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Archive for the ‘Dinner Party’ Category

Helllooooo ūüėÄ

Hope you are all good!¬† How bloody quick are these weeks flying in?¬† I wish time would slow down a bit.¬† Anyone found the formula for squeezing extra hours into the day yet?¬† I’m honestly grudging the hours I spend sleeping, feeling¬†I could be doing something more productive!¬†

“Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror.¬† It’s passing, yet I’m the one who’s doing all the moving.”¬† Martin Amis, Money

(Note – I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s on my To Be Read list after a quote like that!)

But that’s enough about me…

Last week, I spoke about the Honey Mustard Chicken recipe I made.¬† Here it is, in all it’s splendour.¬† It’s an excellent midweek¬†meal, and one I have made twice already (in the space of about a month).¬† I got it from the BBC Good Food Website (see the original recipe here).

The thing I like most about this recipe (apart from the taste), is that I can bung everything into one dish and get on with other things.  The first time I tried it, I used parsnips, as per the recipe, and cooked it on the hob, in my big soup pot.  This time, however, I used carrots (there were no parsnips), and made it as a casserole. 

I only had 2 chicken breasts on this occasion (which was fine, as I was only cooking for two), but kept all the other ingredient measures the same.  I now have a lovely tub of honey mustard carrots in the freezer, which I will serve with the Steak & Ale Pie I intend to make tomorrow (and will post about next week!)

Heres is what I did:

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

3 carrots, cut into even sized sticks

2 onions, diced

300ml vegetable stock (I used a veg Oxo cube)

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

2 tbsp clear honey

1 tsp dried rosemary 

First, I preheated the oven to 180 degrees.

In my casserole dish, I placed the carrots, onions and chicken.  I seasoned well with salt and pepper, and sprinkled over my rosemary.

In a jug, I mixed together the stock, mustard and honey.  The picture goes for your eyes, doesn’t it?

I poured the liquid into my casserole dish and gave everything a good stir.¬† It‚Äôs now ready for the oven; I let it bubble away for 1 ¬Ĺ hours ūüôā

I served this with some potato & swede mash and a helping of marrowfat peas.  Delish.

This is a good, hearty, cheap meal.¬† I’m sure you could serve it with something fancy (like my Boulang√®re Potatoes, perhaps? ūüėČ Or what about couscous?) if you are out to impress.

Oh‚Ķ remember when I said ‚Äúthat‚Äôs enough about me‚ÄĚ?¬† I lied.¬† I just want to thank everyone who wished me luck on my Philosophy exam.¬† I passed! ūüėĬ† Now, when I drunkenly ponder the meaning of life, I can pretend to have substance behind my words. ūüėČ

Have a lovely week everyone x

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Hellooo, how has your week been?

I was intending to post¬†a Honey Mustard Chicken recipe, but I forgot my USB cable to get the photos off my phone (doh!¬† Next week, I promise).¬† No matter… I came across some pics of a Parmesan & Mushroom risotto I made a couple of months back.¬† How did that one manage to slip my bloggy grasp?

Risotto is one of my favourite things to¬†make.¬† I don’t regard myself as a particularly excellent cook, but I can make a good risotto (so I’ve been told).¬† I think alot¬†of people think it’s hard, when it’s not.¬† It requires effort, in the stirring, but it’s certainly not hard.¬†¬†

As much as I love to cook, I’m¬†notorious for overcooking pasta and undercooking rice; things that¬†novice cooks¬†are¬†confident¬†doing!¬† So I’m thrilled that I can at least¬†get this right…

My friend Heather tried my¬†Chicken & Chorizo¬†and absolutely adored it… “De-fu**in-licious” were her exact words!¬† ūüėõ so I hope this one creates a similar response!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

300g arborio rice

250g mushrooms, sliced

100g parmesan cheese, grated (plus an extra handful for sprinkling on top when it’s ready)

1 onion, diced

1 tbsp parsley

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 glass white wine

1 litre chicken stock

knob of butter, for frying

I fried the onions in the butter until they went translucent (around 5 mins), then added the mushrooms.  After a further 5 mins, I added the risotto.  I like to toast the risotto slightly, before adding liquid to it (only for a minute or two).

I added my herbs and vinegar, then the wine.  Next, I poured in my first ladle of stock.  Stirring continuously, I let it absorb into the rice, before adding my second ladle. 

I repeat this process until the rice is “al dente” (around 25 mins).¬† There was still¬†a ladleful of stock left at this point.¬† But I’d rather have too much stock than not enough!¬† I turned the heat off and added my parmesan, then stirred it all in to create creamy, cheesy wonderment… mmmmm.

I sprinkled with some extra parmesan and served with garlic bread for Michelle and her friend¬†David, before they went to watch Kylie¬†perform in¬†the SECC (two nights in a row, might I add!).¬† I’m sure this is a good meal for soaking up the alcohol haha ūüôā

This is a fabulous mid-week meal, but wouldn’t look out of place in a more formal setting.¬† If people want to think risotto takes lots of¬†craft and skill… then let them (and prepare to impress!) ūüėČ

Of course, you can substitute the chicken stock for veg if you want to make it Vegetarian, but unless they’ve invented Vegan Parmesan, that’s as far as it stretches (ok, I’m sure you could substitute for a Vegan cheese too; I can’t vouch for the taste though!)

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week and I’ll see you next Wednesday! ūüėÄ x

 

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This is my Daddykin’s favourite dish ūüôā

The real, true, proper version (of which mines completely isn’t) he first tried in a gorgeous little restaurant in St. Anne’s, called Margherita’s.¬† We’ve been there many times and he never deviates from his Pollo Vesuvio, no matter how many times he says he will.¬† I can’t blame him; it’s gorgeous!

So gorgeous, in fact, that I just had¬†to try to¬†recreate it myself.¬† Their description of Pollo Vesuvio is “chicken breast cooked in onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, wine, brandy, cherry tomatoes, Napoli sauce, tabasco and cream”.

I refuse to buy a bottle of brandy, just to use a splash of it in a dish.¬†¬†I don’t drink brandy, so¬†I know the remains will just fester away in the back of my cupboard.¬† Therefore, the brandy is gone from my adaptation.¬† I also use tinned tomatoes for ease of use.¬† Here are all the things you’ll need to create this stupendous dish (my way):

 

Ingredients (Serves 4):

4 chicken breasts, whole

2 onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 red peppers, diced

500g mushrooms, sliced

2 tin chopped tomatoes, drained

1 tbsp sugar

1 glass of white wine

Chicken Stock (1 cube mixed into 100ml boiled water)

1 heaped tbsp dried oregano

1 heaped tbsp dried basil

Tabasco, a generous dash (as much as you can handle!)

50ml cream (room temperature)

Grated Parmesan (a big handful ‚Äď room temperature)

Make sure everything is all prepared before you start ūüôā

Brown the chicken all over, in olive oil, then take out and set aside on a plate.

Fry the onions and garlic for 5-10 mins.  Add your red peppers and mushrooms, stirring for a further 5 mins.

Put your chicken back into the pan.

Add your chopped tomatoes, then sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over it (this will get rid of that tangy-ness of the tomato that makes the eyeball twitch).

Add the white wine, chicken stock, basil, oregano and Tabasco, then give it all a good stir.

 Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Turn off the heat, put your chicken breasts on their plates, then add your cream and grated parmesan to the sauce.  After a good stir, pour it decadently over your chicken breasts.  Mmmm.

Best served with tasty roast totties!

One of the great things about this dish, is that there is sometimes leftover sauce (which freezes no bother yay!).  Add it to some pasta and smoked sausage.  Tastiest.  Lunch.  Ever.

Have you ever tried to recreate your favourite dish from a restaurant?¬† There’s a starter dish I fancy trying, from the ASK restaurant.¬† It’s crostini¬†with beef tomato, goats cheese, caramelised¬†onions and balsamic¬†vinegar, served with rocket.¬† LLARRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Enjoy ūüôā x

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After many requests, I’ve finally got round to posting the recipe for these little delights!

Of all the things I’ve ever made, these Oreo Truffles have lavished me with the most praise!  I pinched it from the lovely Celine, who made them for us at a BBQ last year!

Celine made them in school (what school-aged obesity issue?), and they went down a treat.  We were all practically fighting for the remaining truffles (which disappeared rapidly, I tell ye).

I‚Äôve only made these a couple of times and feedback includes: ‚ÄúI need these in my life‚ÄĚ, as well as ‚Äúthey‚Äôre honestly the best things I have ever put in my mouth‚ÄĚ *snigger*.¬† This is definitely one for indulgence; if you are on a diet I would look away now.¬† You won‚Äôt be able to ‚Äújust have one‚ÄĚ, I won‚Äôt lie to you.

Here are the Ingredients in all their beautiful glory (made 15 fat truffles)

2 packets of Oreos

230g bar of Dairy Milk

250g Plain Soft Cheese

Another recipe that calls for furious bashing… place the Oreos into a bowl and, with a rolling pin, unleash the fury.

Mix in the soft cheese thoroughly, then its time to get messy.  Roll them into truffle-sized balls and place on a flat tray (I used my chopping board), then put them in the fridge to set for an hour (or the freezer for half an hour).

Melt the Dairy Milk in a bowl over a pot of bubbling hot water.  Try not to eat it, lest you earn yourself a trip to the A&E.

Dip the truffles into the (cooled) chocolate, coating them nicely and putting back on the chopping board (or whatever you’re using).¬† Put in the fridge to set for another hour or so.

The final step is to sit back and accept the praise ūüôā

You can dust icing sugar over it, to make it look fancy and “truffle-ish”, but I didn’t bother.

Do try them, you won’t be disappointed!

Enjoy ūüėÄ x

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So many people are scared of Black Pudding, and I used to be one of them.¬† Nowadays, I just play¬†ignorant and enjoy it, without¬†thinking about what it actually is (come on… it’s better this way!).

I was throwing a¬†wee dinner party¬†and knew my guests all liked black pudding¬†(it would have been a bit of a risk otherwise!), so I decided to make Pork Stuffed with Black Pudding, wrapped in Prosciutto.¬† I’ve made this once before for Colin, and he loved it ūüôā¬†although I used pork tenderloin and black forest ham the last time.¬† I felt the ham was too overpowering for the dish.¬† This time, I used loin steaks instead of tenderloin.

This is a perfect dish for a dinner party; you might even convert a few black-pudding-phobes if they’re brave enough!

Ingredients (Serves 5)

5 pork loin steaks

4 slices of black pudding (or 230g)

2 packs prosciutto ham (about 4-5 thin slices per steak)

First, I placed each steak¬†in turn on a piece of cling film.¬† I covered it with another piece of cling film.¬† Then I beat it to… eh…death, thinking aggressive thoughts.¬† This flattens it out and makes it easier to roll later!

Serene once more, I took 1/5 of the black pudding (which I’d bashed with a fork into a bowl to break down a bit), and I spread it across the pork like this:

I rolled it up and placed it on a bed of prosciutto.

I wrapped the prosciutto¬†around it, then covered each one in clingfilm¬†into a wee sausage shape.¬† I put them¬†in the fridge to keep their shape.¬† I done it¬†overnight, but I’m sure an hour would do if you’re pushed for time.

I baked it for 30 mins in a preheated oven (180 degrees).  I served it with Clapshot (which is mashed potatoes & turnips, cream and chives.  I also made it for Burns Night. Delicious!) and honey glazed carrots and green beans.

I smothered it in a gravy made from: the meat juices, a glass of red wine and 2 Oxo cubes, reduced to a thickness I liked.

I love the way it looks when you cut into it! ūüėÄ

I hope you give it a try! ūüėÄ

In other news…

I Googled “Noble Nourishment”¬†and noticed the 8th result down was “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume”.

That is what I just studied in my Philosophy class!  Is that spooky, or what?!

Hope you’re all having a lovely day/evening, wherever you are! ūüėÄ x

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On Friday night, I went to a dinner party at my brother’s new house.¬† I offered to make the starter and bring it with me, as I had my eye on a particular recipe for what seems like years now.¬† This was the perfect excuse to make it!

I spotted the recipe when I was laying on the couch, one hungover¬†Sunday, watching the Come Dine With Me marathon.¬† One of the contestants made “Terrine¬†of Spring Onion and Chicken in Parma Ham”.¬† I drooled all the way through the program and vowed to make it one day.

Terrine¬†is actually the name of the type of dish that it was traditionally cooked in, apparently.¬† I used to always think Terrines were a type of Pate, in my blissful ignorance! ūüôā

I adapted the recipe slightly, by using Black Forest Ham instead of Parma Ham.  They had a special deal on in Lidl, so why not? 

I also amended the amounts to have enough for 6 servings.¬† I had a terribly idiotic moment, when I realised my loaf tin wouldn’t hold enough for 6 servings.¬† I went into a panic and started conjuring up these images of making individual parcels instead,¬†using Tupperware dishes as temporary templates.¬† My friend Michelle took on the role of Oracle, by suggesting that I just use one of the bigger dishes in the cupboard instead of the loaf tin.¬† Crisis averted!¬† Silly me… *blush*.

Here’s my¬†adaptation of Ingredients (Serves 6):

3 chicken breasts

1 chicken stock cube

4 eggs, beaten

1 bunch of spring onions, roughly chopped

150g self-raising flour

2 x 200g packs of Black Forest Ham (about 20 slices)

4tbsp milk

150g vintage cheddar, grated

Heres what I did:

First, I crushed up a chicken stock cube in a little olive oil, then rubbed it over the chicken.  I roasted the chicken in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 40 minutes.

While the chicken was roasting away, I lined my baking dish with the ham.¬† It looks a bit obscene, somehow, doesn’t it?

I mixed the flour, eggs and milk together.¬† Then stirred in the chicken (which I’d cut into small chunks) and cheese.¬† I put half the mixture into the dish.

I sprinkled the spring onions over, then topped with the rest of the mixture and folded the ham over the top, sealing it all in.  I baked it in the oven for 1 hour at 180 degrees, covering it with foil after about 10 minutes, as I felt it was browning too quickly.

Some of the mixture managed to escape through the spaces in the ham, but I turned it out onto the chopping board and the underside was perfectly flat and sealed.

I made this ahead of the dinner party, and reheated it when we got there, in the oven at a low temperature for about 20 mins (whilst we had some tipples!).

I sliced the terrine¬†into 6 pieces and served on a bed of rocket salad, balsamic¬†vinegar and a dollop of tomato chutney on the side.¬† Everyone was starving so I didn’t have the nerve to faff about taking photos of it.¬† Apologies!

The main course was Steak Frites with Diane sauce, and we had Apple Pie & Cream for dessert.  It was phenomenal.

I started feeling bad about not having taken a photo of the end result, and my boyfriend said I should make it again and take photos.¬† Confirmation that he’d eat it again… I’m counting that as praise for the dish! ūüôā

If you’re stuck for a tasty starter dish, you can’t go wrong with this one;¬†its delicious and easy!

Enjoy ūüėÄ x

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