Month: October 2013

Thank you!

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Wow, over 1000 views to date, from around the world! I’m blown away!

Thank you to those who are coming to have a look at what’s going on – I really appreciate you being here!

Please keep the views and comments coming and tell me what you would like recipes for – I am always willing to cook up something new.

xxx

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Chilli Jam

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I made this chilli jam using a recipe first published by the domestic goddess herself, Nigella Lawson. My parents-in-law grow chillies in their gorgeous south facing garden that gets so much sunshine you may as well be in the Med, not Essex! They gave me a bag full and some of those little blighters were rather pokey! The natural choice for this recipe would be red chillies, but I imagine that a few different colours thrown in would be beautiful to look at.

Top tip – This is a very easy recipe resulting in a beautifully flavoured jam/jelly/sauce, depending how long you boil it for! If you boil rapidly for 10 mins you will have a sweet chilli sauce, perfect for dipping spring rolls or swirling through stir fries. Slightly longer, say 15 mins, will get you a soft set jelly and 20 mins will give you a well set jam – which is what I made this year. Its perfect with cheese, meats, in sandwiches..you name it. Its just lush!

Ingredients

A couple of handfuls of chillies – deseeded if you wish and cut into pieces (I deseeded about half of mine)
2 red peppers – deseeded and cut into chunks
1kg jam sugar
500ml cider vinegar
100ml white wine vinegar

Method

In a food processor whizz up your chillies and red peppers until they are finely chopped – you want flecks of chilli in the jam so its your call how small you go.

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a saucepan. When it comes to boil add the chilli / pepper mix and boil rapidly for 10, 15 or 20 mins – depending on the consistency you are after.

You can test the consistency using a saucer that has been in the freezer for a while. Drop a spoonful of the jam on the saucer and see how it sets.

Let the jam cool slightly so the flecks of chilli and pepper disperse throughout and then pour into sterilised jars.

Keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

The colour of this jam is amazing and it tastes pretty special too. A pretty jar of this would be a lovely Christmas present.

Enjoy!

chilli jam 2

Chilli jam

A Little Treat From Barcelona

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These little green beauties are padron peppers. They are served all over Barcelona as a tapas dish. We fell in love with them straight away, they’re perfect with a beer or glass of cold cava.

So simple, all you do is fry them in olive oil until they’re blistered and soft (3 minutes in a hot pan should do it) and then serve sprinkled with sea salt. BEWARE – They are beautifully sweet and moreish, totally addictive, but every so often you will come across one that will blow your head off! The Russian Roulette of peppers!

padrons raw

padrons cooking

padrons done

The Easiest Flat Breads You Will Ever Make

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Last month I posted a recipe for Prawn and Sweet Potato Curry and mentioned that I served it with flat breads. As promised, here is the recipe. They are so easy and can be used for such a variety of recipes – you will never want to buy tortilla wraps again!

Ingredients

1 cup of plain flour per person (makes about 2 flat breads)
1 tbsp oil (I use olive) plus more for frying
Salt and pepper
Warm water
Herbs (optional – I like to add fresh coriander but you can experiment)

Method

In a bowl, mix the flour and salt and pepper (I like to use quite a lot of pepper and a pinch or two of salt) and add the olive oil and, if using, the herbs. Mix it briefly then add warm water until the mixture resembles a dough.

Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead briefly, then separate into balls and roll each ball to a large round, about the thickness of a pound coin.

Heat a pan and add some oil. Add your flat bread and cook for around 1-2 minutes, until the bottom is golden and the top starts to look slightly dry. Flip it carefully and cook for another minute or so on the other side.

Slide it onto a plate and keep warm while you cook the rest.

These breads are lovely with curries and soups and I have also used them in place of tortilla wraps when making fajitas, kebabs or falafel wraps. In the picture below you can see them with the Prawn Curry. I also did some cauliflower which I sprinkled with cumin and sliced red onion, drizzled with olive oil and roasted – a beautiful accompaniment to curry!

Let me know how you get on!!

flatbread

Curry and flatbreads

Pulled Pork…

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I promise you will make this again and again. Its delicious.

You can use leftovers from the slow roast pork recipe I posted earlier or slow cook a piece of shoulder pork especially for this recipe. Its not true to American BBQ, because I add cooked pork to the sauce, as opposed to cook the pork in the sauce, but its easy, quick and oh so tasty.

I dont really have exact measurements for this recipe – its very much a ‘taste as you go along’ type of thing, and of course depends on how much pork you have left, but I’ve put some estimates to get you started.

Ingredients

Approx 150ml ketchup
Approx 4 – 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Approx 2 tbsp smoked paprika
Approx 1 tbsp worcester sauce
Approx 4 – 6 tbsp dark brown sugar

To make the sauce, put all the ingredients into a pan and bring it to the boil. You may need to add some water at this point. Keep tasting and addingmore sugar, paprika or vinegar as needed. You want it to be a thick gloopy sauce and all the flavours to mingle together. I boiled it for about 10 mins in total – adding a little water now and then.

In the meantime shred your leftover pork and when the sauce is done add the pork to it and heat through.

I served ours with toasted ciabatta buns, homemade potato wedges (slice a couple of potatoes into wedges, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and smoked paprika and whack in the oven at 200 for about 30 – 45 mins) coleslaw and salad. It would also go beautifully with rice, salad and some pickles. Or just on its own, straight from the pan…

Once you have made this you will crave it! What better excuse to do roast pork on a sunday?!

Pulled pork

Apologising with Pork…

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I’m so sorry I haven’t been around much! Life sometimes gets in the way.

I will cement this apology with a recipe for the BEST roast pork with amazing crackling you will ever try.

It’s a recipe adapted from one by Jamie Oliver, where he roasts a bone in Pork shoulder for about 6 hours. This one takes less time and you don’t need to scour the butchers looking for a huge hunk of meat.

You can usually pick up shoulder joints of pork from the supermarket for £5 – £7. If they are scored already then its a bonus! With a little love and attention you can turn this cheap cut of meat into an EPIC roast!

Top tip – take the pork out of the fridge 30 mins – 1 hour before cooking it, to allow it to come to room temperature. This will ensure the crackling gets a good start and the meat cooks evenly.

Ingredients

Boned pork shoulder
Sea salt

(yes, thats it!)

Method

Preheat your oven to its highest setting.

If your pork isnt already scored, do it now, at least 1.5cm thick all over the skin. Use a stanley knife, it makes it very easy. Place the scored pork into a roasting tray.

Rub salt all over the skin, getting it right into the score marks. Really go for it, this salt will help the skin bubble up and crisp for beautiful crackling and will also season the meat as it roasts.

Put the pork in the oven for 30 mins – after which time the crackling will have started puffing up already. Turn the oven down to around 170 and cover the pork with some foil. This will ensure the juices from the meat stay inside and keep the pork friom drying out. Roast for another 2.5 – 3 hours.

Take the pork from the oven and leave to rest. The crackling should be superb by now, but if its not, remove it from the meat at pop back in the oven on high for 10 mins.

The meat will be tender and melting and should fall apart…I like this with Roast Potatoes and carrots, creamed leeks, cauliflower cheese and cabbage. And lashings of gravy…

When I make this on a sunday, there is always meat left over. My favourite thing to do with the leftovers is make Pulled Pork Sandwiches. I will post the recipe for this later!

Enjoy!

Pork

Roast pork dinner

I’m back!

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Hello readers! I am back in the UK after a wonderful break in sunny Barcelona.

For those who haven’t been I would definitely recommend it as a long weekend / city break. The weather was beautiful luckily and what with visiting the Sagrada Familia and spending a day lazing on the beach, we feel there was the right mix of sightseeing and relaxing.

So, during the coming week I will be posting about my experiences, including a wonderful day at the Barcelona Cooking School, but first, here’s a picture to get your taste buds going. A beautiful breakfast consisting of strong coffee, freshly squeeze orange juice and a baguette filled with jabugo jamon. This ham was amazing. I am pretty sure I overdosed on it in the 5 days we spent in Barca! We ate some gorgeous food and drank plenty of cava – well, it was our anniversary!

See you soon!

Barca breakfast