Thursday, 5 March 2015

Simple Smoked Mackerel Pate

    Smoked mackerel is something we like to eat and is a good source of lots of vitamins and healthy oils.  As Sous Chef J is a big fan of dips, we thought we'd try to make a dip-like pate for a speedy lunch.
    We started by gathering the ingredients we were going to use, which were:
    • 1 pack/(about) 280g smoked mackerel fillets (we used plain but peppered could also be used)
    • 200g cream cheese
    • 1 Tbsp of creme fraiche
    • juice of half a lemon
    We also added (but these can be left out if you prefer):
    • 1/2 tsp jarred horseradish (you can add more, to taste)
    • black peppercorns (lightly crushed) if not using peppered fillets

    We began by removing the skin from the mackerel fillets. Usually the skin peels straight off
    but, if you need to, you can scrape any remaining skin off with a sharp knife or back of a spoon.

    Next the fish was broken up and checked to make sure we removed any obvious bones.
    Then we put the mackerel, cream cheese and creme fraiche (this is when you add any additional ingredients if you're using them) into our blender and whizzed until it was combined.  
    At this point we added half of the lemon juice, whizzed again, checked the flavour and added the rest as we like 'zingy' foods.
    Once we were happy with the taste, and it was fully mixed, some was spooned into serving bowl.  The remainder was placed in jam jars in the fridge for another day - the mixture was a little runny but soon firmed up in the fridge. 
    It's speedy to make and we ate some of ours immediately.  The rest was kept the fridge and eaten within 3 days.
    We served ours with ready salted crisps, but it is also tasty with crusty toast or toasted pitta breads.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs


Needing a warming and simple meal we decided to try making a beef short rib dish.  The ingredients we used were 800g short ribs

and, for the marinade - 
Salt and Pepper
Squirt of rice syrup
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
25ml Worcestershire sauce (we use Biona gluten free)

The marinade ingredients were mixed together

and the ribs were coated in the marinade before being placed in the fridge overnight.

Next day, the other ingredients  - 2 carrots, a leek, 2 sticks of celery (all diced), a Knorr beef stock pot and some red wine were gathered and prepared.

Placing the prepared vegetables in the slow cooker, the ribs were laid on top before adding the wine and stock.
Setting the slow cooker to high for one hour on the and then reducing to the low setting for the remainder of the cooking time.

We left ours on low for about 5 hours - giving a total cooking time of about 6 hours.

Once we were ready to eat, the ribs were served  with a mixed root veg mash (made of potatoes, sweet potatoes and swede).
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Monday, 9 February 2015

Panna Cotta and Coulis

Following the great success of the Sainsbury's Marshmallow Kit, we were asked if we'd like to try out their Panna Cotta Dessert Mix.
As always, we checked the ingredients were gluten free (they are) and decided to give it a go.  Since Sous Chef J is a big fan of Panna Cotta (as well as Creme Brulee and Creme Caramel) this was a good way to see if we could make a suitably 'wobbly' dessert as he's seen made many times on TV cooking shows.

The kit tells you the ingredients required to make the dessert are 250ml each of semi-skimmed milk and double cream

We gathered all of the ingredients and equipment ready to start.

Taking each step at a time, the dessert was made - here's what we did....
SCJ poured the contents of the bag into a pan.

The milk and then the cream were also added to the pan.,

Making sure the milk/cream mix was whisked whilst it was brought up to simmer.
The heated milk/cream mix was ladled into ramekins (we used 8 small ones)

Having filled the ramekins, we put them on a tray to cool slightly before chilling fuly in the fridge for 3 hours.

To accompany the Panna Cotta, we decided to make some 'coulis'... and, having been impressed with the range of frozen fruits on sale in Sainsbury's, Sous Chef J chose a 'smoothie mix' of strawberries and bananas to make ours (he's saving the mango for another day/dish).

As usual, we didn't want to make anything complicated.  Taking a handful of the frozen fruit mix (actually, SCJ only chose to use the strawberries) we left them to defrost as the panna cotta was cooling in the fridge. 

The strawberries were put it in a dish, with a squirt of rice syrup, and pushed through a small seive (we were only making a small amount - suggest using a hand blender if you're making more) 

The finished 'coulis' was looking good.

Turning out the panna cottas, Sous Chef J was delighted to find they had a very satisfying 'wobble' so we topped them with the strawberry coulis ready to serve.

The Panna Cotta desserts were very tasty and Sous Chef J is happy to think he can make them again another day... and is already thinking he'd like to make "one big one".  Another successful make it yourself trial.
Disclosure - we were sent a pack of Panna Cotta mix by Sainsbury's. We did not have to write a positive blog post. All opinions are our own.