soberandhungry's Blog

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Making Welsh Cakes with a Welsh Girl

Having recently visited Wales, I had the opportunity to try Welsh Cakes.  I had never come across them before as I am not sure that they stock them in our supermarkets, but fear not, they are really easy to make. Here is how my Welsh friend showed me how to do it:

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g butter, cut into small pieces (plus extra for frying)
  • 50g currants
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • splash milk (if needed)

photo 1

Instructions

  1. Sieve the flour into a bowl and then add sugar, cinnamon, baking powder.
  2. With your fingers, rub in the butter and until you have a crumbly mix.
  3. Add in the currants.
  4. Whisk the egg in a separate cup.
  5. Make a space in the middle of the mix and add the egg into the mixture until you have soft dough (the texture should be similar to shortcrust pastry.)
  6. At this stage you can add a splash of milk if it seems a little dry (a little milk goes a long way so add in tsps.)
  7. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of your little finger.
  8. Cut out rounds using a 6cm cutter, re-rolling any trimmings.
  9. Grease a heavy frying pan with butter, and place over a medium heat. On our electric cooker setting three worked best.
  10. Cook the Welsh cakes in batches, for about 3-4 mins each side, until golden brown, crisp and cooked through.
  11. Sprinkle with caster sugar and enjoy! Thanks go to Candice for this recipe!


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Review: Leyton Technical – Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Having recently moved to the Leyton area, pretty much the first thing that we did was suss out the local Public Houses. We first stepped foot into the Leyton Technical a few months ago, and, although their was nothing on the menu at that point, we were blown away by the range of ales and the gourmet bar snacks (proper lincolnshire sausage rolls). Since that moment we have eagerly awaited the kitchen’s grand opening. Imagine our delight when we discovered that we could host our own Sunday Roast from the ‘Host Your Own’ Menu. As a group of 6, we opted for the Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder, recommended for 4/5 people, at £50 (you have to pre-order this the Thursday before) and two Roast Rumps of Beef at £12 each. The three day wait had us all hankering after a really good roast. We ordered some pre-lunch drinks as the staff keenly chatted with us about how amazing the Lamb looked and that we must report back on how it was. I am pleased to say that we were not disappointed.

LambShoulderv1

The Lamb came to the table first. Served on a huge white platter was an array of carrots, red and green cabbage and potatoes underneath an enormous lamb shoulder. The meat looked tender and succulent. The carving equipment that had been supplied was unnecessary as the it fell off the bone with ease as everyone started to tuck in. A whole plate of yorkshires and the two beefs appeared looking equally as tasty. Silence fell on the table as we tucked into our perfectly cooked roasts. The roasties were spectacular, really crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The vegetables held their form and we converted a cabbage hater, into a cabbage lover. After the mound had been devoured, we found ourselves digging through the fat and bones to find the last morsels of meat. Not an item was left on the platter.
LambShoulderv2
Between us we could only russell up a couple of comments; the lamb came with 3-4 roasties per person, some in the group would have liked a few more, and the gravy was a bit thin and could have done with more oomph (we do like thick gravy). Overall the feedback was resoundingly positive and we will be back to try the Pork Belly.


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Review: Wild Mushroom Tortelloni – The Fresh Pasta Company

We were given a free pack of Wild Mushroom Tortelloni courtesy of The Fresh Pasta Company to try out. It came in nicely designed packaging and looked very appetising, so we really hoped that it would taste as good as it appeared. We were not disappointed!

Wild Mushroom Tortelloni

The pack suggested that you served the pasta with some butter. I decided to create a basic sauce to accompany the pasta made from some Italian staples (see recipe below).

As it is fresh pasta, it cooked within 4 – 5 minutes. There were 4 – 5 ravioli per person, which I initially thought was a rather small portion, but I was surprised by how filling the pasta was. I am glad that we stuck to a simple sauce, as the quality of the pasta really shone through. A heavy tomato-based sauce would have detracted from the subtlety of the mushroom filling. If we had one comment, it would be that the mushroom filling, although ample, could have had more of an intense mushroom middle – but that is because we love strong flavours. We would be more than happy to pay for a box of pasta from The Fresh Pasta Company http://www.thefreshpastacompany.co.uk – it puts other pre-packaged Tortelloni to shame!

Wild Mushroom Tortelloni2

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 pack of fresh basil leaves (25g)
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • A handful on pine nuts (30g)
  • 30g grated Parmesan

Serves 2

Instructions for sauce:

  1. Melt the butter over a medium heat in a frying pan
  2. Add the basil leaves and cook until lightly fried
  3. Add the ground nutmeg and the pine nuts
  4. Cook the ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water until just cooked through (4 mins) and drain
  5. Add the ravioli to the sauce and mix well
  6. Add grated Parmesan to taste and serve

 


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Mushroom, Chicken and Bacon Risotto

When you cook a whole chicken and have leftovers, there is nothing nicer than a Mushroom, Chicken and Bacon Risotto. I also save the chicken juices to pump up the stock (only save the juices and jelly, removing any fat by freezing a couple tablespoon sized portions in sandwich bags for future use)

Mushroom, Chicken and Bacon Risotto

Ingredients

  • 25g dried mixed mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon of porcini mushroom paste (or another 25g of mixed mushrooms)
  • 1.3l of stock (I used knorr oxo – you will need 2 x cubes and a bag of the saved chicken juices)
  • 250g of fresh mushroom (I used close cup) sliced
  • 5 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped up
  • black pepper
  • 50g of butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1 small glass of white wine
  • 300g risotto rice (I used arborio)
  • 50g parmesan, finely grated
  • left over chicken – skinned and pulled apart
  • parsley

Serves 6

Instructions

  1. Put the dried mushrooms into a bowl and cover with boiling water. They will soften. After 20 mins squeeze the mushrooms to slightly dry and remove from the bowl. If there are any hard bits, cut these up into small pieces.
  2. Make 1.3l of stock  – add the mushroom liquid. We are aiming for 1.5l in total (you can top up with boiling water).
  3. Chop up the bacon up and fry in a deep sided pan with half the butter and pepper to taste (we will be making the risotto in this pan so ensure it is large enough for all the ingredients). Add the finely chopped onion and cook until soft.
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms and the hydrated mushrooms. Cook through for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the wine and cook for a couple more minutes.
  5. Add the rice. Stir and ladle 1 spoon of stock into the pan. Continue to stir. The rice will slowly absorb the liquid and begin to create a thick and creamy sauce. Continue this method until all the stock has been stirred in.
  6. Add the chicken to reheat.
  7. Add the parmesan and the remaining butter and stir until melted. Then mix in the parsley and set aside to rest.
  8. Plate up after 5 minutes with a garnish of parsley and add grated parmesan to taste.


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Spicy Chicken with Rice and Peas

I really love my spices and I wanted to try something that I had not done before, so I did a bit of online reading and decided to do my take on a Jamaican classic – jerk chicken with rice and peas. I did not want to go out and buy loads of new ingredients so I took what I had in the cupboard to make a spicy marinade for the chicken and cooked the rice in coconut milk for that Jamaican twist.

chicken rice and peasIngredients for the spicy chicken:

  • 4 large garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 cardamom pods – seeds removed and crushed
  • ½ teaspoon powder ginger
  • ½ juice lemon
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 whole medium chicken

Ingredients for the rice and peas:

  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 x spring small onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cups of rice
  • Sweetcorn as side

 Serves 4-5

Prepare the chicken (you can do this 24 hours before cooking).

  1. Dice 3 of the garlic finely and slice the other. Place the sliced garlic to the side.
  2. Put all of the spices into a bowl with the diced garlic, squeeze in the lemon juice and oil and mix (you should add enough oil to make a nice thick paste) season to taste.
  3. Place the chicken in a glass oven tray and stab it all over the top and bottom to make small insertions. Rub salt all over the chicken. Insert the sliced garlic into the insertions. Rub the paste all over the chicken and let it marinade covered in cling film in the fridge.

spicy chickenTiming is key for this meal. Here is a mini plan to ensure everything comes out on time:

  1. Pre-heat the oven. Cover the chicken in foil. Place in the oven and set a timer to go off at the chicken’s halfway point (Read the label for cooking instructions, a medium chicken should take 1hr30 at 190).
  2. 10 minutes before the timer is due to go off, prepare all the elements for the rice and peas. Take a jug to drain the kidney beans water into and add the coconut milk. You will require 4 cups of liquid for the rice.
  3. Dice the onion and garlic.
  4. Rinse the rice until the water runs clean.
  5. Take a pot with a tight fitting lid and warm up the oil over a medium heat.
  6. Turn your attention back to the chicken. Remove from the oven and baste the chicken in the juices – get as much of the liquid from the bottom of the dish on top of the chicken.
  7. Place the onion and garlic in the pot and fry slightly till slightly browning. Take a cup and measure out the liquid from the kidney beans and the coconut milk. Add water to make up the full 4 cups required. Add the sprigs of fresh thyme into the pot and bring to the boil.
  8. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute, adding in the kidney beans. Reduce the heat so that the rice is gently bubbling and place the scotch bonnet pepper on the top. Put the lid back on. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Do not be tempted to open the lid! Just leave it to do its thing.
  9. When the timer goes off check the rice – if you stir it the rice should be cooked but not dry. If your rice needs a bit longer, ensure there is still enough water in the pot and continue to cook or turn off the heat. Remember to remove scotch bonnet pepper before serving.
  10. Remove the chicken from the oven and baste in the juices. Cover with foil and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Boil up some water and cook the sweetcorn.
  12. Once the sweetcorn is cooked plate up!

chicken rice and peas 2