Thursday 29 December 2016

Baked Camembert Cranberry Burst

Baked Camembert Cranberry Burst
  • 2 packs ready rolled puff pastry 
  • Tub of freshly made cranberry sauce
  • 1 Camembert for baking
  • Pack of bacon lardons
  • 1 beaten egg

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan assisted) line a baking tray with foil and grease the foil with some olive oil.  

In a small frying pan heat some oil and fry the bacon lardons until crisp.  Place one sheet of the pastry onto the baking tray.  Line up the Camembert in the middle of the sheet and spread the cranberry sauce around the cheese and place the bacon lardons on top.  Remove the cheese and place the second sheet of pastry on top of the first then place the Camembert back in the centre and cut around the base with a sharp knife.  Remove the pastry from  beneath the cheese and return the Camembert to the centre.  Make cuts across the top of the cheese just to break through the top layer of the skin.

Working around the cheese, using a sharp knife cut down from the centre to the edge of the pastry (start the cut about an inch from the cheese) leaving a gap of about two fingers between each cut.  Twist each piece of the cut pastry around in a spiral.  Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and place into the oven for around 20 minutes until the pastry is nice and crisp and golden.

This recipe makes full use of the square of pastry, I don't like to waste unless really necessary, hence mine doesn't resemble the snowflake version that is doing the rounds. The end result is perfect for an informal buffet get together with friends and family and looks pretty stunning to boot.  Just tear off each segment of the pastry and dip into the molten gooey cheese and enjoy.  

Tuesday 27 December 2016

Creamy Cassata Cheesecake

Creamy Cassata Cheesecake
  • 140g soft amaretti biscuits
  • 40g digestive biscuits
  • 60g melted unsalted butter plus extra for greasing
  • 250g ricotta
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Seeds from 1 split vanilla pod
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp clear honey, plus extra to drizzle
  • 6 gelatine sheets
  • 6 tbsp golden rum
  • 425ml double cream
  • 75g candied fruit and citrus peel, chopped
  • 150g red glacé cherries and Angelica, roughly chopped
  • 75g nibbled unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, 160 fan.  Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.  Crush the biscuits in a food processor then mix with the melted butter.  Spoon into the tin then press down in an even layer using the back of a metal spoon.  Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven to cool completely.

Using a free standing or hand mixer, beat the ricotta, mascarpone, egg yolks, vanilla seeds, sugar and honey for 2 minutes until smooth and fluffy.  Soak the gelatine sheets in a small bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the rum in a small pan until almost boiling, then remove from the heat.  Squeeze any excess water from the gelatine, add to the warm rum, stirring until dissolved, then strain through a sieve into the cheesecake mixture, mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream to soft peaks, then fold through the cheesecake mix.  Leave to stand in a cool place for 25 minutes.  Fold through most of the fruit, peel, cherries, angelica and pistachios, then spoon into the cake tin.  Smooth the top, then scatter over the remaining fruit and nuts.  Cover loosely with foil and chill for 3 hours or overnight.  Remove from the tin and serve with extra honey drizzled over.

This is one of my go to recipes when I have people round for dinner, it serves 10-12 so it is ideal when you have a large gathering and it looks great when you bring it out.  Tastes amazing and is a real crowd pleaser.

Recipe courtesy of delicious magazine

Saturday 24 December 2016

Sage, Chilli and Feta Sausage Rolls

Sage, chilli and feta sausage rolls

  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 6 sage leaves finely chopped
  • Kankun habanero sauce 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (plus extra for dusting)
  • 200g crumbled feta
  • 450g sausagemeat
  • 2 X 320g packs ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade or 180 for fan assisted.  Heat a glug of oil in a frying pan and fry the onions for around 5 minutes over a medium heat.  Add the garlic and fry for a further 3 minutes and tip out into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool.  

Add the sage, oregano, feta and a good few glugs of the Kankun habanero sauce and sausagemeat to the onion mix.  Season with salt and pepper and then mix it all together, combining all of the ingredients with the sausagemeat.  Unroll one of the sheets of pastry and cut in half lengthways. Place a quarter of the sausage mixture down each length of pastry, just off centre.  Lightly brush the wide edge of the pastry with the egg glaze, then fold over to encase the filling, leaving a small lip of pastry.  Press down along the pastry lip to seal, using the back of a fork.  Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle some oregano over the top.  Cut the roll into the size you wish and place onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper, repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.  Bake for around 30 minutes until risen and golden and the meat is cooked through.  

For the last few years it has become a tradition to make sausage rolls on Christmas Eve and certainly something my partner looks forward to, he does love to eat them pretty much out of the oven! This is the first time I have tried this recipe, to say I was impressed is an understatement, the flavour is awesome and you get a good kick of heat from the kankun habanero sauce, I think this is a new found favourite in our household and certainly one that my partner Scott enjoyed, given the amount he has already eaten!  Luckily I was able to take some photographs before they all vanished!

Recipe adapted from Delicious Magazine

Thursday 22 December 2016

Greek on the Street

Whilst I have eaten at a number of the restaurants, by far my favourite (so far) has been Greek on the Street, so this is where my Boxpark culinary adventure will begin.

I have had takeout from Greek on the Street 3 times and today went to eat in along with a couple of my friends.  Arriving early I grabbed a table and the waitress came over promptly, after explaining I was waiting for friends she came back with a carafe of water with mint leaves and left me to peruse the menu whilst I waited, this was a nice touch and much appreciated.   
The interior of Greek on the Street is great; funky artwork adorning the counter, olive oil bottles and cans dotted around, it had a good vibe.  I got there just before midday and there were a few other people there, however by the time we left at 1pm the place was packed with customers and a long queue of people ordering take out, definitely a good sign! 

When my friends arrived, after checking out the menu which had plenty to offer, we placed our order.  I opted for the pork belly Greek plate which came with toasted Greek flatbread, spicy feta sauce, tomato and red pepper dip and some salad, for the side I went for the feta fries.  When our orders arrived we were all impressed, well presented and good portions.   
Well, all I can say is I was in heaven, my pork belly was soft and tender and full of flavour, the dips that came with it were a perfect accompaniment and oh my days, feta fries, where have you been all my life!!  
Feta Fries from Greek on the Street 

These slender strips of potato goodness were tossed in dried oregano and topped with crumbled feta, I have never enjoyed chips so much in all my life, these are a must have and enough to make me just want to come back for them alone, but there are enough other tempting dishes on the menu as well so don't worry if you are not a chip fan, you will find something to please the old tastebuds, trust me.

The vibe in Greek on the street was good, busy, noisy (but in a good way) and top notch food and service, I have had several souvlaki wraps previously, the chicken gyros, loukaniko (beef and pork Greek sausage) and halloumi with tzatziki and mixed grilled vegetables, all of which tasted amazing, I really can't wait to try out the other dishes on the menu, there are enough to keep you going for quite a few visits!!!  

I have to say the food is good value for money, my lunch cost £8.95 for the Greek plate including a side, good variety and super tasty, great service and definitely Greek on the Street gets a huge yes from me, you need to pay them a visit, it is just like being on holiday, except you are in Croydon!  

Saturday 10 December 2016

Linguine alle Vongole

Linguine alle Vongole
  • 350g linguine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for drizzling
  • 1/2 tsp deseeded and finely sliced red chilli
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 500g clams, cleaned and rinsed
  • Splash of dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Chunk of chorizo, sliced 

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the linguine according to the packet instructions.  Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large deep frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the chilli and garlic and cook for around 4 minutes, keep an eye on the garlic, you don't want it to burn! Add the chorizo and cook for a few more minutes by which time the chorizo should start to crisp and also release plenty of oil (which will add to the flavour of the dish).  Add the clams, wine and tomatoes to the pan, cover and cook on a high heat for 2-3 minutes until the clams have opened.  Remove the pan from the heat and remove and discard any clams that have not opened (do not crack into the shell to get to the clam, it will make you sick!!!).  Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the clams, turn gently to combine and stir in the chopped parsley and drizzle over a little olive oil it it looks a bit dry.

This is yet another quick and easy recipe and perfect for any time of the year.  If you can't get hold of fresh clams, don't be afraid to buy frozen, they are just as good and will have been cleaned and prepped already so saves you some of the hassle.  If buying fresh clams, soak them in salted iced water for 30 minutes before rinsing and cooking.  Before you cook the clams, discard any broken ones or clams that remain open when gently tapped, you do not want to eat these, trust me!  This can be served alongside a nice fresh garden salad and garlic bread, trust me, this is a winner...

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Chilli chicken ramen

Chilli chicken ramen

  • 1000 ml chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp of sriracha sauce
  • 300g egg noodles
  • 2 chicken breasts 
  • Couple of handfuls of beansprouts
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 fresh red chilli, sliced
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of freshly grated ginger
  • Lime segments
  • Handful of fresh coriander 

Firstly marinade the chicken breasts for an hour with the soy sauce and ginger.  Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, place your chicken breasts onto an oven tray and cook the chicken for around 20 minutes (until cooked through).  Whilst the chicken is cooking, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the noodles according to the packet instructions.  Once cooked, drain and place into your serving dish.  Add the sriracha sauce and chicken stock and stir to separate the noodles.  Slice the chicken breast and place on top of the noodles, add the onion, spring onion, beansprouts and chilli and garnish with the lime and coriander.

This recipe is so fresh and zingy and perfect for these cold Autumn evenings.  The recipe feeds two and can be easily adapted depending on how hot and spicy you like your food.  The recipe comes courtesy of Wagamama.    

Sunday 20 November 2016

A mouthful of Mark does Eggs Royale

Eggs Royale

  • 2 muffins (sliced in half and lightly toasted)
  • 4 slices smoked salmon
  • 1 avocado (cut in half, seed removed and then sliced lengthways)
  • 4 eggs
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Lemon juice

Bring a large pan of water with a good splash of white wine vinegar to the boil.  Whilst the water is coming to the boil, toast your muffins.  Top the muffins with a slice of smoked salmon and several pieces of the avocado, squeeze some lemon juice over the top and a grind of black pepper.  Once the water has come to the boil, drop each egg into the water (keeping some distance between each egg) and let them cook for 3 minutes, once done, remove with a slotted spoon and place each egg on top of the muffins and crack a bit more black pepper over the top.

At the moment I am on a roll with poached eggs, I never knew they were so simple to make!  None of this swirling the water around when dropping the eggs in, just plonk them in, it works a treat!  Poached eggs have now become a Sunday breakfast staple, I just need to come up with different variations to try so watch this space.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Mexican Eggs Benedict

Mexican Eggs Benedict

  • Muffins (1 per person, cut in half and toasted)
  • 4 eggs (2 per person)
  • 4 slices ham
  • Guacamole  
  • White wine vinegar

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a few splashes of the vinegar.  Whilst the water is coming to the boil toast your muffins, butter them and top each one with a slice of ham.
Put a good dollop of the guacamole onto the ham (see here for guacamole recipe).
Once the water is at a rolling boil crack each egg into the pan, aim to put one into each quarter of the pan.  Cook for around 3 minutes, remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and place on top of the muffin.  

This is a very straightforward recipe but definitely one that is worth sharing as it is so tasty and features on a regular basis in our household.  When serving a good grind of black pepper is always good and if you have it to hand a dollop of sour cream and a splash of habanero sauce works a treat, enjoy!  

Saturday 29 October 2016

Holy Mole Beefsteak Chilli con Carne

Holy Mole Beefsteak Chilli con Carne


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 800g cubed braising steak
  • 1 red onion 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 20g jalapeno peppers
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Salt salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh coriander
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Pinch of cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 3 bay leafs
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 70g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 330ml beer
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 300g kidney beans
  • Good few glugs of Kankun habanero sauce
  • Kankun Poblano Mole sauce

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish on the hob, add the meat and fry until browned all over.  Remove the meat and tip away the excess liquid/fat left in the pan.

Whilst the meat is browning, peel the onion and cut into quarters, place into a liquidiser along with the garlic,jalapeno chillies, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cumin and the chipotles along with some of the adobo sauce, blitz until smooth.  Add the paste to the casserole dish and fry for a few minutes.

In a small pan over a medium heat, add a tablespoon of the Kankun Poblano Mole paste with 4 or 5 tablespoons of water and stir through, you want a runny consistency therefore add extra water if needed.  You can also use beef stock instead of water when making this.

Return the beefsteak to the casserole dish and add the mole sauce along with the beef stock, bay leafs, honey, beer and chocolate.  Stir thoroughly and then add the tomatoes, tomato puree, a few grinds of black pepper, a good pinch of salt and a good few glugs of the Kankun habanero sauce, stir through, place a lid onto the dish and place into a preheated oven at 160 degrees.  This will need to cook for around 3 hours as we want the beef nice and tender.  I would suggest giving the chilli a stir each hour.  After two hours of cooking add the drained kidney beans and stir through.

I would recommend making this recipe the day before as this really enhances the flavour.  When serving stir through the chopped fresh coriander and serve with, sour cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips and rice.  When I make my rice I like to stir through some fresh chopped coriander to add some flavour.  This dish is a real crowd pleaser and should serve 5-6 people.  The different spices along with the mole and habanero really give this chilli a depth of flavour and I hope you enjoy it as  much as I did.

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Kankuntastic Chicken Fajitas

Kankuntastic Chicken Fajitas

  • Pack of flour tortillas
  • Chicken fillets 
  • Bottle of Kankun Mexican Marinade Sauce
  • Grated Cheese
  • Chopped jalapeno peppers
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ pepper thinly sliced
  • Kankun jalapeno and habanero sauce
  • Guacomole
  • Sour cream

The quantities in this recipe depend on how many people you are cooking for.  Generally I find two fajitas per person is ample and I allow two piece of chicken fillet per fajita or one piece if using small tortillas as I did for this recipe (then 3 fajitas will do per person!).

Place the chicken fillets in a container and pour over enough of the Kankun marinade sauce to coat evenly.  You want to allow the chicken to marinade for at least 30 minutes, but preferably longer if time allows.

Grill or fry the chicken fillets until cooked through, this should only take around 10 minutes or so.  Heat your tortillas according to the packet instructions (unless of course you made them yourself, in which case, I'm pretty sure you know how to heat them up!).  I'm sure everyone has their own way of fashioning their fajita, however I like to spread the tortilla with a good dollop of quacomole, on top of which I place the pepper and red onion.  Unlike traditional recipes, I do not cook the veg that goes into my fajitas, I like to keep it crisp and raw!!  Then place your chicken ontop and dollop with sour cream and a good few dashes of the jalapeno and habanero sauce and the jalapeno peppers.  For the purposes of this post I put the cheese on top after I had taken the photographs, otherwise you wouldn't have been able to see anything! (I do like my cheese..).

In our household, this is what we call messy food so make sure you have a napkin to hand when eating and watch out for any spills!!  This meal is great at any time of the year and is a staple in our house.  

Friday 16 September 2016

Kicking Prawn & Avocado Salad

Kicking Prawn & Avocado Salad

  • 350g fresh or frozen peeled cooked prawns
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 6 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 lemons
  • 15g basil (around half a bunch)
  • 1cucumber
  • 4 spring onions
  • Mixed bag of salad leafs
  • 200g ripe cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • Punnet of cress
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 200g fresh peas
  • 1 red chilli
  • Kankun habanero sauce

Firstly, if using frozen prawns, make sure they are thoroughly defrosted before using!

Peel and remove the stone from the avocado, putting the flesh into a blender with the yoghurt and the juice of 1 lemon.  Reserve a small handful of the basil and place the remainder of the bunch into the blender and blitz until smooth, season to taste.

Trim the finely slice the spring onions.  Peel the cucumber, halve it lengthways and scrape out the core and finely slice.  By removing the core it makes it less watery!  In a large salad bowl add the mixed salad leafs along with the cherry tomatoes and most of the cress.  Drizzle over 1 tbsp of oil and the juice of the remaining lemon and then plate up.  This recipe should serve 4, obviously amend the ingredients depending on the number of guests.

Drain the prawns and then toss with 2 tbsp of the sauce and the peas and add to each plate of salad. Spoon the remaining sauce over each plate and scatter over the finely sliced chilli and the reserved cress.  Once plated, drizzle over the Kankun habanero sauce.  The avocado has quite a mild flavour therefore the habanero sauce really lifts the flavour and gives it a real kick!  Again, depending how hot you like it, adjust your glugs accordingly!!

This is great for alfresco dining, perfect with some crusty bread or if you make smaller portions it goes well with a lovely piece of steak or chicken.  

Funked Up Kankun Habanero Mushrooms

Funked Up Kankun Habanero Mushrooms

  • 250g button mushrooms
  • Large knob of salted butter
  • Few glugs of Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Few splashes of Kankun Habanero Sauce
  • 100ml vegetable stock

Make up the stock according to the packet instructions.  Brushing any soil away from the mushrooms, chop them in half.  Place a medium sized pan on the hob and melt the butter on a medium heat, once melted, add the mushrooms to the pan and stir until all of the mushrooms get a good coating of the butter.  Add the stock to the pan along with the Worcestershire and habanero sauce, a few grinds of pepper and saute the mushrooms until the stock has been reduced and thickened.

This is a bit of a twist on plain old mushrooms, hence they are funked up!  They go with so many different dishes however for me, they are always perfect with a good old fry up.  Given the habanero is pretty hot, use as much or as little as you want or can take ;-)

Thursday 15 September 2016

Mexican style chicken katsu curry

Mexican style chicken katsu curry

  • Bag of tortilla chips
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Rice (enough for two portions)
  • Handful of chopped coriander
  • Kankun Pipian Mexican Mole
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Small dish of flour
  • Vegetable or rapeseed oil

Take a few handfuls of the tortilla chips and place into a blender and blitz for a short while. Whilst you want to break the tortilla chips down to act as breadcrumbs on the chicken, you don't want them too fine, they should contain bite sized pieces which will give the chicken a good crunch.

This is a 3 bowl job, place your tortilla crumbs into a large bowl, beat the egg in a separate bowl and place the flour into the third bowl. Take each chicken breast and firstly dip into the flour, ensuring the whole chicken is covered, then dip into the beaten egg, shake off any excess egg and then dip into the tortilla crumb (press the chicken into the crumb on each side to ensure the crumb sticks). If your chicken breasts are on the large size, place them into a freezer bag and give them a good whacking with a rolling pin to flatten them out. The thicker the chicken breast the longer it takes to cook which will probably end up with the tortilla crumb burning! Once you have coated the chicken, place it onto a plate and put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes (this will harden the crumb up).

Into a large frying pan, pour enough oil to cover at least a third of the depth of the chicken. Heat the oil over a medium heat, once it is hot enough (drop a small piece of tortilla into the oil, if the oil bubbles, it is hot enough) place the chicken breasts into the pan and cook for around 10 minutes each side (the breadcrumbs should be nice and crispy by this time).

Whilst the chicken is frying, cook the rice according to the packet instructions. Once cooked, stir through the chopped coriander.

In a small pan, add two tablespoons of the Kankun Pipian Mole paste and a good glug of water. Over a medium heat stir the paste until dissolved in the water. The aim here is to get the mole to a gravy type consistency so you will probably need to add more water as you go, if however you make it too watery, simply add some more mole paste to thicken it up.

Once all the components to your dish are ready, slice the chicken into pieces and plate up with the rice and sauce. I put the mole sauce into a small dish in order to dip the chicken into.

This is a twist on the traditional Japanese chicken katsu curry which I think works really well. The mole sauce has a bit of a kick which develops after each mouthful and the tortilla crumb gives a good crunch to the chicken. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Another recipe which is perfect when having friends round for dinner.    

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Kankun Chipotle Chicken Pizza

Kankun Chipotle Chicken Pizza  

  • Pack of chicken fillets
  • Ready made pizza dough (or you can always make your own!)
  • Kankun Poblano Mexican Mole
  • Tub of mozzarella pearls
  • Couple of handfuls of grated mozzarella
  • 1 pepper deseeded and thinly sliced.
  • 2 tbsp jalapeno peppers finely chopped
  • Handful of rocket or pea shoots
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Kankun habanero sauce
  • Kankun chipotle sauce
  • Pizza stone

Place the chicken fillets into a tupperware container or dish and coat with the Kankun chipotle sauce, give a good mix in order to ensure the chicken is fully coated and then place into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Once the above has been done, place the pizza stone onto the middle shelf in the oven and turn on your oven to 220 degrees (always place the stone into a cold oven) and heat the stone for around 20 minutes. Whilst the stone is heating up, fry the chicken fillets for around 10/15 minutes in a frying pan over a medium heat.

In a small pan add a tablespoon of Kankun Poblano mole paste and 5 tbps of water, stir through over a medium heat until the paste has dissolved. For this recipe we want a thickish consistency as the mole is going to act as the base sauce on the pizza.

Whilst you can make your own pizza dough I am not adverse to cheating and use ready made pizza dough. For this recipe I used chilli pizza dough and combined the two balls of dough together in order to make one large pizza.

Roll out your pizza dough on a floured work surface until it is big enough to cover most of the pizza stone. Take the pizza stone from the oven and place the dough on top. Spread the mole sauce over the base of the pizza and sprinkle with the grated mozzarella. Top with the chicken fillets, sliced pepper, red onion, jalapeno pepper and mozzarella pearls. Place the pizza back into the oven and cook for around 10-15 minutes. Keep your eye on the pizza as sometimes it can cook quicker! A good sign that it is done is when the mozzarella has fully melted and the edges of the pizza look crispy.

Remove the pizza from the oven and top with the rocket or pea shoots and a good dash of the Kankun habanero sauce then serve.

For those who haven't used a pizza stone before, you must get one, it's the only way to ensure that you get a truly crisp base to your pizza as the stone ensures an even cook throughout the pizza.

This is a bit of an alternative to the usual style of pizza and for me it really worked. You can use whatever toppings you like and make it your own.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Kankuntastic Breakfast Frittata

Kankuntastic Breakfast Frittata

  • 10 eggs
  • 6 sausages
  • 2 large handfuls of grated cheese
  • 1/2 a pepper finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp jalapeño peppers finely chopped
  • 12 cherry/baby plum tomatoes cut in half
  • Salt and pepper
  • Kankun habanero sauce
  • Olive oil

Crack the eggs into a jug/bowl, season with salt and pepper and beat until the yolks are broken up.  In a large oven proof dish/pan, pour a small amount of olive oil, just enough to coat the base and heat over a medium heat.  Once hot enough, cut each sausage into six pieces and fry until browned through.  Whilst the sausages are cooking pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Once the sausages are browned, pour in the egg mix, top with the cheese, peppers, tomatoes, jalapeño peppers and a good few glugs of Kankun habanero sauce and then pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes until the egg mix has set.

I make this every week for my husband Scott and this is his breakfast each day, he swears it keeps him full until lunch and it is virtually carb free!  The great thing with this recipe is that you can put pretty much anything into it, make it your own!  As you will know by now, we love the spice, hence the jalapeño and habanero, but hey, if you are not a fan, leave it out, stick in something else that you love, some fresh herbs, mushrooms, tofu go wild and use your imagination!  This recipe is also great for brunch or even dinner alongside a nice seasonal salad.

Saturday 10 September 2016

Sagardi Basque Country Chefs

There's a Basque restaurant in town and boy do they do a mean steak!
We were recently invited along to the press and food bloggers launch of Sagardi, a brand new Basque restaurant which has opened in Shoreditch.  A short walk from Old Street tube station and we were soon outside Sagardi where we were greeted by a large glass fronted exterior, it looked quite stylish and was the sort of place you would be drawn to when walking by.  

Upon entering the restaurant you are immediately faced with the SARGARDI butcher, this is where the fine cuts of beef known as "Txuleton" are prepared, quite an impressive area!
There are two varieties of beef to choose from, Vaca (ex dairy cows) and Buey (Galician ox).  The cuts of beef come from herds that are a minimum of six years old and the beef is matured for between 3 to 10 weeks.  

As it turns out when we ate later, the Buey that we had was 19 years old!  Now you may be thinking, 19 year old beef, hang on a minute, but seriously, this cut of meat was so tasty and definitely has to be tried before you dismiss it.  

The steaks, which are coated in a thick crust of salt are cooked on a central grill that was specially designed by the owner, Inaki Vinaspre.  Whilst too much salt is frowned upon, in this case I would make an exception, it really adds to the flavour of the beef (don't worry, by the time it is cooked, the steak isn't still coated in thick salt!).

There is a bar area with tall tables and a vast selection of Donosti-style pintxos (basically a piece of bread, topped with a delicious concoction of loveliness) on display,  you help yourself to whatever takes your fancy and to be honest we could have just stayed put and stuffed our faces!

 I really liked this area of the restaurant and could see myself popping in at lunchtime or after work for a plate of pintxos and a chilled glass of Basque Country cider or Basque Txakoli wine, both of which are traditionally poured from a height and only by trained professionals 😜

The restaurant itself is dominated by large chunky wooden tables and is certainly the type of place you would go to as a crowd, however I think I spied a few smaller tables perhaps for those more intimate meals.  The rear of the restaurant housed a wine cellar which went from one side of the room to the other and was pretty impressive, I certainly don't think you would be spoilt for choice as to what to drink!  Oh and did I mention the Basque fishing boat hanging upside down over the central area!

After stuffing and quaffing in the bar area we then sat for dinner, at this stage I was thinking that perhaps I should get some trousers with elastic in the waistband!  

We were served a simple straightforward menu but one that was packed with flavour, I especially loved the heirloom tomato salad, the Green Ibarra chilli peppers and the grilled morcilla (that's black pudding to you). Everything is flown in daily from farms and coastal suppliers in San Sebastián and boy could you taste the freshness.  

The star of the show was without a doubt the steak, this comes on a huge platter from which you all help yourself, again, this lends to the group type of vibe.  Some people may look at the steak and be put off by the fat, don't be, the fat was OMG tasty!  The meat is pretty rare, but at the end of the day when you have a fabulous piece of meat this is how it should be eaten.  That said, the well done crispy end bits were equally as tasty.  The steak, given that it was 19 years old was packed with flavour, was not tough in the slightest and was a complete joy to eat, again, that salt crust really enhanced the flavour.  By the time we worked our way through this bad boy we had a serious case of the meat sweats!  

The meal ended with cheese, truffles and Tolosa butter and almond cigarillos, all very nice however that went out the window when the gin trolley was rolled over to us, this was a nice touch, the only thing I would say is a Spanish gin would have been good rather than the usual Bombay Sapphire, but that's just a small point and hey, I soon knocked it back.

All in all I have to say I'm glad Inaki has brought SAGARDI to the UK.  We ate some seriously tasty food and drank some lovely local cider and wines.  A great looking restaurant, a good vibe to the place and if in the area I would definitely return for a second go at that amazing steak! (oh, they do fish as well!), this is certainly my style of dining. 
For further information see

Sagardi Basque Country Chefs - Butcher Imanol Jaca talks about the philosophy, quality and traditions that are the foundations of this new restaurant.

Friday 9 September 2016

Chipotle Pork Pittas

Chipotle Pork Pittas

  • 4 wholemeal pitta breads
  • Kankun Mexican Chitpotle Sauce
  • Kankun Mexican Habanero Sauce
  • 4 pork loin steaks (1 per pitta)
  • Handful of grated cheese
  • Rocket & pea shoots
  • 1 tbsp Jalapeno peppers finely chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
  • Vegetable/Rapeseed oil

Place the pork steaks into a container and cover with the Kankun chipotle sauce, mix well to ensure all of the steak is covered and then place into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Add a dash of vegetable/rapeseed oil to a frying pan and put on a medium heat. Cook the steaks for a few minutes each side, you will know when they are done when the steaks change colour from pink to a white colour. Remove from the pan and place onto a chopping board and allow to rest for a few minutes. Whilst the steaks are resting, pop your pittas into the toaster and once done cut a slit into each one to make a pocket.

Stuff each pitta with the rocket and pea shoots and then top with cheese. Thinly slice the pork steak and put this into each pitta along with a sprinkle of jalapeno pepper, red onion and some of the quartered tomato and then a good few dollops of Kankun habanero sauce.

I had the pork steaks in the fridge, they were destined for another recipe, I'm so glad I changed my mind and came up with this instead, it was so tasty and quick and easy to make, an ideal mid week dinner for all the family.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Mexican Style Toad In The Hole With Coriander & Chilli Batter

Mexican Style Toad in the Hole

  • For the batter
  • 3 eggs
  • 285ml milk
  • 115g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Half a large red chilli, remove the seeds and finely chop
  • Handful of finely chopped coriander 
  • 5 Jalapeno & Cheese sausages – these were sourced online from Angus & Oink
  • Kankun Mexican Mole Poblano - visit the Kankun site
Mix the batter ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth.  Heat the oven to 240 degrees.  In a thin baking tin put 1cm/just under ½ inch of rapeseed oil and place this on the middle shelf of the oven (place a tray underneath the tin in order to catch any oil spills) and heat the oil until it is smoking hot.  Add the sausages to the tin (beware of spitting oil) and return to the oven until browned all over.  Pour the batter mixture over the sausages (give the batter a last mix before doing so as the coriander and chilli will have settled in one place in the mixture) and return the tin to the oven and cook for at least 20 minutes, until the batter is crispy and the sausages cooked through.

Whilst the toad is cooking, put a tablespoon of the mole paste into a saucepan and add about 5 tbsp of water and stir over a low heat.  You will need to add more water to this as you go as basically we are using the mole as a gravy to pour over the toad therefore we need a runny consistency.

Once the toad is cooked carefully place it onto a large platter and drizzle with the mole gravy and serve with sides of your choice.  I used a cheats Mexican microwave rice (it saves time ok!) and made esquites, see (put in link) for the recipe.

I hope you enjoy this twist on a British classic.  The mole gravy has a nice chocolatey flavour which goes really well with the coriander and chilli in the batter and combined with the jalapeno hit from the sausages I think it works really well, even if I do say so myself :-)

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Smoked Chicken Salad

Smoked Chicken Salad

  • 1 smoked chicken breast, thinly sliced 
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled, stone removed and cut into small chunks
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered, seeds removed and finely sliced into small chunks
  • Quarter of a cucumber, thinly sliced and cut into small pieces
  • 3 rashers of streaky bacon
  • Bag of mixed lettuce leafs 
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

This is a bit of a cheat recipe as the only thing I'm actually making is the salad dressing, however this was such a tasty salad, it would be rude not to share it with you all!

Place the bacon on a baking tray and grill for 5-10 minutes until crispy.  Leave the bacon to one side to cool slightly and then chop into small bite size pieces.

Put the lemon juice, mustard and olive oil into a small bowl and whisk together until it thickens, season with salt and pepper to taste.  This recipe is for two, naturally adjust the ingredients to accommodate the number of guests you are feeding.

Dress two plates with the salad leafs and sprinkle over the pepper, cucumber, avocado and tomato.  Place the sliced chicken over the top of the salad and sprinkle over the bacon and drizzle with the salad dressing.

This is such a quick and easy recipe to throw together, who said cooking had to be complicated!  I'm sure you will love it as much as we did, enjoy.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Wedge salad with blue cheese dressing

Wedge Salad with blue cheese dressing

I recently made this to take to a friends BBQ, it seemed to go down well!  This is such a quick, simple yet super tasty salad, just perfect for a group gathering.  I made this for 8 people, naturally you can adjust the ingredients to fit the amount of guests you are planning on entertaining.  I would say I do like a good strong blue cheese dressing hence using the quantity of cheese that I did, you can use less if you prefer a milder taste to your dressing.

  • 2 x iceberg lettuce
  • 8 rashers of smoked bacon
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Large handful of grated cheese
  • 100g buttermilk
  • 4-5 tbsp sour cream
  • Handful of chives finely diced
  • Glug of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 250g crumbled blue cheese

Place the bacon on a baking tray and cook under the grill for around 10 minutes or so, once done set aside and leave to cool.

To make the dressing, place the buttermilk and sour cream into a bowl, along with the chives, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and the crumbled blue cheese, stir well and place into the fridge until ready to serve.

Slice the end off each lettuce, removing the stalk end, remove the outer leaves and then quarter each lettuce and place onto a large platter.  Cut the bacon into small chunks and sprinkle over the lettuce along with the grated cheese.  Scatter the halved cherry tomatoes around the platter and drizzle the dressing over the top of everything and enjoy!

Saturday 23 July 2016

Super Tuna Pasta Salad, Feta & Crispy Cayenne Crumbs

Super Tuna Pasta Salad, Feta and Crispy Cayenne Crumbs

  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 lemons
  • 250g dried pasta shells
  • 350g broccoli
  • 1 slice wholemeal bread
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh chives or dill
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 X 120g tins of tuna in spring water 
  • 50g feta cheese

Place the chopped onion into a large bowl with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then squeeze over all the lemon juice and put aside.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions.  Chop the broccoli florets off the stalk.  Cut the woody end off the stalk, halve the stalk lengthways, then chick it in with the pasta to cook through.  Chop the florets I to small bite-sized chunks, adding them to the water for the last minute only, just to take the rawness away.

Meanwhile, whiz the bread and cayenne into crumbs in a food processor, then toast in a dry non-stick frying pan on a medium heat until golden and crispy, tossing regularly.  Peel the cucumber, halve lengthways and scrape out the watery core, then finely slice.  Finely chop the herbs.  Mix the yoghurt into the lemony onion, then add the cucumber and herbs.  Drain the pasta and broccoli, finely chop the broccoli stalk, and add it all to the bowl of dressing.  Drain and flake in the tuna, toss together well, then taste and season to perfection.  Divide between 4 bowls and serve sprinkled with crumbled feta and the hot crispy crumbs.

Recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver - Super Food, Family Classics

Despite the pasta, this is a light zingy salad that is crying out to be eaten al fresco, perfect for a summer evening with a nice chilled glass of white wine and of course a few friends to share it with.