Sunday, 14 January 2018

Beef Rendang – Hairy Bikers Style

Beef Rendang – Hairy Bikers Style

  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Thumb sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp galangal paste
  • 2 plump red chillies roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 kilo beef steak cut into bite sized chunks (stewing or braising)
  • Big pinch of sea salt


Method:
Peel off the dry outer layers of each lemongrass stalk and slice the inner white part into 1cm pieces.  Place them into a food processor, add the onions, garlic, ginger, galangal and chillies and blend to make as fine a paste as possible.  You will need to push the mixture down a good few times to ensure everything gets a good blitz, word of caution, don’t breath in deeply when doing this as the fragrance will knock you for six!
Heat the vegetable oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and fry the onion paste gently for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric, mix well and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the beef to the casserole dish and toss it with the onion paste and spices.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the meat is lightly coloured all over.  Pour in the coconut milk, add the water, curry leaves, cinnamon stick, sugar, tamarind paste, soy sauce and salt.  Place a lid on the casserole dish and cook in a preheated over at 160 degrees for around 3 hours or until the meat is very tender, you will need to give a good stir on the hour and also just to check it isn’t drying out.  

By the end of the cooking process you should be left with a thick, rich sauce.

It is best to make the curry the day before you eat it as the flavours will enhance the dish even more.  If you are a spice fiend then add as much fresh chilli as you can take, I did find the two chillies (including the seeds) gave this quite a good kick of heat. 

  I served this with basmati rice, cucumber and mint raita, and a tomato, onion and coriander chutney with some poppadoms.
Whilst it may seem like a lot of ingredients most of the dry ingredients people will have in their store cupboard and any additional ingredients required shouldn’t work out too costly and will keep in the fridge for a while once opened.

We both loved this dish, perfect for the weekend and with enough leftover for another dish I will be making later in the week,, watch this space for an Italian dish with an Indian twist!
Recipe adapted from The Hairy Bikers – Great Curries

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Homemade chicken kievs

Homemade chicken kievs
Well Christmas and New Year have been and gone, all roasted out, how about a nice chicken Kiev?  Ordinarily I would have had this with a big plate of fries but given everything that I've eaten over the festive period I went semi healthy and had a big plate of rainbow salad with mine!

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Salted butter
  • Handful of finely chopped parsley
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Beaten egg
  • Flour

Method:
In a bowl place enough butter to make two small pats that will go inside the chicken, add the garlic, parsley and the lemon juice, mix together using the back of a spoon, once combined form into a small sausage shape and put into the fridge to firm up.

Place the chicken breasts inside a plastic sandwich bag (or something similar) and give them a good whacking with a rolling pin or the base of a pan, we need to flatten them slightly. Using a sharp knife make a slit in the side of each piece of chicken, not too large but use the knife to work some space inside the chicken to accommodate the garlic butter, placing half into each chicken breast.

Place the Panko breadcrumbs into a deep dish, put some flour onto a plate and beat the egg in a bowl large enough to dunk the chicken into.  Roll the chicken in the flour, dunk in the egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs, once done repeat the egg and breadcrumb process that way you ensure you get a good coating which will get pretty crispy once cooked.  Place the chicken in the fridge and leave to firm up before cooking.

Put some vegetable oil into a large frying pan and heat up ready for the frying stage.  You can drop a breadcrumb into the oil and if it sizzles you know the oil is hot enough. Place the chicken breasts into the pan and cook for around 20 minutes, turning half way through (this can take longer depending how thick your chicken breasts are, you can always cut into the end part of the chicken to ensure that it is cooked).  Remove the breasts from the pan and place onto some kitchen roll on a plate in order to absorb any excess oil then serve.

The good thing with this recipe is you can pretty much put what you want into the butter mix, next time I'm going to try coriander, lime and chilli flakes, give it a bit of a Mexican twist!  Obviously you can add as much or as little garlic to the original recipe as you like and adjust the amount of butter depending on how many kievs you are making.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

New Years Day Canapés

New Years Day Canapés
Here are a couple of quick and easy canapé ideas, I won't bore you with the smoked salmon blinis recipe as I'm pretty sure most people know how to put these together: shop-bought blinis, smoked salmon, creme fraiche mixed with horseradish and some lumpfish caviar, job done.

For the tuna and cucumber canapés you will need a tin of tuna, drained and mashed in a bowl, add a squeeze of lemon, few grinds of black pepper, small handful of diced red onion, mix well and then add a teaspoon of the mix onto a thick slice of cucumber (it needs to be thick as you don't want a floppy cucumber!).

Given my love of a bit of spice I think next time I may add a few dashes of hot sauce to the tuna mix, liven it up a notch!

I really hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I would like to thank you all for checking in on A Mouthful Of Mark, here's to another great year ahead of foodie adventures!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Gin and Tonic Pickles

Gin and Tonic Pickles
  • 1 medium size kilner jar
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • ½ cup gin
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 4 slices of lime
  • Tonic water

 Method:
Trim the ends from the cucumbers and cut them into half and then quarter them (or more depending on the size!).  Place the cucumber into the kilner jar along with the lime slices, add the salt, sugar, gin and lime juice, close the jar and give a good shake to combine everything.   Open the jar and top up with the tonic water, making sure the pickles are completely covered, re-seal and leave for a couple of days in the fridge, once opened they should last in the fridge for up to a month, I say should, however I doubt they will be around long enough!

I have literally just made these - so I have yet to taste them - however as big gin lovers what’s not to like?  These pickles should be perfect for that Boxing Day buffet, I can’t wait.  Recipe is courtesy of delish.com

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Six Hour Pork Belly

Six Hour Pork Belly

  • 3 onions sliced in half
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 300ml dry sherry
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1kg pork belly
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tbsp sea salt
  • For the relish
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp sherry-vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 20g bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 20g bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
Method:
Heat the oven to 240 degrees/220 fan.  Put the sliced onions into a deep roasting tin with the garlic, sherry and stock.  Place the pork on top, skin side up, pat dry with kitchen roll, then rub the fennel seeds and salt into the skin of the pork.  Roast the pork for 15-20 minutes until the skin starts to puff up and looks like its about to crackle.  Turn the heat down to 140 degrees/120 degrees fan and cook the pork uncovered for 5 hours until the meat is tender and falling apart.  Take the pork out of the oven, drain the stock/juices from the tin into a saucepan, along with the onions, then set aside.

Turn the oven back up to 240 degrees/220 degrees fan, put the pork back in and cook for a further 30 minutes to ensure the crackling is nice and crispy, if the fennel seeds brown you can brush them off the top of the pork.  Whilst the pork is in the last stages of cooking, make the relish.  Put the red onion into a small dish with the vinegar and sugar and set aside.  When the pork belly skin has finished crackling, remove the tin from the oven and put the meat onto a lipped plate and leave to rest for 20 minutes.  For the gravy, bring the reserved stock mixture to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for around 25 minutes until it coats the back of a spoon.  Add a glug of sherry to give acidity, then taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Just before serving, stir the chopped fresh herbs into the relish.  Add any resting pork juices to the onion gravy then carve the pork into chunky slices.  Serve with the relish, sherry gravy and your favourite potatoes and greens.

This recipe is a perfect winter comfort dish and just right for a Sunday roast.  I adapted the recipe slightly from Delicious magazine, adjusting the stock and sherry levels as the original recipe had too much to fit into the oval roasting tin that I used, also my recipe serves 4 as opposed to 6-8 in the original recipe. 

Whilst I have included the recipe for the gravy I will be honest and say it didn’t turn out all that well and given that a large percentage of it was made up of rendered down fat, I wasn’t actually too keen on eating it in the first place!  That’s when that store cupboard staple of Bisto gravy granules comes in super handy as a last minute substitute! 

Overall a nice tasty dish and the relish really did go well with the pork, going forward, I wouldn’t spend 6 hours cooking this again it could be cooked for half the time on a slightly higher temperature and leave you with the same result!  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Jai Ho Restaurant Review

Jai Ho is an Indian restaurant situated in a former a pub, the Coppingham Arms, and has been a local favourite for 9 years.  We have visited Jai Ho quite a few times over the years and it soon became not only our favourite Indian restaurant but our favourite restaurant full stop.  It’s a great set up - you have the bar area where people generally come in for a drink whilst waiting to pick up their takeaways and then a pretty large dining area, which I have to say, every time we have visited, it has always been busy, no matter what time of day, its therefore always advisable to ring ahead and book a table.

Jai Ho Homemade dips
As with a lot of people we generally stuck with our safe dishes, those tried and tested favourites that we would have pretty much every time we visited.  This time we had been invited along by one of the owners, Sam, to come in and sample some dishes with him and his partner Jane, after much deliberation we said why not, ok, it took all of a nano-second!

Chilli Naans

We popped along last Friday and once again the bar area was pretty busy as was the restaurant.  We sat and had a drink in the bar area before heading through into the restaurant.  As with any Indian meal, we had the obligatory poppadum’s and dips, all of which are made fresh apart from the mango chutney, however the Chef gives this the Jai Ho twist with the addition of some spices.  I have to say this is one of my favourite parts of any Indian meal and these  dips are no exception, especially the chilli and tomato relish, I need to get the recipe for this as it is amazing! 

Paneer Shashlik

Sam ordered a selection of starters for us, junglee bhajia, which consists of an assortment of vegetables dipped in the Chef’s special batter and golden fried. We also had paneer shashlik, Indian cheese to you and I, which is stir fried with onions, peppers and tomatoes.  The vegetables were very tasty and the paneer, which I had never tried before, is now on my favourites list, a bit like halloumi and firm cottage cheese but taken to another level with the vegetables.

Tandoori King Prawns

We were then brought a portion of salmon tikka and tandoori king prawns.  The salmon fillets are marinated in spices and broiled, the prawns are dipped in a creamy spiced marinade and grilled until golden in a clay oven along with the salmon.   Both dishes were well received and quickly devoured; they were delicious with a capital D! 


By now our tastebuds had really been given a kick into next week with the flavours. This was soon to move up a gear when we were brought out portions of chilli garlic cauliflower, chilli chicken and chicken 65 which are amongst some of the most popular dishes at the restaurant.  Now I have to say, I cannot stand cauliflower, it’s one of those things that since childhood makes me retch, so to say I was a little nervous about trying the cauliflower was an understatement! 

Chilli Garlic Cauliflower

 Both the chicken dishes were really tasty, something for everyone, the chicken 65 was mild whereas you guessed it, the chilli chicken packed a punch, the sort of dish that when coupled with a chilli naan bread left you feeling like you just had some botox injections in your lips!  Tingling and hot but in a very nice way, we love those two dishes that’s for sure.  Then we came to the dreaded cauliflower - I have to say looking at it I thought it was small pieces of roast potato, no resemblance to the usual cauliflower florets, so in I went, first hesitant bite, well, all I can say is OMG!  This was nothing like the cauliflower I have hated for all these years, it didn’t taste or even smell like that dreaded white broccoli, it tasted fantastic, a slight crunch and a bit of a kick from the chilli - could this be my new found favourite dish? Hell yes, I will be having a large portion of this next time I return that’s for sure!
Chicken Dhum Pukht Biryani

 As if we hadn’t eaten enough, we then were presented with the last three dishes of the evening, tadka dal, chicken kharahi and chicken dhum pukht biryani.  The dal consisted of yellow lentils cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices.  I will be honest, I’m not personally a huge fan of lentils so for me I could take it or leave it, however my partner loved it - very mild and creamy and definitely something to mop up with some naan bread.  The chicken kharahi is cooked in ground Indian spices with onions and peppers tossed in an iron skillet.  Once again, another dish full of flavour and one to add to my “have again” list.  The biryani I have to say was quite surprising, cooked in the traditional way in a clay pot and covered with bread, this dish is a combination of both rice and the chicken.  Ones I have tried in the past have been nice but pretty mild, this one however had a nice spicy kick to it which we loved, so this one is also going onto my list too!

Some 3 hours later we had finished what turned out to be a feast of fantastic food, packed with flavour, spice and more importantly freshly cooked.  This visit was a real eye opener in terms of trying different dishes rather than the same old tried and tested, so many thanks to Sam for his hospitality and for introducing me to some wonderful new dishes, especially the cauliflower!  Sam tells me that they have a new lamb shank dish on the menu, I think I will be needing to try that the next visit and also push myself out of my comfort zone and try some more new dishes, there are plenty to choose from so I’m thinking it is going to take a while to get through them all.

All in all my partner and I both agreed it was a fantastic evening, amazing tasty food and great company and service from the staff.  I would like to add that having been to Jai Ho numerous times over the years, the service has always been spot on as has the food so it wasn’t just a case of who we were eating with!

Jai Ho gets a well deserved 10 out of 10 from me and is certainly somewhere I would recommend, even if you are not a spice fan, they have something to tempt all palettes so give them a go, again, I recommend booking a table as they do get rather busy!  www.jaihorestaurants.com 01293-782283

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Kinda homemade pizza

Kinda homemade pizza

This is a semi cheats dinner.  I found a pack of Northern Dough chilli pizza dough in the back of my  freezer so thought it was about time I used it and boy I’m glad I did.  I have made my own pizza dough before but this is already done for you and saves a bit of time but you still get that home cooked taste.

The Northern Dough Chilli Pizza Dough

  • 1 Box Pizza Dough (several flavours to choose from)
  • 70g pack of double concentrated tomato puree
  • Buffalo mozzarella pearls
  • Parmesan shavings
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Chorizo slices
  • Parma ham slices
  • Handful of rocket
  • Half red onion sliced
  • Green pepper sliced
  • Handful of chopped black olives
  • Flour to dust the work surface and rolling pin
  • 1 Pizza stone
Place your pizza stone into a cold oven and heat at 240 degrees.  Whilst this is heating place some flour onto your worktop and spread it out, big enough for the size of pizza you are going to roll out.  The pizza dough comes in two portions so I combine the two which makes for one big pizza to cover my pizza stone.  Make sure the dough has a good coating of flour so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin and roll it out to the desired size. 

Allow the pizza stone to heat for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and place on top of something heatproof, I just put it on top of my gas ring.  With your rolling pin, place the dough across the top so it is folded in half and then carefully place this over the top of the pizza stone, remember, the stone is very hot so keep your fingers away!  Spread the tomato puree over the top of the pizza and then top with the meat, artichoke hearts, onion, pepper and olives.  



Return to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Once cooked and the pizza base is nice and crispy top with the rocket and shavings of parmesan and serve.




This seriously does taste as if you made it from scratch!  I have used a ready made pizza base in the past which I have to say was like eating cardboard, this however is ready made dough and is as good as you having made the dough yourself.  We both loved the pizza and will definitely be making again.  The choice of toppings can obviously be varied to suit your tastes, this is just an example of what we had, so knock yourselves out and pile your pizza with your toppings of choice!    

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Spicy Chettinad Indian Wraps

Spicy Chettinad Indian wraps
Here’s another in my series of “cheats dinners”, again, this goes to prove that meal kits don’t have to be tasteless and bland, far from it with this street food kit from the lovely Anjum Anand – The Spice Taylor.

The kit pretty much contains most of what you need to make your wraps, 6 soft paratha wraps, curry leaf and tomato stir fry sauce, a spice blend and coconut chutney.  All you need to add to this is your protein of choice, meat, chicken, fish, prawns or paneer and 2 tbs of plain yoghurt.

The meal kit will feed two, my protein of choice was chicken so I therefore used two chicken breasts which I butterflied and cut each half into 3 slices therefore giving 2 nice pieces of chicken per wrap.  Add some vegetable oil to a frying pan, heat and then add your chicken and cook until browned.  Add the stir fry sauce and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and sizzling.  Whilst the chicken is simmering, stir 2 tbsp of plain yoghurt into the coconut chutney.  I got up to this point but I then put amouthfulofmark twist to the dish, which hopefully you will agree adds a bit more to the recipe.

I knocked up a cucumber raita using the remainder of the yoghurt to which I added a tablespoon of chopped mint, pinch of salt, squeeze of lemon and a few slices of cucumber, cut into small pieces and mixed together.  I then quartered a tomato, deseeded it and cut into small pieces  and thinly sliced up a spring onion.

Back to the packet instructions, after heating through the parathas I spread some of the coconut chutney over each one, topped with chicken, sprinkled over some of spice blend then added a good dollop of cucumber raita, some chopped tomato and spring onion and a little chopped coriander then all we had to do was roll up and eat.

I have to say I am a bit of a fan of Anjum Anand, she makes some really delicious products and this just adds to the list of tasty dishes that you can make using them.  We both really enjoyed this and will be making again for sure, maybe next time some fresh chilli will give it a kick, as you know, we do love that kick!  The street food kits are available from most supermarkets so go on, give them a go, you wont be disappointed.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Mexicow Pie with Mexican Style Corn on the Cob

Mexicow Pie with Mexican Style Corn on the Cob
  • 2 Mexicow pies from the lovely people at Pieminister
  • 2 corn on the cob
  • Handful of grated parmesan
  • Handful of finely chopped coriander
  • 2 lime quarters
  • Sprinkling of paprika
  • 2 large knobs of butter


Method:
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the corn and cook for 15 minutes.  At the same time put the pies in the oven and cook according to instructions.  Drain the corn and leave to steam dry in the pan.  In a large bowl place the butter and put the corn on top, turning it in order that the butter melts evenly over all of the corn.  Heat a griddle pan and transfer the corn to the pan and cook on high, you want to get some colour to the sweetcorn, this should take about 10 minutes.  Return the corn to the bowl and sprinkle over the parmesan, coriander and paprika, again turning the corn as you go so it is all covered, then transfer to a plate along with the pies.  We served a good portion of chips with this, would be rude not to!

This is another one from my range of cheats dinners as I didn’t make the pie!  The  pie is made by Pieminister and is one of the extensive range which they produce, which includes gluten free pies.  These are available from Borough Market, Boxpark Shoreditch, online, in store at one of their restaurants and cafes and in a number of pubs dotted around the country, so there is no excuse for you not to have either heard of them or be able to get your hands on one of these delish pies (just to clarify, you can buy more than one at a time!). 

The Mexicow is a British beef, kidney bean, cheddar & chilli pie, hence my choice of corn to go with it.  Well, the pie is packed to bursting, there are no half measures and you can actually see the oozy cheese in the pie!  To say this was tasty is an understatement, the pastry is crisp and the filling was spot on!  My only suggestion would be that they come out with a hotter version of this pie as I do like a good bit of heat, especially with my Mexican dishes, perhaps the Mexicow Extreme!

Pieminister have pies to suit all tastes and they all have funky names, Kate & Sidney, Chicken of Aragon, Feta Attraction, SAAG Pie-Neer just to name a few, I dare you not to find something you don’t like!  In the world of pies, it certainly seems like they are taking over, I was staggered to learn that they have their own cafes and restaurants, there was me thinking they sold them off the back of a truck down at the market, they even cater for weddings!  Is there nothing these people cant do?  Oh, and if you are not a fan of pastry, you can get a Pie Pot, this basically is the pie filling topped with potato, they really have thought of everything. 

I had been aware of this brand but it was only after spotting them and following them on Instagram did I then realise what a range they produced.  Having seen the Mexicow I kept pestering Scott to pay them a visit at Borough Market to get us a couple to try, eventually he dragged himself down there and boy was he glad he did (as was I), I’ve never seen anyone happier eating a pie lol. 

I would definitely recommend you make a purchase so you an see how good they are for yourself, also check out the website it makes for interesting reading, these award winning pies are award winning for a reason and these guys do lots for charity as well, buy a pie and support a good cause.  They can be found online at www.pieminister.co.uk


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Cheats Beef Massaman Curry

Cheats Beef Massaman Curry
  • 1 jar of store bought massaman curry paste
  • 500g cubed stewing/braising steak
  • 1 400g tin of coconut milk
  • 1 large potato peeled and cut into medium sized cubes
  • 60g unsalted peanuts
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • Small sprinkle of chopped coriander
  • White rice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil


Method:
In a casserole dish heat the vegetable oil, add the diced onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened then add the beef and brown all over.  Add the jar of curry paste, coconut milk and peanuts, stir together and  then put into a preheated oven (160 degrees) and cook for 3 hours until the meat is tender.  Check on the curry after each hour and stir, you don’t want the sauce to dry up completely, if needed add some water but you probably won't need to do that until nearing the end of cooking. 

After the curry has been cooking for 2 hours, bring a pan of water to the boil, add some salt and boil the potatoes for around 7 minutes, it needs to be on the verge of having cooked but not too soft that they fall apart, drain and set aside.  After 2.5 hours add the potatoes to the curry, stir through and cook for the remaining 30 minutes.  Serve with white rice (cooked according to packet instructions) and a garnish of chopped coriander.

Not everything has to be cooked from scratch to be delicious, and this is a prime example. If you find a good sauce packed with flavour then why not use it?  That said, there is something satisfying about making a curry from scratch!  We both really enjoyed this, the peanuts gave a nice bit of flavour and texture to the dish, very hearty and definitely hit the spot.  Have to say on the jar it suggested 20g of peanuts but that isn’t a lot hence I used 60g!

Do you have a tried and tested sauce that you use, then let me know?