You’ll then need to click through a screen that asks you to choose three categories and then the full episode will be available.
To vote for me, I need you to ‘love’ the video on Grokkerby clicking the little heart button underneath. Voting will give me the chance to cook for Loyd again in the semi-finals and bring me one step closer to the grand prize of working with Jamie Oliver’s food photographer, David Loftus.
There are some awesome prizes up for grabs for you too if you recreate my dish and leave a photo as an ‘I did this’ on Grokker.
I really hope you enjoy the episode and can share some Grokker ‘love’ for me. I’d be absolutely thrilled if we can get me through to the semi-finals.
Christmas has long been a time for overindulgence. Chocolate coins, mince pies, candy canes, peppermint bark, truffles, Quality Street, fudge and chocolate liqueurs are amongst the things many of us will be finding in our stockings on that special morning. I always find turkish delight in mine, my Dad unwraps walnut whips and my Mum will always find a Terry’s chocolate orange.
My suggestion is that you have a go at making your own sweet stocking filler this year- my four seed brittle.
Striking some balance between naughty and nice, this brittle has the sweetness that we crave but unlike the chocolate and mince pies, it packs a punch in the health department too. The seeds are brimming with amino acids and minerals and to ramp up the goodness, I’ve topped them with some bee pollen granules, kindly gifted by health food brand Comvita.
The bee pollen granules are a natural multi-vitamin and well revered superfood. They taste like a more floral honey and given that pollen is collected from flowers, that’s exactly what I expected. If you don’t have these to hand, don’t worry I’ve given alternatives if you read on.
My brittle carries pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and poppy seeds but you can use chia, flax, hemp or squash as well.
500g cups sugar
1 tablespoon of flavourless oil (I used rapeseed)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
125g mixed seeds or nuts (I used sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and poppy)
Bee pollen granules
Melted dark chocolate
Add the water, sugar and oil to a large pan over a medium high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Our aim from this point is to turn the mixture golden brown and to thicken it, which takes about 10 minutes.
Whilst you’re waiting, line two baking trays with greaseproof paper, checking back occasionally to stir and push down any sugar on the sides of the pan. You may need to reduce the temperature a little as the sugar mixture starts to expand.
Once you see that golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt and baking soda. The baking soda will prevent the brittle from turning teeth crackingly hard and the salt will give it balance.
Stir in the seeds and pour out on to the baking sheets. It will level it’s self out so there’s no need to play about with it.
Add any extra toppings that you’d like to be uncooked. I chose bee pollen granules for half of my batch and I’m adding it at the end to maintain it’s integrity as a vitamin packed superfood. The other half received chopped cocoa nibs and bitter orange. You could also add chopped dried fruit or a drizzle of dark chocolate.
Cut the brittle in to strips after around 10 minutes. If you do this too soon, the hot brittle will just run back in to the cuts that you make. Too late and the brittle will have hardened and be too brittle (duh) to cut neatly – which is absolutely fine if you’d prefer shards.
Once cool, these will keep for 2 weeks in a sealed container in the cupboard, but I doubt it will last that long if your house is anything like mine. You can pat yourself on the back for reaching for some seed brittle instead of a candy cane.
A couple of weekends ago, a box landed at my door, filled to the brim with organic, British meat and vegetables. It had come from a company called Farmison and contained everything I needed (barr a few store cupboard staples) to cook along with that week’s Saturday Kitchen show (10am on BBC One).
When I first heard the idea I thought it was refreshing to see a subscription box that did something a little differently to the rest. I’ve often found myself watching a food show and wishing I had the ingredients in to cook what they are cooking. I guess that’s the gap in the market that this box is filling. Watch the Saturday Kitchen Show, drool over the drool over the recipes then get in the kitchen and make them.
Before I tell you about the recipes, just look at these veggies:
I’d pay a lot of money to have vegetables of this standard in my supermarket. Look at the size of this onion. I haven’t included photos of the meat as it was all shrink wrapped but you can find some links to examples in the next paragraph.
There are three meals to make with the contents. Mine were coq au vin, pork belly and finally flank steak with wild mushrooms. You can catch me cooking my way through coq au vin on instagram, and here’s a post to show off the steak. The belly pork? That’s in our freezer for another weekend. See, that was the beauty of this box for me. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t fancy one of the recipes that week, the meat will freeze and the veggies are all things you’ll be able to use up anyway.
You don’t need to be a die hard Saturday Kitchen fan to enjoy the box, you just have to appreciate good food. The meals we’ve cooked from our box were restaurant standard. When I posted the pictures of the flank steak on instagram, people were asking where we’d been for dinner because they wanted to go!
There are two boxes available, 3 meals to feed 4 is £59.95 (just under £5 a serving) and 3 meals to feed 2 is £44.95 (just under £7.50 a serving). Now, that’s certainly more expensive than picking the ingredients up at the supermarket but you just wouldn’t get that quality of organic ingredients, especially the meat. There’s also an offer on at the moment that gets you up to £15 off your first box and the sixth box for free.
If you feel your meal planning has become a little lack-lustre this might be just the thing to add some new recipes to your repertoire and give you the inspiration you need.
Oven Pride set me the challenge of putting my creative slant on a recipe post. As a food blogger, recipe posts are what I do, but what is my ‘creative slant’? Well, I like to keep my recipes simple. I want them to be accessible to everyone, even if the reader has never cooked before. To me, it was time to work some magic on the simplest ingredient that we cook with. The potato.
Making mash, chips, boiled and baked potatoes are amongst the first things we learn in the kitchen. I think it’s such a shame to leave it there with potatoes when there are far better side dishes to make with them. Today I’m showing you two of my favourites, both are very different in texture but use the exact same ingredients.
Let me introduce you to domino potatoes. Stacks of potatoes with perfect crunch and beautiful garlicky butter finding it’s way between them.
I like to think of them as the healthier version of dauphinoise.
To make these, simply preheat your oven to 210 degrees Celsius (425 F). Peel enough large Maris Piper (or other white potatoes) to fill your oven proof dish. Trim the side of each potato to make a block. Slice on a mandoline or as thinly as possible with a knife.
Stack on their sides in the dish and top with cubes of garlic butter. I use my own recipe for wild garlic butter, but you can find pre-made garlic butter in the Supermarket’s dairy aisle.
Season and bake for around 40 minutes. When cooked, the tops of the potatoes will be a crisp golden brown and the insides tender and buttery.
Next up, Parmentier potatoes. Rumour has it these crispy little cubes were ‘invented’ by Antoine-Augustin Parmentier (French potato loving guy born in 1737). How true that is, I’m not sure, but I doff my hat to him. This is my favourite way to eat potatoes.
Start by cutting white potatoes in to 1cm cubes. I’m using Albert Bartlett Rooster which I think are best with the skins left on, but you could peel them if you’d rather.
To get these little cubes fluffy and soft inside whilst offering a good amount of crunch outside, we’re going to parboil them and then throw them in hot, hot, fat. This is where Oven Pride comes in, I can’t guarantee that your oven will be splatter free after this recipe, but at least there’s an easy way to clean it. I promise it’s worth it.
Set the oven to 210 degrees C (425 F). Add a lump of goose or duck fat to your roasting tin or skillet pan and pop it in the oven. They’re actually surprisingly low in saturated fats so don’t let that scare you off them, but if you don’t have any you could use a high smoke point oil like rapeseed (here’s a good reference chart for that).
To parboil the potatoes, add the cubes to a pan of boiling water for around 5 minutes, or until you can poke a fork in to one without too much force. Drain them and transfer to the baking tin that’s in the oven with cubes of garlic butter on top. They’re ready after around 30 minutes when the outside crisps up and turns golden.
You can liven these up by adding extras like diced bacon or shallots prior to cooking. They’re easily transformed in to a full meal by cracking eggs in to the pan for the last 5 minutes as a twist on egg and chips.
I’m crossing my fingers that Oven Pride like my entry, but either way, I really hope you guys enjoy trying out the recipes and hopefully I’ve inspired you to up your potato game.
I didn’t want to post about Christmas until December but I have a present for one of you and I’d like you to get it in time for the big day, which means telling you about it now. I’ve rounded up some of the best food related stocking fillers under £5 and as a thank you for supporting me this year, one of my readers will get the whole lot. To enter, fill in the Rafflecopter gadget when you get to the bottom of this post.