Sunday 29 January 2017

Beef Goulash

Beef goulash
  • 1kg good braising steak, preferably chuck steak
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 medium onions, cut into 12 wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 beef stock cube (Oxo works well here)
  • 600ml cold water
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 170°C/Fan 150°C/Gas 3½. Trim any hard fat off the beef and cut the meat into rough 4cm chunks. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the steak and fry over a high heat until nicely browned all over, turning regularly. Tip the onions into the pan and cook with the beef for 5 minutes until softened. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute, stirring regularly.
Sprinkle both paprikas over the meat and crumble the beef stock cube on top. Add the water, tomatoes, tomato purée and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, stir well and bring to a simmer. 
Cover with a tightly fitting lid and transfer the dish to the oven. Cook for 1½ hours. 
While the beef is cooking, remove the core and seeds from each pepper and chuck them away. Cut each pepper into chunks of about 3cm. When the beef has cooked for 1½ hours, carefully remove the dish from the oven. Stir in the peppers, put the lid back on and put the goulash back in the oven for a further hour or until the beef is meltingly tender.

I served this with rice and a few dollops of sour cream but it is also great with mashed potato.  This is one of those recipes it’s good to double up on freeze what you don’t eat.
 Recipe courtesy of the Hairy Bikers.   

Friday 20 January 2017

Green Chilli Con Carne Tacos

Green chilli con carne

Forget Taco Tuesday, it's Fiesta Friday! Here’s my recipe for Green chilli con carne, courtesy of Tom Kerridge
. It is really tasty!
Serves 6-8
  • 1kg minced pork
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 green peppers, cored, deseeded and diced
  • 8 green chillies, chopped (seeds and all)
  • 6 ripe tomatoes
  • 150ml water
  • ½ bunch of spring onions, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • A bunch of mint, stalks removed, leaves shredded
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed limes
Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the minced pork, cumin seeds and thyme and dry-fry for 10–15 minutes, breaking up the meat and stirring frequently, until it’s dry, browned and crispy.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned spicy meat to a bowl. Drain off any excess fat, keeping a little in the pan to cook the vegetables.
Return the pan to a medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until softened. Stir in the green peppers and chillies and cook for a further few minutes, then return the browned meat to the pan. Give everything a good stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, deseed and roughly chop the tomatoes.
Pour the water into the pan, add the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to its lowest setting and let the chilli bubble away, uncovered, for around 15–25 minutes, until a lot of the liquid has evaporated. You want the mixture to be juicy but not too liquid and saucy.
Stir in the spring onions, salt and pepper. Finally, stir through the mint, and the lime zest and lime juice and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes longer. Take off the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes to let the flavours develop before serving. 
This is a dry chilli which is delicious served with rice or a crisp green salad with yoghurt and tortillas.  On this occasion I made tacos, filling the taco shell with shredded baby gem lettuce and then topping with the chilli, Pico de gallo, cheese, and sour cream.  We both really enjoyed it and will definitely be making again.   
Green chilli con carne tacos

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Bao Bao Taiwanese Street Food

Bao Bao Taiwanese Street Food
For my next Boxpark Croydon adventure, I opted to try Bao Bao who specialise in Taiwanese street food, the promise of chicken katsu curry, which happens to be one of my favourite dishes, was too much to resist.  The restaurant itself was nicely set out and had seating inside. 

  I’m not sure why, but prior to ordering I asked if the katsu curry was made with chicken breast, however it turns out it was made with chicken thigh, which I have to say is something I don’t eat, not entirely sure if it‘s because in its raw state it reminds me of a skinned rabbit!  The manager informed me they use chicken thigh because it is more juicy, however given that it wouldn’t’ be cooked with the thigh bone in I’m not entirely sure how true that would be, all I could think is “cost”. 

Having gone off the idea of the katsu curry the young lady serving me asked if I liked beef, which I do, so I then opted for the Taiwanese beef noodle soup (see above).  Having gotten back to the office (and after the obligatory photographs) I tucked into my soup.  
At first glance and first sniff I was impressed, It had a good meaty aroma to it and looked quite tasty.  The soup base itself was very tasty and there were plenty of noodles and root vegetables, however, I was put off somewhat by the beef or should I say the consistency of the beef.  It reminded me of beef that had been browned off but not cooked through properly, it had a soft squishy texture to it, a bit like jelly!  That said, there were only 5 small pieces of beef in the soup!  Whilst the soup itself was a good sized portion, given that there was hardly any meat in it, I think £7.85 was a bit steep. 

I have to point out I am a fussy eater so this review is purely based on my own tastes, other people may find the food lovely however it just wasn’t to my taste and I certainly don’t think it represents good value for money especially in comparison to dishes that you can get in Miso or Wagamama for a similar price. The restaurant itself was nice and the staff friendly and helpful however I'm sorry to say, I don't I will be tempted back.

Monday 9 January 2017

Meat free Monday - Halloumi burgers with chilli jam, pickled carrot and cucumber

Meat free Monday - Halloumi burgers with chilli jam, pickled carrot and cucumber
  • 1 large carrot, julienned or cut into matchsticks
  • 75ml rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 4 burger buns
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 250g Halloumi, cut into 8 slices
  • Mayonnaise
  • 1 large tomato sliced
  • Chilli jam
  • Baby gem leaves
  • 1/2 small cucumber, cut into ribbons

In a small bowl, mix the carrot, vinegar, salt and sugar and allow to marinate while you prepare everything else.

Heat a frying pan and toast the buns until lightly golden, set aside then wipe the crumbs from the pan, add the oil and fry the halloumi slices until golden (about 2 minutes or so each side), remove and place on kitchen paper.

Spread mayonnaise on the toasted buns, then divide the fillings between them.  Start with placing baby gem leaves on the base of the bun, then the tomato, pickled carrot, 2 slices of halloumi, chilli jam and cucumber.  Put the bun tops on and serve.

Seriously, we did not miss meat at all when eating this, tasty is an understatement!  I did initially think it was a bit of a waste pickling the carrot but I have to say it is worth it so don't skip that step.  Great recipe that I will definitely be doing again, we had a good portion of chips with this but equally if you want to be really healthy, serve the burgers with a nice mixed leaf salad with a zesty dressing.

Recipe courtesy of Waitrose magazine.

Monday 2 January 2017

Beef Hotlink Souvlaki Wrap with Tzatziki

 Beef Hotlink Souvlaki Wrap with Tzatziki

A while back I came up with some traditional recipes with a Mexican twist, one of which was my Mexican Toad In The Hole.  For this recipe I was looking for a Mexican style sausage and this is when I came across who sell a variety of sausages, rubs and hot sauces. 

 I bought some of their Jalapeño & Cheese sausages with Mr Rubba Rubba Seasoning and Rub along with some beef hotlinks with the Generals Seasoning and Rub.  All I can say is if you like your sausage then you need to check out Angusandoink, seriously good quality sausages packed with flavour, I will be trying some of their other products soon, they were that good!  

Whilst I had in mind what to do with the jalapeño & cheese sausages, I was yet to come up with something a bit different to try out the beef hotlinks on - that was until I paid a visit to Greek on the Street at Boxpark Croydon where I had the loukaniko beef and pork Greek sausage souvlaki wrap. This was so delicious I decided to try and re-create this at home using the beef hotlinks, along with a couple of the traditional Greek wraps that the manager Vicky from Greek on the Street kindly let me have.  Just to say, I am trying to persuade them to sell the wraps as they really are good!
  • Pack of beef hotlinks
  • Greek wraps
  • Red onion, finely sliced
  • Small bag of rocket leaves
  • 1 pepper, thinly sliced 
  • Handful of sliced black olives
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Half a cucumber, peeled
  • Tablespoon of mint, finely chopped
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp Greek natural yoghurt
  • Couple of pinches of dried oregano
Place the hotlinks onto a baking tray and place under a preheated grill for around 20 minutes or so, until cooked through.  

Whilst the sausages are cooking, prepare the tzatziki.  Place the yoghurt into a bowl along with the mint, lemon juice and salt.  Using a box grater, grate the peeled cucumber, squeeze out the excess water from the cucumber and combine in the bowl with the yoghurt mix.

Heat a frying pan (one big enough for the wraps) and dry fry each wrap for around a minute each side until warmed through.  Place a wrap onto each plate and spread with some of the tzatziki and top this with some of the rocket leaves.  I then cut each sausage down the middle lengthways and allowed three slices for each wrap.  Having placed the sausages on top of the rocket I then topped with the red onion, peppers, tomatoes, olives and some crumbled feta.

Feta Fries
Having experienced the feta fries at Greek on the Street, I thought it would be rude not to also have a stab at making my own to go with the wrap.  I cooked some chunky frozen chips according to pack instructions, once done I tossed with some dried oregano and sprinkled some crumbled feta over the top.  I swear, once you try these fries, you will be hooked!

This dish was a huge hit in my household and the hotlinks really added to the whole dish, really meaty and tasty, I will definitely be making this again. I would recommend paying Angusandoink a visit to try out some of their products, you won't be disappointed, trust me.