Thursday, 30 April 2015

ME IN THE TIMES NEWSPAPER :-)


And if you fancy reading the whole article you can fine it here -


P.S That pic is an bad old one :-(




Kimchi Pancake with Asian Pickled Cucumber



Kimchi Pancake with Asian Pickled Cucumber
Feeds  4-6
Preparation Time – 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time – 10-15 minutes

Ingredients –
Kimchi Pancake Mix-
2 Tbsp Quinoa flour
3 Eggs –Free range organic
2 Large Tablespoons of Kimchi
2 Tbsp kimchi juice
Dash of light soy sauce
½ Courgette – Cut in half ad thinly sliced into strips – Lightly fry before adding to the pancake mixture
½ Red onion – thinly sliced into half moons - Lightly fry before adding to the pancake mixture
½ Spring onion – Finely sliced
Good dash of white pepper
Good glug of rapeseed oil

Asian Pickled Cucumber-
½ Cucumber – Thinly sliced into strips
2 Generous glugs of rice wine vinegar
½ Red Birdseye chilli (use a medium one for less heat)- Finely Sliced- seeds removed for less spice
½ Tsp Palm sugar (regular sugar works too or honey for a healthier option)
Dash of white pepper
Squeeze of lime juice

Dipping Sauce –
2 Generous glugs of light soy sauce
2 Generous glugs of rice wine vinegar
½ Red Birdseye chilli- Finely sliced
1inch Fresh ginger- Bruised, peeled and finely sliced
Squeeze of lime
-If you prefer it a tad sweeter add ½ tsp of palm or regular sugar

Instructions –
Whisk the eggs and quinoa flour together so there’s no lumps then add in the rest of the ingredients prepared as per instructions, leaving out the rapeseed oil. In a griddle or frying pan add the rapeseed oil and heat until super hot- you can test this by adding a tiny bit of mixture and when it’s start sizzling it’s ready to go. Cook on a medium to high heat until golden and crisp on the underside and cook through on the top.
As soon as the pancakes on get the prepared cucumber into the rice wine vinegar mix and set to one side, ready to serve.
Tip – It’s great to get this made up in advance so that the cucumber gets a chance to really pickle.
For the dipping sauce, prepare and thoroughly combine in a small dipping bowl and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to have a taste to make sure the flavours balance and adjust with soy or rice wine vinegar of necessary.


Serve it up and enjoy.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

MY Guide to Eating Your Way Around Barcelona….




MY Guide to Eating Your Way Around Barcelona….

Banys Orientals
Carrer Argenteria, 37, 08003

To start with you’re going to need somewhere to stay....and I feel like I may well have found the gem of the city. I’ve stayed here a few times previously taking my sister and her friends there for her hen do (it was a stylish one) and not only is the location perfect, the hotel itself is super on the money. Simple but elegantly and stylishly decked out, we felt right at home at Banys Orientals. Don’t expect room service but do expect four poster beds and a minimalist palette of black, white and grey. I was concerned about returning after six plus years, worrying it may have aged but that really didn’t seem to be the case. In fact they had added a gorgeous, vibrantly decorated restaurant on the ground floor which made up for the breakfast room which was a little dark. The breakfast room served up a delicious array of sweets and savouries and I think I may have well eaten my favourite (few) slices of Spanish omelette there. The location leaves you pretty much on the doorstep of Jaume 1, a ten minute walk to the beach and two steps from the cobbled, charming streets of the Born district. Whichever way we turned we were completely spoilt for architecture, charm, amazing bars and restaurants and felt like we were pretty much in the centre of it all.
The main upshot is that for the privilege of great accommodation, amazing location and more importantly being surrounded by so many amazing eateries it costs between £110 and £140 a night for a double room and only £20/30 more for a suite.






La Flauta – Traditional Tapas
Carrer d' Aribau, 23, 08011

Start with somewhere that serves amazing pinchos (Catalan tapas).. this one came with a double recommendation from foodie friends I trust. It’s a bit of a trek up past Las Ramblas and beyond the university but worth the walk. We ate outside but on seeing inside wished we ate at the bar. This place is bustling with a complete cross section of people, some that seem to have been visiting the establishment for the entire 30 years it’s been going and others that like us had been given a tip off. The majority of people were ordering everything from tapas, mains through to dessert. A favourite looked to be the soft sponge cake with chocolate sauce poured over it, another a generously sized Crème brûlée. We were too full to try either though! We were under strict instructions to try the Huevos Cabreaos and were glad we did. Shoestring fries with spicy tomato sauce topped with two fried eggs which are then mashed and thoroughly mixed through everything by the waiter at your table. For really great tapas and an amazing variety go here.

 


El Pachuco - Mexican
Carrer de Sant Pau, 110, 08001

Crazy good, low key Mexican, open all day serving up a variety of tacos and other Mexican treats. My favourite were the pork tacos with crackling & homemade chilli coriander sauce (which you get to add at will). Veggies aren’t forgotten here, as they’re served up a black bean, sour cream and coriander option.
The enchiladas should definitely not be missed either but be aware these are pretty generous in size (we obviously over ordered and managed to pack it all down).
The Guacamole and homemade nachos aren’t to be missed either, packed full of onion, tomato, chilli and coriander with plenty of homemade rustic style nachos on the side. This hast to be the best Guacamole I’ve had in a while.
The drinks list was pretty strong too, we opted for the Michelada, a homemade blend of tomato juice with an array of spices topped with your beer of choice and served in a salt rimmed glass. Think bloody mary but way more refreshing and less heavy.
If you like a low key, buzzy environment and food and cocktails with bold flavours then this is definitely a must visit. I’d go back in a flash.





Mosquito – Asian tapas/dumplings
Carrer dels Carders, 46, 08003

A favourite amongst locals and mentioned across a fair few blogs this place was packed out the entire night. In fact way before any other restaurant started to fill up as per traditional Catalonian eating times. If you’re not strict on sticking to local cuisine and looking for a place to satisfy your dumpling needs then look no further. If you’re unable to grab a seat straight away they’ll chalk up your name and you can head nearby for a drink. They offer a serious selection of steamed dumplings plus hot and cold main courses and the craft beer offering was pretty extensive too. Pull up a pew by the bar and catch the chaos.
We loved this place and would head back in a heartbeat.




 

Raso Terra –Vegetarian
Carrer del Palau, 5, 08002

Vegetarian or not (and I’m not) this is a delicious place to eat. Go and be impressed by the twists on locally sourced dishes. This is a ‘Slow food’ with all ingredients produced on site or very nearby in their garden. The wine list offers a variation between, eco, bio and sulphate free and what they recommended was delicious. There was a core ‘tapas’ style menu but also a more interesting daily, seasonally led menu. We obviously over ordered from both. All dishes were varied and really well thought out, this was a real find and a definite treat for my vegetarian man. With both Asian and Italian influences to be found in broth style dumpling dishes and purple potato gnocchi. ‘Give Peas a Chance’ was a highlight on the dessert menu and definitely not to be missed if you’re going to make it through to dessert.



Bacaro –Italian
 Carrer de Jerusalem, 6, 08001

This restaurant is NOT to be missed if like me you live for Italian food. I always have a moment of guilt when I eat outside of the local cuisine when on holiday however if you mix it up a bit there’ll be a whole load more appreciation for when you do. Where the city is so multicultural you’ll only be missing out if you bypass the amazing variation of cuisines and you’ll most definitely be missing out should you not go directly to Bacaro on arriving. The staff were super friendly and helpful, the décor low key but authentic feeling. The wine list was great and the chef especially friendly, even coming out of the kitchen to when talk us through some additional vegetarian options. That said all of this was way overshadowed by the food, we ate everything they told us to and loved every bite. Plus it’s 2 minutes walk from the huge food market Mercat de la Boqueria. Bacaro has it all. Dream venue, dream location and dream food.


El Jardi – Seasonal European
http://www.eljardibarcelona.es
Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 1, 08002

One of my favourite spots in the city. We stumbled upon it and returned several times throughout our stay, El Jardin is a beautiful, quiet haven hidden away from the tourist trail, tucked within the historic walls of what was once a hospital deep within the gothic quarter.Serving up everything from coffees and pastries through to wine and light lunches. The food was delicious, the salads super fresh and interesting. The patatas bravas was served with a punchy aioli and was particularly good as were the aubergine parmagiana and mussels. We spent hours here, a completely relaxing well catered spot.


 
 

7 Portes - Traditional Catalan
http://www.7portes.com/angles/index.php
Pg. Isabel II, 14, 08003

7 Portes is not just a restaurant it's a Catalan institution. First opened over 175 years ago, 7 Portes is open every day of the year dishing out the very finest in traditional Catalan and Mediterranean from lunchtime to the early hours. I'd advise booking ahead if you're keen to eat at a set time otherwise you can turn up and wait outside on the terrace for a table to come available. We were told an hour but were being ushered towards our table by a waiters in a white tux within 20 minutes. They serve up the best seafood in the city alongside simply presented meat dishes and traditional Catalan stuffed Cannelloni pasta. The real reason to go here though is for the Paella, large enough to share (i had one to myself) they have an extensive dedicated paella menu catering for every craving. You definitely need to plan a visit to 7 Portes when in Barcelona. You may even bump into an celeb or two, the walls are adorned with signatures of famous diners, we spotted the signatures of  Robert De Niro, Gabriel G Marquez and Lou Reed.







Slow Sundays - The Lazy Route -Smoked Salmon & Wild Garlic Cream Cheese




Smoked Salmon & Wild Garlic Cream Cheese

This dish hast to be one of the simple, small pleasures you need to enjoy from time to time. For me this is the perfect brunch or lunch dish on a slow, lazy Sunday. Easy to make and delicious, fresh and seasonal. Enjoy.

Feeds 4
Preparation Time - 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time - 5 minutes

Ingredients –
Smoked Salmon – Roughly torn into strips
Seeded roll or loaf – This one has poppy seed which worked well – 1 slice/roll per person

Wild Garlic cream Cheese –
Handful of wild garlic – Roughly muddled
Sprinkle of sea salt
Sprinkle of white & freshly ground black pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice and ¼ lemon zest
250g Cream Cheese

Asparagus & Wild Garlic Salad-
8 Stalks of Asparagus (allow 2 per serving) – Ends removed
3 Endives – Ends removed and leaves left whole
Handful of wild garlic
2 Larges glugs of extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze of lemon juice
Sprinkle of sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Instructions –
Start by muddling the wild garlic with a pestle and mortar, add in the seasoning, lemon juice and zest followed by the cream cheese and thoroughly mix. Lightly toast the bread or sliced rolls so they’re slightly warm and crisp then generously coat with the cream cheese. Evenly share the smoked salmon across each portion. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and add a little extra seasoning.
For the salad, add the asparagus to a non-stick pan and fry on a medium heat with a glug of oil for 2-3 minutes being careful to not overcook so they remain crisp and fresh. Combine all ingredients then drizzle the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice over and stir so all ingredients are evenly coated. Season and serve up alongside your smoked salmon and wild garlic cream cheese toastie.





Saturday, 25 April 2015

ONE FROM THE BOOK - MUFFIN TINNED HUEVOS RANCHEROS


This is one from the book that I made up for my interview with the Times this week...could be more excited. 

This is the perfect dish brunch or lunch dish to 'Cook for Company' any day of the week.

Muffin Tinned Huevos Rancheros 

Preparation Time – 10 minutes
Cooking Time – 5-10 minutes
Feeds – 4-6 

1 Pack of Tortillas - Each tortilla halved
Eggs - Allow one per person - Remove the majority of the egg white 
150g Pack of Lambs lettuce - Thoroughly washed
80g of Feta cheese - Crumbled
150ml of sour cream
Sprinkle of smoked Paprika
Jalapenos - Options for extra spice

Smoky Spiced Tomatoes Ingredients -
1 Large clove of garlic
400g Tin of good quality tomatoes
1/2 Teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 Sprinkle of oregano
Salt & pepper for seasoning


Cheesy Gruyère Sauce Ingredients – 
50g of Salted butter
2 Tablespoons of plain flour
1/2 Teaspoon of English mustard
350ml of semi-skimmed milk
Sprinkle of salt and pepper to season
70g of Grated Gruyère cheese

Instructions - 
Start by crushing and finely slicing the garlic and add to a medium sized saucepan along with the tinned tomatoes, smoked paprika, oregano and seasoning. Leave to cook on a medium heat while preparing the other ingredients.

For the cheesy Gruyère sauce start by melting the butter in a small saucepan on a medium/low heat. Once it's fully melted add the flour and mustard and stir thoroughly until it forms into a paste. Continue to stir for a minute or so then add the milk gradually until the paste turns into a thick sauce. Next add the seasoning and grated cheese and keep stirring until it starts to become a smooth, lump free sauce. Continue to cook on a medium/low heat until ready to use ensuring you stir it often enough so it doesn't stick or burn to the bottom of the pan...it can easily happen.

To create your tortilla nests first slice your tortillas in half before pressing each half into non-stick muffin tin tray compartments (Be sure to butter the tin if you don’t have a non-stick tray). You should be able to do 4-6 per tray. Next add a dollop of the cheesy sauce followed by an egg yolk (removing the majority of the egg white so that it doesn't spill over or out of the sides) It's easier to not overcook your egg this way too. Repeat for each tortilla and cook on 180 degrees Celsius for 5-10 minutes until the tortilla starts to crisp and serve so that the egg is still runny.

Serve with a garnish of lambs lettuce, a sprinkle of goat’s cheese, a few dollops of sour cream, jalapenos and as much paprika as you like. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.









Monday, 20 April 2015

Roasted Round Courgette, Heirloom Tomatoes, White Asparagus, Mozzarella & Black Sesame Pesto Platter



Roasted Round Courgette, Heirloom Tomatoes, White Asparagus, Mozzarella & Black Sesame Pesto Platter

Feeds – 4-6
Preparation Time – 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time - 20-25 minutes

Ingredients –
1 Round Courgette – Cut into 8 segments
2 Yellow Tomatoes – Each cut into 6 segments
2 Black Tomatoes – Each cut into 6 segments
3 White Asparagus – Cut in half then half again
Good glug of rapeseed oil
Sprinkle of seas salt & black pepper
1 Ball of good quality mozzarella – Roughly torn
Glug of extra virgin olive oil

NOTE- You can of course use the regular versions of the tomatoes, courgettes and asparagus, this dish will be equally as delicious.

Black Sesame Pesto –
1 Clove of garlic
1 Large handful of fresh basil leaves
1 Large handful of Parmesan – Finely grated
1 Large handful of black sesame seeds – Dry roasted
½ Zest of lemon
3-4 Generous glugs of good quality extra virgin olive oil
Garnish- Small handful of parsley (I used curly parsley)

Instructions-
Prepare the vegetable as noted then place on a baking tray with a glug of rapeseed oil and add the seasoning. Roast on 190 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until they start to turn golden.
Next prepare the pesto by muddling the garlic, basil leaves, Parmesan and sesame seeds until you have a smooth paste then add in the olive oil and thoroughly mix. You can also you use a food processor. I have a great Cuisinart mini processor that grinds and get the job done in no time.

Once the vegetables are suitably roasted and ready to go, serve up on a large platter for everyone to help themselves. Sprinkle the torn mozzarella over and then add generous dollops of the your pesto plus an extra glug of extra virgin olive oil and add a few small sprigs of parsley.


TIP -This is great served up with lightly toasted sourdough, you can make your own DIY bruschettas.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Beef Bourguignon Pitta Parcels





Beef Bourguignon Pitta Parcels

There is no heartier, more warming or more comforting a dish than this (unless you’ve packed it into pastry!) If you’re willing to part with half a bottle of red wine (at least) then you’ll not be able to get this dish wrong.  The cash you save with the cheap cut of meat can be spent on the wine. For the beef use the best quality brisket you can find as it’s one of the cheaper cuts available yet full of flavour. The better the quality the better the flavour. Think rich, silky gravy with chunks of meat that fall apart plus whole shallots and chestnut mushrooms. It’s the dream meal.
Feeds - 4-6
Preparation Time – 10 minutes
Cooking Time – 2-5hrs

Ingredients –
650g Brisket - Roughly chopped into generous bite sized chunks with a thin layer of fat left on each
2 Tbsp plain flour
Generous sprinkle of sea salt and black and white pepper
Generous glug of rapeseed oil
10-15 Baby shallots – Peeled and left whole
1 Tbsp English mustard
4 Cloves of garlic - Crushed and roughly chopped
½ Bottle of red wine
1 Pint beef stock
2 Bay leaves
12 Chestnut mushrooms – Left whole
6 Large spring onions – Ends chopped off and left whole
Handful of parsley – Roughly chopped

Pack of pitta bread- Cut in half
Pot of Crème fraîche

Instructions –
Start by chopping up the brisket and covering the meat with flour and seasoning until all sides of the meat are well coated. Add to an ovenproof dish with a glug of rapeseed oil and the shallots. Heat over a medium heat turning until all sides of the meat are well browned.
Stir in the Dijon mustard followed by the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
Pour in the red wine and with a spatula scrape the bottom of the pan until all the hardened flour disappears and starts to thicken the sauce.
Now pour in the beef stock, add in the bay leaves, mushrooms and spring onions and cover with either a lid or foil before transferring to a preheated oven and cook at 180 degrees Celsius for a minimum of 2 hours. I find that around the 3 or 4 hour mark makes for the perfect bourguignon. Be sure you keep an eye on it and have a taste every hour or so.
If you’re cooking it for longer you may need to add a glug of water and if you’re wanting to leave it in there to slow cook for 4-5 hrs then cook on 160 degree Celsius.

When you’re five minutes from serving, warm your pitta bread in the oven for 2-3 minutes or until they just start to turn crisp and golden, chop your parsley and have the crème fraîche at the ready.
Take one large serving of beef bourguignon and spoon it into your half pitta, followed by a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkle of parsley and you’re good to go…
Tip- If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, try adding tin tomatoes and basil taking this from bourguignon to Bolognese.





Friday, 17 April 2015

Roasted Courgette, Baby Carrot & Endive Salad with a Sweet Maple & Basil Dressing





Roasted Courgette, Baby Carrot & Endive Salad with a Sweet Maple & Basil Dressing

It’s dishes like this that make me excited to eat, I love tucking into any dish that’s vibrant and bold in flavour. The key is to use good fresh, ripe produce. Add a big ball of burrata or mozzarella to really give this dish the edge. Bring on summer.

Feeds -4-6
Preparation Time -
Cooking Time – 20 mins

Ingredients –
Roasted vegetables -
2 round courgettes – Chopped into segments- 6-8 depending on size
2 Handfuls of baby carrots
2 sprigs of thyme
Glug of rapeseed oil
Seasoning – Sprinkle of sea salt & black pepper

Salad-
2 Endive – Broken into separate leaves
Handful of fresh radishes – Leave torn off and thoroughly washed
Handful of basil leaves
1 large carrot (I used purple) – Shredded / peeled / spiralized
1 Spring onion – Finley sliced into strips

Dressing –
2 Generous glugs of good quality olive oil
1 Small glug of maple syrup
Good sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper & Sea salt
3 Large basil leaves – Muddled into a paste then added to the dressing

Instructions-
Start by pre heating your oven to 200 degrees Celsius, prepare the vegetables as noted then place in the oven and roast for around 15-20 minutes, until they start to golden.
Prepare the salad also as per instructions then transfer to a large mixing bowl ready to add the dressing to.
For the dressing start by muddling your basil then add all ingredients to a jar and shake until it’s thoroughly mixed. Have a taste and adjust seasoning if necessary or add an extra glug of maple syrup for more sweetness.
Once the vegetable have roasted, add these to the salad then pour  over the dressing and gently mix so everything gets a good coating.


Note- Only combine the hot roasted veg with the salad if you’re ready to eat straight away, the same goes with the dressing as you don’t want the salad to wilt or go soggy.

Thanks Absolutely Magazine for the huge 3 page spread on recipes from 'EAT THE WEEK'



PRE ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE BOOK HERE-
 OUT MAY 7TH