30 Dec 2020

WONDERFUL FAMILY CHRISTMAS WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS AND MORE

EASY PERFECT COOKING AND TIMING GUIDE TO THE BEST CHRISTMAS DINNER EVER

With this 2020 year almost to a close Christmas is more special than ever, learning not taking people we love for granted and to just be there and not being able to hug my parents or friends for 10 months now has taught me that I do need hugs and real face to face time with people, whereas I honestly thought as long as we can zoom and talk on the phone that’s the same, it’s better than expected but seeing someone’s face and smile with a hug is so much more precious.

So my family had a very quite Christmas this year with no additional family or friends, just us three, but with no effort spared, we did all the same rituals as always, this year we all went outside at 6pm on Christmas Eve and rung our bells for all the children so that they could hear the Christmas Spirit, Our son left carrots and reindeer magic dust on the lawn for Santa to find his way here, we then as a family prepared all the vegetables and brined the turkey ready for the big day, set the table and got out all the serving dishes and spoons, gravy and sauce jugs so that everything was set to hand, it was most probably the easiest Christmas dinner we have ever cooked, seamless, yet will still cooked the same amount as usual!

Brand new Christmas Pyjamas for the whole day YES !  


Easiest Ever Christmas Day Turkey Step by Step Timmings
What a wonderful day and what a wonderful meal that brings everyone who celebrates Christmas the whole world over together all on this day sharing great food and creating more family memories making this day quite magical indeed.  There is no need to be shackled to the kitchen cooker all day, you can easily navigate your cooking times around a slow roasting long resting turkey that means you can serve a most moist perfect turkey with all the trimmings and have still spent your day with everyone too.

Easiest Ever Christmas Cooking Guide Below...Enjoy The Day...

Prep ahead time 30-45minutes (90 minutes with Prosecco šŸ˜ƒ) / On the day oven cooking time 3 hrs / 1 hr hands on/off for the trimmings


Ingredients 
(Serves 8)

8kg / 19lbs  high animal welfare bronze turkey
10 mins per lb cooking time + 11/2 hrs resting time
(lots for left overs)
2 packs butter
4 set of giblets
(for the gravy)
Serve with all the usual trimmings
Brussel sprouts
Goose fat roasted potatoes 
Bacon wrapped chipolatas
Sage onion stuffing
Roasted parsnips
Cranberry sauce

Cooking The Perfect Turkey
I always brine my turkey it guarantees a most juicy succulent turkey.
The night before fill a large pan of plastic tub that fits in your fridge, you may have to remove shelves!  Place 4 litres of cold water, 1cup of Himalayan sea salt and 6 peppercorns, stir until the salt has dissolved, add the whole turkey minus and giblets that may be in the cavity to the brine, submerged as much as possible, cover and keep in the fridge overnight.

Christmas morning 10am take your turkey and carefully using the back of a spoon or your hand lift the breast skin away from the meat, be extra careful not to tear the skin, slice the butter in to half inch thick slices and place the slices of butter under the skin all over the turkey breasts.  Keep covered but leave on the worktop to come up in temperature for a maximum of two hours before cooking.

Christmas morning bring the turkey out of the fridge for a couple of hours before ready to start cooking to come up to room temperature, this lowers the cooking time and encourages a juicy turkey.  Pre heat your oven to 200 C, place the turkey in a deep roasting tin and place in the oven in covered for 30 minutes to brown off the skin, once browned cover the turkey well in foil, turn the oven down to 150 C and leave the turkey to cook for the remainder of the cooking time, around 3 hours in total.  Once your turkey has reached 65 C remove from the oven and leave covered to rest. 

That's it turkey done!


The Christmas Dinner Cooking Schedule
Serving Dinner at 4pm

10am Turkey out to come up to room temperature
11am Pre heat oven 220 C
11.30am Turkey in to brown off for 30 minutes (turn the oven down to 200 C)
12pm Turn oven down to 150 C, Cover turkey in foil 
1.30pm TURKEY OUT leave covered to rest (turkey temperature thickest part 64 C)
2.30pm Par boil potatoes 15 minutes only, drain and fluff up
3pm Roast potatoes tossed in goose fat in to oven
3.30pm Pigs in blankets in to roast
3.30pm Sausage meat stuffing balls in to bake
3.40pm Brussels sprouts on to boil
3.45pm Pour of turkey resting juices add to gravy stock bring to simmer
3.55pm Carve turkey, serve up platters of roast potatoes, sausages, stuffing and sprouts, mugs of gravy.

Check list
Turkey, Roast Potatoes, Pigs in Blankets, Stuffing, Sprouts, Gravy

THE MOST AWESOME GRAVY
Christmas Eve Prep Ahead

1 knob of butter
1 dash of olive oil 
1 onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
Turkey giblets
2 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
200ml dry white wine
2 ltrs water

In a large pan melt the butter and olive oil together, soften the onion, carrot and celery then add the giblets, bay and peppercorns and cook for 10 minutes then add the wine and reduce by half.  Add 2 litres of water and simmer for an hour or so until the stock has reduced by half.  You should be left with approx 1000ml.  This is your base for the most awesome gravy.

On the day pour off all the resting juices from the turkey pan, leave to settle and remove most of the top fat layer, add to your prepped ahead gravy stock above, place in a saucepan and bring to a simmer reducing to thicken, if you want a thicker gravy whisk in some equally smushed together flour and butter roux to thicken, check for seasoning and serve.


CHRISTMAS BEETROOT CURED SALMON

A simple and beautiful recipe for a Christmas WoW dish, a decadent side of salmon cured with Himalayan sea salt, sugar, crushed coriander seeds, orange zest, grated raw beetroot and black pepper giving a beautiful deep red layered colour tailing off to the natural red orange colour of the salmon as you carve each thin slice.  Simple serve with fresh baked sour dough, fresh cucumber slices and maybe a little creme fraiche flavoured with fresh dill.



Ingredients 
(serves 15)

1 whole side fresh Wild Alaskan salmon
The Cure
150g Himalayan sea salt 
150g white sugar
1 tbsp coriander seeds crushed
6 black peppercorns crushed
Zest 2 oranges
2 large raw beetroots grated

Combine all the cure ingredients in a large bowl and leave to marinate for 10 minutes, lay your salmon on a shallow baking tray, cover the top of the salmon throughly with the beetroot cure, cover with cling film and then place a second baking tray on top of the salmon and weight the tray down with a brick wrapped in foil or a heavy saucepan with some tins inside for extra weight.

Cure in the fridge for 24 hours.  Remove all the beetroot cure give the salmon a really quick rinse and pat dry with paper towel, serve sliced thin on a platter with sour dough bread, cucumber slices and a dill creme fraiche.

24 Dec 2020

GORGEOUS BOOZEY BRANDY MINCE MEAT PIES

Love love love this time of the year when everyone makes that extra special effort and all the lovely warm aromatic spices come out to play, I love to make my christmas mincemeat a few months before I am going to need it so that the warm brandy and mixed spiced oranges can work their christmas magic in creating the most sumptuous rich decadent boozy brandy orange spiced mince pies.


Glorious Old Fashioned Mince Pies


Ingredients

Old fashioned short crust flakey pastry
 450g plain flour
110g cold lard diced
100g cold butter grated
180ml ice cold water
1 lrg pinch of salt
1 beaten egg wash
100g light brown sugar

The Boozy Mincemeat
5 kilner or glass storage jars
1ltr lady or earl grey tea
500g currants
500g raisins
500g sultanas
400g suet
1/2 bottle of good brandy
100ml orange liqueur 
250g citrus peel
2 oranges zest and juice
500g soft dark brown sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger

In a large bowl add the currants, sultanas, raisins, citrus peel, orange zest, juice, mixed spice, ginger, and the hot tea, mix well, cover and leave over night if you can for the fruit to absorb all the liquid.  Next add the fruit mix to a large saucepan along with any liquid that is left in the bottom of the bowl, add approximately a third of the bottle of brandy, orange liqueur and the sugar, bring to a bubbling simmer and reduce until you have a thick syrupy glaze, when you can drag your wooden spoon through the fruit and you can momentarily see the bottom of the pan it is reduced enough, remove from the heat and add a generous glug of brandy and the orange liqueur, stir in and leave to one side to cool down slightly.

Once your fruit mix is only just warm, add the suet and stir in, then heat your oven to 200 degrees, pop your sterilised (basically super clean and dry) jars and lids into the oven for 5-7 minutes to sterlize, remove your jars from the oven and fill with your gorgeous boozey orange mincemeat pie filling, I like to finish off the filled jar with another wallop of brandy or flavoured liqueur at this point, seal the lids and leave to mature for a couple of weeks or months, these make great christmas gifts and awesome mince pies for friends and family.

To make this great pastry place the flour and salt in a large bowl, add the cold grated butter and cut through with a knife, add the cold cubed lard and roughly rub into the flour, you don't want a breadcrumb texture you want large rough chunks of lard as this will melt during baking creating lovely airy flakey pockets.  Add the water and bring together to loosely form a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for half an hour before using.

Roll out the pastry and using a scone cutter cut out all your circles then either place a generous spoonful of your gorgeous mincemeat in the centre of the circle, egg wash the sides and then pop another circle on top and gently push the edges together, these are old fashioned flying saucer mince pies, alternatively you can line a muffin tin and make mini mince pies, why not get creative by cutting out a star or heart from the top of the pastry lid.   

Egg wash the tops, sprinkle with light brown sugar and bake at 200 degrees for around 15 minutes, then share with friends, family and neighbours.


22 Nov 2020

CHRISTMAS PUDDING TRADITIONALLY STIR IT UP SUNDAY

THE ULTIMATE RICH DECEDENT BRANDY CHRISTMAS PUDDING WITH CHRISTMAS PUDDING ICE CREAM

Today is the day you make your Christmas pudding.  This tradition dates back to an informal term in Anglican Churches for the last Sunday before the season of Advent.  Stir it up Sunday gets it’s name from the beginning of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer, which begins with the words “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.

The pudding is traditionally stirred East to West once by every member of the household and family, then you add the sixpence and give one more stir.


 

This is my top favourite family Christmas tradition because my awesome son, Oscar, now a grown up man is in charge of making the family Christmas pudding.  We start with soaking all the fruit the night before in a bottle, yes a whole bottle of brandy and then once Oscar has assembled all the magical ingredients in the bowl, he then stirs the pudding East to West following the direction of the thee wise men, then every member of the family gives the pudding a stir for good luck, then Oscar adds his sixpence that he got from the Royal Mint into the pudding, this makes our Christmas pudding really magical or a choking hazard waiting to happen!  On Christmas Day the added anticipation on who will find the sixpence and have good luck all the New Year through is a great memory to have all year.


INGREDIENTS

225g currents
225g raisins
175g sultanas
50g mixed peel
175g butter
1 bottle brandy 
Chopped almonds
Chopped hazelnuts
Chopped Brazil nuts
Juice and zest of 1 Orange 
3tbsp milk
150g self raising flour
1tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp grated nutmeg
150g breadcrumbs
Golden syrup
Black treacle
3 medium eggs beaten
200g dark muscovado sugar

A sixpence 
(We were able to find a 1944 sixpence from the Royal Mint which is grandad's birth year)

The night before place all the dried fruit in a bowl and add the whole bottle of brandy! cover and leave to steep overnight.  In the morning drain off the excess brandy and reserve in a jam jar for topping up the puddings later in the month.

Pre heat your oven 170 degrees C, in a large bowl place all the soaked fruit, peel, zest and juice, and milk, mix well.   Add the flour, spices a pinch of salt, to be traditional resist the temptation to stir!  Melt the butter and add to the bowl along with breadcrumbs, eggs and muscovado sugar.

Now the pudding is ready to be stirred East to West by every member of the household and family, then add the sixpence and give one more stir.

Grease your pudding basin or tin, then this is important, line the base of your tin with a circle of grease proof paper, this will ensure that your pudding does not stick and tear when you remove it.

Take a deep saucepan and place a trivet in the bottom.  To cover your basin take a sheet of foil and fold a pleat in the centre, then cover the pudding basin with the folded pleat in the centre, this is so that the peat can unfold as the pudding expands.  Place the foil over the basin and then with the some string tie it around the rim, to make handles loop over and tie back to the other side to made the handle, not essential but handy.   

TO COOK

Place the pudding basin in the deep saucepan on the trivit, fill with water 3/4 of the way up and cover with a lid  then bring to a simmer, place on the lid and simmer for 4 hours.  

Once cooked take out leave to cool a little and then turn out and wrap in baking paper, then store in a air tight container.  Every so and now give the pudding a drink with the left over brandy.  

To serve on the big day place the pudding back into the basin and steam just the way you cooked it, approx 1 hour and  serve with a sprig of holly and pour over some brandy.

TO ENSURE THE BRANDY FLAME

Once the pudding is in place ready to serve, take a ladle of warm brandy and light it so that it is flaming, then pour the flaming ladle of brandy over the pudding, this will ensure you have a successful flaming pudding in the day.  In my home we all have to sign the figgy pudding song and make a big song and dance about Oscars Christmas pudding!!! 

INGREDIENTS
(Serves 6)
500ml double cream
250ml jersey gold top milk
100g un-refined sugar
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
300g Christmas pudding

Place the cream, milk and sugar in a pan and scald, (this means bring up to heat but do not boil).  Take off the heat and leave to cool for a couple of minutes.  Whisk the egg yolks with the salt.  Pour the slightly cooled milk on to the eggs whisking all the time, return the custard back to the pan and on a low heat cook until the mixture thickens slightly and covers the back of a spoon, don't be tempted to rush this stage, it will take approx 4 minutes, and if you turn your heat up to high you risk turing the custard into scrrambled eggs.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool for approx 1 hour.

Pour your custard into your ice cream maker and churn for 20-30 minutes until soft firm peaks.  Crumble in your Christmas pudding and mix well, pour into a tub and place in the freezer to finish setting, this will take a couple of hours.  Enjoy with a warm christmas pudding, mince pies or on it's own.


8 Nov 2020

CHEESE ONION AND BUTTERY POTATO PIE

Never Underestimate A Simple Pie

This magnificent pie is such a treat, the gorgeous smell of the pie cooking is a teasing expectation of what’s to come, even harder is waiting the 20 minutes after the pie is cooked before eating, this is essential as the pie needs to rest and is best served warm not piping hot, as you will burn your mouth if you don’t wait!

 

Ingredients
(serves family 4 in my case 3!)

Old Fashioned Pastry
450g plain flour
110g cold lard
110g cold butter
1 tsp sea salt 
160ml cold water

Pie Ingredients
1kg King Edward or Yukon potatoes 
200g butter
pinch sea salt
1 pinch ground white pepper
4 white onions roughly sliced
500g old mature vintage cheese grated (local cheese is best)
2 sprigs thyme
100ml chicken stock
1 pinch sea salt

 

This pastry will yield two pies, therefore when you make the pastry cut in half and wrap one half in parchment and either keep in the fridge for use in the week or freeze for another time.

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees, peel and place your rough chopped potatoes in a pan of simmering water to boil for twenty to thirty minutes until fork tender then drain and mash with butter, salt and pepper, reserve to one side to cool down, meanwhile make the pastry, place the flour in your bowl or mixer and using a whisk fluff up and remove any lumps, this is the same a sieving, add the salt then the butter and lard, rub together roughly, you want large rubble not a breadcrumb consistency, this is what will create the flaky lift in your pastry, add the water and just bring together to a rough ball, press flat and wrap in parchment paper, pop in the fridge for twenty minutes or so to chill and rest while you prepare the filling.

Place the coconut oil and onions in a pan and gently soften the onions for ten minutes, add the chicken stock, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, fresh thyme and reserve to one side to cool.  Grate the cheese and place to one side.

Roll out 2/3 of your pastry in to a circle, reserving the rest for the pie lid.  Take your tin and grease the sides, place the pastry base in your greased tin and gently push into the sides, now take your cooled ingredients and layer, first put a thin layer of mashed potato on the base, then a third of the softened onions, followed by a generous handful of the cheese, repeat with onions and cheese and finish with a final thin layer of mashed potato, top the pie with the pastry lid, lightly score the lid in a lattice pattern and brush with either milk to be authentic, I did as the war time attitude was why waste an egg, or brush with egg wash for a more golden crispy finish.

Bake in your pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for approx 40-45 minutes until golden brown, take out and leave to slightly cool for 15 minutes, now this hard especially when not making this for the first time, as you know how good this is going to be, but it is sort of important, this is a pie that needs to be warm not piping hot for its best presentation and taste.




6 Nov 2020

LOADED ICEBERG WEDGE

Creamy buttermilk sour cream blue cheese mayonnaise dressing drenched over a iceberg wedge loaded with crispy sweetcure bacon, cheddar cheese, red onion, cherry tomatoes and fresh coriander, a perfect meal on its own or as a side.

Being British I had never had a iceberg wedge salad before and was rather impressed with this when I ordered it, in fact I have been impressed with every salad I’ve ever ordered in America, always very large and well balanced with flavours and dressings, my first thoughts about eating a iceberg wedge salad were will it be all crisp and fresh crunch only and all iceberg in flavour, but I was pleasantly surprised, all the toppings were well distributed while eating.


Ingredients 
(serves 4)

1 large firm iceberg lettuce quartered
12 rashers crispy sweetcure bacon
200g shredded cheddar cheese
1 small red onion finely diced
12 cherry tomatoes quartered
1 lemon juiced
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander 

Blue Cheese Dressing
200g soft blue cheese like dolcelatte or Roquefort 
1/2 cup of mayonnaise 
1/2 cup sour cream 
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 large pinch garlic powder
1 large pinch onion powder
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch ground white pepper

Place all the blue cheese dressing ingredients in a bowl and gently whisk or stir to combine until the blue cheese is equally incorporated.  Drizzle the lemon juice over the iceberg wedges, then the blue cheese dressing followed by scattering the cheese, bacon, onion, tomatoes and corinader over the wedge, that’s it enjoy.


5 Nov 2020

SLOW BRAISED SHORT RIBS

Autumn Comforting Spoon Food
Gorgeous slow braised beef short ribs in roasted marrowbone beef stock giving these ribs the best gravy and dipping au jus, such a simple dish to cook with the most delicious results.  The tender braised beef just falls off the bone and melts in your mouth served either stuffed in to bread rolls as French dip or my favourite with rich buttery Yukon mashed potato this is a winner winner dinner all round.

Slow Cooking Time 3-4 hours

Equipment:  Roasting tin, parchment paper and tin foil.


Ingredients 
(serves 4-6)

6 short ribs
1 marrow bone
Olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion finely diced
2 carrots finely diced
4 cloves garlic bashed
1 leek finely sliced
1 rib celery finely diced
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
10 whole peppercorns 
2 ltr beef stock
1 ltr water

Best Mashed Potatoes Ever
1 kg Yukon or King Edward potatoes peeled and quartered
250g salted butter (I know!)
15ml apple cider vinegar
Himalayan sea salt 
White ground pepper


Pre heat your oven to 200 C / 400 F.  Toss the marrow bone in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, roast in the oven for 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Place a deep braising/roasting tin on the stove medium heat, add a glug of olive oil and tbsp of butter, brown off the ribs in batches and remove reserving to one side while you add all the other ingredients except the stock and seasoning, soften for 15-20 minutes.  Next add the stock and seasoning and the reserved short ribs along with all the resting juices, lay a rectangle of parchment paper on top of the ingredients then cover the tin with tin foil.  

Place in a pre-heated oven 160 degrees for 3-4 hrs or until the meat is tender falling off the short ribs.  

While the ribs are cooking peel the potatoes and place in a large pan of water, when 30 minutes from serving the short ribs bring the potatoes up to a boil and cook until fork tender, drain and leave to steam dry for a few minutes, add the butter to the pan and leave on a very low heat to melt, add back the potatoes and mash, season with the white wine vinegar and salt and pepper.

Remove the ribs from the oven and drain off all the braising liquor and vegetables through a sieve, using the back of a spoon push some of the braising vegetables through the mesh of the sieve, this will not only deepen the flavour of your gravy further but help to thicken it with out compromising the flavour.   You can add some of the vegetables to the stock and blitz with a hand blender instead of pushing through a sieve.  At this point you can also reduce the stock a little to intensify the flavour, then season to taste.

To serve place the rich buttery mashed potato in the centre of the plate and lay a short rib across the mash and pour lashings of the rich braised gravy over the rib, allowing the juices to ooze all over the mash, enjoy.


30 Oct 2020

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE

What a winning recipe, my whole family finally likes cauliflower rice, I have tried several unsuccessful attempts to win them over!  My failures have been too soft, mushy or flavourless.  This firm roasted cauliflower rice adds great texture and the rice is layered with so many flavours it’s a sure winner dinner!  This recipe is easily cranked up from a side dish to a full meal by adding left over chicken, vegetables and stir fry sauce.

Prep Cooking Time 30 minutes


Ingredients 
(serves 4 as side dish)

1 large cauliflower 
2 tbsp sriracha 
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1/2 juice of lime
Sea salt & black pepper


Ingredients
1 glug olive or coconut oil
1 red onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
4 rashers bacon chopped (optional)
4 mushrooms chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
1 courgette diced
4 heads of broccoli sliced
8 spears asparagus 
1 cup of peas
2 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
1 tbsp ginger diced
2 spring onions sliced on the diagonal 
1 lime juiced
50 ml Tamari soya sauce or coconut aminos 
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional Extras
Left over roast chicken or pork
Egg omelette ribbons

Pre heat your oven to 200 C / 400 F.  In a bowl rub the cauliflower with the ingredients all over and roast in the oven for 30 minutes until tender but still a little firm.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil medium hot in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and soften for 10 minutes, next add the broccoli, asparagus, courgettes and sear for a further 5 minutes, next add the bacon and sear slightly crispy, the bottom of the pan will start to brown up but that’s good as this will add another layer of flavour. turn the heat down slightly, add the mushrooms, red pepper, ginger and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, next add the peas, lime juice, soya sauce and mirin, stir to combine and leave on a low heat to tick over while you turn your attention to the roasted cauliflower.

Remove the cauliflower from the oven and blitz on pulse in a food blender until course grains, add to the saucepan along with the sesame oil and stir to combine, sprinkle over the coriander, taste and if needed adjust the seasoning with more soya sauce and mirin or salt and pepper.  

To ramp this up for a full meal on its own, add left over roast chicken or pork and a rolled egg omelette sliced in to ribbons.


28 Oct 2020

PALEO PHILLY STEAK WRAPS

STRICTLY PALEO !
Ok before you read any further this is not a paleo perfect recipe, but I don’t want to be paleo perfect all the time, 95% is good enough for me, it gives me that tiny little window for something I now consider a decedent luxury!  I mean a tbsp of soft cream cheese I now see as a off grid moment is way better than falling face first in to a 14” all sweet BBQ meat and cheese double decedent stuffed crust pizza that takes me 3 days to eat, which I did every week until my health told me no more!  126lb lighter and loving my fresh is best paleo lifestyle six years on I have been able to allow that tiny indulgent moment and that’s the key it is only a indulgence and portion is the key to remaining successful.

Seared organic grass feed steak tossed in a philly cheese sauce with roasted peppers and onions served wrapped in garden grown rainbow chard, spinach and kale leaves.



Ingredients 
(serves 2)

6oz fillet steak
1 glug coconut or olive oil
1red or green pepper sliced
1 white onion sliced
1 red onion sliced
2 heaped tbsp Philadelphia cheese
1 spring onion chopped
1 tbs chives chopped
2 large chard leaves
1 handful spinach leaves
2 kale leaves
Sea salt
Black pepper

Heat a skillet medium hot, meanwhile layer the chard with kale the spinach on top on your plates.  Rub the olive oil salt and pepper all over the steak and place on the skillet, sear for 2 minutes each side, turning only once and then holding with tongs sear each end for another 30 seconds, this will be rare, cook longer for medium, remove from the pan and leave to rest on the side.  Add the peppers and white onion to the pan and sear for a few minutes until charred but still a little crunchy.  Remove from the pan and reserve to one side.  Now add the Philadelphia cream cheese to the pan off the heat to warm through, stir in the spring onions and chives.

Now just to assemble the wraps, slice the steak and layer in the wraps, top with the warm Philadelphia cream cheese, seared peppers and onions, then finish of with the red onion and enjoy.


25 Oct 2020

CHEESE STUFFED JALAPEƑOS BACON CHUCK STEAK BURGER

I love a cheese stuffed burger, a Juicy Lucy or Lucifer with hot sauce, it is the hot gooey melted cheese oozing out equally in every bite followed by the juiciest flavoured chuck steak minced with fried onions, garlic, jalapeƱos and sweet cure bacon that sends my taste buds into a frenzy, just don’t judge me while I’m stuffing this into my face.

Prep time 15 minutes / Cooking time 6 minutes


Ingredients 
(makes 4 burgers)

500g twice minced chuck steak
1 glug olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 small onion finely diced
1 clove garlic finely diced
1/3 cup pickled jalapeƱos 
12 rashers sweetcure bacon
4 slices of favourite burger cheese
Salt and black pepper
Ice berg lettuce
Red onion rings
Sliced tomatoes 
Tomato ketchup

Fire up your coals, wood fired bbq, or a skillet in the kitchen to cook the burgers on. In a pan heat the olive oil and butter medium hot, gently soften the onions and garlic for around ten minutes until translucent, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

In a mincer or food processor place the chuck steak mince, softened onions, garlic, jalapeƱos, 4 rashers of bacon, salt and pepper and run once through the mincer to combine.  Divide the mix into 4.  Take each portion and form into a ball, press your thumb into the center to make a well, fold the cheese slice in half the half again and place in the center of the burger, gently fold up and over the chuck mince encasing the cheese totally in the chuck mince.

Cook the burgers and bacon on the grill or skillet to medium for around 3 minutes each side only turning once and serve this awesome burger in a grilled toasted buttered bun topped with ice berg lettuce, onion, tomatoes and ketchup.


ST LOUIS BBQ BASTED RIBS

No Smoker or Fire Pit...
Not a problem, I have the fire pit, smoker and wood fired oven but living in the UK what I don’t have is the weather !  It’s grey, gloomy, very wet and windy all weekend and my family wants ribs.  Well the kitchen oven will just have to do.

Liquid Smoke!
To or not too is the question ?  I was quite anti liquid smoke, the purest in me would rather go without than FAKE IT!  However after realising that my assumption it was a chemical concoction was based on my own uneducated opinion I decided to learn about how liquid smoke becomes liquid smoke.  Not all liquid smoke originally know as “Wood Vinegar” are created equally.  In 1885 E H Wright  inaugurated the distribution of wood vinegar under the new name WRIGHTS LIQUID SMOKE.  Made from the ancient methods of collecting condensation vapour via the thermal decomposition of wood in a low oxygen manor while making charcoal means this is a true natural product that has further been proven so in a US Government court case the Wright’s won on the labelling of liquid smoke, it is just liquid smoke (wood vinegar).  Whereas the commercial industry production of liquid smoke is often forced to speed up the mass production used by the commercial food industry with the addition of food additives.

These dry rub BBQ ribs are fall of the bone succulent tender and smokey, slathered with a Southern sweet BBQ sauce with just a touch of Carolina vinegar based BBQ sauce, these will render your family and friends silent...well apart from the glorious lip smacking these are so good sounds!  

Prep time 10 minutes / Cooking time 4 hrs



Ingredients 
(serves 4-6)

4 St Louis cut whole ribs
25 ml liquid smoke (optional)
100g BBQ dry rub spice mix
(homemade recipe below)
2 ltr coke a cola (or water)
(homemade recipe below)
1 bottle sweet BBQ sauce
1 bottle Carolina vinegar based BBQ sauce
(homemade recipe below)

Pre heat your oven 160 C / 320 F.  Turn the ribs over and peel of the silver skin lining that covers the back of the ribs.  This is not essential but makes the ribs more pleasurable to eat.  Using a small pointed knife at the bottom left corner of the first rib bone, slip the knife under the skin on the bone, lift up so you have a lip and the using your hand peel the skin off the ribs, the skin should just peel away like a piece of paper.

Rub the bbq spice all over the ribs, lay the ribs meat side up in a large deep roasting tin, side by side, I use two roasting tins for 4 ribs.  Pour in the liquid smoke and coke a cola fill only to half way up the ribs, ensuring that the top meat side of the ribs is not in the liquid, cover well with tin foil and cook in the oven for 3-4 hours, checking the ribs at 3 hours to see if the are tender.

Drain off the bbq coke a cola rib stock into a saucepan, this can be used to make a gorgeous bbq sauce, recipe below.

Warm the store bought sweet bbq sauce with a dash of the thin Carolina vinegar bbq sauce to your taste and generously baste the ribs all over cover and pop back in the oven at 120 C / 240 F to keep warm and infuse the flavours for 15 minutes.  Serve whole or if individual ribs baste again with the warm bbq sauce all over.

  If your going to make your own bbq sauce from the stock then keep the ribs warm while you make the bbq sauce.

Homemade BBQ Sauce
500ml coke a cola rib stock
1 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan combine and bring to a simmer, adjust the seasoning and chilli powder to taste.  If you feel the sauce is to thin, a little corn starch slurry will thicken the sauce further.

Homemade BBQ Dry Rub
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp chipotle powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp celery salt (optional)

Combine all ingredients together.

18 Oct 2020

SLOW BRAISED PORK CHOPS IN CREAM DIJON APPLE CIDER BRANDY

One Pot Autumnal Cooking
A perfect autum hearty and comforting dish, melt in the mouth tender succulent pork chops braised in apple cider and brandy with Dijon mustard, caramelised apples and onions then finished off with a dash of cream, served on buttery mashed potatoes and when I say buttery I mean 250g salted butter to 1kg of mashed potatoes, it is food law!  Truly spoon food.

Prep 10 minutes / Cooking time 25 minutes



Ingredients 
(serves 4)

40g butter
1 glug olive oil
Himalayan sea salt 
Fresh ground black pepper
1 onion sliced
5 tsp Dijon mustard
4 pork chops
1 apple sliced
500ml dry cider
100ml-200ml double cream
25ml calvados apply brandy
3 sprigs of thyme
1/2 tsp turmeric 

Pre heat your oven 180 C / 356 F.  Heat a skillet medium hot, add the olive oil and butter and onions, cook for 10 minutes caramelising the onions, move the onions to the side of the skillet   Making room for the pork chops.   Spread 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard on each side of the chops and season generously with salt and pepper, sear the pork steaks each side for one minute including the edge with the rind on.  Pour in the apple calvados brandy to deglaze the pan for just a few seconds then add the the cider, last tsp of Dijon, the sliced apples and thyme sprigs, pop in the oven for 25 minutes.  

To finish the sauce serve the pork chops on your plates, spoon over the onions and apples, then return the skillet to the heat and bring the sauce to a rolling simmer, add the cream and turmeric then reduce the sauce for a minute to slightly thicken, serve over the chops and serve with buttery mashed potatoes.


1 Oct 2020

FLAX AND CHIA SEED TURMERIC BLACK PEPPER CRACKERS

PALEO
Salmon Avocado Cream Cheese.

A cracking cracker !  Super tasty and soo good for you, there are not many paleo substitutes for a great cracker that I have loved as much as these crackers, loaded with flax, chia and sunflower seeds, brazil, hazel, almond and walnuts, psyllium husk, turmeric and black pepper which is essential to aid the absorption of curcumin from the turmeric, seasoned with Parmesan, sea salt and then depending on what I want to eat with them a choice of spices for example a savoury cracker for cheese would have nigella onion seeds, fennel seeds and maybe black mustard seeds to complement the cheddar cheese toppings.

The main ingredients for these crackers can be in any quantities providing you follow the magic formula!  For example all flax, chia, psyllium and Parmesan and no nuts.  
Recipe 360g of seeds and nuts including the psyllium husk to 500ml of water, then add spices.


Geeky Nutritional Science Bit...
Turmeric gives anti inflammatory protection, is an antioxidant, speeds up wound healing and relieves arthritis, diabetes support by lowering blood sugar reversing insulin resistance, helps with depression and cholesterol.  Flaxseeds are loaded with omega 3 ALA fats, huge wallop of fiber and low in carbs, high protein along with vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium which gives you healthy skin and hair, lowers cholesterol, supports digestive health and are highly antioxidant and finally Chia seeds super high in fiber, supports digestive and heart health, supports diabetes because their rich in alpha-linolenic acid which helps lower excessive fat in the blood and supports strong bones and teeth.



Ingredients 
(makes 40 crackers)
(can freeze spare dough)

The Magic Formula 
100g flaxseed ground
50g chia seeds ground or whole
50g sunflower seeds
100g mixed nuts ground to powder made up of...
(1 brazil, 10 hazelnuts, 8 almond nuts, 6walnuts)
60g psyllium husk
1 cup Parmesan grated
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp Himalayan sea salt 
1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
500ml water

Optional Spices
(roughly 1 tsp)
Nigella seeds
Fennel seeds bashed
Coriander seeds bashed
Cumin seeds bashed
Mustard seeds
Harissa spice mix
Fenugreek seeds bashed
Ground paprika/smoked
Dried chillies
Ground coriander 
Ground ginger
Ground cinnamon 
Mixed spice
Curry powder
Moroccan spice

Pre heat oven to 170 C  / 338 F.  Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine, add your extra choice of spices at this point if you want to, add the water and mix well, leave to stand for 30 minutes for the water to be absorbed into the seeds.  

Place a sheet of baking paper twice the size as your baking tray on your work top.  Take a quarter size ball of the dough and place in the centre of one half of the baking sheet, fold the other half of the baking paper on top of the dough and press down to flatten the dough out a little.

Take your rolling pin and roll the dough through the paper as thin as you dare, cracker thin.  Peel off the top baking paper and using a knife or pizza cutter score the dough in to your crackers, this can be triangles for corn chips style or long and thin for more fancy presentation or just your standard squares.

Slide your baking paper on to your baking tray and pop in the oven, these crackers will take 40-60 minutes to bake to perfection, they are cooked when dry and crispy to touch.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the paper, these will keep for a week plus in a air tight tin.