Saturday 29 October 2011

Scallop (and Squid) with Fennel and Rocket - a Random Recipe

Squid....why did it have to be squid. of all the ingredients on this earth (and sea) it had to be squid.

This months random recipe challenge at Belleau Kitchen was a stroke of genius evil. Instead of being trusted to pick our own random recipe, this month someone else had to pick it, namely another food blogger. Seriously how am i meant to chea...take part honestly with all this suspicion floating around. I can just imagine our host sitting there watching us all whilst stroking a white cat and sniggering evily.

So then on with the challenge, I was paired with Lucy at the Kitchen-maid blog, 12,000 miles away in New Zealand, after a few tweets I ended up with James Martin's  My Kitchen recipe book and then ended up with his scallop and squid salad.

Now its quite appropriate that this was a James Martin recipe because this dish encompasses my heaven and hell foods and if you watch Saturday Kitchen you will know what I mean. But I was commited to braving it and getting on with recipe....then i went to the fishmonger.....

...and there it was glistening, slippery and slimy with its gelatinous eye staring at me from its icy pit, tentacles waiting to strangle me to death if I even attempted to buy I bought some scallops and legged it.

Fine I'm a wuss but I couldnt ruin some quality scallops with squid and it tasted very nice without it.

Scallops, Fennel and Rocket salad

2 small fennel bulbs
8 large scallops
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
75g rocket

20g dill, chopped
15g parsley, chopped
15g coriander, chopped
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 chili, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp allspice
75ml extra virgin olive oil

Slice off the root and thinly slice the fennel bulbs, place into a large bowl.
Prepare and mix the dressing ingredients together and set aside.

The book is a bit vague on how to cook scallops properly, this is the best way I've read on how to cook them:

Heat a pan to a very high temperature
Drizzle the scallops with oil and season, make sure they are well coated and then place the scallops in the pan one at a time in a circle around the side of pan, start a timer when the first one goes in.
Once one and a half minutes passes, turn over the first one you placed in the pan and then turn over each scallop in the same order they went in.
Once another minute and a half passes then remove the first one you put in and so on... this should ensure they are all cooked evenly and for the same length of time and should help you keep track.

Add the scallops to the fennel along with the rocket and dressing
Toss together to make sure all are well coated.

Serve and enjoy

Honey Roasted Spare Ribs

Ribs are the ultimate finger food, all dignity is thrown out of the window when eating them but that's part of the charm and fun. Catching up with Sir Nigel's new programme this recipe shouted out to me and having nothing much better to do I went for a wander to pick up these epic pork ribs. There is more meat than bone on these beauties. This is why you should buy from a proper butcher. 

Honey Roast Ribs 
6 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 ground black pepper
4 whole star anise
1.5 kg meaty pork ribs (about 12ish)

Add the honey, oyster sauce, chili salt and black pepper to a roasting dish, mix up to form the marinade.
Add the ribs to the dish and coat well in the marinade.
Cover and leave for a minimum of 2 hours or preferably overnight.
Roast in a pre heated oven at 160C for 90 minutes. Turn the ribs occasionally.
once the 90 is up turn up the heat to 200 for 15 minutes. Watch very carefully because they can burn quickly at this heat
Once the sauce is sticky and the ribs are nicely charred then remove from the oven.

Serve with a knife and fork.......yeah right get stuck in and if your face and hands are not covered when you are done then you didn't eat them right.

Friday 21 October 2011

Creamy Chicken and Chorizo pasta

For tonights tea, I decided to raid my fridge and cupboards and create something using what I could find. For once the only thing in my fridge was not various packs of butter with a small amount left in them after another baking exploit.
I found: chorizo, chilis, cream and mushrooms. So with a tin of tomatoes, a bit of chicken from the freezer and the odd onion lazing around in the back of cupboard, I threw the lot in a pan and made this rather tasty pasta dish.

Creamy Chicken and Chorizo pasta.
1 onion, diced
1 tin of tomatoes
1 chicken breast, diced
1 red chili, (roughly chopped)
3-4 chestnut mushrooms
100g cooking chorizo
2 tbsp cream
100g(ish) wholemeal pasta

Fry the onion, chili and chozizo for a couple of minutes until softened.
Add the chicken and cook for a few minutes until cooked through.
Add the mushroom and cook for a few more minutes.
Add the tin of tomtoes along with a splash of water and seasoning and simmer gently for around 20 minutes, add a splash more of water if it becomes too dry.
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the cream.

Now do as all good Italians do and add the pasta to the sauce, not the other way around.
Mix it up so its all well combined


Thursday 20 October 2011

Sheffield Supper Club

Bit of a delayed blog this one due to the event taking place at the end of August just before I shimmied across the country and started a new job and thus completely slipping my mind to write it.

The Sheffield supper club is a recent addition addition to the supper club scene and currently the only one in Sheffield, hosted by Komal (@sweetkomal) a chef at the Fusion organic cafe in Sheffield.

As is becoming customary in these expeditions to secret locations, we spent 10 minutes wandering around before braving knocking on a door hoping that it was the correct one, fortunately it was and we were warmly greeted and shown to our dining area, to await our other diners.

The theme for this event was a taste of Spain


Various tapas including Calameres with Aioli, Patatas Bravas, Tortilla and Pan con tomate.

Paella with Ensalata 

Churros with Hot chocolate dipping sauce.
As you can see from the pictures, the food looked and was delicious. The paella took me straight back to Barcelona and was very very morish. My personal favourite however was the churros with melted chocolate, soft, warm, sugary, slightly spicy from the cinnamon and with a pot of delicious melted chocolate, you just can't ask for more from a pudding.
Overall the night was excellent. The time just blazed by, we arrived at 7 and left around 11 o clock, full of good food and having met many new interesting people. 
Keep an eye out at   for details of the next one.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Chorizo and Broad Bean Risotto

I'm not normally a fan of risottos but this recipe from Good Food drew me in and practically forced me to cook it. I blame the chorizo, I love the stuff. beautiful in a rich tomato sauce or simply eaten with a platter of good cheese, bread and of course wine.
This recipe is like any good risotto should be; rich, creamy and with the added spice of the chorizo, perfect on a crisp autumn evening.

Chorizo and Broad Bean Risotto
1tbsp olive oil
100g smoked bacon, diced
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
350g small cooking chorizo, diced
300g risotto rice
1 litre hot chicken stock
300g frozen broad beans

Heat the oil in a medium sized pan then add the bacon, shallots, garlic and chorizo.
Cook gently for about 8 minutes
Add the rice and coat with the cooking juices.
Add just enough stock to cover the rice and bring to a simmer
Gently cook until absorbed
Continue adding a ladle at a time and gently cook.
Just before the final ladle, stir in the beans and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.

Sunday 9 October 2011

Chocolate Chili Souffle

A blogger challenge that I've been following and reading for awhile is the We should cocoa challenge hosted by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog and Chelle at the Chocolate Teapot, both excellent blogs and well worth a read. The We should cocoa challenge is a challenge based around chocolate and a special ingredient, previous ingredients have included rose and apricot to name a couple. This months challenge was chili so for once I thought I'd enter.

Chocolate and chili are one of the greatest flavour combos dating back to the Aztecs and Mayans. I'd previously had a venture into chocolate/chili with a cake I made ages ago so obviously I couldn't do that again. I had been wanting to make souffle for a while now and this recipe is not quite a proper one, I'm working my way there. According to BBC Food these are more sturdy than normal souffles.

The recipe used is for a basic chocolate souffle which I have adapted to encompass this months special ingredient...

Chocolate Chili Souffle
Ingredients (makes 3)

100g Dark chocolate
75g butter plus a little for greasing
3 eggs
85g caster sugar
60g Plain flour
Half a red chili, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 180C/160c (fan)
Butter 3 ramekins or cups like i did
Melt the chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water
Beat the eggs with sugar until fluffy and light
Add the chili to the flour
Fold in the flour/chili and then the chocolate mixture
Divide between the ramekins, the mixture can be now put in the fridge for later if you like
Bake for 8-12 minutes until the souffle rises and a crust forms, the middle should be still slightly gooey
Serve with cream


sooooo good, rich, dark, chocolaty with little kicks of chili, beautiful.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Creamy Chicken and Pumpkin

My aim this month is to complete and enter more than one bloggers challenge, I usually enter Doms brilliant random recipe challenge but this month I wanted to spread my wings...
I spied a nice little challenge over at What Kate Baked asking us to submit recipes based on an autumnal theme. My first thought did spring to a pumpkin pie, having never made one and every year promising myself I will make one, but with the last random recipe challenge finishing up with me cooking another tart, I decided to have a browse at what else I could cook. I stumbled across this nice little recipe on BBC Good Food and decided to give it ago.

Creamy Chicken and Pumpkin
20g pack dried porcini
1.5kg free range chicken, jointed in 8 pieces
1 lemon, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
300g pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 2cm cubes
200g chestnut mushrooms
284ml carton double cream

Soak porcini in 300ml hot water for 30 mins.
Skin chicken and rub with lemon
Heat oil in a pan and brown chicken on all sides
Transfer to a casserole dish
Heat oven to 180C/160C(fan)
Melt the butter in a medium pan, once it stops foaming, add the onion and fry until golden
Remove the porcini from the water, rinse, pat dry and chop small.
Strain the porcini water, leaving the last spoonful.
Add the porcini and pumpkin to onions and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the fresh mushrooms and fry for a further 5 minutes
Stir in the cream and 5 tbsp of the porcini water
Simmer for 10 mins until slightly reduced
Pour over the chicken
Cover and cook for around 40 minutes, add a bit of water if the sauce becomes to dry.


Deliciously autumnal with lovely mushroomy flavours and sweet pumpkin. If you can't be bothered jointing a chicken just do what I did and buy 8 chicken thighs, sorted. Oh and brown the chicken more than I did, rookie mistake *hangs head in shame*.

Corned Beef Pie

Ah corned beef, not the most glamorous or tastiest sounding ingredient but used the right way then its just superb.
We used to have it cold alongside fresh chips, fried eggs and beans. I used to put all four into a sandwich with a few pickled onions and tomato ketchup and then attempted to eat it before it disintegrated into a tasty mess.

This recipe is another way to use those forgotten tins in the back of the cupboard. It never lasted long once made and I have attempted to recreate it for you lot, due to not having the actual recipe it's from memory only. From the taste of it, I'm not far off.

I used a roasting tray for this about an inch deep and 29cm by 21cm


600g Plain Flour
150g Butter
150g Lard
few tbsp of cold water (enough to form a dough)
1 egg beaten (for the glaze)

1 and a 1/2 tin of Corned Beef
4-5 medium potatoes
2-3 onions
Black pepper.

Rub the lard and butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
Add the water a tbsp at a time and mix with a knife and your hands until the mixture comes together into a smooth dough.
Wrap in clingfilm and chill for about half n hour.

Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks, boil in a pan of water until soft.
Transfer to a bowl and add the corned beef and plenty of black pepper, mash together using a potato masher. 
Fry the onions gently until soft, try not to brown too much.
Leave to cool both to completely, otherwise soggy pastry beckons.

Grease your chosen pie dish or tray.
Divide the pastry into two and roll out to the desired length.
Place one half into the dish and press gently into the sides, trim off the excess pastry at the sides of the dish.
Add the onion in a thin layer, then add the mash and beef over the top, flatten down gently.
Brush egg round the edges of the pastry to help seal.
Place the other the half of the pastry over the top, trim off the excess and seal using a fork pressed gently all the way around.
Add any pastry decoration you like then brush liberally with the remaining egg.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

Serve with onion gravy, fluffy mash and veg or simply have it cold with plenty of brown sauce.


Thursday 6 October 2011

Pork and pears

Some people seem to have a problem cooking for me. No idea why, I'm perfectly pleasant and easily pleased when it comes to food. The only time I will have something to say is when a food crime is committed, namely overcooking or ruining quality ingredients, such as well-done steak for example. All I want when someone cooks for me is a simple yet tasty dish, I'm not looking for Michelin star, throw everything at the plate for several hours and hope it works type of cooking. So after persuading the Other Half to cook me dinner one Saturday evening, she opted for a recipe out of Nigel Slater's Fast Food (brilliant book, buy it now), pork and pears.

When the evening came around.... well the battle lines were drawn. I was booted out of my own kitchen with some force and ordered not to comment on what was happening or even enter the kitchen. A quick venture into the kitchen to find wine and to check my kitchen hadn't exploded was met with a barrel of abuse, knives whizzing past my head, followed by a frying pan and then with some nifty kung fu moves I was booted back into the living room through the door, there is still a Me shaped hole in the actual door.

10 minutes later after regaining consciousness, a rather tasty meal appeared. Turns out pears are very tasty with pork. It was a lovely contrast between the the caramelised pears and the slight saltiness of the pork alongside fluffy mash and bitter rocket.

Having not witnessed the actual cooking for fear of evisceration, I assume it went similar to this:

Pork and Pears
2 loin pork chops
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic (crushed flat and unpeeled)
2 ripe pears, cut into eights and cored, peeling optional
75ml dry white wine
75ml chicken/veg stock or water

Season the pork with the salt and pepper
Heat the oil and garlic in a pan over a high heat, add the chops.
Seal on both sides
Turn the heat down and add the pears
Cook until both are tender and browned

Remove chops and pears to a warm plate
Pour most of the fat from the pan and return to the heat
Pour in the wine, scraping away the bits of pork and pear that are clinging to the pan
Add the stock and simmer until reduced by half
Pour over the chops and pears

Serve with fluffy mash and bitter leaves