Wednesday, 29 April 2009
How to use smoked garlic? Well, I bought some from the Chester Food Festival a few weeks ago and have been playing with adding it to recipes as I've been trying out new things.
Add raw, thinly sliced to home-made (or shop-bought!) pizza - bake the pizza as usual.
Add to pasta dishes instead of the usual garlic. It's delicious with a smoked chorizo, red pepper and tomato sauce. Simply fry off gently after pan-frying the chorizo and onions so it doesn't burn but goes soft, sweet and smoky.
Ok, I know they're fairly basic, and I have used it in other things, but I can't remember at his present moment in time! as I add it to more things, I'll update this post!
Monday, 27 April 2009
The third recipe is also very easy but particularly tasty. Toss the cooked Gnocchi in butter, salt, pepper and torn sage leaves. Serve hot.
If, like me, you don't really like Gnocchi, this is definitely the recipe to try, and all the sauces really are delicious, so I urge you to give them a go. I do, however, suggest that you make either the Gnocchi or the Pizza and don't do them on the same night! Unless you like looking like Fred!
Saturday, 25 April 2009
Yet another post with mention of scallops - the third in as many weeks I think. Read about a restaurant version or a Caldesi / Merlotti recipe here!
As mentioned, I have grown to love these little sea-things, but only after training myself and making it three times in a week initially so I'd get to know them! I'm still working on the coral but now love the white meat! This was one of my first recipes and, I think, still the most tasty! It's simple - pan-fried scallops, minted-pea puree and fried chorizo. I never said it was going to be 'all-out' healthy!
Cube the chorizo in small pieces and fry off in olive oil, leaving the juices in the pan. Use these to fry the scallops, about 2/3 minutes each side in a hot pan. Just before they're ready, add the chorizo pieces to re-heat.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Monday, 20 April 2009
We went on the evening of Easter Saturday, and mum had thought it wouldn't be very busy, but, as usual, it was full. We even bumped into friends from our village. The menu wasn't large but had plenty to choose from with a list of fish specials, fresh in on the Friday. Between us we ordered a range of different starters and mains, unusual since we generally go for similar things.
Appearance and Taste
To begin, I chose pate, two others the seafood cocktail and dad chose something with cheese in, though I can't remember what! Comments were, on the whole positive, although the boyf. did think the cocktail was a little on the small side. My pate, however, was a huge slice, obviously home-made and deliciously rich and creamy. The onion marmalade it was served with was also very tasty and the two complemented each other well.
Scallops on Leek Puree, you'll know I am trying to get to like the roe / coral, so I managed to have one, bit by bit, although had to pass the others over to the boyf's plate, for which he was grateful. I'll get there though! The sauce was smooth and didn't mask the juicy sweetness of the scallops themselves and the grilled pancetta was a nice contrast in terms of saltiness and crispiness.
Value for Money
I have no idea what it cost as dad very kindly paid as an Easter treat! At a guess, I'd say our main courses averaged £14, starters £5 and puddings £4. We had a bottle of house red and white, and again I'm guessing £14. Aperos beforehand £11. So, all in all, lets say £125 between 4 of us, £31.25 each. Super atmosphere and very good food. We chose expensively, but I'd still say that it was value for money. I'm sure dad will comment if I've got the price estimate hideously wrong!
Saturday, 18 April 2009
Easter Weekend saw the annual Chester Food Festival. We were lucky enough to be up in Chester, visiting parents for the Easter break, and, since we all love food, enjoyed a tasty few hours wandering around the many stalls. We began inside the tents, which was mainly producers, growers and artisans selling their wares, but with all those free tasters, you couldn't go wrong. And its always good to try before you buy.
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Despite my desire to eat all of this as soon as returned from purchasing it, the tempting little package lay in my fridge rather a long time before I got round to eating it and the anticipation grew over time. So, when I finally broke through the brown wax layer I was, to say the least, mildly disappointed. My first wonder had been the colour; how could you blend cheese and Marmite without it being brown? The answer is, apparently, you don't. The Marmite was simply little flecks that ran across the cheese.
The Cheddar itself was delicious, crumbly and light with a good flavour, but not of Marmite. As a keen Marmite lover, as you'd presume if I've chosen to buy this product, I was expecting that sharp bitter punch that hits you when you smear a little too much on a slice of toast, but there was no fear of this happening. The flavour was apparent, just, when eaten on its own, but as soon as it was melted over toast, whilst the cheese was good, there was a distinct lack of Marmiteness.
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
It's asparagus season and I can't get enough of the stuff! Also rather into streaky bacon too, so this is a good combination of the two. I thought I had some asparagus growing in the garden, but I can't seem to find it this year so had to resort to buying it instead - boo. I'll have another look today and see if it's hiding between the dead leaves.
I have also never made Hollandaise, thinking it too much of a risk! So, I found a really quick and easy recipe online that is simply egg yolks, melted butter, lemon juice and mustard. You could also add whatever other flavourings you wanted too. I don't even bother with exact amounts either. Add one yolk per 2/3 people and whip until light and fluffy. Mix with a little mustard and a splash of lemon juice and drizzle in melted butter, whisking all the time, until the required consistency is reached. Easy!
If the asparagus is quite slim, simply wrap in streaky bacon or prosciutto and roast at 160 for about 20 minutes. If the stems are thicker, pan fry in a little water for a few minutes first to soften, then wrap and roast. Despite this being a rather 'out-dated' recipe, it's still delicious!
Saturday, 11 April 2009
If you've read my previous post, you'll know that I was saving this for Wednesday night as the boyf was out on Tuesday and really wanted the scallops. So, I duly waited and prepared them for Wednesday evening: Scallops wrapped in streaky bacon served on a bed of leek puree. Needless to say, the five-a-side football took precedent and I could have had the scallops whenever!
16 large fresh scallops with corals
16 slices of pancetta
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large leek, washed and sliced
1 white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small potato
500ml vegetable stock or water
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small carrot, very finely chopped
1 celery stick, very finely chopped
1 small white onion, very finely chopped
1 heaped tsp tomato puree
1tsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
mixed salad leaves to garnish
1) Remove the coral from the scallops. Pat the scallops dry, season lightly and wrap each in a slice of pancetta. Set aside.
2) For the leek puree, heat the oil over a low heat and add the leek, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 10 mins. Add the potato and stir for another 5 mins. Add the stock and simmer for 10 mins until the vegetables are tender. Whizz in a blender until smooth. Return to the pan and keep warm.
3) For the coral ragu, heat the oil over a low heat and fry the carrot, celery and onion for 5 mins. Chop the reserved scallop coral finely and add to the pan, stirring. Add the tomato puree and parsley. Season to taste, stir, and pour in 50ml water and the vinegar. Cook gently for 10 mins.
4) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180c. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan and fry the scallops for 4/5 minutes, turning until the pancetta browns. Pour the oil away and add the white wine and a splash of water. Put the pan in the oven for 5 mins.
5) Put 1 tbsp leek puree on 8 warmed plates. Top with the scallops and pan juices. Spoon the coral ragu sauce alongside to serve and dress with salad leaves.
Thursday, 9 April 2009
This was meant to be Wednesday's dinner with a traditional asparagus wrapped in pancetta with Hollandaise for starters. Scallops on leek puree and home-made pasta stuffed with ricotta and spinach and a sage butter sauce should have been Tuesday's dinner. The boyf, him again, was out for a work leaving do on Tuesday, however, and really wanted scallops so 'suggested' I swap the two days so he could have the scallops on Wednesday.
This was no skin off my nose as I was having trouble finding rennet to make my own Ricotta-type cheese, so it gave me an extra day! Still haven't found any in a real-life shop - any ideas? And I love these pancakes, always wanting one more, so was happy to eat alone. I think the recipe was originally a Good Food one, but can't remember. Anyway, this is generally how it goes:
First, fry off some chestnut mushrooms and chopped garlic until soft.
Remove from the pan when done and wilt the spinach.
Either use ready-made or make your own savoury pancakes - I always use a Delia recipe, though feel I should be able to remember it without the book by now!
Make a cheese / bechamel sauce. Just mix flour with butter and stir in milk on a hot heat little by little until a thick consistency is reached. Add cheese to taste.
Spoon the ingredients onto a pancake with a little of the sauce. Roll and place into an ovenproof dish.
Dollop over the rest of the cheese sauce and sprinkle a little more grated cheese over the top. I find that the sauce always disappears so add a few more dollops than you think it needs.
Bake at 180 for about 20 minutes.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Friday, 3 April 2009
I duly roasted the tomatoes, (baby yellow, baby on-the-vine and baby plum - hence the need to roast to add flavour) with a few pieces of pepper and garlic. I blended this with a splosh of wine and chilli flakes, and (now this could have been my downfall,) instead of a pinch of cocoa, as recommended, I decided a cube or two of dark chocolate would be even better.
I have since learnt it's not.
The boyf got a rather large portion and I restricted myself to 5 forkfuls at the most - this dish is great if you're on a diet! The pasta itself was delicious - I was sensible enough to taste it 'sens' sauce. A little hint of bitterness and, despite being brown, very tasty. The sauce would definitely have benefited from a distinct lack of chocolate (or cocoa for that matter) and at least I have come to the decision that chocolate and savoury don't go in any format. Not for me anyway.
The recipe would have been delicious with a simple rich tomato sauce, and I can only wish that that's what I had made. I did leave a little pasta out, so maybe I'll try it with something more simple. The recipe on the back of the pack suggested a creamy, cheesy almond flavoured sauce? What do you think? Worth a try?
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