Friday, 28 February 2014

Round up of February 2014

February


Chow At Home started in January – can’t believe it’s March already! I’ve been enjoying writing up my food adventures over the past month but have been finding it hard to keep up! February has been a really mega busy month for me!



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I have really enjoyed eating out and reviewed two restaurants during Newcastle restaurant week – Las Iguanas and Juniper’s Pantry @ Nectar Bar.

In the kitchen, I’ve been cooking some new (and old) things such as Potato cakes and Pork gyozas.
Lots of tasty treats have also been baked. Pecan & butterscotch cheesecake, Brownies, Blondies, Sticky date pudding with Toffee sauce and Chocolate fudge cake.

Valentine’s fell in this month. Not normally ones to celebrate it in a big way, I managed to make celebrations last for over a week this year! It was spent seeing people, baking and eating! All my favourite things to do ;-) See posts 1, 2, 3 & 4.

I had a fab weekend away spent with hubby and family in Manchester. More seeing people and good food!
I re-joined the What I Ate Wednesday party and wrote my first post from Chow At Home. I’m going to continue taking part in this weekly round up of a day’s eats.

March


So far, I have a quiet month ahead of me. Which is nice, as February was so busy!

For those of you who know me or have been following on Instagram - know I indulge in a bit of bread making. A post detailing my breadventures has been long overdue! Coming soon in March :-)

The weather’s perking up recently - so looking forward to spring time settling in.

Anyways, thanks for reading and here’s to another month of making food and eating it! :-D

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Pork gyoza

I’ve been wanting to make these gyozas for a while. They are little tasty packages. Juicy, full of flavour and moreish! Seeing as I have a bit of time with being off work and I picked up some half price pork mince, I thought I’d go for it today.

I use the Chicken gyoza recipe from the Wagamama Cookbook. Pork has been substituted for chicken in the recipe, as I have tried both and find that the pork has more flavour. If you don’t have any chives, I’ve also found that spring onions work just as well.



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Ingredients:
110g (4oz) Chinese leaf
150g (5oz) white cabbage
100g (3 1/2oz) canned water chestnuts, drained
250g (9oz) pork, minced
25g (1oz) chives, finely chopped
25g (1oz) cornflour
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tblsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 packet of gyoza skins
vegetable oil, for frying


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Method:
1. Put the Chinese leaf, cabbage and water chestnuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not puréed.
Using a clean tea towel, squeeze the mixture gently but firmly to remove the excess moisture, then tip into a bowl
and add the minced pork, chives, cornflour, sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, salt and white pepper.
2. Put a teaspoonful of the mixture in the centre of each gyoza skin.
Moisten one of the edges with a little water, then fold over to create a half-moon shape.
Press down to form a neat crescent.
3. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes,
or until hot and almost smoking and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Put 4-6 of the dumplings in the pan and sauté gently for 2 minutes over a low heat until just starting to brown.
Don’t be tempted to overcrowd the pan or they will stew.
4. Add 3 tablespoons of water and cover immediately with a lid or with aluminium foil.
Heat for 1 minute then remove off heat and set aside for 2 minutes, by which time the gyozas will be heated through.
Repeat for remaining gyozas.


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The gyozas taste delicious on their own but you can also make the accompanying Wagamama gyoza dipping sauce. This adds another layer of flavour to the gyozas. I made up half the recipe, as wouldn’t be able to use up all the sauce in the space of a few weeks.



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Makes about 350ml (12fl oz)

Ingredients:
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 large chilli, trimmed and finely chopped
Salt
25g (1oz) sugar
100ml (3 1/2fl oz) malt vinegar
250ml (9fl oz) light soy sauce
1 tblsp sesame oil

Method:
1. Mash the garlic and chilli together with a little salt with the side of your knife to form a paste.
2. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a small pan over a low heat.
3. Combine everything and store in a sealed container.
It will keep for several weeks in the fridge.


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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

WIAW #1

I am re-joining the What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) party today. WIAW was started by Jenn over at peas & crayons. It’s an invitation and opportunity to share a day’s eats every week on a Wednesday. You do this alongside a community of fellow bloggers doing the same. I took part in WIAW a few times during writing my wedding blog: Zoe & Leigh’s Big Day but I wasn’t consistent. I hope to take part regularly this time round with this blog.


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So here goes with my first What I Ate Wednesday at Chow At Home. This post features eats from today!

I’m off work this week, so have been chilling at home all day.

Every day usually starts with a cup of tea. I'm currently drinking Twinings Everyday tea.  For breakfast I had a couple of slices of my homemade bread (that I baked the night before) with Whole Earth crunchy peanut butter and Bonne Maman raspberry jam.


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For lunch, I tried new-to-me Lingon cordial from IKEA. It’s nice :)


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Lunch was easy, as I’d done all the work beforehand. I had defrosted some of my boeuf bourguignon and mash that I’d made a couple of weeks ago. And reheated my roast vegetables (Chantenay carrots, mushrooms, red pepper, garlic & onion) leftover from last night. This was a really flavourful meal but very filling!


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I had a cup of Whittard of Chelsea apple & mango tea later on.


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And then it was time for dinner. Dinner, like lunch was quick to make. I had a Tesco healthy living Hot smoked salmon pasta with green vegetables and a crème fraîche & tarragon dressing. I added a sliced boiled egg on top. As lunch was so filling, I was glad to have a lighter dinner. I don’t eat much fish at home, so this made a nice change to usual dinner.


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I had a chocolate & caramel tart (also from Tesco) with Ambrosia custard for dessert. I didn’t expect this to taste as good as it did. The tart was gorgeous! I would definitely get it again :)


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All washed down with a glass of red grape Shloer.


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Pancakes

I made pancakes for breakfast last week when staying with family in Manchester. I use Mark Hix’s Basic Pancake Recipe and it works well every time. It always feels like a treat when we have them.

Anyways, it’s Shrove Tuesday / ‘Pancake Day’ next Tuesday, so what better time to share this recipe!



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Ingredients:

250ml milk
120g flour
1 egg
1 tsp caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Vegetable oil (for frying)


Method:

1. Whisk all ingredients together in a jug until smooth.
2. Heat a good non-stick frying pan,
rub with a little vegetable oil,
then pour in a little pancake mix,
and immediately tilt the pan so that the mixture spreads evenly.
Turn or flip after one minute with a spatula or palette knife.



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 I like to have my pancakes the traditional way with lemon and sugar. Another combo that I enjoy is Nutella and banana. Golden syrup is good too! ;-)


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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sticky toffee pudding

I made my Sticky toffee pudding (sticky date pudding with toffee sauce) last week. This is one of my absolute favourite things to bake, so I wanted to share the recipe with you.


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Ingredients:

Pudding
200g dried dates, stoned and chopped
250ml black tea, not too strong
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
85g butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
175g self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp Ovaltine

Sauce
200g light muscovado sugar
200g butter
300ml double cream


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Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C conventional / 160°C fan.
Line and grease a baking tin / oven proof dish.
2. Put the dates and tea in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Cook for 3-4 minutes to soften the dates and then stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
3. Beat the butter and caster sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy.
Beat in the eggs, then flour, then spices and Ovaltine.
Fold in the date mixture.
4. Pour into prepared tin / dish.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is firm to the touch.
A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean.
5. Meanwhile, make the sauce by putting all 3 ingredients in a small saucepan.
Put over a low heat and simmer.
Stir regularly. Cook until the sauce is a lovely toffee colour.
Check by tasting to see that all the sugar has dissolved. The sauce should be smooth and not gritty.
6. Remove the pudding from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
7. Serve pudding with warm toffee sauce / custard / ice cream.


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Feb school half term (17-23/2/14)

This week has been a super busy week for me! It was filled with plenty of good eats, lots of baking, seeing people and having fun!

Work


I love to cook with the young people I work with. It doesn’t always go smoothly or work out but generally it’s an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all involved. I made pizzas with the young people I work with on Tuesday and Thursday. I used this easy Tesco recipe for Classic Pizza base. I wanted to get a photo of the dough after it’d risen, as it had rose well and was really lovely - springy, smooth and soft. But the kids had got stuck into it before I got a chance!


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Pizza bread dough proving


They did a decent job!


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Homemade pizzas at youth club


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I’ve had a busy week socially. I took this opportunity to meet up with my teacher friends who are off work this week. I met up with a couple groups of girl friends, both of which include mums-to-be! It was great to catch up with everyone, some I hadn’t seen for a while :-)

Wednesday night was a girly night in at Amy’s with pizzas and my homemade Sticky date pudding and toffee sauce. See recipe here.


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Homemade Sticky toffee pudding

We had a lovely chilled night in!


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Pizzas and Sticky toffee pudding at Amy's


Seeing as I’m such a good wife - I had one slice of my sticky date pudding left, which I bought home for Leigh. Unfortunately, there was no toffee sauce or vanilla ice cream left, so he had his with custard.


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Sticky date pudding with custard


Friday was lunch at Barluga in Newcastle with my school/uni friends. I got the Pulled pork with bbq sauce, floured bun and apple slaw. This was decent :-) I'd like to try the other sandwiches from their menu. My friends' sandwiches looked good too.


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Pulled pork with bbq sauce sandwich, Barluga, Newcastle


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Friday was a very busy day for me! I was travelling to Manchester that night to stay with my brother Aaron and cousin Wesley. Wesley was having his house warming party on the Saturday night and I got requests to make my signature cookies and something savoury.  I baked and cooked all morning before going out for lunch (above) and finished off the cooking afterwards. I baked a couple of Bread loaves and my Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I also cooked a Bolognese and assembled a couple of Lasagnas (to be cooked at the house warming).


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Homemade bread loaves,
Peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies,
and Bolognese.


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Homemade Lasagnas


We left Newcastle about 7pm  and our road trip started with a quick McDs.


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Chicken mayo sandwich & fries, McDs


We went for a late dinner as soon as we arrived in Manchester. It had to be Chinese! We ate at Glamorous, which was a lovely treat! We ordered Roast duck with plum sauce, Steamed fish, Battered prawns with salad cream, Satay beef, Pork chops in Cantonese sauce, Gai lan (Chinese broccoli), Monkfish & tofu clay pot, and Salt & pepper squid. Served with boiled rice and washed down with Jasmine tea.


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Glamorous Chinese Restaurant, Manchester


After the meal, we headed to the house where I learnt how to make Wesley’s legendary brownies. I do enjoy a bit of late night baking! This first batch contained Oreos and turned out gorgeously gooey and fudgy! Wesley is known for his brownies and because I haven’t had the best of luck with brownie making in the past, I was keen to learn from the master! He uses Antony Worrall Thompson’s recipe for Triple Chocolate Brownies. I really recommend this recipe! Wesley uses slightly less butter, sugar and chocolate than the recipe states. He uses 250g chocolate, 250g butter and 300g sugar. People found the brownies too sweet when made to original recipe, so Wesley lowered the amount of sweetness. A trick Wesley also does is use chocolate with nuts in it already, to save time weighing and chopping the nuts.


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Brownie making


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Oreo brownies


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Oreo brownies


On Saturday, me and Leigh cooked everyone an English breakfast. Along with my homemade bread, this went down a storm! People may have also had brownies (made the night before) as a pre-breakfast. They were far too good not to have one (or two)! Hehe ;-)


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English cooked breakfast with homemade bread


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English cooked breakfast with homemade bread


After a late breakfast, I helped Wesley make another batch of brownies for the housewarming. This one contained Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Caramel chocolate. These were firmer set than the other ones but were also delicious and moreish!


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Brownies with Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel chocolate

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Brownies with Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel chocolate


Aaron made some Wodka jelly!


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Wodka jelly making


We then spent the day in Manchester city centre.


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Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester


I got to try a Matcha green tea latte from I <3 Bobo Tea in the Arndale Centre. This was delicious. A drink and a dessert in one! Wish I could get this kind of thing from Newcastle. I love Matcha green tea!


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Matcha green tea frappe


After some shopping, we grabbed a quick lunch of KFC. Then headed back to the house to get ready for the House warming.


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KFC Colonel meal


There was quite a spread for the House warming! This is only some of the food – more got added later, like my homemade lasagnas, pizza nachos and pizzas. I'm pleased to say that my lasagnas went down well! :-)


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Wesley's house warming spread


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My homemade lasagna


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Carine's Iced lemon teas


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Aaron's Wodka jellies



I think I can say that we all helped Wesley truly warm up his new house that night! Happy house warming!!!

The morning after the night before - Sunday. Me and Leigh made pancakes for everyone and we also had toasted homemade bread for breakfast.


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Pancake making


Using the Beer Pong table from last night made for a memorable brunch!


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Homemade pancakes and bread.
Brunch at the Beer Pong table.


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Homemade pancakes, lemon and sugar


Sunday was spent chilling in front of the TV before the journey back home.


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Peanut butter & chocolate chip cookie,
brownie and a cuppa


We ordered in a couple of 20 inch pizzas from 23rd Street Pizza.


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Pizzas from 23rd Street Pizza


Then it was time to leave. Manchester was great fun but it is lush to be home. I <3 Newcastle. Home sweet home!

Absolutely shattered after my busy week and jam-packed weekend. I now have a week off work, which is just what I need!