Brimming with bulgogi

It was not a typical Monday, I had taken a random day off and headed off to Pollen Street Social for their set lunch menu (2 courses for £32), it was definitely worth it considering there were so many extra mini courses – in particular their Bakewell tart cake. I rounded the day off by visiting the London Tower Bridge which has a glass walkway, it’s surprising how being able to see the floor is so unnerving. At the same time, James headed into work all keen for the week ahead.

The night before we had prepare the bulgogi to marinade, this is ideal to maximise flavour.

collage-2016-11-07-21_29_08

Ingredients

  • 450g beef, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup of asian pear (puree)
  • ¼ cup onion purée
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 chopped spring onion
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • lettuce
  • peppers (sliced and uncooked)
  • rice

Method

Day one

  1. Put beef into the freezer for half an hour so that it is easier to cut finely.
  2. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl (some will require blitzing in a food processor)
  3. Add the sliced beef and mix well.
  4. Keep in the fridge overnight.

Day two

  1. Put rice into rice cooker
  2. Prepare lettuce and peppers
  3. Fry up, ideally we would bbq for the best flavour but this isn’t an option for us.
  4. Serve with ssamjang, lettuce and rice.

collage-2016-11-07-21_28_23

Soup-er pumpkin power

img_20161030_190035

It was the eve of Halloween and James’ final day on call (meaning he can’t be more than 15 minutes away from a computer with internet access) so we decided to carve pumpkins and being one not to waste, use the flesh to make pumpkin soup.

The pumpkin carving was quite straight forward, James put a lot more effort into his into making it scary whilst I tried to make mine look friendly.

I sent James on an adventure to the Bake-haus and he purchased some of their delicious yoghurt bread although he only went and forgot to get a bloody stamp on the loyalty card. It made me a little sad but the tastiness of the bread quickly cheered me up.

20161030_201754-collageIngredients (serves 4)

  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Onion – 1
  • Pumpkin flesh – 750g chopped
  • Vegetable stock – 550ml
  • Double creme – 100ml (although you can probably use creme fraiche instead)
  • Bacon lardons – 180g packet
  • Cumin and chilli powder to taste, potentially try nutmeg as well

 

Method

  1. Put olive oil into pot and add onions, cook for 5-10 mins on low heat until soft
  2. Add half the bacon lardons to pot
  3. Add pumpkin and cook for 5 mins
  4. Add vegetable stock, cook with lid on for 10 mins
  5. Add double creme
  6. Add cumin and chill powder
  7. Use a hand blender and puree the mixture
  8. Pass through a sieve
  9. Pour into bowls
  10. Heat remaining half of lardons and top the soup with these
  11. Eat with some delicious bread!

20161030_201543-collage

20161030_201725-collageimg_20161030_185859

Be happy, grin-ola

Granola makes you grin
Granola makes you grin

Today was a nice lazy day. The sun was shining for once and we decided to make some granola to top up our supplies. We find that a handful of fruit (raspberries for tomorrow but we will switch back to strawberries which are cheaper), a couple of dollops of yoghurt (we should use natural yoghurt but find it smells too sour so use Onken flavoured fruit stuff which I’m sure has too much sugar) and a scoop of the granola fills us both up until lunchtime with no snacking in between required.

Granola recipe (makes enough for over a weeks breakfast for two people)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups – rolled oats
  • 1 cup – puffed oats
  • 1/4 cup – flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup – sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup – pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup – almonds
  • 1/2 cup – walnuts
  • 1/2 cup – brazil nuts
  • 1/3 cup – olive oil
  • 1/3 cup – honey

Method

  1. Heat oven to 150 °C
  2. Add all dry ingredients into a large bowl
  3. Then add the olive oil and honey, mix
  4. Line 2 trays with parchment paper
  5. Pour the mixture onto the trays
  6. Bake for 35 minutes
  7. It can be poured into a large tupperware container straight away to cool (it means it won’t stick to the parchment paper as it cools)
Ingredients (we find wholefoods has a good selection of ingredients at reasonable prices)
Ingredients (we find wholefoods has a good selection of ingredients at reasonable prices)
Collage 2016-07-31 21_05_04
It looks kind of beige now but it will taste delicious
Make sure you chop them up, go nuts
Make sure you chop them up, go nuts
Given everything a good stir
Given everything a good stir
Spread the love
Spread the love

After the excitement of making granola, we decided to also take advantage of it being the weekend and therefore us having more time by making delicious char siu pork with pak choi. We even made enough for leftovers, James has already got a reputation for being a foodie and he has only been in his job for 2 weeks, I suspect when his colleagues see the char siu pork it will reconfirm their suspicions of his food snobbery.

I don’t like to Roast but…

Today was typically British in that it rained, the sun shone, it rained, more sunshine, you get the idea. It didn’t stop us from playing tennis outside though. We lost one of our tennis balls to a dog however we still all went home with the same number of balls that we started with.

James’ siblings are coming down tomorrow and we are cooking a roast to show off our kitchen skills. As this is an intense meal with multiple items being cooked at once and timing being key, we have decided to start doing as much prep the night before.

Collage 2016-06-26 16_11_16
The Roast

Ingredients (for 5 greedy people)

  • Roasting meat
    • 1kg beef
    • 2 onions
    • garlic cloves
    • 1 tsp plain flour
    • 2 tsp mustard powder
    • olive oil (splash)
    • salt and pepper
  • Roast potatoes
    • 250g-300g King Edward potatoes per person (can also use maris piper)
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 tsp plain flour
    • garlic cloves
  • 1 parsnip per person
  • 1 carrot per person
  • Frozen peas (as many as required)
  • 375g chipolatas
  • Devils on horseback
    • 12 rashers streaky bacon
    • 1 large tin prunes (410g in juice)
    • Cocktail sticks
  • Gravy
    • large knob of butter
    • 3 tbsp plain flour
    • beef stock
    • worcestershire sauce
  • Yorkshire pudding batter (makes 12)
    • 140g plain flour
    • 4 eggs
    • 200ml milk
    • sunflower oil for cooking

Method

The night before

Planning:

  • Draw up a gaant chart (likely to need to start at least 2.5 hours before serving on the day for 1kg beef)
  • Invite people 45 mins before serving food (an hour is too awkward)

Defrost meat (if frozen).

IMG_20160626_162242
This only gives you a rough guide (e.g. potatoes didn’t need as long as the gaant chart states)

Prepare roast potatoes

  1. Peel then quarter (cut in half and for the second half cut diagonally to increase surface area)
  2. Put into large pot of cold water (we use one for pasta that has an in built collinder), wait until boiling water, then par boil for 5 minutes
  3. Add salt, pepper and some plain flour (1 tsp)
  4. Leave to dry in same pot overnight (we leave on the surface and don’t bother fridging)

Make yorkshire pudding batter.

  1. Put flour into a bowl
  2. Beat in eggs until smooth.
  3. Gradually add milk and carry on beating until the mix is completely lump-free
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Pour the batter into a jug and store in fridge overnight

Prepare dessert (we like to do our chocolate mousse).

Collage 2016-06-26 16_10_06
Preparation (makes life so much easier if done the night before)

 

On the day

  • 30 mins to tidy up and get ready
  • Get all dishes/trays/pots out that will be used for cooking/serving, as well as all ingredients
  • Set the table before starting to cook
  • Preheat oven to 180C fan

Devils on horseback

  1. Put foil down on flat tray
  2. Wrap half a rasher of streaky bacon around a prune
  3. Use a cocktail stick to hold in place
  4. Once cooked, put into bowl and cover with foil
  5. Heat in microwave for 3 minutes just before serving
IMG_20160626_111738
Shove these in the oven for a sweet and salty treat

Chipolatas

  1. Put foil down on flat tray
  2. Place chipolatas  on tray and put into oven
  3. Once cooked, put into bowl and cover with foil
  4. Heat in microwave for 3 minutes just before serving

Once devils and chipolatas are in the oven, prepare carrots and parsnips by peeling and cutting into chunks (I like the carrots to be the same size as peas).

Roast beef

  1. Cut up onions
  2. Peel garlic
  3. Place both into small tin to use as a base (so meat doesn’t stew in it’s own juices)
  4. Mix plain flour, mustard powder, salt and pepper , olive oil, and rub into beef
  5. Put beef into tin and cover in foil
  6. Put into oven to cook for as long as necessary based on weight (10 minutes per 100g, take off foil for last 15 minutes)
  7. Rest for 20 minutes and set aside 10 minutes for carving

Roast potatoes (70 minutes total inc prep)

  1. Fill tray with 0.3 cm of oil
  2. Put garlic cloves in
  3. Place tray in oven for 10 mins
  4. Take hot tray out and put on top of hob (to get it super hot)
  5. Transfer potatoes onto heated tray and leave on hob for a few minutes
  6. Rotate potatoes whilst keeping it on the hob
  7. Put tray into oven (make sure not on bottom level so that have good air flow and heat)
  8. Only put rosemary in half way through cooking
  9. Cook for 60 mins

Gravy

  1. Heat butter
  2. Take off heat when melted
  3. Add flour
  4. Stir to make roux
  5. Add stock slowly whilst stirring
  6. Add worcestershire sauce
  7. Leave on gentle heat to thicken

Yorkshire puddings (30 mins total inc prep)

  1. Increase oven to fan 210C
  2. Pour a splash of sunflower oil into a 12-hole non-stick muffin tin
  3. Place tin in the oven for 10 mins
  4. Take hot tin out and put on top of hob until oil is smoking
  5. Pour the batter into the holes (fill a third up)
  6. Put the hot tin back in the oven and leave undisturbed for 25 mins until the puddings have puffed up and browned
  7. Serve immediately

Vegetables (15 mins total inc prep i.e. start 15 mins before serving)

  1. Heat a small amount of water in pot
  2. Boil water in kettle
  3. Place carrots and peas into boiling water

Heat up all plates and serving dishes by running/filling with hot water a few minutes before serving.

Collage 2016-06-26 16_08_16
Slice and dice

 

 

Char char char siu pork

Today was the end of a 4 day Easter weekend. The weather was rainy and we wanted something delicious to cheer us up. More importantly, I wanted leftovers to take into work the next day. We defrosted a piece of pork loin we previously purchased (with a yellow sticker i.e. reduced). James figured that by having me present when cooking, it would make the char siu pork more authentic. This recipe is relatively easy and the taste pay off to effort is high.

IMG_20160328_192706

Ingredients (4 portions)

  • 500 g tenderloin pork
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 0.5 tsp five spice powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp rice wine (we used cooking sake as we didn’t have this to hand)
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 0.5 tsp sesame oil
  • 0.5 tsp worcester sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp hoi sin sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • few drops red food colouring

Method

  1. Put the all ingredients except pork in a saucepan and bring to simmer for a minute, set aside and let it cool.
  2. Place the pork and marinade in a tupperware and place in the fridge a few hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Take the pork out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature.
  4. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with foil and place a rack on top (rack is recommended but not critical).
  5. Remove pork from the marinade (save the marinade for basting).
  6. Place the pork on the rack and tuck the thin end of the the tenderloin underneath so the whole piece is roughly the same thickness.
  7. Roast for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 – 160F/ 65 – 70C. Around halfway through roasting, baste with the marinade.
  8. When the pork is cooked, baste it by pouring on the marinade and use a blow torch to get a charred and caramelised effect. Do this on side of the pork quite a few times then turn around and do on the other side.
  9. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Collage 2016-03-28 20_10_43
Stage 1 – the marinade
Collage 2016-03-28 20_12_24
Stage 2 – roasting the pork
Collage 2016-03-28 20_15_51
Stage 3 – blow torching the glaze

A multitude of meatballs

Another weekend, another lazy day. It started off well as James decided to make crepes for breakfast although we didn’t have any lemon juice so it was plain sugar crepes for me. Later on, we got to enjoy some matcha with a nice sweet from Minato Kitchen that we had brought the previous day, these sweets are small for £1.50 however they taste amazing and the fruit flavour doesn’t taste artificial at all.

To continue the food trend, we decided to make meatballs as we have none left in the freezer. We took a trip to Tesco’s and were ready to make a big batch.

Mighty meatballs of deliciousness
Mighty meatballs of deliciousness

Ingredients (makes 60 small meatballs)

Sauce

  • 3 small onions
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (we like it very garlicky)
  • 1 chilli
  • Bottle of red wine (essential and even we don’t cheap out on this)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
  • Beef stock (2 cubes)
  • Basil (a few generous teaspoons)
  • Oregano (also a few generous teaspoons)
  • Carrots (5-6 sticks, grated)

Meatballs

  • 3 tbsp fine white breadcrumbs
  • Milk (enough to fully soak breadcrumbs)
  • Garlic (a few cloves)
  • 500 g minced beef (15% fat)
  • 500 g minced pork (5% fat)
  • Garlic powder (1 tsp)
  • Onion powder (1 tsp)
  • Paprika (1 tbsp)
  • Parsley (a few generous teaspoons)
  • Parmesan (to taste)
  • Flour, to dust

Method

  1. Put breadcrumbs into a bowl, pour just enough milk to cover and leave to soak.
  2. To make the tomato sauce, heat oil in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and chilli until soft.
  3. Splosh in a fair amount of the wine, then add all the tomatoes along with the basil, oregano, carrots and some seasoning. Let the sauce simmer to reduce and thicken and then add beef stock.
  4. While the tomato sauce is cooking, prepare the meatballs. Put the minced beef and pork into a large bowl and add the garlic, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and parmesan. Squeeze the breadcrumbs to remove excess milk, then add to the bowl. Mix well, using your hands, and season with salt and pepper. (Don’t scrunch it up too much or you will lose the texture and the meatballs will be too dense.)
  5. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  6. Shape the mixture into balls, the size of a thumb (James’ thumb), and dust in flour. Use the first one as a standard measure (i.e. make sure all others are vaguely the same size as it).
  7. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. When hot, fry the meatballs, in batches, until golden.
  8. Deglaze using the remaining wine.
  9. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce . Bake in the oven for an hour or so.
  10. Serve with spaghetti
Step 1 - soak breadcrumbs in milk
Step 1 – soak breadcrumbs in milk
Make the sauce
Make the sauce
Handy tip - we use pre-grated frozen parmesan
Handy tip – grate all the parmesan then store it in the freezer
Meatball conveyor belt production
Meatball conveyor belt production

Matcha cupcakes

After a leisurely lie in and a hearty breakfast involving porridge and home-grown raspberries, we decided to make matcha cupcakes for a dessert and treat feast we will be attending later today.

I had already decided that we would make matcha cupcakes as we still somehow have matcha left over from our travels.

Matcha cupcakes mmmmmmm
Matcha cupcakes mmmmmmm

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

Cupcake

  • 110g butter  softened at room temperature
  • 110g golden caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 110g self raising flour
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

Icing

  • 200g icing sugar
  • a few grams of matcha (for colour and some flavour)
  • 2-3 tbsp water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare 12-hole cake tin with paper cases.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Fold in the flour, adding a little milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Put the mixture into the paper cases until they are half full.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes (13 in our example), or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean.
  6. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Sieve icing sugar and matcha into a big bowl. Add a little water at a time until a thick spreading consistency. Put onto cupcakes and add sprinkles to decorate.
    Butter it up
    Butter it up
    The creaming begins, luckily with have a kmix to do it for us
    The creaming begins, luckily with have a kmix to do it for us
    Flour and most importantly, matcha
    Flour and most importantly, matcha
    An ice cream scoop makes it easy to put it into the cases
    An ice cream scoop makes it easy to put it into the cases

    Easy icing (we found buttercream didn't work so well with these cupcakes)
    Easy icing (we found buttercream didn’t work so well with these cupcakes)