Sunday, 27 July 2014

Walrus and Otter - Brazilian Supper Club

Last night I took a trip across London to Hampstead for a really enjoyable evening at a Brazilian themed supper club. It was run by a friend I went to school with and her boyfriend and was the first supper club I have been to. It really appealed as I love trying new foods and very rarely eat Brazilian, but also I don't get cooked for very often, I cook for myself all the time and eat out at restaurants but it's nice to have a home cooked meal cooked by someone else. It was a very relaxed evening and was fab to meet lots of new people. The food was really delicious and I am tempted to try making the main course myself.

We started with canapés and a cocktail, which I didn't take a picture of, but included chargrilled courgette, mozzarella and tomato, prawn, mango and coconut cups and chicken rice balls. All were really tasty. The cocktail was served in decorated jam jars, which was a really lovely touch.

We then took our seats and started with Ceviche with a piece of chilli spiked corn on the cob.

It really was out of this world, packed full of really interesting flavours. For our main course we had Chicken Bobo with Rainbow Rice and Cabbage.

The chicken stew was served in a banana leaf and was just so good and the rice was incredibly tasty. It was lovely to have a dish with coconut milk that isn't Thai!

For pudding we had a Fruit Tart with Creme Patissiere and a Coconut and Rum Ice Cream.

Both were fab and I was especially surprised by the ice cream as I'm not a huge fan of coconut, but this was truly delicious. The meal was finished off with coffee and chocolates.

I had a really lovely evening and I'm really looking forward to trying out more supper clubs as I love the idea.

Chicken with Broad Beans, Lemon and Mint

I made this recipe using the first broad beans from the garden. It was so delicious, the creamy flavours and the veg were perfect. I added in courgettes as I have hundreds of baby ones that seem to refuse to grow any bigger. Apparently it's because it's been too cold at night, so fingers crossed for some warmer nights.

Chicken with Broad Beans, Lemon and Mint (from The WW Foodie)
(Serves 4)
(8 ProPoints per serving)

400g chicken thigh fillets, skinless and boneless, cut into chunks
3 tsp light oil
1 onion, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
50ml vermouth or white wine
2 large bay leaves
500ml chicken stock
100g frozen broad beans
4 tbsp half fat creme fraiche
zest and juice of half a lemon
1-2 tbsp chopped mint

Heat 2 tsp of oil in a large saucepan. Season the meat and then add to the pan to brown - in batches if necessary. Remove to a plate.

Heat the final tsp of oil. Add the onion and courgette and cook for 3-4 mins until it starts to soften and then add in the garlic and cook for a further 5 mins or so until all the vegetables are softened.

Pour in the vermouth or white wine and deglaze the pan. Reduce the wine to almost nothing, then return the chicken to the pan and combine everything well.

Now add three quarters of the chicken stock and the bay leaves. Bring up to a simmer then cover and cook for around 30 mins.

Meanwhile, combine the creme fraiche with the lemon and mint and weigh out the broad beans.

After half an hour has passed, remove the lid and add the broad beans.  If it looks a little dry, add more stock - you want a decent amount of sauce.  Cook for 5 mins until the broad beans are cooked.

Turn the heat down and stir through the flavoured creme fraiche. Season and serve over rice or with potatoes.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Sweet Potato and Sausage Salad

This salad is so good, there really is something very comforting about warm sausage and warm sweet potato but in a salad. I cannot bear to think what might in low fat sausages, which the WW recipes usually recipe call for so I've always used awesome quality sausages. If you used low fat sausages the ProPoints would be 7, I have no idea for normal sausages.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Salad (from WW Soups and Salads)
(Serves 4)

600g sweet potato
cooking spray
4 sausages
4 shallots
small bunch chives, chopped
salt and pepper
4 tbsp crème fraiche
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
salad leaves

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Place the sweet potatoes in a roasting tin, spray with the cooking spray, season and roast for 30 mins until tender.

Put the sausages into a separate tin and bake alongside the sweet potato for 30 mins until browned all over and cooked through, you may need to turn them halfway through cooking. Leave to cool slightly and slice.

Heat a frying pan, spray with cooking spray and cook the shallots for 5 mins until softened, adding a splash of water if they start to stick.

Place the sweet potato, sausages, shallot and chives into a bowl. Mix together the crème fraiche and mustard and spoon over the potato mixture, toss together until well combined.

Put the salad leaves into 4 individual bowls, top with the potato and sausage mixture and serve.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Selfridges Windows

Today I went to the Dennis Hopper exhibition at the Royal Academy, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a very eclectic mix of pictures, everything from slightly dull abstracts to photos of icons, such as Martin Luther King at a Rally and Andy Warhol as well as hippies and bikers. On a slight detour back to the tube I went past Selfridges summer windows, which this year are all food themed. 

The first is of an American diner

Then a bakery

Followed by a window full of meringues!

Next came a charcuterie

Then an espresso bar, with a lovely lady sheltering from the rain!

And finally a Mexican window.

I really loved these windows, there were a couple more but there were too many pictures to get good shots. I'll try going back earlier in the morning to get better shots. They are really fun to look at and promote the changes to their food hall.

Rhubarb and White Chocolate Blondies

Oh my goodness these were good! I took them into work as a thank you to the staff as I was leaving my job and they went down really well. I loved the combination of the rhubarb and white chocolate and they were perfectly cooked in the middle. I thought 45 mins was too long for such a small pan but actually it was perfect.

Rhubarb and White Chocolate Blondies (from Hummingbird High)
(Makes an 8x8inch pan)

450g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp granulated sugar
zest of 1 lime
113g butter
100g packed dark brown sugar
67g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g plain flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
260g white chocolate chips, divided into 175g and 85g portions
Preheat the oven to 200C.
In a baking pan, toss together the rhubarb, sugar, and lime zest. Set aside for about 10 mins until a little syrup starts to appear.
Once the rhubarb is a little syrupy, cover the baking pan with aluminium foil and roast in the preheated oven for 10 mins until the sugar is melted. If the sugar isn’t melted, continue roasting for another 2 mins or so, before removing the foil completely and roasting for another 2 mins uncovered until the syrup is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow the rhubarb to cool to room temperature
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line an 8 x 8in baking pan.
Melt the butter over a medium low heat until it starts to brown, foam slightly and emit a nutty aroma. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
After around 5 mins, whisk the butter and sugars together until smooth. Whisk in the egg and vanilla until fully incorporated.
Sprinkle the flour, cinnamon, and  salt over the liquid mixture and use a metal spoon to fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter to the prepared baking pan. Spread the roasted rhubarb on top of the blondie batter evenly until most of the batter is covered, before scattering the leftover 1/2 cup white chocolate chips over the rhubarb.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 40 to 45 mins, or until the edges are golden brown. If the rhubarb and white chocolate looks like it’s browning too fast, create an aluminium foil tent over the pan.  Once the blondies are cooked, leave to cool completely and then cut into pieces.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Turkey Smashed Pea and Pesto Sandwich

I cheated a bit with this sandwich. I didn't bother with the onions, I stuck some pickled red cabbage on top instead. It was massively flavourful though and i loved the peas and pesto.

Turkey Smashed Pea and Pesto Sandwich (from The Sweets Life)
(Serves 4)

1/4 small red onion, sliced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp butter
200g frozen peas
salt and pepper
4 tbsp pesto
200g turkey pieces
8 slices bread, toasted

Place the onion slices and vinegar in a small bowl and allow to sit for 3-5 mins, until onion is tender and bright pink.

 Meanwhile, heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the peas and salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 mins, until the peas are heated through. Mash until peas hold together.

Spread pesto on four of the sandwich slices, then top with the peas, onion, and turkey. Finish with remaining slices of bread. Serve.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Cheesy Stuffed Baked Cod

I managed to make a booboo again! I forgot to put the cheese on before the cracker crumb so put it on top instead. The dish was still delicious, but I think it would have been even better with the cheese next to the fish! It also called for Muenster cheese, but that doesn't exist here so I swapped it for cheddar. I served it with crushed new potatoes and a variety of veg.

Cheesy Stuffed Baked Cod (from A Family Feast)
(Serves 4)

4 cod or haddock fillets
salt and pepper
4 slices cheddar cheese
25 Ritz Crackers, crushed
juice half a lemon
zest  half a lemon
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley
¼ tsp paprika
1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce
8 tbsp butter, melted (1 stick)
125ml milk
½ lemon cut into four wedges
Preheat oven to 200C.
Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and place the fish fillets in the pan. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Place the slices of cheese evenly over the fish.
Combine the cracker crumbs with the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic powder, pepper, parsley flakes, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and melted butter. Mix well.
Gently pile the cracker mixture over fish. Try to leave the stuffing loose and not packed down.
Pour the milk around fish but not over. Place the lemon wedges in the milk next to the fish.
Cover with a piece of parchment paper and then cover with foil, sealing tightly around the edges.
Bake covered for 15 mins, then remove the parchment and foil and bake uncovered for five more mins, or until it flakes apart with a fork.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Lemon Icing

As part of my leaving do at Mad Hatters, one of the girls made cupcakes with lemon icing. Oh my goodness they were so good that I had to ask for and post the recipe. So what is below is what she sent me! The cupcakes were just vanilla cupcakes so use whatever recipe you choose.

Lemon Icing (from Mary Berry)
(For 12 cakes)
75g unsalted butter, softened
250g icing sugar
4 tbsp milk
3 tbsp lemon curd
beat butter until creamy, gradually beat in the icing sugar and milk, when the mixture is light and smooth beat in lemon curd, put it on cake, distribute to distraught innocent library children you are mercilessly leaving!! :D

Monday, 21 July 2014

Tuna Pasta Salad with Dill and Peas

This is a very simple tuna pasta salad, along the vein of my usual smoked salmon pasta salad but with the addition of a lovely vinegary hit of capers.

Tuna Pasta Salad with Dill and Peas (adapted from Lauren's Latest)
(Serves 4)

250g dried pasta shapes
120g frozen peas
1 small red onion, diced
2 tbsp capers
2 cans tuna, drained
juice half lemon
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp yoghurt or creme fraiche
2 tbsp dill
salt and pepper

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions, adding the peas for the last 2-3 mins of cooking time. Drain pasta and peas and run under the cold tap, drain again well.
Add the pasta and peas to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients until everything is evenly coated in the sauce. Pack into a lunch box or serve.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Last week was really lovely, I went to the wedding dresses exhibition at the V&A, which was stunning and had lunch at Comptoir Libanese. Hopefully this is it's the first of many visits to the exhibition as I know lots of people want to go. 

I also went home to see my Mum and got lovely fruit from the pick your own farm, bought new seeds for the garden, my Father had cut an article out the newspaper about growing things in pots and the only one I hadn't tried is pea sprouts, so now I am! I also got some lovely meat from a local butcher. Here closer to home in Walthamstow I also discovered the East London Sausage company in the Village, and got a lovely variety of sausages including wild boar and forest fruits, I can't wait to try them. I also had a look at the history of my flat and painted my outdoor table and chairs! 

Whilst I was with my Mum we went out for lunch to a local garden centre, Olive Grove Nurseries near Polebrook, which has a pizza oven, it does amazing mezze platters too. I ordered the breakfast pizza and it was so so good. It had black pudding, mushrooms, bacon and egg on it, it was probably one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten.

This week is equally busy. I'm meeting friends on both Tuesday and Wednesday as well as going to the theatre on Tuesday and Sunday and I'm hoping to get a day seat for something during the week. I also have bits and pieces to do around the house as well as the usual Pilates. Three recipes come from Ottolenghi this week, I really love his food and I finally borrowed Plenty from the library, so I have to make a least a couple of things from the book before I have to return it!

Sausage Barley Salad
Fried Butterbeans, Sorrel and Sumac (Plenty)


Broad Bean Burgers (Plenty)

Herring Salad
Lamb Moussaka

Tortellini Caesar Salad
Chicken with New Potatoes, Prunes and Pomegranate Molasses (Ottolenghi)

Crab Cakes and Salad

Tart and Salad
Vietnamese Lamb Shanks with Rice