Thursday 30 December 2010

Beef Wellington

 This recipe was used on Ramsay's F word programme and I had been planning on attempting it for awhile so when better than Christmas day.

The amount of ingredients for this depends on how many you are serving (obviously). A 1.4kg piece of beef was more than sufficient for 6, however making a wellington of this size is one hell of a battle so I advise you make two smaller ones of about 600g each
Beef Wellington
600g Beef Fillet
400g Chestnut Mushrooms
100g Cooked Chestnuts
6 Slices of Parma Ham
English Mustard
500g packet of Puff Pastry
2 egg yolks

Season the beef well with Salt and Pepper.
Heat a frying pan with plenty of oil until very very hot.
Sear the beef quickly on all sides to seal in the juices, do not cook the beef just colour.
Brush with plenty of mustard and leave to rest and cool on a plate.
Blend the mushrooms and chestnuts in a food processor.
Place them in a hot dry pan in order to remove all the water, this may take some time but is critical to the recipe. The mixture should be sticking together and no bubbling water should be seen.
 Leave to cool
Roll out a long length of clingfilm and overlap the Parma ham in the middle.
Spoon out the mushrooms and spread over the ham, leave a bout an inch from all sides.
Place the beef in the centre.
Using the clingfilm roll up the ham, mushrooms and beef very tightly and twist the clingfilm at the ends as much as possible. 
Leave to set for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Roll out the pastry and place on a long piece of clingfilm.
Place beef on the pastry and roll up, trim off the excess pastry and tighten up with the clingfilm, twisting tightly at the ends.
Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour. You can also leave it at this stage overnight in the fridge just remove a few hours before cooking so the beef can return to room temperature for cooking.

Brush the Wellington with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven (190C) for 45 minutes, depending on how you like your meat, (use a meat thermometer for a bit more guidance)


Baileys Cheesecake

This was my alternative choice to Christmas pudding, (not that I have anything against Christmas pudding). This recipe is very very easy, requires no cooking and can be made days in advance of whatever you need it for.

Baileys Cheesecake
100g Butter
250g Digestive Biscuits
600g Philadelphia cream cheese
25ml Baileys
100g Icing Sugar
300ml Double Cream
100g Grated Chocolate

(If you are a coffee fan, add 10-25ml of Kahlua or Tia Maria with the Baileys)

Crush digestives and melt the butter in a pan.
Add the digestives and mix until all the butter has been absorbed.
Spoon and flatten into a lined 18 inch springform tin.
Leave to set in the fridge for about an hour
Lightly whip the cream cheese and beat in the icing sugar and Baileys
Fold in the whipped cream and chocolate.
When smooth, spoon evenly onto the biscuits
Leave to set for a minimum of 3 hours.

Decorate with a bit more grated chocolate or go nuts and be extravagant, up to you.

Recipe from BBC Food

Friday 24 December 2010

Honey Glazed Ham

There is nothing better than a proper honey glazed ham so here is my recipe, altered slightly from Ramsay's.

1 Gammon
Small handful of cloves
Cinnamon Stick (crush slightly)
Onion (quartered, leave the peel on)
Black Peppercorns (crushed)

75ml Sherry
100g Dark Brown Sugar
100g Honey

Stick the Gammon in a large pan with the Peppercorns, Onion, Cloves and Cinnamon Stick and enough water to cover it completely. Boil for an hour for each kilogram of Gammon you have e.g. 2kg = 2 Hours.
Keep the water topped up and scoop off the foam on the top every so often.

20 minutes before the boiling time is complete, add the sherry, sugar and honey to a pan and bring to the boil, constantly stirring, lower the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes until you have a glossy syrup. Do not leave unattended or good luck cleaning your hob.

Remove gammon  from pan and cut off the string and place into a foiled baking tray, score the fat and stick a clove into each diamond shape.

Pour over the glaze and place into a preheated oven (190C) for about 30 minutes. Every 5 - 10 minutes baste the ham with the glaze in the tray.

Remove from the oven and enjoy once cooled slightly.

Thursday 23 December 2010

Bank Tavern, Keswick

Taking a break from Christmas food shopping in Keswick we decided to get a beer and some pub grub to escape the winter chill.
Bank Tavern is located on Main street in Keswick and is a cosy traditional style pub with dark wooden beams and slate floors. It serves a good selection of bar meals alongside the full range of Jennings ales and a couple of guest beers including Wychwood's latest seasonal offering, Bah Humbug.

I ordered the Game casserole consisting of Venison, Wild Boar and Rabbit and made with Jennings Bitter and served with jacket potato and vegetables for the reasonable price of £9. The casserole was very rich and gamey with lovely varying textures of the different meats and went well with the jacket potato (also available with chips and new potatoes). The vegetables were of the frozen variety but the casserole was more than tasty enough to stop me caring.

Is there anything better than having a pub lunch in a cosy pub with good beer while it is in minus figures outside?

The Bank Tavern
45-47 Main St,
CA12 5DS
017687 72663

*Top image borrowed from

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Silversmiths, Sheffield

Silversmiths Restaurant is located on Arundel street near the main entrance of Sheffield Hallam University. Launched in 2008, the restaurant prides itself on using  100% Yorkshire suppliers of which 70% are based in Sheffield. The restaurant as also won several awards recently including the White Rose Awards - Best Yorkshire Restaurant and the EatSheffield Awards - Best British Restaurant and Best Local Produce Menu.

I think that is more than enough reasons for a visit so off we went on a wintry evening.

The restaurant is a long room with a well stocked bar along one side, the restaurant is decorated in a modern style with plenty of black red and silver giving it a trendy bar feel.

We were warmly greeted and offered a choice of aperitifs including a nice sounding Winter Pimms cocktail but we opted for a glass of wine instead. we were given the Christmas evening menu to look through.
For my starter i opted for Braised English rabbit with Henderson's red onion reduction on toasted croutons and Roast Rump of Yorkshire beef with hand cut chips, roasted tomatoes and horseradish cream with a side order of carrots for my main.

My starter was really good, having never had rabbit in this form before I was pleasantly surprised by it's deep flavour alongside the tang of the onion reduction. The whole dish was simply presented but full of flavour. My main was equally good, the beef was juicy and tender and my request for chive mashed potatoes instead of chip was willingly met.

For my dessert I opted for Dark Chocolate and Pear Tart with Champagne and Raspberry Jelly. This was one of the nicest tarts I have tried, incredibly rich with crisp pastry and a layer of pear running through the centre this and the addition of a little shot of champagne jelly made a very pleasing end to the meal.

Chocolate and Pear Tart
In terms of service, Silversmiths is exceptional. very knowledgeable and helpful staff, our jackets were hung up for us as we arrived and brought to our table as we left and I literally cannot find anything of fault in the service we received.

Overall for 3 course meal, wine and coffee for two came to £60, very good value for the level of food and service we received and I will definitely be making a repeat visit.

111 Arundel Street,

S1 2NT
0114 270 6160

Silversmiths on Urbanspoon

Saturday 18 December 2010

Milestone Cookbook - First, Catch your Pig

To coincide with the release of the Milestone's first cookbook, 'First, catch your pig', me and a couple of other food bloggers responded to the restaurant's Twitter request to try out a couple of recipes.

The Milestone as been going from strength to strength recently, a brilliant run on Ramsay's best restaurant narrowly missing out on the final, a regularly fully booked restaurant, the release of a new cookbook and the opening of the 'Milestone 2' in Paradise Square, Sheffield, of which, I wrote an article about for the Culture Vulture website.

My first recipe was:
Beef Bourguignon - slow cooked ox cheek, herb mashed potato and Bourguignon jus.
I was looking forward to cooking with ox cheek as it would be the first time I had used this ingredient, however after searching several butchers and markets I failed to find any. The restaurant recommended using  Skirt steak, Rump steak or beef shin as an alternative.

The recipe was very easy to follow with clear instructions and the resulting dish was very very tasty, beef that was falling apart, creamy, delicious herby mashed potatoes with enough dairy to clog any artery and a deep flavoursome Bourguignon gravy.

Beef Bourgingnon

My second recipe was:
Chocolate and Frangipane cake with figs, red wine syrup and crushed hazelnuts.
I made a couple of errors in the making of this dessert. First, I forgot to check that I had cocoa powder in, which I didn't, so I had to make do with hot chocolate powder, hence why the cake doesn't look particularly chocolaty and the tray I used was quite big, next time a smaller baking tray will be used to make the cake a bit bigger.
Anyway that's the bad stuff out of the way, the cake itself was very good, moist, chocolaty and the almonds and the nuts gave a it a pleasing Ferrero Rocher flavour, the red wine syrup, figs and crushed hazelnuts added several delicious texture and flavour combinations to the overall dish. A very nice dessert indeed.
Chocolate and Frangipane cake

Overall as a  fairly good home cook I had little problem with these recipes but working through them, neither should anybody else regardless of ability. They are clear, every stage is covered in detail and if the rest of the recipe book contains dishes as delicious as these, then its well worth splashing out as a treat for yourself or a present for the food lover or budding chef in your family.

The book is available now either from their website or from Amazon, priced at £19.95 for hardback and £16.95 for paperback.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Clandestine Cake Club, Leeds

The offspring of the Secret Tea Room. Created by the 'BakeLady' at The CCC is a place in a varying secret location in Leeds, where fellow food lovers and bakers can meet and chat over a cake creation of their choice based on the theme for that particular event.
The inaugural theme was:

Cake Cornucopia (abundance), this can be an abundance of different flavours
and ingredients for your cake, limited only by your imagination.

And quite an abundance of flavours turned up:

Earl Grey
Chocolate Orange and Cointreau
Apple Cider with Cinnamon marscapone cream.
Coffee and Baileys
Pink Champagne
Whisky and Ginger (this was mine, recipe here)

All were very tasty and washed down with plenty of Tea, Coffee and Champagne. A very enjoyable afternoon with home baking and good company. Come along to the next one.

For more information: Clandestine Cake Club

Friday 3 December 2010

Fancie, Sheffield

Victoria Sponge cupcake
 With the snow giving me yet another day off (I love this stuff) I set out on another trek to visit Fancie safe in the knowledge that it was open today.

Fancie is a local business based in Sheffield, run by professional pastry chef Amanda Parry, that specialises in cakes and cupcakes. It runs several outlets in Sheffield; at Meadow hall shopping centre, the University and at the Winter Gardens. Their original cafe is based on Sharrow Vale Road about a mile outside the city centre.

The cafe is very cosy and decorated in a retro, old fashioned tea shop style with copious amounts of pink and pastel colours. The main counter is a vintage cabinet displaying the day's freshly baked cupcakes and traybakes.

I was pleasantly greeted as I walked in and the service overall was excellent, very friendly, cheerful and helpful. I ordered an Americano and a Butterscotch cupcake. The coffee was very good and came in a huge mug. The cupcake arrived on a glass cake tray, a very nice touch. The cupcake was brilliantly sweet and tasty (my dentist will not be happy) and the sponge was light and soft, I had intended to try at least two but one was very filling so I took the second home for later.

I recommend hunting down a Fancie cupcake if you are in Sheffield although I hear they are sold at Out of the Woods cafe in Leeds if you cant make it to Sheffield.

388 Sharrow Vale Road,
South Yorkshire,
S11 8ZP
0114 266 7238

Thursday 2 December 2010

Manhattan Coffee House, Sheffield

Heading back from my trek around Sheffield in the snow, a warming cup of java was required to hold off the winter chill. Slowly resigning myself to either a chain coffee store or heading home I was pleased to spot this nice little independent place on Eccleshall road.

The place is themed in the usual American coffee shop way with sofas and comfy chairs.

I ordered an Americano from the rather extensive drinks menu of coffees, teas, hot chocolates etc.. and grabbed one of the sofas.
Service was friendly and speedy and the coffee, while being a touch pricey at £2.30 was very nice, not blisteringly hot and very flavoursome.

They also serve a range of sandwiches, jacket spuds and rather nice looking cakes

A nice place to relax with a paper and a good coffee

Roneys Butchers, Sheffield

With the snow kindly giving me another day off I decided to wrap up and trek through the arctic wilderness, more commonly known as Sheffield, with my original intention being to visit Fancie's Sharrow Vale Road store, unfortunately it was closed. I did however notice a little butchers on the same road advertising hot roast pork sandwiches and being very peckish I decided to check it out.

Great decision that was, a huge hot juicy pork sandwich with stuffing, apple sauce and crunchy pieces of crackling buried in the centre and all for the bargain price of £2.80. The one you see in the picture is the regular version and was very filling, I assume the large version is a whole pig squished between two slices of bread.


Roneys Butchers
276 Sharrow Vale Road
South Yorkshire
S11 8ZH
0114 266 0593

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Mince Pies

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snoooow.
With it being the first of December and with snow bringing most of the country to a halt, I thought it would nice to make the first batch of mince pies considering I had the day off.

Ingredients (makes 12)
8oz of Plain Flour
4oz of Butter
1oz of Caster sugar
2 Egg yolks
Couple of tbsp of water

1 tsp of Brandy
Jar of Mincemeat (or make your own)

Add the flour and sugar to a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the yolks and water.
Mix with a knife until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms, add more water if required.
Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for about half n hour (this can be left overnight if needed)

Mix the brandy in with the mincement. (this part is optional but it gives a nice kick)
Roll out the pastry very thinly and use a large and a medium pastry cutter to create 12 bases (large) and 12 lids (medium).
Lay the bases in mini pie tray and add a small amount of mincemeat to each, do not add to much or it will seep out, a teaspoon should be sufficent.

Brush the edges with milk and place the lids on top.

Brush the pies with milk and make little holes in the top to release the steam.

Bake in a preheated oven (190 C) for about 15 minutes until golden brown
Cool on a wire rack.

Sprinkle with a little icing sugar and sit back and enjoy with your choice of beverage.