Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Tuesday Macsween's Black Pudding Stack

Anyone who caught the Burns night post will know I'm quite the fan of Macsween's haggis (its the best I've found).  Well, lo and behold they also make black pudding.  This one is rich and spicy without lots of fat, which makes it right up my street (and in keeping with healthy week!) We picked some up at the Oakwood Farmers Market last week and it seemed only right that I used it to do something fun.  If you can't find it in the shops, you can buy their produce on the website here.

Thus, Tuesday night's dinner was a black pudding stack, with spinach, mushrooms, bacon, a poached egg and a tomato vinaigrette.

James from Macsween requested that I gave him the recipe as well, so you can find it below the pictures.  

Black pudding stack - with spinach, mushrooms, a poached egg, crispy bacon and a tomato vinaigrette.
Our dessert - yogurt topped with strawberries macerated in Chambord and topped with grated chocolate.


1 Macsweens black pudding, sliced into 4 slices just under 1cm thick - there will be some left over  (don't short change yourself with the cheap stuff - it won't hold together and you'll have a mush rather than a stack)
4 slices brown bread
large handful of baby spinach
2 large chestnut mushrooms, sliced thickly
2 fresh eggs
4 rashers of streaky bacon
2 smallish vine tomatoes (or 1 big one)
English mustard, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice for the dressing.

1.  Start by prepping the tomato vinaigrette.  Cut a cross in the stalk area of the tomatoes and plunge them into boiling water for 30 seconds.  Remove, skin, and chop the tomato flesh into smallish chunks.  In a bowl, mix a large splash of olive oil, juice of half a lemon and half a teaspoon of mustard.  Blend to taste and add the tomatoes.
2.  Using a round cutter (I used a scone cutter), cut one round from each slice of bread.
3.  Heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Place the bread round directly onto the lower shelf to crisp up.  Cook the bacon and mushroom slices on a grill pan until the bacon is crispy.  This will take approx 10 minutes.
4.  In a small pan, sweat down the spinach with some black pepper.  I find you don't need any salt as there is enough in the black pudding and the bacon.  When sweated down to approx 2 tablespoons with no remaining liquid, set to the side.
5.  In a large bottomed pan heat a small amount of oil and fry the black pudding on each side for around 4 minutes until cooked.
6.  At this stage, when the stack is ready to be assembled, poach your eggs.  I do mine in quickly simmering water for 1 minute and 45 seconds and always get a runny yolk - but do it as you prefer.  Also place the vinaigrette in the residual heat in the oven to slightly warm through.
7.  Erect the stack, one slice of bread first, followed by black pudding, followed by spinach.  Place the second slice of bread on top, followed by black pudding, followed by mushrooms.  Try and keep it straight and arrange your mushrooms so the egg can rest on top. 
8.  Drain your poached egg, rest it on top of the mushrooms, and delicately balance the crispy streaky bacon on the side.  Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the egg and the rest around the stack. 


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Monday - Chicken and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles

Jo is becoming a real expert in making stir-fry and last nights efforts is a prime example. We agreed to start the week with a healthy dinner and no wine until Friday - we definitely achieved the first part but the second part wasn't so successful!

Jo made chicken and green bean stir-fry with soba noodles in a sweet and spicy tamarind sauce.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Sunday Sea Bass

On Sunday Joe and I made a mid year resolution that we're going to get healthy.  We're both fairly active (well, Joe is, and I make a pathetic attempt) and I like to think of myself as healthy, but the curse (and blessing) of the blog is that it is an accurate representation of just how many treats we indulge in!  Especially as Joe is running the marathon in  a couple of months, and W-day dawns in just six months, this is prime time for getting into shape and eating well.

So, bearing that in mind, please ignore the Sunday croissants that graced breakfast in bed...yum.

However, we both hit the gym during the day, and then had a rather healthy sea bass late lunch in the sun shine.  While we were out on Saturday Nick commented that our most gross blog post so far has been the pheasant plucking a few months back.  I'll be honest, the scenes in our kitchen on Sunday afternoon, with me descaling and gutting the bass, we're not that pretty either!  Joe didn't take any pictures though, so don't be too scared of the pictures below!

Lunch was a rather yummy roasted sea bass stuffed with herbs and lemon, served with a Greek salad and new potatoes.  We did feel rather virtuous and I'm sure it's set us up for a good week.  Feel free to tell us off when we fall off the waggon though....

breakfast croissants.  Thank god for the gym!
The prepped seabass.  Pretty neat and tidy I think!
Greek salad
Roasted sea bass, new potatoes and greek salad

Saturday - Mike's Birthday and Soraya's Cooking!

Saturday started with a long run for me and a shorter one for Jo.  I decided in the week that it would be a good idea to drive to the city and run along the canal and back and that's exactly what I did! Ok, so the drinks and curry the night before didn't help to much but I did do the the 17 miles I wanted and I wasn't too broken after! Next long run, I think I'll try and eat a bit better beforehand, although Jo's food is hard to resist.....18 miles on Friday it is.

My run time on the Garmin
After a quick turn around, we were picked up by Wolf and Gelt and headed to Mike Work's birthday drinks in Horsforth - he is 31 but looks way older that me! ;o). Soraya had laid on a great spread including chicken fajitas, potato skins, tuna pasta, garlic bread, pizza and salad - it was a really good effort and we were all very impressed....BRAVO!

The birthday spread
Soraya also managed to find the time to knock together a chocolate birthday cake for Mike, which was super rich but also light as a feather! - those who said it was really dense were just jealous!

Work Mike and his cake
Jo filling her face
After a few more drinks, we all headed into Horsforth to the Queens Arms for drinks, pool and good times....hooray! And happy birthday Mike! I didn't do a very good job of playing photographer, so I pulled some pictures of the attendees off facebook - here they are;

William of Saville
The Ahad clan

Wolf and Gelt    

We had a substantial lunch, but Jo and I were getting hungry as the evening wore on, so our kind cab driver stopped on the way home so we could grab and oven pizza - very good it was too!

Pizza with extra pastrami and basil

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Friday - Prawn Saag

As we were out on a Thursday school night with a busy weekend planned, we sat in on Friday and enjoyed a prawn saag (made from scratch by Chef Jo) with a couple of glasses of red wine......very nice it was too!!! Luckily it wasn't too spicy as we were both going for a run on Saturday morning....

Posh Waitrose starters
prawn saag
My plate

Thursday - Chocolate and Wine at Haley & Clifford

This week we toddled up to Haley & Clifford in Roundhay for a wine and chocolate tasting.  Haley & Clifford is probably my favourite deli in Leeds, as it stocks a fantastic range of cheeses, antipasti and cakes as well as lots of treats like pastas, pickles, olive oils etc.  I always want to spend a fortune when I'm in there and it really does have goodies to suit all tastes. 

On Thursday we were there specifically to taste some chocolate and some wine.  It was a lovely evening trying New World whites and roses and some brilliant Spanish reds, as well as some very yummy chocolate (I was a particular fan of the chilli chocolate which had a subtle and surprising kick!).  Joe and I were sufficiently convinced to pick up a nice rose and a New Zealand Sauvingnon Blanc, which will be a nice treat when summer roles around! 

We also managed a sneaky try of the Haley & Clifford pork pies which are fantastic and are going to be our wedding pork pies!  Superb.

Haley & Clifford's awesome pork pies - the best bit?  No jelly!
Our wine purchases
After a few drinks, we headed home for some late night treats - a fried egg sandwich for Joe and a fish finger sandwick for me (keep those stinky eggs away, thanks!).  This week we are definitely on a health kick....been far too naughty recently!
Joe's oeuf sandwich
My fish finger sandwich

Wednesday - Turkey Burgers and Corn on the Cob

I spend a significant amount of time trying to come up with food that will satisfy Joe's normal boy desires for dirty food (fried chicken, pizza, chips etc.) with my need for healthy food.  This week I slightly conned him by telling him he was getting burgers...and he was, its just they were made with turkey rather beef!  They were actually really tasty, flavoured with some chilli and a little bit of cheese, served on brown pitta with salad and corn on the cob.  Although, as you'll see, they were also enormous, so maybe not so healthy after all!

Corn on the cob
Turkey burgers on salad and pitta
The huge burger...