Archive for February, 2017

Pancake Day

Posted: February 25, 2017 in Celebration, Uncategorized

No matter what reincarnation of the festival you observe: Pancake Day. Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday!), or Shrove Tuesday, the idea is to enjoy one final binge on rich foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.

In Anglo-Saxon England, Christians went to confession and were “shriven” of their sins before the start of Lent hence the practice of celebrating and merrymaking before going to confession at the beginning of Lent.

 

Foods that were forbidden during Lent such as butter, sugar and eggs were combined with milk and a runny batter became the vehicle to carry sugary, self-indulgent foods.  Now, let’s be clear about this, you don’t have to be a devout Christian to observe Shrove Tuesday.

As a child I would always enjoy my pancakes sprinkled in sugar and squeezed with lemon juice, now however, children seem to take the blow-out to extremes; spreading jam, ice-cream with sauce and chocolate spread over theirs – sometimes all of the above!

 

The traditional crêpe has also been adulterated into fluffy American-style pancakes that need to be stacked, topped with bacon, drizzled in maple syrup and cut like a cake rather than simply used to wrap a combination of fillings.

How to make the perfect crêpe 

A few years ago, I made a delicious savoury pancake to mark the occasion: Courgette Pancake filled with cheese!  Check it out by clicking on the link!

Avocado and Banana Pancakes

This year, in a bid to make something slightly different again, I researched the internet to see if pancakes could be made with the increasingly popular avocado. Now, before you condemn me, chocolate cakes can be made with avocados – at least that’s where my justification came from.

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Ingredients:

160g Plain Flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tspn baking powder
1/4 Tspn salt
1 Avocado; halved, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 Banana; peeled and sliced
1 Tspn Vanilla Extract
240mls Milk

Follow the recipe on the youtube clip above to create delicious avocado based pancakes.

So whether you’re a purist, a glutton, a sweet-toothed child, or desperately trying to be health-conscious; it would be a sin not to try and make pancakes in some form or other to celebrate the day!

Flippin’ gorgeous!

 

 

Pimped-up fettuccine alfredo! Easy.

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Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast (aim for 1 per person)
  • Spanish onion
  • Garlic
  • Cream
  • Thyme
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Lemon juice
  • Parsley
  • Seasoning

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=6ZEeFW1PG8s

Method:

1st: Chop the chicken breast into slices, or equal size pieces and fry in oil/butter.

2nd: Dice a small Spanish onion and 2 cloves of garlic.  Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.

3rd: Slice a few chestnut mushrooms and add to the pan.

4th: Return the chicken to the frying pan, and sprinkle in parsley and thyme and pour in the cream.  Squeeze the juice of a lemon into the sauce.  Season well and allow to simmer for a few minutes.

5th: Boil any pasta you are using – I made some fresh fettuccine pasta – and once cooked mix into the creamy, chicken sauce.

6th:  Grate parmesan cheese to taste and mix well.  Serve and grate more parmesan cheese over, drizzle with truffle oil.

This dish makes a great Valentine meal if you’ve decided to wait until the weekend; it’s luxurious, creamy and delicious.  Send me your Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo photos!

 

Cottage Pie: Comfort food, easy to make using roast beef leftovers.  Easy Cottage Pie.

Red lanterns hanging aloft; a trail guiding Chinese lions to the city centre.  With drums and fireworks, Gibraltar welcomed in the Year of the Rooster.  If like many, you went into town to watch the spectacle and then headed to a regular Chinese restaurant for a mid-week-food-blow-out, great!   For those of you that missed out, all hope is not lost as any time between New Year and the Lantern Festival on February  11th is still considered auspicious, so why not celebrate the Year of the Rooster cooking up any of the following three fantastic Chinese inspired dishes;  or if you’re feeling adventurous make all three!

  • Duck wraps
  • Pork and prawn dim sum
  • Pork bao buns

Each of the following recipes can be created as standalone dishes, however, if you are making the bao buns remember that they need time to prove so it’s best that the dough for this is made first.  Once the bao dough is proving in a warm place, proceed to make the rest of the dishes.

Duck Wrapsimg_4142

1st: In an oven proof dish, place the scored duck legs and breast.  Sprinkle over Chinese five spice and add a few more star anise to the dish.  Season and drizzle lightly with oil (remember that the duck will render out a lot of fat.  Keep this rendered fat for amazing roast potatoes!)

2nd: Roast for 2 hours at 150˚C.  After two hours, the duck will be cooked and succulent but the skin will be pallid – crank up the heat until the skin crisps up.

3rd: Cut spring onions and cucumber into batons and set aside.  Remove the meat off the duck legs and slice up the breast meat, set aside.

4th: These are easily demolished with a drizzle of plum sauce over.

Pork and Prawn Dim Sum

img_41441st: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl; 200g pork mince, 100g peeled raw prawns, 2 spring onions finely chopped, a thumb-size piece of ginger grated into the mix, a dash of soy sauce, a dash of rice wine, squeeze of limb and a couple of table spoons of corn flour.  Season with salt and pepper.  Coriander is optional.

2nd: Use bought gyoza or wonton wrappers.  Place a small spoonful of the mixture into the centre of each gyoza circle, fold in half and crimp the edge.

3rd: Place each dim sum onto a carrot slice and sit in the steamer.  After 10-12mins, the dim sum will look translucent.  Dipping sauce can be made with soy sauce and a couple of drops of sesame oil.

Pork filled Chinese Bao Buns

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1st: Mix together 1 tbspn yeast, 1 tspn sugar, ¼ cup of flour and ¼ cup of warm water.  Mix and allow to stand for 30mins.

2nd: Mix in ½ cup of warm water, 1½ cups of flour, ¼ tspn of salt, 2 tbspns sugar, 1 tbspn veg oil and ½ tspn of baking powder.  Leave to stand for 2½ to 3 hrs.

3rd: Punch down dough, and kneed for 5mins.  Cut the dough into 12 equal sized balls and leave to stand for 30mins.

4th: Roll out each ball and place a generous tspn of your chosen filling (we used a slow cooked asian pork recipe from sortedfood.com).  Rest the dough in your hand and gather the edge of the dough and crimp at the top.  Using a chopstick, open a steam-hole in the centre of the gathered dough.  Steam for 15mins.

Gong Xi Fa Cai – Happy New Year!