Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Green Beans Super Quick Side Dishes

I have another simple side dish for you today, anchovy green beans. These baked green beans are salted with anchovies. But this dish doesn't have a fishy taste, the anchovies break down and their saltiness lightly coats the fine green beans. The cherry tomatoes add a sweetness and a final squirt of fresh lemon rounds balances the whole dish out.

Crunchy green beans and tomatoes

Add the green beans and tomatoes to an oven proof bowl.

Add anchovies and lemon juice

Scatter the beans with half a tin of anchovies and a drizzle of lemon juice.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180c until the anchovies melt away and the tomatoes will be shrivelled and beginning to burst.

Bake in the oven

I've been enjoying these as a lunch on their own but they also make a great side dish
Try maple roasted parsnips another simple side dish.

Monday, 21 April 2014

5 Ways With Peanut Hottie

Peanut Hottie Latte
I'm a huge peanut butter fan and since discovering the joy of frozen bananas I've recently been living off these two minute peanut butter milkshakes. So you can imagine my delight when I was sent a new peanut hot drink mix to try.

Peanut Hottie is a powder that you mix with hot water to make a hot peanut drink, think hot chocolate but instead of chocolate it's peanuts. I'm already addicted, which could possibly be due to the fact that first ingredient is sugar. Peanut flour features down at number ten on the ingredients list but all I can taste is peanuts and it smells divinely nutty too.

I've only had the tub for a couple of weeks but it's made it's way into several projects in my kitchen and we even took it camping last weekend. I'll definitely be replacing the tub when it runs out.

Peanut Latte
Mix with steamed milk and serve with crushed peanuts

Peanut Syrup
Mix with a few drops of hot water to create that thick peanutty syrup that's drizzled on the latte. It's also great on ice cream, yoghurt or over fresh fruit.

Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut Butter Brownies
Replace coco powder with peanut hottie in all your favourite recipes from peanut brownies to peanut meringue pie.

Peanut Hottie Chicken Satay

Peanut Dipping Sauce
Peanuts work  really well in savoury dishes, the Peanut Hottie website has a stir fry recipe. I loosened the peanut syrup (recipe above) with some cream cheese, a tablespoon of milk and pepper and paprika to make a satay dipping sauce which I served with chicken skewers.

A warming treat when camping

Peanut Hottie
And finally you really don't have to do anything fancy with this just use it directed on the pack by mixing it with hot water. The light weight container makes it great for camping.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Easter Egg Video Reviews

Over the last month I've tried out a few different chocolate Easter gifts from Cadburys, Kinder and Hersheys. I've been posting these to my YouTube channel, which one would your family appreciate the most?

Cadbury's egg and spoon. It comes in a traditional egg box with two little spoons.

Kinder Surprise. A little toy to go with your chocolate fix.

Hershey Reese's peanut butter bunny. No hollow promises this is bunny is filled!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Wild Garlic Butter

Wild garlic butter

I have another recipe using the wild garlic I foraged. That short walk is certainly contributing to a fair few of our meals this week. This butter is great because it keeps in the fridge or even the freezer which means we can enjoy the garlic much later in the season (if it lasts that long)

Wild garlic is currently in season

200g butter
50g wild garlic leaves

Cut the butter into cubes and allow it to soften at room temperature.
Wash the wild garlic and pat it dry as excess water will make the butter watery.
Roughly dice the wild garlic leaves.
Using the back of a metal spoon combine the butter and garlic leaves. Continue mixing until the wild garlic is evenly distributed through the butter.

Mix the wild garlic leaves and butter together

Lay a piece of cling film out on to your work surface around 40cm in length and spoon the butter across the centre of the sheet.

shape and portion the soft butter

How to roll the butter
1. Pull one side of the cling film over onto the other.
2. Use you hands to squeeze the butter into a long sausage shape.
3. Roll the cling film wrapped butter sausage with the palms of your hands. In the same way you would use a rolling pin. The result will be and even cylindrical roll of butter.

roll the wild garlic butter in cling film

Wrap the ends of the cling film and refrigerate for two hours until the butter sets.
After it is chilled unroll the wild garlic butter log and cut it into slices around 2cm thick.
If the butter crumbles, dip your knife in hot water to help it glide through the butter.

Slice the wild garlic butter once it's chilled

The wild garlic rounds should be stored in an air tight container. Even in an air tight container I find that the wild garlic butter can be quite pungent in the fridge. I like to layer my butter on baking parchment and freeze it. I can then easily take out a knob of butter when I'm cooking. 

Add the wild garlic butter in place of regular butter to any of your recipes for a garlicy twist. Or add it to mashed potatoes for garlic mash, toasted baguettes for garlic bread or rub it into a joint of roast meat for a crispy finish. 

Wild garlic butter can be frozen until you are ready to use it

Do you have a recipe for wild garlic? Or a recipe that includes foraged food? Don't forget to share it on my Nature's Lunchbox challenge.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Pork Gyoza With Wild Garlic

Ramsons commonly known as wild garlic is a pungent plant that can be used to replace garlic or onions in any recipe. It's not as strong as a bulb of garlic so the vibrant green leaves make a nice addition to pesto or salad. I went back to an old foraging spot in Ironbridge to pick this wild garlic because there is an abundance of it at this time of year and I'm yet to find as bountiful a spot near our flat.

Cut wild garlic stalks with a pair of scissors

The leaves of the wild garlic are similar to the poisonous Lily of the Valley but you'll know the difference by the scent, ramsons have a strong garlic scent. The woods were carpeted with wild garlic today, when we were younger we would call them stinky lillies because we could smell the garlic from the woods out on the road where my Nan lived.

Gyoza is a type of Chinese dumpling

Ingredients (makes 18 gyoza)
250g ground pork mince
5g Wild garlic leaves
2 teaspoons course ground black pepper
1 packet gyoza wrappers

Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons soy
5cm freshly grated ginger

For the filling mix the pork mince, pepper and diced garlic leaves together.

You can prepare these dumplings in advance but be sure to wrap them with cling film as the fine gyoza wrapper dry out very quickly.

How to fold gyoza

How to fold gyoza
1. Take a small pinch of the pork mixture and place it on the gyoza wrapper
2. With your finger tip add a ring of water to the outer edge of the wrapper. This helps the wrapper stick together.
3. Fold the wrapper in half and press the the wrapper around the meat squeezing out any pockets of air.
4. Consantina the edge of the edge of top wrapper and press it into the bottom to seal the gyoza closed.

Cover the gyoza as you make them
because they dry out very quickly

Fry the gyoza with a tablespoon of sesame oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, turning them once. Fry them until they are golden and crispy, it takes about 4 minutes on each side.
If you prefer your gyoza soft you could also steam these dumplings or add 2 tablespoons of water to the frying pan.

I like to dip them in a mix of soy and grated ginger. these wild garlic gyoza also go great as a side dish with stir fry noodles or sticky fried rice.

I'll be including this recipe in my Nature's Lunchbox challenge. Have you been foraging this month?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Nature's Lunchbox April 2014

I've been out foraging this month and picked wild garlic. I've made two recipes too so I'm already doing far better than last month on the foraging front. Have you picked anything yet?

wild garlic
Wild Garlic

I made garlic butter and pork gyoza after my little forage today. I filmed a short video when I went out to pick the garlic, I'm hoping to grow the Nature's Lunchbox challenge this year so I thought I'd share it in YouTube too. I'd love for you to join in with the link up below.

Read the rules and tips for the foraging challenge.

Check out previous entries.

Enter you link below

Monday, 31 March 2014

Bacon Wrapped Sesame Bean Sprouts

Bacon Wrapped Sesame Bean sprouts

This sesame vinaigrette from Maille reminded me of a yaki niku dipping sauce, it has a familiar toasted sesame flavour with a warm undertone and a sharp vinegar finish, it's divine. Yaki niku is a Japanese dish of finely sliced grilled meats and vegetables served with a selection of dipping sauces.

When I was challenged by Maille to incorporate their soy vinaigrette with toasted sesame into a recipe I immediately thought of a yaki niku dish but just telling you to use it as a dipping sauce isn't much of a recipe so I decided to make the streaky bacon bean sprout wraps. The bean sprouts are marinated in the toasted sesame vinaigrette and because they are cooked so quickly they stay pleasingly crunchy.

You Will Need (Makes 12 Wraps)
300g Bean sprouts
60 ml Maille soy vinaigrette with toasted sesame
12 strips Streaky bacon
25g of plain flour
12 large lettuce leaves
2 spring onions

Marinate the bean sprouts

Marinate the bean sprouts by tossing them in 30ml of the Maille soy vinaigrette with toasted sesame.
Wrap the bean sprouts up with the streaky bacon and roll them in flour.
Adding the flour will help the thick vinaigrette cling to the bacon after it's cooked.

Wrap the marinated bean sprouts in bacon

Adding flour makes extra surface area for the
vinaigrette to cling to

This recipe will make twelve wraps

Dry fry the wraps in a hot frying pan for 2 minutes on each side until the flour and bacon become crispy. Dry frying means you don't need to use any oil or grease in the frying pan as the fat in the streaky bacon will lubricate it for you.

No sticky fingers
serve the hot bean sprout wraps in large lettuce leaves

Serve as a starter wrapped in lettuce cups, scatter with the diced spring onions and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. You could turn this recipe into a main make the dish go further add sticky rice.

Add sticky rice to make the wraps into a main meal

Why stop at bean sprouts? Sliced courgettes, asparagus, flat field mushroom or even halloumi would also work really well in this bacon sesame combo.

Maille provided their products for this recipe, the vinaigrette arrived in a stunning gold embossed gift box which would make a beautiful Mother's Day gift. You an find the full Maille gift line at