Sunday, 22 March 2015

Rainbow Fruit Kebabs

It's been a sunny weekend here and we have started thinking about Easter food; something that will be good for a barbecue if the weather's sunny over the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend.  Talking ideas through with Sous Chef J we decided that a fruit kebab, to balance out any chocolate egg-eating overload, would be a tempting and simple end to an Easter-time meal al fresco.

With sunny days in mind, we bought a selection of fruits which would look appealing and taste great. We also spotted some Easter Floral crockery in Sainsbury's that was decorated with bright, springlike flowers and decided a couple of pieces would be just the way to serve our kebabs.

Having bought pineapple, bananas, kiwi fruit, nectarines, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, mangoes and plums we started preparing the fruit for 'spearing' on bamboo skewers.

It was a lovely sunny day, so we decided to make the most of the weather and took everything we needed into the garden and began preparing the fruit...  this was a simple task of peeling (where necessary) and chopping into suitably sized pieces. 

Once the fruit was prepared and laid out in colour order, threading onto the bamboo skewers began. 

Choosing the order of strawberries, mango, nectarine, kiwi fruit or green grape, plums and blueberries... Sous Chef J worked through all the prepared fruit to get the Rainbow Fruit Kebabs ready.

Our Rainbow Fruit Kebabs were served just as prepared but they could be eaten with a melted chocolate (perhaps made from excess Easter eggs?) dip or, if barbecuing, a melted marshmallow drizzle.  YUM!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Pan fried Gammon with sticky sauce

Gammon steaks were on offer.  So we needed a recipe to use to tempt Sous Chef J to eat them.  He likes mustard and he loves maple syrup so those were chosen as ingredients.

First task was to cut through the rind and fat of the steaks.  We used a pair of sharp kitchen scissors to do this - cuts were made, through the rind and fat, at intervals of about 2cm.

Taking a tablespoonful of the maple syrup and the grainy mustard, they were mixed together.

Having put the prepared gammon steaks in a pyrex dish, the maple/mustard mix and some seasonings were added.  The steaks were allowed to marinade in the mix.
Cooking the gammon in a frying pan, on a medium heat, for about 6 minutes on each side, they were soon ready to eat.  Leaving the gammon to 'rest' whilst the vegetables were prepared.  We served the gammon steaks with mixed root vegetable mash and stir fried kale.  A successful, simple meal.

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.