Thursday, March 9, 2017

Recipe: Macaroni Leeks!

Hey everyone! Gosh a while since my last post ey? Well I really feel like getting back into my recipes again- my last two jobs were so busy/stressful  I didn't have time for anything! Now is the time for a normal cheffy job, and time to do my creative cheffing back home and on here! We may be into Spring now, but it's still pretty cold ey?? Still in comfort-food land, hence my entry into the Leek Grower's Association's Competition being a bit of a winter warmer! Macaroni cheese, made with softened sweet leeks, mature cheddar, plenty of Dijon mustard, and topped with tender baby leeks and grated parmesan. If you cant get baby leeks (via growing them yourselves or via the shop!) you can use smaller "grown-up leeks", just halve them lengthways keeping the root intact prior to blanching, and follow the same recipe guidelines.  #lovemyleeks

Macaroni Leeks! (serves 3-4)

4-6 baby leeks (or 2-3 small leeks, halved)
300g macaroni
2 leeks, finely chopped

60g butter
3 level tbsp plain flour
500ml semi-skimmed milk
4 generous teaspoons Dijon mustard
140g grated mature cheddar
Salt and white pepper to taste
45g finely grated parmesan

1) Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Blanch the baby leeks/ leeks for 1 minute, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions (about 12 minutes). For 8 of those minutes, add the finely chopped leeks to the same pan to boil.
2) Drain the mac and leeks and set aside. In the same pan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, and gradually add the milk, making a classic white sauce. Add the mustard and cheddar, and cook for about 4/5 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the sauce is thickened/ glossy.
3)Preheat oven to 200C. Mix in the macaroni/leeks into the cheese sauce and season to taste. Pour this into a baking dish, and arrange the blanched baby leeks nicely over the top. Sprinkle grated Parmesan evenly, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
4) Remove from the oven and serve! (Nice on its own of course, if feeding a big group also nice with peas/ green salad/ garlic baguette).

Friday, April 8, 2016

Recipe: Vita Coco Sticky Belly Pork, with Stir fried greens and Egg fried rice

Hi guys, it's been a while since i've posted, but let me tell you, i'm posting a heck of a recipe here! Now I admit to everyone, I am a coconut oil virgin! (highly reccomend not googling that!) The cool people at Vita Coco and Foodies100 sent me a jar of the stuff and WOW, I ruddy love it! I remember looking into the health benefits of coconut oils during my degree but didint realise how delicious it was! Works perfectly with any Chinese, Indian, Thai or Malaysian dishes. This recipe is an entry into the #Swearbyit challenge with Vita Coco. Find more great coconut oil recipes and tips on using coconut oil at
Above is a picture of the finished dish, below what all the ingredients look like before:
 Here is a picture of the cooking process during stage 2/stage 3 (as you can see, this recipe requires a little bit of multi-tasking, but it's worth it and not tricky to prepare):
This is stage 3 of the cooking process, just before plating up:

Vita Coco Sticky Belly Pork, with Stir fried greens and Egg fried rice (serves 2)

20g coconut oil
390g belly pork slices, diced
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp freshly minced ginger
60g oyster sauce
60g black bean sauce
200ml lager (Chinese beers like tsing tsau work well)
100ml chicken stock

20g coconut oil
1 pak choy, sliced
1 courgette, sliced
2 celery sticks, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

180g long grain rice (or 400g pre-cooked rice)
20g coconut oil
6 spring onions, finely chopped
1 large egg, whisked
1 tbsp soy sauce
Splash of water
Salt and pepper to taste

1)      Cook rice according to packet instructions, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, fry the pork belly in the coconut oil with salt and pepper for 10-15 minutes, until well browned. Add ginger, oyster sauce, black bean sauce, lager and chicken stock, and cook on a medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring often. 
2)      Meanwhile, in another pan, fry the pak choy, courgette, celery and garlic in the coconut oil for 10 minutes, stirring often.  
3)      Meanwhile, in a wok on a high heat, fry the spring onions in the coconut oil for 2 minutes. Add the beaten egg and fry for a couple more minutes, breaking it up, until the egg pieces are golden brown. Add the rice, soy sauce, splash of water, and fry everything up until everything is hot and well combined. Season to taste. 
4)      Serve the egg fried rice with the pork and stir fried greens. Lovely jubbly!  

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Recipe: Cheese Fondue

Now this isn't just a recipe, this has now become a Booth family tradition! What tradition I hear you say? Well, every year, mum makes a big big cheese fondue, and we all watch the Eurovision song contest! Have introduced Brendan to this phenomenon- as a south african he had actually never heard of it, and so I've had to show him Eurovision and explain us Brits actually used to be good at it, Haha.  Fondues are great for parties, because it's a social meal where everyone dips bits and bobs in. You will need a proper fondue set for this- it cant be made with one of those little ones with candles.

Cheese Fondue (serves 4)

1 clove garlic
150ml white wine
1 tsp lemon juice
285g emmental, grated
285g gruyere, grated
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp kirsch
¼ tsp paprika
Bread and crudité vegetables to dip in.

1)      Rub the inside of the fondue pan with a halved clove of garlic. Light the fondue flame on low, and heat the wine and lemon juice for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to boil. Add the emmental and gruyere, and stir often until cheese has melted.
2)      Once the cheese mixture is melted and bubbling, mix the cornflour together with the kirsch and then mix into the cheese mix. Continue to cook the fondue for about another 5 minutes, or until a desired consistency is mixed.
3)      Test the fondue thickness with a chunk of bread- if it’s too thin, you can thicken it with more cornflour, or if it’s too thick you can thin it out with a bit of wine. Serve with bits and bobs to dip in!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Recipe: Chicken and Bacon Lasagne

I love a good lasagne- me and Brendan can polish off (and i'm not joking) KILOS of any sort of pasta bake between us. Really Man vs Food portions when it comes to us. I have been eating a little unhealthily lately, just pure laziness and working a lot i guess- literally the other day all i ate was 1/2 a side portion of fries, 1/2 a chicken breast and then two bowls of Bombay mix when i got home from work. Imagine if i'd had to assess that as a diet diary for uni, my god! So i wanted something hearty, but with veg and bit healthy too- so this fit the bill. A fresh, saucey, tomato-ey lasagna- little bit different. This only takes about 15 minutes to prep and 35 minutes to bake too, which is quicker than a normal lasagne.

Chicken and Bacon Lasagne (serves 3)

Meat sauce
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp dried rosemary
150g smoked back bacon, diced
700g tinned chopped tomatoes
20g fresh basil, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
1 cooked chicken breast, diced
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

Cheese sauce
50g wild garlic butter (or use 45g butter, 2 cloves minced garlic, and a large pinch fresh parsley)
40g plain flour
500ml semi skimmed milk
80g finely grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

250g fresh lasagne sheets
50g emmental, grated

1)      Preheat oven to 180C (fan oven). In a saucepan, fry the onion, rosemary and bacon in the olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the tinned tomatoes, basil, and cooked chicken, and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. Season to taste and set aside.
2)      In another saucepan, heat the butter until melted. Add the flour, cook for a couple of minutes, and gradually add the milk to make a smooth white sauce. Melt in the parmesan, wait until everything is nice and smooth and thickened, season to taste and set aside.
3)      Time to layer the lasagne! In a large baking dish, start with a third of the tomato sauce mix. Then add a third of the lasagne sheets, then a third of the white sauce. Repeat twice, making sure the last layer is the white sauce. Top with the grated emmental, and bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
4)      Allow the lasagne to “rest” for about 5 minutes, and then serve, with salad on the side and some extra basil on top if desired. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Recipe: Wild Garlic Chicken Kievs, with Saucy Vegetables

I've never made chicken kievs from scratch before, this is the first attempt and they turned out pretty good! I think i need to be a bit braver in terms of stuffing as much butter into the pocket as I can, but other than that these turned out absolutely delicious. Couldn't believe I was "pane-ing" (french for bread-crumbing) at home on my day off- i have to pane stuff at work all the time (we make scotch eggs from scratch and they are a big seller) and it really annoys me, haha. I have used wild garlic butter (recipe on the blog), but if you have no wild garlic, just mix 60g butter with a clove minced garlic and a generous pinch chopped fresh parsley.

Wild Garlic Chicken Kievs, with saucy vegetables (serves 2)

2 large chicken breasts (or 4 smaller ones)
60g wild garlic butter, (fridge temperature)
100g flour
3 eggs
160g dry breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

320g frozen mixed vegetables (I used a mix of green beans, peas, carrots and sweetcorn)
100g black olives, sliced
400g passata
100ml strong vegetable stock
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp mel’s spice blend (mix of ground toasted fennel seeds, caraway seeds and dried chilli)
Salt and pepper

1)      Preheat oven to 180C (fan oven). With a knife, making an incision at the thick part at the top of the chicken breast, make a large pocket in the middle of the chicken breast (taking care that you don’t cut through completely). Push the garlic butter generously into the chicken breasts.
2)      Lay the breasts on a plate and cover with flour (seasoned with salt and pepper). Crack the eggs into a bowl, whisk and season. Pour the breadcrumbs onto another plate/ bowl and season. Coat the breasts in the flour, dip in the egg, and coat in the breadcrumbs. Coat them again in the egg and breadcrumbs (this in the cheffy world is called a “double pane”).
3)      Place kievs on a baking tray (lined with greaseproof paper) and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, put all the vegetable ingredients in a saucepan and cook on a medum heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4)      Remove the kievs from the oven, season the veg to taste, and serve!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Review: Hope and Anchor pub, Midford (near Bath)

Meal at the Hope and Anchor

I would like to start this review as I mean to go on, by stating that this place is bloody fantastic. Before reading the whole of the review, I can tell you straight away- AMAZING food, friendly service, with a lush atmosphere. This isn’t the first time I have been here, I have visited here many many times and it has always been perfection. The Hope and Anchor is a country pub situated in Midford, which is about a 10 minute drive from Bath, or an absolutely lovely 1 hour 15min (ish!) walk from Oldfield park, along a lovely walking/cycling route called the Two Tunnels. You can cycle here from Bristol or radstock along this path as well if you’re feeling like a bit of a workout before your meal!

Myself, my boyfriend, and my boyfriend’s parents had a lovely walk from our house in Oldfield park on Sunday to this place (picking wild garlic on the way!). We booked a few days ahead (crucial with this place- they are very popular on Sundays and for good reason!) for an indoor seat as we weren't sure how good the weather would be. We arrived at 1:30 and were seated very promptly (noticing it was incredibly busy!).
The menu is very large actually, which would normally make me a little suspicious in a gastro-pub- a lot of them have humungous menus and unfortunately what that means is that a lot of the dishes are created from pre-prepared, frozen items. However, everything here is made fresh, and good old proper country pub classics- fishcakes, pies, sausage and mash etc. On a Sunday theres lots and lots to choose from, the lunch menu, a dinner menu, specials, and of course a proper Sunday roast options (usually a couple of choices of meat- this Sunday it was roast beef or roast pork). I went for one of the specials menu for starter, which was chicken liver parfait with homemade chutney, toast and salad.

I will warn those of an average appetite that the starters here are HUGE! Almost main course sized! This suites me as many of you know I have a humongous appetite, but it’s a good point to note. My parfait was gorgeous, smooth and flavoursome, with a well-made mellow chutney. My boyfriend had the nachos with salsa/guacamole/sour cream/chillies, and I noticed they even make their own nachos here which is pretty cool! My dad in law had the whitebait which looked nice and crispy, and my mum in law had the deep fried camembert with red onion chutney and salad, which I’ve had before it’s lush. It’s available as a main course for vegetarians too- I should also note that this pub caters really well for vegetarians, which is laudable for a country pub, as often the attitude is “we’re in the countryside, we’re farmers and hunters, what the hell is a vegetarian???” or “oh I’ve heard about vegetarians- just offer them a ratatouille that’ll do” but this definitely isn’t their style.

For mains I had another dish on the specials menu, lamb shoulder with creamy mash and redcurrant gravy (with seasonal vegetables). The lamb was tender, on mounds of really smooth, correctly seasoned mash, and the veg (carrots, broccoli, fennel and red cabbage) was not overcooked. Very delicious, and there was a nice gap between starter and main (I’d like to say It is a pet peeve of mine when your starters leave the table and almost immediately your mains arrive- I hate this, I want time for the starters to “settle”, and time to socialise with friends and family! I know restaurants like to do it, as it’s all to do with profit and re-seating tables, but a meal isn’t about eating your grub and getting outta there now is it!). My father in law had the steak and ale pie, which he says was the best he had ever had (and he often orders this in restaurants), and my mother in law had pork with a paprika and blue cheese sauce and loved it. They did something special for my boyfriend which I thought was nice- now my fella LOVES his burgers. He has had the burger here before which he says is great and tried ordering it again, only to be told it had sold out- oh No! He didn’t fancy anything on the main or specials menu (don’t ask me why, he has quite…specific tastes I suppose), so he asked for something on the kid’s menu (scampi and chips!) to be made a main course for him, which they were more than happy to do for him. The scampi and chips looked homemade and lovely too.
Throughout all this the service was lovely. I was just drinking orange and lemonade, as I’ve been t total for a while, but my father in law had a couple of pints of Doombar (a fairly local ale) and my mother in law had a couple of glasses of sauvignon blanc which she said went very well with the meal.

At this stage, I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely stuffed. Still, I had to look at the dessert menu, and just COULDN’T resist having the pecan tart with cream. OH MY GOD YUM!!! Homemade PERFECTLY cooked pastry (no soggy bottoms here!), sweet toffee like sauce with toasted pecans and fresh cream. I barely had any room for it but I managed it! As it was so busy, and because me and my fella are nosy chefs, we asked them how many people they had working in the kitchen. They said “usually three, but we are a man down today- we’re also a man down out the front too”. We were absolutely flabbergasted! I mean over the lunch period they must have been doing over 100 covers, at a minimum, probably over 150 over the whole time, doing everything homemade, with only two chefs in the kitchen and only three waitresses! Insane! We thought, bravo, we will definitely be giving them a good tip. When the bill arrived we were even more surprised- only £122!! And we’re talking 4 of us, having two alcoholic drinks each, and three of us having three courses. Such insanely good value for money this place (I think if this was a gastro pub in the middle of bath you’d be paying over £200), for just the most amazing food. We made sure we tipped well, asking them to make sure the chefs got a share (haha!) and left for a lazy walk home. I will finish this by saying customer service 10/10, food 10/10, value 10/10, atmosphere 10/10. If you are anywhere vaguely near this place, VISIT IT!!! 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Recipe: Princes Tuna Pizza

Another entry into Princes recipe competition, if they'll accept it that is (cant find any of the competition code tins anywhere!). Dont often get tuna on many Italian pizza menus but it works very well and is good for a budget. Feel free to make your own pizza dough, for a very economical meal, or if you feel like cheating, Jus Rol make a fantastic pre-made ready rolled dough.

Tuna Pizza (serves 2)

175g pizza dough (ready made or homemade), rolled out into a thin rectangle
100g passata
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp oregano
Salt pepper and sugar
Knob of butter
1 white onion, sliced
2 x 160g tin Princes tuna chunks in spring water, drained
Handful of black olives
65g fresh buffalo mozzarella, diced
65g grated mozzarella

1) Preheat oven to 200C. Line a lone baking tray with greaseproof paper, and lay the pizza dough on it. Mix the passata, garlic powder, oregano and season to taste. Spread on the base of the pizza.
2) In a small saucepan or frying pan, fry the onion in the butter for 5 minutes, or until beginning to colour. Top the pizza with the fried onions, the tuna, olives, and then finish with the diced fresh mozzarella and the grated mozzarella.
3) Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and serve with desired accompaniments (wedges and mayo to dip the crusts in works well!)