Sunday round up. 28/02/2016

What a week!

This was the week I really upped my overnight oats game, all part of a blog feature I’m doing at the moment in collaboration with Holland and Barrett. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that this week I posted an image that started a little bit of debate. The below image is of my overnight oats with a dollop of manuka honey on top. Some people thought it was an egg yolk… You’ll just have to take my word for it; it wasn’t!

Cheshire Food Blog

This week I also attended a fantastic cookery class in Wilmslow, run by the lovely Gemma AKA You Say Tomato. She showed us how to cook 3 really easy ‘Deliciously Doable’ dinners, and we sat back and relaxed whilst she whipped them up in front of our eyes.

Quite the hostess, there were nibbles and drinks provided too, and it was all based at her lovely house.

I discovered how utterly divine polenta can be when cooked right (image below of Gemma’s “lemony mushroom ragu on oozy polenta with kale pesto“) which really, honestly, blew my mind. Read more about my evening at You Say Tomato on the blog later this week.

Cheshire Food Blog

So what else has happened this week? I reviewed some Bombay mix flavour crisps and wasabi flavoured popcorn on the blog. Which were very scrumptious snacks indeed.

I also watched the Brit Awards, did you? I have officially decided I’m a ‘Bieliber’ now too, his performance was great. James Bay played guitar for him on stage, which made it for me and really captured my attention. I also thought Rihanna killed it, and the tribute to David Bowie at the end was awesome.

And to end a great week – we had family friends over to stay. I cooked a Moroccan feast, in a tagine from Morocco and using all the authentic spices. Keep your eyes peeled for the recipe to follow.

Our friends brought their puppy along to stay (she’s called Billie and she’s a blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier), and I thought, as it’s Sunday, you might enjoy another doggy picture. So here you go…. JUST LOOK AT HER! 💓😍💓

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Finally, I had a CRACKING gin and tonic at the Bull’s Head, Mobberley (my local) which was beautifully garnished with lime peel and juniper berries.

Cheshire Food Blog

I hope you’ve all had a great week too.

With love,

Sophie -x-

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Cheshire Food Blogger

Sunday round up. 17/01/2016

Ok so I forgot to post my weekly round-up yesterday, whoops. Here it is, in a nutshell, with pics. ❀ #HappySunday

  1. In the news this week experts suggested labels be added to food packaging to show how much exercise is required to burn the calories consumed. In all honesty, this idea shocked me. Can’t people be trusted to find out for themselves?! And what if someone generally lives a healthy lifestyle but eats the odd pizza on occasion. Do we really need to be guilt-tripped into an oblivion? No. We do not. LEAVE US ALONE!!
  2. My fluffy eggs recipe got featured in a proper recipe eBook which features “Breakfast in Bed” recipes from nine food bloggers from around the country! Exciting times indeed. Download the FREE eBook here.
  3. I ate black cod for the first time, at a wonderful pub in Claughton, Lancashire. It was delicious. More on that on the blog later this week!
  4. I discovered Evelyn’s, a new restaurant in Manchester and it was stunning. The menu is full of deliciousness, but I tried their Korean fried chicken and seafood ramen and mdog.me has added it to the #JanuarySales section on his site…. Check it out and grab 50% off their amazing food while you can!
  5. I went to the Lake District. It was proper snowy up there. Real, crisp, bright white snow. Everywhere. It was a wonderland ❄ and must have made a welcome change to the sodding rain for the locals.
how many calories........? WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!
how many calories……..? WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cheshire Food Blogger
Black cod. What a thing of beauty ❀
Cheshire Food Blogger
delicious seafood ramen at Evelyn’s – get 50% off in January whilst you can

Christmas Gifts for Foodies

I thought I would treat you all to a last-minute Christmas gift guide. I am not the most organised of shoppers, usually opting for a hectic dash around the shops the week before…

So if you’re doing your Christmas shopping this week, like I am, these gifts might just make it in time for Christmas!

Foodie frames

notonthehighstreet.com is a great website if you’re looking for something a bit different.

Their lovely food-themed framed images would brighten up any food lovers kitchen or dining room. I think the British foods map or the one that just says FAMILY, FRIENDS, FOOD, FUN are particularly stylish/charming. And reasonably priced.

Personalised food jars

Both Marmite and Nutella are offering personalised jars this year. You can do the Marmite ones via their Facebook page and Nutella have stall in most Selfridges stores where they label them while you wait.

Great little stocking fillers, and they can be washed out and kept afterwards to store pencils on your desk. Cute!

marmite

Food Photography Workshops

If you know someone who enjoys photography and loves eating street food – this is the perfect, practical gift. A Street Food Photography Workshop where you get a guided tour around London’s street food hotspots snapping images along the way.

Sounds like a fun, visual and culinary adventure and an opportunity to learn and make friends too.

camera-581126_1920.jpg

For the organised foodie

If you know a foodie who likes everything just-so, then they might appreciate these. These mini Kilner jars means they can organise their spices, and even store them outside of the cupboard on a shelf for easy-access that looks good too!

These are also kind on the environment as they encourage you to then buy the re-fill packets instead of new plastic or glass jars each time – so in the long run better value for money too. Win-win for the practical food lover.

Gifts for Dads of Grandads

Food-themed gift boxes – men are notoriously difficult to buy for, but also quite ‘easily pleased’ if you get it right. My advice is to keep it simple when buying for the men in your life – be it brother, boyfriend, dad or grandad. If they like food and drink (most men do, right?) then something like ‘The Man Box’ from the Portly Grocer should hit the spot!

The Portly Grocer also make these wonderful wooden cheese larders, which are beautiful if you know someone who appreciates good cheese and is passionate about it. They are perfect for a dinner party too, with a bottle of port and some grapes. Yum.

And if you’re still left scratching your head…

Then buy something that will really benefit someone else. Oxfam sell an amazing range of ‘Unwrapped’ gifts. A few caught my eye but the ‘Pile of Poo’ stood out.  It isn’t just any pile of poo. It’s the ideal mix of manure, organic fertiliser and training in eco-friendly farming techniques to help a family grow a lot more crops. This means regular meals and a more varied diet, ultimately helping people out of poverty.

I have already purchased it for someone in my life who I think will find it funny, and will really appreciate the good cause.

Buying this gift supports Oxfam’s ‘Making a Living’ projects, and I really think this is charity gifting in its best form. The gifts also suit any budget so if you’re stuck for a materialistic gift this Christmas, this might just be the answer!

Cheshire Food Blog
Oxfam Unwrapped – Pile of Poo in action ❀

Happy shopping!

Cheshire Food Blog

Brunch (again) at Tomfoolery, Alderley Edge

It’s not a coincidence that I’m writing about brunch, again. I love brunch. It’s the ultimate weekend food. So when I got invited to try the brunch menu at Tomfoolery at 34, Alderley Edge, I just couldn’t resist.

Tomfoolery is a fairly new establishment and it’s safe to say it’s a unique little joint, located on Alderley Edge’s very popular London Road. It’s somehow seamlessly a bakery, cafĂ© and burger restaurant all in one, which has been impressing its critics and customers since its launch in the summer.

It’s definitely got an eclectic style, which Bradley and I liked very much and felt instantly ‘at home’. It’s full of mismatched furniture, bright and colourful paintings on the walls and very retro wallpaper and lampshades. The theme is clearly focused on 80’s and 90’s film and game memorabilia – with miniature versions of Connect 4 and Hungry Hippos on the tables, which instantly take you back to your childhood in a way that really captures your imagination, and make you feel like a big kid again (not that we need any encouragement!)

We started by ordering coffees. It was 11am on a Saturday (Halloween to be precise) and we hadn’t yet ate or drank a morsel so coffee was in order. Bradley ordered his latte and I my cappuccino, both came served in big, cartoon-themed mugs placed on a vintage side-plate as a saucer and both with a homemade shortbread in the shape of a little cute ghost. A nice touch, we absolutely loved the coffee; strong as it should be but super smooth and the froth was silky and perfect. The biscuit was the bomb too.

Cheshire Food Blog
Cappuccino with home made ghoul-shaped shortbread

We also tried a shake. As although it was brunch, it would be rude not to try one. And you get the vibe that ‘anything goes’ in this place so we ordered a Peanut Butter Oreo Shake to share. Oh, my God. It was delicious. Naughty – but very nice indeed.

Cheshire Food Blog
Peanut Butter Oreo Shake ❀

So, impressed by the decor, mini-games, coffees and shakes – we were ready for what we came here for. The food. We browsed the menu, which had plenty to choose from, 2 pages of brunch delights, in fact and a nice little ‘toast’ section where you can build your own brunch by choosing the toast then a range of different toppings such as rarebit, home-made baked beans or smoked salmon.

Bradley, being the waffle-obsessed being that he is – went for the waffles with Maple Syrup. Except, this time – it wasn’t served with bacon. Tomfoolery’s version comes with fried chicken, and an egg – however you want it (he went for sunny-side up).

And me, being the avocado-obsessed being that I am – went for the smashed avocado, lime, pickled chilli and (poached) egg on a muffin. It was great to see such a healthy option on the menu, amongst others I must add.

Both dishes, overall, were lovely. Bradley did find the fried-chicken-instead-of-bacon a bit of a shock, but we had realised there was no bacon on the menu at all. This is because the guys at Tomfoolery at 34 don’t serve any pork in an effort at attract halal customers. I spoke to them about this to find out more, and they said they feel other meats are as good, if not better, for brunch therefore they don’t see pork as a necessity. It’s clear to see (especially from the eccentric theme of Tomfoolery) that they respect tradition but want to put their own spin and creativity on things and encourage people discover something new as a result
 And that we did!

The waffles were delicious, as was the fried chicken, which was crispy, very well-seasoned and very juicy. We were not convinced that the egg went that well with the dish – but it was perfectly cooked as you can see from the picture, the yolk was so runny and the edges were a little crisp, just how we like them. It’s safe to say though, that Bradley is a bacon-maple-syrup kind of guy, as you can see from my last post!

My smashed avocado on an English muffin was lovely – the avocado was fresh and I really liked the addition of pickled chillies. The poached egg was slightly over-cooked for my liking, and the texture of the muffin was quite heavy and dense, but overall the dish was tasty and I enjoyed it.

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog

I feel bad pointing out the negativities here, as the guys at Tomfoolery clearly do know how to cook. Their other reviews have been raving. I just think the brunch menu could be tweaked slightly to suit all tastes, and that a few things need perfecting to make the overall experience one to totally rave about.

As we ventured downstairs after brunch, we couldn’t help but have a nosy at the incredible looking cake counter. They had all sorts on offer from giant home-made cakes with loads of wonderful flavour combinations and some epic looking cookies too (the white choc chip and M&Ms ones really caught my eye!) We opted for a slice of the rather seasonal 4 tier pumpkin and carrot cake with honeycomb cream – and it really was delicious. So moist and absolutely packed full of flavour!

Impressive cake counter!
Impressive cake counter!
Cheshire Food Blog
4 tier pumpkin and carrot cake with honeycomb cream ❀

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog

It is genuinely impressive that everything is handmade in-house at Tomfoolery, and overall I must conclude it was really great to finally visit these guys, and I can’t wait to go back for a burger!

Cheshire Food Blog
Amazing decor ❀
Cheshire Food Blog
Chefs at work in the kitchen upstairs
Cheshire Food Blog
Wild wallpaper upstairs at Tomfoolery at 34

Follow the crazy world of Tomfoolery at 34 on:

Twitter: @Tomfooleryat34
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tomfooleryat34
Or visit the weird and wonderful website: https://www.tomfooleryat34.com/
Tomfoolery at 34 Burger Joint and Milk Bar, 34 London Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, SK9 7DZ.

What is healthy eating?

Looking after yourself is important, we all know that. The mantra that ‘you are what you eat’ is becoming increasingly apparent to me as I get older, and so recently I have been favouring an intake of more lean protein, ‘good fats’ and fibre, and in turn less sugar, saturated fats and unnecessary carbohydrates.

All the big dogs seem to be on the health-hype too. Deliciously Ella promotes a healthy lifestyle with her “clean-eating, gluten free” recipes. The Hemsley and Hemsley sisters also promote a healthy approach with their #TheArtOfEatingWell campaign, and I have recently taken to following @TheBodyCoach (Joe Wicks) on Instagram, as I love the way he is revolutionising quick-and-easy meals for gym buffs with his “#LeanIn15” recipes.

Jamie Oliver has also recently released his Everyday Super Food book, along with a full series on Channel 4; really promoting a healthy approach to food to the masses. Another firm favourite of mine is Gizzi Erskine, she’s always promoted healthy eating and her newest cookbook, Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite, shows us how healthy can be delicious and doesn’t always have to be rabbit food!

I love all of the above chefs and foodies and have taken tips from all of them (as well as recipes, of course) over the past 12 months. My version of the Hemsley sister’s light cottage pie makes use of cauliflower and sweet potato mash instead of the usual mashed white potatoes. And Gizzi’s roast duck and noodle soup is low on calories but doesn’t compromise on flavour whatsoever.

My approach to healthy eating is simple, I try to follow a sort of 80:20 rule (eating more considered 80% of the time, and relaxing it a little for the remaining 20%). When I first started my blog, there was a split between ‘Mid-week rustle up dinners’ and ‘Weekend gourmet’ dishes – so I am going to be focussing more on this approach going forwards. It works for me and can work for you too!

Below is a short list of some of my favourite bloggers who promote a healthy lifestyle:

www.spamellab.com – Pamela focusses on gluten-free, high protein, healthy AND tasty recipes, made from clean ingredients. Her #IndulgingInnocently campaign proves that you can have your cake and eat it, its shows that sweet treat don’t need to be packed full of sugar and additives.

www.tessward.com – Tess says ‘Count colours not calories and goodness not grams with simple, unprocessed, stripped back dishes.’ Her ‘naked’ recipes are vibrant, simple and gorgeous.

www.thebodycoach.co.uk/blog – I mentioned him earlier, and I will again. You can catch most of Joe’s amazing #LeanIn15 recipes on Instagram for now, but I mean it when I say his recipes are SO QUICK, SIMPLE, LEAN and taste fantastic.

www.minimalistbaker.com – these guys are so cute, and their ethos is simple: easy-to-make, delicious food, all recipes either require 10 ingredients or less, 1 pot, or 30 minutes or less to prepare. Many are vegan and/or gluten-free too.

How do you define healthy eating, and which approach do you prefer? Who are your favourite bloggers, cooks or chefs that inspire you to eat well and use fresh, quality ingredients? 

In my next blog post I will be sharing my key tips for keeping your diet healthy, fresh and interesting. Make sure you stay posted our subscribe so you don’t miss it ❀

With love, Sophie -x-

Cheshire Food Blog

Campfire Gourmet Challenge: British Macaroni Cheese

I was recently asked by Park Resorts to create a gourmet, campfire-inspired recipe using British produce; something a family could easily rustle up on a camp site holiday in the UK.

My initial thoughts were of a family sat around a campfire in the middle of the woods, toasting marshmallows on long sticks, singing along to a gentle guitar-strummed rendition of kumbyyah… Then I thought, hang on a minute, nobody actually does that any more… and did they ever?!

These days, a more common way to get all gourmet when camping is to make use of gas camping stoves. I take them with me whenever I go camping, as they are a safe and easy way to cook up favourite staples like pasta, but still with the fun novelty of outdoor cooking. Win win!

For my take on the ‘Campfire Gourmet Challenge’, I decided keep it simple with a British take on the all American family classic, “Mac and Cheese”. This is a stove-top version, so no need for an oven and it really tastes just as great (if not better!)

Using a generous mix of Welsh cheddar and English Red Leicester, British pancetta rashers, English mustard and some hearty oregano to season, this recipe is delicious, easy and cost-effective. Making a Mornay sauce (Béchamel with cheese) using the French roux technique in front of your fellow campers is sure to show off your gourmet skills, and might even get you out of doing the washing up. I should hope so anyway!

If you prep your ingredients before you leave and arrange them in your cool bag, once you’ve set up camp getting started couldn’t be easier. For a really quick and easy gourmet campsite dinner, cook the pasta at home before you leave and take it along with you in an airtight container. Then all you have to focus on is cooking the pancetta and getting the cheese sauce perfect to feed all your hungry campers after a long day of fun and adventure ❀

Serves 4, 30 minutes.

Recipe: Camp stove British Macaroni Cheese

Ingredients

  • 300g dried spirali pasta (cooked beforehand)
  • 60g Welsh cheddar, grated
  • 60g Red Leicester, grated
  • 50g dried mushrooms
  • 12 rashers pancetta
  • 500ml semi skimmed milk
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp English mustard powder
  • 50g butter
  • good handful fresh oregano, roughly torn into small pieces

Method

  1. Fire up your stove and first of all, cook the pancetta over a low heat in a frying pan. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn, but cook until crisp then set aside on some kitchen paper. Heat a cup of water to the boil, and pour over the dried mushrooms to rehydrate while you make the Mornay (cheese, to you and me) sauce.
  2. Gently heat the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the flour and mustard powder and stir until combined and you have a smooth paste-like consistency. Cook for 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk and continue to stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Give it a bit of elbow grease as it thickens, you don’t want any lumps! Season to taste.
  3. As the sauce comes to the boil, drain and squeeze out any moisture from the mushrooms and add them to the sauce. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes over a low heat. Take off the heat and add the grated cheese. Stir until the cheese has completely melted.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce along with the pancetta (break the crispy pancetta into small pieces so it distributes evenly throughout).
  5. Just before serving, stir through the torn oregano and check the seasoning. Serve immediately with extra oregano to garnish, if desired.

 

Cheshire Food Blog

Review: Recipe Kits

My life has been a little hectic as of late. I won’t bore you with too much of the detail, but there’s been a fair bit going on. So over recent weeks, I have found myself looking for a little help in the kitchen, with a view that I could put a little review together of each item for you all. Yes, I’m talking about those handy little ‘recipe kits’ you can buy in the majority of supermarkets these days… And I’ve had quite a bit of fun doing it too!

I’m not talking about those fajita kits… Although they always were very popular in my University digs. The sort of recipe kits you can get now are much more adventurous, and along this mini home-culinary journey I’ve created some really authentic flavours from Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Jamaica, all reasonably (fairly) priced and easy to put together. Some I’d recommend higher than others, and below is a summary of them all in terms of taste, ease and value for money. I have scored them all out of 5 🙂  1 = worst, 5 = best. I hope you enjoy!

Waitrose Cooks’ Recipe Katsu Chicken Curry Kit, ÂŁ3.99, serves 2

Contains: 1 pouch of katsu curry sauce, 1 pouch of panko bread crumbs and 1 sachet of gochujang chilli paste.

Shopping List: 1 egg, 2 chicken breasts, rice and oil to cook.

Verdict: Overall, this was a fantastic tasting dish. The katsu curry sauce is fruity, spicy and really authentic (I’m comparing to decent restaurant versions). The gochujang chilli paste is an excellent, sweet yet spicy addition. In terms of value for money, I think ÂŁ3.99 is a little steep, as other supermarkets (such as Tesco) do a version which also includes the rice for only ÂŁ2.99. However, based on the quality and authenticity of the katsu curry sauce and addition of the gochujang chilli paste, I’d say overall this is a fantastic, cost-effective alternative to a Friday night takeaway for you and ‘bae’ 😉

In terms of ease, it couldn’t be simpler. The instructions, although brief, are easy to follow and the results looked and tasted great. The chicken breasts I used were quite large, I cooked them for about 7.5 minutes on each side over a medium-high heat, and used Rapeseed oil to shallow fry them. Just make sure you check the chicken is fully cooked through before serving!

Score 4.5 / 5

Tesco’s Vietnamese Spring Roll Meal Kit, ÂŁ1.99, serves 2

Contains: 6 rice paper wrappers, vermicelli noodles, peanut dipping sauce.

Shopping List: Cooked prawns or meat, fresh crunchy veg and coriander.

Verdict: Overall, this was easy and they did taste good. The peanut dipping sauce, however, was a little on the tangy-side for me. But then again I was recently spoilt at the launch party of Vietnamese restaurant Pho, in Manchester’s Corn Exchange, so I might just be being a peanut-dipping-sauce-snob.

The instructions were simple, with little illustrations to demonstrate each stage. In terms of value for money, the price  is OK to just serve 2, and only 2 (makes 6 rolls) but if you wanted to make any more buying the ingredients separately is much better value.

I wouldn’t buy this kit again, as rice paper sheets and vermicelli noodles are so cheap. If they don’t sell them in your local shop you can easily order them online. The best thing that came away from this experience was the desire to create my own peanut dipping sauce that rivals that of Pho restaurant. Yuuuum.

Score  2 / 5

Spicentice’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken, ÂŁ2.00, serves 4

Contains: 1 pouch Jamaican Jerk Spice Mix.

Shopping List: Chicken (12 Wings or 8 drumsticks or 8 thighs), 1 small onion, 5 spring onions, 1 lime, 2 garlic cloves, 1 inch piece ginger, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp cooking oil.

This isn’t really a recipe kit, it’s a spice kit, but I am including it anyway because it tasted amazing. It probably tasted amazing because you add so many fresh ingredients to it, but hey-ho, it tasted great and was actually pretty healthy so it’s worth a mention! You do need a food processor or blender to prep the paste, which I guess is a downfall if you don’t have one. The instructions are thorough, clear and include handy tips and extra information which is a nice touch. I got mine via the Portly Grocer,  but you can also purchase them direct from their own website.

The instructions are to skin and wash the chicken and score it several times, so the marinade really penetrated the meat perfectly, and you lost all the fat content of the skin. Win win. The paste clung to the chicken and it says to marinade for at least 30 minutes, I left it for 3 hours or so which worked well. Overall, an easy bit of Jamaican sunshine right into your own kitchen. Highly recommended.

Score  4 / 5

Taste Thai’s Easy Pad Thai Kit, ÂŁ2.29 in Tesco, serves 2.

Contains: Rice Noodles, Pad Thai Sauce and ‘Peanut Mix’.

Shopping List: King Prawns or Veg, 1 egg, fresh coriander, a lime to serve.

Verdict: I do really like the Taste Thai range, their curry pastes are delicious and so is their palm sugar. So I had quite high expectations for this Pad Thai sauce to be authentic and delicious. And it was. The rice noodles were a decent portion for 2 on a weeknight, but Bradley was pretty hungry about an hour later, so next time I would bulk it out a little with more veggies.

The instructions were thorough and straightforward and I guess the best thing about this experience is that now I’ve tried this recipe out at home, next time I’m going to re-create my own ‘pad Thai sauce’ by combining tamarind, fish sauce, palm sugar and chilli. Overall though, a cracking little recipe kit!

Score 4.5 / 5

What sort of recipe kits have you tried recently? Have I missed any which you would recommend trying?

Drop me a note in the comments box below or use the hashtag #sophiesscran on Twitter / Instagram to show me your creations!

Cheshire Food Blog

Recipe: Lean, Hearty Turkey Curry with Cauliflower ‘Rice’

As part of my move towards a healthier lifestyle, I have tried to rely less on carbohydrates at meal times and focus more on lean meats, fresh veggies and lots of FLAVOUR. At first, the concept of cauliflower rice did not appeal to me in the slightest. Cauliflower isn’t the most exciting of vegetables in terms of flavour… Which is probably why it’s often teamed with cheese in the classic cauliflower cheese dish, to jazz it up a little.

However, I was blown away when I first made the so-called ‘cauli-rice’. I do have a food processor, so I must admit, to make it this way is very easy. To get to grips with it, I first read this great article by BBC Good Food which sets out all the different ways you can make it, both with and without a food processor. Below is the method I follow (with a food processor) but feel free to check out the link to see which method is best for you. I find the method below turns out great each time both in terms of taste and texture. 1 large cauliflower head can make anything up to 6 portions of ‘rice.’ It can portioned up and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen, so great to prep-ahead on a Sunday if, like me, you have more time then!

This recipe serves 2, with some leftovers for lunch or the curry can be frozen. It takes about 40 mins to prep and cook. Let me know if you give this recipe a try!

What you need:

  • half a medium-sized cauliflower
  • tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g turkey breast (or chicken), diced into 2-3cm chunks
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup organic chicken stock (I use Kallo)
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp Rapeseed oil (I use Calvia)
  • 200g steamed broccoli
  • 1 few handfuls spinach
  • fresh coriander (optional)

What to do:

To make the curry…

  1. Heat 2 tbsp Rapeseed oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the diced red onion and cook for 3 minutes, until it softens and begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic and chillies and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the spices and stir well for 2 minutes, until the fragrance is released. Add the diced turkey breast and stir well to coat well in the spices, cooking for 5 minutes or so over a medium-high heat so the meat browns.
  3. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and the chicken stock, cover and simmer for 25 minutes over a low heat. Check occasionally and stir as needed.
  4. Once the timer is up and the sauce has thickened, add the cooked broccoli and spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes until hot. Serve with the ‘cauli-rice’ below.

To make the cauliflower rice…

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C and get out a large, flat roasting tray.
  2. Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and most of the thick core. Roughly chop into large chunks.
  3. Add a few pieces of the cauliflower chunks to the food processor at a time (as not to overload). Using the pulse setting, blitz for 30 seconds or so, until the cauliflower resembles fine rice, or couscous.
  4. Toss the ‘rice’ in a drizzle of Rapeseed oil and season with a tsp of ground cumin and some freshly ground black pepper. Tip: don’t add salt, apparently that tampers with the texture!
  5. Spread the ‘cauli-rice’ out to a thin, even layer on the roasting tray, and roast in the oven at 200C for 12 minutes, mixing it up halfway through cooking.
  6. If desired, top with some chopped fresh coriander and serve with the above curry recipe.
Cheshire Food Blog

King Prawn & Chorizo Stew

I love taking inspiration from other food bloggers, and this recipe was inspired by just that. I recently saw a similar recipe posted by Lindsay from ‘Always Make Thyme,’ except Lindsay’s recipe was a Cod, Chorizo and Chickpea Stew.

After reading her recipe, I soon discovered I also share Lindsay’s obsession with chorizo. I’m still well-stocked up on it too, after my recent visit to the Foodie’s Festival (where I bought my own body-weight in the stuff). So, a Spanish-inspired dish using the meaty, spicy sausage was on the cards anyway, sooner or later!

My creation includes juicy king prawns, sweet potato, chickpeas and spinach and is finished with some fresh lemon juice and parsley. The shrimp paste is optional, but I do find it adds a mellow fish-flavour, which brings the prawns and Spanish sausage together nicely.

This dish serves 4  and takes about 40 minutes from start to finish. It’s a complete meal, but if you want to serve with a bit of crusty bread then you can!

What you need:

  • 5 raw, peeled, king prawns per person
  • 1 chorizo sausage, 225g, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, very finely diced (I used a half of a huge Japanese onion from my colleague’s allotment!)
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp smoked (or normal) paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced using a garlic crush
  • 1  tin peeled plum tomatoes, chopped with scissors
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp Calvia Rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 400ml organic chicken stock (I use Kallo)
  • 1 small pinch shrimp paste (optional)
  • half juice 1 fresh lemon
  • handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

What to do:

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan and add the diced onion. Fry over a low-medium heat for 5-7 minutes until very soft and translucent. Add the crushed garlic cloves and continue to gently fry for 3 minutes.

Add the chorizo, paprika and season with a pinch of salt, cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the now-chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, dried herbs and stir well.

Add the chickpeas, diced sweet potato, stock and season with black pepper and the pinch of shrimp paste (if using). Next, stir in the tbsp of tomato puree, cover and gently simmer over a medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes (until the potatoes are tender). Check occasionally and stir as needed.

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Leave the stew to gently simmer, with the lid on

When the timer is up, stir in the king prawns and spinach, and cook for a further 3-5 minutes over the same heat, until the spinach has fully wilted.

Finish with a squeeze of the fresh lemon juice and the parsley.

Serve with crusty bread (if desired) and ENJOY! ❀

Tahini Lemon Biscuits

You might have noticed I don’t really bake that much. I’ve featured some pretty impressive guest-posts by way of showcasing some brilliant bakes, like when I made this lush Raspberry & Coconut Cake with my friend Cee, or when Pamela made these gorgeous Ginger Cakes with Spiced Lemon Cream as a guest recipe. Very yum indeed.

Inspired by last week’s #GBBO biscuits theme, I thought I would get my bake-on again and rustled these little beauties up. I must say, it’s one of the easiest and most delightful recipes I have ever followed. Thanks to the lovely Ruby Tandoh (finalist of the Great British Bake Off, 2013), as I found it in her book “CRUMB” which I got for my birthday earlier this year.

This is the second recipe I’ve made from her book, which is very well laid out, the recipes are simple, easy to follow and the photography is plain and moody, which I like. The balance between the lemon and tahini is delicious, the tahini is delicate, nutty and it’s bitterness is wonderfully offset by the sugar and the mild zing from the lemon zest. In her own words; “The result is a delicate biscuit, as tender as shortbread but without the heaviness.” They really are gorgeous.

Not sure if this counts as a , but I thought I’d share the recipe with you on the blog, as they are so lovely. Makes about 24.

What you need:

  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 120g tahini
  • 120g caster or granulated sugar, I used caster
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 240g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 180°c/fan 160°c/gas mark 4 and line a large baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment.

Cream the butter, tahini and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then mix in the lemon zest. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mashing gently under the back of a spoon to combine.

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Cream the butter, sugar and tahini

Roll out 24 conker-size balls from the mixture and space them apart on the baking tray. Pat each ball down to a flattish disc, about 1cm thick. It doesn’t matter in the slightest if the biscuits have little cracks around the edge. You can use a fork at this point to make lines or a crosshatch pattern on the top of the biscuits.

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Let the biscuits cool on the baking tray, before transferring to a rack

Bake for 12-15 minutes; the edges should be golden brown. The biscuits will be very crumbly when first baked but leave them on the tray and they will become firmer as they cool. Once cold, transfer them to a wire rack.

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Lemon Tahini Biscuits ❀