Guinea fowl thighs with bacon

Again and again I walk into my local supermarket and straight to the meat and fish section to find something to make something worth writing about. This time I saw the guinea fowl thighs, I rarely see them as they mostly just stock full birds, so I snapped them up.

I rifled through the isles to find something to go with it, I picked some thick cut bacon lardons and an onion squash. Here was the resulting recipe!

Ingredients:

4 Guinea fowl thighs
200g bacon lardons
Dash of white wine (50ml)
Rapeseed oil
Pepper

1onion squash, peeled and chopped
A little oil
Salt
Pepper

prep:
preheat your oven at 180\gas mark 7

Method:

Place the squash on a tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. place in the oven.

Add 1 tablespoons of rapeseed oil to a large non stick frying pan on a medium/high heat, followed by the bacon.

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Fry the bacon until it starts to brown, then add the wine. Stir the bacon and wine to lift the sediment from the bottom of the pan and simmer for 2 minutes.

Add the guinea fowl, and fry gently on each side for a few minutes until browned.

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Remove everything from the pan and place in an oven proof tray, sprinkle with a little pepper, then place in the
oven for around 20 minutes.

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After 20 minutes check the squash has softened in the middle. browned nicely around the edges and that the guinea foel thighs juices are running clear, then serve with your favourite green vegetables and enjoy.

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Roast duck and fresh gravy

The Christmas break is now a distant memory and I can honestly say it feels like the whole festive season was gone in a blink of an eye. I always find that the whole build up to Christmas far outweighs the impact of the actual event, by the time you actually get there it fizzles out like a spent candle and all that’s left from 9 weeks of build up is a bloated waistline and a new year’s resolution claiming newly found restraint. It leaves me a little deflated as the quality of the Christmas dinner and the buffet style foods that flow between the 25th through to the 1st all of a sudden seem to just fade away leaving naught but the mother of all Monday morning feelings when the majority of us return to work on the 2nd of January.

Therefore I am a believer of the Sunday roast done properly. It keeps the deflating withdrawals from the mass feasting available over Christmas and keeps you satisfied by providing something a little bit special and extravagant once a week for you and your family. Most people stick to the usual suspect’s when it comes to roasts like chicken, lamb and beef, but however great these are don’t let the trend deter you from trying something different every now and then.

Enter the star of today’s show, the duck. The bird provides succulent, dark, decadent flesh and hearty reusable fats. I adore duck as it is a real treat and not as widely used as chicken but it really, really should be. Roasted it just makes me totally content and I want to share that experience with you, so here’s my recipe for roast duck to ease your foodie withdrawal symptoms.

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium duck
  • Large pinch sea salt
  • 600 ml chicken stock
  • 100ml white wine
  • Dash of Worcester sauce
  • Tbsp flour

Method

  1. Pierce the skin of the duck all over. Place on a rack in the kitchen sink, and pour over 2 full kettles of boiling water. Pat it dry with kitchen towel. leave it to dry in the fridge. This will help give you crispy skin!
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 C, 180 C fan, 400 F, gas 6. Place the duck on a rack over a roasting tin, as it will release a lot of fat into the tin.
  3. Add sea salt to the skin and roast for 90 minutes. Basting every 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave to rest.
  5. While the duck is resting, make the gravy. Place the roasting tin over a low flame, then stir in the flour and keep on the heat until you have a slightly thicker paste and have moved some of the sediment from the tray.
  6. Gradually pour in the stock and wine, stirring constantly, until you feel it thicken.
  7. Simmer for 2 minutes, using a wooden spoon to stir, scraping any remaining bits and pieces from the bottom of the tin.
  8. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan, then simmer, adding the Worcester sauce and season.
  9. When you carve the duck, add any extra leaky juices to the gravy for an extra treat.

Simple, but beautiful! Enjoy!

Oriental vegetable noodles with grilled salmon and firecracker sauce

An old recipe I found, one of the first I ever wrote but certainly worth a go! Its my ode to the exiting and vibrant flavours involved in Chinese and Asian cooking. If your not a lover of fish substitute it with a few chicken breasts, whether its used as a summer treat sitting in your garden or a winter warmer eaten while snuggled up in your wing back chair on a Saturday night, its sure to go down well.

Oriental vegetable noodles with grilled salmon and firecracker sauce

To serve 2 you’ll need:

4 small Pak choi, quartered.

handful of button mushrooms, quartered.

4 baby corns , finely chopped.

100g Dried egg noodles. (usually flat packed in packs of four)

Mixed bell peppers, julienned.

4 spring onions, diced.

2 medium sized salmon fillets.

Pinch sea salt.

for the Firecracker sauce:

2 Tbsp rapeseed oil

1 cup chicken stock stock.

2 Tbsp red cooking wine.

3 Tbsp of soy sauce.

2 level Tspn garlic powder.

1 Tspn ground ginger.

2 Large fresh chili’s (I used 1 green and one red) finely chopped.

2 Tbsp of honey.

Method for the sauce:

1) Add the stock and wine, to a frying pan or wok. Bring to a gentle simmer.

2) Once at a simmer add the honey, garlic, ginger and chili’s (including the seeds!)

3) Now leave on a medium high heat for a few minutes until it reduces by half, then take it completely off the heat.

Method for the noodles:

Preheat your grill.

1) Add the salt to some water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Then add the noodles and veg leave for a few minutes on a high heat until the noodles soften, leaving some crunch in the veg.

2) Pat dry the salmon, adding a little salt and pepper to one side of each of the filets and place under the grill. grill for around 4-5 minutes each side. the flesh should release a milky, mayonaise sort of looking fat into the grill pan and will flake really easily once cooked. (Keep an eye on it and don’t over cook it as it really is key to the dish to have that lovely salmon on top!)

3) drain the noodles, retaining a little of the cooking water.

4) Put the sauce back on the heat and add the noodles, mixing well.

5) Serve the salmon on a bed of noodles, dress with any remaining sauce and devour!

sam_1058

2013 recap: The burgathon recipe sheets

2013 has been a crazy year and the blog has gone from strength to strength over the months, I can only thank everybody who reads the blog for helping it get up an running. Its been a fun start to a life of online food writing.

The highlight of the year for me food wise was battle of the burgers in London, which triggered the Burgathon series. A trio of recipes aimed at getting people to make their own, homemade burgers to enjoy rather than buying shop bought ones, while satisfying my perverse adoration for burgery goodness. So below find all of the Burgathon recipes together in one place! Thanks again for reading. 2014 is going to be huge!

The Mardi Gras burger

Ingredients:

The Mardi Gras burger sauce

  • 1 White onion, Diced.
  • 2 Tbspn Olive oil.
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced.
  • 125ml Southern comfort/ Spirit of Louisiana liquor.
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes.
  • 2 tbspn brown sugar.
  • 3 Tbspn Worcester sauce.
  • 1 heaped tbspn good tomato ketchup.
  • Large pinch of sea salt.
  • 1 Tspn white pepper.

The burger

  • 600g lean steak mince.
  • 1 1/2 tbspn Cayenne pepper.
  • 1 tbspn Smoked paprika.
  • Large pinch sea salt.
  • Large pinch black pepper.
  • 2 Tbspn olive oil.
  • 4 slices of smoked cheddar.
  • 4 Good quality seeded buns.
  • Handful of mixed salad leaves.

Method:

Firstly you will want to get cracking with the sauce.

  1. Put the oil into a large frying pan and bring to a medium heat and spread the oil out evenly.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the garlic starts to soften and becomes fragrant.
  3. Add the Southern comfort and simmer for 5 minutes until it reduces to half its volume, cooking out the majority of the alcohol.
  4. Add the tomatoes, sugar, Worcester sauce, ketchup, salt and pepper. Cook on the medium heat for an additional 10 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce thickens and the tomato juices reduce and begin to emulsify.
  5. Take off the heat and leave to cool, then drop the contents of the pan into a food processor and pulse a few times. This will give it a thicker consistency and thicken it up a little.
  6. Empty into a small container and put to one side to await its meaty vehicle.
Before and after... Father and son.

Before and after… Father and son.

For the burger…

  1. Combine the meat, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well with clean hands.
  2. Split and roll into 4 evenly sized balls.
  3. Pat the balls down into approximately 2 cm thickness and lay on a plate, cover the plate with cling film.
  4. Refrigerate patties for 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat a griddle pan on a medium heat. Pre-heat your grill too.
  6. add a dash of oil to both sides of each burger and gently rub it in.
  7. Place 2 patties at a time on the griddle and cook for around 6-7 minutes on each side.
  8. At the end of the second sides cooking period, add the cheese to the top of the burger and leave to melt for a further 2 minutes.
  9. Take the Burgers off the heat and leave to rest in a warm place for 3 minutes.
  10. Cut the buns in half and grill each side until slightly browned.
  11. Add the mixed leaves to the bottom part of the bun, followed by the burger, top it with the sauce and cap it off with the top half of the bun.
This sucker got soul!

This sucker got soul!

——

the big pig burger

  • 500g of pork mince
  • 5-6 well sized fresh sage leaves, finely sliced
  • 2 tspn minced fresh garlic
  • large pinch fine sea salt
  • 2-3 grinds of black pepper
  • 2 Portobello mushrooms
  • Handful of baby leaf spinach
  • 2 thick slices of Claxton mild blue cheese
  • 2 burger buns of your choice, halved
  • Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil

method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the pork mince, sage, garlic, salt and pepper and mix with clean hands until you can make one large ball with the mixture.
  2. Split the mixture into 2 evenly shaped balls and pat down into large discs.
  3. Cover with cling film and pop in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  4. Place a griddle pan on a medium heat, and apply a little oil to each side of each burger. Preheat your grill on medium/high.
  5. Place the burger on the griddle and cook for 6-7 minutes on each side. then remove from the heat to rest in a warm place, check the middle of the burger by pressing it with your thumb, it should be as firm as the outside if it is cooked all the way through.
  6. Place the mushrooms under the grill and cook for a few minutes on each side until it starts to flatten. remove from grill.
  7. place your bread rolls under the grill until browned, repeat for both sides.
  8. place a teaspoon of Dijon on the bottom of the bun, followed by some spinach, rest the burger on the spinach and place a slice of the blue cheese over the burger, followed by a mushroom and cap it with the remaining side of the toasted bun.

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——

The maple bagel burger

For the burger

600g lean steak mince
3 tablespoons maple syrup
large pinch cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon mild chili flakes
pinch fine sea salt
4 fresh white bagels
8 slices pastrami
8 slices good Swiss cheese
chopped salad leaves of your choice, sliced tomato and a splash of olive oil.

For the dressing

1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon good quality mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon English mustard
pinch white pepper.

Method:

  1. Combine the mince, chili flakes, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a bowl. With clean hands mix well until all seasoning and the maple syrup is evenly distributed.
  2. split into 4 evenly sized balls and pat down into discs around an inch thick.
  3. Cover and leave in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to firm up.
  4. preheat a griddle pan on a medium heat and add a little oil to each side of the burgers.
  5. Add the burgers to the griddle 2 at a time and cook for 7 minutes on each side. Preheat your grill on high.
  6. Grill the bagels on both sides until they start to brown.
  7. cut up 2 pieces of pastrami per burger, top with a few pieces of cheese and slide under the grill for a few minutes. then remove and rest for a few moments.
  8. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together and add it right the way around the base of the bagels, followed by the salad, the burger with the pastrami and now soft Swiss cheese, capped off with the top half of the bagel and press down a little to push it all together.
  9. Then enjoy it! it really is a show stopper!
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Maple steak burger

So that’s it, 2013 is over and 2014 has begun, I wish you all the very best and hope it is a truly great year for all of you.

Phil

Ed’s hotdog stand, meadowhall shopping center.

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When out on a day of shopping, especially post Christmas,  it’s always vital, for your own sanity, to break up the repetitive jumps from packed clothing shops teaming with January sale hunters to toy shops full of kids with their freshly full little pockets brimming with Nana’s Christmas money.  This year we decided to hit the shops early so we could get in and out quickly, but this also meant the need to quench mid shopping hunger pangs struck early.

To find somewhere to replenish our quickly depleting fuel tanks we wandered into the food court of the meadowhall shopping center and ambled around wondering what we could really justify eating at 10:30 in the morning, as let’s be fair, tapas or pizza just isn’t usually a plausible option to me before the sun is past the yardarm. This brought us to Ed’s. Situated in the central part of the food court it is bright and stands out. Ed’s brings what you would expect from a place playing on the ‘American style’ experience that is becoming increasingly more popular in the UK at the moment, offering hot dogs, milkshakes and malts as a quick option rather than the full ‘USA’ grill or restaurant experience offer by its other branch located just upstairs.

The menu – As mentioned the menu offered a selection of milkshakes, soda’s, malts and hot dogs as an alternative offering to the constantly busy vendors surrounding you in the food court, while also giving them a presence on both floors. The menu doesn’t offer a lot but it serves its purpose, giving you the choice of around 4 hotdogs. A normal hotdog, a cheese dog, a BBQ dog and a chili dog which are all available in regular or large sizes. The milkshakes are quite extensive but cover most of the usual flavors you would expect to find. 3\5

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Service – Polite but quite slow. Not going to lie it was a little poor given the fact its sole purpose is for a quick bite to eat while on the go. Being left waiting for 15 minutes for a large chili dog, one regular and one large milkshake doesn’t sound like much, but if you added a few more orders to the queue you could be there a fair while longer. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt though it was 10:30 and we were probably among their first customers, nether the less, if you’re not 100% ready for service it will always reflect badly. The staff on the whole were friendly and couldn’t apologise enough when the card machine was not working correctly and losing signal. Credit to her for her patience and her manners whoever she is. 3\5

Taste- The milkshakes were very tasty, I had a peanut butter and banana deluxe and my partner had a straight banana one. They had a good thick consistency and weren’t too sweet, which is a pet peeve for me with milkshakes. The chili dog, a hot dog topped with a layer of chili beef served on a soft white roll, was OK but really benefitted from the addition of the tangy cheese sauce for a small supplement but didn’t justify the total fee paid as it tasted like something I could throw together at home for a fraction of the price. 3\5

Value for money – In total the visit to Ed’s cost me around £14. For 2 milkshakes and a hotdog this is pretty poor. The hotdog alone cost nearly £6, and then I was asked to pay an extra £1 for the cheese sauce. For that kind of money I would expect at the very least a meal deal or a small helping of fries. Ridiculous pricing when you can get 2 meals of similar quality at any chain pub. Not great. 1\5

Overall not an amazing experience and not somewhere I would recommend or go out of my way to return too. next time I go to Meadowhall I will probably try somewhere else. Sorry Ed, not bad but there’s some definite room for improvement.

3 out of 5.