Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Everyday sausage salad

Sausages. Great aren't they? Not considered during the summer apart from when cremated barbecued, and stuck in a soft roll.

Turns out they make a mighty fine addition to a salad.

Tonight's dinner was a rough and ready "everyday" salad. Little effort, big reward. A varied flavour profile and contrasting textures with every forkful giving something different. Soft and salty halloumi, crisp meaty sausages, tangy tomatoes and peppery crisp watercress. Is this a summer re-birth for the humble banger?

I'll not give you a formal recipe mostly because it's just not worth it (and it'll read better as prose). Split a brace of sausages along their length and griddle until cooked with those delightful griddle marks. At the same time dry fry a few thick slices of halloumi until browned. Once the cheese is done, splash a bit of olive oil in and quickly fry some halves of tomato until lightly caramelised. That's all the cooking done. 

Chuck some salad leaves on a plate. Then tear over the halloumi, followed by some strips of sausage and then the tomato halves. Scatter over a thinly sliced spring onion and some Parmesan shavings. Drizzle over the oil form the tomato pan and then finish with some balsamic vinegar.

Just image if you used a high quality sausage or something interesting like a chorizo or merguez...

Monday, 16 June 2014

You've never seen cake go so fast...

I took cake into work for the second time today because:
  1. It was Monday;
  2. It was the start of a new Sprint with a planning meeting the "highlight" of the day; and
  3. Feedback from the last Sprint was that there hadn't been enough cake.
Over the weekend I had narrowed it down to taking in some bars (easier to portion for mass cake provision), I hadn't got much further: I was lacking inspiration to say the least. That was until I found a couple of old Olive magazine supplements and my quandary was no more.

I went with the very suitable-for-elevenses-and-seemingly-healthy blueberry crumble cakes (above) and the bury-your-sorrows-in-something-ridiculously-sweet white chocolate rocky road.

I have never seen plates of cake disappear so fast despite a simultaneous offer of Krispy Kremes! One-nil to the boy baker!

Both are ridiculously easy to make and suitably pleasing. Mind you the white choc rocky road really should only be taken in small doses otherwise that sugar-crash is gonna hurt!

I forgot to take pictures and, as we all know, I'm no food stylist. Fortunately the blueberry squares are on the Olive website and the white chocolate rocky road, just really isn't camera worthy. I'm sure your imagination can conjure up a suitable image for white chocolate, amaretti and dried cherry goodness...

Recipe for Blueberry Crumble Squares (taken from Olive)

30g pecans
125g butter, very soft
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
125g blueberries
1tbsp milk
For the crumble topping:
15g butter
50g plain flour
40g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
30g unrefined light brown sugar
3/4tsp ground cinnamon

1. To make the topping, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs and stir in the nuts, sugar and cinnamon. Chill while you make the cakes.
2. Blitz the pecans in a food processor until coarsely ground. 
3. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
4. Gradually beat in the eggs
5. Sift the flour, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and fold in along with the ground pecans, blueberries and milk.
6. Pour into a lined 8" square cake tin. Sprinkle with the topping mixture.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 180°C, until risen and golden. (A fine skewer inserted into a cake should come out dry with no uncooked batter stuck to it.) 
8. Cool on a wire rack. Cut the cake into 16 squares.

Recipe for White Chocolate Rocky Road (also taken from Olive)

300g, white chocolate
150g, butter
60ml double cream
100g amaretti biscuits, broken into small chunks
25g desiccated coconut, toasted
100g dried cherries and berries
50g flaked almonds, toasted


1. Melt the chocolate, butter and cream in a bain marie until melted and combined. As long as you don't over heat a good beat will bring it all together.
2. Mix all the other ingredients into the chocolate-butter mix.
3. Tip the mixture into a lined 8" square tin, cool and refrigerate until set solid.
4. Divide into 16 squares.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Grub Club

I came across Grub Club today:
Grub Club connects foodies with new and creative Chefs across London.

A Grub Club is like a restaurant but a lot more fun! We make sure that our handpicked Chefs serve up the most delicious food in often quirky spaces.

We do our best to ensure there is a communal feel to the meal, so that you get to meet some great people.

Let us take you back to a simpler time when it was easy to meet and make friends......

So yet another opportunity to go out eating and socialising. I need to get on this...
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