soberandhungry's Blog

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Katie’s Naughty Banoffee Muffins

Some ingredients are meant to be together. Banana, fudge and cinnamon are so perfect together and so tasty that they are tipping the scales into being purely naughty. They are a ménage à trois in the muffin world. I have been inspired by a lot of recipes and this is my version of banoffee muffins.

Ingredients

  • 100g dairy fudge
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 50g demerera sugar
  • 55g chopped pecan nuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Sit 12 large paper cases into a muffin tin
  3. Chop fudge into small pieces and set aside
  4. Mash bananas in a bowl. Add milk, oil and vanilla and combined with folk
  5. In a different large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
  6. Break eggs into a separate bowl, add the sugars and whisk until light and fluffy
  7. Add the egg mix gently into the flour until just combined, don’t beat hard (at this point it will look like a dry lumpy mixture)
  8. Fold in the banana mix and fudge chunks keeping some for the tops (you will now have the texture of a normal cake mix).
  9. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cupcake cases
  10. Sprinkle a little fudge and some pecan nuts over the top of each muffin
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from center
  12. Allow to Cool (if you can wait that long)


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Halloween Vegetable (Pumpkin) Curry

Halloween is here, autumn has truly settled in, everything is made up of beautiful oranges, reds and browns and the winter clothes are making an appearance. We all need warming up and what better way to do it than with healthy veggie curry with pumpkin chunks to get in the spirit of things? You can use whatever vegetables you like – just keep the spices in the cupboard and see what you find in the fridge!

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • Olive Oil for frying
  • 1 x Large white Onion
  • A few Garlic cloves to taste
  • 1 x large Chili
  • 3 x small potatoes
  • 1 x pepper (any colour)
  • 3-4 x carrots
  • 1 x can of tomatoes,
  • 1 x can of beans drained,
  • 1 x pumpkin (peel, scoop out seeds, cut into chunks)
  • Some red lentils
  • A few florets of broccoli and Cauliflower
  • ½ tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika
  • Soy sauce
  • Dried chili – if you like it hot!

Instructions:

Heat the oil in a large pot over a high heat. Add a large chopped white onion, sliced garlic cloves and diced chili. Fry for a few minutes then add cubed potatoes, chunky chopped pepper and carrot and cook until vegetables begin to brown.

Turn down the heat and add the spices. Cook for a few minutes to release the flavors. Add a can of tomatoes and drained beans and add boiling water to cover the vegetables. Dice the pumpkin into chunky cubes and sprinkle some lentil (they really thicken up the sauce).

Add a good dollop of soy sauce and season to taste  (note: soy sauce is salty so taste before). At this point add some dried chili – if you like it hot! Bring to the boil and let bubble covered for 40mins string occasionally.

Add broccoli and cauliflower towards the end so that they cook but do not dissolve into the curry! Cook for a further 10-15 minutes and serve with some rice!

You can freeze the curry for your lunches


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Katie’s Mini Lemony Victoria Sponge (batch of 12)

These mini Victoria Sponge cakes are absolutely delicious. Everyone who has tried them loves them! I swap the vanilla extract for some lemon, which compliments the sponge superbly and creates a delicious butter icing. Rather than a layer of jam in the middle I use strawberries, fresh or dried for a different spin on an old classic!

Ingredients:

  • 100g margarine (plus some for greasing)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • 100g self-raising flour

I also use: 2 x mini silicon-baking trays with 12 holes 4.5cm

Middle:

  • 3 cups icing sugar (plus some to decorate)
  • 1/2 cups margarine
  • Some milk
  • Lemon rind
  • Slices of strawberries

 Preparation method

Sponge:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Grease silicon trays with margarine
  3. Cream the butter and the sugar together in a bowl until pale
  4. Beat the eggs into the mixture a little at a time
  5. Once mixed add the juice of 1 lemon and some grated rind (to taste)
  6. Sift the flour into the mixture and fold in using a large metal spoon
  7. Spoon into silicon trays
  8. Bake for 22 minutes
  9. Allow the cakes to cool (very important)

Icing:

  1. Slice the strawberries into slithers and place on kitchen towel to absorb excess water (or use dried strawberries)
  2. Mix the butter and the icing sugar and add some lemon rind (to taste). Add some milk if required

Construction:

  1. Take two of the sponges. Put a dollop of icing onto the first sponge and top with strawberries. Sparingly ice the bottom of the second sponge and place onto the first to create your Victoria sandwich. Repeat 12 times.
  2. Sift icing over the top & decorate with strawberry chunk!

Any hints and tips? Some help from our readers…

I find that butter icing is difficult to get right. After a few hours if it is a warm day it becomes runny and can make the sponge soggy. Please let me know if you have the perfect icing formula and I will try it out and update the recipe!


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A meal to remember: T-Bone Steak & Homemade Coleslaw

Today our Saturday has involved waking up, buying some cake making equipment, visiting the local market for our weekly veggies and then popping into our favorite Butchers – W T Parish. We weren’t too sure what meat we fancied, I suggested sausages, but we had already devoured 6 stunning Lincolnshire Sausages purchased from the East Midlands Food and Wine Festival this week and we like to ensure we consume a variety of foods!

Our greedy eyes moved towards the steaks… filet steaks, rump steaks…we must have looked slightly lost as our Butcher came over to rescue us from a meat overload. He knew what we needed, a T-bone steak that had been matured for 24 days – a fabulous piece of meat taken from the whole sirloin. On one side of the bone is a piece of tender fillet (for the ladies); on the other side is a piece of flavorsome sirloin steak (so it’s a big enough cut for the men). Two steaks set us back £14.00, the same price that we would have paid for two filet steaks.

We kept it simple. We seasoned the T-bone, preheated a pan and then quickly pan-fried it for three minutes on either side until medium-rare. We served it with homemade potato wedges and homemade coleslaw which both go really really well with steaks!

The coleslaw itself deserves a shout out – it is a tasty way to get raw veggies into your tum and is nothing like the wet, high fat, plasticy rubbish that gets packaged up and called ‘coleslaw’ in supermarkets… go on, have a go; I defy you to eat freshly made coleslaw and ever go back to the pre-packaged stuff!

Coleslaw Ingredients:

  1. ½ White Cabbage
  2. 1 small Red Onion
  3. 2 medium Carrots
  4. Light Mayo
  5. Squeeze of Lemon Juice
  6. Paprika to top
  7. Raisins (optional)

Just chop 1-3 up as big or fine as you like! Put a blob of Mayo in, Squeeze the lemon and sprinkle with Paprika… ta da! Off for a 5k walk now!


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Restaurant Review: Vapiano – Italian Fast Food

Today I have had the absolutely refreshing pleasure of experiencing the highest quality ‘fast food’ that I have ever tasted! I happened to be working around London Bridge and as my colleague and I were walking to our meeting she caught site of a Vapiano. I had never heard of the restaurant before, but the morning’s conversation seemed gripped by Vapianos and how amazing she thought it was. It seemed our lunch venue had been decided on!

On entering the restaurant we were given a chip card as we were directed to order from an L shaped self-service food station offering fresh made-to-order hand tossed pizza, pasta or salad. I decided I fancied Pasta “Gruppo A – Pesto” (£6.75). From the outside you may be deceived into thinking that you are entering a very expensive restaurant, but this is not the case. The prices are really reasonable and the best part is, that like its exterior appearance, the menu selection, décor, furniture, toilets and staff are all top notch! At the pasta station a very friendly lady asked me for my preferred pasta type, if I wanted garlic, chili and cheese and how much of each I would like. She then boiled the pasta, fried the chosen ingredients and created my individual dish as I waited. Within a few minutes I had a very generous bowl of pasta, garnished with basil, parmesan and a baby tomato. To my delight the pesto was fresh, homemade and authentic. I have eaten pesto from Genova in Northern Italy where it was created and this was on par!

So I have done some research. Vapiano describes itself as a “fast casual restaurant with a twist”. This fresh concept has been implemented in more that 70 worldwide locations with another 100 in development in the United States, Europe and the Middle East – please make more in London! Whenever I am out and about and in need of some fast, tasty, healthy, yummy lunch, I will be on the look out for a Vapiano! It’s name made me giggle too as Vapiano literally translates as ‘go slowly’ – maybe the Italians are trying to tell us Brits to enjoy a proper lunch break and I can only but endorse proper lunch breaks!

 S&H


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A meal to remember: mountains of Buffalo cheese, handmade pasta and more…

This epic meal was thought up after the S&H Team had been to visit the village in Italy that Marco and Agnese come from. After devouring a lot of very fresh Buffalo Mozzarella in Italy we did some research to see if we could find cheese of a similar quality here in London and Marco discovered Laverstoke Farm – www.laverstokepark.co.uk. Much to our delight we discovered that we could order the cheese online and it would be delivered straight to our doorstep for the weekend. A few clicks later and £30 out of pocket we had ordered large Buffalo Mozzarella balls, Buffalo Bocconcini, organic Buffalo Milk Brie and Buffalo Ricotta. Marco invested in a brand new ravioli cutter… we meant business!

We were all giddy as the day of the meal was upon us! With the mixed antipasti we tackled the Buffalo Mozzarella balls, we all agreed that we preferred the larger ball to the Bocconcini version and we were very please to find that the cheese was much fresher and milkier that you would get from your favorite supermarket.

Marco showed us how a professional creates pasta using Nonna’s recipe… we had to steady the table against the wall as he used his whole body to kneed the doe into a workable pasta ball before pressing it through a pasta machine. From this he created tagliatelle and ravioli – which he stuffed with some Buffalo Ricotta. James tackled the sauces – chopping up pig’s trotters for the tagiatelle and creating an amazing tomato based pork ragu to go onto the ravioli.

At this point it would be fair to say that we were all rather stuffed and some of us (me) had been pretending to be a wine tasting concur – or at least I had been tasting all the wines… we managed to slow roast the Pork Belly however, the celeriac mash, pan fried brussels sprouts with truffle oil in a port and cider sauce never emerged. However, the boys rather enjoyed munching on Pork Belly and avocado sandwiches the morning after…

Check out the pictures below! Yummm

S&H Team


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What is on the menu today?

Aperitivo: Elder Flower Suffolk Cyder (Sainsbury Taste the Difference) – S&H rate 8/10

Starters: Mixed anti-pasti including; Prosciutto, Buffalo Mozzarella  – from Laverstoke Farm, Buffalo Ricotta with Truffle Oil, Italian Goat Cheese, Olives

First Course(s): 1st dish:  Handmade Tagliatelle with Pig’s Trotters and Portobello and Chestnut Mushroom,  2nd dish: Handmade Ravioli with Buffalo Ricotta with Pork Ragu

Second Course: Slow roasted Pork Belly with celeriac mash, pan fried brussels sprouts with truffle oil in a port and cider sauce

Drinks: Barefoot Merlot – California – S&H rate 6/10 & Chianti – Italy – S&H rate (well, we are divided) K&M 5.5/10 where as J&A 6.5/10

Article to follow, in the meantime – here is a little taster of how our evening is shaping up!