Saturday, 25 February 2012

Number Six - Feedback

Morning! (Very early morning!)

It's been an eventful week. I've been beyond busy at work, drawing and causing annoyance to many engineers. All good fun. If a little stressful. It's also been my birthday (Wednesday), and my Dad's birthday (Friday).


I went out to a wee restaurant called "Josephine's" on Wednesday with my beautiful girl-friends for an amazing meal of tapas and a lot of booze! If you ever come up to ABZ or already live here then head there. It's very informal, not the place to take your first date. Keith, the owner, is fantastic, has great banter, and is an excellent chef. I had the Prawns in balsamic oil and honey, which was absolutely beautiful, bit of a gamble as I'm not the biggest fan of honey. And I also had the rosemary potatoes with chilli sauce, which was extremely spicy. I actually also had my Valentines Day meal at Josephine's. Got a bit greedy to be honest - Gambas Pil Pil (prawns in chilli oil with garlic), saut├ęd potatoes and chorizo with a baked egg, Basque chicken AND chorzio stovies. If you don't know what traditional stovies is check HERE . As a child I hated it because I was forced to eat it, but oh my G it's nice.


Tapas & Vodka at The Famous Josephine's

Today my parents took me and my other half to a restaurant in ABZ called 'La Boheme'. I could cry. French food is easily the best in the World. Argue all you want. Point and laugh if you so wish. It's amazing. And no, it's not all frog's legs and snails. I had Pigeon to start, with some apple and something puree and mustard mash. Then I had Duck Confit. Suuuuuuuuuper unhealthy, but absolutely beautiful. If you ever have it, don't be a wuss and leave the skin...eat it. So tasty.

So anyway, this isn't really a recipe addition to the blog (however I might add one straight after this), but I just made my Butter Bean / Chorizo / Spinach thing for a couple of my chums (yes at 1am, I just about chopped my finger off!). And they really enjoyed it. So they said. I've played around with the recipe since I posted it. I've tried it with 450ml chicken stock, and tonight 350ml. I think 350ml is the perfect amount, and about 60 / 65 g Chorizo. I also added more spinach. I'm just gutted I didn't keep a bowl for myself!! I didn't have any 'special bread' handy, so they made do with some loaf. My mate on the left actually even dropped his on the ground, then continued to dip it in his leftover broth...was clearly hungry!


Better than a kebab :)

Anyway, one of my said chums commented on how you could put chorizo in anything...even cakes. Weird. So I came up with a brainwave. Chorizo Scones. Googled it. Someone, of course, has already been there. Damn. I'm going to try it anyway. Watch this space..............
Smutch x

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Number Five - Soup glorious (spicy) Soup

Two words. Sweet. Potato.

I can't understand why people aren't grabbing Sweet Potatoes off the shelves quicker. 'Yams' - as our American friends call them - are an amazing nutrient source, and much better for you than the bog standard potato. If you haven't ever tasted Sweet Potato soup then more fool you. You're missing out. EDIT:  I've been kindly informed that actually, they aren't the same thing, Yams are sweeter and have a 'higher moisture content'. Well they're still pretty similar in my book! Long live the Sweet Potato!

The first time I tried this delicious vegetable in a soup was when one of my closest friends, Jen, made a Sweet Potato and coconut cream soup. The second time was when my other half's Mum made the infamous Jamie Oliver's 'Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup'. I'm a self confessed hater of normal soups, for example Leek and Potato. Yeuch. Boring. So I had to give this recipe a bash. It's a very filling soup, and could probably used as a filling snack or in my case main course. Here you go:

Yum Yum. My version...


Ingredients:
  • 2 x onions
  • 2 cloves of peeled / finely sliced garlic (I feel this really depends on your personal tastes, don't reduce this, but add if you so wish!).
  • 2 x carrots (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 x celery sticks (sliced)
  • 800g Sweet Potato (peeled and chopped)
  • 200g Chorizo Sausage (a friend told me you're better to get this from the deli counter, rather than the vacuumed pack stuff...)
  • Fresh parsley (just a wee bunch)
  • 1 x heaped teaspoon of curry powder (essential).
  • 2 x chicken stock cubes
  • 1 x fresh red chili (also essential!).
MAKE SOUP: 
  1. Slice the Chorizo and chop the Parsley.
  2. Heat up a soup pan with Olive Oil, and add the curry powder and all the chopped ingredients (carrots, celery, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, chorizo, parsley). Stir together.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes with the lid askew until the onions are golden and carrots a bit softer. I panicked a bit at this stage, thinking "aaaargh it's smoking". This would be the amateur in me. Don't panic.
  4. Add 1.8L of water to the stock and then pour it into the veg. 
  5. Stir the soup and bring to the boil.
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  7. Season and blend. 
Once blended I added chopped chili. Don't then touch your mouth, lips, ears....ANYTHING, until you've washed your hands. This might seem like common sense to 99.9% of people. However I'm slightly silly.

This is my favourite soup in the World. I'd actually probably prefer it with a little bit of coconut milk / cream over the top. What a hangover saviour!

Smutch x

P.S - My new favourite singer. It's been a while since I got excited about an album. I'm very passionate about music, and I thought I should share. Forget the controversy surrounding this Woman (she allegedly has botox and renamed herself - big WOOP?! Lady Gaga anyone?!), she is an incredible singer...and isn't that all that matters?!! Ladies and Gents, I present....Lana Del Rey... 

Number Four - Chorizo, Butter Beans & Popeye

Evening / Morning Folks,

Right now I'm sitting watching 'Moulin Rouge' for the first time, with a casual bottle of Bollinger, a very kind housewarming present from my other half's Mum (who, on another note, is an excellent cook and teacher!), so thanks to her! I have already planned my 22nd birthday party, but now I wish I had applied a 'Moulin Rouge' theme. Maybe next year. I'm really getting into this cooking malarkey. Trying new things is actually working out for me - the pickiest person in Scotland.

So here is my latest trial - Butter Beans with chorizo and spinach. Please take this recipe and run with it. There's so many additions you could make to it!

Chorizo, White Beans & Spinach

This is how mine turned out...looks yummy eh?
Ingredients:

  • 400g tin of beans (Butter beans or Cannellini beans will work, I used Butter Beans)
  • 50g Chorizo sausage
  • 300ml Chicken stock (original recipe said 200ml, but I didn't find this was 'saucy' enough).
  • 1 onion (I only used half an onion, but that's me and my freakish ways getting used to onion).
  • 80g Fresh Spinach (Again, original recipe says to chop this, I didn't).

Method:

  1. Fry the onion in some oil until softened (don't burn it like me!!), then add the chorizo and fry until it starts to give out it's natural oil.
  2. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer for a minute or so. 
  3. Add the beans and cook for 5 - 7 minutes depending on how you like your beans.
  4. Add the spinach and stir, cook until the spinach is wilted. 
  5. Serve in bowls. 
We served it with Ciabatta bread on the side and balsamic vinegar / olive oil. It doesn't look like a big dish, but it does fill you up. This dish is also two of your  five-a-day, I believe. As you will know, through my past posts, I'm a bit of a salad dodger, so this is a perfect way for me to get my veg etc. I genuinely really enjoyed this dish, and to be honest I'm quite proud of it. So easy to make, so quick, and very very few calories. And extremely tasty.

I hope you like this, any tips or criticism welcome :o)

Here's a cheeky video from Moulin Rouge...Ewan McGregor...Scottish hero!

This film is giving me shivers!!!!

Smutch x