White Cheese Sauce

White Cheese Sauce

A Simple basic recipe for White Cheese Sauce that can be used for Pasta Dishes, Fish Dishes, Vegetable Gratin dishes and so much more. The great thing is that it just takes 5 minutes to make, super simple and super quick.

Makes enough for 4 portions

500ml Milk

4 tbsp Plain Flour

70g Butter

150g Mature Cheddar Cheese (almost any grated cheese works like Gruyere to Emmental)

Rainbow pepper to taste

  1. Place milk, butter and flour into a large pan and heat on medium to heat. Start to Whisk and continue to whisk fast until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken, continue to whisk for a few minutes until your desired consistency (I like it quite thick so about 3 mins).
  2. Add the grated cheese to the mixture and whisk through until the cheese melts.
  3. Season with some pepper and serve.
White Cheese Sauce

Homemade Butter

Homemade Butter

Since watching James Martin on his Saturday morning show making his own butter, I have longed to try this. Just like JM himself I am a fan of butter, loads of it too. It looked easy enough to do and it was, I urge you if you have ever fancied trying this, you must do. My next batch I will add some flavours to try, thinking herbs & chilli.

Step by Step process:-

1 x 500ml double cream – good quality (makes 250g Butter)

General rule is whatever quantity of cream, you get 1/2 amount butter.

  1. In a Mixer pour the double cream & whisk on medium to high speed until it resembles a whipped cream.
Step 1 – Whipped Cream

2. Keeping whisking, it will look like you’ve over whipped, but keep going……..

Over whipped cream

3. & keep whisking, soon enough you will see the butterfat start to separate from the butter milk. (sorry forgot to mention, cover top of your bowl with a splash guard or if you don’t have one a Tea Towel, as you can see if tends to splash everywhere)

4. Now that it has separated, drain the buttermilk through a sieve and keep to use later in another recipe.

5. Return the butter back to the bowl and you want to add about 200ml ice cold water and mix for about 20 secs, then drain again. This is to ensure to rinse away any buttermilk. Do this process 2 or 3 times until water becomes clear.

6. Using a spatula remove the butter from the whisk and put into a muslin or clean tea towel and squeeze, just to make sure you have removed all liquid. Place onto a sheet of greaseproof (baking) paper and using the paper as a guide roll up into a stick of butter…..yay! You’ve made butter! You can now store in your fridge. This will keep for up to 3 days. If you add salt, it will keep a little longer, about 2 weeks in fridge.

Ready to use Butter

Spinach Leaf Creamy Pesto

Since in Lockdown I’ve had the chance to build & plant my first proper Vegetable Beds and today was my first harvest of my Radishes….yummy! There is nothing better than homegrown fresh food. The obvious choice is a salad as radishes are just so refreshing and add that bit of crunch. Did you know you can eat the leaves also? Chop them up add to potatoes or pasta or make a pesto!

Left Over Radish leaves – 2 handfuls approx

1 Garlic Clove

1 tbsp pistachios

30g Grated Cheese (Parmesan)

2 tbsp olive oil – good quality one for best flavour

2 tbsp creme fraiche

Salt & pepper

  1. Thoroughly wash the green leaves and put into a blender or food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and blitz until smooth, if too thick add a little more olive oil.

I used mine to make a lovely radish & avocado salad for lunch. I will probably use the rest for some pasta later on in week. Cover and store in fridge for max 3 days.


Cauliflower Pakora

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Oh yum! I still had some pakora batter left so decided to try these little bites….super good and tasty.

 

Pakora Batter

150g gram flour

200ml water

1/2 tsp chilli

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp gram masala

1/2 tsp Turmeric

2 cloves garlic or 2 tsp ground garlic

small handful coriander (chopped finely)

Pinch salt

1. Put all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together, make a well in the middle and gently add water little at a time while stirring, continue to add water until you get a smooth batter, it shouldn’t be too thick or too runny. Set aside.

 

1 x Cauliflower, cut into small florets.

I steamed my cauliflower using my steam pot for about 6 minutes, but if you don’t have this, you can cook in a pan of salted water on a gentle heat for about 20 minutes then drain.

Dip into the pakora batter and fry gently at 180 deg in rapseed oil for a few minutes until golden. Remove and place onto some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.

Serve. Yummy!

I served with my Pakora Sauce:-

Pakora sauce

50g tomato ketchup

2g Mint leaves (finely chopped)

100g Natural Yoghurt

Pinch salt and chilli

50ml milk

  1. Mix together until smooth.

Beetroot Hummus

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In a bid to eat a bit healthier, this little dip was perfect as I love Beetroot and always looking for different ways to use it. I saw this from The Veg Space, a great website if you love vegetables, some great ideas too.

The great thing is you can freeze hummus, so I made a big batch and split into smaller portions for later.

 

Makes approx 600g

3 Large cooked Beetroots, diced

1 can 400g Chickpeas

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Juice & zest of 2 Lemons

4 tbsp tahini

2 tsp smoked paprika

Salt & Pepper

 

  1. Drain the chickpeas and keep the juice.
  2. Put the chickpeas, beetroot, lemon juice & zest, tahini, paprika, garlic and seasoning into a blender or food processor and blitz to a smooth paste.
  3. Gradually add about 1-2 tbsps of the chickpea juice until you get the consistency you want.

Serve as you please. Makes a great dip.

Healthy too at just 71 calories per 50g.

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Quick Chow Mein

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This is really quick and east to pull together and tasty too. Quicker than phoning out for a chinese takeaway…lol.

 

Serves 2 portions.

100ml oyster sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 clove garlic minced

2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1 tsp of Hot sauce or Sriracha

300g Rice Noodles or any kind of thin noodles

4-5 Spring onions, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 Pak Choi – chopped

200-300g Beansprouts

 

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and Hot Sauce and set aside.                                                                                                          20190622_175627
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large wok over medium high heat. Add noodles and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes, set aside.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the wok. Stir in pak choi until just wilted, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in noodles and oyster sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in bean sprouts and spring onions.
  5. Serve. Yum.

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Chickpea Flatbreads with Roasted Tomato & Walnut Sauce

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Oh yum, this little Sunday lunch dish was super tasty and healthy too. Original recipe was adapted from Love & Lemons. I was trying to use up what I had in my fridge so roasted tomato sauce it was to go with. Topped with some fresh scottish mackerel this was so tasty and flavoursome.

 

For the Flatbreads:-

Serves 2

200g Gram Flour

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp Dried Parsley

2 tsp Dried Coriander

1 tsp Ground cumin

1/2 tsp Chilli powder or crushed chilli

2 tsps Lemon juice

6 tsps extra virgin olive oil

300ml water

 

  1. In a large bowl, mix everything together, chickpea flour, salt, garlic powder, dried herbs, cumin, lemon juice, olive oil and water. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.                                                                                                          20190414_131455
  2. Preheat a pan on the hob to a high heat with a little oil, pour half the mixture into the pan and cook for a few minutes until you see the mixture starting to rise. Flip over and cook for a further few minutes until slightly browned.
  3. Serve with roasted tomato sauce, top with strips of cucumber and some smoked mackerel. Yummy!

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For the Roasted Tomato & Walnut Sauce

12-15 cherry tomatoes – halved

1 tsp ground garlic powder

2 tsps powdered sugar

2 tsps sea salt

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

2 tbsps Walnut Oil

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

 

  1. Roast the tomatoes under the grill or in a pan until soft and slightly browned.
  2. Place all other ingredients into a food processor, add the roasted tomatoes and blitz until you get a smooth puree.

 

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Whisky Cream Sauce

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Perfect Little Sauce for my Haggis Scotch Eggs. I always used to buy Whisky sauce ready made, but tonight I decided to give it a try & I’m so glad I did, so easy and so delicious.

Ingredients

1 shallot – finely chopped

1 knob of butter

15ml of Whisky

125ml beef stock

100ml double cream

1 tsp mace

Salt & white pepper to taste

1 tsp parsley to serve (optional)

 

  1. Melt butter in a pan, medium heat
  2. Add onions and sweat down
  3. Pour in the Whisky then add the beef stock, reduce to a simmer and let the liquid reduce to about 1/3.
  4. Add in the double cream and season with mace, salt & pepper
  5. Warm through and serve.

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Sous Vide Venison with a Balsamic Wine Jus on a Sweet potato fondant

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Sous Vide, Sous Vide, Sous Vide……..oh yes, definitely my favourite method of cooking. This Venison was so succulent and juicy, the flavour was absolutely delicious.

 

Makes 2 servings

2 large venison steaks

Salt & Pepper to taste

For the Sweet Potato:-

1-2 large sweet potatoes

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp oil

Few sprigs of rosemary

Salt & Pepper

For the Balsamic Jus:-

1 tbsp butter

2 shallots – thinly sliced

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

125ml Merlot Red wine

Few sprigs of Rosemary

1 heaped tsp redcurrant jelly

 

  1. Season the Venison Steaks with Salt & pepper. Vacuum pack.                              20190128_122857
  2. Heat a large pan of water to about 58-60 deg C, immerse venison into the water and cook for about 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the sweet potatoes and place into a food bag, coat with 1 tbsp oil, salt & pepper and rosemary, ensure fully coated. Preheat Crisperplate (if you have one, if not roast in oven for about 30-40 minutes depending on thickness.) Place sweet potato onto crisperplate with butter and cook for 8 minutes, remove, turn over and cook for a further 3 minutes (depending on thickness).                                                 20190128_144109
  4. Remove Venison from the vacuum bag, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan on high heat and seal the meat about 1 minutes each side, remove and allow to rest for a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, place 1 knob of butter into the same pan you seared the venison and melt, add in the shallots and soften. Add in the redcurrant jelly and rosemary and caramelise, pour in the wine and balsamic vinegar bring to a high boil and reduce for a few minutes until sauce thickens slightly.                                                    20190128_144056
  6. Slice up the venison, place on top of the sweet potato and serve with the sauce……Yummy!

 

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Sous Vide Duck Breast & Vegetables with a Blue Cheese Sauce

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I’m really liking experimenting with Sous Vide Cooking, Sous vide meaning under vacuum. There are many benefits to this method, here are some:-

Consistency. Because you cook your food to a precise temperature for a precise amount of time, you can expect very consistent results.

Taste. Food cooks in its juices. This ensures that the food is moist, juicy and tender.

Waste reduction. Traditionally prepared food dries out and results in waste. For example, on average, traditionally cooked steak loses up to 40% of its volume due to drying out. Steak cooked via precision cooking, loses none of its volume.

Flexibility. Traditional cooking can require your constant attention. Precision cooking brings food to an exact temperature and holds it. There is no worry about overcooking.

 

Serves 2

For the Duck:-

2 x Duck Breasts

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 tbsp oil for searing

For the Vegetables:-

Handful of Cherry tomatoes

Few basil leaves

Couple sprigs of Rosemary

100-150g Mangetout

For the Blue Cheese Sauce:-

100ml Creme Friache

50g Blue Cheese (I used Roquefort)

1 tbsp butter

 

  1. Season the duck breasts and score the skin. Vacuum pack.                                          20190128_122845
  2. Heat a large pan of water to between 58-60 deg C, place vacuum pack into the pan making sure its full immersed in the water, put on lid and cook for about 2 hours.                                                                                                          20190128_134121 20190128_125958
  3. Meanwhile vacuum pack all the vegetable ingredients and immerse this in the water at same temperature for about 45 minutes.                                                20190128_152907
  4. Just before serving, melt the butter in a pan on medium heat, reduce to a low heat and gently heat through the creme friache (do not boil), crumble in the blue cheese and mix through until warm.
  5. Remove the duck breast from vacuum bag. Heat a little oil to high in a pan and sear the meat for about 1-2 minutes on skin side or until slightly crispy and 1 minute on other side, remove and allow to rest for a few minutes. Slice and serve on top of the vegetables with the sauce. Yummy!

 

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