Homemade ‘Slaw

Homemade 'Slaw

Homemade 'Slaw - Delicious with BBQ!

A well made, creamy coleslaw goes well with a lot of hot dishes, BBQ in particular. I like to use mine with my Honey Jack BBQ Pulled Pork in a nice cheese topped roll and some BBQ sauce or my Lime and Coriander Peri Peri Chicken… gorgeous!

Most people will tell you that the basic coleslaw recipe contains carrots, cabbage and onions, but as I cannot stand raw onion, I prefer to use celery instead, I also make use of red and white cabbage to give a bit of colour and if I can get my hands on them, different coloured carrots are great too!  Finally I add an apple to give a tangy sweetness which goes so well with the other vegetables in the ‘slaw.  Many people will also use some for of vinegar to give a bit of acidity, but I promise you that some lemon juice, freshly squeezed if possible, or some lime juice if you prefer, is so much nicer.

As far as mayonnaise goes, don’t scrimp on it, cheap mayo is nowhere near as nice as good quality mayo, so get a smaller jar if you have to, just don’t buy cheap.

I use a julienne peeler to slice my carrots and apple, but if you don’t have one you can easily use a cheese grater, though julienne looks so much nicer. My peeler was only £1.65 on eBay and I’ve had it an age, so it’s worth spending those few pennies for that special touch.  A lot of food processors have the attachment nowadays too, if you have one, check to see if you have it before starting, it saves so much time!

Try and make your ‘slaw the morning that you need it so that it can relax in the fridge for at least 2 hours, this lets the sauce soak into the veggies and makes it all that much creamier when you go to eat it, if I want it for an evening meal or late afternoon BBQ, I always make it that morning.

This is a basic recipe, but, don’t feel tied down by it, you can add onions if you like, a bit of cayenne pepper or Tabasco to the sauce for a bit of a kick, grapes or strawberries for a bit of a summer flair, some radish or beetroot for some added colour or fennel root… the list is endless…

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1/4 head red cabbage
  • 1/4 head white cabbage
  • 1 apple
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 3 tablespoons good mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (caster sugar is best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • A good pinch of salt and pepper

METHOD

  1. On a large chopping board and using your julienne peeler or cheese grater, grate strips from your carrots and your apple and place in a large mixing bowl (it gets messy so the bigger the better at this point).
  2. Shred your cabbages using a large sharp knife – watch those fingers! Add this to the other vegetables in the bowl.
  3. Thinly slice up the celery using quick smooth knife skills! Make your slices no more than 3-5mm thick and add these to the bowl also.
  4. In a new smaller bowl, add all the wet ingredients and spices together and stir until thoroughly mixed together and pour the mixture on top of the shredded vegetables in the larger bowl.
  5. Using your hands (clean please!), mixe the sauce and the vegetables up well, so that the sauce covers everything and the vegetables are all nicely jumbled together.
  6. Pop the whole lot (which will look like it has reduced considerably now you’ve mixed it together) into a smaller bowl or the dish you will be serving it in, cover with cling film and pop into the fridge for at least 2 hours. And that’s it!
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Categories: Cold Sides, Side Dishes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pecan Fudge Brownies

The ooiest gooiest fudgiest brownies you will EVER taste - guaranteed!!!

Don’t take this the wrong way, this is going to sound like I am totally blowing my own trumpet but get ready for a fanfare because THESE brownies are the best I have ever eaten… period… they are delicious warmed and served with ice cream or just cold and on their own, it doesn’t matter because if they are treated right in the oven, I promise you one thing – you will have them breaking down the door for these bad boys!

Everybody loves a brownie don’t they? And the perfect brownie has to have that crisp outer shell which, when you bite into it, is followed by a total chocolate meltdown of goo and yumminess! Some like nuts in their brownies, some like fudge, some like just chocolate – or even extra chocolate, but me? I prefer nuts AND fudge, so here you go, my very own, Pecan Fudge Brownies!

You will find that most brownie recipes call for about 200g of 70% cocoa solid dark chocolate, but I find that way too bitter for my liking, so I always go half dark and half milk… but you don’t have to, if you prefer them dark, then use all dark, if you want them even milkier, then use all milk (though this doesn’t taste as good in my opinion). Don’t skimp here though, cheap chocolate taste like just that, cheap chocolate, it isn’t nice, try to go for Swiss or Belgian, I usually use Sainsburys Taste The Difference Fairtrade Belgian milk and dark (70% cocoa solids) 100g bars, they are £1.39 each and well worth the extra pennies. Green and Blacks Organic chocolate is also delicious though you can expect to pay a fair bit more for these bars.

If you want nuts, I would advise pecans as they mix well with the fudge, though roasted hazelnuts are also delicious. As for the fudge… only clotted cream fudge will do in my book, Thorntons do an amazingly good clotted cream fudge, but if you can’t get it, any good fudge will do, so long as it tastes creamy!  You don’t have to stop there though, you can add chopped cherries or other dried fruits or even chocolate chunks if you like, or honeycomb pieces, or biscuit pieces!

Make sure you have the correct sized tin, a 20cm x 20cm square cake tin is what I use and I generally get 32 marvellous melting mouthfuls out of that because too much really is too much in this instance!  You could also use a more rectangular tin, Asda do a pack of 3 or 5 (I forget now) foil ones for about £2.50 which are also great.  Anyway, enough! On with the recipe!

Makes 32 Brownies

INGREDIENTS

  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 85g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (don’t use essence, but you can use a pod if you prefer)
  • 100g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder (again, use good stuff like Bournville or similar)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 75g pecans, chopped
  • 75g fudge pieces, chopped
  • Icing sugar for sifting

METHOD

  1. First things first, the chocolate bit! First, pop the butter, in smallish cubes into a medium bowl and add the 100g dark and 85g milk chocolate in broken pieces.  Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, then sit the bowl on top so it rests on the rim of the pan, but most important – so that it DOESN’T EVER touch the water, if it does, you run the risk of turning smooth silky liquid chocolate into something resembling dried mud.
  2. Put the pan on a medium heat on the stove, allowing the water to boil under the bowl until the butter and chocolate have melted, stirring occasionally to mix them. Once everything is all melted together nicely, you can remove the bowl from the top of the pan in order to cool it.
  3. While you’re waiting for the chocolate and butter mix to cool off, turn the oven on to heat up at a temperature of Fan 160C/180C/Gas Mark 4, then cut out a square of greaseproof paper with which to line the base and overlap the edges of your baking tin, smear a little butter under and all over the top of the paper to prevent sticking, I also like to dust with a little sprinkle of cocoa powder here as well which also prevents sticking.
  4. Leaving the chocolate, oven and tin for now, get yourself a sieve and tip the flour and cocoa powder inside over a medium bowl, and tap and shake the sieve so the two run through together and you get rid of any lumps and bumps.
  5. Next, take your add on, your nuts and fudge in this case, and get yourself a sharp knife, and carefully chop the fudge and nuts into smallish pieces on a chopping board.
  6. Fetch another larger bowl and into it break the eggs and add the sugar, with a medium speed electric whisk or mixer whisk the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy, sort of like a milkshake, when this is done, pour over the cooled chocolate mixture and gently fold with a spatula. It’s important that you don’t mix heavily with a spoon or whisk as this make the brownies nice and light, folding is basically a figure of eight through the mixture with the spatula, pushing the spatula in at one side, taking it underneath before bringing it up on the opposite side of the bowl and then in again at the middle. Continue going under and over in a figure of eight, moving the bowl around as you go so you don’t leave anything on the sides until the colour of the mixture is a sort of mottled dark brown.
  7. Hold the sieve over the bowl of chocolate mixture and once again sift the cocoa and flour mixture, shaking the sieve from side to side, to cover the top evenly. Then, gently fold using the same figure of eight action as you did before. Yes, it looks awful to begin with, but stick at it and after a couple of minutes of patience and gentle folding, it will eventually look like a gungy fudgy mix, which is what you want…
  8. Take the chunks of nuts and fudge and stir it gently into the mixture until it is nicely distributed.
  9. Now for the magic! Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, feeling free to leave a scrape in the bowl for licking afterwards (or is that just me and Seran?). Gently ease the mixture into the corners of the tin and level it on the top.
  10. Pop the tray onto a middle shelf in the oven and leave it there undisturbed for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes have passed, open the oven door, pull the shelf out a little and gently shake the tin. If the brownie mix wobbles wildly in the centre, it’s not quite done, so pop it back in and bake for another 5 minutes and then repeat as needed until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin then take the tin out of the oven.
  11. At this point a lot of people will pop a knife into the middle, pull it out and it will look wet, so they will put the whole thing back in the oven until it stops doing that.  Trouble is, by doing this, you end up with regular dry brownies instead of the gooey ones that we are after… so leave your tin, even if your knife comes out wet.  In fact, I leave the whole thing, covered in tin foil until it has gone completely cold, sometimes overnight even!  It WILL carry on cooking when removed from the oven, and the foil helps.
  12. When the brownie is completely cold, and has been left long enough, remove it from the tin in one go using the overlapping sides of the greaseproof paper, pop it upside down on a large cutting board, pull off the paper, flip it back over and then, using a VERY sharp and very large knife, sharpen it if you have to, cut the brownie into quarters. Then, cut those quarters into quarters and then, cut those 16 smaller squares in half diagonally, until you have 32 lovely little brownies looking at you like loving children.
  13. Pop your children (?!?) on a plate or display stand and dust with some icing sugar.  Stored in an airtight container, they will keep lovely and moist for at least a week.
  14. Enjoy!
Categories: Baked Goodies, Sweet Treats | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gyros-Souvlaki Herb Mix

Gyros-Souvlaki Herb Mix - These gorgeous little airtight jars are available everywhere for a few pence, mine cost me 95 pence each from B&M!!!

If you like to holiday regularly in Greece like the girls and I, then you will undoubtedly already know what both Gyros and Souvlaki are… And if you don’t, then I shall tell you!  A Gyros is not a thing you pick up every week if you don’t have a job, rather it is the quintessential Greek fast food, ground pork, lamb or chicken, mixed with herbs and cooked on a spit, sliced thinly and served on a flatbread with salad and chips, sort of like a donor kebab – but nicer.  A Souvlaki is also a kebab, but more like a shish kebab, where cubes of pork, lamb or chicken are cooked on skewers over a flame and served, again with flatbread, salad and chips, and of course the optional – yet delicious, Tzatziki!

The herbs used in the cooking of these meats are extremely simple to find over here in supermarkets and just as easy to mix together yourself for use on pork chops or Souvlaki of your own at your Sunday afternoon family BBQ.  You can buy them ready mixed in Greek deli stores or online on websites like eBay (just search for Gyros seasoning), but as I said, it is easy as Gyros to mix your own together, and here’s how…

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper OR paprika (either sweet smoked or plain)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground unrefined sea salt (or normal salt if unrefined sea salt is not available)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. Pop all of the above ingredients into a airtight container or jar, close the lid tightly and shake like mad!
  2. This mix will store nicely in a cool dry place for up to 6 months in an airtight container, but if you use it as much as I do, it won’t need to last that long!
Categories: Dishes of the World, Greek Dishes, Herbs & Spices | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mushroom & Chorizo Stuffed Pan Fried Pork Chops

Chorizo & Mushroom Stuffed Pan Fried Pork Chops shown here with Honey Glazed Carrots and Mixed Potato Mash

I love pork, I think that I must seriously cook with pork more than just about any other meat, it’s cheap, versatile and goes down a treat if cooked correctly… and no, it is NEVER, EVER plain, dry OR boring in my house!

So, with the humble piggy in mind, it is with great delight, that I bring to you, my first ever blogged recipe… Mushroom and Chorizo pan friend pork chops… yum… I’m trying not to drool on the keyboard here, perhaps blogging about food wasn’t a great idea in hindsight.

These chops are delicious served with Honey Glazed Roasted Carrots and Mixed Potato Mash or my Roasted Seed Root Vegetables (all of which you will find recipes for on this blog under ‘Side Dishes’), when cooked correctly, the oils from the chorizo melt into the chops and just add to the flavour… delicious! You can fry them in a plain old frying pan, but they really do get that lovely charred flavour if cooked on a cast iron griddle so it is worth investing if you haven’t already got one. You could also BBQ them if you like… but be careful of those juices on an open flame!

Now there are a few ingredients here that you may not recognise, and that is perfectly fine, but do not be afraid!!! Many supermarkets are now selling a fantastic range of specialist ingredients and failing that, you can often get great deals on herbs and spices on eBay and Amazon, and often for less money! I will be covering a lot of these ingredients such as liquid smoke and sweet smoked paprika in my Tips area so don’t panic…

This recipe will serve 2, but for 4 people you just double it, or for 6 treble it and so on…

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 thick cut pork chops (thicker the better)
  • 50g chopped sweet smoked chorizo (if you like a kick go for spicy instead)
  • 50g chopped chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic – finely chopped
  • Pinch of Gyros-Souvlaki herb mix (Recipe and info here: Gyros-Souvlaki Herb Mix)
  • Pinch of sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of liquid smoke
  • Olive oil for frying

METHOD

  1. Begin to prepare your chops by cutting off any thick pieces of fat from the edges and removing the bone if you wish (not necessary, but it saves hassle on the dinner plate!).
  2. Take a very sharp knife (and be careful, this isn’t a recipe for finger stuffed pork chops) and cut a pocket into the side of the main flesh of the pork, you don’t want to cut the chop in half, just make a slit and then poke about in there with your knife to make it a little wider.
  3. Put your chops to one side or in the fridge and grab a frying pan in order to prepare the stuffing. Add a glug of olive oil (or if you want to be luxurious, butter) to the pan and thrown in the liquid smoke, garlic, chorizo and mushrooms. The mushrooms are like a sponge and will soak up a lot of the lovely savoury sweet smokey flavour that will ooze out of the chorizo turning everything red in the process – it’s awesome. Fry for a couple of minutes until everything is nice and soft. If you like you could throw in a small amount of diced pepper or some chilli if you like things hot…
  4. Let the stuffing cool down so it is ok to handle and sit down with a brew for 5-10 mins.
  5. Head back to the kitchen, pop a glug of olive oil into a cast iron griddle (or a frying pan if you don’t have one) and put it on the stove on a medium high heat.
  6. Grab your chops and taking half the stuffing mixture (so half per chop if you are using 2 chops), gently open the slit in the meat and stuff the cooked chorizo and mushroom mixture inside taking care not to tear the meat in any way.
  7. When the chop is suitably stuffed, take a pinch of Gyros-Souvlaki herbs and a pinch of smoked paprika and gently rub it into the top of a chop. Then, making sure you don’t burn your fingers or lose the stuffing from the side of the chop, place each chop into the griddle herb side DOWN. Then, when they begin cooking you simply take another pinch of herbs and paprika and rub it on the upturned sides of the chops.
  8. Fry the chops on the heat for about 5-8 minutes either side or until they are a nice golden brown colour with a spot of charring for flavour from the griddle.
  9. Serve on a bed of my Mixed Potato Mash, surrounded by Honey Glazed Carrots either dry or with a nice mushroom gravy or sauce. If cooking on the BBQ, perhaps one of my Crisp Baked Potatoes with a nice salad accompaniment or some of my simple Homemade ‘Slaw (yes, I’ll give you the recipes, geesh, what do you think this is? A cooking blog?)…
Categories: Meat Dishes, Pork Dishes | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hungry???

Hello there!

If you are reading this then you are most likely one of the following…

  1. A food fan
  2. A friend or family member who is interested in my cooking and ideas and who wants to support me
  3. My mum (Hi Mum, love you!)

Either way that is fine by me! I am one of those people who absolutely LOVES food, and I’m putting this site together to share my love of cooking, my passion for trying out new recipes and messing with classic dishes and to hopefully get some insight into what others think of my food! I am a self-taught cook, who doesn’t any cooking at all for a living, I’m actually a Graphic/Web Designer by trade but I just love to cook for my family and friends and try out new ideas on them, some work, some definitely don’t (strawberry cheesecake made with jelly for one – yuk!)…

I’m planning on giving tips on the little things and accepting advice from those who know better. Sharing recipes and images with you and hopefully introducing a lot of you to things you never thought you would try and cook or eat in a million years!  I will attempt to show you everything (without sounding too conceited) from baking delicious treats to cooking up mouth-watering different cuisines, side dishes and even tips on herb gardening and seasoning’s… I will also share my secrets to saving a pretty penny in the supermarkets! And for the record… NONE of this stuff is difficult to do…

But that’s about all I have time to say right now, I have a wife and child who are waiting patiently for me to bake up a storm in the kitchen this weekend, starting with a classic Victoria Sponge with fresh cream and jam, amazingly moreish pecan and fudge brownies and some fantastic choc-nut and fudge cookies (remind me to tell you how I couldn’t bake to save my life until recently), not to mention the choritzo and mushroom stuffed pan fried pork I plan on cooking for dinner tonight… AND I want to get out into the garden to plant some new Bay plants… phew… will it ever end?

For for the minute at least, thanks for visiting, please come back and see what I have to show you later on and happy cooking!!!

So long for now…

Lou

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