Spicy Lamb Feta Bite Burgers

This recipe is wonderful served as party food in small portions as a sharer or multiple pieces served together however you like. You could serve them in a wrap, sandwich, bun of your choice or i pefer a couple in a pitta with a basic lettuce tomato and cucumber salad.

Feel free to adjust menu as desired for less or more heat use as a template as this is a very basic but effective recipe as always.

To serve 4-6 as a main or 8-10 as a starter.

Ingredients:

1kg lamb mince

4 tsp ground coriander

4 tsp cumin seeds

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Large handful parsley, chopped

4 rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped

Good splash Worcestershire sauce

2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

200g feta cheese, cut into cubes

2 tbsp sunflower oil

For the cooling dip:

300ml natural yogurt

Large handful fresh mint chopped finely

1 fresh lemon

Method:

1) Make up your cooling dip by chopping mint finely and mixing with yogurt then season with salt and pepper a squeeze of lemon and put aside.

 

2) Cut cube shaped small feta chunks and set aside. Mix all herbs and spices together in a large mixing bowl with lamb mince, add egg and Worcestershire sauce and fold together until completely mixed together seasoning lightly with salt and pepper.

 

3) Shape mixture into portions of burger shaped lamb patties and press cubes of feta into the middle of them.

 

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4) Heat sunflower oil in a pan and cook the patties on either side for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to baking tray and cook for a further 8-12 minutes on a preheated gas mark 6. Or, in this instance we cooked them on a smoking hot griddle on around 4 minutes either side until piping hot throughout.

 

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Serve immediately alongside the cooling dip.

Bon Apetit!

(We even had some left over to pop in the freezer to defrost on a lazy day)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Pan Duck Dinner

Here is a recipe to easily replace you’re Sunday dinner temporarily, made especially to take a load off taking no more than 40 minutes start to finish.

Ingredients:

2 duck breasts

1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed

300g cooked new potatoes, medium sliced

bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped

Large handful of fresh asparagus

Method:

1) Score skin on duck breast season very well and lay on a cold pan skin down put the heat on low and cook for 12 minutes until crispy and then flip and cook on flesh side for 4 minutes.

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2) Remove duck breasts and place on a chopping board with tin foil covering over the top to rest the meat and keep warm.

3) Now add (boiled) cooked potatoes to the pan which will have plenty of duck fat in. Turn up the heat season well with salt and cook until brown and crispy depending on the thickness of the chopped potatoes will affect the time taken to crisp nicely.

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4) When potatoes are crisp add parsley and garlic and toss around in pan for a couple minutes. Now set aside onto hot plates.

5) Add bacon and asparagus to pan and slice duck thinly with a sharp knife. Cook for a few minutes until slightly softer and bacon is crunchy. Serve onto plates.

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6) Serve with cranberry sauce and enjoy.

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There it is, your a simple Sunday alternative!

Bon Apetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti Bolognese “Like Mama Made”

Spaghetti Bolognese an italian classic we all know so well, but with so many different takes and variations throughout different regions which is the best and tastiest. I can’t confirm that I have the very best recipe but I can confirm i have a seriously good authentic take on this italian staple, inspired by ‘The Hairy Bikers’ but altered slightly for instance the use of pancetta giving an extra salty pork element to the dish.

To serve 4-6 people

Ingredients:

- 500g/1lb 2 oz lean mince beef

- 1 medium onion, finely chopped

- 2 celery sticks, trimmed and finely sliced

- 2 medium carrots finely diced

- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped

- 150g pancetta or streaky bacon cubed

- 1 tbsp plain flour

- 150ml/5 fl oz red wine (preferably chianti)

- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

- 2 tbsp tomato puree

- 1 beef stock cube

- 1 tsp caster sugar

- 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 tsp dried mixed herbs

- 2 bay leaves

- 450g dried spaghetti (Preferably De Cecco brand)

- salt and freshly ground black pepper

- Parmesan cheese to serve

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Method:

1. Place the mince in a large non-stick saucepan with the onion, celery, carrots and garlic.

2. Dry-fry over a medium heat, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon for 8–10 minutes, or until the beef is no longer pink and the vegetables are beginning to brown.

3. Add the pancetta and fry with the mince and vegetables for another 2–3 minutes.

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4. Sprinkle over the flour and stir well, then add the wine, tomatoes and tomato purée, along with 300ml/12fl oz cold water.

5. Crumble the stock cube over the top then add the caster sugar and herbs.

6. Season with a few twists of freshly ground black pepper, stir well and bring to a simmer.

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7. When the liquid is bubbling, reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 30–40 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

8. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. As soon as the water is boiling, add the spaghetti and push it down with a wooden spoon to encourage the strands to separate. It’s important to use lots of water so the spaghetti can move freely without sticking together.

9. Cook for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions.

10. While the spaghetti is cooking, increase the heat under the sauce and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is rich and thick. Stir regularly and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

11. Drain the spaghetti in a colander and divide between warmed bowls.

12. Spoon the Bolognese sauce on top, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

The end result is a thick full flavoured robust meaty sauce with a lasting after taste, one of My personal favourites.

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I hope you enjoy making this for yourself it’s by no means the most simple but it isn’t hard and the end result is magnificent.

This will certainly impress anyone you choose to share it with.

Bon Apetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purnells Restaurant Birmingham Fine Dining

Here I will be talking about Birmingham’s most well renowned fine dining restaurant and holder of single Michelin Star, Purnells. Owned by the infamous Glynn Purnell. Seen regularly on television making fame from programmes such as the extremely popular ‘Great British Menu’.

Glynn Purnell had his first taste for cooking at 14 when he secured a work experience placement in a hotel. After leaving school he gained experience anywhere he could, from banqueting to the a la carte Terrace Restaurant. It was from these experiences that he realised his passion lay with fine dining.

He started experimenting with new flavours/combinations of food that he fed to his siblings and ended up as the award winning talented chef he is today. He has worked in many restaurants, won countless personal awards and also appeared on TV, but his ultimate dream was to win Birmingham’s first Michelin Star. He achieved this in 2005, this guy is unstoppable!

For my Make A Wish day I wanted to do something memorable and special, so for me it was between Raymond Blanc’s ‘Le Manoir’ and Purnells. I came to a conclusion shortly it had to be Purnells.

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From the moment I stepped through the door the staff were attentive, polite and welcoming. They were on hand to help with anything and they immediately made me feel at ease and comfortable. Within seconds I was holding a cocktail recommended by the waiter and just as I was about to take my first sip I was suddenly aware of a presence at the table. It was only Glynn Purnell himself! I was so overwhelmed to meet one of my favourite inspiring chefs, and I soon realised that all the rumours are true that he really is the most genuine, funny down to earth guy. We chatted easily about our tattoos, food and the menu and decided i would try a few dishes from both menus, a couple of which were made famous on tv programme ‘The Great British Menu’.

It was an absolute honour to meet him and something my family and I will never forget. The evening was off to a great start and was only set to get better with the arrival of what was set to be mind blowing food, and an attack on the senses.

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I won’t be giving the whole of the experience away but I will provide just a few of many pictures taken to give you an idea of the sheer brilliance and highlight my four particular favourites from the evening.

One of my favourite excellent starter courses for me was the: Woodland mushroom hollandaise – egg yolk – crispy potato – black truffle

I am a big fan of anything truffled and this dish was subtly flavoured with winter truffle and earthy mushroom. It was magnificent.

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My next favourite course was a take on surf and turf with a difference: Carpaccio of beef – red wine octopus – home cured beef – salt beef – sour cream – sweet and sour onions.

Every single taste and texture worked in perfect harmony to create a beautiful balance of flavours.

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Thirdly a succulent pork dish: Fillet of pork with black pudding – celeriac – cabbage cooked in apple juice – pork nuggets

Very meaty and enjoyable crunchy nuggets of pork with soft pieces of fillet and sweet apple sweetened cabbage. Depth and richness came from a very high quality of black pudding, a Slightly more familiar layout deconstructed.

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Last but not least Venison lovers beware this dish was an excellent example of bringing out the deep rich flavour of a piece of extremely high quality meat: Balmoral venison – winter green purée – leeks and lettuce – liquorice

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I lost count of all the courses but every single dish was nothing short of awesome. I recommend the restaurant to anyone looking for a truly memorable dining experience right here in Birmingham.

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Visit www.purnellsrestaurant.com for a brief look at the menus and book your experience, its a must.

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A big shout out to the staff at the restaurant, it was exactly what you’d expect in a fine dining restaurant, the wine flight between courses was enjoyed thoroughly by the females, the wine expert was highly knowledgable and naturally good at what he was doing. They are the best of the best we all felt well looked after they were so attentive and were never short of bread and butter, oh and the bread and butter words cannot describe how light soft and fluffy. If there’s one thing I regret it’s not stuffing my pockets with that bread for my scrambled eggs the following morning.

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank Glynn himself for a truly magnificent evening the small touches made it unforgettable for me and my family. I 100% stand by my decision to use my make a wish foundation grant to visit the restaurant and aim to make it to the Bistro in the near future if i can build up some strength. Thanks Chief!

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To wrap up my short review i would say Purnells Restaurant is a must visit for anyone looking for immense fun, experimentation and damn good food. Right from the get go the experience is unforgettable and great memories are waiting to be shared with whoever you carefully decide to bring along for the sheer roller coaster ride of gastronomy and pure genius.

I cannot wait to book the bistro when ive built my strength back up. I know for a fact after this establishment it couldnt possibly let me down.

So what are you waiting for? Book your experience right now.

Bon Apetit!

 

 

 

 

Mustard & Parsley Sausage Conchiglie

This recipe was inspired by the humble home cook Nigel Slater, his recipes generally consist of homemade fast food making use of leftover ingredients and easy for anyone to pick up and get going.

I find myself using sausage meat for plenty of recipes because the meat has so much flavour and variety reducing time in the kitchen immediately as a good meat flavour has already been achived. Fast food can also be very good food and this recipe allows for errors as it’s all about how you prefer it, more or less cream for example.

To serve 4

Ingredients

4 tbsp high quality olive oil

2 medium white onions sliced

Hand full coarsely chopped italian flat leaf parsley

8 good quality sausages (of your preference)

1 heaped tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

250ml single cream (less if you like)

350g Conchiglie pasta (you could substitute for another type such as penne the mix just works well with conchiglie)

Method:

1. Slice the onion, chop the parseley and squeeze all the sausage meat out of the skins. We chose to break all the sausage meat up into minced pork but if you prefer you could roll the meat into small meatballs.

2. Add oil into a pan and the onions and cook until soft. You want the onions to be sweet and caramelised so it’s best to put a lid on them and steam for about ten minutes.

3. Add in the sausage meat and cook for a few minutes until browning appears clear they are cooked. Whilst the sausages are cooking start the pasta in a separate pan.

4. Now add the chopped parsley to the sausage pan and add in your mustard, give that a good stir.

5. Drain the pasta, and add it to the pan with the pot of cream and stir well the cream will heat through within the residual pasta heat.

6. Plate up, garnish with a sprinkling of parsley if desired and enjoy!

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Fillet Steak With Pepper Sauce

For visual orgasmic purposes here was our second valentines day meal. I also include a simple sauce recipe for you’re steak topping.

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I stuffed the portobello mushroom with blue cheese and bread crumbs. They went in for five minutes prior to steak starting to cook on a gas mark 7 along with the vine tomatoes.

The chips were handcut thick seasoned and tossed in rapeseed oil for a crispy finish they went in the oven for 40 minutes on gas mark 6.

I cooked the steak medium rare on a smoking hot griddle three minutes either side then set aside for 5 minutes under tin foil to rest allowing juices to reabsorb as i plated up the the finished components. Resting the steak after cooking is essential for the finish to be spot on and the outcome juicy.

The sauce was made using a pepper sauce consisting of cream, mustard Worcestershire sauce, whisky onion and pepper very basic, highly effective.

Ingredients:

1 small red onion, sliced

150ml double cream

2 tablespoons whisky

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

Method:

Sweat onion in butter till sautéed add cream and all ingredients and Heath through for a few minutes strain out onion and serve on top of steak.

 Enjoy the visuals and good luck with yours.

Bon Apetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Scallops Starter With Pancetta & Rosemary

Here is my recipe for an extremely simple but effective starter using Seafood. For this particular dish i used scallops it took me about 10 minutes total including plating up.

If you like seafood but are weary about cooking it here is the perfect way to begin. I chose not to remove the roe which is the orange part of the scallop which is extremely tasty and soft when left on for cooking.

Ingredients: to serve 2

Pancetta or streaky bacon 4 slim pieces diced

Two sprigs of rosemary

Tsp olive oil

8 fresh scallops

salt and pepper

Recipe:

Firstly wash scallops and pat dry with tea cloth then season well with salt and pepper.

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1) Heat a tsp olive oil and add streaky bacon chopped for around 6 minutes until golden brown drop in sprigs of rosemary for the last two minutes to infuse the oil.

 

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2) Use spoon to remove pancetta/bacon and rosemary into a seperate bowl to set aside and leave the tasty infused oil in pan and back on the heat.

3) Now add scallops to pan and cook on medium high heat for two minutes either side and will turn golden brown but remain springy when pressed. Be very time conscious four minutes total is perfect for a fair size scallop,add pancetta back and prepare to plate up.

 

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(Notice the slight golden brown crust on the second picture)

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4) Now have heated plates ready and plate up placing scallops first flourishing with bacon bits and strategically placing rosemary sprigs. I used a raspberry balsamic glaze as an extra depth of taste but that’s a lesson for a later date.

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Good luck & Bon Apetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cream ‘no cream’ of the crop Carbonara

Cream of the crop 'no cream' Here I have my favourite recipe for an authentic Spaghetti Alla Carbonara Inspired by the brilliant Rick Stein on his travels through the med. The recipe is personally my only option for a true italian carbonara, accept no imitations.

Ingredients to serve 4:

Generous splash of Olive oil

400g dried spaghetti (preferably De Cecco brand)

175g smoked pancetta cubed

3 garlic cloves chopped thin

3 egg raw beaten

Hand full of flat leaf parsley coarsely chopped.

60g pecorino cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Method: Prepare all ingredients ready for perfect timing.

1) heat a little olive oil in a large pan, add pancetta cook until light golden then add chopped garlic last thing throw in parsley to quickly warm meanwhile the spaghetti is added to a large full pan of highly salted water.

2) when the spaghetti is done to your liking, hopefully el dente (7mins) transfer into the pan with pancetta make sure saving starchy water for creating the sauce.

3) Add in eggs and cheese in short sharp stages mixing about in pan,slowly pour in beaten eggs, they will cook in the residual heat of the pasta Beware if the pan is too hot the eggs may scramble. If desired consistency is not reached then add a splash of salty starchy pasta water. It’s the authentic italian way.

4) season to taste but remember the high salty ness given by the salty cheese and smoked pancetta.

Aerve with crusty bread or a simple bruschetta. Youre in italy! Heres a short video to give an idea   14 second clip

Sardinian Pecorino   Excellent sardinian pecorino. Now get to it.. Bon Apetit!

Swift Chicken Stroganoff

Heres a great way to use up chicken breast in a fast easy tasty little recipe.

Serves 4 people.

400g of chicken

500ml of Creme fraiche (full fat) but for a healthier option choose low fat and notice minimal taste loss.

A generous handful of mushrooms, preferably wild and mixed for added depth of flavour.

1 chopped onion

2 heaped tablespoons of dijon mustard

Paprika, salt and pepper.

Method:

Chop the onion, and the mushrooms, and slice the chicken into pieces. Rub the chicken with paprika, salt and pepper.

Start by adding olive oil and butter to a pan, throw in the chopped onion until it softens. Then add in the mushrooms until they are brown. Once brown, set aside in a bowl.

Add more butter to the pan and when the butter starts to froth add in the chicken strips. Cook chicken until brown.

Add back in the mushrooms and the onions, Dijon mustard and creme fraiche, season to taste, and simmer gently for around five minutes. Serve with some light rice or noodles, and enjoy this hearty warming convenient meal. Give it a go.. You can’t go wrong!

Stroganoff Simmer

Forty Dean Street

Spending the weekend in London not knowing where to eat is a pain, a thousand interesting looking eateries and two days to eat at as many as possible.

The first night in Soho it was late for food, me and my fiancée debated going out for food but as I didn’t want to miss a single opportunity we moved on it. We scouted Soho for a casual joint we had heard of called “Burger Lobster”. Lobsters, burgers and chips but fairly good reputation and reasonable prices. We found the place and the line was out the door around the corner all the way to gatwick, it was ridiculous we weren’t waiting outside so we slowly walked away and only a couple doors down noticed a quaint little restaurant looking lively by the name of “Forty Dean Street”.

The name instantly rang a bell in my head, I’d read about it and recalled nothing but good unpretentious criticism. No more searching no more waiting our appetites couldn’t cope, we had found restaurant number one.

We were seated immediately and the place was very very cool playing funky jazz music serving authentic italian dishes, the menus were obviously changed everyday as they were hand written on pieces of paper at the table. The place was brilliant an absolute diamond in the dirt.

Perfect Asparagus wrapped in Parma ham starters soft pale fresh veal on a bed of the best garlic mash i could ever imagine and salmon and squid ink tagliatelle mains this truly was a great meal. I beg anyone staying in the soho area give this a go, find dean street then number forty. Thank me later.

www.fortydeanstreet.com

 

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