Happy New Year!

I write this, my first post of the new year on the first day of 2015, absolutely EXHAUSTED following a marvellous New Year party thrown by Josh and Stephen, again with a cheese theme but this time in the form of fondue.

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After many cheesey treats and ginny delights, we got a good dance on before making our way down to the Thames to enjoy the inevitably fantastic firework display. This was followed by more gin and dance. The perfect New Year celebration!

I was asked to contribute something to be used with the fondue cheese goo on this evening, so set about having a little think as to what that could be. I thought about making some flavoured breads then cutting them into cubes and frying into croutons, but goodness what a lot of work for the time of year. Then is came to me. Another simple, tasty treat that allows both you and the eater to get creative!

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Flavoured Pastry Cups!
(For filling with melted cheese, and other delights!)

The flavours I made this time were Rosemary & Garlic, Chilli & Chorizo and Tomato & Basil, but you can go with whatever! I considered doing a Pear & Roasted Red Onion… A weird mix on their own, but one I thought would complement certain cheeses? Well… Perhaps next time. For now, I’ll tell you about these!

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THE SPANISH HAVE INVADED!!

My TASTEBUDS, that is!!

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Recently, a Spanish influence has stepped into my life and introduced me to a whole new world of flavour.

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This weekend, Diana gave me the perfect gift of a book to record my favourite (and some more secret) recipes. I immediately knew what the first recipe in this book was going to be.

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Salmorejo!

There aren’t the words to express how much I love this dish. Even looking at that picture now makes me go crazy for not having it in front of me. The combination of tomato, garlic, oil and bread may seem simple enough, and frankly I don’t understand all the magic behind the deliciousness. I also know the concept of raw garlic in anything will be enough to make my fellow Brits VERY nervous, but please PLEASE I beg you to put what you think you know to one side and try this dish. When I eat this, I feel absolutely invincible and satisfied beyond belief. I’ve never actually made this myself, but the last time Diana whipped it up, I monitored her activity with a tediously close proximity. Here’s how to do it…

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The delicious art of doing very little…

Alongside my Goat’s Cheese and Red Onion Tart, the other scrumbumptious snack I whipped up for Stephen’s Cheese and Wine night was my Mozarella, Sundried Tomato & Chorizo Pinwheels! A delicious treat that never fails to please, and is deceivingly easy…

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Not only are these quick and easy to make, but they’re also incredibly easy to transport before cooking, as you’ll see, making them an ideal snack to take along to a friend’s do!

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Scallop BLT

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The Scallop BLT is one of my signature dishes that you’ve seen me make before, but this time I did a couple of things slightly different- mainly leaving the herbs out of the sauce.

My Dad is scallop crazy, which is why I selected this dish for him. My Mother, however, doesn’t like scallops at all. I know, I know, that makes no sense but there it is. She believes she doesn’t like scallops. Maybe she just says it for the attention? I don’t know.  Whatever the reason, this led me to make her halloumi (imitating scallops) wrapped in bacon for her portion.

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Garlic, chilli, ginger and ghee… What could that mean…

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I have had a deliciously naughty week! Hot wings and beer last night, felt lazy Wednesday and ordered Domino’s, had to work late on Thursday and so the office was given Domino’s (two nights in a row! Win!) and went to my Grandma’s on Tuesday, where I was treated to an outstanding duck in orange dinner. I could honestly eat that again 10 times over.

Then there was Monday. My Strawberry and Banana Breakfast Scones worked a treat in making my mornings easier and more productive, but when I got home that evening I wanted to make sure the Monday blues stood no chance of creeping in. What better shield than a Pathia, my all-time favourite curry! Here’s how to make a DELICIOUS Lamb Pathia, using a cut of lamb that is very cheap and, when cooked in this way, outrageously tender and screaming with flavour.

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Ingredients

  • Lamb breast roll (these normally come prepacked at any supermarket and are approximately 800g for which you will pay around £3!!)
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml of boiling water with two chicken stock pots stirred in. Or splash out on 500ml of actual chicken stock!
  • 2 white onions
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic puree/minced garlic (seen above)
  • 2 teaspoons of ginger puree/minced ginger (seen above)
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli puree/minced chilli (seen above)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of Butter Ghee. Start with 3 and play it by ear, no going back if you put too much in and oily curries suck! Lamb, and this cut in particular, is already pretty fatty so keep in mind that additional oil will come off that. Can’t track down ghee in your supermarket? Just use olive oil!
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
  • 4 teaspoons of mild curry powder
  • 1 teaspoons of chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons of garam masala powder
  • 100ml of tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 500g of plum tomatoes
  • Juice of half a lemon

So now you are completely surrounded by ingredients, it’s time to get cooking

1. In a bowl, combine the ginger puree, garlic puree, chilli puree, curry powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder and a little water. Mix up into a paste.

2. Get a large saucepan on a medium heat and add your ghee and your finely chopped onions.

3. Meanwhile, get a frying pan good and hot with no oil and sear the outside of your lamb breast
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4. Once your onions have browned, add the paste you made and mix them all round
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Fair warning: This is the point where the kitchen will start smelling so good, you’ll want to eat the furniture.
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5. Place your lamb in the saucepan and plop the tamarind paste on top. Then, in a food processor, smoothify your tinned tomatoes and add them to them pan. I then mixed my boiling water and chicken stock pots together in the food processor jug to get all the left over tomatoeyness! Add this to the pan and give a stir. Finally, add the tomato puree and stir everything in. You want your lamb to be submerged!

6. Now whack up the heat and put the lid on your pan. Leave for an hour and a half, stopping by to stir it and move the lamb about every 15-20 minutes. This has an outstanding effect- the lamb soaks up all the flavours you’ve put in there, gives out some mighty fine flavours of its own and, while it’s boiling away in all these juices, becomes very very tender.

7. Now the mouth-watering part. Turn the heat down, and remove your lamb from the pot and to a chopping board. Slice it up. See how tender it is!! That knife just falls through it! I told you!! Jesus. I miss that lamb. I want it back so bad. I wish I had it right now. I’M SO HUNGRY WHY IS THIS LAMB NOT HERE.
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8. Calm down, then return the lamb to the pot. Keep the lid off, but keep the heat quite high and stir regularly- you’re now aiming to reduce the liquid. Do this for about 5 minutes then reduce to a low simmer.

9. Quarter your tomatoes then add them to the pot and just leave it be for about 20 minutes. They turn into delicious baked-style parcels of joy, I can’t even explain.

10. Nearly there! Add the Garam Massala and stir continuously for exactly two minutes.

11. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and served. I enjoyed mine with rice, chapattis and Cobra beer!

As you can see from the pictures, this makes a very greedy amount of curry! I froze off a few portions for the near future, but also took some to work the following day for my colleagues Lord (Ben) Cook and James Abrams.

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It was extremely flattering to have my recipe deemed worthy by a Lord.

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And for it to receive such an intimate need for privacy!

Make it QUICK and TASTY with Chicken Pathia
If you fancy a pathia, but don’t have 2 hours to make one, simply make it with chicken! You will only need to leave it to cook for 20 minutes, rather than an hour and a half! You will also need slightly less water/stock for chicken pathia- use about 300ml. And use chicken thighs if you can! So much flavour.

Enjoy!

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me… And I’m eating food…

Happy New Year, everyone!

Apologies that it’s been so long since my last post. Anyone who has been following this from the off probably would’ve caught wind of my love of Christmas and may have been surprised not to see a big Christmas post in December, but there is an unfortunate and reasonable explanation to follow.

You may have noticed that I treat this blog very much like a diary, and I intend to keep up this level of honesty, be it good or bad news.

On December 10th, Josie left me. There’s no more information that anyone other than me or Josie need to know, but I was certainly shocked and saddened.

SO, moving forward, the face of this blog will now change to say the least! While the main focus will continue to remain on great love of food and family, I am no longer living in London as my parents have very kindly taken me in temporarily, in light of the above, while things are settled and sorted. There are also a number of surprises and what I’m sure will be exciting tales approaching, but for now I can say no more! Do stay tuned!

The honest accounts of goings on, and of course delicious recipes, will most certainly continue!

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Scallop BLT and his vegetarian brother…

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Anyone who vaguely knows me knows that mathematics is not exactly my favourite subject. So for me to say that today was my first day of an AAT Accountancy Course should cause significant shock and impress!

To celebrate surviving day one of 33, I made one of my most favourite recipes for dinner- The Scallop BLT. This used to be Josie’s requested starter every birthday, but this year being her first of vegetarianism meant I had to come up with something similar, yet without the pig or fish. Halloumi wrapped in red pepper saw this mission accomplished!
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