Monday, 22 August 2011

Beef Stir-fry with Satsuma and Sesame

This quick and delicious recipe is the perfect Monday night supper. Full of veg to revive you from the weekend shenanigans, and a good old steak to make you smile and provide power for the week ahead. 

10g Coriander Seeds
10g Sesame Seeds
Tbsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic
1-2 chilies finely chopped
100g Mushrooms sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 green pepper sliced
3 carrots Ribboned
1 bag sugar snap peas
1/2 Broccoli
4 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Honey
Juice of 2 Limes
1 satsuma separated
Small tin of sweetcorn
2 x Rump Steak
Bunch of Coriander Finely Chopped

Gently roast the coriander and sesame seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes. Then grind in a pestle and mortar. Place the sesame oil in a clean pan and add the ground seeds, ginger, garlic and chilli and cook on a medium heat for 3-4 mins. Add the mushrooms and fry for a few mins til golden. Then add the peppers, carrot, sugar snap peas and broccoli. Add the soy sauce, honey and half the lime juice. Cook for 2-3 mins. Then add the sweetcorn and satsuma pieces and turn the heat off, (you want the satsuma to be warm but not hot.)

In a separate pan fry the beef (we used Rump steak as I love the flavour but you can use Sirloin or Fillet). Cooking time will vary but I cook it for about 2 1/2 mins on each side for medium rare. Once cooked, cover with the chopped coriander and lime juice, and season.  

Monday, 15 August 2011

I have a chinaware fetish!

You cant beat afternoon tea with a proper china set! 

A proper snack!

I love a good snack, whether its savory or sweet, healthy or not so healthy. When im by myself and want to have a quick treat I always try and make it look pretty and appetizing so i can fully sit back and relax. So grab a magazine, knock up a snack and enjoy!

Here are a few of the snacks I had last week: 

Halloumi and Prawns. 

So simple and so good. Simply cook the halloumi in a frying pan until lightly golden, put it in a bowl. Then fry the prawns in a little butter until cooked, add to the halloumi, add a few sprigs of chive and season. 

Pesto Peas with Gorgonzola

Boil the peas, mix with pesto (either homemade not not) and sprinkle with Gorgonzola. Easy Peeassey.

Mini Choux Pastries with Strawberries (and a cup of peppermint tea)

Choux pastry is so easy and quick. Heat about 70g butter and water in a pan, bring to the boil and add 70g plain flour. stir continuously until the mixture comes away from the pan and forms a ball. take of the heat. Whisk 2 eggs in a bowl and very gradually add to the mixture, combining the eggs well. Pipe little ball onto a lined baking tray. 20-25mins at 220 degrees. Once cooled, slit a hole on one side and pop in the sliced strawberries. Dust with Icing sugar. Serve with a Peppermint tea. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Afternoon Mini Financier Cakes with Coffee

I have an event coming up where the client wants huge silver bowls filled with the finest Almonds I can find, so i have been sent samples from all over the world and thus have rather a lot of almonds in my kitchen at the moment. So I decided to make good use of them and when a girlfriend popped over for coffee I thought they would be the perfect accompanying nibble. 

These lovely little cakes are supposed to resemble gold bars, thus the name, but you can make them in any shape you want and i wanted them to be round and mini!

120g unsalted butter
1 tbsp honey
45g plain flour
125g Icing Sugar
120g ground almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
3 egg whites, lightly whisked
20g flaked almonds

Heat the oven to 220C. Warm the butter in a pan on a medium heat. Use a little of the melted butter to grease the baking tin. I used a 24-hole mini muffin tin but you can use a normal bun tin, square or round. Pop the tin in the fridge to chill. 
Continue to heat the rest of the butter until the milk solids go light brown and the liquid is a golden colour. Strain the liquid into a bowl without the brown solids, then whisk in the honey and set aside. 
Sieve the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix in the ground almonds, extract and salt. Stir in the egg whites then pour in the browned butter and mix until smooth.
Evenly divide the mixture between the tins and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Take out a sprinkle on the flaked almonds, pop back in the over for a further 8 minutes. Cool for a few minutes then pop on wire rack to cool completely. 
Serve with a pop of coffee or tea. 

Monday, 25 July 2011

Tamara's Delicious Peaches, Sauternes and Lavender - Perfect for Summer!

Tamara is a brilliant pastry chef and I was lucky enough to be in France with her this Summer where she shared her delicious Peaches recipe. The Syrup she created was so good that we ended up mixing it with soda water and creating a cocktail!

Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux. It is coppery in colouring with common flavor notes including apricots, honey and peaches. With a brilliant balance of sweetness and acidity, this is a must try.

6-8 Big Juicy Peaches, peeled and sliced
500ml Sauternes (or enough to cover them)
2-3 stems of Lavender
Soda and Ice for the Cocktail

Simply marinate the peach slices in 500ml of Sauternes and 2-3 stems of lavender. Cover with Cling film and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Perfect on its own or with cream. With the left over syrup simply add ice and soda water, for the perfect summer cocktail!

'A sort of ' King Prawn curry with Puy Lentils and Rice

The best dishes as those that are thrown together when you are feeling content and happy, and this dish is one of those.

King Prawn Curry with Lentils and Rice

Put the rice in a large pan of boiling water and cook for as long as the packet tells you. Then rinse the lentils in cold running water and place in boiling water with a vegetable stock cube, and cook for about 15 minutes

For the Curry bit:

500g of prawns (this is a lot of prawns but im greedy and love prawns so just put in as much as you want)
1 x onion
1 x tbsp grated ginger
1 x garlic clove, finely chopped
1 x tsp ground ginger
1 x tsp cumin powder
1 x tsp ground coriander seeds
1 x chilli (we just bought a chili plant! Get one!) 
1 x bunch of roughly chopped coriander
1 x juice of a lime

Fry the onion on a medium heat for a 3 minutes, add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the ground ginger, cumin, ground coriander and chilli and cook for 3 minutes. Then turn the heat to low, add half the fresh coriander and cook for a further 5 mins. Turn the heat back to medium and add the prawns, cook until they pink all over.

Then, drain the lentils and add them to the prawn curry. Serve with the rice, a sprinkling of fresh corander and a squeeze of lime.

How it all started...

People often ask me why and how I started my catering company and as much as I would like to say 'one day when the sun was shining through the soft grey London clouds, I realised that...etc etc,' sadly it was not a romantic moment of truth but rather a stoke of luck!  I had been doing little events here and there since university but it was always for a bit of extra cash on the side. I worked for an Architects company for a year, which was kind of fun but being stuck behind a desk felt uncomfortable to say the least. Then I worked at a concierge company doing international property, jetting around the world to find stuffy, boring and often pervy business men talking about property developments that would probably never see the light of day (too harsh words I know, but true nonetheless, this was 2008 after all!).

So after two years i moved to my next job, the perfect property development company who were working on what can only be described as 'the most beautiful building in London', 78 stunning apartments overlooking Hyde Park, and this is where, unbeknown to me, my luck began. I was training to be a development manager, and started my job during the completion of the first show apartment. I went to one of the launch events and was less than impressed with the bland, sad looking canapes so I turned to my boss and said, admittedly a few champagnes down, 'this food is terrible, I can do it better, can I do the next launch event?' he replied, 'of course, its for 250 guests, are you okay with that?' 'Of course, (said almost choking on my beige canape) no problem.'

And that was that, I did the event, loved every minute of it, managed to pass myself of as a professional caterer and I suppose the rest is history. I continue to do all of the catering for the development and here are some of my latest event photos!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Cod, Samphire and a Tomato Cooli

Love this easy, delicious dish - and if you havent tried samphire before a)do it now and b)do it again and again - its my favorite vegetable in the whole world apart from chips.

Literally Boil the new potatoes and slice into 6ths. Throw a tub of cherry toms in a pan with some thyme, lemon zest, a tsp of sugar and season and fry on a medium heat for 10 mins, then pop in a blender, blitz and sieve. Pan fry the cod skin side down for 5 mins, then flip over, pop in a knob of butter, cook for 1 more min and turn the heat off. Steam the samphire for 2-3 mins. Serve and Eat. Simple, attractive and perfect for a summer.

Strawberry and Cream Canape

Im not a particularly 'puddingey' person - I would take a starter and a main over a main and pudding any day. However, being in the catering industry, I have to create puddings, usually in the miniature form, and this one im going to share with you is my favorite by a long long long way. In fact, normally when im cooking at events, I try always try one of each canape before it goes out but i ate at least three of these little gems. Fresh, indulgent, pretty and moorish - perfect canapĂ© traits! 

Almond Thins with Lemon Cream and Strawberries

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Mood Food - for the anxiety prone princess

At one time or another there is always a point where we feel hopeless, confused, anxious, even worthless - its seems that there is never a point when everything in our lives is just perfect. And its no bloddy wonder given the stresses of living in London - the work place has become even more competitive, we see men all over the newspapers cheating on their wags which provokes our own relationship worries and finding the time to see our close friends and families seems to get more and more difficult by the day.

These stresses of modern living are without doubt the cause of my rather dramatic mood swings. One minute I will be happy as Larry getting on with my work the next, completely unprovoked, I will feel like the world is collapsing around me.

With 1 in 4 women now being treated with depression in the UK it is becoming increasingly more important that we look after our bodies and minds and there is not better way to do that than through good food and positive thoughts.

I have always believed that food holds the key to happiness but recently I have really tried to eat the right food in order to avoid moments of anxiety and, you'll be pleased to hear, not only do i feel more balanced and clear headed but I've lost a few pounds...two birds with one stone.

Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath, order a cup of coffee and a banana, regroup your thoughts and press on. Giving yourself just five minutes to try to place your thoughts will help so much. Trust me, this is coming from a mood swinging nut case who is gently finding her way!

So, this is by no means diet advice, I am a greedy little piglet at heart, but it has worked for me and I hope it works for you too. (ps. Always always treat yourself once in a while, I have a glass of wine if i feel like it, a cupcake as a weekly treat and I never turn down a full english breakfast or a roast!)

Be Happy and Healthy Food

A Cup of Good English Breakfast tea will wake you up with a smile
Followed by a cup of green tea for those much needed antioxidants
1 Apple
1 Rivita with Peanut Butter - energy and tasty!

Im a big snacker and wont let anyone take that away from me so at 11am Ill have my first coffee of the day and probably another Rivita with avocado.

Try and have lunch later than usual at about 2-3pm, then you wont feel starving when you get home and pile your plate high!

I tend to eat any brown bread sandwich - Ive got a thing for Parmaham and Pesto at the moment.
Always follow with Peppermint Tea.

Try to have an afternoon snack every other day, so its more of a treat.
I love cashew nuts, Pistachios or Pecans, or carrots and hummus.
Snack with Green Tea.

The key with dinner is to eat brown carbs with a good bit of protein and lots of veg. I know its obvious but Im terrible at sticking to brown carbs, however it really does make a difference to the way you feel and keeps you regular and slimmer (ha!).

Try a big piece of Seabass cooked in foil in the oven with coriander, lemon juice and chili. Served with brown rice, asparagus and spinach.

Followed by another Peppermint Tea.

Other good serotonin boosting foods:
Free Range Turkey, Wild Fish, Eggs, Dark Choc, Buckwheat, Avocados, Coffee (in moderation), Pecan nuts, Asparagus, bananas.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Canape and Cupcake Sunday Evening

I've spent the past few months adjusting to the fact that I am now self-employed and have been frantically dealing with HMRC and trying to keep my old and new clients happy. Today, I suddenly realised that I have spent so much time doing the day to day parts of my business that I have forgotten to cook for fun. 

So after catering for a client in Regents Park today and spending the best part of the day running around like a headless chicken, I decided to hide in the kitchen for a couple of hours and flirt with food! 

Canapes and Cupcakes

Friday, 3 June 2011

Cheesus that is good Cheese!

I discovered good cheese in my late teens and spent a good few years trying to convince my mum to get involved with my cheese obsession but until about two months ago she had refused. Now she emails me her cheese diary which includes the exotic and the simple, the bold and the fruity. From Black Bomber Cheddar (my personal favorite) to Stichelton (proper Stilton) and Taleggio. My point being, dont leave it til your late forties to indulge in cheese, get on with it!

The best thing about cheese is that its independent, its comfortable in its own skin but its also loves a bit of company - mainly in the form of a thin biscuit with some pickle or chutney, or my new cheese accompaniment crush...Honey. I am also very partial to Quince Jelly. The whole sweet thing with cheese is not helping my waistline!

Summer is now very much upon us and I have shed a tear about the fact that it doesn't seem right to hide away inside drinking red wine and gorging on Manchego and honey, so to overcome my woes I have composed a list of summer cheese classics from salads to canapes, there will be cheese! 

Gorgonzola, Pear and Rocket Crostini

Manchego and Chorizo with Quince Paste on Toast

Simple Tomato, Goats Cheese and Pesto Salad

Black Pudding with Feta Salad

Halloumi Skewers

Homemade Herb Chicken burger with Black Bomber Cheddar