Monday 27 September 2010

Insalata di Frutti di Mare: Seafood Salad

A Salad from the Sea: I really do love this salad when I am looking for that something extra from my dinner salad. The principle for me here is to use up to 3 different types of seafood and add this to light & fresh salad ingredients.

Seafood wise fresh is always best of course but you can of course use tinned fish such as tuna & crab as it is considerably cheaper than the fresher alternatives. Other options are of course prawns & smoked salmon.

I like to combine all the ingredients together with a light lemon based vinaigrette which keeps the salad light, crisp & fresh.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Chicken Stroganoff

This recipe is a very old favourite of mine, now that the Winter is coming it will start to be on my weekly menu more often. What I love about it is the unique character you can give it. The basis of the meal is all about the flour & spices mixture. You want to have a consistency of 2:1 here. What this mixture will do is to give the sauce an amazing flavour while also acting to thicken up your chicken stock.

Also the beauty of this mixture is that you can really make it your own. So you can make it as spicy as you want, add other spices to it or even add dried herbs if you so wish. Really just play around with it and you will discover what you like & don’t like. Everything is cooked in a Large Wok so after you brown the chicken your onions/mushrooms are also cooked in the same oil so they immediately get the flavour from the spices.

This recipe works great for a mid-week dish and also can be cooked for a more serious dinner as like I said the flavour is very natural & delicious. I always serve it with potatoes but it also works with rice , whichever you prefer.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Seeded Brown Bread

For me brown bread was always Irish Soda bread so when a friend showed me this recipe I was intrigued by it as it was very different to what I was use to. The one thing you realize when making it is that it is actually very simple to make you just need to remember a few important factors before you start.

- Flour Ratio: I like to have it 4 parts wholemeal to 1 part white flour. This is my personal taste but you can play around with these ratios if this bread is not to your liking.

- Never mix Yeast & Salt together: This is major rule, do not let your yeast get in contact directly with salt as it will counteract each other. Mix it in at separate occasions with your flour.

- Seed it up: I like to use Pumpkin, Sunflower & Sesame Seeds. I also use a deluxe muesli also. You can use any seeds you want in this recipe. I keep the ratios 5 parts flour to 2 part seeds.

- Let your water get to blood temperature: The water should not be too hot, about 40C is perfect

- Let the mixture rise for 90 minutes in a warm place with a wet tea-towel over it. A warm oven or by a radiator or in the sun is a perfect place for the mixture to rise

With all of the above as a background lets see how we can make this delicious bread:

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Foaming Hollandaise

Hollandaise sauce is not as difficult as you might think to make. The below recipe is pretty fool proof in that you will fold in egg whites at the end so this will give the sauce a light, airy & foaming texture.

The main reason why I have chosen the below Hollandaise recipe is for the principle reason that it only requires half the quantities of egg & butter that other recipes use. For me this is of huge importance as I always have my hollandaise with poached eggs so it is way too much eggs for my liking.

Also this Hollandaise will keep in your fridge as it is possible to re-heat it the following day. Very simply re-heat it in a bowl over simmering water.

Monday 13 September 2010

How to Poach an Egg

How to cook the perfect poached egg is something I have been trying to master for years. I now have the final piece of the jigsaw in place when I got the tip to use a frying pan instead of my normal saucepan I always used previously.

Its now time to share my thoughts on how to cook the perfect poached egg:

Sunday 12 September 2010

Steak Mushroom & Onion Pies

Finally the search for a suitable meat pie casing has come to an end. I combed many a website for the perfect one but in the end I found a very large muffin baking tray, it worked perfectly. The beauty of this method is that you can buy sheets of frozen pastry (flaky puff pastry) that fit perfectly into each meat pie so that all you need to use is different meat sauces as the pastry is easily available in your freezer. You want to find a pastry that is butter based & not oil/yeast based, this pastry will give the pie a beautiful flaky texture.

Previously I have made a Chicken & Leek Pie during the World Cup Kitchen but this time I wanted to make a more traditional meat pie filling. I went for a Steak Mushroom & Onion Pie. The key when making the meat sauce is: more time the better. In the recipe I say cook it for 2.5 hours but the longer the better. Turn the sauce temperature right down and let the sauce stew away would be the best philosophy. Let the mixture cool completely before you add it into the Pastry casings.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Baileys Banana Smoothie

There are 2 things Rox loves and that is Baileys & Banana. So I combined her 2 loves to make a very tasty Baileys Banana Smoothie.

The trick to impress is to melt your chocolate and swirl around your cocktail glass. Place it into the freezer so the chocolate will set. Whizz everything together in a blender and it is all super quick & very tasty!

Thursday 2 September 2010

Chicken Mushroom & Onion Quiche

Quiches are super versatile you can really combine any ingredients you like with your egg mixture and make whatever combination you choose. What use to put me off in the past to making them, was the hassle of making the pastry but now with frozen pastry readily available and super cheap you really have no excuses any more.

The Quiche below is a personal favourite of mine, I like to flash fry my chicken slices and then slowly cooking my onions before I add the mushrooms, garlic, chilli & cooked chicken. I will carmelise the mixture with some brown sugar and let cool before adding it in the part cooked pastry with your egg/cream mixture.

One serving will give you 6 very heathly slices

Why not try it? 

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