Slow Cooker Doner Kebab

Fakeaway

 

I originally found a recipe for a slow cooker doner kebab recipe on a slow cooker facebook page I’m a member of, I slightly tweaked the recipe that people were using to suit our tastes and although we thought it could in no way taste like a real kebab we were pleasantly surprised.

I’m sure this recipe will work well in the oven but I love the simplicity of the slow cooker so I used that to cook mine.  The recipe below served 2 (we’re greedy) but I’m sure if you pack your kebabs out with salad you could serve 3-4.

You will need

  • 500g of lean lamb mince
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp Italian Season or mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp Salt.
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper.
  • 2 tsp Cumin.
  • 1 finely chopped Garlic clove
  • 1 tsp paprika

Add everything into a large bowl and mix with a hand blender or by hand until combined with no air pockets at all, I spent a good 10 minutes squashing and bashing mine with my hands until it was all combined and the meat had completely broken down.  I shaped the meat into a large patty and placed in the fridge overnight.

I cooked my meat on high for 2.5 hrs, timings will change depending on brand of slow cooker and the amount of meat used, if the meat is cooked for too long it could crumble so do check your timings.  I sliced my meat and placed in the oven for 5-10 minutes to brown.  I used a knife to slice my meat but a friend advised me to use a vegetable peeler in future as this gives a more authentic slice.

Homemade Doner Kebab

 

 

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Greenvale Potatoes

Greenvale Potatoes

Some people may say a potato is just a potato but I beg to differ, I think different potatoes suit different dishes, some are good for mashing some for baking and some are good general all rounders.

When I was approached and asked to give Greevale Potatoes a try my answer was a no brainer, we are a family of potato lovers and I knew we would be able to give them a good test over the festive period.

Greenvale Potatoes are an all rounder of a potato meaning they are great mashed, baked and boiled so to put them to the test I mashed, baked, slow cooked and boiled them to see if they really could do what they say on the packet.

Christmas lunch

On Christmas Day I used the potatoes two ways, mashed and boiled and the results were great.  Sometimes it’s really difficult to get a really good mash from a potato as some types are just not good mashers.  Greenvale Potatoes make a lovely creamy mash which doesn’t require any extras to be added although I can’t resist a splash of cream and a grinding of black pepper.  When the potatoes are boiled you get a lovely earthy taste rather than the taste of nothing that you often get with a boiled potato.

Game Pie In Slow Cooker

During the festive period I also made a Game Pie filling in the slow cooker and used Greenvale Potatoes which kept their shape during cooking and added a great bulk to the dish.

Haggis and Mash

Mash was used again to accompany our Haggis and this time we left it as it was and didn’t bother adding any extras and it still tasted delicious.

Mashed Potato

The potato shown above is the inside of some baked potatoes before cheese and spring onion was added, the skins were perfectly crispy and the insides as you can see were extremely fluffy.

Would I buy them again? Yes, I have.  In my opinion these are a brilliant potato and whether you are wanting to cook crisp and fluffy roasties for a traditional Sunday lunch, smooth velvety mash, a steaming jacket or simple boiled potatoes, GreenVale Farm Fresh potatoes are perfect for them all. The potatoes are available nationally in Tesco, Ocado and through Booths in the North West for around £2.50 a bag.

*I received the product mentioned free of charge, to review from my own perspective. All words, experiences and opinions are entirely my own*

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Pidy Pastry Cases

If you read my Vlogmas with The Gourmands blog posts you may have seen a brand called Pidy featured, I was sent a range of pastry products to review back in December and I couldn’t wait to think of some great dishes to fill them with.

Pidy Vol-au-vents

The first thing I tried out was the box of Vol-au_Vents, we always enjoy these at Christmas time and the pidy ones are really something special.  Long gone are the teeny tiny round ones and welcome big fat square Vol-au-Vents, there is definitely more than a mouthful in these which is great when you have a good filling.

Canapes

 

I made 4 variations and each one was delicious and suited the crisp flaky pastry, my favourite was the prawn and Avocado, Mr gourmand liked the spiced egg and Mini Gourmand loved her own creation of Broccoli and Stilton.

Avocado Prawn

 

To make this canapé you will need:

Avocado
Prawns
Lemon
Crème Fraiche

Place the prawns in a bowl, add 1/2 an avocado a dollop of crème fraiche and a squirt of lemon juice and mash with a fork until combined.  Garnish with lemon.  I have purposely not included measurements as this is really a taste recipe, some people prefer more of an avocado taste others want to taste the prawns so I’ll leave it up to you.

 

Spiced Egg

 

To make this canapé you will need:

Hard boiled egg
Mayonnaise
Curry Powder
Mango Chutney

Mash the egg in a bowl with the mayonnaise and a sprinkle of curry powder.  I have purposely not included measurements as this is really a taste recipe, some people prefer more of an egg taste others want to taste the curry so I’ll leave it up to you. Garnish with a generous dollop of mango chutney.

garlic mushroom

To make this canapé you will need:

Wild Mushrooms
Garlic
Butter
Marscapone

Chop the mushrooms and garlic roughly. Melt the butter in a pan and add the mushrooms and garlic, once the garlic has coloured slightly add the marscapone and stir through.  I have purposely not included measurements as this is really a taste recipe, some people prefer more of a mushroom taste others want to taste the garlic so I’ll leave it up to you.  The mushrooms do shrink a lot during cooking so keep this in mind.

 

Blue cheese and broccoli

 

To make this canapé You will need:

Broccoli
Blue Cheese
Vegetable Stock

Parboil the broccoli, this really does have to be quite soft to work which we realised too late! add to a pan with some blue cheese and a bit of vegetable stock to form a sauce. I have purposely not included measurements as this is really a taste recipe, some people prefer more of a broccoli taste others want to taste the cheese so I’ll leave it up to you.

 

Pidy beetroot

 

The beetroot veggie cups were my favourite by far, they are very cute little pastry cases and I don’t see why you couldn’t use them for something sweet like avocado chocolate mousse?

Piddy beetroot cups Pidy beetroot

I filled the beetroot cups with a Quorn Bolognese topped with an olive, they were delicious and one just wasn’t enough.

To make the bolognese you will need 250g of minced Quorn.

1/2 red pepper.

2 small mushrooms.

1/4 carrot.

1/2 white onion.

1 clove of garlic.

1 tbsp tomato purée.

1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes.

2 shakes of Italian herbs.

Step one: Chop up the vegetables: finely evenly chop the pepper,mushroom,garlic and onion and add each to the pan.(the onion and garlic first)

Step 2: After the vegetables have had a good sauté, add the minced meat and cook until brown and looks cooked.

Step 3: After the mince and vegetables are fully cooked add your tomato purée and chopped tomatoes. Then after two minutes add your seasoning.

Step 4: Leave the sauce to simmer and cook for a extra 20 minutes on a low heat and then its ready to serve.

pidy spoon

 

I also received a pack of Pidy spoons which were a perfect Canapé size, I filled these with a home made crab pate and somehow managed to delete all pictures from my camera before uploading to my computer.

 

*I received the products mentioned, free of charge, to review from my own perspective. All words, experiences and opinions are entirely my own.*

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Rose and Crown Warwick

Now that we have the little boy keeping us busy in the morning and taking up all of our time we don’t get to spend that much relaxing time together, so myself and Mr Gourmand try our hardest to make the most of the weekend we usually start with an early Saturday morning breakfast. We have been really lucky recently with the quality of the breakfast places we have visited so we thought lets have a wander over to Warwick and see if they have anywhere to compete with our current favourite in Leamington.

We had a look at a few reviews and decided on The Rose and Crown. This place was lovely inside, very professional staff, nicely decorated, and more importantly very busy – so busy that we weren’t sure if you had to wait to be seated or seat yourself because the staff were running around keeping the hungry public happy!

drinks-rose-and-crown-Warwick

We ordered a couple of coffees and an orange juice for Mr Gourmand while we poured over the menu. What a fab way of presenting the condiments, and who can resist a small bowl of smarties! The menu was quite expensive, a little more than some of the places visited recently, but you have to try somewhere and see if its worth it don’t you!

condiments-rose-and-crown-warwick

breakfast-rose-and-crown-warwick

Breakfast time, and unsurprising we went for the full English and the Vegetarian – to be honest I feel this is a really good test of a breakfast eatery. The full English must use good quality sausages and bacon, the eggs must be done well, and to be honest if that part is done well, then rest is just a bonus! The Vegetarian is a bit more tricky. This is usually a test of how inventive the cafe and chef want to be. After all, its easy to throw on some fake bacon and Linda Mcartney sausages, but in my opinion, that is not good enough. As you know I’m not a vegetarian I just don’t eat pork so I actually want the Vegetarian breakfast to explore a few options and become its own distinctive meal, not just a fake full English with no imagination and ‘non meat alternatives’!

Mr Gourmand looked a little bit huffed when his arrived. The quality was there, the taste was there, but to be honest the portion size was not. It was also missing something like beans to play with and mix in with the glorious bread. He remarked how tasty it was, but sadly in the back of his mind I could tell he was comparing to somewhere else, and I couldn’t blame him. It was quite a bit more expensive than his current favourite Leaf.

vegi-breakfast-rose-and-crown-warwick

I was rather impressed with the vegetarian breakfast, I have no idea what the item that resembles stuffing actually was but it was so delicious that I actually want to go tomorrow morning just so I can sample it again!  As you can see there is no fake bacon or sausage here, to be honest it wasn’t needed as the unidentified item and fried bread more than makes up for the meat.  The scrambled egg was creamy and cooked in a pan rather than blitzed in a microwave and the beans tasted like Heinz which always gets a thumbs up from me.

The breakfast here is a little more expensive than our usual place of choice so I couldn’t justify coming here every weekend for breakfast, I would place this in my top 5 places for breakfast in Warwickshire though and I’m looking forward to our next visit.

If someone can tell from looking what I had on my breakfast I would be most grateful.

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Christmas Day Desserts

vlogmas

In my opinion the best desserts are ones that can be enjoyed all year round not just during the festive period.  Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas pudding, yule log and stollen but I tend to eat them throughout December and like to have a couple of less indulgent desserts on offer after lunch.

You can click on the video below or carry on reading. *Video is in editing mode*

vlogmas

 

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

 

This Mousse might look like it’s full of cream so you might be surprised to find that it’s actually made with Avocado, yes you read that right! Avocado.   To make this mousse you need to make sure that your avocado is ripe, don’t try it unless it’s squishy or it will taste bitter.  You will also need 75ml of milk (almond, oat, soya or plain old cows milk), 2 tablespoons of agave nectar if you are serving to babies under 1 or honey if you are serving to anyone over the age of 1, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of almond extract or vanilla extract.

Blend until smooth and decant into two bowls, chill for at least two hours and enjoy.

fruit

 

 

Fruit meringue is always a crowd pleaser, like many of my vlogmas dishes this is so simple to make and takes minimal effort.  You will need a pot of crème fraiche, icing sugar, blueberries and raspberries, mix together and sandwich between mini meringues.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this vlogmas series and that you can use some of my recipes or tips to wow your friends and family with your meals over the festive period.

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Christmas Day

vlogmas

The last thing you want to be doing on Christmas day is spending half of your time in the kitchen, hopefully my easy tips will help you to cook delicious food while cutting down the time you spend in the kitchen.

You can click on the video below or read on. *Video is in editing mode*

vlogmas

 

To make my Christmas dinner a little more exciting than a usual Sunday roast I like to experiment with flavours, Mini Gourmand prefers the Christmas meal to be serve yourself rather than just put on a plate so my flavour experiments can be tried before deciding to put on your plate which I find saves on wastage. (We always have the leftovers in the buffet dishes as bubble and squeak so no waste)

As I’m cooking this meal before the real Christmas Day (25th december 2013) I’ve used a large chicken to cut down on the cost.

Ginger Maple Chicken

 

To give my poultry a Christmas feel I like to use Christmas inspired spices so I stuffed the chicken with clove studded oranges and rubbed the skin with maple syrup before sprinkling with ginger.  After 3 hours of infusion in the fridge it was baked to perfection and moist and juicy inside.  The juices were saved for gravy.

Sage potato

 

The mashed Swede was cooked the night before and reheated before serving to save on time, the sage potatoes were also partly cooked the night before and cooled.  Once they had reached room temperature after being taken from the fridge they were fried with butter and sage leaves until golden.

Carrots with orange and maple styup CVhristmas Veg

 

I prepared Orange and Maple roasted carrots and Thyme and Lemon carrots which were both roasted.

Cauliflower Cheese, Sprout Gratin

 

Cauliflower cheese and sprout gratin can both be prepared the night before and reheated in the oven when needed.

Squash with cumin seeds

 

Squash with roasted cumin seeds is perfect to serve to your non meat eating guests as it retains it’s shape and has a delicious flavour.

Sprouts with caramalised red onions

 

Even the most hardened of sprout haters will love sprouts with caramelised onions as they are sticky and sweet and rather moorish.

Christmas lunch

 

And Voilà Dinner is served. On the 25th December I will also be serving a joint of beef and Gammon for Mini and Mr Gourmand, it is Christmas after all!  You may have noticed that this plate contains mashed potato, I was sent a bag of Greenvale potatoes for review purposes and deleted my photograph of the mash which was stupid of me!  You can read my review of the potatoes in the next couple of days as they really were delicious.

I received the potatoes mentioned, free of charge, to review from my own perspective. All words, experiences and opinions are entirely my own.

 

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Christmas Day Starters

vlogmas

We eat the same starters every Christmas day which never gets boring, we’re quite greedy and always have a choice of three. Well you never know who might pop by! Our all time favourite starter which never gets boring is a retro Prawn Cocktail, another is a delicious beetroot and goats cheese stack and the final one is a vegetable soup.

You can click on the video below to see how the starters were made or read below *Video is currently in editing mode*

vlogmas

 

prawn cocktail

 

My version of Prawn Cocktail is so simple and has 5 ingredients which are Prawns, Mayonnaise, Tomato Ketchup, lemon juice and Vodka. I can’t give quantities because it’s a trial and error kind of sauce, some people like their sauce thick others prefer a runny sauce.  You don’t have to use the vodka but I find it gives a nice kick.  You can serve with plain iceberg lettuce or add cucumber and tomato but you must always serve with a slice and lemon and 2 triangles of buttered brown bread.

beetroot stack

 

Beetroot and Goats cheese stack may look very simple and I suppose it is but it has a great flavour and makes a delicious starter.  I sprinkle my beetroot slices in dried thyme and olive oil and baked until soft, layer with goats cheese and sprinkle with sherry vinegar mixed with a good extra virgin olive oil.  Beetroot and Goats cheese is like a marriage in the mouth and really should be tried.

vegetable soup

 

I’m never sure if my Vegetable soup is in fact a soup or a broth as it contains pulses so I’ll let you decide what you want to call it.  What’s perfect about this is it takes less than 10 mins preparation time and cooks in the slow cooker so you don’t need to watch for it sticking.  I always use up what’s lurking in the bottom of my fridge so on this occasion I used 3 leeks, 1 swede, 4 carrots, 3 sticks of celery, vegetable stock and 1/2 a pack of broth mix.  I cook it in my slow cooker on high for 3 hours, decant some of the liquid into a jug and blitz with a blender and add back into the soup to thicken.

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Christmas Day Breakfast

vlogmas

We’ve already shown you some quick and easy canapés, given you lots of ideas for your festive buffet table but what do you eat on the big day? Our usual Christmas day breakfast consists of selection box chocolate followed by luxury scrambled egg and smoked salmon which you can see assembled below, you can click on the video or read the instructions if you prefer.

vlogmas

*Video editing is taking place and the video will appear in due course*

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and capers

You will need:

2 eggs per person
1 Bagel per person
1 tablespoon of cream per person
black pepper
smoked salmon
 capers 
extra cream for drizzling
 

This is really as simple as it gets, if you don’t know how to make scrambled egg Delia Smith does a great version. Once your eggs are cooked stir is some cream, smoked salmon and give a good grind of black pepper.  Serve on a toasted bagel, sprinkle with capers and drizzle with cream. Voilà.

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Easy Tasty Magic Alchemical Larder

Easy Tasty Magic Alchemical lader

When the Easy Tasty Magic Alchemical Larder popped through my door I was more than a tiny bit excited, cooking is a huge passion of mine and I love to experiment with different flavours so to find out that this box contained 16 jars of magic was extremely thrilling.

Easy Tasty Magic Alchemical larder

When you remove the lid off the box you are greeted with the most fabulous jars I’ve seen, you would be forgiven for thinking they had come straight out of a Harry Potter prop cupboard.  Anyone who knows me personally will tell you that this box of magic was just made for me, I have some big plans for these little jars and you can be sure that the ingredients will feature in a lot of my future blog posts.

Some people would think £29.95 sounds expensive for a product like this but in this case it’s one of those products that you have to see to really appreciate how fabulous it is, I think I appreciate it so much for a few different reasons, obviously it’s to be used in the kitchen, and as someone who loves to cook it’s a perfect gift because it houses ingredients that I probably would have never gone out and purchased for myself. The jars are beautiful, they are made of glass meaning that once the ingredients have been used up I can wash them and use them to store something else like crafting materials, other ingredients or turn them into candles.  Finally there is a real magical element to this box which starts with the label on the front of the box, some of the ingredient names make your imagination wander and I guess that by using the ingredients in a dish you are creating, inventing and concocting something delicious or even enchanting.

Alchemy Ingredients row 1

Alchemy row 2 Alchemy row3 Alchemy row4

A couple of these ingredients really stand out for me the first one being Cacao Nibs, I found a recipe for a Cacao and Lamb pizza recipe which I would love to put my own spin on so that’s one use for this ingredient.  When I saw the Baies Roses I just knew I had to try out Pink Peppercorn brownies which sound a bit strange but look incredibly delicious.  I love cooking with Lavender and have made scones in the past which went down well but I really want to try a Lavender Creme Brulee and I now can thanks to my pot of Mediterranean Lavender.

All of the ingredients in the Alchemy Larder are suitable For Vegetarians however some ingredients contain Sesame and Celery.

Contents: Pink Peppercorns (Brazil); Carnal Sin Rub: Sea Salt(32%), Rose Petals, Pink Peppercorns, Beetroot, Sumac (Blended in UK); Cocoa Nibs (France); Devil’s Penis Chilli (Uganda); Grains Of Paradise (Ghana); Furikake: Sesame Seed, Nori, Sea Vegetable Condiment (Blended in Japan); Lavender (France); Salt of the Earth: Sea Salt, Lemon Peel, Black Pepper, Peony Petals, Celery Seed, Larkspur, Spice of Angels (Fennel Pollen), Marigold Flower, Cornflower (Blended in UK); Nutmeg (Sri Lanka); Renaissance Stardust: Sea Salt (23%), Cane Sugar (46%), Cinnamon (Blended in UK); Rose Petals (Iran); Saffron (Greece); Smoked Paprika (Spain); Sumac (Turkey); Orange Peel (Spain); White Mischief Rub: Sea Salt (28%), Jasmine Flower, Orange Flower, Ginger, Lapsang Souchong, Facing Heaven Chilli, Sichuan Pepper (Blended in UK).

I noticed that the Alchemy Larder is currently out of stock on the Harvey Nichols website but if you’re wanting an alternative to this for a Christmas gift you should check out the amazing range of hampers that they stock, I currently have my eye on the Dandy Christmas Hamper.

* I  received the product mentioned free of charge to review from my own perspective. All words, experiences and opinions are entirely my own.*
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Festive Buffet Food

vlogmas

During the festive season I find it easier to cook buffet style meals so that I’m prepared should someone drop by unexpectedly, the option to serve yourself has always gone down well with Mini Gourmand and the following dishes are things that we always eat at this time of year.

buffet menu

You can click the video below to watch the vlog that accompanies this post or if video’s are not your thing you will find the recipes below.

vlogmas

*I am currently having issues uploading this video, it will appear soon*

Chicken Tikka Salad

This Chicken Tikka buffet salad will serve 8-10 alongside other dishes or 4 as a main meal.

You will need:

2 large Chicken Breasts
2 Tablespoons Tikka Curry Paste
200gPlain Yoghurt
1/2 cucumber
6 Radishes
1 Red Onion
2 Sticks Celery
1 Round Lettuce
4 Tomatoes
Coriander
Poppadoms
Mango Chutney
 

Marinade the chicken breasts in 100g of yoghurt and the curry paste, cook in the oven until cooked and allow to cook before slicing.

Arrange the salad into layers, top with the chicken, coriander and crushed poppadoms.  Make a sauce by mixing the yoghurt and mango chutney.

PicMonkey Collage

 

This Game Pie will serve 8 alongside other dishes or 6 as a main meal.  I created this dish for the slow cooker but I’m sure it will taste just fine cooked in the oven.

You will need:

500g mixed game meat
4 Potatoes cubed
1 Tomato diced
2 Carrots chopped
1 Stick of Celery chopped
300g Chestnut mushrooms chopped
200ml Red Wine
2 Tablespoons flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 sprigs of thyme
500ml beef stock

Coat the game in seasoned flour and gently brown in a hot pan, add to the slow cooker with all of the other ingredients and cook for 1 hour on high followed by 8 hours on low.  Transfer to an oven proof dish and top with puff pastry.  Cook for 20-30 mins until the pastry is browned and the gravy is thickened.

spring rolls

This recipe will make 10 large spring rolls or 20 small ones. I cook my spring rolls in the oven but you could cook them in a deep fat fryer if you need to and of course you can add meat or seafood.

You will need:

Grated Carrot
Sweetcorn
Beansprouts
Spring Onion
Sweet Chilli Sauce
Pack of Filo Pastry
Olive oil
 

Using a pastry brush paint over a sheet of filo pastry, add a small amount of vegetables and a sprinkle of chilli sauce, fold as shown in the video and bake in the oven until browned.

brie and mango parcels

This recipe will make 10 large parcels or 20 small ones. I cook my parcels in the oven but you could cook them in a deep fat fryer if you need to and of course you can add other sauces like cranberry.

You will need:

I Pack of Brie
Mango Chutney
Pack of Filo Pastry
Olive oil
 

 Using a pastry brush paint over a sheet of filo pastry, add a cube of brie and a teaspoon of mango chutney. Fold as shown in the video and bake in the oven until browned.

chicken curry

You could make this curry with any meat or leave the meat out and just have a vegetable curry.  This curry will serve 6 as a main course or 10 with other foods.  I cooked this curry for 8 hours on low in the slow cooker but it could be cooked on the hob in an hour if needed.

You will need:

2 onions, diced
500g diced potato
4 Chicken breasts, diced
2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 head of white cabbage chopped
200g mushrooms
2 teaspoons Cumin
1 teaspoon ground Coriander Seed
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of grated Ginger
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon hot Paprika
1 red chilli finely chopped 
1 bay leaf.
 

Place everything in the slow cooker pot and cook on low for 8 hours. If you need to add more water add a small amount at a time.

lamb sausage roll

The Lamb Kofta sausage rolls can either be made in pastry or served on their own.

You will need:

500g lamb mince
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 pack of puff pastry
 
 
 
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