Chinese Chicken Sir Fry

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We’re excited to have today received a recipe box of goodies from the lovely people at Gousto (www.gousto.co.uk). Having appeared on Dragon’s Den once upon a time, the concept behind Gousto is that customers choose from a selection of recipes and have a box of fresh ingredients and recipe cards delivered in order to cook them.

While we will be writing up a full review, we tried our first recipe tonight and can’t wait to share it. This Chinese Chicken Stir Fry is with rice, where we would normally go for noodles, and was absolutely delicious. Guosto change their choice of recipes each week but don’t fear, we’ve included this recipe below:

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Ingredients

  • 250g Chicken diced
  • 1 Tsp five spice
  • 475ml Water
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 1 Courgette
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 15g Fresh ginger
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 30ml Rice vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tsp sugar
  • 10g Fresh coriander
  • 150g Basmati rice

Serves 2

Method

Season the chicken with the five spice and set aside.

Add the rice, a little salt and 375ml of water to a pan – cover and bring to the boil over a high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer gently with the lid on for 15-20min or until all the water is absorbed. Once done, set aside until you are ready for it.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the courgette, slice the pepper and finely chop the onion, ginger and coriander.

Add 1-2tbsp of vegetable oil to a large pan over a high heat. Add the onion and fry for 1 minute before adding the courgette, red pepper and ginger. Cook for 1 minute.

Next add 100ml of water to the pan and cook for another minute before adding the chicken. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

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Mix in the rice and coriander to the pan and serve. Enjoy and lookout for our full review of the service coming soon!

Follow Gousto on Twitter: @followgousto

*PR sample

 

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Review: The Old Crown Pub, New Oxford Street, London

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With a claim to be one of the best pubs in Holborn and home of the best burger in London, we were delighted to be invited along to try The Old Crown’s new menu. Set between Tottenham Court Road and Holborn stations, the pub was recently taken over by Topman for London Collections Men and we’d seen some good reviews – we were eager to try a burger for ourselves.

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We visited on a Sunday at 1pm, the area was peaceful (no doubt due to the wind and rain) and we were the first customers in the pub. This is always a bit daunting but we were greeted by two friendly gents and shown to a table. We were handed menus and the specials board was pointed out to us, this included a ‘Bo Peep’ which was a roast lamb sandwich – this sounded delicious but we were there for one thing only! As we settled down with a glass of rose and a pint of Amstel, a few more customers began to arrive and we decided this wasn’t a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon at all.

The menu was intriguing and after a little deliberation we ordered ‘The Route 66’ and ‘The Black Sticks’ burgers with a large side of onion rings to share. ‘The Route 66’ is made up of an organic beef patty, American cheese, bacon, a very large onion ring and bbq sauce, whilst ‘The Black Sticks’ burger is topped with Black Sticks blue cheese and bacon.

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When the burgers arrived we were both sceptical of getting our mouths around them as they were stacked high, not quite as high as our onion ring tower though!

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The burgers were delicious; the beef was juicy and tender, the bacon crisp and all topped off with tasty cheese. What more could you ask for? The Black Sticks blue cheese was subtle and ‘The Route 66’ went down a treat. There is nothing worse than soggy onion rings, these were crisp and satisfying. The dessert board was tempting but after our towering burgers and onion rings we were stuffed. While the pub is a bit of a journey for us in Bucks, if we’re in the area we would certainly return and highly recommend the food. The menu also features posh hot dogs, sandwiches, steak and ribs so there is plenty of choice.

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While the main bar at The Old Crown is small and cosy, the pub also has function rooms for private events. It has a late night licence until 3am with a DJ so even if you’re not looking for a meal, it’s worth visiting to enjoy a couple of drinks.

For more information visit www.old-crown.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @TheOldCrownPub or Facebook www.facebook.com/TheOldCrownPublicHouse

The Old Crown Public House

33 New Oxford Street

London, WC1A 1BH

The perfect side dish…

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…is potato dauphinoise 🙂 we love it, especially served with steak and onion rings, yum! This is our simple recipe for individual dauphinoise potatoes, no need to heat and cool milk – this is quick and easy when you’re craving comfort food.

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Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Butter for greasing
  • 4 medium sized Maris Piper potatoes
  • Generous handful of finely grated cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 100ml – 150ml double cream

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly grease two ramekins with butter and set to one side.

Thinly slice the potatoes and rinse to get rid of the starch. Pat dry and finely grate the cheddar cheese.

Layer potato in the bottom of each ramekin, top with a little cheese and season. Drizzle over a small amount of cream and repeat the layers another 3-4 times depending on the depth of your ramekins.

Finish with a layer of potato and pour over the remainder of the cream, push the potato down to ensure the top is covered and sprinkle each one with the remaining cheese.

Cover each ramekin with foil and place on a baking tray. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue to cook for another 15 minutes until brown and bubbling.

Enjoy!

 

Stilton and Walnut topped ‘Schiacciata’

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This recipe has been adapted from Nigella Lawson’s ‘Schiacciata with Gorgonzola and Pine Nuts’ in her book, How to be a Domestic Goddess. Apparently Schiacciata is more commonly known as Focaccia here, but having made this tasty bread twice I wouldn’t say it was the texture of the Focaccia us Brits are familiar with. Call it whatever you like, but the outcome is delicious! It is lovely with gorgonzola and pine nuts, Nigella suggests serving this with parma ham, but with a big block of Stilton leftover we decided to experiment. It is a stronger taste but as it is only used in the topping, definitely not overbearing. Here’s the recipe:

DSC_0242Ingredients

  • 350g Strong white flour
  • 150g Plain flour
  • 7g (1 sachet) instant yeast
  • 2 Tsp salt
  • 300ml Warm water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 150g Stilton
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 3-5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sprinkling of walnuts

You will need: roasting tin measuring approx. 20 x 30 x 5cm

Method

Combine the flours, yeast and salt in a bowl. Pour 300ml of warm water into a measuring jug and stir in the 2tbsp of olive oil. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft but firm dough, adding more water if necessary.

DSC_0230Knead the dough on a floured surface  until smooth, supple and full of elastic life. Form into a ball, wash out the mixing bowl used and lightly oil it. Turn the dough in this so it too is lightly oiled all over. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to rise for an hour or so until doubled in size.

DSC_0231Once the dough has risen, sit it in the roasting tin and press to fit. It may look as though it’ll never stretch to fill the whole thing but it will.

DSC_0232Cover the tin with a tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220C.

In the meantime, use a fork to mash the Stilton in a bowl until soft. Keep mashing while you add a generous amount of black pepper and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Add the extra virgin olive oil and continue to mix; if 3tbsp aren’t enough to make this a spreadable mixture add a little more.

DSC_0233After 30 minutes the dough should be puffy and ready for the topping. Poke your fingers all over the dough to dimple it.

DSC_0235Spread the Stilton mixture over the bread and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

DSC_0238Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, before reducing the heat to 190C. Cook for a further 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

DSC_0239Best served warm with butter 🙂 enjoy!

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Review: Pact Coffee

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We were delighted to recently discover a company called Pact Coffee via Twitter, who can deliver fresh coffee straight to your door. With over 4,000 followers on Twitter, promoted posts and a contemporary website they are hot on the importance of social media and engaging with their customer base who seem as though they can’t get enough. As big coffee fans we were eager to try some and let you know all about it! Look out for the introductory offer code at the bottom of this post, exclusive to our readers.

When our Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut and Berries coffee arrived on a Monday morning it was exciting – what is it about receiving post that does that to you?! We had requested whole beans to grind ourselves for an espresso machine, but options vary and it can come ready ground.

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As you can see from the packaging it is clear where the coffee has come from, when it was roasted and when it was packed. They also encourage you to tweet a picture of the pack with feedback. With a range of different coffees available for different brewing methods, we were pleased to try this one with Dark Chocolate as its not something we’d usually have – we’re also eager to try out the Zomorana (toasted marshmallows, dark chocolate with an orange acidity).

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This coffee smells delicious and doesn’t disappoint on taste either. We drank it without sugar and although there are bitter notes from the dark chocolate it wasn’t too overpowering and was really enjoyable. You could detect the different flavours and it made a lovely change. We’d recommend this as the perfect post-dinner coffee, perhaps not something you’d drink everyday but you certainly wouldn’t struggle to get through a pack!

The idea of Pact Coffee is that you subscribe and pay £6.95 per pack of coffee, you can choose how often you receive a pack and you’re assured that you can take a break or cancel anytime you like. Delivery is free and ours arrived in no time at all. There is also an option to buy your chosen number of packs as a gift for someone and these will be delivered one at a time as per your instruction. The website is easy to navigate and staff we dealt with were very helpful and friendly. Based in London, Pact Coffee deliver all over the UK and we have an introductory code for our readers:

Visit http://www.pactcoffee.com and use the code KNIFE2014 to get your first 250g bag of coffee for just £1 – definitely worth it! We were well and truly impressed and can see through Twitter (@pactcoffee) customers are raving about the coffee. Try it out and let us know what you think!

Thank you Pact Coffee!

*PR Sample

Chewy chocolate chip cookies

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These cookies are from Lorraine Pascale’s book ‘Home Cooking Made Easy’ although she uses white chocolate. We haven’t altered the recipe as they are delicious – but we do have a top tip which ensures crispy edges…

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Ingredients

  • 125g Butter, at room temperature
  • 225g Soft light brown sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 150g Plain flour
  • 50g Strong white bread flour
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g Milk chocolate

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and smooth.

Add the egg and beat in. Next, add the flours, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt – gently stir together to give a smooth but slightly sticky mixture. Finally fold in the milk chocolate.

Divide the dough into six equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Flatten each ball so they are about 1cm thick, they don’t have to be perfect rounds. If you want smaller cookies make, divide the mixture into 12.

Arrange cookies on greaseproof paper on baking sheets, leaving space between each.

Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes – halfway through baking take the baking tray from the oven and bash it firmly on a flat surface. This shocks the dough and ensures crispy edges.

Simple as 1,2,3 – the hard part is sharing them!

Spicing up mid-week dinner…

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It’s always tough to come up with quick and easy mid-week dinners, but it’s nice to try something different so this week we cooked Mexican-style pork with sweet potato wedges. Nothing too out there (!) but we don’t usually have sweet potato and found this homemade rub to be delicious. Give it a go and let us know if you have any ways of spicing up mid-week meals!

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Mexican-style pork with sweet potato wedges

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Sweet potato
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • 4 Boneless pork loin steaks
  • 1 Tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp mild chilli powder
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp mild olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C. Wash the sweet potato and cut into 8 even wedges. Place in a roasting tin and drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper and cook for around 40 minutes.

In the meantime, miz the cumin seeds, paprika, chilli powder, garlic, sugar and oil together in a small bowl to create a paste.

Rub the mixture onto both sides of each pork loin and preheat the grill to medium.

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Place the pork steaks under the grill for about 6 minutes, turning halfway through.

Serve with sweet potato wedges and enjoy!

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