31 May 2013

Glazed Gammon Steaks with Pineapple Salsa

Remember Gammon and Pineapple?
This recipe is by those lovely chaps The Hairy Bikers - they make cooking fun and I love their recipes too.

Can you remember gammon, pineapple, egg and peas from the 70's? I used to eat this at the Leicester branch of Berni Inn which served British classic food, I'm surprised pubs still serve this retro classic.

The Hairy Bikers have given this classic a twist and poshed it up, they have glazed the gammon with honey and grain mustard (I used Dijon mustard), the fresh pineapple salsa takes this dish to another level.

No chips this time round but potato wedges, fried egg and of course peas.

The recipe can be found on the BBC Food Website.

Eating Places APlenty Back in the 1970's in Leicester - I have very fond memories of some of these places especially the Pancake House.

28 May 2013

Easy Food Recipe: Stilton Beef Burgers

Making your own burgers is really easy and home made are always best. I have always made mine because I like to know exactly what goes into them. For those moments when you crave a burger this freshly made easy food from the kitchen for a stay at home Friday or Saturday evening, is perfect. The melting Stilton Cheese in the burgers is simply delicious.

I like my bacon well done for this recipe but if it looks too well done for you, then simply cook for less time. Left over Stilton Cheese and the uncooked burgers will freeze perfectly.  To take this food to another level I would make the burger buns and the coleslaw but for fast food days Marks and Spencer is my one stop shop.

Serves: 2

250g best quality lean mince beef
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
50g cubed Stilton cheese
25g fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tsp Worcester sauce
pinch chilli powder
1/2 beaten egg
2 rashers smoked back bacon
Salad leaves
2 Burger Buns

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
2. Mix the mince beef, onion, breadcrumbs, chives, Worcester sauce, cubes of Stilton cheese and chilli powder together. Add half the beaten egg to the mixture. Season.
3. Shape into two burgers. Line a tray with clingwrap place the burgers on the lined tray and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
4. Remove the burgers from the cling wrap, grease the tray, place the burgers on the tray.
5. Grease a small tray and place the bacon rashers on.
6. Place both trays in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, turn the bacon over half way through the cooking time.
7. Cut the burger buns in half and toast one side only.
8. Spread mayonnaise over each bun half. Place a layer of salad leaves on the base, top with a cooked burger, take a bacon rasher and place on top of the burger.
9. Serve with potato wedges sprinkled with paprika.

19 May 2013

Cherry and Almond Victoria Sandwich: Recipe

Today is World Baking Day - I didn't #bakebrave and step out of my comfort zone because I was drawn towards this lovely cake after seeing it on the front cover of Waitrose Kitchen May Magazine.

These days I'm not quite so keen on cakes slathered in cream, I prefer to whip up a small pot of whipping cream, then add an equal amount of natural yogurt to the cream and whip again until thick. Once you have tried the cream and yogurt filling I think you may well find you will always use this method.

A while back I was chosen to be a World Baking Day Ambassador and I chose to make a chocolate heart cake for this event. A couple of people on twitter have kindly sent me tweets with photographs of their chocolate heart cakes and I'm really pleased they had fun baking my cake.

Adapted Recipe

225g margarine
225g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp flaked almonds

For the filling:

425g can black cherries in light syrup (drained and juice reserved)
Approx 1 tsp arrowroot
150ml whipping cream
150ml natural yogurt
Icing sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven 180ºC. Grease 2 x 18cm sandwich tins, base line with parchment paper.  Dust the inside of the cake tin with flour and tip out the surplus flour.
2. In a large bowl add the butter, caster sugar, sieved flour, baking powder, eggs, almond extract and milk.  Using an electric hand whisk, beat for 2 minutes until smooth.
3. Divide the batter between the two tins, scatter the flaked almonds over one of the cakes.
4. Bake for 25 minutes until golden.  Leave the cooked cakes in the tins for 10 minutes.  Turn out and place on a cooling rack.
5. To make the filling:  Put 1 tsp arrowroot into a small basin and mix to a paste with a few teaspoons of the reserved cherry syrup.  Place the drained cherries into a small pan with approx four tablespoons of the reserved syrup and heat gently.  Add the arrowroot mixture to the pan and stir to thicken.  If it is too thick add more of the syrup, or too thin mix more arrowroot with a few teaspoons of reserved syrup and add again to the pan.  Remove from the heat and cool.
6. Whisk the cream until floppy add the yogurt, whisk again until floppy.
7. On the base cake spread over the cherry compote.  Top with the cream mixture.
8. Place the cake sprinkled with almonds top.  Dust with the icing sugar.

14 May 2013

Introduction to Digital SLR Photography - Nikon Training Course Review

Picture Control being illustrated in the classroom
I was recently invited to write a blog posting after attending a Nikon Introduction to Digital SLR Photography Course at the newly opened Nikon Centre of Excellence in central London. I was delighted to take advantage of learning from the professionals, using the Nikon D3200 that Kitchen Delights uses to pictorially illustrate postings.

I have always technically supported Kitchen Delights blog, however, my wife takes all of the photographs for the blog, improving my knowledge will benefit any support that I can provide.  Food photography in a home kitchen is a challenge, especially cooking hot meals, presenting food in the most appealing way and hopefully getting a meal to the table whilst reasonably hot.

Mark the class tutor, started with introductions to find the photographic interests of the attendees.  It’s surprising how diverse the interests were, from landscapes, portraiture, macro to family, sport and food.

The initial ground covered was to highlight what all of the buttons and dials are typically for.
We all know the Auto button is the starting point for ‘point and shoot’ but to take creative control we need to expand the use of the options available on today’s high specification cameras. M, S and P shooting modes allow for much more control over the camera options, these were explained with their relevance for different shooting requirements. Everyone has a different take for their style of photography and the modern DSLR can cater for a tremendous diversity of needs.

The first practical exercise was outside on the street, to photograph moving vehicles, to freeze their motion and try blurring background and vehicles. Mark our tutor was there to ensure we could ask questions to clarify the previous time spent studying the theory.

The course progressed through all the basic understanding required to achieve better creative control,  after studying the theory the practical sessions followed to reinforce the learning.

Example of picture control
Top left Standard, Top right Neutral,
Bottom left Vivid, Bottom right Monochrome
As the day progressed, through a series of easy to follow practical exercises, all of the common aspects associated with creative photography were covered, exposure control regarding aperture, shutter speed and ISO, colour balance and picture control, both for picture taking and effects after the shoot.

The course helped to give attendees confidence to explore all the menus within the camera, adjustments for the shooting conditions and features for editing photographs within the camera, as well as teaching why there are different file types to allow for more control at the editing stage.

There were refreshment breaks in the morning and afternoon and a lunch break with good quality food provided for everyone to enjoy.

A fabulous selection of filled baguettes
Fresh fruit for dessert or chocolate brownies and strawberries.
The course provided stimulation for the attendees and focused on the basic knowledge for taking improved photographs, this is a valuable start to using a DSLR.

I can thoroughly recommend attending a Nikon Introduction to Digital SLR Photography.  The class size when I attended was eleven people which meant we all had our share of individual attention from the tutor.

There are Nikon courses on many different aspects of photography including, lighting, movies and street photography in London.  For more details about upcoming courses visit Nikon Training.

Thank you to Nikon Training for an informative and enjoyable day.

5 May 2013

Banana and Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Banana and Chocolate Chip Cupcakes taken with the Nikon D3200
Looking at bananas in the fruit bowl turning from black to blacker, resisting throwing them out and then feeling pressured into using them happens far too often in my house, so let's do some baking. All you need are a few store cupboard/fridge ingredients to make the cake batter and hopefully a few cupcake cases.  I used nine tulip cupcake cases and shared the batter between them.

The recipe by Mary Berry for the banana and chocolate chip cupcakes can be found on the Daily Mail website, I substituted the caster sugar for soft brown sugar and left the milk out to prevent the chocolate chips sinking to the bottom of the cupcakes.

Banana and Chocolate Chip Loaf
Mary Berry to the rescue for those black banana recipes, the banana and chocolate chip loaf is one of the best I have ever eaten - I try to remember to leave the milk out of the recipe because I've always found the chocolate chips sink to the bottom of the loaf, in this instance I forgot and the chocolate chips sank....This loaf improves with keeping and turns lovely and sticky, a drizzle of chocolate on top of the loaf will totally transform it's otherwise plain appearance.

Both the cupcakes and loaf freeze perfectly.

More suggestions for using up those ripe or over ripe bananas:

Nigella's Chocolate Banana Muffins
Banana Blueberry Cakes