco Chipotle
Tabasco Fun with Flavour Challenge, Smoked Chilli and Chocolate Brownies with Tabasco Chipotle

 

Recipe: Sirloin Steak with Tabasco Jalapeno Chimichurri

So, this is my main course for the Tabasco #FunWithFlavour challenge, a sirloin steak served with a spicy homemade chimichurri (using Tabasco Jalapeno), parmesan dusted chips and a courgette and pea side dish.

Sirloin Steak with Tabasco Jalapeno Chimichurri, Spiralized Courgetti & Parmesan dusted chips
Sirloin Steak with Tabasco Jalapeno Chimichurri, Spiralized Courgetti & Parmesan dusted chips

Here’s the recipe, it takes about 45 minutes and serves 2.

What you need:

For the Chimichurri

  • 2 shallots
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • Half juice 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Green Tabasco
  • Whole bunch fresh parsley

For the rest:

  • 2 Sirloin steaks, rested at room temperature and rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 1 courgette
  • A few handfuls of frozen petit pois or garden peas
  • 2 portions of frozen oven chips
  • 50g Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

What to do:

  • First of all preheat your oven cook the chips as per packet instructions. To make them taste a little nicer, I usually drizzle a little olive oil on them before cooking and season really well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Make the chimichurri by blitzing the parsley, oregano, garlic, shallots and chilli flakes in a food processor (or chop very finely by hand). Add the olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and some seasoning, and pulse to combine everything to a sauce consistency.
  • Using a Spiralizer or a peeler, slice the courgette into thin strips. Add to a microwave proof bowl with the frozen peas and top with boiling water. Microwave on full power for 3 minutes until cooked through. Drain and cover to keep warm until serving.
Cougetti and pea side-dish with Chimichurri sauce
Cougetti and pea side-dish with Chimichurri sauce

 

  • For the steaks, heat a griddle pan and cook the steaks for 2-3 mins on each side or until done to your liking. Once cooked, rest for 5 minutes before serving in some tin foil to keep warm.
  • Once the chips are done, remove from the oven and grate over the Parmesan cheese and a little more salt and pepper to taste. Serve everything on the table at once so you can dig-in and enjoy!
Oven chips with olive oil, Parmesan, salt & pepper
Oven chips with olive oil, Parmesan, salt & pepper
Sirloin Steak with Tabasco Chimicurri
Serve on the table for everyone to help themselves

 

Recipe: Spicy King Prawn Empanadas

Spicy King Prawn Empanadas for Tabasco #FunWithFlavour

Spicy King Prawn Empanadas made with Filo pastry & Tabasco Habanero
Spicy King Prawn Empanadas made with Filo pastry & Tabasco Habanero

This is the starter recipe for my Tabasco #FunWithFlavour menu, I hope you enjoy!

First things first, prep and make your Empanadas… This recipe takes about 45 minutes in total and should make about 12. Once you have done this, treat yourself to the cocktail recipe which is here.

What you need:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or you could use olive oil)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded), finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 150g raw king prawns, roughly chopped
  • a good few drops Tabasco Habanero (the hot one!)
  • a sprinkle of Paprika
  • ½ tsp tomato puree
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 pack of filo pastry
  • some olive oil for brushing

What to do:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes, until they begin to soften.
  2. Add the chopped chilli and garlic and continue to cook until softened but not browned (reduce the heat slightly if needed).
  3. Add the roughly chopped raw king prawns and gently cook on a low heat until cooked through (pink & opaque).
  4. Add at least 5-6 drops of Tabasco Habanero for a fiery kick.
  5. Season with a sprinkle of paprika, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Stir in the coriander, tomato puree and lime juice.
  7. Allow the mixture to cool completely before assembly, then discard any excess liquid.
  8. To make the empanadas, take two sheets of filo pastry and lay them on top of one another. Cut the pastry into four, equal horizontal strips. Note: it is best to work with just one strip at a time, so place the other 3 strips under some cling film and a damp towel to keep them from going dry.
  9. Brush the strip of pastry with oil.
  10. Place a small teaspoon of the prawn mixture at one end of the strip. Fold at right angles into a triangle, and keep folding over until you reach the end of the pastry strip.
  11. Brush with oil and place on a some parchment paper on a baking tray, ready to pop into the oven or save for later.

REPEAT this process until you have used all the filling up, I managed to get 12 small samosa-like parcels 🙂

If cooking immediately, pop in the oven for 8-9 minutes at 200C. If making ahead, you can keep them covered in the fridge for a few hours beforehand (just make sure you separate them with parchment paper so they don’t stick).

My take on Hemsley & Hemsley Cottage Pie

On Sunday, I made this wonderful cottage pie recipe from the Hemsley sisters website. It is my birthday next week, and their book is now firmly on my wish-list, as this recipe was so damn lovely. Cottage pie is not something I make often, but with this recipe in mind I will certainly be making it again, which is making me excited for winter again already….!

I found this version a lot lighter than the usual recipes, perfect for these cold (yet sunny) Sunday’s after an afternoon of pottering about and a walk to the local pub.

Due to the contents or my fridge and larder, I had to improvise slightly, as I only had 1 cauliflower in and no courgettes. So instead of doing a full cauli mash (which uses 2 full cauliflowers), I substituted one for a sweet potato and combined the two. It worked a treat! Instead of the diced courgette, I used frozen petit pois.

Below I have provided the full, original recipe and have added my tweaks in brackets. The recipe takes about 2 hours from start to finish and serves 4. It is suitable for freezing. 

What you need:

For the Cottage Pie Filling-

  • 1 tablespoon of ghee or butter (I used butter)
  • 500g of good quality, lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion/leek finely chopped (I used onion)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium courgette, finely diced (I used petit pois instead)
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon of dried or 1½ teaspoons of fresh thyme plus some to garnish (I used dried thyme, and seasoned with fresh parsley)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried or 1½ teaspoons of fresh, roughly chopped rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A small handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 350 – 400ml of hot good quality beef, chicken or vegetable stock (I used a Kallo Organic chicken stock cube)
  • 1 large pinch sea salt
  • 1 large pinch black pepper

For the Cauliflower/Sweet Pot Mash-

  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 large cauliflowers, remove outer green leaves and roughly chop the into equal sized pieces (I only used 1 cauliflower)
  • (1 medium-large sweet potato, washed, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon of English mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of butter to blend and 2 teaspoons of chopped up butter to top the mash
  • 1 large pinch sea salt
  • 1 large pinch black pepper
  • Optional 2 teaspoons of chopped chives or 1 finely sliced spring onion (I used spring onion)
  • Optional 60g of mature cheddar cheese, grated (I used 30g Parmesan cheese)

Serve with-

Steamed buttered greens: I steamed some tenderstem broccoli and some fresh spring greens.

Hemsley & Hemsley Cottage Pie - filling in progress
Hemsley & Hemsley Cottage Pie – filling in progress

What to do:

  1. Brown the mince in half a tablespoon of butter (or ghee) and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the remaining butter and sauté the onions, celery and carrots, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and gently fry for a further minute.
  4. Return the mince to the pan and stir in the  tomato puree and red wine. Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced.
  5. Add the stock and simmer with the lid on for at least 30 minutes – we like to slow cook for up to an hour adding more stock or water if it’s starts to get dry, (which I did – slow cook for 1 hour if you can).
  6. Once cooked, stir through the petit pois and fresh parsley and taste for seasoning.
  7. Add the peas after the rest of the filling is cooked to avoid over cooking
    Add the peas after the rest of the filling is cooked to avoid over-cooking them
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C.
  9. Add the chopped sweet potato to a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 10 minutes until tender, drain and set aside to allow the steam to evaporate.
  10. In a saucepan, steam the cauliflower and whole garlic cloves with just a few tablespoons of water, lid on, for 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Use a knife to check.
  11. Remove the saucepan from the heat, drain any excess liquid and add the sweet potato, butter, grated cheese and mustard. Blend or mash until creamy and smooth. If it’s too sloppy or wet allow the mash to evaporate on a low heat. (I just used a potato masher – the consistency wasn’t completely smooth, but it was well-mashed with a little texture)
  12. Season to taste and add the spring onions or chives.
  13. Take a large oven dish or individual dishes and fill to two thirds of the beef mixture, then top with the cauliflower mash. Use a fork to criss cross over the top and dot with bits of butter.
  14. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden. Finish with a sprinkle of chives or some some fresh thyme leaves (I finished with fresh parsley, as that’s what I had in, it was lovely).
The dots of butter make all the difference :-)
The dots of butter make all the difference 🙂

Hemsley & Hemsley Cottage Pie - the finished product.

Hemsley & Hemsley Cottage Pie – the finished product.

Hope you enjoy! Love Sophie -x-


Beef Keema Curry with Steamed Basmati Rice

I wanted something different to cook with lean minced beef. As most foodsters, I have the usual dishes nailed – spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne, lasagne, so craved something new and a little bit more exciting. Inspired by a visit to Dilli, Altrincham, where a colleague of mine ordered Lamb Biryani which looked incredible – I decided to spice things up a bit and go about creating a new recipe I hadn’t tried before – Beef Keema curry.

Beef Keema Curry served with mint yogurt and steamed basmati rice
Beef Keema curry served with mint yogurt and steamed basmati rice

This recipe only takes about 40 minutes and serves 4-6 portions. You can swap out the birdseye chillies for a milder variety if you’re not that keen on spice.  I used Turmeric and Garam Masala for the spices, but you could use curry powder instead of the Garam Masala. I would say the turmeric is essential for that authentic Indian depth of flavour, and wonderful vibrant yellow colour.

For the rice – I follow Jamie Oliver’s ‘Light and Fluffy’ steamed basmati recipe. It’s brilliant and it does exactly what it says on the tin, and works every time. I have pasted it at the bottom of my keema recipe – if you are making them to serve together, start making the rice once you put the curry on to simmer. That way they will both be ready at the same time.

For the mint yogurt – I just mix one teaspoon of mint sauce with 4 tablespoons of natural yogurt, and serve with a dollop on top at the end. Simples!

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil (or you can use olive, or vegetable oil)
  • 500g pack lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 2 birdseye chillies, one of which is de-seeded (optional depending on how hot you like it!)
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 carrots, cut into small chunks
  • 200g frozen petits pois or garden peas
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 4 tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon mint sauce
  • 1 small bunch coriander, chopped
  1. First mix the mint sauce and yogurt, then set aside in the fridge until serving.
  2. Heat some of the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the mince beef, season and cook until browned. Then remove from the pan and discard the excess fat and set aside.
  3. Whiz the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies together in a food processor or chop them all finely. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan, and fry the mixture gently for 2 minutes until onions soften. Then add the chopped carrots and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  4. As the carrots begin to soften , add the browned mince and mix everything together well.
  5. Next add the garam masala and turmeric and fry for another minute, before adding the veg stock and simmering for 30 minutes with a lid on or covered with foil. Stir occasionally.
  6. Remove the lid and add the frozen peas, and cook for 5 minutes. At this point, the liquid should be mostly absorbed.
  7. Just before serving, remove from the heat and stir in the coriander.
  8. Serve with brown pitta bread, steamed basmati (recipe below) and a dollop of the mint yogurt from the fridge.

Jamie Olivers Perfect Steamed Basmati Rice (serves 4):

  • 350g white basmati rice
  • sea salt
  1. Put a large pan of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil. Rinse the rice in a colander under running water for about 1 minute, or until the water runs clear (this will stop the grains sticking together later).
  2. Add your rice to the boiling water and wait for the grains to start dancing around. From that point, boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the rice in a colander. Pour 2.5cm of water into the pan, put it back on the heat and bring it to the boil again, then turn down to a simmer.
  4. Cover the rice in the colander with foil or a lid. Place the colander on top of the pan of simmering water, and let the rice steam over it for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and if you’re ready, serve immediately. If not, leave the foil or lid on and put aside until ready to serve – it should stay warm for about 20 minutes.
Alternative serving suggestion - mix the a portion of the curry and rice together, for a biryani style dish - perfect for leftover lunch!
Alternative serving suggestion – mix the a portion of the curry and rice together, for a biryani style dish – perfect for leftover lunch!

 

Mushroom & ‘Smokehouse’ Smoked Streaky Bacon Risotto

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

As some of you may know, I wrote my first article for Taste Today last week, and it was based on the wonderful Cheshire Smokehouse, their history, their food and their amazing shop based just on the outskirts of Wilmslow, Cheshire.

As part of the article, I chose a product off their shelves and with the help of the Smokehouse’s owner Darren Ward, told the readers all about the full life cycle of their wonderful smoked streaky bacon. I then put it in this wonderfully indulgent, satisfying and creamy risotto.

You can read the full article on Taste Today’s website by clicking here, but for now, please enjoy the recipe from it! This scrumptious dish serves 4 people, and takes about 35 minutes.

What you need:

  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 6-8 rashers of The Cheshire Smokehouse Smoked Streaky Bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1L good quality chicken stock
  • 300g risotto rice
  • Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 100ml dry white wine (plus extra, for sipping whilst stirring, if desired!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated to serve

What to do:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or ceramic casserole dish and cook the onion and Cheshire Smokehouse Smoked Streaky Bacon for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic and bay leaf, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes – until the mushrooms really start to release their juices.
  3. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the wine, and continue to cook (and stir) until all the liquid and juices from the mushrooms have been absorbed.
  5. Next, add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring well and waiting for most of the stock to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful. This process with take about 20 minutes – so I recommend you grab yourself a glass of wine as a reward for all this laborious activity!
  6. Continue until all the stock is added and the rice is cooked.
  7. Once the rice is cooked, removed the risotto from the heat and add the lemon zest, fresh parsley and season to taste with the black pepper.
  8. Serve with a little extra parsley and some grated Parmesan.

Hope you enjoy this one, love Sophie -x-

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Homemade Chicken Kievs with Broccoli Mash

I was pondering, as you do, on Friday lunchtime in the office – ‘what delights am I going to cook up this weekend?’ Chicken Kiev’s have been on my list for a while, and I knew I had some decent sized chicken breasts, a bakery loaf which had seen better days and some eggs in the pantry. So I decided to give homemade chicken kiev’s a go. I think it’s safe to say I won’t be going back to the shop-bought kind, as these are surprising quick and really easy to put together. They also taste so much fresher (as they are), and you can really go to town on the garlicky, buttery filling – adding whatever herbs you fancy.

So I set about finding a good recipe for the basis of this dish. I received Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food for Christmas – and it just so happens to have a great Chicken Kiev recipe. In an attempt to make it slightly healthier for January – I swapped out the smoked bacon in the filling, and added steamed green beans to the baby spinach garnish. Below is my interpretation of Jamie’s recipe, which serves 2 and takes about 40 minutes from start to finish! Perfect for a Saturday night, low-fuss treat!

What you need:

  • 2 decent sized skinless chicken breasts (150g)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 75g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 large free range egg
  • sunflower oil
  • a handful of baby spinach
  • a handful of green beans (enough to serve 2, with the ends chopped off)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley (10g), finely chopped
  • 3 knobs of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 400 g Maris Piper potatoes
  • half a head of broccoli

What to do:

First of all, prep your breadcrumbs. If you’re using shop bought, obviously you can skip this stage. For fresh breadcrumbs, it’s best to use a bakery bought loaf rather than the shop-bought pre sliced. Bakery loaves contain less additives, and therefore give you a crunchier crumb. I left 2 slices of a thick, white bloomer loaf out overnight, then in the morning, removed the crusts and blitzed vigorously in my mini food processor until evenly crumbled. Keep them in an air-tight container until ready to use.

Next, make the garlic butter and prep your production line – mix 2 knobs of the butter with finely chopped garlic, parsley and a pinch of cayenne pepper and set aside in the fridge to firm. Line up 3 containers which will comfortably fit one chicken breast in at at time. In the first container add the flour. In the second container, add the egg and lightly beat. The third container should contain your breadcrumbs and a little seasoning (I used Nando’s Peri Peri Sprinkle and some freshly ground black pepper).

Chicken Kiev Production line! Flour, Egg then Breadcrumbs.
Chicken Kiev Production line! Flour, Egg then Breadcrumbs.

Prep your potatoes and broccoli for the mash – scrub, peel and chop your pots into 3 cm chunks.  For the broccoli, half the florets down the middle of each stalk so they don’t require much cooking time. Put on a large pan of water with a pinch of salt to boil. If you have a steamer attachment – get this out now ready. If not, also get another pan ready to steam your green beans.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Now to stuff the the chicken. To do this, start by pulling back the loose fillet on the back of the breast – put your knife in the opposite direction and slice to create a long pocket. Jamie Oliver has a handy how-to video on this, so if you’re unsure, take a look here and skip to 0:45 seconds. Next, fill the pocket with your garlicky herb butter (see image below).

Chicken breasts stuffed with the garlic herb butter.
Chicken breasts stuffed with the garlic herb butter.

Once your chicken is stuffed, it’s ready for the breadcrumbs. First, dip the breast into the flour and make sure it’s coated evenly. Repeat in the egg and then finally, the breadcrumbs. If you need to use cocktail sticks to help hold things together, that’s fine – they can be removed at the end. Repeat with the other chicken breast.

Now you’re ready to crisp up your chicken, put 2 cm sunflower oil in a large frying pan on a medium to hot heat. Once the oil is hot, add the kiev’s and shallow fry  for 2 minutes on each side, until they start to go golden and crispy.

Chicken Kiev's shallow frying in sunflower oil
Chicken Kiev’s shallow frying in sunflower oil

Keeping an eye on the chicken, start boiling your potatoes for the mash. Add the potatoes to the large pan of boiling water and boil for 10-12 minutes, adding the broccoli (to the same pan) for the final 8 minutes. When you add the broccoli, get your green beans in the steamer pan.

Broccoli Mash - add the broccoli to the boiling potatoes for the last 8 minutes of cooking time.
Broccoli Mash – add the broccoli to the boiling potatoes for the last 8 minutes of cooking time.

Once your kievs are nicely golden and crisp, transfer them to a baking tray in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. They don’t take long, so use this time wisely to get everything else sorted.

Once the potatoes and broccoli are done, drain and let steam dry for a few seconds, then transfer back to the pan and mash with a knob of unsalted butter, and season to taste. I added a bit of leftover stilton cheese for an added creaminess!

Now you’re ready to bring it all together – split the mash between two plates and place your chicken kiev on top. Remove your green beans from the steamer and run under a little cold water to cool them slightly, drain them and add to a bowl with the baby spinach leaves, some lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Once evenly coated, add to your serving plates alongside the chicken and mash.

Tuck in & enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Kiev's with garlic and parsley butter, served with broccoli mash, steamed green beans and baby spinach.
Homemade Chicken Kiev’s with garlic and parsley butter, served with broccoli mash, steamed green beans and baby spinach.

Have you made homemade chicken kievs before? If so, did you add anything special to the buttery filling? I’d love to hear your ideas, so please feel free to comment below.

With love, Sophie -x-

Comfort Food: Cheesy Jackets with Smoked Bacon, Goats Cheese, & BBQ Beans

Baked Pots

So, Christmas is over. Part of me is kind of thankful. It was wonderful, full of friends, family & food. The three best things in life, pretty much ;-). Now January is well and truly upon us, and in my world, a little bit of indulgence is still acceptable. I know most posts this time of year are health and detox orientated, ‘New Year, new me’ and all that codswallop – but I reckon January should be a mild extension of the festive season.  Ease yourselves in gently, that’s what I say!

You might also notice these bad boys are served up on my ‘Sophie’s Scran’ solid wood chopping board. Best Christmas present ever, thanks Sis 😀

So here it goes – a simple, easy, super scrummy Saturday night treat. Cheesy Jacket Pots. This serves two hungry, hungover mongrels and takes about 1.5 hours from pot to plate.

Baked Pots

What you need:

  • 3 decent sized floury white potatoes
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese (or any leftover cheese from the Christmas cheese board)
  • 20g goats cheese (just a small amount for topping, no need to measure)
  • 3 rashers of streaky smoked bacon
  • Olive oil (plain, or you can use an infused olive oil such as garlic)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Baked beans
  • BBQ sauce (I used The Market Wraps Louisiana BBQ Sauce from Market Wraps, via Flavour Full Stop.)

What to do:

  1. Heat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6
  2. Clean your spuds and dry off with a tea towel, then use your hands to rub a layer of oil over them
  3. Season your spuds with some sea salt which should stick to the oil nicely
  4. No need for a baking tray – once the oven is hot, place them directly on the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes. If you’re using really big spuds, they may need a little longer, so add 15 minutes to the cooking time if you think it’s needed.
  5. Whilst they are cooking, griddle your bacon on a hot skillet until it’s crispy, they transfer to some kitchen paper to absorb any excess grease (or don’t, depending on how healthy you’re feeling!)
  6. Grate the cheese and set aside.
  7. To check your spuds are baked, take them out of the oven and examine them to make sure they are a golden brown colour and the skins are nice and crisp. If you insert a knife into the biggest spud and it’s piping hot when you take it out – they should be done.
  8. Turn off the oven, and preheat your grill to a high heat.
  9. Cut each baked spud in half and scoop out the fluffy potato filling into a bowl, then add 2 thirds of the the grated cheese and crispy bacon and mix to combine.
  10. Using a spoon, scoop the mixture back into each jacket potato skin until each skin is full again and all the mixture is used up.
  11. Transfer your loaded skins onto a baking tray and top with a thin layer of of the remaining grated cheese, and top again with a small crumbling of the goats cheese.
  12. Transfer the cheese-topped spuds to the grill and keep an eye on them for about 10 mins – just until the cheese is melted, bubbling and golden.
  13. Serve with BBQ baked beans (I added a few lashings of Market Wraps Louisiana BBQ Sauce to some Heinz Baked beans, but you could use a sauce of your choice) and a little rocket salad.

Baked Pots (1)

Enjoy, Scranners! -x-

Grandad’s Sausages: Breakfast & Posh Dogs

Grandad's Sausages - Perfectly Packaged for #BritishSausageWeek
Grandad’s Sausages – Perfectly Packaged for #BritishSausageWeek – scroll down for more amazing pictures!

As you may have noticed from some of my previous recipes and social media posts, I am rather a fan of a good old sausage. Sausages are so versatile, tasty, quick and easy – if you’re a meat lover you’d be daft not to have a constant stash of good-quality sausages in the fridge. And these ones are awesome.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of Grandad’s Sausages as part of celebrating British Sausage Week, which was earlier this month 3-9 November. I got the chance to meet up with Matthew Woodward and his business partner Michael – we met in Chorlton; it was pouring down with rain and it turned into a sort of ‘drive-by’ pick up, which was very funny and felt a bit like we were doing something dodgy. But we weren’t, honestly, just casually picking up sausages… 😉

Both Matthew and Michael are really nice blokes. I will certainly be ordering more of their sausages in the future, and my own Grandad has already told me he wants some next year for his famous Summer family BBQ’s! Their sausages come in a range of different succulent flavours (the ones bold & italic were included in my sample):

  • Traditional British Pork
  • Olde English
  • Lincolnshire
  • Cumberland
  • Pork & Welsh Leek
  • Pork & Somerset Apple
  • Pork & Crushed Garlic
  • Pork & Fiery Chilli
  • Pork & Bury Black Pudding
  • Pork & Cranberry
Selection of Grandads Sausages
Selection of Grandads Sausages

 

Breakfast with Grandad’s Sausages:

First off had to be a traditional full-English breakfast/brunch. I just grilled them (hardly any fat came out) and served with plum tomatoes, fried egg ‘sunny side up’, black pudding & buttered toast. I had the Cumberland & Lincolnshire, and Bradley (boyfriend/partner in crime) had the Traditional Pork and Olde English. All super-succulent and perfectly seasoned, very meaty and even more morish. No need for bacon as well when the sausages are super tasty.

Grandads Sausages Full English Breakfast
Grandads Sausages Full English Breakfast

 

Posh-dogs with Grandad’s Sausages:

Next up was my take on ‘posh-dogs,’ where I used Pork & Fiery Chilli, Pork & Somerset Apple and Pork & Welsh Leek. I warmed a poppy seeded baguette in the oven at 150 degree for about 5 minutes, grilled the sausages in a griddle pan on a medium heat for about 20 minutes, turning regularly until cooked-through and crispy on the outside. I served them with a little rocket and plum tomato salad, some fried shallots, English mustard and a little ketchup. All of the sausages tasted brilliant, all with seasoning subtle yet distinct enough to be able to really appreciate the different flavours.

Grandads Sausages Posh Dogs!
Grandads Sausages Posh Dogs!
Grandads Sausages Posh Dogs served with poppy seed baguettes, rocket salad and fried shallots
Grandads Sausages Posh Dogs served with poppy seed baguettes, rocket salad and fried shallots

Being a chilli lover, my favourite was the Fiery Chilli of course. Just the right amount of chilli for a nice little kick. So, so good as a ‘posh-dog’. I urge you to try it!

Grandads Sausages Posh Dogs - a taste sensation. Highly recommended!
Grandads Sausages Posh Dogs – a taste sensation. Highly recommended!

For more information visit grandadssausages.com!

Coconut & Cinnamon Beef Curry with Saffron & Pea Rice

Coconut & Cinnamon Beef Curry with Saffron and Pea Rice

This beast of a curry is easy to put together and is a fantastic winter warmer. It’s indulgent and packed-full of a variety of spices that gently compliment each other really well. It’s slow cooked, so chose a casserole steak. If you have a little extra budget (or if you’re feeling fancy) you can use a better quality cut like Sirloin which is what I used.  I asked a local butcher and this is what he recommended. It gave it an amazing ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation… so if you can, go for it.

You can vary the heat by upping the amount of chilli used (fresh or powder) – but I would strongly recommend you don’t, as you will lose the delicate aromas of the ginger, cinnamon, cloves and coconut. The curry is also paired with a super-easy pilaff rice which compliments this perfectly, and will also go well with many other different curries, so you could also try the rice with a different dish if desired.

I serve this with mini garlic and coriander naan breads, which I make the ‘cheats’ way by buying plain mini naan breads from the supermarket and topping with butter, some ‘Very Lazy’ jarred garlic and chopped coriander (stems and leaf) before popping them in the oven and cooking as per the instructions. Easy!

This dish can be knocked together in about 2.5 hours and this recipe serves 5 people. It’s perfect for a weekend dinner party, so if that’s what you’re planning, double the quantities to serve 10 – and you might even have some left over for lunches in the week. All round win-win situation. I really hope you enjoy!

Coconut & Cinnamon Beef Curry with Saffron and Pea Rice

Beef Curry – What you need:

  • 2-3 tablespoon of Sunflower oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon fresh root ginger, grated
  • 1.5 cinnamon sticks, halved
  • 3 cloves
  • 1.5 teaspoon hot chilli powder
  • 1 fresh chilli, left whole (optional)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1.5 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1.5 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 kg diced casserole steak (or Sirloin as mentioned above)
  • 1 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 200ml water (if doubling the recipe to serve 10, skip the water and use 3 tins of coconut milk)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • a large bunch of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Beef Curry – What to do:

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, ginger and cinnamon. Gently fry for about 10-12 minutes until the onions are soft and golden.

2. Mix in the spices and cook for a further 2 minutes, then increase the heat slightly and once the onions are sizzling, add the beef with a pinch of salt and pepper and fry until lightly browned.

3. Next, add the coconut milk and water (or just coconut milk if you are doubling quantities). Also add the fresh red chilli if you want to infuse a little extra heat, and the kaffir lime leaves.  Bring to the boil then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour, to let the beef gently braise and absorb the flavours.

Coconut & Cinnamon Beef Curry simmering on a low heat
Coconut & Cinnamon Beef Curry simmering on a medium-low heat

4. Stir in the ground almonds and continue to simmer with the lid off (so any excess liquid evaporates) for 30-40 minutes – until it reaches the desired consistency.

5. Before serving, allow the curry to rest for 10 minutes off the heat. Remove the cinnamon sticks, whole chilli and kaffir lime leaves and garnish the curry with plenty of fresh coriander leaves.

6. Serve with the saffron and pea rice (recipe below) and garlic & coriander mini-naan breads for the ultimate taste sensation! 🙂

Garlic & Coriander Mini Naans
Garlic & Coriander Mini Naans

Saffron & Pea rice: What you need:

  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • a pinch of salt
  • dash of boiling water
  • 450ml water
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • 2 whole peppercorns
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 150g frozen petits pois

Saffron & Pea Rice: What to do:

  1. Grind together the saffron and salt using a pestle and mortar or in a small bowl with the back of a teaspoon, add a dash of boiling water and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium sized, heavy based saucepan and once hot, stir in the shallots. Gently fry for about 8 minutes, or until soft and golden.
  3. Add the bay leaf, clove and peppercorns and gently fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Mix in the rice, stirring until it is well coated in the oil. Fry for another couple of minutes.
  5. Add the frozen petits pois and saffron water mix, followed by a further 450ml water. Cover and bring to the boil over a medium heat. As soon as the rice boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. You can stir once half-way through, seasoning with salt to taste.
  6. After cooking for 10 minutes, the water will be absorbed. Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a tea towel. Leave to steam for 10 minutes until serving.

 Hope you enjoy, Scranners! -x-