Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Eton Mess

The shops are full of big juicy strawberries at the moment and just in time as Wimbledon is coming up. But my favourite dessert to make with strawberries is Eton Mess.

The great thing about this recipe is in the name, 'mess' that you just have to get it all mixed together and then top it off with more strawberries.

Ingredients

1 heaped teaspoon of icing sugar
450g Strawberries (chopped)
1 pint Double Cream
2 large meringues

Method

1. Take half the strawberries and blend with the icing sugar to make a pureƩ

2. Whip the cream until thick

3. Break up the meringues and mix in to the cream

4. Add about 2 tablespoons of the pureƩ to the mixture to give a marble effect

5. Spoon some mixture in to a bowl / glass and top with strawberries and some more puree





If you are feeling fancy and want to add to the presentation, this dessert looks great served in a martini glass, or any other fancy glassware.


Meringues

I can always remember my mum making meringues when I was younger and they wouldn't last long before I'd eaten them all. So last weekend when we were out food shopping I noticed that the Strawberries are now looking nicer in both looks and price.

So dessert had been decided and it was to be the traditional English dessert of Eton Mess. I was simply going to buy meringues that were in a packet until I was overruled by my lover to make them from scratch instead.

To start with here is the recipe and method for making perfect meringues. The most troublesome part here would be the separating of the egg whites. Our first egg somehow the yolk became punctured so we had to start again. It was a high pressure moment when it came to the third egg and hoping that the same didn't happen with the first egg.

We recommend that you use a good glass bowl for whipping up the mixture, we have a Pyrex bowl.

Ingredients


175g Caster Sugar
3 Large egg whites

Method (pre-heat 150 / Gas Mark 2)


1. Separate the egg whites in to a good quality glass bowl

2. Beat the eggs until they thicken up and start to look foamy

3. Add the caster sugar bit by bit, while beating continuously

4. The mixture should eventually double in size and start to look glossy

5. Once mixture forms stiff peaks it is done. If you want to be brave you should be able to hold the bowl above your head and it won't move.

6. Line a baking tray with baking paper and dollop the mixture evenly

7. Place in the oven and turn the temperature down to 140 (Gas Mark 1) for 1 hour

8. When done turn the oven off and leave in the oven to cool down








A tip to stop the meringues spreading out and becoming one big yummy meringue, is to use a lined muffin tray instead of a baking tray. This will help keep the dollops of mixture separate when in the oven. Now you can enjoy them on their own, or head on over to our Eton Mess recipe.



Monday, 9 June 2014

Chinese Takeaway Curry

I love having a Chinese takeaway, and without any hesitation I will always end up going with a Chicken Curry. I have had so many in my life I would say I can tell a good one from a bad.

So when I found out that you could get this delight at home with very little effort I was very eager to try it. So I got the Girlfriend to dig out all the required spices for me, while she got frustrated at my pronunciation of such spices as Cumin and Star Anise and we set about preparing this meal.

We decided to go with Chicken on this occasion, but it also works with other meat, or if you would like a vegetarian option substitute for tofu or a load of veg.

If you like Chinese takeaway and want to save money, then this recipe is a great option.

Ingredients

Chicken (cubed, or other meat / veg)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
400ml chicken stock (change dependent on meat selection / veg)
Dash of Soya sauce
Medium Onion (chopped)
1 clove of Garlic (grated)
2 heaped teaspoons of curry powder
½ teaspoon ground Ginger
½ teaspoon Chilli flakes
½ teaspoon Onion powder
1 Star Anise
Pinch ground Cumin
½ cup Peas

Method

Note: Before proceeding with making the sauce, ensure you have cooked your meat first.

1. Heat the butter until hot then add the Onions and fry for 3 - 4 minutes

2. Turn the heat down and add the Garlic and Chilli flakes

3. Add all the spices and flour

4. Cook over a gentle heat stirring the whole time for about 1 minute

5. Pour over the Chicken stock

6. Add the Soya sauce, Peas and chosen meat / veg.

7. Stir well and leave over a medium heat for 12 - 15 minutes stirring regularly


The above recipe is good to serve 2 people, but we often like to double up so that we can have left overs for lunch the following day





Sunday, 8 June 2014

Sausage Casserole

There is nothing worse that being dragged around the shops in the pouring rain, but when it also means that you will end up with a new casserole dish that leads to some yummy food, it is so worth it.

After being out in the cold and wet, this was exactly what we needed to fill our bellies with hearty goodness (that's right I said hearty). It is so simple to make and requires next to no effort as it is as easy as putting everything in a pot. 

This recipe can also be eaten by those who are on a gluten free diet, just make sure your stock is Knorr (as recommended by a gluten free friend), leave the spaghetti out and ensure that your sausages are gluten free. Black Farmer sausages are our favourite go to sausage.

Ingredients:

12 Sausages
2 medium onions (diced)
2 large potatoes (chopped)
3 carrots (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (grated)
½ teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon paprika
400g chopped tomatoes
300 ml chicken stock
2 table spoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons thyme
100ml red wine
400g spaghetti (optional)

Method:

1. Brown the sausages in a pan with a little oil. Chop up and set aside.

2. Fry the onions in a pan until soft. Add the garlic and fry for 2 - 3 minutes stirring constantly.

3. Add the chilli powder and paprika to the pan.

4. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pan.

5. Stir in the tomatoes, puree, chicken stock, worcestershire sauce, sugar and herbs.

6. Pour over the red wine.

7. Add the chopped up sausages and transfer to an oven proof dish with a lid.

8. Add the spaghetti if using.

9. Cook at 200° / Gas mark 6 for 1 hour.


This managed to serve 2 very generous portions with extras left for lunch the following day. It is great to have on it's own, or it can be served with some crusty bread to mop up the last dregs.




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