Archive for the ‘Food’ Category
There are not many people who can say hand on heart that they truly love their job but I am one of those privileged few. I have worked for Epic Fireworks now for a little over a year and a half and I love it.
I have just come out of the other side of my second ‘mad season’ and as the person in charge of the internet orders, it has been completely manic. Organizing orders from one end of the UK to the other has never been easy but with our busiest season yet, it was a little more stressful this year but we survived and now, the calm before the Xmas and New Year rush is upon us.
As anyone who has dealt with Jimmy and the family over the years, they will know that they love to cook and being a big foodie fan myself, it is torture to come to work when Jimmy is cooking one of his delicious curries, kebabs or tandoori chicken.
I was therefore absolutely delighted when he said that he was going to pass some of his expertise onto me.
So, Saturday is upon us and Jimmy walks into the office with bags of all manner of different things from chicken to chapatti flour and fenugreek to garam masala ready for my cooking lesson.
Today, lesson one is about making chicken tandoori, spicy lamb seekh kebabs, chapatti and yoghurt sauce.
Under normal circumstances, it is usual to add tandoori powder to yoghurt beforehand but Jimmy (from years of practice) believes it better (and healthier) to use olive oil. Create a sticky paste using 3 tablespoons of tandoori powder, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, ½ cup of olive oil, several (handful of) green chillis and a teaspoon of salt. Take 8 chicken legs and remove the skin and score the flesh and rub the paste mixture into the meat and leave to marinade for 1 hour +.
Once you are ready to cook, simply place the chicken legs on a trivet tray and cover with foil and cook at 200c Gas Mark 6 for 50 minutes and then remove the foil and turn the meat and cook for a further 10 minutes. Serve with natural yoghurt mixed with mint sauce and fresh lemon juice.
Next lesson, kebabs….. now we are talking.
Take 2lb minced lamb (or mutton) 1 medium onion finely chopped and 6 chillis 1tbs garam masala, I tsp of fenugreek seeds and 1tsp salt. Mix together and then divide into smaller burger shapes. Cook under the grill (or on the barbecue) for around 15-20 minutes turning regularly.
Then chapatti. Take 1lb of medium coarse chapatti flour and a small amount of water to create a stiff dough. Knead thoroughly and leave to rest for around 10 mins (covered in the fridge). When you are ready to cook, take a skillet (or a chapatti pan if you have one) or a heavy bottomed frying pan and heat gently.
Meanwhile, remove the dough from the fridge and divide up into around 10 small pieces. Roll into balls and then using a rolling pin, roll thinly into circles. Once the pan is hot, drop the first of your rolled out chapatti onto the pan and leave it until the top changes to a darker colour. Then, simply flip over to cook the other side. Once cooked, leave on the side covered up until you finish the full batch.
Serve all your food on platters with the yoghurt sauce, a green salad and some fresh cucumber. Beautiful.
So, what did you do at work today!!!
Many of us nowadays have friends, colleagues and family members who are American or have American connections.
I thought it might be nice to have a cake to serve at your gathering for this 4th July celebrations when you have your party and fireworks.
The recipe is simple and if I can make and decorate the cake – so can you.
1 lb SR Flour
1 lb caster sugar
1 lb margarine (or butter)
¼ pint of milk
For the buttercream:
1 lb icing sugar
½ lb butter or margarine
Raspberry jam (or jam of your choice)
Blue sugar strands (or blue hundreds and thousands)
Red food colouring
Put all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and using a mixer blend to a smooth batter.
Grease and flour 2 10” loose bottom cake tins (either round or whatever shape you have) split the mixture between the 2 tins and bake in oven (gas mark 5, 190c) for around 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown (times may need to be adjusted for fan assisted ovens). Test by pushing a skewer into the centre of the cake and if this comes out clean, its ready. If still a little sticky, give it another 5 mins and test again (in a different place).
Once cooked and cooled a little, release from tins onto a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
In the meantime, make the buttercream. Simply put the icing sugar and butter into a bowl and whisk until the butter is completely mixed in and it is an off white colour. Once done, take around 1/3 of the mixture into a smaller bowl and pop in a couple of drops of red food colouring. You should then have a bowl with white butter icing and a smaller one with red.
Spread one half of the cake with the jam and a little of the white butter cream and place the other half on the top.
Then carefully, spread butter icing all round the side of the cake and carefully pick up and cover in blue sugar strands.
Spread remaining icing over the top and then pipe red stripes using the red buttercream.
Finally, make a cut out of a star and hold over the white area and try to put some blue stars on. This is not meant to be a pro job so get the kids involved.
The same mix can be used for buns/muffins so you have plenty of scope.
We appear to have been on countdown to the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend for months but it is now upon us.
If you are used to having family ‘barbecues’ it is great to have a mixture of foods to eat which reflect our ever growing taste for food from around the World and today, we are giving some ideas to incorporate both.
As someone who likes to cook, but is also keen to ensure that I am also able to enjoy the time with my family and friends, it is better to be prepared and many things can be done in advance of the family arriving en-masse.
These are just a couple of my family favourites, inspired by my own tried and tested recipes and others inspired by numerous fantastic holidays to the Greek Islands.
Start with a good marinade for any meat, poultry or fish:
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
½ teaspoon English mustard
1 tbs honey or golden syrup
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 finely chopped red chillis
1 tbs smoked paprika
Combine all the ingredients and leave to stand for 2 hours. Then add steak, lamb or pork in the refrigerator overnight. If you are using fish or poultry, it is only necessary to marinade for a couple of hours. Cook on your barbecue. Please ensure that pork and poultry is cooked thoroughly through before serving.
Inside Out Burgers
I know that this sounds strange but it saves a lot of mess and my children loved them.
3lb ground lean beef
2 large grated onions
1 crushed garlic clove (optional)
1 finely chopped chilli (optional)
½ lb grated mature cheddar
Combine the beef, onion, garlic and chilli (season with salt and pepper).
Divide into 48 equal sized balls and then flatten down to slim patties. Pop cheese into the centre of 24 of them and then top with another beef pattie and press the edges together to ensure that they don’t split. Brush with marinade if required and cook on the barbecue. Serve either in rolls or with salad and new potatoes.
Greek Style Souvlaki
6 chicken breast cut into strips
Marinade: 1tsp sea salt, 2 tbs oil, lemon juice and 2 tbs finely chopped greek oregano
Put all the ingredients in a dish, stir and leave to marinate for 2 hours.
Cook on the barbecue and serve with feta and home-made tzatziki (yoghurt sauce – see below) and strips of pitta bread dipped in olive oil.
Can be done with Pork or Lamb but I would recommend over-night in the marinade to ensure full flavour and tenderising the meat.
2lb minced lamb
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs ground coriander
4 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tbs fresh mint (chopped finely)
1 finely chopped chilli (optional)
Salt and pepper to season
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Make into 20 balls and either form into burger shapes or form around skewers (a bit like an impaled sausage) and cook on the barbecue.
Serve with Greek salad, hot pitta strips and tzatziki.
3lb of boneless lean pork shoulder
2 tbs white wine vinegar or dry white wine
3 tsp sea salt
1 ½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp finely ground Greek oregano
Combine the dry ingredients.
Slice the pork into thin strips. Put thin layer of pork and sprinkle with the dry seasoning and a small amount of the white vinegar and continue to layer until all the pork is covered and cover and put into the fridge for up to 24 hours.
This can either be cooked on the barbecue or in the oven (on a high heat) and serve again with Greek salad, hot pitta strips and tzatziki.
1 large iceberg lettuce (sliced)
6 tomatoes diced
1 large cucumber (peeled and diced)
1 red onion (finely sliced)
1 red pepper (de-seeded and diced)
3 fluid oz of extra virgin olive oil
4 oz black olives (halved)
10oz Feta cheese (diced)
Combine all ingredients, toss and chill.
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 cup Greek yogurt, strained
1 cup sour cream
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tsp. chopped fresh dill
Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Using a whisk, blend the yogurt with the sour cream. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Finally, add the cucumber and chopped fresh dill. Chill for at least two hours before serving.
All you need now is to ensure you have the drinks and call over to see us about your fireworks and you are set up for a great Bank Holiday Barbecue experience.
BTW, below is a video I took at a Chinese outdoor restaurant from our China visit from February 2012….the food wasn’t that bad…