Eeeeek! We are now one full week into December 2017 and I can’t honestly believe that this year has flown by as quickly as it has. But as we start the weekend, I thought I would share a fun-filled recipe that all the family can get involved in. Continue reading “Christmas Shortbread”
Okay so I wasn’t really holding out much hope for this recipe when I started to cook it, but then I put it all together and oh. my. god. It was so so tasty! And when I finished it, I just had to come here and share the recipe with you.
Today’s post is a review of the brilliant meal I had with Jordanne at Smashburger in Glasgow! I hope you aren’t hungry, because you certainly will be by the end of this post. Continue reading “Smashburger Glasgow*”
Well I appreciate that title might sound rather sad, but today I’m here to share with you how you can cook yourself a roast dinner with all the trimmings, without have tonnes of leftovers! Continue reading “A Roast For One”
Hello and welcome back for another foodie recipe! Today I bring you a slightly different Weight Watchers meal that comes to a grand total of 10 Smart Points per portion, including the rice it’s eaten with.
Have I mentioned I joined Weight Watchers? Just in case you didn’t get that! We had a joke in uni where a friend had spent a while in Geneva during her year out from uni, and the joke was really silly but any time she mentioned Geneva we pretended we didn’t know she had been there. Ah I miss the simplicity of first year university…
It was pointed out to me recently that I haven’t written any recipe posts here in a while and I would like to apologise for that! Between writing other posts, and writing recipes for Bloggers Tribe, I seem to have neglected you all for too long! So here’s one of my all time favourite recipes for any time of the year.
Hello again! So yesterday was a pre-scheduled post, and it’s been so long (well… almost a week) since I got talking to you all properly. I’ve missed it, believe it or not. You’re actually such an important part of my life and it feels weird when I’m not taking the time to sit and talk to you.
Well, anyone who has me on Snapchat – and if you don’t, why don’t you? – will hopefully have seen that last night I decided to try and create my own sticky chilli chicken recipe. It was somewhat based on this video that I saw while walking home from my programming lab (don’t ask me about it, it was a nightmare and that’s all you need to know). I knew I needed to cook the two chicken breasts I had sitting in the fridge but had no idea what to do with them, and here was the perfect opportunity to try something completely different!
Ingredients (serves 1):
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 chicken breast
- salt and pepper to flavour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 25g plain flour
- 1 pepper, sliced (I used half a green and half a red just to mix things up)
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 chilli, chopped
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 100ml water
- 2 tortilla wraps
In hindsight, I would probably also add a handful of sliced mushrooms to this and serve with rice.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat.
- Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breast and slice into chunks.
- Dunk the chunks of chicken in the egg then cover in flour.
- Add the now floured chicken to the hot oil and seal.
- Next, add the sliced pepper to the pan and soften.
- Remove the chicken and pepper from the pan before adding the garlic, chilli, onion, soy sauce, tomato purée and water to the pan. Mix well.
- Lower the heat to a medium heat, and allow the liquid to come to the boil.
- Leave it to bubble until the sauce looks ‘jammy’ and has reduced in volume of liquid.
- Add the chicken and peppers to the sauce and mix well. If using, add the mushrooms at this stage too.
- Continue to cook over a low heat until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce has reduced more.
- Heat your wraps, or cook your rice according to the instructions on the packet.
- Serve when the chicken looks sticky and you are happy with it!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! I’m so excited to have the left overs at lunch today. Let me know if you try it or if there’s anything you think you’d do differently. I love people leaving comments!
Firstly, before I go any further with this, please be aware this is my first time reviewing a restaurant. Not only that, but this is a review I chose to write – I haven’t been asked to write it, paid for it, or anything like that and the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
Back on a Saturday night in November, around thirty of us crossed the threshold of the Wee Lochan for a very late 21st birthday party for Ellie, one of my friends I made in first year uni. As a mixture of friends and family, the age range was definitely a large one, and yet this place seemed like the perfect location for everyone. Now, let’s be honest here – I am a nightmare when trying to write these sorts of posts mainly because I’m that idiot who forgets to take pictures until it’s too late. For this reason, any pictures you see here are from TripAdviser and I have tried to credit the photographer in each one, however if you see one of your photos and you have not been credited, please contact me and I will rectify this immediately. (Yup, I’m just covering any possible disclaimers here, sorry!)
Arriving in the dark, we walked through the door to what can only be described as the perfect date place. Bar directly opposite the door, plenty of tables in all directions – but not too many to make it overcrowded – and a welcoming smile as you walk in through the door. There were fairy lights dotted around the place, making me feel all warm and cosy inside with the reminder that Christmas is very much on it’s way. The whole place was so warm and inviting, we found ourselves questioning why we hadn’t been before!
Before I start into who ate what and how good it was, because trust me when I saw it was incredibly good, I wanted to talk a little about Wee Lochan. Back in first year uni, Ellie would disappear for an evening to go work in her parent’s restaurant that, when asked, Ellie would say was in Partick. We frequently said ‘Oh, we should go there sometime!’ but as quite often happens, life got busy and we never got round to going.
After a glass of bubbly to help celebrate Ellie’s birthday, and a bit of a chat with any family or friends who came our way, we were presented with a menu with a choice of 4 starters, 3 mains, and 3 desserts – so much choice for us students! Nuala settled on the twice baked parsnip souffle with a mixed leaf salad, Pablo on the Stornoway black pudding with a poached egg, crisp smoked pancetta, red onion marmalade and mixed leaves, and I on the soup of the day; celery, blue cheese and thyme. Now while I didn’t taste the other two, everything looked and smelled incredible! My soup was delicious. I’m not a fan of thin soups, so when this arrived and was the perfect consistency for me I couldn’t have been happier. Plus it was nice and warm on a cold night! The only starter I wasn’t aware of anyone eating was the trio of mackerel however I’m sure it was to die for!
We chatted and had a laugh with the others sitting around us as the tables were cleared by the friendly, helpful staff, and before long our main courses were presented to us. Nuala and Pablo both ordered the roast haunch of venison with braised red cabbage, woodland mushrooms, in a red wine and juniper sauce and mustard mash. I went with the courgette, lemon and ricotta wellington served with crisp butternut squash and tomato gnocchi,roast garlic and parsley puree, truffle veloute and beetroot and kohirabi salad – both mains were incredible! The other two thought I was strange going for the vegetarian option but it sounded too good to pass. Safe to say, it was hard not to lick the plate clean. The final option for mains was a delicious looking tranche of hake with boulangere potatoes, braised puy lentils, creamed leeks, tiger prawns and a green peppercorn sauce.
By this stage, we were all beginning to feel quite full, however when offered a three course dinner, you make sure you eat your three courses! For any of you who remember, Nuala has celiac disease meaning she can’t eat anything glutenous, and so she was offered something off the menu for dessert as our choices were tiramisu, sticky toffee pudding, or warm apple tart. She had the lemon posset and actually really enjoyed it! Pablo went for the tiramisu, and I for the sticky toffee pudding. Again, portion sizes were the perfect size and no matter how full I was I refused to leave a drop of food on my plate. Also, if you do go visit, make sure to try the fudge!
Please please please do give them a visit if you’re ever down my neck of the woods, or if you’ve been before then what did you think of it?
As we start Day 6 of Blogmas (that word still looks funny), I decided to share my Christmas Dinner with you all and how I prepared for it, cooked it, and just the general fun I had on Sunday. It was a magical day, and it really set the mood for Christmas Day! All that would’ve made it better is snow…
And yes, I just had to put in a bit of Michael Bulbé. While cooking, I found it very helpful to have some Christmas music playing, and a large glass of wine to hand! So without further delay, here we go:
Being paranoid about forgetting something, I started my shopping list back around the 14th of November. To do this, I found it best to sit and make a meal plan. The actual planning can be the slowest part for me as I have to think everything through fully to make sure it’s all gluten free for Nuala, no tomatoes for Jason, and not too creamy for me. I think Mary might actually be the easiest to feet out of the 4 of us… that’s a strange thought… Anyway, I’m getting distracted! To plan my meal, I wrote it out as if we were are a restaurant. That way, I could go through and see exactly what I was cooking. The next step for me was to write out the individual shopping lists for each course, before finally combining the lists into the ultimate food shop, remembering to omit the things I already have in the flat. All this can be seen below.
Now, I like to use Tesco Delivery, but you’re free to go shopping or try a different supermarket, but if you were to use Tesco to buy all these items as I did, You could expect to spend about £72 to feed four people with plenty of left overs. This would work out at roughly £18 per person for a 4 course meal plus whatever’s left over.
Once again, I found myself at the planning stages. Yes, I had all my food on its way, I had fully planned the food, but the next step is to figure out timings. This is crucial when it comes to cooking a dinner of this style and size. I like to work backwards in this situation ie figure out out what time you would like to be sitting down to each course, and subtract times from then to figure out when each thing should be done. It also helps, especially when in a student flat, to figure out which dishes will be needed for each course, however I won’t bore you with that side of my planning. Just know that it took me a good three hours to figure it all out, especially tying to work out how on earth I managed to fit them all in the oven last year!
Now, as you can see from the schedule attached here – christmas-cooking-schedule, for a dinner on Sunday I started preparation on Friday. This may seem a little stupid to you but the terrine I decided to make as a starter was actually a 3 day thing. If you’d like to follow my schedule, feel free. However, below I have included the 4 courses, their required ingredients, and how to make them. Hope you enjoy!
Starter – Pork Terrine
- 200g skinless duck breast
- 200g skinless chicken breast
- 150g pork loin fillet
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp brandy
- 2 tbsp thyme
- 2 tbsp oil
- 250g thin rindless streaky bacon
- 1kg sausage meat*
- 150ml double cream
- 4 tbsp parsley
- 2 tbsp tarragon
- 1 tbsp thyme
- salt and pepper to season
- Mix the duck, chicken, pork, garlic, brandy, 2 tbsp thyme, oil and pepper in a large bowl. Cover this and leave it to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Drain the meats and cut them into small chunks before browning them on the stove. Season, and then leave to cool.
- Grease a loaf tin (roughly 1 litre in size), and arrange the bacon on the base and sides – double layering the base, and leaving enough over the sides to fold over the top.
- Soften your sausage meat with cream and the rest of the herbs before mixing in the now cold meat. Scoop this into the loaf tin, pressing down well, before covering with more bacon over the top.
- Heat your oven to 180C (for a fan oven) and double wrap the top of the terrine in foil. Place the loaf tin in a large deep-sided roasting pan and pour boiling water up to half way.
- Bake for one hour before removing from the oven and leaving to cool. Place this in the fridge overnight.
- Place the tin in a pan of just boiled water in order to soften the bacon. Once softened, you should find it easy to remove the tin from the terrine.
- Slice and serve with salad.
The next part is the fun part. Ever watched your parents stress on Christmas Day and wonder why? It’s because there are so many elements to the main course and half the time they aren’t even eaten! Here’s how I prepared the main course:
- 1 turkey crown (most come with it written on the side how many it serves)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 4 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tsp thyme leaves
- chicken stock
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Our oven is a little strange with temperatures so I always adjust the temperature to match the oven. Only you know your oven so go with your gut instinct!
- Mix, in a small bowl, your maple syrup, orange juice and thyme. This is your glaze.
- Put your turkey crown in a roasting tray – piece of advice, a disposable one is perfect for this and you’ll appreciate it when it’s time to do the dishes. Generously brush the skin with the glaze. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Pour chicken stock into the roasting tin around the turkey up to a depth of around 2cm (roughly 500ml). Again, depending on the people you’re cooking for, you might want to check your stock cubes to see if they contain gluten!
- Calculate your cooking time. Allow 20 minutes per kg plus an extra 70 minutes. Of course, a lot of the turkey crowns now come with this already calculated and written on the packaging so check there to save yourself any calculations!
- Place your turkey tin in the oven and remember to re-glaze every 20 minutes or so. As you can see, I’ll be setting timers for everything!
- When time is up, remove your turkey from the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. To check your turkey is cooked through, check the juices are running clear.
Roast Potatoes – Now this is one that you can easily cheat – buy a pack of ready made and shove them in the oven! However, as a family we always have homemade roasties on Christmas Day. And with Nuala being unable to eat the ready made ones, I get the fun of making my own!
- approx 650-700g potatoes. Maris Piper work best in my opinion
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp flour (gluten free in my case)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp turmeric
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (notice that here’s your first problem – two different temperatures for things that need to be done at the same time!) and peel and half your potatoes. For larger potatoes, you may wish to quarter them.
- Put your empty (yes empty) roasting tray in the oven to preheat.
- Parboil your potatoes for 8-10 minutes on the hob in a large pot of boiling water.
- Drain your potatoes and dry them, before tossing them in the mix of flour, oregano, turmeric and salt and pepper.
- Pour your oil into the hot tray and stick it back in the oven for 5 minutes. Allow your potatoes to sit out in the open during this time as it helps crisp them slightly.
- Add your potatoes to the oil and toss them so they’re fully coated in the oil. Roast for approximately 40 minutes, remembering to turn them half way, and take them out when golden and crispy.
Mashed Potato – Again, this is something you can cheat by buying the ready made stuff. Alternatively, you can make your own in advance and then shove it in the microwave for 10 minutes before serving!
- 900g potatoes (can use the same ones as above!)
- 250ml milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and cut your potatoes, same as in the roast potato section.
- Pop them in a pot and pour in enough water to cover them.
- Add a pinch of salt and bring the water to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat so it’s simmering until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes) and drain.
- Return the potatoes to the pot and add your milk and butter.
- Using either a masher or an electric beater, mash the mix until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Carrots and Parsnips – Now, at home we tend to have this mashed and so it’s cooked the exact same way as the mashed potato recipe above (without the milk and with extra butter) however as a flat, we prefer the roasted vegetables.
- 250g carrots
- 250g parsnips
- 2 tbsp oil
- 4 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- Peel your vegetables and preheat your oven to 220°C. As with the roast potatoes, put an empty tray into the oven to heat.
- Slice your vegetables into halves or quarters, so they are all a similar size.
- In a large bowl, mix the oil, honey and mustard. Add your vegetables and toss thoroughly to evenly coat the pieces.
- Place them on the hot tray and roast for around 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Note: I tend to cheat for this and instead, I only mix the mustard and the honey, before adding the vegetables to the same tray as the potatoes! Saves on dishes, and means I save a little oil!
Brussel Sprouts – the bane of all Christmas dinners. Who actually enjoys these? And yet I couldn’t count it as a Christmas dinner without these! So here’s how I make them slightly more tolerable.
- 15 sprouts halved length-wise
- 1 and a half tbsp butter
- 1 and a half tbsp oil
- 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Melt the butter in the oil in a pan over a medium-high heat.This is where I miss my gas hob at home! Do this until the butter is ‘foamy’
- Reduce the heat a little before adding the garlic. Cook this until it is lightly browned and then take it out and bin it (yes really)
- Add sprouts cut-side down, cover and cook without stirring on a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve them up!
For the Gravy, Pigs in blankets and Stuffing I would recommend just buying ready made or powers that you just add water to for the gravy and stuffing. It saves a lot of time and hassle! Follow the instructions on the packaging and keep quiet when people compliment your skills on these three things!
Dessert – Chocolate Mousse
The penultimate course! Our flat is filled with a strange mix. Nuala can’t eat anything glutenous, Jason tends to like most things but can be quite straight when telling you his opinion on something, Mary isn’t a fan of mixing sweet and savoury, none of the three of them like Christmas pudding, and I really am not a fan of cream. So we’re a bad bunch to make dessert for! This is why I settled on a nice mousse.
- 200g dark chocolate
- 2 tbsp brandy (optional)
- 3 egg whites
- 50g caster sugar
- 100ml whipping cream
- Grate 50g of the chocolate and set it to one side.
- Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl before stirring in your alcohol if you are using it.
- Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks.
- Spoon in half the sugar, whisk into stiff peaks again, add the rest of the sugar and whisk again.
- Whip your cream in a separate bowl.
- Fold your melted chocolate into the egg and sugar mix. Once fully folded in, fold in the cream and two thirds of the grated chocolate.
- Spoon the final mixture into individual cups and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
- Serve with the remaining grated chocolate sprinkled on top, and if you’re feeling fancy add a strawberry or some raspberries!
And finally – Citrus Crush.
This has become a traditional pudding that I make. Actually, while writing this post I’ve just realised that I need to find new dishes to serve the mousse in as I had planned on using the dishes I use for citrus crush! Whoops… Anyway, this is a recipe for what can only be described as something somewhere between a sorbet and a slushy but it is so so tasty!
- 250g caster sugar
- 300ml water
- 2 grapefruits (halved)
- 4 oranges (halved)
- 2 limes (halved)
- Dissolve the sugar in the water in a pot on the hob. Remove the sugary water from the heat and leave to cool.
- Juice the fruit and sieve the juice into the now cooled sugar water.
- Pour this into a container, roughly pour in 2-3cm in depth but I find this doesn’t overly matter.
- Freeze this for 2 hours. Remove, and ‘fluff’ (I mash) it with a fork.
- Return it to the freezer and now fluff every half hour between now and serving. I tend to forget so I don’t think it overly matters but just as long as you give it a chance to fully freeze. Mash it before serving though!
And that brings us to the end of a very long Christmas Dinner Recipe! I hope you find it useful, and if you do decide to try making it let me know how it goes!