We do love The Eurovision Song Contest every year, and this usually involves watching the event with friends and copious amounts of food and drink inspired by the participating countries.
As we were hosting this year, I made the national dish of 2012 hosts of The Eurovision Song Contest, Azerbaijan.
A staple of the people of Azerbaijan is Plov, a sort of paella with a very different method of cooking. I went with the Chicken variety, but Lamb is probably more popular in the restaurants of Baku.
500g Chicken thighs
500g Long grain rice
150 – 200ml vegetable oil
2 large onions
1 head of garlic
3 hot chillies
Before you start, soak the rice in water and it will have lost most of its starchy-ness by the time it is needed.
Fry the chicken thighs in the vegetable oil until they start to brown
Cut the onions into rings and add to the pan and cook until these brown too
Cut the carrots into little crudité shapes and add them to the pan and keep cooking on a high heat until the carrots start to soften and brown slightly
Add half a tablespoon of cumin and stir well
Cover the mixture with hot water and leave to simmer until most of the water is absorbed
Drain the rice and pour in over the mix to cover it completely DO NOT STIR!!!
Add more hot water so that the rice is submerged and still refrain from stirring and salt well
Keep the gas high and add more water if necessary
When all the water is absorbed and the rice is still slightly al dente, place on a low heat and steam for about 20 minutes. Place the whole chillies and garlic head in the rice layer while it all steams.
Remove the chillies and garlic and stir the mixture
Allow to rest for a minute or two before piling high on a serving plate and adding the chillies and garlic back to the pile for that final touch
These little cakes are perfect for any upcoming Jubilee plans you may have, they look very British. Sainsbury’s also have cupcake cases with the Union Jack flag on for some extra Jubilee glitz. Inspired by something I saw on sale on Fortnum and Mason, this recipe was free styled.
We love burgers. Not those nasty things from Burger King and the like, but sumptuous, delicious and juicy, tasty gourmet Burgers. You might have read us rambling on about Byron before, but this time, we wanted to give burgers a try in our own kitchen.
Ingredients (for 5 burgers)
500g good quality mince
1 diced onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
Salt and Pepper to season
You could also add your choice of things to make these burgers your own, we recommend either chipotle paste, sun dried tomatoes, jalapenos or if you are feeling really adventurous, put the cheese in the middle and build the mince around it!
Put your mince in a mixing bowl ad add some salt and pepper, break the mince up a little
Add one finely sliced and diced onion
Add finely chopped garlic
Add the egg
Add any other ingredients you wish to and combine the mix all together, add more salt and pepper
Now get your hands in there and shape the mix into a burger shape as shown in the photo below
Once you have made your burgers cook them, we used a frying pan and did about 3-5 minutes each side, you could use a barbecue or grilling machine! We prefer medium-rare
Add cheese and allow it to melt, we chose roquefort
Serve in a bun with aioli, ketchup, lettuce, tomatoes and red onion
We had ours with a medley of other goodies that you can see in the main pic up top. What I can personally recommend with these burgers, is a play on the traditional Cheese Burger, with the addition of some roquefort cheese. It adds a whole new dimension to the flavour and I can also suggest that you crumble some on whilst they are finishing off in the pan so that it starts to melt.
With summer on the horizon (where you ask?!) and strawberries soon to be in season, a strawberries and cream cheesecake is just what every summer dinner party or barbecue needs. Based on The Hummingbird Bakery recipe, this is very simple to make and although the mix seems a little runny, just go with it and I promise the results will be delicious!
~250g of either digestive or shortbread biscuits for the base (shortbread makes a much richer cheesecake)
100g of butter
200g chopped fresh strawberries (more to decorate the top as in the picture, use your judgement!)
Base – Bash the biscuits until they are like breadcrumbs, melt the butter, mix this with the crumbs and pat down into the bottom of your cheesecake tin. Bake at 160 degrees for around 5 minutes and leave to cool
Preheat the oven at 160 degrees
In a saucepan put the strawberries, 80g sugar, 30ml water and a little icing sugar and bring to the boil until the strawberries release juice and this begins to thicken, leave to cool
In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, 105g remaining sugar, St Dalfour strawberry spread and then add the eggs and mix all together
Add the cooled strawberry mix to this and mix well
Pour into your cheesecake tin, on top of your base
Bake for 30 minutes until the cheesecake looks glossy, is firm on the outside and the middle is a little wobbly
Allow to cool
Beat the mascarpone and then in a separate bowl whisk the cream and icing sugar and fold this into the mascarpone. Spread this on top of the chilled cheese cake.
Add strawberries and decorate and then enjoy!
A cheesecake loving friend of ours rated this one of the best cheesecakes she had tasted, the first of course for anyone who has tried it is New York’s Juniors cheesecake. If you go to New York you MUST try it!
Flapjacks are delicious, a perfect lunchbox filler that accompanied with a cup of tea is sure to help revive you at that 11am slump. These flapjacks are chewier than usual as they contain banana and lots of fruit. My main issue when working on any recipe is that I am awful at weighing out ingredients. I prefer the judging by eye method, so as always, feel free to mix it up a little:
100g light muscovado sugar
50g golden syrup
350g porridge oats (I use Quakers)
1 tsp cinnamon (if like me you love cinnamon, why not add a little more)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 mashed ripe banana
1 grated apple, no need to peel
30g chopped dates
100g raisons or sultanas
(We also added 50g of Goji berries as we happened to have them, do feel free to add any dried fruit you like, apricots could be good!)
Grease your tin and preheat the oven to 160 degrees
Slowly melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan on the hob
In a mixing bowl, add the porridge oats, cinnamon and baking powder
Once the butter/syrup/sugar mix is melted, mix this into to the mixing bowl with the porridge oats
Add your mashed banana and mix
Add your grated apple and mix
Add your fruit and mix well
If your mix looks too dry and your porridge oats are not coated in the syrupy mix then add a little more golden syrup or honey, add more dried fruit if you like
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown, leave to cool and eat!