Chicken and Chorizo Burritos

This chicken and chorizo burritos recipe was devised when I had a hankering for wraps and rice and spice and chicken.  We all love a bit of Mexican food here at Blunty’s, although there is alot of it that Charles hasn’t tried yet.  It has become a small mission of mine to broaden both of our horizons that way in terms of trying new cuisines in a cost-effective and healthy but still delicious manner.  I have to admit that the hankering for the combination of meat, rice and wraps came to me when I was having a little look around Jamie’s Food Tube and happened upon his recipe for Tasty Cajun Rice and Turkey Burritos, but we didn’t have any leftover turkey lying around and making the BBQ sauce would have pushed the cost sky high.  So I came up with my own version, and here’s the recipe.

Chicken and Chorizo Burritos

Chicken and Chorizo Burritos

Ingredients

  • One pack turkey thighs, unskinned and unboned
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • thumb sized piece fresh ginger
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 large cooking chorizo or half of a cooking chorizo ring
  • 4 wholemeal wraps
  • 160g wholegrain basmati
  • grated cheddar cheese, optional, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Prepare the chicken by grating together the garlic, ginger and lemon zest and mixing them together in a bowl.
  2. Add the cumin, paprika, oregano and salt and pepper and then mix together with the olive oil.
  3. Rub this on the chicken thighs and pop them in the oven for around half an hour, until cooked through with crispy skin.
  4. Meanwhile, cook your brown rice (you can use white rice, such as plain basmati, if you prefer, put the wholegrain rice adds a little more depth, I find, and leaves the texture of the finished burrito more grainy and less claggy, plus it's much less fattening!) in double the amount of water to rice with a good pinch of salt on a medium heat for around 20 minutes, or until tender.
  5. Chop the onion and pepper as you would if you were making fajitas.Add a little oil to a large frying pan or wok and set it onto a medium heat. Add in the onion and pepper and fry until turning translucent, or to your preferred texture if you like the vegetables to retain some bite.
  6. Add the tomato puree and cook this out gently, on a lower heat.
  7. Slice up the chorizo and add this to the pan while the heat is still low to allow the fat and oils to render out. You may wish to dab away some of the excess with a paper towel.
  8. If you've been really efficient, you may have some waiting time here while the chicken is roasting and the rice is boiling, so if you're happy that the veg and chorizo are ready, just switch off the ring and set the table or get yourself a drink.
  9. When all the elements are ready, it's time to assemble. Once the rice is ready, drain it and allow it to cool slightly. Next, spoon as much of it as you think you'll need into the vegetable and chorizo mix. I say this because you may prefer a higher chicken to rice ratio so you won't want to end up leaving any of the veg and chorizo out just because you don't want to use all of the rice. Giving it a mix together in the pan will help those delicious oils and flavours to mix with the rice. Check your seasoning too as you may wish to add some extra salt or a little pepper.
  10. Leave the oven on once you take the chicken out, as you'll want to put the finished burritos back in for 5 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked by skewering with a skewer or knife and making sure the juice run clear. If they're ready, slice them into larger than bite-sized pieces.
  11. Once the rice is ready, drain it and allow it to cool.
  12. If you're using wholemeal wraps, they should be pliable enough to fold without heating them up first, but if you switch them out for plain, you may need to microwave them for 30 seconds to work with them. Lay each wrap out in turn and spoon on 3-4 tablespoons of the rice mixture, or however much you think you would like.
  13. Place some chicken on the top and add the cheese if you've chosen to use it. Once you're happy the wrap is full enough, roll it up by first wrapping from one side, then folding in both ends, before rolling to the other side. Repeat until all your wraps are full.
  14. Pop them back in the oven for 5 minutes or so to make sure they're still hot, and to melt the cheese if you've used it.
  15. Serve up and enjoy!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://brookersofbluntys.co.uk/chicken-chorizo-burritos/

 

We served it up with our Speedy Guacamole.  If you don’t fancy the wholemeal wraps, why don’t you have a go at making your own white flour tortillas?  If you’re not in the mood for rice, or you want something a little more saucey, why not give our Chicken and Chorizo Enchiladas a try?

We had the most wonderful day in Newcastle yesterday, although I think we’re both still knackered from all the walking! Not to worry, we managed to get Charles some clothes which actually fit him now he’s so skinny, and we had a good look around for some food for the puppy.  My school friend who is now a vet recommended James Wellbeloved kibble for a new puppy, to make sure she gets all the protein she could want or need so that’s what we’ve plumped for.  It’s pretty expensive but it’s important that she gets the goodness she needs when her bones and organs are growing.  We should be able to pick her up next Saturday, so we have lots to do getting the house ready for her.

In another piece of exciting news, Taste PR contacted us as they are looking for food bloggers to work for one of their brands, Diageo, and have sent us a lovely bottle of Smirnoff  Triple Distilled Vodka to use in some recipes.  We’ll be working on those very soon, and we’re very excited to do so, as we are both vodka drinkers when we choose to drink spirits, and we’ve been doing some experimentation with with simple ice creams and sorbets over the past couple of weeks, so we’re very excited about being able to make them a little more adult for you.  so watch this space for those!

Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken

For this week’s recipe tester, we’re all about Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken.  If you haven’t come across Akis Petretzikis yet, he has a brilliant YouTube channel which has been given alot of publicity by Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube network. His recipes are pretty simple, and not always authentic, but generally they look pretty tasty, and he’s a joy to watch.  Akis is Greek, which is brilliant for spreading the word about Greek food, and also means he has a rather entertaining accent (particularly when he’s talking about mash (-ed potato). Anyways, we love his channel and jumped on there for some supper inspiration the other day.  I read a few of the recipe titles out to Charles and it was this Sticky Lemon Chicken which he chose.

Whilst this was technically approached in the same way as my stab at Nigel Slater’s Lemon Curd, I actually made quite a few changes to the basic recipe, as the amount of soy sauce Akis used looked to be both far too salty and ridiculously unhealthy, and cutting that down meant we needed to add more honey to balance out the flavours.  Also, we used skinless and boneless chicken thighs instead of breast due to the amount of time the sauce would need to simmer to reduce (and we didn’t want the meat to dry out or become tough), and I also wanted to add some vegetables to make it feel a bit more like a Chinese takeaway.  That said, I would have added a chopped pepper had the idea occurred to me sooner!  The lemon slices look pretty in the finished dish, but they were far too bitter for me to actually eat!  Charles munched his way through all but the very ends seemingly happily – it’s up to you if you fancy trying them!

Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken

Akis’ Sticky Lemon Chicken

Ingredients

  • 5-6 chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Thumb sized piece ginger
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 lemons
  • 80ml or so dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • Basmati or wholegrain rice to serve

Instructions

  1. Trim the chicken thighs and cut them into reasonably large chunks - large enough that you have to half them to eat them elegantly! Set this aside and wash your chopping board well or grab a new one.
  2. Grate the garlic and ginger, slice the onion, peel and cut the carrot into quarter discs.
  3. Slice the lemons into rounds and get the groundnut oil heating up in a large frying pan or wok.
  4. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the lemon slices flat in the pan and brown them on both sides.
  5. The juice should start to seep out and the edges of the lemon slices should caramelise. Remove these from the pan and set aside.
  6. Turn the heat down a little and then add in the onion and carrot and fry these off until they are well on their way to becoming cooked.
  7. Add the garlic and ginger, being careful not to let either of those burn. Cook out for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Next, you can fry off the chicken. Try to get some decent colour on it by turning the heat back up. You may wish to add a touch more oil if things are starting to stick.
  9. Now get your rice cooking, as it will likely need around 15 minutes to be ready to serve up alongside the main event.
  10. Once the chicken is nicely sealed and coloured, add the vegetables and lemons back into the pan.
  11. Pour in the soy sauce and honey, and mix everything together. The lemons will continue to flavour and add juice to the sauce, so keep tasting it as it reduces down to make sure you're happy with the flavour balance. You may need to add more soy sauce or honey depending on your taste and how sour the lemons are.
  12. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a sticky sort of syrup and the chicken is cooked through. Taste again before serving and gobble it up, feeling virtuous for resisting that takeaway!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://brookersofbluntys.co.uk/akis-sticky-lemon-chicken/

Excitingly, this was made entirely in our new kitchen, and we’re pretty pleased with the natural lighting and backdrop around the hob area.  The splashback was temporary at the time and is now almost finished.  Unfortunately, the finished dish is pretty dark and unappetising looking but it really was delicious!

Why not try some of our Asian inspired recipes, such as our Spicy Peanut Butter Chicken, Mango Prawns or Steak and Soba?  Now I really want stir fried beef….

Caramelised Onion Cheese Straws

These caramelised onion cheese straws are a bit like something that featured in one of Charles’ earliest recipes, but with my parents coming to visit, I thought we ought to put on a bit of a party for them in the new house.  As they were going to be arriving late on Friday evening, I got a lasagne in the oven and set about making them something to nibble with a drink when they got here.  With homemade food being at the heart of our home, it’s hard for us to hold back with that sort of thing.  If you come for a cup of tea or coffee, expect homemade biscuits or a cake, but if you come for a drink, well, we’ll try to put on a bit of a spread.  I know my Mum is a fan of cheese straws, so I figured we could add a little bit of interest to the traditional script by adding a caramelised onion chutney.  These are so simple to make but are pretty impressive when you wheel them out, and although Charles ended up eating most of them, they are pretty tasty and moreish as well as filling enough to serve up with drinks.

Caramelised Onion Cheese Straws

Caramelised Onion Cheese Straws

Ingredients

  • 1 packet ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 4 tbsp caramelised onion chutney
  • 100g mature cheddar
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Grate the cheese onto a plate or into a bowl.
  2. Roll out the ready-rolled puff pastry and flatten out any creases.
  3. Using a spoon, spoon and spread out the onion chutney all over the surface of the pastry.
  4. Add around half of the grated cheese onto one half of the pastry.
  5. Fold the uncheesed pastry half over the cheesed half and press down lightly, matching up the edges as well as you can muster.
  6. Cut the pastry in half and then cut each half into four sections. Then cut the whole thing in half widthways to give you 16 sticks of sandwiched pastry.
  7. Lightly beat the egg with a fork and use a pastry brush to brush egg over all of the sectioned pastry.
  8. Now comes the tricky part! Prepare two large baking sheets or trays by lining them with greaseproof paper. Now turn each pastry stick into a twist by picking up the top right corner and twisting and folding it over the left side, and repeating the process but in the opposite direction with the bottom of each straw. Press them down a little and then egg wash each straw and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Pop them in the fridge for half an hour and preheat the oven to 180c.
  9. Once they're nice and chilled, pop the trays in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden, risen and crispy on the edges. If the cheese or caramelised onion burns in place try not to worry as long as the pastry hasn't burned.
  10. Allow to cool before removing from the trays, being careful as the cheese can become quite sticky, so if you try to whip them off too quickly they could break.
  11. Pop them into a nice bowl and serve to your guests. And enjoy the party!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://brookersofbluntys.co.uk/caramelised-onion-cheese-straws/

If you are looking for something to serve up with a nice cuppa rather than a glass of something stronger, why not try whipping up one of our Victoria Sandwiches or Mocha Cakes?

 

Luscious Lemon Cake

We celebrated Charles’ 29th birthday at the beginning of this month, so I made him this luscious lemon cake.  Of course, it was pretty difficult to keep it as a surprise with him popping in and out of the kitchen every now and then, and he had already spotted the homemade lemon curd in the fridge, even although I took a jar to his Mum to disguise the true reason for whipping up a batch a couple of days previously.  Not to worry – he knew there would be a cake of sorts so the fact that he knew it was a lemon cake was neither here nor there.  Besides, he had asked for a ‘healthy’ cake after we had spent the previous week working our way through his Dad’s ridiculously chocolatey birthday cake.

Anyway, it was a success all round after a few hairy moments during the decoration stage when the hot, muggy day combined with the heat of the dishwasher drying caused the icing to become a bit too slidey on occasion!  I decided to decorate it with loads of pick’n’mix jelly sweets and Haribo because jelly sweets are just about the only treat Charles has been allowing himself (apart from birthday cake, of course) since we both started eating a bit more healthily in preparation for our wedding (and in preparation for being super old).  I thought his Dad would think it was all a bit childish, but it raised a few laughs and smiles, after all, you can’t have a sweetie birthday cake once you’re in your thirties now can you?  This cake would still be great for general eating, and doesn’t really need any decoration, so you could leave off the sweeties and instead get creative with piping, texturising your icing or perhaps adding some candied lemon peel or edible flowers to make it a little prettier.  It’s effectively a moist lemon drizzle cake sandwiched with lemon curd and lemon curd buttercream, and decorated with the same lemon buttercream.  Delicious.  And perfect for summer.

Luscious Lemon Cake

Luscious Lemon Cake

Ingredients

    For the sponge:
  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp double cream or milk, or 2 tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • zest of two lemons
  • For the syrup:
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • juice of 2 lemons (so two whole lemons for the whole recipe in addition to the lemon curd!)
  • For the lemon curd buttercream:
  • 150g salted butter at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp double cream or half as much of your substitute
  • 300g icing sugar
  • Around half a jar of fresh lemon curd, although it's easy to get carried away!

Instructions

  1. Start off by preheating an oven to 160c fan or 170c non-fan assisted, and line yourself a couple of sandwich tins. Grab a large mixing bowl and a digital scale and that's you ready to go.
  2. Weigh out the butter and give it a good mix for a couple of minutes with an electric hand mixer to start it off on the road to becoming creamy and fluffy.
  3. Add the sugar and repeat the mixing process, continuing for a good 3-5 minutes on high power until the mixture is really creamy and fluffy and full of air. This is such an important step if you want a light and fluffy cake.
  4. Next, add the eggs, and repeat the process with the hand mixer. The introduction of the eggs should give you another chance to introduce some serious air, and you should only stop once it's pale coloured and almost frothy in texture.
  5. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, and quickly whisk in.
  6. The last stage in making your sponge batter is to weigh in the flour and measure out the cream or crème fraîche and add these to the mixture.
  7. This time, however, you want to introduce your electric whisk relatively gently and for as little time as possible, as this stage is just to combine the flour and moisture - overworking the batter will develop the gluten in the flour and give you a tough, heavy sponge, undoing all the good work you did with the butter, sugar and eggs. Whisk until just combined (although don't stop before it is combined or you might end up with pockets of flour in the finished cake).
  8. Your cake batter is ready for the oven! Divide it as evenly as possible between your greased and lined cake pans - I find a silicone spatula to be really helpful to scrape out the batter relatively efficiently making sure you don't waste too much to the washing up bowl. Even out the surfaces, but don't move it around too much or you could overwork the batter.
  9. Slide the cake pans into the oven and cook for around 20 minutes or until golden on the outside, starting to shrink from the sides of the pans and just springy when lightly pressed on top. Try not to open the oven until they look done as you could risk the sponges collapsing if the middles are still quite liquid.
  10. While your sponges are baking, you can get the syrup ready, as this needs to be poured over the sponges while they're still warm.
  11. Cut the lemons in half and thoroughly juice them, discarding any seeds.
  12. Grab a small saucepan and weigh out the sugar and water then add the lemon juice and stir it all together over a low heat on the hob. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and allow the mixture to boil and reduce down for a few minutes. You want a syrupy consistency, so don't be scared to keep it simmering if you think it's too thin - it's going to be poured over the sponge so you want it to catch and seep through, not soak immediately through the cake.
  13. When the syrup and sponges are both ready, leaving the sponges in the cake pans, carefully divide the syrup between the two sponges, pouring it slowly over the surface of both sponges, being careful not to over-saturate any one are of the sponge. Now leave them alone until completely cool.
  14. In a clean bowl, weigh out the butter for the lemon curd buttercream and give it a whizz up with the whisk. Add the cream and whisk again. The wetter and creamier you can get it the easier (and less messy!) it will be to add in the icing sugar.
  15. Now add the icing sugar and beat this in well, trying not to cover everything in a cloud of icing sugar dust!
  16. Add the lemon curd and mix again, and that's the buttercream ready for the cake.
  17. When the sponges are nice and cold, turn them out onto a plate or cake board, turning the first sponge upside down and centring it on whatever you're serving the finished cake up on. Peel off the greaseproof paper circle and check it's fully cool underneath before proceeding.
  18. Spread a layer of buttercream onto the bottom sponge, a few mm thick.
  19. Then add a layer of lemon curd, bearing in mind that if this is too thick the weight of the top sponge might squeeze it out.
  20. Now repeat the turning out process with the other sponge, placing it upside down on top of the first sponge. Using a pallette knife, ice the cake all over, as evenly as you can manage.
  21. And that's you ready to decorate!
  22. As I mentioned earlier, I decorated Charles' cake with lots of jelly sweets....
  23. ...and some birthday candles.
  24. But it will be delicious either way!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://brookersofbluntys.co.uk/luscious-lemon-cake/

 

 

 

Chicken and Chorizo Enchiladas

As promised in our easy enchilada sauce recipe post, here’s how to make our homemade chicken and chorizo enchiladas.  Save money, eat a little more healthily and surprise your friends and family with a delicious and fun homemade meal.  I last made this at the end of last month when Charles was out at the local community council meeting and we needed a supper we could eat late, but which could be prepared and kept warm, without getting ruined, if he happened to be running late.  This recipe is perfect for that as it can stay in the oven for around 40 minutes on a low temperature, just remember to turn it back up to 180 for 5 minutes or so before serving.  Incidentally, it also makes it a great informal dinner party dish which you can prepare ahead and leave in the oven while you entertain your guests.  Serve up with sweet potato wedges, tortilla chips, salad or rice as well as plenty of sour cream, guacamole and salsa and you have a great meal which will leave everyone with a smile on their face and belly full of tasty food.

Whilst fajitas are always popular, serving them to guests can be a bit of a mess and a bit of a faff, with everyone building their own.  Enchiladas are a little less messy as they are pre-rolled to be served from the dish, but are also a little more luxurious being smothered in spicy sauce and cheese.  This is a super simple chicken enchilada recipe which can easily be made more impressive by making your own flour tortillas and serving with homemade tortilla chips (although making your own tortilla chips with homemade flour tortillas is probably overkill!).

This recipe will serve two generously, so double up on everything to feed four, and triple to feed six.

Chicken and Chorizo Enchiladas

Chicken and Chorizo Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small knob ginger
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 cooking chorizo or half a larger cooking chorizo ring
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 flour or corn tortillas
  • 1 quantity homemade enchilada sauce
  • As much cheddar, mozzarella or Monterey Jack as you care to grate
  • Salsa, guacamole and sour cream to serve

Instructions

  1. The first thing you'll need to do is get your enchilada sauce on the go, that way you can get let it simmer away and cook out while you're working on everything else. It's essentially just a spiced tomato sauce, so you can of course cheat with this step and buy a tasty tomato sauce or enchilada sauce in a jar - but this way is so easy it wouldn't be worth it! Oh, and preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Next, set a large frying pan or wok onto a medium to high heat, and add in the olive oil. Finely slice the red onion and add to the pan once it's come up to heat and then grate in the garlic and ginger.
  3. Slice up the pepper and add to the pan.
  4. Cook all of this until the onions have turned transparent and the peppers have started to soften. I like mine to retain a little crunch, and they invariably will do unless you cook them for half an hour or more. Add the tomato puree and stir well. This should be cooked out for 5-10 minutes at a lower heat to help it to lose its metallic taste.
  5. Slice the chorizo into bite-sized chunks and add it to the pan whilst the temperature is still relatively low. This will help the fat to render out gently before the chorizo cooks through. If you fry chorizo on too high a heat it will seal on the outside before cooking through meaning more of the fat will be trapped in. Charles and I have taken to referring to chorizo as a 'seasoning' now, as we like to add it to most dishes we make with chicken or turkey because it adds so much flavour and texture. It;s like amped up bacon!
  6. Slice the chicken into long strips and turn up the heat under the pan to the highest heat. Push the vegetables and chorizo to one side to maximise the pan's surface area for frying off the chicken. The chorizo should have leaked enough paprika-y fat for you to fry in, and if there's a lot you may want to use some kitchen towel to carefully absorb and discard any excess to keep the dish a bit healthier.
  7. Add the chicken strips to the pan, spreading them out with tongs to make sure they have equal access to brown. Add the various spices and salt and pepper before carefully flipping each piece to fry on the other side. Then allow to cook for 5 minutes or so further at a slightly lower heat, mixing the vegetables and chorizo back in with the chicken to make sure it's all hot and cooked through.
  8. Grate as much cheese as you'd like! We like a little sprinkled into each wrap, as well as enough to cover the surface of the wrapped and sauced wraps. Grab a square or rectangular casserole dish that will fit the wraps snugly, and follow the instructions on the wraps to get them warm and flexible enough to wrap up nicely - usually by microwaving for 30 seconds.
  9. Use tongs or a spoon to fill each wrap, trying to split the filling evenly between the number of wraps you're using depending on how many you're feeding. This recipe should let you have two wraps each. Add the filling in a strip just left of centre as pictured so that you can neatly fold and roll your wraps. Add a layer of grated cheese and wrap up. My technique is to tuck the short ends in, fold over the smaller edge and then use this to push the filling back while you roll it over the rest of the wrap.
  10. Place each wrap into the casserole dish with the seam underneath.
  11. Spoon over the enchilada sauce you have been simmering alongside the filling.
  12. Cover with cheese and slide into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to brown.
  13. Sprinkle with some fresh herbs and carefully serve up two wraps per person. And dig in!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://brookersofbluntys.co.uk/chicken-chorizo-enchiladas/

Goose Eggs: What’s the Crack?!

As you may know, we have recently found a wonderful fruit and veg stall shop next to the local garden centre in Kelso.  You may also know, if you have been following our blogs or Twitter Account, that they also stock some weird and wonderful additions, such as flavoured breads, chutneys, edible flowers and also a number of different types of eggs.  So we just had to try them.  Oddly, despite being massive food lovers, we have both had relatively narrow horizons when it comes to egg eating.

goose eggs

The first new type of eggs we decided to try were duck eggs, and you can read all about how they tasted and how we cooked them, but then we pitched up at Julian’s Veg once again on one of our weekly (more like twice a week) and I happened to spot a couple of much larger eggs lazing around in a little basket with a price tag of £1.50 each.  Immediately, I found Charles, who was routing around in the mange tout, and exclaimed “I’ve found some ostrich eggs, we have to buy one!”.  So we bought a couple of these eggs (because “how do you split a soft-boiled egg into two?”) and we were on our merry way.

It wasn’t until we were back in the car and winding our way to the supermarket that it occurred to us that actually they were much too small, pale and pointed to be ostrich eggs.  After a quick spot of Googling, we concluded that they were goose eggs, and I wasn’t too sure how I felt about that particular prospect.  Oddly (or perhaps less oddly if you know me), my head had equated the word “goose” with the word “goat” and I became determined that these big old eggs were going to be far too goosey.

boiling goose eggs

Anyway, Charles kept my resolve strong and we set about boiling up these big old beasts at the second highest heat on the hob, for 9 minutes on a decent to rolling boil while we set about making a salad to go with them.

jugs

So far, so good, until we tried to lift them out of the pot and realised that they certainly wouldn’t fit into normal egg cups.  We tried small glasses, ramekins, bowls, but nothing would hold them still, until we eventually settled on a couple of mismatched milk jugs Charles has for the B&B.  And then we were good to go.

eating a goose egg

I needn’t have worried unduly about the apparent goosiness of the eggs, but we both found the yolks to be a little blander than hens’ eggs whilst the white had a slightly rubbery consistency, like duck eggs.  With a price tag of £1.50 each, we doubt we’ll be buying them again, but I imagine if we kept geese we’d find all sorts of ways to use them up.  The verdict, once again, is that the humble hens’ egg is king.

soft boiled goose egg

Easy Enchilada Sauce

This easy enchilada sauce recipe is for those of you, like me, who have been tempted into buying those Old El Paso/Discovery enchilada kits one too many times.  They’re such a waste of money and ultimately leave you feeling full of salt and preservatives.  We’ve all had a bash at making fajitas from scratch, or perhaps with a little help from one of those fajita spice mix sachets and ready made wraps, but enchiladas always seem that little bit more daunting, even though they are ultimately more comforting when you want something a little more luxurious and filling.  So we’ve created and tested this quick and easy enchilada sauce recipe to help you to make enchiladas at home whenever you fancy, without having to shell out for a kit.  You may even have all the ingredients in your cupboard as you read this.  You might find the addition of cocoa powder to be a little strange but I like the earthiness it adds to the flavour of the sauce and it gives you something more along the lines of a traditional Mexican ‘mole’ sauce.

Full enchilada recipe will follow soon! The flavour will improve with further simmering, but it will still be tasty with only around 10 minutes in the pan as long as you follow all the steps.

Easy Enchilada Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Plenty to cover enchiladas for three people, or double up and freeze the extra!

Easy Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small knob ginger
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 carton passata
  • 1 chicken stock cube or stock pot
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 mild chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • squeeze of lime

Instructions

  1. Take out a decently sized frying pan and add the oil to it on a medium heat.
  2. Once that's nice and warm, grate in the garlic and ginger. Allow that to warm through before adding the tomato puree, stirring well, then allow to warm through for 5 minutes or so to cook out any harsh flavours.
  3. Add the passata and stock (if using a stock cube rather than a stock pot you'll need to dissolve it in a little boiling water first) and stir together.
  4. Add the spices and cocoa powder, stir together and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Check the seasoning and adjust to your taste.
  6. Add a squeeze of lime before drenching your tasty wraps, covering with cheese and putting the whole lot in the oven for around 10 minutes at 180c.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://brookersofbluntys.co.uk/easy-enchilada-sauce/

Why not try using our homemade flour tortillas when making your enchiladas, or serve up with our speedy guacamole?

Nigel Slater’s Lemon Curd

This isn’t just lemon curd.  This isn’t even our lemon curd – it’s Nigel Slater’s Lemon Curd.  This post is a bit of a departure from our usual style. Whilst we have a couple of recipes waiting in the wings, we have to be honest and admit that when it comes to the classics, we do like to turn to the tried and tested recipes penned by those old enough to know better from time to time. Whilst I would normally skip over these episodes of unworthy of original blog content, Charles suggested that some of the classics by the biggest names in UK cookery were actually worth of review and I think he might be onto something.

lemon curd
Lemon curd seemed like a good place to start. It’s something we’ve both made a number of times, and it in fact featured in a poem which was read at our wedding. We’ve both tried various recipes, including Delia’s, but I was intrigued when I read Nigel Slater’s lemon curd recipe given he uses a whisk to get it all mixed up – a bit of a departure from the usual wooden spoon or silicone spatula and decided that this was worthy of comment!

lemons
To make Nigel’s lemon curd, you will need:

4 unwaxed lemons (if you can’t get unwaxed you can scrub waxed ones – B of B’s edit, not Nigel’s)

200g sugar (I used caster, but Nigel doesn’t specify)

100g butter

3 eggs and 1 egg yolk

how to make lemon curd
To make it, I found it easiest to get all the ingredients ready first, starting with finding a Pyrex bowl and small saucepan which would allow the bowl to balance comfortably with space below it for some simmering water, then adding a few inches of water to the saucepan and putting it on a medium heat hob.

lemon zest
Next, zest the lemons into the Pyrex bowl and then juice them and add the juice to the bowl, removing any pips. I find this to be the most time-consuming part and it’s unavoidable, but Nigel rather glosses over the time you need for this stage by stating that they should be zested and juiced in his ingredients list.

lemon squeezer
Stir in the sugar, and cut the butter into cubes.

cubed butter
Place over the simmering water (try not to be tempted to use a very hot hob as boiling the water will tempt the water to overboil and potentially jump into the curd, or boil dry, or cook the curd so hot that it scrambles, which is the elephant in the room in terms of curd failure or success.

nigel slater's lemon curd recipe
Stir until the sugar has dissolved then add the cubes of butter.

eggs
Meanwhile, crack 3 of the eggs into a bowl and separate the fourth, adding only its yolk to the bowl. Whisk together with a fork.


Stir the lemon, sugar and butter mixture until the butter has all melted. Now, Nige doesn’t mention it, but you should really consider the temperature of the bowl and mixture st this stage because you’re about to add the eggs. If you’ve ever made custard, you’ll be familiar with the danger of scrambling the eggs if you add the cream or milk when it’s too hot. Likewise, with lemon curd, it’s worth taking a few extra minutes to cool the melted mixture (even though you are going to have to heat it again) to be sure you aren’t going to scramble the eggs and waste all the time you didn’t zesting and juicing all those lemons. The simplest way is just to take it off the heat and give it a stir for a minute or two. Next, pour in the eggs, being ready with your whisk to stir it all together to even out the temperature of the two bowls before there are any disasters.

making lemon curd
This takes a bit of muscle, but it does mean the curd is immediately much thicker than it would be by any other method. Now, get whisking! I used the whisk to sort of stir it around most of the time, whisking it up properly as it thickened, as it’s actually pretty difficult to whisk a hot liquid in a steaming bowl which moves around all the time!


When it’s well on its way to being done, the texture will become more consistent and small frothy bubbles will start to form on the surface. If it’s taking too long , you may be tempted to turn the heat up, and you can do, just be careful of monitoring it and consider turning it back down if the water underneath the bowl is boiling too hard – the point at which your curd is ready versus when it can turn bad is pretty precise so a more controlled temperature is a more cautious approach. It’s really important too that you stir constantly, even if it does take 10 or 15 minutes to get to the correct consistency. Your curd will be worth it!

lemon curd
Checking it’s ready was pretty difficult with the whisk. Nigel says it should “feel heavy on the whisk” but Charles’ whisk is pretty heavy anyway so my wrist was too tired to tell the difference. As I had experience of making lemon curd, however, I could tell that the thick custardy texture was nearly ready so I grabbed a silicone spatula to dunk into the mixture. The curd coated it, and the costing remained separated after I ran my finger through it, so it was ready to be poured into sterilised jars to set and later refrigerate.

lemon curd
Overall, the result was a decently balanced fresh lemon curd, thick, zesty and tart, but sweet and creamy enough to make it as moreish as fresh lemon curd tends to be. Whilst it was a little odd getting used to the whisk, and required more concentration that the endless stirring I’ve encountered in the past, it made for a much, much quicker way of producing three small jars of curd. And that makes it a winner in my book!

How to Shrink a Recipe

Have you ever had a hankering for a specific type of food but been short on one specific but vital ingredient? I don’t know how many times I’ve been sure I had enough plain flour only to find that I only had about 100g in the cupboard without knowing how to shrink a recipe. Vexing. Anyway, my recipe alteration skills were seriously put to the test just the other day as we had some buttermilk in the fridge leftover from making my father-in-law’s birthday cake (to our chocolatiest chocolate cake recipe) and I was determined it should be used for soda bread to give our new oven a try. As a side note, our new kitchen is now pretty much up and running and we’ve been taking every opportunity to test out both the double oven and gas hob. I promised Charles that the first thing I’d bake in that oven would be bread so it just simply had to work out! Anyway, the recipe I found (courtesy of BBC Good Food) called for 290ml of buttermilk, and sadly our remaining stock measured only 220ml. Fiddlesticks.

shrinking a recipe
As you will likely know, baking is much more accurate a science than cooking, meaning the balance of ingredients has to be relatively spot on, so whilst it might be easy to shrink or substitute ingredients in a stir fry on the hoof, altering a recipe needs a little more head scratching, but it’s really just a case of applying some simple arithmetic. As long as the proportions are correct, you’ll get a  smaller but just as successful piece of baking. So here’s how you do it:

can you shrink down a recipe
1. If your recipe is online, write or print it out onto a piece of paper. If it’s in a book, set it in front of you.

calculations to shrink a recipe
2. Weigh out the ingredient you’re short on, and then work out how much you have as a proportion of the quantity the recipe calls for. If your arithmetic is anything like mine, this will be easiest with a calculator! Do this by dividing the amount you have by the amount you need and multiplying by 100, to get a percentage. In my case, it was 76%, so I was going to aim for a soda loaf 76% of the size the recipe called for. At just over three quarters I figured it was with going for, especially as soda bread is best eaten on the first day in any event.

3. Get yourself another piece of paper and work out how much of each ingredient you ought to use for the reduced recipe by multiplying the full amount called for by the percentage you reached in step 2.


4. Write out the reduced recipe to keep things neat and avoid confusion (although I would have been much less confused if I had written “buttermilk” instead of ‘milk’).

recipes using buttermilk
5. Get baking!

soda bread
As an aside, I also had the wrong type of flour. I had plain wholemeal flour rather than self-raising so I used the plain wholemeal and white self-raising flour and it worked out just fine. I also added some oats to the top to add a little more taste and texture and it turned out rather well.

Let us know about any shrinking, growing or substitution successes of disasters you’ve had.

Speedy Guacamole

Come on, we all know the world has gone nuts for avocados, and I’ll admit that they’re great in salads, on toast, or with prawns served up in them like my Nana still likes to offer up at Christmas time (although I hated them as a kid and can now understand why my parents were puzzled when I turned my nose up at these fantastical fruits!), but they’re purest, happiest form to me is smooshed and served up as a wonderful guacamole and served alongside fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas or plain old tortilla chips.  Especially if your tortilla chips are homemade too.  I’ve been meaning to share this one for awhile as it is so easy and a great way to use up that extra ripe avocado that’s lounging around in your fridge.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve justified a tex-mex meal on the basis that I have an avocado to use up!  As you may know, avocados tend to go brown if left in the air to oxidise for too long – although the squeeze of lime should help to prevent or at least slow that process down – so I like to leave this until the very last practical minute to make up prior to serving – usually whilst the chicken or beef is frying off or when the finished article is in the oven in the case of enchiladas, but it really is so quick and easy that it’s no stress to organise it that way.

This isn’t a traditional guacamole recipe, as there are usually chunks of red onion and chilli added to guacamole recipes, but it’s how I prefer to eat it – smooth, creamy, zesty and the perfect foil for that spicy, cheesy mexican food!  As with most of our recipes, this will be plenty to serve alongside a mexican meal for two people.

Speedy Guacamole

Speedy Guacamole

Ingredients

  • One ripe medium avocado
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lime juice

Instructions

  1. Cut the avocado round its middle, lengthways, until you hit the stone, being careful not to cut yourself. Remove the stone, either by squashing it out, pulling it out, or carefully edging the blade of your knife into it and twisting (this is the higher danger option as it can get stuck on the knife and it'll be quite slippery to remove, but it's also the most effective for me).
  2. Squash, scoop or fork out the flesh from both sides of the avocado and mash up in a bowl. I went for the messy option and used the ramekin I was planning to serve the guacamole in, but you might find it easier to use a larger bowl to give you room to mash and mix and then serve it all up in a prettier, cleaner bowl.
  3. Add the chilli powder and salt and mix these in well.
  4. Add the lime juice and mix it in well. And that's your guacamole ready to serve!
  5. If you have any left over, cover it and keep it in the fridge, but make sure you use it up the next day. It may still discolour a little but it will be safe to eat.
  6. If you want to shrink the recipe down for one serving, use the avocado half that the stone doesn't stick into. Reserving the side which still contains the stone will help to stop the avocado discolouring whilst it's waiting to be used, and I also like to pour a little lemon juice over the surfact before cling filming well and putting in the fridge.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://brookersofbluntys.co.uk/speedy-guacamole/

Why not try serving it up alongside our homemade quesadillas or tortilla chips?