Saturday, 8 October 2011

Saturday night Moules et Frites (recipe alert)

After our tasting at Create Joe and I stomped through the rain to do some shopping.  As well as picking up my dad's birthday present (which isn't until 15 November but I am super prepared) and getting me some new running shoes so that I am no longer a cripple (thanks Joe!!), we popped to the Kirkgate market for some treats!

We picked up some salmon, which I am curing to take with us to Wales next week with Frenchie Dog Eyes and Sam, bacon ribs (Joe's request) and mussels for a Saturday night treat.

The mussels were transformed into moules and chorizo in a spicy tomato broth, served with chips.  It's a seriously easy dinner which tastes amazing - see below for the recipe.

Cleaned Welsh mussels (in honour of their deserved victory this morning)
Our vino, which we have had a few times but only just worked out the joke in the title.  Doofuses.
Waitrose olives for a pre-dinner snack
Olive stuffed with green chilli (which did not taste of chilli - a little disappointing)
Our cocktail stick man
The dinner table
Frites (not home made I'm afraid - I'm a little scared of deep friers!)
Moules and chorizo with a spicy tomato broth
The moules - a close up!

And dessert...they are now all gone - fatties!

Moules with Chorizo (for two)

800g-1k live mussels, cleaned, beards removed and any dead ones discarded (if they are open, and don't close when tapped on a hard surface, chuck it - not worth the risk)
150g chorizo
2 tomatoes, with core removed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
glass white wine
parsley, finely chopped
juice of half a lemon

1.  Remove any skin and chop the chorizo into 1cm square pieces.
2.  Put the chorizo in a pan on a low heat and cook down for about 10 minutes until the paprika oil has come out and the chorizo is lightly browned.
3.  Add the chilli (I used half a teaspoon of dried flakes but fresh would be fine), about half a teaspoon of cumin and the garlic.  Cook out for about 2 minutes and then add the chopped tomatoes.  Cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.  At this stage I threw in some frozen peas but these are optional!
4.  Add the mussels in to the pan along with the white wine and stir quickly through the sauce.
5.  Put a lid on the pan and cook at a moderate heat for 4 minutes (the sauce should be bubbling fairly quickly).
6.  After 4 minutes sprinkle over some chopped parsley and squeeze in the lemon juice.  Stir it in and then serve with frites or crusty bread and the rest of your white wine!

Saturday morning at Create, Leeds

Joe and I were out last night, rolling home at about midnight.  Imagine my pleasure when my alarm went off at 6.00am this morning to watch the rugby.  To make matters worse, Ireland lost!! (Although as a Scot, knocked out by England last week, I was a little bit pleased that France were on form this morning)

At 11, Joe and I were straight out to an event at Create on Eastgate/St Paul's Street (click here for the website).  Create opened in August and is a social enterprise restaurant, training disadvantaged people and getting them into work.  They are starting a fortnightly program of food and drink demonstrations and tastings on Saturday morning in partnership with Latitude Wines (click here for details), and this week some people were invited to attend the first one.

So after a few beers (and a sneaky margherita) last night, I'm not sure I was entirely prepared for an 11am vodka tasting!

The chap from Latitude Wines talked us through two Chase vodkas and one gin (website here).  Chase is an English company (also the people behind Tyrells crisps) which makes vodka and gin distilled from its own home grown potatoes.  Everything is done on site, from growing to mashing to distilling.  We tried the normal vodka, which was pretty tasty, a gin (48% proof!) and a marmalade vodka.  Although top end price wise, we could definitely taste the difference and were definitely good.

After that we had a food demonstration from the national executive chef and head chef at Create.  They showed us how to make potted shrimps, escabeche, bresaola and beetroot cured salmon (which strangely I had already decided to make this weekend).  Each demo was really easy to follow and you can tell how passionate these people are about their food.  We also got recipe packs and a chance to taste the potted shrimps, potted duck (new to the menu soon), escabeche and cured salmon, all of which were really tasty.  They also gave us goody bags of biscuits, including biscotti, flapjacks, brownie, merringues and honeycomb which were worth the early rise on their own.

There will be demos in 2 and 4 weeks, with the next two covering orchard fruits and cakes, and a Christmas demo is in the pipeline.  I would definitely recommend attending one (only £10.75) and if a demo is not your thing, then at least go for lunch or dinner as Create gets brill reviews.

As well as serving good, British food, this restaurant does a good thing for the wider community and deserves support from the West Yorkshire community.
The Create ethos.
Our first treat - coffee and this cake
Latitude - find their wines and spirits on the Calls, behind the Corn Exchange
Vodka, gin, and marmalade vodka.  Early doors!
The food tasting - potted shrimps, potted duck, escabeche and cured salmon
The potted shrimps - with the secret ingredient of saffron
Potted duck and pickled plums
Beetroot cured salmon (watch this space for my recipe tomorrow!)
The executive chef doing his fish slicing thing

Friday - Drunken Fish Finger Butty

And here it is!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thursday and Riverford Delivery Day

So it's definitely Winter...  as I left work it chucked it down with rain and hurricane winds blew.  Rubbish!

But everything was made better when I arrived home to a Riverford organic veg box delivery.  This one was packed with my favourite things - aubergine, red cabbage, butternut squash, fresh beetroot, potatoes, carrots and salad - yum.  I wanted to make the most of the tasty veg so made roasted vegetables with pancetta and parmesan.  It took a little bit of time but the veggies were sweet, amazingly tasty and nice and warming.  Accompanied by a nice Argentinian Shiraz, happy days!

Riverford vegetables
Roasted organic veg with parsley, pancetta and parmesan
And a close up - good colours!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tuesday - A Medley of Vegetables and a Perfectly Poached Egg

As we now get a veg box we always have a fridge full of the stuff, which is no bad thing I suppose! I have become a recent convert to pork pies, but have always been a fan of eggs as many friends will testify! Can you believe that before Jo met me she hated everything about them!

She is now seen the light and makes mean poached egg; the process sounds really simple but I think they are pretty hard to execute properly - I will admit that I use these - the shame!

I mention this as the poached eggs on top of the baked veg today were perfect and the pictures below don't do them justice - so well done Jo!!

I think my picture editing here is a fail - don't know why it looks so weird!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Monday - Jo is back.....thank the Lord!! - Lemon Salmon with Stir Fry Vegetables

Regular readers of the blog (whoever you are!) will know that Jo left me to fend for myself for a lot of last week as she was working late......but now she is back and we are back to normal hours! Phew.....tonight Jo knocked together this lovely Lemon Salmon with Stir Fry Vegetables in under 20 minutes.
Lemon Salmon with Stir Fry Vegetables shot 1
Lemon Salmon with Stir Fry Vegetables shot 2
Jo also asked for me to mention that she went to Town Hall Tavern in Leeds for a quick post work drink and wanted to say that they make some very interesting scotch eggs (they were my favourite snack until pork pies came into my life) - today she had one with slow cooked pigs cheek which I will try next time I am in!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Half Marathon & Dominos Pizza Day

So today Joe ran his half marathon.  Although a few people had mentioned that it was very hilly, I don't think either of us realised just how hilly it was - in one mile he climbed 1000 feet, and then kept on going up and down! (the stats from his run can be found here). Joe finished in a very good time of 1 hour and 45 minutes, and now the Edinburgh marathon should be a breeze (ahem!).

The finishing line of the half marathon in Lister Park
Joe shortly after he finished - and he doesn't look nearly tired enough for my liking!
 In August we received an email from the Dominos marketing team saying the following:

"After reading your blog and especially your post your champion league homemade pizza, I think you’ll be a perfect fit for my latest would be great if you could choose one of Domino’s pizzas, taste it and write about it."

Well who could say no to that?!  They sent us a voucher for any pizza, any size and today seemed like the perfect day to use it.

After a little confusion with our order, we chose a "half and half" pizza.  Half was Spanish Sizzler (chicken, green peppers, chorizo and roquito peppers) and half was American hot (onions, pepperoni and jalapeno peppers).  We also went for the stuffed crust (at Joe's request).  Although I would usually prefer to make my own pizza, this turned out to be quite a good treat, and Joe definitely deserved it after his long run.  Both halves were pretty tasty, although the Spanish Sizzler came out on top - it was surprisingly spicy!  I would like it if they made the base tomato and cheese a little more punchy but other than that it was a pretty decent pizza - thanks Dominos! click pizza menu for the website.
The box of treats.  Also, Dominos has a new range of thin based Gourmet pizzas which will be my choice next time.
An accompanying salad.  I am a girl after all.
The half and half pizza
American hot
Spanish Sizzler
The empty box.  Joe ate more than half.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.