Thursday, 23 June 2016

Smoked Salmon and King Prawn Sushi Rice Bowl

I love sushi. I love eating it and I love making it but if I'm honest it's a wee bit of a faff to prepare. How about all the amazing flavours and textures of sushi without any of the hassle, rolling, raw fish and tricky time consuming bits? That's what the Smoked Salmon and Prawn Sushi Rice Bowl recipe that I'm sharing today will give you. It's based on my recollections of a dish that used to be a favourite of mine on the menu at Giraffe a number of years ago. I guess you could call it deconstructed sushi. All the elements are there, just not in quite the traditional way. I'm not sure if I've managed to accurately remember all of the ingredients that were in the Giraffe version that inspired this creation, however it's the general concept that's important. Line your bowl with nori and pile it up with sushi style seasoned rice. Go heavy on the Wasabi if you like a bit of a kick. Talking of which I'm kicking myself for not adding edamame beans to mine. Next time I make this they will definitely feature. 

Smoked Salmon and Prawn Sushi Rice Bowl

200g Brown Rice
4 Tbsp Sushi Seasoning
1 Tbsp Wasabi (use more or less according to taste)
4 Sheets Nori (Roasted Seaweed)
1/2 Cucumber, de-seeded and sliced
1 Avocado, chopped into cubes
3 Spring Onions, sliced
100g Baby Spinach, shredded
150g King Prawns
200g Scottish Smoked Salmon, sliced
Black and White Sesame Seeds
Lime Wedges
Soy Sauce

Cook the brown rice in boiling salted water according the the packet instructions until tender.
Allow to cool. This process can be speed up by rinsing and refreshing in cold water.
Whisk together the sushi seasoning and wasabi paste to make a dressing. Stir this through the cooled brown rice.
Combine the seasoned rice with the cucumber crescents, cubed avocado, sliced spring onion and shredded baby spinach leaves. 
Line four 'pasta bowl' type dishes with a sheet of nori and divide the rice equally between the bowls.
Top the mounds of rice with the kings prawns and smoked salmon.
Sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.
Garnish with a wedge of lime and serve with soy sauce and chopsticks.

Got the rice bowl bug? Check out the recipes below. Everything tastes better when served in a bowl! 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Peanut Butter Ice Lollies

Growing up there were really only two options when it came to individual frozen treats. Ice Poles or Choc Ices. Now there are a myriad of choices to suit each and every taste. I very much doubt that kids of today would be impressed by a Choc Ice but I remember being allowed to have one from the depths of the chest freezer on a hot summer's day as being a real treat. Perhaps because there is so much choice available these days I've never really got round to being very adventurous with making my own ice lollies and up until now I've really only made very basic ones using squash and the lolly moulds with the built in plastic sticks.

Spotting some of my fellow food bloggers wonderful ice pop creations on social media spurred me on to have a try at making some of my own. On a trip to TK Maxx I'd picked up a silicone mould for making traditional ice lollies with proper wooden lolly sticks and felt it deserved something better than diluting juice. I'm a sucker for all things Peanut Butter and have been loving the limited edition Muller Light Peanut & Caramel Yoghurts so decided to use one as the base for my creation. The resulting lollies taste great 'naked' but I decided to take inspiration from Magnum and Feast and decorate with dark chocolate and chopped nuts. 

Makes 4 generous lollies, depending on the size of your moulds

1 x 165g pot Peanut Yoghurt (I used Muller Light Peanut & Caramel)
1 x 190g pot Custard
4 Tablespoons Smooth Peanut Butter
100g Dark Chocolate
50g Salted Peanuts, finely chopped

Whisk together the yogurt, custard and peanut butter until smooth and thoroughly combined. 
Pour into ice lolly moulds, insert sticks and freeze overnight.

Melt the dark chocolate and pour into a disposable piping bag.
Finely chop the salted peanuts.
Dip the moulds in hot water for a few seconds to help release the lollies.
Place the lollies on greasproof paper/reusable non stick liner.
Snip the very tip off the piping bag of melted chocolate, drizzle over the end of the lolly, then sprinkle over the chopped nuts. You'll need to work quickly!
Eat immediately or return to the freezer and wait for a sunny day.

I've got a feeling that I may now have been bitten by the homemade ice lolly bug. All of a sudden I've got so many ideas of flavour combinations that I want to try, many with a boozy kick! If you can't wait until I get round to blogging them do check out those below from some of my fellow foodies

Link up your recipe of the week

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Smoked Salmon and British Asparagus Mini Crustless Quiches #picnicwithmercure

This week is National Picnic Week although I suspect someone may have forgotten to tell the weather. It's been somewhat soggy and driech, certainly in my wee corner of Aberdeenshire. If things are looking brighter where you are it's a great opportunity to fill a flask, dig out the wicker picnic basket and tartan travel rug and set out on an edible adventure. If the weather really doesn't want to play ball the recipe that I'm sharing today for Smoked Salmon and British Asparagus Mini Crustless Quiches makes a perfect packed lunch or light supper. And for anyone following Slimming World these tasty morsels just happen to be Syn Free.

Its nearing towards the end of the short but sweet British Asparagus season and I've been indulging in the tasty green spears on a very regular basis. Alongside salmon and egg they really are the most perfect of flavour combinations. To line my mini quiches I've used squares of smoked salmon which are sold as sandwich slices.These are the perfect size for a muffin tin but if you can't track any down you can instead jigsaw together regular smoked salmon to do the same job. I cook these in a very simple bain marie which stops the edges overcooking before the centre of your mini crustless quiche sets.

Smoked Salmon and British Asparagus Mini Crustless Quiches

Fry Light Spray Oil
100g Pack of 6 Scottish Smoked Salmon Sandwich Slices
12 British Asparagus Spears
2 Free Range Eggs
4 Tbsp Quark
Salt & Pepper

Preheat your oven to 180c
Spray the indentations of a 6 hole muffin pan with Oil and line each hole with Smoked Salmon.
Cut the tips off your Asparagus Spears and set them aside.
Slice the stems of the Asparagus into 1cm lengths and saute them in a frying pan with a squirt of spray oil for 5 minutes.
Whisk together the Eggs and Quark and season with freshly ground Salt & Pepper.
Divide the sauted Asparagus equally between the 6 mini quiches and pour over the egg mixture.
Top each quiche with two of the Asparagus Tips and fold in any overhanging salmon.
Use a roasting tin, large enough to sit your muffin tray in, as your Bain Marie. Half fill it with boiling water and place the muffin tin into it.
Cook for 20 minutes or until the egg is set.
Serve warm or chilled.

If you fancy a picture perfect picnic without the hassle of creating it yourself, the three hampers being launched this week by Mercure Hotels will be right up your street. The classic British pastime of picnicking is brought slap bang up to date with a bespoke range of ‘Pre-Instagrammed Picnic Hampers’ combining our modern obsession with uploading foodie phots to social media, with the age old passion for al fresco dining. There have been almost 300 million (and counting) food posts on Instagram since its launch in 2010. At the moment I'm responsible for 2612 of them! The three hampers, created in partnership with contemporary food designers, Bompas & Parr, have been designed to fit the style, shade, and colouring of the UK’s favourite Instagram filters - Mayfair, Hudson and Juno. 

The vibrantly coloured hampers feature beautifully created, totally bespoke food, with locally inspired ingredients from selected by Mercure hotels, including Ardoe House Hotel just down the road from me in Aberdeen. The “Pre-Instagrammed” picnic baskets will allow you to snap a perfect picture shot that doesn’t need to be filtered or adjusted; tapping in to the growing trend for #nofilter food photography. You'll be sure to get maximum likes, shares, comments and taste!

Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Spa Hamper designed with the Mayfair filter in mind. The yellow colour palate, supported by undertones of green, creates a relaxed, hazy look and feel, perfect for those wanting their shots to reflect lazy summer days. Bursting with flavour, the Ardoe Hamper features tea pastel sandwiches, sumptuous shortbread and crumbling scones

Mercure Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel Hamper features a slight blue hue, mimicking the Hudson filter. A secondary filter of pink further brings out the clean feel of the hamper, which is stocked with blue cheese with apple and cider chutney, and a deceptively tasty blue loaf

Mercure Sheffield St Paul's Hotel and Spa Hamper brings photography to life with a colour-pop indicative of the Juno filter. The delicate pinks and yellows used in the clotted cream and jam scones and Melton Mowbray Pork Pie

The “Pre-Instagrammed” picnic baskets will be on display at Mercure Hotels free #picnicwithmercure event at Somerset House, London, on Friday 17th June. As a sponsor of Picnic Week, Mercure Hotels will offer a fun-filled day out for families and friends of all ages – offering visitors a chance to relax in the sunshine (fingers crossed!) enjoy an alfresco bite to eat or take part in a range of activities from wine tasting to giant sized board games. Guests are welcome to bring their own picnics along with them to enjoy in the beautiful surroundings of the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House. Alternatively, there will be a fantastic range of delicious Mercure Picnic Hampers available to purchase.

Disclosure : I have received compensation from Mercure by way of a hotel stay in return for this post. All views expressed are my own.

Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Food Year Linkup

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Rhubarb and Ginger Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding

I'll pretty much always opt for a starter over desert. The exception to this would of course be Cheese. There are however a couple of ingredients that if they feature in dessert menu can lure me over to the dark side. One is Peanut Butter and the other is Rhubarb. Over the years I've had mixed success with growing my own Rhubarb. I barely got enough for a single crumble until a garden redesign meant that I had to uproot and relocate my plant. All of a sudden it began to flourish and there was no stopping it. One of my most popular blog posts combines it with one of my other loves. Yup it's Rhubarb Gin.

The recipe I'm sharing today is a fabulous seasonal pudding, perfect for Sunday Lunch. Traditional comfort food with a twist. Ideal served with Ice Cream, Custard, Pouring or Clotted Cream. Cold leftovers are great for breakfast. Don't judge me. Rhubarb and Ginger is just one of those match made in heaven flavour combinations and my Brioche Bread & Butter Pudding was the perfect Star Bake to try out my gorgeous personalised Pyrex Dish from Becky Broome. Isn't it fab?

Rhubarb and Ginger Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding

500g Rhubarb 
2 Balls of Stem Ginger
75g Caster Sugar
2 Tbsp Stem Ginger Syrup

8 Slices of Brioche Loaf

300ml Single Cream
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
50g Caster Sugar
3 Free Range Eggs

1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

Wash the Rhubarb and cut it into 2-3cm lengths and place in a saucepan.
Finely chop the Stem Ginger and add to the pan along with the Caster Sugar and the Stem Ginger Syrup.
Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is soft. Allow to cool slightly.
Preheat your oven to 180c
Place half of the Rhubarb and Ginger mixture in the base of an ovenproof dish.
Spread the remaining fruit mixture over the slices of Brioche and cut each slice into four triangles.
Arrange the triangles of bread, jammy side up, in an overlapping layer on top of the rhubarb.
Whisk together the Cream, Vanilla Extract, Caster Sugar and Eggs together and pour over the dish.
Sprinkle with Cinnamon and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the custard has set and the top is golden-brown.

For further Rhubarb Desert inspiration check out the following fab recipes...

Disclosure : Thanks to Becky Broome for providing my personalised Pyrex Dish. This is not a paid post.

Link up your recipe of the week

Monday, 6 June 2016

Sparkling Mojito Mocktail Juice

A quick impromptu recipe today. I was going be sharing a rather stodgy desert but instead came up with a refreshing juice to match the wonderful sunshine. Of course it's important to stay hydrated in the heat and whilst I'm as partial to a summer cocktail or glass of Pimm's as the next person, folk start to talk if you have them for breakfast! As an alternative today I used my Optimum 600 Cold Press Juicer to make a Sparkling Mojito Mocktail. All the flavours of the real thing but none of the alcohol and definitely counts towards your 5 a day. Cheers!

Sparkling Mojito Mocktail Juice
1 Green Apple
1/2 Cucumber
1 Pear
1 Lime, peeled but leave the pith on
Small handful fresh Mint (use more or less to taste)
Sparkling water

Juice the apple, cucumber, pear, lime and mint.
Once done pour over ice, top up with sparkling mineral water, garnish and enjoy!

(If the sun is over the yardarm feel free to add a shot of white rum. Your boozy green juice secret is safe with me)

More Mocktails? Check these out

Disclosure I am an Ambassador for Froothie and the links in this article are affiliate links which means that if you buy a juicer through them I will earn a small commission.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Strawberry, Cucumber and Mint Salad with a Pimm's Dressing

Summer is teasing us a bit at the moment, certainly here in the far North East corner of Scotland. We've had some absolutely glorious days but others most definitely hold true to the 'ne'er cast a clout til May be oot' adage. For me one of the unmistakable flavours of Summer is Pimm's. It makes you think of the Chelsea Flower Show, Henley Regatta, Garden Parties, Punting on the Thames, Polo Matches and of course Wimbledon. National Barbeque Week kicks off today (May 30th) and runs until 5th June. The recipe I'm sharing today is perfect for al fresco dining and makes a great BBQ side dish. It was inspired by Nigel Slater who wrote about a sweet strawberry and cucumber fruit salad in his Observer column. I immediately thought of Pimm's and decided to have a go at a savoury version with a Pimm's Dressing. It turned out to be the perfect taste of summer.

Whilst I know that I like Pimm's I really don't know what exactly it is. Time for a wee bit of research. First surprise - and probably why I like it so much - is that the alcohol base is none other than my good friend Gin. Apparently Pimm's is a 'fruit cup' but may also be considered a liqueur. First produced in 1823 as a tonic to aid digestion it was served in a small tankard known as a 'no. 1 cup'. Over the years other variants were introduced from no. 2 cup right through to no. 6 cup. All had different spirit bases covering whisky, rum, brandy and vodka. Hence what we buy today is known as Pimm's No 1. It's also worth while checking out supermarket own brand versions such as Austin's, Jeeves and Pitchers for Pimm's O'clock on the cheap. 

Strawberry, Cucumber and Mint Salad with a Pimm's Dressing

2 Punnets of British Strawberries
1 Cucumber
Fresh Mint leaves

1 Tbsp Pimm's No. 1 Cup
1 Tbsp Runny Honey 
1 Tbsp Olive Oil 
1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar 
1 Tbsp Fresh Mint - finely chopped
Freshly ground Salt & Pepper

Hull and roughly chop the strawberries.

Cut the cucumber length ways and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice into crescents.
In a jam jar shake together the dressing ingreedients and season with salt and pepper.
Stir the dressing through the salad just before serving and sprinkle of few whole mint leaves on top.

It's Pimm's o'clock! For further recipes celebrating this essentially British taste of summer check out the following

Link up your recipe of the week

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Granny's Cornflake Biscuits

A nostalgic bake from me today. Cornflake biscuits were a staple at my maternal Grandmother's house. There was always a tin of them on the go along with Ministers Slices (yet to be recreated) and Grandma Monearn's Shortbread. They are super simple and cheap to make and when I posted a photo of them on Instagram there was an outpouring of love. Glacé cherries are retro in themselves and I had to scout around the supermarkets to get ones that were actually bright red rather than a more natural colour. I can't imagine that these biscuits or Pineapple Upside Down Cake would look quite so appetising without a bright red cherry on the top. 

Cornflake Biscuits such as these seem to have been made by a lot of Nan's and Gran's over the years but I suspect that many recipes will have been lost along the way. I rediscovered this one in a in a teenage reporters come recipe notebook along with my Mum's New Zealand Biscuits recipe. I've converted it from metric to imperial and also doubled the quantities. I've not come across a requirement for half an egg in a recipe in recent times! I think that the Lard does give them a bit of a special flavour but if that's not your thing feel free to substitute for a white vegetable fat. I also reckon that green glacé cherries would look fab on these. If you manage to track some down please do let me see your creation. I will of course be green with envy. 

Post Script! My lovely friend Janice over at Farmersgirl Kitchen left me a comment to say that her Mum used to make biscuits that looked exactly like these and called them Melting Moments. I had a sudden realisation that this in fact is most probably their proper name, although they will always be Cornflake Biscuits to me. However they definitely melt in the mouth and do only take a moment to make. 

Granny's Cornflake Biscuits

120g Lard (or vegetarian white fat alternative) 
60g Baking Margarine 
120g Caster Sugar
250g Self Raising Flour
1 Free Range Egg, beaten
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Glacé Cherries

Remove the lard and margarine from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
Preheat your oven to 180c
Cream together the fats and sugar.
Add the egg, vanilla extract and mix well.
Finally stir through the flour until just combined.
Shape the mixture into small balls and roll each in cornflakes.
Place on a greased/lined baking sheet and flatten slightly.
Top with a piece of glace cherry and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

For further breakfast cereal recipe inspiration take a look at these great ideas from fellow food bloggers and be sure to pin my recipe using the image below. 

Friday, 20 May 2016

BBQ Waffle S'mores - a decadent desert on the barbecue!

When Iceland challenged me to use the #PowerOfFrozen and show how their products can ensure you are BBQ ready as soon as the sun shines I wanted to think outside the box. When it comes to barbecue time deserts often get neglected in a flurry of sausages, burgers, salads, buns, relishes and kebabs. I don't have the sweetest tooth so I'm pretty happy to indulge my savoury side on such occasions but my kids think otherwise and always have room for desert. I'd normally resort to ice cream or lollies however why not use the residual heat on the BBQ to cook up something deliciously decadent?

Since I've been working with Iceland on their Power of Frozen campaign my eyes have really been opened to the quality and variety of frozen food stocked. Yes there are the basics of peas, fish fingers, garlic bread and pizza but I've also discovered speciality meats and fish, convenient fruit and vegetable medleys, rice, grains and superfoods. Oh and plenty of barbecue favourites. As far as British Barbecues are concerned you have to grab the chance when the weather plays ball. This is where studious stocking of your freezer can play a part. Frozen food combined with Sunshine can make for a perfect BBQ. It also avoids a last minute dash to the supermarket when barbecue weather beckons (and the disappointment of finding the supermarket shelves bare as everyone else has had the same idea!) Next time you pop to Iceland for sausages and burgers be sure to grab some waffles, fruit and ice cream. The resulting creation will definitely leave you wanting s'more. 

BBQ Waffle S'Mores

100g Mini Marshmallows
Chocolate Sauce

Defrost the Raspberries (can be done in the microwave if time is short)
Place your frozen waffles on a foil tray or double layer of tinfoil. You don't want them tasting of burgers!
Cook for a couple of minutes on each side until they are beginning to turn brown and crispy.
Place a handful of mini marshmallows into the holes on each waffle and continue barbecuing until they start to brown, melt.and slightly puff up.
Liberally squeeze over lashings of chocolate sauce.
Serve accompanied by the Raspberries and Raspberry Pavlova Ice Cream.

If you've now got the BBQ desert bug, take a look at these other ideas from myself and the UK's most northerly food blogger, Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. 

For further #PowerOfFrozen alfresco BBQ and Picnic inspiration check out the following recipes and go forth and fill your freezer so you are ready at the drop of a hat when the sun does put in an appearance.

Disclosure : This is a commissioned recipe for Iceland. All views expressed are my own.