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All posts by JimiStardom

About the author

My name is James welcome to my blog. I am a 23 year old self taught kitchen loiterer where i am most happiest. I was diagnosed with terminal HCC Liver Cancer October 2012 since then i have found much more time to experiment in the kitchen and develop my knowledge. Making cookery my number one release and hobby. On a lighter note, I have been in love with food since when I couldn't possibly remember, the story of me in my youth asking Father Christmas for cucumber sandwiches doesn't surprise anyone in the slightest. I enjoy cooking, eating out, entertaining, putting smiles on peoples faces when they take their first mouthful of my dish/force feeding them and talking about food, generally basing life around the next meal. I tend to get on tremendously well immediately with anyone who has a passion for food and life in general. In my blog i will add new tried and tested restaurants, recipes and much more. Aimed at anyone even if they have hardly ever picked up a skillet. I believe great things can be achieved using minimal ingredients, hence why my favourite food to cook and eat is Italian. Hoping to meet other food enthusiast bloggers and share my recipes with fellow foodies. Every little helps when it comes to cooking and choosing between a vast amount of eateries. Let's avoid the mediocre ones and promote the unpretentious hidden gems where the true greatness lies. I hope you find this page useful and any feedback would be fantastic. Enjoy! And of course, Bon Apetit!

No Fuss Fish Pie

This evening we decided to cook a very simple,luxurious but at the same time healthy and rich in omega-3 and protein fish pie, using various types of seafood in a creamy classic butter and flour roux with a crisp fluffy golden mashed potato topping.

I used the infamous Marco Pierre White’s classic fish pie recipe, I have left the recipe with chopped boiled eggs in this is optional, I chose to layer without the eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Knorr Fish Stock Pot
  • 20g butter
  • 20g flour
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50g handful of grated mild Cheddar cheese
  • 100g white fish fillet, chopped into round 2.5cm squares
  • 100g salmon fillet, chopped into round 2.5cm squares
  • 100g smoked haddock, chopped into round 2.5cm squares
  • 100g peeled, headless raw prawns
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 150g baby leeks, blanched, chopped, patted dry
  • 1kg mashed potato (made by peeling 1kg potatoes, boiling until tender and mashing with double cream or milk and 2–3 egg yolks)
  • For a healthier option instead of using 100ml of double cream you can use 50ml of milk and 50ml of double cream.
  • Method:
  • First make your fish stock by dissolving the Knorr Fish Stock Pot in 400ml of boiling water stirring until thoroughly dissolved.
    • Set the stock aside to cool for around 20 minutes while you prepare the fish and leeks.
    • Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7.
    • Heat a heavy-based saucepan. Add in the butter, allow to melt, then add in the flour and whisk to mix thoroughly. Using a whisk, rather than a wooden spoon, to make the sauce means you won’t have any lumps.
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    • Gradually add in the cooled stock, whisking between each addition. You want to be sure to cook out any floury taste.
    • Whisking constantly, bring to the boil and simmer until thickened. Whisk in the double cream to enrich the sauce

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    • Add in the white fish, salmon and smoked haddock chunks. Gently shake the pan to work the fish into the sauce. Cook very gently over a low heat to poach the fish in the sauce.
    • Two minutes later add in the prawns, again shaking the pan to work them into the sauce, and cook gently for 1–2 minutes until just cooked.
    • Turn the fish mixture into an ovenproof pie dish. Sprinkle over the blanched leeks and then top with a layer of hard-boiled egg quarters. Sprinkle over the grated Cheddar. This way you’re adding layers of flavour and texture to the dish.
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    • Spread over the mashed potato to form a thick, even layer on top of the pie, smoothing with a spatula or palette knife. I used a wet palette knife to indent the mashed potato creating a fish scales pattern, but you can use a fork instead.
    • Bake for 25–30 minutes in the pre-heated oven until golden brown. The egg yolks in the mashed potato mean that it puffs up as it bakes and gives a lovely golden colour to the topping.
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That’s it! Simple great fish dish a recipe welcome in anyone’s back pocket, a real home comfort dish and nothing complicated involved. Allowing around 5 servings making it less than £2 per portion, great value for great nutrition.

I served my fish pie on a bed of crunchy samphire grass and it was spectacular. Your turn!

Bon Apetit!

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Specialist Oils & Vinegars

Thanks to the guys over at http://www.vinegartipsonline.co.uk for supplying me with some beautiful ingredients to experiment with. My absolute favourite of all time so far is the Porcini Mushroom Infused Olive Oil, gorgeous oil to use for various tasks. Another one to look out for is the aged sherry wine vinegar, an essential in any budding chefs pantry.

Vinegar tips products

 

There is no such thing as “no time to cook”, by taking yourself to the shops and purchasing a ready made meal means more time and less nutrients. Keep a well stocked strategically assembled store cupboard and be inventive last minute with rices, pastas,sauces,onions and garlic. Be experimental and don’t be scared, have fun with cooking and develop your back pocket recipes, these will soon be your last minute ’5 minute meals’. Food is fuel and for optimal performance we must eat a well balanced diet, you wouldn’t feed your petrol car diesel.

“No time to cook”

Spaghetti & Meatballs Supreme

I can’t take credit for this one as my fiancée created it using a simple BBC Food Recipe. But as a very basic skilled cook it turned out fantastic, well executed. I strongly advise optional ingredients of basil and red wine are used and also all of the ingredients are of a high quality that way achieving maximum flavour.

I also strongly recommend the wine used to for the meatball sauce is a good chianti found in any supermarket.

This recipe cooks ample to be frozen and used as more meals at a later date, very good convenience food.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/453623/spaghetti-and-meatballs

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Oh but of course i had to add my own touch, garnished with truffle shaving, very optional.

Bon Apetit!

 

 

 

Wild Mushroom Reginette Pasta

This recipe was based with a particular ingredient in mind, the English winter truffle.I have very recently due to the English truffling season only just beginning, received my preordered truffle and have been for a while now, scheming how exactly I should cook it.

A shout out to the English Truffle Company at www.englishtruffles.co.uk for providing excellent quality produce and a speedy delivery.

Something everyone MUST try.

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The dish that accompanied the truffle shavings must not be overpowering to the truffle so that the subtle musky, earthy flavour is not lost. I chose to do the simple wild mushroom tagliatelle but couldn’t source any fresh tagliatelle so just as good using the flat ribboned Reginette i chose a Wild Mushroom Reginette. Classic Italian Cuisine, as always.

This dish is so simple!!!! Done with preparation in less than ten minutes. Always prep well for an excellent finish, no searching for things in the last critical seconds.

TOTAL TIME TEN MINUTES!

Ingredients:

Quarter of a fresh lemon.

Hand full of flat leaf parsley

2 Cloves of garlic

Large knob of butter unsalted

180g Fresh Egg Reginette Pasta

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

40g Parmesan/Parmigiana

Large handful of wild mushrooms (can be purchased from supermarkets finest sections)

NOW! Prep! Coarsely chop parsley and finely slice garlic ready to throw in pan together.

Instructions;

Step1) Bring salted water to boil ready for pasta and heat olive oil in fair sized non stick frying pan.

Step2) Drop mushrooms in medium hot pan toss around and add a third of butter, meanwhile drop pasta in to salted boiling water it will take no more than three minutes to over cook, so be aware of time.

3) The parsley should be thrown into pan with garlic remaining butter and a squeeze of lemon, tossing it all around in the pan add a squeeze of lemon.

4) By now two to three minutes should have passed and you can remove your pasta and drop it directly into the mushroom pan. Drop it a palm full of Parmesan. Move the ingredients around the pan and add a few tablespoons of starchy pasta water. The pasta should not stick together and should have a light saucy consistency.

Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Garnish with a small flourish of Parmesan.

Here I have pictures to help you visualise the process before attempting the recipe.

Mushrooms cooking in olive oil:

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All of the ingredients cooking quick in olive oil and remainder of butter is melting creating an emulsion.

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Then the pasta and pasta water is added seasoned with Parmesan, salt and pepper and shaken and tossed.. The finish product should look something quite spectacular, like this:

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Now if you choose to splash out and add that extra depth flavour and elegance to the dish by shaving truffle slices on top your dish should look something more like this:

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Bon apetit!

 

Mastering Meat

Essential tips

I was lucky to be gifted a wonderfully aged TBone Steak. To anyone who doesn’t know this particular cut consists of the short loin and tender loin aka fillet and sirloin. A highly sought after cut of beef with bone in for added flavour.

Notice the darkening of the meat and fat caused by ageing for a stronger flavour. This is a very good thing, bright red flesh proves less flavourful.

Firstly i rubbed both sides with generous amounts of salt and ground black pepper and rubbed in olive oil.

imageI heated up this griddle until it was smoking and very hot. Lay down the steak flat so that all of the surface area is in contact with the griddle pan. After two minutes i flipped the steak and pressed it down the exactly the same.

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After two minutes on both sides i have achieved my preferred finish, rare and tender. Next step is removing the steak from the pan and rest on a chopping board with a tin foil tent shape covering the steak. This method is called resting and is mandatory for a juicy steak, in the time it rests juices are lost then reabsorbed if the steak is placed directly on a plate the juices will escape and the plate will be soaked with blood, inevitably leaving the steak dry.

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I chose to serve the steak with asparagus, thick chips part boiled and fried in duck fat and seasoned with sea salt the duck fat method is most common in France and provides an excellent finish possibly my favourite.

Good luck meat lovers, get cooking.