Deep fried Halloumi 


There’s a bit of a buzz about this middle eastern street food right now. Think back to when you didn’t see pulled pork everywhere, that’s what it’s like right now. Deep fried halloumi is going to turn up where you’re least to expect it. Halloumi cheese is often grilled and served with harrisa paste. As this sheep’s cheese has a high melting point it works well with heat. So deep frying it makes perfect sense. Halloumi is high in fat and protein and low in carbs, perfect for your low carb diet. Mozzarella sticks will seem so bland after you try these little beauts.


The Ingredients:

1 block of Halloumi

Olive oil for frying

The sauce:

Mayonnaise

Shiracha

Sesame oil

Lime juice

Garnish:

Maldon sea salt

Coriander

Sesame seeds

The Make:

Heat enough oil in a large pot for deep frying. Chop halloumi in to chip size pieces. Fry until golden. This won’t take long at all. So do it in small batches. Season fried halloumi with salt and sesame seeds. For the sauce mix 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise,  2 tablespoons of shiracha, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and a squeeze of lime juice. Mix well and serve with the deep fried halloumi  and garnish with chopped coriander.

Enjoy.

Sea Bass with Pretzel crust


The Ingredients:

2 sea bass fillets 

1 lemon 

1 whole garlic bulb 

250g unsalted butter 

Maldon sea salt 

300g Pretzel chips 

1 small brioche bun

1 tub of Philadelphia cream cheese 

2 tbsp Herbs de Provence

Parmigiana for grating

1 tin of mushy peas 

Pea shoots optional 

The Make:

Take a sheet of foil the size of a baking tray approximately 40 x 60 cm. Lay it flat and place two 25g slices of butter on top . Place sea bass on butter. Put two lemon wedges and half of a garlic bulb on top of sea bass. Fold over tin foil and make a parcel. Place parcel on a tray into a pre-heated oven at 180C and bake for 20 minutes. Add pretzels to a blender and blitz to a fine crumb. Add in 150g butter, brioche bun and blitz until mix comes together. Empty out mix onto a cling film covered pan. Using a rolling pin or flat glass, roll out pretzel crust to a 2cm thickness. Refrigerate crust until fish is nearly ready. Add tub of Philadelphia, herbs de provence, 100g butter and a grating of parmigiana to a pot and gradually bring to a heat on the hob until it makes a smooth sauce. Heat peas. Using a pizza slicer cut a rectangle of pretzel crust to fit the fillet of sea bass. Place crust on top of sea bass and grill until it browns. Serve up crusted sea bass with herb de provence sauce, peas and pea shoots. 

Enjoy. 

Candied Primroses 

These beautiful little flowers are in full growth right now. Over the Easter break we went on a local forage and found these lighting up the hedgerow. All you need is some egg whites and caster sugar. Use a small clean painting brush to gently apply the egg whites and then sprinkle with caster sugar. Allow them to dry on a wire rack. They are fantastic for bringing that lemon cupcake to that sensational level. 

Enjoy.

The Essential list for any Larder

Below is a list of ingredients that every larder should have. This is a once off purchase that you can add to as you use or run out of each item. Most kitchens will have a fair amount of these items already so this won’t be that pricey. In our kitchen we use the corner rotating press for storing these items. It is so handy for keeping everything together and being able to quickly get them at a glance. Below I have added a list of essential equipment too. Over time you will have bought most of these tools too. These lists are intended for the would-be cooks who are looking for guidance in getting started.

Larder or store cupboard :

Tins: 2 of each

☐ Baked beans
☐ Chopped tomatoes
☐ Passata ( sieved tomato )
☐ Tuna
☐ Sardines
☐ Anchovies
☐ Coconut milk
☐ Evaporated milk
☐ Sweetcorn
☐ A selection of soups ( handy for bulking up a stew )
☐ Red kidney beans
☐ Chick peas
☐ Marrowfat peas

Dry Goods :

☐ Flour – cornflour, plain, self raising and wholemeal
☐ Couscous
☐ Pasta – spagetti, fusilli, tagliatelle and lasagna sheets
☐ Porridge oats
☐ Rice – basmati, long grain and risotto
☐ Raisins and currants
☐ Nuts/Seeds – walnuts, macadamia, pistachio and cashew / sunflower, pumpkin and pine nuts

Spices :

☐ Chilli flakes
☐ Black pepper ( ground and whole selection of colours red and black )
☐ White pepper ground
☐ Maldon sea salt flakes
☐ Garam masala
☐ Cumin
☐ Mustard seeds and powder
☐ Oregano
☐ Basil
☐ Thyme
☐ Nutmeg ( whole preferably )
☐ Cinnamon ( ground and whole )
☐ Cloves ( ground and whole )
☐ Mixed spice
☐ All spice
☐ Cayenne pepper
☐ Paprika
☐ Smoked Paprika
☐ Turmeric
☐ Vanilla ( pods and extract )

Sugar :

☐ Granulated
☐ Caster
☐ Demerara
☐ Icing
☐ Muscovado

Stock cubes :

☐ Beef
☐ Chicken
☐ Lamb
☐ Vegetable
☐ Fish

Jars or Bottles :

☐ Ketchup
☐ HP brown sauce
☐ Soy sauce ( dark and light )
☐ Oyster sauce
☐ Sriracha
☐ Coconut cream
☐ Chilli paste
☐ Honey
☐ Maple syrup
☐ Mustard ( Dijon and wholegrain )
☐ Worcestershire sauce
☐ Mint sauce
☐ Tartare sauce
☐ Mayonaise
☐ Horseradish
☐ Fish sauce
☐ Shoahsing rice wine vinegar
☐ White and malted vinegar
☐ Apple cider vinegar
☐ Red wine vinegar
☐ Balsamic vinegar or glaze
☐ Treacle
☐ Molasses
☐ Golden Syrup

Oils :

☐ Olive
☐ Extra virgin olive
☐ Sunflower
☐ Rapeseed
☐ Coconut
☐ Groundnut
☐ Sesame

Vegetables :

☐ Potatoes
☐ Onions
☐ Garlic
☐ Tomatoes
☐ Carrots
☐ Ginger
☐ Shallots
☐ Mixed chillies

Nice to haves :

☐ Chorizo
☐ Amaretto
☐ Jagermeister
☐ Halloumi
☐ Harissa paste
☐ Buttermilk
☐ Pancetta
☐ Ricotta
☐ Wasabi
☐ Jamaican Ginger Ale
☐ Gochujang chilli paste ( Korean fermented hot chilli paste )

A list for the Fridge :

☐ Butter unsalted x 4
☐ Milk
☐ Cheese ( cheddar and parmigiana )
☐ Eggs x 12
☐ Yoghurt ( natural )
☐ Sauerkraut ( fermented cabbage )
☐ Kimchi ( Korean spicy fermented cabbage )

A list for the freezer :

☐ Bread ( naan and pitta )
☐ Peas
☐ Spinach
☐ Kale
☐ Puff pastry
☐ Filo pastry
☐ Ice-cream
☐ Ice cubes

Essential equipment needed in the kitchen:

☐ Cooks Knife 20cm
☐ Small knife 10cm
☐ Serrated bread knife
☐ Meat cleaver
☐ Knife sharpener
☐ Large wooden chopping board
☐ Tongs
☐ Spatula
☐ Ladle
☐ Ballon whisk
☐ Potato masher
☐ Potato peeler
☐ Pastry brush
☐ Rolling pin
☐ Wooden spoons
☐ Colander
☐ Sieve
☐ Metal skewers
☐ Potato ricer
☐ Digital timer
☐ Digital food thermometer
☐ Digital food scales
☐ Plastic containers and zip lock bags
☐ Baking beans
☐ Baking tray and baking sheet
☐ Roasting tray with rack
☐ Griddle pan
☐ Bun tray
☐ Stick blender
☐ Large casserole pot
☐ Food processor
☐ Pyrex glass bowl
☐ Measuring jug and spoons
☐ Non-stick frying pan with metal handles so it can go in the oven
☐ Non-stick pots with metal handles so it can go in the oven
☐ Tin foil
☐ Cling film
☐ Pestle and mortar
☐ Mandolin
☐ Coffee grinder

 

Sriracha Candied Walnut Breakfast Bar

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We love Sriracha sauce in our house. It goes so well with many different dishes. It works particularly well with omelettes and a strong cup of tea. It was only a matter of time before we experimented with sriracha and a sweet dish. We made a sriracha and maple syrup paste and coated the fresh walnuts with it. We cooked the coated walnuts in the oven at 170C for 20 minutes. The result was so good I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough to complete the recipe because I kept eating them. I have written before here about how well chilli and dark chocolate go, well here is that perfect marriage again.You may have read or seen recipes for energy balls on social media lately. Balls! ehhh, exactly. Don’t be so hard on yourself by eating these rabbit droppings. You will get as much if not more energy from eating these breakfast bars than any ball. You’ll thank me.

Ingredients:

50g mixture cranberries/raisins
300g mixture of seeds/porridge oats, rice crispies
60g chopped hazelnuts
100g butter
100g soft brown sugar
160g golden syrup
80g crunchy peanut butter
200g Bourneville dark chocolate

Sriracha Walnuts:

100g Walnuts

4 tbsp sriracha

4 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp caster sugar

 
The Make:

Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment.

 Put the dried fruit in a mixing bowl. Add the seeds, oats and cereal, and mix well.

 Put the butter, peanut butter, soft brown sugar and golden syrup in the saucepan. Cook gently on the hob, stirring with the spatula, until the butter and sugar are melted.

 Remove from the heat and pour the dry ingredients into the saucepan. Mix well until all the ingredients are coated with the syrup mix.

 Fill the baking tin with the mixture. Use the spatula to press the mix down evenly. Bake at 130 fan oven for 25 mins, then leave to cool completely. For the sriracha walnuts mix the ingredients well in a bowl and make sure the walnuts are covered evenly with the syrup. Place the coated walnuts in sieve to allow the excess syrup to drip free before roasting. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast at 170C for 20 mins and allow them to cool on a rack. Melt the chocolate and cover the breakfast bar evenly. Place the walnuts into the melted chocolate and let IT cool in a fridge before cutting into squares. Enjoy.

Terrific Tomato Tart

Abigail’s interest in the kitchen has really picked up over the last while. At 8 years of age her attention to detail is something else. Recently on a rainy Saturday afternoon she wanted to help make a dinner. So we went to the fridge and larder to see what we had in stock. It is so important to have the basics of a decent recipe at home. Keep an eye out for our ” Essentials for your Larder ” post in the future. Abigail picked out everything she wanted to add. I kept trying to help by suggesting we add a tin of sardines or some truffle oil. I was politely told not to over complicate the dish. And she was so right. Her confidence around knives the gas hob is unreal. She has the skills all right. We couldn’t be more proud as parents seeing our eldest express herself in the best possible way. After dinner there wasn’t a crust left on the tray. We asked the kids what they thought of the recipe and collectively they all said it was in Roald Dahls words a Terrific Tomato Tart.

 

 

 

The Ingredients:

1 red onion

1 white onion

2 cloves garlic

3 streaky bacon

6 tomatoes

100g Cheddar cheese grated

100g Parmigiana cheese grated

Salt

Pepper

100g Unsalted butter

Packet puff pastry

1 egg beaten

3 sprigs of rosemary

 

The Make:

Finely chop onions and garlic and fry them off with 50g of butter. Once soft set aside. Chop up bacon and fry it in same pan as the onions with the other 50g of butter. When the bacon has browned mix back in the onions and garlic. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on top of bacon and onion mix. Cover pan and allow the tomatoes to steam. Pre heat oven to 160C. Roll out pastry and cut to fit an oven tray. Score a 1 inch border on the pastry. Carefully remove the steamed tomatoes from the pan with a spatula to keep their shape and set aside. Now spread the bacon and onion mix onto the pastry within the border. Neatly arrange the steamed tomato slices on top. Egg wash the pastry border. Evenly sprinkle the grated cheeses on top. Season with salt and pepper. Place the sprigs of rosemary on the top. This will give some nice aromatics. Place the tart into the oven and cook 30 minutes. Cook until the base is crisp. Remove rosemary before serving.

Enjoy.

Cacio e pepe


Cacio e pepe is literally Italian for cheese and pepper. This is a very simple yet effective show stopper of a dish that takes only 4 ingredients to make. This pasta dish will impress whom ever you cook it for. It is so moreish that you can even eat the bowl. That is, of course, if you like pasta and parmigiano if you don’t, butter some toast and sit back and think about what your missing out on. 

The Ingredients:

100g parmigiano reggiano grated

1 pack of spaghetti

50g unsalted butter 

2 tsp ground black pepper 

The Make:

Boil a large pot of water. Add spaghetti and cook it al-dente. In a deep frying pan add a ladle or one cup of the pasta water. Bring it to a simmer and add the butter. Stir in 1 tsp of the black pepper. Add 1 portion of the cooked pasta into the sauce and mix it all together. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the grated cheese on the pasta and stir. Set the cooked pasta aside and keep warm. Now in a clean dry non-stick frying pan add in the remaining cheese. Spread it evenly over the pan. Let it melt over a medium heat. While the cheese is still warm gently place it over an up turned bowl and mold it around the bowl. Allow this to gently set in a cool place. You can now use this cheese bowl to serve your cooked pasta in. Edible delph is what it’s all about because it saves on the wash up.

Enjoy.

Kung Pao Chicken

 

新年快乐

With the year of the Rooster almost on us what better way to get in the mood than to cook this fabulous often take-away dish at home. The Chinese New Year is all about family and spending time with the important people in your life. I couldn’t agree more. So if you are looking for a little inspiration of where to begin tomorrow, then here is your recipe. Minimum prep is needed just a little grocery list. You may have most of the ingredients in your larder already. All you need then is a fresh Rooster, sorry a fresh chicken.

The Ingredients:

3 Chicken breasts

3 tbsp Soy sauce

1 tbsp Cornflour

3 tbsp Chinese rice wine vinegar ( Shaoxing )

2 tbsp Sugar

1/2 cup of chicken stock

3 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar ( Balsamic soy sauce mix works well too )

3 tbsp Groundnut oil

10  red hot chillies

6 Spring onions chopped ( keep some for garnish )

2 Garlic cloves chopped finely

1 inch cube of Ginger chopped finely

1/2 cup of Cashews nuts

Serve with boiled rice

Increase the ingredients if you are cooking for a large party

The Make:

In a large bowl add the chopped chicken breast. Mix the cornflour and soy sauce together and pour this mixture over the chicken and stir. Cover this bowl and allow the chicken to marinate for at least half an hour. Separately pour the rice wine vinegar, sugar, Chinkiang vinegar, chicken stock, groundnut oil into a bowl and mix. Now grab a large wok or frying pan and heat little oil. Add in the chopped chillies, spring onions, garlic and ginger. Allow these to cook off a little. Now add in the chicken and the marinade. Stir this all together. You can now pour in the rice wine mixture along with the cashew nuts. Keep an eye on the dish now making sure the chicken is cooked and you don’t burn the sauce. When you are ready to serve up the dish garnish each bowl with some thinly sliced spring onions.

Xinnian Kuaile and Enjoy.

 

Cheesus, I did it.

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So I made my own cheese. This has to of been the most satisfying food experiments to date. Apart from making my own butter that is. When you can see the cheese form right in front of your very eyes, that is absolutely incredible. So to get started I went and bought some rennet on Amazon. Rennet is an essential part of cheese making. It is an enzyme usually formed from sheep stomach acid. Vegetable rennet is usually formed from a variation of dried caper leaves, nettles, thistles, mallow, and Ground Ivy. Vegetable rennet is suitable for Kosher and Halal cheeses. To get started I had to buy 3 litres of organic full fat milk from the supermarket because my local Farmer has only gone and sold his farm. A sign of the current climate, I guess. It’s a real shame because nothing could beat unpasteurised milk straight from the cow. My cow was Tesco.

To get started you need:

3 litres of full fat milk

1/4 teaspoon of rennet

A large pot to heat milk

Metal slated spoon

Large sharp knife

Food thermometer

Deep roasting tray

 

This is how I made cheese. The technique is not written in stone as you will find from the internet searches. As like all of my experiments I learn by doing. To really get started you have to make sure everything is sterile. As in beer making, bacteria can be your enemy. Take that extra care here. You can use your dishwasher on it’s hottest wash to get the tools ready. Once you have everything clean and sterile you can begin. Pour the milk into the pot and gently heat it to 37C . Keep stirring to ensure the milk doesn’t burn. Once it has reached this temperature cover it and take it off the heat. Carefully place the hot pot of milk into a deep roasting tray. Pour some freshly boiled water into the tray. This will help maintain the heat of the milk. Add 1/4 teaspoon of rennet to the milk and stir gently. Cover again and leave it work for around 1 hour. Adding rennet actually works straight away but I felt it worked better when I left it. Once the hour has passed uncover the mixture and slice it in a cross hatch design. Basically slice the curd vertically and then horizontally across the pot. You will immediately see the curds and whey separate. The white pieces are the curds and the liquid is the whey. Gently stir this to allow more of the whey release. If you want you can use a cheese cloth for draining, I didn’t because I used a plastic sieve. So you can now drain off the whey into a pot. This by product is a great source of protein so keep it as long as you can. We made scones using it. On self sustaining farms this whey is often fed to the animals. Little Ms Muffet knew her stuff. Now you have your curd in the sieve, gently rinse it under a cold tap to remove any excess curd. Carefully mould the curd into ball shapes and store in water in the fridge. As an exercise I split the batch in two. I stored one half in fresh water and the other half in salted water. The taste difference was amazing. The fresh water cheese had a very dairy flavour while the salted had a more savoury taste. I have also stored a batch in olive oil with herbs.

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The cover photo is a portion of the cheese charred in our clay oven and served with honey and pistachio nuts. I saw this recipe on an episode of Mind of a Chef and had to try it. It is exquisite.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mince pie Irish coffee 


If you’re looking for a festive drink this Christmas then look no further. This is strictly for the adults. At this time of year a lot of people worry about how many mince pies they eat. And in January they blame that extra belt size on these little delights. ” Who ate all the pies? You f** b******.” So why not drink them instead without any guilt.

Ingredients:

2 jars of mince pie meat

400 mls of water

Whiskey 

Coffee 

Cream

The Make:

Empty jars of mince meat into a pot. Add water and bring to a gentle simmer until mixture is all loose and easy to stir. Pour mixture into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add more water if needed. Pass mixture through a sieve to ensure that you have a smooth paste. You can now jar this paste for use over the holidays. You can even spoon it ice cream and lift any Christmas dessert. Now for the important bit. Get yourself two heat resistant glasses. Make some fresh brewed coffee. Add a shot of whiskey into each glass and one teaspoon of the mince pie mixture. Pour in coffee into each glass and stir. Make sure to allow for a top up of cream. 

Enjoy.