Friday, May 20, 2016

Spicy Mince Beef Bake

Spicy Mince Beef Bake

I've been on holiday, the sun shone and our view from the apartment was a dream whether we sat on the small balcony or looked out through the patio door that spanned the whole width of our living area.  We went to the Mumbles in Swansea and it's a great place to visit for food and views.

Caswell Bay

No, I didn't make this lasagne whilst I was away, although the kitchen was amazing with everything you could wish for. We ate out for all our meals and why not when you are spoilt for choice in this fabulous location.

This is a great way to make lasagne with a twist by using the last of the tortillas instead of pasta sheets.

The meat base has a spicy kick, tortillas are far lighter to eat than pasta, the indulgent topping is made up of three different cheeses and the finished dish can be frozen.

Spicy Mince Beef Bake with Salad

The recipe is made in the conventional way - I've tried cooking mince beef in the Thermomix and it's okay if you like baby food!

If you are making this with small children in mind it's easy to leave out the chilli and simply puree the onions and red pepper to hide them.

Adapted from Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking

You will need: 1.5 litre shallow ovenproof dish.

For the mince layer
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
500g/1lb 2oz beef mince
1 mild red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp mango chutney
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To assemble
3 large tortilla wraps
250g full-fat mascarpone
100g mozzarella, grated
100g cheddar, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
2. Pour the oil into a large ovenproof pan over a medium heat, add the chopped onions and fry for 3 minutes. Turn up the heat, add the mince beef and fry until brown, breaking up the meat.
3. Add the chilli, red pepper, garlic and spices and fry for 5 minutes, or until all the moisture has evaporated and the mixture is quite dry. Stir in the tomato purée, mango chutney, tinned tomatoes and salt and black pepper. Cover, bring to the boil and place in the oven for an hour.
4. Remove the pan from the oven and stir in half the chopped coriander. Raise the oven temperature to 200C.
5. Spread a third of the cooked mince beef mixture over the bottom of the ovenproof dish and lay one tortilla wrap on top. Spread a third of the mascarpone over the tortilla and sprinkle with a third of each of the mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses. Repeat twice more so you have 3 layers.
6. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Set aside for 5 minutes before serving and garnish with the remaining coriander.
7. Serve with a salad.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thermomix Banana Cake

Thermomix Banana Cake

Those black bananas lurking in the fruit bowl are perfect for this recipe.......if you love banana cake, you'll love this recipe even more, because some banana cake recipes can be on the heavy side.

Experimenting with recipes and seeing how the Thermomix performs with various cooking and baking tasks is really interesting, I appreciate it may be the opposite for some and all a bit of a yawn but we all have our own little quirks in life!  As I've previously documented I'm in no way connected with Vorwerk and if the machine can't perform certain tasks then I'll let you know!

I haven't used the whisk attachment very much and was curious to see how we got on - I've received a few emails from readers asking how the whisk performs, no worries here the whisk performs really well, providing you remove the measuring cup from the top of the jug to allow air inside. To date I haven't experimented whipping up egg whites but I'll let you all know if it's a success or fail.

I'm still getting used to speeds and times and the rule of less is more has to be remembered otherwise everything will be pureed or mashed up to within an inch of it's life.  I still have a love/hate relationship with washing up the jug, yes it will go in the dishwasher but it's easier to wash by hand.

Iced Banana Cake

Thermomix instructions are in italics

You will need: oblong baking tin approximately 30cm x 20cm greased and lined

2 eggs
200g soft brown sugar
300g banana, mashed
2 tsp bicarbonate soda
¼ tsp salt
130ml vegetable oil
240g plain flour
45g banana chopped

30g unsalted butter
225g icing sugar
100g cream cheese at room temperature
½ lemon, freshly squeezed

1.  Preheat the oven to 170ºC/fan 150ºC.
2.  Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy using an electric whisk to make life easier.
Place the whisk onto the blade, remove the MC/Speed 3/10 minutes.
3.  Add the mashed banana, bicarbonate of soda, salt and oil  mix using a low speed until well combined. Sift the flour into the mixture, increase the speed gradually and keep mixing until no trace of flour remains. Fold in the chopped banana and pour the cake batter into the tin.
Add the mashed banana, bicarbonate of soda, salt and oil, Whisk 10 seconds/Speed 1. Add the flour and whisk 10 Seconds/Speed 3. Add the chopped banana 10 Seconds/Speed 3.
4. Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes depending on your oven, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out nice and clean. Cool for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
5. For the icing: beat the butter and gradually add the icing sugar, cream together until pale - this may be easier using a wooden spoon. Now taking an electric hand whisk, add the cream cheese and lemon juice, keep on whisking until light and fluffy.
Add the butter, icing sugar, cream cheese and lemon juice to the jug TM 20 Secs/Speed 5, scrape down and mix for another 20 Secs/Speed 5.
6. When the cake has cooled spread over a generous layer of cream cheese icing.  Leave to set then cut into bars. Can be frozen in bars and defrosts really well too.

Can easily be made by hand and all you need is a bowl, wooden spoon and a sturdy whisk!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: Melamine Tableware from Eddingtons

Epicurean Melamine Tableware from Eddingtons

Here in the West Midlands we've been enjoying wall to wall sunshine, it hasn't been warm enough to sit outside and eat but this stunning 'I can't believe it's not Ceramic' melamine tableware by Epicurean brings the Mediterranean sunshine indoors.  The tableware really does look like ceramic, they ooze quality and will bring cheer to both indoor and outdoor living.

In the warmer weather we like eating healthy salads and one of our quick and easy favourites is bulgar wheat, pepper, tomatoes, courgette and spring onions dressed with vinaigrette. The salad dressing recipe is easy to make and keeps in the fridge.

6 tbsp mild olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp caster sugar
grinding of salt and pepper
Place the ingredients into a jug and whisk until combined.
Pour the vinaigrette over your salad just before serving.

Alfresco Vegetables Melamine Tableware

No breakages to worry about, they can be mixed and matched with other designs and are dishwasher safe.

RRP Prices: Alfresco Side Plates 22cm  £4.95
Oval Appetiser Tray 38x15cm £7.95
Salad Bowl 20cm £6.95

Nationwide Stockists; Dobbies and Blue Diamond Garden Centres

Disclaimer: I was sent the products to review.