There are hundreds of websites that have caught my eye over the past few months but there are not enough hours in the day to make notes of all of them. There is one however, that has left a huge childlike grin on my face and that is a website called http://bravetart.com
The ingenious writer has come up with a dish that I would love to eat but I am not sure that I would be able to do justice to the recipe if I tried to make it myself. It is called Lucky Charms Panna Cotta. The image is just as you would imagine your perfect bowl of cereal and the description of the taste of the panna cotta has you drooling.
If you have a few minutes I would recommend a look.
I am a huge fan of steamed dumplings but none of my family are. On a whim, I thought that I would make my favourite recipe but make them into potstickers i.e. slightly crispy on one side. They turned out brilliantly but I still can’t sell my family on them. If I had deep fried them it would have been a different story but I am desperately trying to cut down the amount of fat that I use for cooking. One day I will convince them.
I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did.
10 dumpling wrappers
125g minced pork
125g raw prawns
1 spring onion
1 tbsp finely grated ginger (I use the pre minced jars of ginger)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp groundnut oil
Make the filling a couple of hours in advance so that all the flavours have chance to come together. Simply put all of the ingredients minus the dumpling wrappers into a food processor and blend till you get a sticky paste. Empty the paste into a bowl and put it into the fridge until needed.
To fill the wrappers:
Hold a wrapper, floured side up in the palm of your hand.
Place a tsp of the pork and prawn mixture in the centre.
Dip a finger into a small mug of water and run it around the edge of the wrapper to help it stick.
Lift up the bottom half and close it over the filling to make a half moon shape.
Gently pinch the edges to create a good seal.
Put 2 tbsp groundnut oil into a high sided frying pan that has a lid.
Using a medium flame heat the oil.
Once hot, put the dumplings in the pan being careful that they only brown and not burn. This should take up to 5 minutes dependent on how high you have the flame.
Pour the water into the pan and immediately place on the lid. Leave them to steam for 5 mins.
They should now be fully cooked through and ready to enjoy.
To the majority of food bloggers the words Food Buzz will be instantly recognised. It is a food community that links in posts from personal blogs with those that you can add directly on to the website.
As with all social media type of sites I was dubious at first but now I have a long list of recipes to try and new people to chat to. It is very easy to navigate round, which is always a bonus and on the whole everyone seems very friendly.
The quality of the images from the participant’s blogs is exceedingly high and puts mine to shame. Rather than put me off, I have found the manual that came with my camera and am determined to improve. How long this enthusiasm will last for is anybody’s guess.
If you are new to food blogging or are just wanting more inspiration for something to cook this weekend then I would recommend checking out the site.
It has been a long time since I did a coffee shop review so I thought it was about time to share another favourite haunt of mine.
Maison Mayci in Harborne is one of a small chain of French bakery/restaurants in the UK. They specialise in French style cuisine, exquisite artisan breads and patisserie.
My favourite meal of the day has to be breakfast. When I first went into Maison Mayci I saw the breads, pastries and a coffee machine but there was no breakfast menu so I just had a coffee. It wasn’t until I saw other people around me having toast that I opened my mouth and asked. The chef gets in at around 9am; I point this out so that no one will be disappointed if they go in earlier. They will happily do, toast, eggs, bacon etc in many different guises and it is all freshly made to order. If my waistline didn’t object I would have their bacon, scrambled egg and toast every day of the week, it is that good.
All the breads are made and shipped in daily and if they have any left it becomes toast for breakfast the following day. (They only do their corn bread on a Wednesday and Saturday so I highly recommend going in on those days.)
As for the lunch menu I can’t really comment as I have never been in after 11am but if it is as good as the breakfasts it would be worth a try.
The staff are more than competent with the coffee machine and will make all the standard coffee drinks on request. I have had a coffee drink at least once a week for the past couple of months and have yet to get an incorrect or poorly made drink.
This is definitely a place to visit if you have the time or even if you just need a break from hours of shopping.
At Christmas I was given 3, brand new cookbooks (thank goodness for Amazon wishlists!) and I am slowly going through them with sticky notes and bookmarks.
One of the recipes that I found was for a mushroom risotto. Not very remarkable as things go, but it was the method that intrigued me so I gave it a go on a saffron risotto with seafood.
Ingredients – serves 2
½ medium white onion finely diced
1 small pinch saffron
1 knob butter
Splash (about 2 tbsp) white wine
180g risotto rice of your choosing
30g finely grated parmesan
600ml vegetable stock (kept warm in a pan on the hob)
1 knob butter
6 large raw prawns
3 large scallops (slice each scallop into 2)
I know that I have listed butter in 3 different places but I have no idea how much butter is in the small slice that I put in a pan to sauté onions or cook seafood. I just put in what feels right to me.
Gently heat the butter with the onion until it is translucent. This should take about 10 minutes on a very low heat.
Pour in the white wine and continue to heat until you can hardly tell that you added any fluid at all.
Add the rice and coat in the buttery mixture. Heat this mixture for another couple of minutes before adding 1 ladle of stock.
Continually stir this mixture until there is almost no liquid remaining in the pan.
Chop the saffron up into small pieces and add this to the stock. Pour all of the rest of the stock into the risotto pan and stir.
Simmer the mixture for the next 14-16 minutes, stirring every so often.
Once the rice is almost cooked (there is still a little chalkiness on the bite) turn off the heat. Quickly stir in the butter and parmesan and put the lid on and leave it to rest for 3 minutes.
While you are waiting for the risotto to rest, put a small frying pan on a very high heat.
Add the butter and quickly fry off the prawns and scallops.
Arrange the seafood on top of the risotto for the best effect.
The overall result was perfect. I will no longer be worried about burning, over/undercooking or generally ruining a risotto again.
I defrosted a bag of meat from the freezer thinking that is was duck breasts, I was wrong. Determined that I wasn’t going to waste 3 lamb steaks I decided to substitute them for my duck in a ragu, with a few tweaks.
3 lamb steaks cut into small cubes.
1 medium red onion
1 large carrot
2 celery stalks
1 garlic clove
250ml white wine
1 large jar of passata (mine was 680ml)
½ tsp dried thyme (put through a blender or pestle and mortar until it becomes a fine powder)
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp cranberry sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tin cannelini beans
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and roughly chop the onion, garlic, celery and carrot and blitz with a large glug of olive oil. The vegetables should not be a paste but should have a little texture left to them.
Tip the mixture into a large high sided frying pan or a casserole dish that can be put onto your hob and sweat the mixture on a low heat for 10 mins.
Pour in the white wine and reduce to 1/3 its original volume.
Push the mixture to one side of the pan and turn the heat to high. Throw in the lamb and sear on all sides.
Turn down the heat and mix the lamb with the vegetables. Stir in the passatta, thyme, cranberry sauce, sugar and the bay leaf.
Put on a lid and put it on a very low heat for two and a half hours stirring once every half hour or whenever you remember. If you are using a casserole, you can put it in the oven on 150 degrees centigrade for 2 and a half hours instead.
15 mins before the end of the cooking time use a potato masher to break up the larger cubes of lamb. Add the cannelini beans then put the cover back on and simmer again for the rest of the cooking time.
Season with salt and pepper and serve with pasta and parmesan.
Note: I found it a little bitter when I had finished but 30ml double cream mellowed it out.