Sunday, 26 February 2012

Heston's Beefburger and chips.

Well, after what seemed like a mammoth run up to this meal, Mr Debs served up his Heston burger and chips challenge for last nights dinner and this is what I thought. I'm not posting the recipe but I have included a link for the adventurous.
The burgers were absolutely lovely ( but then they should be made from steak ) really tender and succulent. Without a doubt the best burger that I have eaten. Mr Debs followed the recipe to the letter including all the dill pickles, cheese, sauce etc and I really thought that they were worth all the effort.

The chips were....chips! Nothing special, really not worth all the mucking about, quite disappointing in fact when you consider all the shenanigans. We would not be making these again anytime soon.


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Here we go again with Heston.

Mr Debs is making Heston's beefburgers and chips for dinner tonight. The chips were started on Thursday!!. I'll post tomorrow with the results - it had better be worth it


Beef Stroganoff

I have made this recipe a couple of times and it's always lovely. I don't like my stroganoff to contain loads of - what I consider to be - extra ingredients. Just let the flavours speak for themselves. There's a kind of purity in this recipe and the finished dish is perfect. Thanks to Rick for the photo as we ate ours rather too quickly.

Serves 4

675g / 1 1/2lbs   Fillet of beef
65g / 2 1/2oz unsalted butter
2 Tbspn Paprika ( hot or sweet )
1 Large onion very thinly sliced
350g / 12oz button mushrooms very thinly sliced
3 Tbspn sunflower oil
2 Tspn Lemon juice
300mls / 10oz soured cream
Small handful of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste.

For the Matchstick potatoes:
450g / 1lb floury potatoes ( I used Maris piper)
Sunflower oil for deep frying

Cut the steak into 1cm strips ( Think kind of side of a matchbox size )
Cut the potatoes into matchsticks and keep to one side in very cold water until needed
Heat the oil for matchstick potatoes to 190c / 375f
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan, add paprika and onion and fry gently soft but not brown
Add mushrooms and fry for three minutes
Transfer to a plate and keep warm
Drain potatoes and dry thoroughly
Plunge potatoes into hot oil and fry for three minutes
Drain and keep hot in a low oven
Back in the frying pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil until nice and hot
Add half the steak and fry quickly, seasoning and turning as you do for about 1 minute.
Transfer to a plate and repeat with the rest of the steak
Return the onion mixture to the pan and add the soured cream, bring to the oil and simmer for a minute or so until nice and thick
Return the steak to the pan and cook for one minute
Stir in lemon juice and parsley and serve immediately with the matchstick potatoes.

I have to say that my photo would not have been a patch on this one - I'll post a home made photo next time!

My stroganoff was a bit more orangey as I used a little more paprika than Rick, this, I think, is a foolproof recipe. I'd quite forgotten how nice this dish is.

Thank you again Mr Stein


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Just got to tell Mr Debs

When I'm not blogging ( or working! ) I like to trawl through possible holiday destinations. We were due to go on a family holiday this year but as our children are most likely not going to be able to make it, I am already looking at alternative destinations for the two of us. My heart is most definately in the Maldives but my finances are way behind I'm afraid. Having said that, I am going to move heaven and earth to go here:

This is ' Diamonds Thudufushi '  and...although quite expensive ( sharp intake of breath ) it looks wonderful.

 Whats not to like.

  Ok if you insist!!
Just got to tell Mr Debs


Slow Roasted Pork a la Johnnie Mountain

I watched Johnnie Mountain cooking this on a recent episode of Perfect and both Sam and myself quickly decided that this was indeed a recipe that we must try- and sooner rather than later.

We have a lovely delli / butchers close by for really nice meat and I bought a whole piece of belly pork ( 6 llbs ) which should serve 6...having said that Johnnie's piece was much bigger.

Serves 6
1 6lb whole piece of belly pork
Salt for the crackling
A little sunflower oil to rub in

Preheat oven to 240/220c gas 9
Rub oil into unscored  skin and sprinkle with salt and a little pepper, place on a rack
Place in the oven for 45 minutes
After 45 minutes turn rack around through 180 degrees to even up cooking, turn down oven by 50 degrees
Continue to do this every 45 minutes until oven temp is about 80 - 100 c
Leave in the oven for about 12 hours ( Mine stayed in for 16 due to terrible maths  and it was still soft and juicy )
Add a little oil to a large frying pan and place pork skin side down and fry to make puffy crackling
Once puffy, pop back into oven 220/200 c gas 7 for about 15 minutes to finish.
Slice and eat straightaway.

Photo taken before puffing mmmmmmmmmm
I served ours with Pomme Dauphinois and broccoli ( and some little roasties for those who don't eat PD )

It was fabulous but it took some confidence to leave it to do it's thing for so long.


Monday, 13 February 2012

Ten Square Steak House - Belfast

Having worked like a dog over the Christmas period, and given that January is usually pretty quiet in the pub, I took a week off and spent four days in Belfast with the Girlfriend. The hotel, Ten Square, was beautiful, situated just behind City Hall in the centre of town. We even got upgraded to a nicer room free of charge, although I'm still not sure what was different from this room to the one we booked. 

On our first night, and after about 8 hours shopping, we went down to the hotel bar and steak house. The ambiance was great. Low lighting, comfy sofa's and great music. So we decided to dine in there the night after and I'm glad we did! 

I ordered a trio of seafood, salmon, seabass and smoked haddock on a potato puree with lobster bisque, tomato and basil. It was gorgeous! The fish was perfectly cooked and the smokiness of the haddock worked wonders with the creamy lobster bisque. My only problem was there wasn't enough of it.

The same could not be said of Hayley's choice. She ordered pan roasted Thai style seabass, pan roasted seabass with Thai spices, coconut and served on spicy rice. This was Hayley's first try of seabass and judging by what she left on her plate, she liked it! I only tried the rice portion of the dish but that was lovely. 

All in all the restaurant was lovely, the staff friendly and atmosphere very chic and modern. They had great pictures of cows on the walls that I liked so much, I've asked Hayley to paint one for me! If I were to go back again, I would definitely consider eating there again, but I probably wouldn't as there are just so many other places to try! 

Sam x

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Chocolate Marshmallow Teacakes

Sam bought a couple of cookery books on Friday and this recipe jumped of the page of Oliver Peyton's wonderful baking book to daughter Laura and myself so a quick shopping trip later and we were ready to bake.
This recipe will make 12 teacakes:

For the biscuit base
110g Plain flour
1/8th tspn Bicarbonate of soda
1/8th tspn Baking powder
Pinch of salt
60g Caster sugar
60g Softened butter
2 Egg yolks
1/2 tspn Vanilla extract
1 Tbspn double cream

For the Marshmallow
2 Egg whites
100g Caster sugar
1 Tbspn Golden syrup + 1 tspn
Pinch of salt
1/2 Tspn Vanilla extract

Chocolate topping
250g Good quality milk chocolate broken into small pieces

Preheat oven to 180c / gas 4 and line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
In a bowl sift flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, set aside.
In separate bowl cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, add egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix well.
Beat in the cream and fold in the flour mix.
When all mixed form 12 even sized balls and place on baking sheet 5cm apart.
Place in oven for about 10 minutes until biscuits are just starting to turn golden brown.
Take out of oven and leave to cool completely.

While the biscuits are cooling make the marshmallow.
Put all ingredients into a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water
Whisk continuously by hand until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is frothy and slightly opaque ( about 10-15 minutes )

Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk ( preferably with an electric whisk ) until mixture is meringuey and stiffish peaks.

Scoop mixture into a piping bag and pipe nice big dollops onto your cooled biscuits.
Leave to set.

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a  pan of barely simmering water, once all melty, drip over little teacakes and leave to set AGAIN.....if you can



As a ps....the marshmallow at the whisking stage tastes for all the world like Fluff ( the stuff in the jar not behind the sofa ).

Mr Debs Banoffee Pie

A family dinner favourite ( not me, I don't like all the cream ) and a family dinner today so Mr debs is knocking up his signature banoffee pie to follow the slow roasted pork:

Serves 6

250g Digestive biscuits crumbled
200g Unsalted butter
3 medium bananas
1 chocolate flake
397g can caramel condensed milk
400mls double cream whisked to soft peaks

Melt butter gently and mix with crumbled biscuits until all coated.

Press mixture into a loose bottomed flan tin - not too hard or your base will resemble concrete, and pop in the fridge to set

Cover with a layer of  caramel and bananas

Cover with the cream and chocolate flake and pop in the fridge.


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Sitar Balti - Chepstow

This is the curry house for us, lovely curry, great service. We never go late at night because of the usual late night curry house idiots, but early evening it's wonderful.


Cooking tomorrow!!

It's Mr Debs birthday today so we are heading out for a curry tonight but tomorow I am having a go at this;

Johnnie Mountains one day pork belly. Got the ( huge ) piece of pork just need to cook it all night.


Heston's Chilli con Carne

Well, I have dithered at length about whether to blog this or not for a couple of reasons, certainly the recipe is looooong ....phew lots of typing.....and the photo's that Mr Debs took are not great and don't really do the recipe justice ( mental note to track down teenage son for phone photo taken! ).

I record most Heston programmes so that I can dip in and out and try to memorize as much as possible but this recipe seemed quite easy(ish) so printed it off and away we go......

Serves 4

For the spiced butter.

2 Tbspn Olive oil
1.5 tspn (one and a half ) ground cumin
1.5 tspn smoked paprika
1.5 tspn cayenne pepper
1 tspn Tomato ketchup
1 tspn Worcestershre sauce
1 tspn Marmite
125g Unsalted butter at room temperature

For The Chilli.

Olive oil
450g Lean minced steak
1 Large onion peeled and diced
2 star Anise
1 Large carrot peeled and diced
3 Cloves garlic peeled and crushed
1 Green chilli de-seeded and diced
2  tbspn Tomato puree
375mls red wine
50g spiced butter
3 large tomatoes diced
500mls beef stock
400g Tin kidney beans
2 largish vines of vine tomatoes

To Serve
Soured cream or greek yogurt depending on your taste
Finely grated zest and juice of 3 limes
Grated cheddar cheese
Whole pickled chilli's

To make the butter fry the cumin and chilli in the oil for a few seconds and then add to the rest of the ingredients, mix well and pop into the fridge while you get on with the chilli.

Heat the oil in a large pan until nice and hot and brown the mince really well in batches until all nutty brown, place meat aside and de-glaze the pan with a little water to remove all the meaty juices.

Turn the heat down to medium and add a little olive oil to the pan again, add the onion and star anise and fry for 7-10 minutes until onions begin to colour.
Add the carrot, garlic and green chilli and cook for a further 10 minutes until the carrot is soft
Add the tomato puree and cook for 5 minutes
Pour in the red wine and allow to reduce by two thirds - remove star anise and discard
Stir in the spiced butter, red kidney beans, stock, diced tomatoes, whole vine tomatoes and bubble over a low heat for 2-3 hours until silky and tender.
Discard vines stalks and add lime juice, zest and a little more spiced butter until it tastes just right.

I served ours with a baked potato and it was extraordinarily tasty. I made a couple of changes to the recipe;

I used Tinned kidney beans and popped the whole tomatoes and beans in at the start of cooking
I didn't use the peppers at the end, I thought that they were unnecessary
I didn't make the corn bread as I knew that we were having ours with baked potatoes

I would use a little less Spiced butter next time as it does make the whole dish a little greasy

On the whole we all loved this dish as it had so much flavour not just heat. Having said that, Mr Debs plopped some Daves insanity sauce in his as it just wasn't spicy enough for him.


Sunday, 5 February 2012


Remember what I bought the limes for now....ending to Hestons Chilli Con Carne...


Nigella's Chocolate Key Lime Pie

Bought a load of limes but cannot for the life of me think why so decided to make a creamy key lime pie. I remembered watching Nigella knocking this up a while ago and the combination of limes and chocolate is sublime.

300g Digestive biscuits
1 Tbsn cocoa powder
50g  Softened butter
50g Dark chocolate chips
1 397g tin condensed milk chilled
 2 Tbsn lime zest
175mls Lime juice
300mls Double cream
1 Square dark chocolate for decoration

1 23cm loose bottomed tart tin ( x 5cm if poss )

Put biscuits, butter and chocolate chips into a food processor and whiz very briefly to big crumbs.
Pour into tin and press into the sides and bottom - not too hard though as it makes the base rock hard
Place into fridge to set
Pour condensed milk into a bowl, add lime juice and whisk
Pour in the cream and whisk until thick, pour into base and chill for at least 4 hours
Just before serving, sprinkle over lime zest and grated chocolate.


Heavenly Haggis

A couple of years ago Mr Debs was working up in Edinburgh and I was lucky enough to stay for a week and toodle around while he was working. I love Edinburgh and it was easy to fill my days ( a whole day just in the portrait gallery). We stayed in a quirky apartment up on the Royal Mile and were recommended a little restaurant called Dubh Prais, very hard to find but what an absolute joy. It is impossible to get in to this tiny restaurant without pre-booking and the wonderful food combined with the experience talking to the chef owner was memorable. They served an oatmeal crusted, pan fried haggis and the owner very kindly wrote down the supplier for me in order that we could recreate this dish at home. We have consequently bought our haggis online from Campbell's ever since. Unfortunately we had what can only be described as a sudden urge for haggis yesterday, we had to make do with a big shop haggis. It was still a lovely dish and this is how it was made. No home made photo I'm afraid as we ate it rather too quickly and forgot - again -

Serves 4 ( 3 last night )

Two normal sized shop haggis
1 Cup pinhead oatmeal
Little flour just to coat haggis
1 Free range egg
Little oil for frying
1 Large leek trimmed and finely chopped
125mls single cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Splosh whisky

Cut haggis into thickish slices and dust with flour, coat with beaten egg and dip in oatmeal to cover.
Gently fry leeks in a little butter until lovely and soft, add enough cream to make a silky sauce and whisky to taste.
Fry haggis in a large frying pan until goldenish with a nice crust and serve immediately.

Thanks to Tripadvisor customer for the photo it's perfect.
Mr Debs served ours with creamy mash and sprouting broccoli as a main course but really I would like to eat it just as it is.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

Braised cabbage

Having cooked a vichy type cabbage and vowed never to go back to boiled cabbage again, I just saw this on Saturday Kitchen and absolutely HAVE to try it....tomorrow. Can't wait!