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 :-)