Eat well - travel often

Month: December 2013

A Quick Quiche – Using Up Bits-n-Pieces

A Quick Quiche – Using Up Bits-n-Pieces

Tonight I fancied making something different from all the festive food we have been eating.  I also wanted to use up some things in the fridge. I like to start the New Year with a clear fridge. I had some pastry in the fridge so […]

Sunday Soup – Fava Bean and Ham

Sunday Soup – Fava Bean and Ham

I like to make a pot of soup on a Sunday afternoon.  This week I used the stock I made from boiling the Christmas gammon I got from Aldi to cook and review. This gammon has fed us on Christmas Day, cold cuts on Boxing Day, creamy cheese and […]

Christmas Leftovers – My Favourite!

Christmas Leftovers – My Favourite!

Well believe it or not that mamoth gammon from Aldi I cooked for Christmas Day is almost at an end.

Tonight I cut most of the remaining meat and set it aside as I made the cheese sauce.

I made my usual roux with the butter and flour, whisking the milk so that the sauce didn’t get lumpy.  I used cheddar cheese and stilton blue cheese and added the usual teaspoon of dijon mustard, salt&pepper and a few drops of Tabasco Smoked Chipotle sauce.  Instead of adding more milk to thin out the sauce I used some of the liquid from boiling the gammon and also added some of the celery and carrots . At the last minute I usually add a glug or two of white wine and from this point it will stay at the thickness. 

When the sauce was the thickness I wanted I added the chopped ham.

I had bought some German Christmas noodles at Aldi in the week before Christmas so I made those up in some boiling water and when they were ready, they were drained and the sauce poured over.

Served with a green salad and a yummy dinner all round.  The only thing left is to boil the gammon bones to make a stock and a lentil and ham soup will magically appear!

 

 

 

 
 
Planning Food for 2014 from my Allotment

Planning Food for 2014 from my Allotment

Part of the fun this time of the year is thinking of all the great seeds to buy in readiness to plant indoors in preparation of the time to plant at the allotment! For Christmas I got some funky seeds and plan to plant them […]

Hamming it up with Aldi this Christmas!!

Hamming it up with Aldi this Christmas!!

I was asked to review a Three Bird Roast from Aldi this year for Christmas and as I had already been asked to review one for another supermarket I thought it would make a good comparison blog post. However, by the time I got the […]

Let Sainsburys Make Your Christmas Lunch! – Part 1

Let Sainsburys Make Your Christmas Lunch! – Part 1

I was sent a selection of Sainsburys Cranberry and Orange Christmas range to prepare, cook and enjoy with my family for Christmas Dinner.

As part of getting my meal ready for Christmas Day I will be serving Smooth Duck and Orange pate on toast for starters. The toast will be the cranberry and seeded loaf. Main meal is a Sainsbury’s three bird roast (turkey, chicken and duck) with all the usual vegetables, cranberry and port sauce, Cranberry and orange stuffing in individual little dishes and followed by Cranberry and orange christmas pudding and a Taste the Difference ice cream for my daughter-in-law who doesn’t like the dried fruit in the Christmas Pudding.

Boxing Day will be cold cuts to include a thick piece of Stilton cheese, Taste the Difference ham slices with Valencia orange & Cranberry topping and toasted slices of the Cranberry and Seed loaf.  I almost prefer the Boxing Day cold cuts and salads to the traditional meal the day before!

 

Come back and see how the food looked on Christmas Day. I have never had a Three Bird Roast before and am really looking forward to it.  It comes frozen and can be cooked straight from the freezer in 2 hours 45 minutes or defrosted it will take 2 hours to cook.

Asda has it all for Christmas!

Asda has it all for Christmas!

I was sent a goodies package to point out how Asda has it all for your Christmas.  If you are looking for some last minute items pop into your local Asda. Some of the items they sent me are: Breakfast is sorted – coffee and waffles with […]

Mashed potatoes with pizazzzzzz! – Cook&Co

Mashed potatoes with pizazzzzzz! – Cook&Co

Cook&Co sent me a few jars of their goose fat, the very thing that has revolutionised roast potatoes according to the most celebrated chefs and TV personalities. From Cook&Co’s suggested uses for their goose fat I decided to try it with mashed potatoes! My mashed […]

Cooking with Parmigano Reggiano

Cooking with Parmigano Reggiano

It is always a treat to learn some tricks of the trade from the doyen of Italian cuisine, Chef Valentina Harris so it was with great delight that I attended a Parmigano Reggiano cooking event at Divertimenti Cookery School in London.

As with all Parmigano Reggiano events the prosecco was pouring from the moment I arrived and chatted to fellow attendees.  We had time to sample some canapes provided by Valentina for us, using the 18 month, 24 month and 36 month old cheeses.  We had parmesan lollipops, dates stuffed with parmesan and wrapped with parma ham and grilled and the simplest but tastiest canape – mere chunks of cheese and a dipping bowl of balsamic vinegar – rich and sticky.

Spicy Parmigiano Reggiano Lollipoops

Datteri al Procuitto (& Parmigiana)

Parmigiano al Balsamico

We split into two groups and proceded to make the food that we would later share as a whole group for our meal.

I learned two very important points at this event.  1. Do NOT ever, ever, ever cut Parmigiano with a knife! You use a pick and tease off a chunk and 2. When you think you have enough Parmigiano for your recipe add some more!

Some essential tools, pics, graters, chisels and slicers – all created for serving Parmigano Reggiano perfectly.

For our meal we made a stuffed duck

Fennel gratinato, so simple and easy and a perfect complement to the rich duck.

and a Risotto Parmigiana which would be our starter.

I have never seen a wheel of parmigiano opened before and believe me this was a wonderful experience.  First Valentina used a special chisle to reach through the tough rind and into the cheese itself.  As she moved around the whole cheese you could begin to see the join opening up and when it was almost ready the wheel was turned on its side and CRACK!! it fell into two halves.

This is the freshest Parmigano Reggiano I have ever tasted, just moments after it was opened.

The table was laid out very festively and we all assembled ready to eat the fruits of our labours.

First our risotto – Risotto alla Parmigianna Con il Vino Rosso.

then roasted Anatra con Pien – Stuffed Venetian Duck and Finocchio alla Parmiganna – Fennel gratin.

We sat and enjoyed ourselves and felt very full afterwards!  Walking to the underground station was not an easy task!

Thanks again to Parmigiano Reggiano and Valentina Harris for a lovely evening.

Lamb Chops and Coleman’s Mint Sauce

Lamb Chops and Coleman’s Mint Sauce

When the turkey season gets too much for you its time to think about an escape for your tastebuds.  I bought some lamb chops recently at our nearest Cash-n-Carry and they were thick and suculent. Simply cooked under the grill until the fat on the […]