Thursday, 26 September 2013

Quick apple and cherry pie for pudding

Wanted a quick pudding tonight and one that was not expensive.

I was given some cooking apples last weekend

and at the recent Cake and Bake show there was some Bonne Maman fruit being given out.

Tonight I got some ready made puff pastry reduced to £1.00 so there was my answer. Apple and Cherry Pie!

Roll out the rectangle of puff pastry, score around the edge and then spread the cherry fruits across the top of the pastry. 

Lay the thinly sliced apple on top of the fruit.

Sprinkle golden caster sugar evenly, dust with ground cinnamon and dot with butter.

Pop into a hot oven for 25-30 minutes.  Cool and cut into pieces to serve.

I served my pie with Ambrosia Devon Dream.

My thanks to my friend for the apples and Bonne Maman for the cherry pots.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Rachel's Organic Rice Pudding

Usual dilemma tonight - what to have for pudding!

Now I make great rice pudding (I use a recipe given to me by a Greek girl I worked with many years ago) but it takes time to make.

Sometimes you want something quick and delicious. Rachel's Organic Divine Rice Pudding hits the spot!

It's creamy and sweet and made from a traditional recipe using cows milk and eggs.  It can be eaten cold (how I like it) or heated in the microwave.

I was sent some samples of this rice pudding for review but the opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Judge Cookware - A Stockpot for my Kitchen

I have lots of pots and pan so when I was asked to choose an item from Judge's range of cookware I immediately knew which one I needed.

One always needs a good stock pot. There is only myself and Mr R residing in our house but more often than not we seem to need a large cooking pot. I have quite a collection of cookware but didn't have a stock pot so I was very pleased to accept one from Judge.

Perfect for making a chicken stock from a carcass or two or making pasta which we  make a lot! I use this stock pot at least three times a week when cooking something lovely for Mr R!  I often cook at my father-in-law's on weekends and find it awkward using his collection so looking at one to keep at his house too!

I was glad to receive this stock pot in red because it goes so well with the other red pots and pan I have acquired lately.  This all goes with my black and cream kitchen tiles.

The outside of the stock pot and lid are red enamel and look very stylish on the hob and are suitable for all hobs and the inside is Teflon non stick coated.  It comes in black, vanilla, red, green and white.Before writing about this item I wanted to use it a lot and now cannot imagine my kitchen without this great stock pot!

Some technial details:-
  • Available in Black, Vanilla, Red, White & Green
  • Easy clean enameled coating
  • Easy grip, comfortable phenolic LHT handles
  • All round stainless steel pouring lip
  • Teflon Classic Non-Stick cooking surfaces
  • Induction ready, suitable for ALL hob types
  • Dishwasher and oven safe upto 180Âșc
  • 5 Year Guarantee

If you want any further details click here for email address.
I was sent this stock pot and was not paid to try it at home and write a review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Frugal Kitchen - Market Bargains - Limes and Avacados

I was in London yesterday at an event near Leicester Square and had another appointment up near Oxford Circus.  I had loads of time between so I decided to walk and have a look around some of the places I used to visit when I worked in London many years ago.

I got to Berwick Street market more or less as they were packing up and eager to sell their fruit and vegetables.  At the start of the market avacados were £0.90 each or two for £1.50 but at the other end of the market there was a chap selling a bowl of avacados for £1.00 and it contained 4! So much better at £0.25 each! 

The avacados were not mushy either as sometimes is the case when you buy from a market at the end of the day.

Also there were bowls of limes for £1.00 and the one I bought contained 10!  Limes are usually around £0.33 each or at best 4 for £1.00 so £0.10 each didn't take me long to snap up this bargain.

I love having limes in the kitchen and they go so well with chillis, scallops, avacados and so much more but with 10 there is a chance I won't get to use them all in time.  If I use a recipe that calls for limes it usually wants the zest and juice so I zested and juiced three limes

and put them in the freezer in individual little bags ready for a recipe that calls for them.

Being frugal doesn't mean being cheap, it means using your brains and using your money to buy bargains that you can preserve in some way till you need them. I am very keen on being frugal and will be giving you lots of tips in the coming posts.

Donald Russell - Royal Warrant Holding Butchers

You have never tasted better steak delivered to your door! That's what the advert for Donald Russell, Royal Warrant holding butcher claims.

Is it true? Lets find out.

They sent me the pack you see advertised inside magazines. Those little A5 pieces of paper promising you a one off bargain of award winning premium quality gourmet meat, those papers you usually throw away.

Well I can promise you, you should not throw the offer away and you definitely should take a chance and order this one.

For £29 you get over £65 worth of the tastiest and tenderest steak I have ever cooked at home!

For starters the box comes with the meat kept frozen inside with dry ice. There was a very clear warning about the need to wear gloves when handling the dry ice.  The packaging was very tasteful and informative. There was also a booklet called How To Meat Perfection.

Firstly I cooked the 6 mini gourmet burgers and the sausages that came with the offer.  Granddaughter (age 5) was staying and she loves meat including burgers and sausages and the little burgers were just perfect for her plate.  They were just minced beef without additives and fillers and were thick and meaty.

A few days later I  cooked the sirloin steaks and the pave rump steak for the grandaughter on the griddle pan. I just seasoned the meat before grilling to keep it simple. Oh my, the tastiest and tenderest steak I have ever cooked at home!

Miss Lizzie had her steak with some pasta and sauce and she ate every bit!

I served Mr R and myself a sweet potato and some allotment courgettes with our steak.  Sirloin heaven!
The following Saturday Mr R's father (FIL) came for dinner and we put the rib eye steaks on the BBQ.  I only had two rib eyes so also cooked the 4 pave rump medalions which FIL wanted.

I marinated them first in a little olive oil and seasonings before placing on the BBQ grill.

 I served the steaks with fresh sweetcorn, peas and also some potatoes from our allotment.  I also had fried onions for a side dish.  Believe me the whole meal was a taste sensation!

Again I say this meat is of the utmost quality with outstanding taste and texture.  I plan to buy this pack again in the future.

I was sent this pack for review and the opinions are my own and I was not paid to write a positive review.


Blackberry Vodka

This summer has seen the most amazing and prolific wild blackberry yield I have ever known!

On my allotment we have had blackberries that are sweet, deep black and incredibly fragrant. Sparkly and suculent like black jewels just waiting to be picked and turned into amazing blackberry recipes.

I have made three different blackberry jams, blackberry chutney, blackberry jelly and we have had cakes, pies and just simple blackberries and cream.  The fragrance and the texture were absolutely beautiful.

In an attempt to use another harvesting of the berries and wanting to do something different I made blackberry vodka followed by blackberry Bacardi.

This was really simple to do and requires only a shaking from time to time and leaving for a couple of months before drinking.

Basically fill a large Kilner (or similar glass jar) with blackberries, add some granulated sugar and fill the jar with the vodka or Bacardi.

Clip the lid and gently shake and swirl until the sugar dissolves.  Every couple of days agitate the jar to make sure the sugar does not settle to the bottom.

In approximately 2-3 months you can strain the mixture and pour the liquid into clean, sterilised glass bottles and give as lovely gifts.  You can put the berries in a glass jar to keep for putting on a good quality vanilla ice cream.

Happy holidays!!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Miller & Carter Brookmans Park - restaurant review

I have been to a Miller & Carter restaurant before at their Wheathampstead restaurant and have always had a fantastic meal.

I was therefore more than happy to accept an invitation to review their new opening in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire. I was originally going with a fellow blogger friend but she was unable to come at the last minute so Mr R valiantly stepped in!

We were greeted at the door and shown to the bar for a very refreshing glass of wine then shown to our table. This place is concentrating on cocktails as well as the usual beers and wines. Or why not call in for a perfect cool glass of champagne! They have their own mixologist in house and are happy for people to call in for a cocktail or two even if they are not dining that evening.

There is dining on two floors and a bar on each which should ensure you don't need to wait long for a drink having to come upstairs.

As well as a large open seating area there is also a private dining room for that special occasion and when you need some privacy.

Our initial table had wobbly leg syndrome but we were immediately ushed to another table which was level. A wobbly table is one of my pet hates and I felt this was dealt with perfectly.

All day I was thinking I would have a rib-eye steak and of course an extra portion of their famous Onion Loaf! I often dream of the Onion Loaf, sweet onions and just the right amount of crunchy outside - you have gotta try this!

For our starters Mr R had the Black Pearl Scallops, pan fried and served on black pudding with cute little strips of panccetta and a balsamic glaze.

I had what I alway have when it is available, Dusted Calamari with a homemade garlic and chive mayo. These little crisp rings have always been my favourite. I did giggle when the huge piece of lemon squirted lemon juice all over everything on the table!!

There was a nice list of starters and nibbles to pick from and maybe next time I will think of having something different.

Mr R usually has steak but surprised me by ordering Maple Glazed Lamb Rump, served on creamy mash with green beans and Mediterranean vegetables in a pine nut caponata, served with a bordelaise sauce.  This didn't last long and Mr R was oohhing and aahhing with each bite.

We shared a portion of Onion Loaf with our main meal, pure onion lovliness!

I love both steak and ribs and instead of the rib-eye I was planning to have I ordered the Steak & Ribs, an 8oz rump steak and a BBQ glazed half rack of lamb.  This was served with a jacket potato and slice of onion loaf.

One of the features of each steak meal is a wedge of iceberg lettuce with your choice of dressing - I usually have the Stilton and Blue Cheese.

As someone who loves dessert I must have been full because I passed up offerings such as Sticky Date & Ginger Pudding, Glazed Clotted Cream Rice Pudding and Chocolate and Raspberry Pot, any of which I would have loved to try!  Perhaps I will call in sometime just for coffee and dessert!

I settled instead for a floater coffee.  My large glass of white wine was more than enough alcohol on a school night so I had my coffee without liqueur but with the cream on the top!

This is in my opinion not an everynight meal but for a more special event.  Mr R was waiting in the car because he had just driven into our car park from work and it seemed just like a date night! Nice for the two of us to go out some where special on our own. 

I will positively be visiting this restaurant again soon and if you want a delicious, tender steak or for tht matter any of their main courses which are all of the same quality then you should visit one too.  There are other branches and you can find them on their website or by clicking here.  You can find them on Twitter and Facebook too and if you follow them you will get all their news and events.

As well as their extensive menu they offer a great Daytime Menu with a choice of one course, two courses or three courses.

Bearing in mind it was one of the training evenings there was very little out of place; the wrong butter on the steak, a missing salad but quickly found and a soft drink that never materialised are not that big of a deal and only mentioned because I am writing up about the meal. Certainly not enough to warrant a complaint!

We were guests of Miller & Carter but are not obliged to write a favourable review and all comments and views are my own.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Rose Veal Schnitzel and Spatzle - A Blast from My Past

Brookfield Farm, veal producers of sustainably farmed veal sent me a package of their products to try at home. For the first meal I decided to make using the veal I was sent from them I wanted to cook something I had not had for years but often thought of.

Veal was a meat that I had stayed away from for years due to the bad reputation that had grown around the conditions the calves were kept in to keep the meat white.

Those days are over now and there is a movement to bring veal back to the consumer.  This time however it is known as Rose Veal.  The meat is light pink where the calves have been allowed to move around instead of being shut in small pens.

Brookfield Farm veal provides a sustainable way to combat the problem of what to do with the large numbers of black and white calves that were being disposed of or exported.  They have won awards and commendations for their animal husbandry and are committed to re-developing the almost extinct UK veal market  All their meat is bred and grown on their farms in the West Country and of the highest quality

Brookfield Farm sent me a selection of veal cuts and the first I wanted to try was the escalopes.

I made veal schnitzel with spatzle for dinner.  For the schnitzel I placed each piece in the flour then the beaten egg and

then cover in the Panko crumbs.

Shallow fry in sunflower or groundnut oil until browned on each side.  Drain and serve.

Spatzle is something I used to get in Austria. Basically you make a batter with egg, flour and milk.  You put the batter in the fridge for about half an hour. Then you press the batter through a sieve into a pot of boiling water. When the little spatzle bob to the surface they are done. Drain and fry in a little butter before seasoning and serving.

I also have veal roast, stir fry and cheeks to look forward to cooking. Watch this space! 

Do you cook veal? What is your favourite recipe?

Thanks to Brookfield Farm for the veal package. All opinions and recipes are my own.