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.
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
For the Blue Cheese Sauce:-
100ml Creme Friache
50g Blue Cheese (I used Roquefort)
1 tbsp butter
Season the duck breasts and score the skin. Vacuum pack.
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.
Meanwhile vacuum pack all the vegetable ingredients and immerse this in the water at same temperature for about 45 minutes.
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.
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!
A knob of butter
A splash of oil
15ml of Speyside Whisky (chefs feel that a Speyside Whisky works best to accompany haggis)
125ml of beef stock
100ml of double cream
Salt and ground white pepper, to taste
1. Finely dice the shallots and sweat them in the butter and oil, using a small saucepan.
2. Add the whisky to your pan (watch out, this will produce a flame!)
3. Whilst it’s flaming, add in the beef stock.
4. Set to a good simmer and let the liquid reduce by a third before you add in the cream.
5. Season with ground pepper and a small amount of salt and mace.
6. Finish with some finely chopped chervil. (you can also use parsley or chives)
My healthier eating continues this month. I got some lovely bits of Scottish Salmon recently so came up with this idea of a healthier mash using whatever I had in my fridge. It was delicious. Best bit, it only took 6 minutes to cook and put together.
Makes enough mash for 2-3 people
80g baby spinach
50g garden peas – cooked
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp Sea Salt
Garlic clove – minced
1 tsp coriander – dried
1 tsp olive oil
(optional if you like spice, add in 1 tsp chilli flakes)
Place everything into a blender and mix until just combined.
Serve. Simple as that!
I steam cooked some salmon that I marinated in Teriyaki Sauce overnight. Yum!
Roux (pronounced “roo”) is one of the basic thickening agents in cooking. Used primarily for bulk up sauces and soups but you can also use this for White Sauces, great for pasta’s which is what I made.
You can add in any flavours or extra ingredients you like which makes it a really good base recipe.
It is usually equal amounts of butter and flour by weight.
40g Plain Flour
250ml or about 1/2 pint of milk (for a thick sauce) more if you want thinner
Firstly melt the butter in a pan on a medium to high heat
The sieve the flour into the pan and whisk together until you get a smooth like paste
Cook for about 2 minutes to get the taste of flour away
Gradually add in the milk, little at a time, whisking continuously until you get a thickened sauce with no lumps.
This is your basic white sauce recipe or you can then add your flavours:-
For mine I added, salt, pepper to taste. Then I added 40g of smoked scamorza cheese as I wanted a lovely smokey cheese sauce for my pasta dish. You can of course add in any cheese or any herbs, spices etc.
Fresh Pasta is just the best, but I always make far too much, I really need to learn my portion sizes…lol. Today I came across a recipe for balsamic chicken so I decided to try it out but add a little honey to it for the glaze and flavour, it was delicious.
For the pasta: (makes 4 servings)
275g ‘OO’ Grade Pasta Flour
3 large eggs
1 tbsp dried basil
Sift the flour & put basil into the large bowl on Kitchen Aid mixer or work surface.
Make a well in the middle. Crack one egg in and whisk gently.
Gently with your hands start to incorporate the flour starting at the bottom, once it starts to come together crack the 2nd egg, then the 3rd until it becomes sticky.
Using the dough hook on the mixer, knead together until you get a smooth like dough. Remove, cover with cling film and leave for about 1 hour.
Attach the pasta attachment, cut the pasta dough into 4 sections.
Flatten dough with hand then feed through the pasta maker, No. 1 x 5, No. 3 x 2, No. 5/6 x 1
Change attachment to fettuccine and feed through. Hang until ready to cook.
Heat a large pan of slightly salted water and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Strain
For the Balsamic Honey Chicken:-
2 Chicken Breasts (1 per person)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp rainbow pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tbsp olive oil
Place chicken breast in a dish. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a seperate dish then pour over the chicken. Marinade in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Pre heat your grill to medium heat and gently grill the chicken on the wire shelf for about 16-17 minutes turning halfway through. Tip:- place a tray of cold water underneath to catch any drips but this also adds a little steam to help keep the chicken moist. (I have a chicken breast setting on my oven which I used, this automatically controls the temperature).
Meanwhile cut some baby tomatoes in half (I used vittoria tomatoes), and place in the dish with remaining marinade sauce and mix. Place in the oven with the chicken beasts and next shelf down (underneath).
Remove chicken from grill and slice lengthways, tip into the drained pasta along with the tomatoes and sauce and combine. Serve. Yummy!
So delicious! If you love peanut butter, you will love this.
With my new Hotpoint oven came a Steam pot so I’ve been trying to experiment with steam cooking, not only is it more nutritious but also so much more healthier. First, since food is cooked by direct contact between steam as well as the movement of the hot vapor through the food, no fat is needed to conduct the heat. This makes steaming a lower-calorie, low fat cooking method. Food stays moist, too, since it is being bathed in water vapor. Also, since water soluble nutrients (namely Vitamins C and B) don’t leach out into vapor, steaming preserves up to 50% more nutrients than other moist heat cooking methods.
Just because steaming is a healthy way to cook doesn’t mean it has to be bland. There are many ways of adding extra flavor to steamed food during the cooking process. You can bring extra flavor to your food by adding all sorts of complementary herbs and spices to your cooking liquid. Further up the flavor by substituting stock, fruit juice or wine for water. The additional flavors will permeate the food as the steam cooks them.
2 Chicken Breasts
1 tsp garlic granules or 1 garlic clove
40g whole peanuts
1 tsp salt & pepper
350ml chicken stock
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp peanut oil
Slice the Leek, using a bit with the green on
Peel and slice the shallots
Shell and peel peanuts (if not predone), blitz in a blender until fine
Cut the chicken into small pieces and season
Add chicken, leek, shallots, garlic and seasoning to the peanuts in blender and blitz together.
With your hands roll into meatballs and place on a greased baking tray, then refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Pour the chicken stock into the steam pot and then place the meatballs onto the grid and place in pot, cover with lid. Set steam time to 10 minutes.
2 minutes before ready place the spinach in the pot also.
When ready remove the chicken stock from the pot and place in a pan on hob. Reduce by half and then emulsify 1 tbsp peanut butter and 1 tsp peanut oil until sauce thickens. (about 1-2 minutes)
Serve meatballs on the bed a spinach and pour sauce over. Yummy!
I just love Sunday Brunch time, no alarm, lay in, relaxing morning and a fantastic big breakfast that will keep me going until my Sunday dinner. I couldn’t decide between sweet or savoury this morning, so why not both?? This was an absolute treat and so glad I had some fresh tomatoes as this jam just nailed the dish.
Makes 2 portions
For the Jam
10 cherry tomatoes – 1/4
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 red onion – finely chopped
For the French Toast
2 slices of bread (I used wholemeal)
1 tbsp butter for frying
Salt & pepper to taste
1 large handful of kale – I steamed cooked mine for 4 minutes, perfect.
1/2 Avocado – sliced
To make the jam:- Heat 1 tbsp butter and some spray oil in a fry pan
Saute the onion on medium heat until tender about 5 minutes
Add brown sugar, stir and cook for a further 3 minutes
Add the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm
To make the French Toast:- Heat 1 tbsp butter in a fry pan.
Whisk the eggs and season with salt & pepper
Place the slices of bread in the egg mixture and allow to soak for a minute, then place into the hot pan and fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Steam cook your kale.
Place kale onto toast, then avocado slices then top with the jam.
So my experimenting with Black Food continues……………another successful outcome! Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together nicely.
Makes approx 12 Mini Buns
250g Strong White Flour
1 tsp salt
2tbsp activated charcoal powder
25g caster sugar
7g sachet yeast
70ml warm milk
2 large eggs
125g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 egg for wash with 1 tsp charcoal powder
Method for Brioche buns:-
Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the charcoal powder. Add the salt and sugar. Mix together.
Mix the eggs with the warm milk and add the yeast, allow to stand for approx 5 minutes until it starts to go frothy.
Add the milk/yeast mixture to the flour and mix on level 2 of your stand mixer for about 2-3 mins. Then turn up to level 4 (medium speed) and mix for about 10 mins or until you get a glossy elastic dough.
Add the softened butter and mix for a further 5 mins. If the dough is too soft and sticky just add some more flour 1 tbsp at a time.
Lightly oil a large bowl and tip the dough into it.
If your oven has a rising programme, turn on and leave to rise for about 2-2.5hrs, if not cover with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place.
Punch down the dough and place onto a worktop, divide the dough into small sections about 22-25g sizes.
Take into your palm and using your other hand roll to make a small ball. Place onto a baking tray with parchment paper, leaving enough space in between to allow expansion. Prove again for a further 2 hrs or until doubled in size.
Mix the beaten egg with 1 tsp charcoal powder for the wash, lightly brush the wash over the buns.
Preheat an oven to 180 deg and bake for about 15 minutes.
Chilli Chicken Burgers
2 Chicken Breasts
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tsp salt and pepper to taste
handful of breadcrumbs
Place the chicken into a food processor and pulse until broken up – you don’t want it to fine.
Add in all other ingredients and pulse to mix through
Divide into equal portions to fit the burgers and place on a baking tray, place in fridge for at least 30mins -1 hr.
When ready preheat the Crisper plate for 2 mins and place the chicken burgers on, using dynamic crisp setting cook for about 10 mins until browned and cooked. If you don’t have a Crisperplate either cook on hob using fry pan or grill under medium heat.
Once the brioche buns are ready allow to cook then slice in half and start to assemble your burger.
My new oven has a Rotisserie in it and I have to admit I have never cooked my chicken any other way now, rotisserie cooking keeps your meat so succulent and the skin…well what can I say…crispy…crispy…crispy…..so Yummy!
This is my favourite rub:-
2 tbs sea salt
2 tbs smoked paprika
3 tsp onion powder
1½ tsp garlic powder
3 tsp thyme
1½ tsp black pepper
3 tsp white pepper
1½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed dry rosemary
Just put everything into a jar and mix. Store in a cupboard.
When ready, simply rub about 2-3 tbsp into chicken and under skin and cook…..Yummy!
If your anything like me……I Love peanut butter, so when I saw this recipe being executed on TV I just had to try it. I have adjusted the ingredients slightly to suit our tastes and I have to admit it’s bloody lovely! This will soon be a staple recipe in my household I think.
You can serve it with some rice for a dinner, or even just on a toasted open baguette (which we done) or even as a filling in a wrap for lunch, its very versatile.
Makes enough for 4 people
For the Chicken Thighs and marinade:-
500g chicken thighs cut into strips
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp peanut oil
For the Sauce:-
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (good quality one)
80g peanut butter – crunchy
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sichuan peppercorns – toasted and ground (you can use rainbow peppercorns too)
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 red chillies – chopped finely or 2 tsp dried chillies
4 spring onions – finely chopped
2 garlic cloves – crushed
1 inch root ginger, finely chopped
For the marinade for chicken thighs – Mix the soy sauce, peanut oil and cornflour in a bowl, add the chicken and ensure coated evenly, allow to stand at room temperature for at least 1/2 hour.
Meanwhile for the sauce, combine together balsamic vinegar, peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil and peppercorns until smooth.
Heat a wok or large fry pan over a medium to high heat, add the peanut oil to heat through until pan is coated, then add in the chillies, ginger and garlic cook for about 1 minute.
Add in the marinated chicken and cook until chicken is browned all over. Add in the spring onions and the sauce mixture coating all the chicken pieces, cook for a further 2 minutes.