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May 2, 2015 / mintcustard

Pan con tomate – using up the focaccia

Pan con tomate

Pan con tomate

Not so much a recipe more a set of assembly instructions. Last week I made a foccacia. As the older one has returned back to Uni and M was out almost every evening with meetings and a concert I had some left in the bread bin. Focaccia tends to stale quickly so I could have left it, made breadcrumbs and used them in a gremoulata or a made a panzanella. Then I spied a lone tomato in the fruit bowl – I try not to put my tomatoes in the fridge – so pan con tomate it was.

Ingredients

1 tomato cut into quarters.

1 clove of garlic

2 slices focaccia per person

fresh basil leaves

How to ….

Using a griddle pan or a toaster toast the slices of bread on both sides until the char lines appear or until gloden on both sides. Wrap the garlic clove in basil and rub over the warm bread. The bread should be lightly perfumed not covered in garlic and basil puree. Repeat with the tomato quarters but squeeze the tomato pulp onto the bread. This was my lunch, served with a dollop of hummus. A glass of wine would have been good too.

Pan con tomate

Pan con tomate

May 1, 2015 / mintcustard

Sweet potato chilli cheese fries.

Sweet potato chilli fries.

Sweet potato chilli fries.

A quick easy meal that pleases the masses is always a winner. Chips or pasta are sure fire successes but as a parent they tend to be the meals you cook least and also insist are accompanied by green food or a salad!

Sweet potato chilli cheese fries are actually not that bad considering. The sweet potato fries are baked in the oven, the chilli is made from the remains of a roast beef joint and the cheese is a scattering of grated cheese and not a gloopy cheese sauce.

Ingredients for the fries

1 large sweet potato per person. (orange fleshed ones look and taste best according to the teens in this house)

oil

paprika

salt

How to

  • Pre heat the oven to 220c
  • Line the baking tray with parchment to stop the sweet potatoes from sticking.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into fingers.
  • Drizzle a little oil onto the parchment lined baking tray, sprinkle the oil with salt and paprika.
  • Tip over the sweet potato fries and toss in the oil and paprika.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes turn the chips so that they brown evenly.

Top with chilli.

end of beef roast chopped finely

half an onion chopped finely

clove of garlic crushed

dregs from a carton of passata, (about 200 ml) or a big dollop of tomato puree)

stock or left over gravy from the roast

1 green chilli finely chopped

big pinch dried chilli flakes

How to…

  • Soften the onion and garlic in a large pan.
  • Add in the beef and stir well.
  • Pour in the passata and stock or puree and stock.
  • Add in half the chopped chilli and simmer until the liquid is reduced.
  • Stir in the remaining chopped chilli and chilli flakes.

Put the fires into a bowl or on a big plate. Top the sweet potato fries with the the chilli. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole and grated cheese. This can be made into individual portions or one big platter for sharing. Always serve this with ice cold beer!

April 28, 2015 / mintcustard

Fudge and walnut brownies.

Fudge walnut brownies.

Fudge walnut brownies.

There is something about having a tidy that always makes me really hungry. Tidying the kitchen cupboards makes me ravenous as I find packets of ingredients that need to be used up and a recipe will pop into my mind. This happened at the weekend. I came across a pack of soft dark molasses sugar that had to be used up, brownies it is then. I knew the molasses would be dark and fudgy, so adding coffee and fudge chunks amplified this flavour no end. The walnuts are to relieve the squidge factor a little.

Guess who ate this piece.

Guess who ate this piece.

Ingredients:

150gr unsalted butter cut in small cubes, 200gr chopped chocolate, 100ml strong black coffee, 250gr soft dark brown molasses sugar, 3 medium eggs, 100gr plain flour,  100gr walnut pieces, 4 fudge fingers cut into chunks

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a brownie tray with butter and baking paper.
  • In a heat proof bowl melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water – make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  • When all melted out of the bain marie stir in the sugar and cold coffee.
  • Beat the eggs with a fork and mix them into the mixture. When smooth fold in the sieved flour and the walnut pieces.
  • Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 15min. Remove from the oven and scatter on the fudge pieces.
Ready to bake again.

Ready to bake again.

  • Put back in the oven for another 10mins until the mixture is set, but still a bit sticky.
  • Leave to cool completely before slicing in squares, devour.
April 27, 2015 / mintcustard

Rosemary and sea salt focaccia.

Rosemary and sea salt focaccia.

Rosemary and sea salt focaccia.

Wandering around the garden the other day I brushed past the rosemary and the smell reminded me that I hadn’t made a focaccia for ages. It always seems to me to be a summer bread. The weather might not yet be really hot enough to sit outside for a lazy lunch, dipping focaccia in oil and balsamic. But it will be soon, *crosses fingers in hope*.

A beautiful pillow of dough. Studded with rosemary, scattered with sea salt and drizzled with oil.

A beautiful pillow of dough. Studded with rosemary, scattered with sea salt and drizzled with oil.

I used the BBC Food website recipe for focaccia although I only used half quantities. I can’t justify scoffing two focaccia in a day! The recipe suggests the dough can be kneeded but this is such a wet dough you just have t stick your hand in and go for it. The gluten forms well and makes the loaf light and airy.

April 27, 2015 / mintcustard

Shooting star – a cocktail to celebrate Aldi turning 25.

Shooting Star cocktail.

Shooting Star cocktail.

I do love a good shop. I don’t mean the trying on of clothes, the hunt for the latest must have bag or the constant vigilance searching for the right nail varnish to match a particular outfit. No. I mean I love a good shop. Small local book shops, food shops that seem transplanted in London from other parts of the world and I even love a supermarket. I couldn’t have my shopping delivered by van every week. I love the act of food shopping. I have to confess one of my favourites is Aldi. Aldi has achieved a new record market share of 5% and remains the UKs fastest growing retailer. On a very selfish note they seem to be opening a number of new stores. As a result the journey time to my nearest store will drop very soon from 25 minutes on a good day to just about 10. Hoorah!

Aldi turns 25 this year and to celebrate Aldi has created a number of cocktails. They kindly sent me a hamper containing the ingredients for one of the cocktails, the Shooting Star.

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

Shooting Star

Vodka and fruit juice create the perfect base for a cocktail, but a dash of Prosecco adds a subtle sparkle.

Ingredients

  • 25ml Tamova Vodka
  • 25ml of raspberry juice from raspberries
  • 2.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Valdobbiadene Prosecco Spumante DOCG, as     desired

Decoration/to serve:

  • 3 raspberries

How to:

  • Defrost half a pack of raspberries and sprinkle with sugar
  • Squeeze the juice from the raspberries and collect in the bottom of the glass
  • Add 25ml of Vodka and stir to combine
  • Gently pour the prosecco over a spoon into the glass, then add the three raspberries.
  • Sit back, raise your glass and hope for another 25 years for Aldi in the UK.

I was sent a hamper of cocktail ingredients for this post and a voucher to cover the cost of the fresh ingredients. All thoughts, opinions and photos are my own.

April 19, 2015 / mintcustard

PBJ flapjacks.

PBJ flapjacks, sticky, chewy, delicious.

PBJ flapjacks, sticky, chewy, delicious.

I don’t know about you but when ever I return from a trip to the USA the rest of my family fill the spare bag we take (oh yes we take a spare bag) with clothes and music. I find space for baking ingredients. Part of my haul this time was a bag of peanut butter chips and a jar of grape jelly. If you don’t have access to either of these ingredients this recipe works just as well with jarred peanut butter and jam.

Part of the recent haul of ingredients.

Part of the recent haul of ingredients.

PBJ flapjacks makes 20 small sized chunks. 

200g porridge oats

150g butter

5 tbsp demerara sugar

4 tbsp golden syrup

100g peanut butter chips plus a few to sprinkle. (You could also sprinkle white choc chips if you don’t have PB chips)

(4 heaped tsp peanut butter dotted about the uncooked flapjack as a substitute for the chips)

4 tsp jam/jelly swirled onto the flapjack

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

How to …

Preheat the oven to 190c

Line a 6″ by 12″baking tray with parchment.

Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan.

Stir in the oats. Leave to cool a little before adding in the peanut butter chips or peanut butter.

Tip into the pan, level out using the back of a spoon.

Swirl through the jelly or jam.

Scatter over a handful of peanut butter chips.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Allow to cool.

Put the kettle on and your feet up!

Plan your next trip to the USA to buy ingredients.

HOME OF

I’m linking this up to #cookblogshare hosted by @supergolden88.

April 15, 2015 / mintcustard

Spinach bread.

 

Spinach bread.

Spinach bread.

As a parent I became adept at hiding vegetables in meals. The spinach in this loaf of bread is far from hidden. It shouts it’s presence from the rooftops so green is it’s hue. That said it tastes delicious and makes for a fun bread to slice for sandwiches, toast and cover with cheese or serve in hunks with a big cheese salad. The spinach puree is used as the liquid in the dough and whist it takes a little longer to prove it works really well. Try it and see.

Spinach bread.

1 cup of loosely packed spinach

100 ml water

250g strong white bread flour

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

20g butter

small thumb of fresh yeast or 2 tsp dried yeast.

How to…

  • Using a stick blender puree the spinach and water together until finely blitzed. Add more water until the mixture has a volume of 160ml.
Spinach liquid for the bread.

Spinach liquid for the bread.

  • Stir in the sugar and yeast and leave, covered with cling film, until the yeast activates and foams.
  • In a large bowl rub in the butter and add the salt.
  • Stir in the spinach puree mix and bring to a soft dough. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes until the gluten is activated and the dough becomes less sticky and more elastic.
Spinach dough

Spinach dough

  • Leave to rise for an hour and a half or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 220c.
  • Knock back and shape into the final loaf shape. I made a boule. Leave for another 30 minutes or so.
Boule ready to bake.

Boule ready to bake.

  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the base sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Cool, slice and enjoy.
April 13, 2015 / mintcustard

Paprika pulled pork.

Shallot trivet.

Shallot trivet.

Slow roasted pulled pork is a huge family favourite. On a recent trip to Nashville we had some of the most delicious pulled pork ever. Yesterday was a busy day and the girls were busy revising so I needed a hearty filling dinner that was tasty and fairly effortless. Cue my paprika pulled pork. The pork is marinaded in a lemon, garlic and paprika wet rub, is roasted on a trivet of shallots and is surrounded by potatoes left to roast in the sticky pork juices. Oh My Word!

Paprika pulled pork.

1 boned and rolled pork shoulder joint

Juice of a lemon

3 garlic cloves grated

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil

4 shallots peeled and halved to use as a trivet

How to…

  • Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour over the pork. Leave to marinade for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours or overnight.
Lemon, garlic and paprika wet rub.

Lemon, garlic and paprika wet rub.

  • Preheat the oven to 170c.
  • Place the peeled and halved shallots on the bottom of a sturdy roasting tin. Place the marinaded joint on top of the shallots. Pour over any remaining marinade.
Ready to roast.

Ready to roast.

  • Add 200ml of water to the bottom of the pan, you could use beer or Bourbon and coke if you wanted to!
  • Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven.
  • Roast for 3 to 4 hours. In the final hour place root vegetables around the joint. Turn them over several times so that they pick up the stickiness in the bottom of the pan. Leave to roast for an hour.
  • Rest the meat and surround by the roasted roots. Make a gravy using the caramellised shallots and pan juices.
  • Serve with finely shredded and lightly steamed savoy cabbage. Oh and lashings of that deep, dark gravy.
Fall apart pulled pork

Fall apart pulled pork

Any leftovers can be used to make pulled pork sandwiches, steamed pork buns or as a topping on nachos.

April 11, 2015 / mintcustard

Black garlic aioli

Black garlic aioli.

Black garlic aioli.

I was recently sent a pack of Black Garlic by Sainsburys to try. Despite the fact that my postman tried to puree the parcel it came in by squashing it though the letterbox rather than ring the doorbell, I have fallen in love with this ingredient.

I had some fresh asparagus and had decided to make an aioli to dip the spears into. So why not try the recipe with black garlic instead. The intense balsamic and gently garlicky flavours married well with the creaminess of the mayonnaise and the slight char ofthe griddled asparagus. Making your own mayonnaise is very easy, tastes so much better than the jarred version and can be customised with so many different flavours. If you don’t have any black garlic this with one clove of fresh garlic. Obviously the colour will be paler than my black garlic version.

Black garlic aioli

2 cloves black garlic, chopped finely

1 egg yolk, (save the white for a meringue or an omelette)

squeeze of lemon juice

1 tsp dijon mustard

up to 150 ml Extra virgin olive oil

up to 250 light olive oil or rapeseed oil

salt

How to …

  • Using a ballon whisk, beat together the egg yolk, garlic, mustard and lemon juice.
  • Pouring in a thin stream of oil whisk the olive oil in to make a thick emulsion. Add the other oil in a thin stream as you whisk until you have a thick mayonnaise that stands in stiff peaks. You may or may not need all the oil depending on the egg yolk you used.
  • Taste and season, you can add a little more lemon to slacken the mixture if you wish.

I was sent a pack of black garlic by Sainsbury’s and a voucher to cover the cost of my ingredients. The ideas, words and images in this post are my own.

 

April 7, 2015 / mintcustard

Green tomato salsa.

Green tomato salsa

Green tomato salsa

During a recent trip to Nashville. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of the usual fast food joints. Oh, there were places where you could get a pulled pork sandwich or a beer and burger fairly quickly but no real chains. One lunch time we decided to try the tacos at Nashville Street Tacos. They were just delicious. One of the stars of the meal for me were the house made salsas. I have made a red tomato salsa before but the green salsa was new to me.

Nashville Street Tacos. Home made salsas, nachos and guacamole. Delicious.

Nashville Street Tacos. Home made salsas, nachos and guacamole. Delicious.

I have a feeling tomatillo may have been involved, but as these are not easy to source in Surrey I used green tomatoes instead. It was spicy and garlicky in equal order. I have recently been sent some Black Garlic by Sainsburys to try and thought the sticky balsamic sweetness of this surprising ingredient would balance the acidity of the tomato and I was correct. Black garlic is fermented and I have fallen in love with it.More recipes to follow soon.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Green tomato salsa

1 small bunch coriander

1 green tomato chopped

Half a green pepper

juice of half a lime

Half to a whole a green chilli depending on your preference.

2 cloves of black garlic

pinch of salt

  • Use a stick blender or food processor. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth and well combined.
  • Check and adjust the seasoning or lime juice.
  • Pour into a bowl and dip, smear and dollop to your hearts content.

Sainsburys sent me a sample of black garlic to try.The recipe, photographs and opinions are my own. I was also sent a voucher to cover my time and additional ingredients.

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