Saturday, 28 January 2012

Burn after reading........

So I am not remotely Scottish and neither is my life long friend Lucy M (with who I annually celebrate Burns' night) but we just can't resist making a big deal of the 25th January simply because we both LOVE haggis, neeps and tatties SO much. Being the ridiculous foodie that I am I also insist on serving this yummy combo with a mustard,cream and white wine sauce. And if you aren't already drooling at the prospect of this (because I definitely am) then why not start the meal with some Sillfield farm black pudding (which you can grab yourself a pack of from Borough Market) a runny poached egg and yet more of that scrummy white wine sauce. Honestly it really is worth getting really good quality black pudding as it makes a world of difference. This Sillfield stuff from Cumbria is seriously incredible and goes so crispy. 
Don't let all the yumminess get in the way of the meaning behind Burns' night, make sure to read the poetry extract from Robert Burns which must be read over the haggis before tucking in.
 'Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftain o' the pudding race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm'

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Mediterranean Escape

So on Sunday I was tasked with cooking an evening meal for 6 and this week I was determined it would not be a roast. So I hunted through all my new cookbooks (most of which I havent really had a chance to look at this year!) and came across one which my darling BF got me for Xmas - unbelievably the only Rick Stein I didn't already own - Mediterranean Escapes.  

I decided firstly to settle my (selfish) yearning for feta cheese with a starter of 'Grilled prawns with Ouzo, chilli and feta' which I was nervous about as I have never used Ouzo to cook with - usually just consumed in a bar on a little Greek Island whilst scoffing down  grilled Octopus - but actually this turned out to be extremely yummy and the taste of the Ouzo was apparent but not by any means overbearing, and the sauce was truly awesome soaked up with some warm Turkish bread. 

This was followed by a Moroccan main called 'Kefta Mkaouara' which is 'Spicy egg, meatball and tomato tagine' and honestly one of the easiest meals to cook, especially when there are quite a few of you, it was very stress free. The eggs really do make it delicious as long as you make sure the yolks are still really gooey and runny - again as you can imagine the bread for dipping is a must!! This was accompanied by some greek style roasties (really mixing up the meds I know) slathered in oregano (brought back dried from my fave Greek island) and lemon juice.
Then what better to finish this med feast than with some old school baklava (no cooking needed as I picked them up from my local Turkish supermarket). This meal would probably have gone best with an Austrailian Shiraz however I was being naughty and fancied a glass (or 4) of my fave white at the mo Villa Maria Dry Riesling.
 Tempted?? Let me know and I will share the recipes...

Sunday, 22 January 2012

My New toy!

Hello and Welcome! I wasn't sure what my first blog should be about really but after playing with my new fave toy last week I realised it was the perfect thing to rave about! I say MY toy but it is actually my Mum's Xmas present this year from me, which I have since taken under my wing. This new toy was a pasta making machine! I did lots of research before finally deciding which brand to get but in the end went with what the majority of reviews had recommended, which was to go for a classic Imperia SP150. It is a traditional chrome plated steel pasta machine which kneads and rolls 150mm strips in 6 different thickness'. The pasta sheets can be used
for lasagne, cannelloni or cutting and shaping into dozens of different shapes, such as farfalle, ravioli etc. 
For my first experiment I decided to go for some ravioli and used a normal cutter like you would use for biscuits (despite going out and buying a proper pasta one) to get the crimped shape. I then made up a delish filling of fresh crab (white and brown meat), fresh dill and chopped fresh chilli. Added a little water to the edges and simply put the top on and firmly squeezed around them... and it really is that easy! 
After cooking in boiling water for 5-7 mins I served my little treats with hot melted butter and potted brown shrimps....Heaven!