The Art of Manliness: Bleu cheese and Teriyaki Meatball Sandwich

This recipe is soooo good I had to share, Art of Manliness, a manly sandwich well done!

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The Bleu Cheese & Teriyaki Meatball by Ben

When I saw this entry I didn’t even have to think about whether this would make my cut. I knew it would. Meatballs, two kinds of cheeses, an English muffin. It combines all my favorite things! Can it live up to the hype I’ve created, though?

The Ingredients

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  • English muffin
  • Bleu cheese dressing
  • Swiss cheese
  • Teriyaki meatballs (couldn’t find pre-teriyaki-flavored ones as Ben recommended, so I bought meatballs and sauce and mixed them together)

THE BETTER WAY: Fresh homemade lamb mince meatballs marinaded in teriyaki marinade and sticky sauce and real blue cheese!

Step 1: Toast and Schmear the Muffin with Dressing

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Toast the English muffin and “give each side a thorough schmear” with the bleu cheese dressing.

Step 2: Get the Meatballs Ready

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I believe Ben used some leftover teriyaki meatballs for his creation, but I didn’t have that convenience. I mixed together some cooked (in the microwave) beef meatballs with a good helping of teriyaki sauce. Did the job just fine, if I don’t say so myself.

Step 3: Put Meatballs on Muffin

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Place meatballs onto the muffin. I made two sandwiches, mainly because I was hungry. Ben suggested 4-5 per sandwich, and that’s exactly what I did. He also suggested cutting them in half, but they were small and tender enough that I figured I would be alright.

Step 4: Add Swiss and Top 

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Add a slice of Swiss cheese to the top, let it melt for a few seconds, and then top with the other half of your muffin.

Step 5: Enjoy!

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Original Source: Art of Manliness Blogpost

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Easter Sunday: A Meal Fit for Christmas

So I have my first day off this week, It’s easter sunday so the perfect time to make a home cooked meal. With it being sunday, what better than a traditional british roast dinner. As I have the whole day to plan the meal I decide why just cook a main? so whipping up my ingredients in the cupboard I also set to make a chocolate fondant with cream and caramel.

So I make my menu for the day:

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I started with my Honey Roast Parsnips and Fillet of Beef as I didn’t have enough space in the oven to cook my potatoes, parsnips, chicken and beef all at once.

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Fillet of Beef

First I prepared the beef. I started by covering my fillet in vegetable oil before searing it on a high heat on all sides. When It had a nice golden colouring, I placed it on foil on a roasting tray and seasoned it with salt and pepper and placed it in a fan oven at 170 degrees for 35 minutes (medium cooked).

Honey Roasted Parsnips

My Honey roast parsnips take 20 minutes on the same temperature (170 degrees) so I am to place them with the beef in the oven. I have 15 minutes to peel, cut and prepare my parsnips for the oven, before popping them in with the beef. After peeling and cutting into wedges i place my 2 chopped parsnips in a fryng pan with oil, and cook until colour changes. I then add a tbsp of sugar and a drizzle of honey, coat and then place in a dish to go in the oven. Note: Make sure if there is too much honey and oil at the bottom, do not place it in the oven with so much or it may go gooey instead of crisping up like want it to.

After 35 minutes remove the beef fillet and and parsnips. If the parsnips have not crisped, keep them in the oven for slightly longer.

During the waiting period between placing the parsnips in the oven and removing the filet of beef, prepare the roast potatoes and the chicken.

Roast Potatoes

The potatoes are next to go in the oven and because me and my partner wanted loads, we made a casserole dish worth so will have to put the chicken in after the potatoes are done. Alternatively, you can make less potatoes and cook them with the chicken. I will share both ways.

I peeled and chopped the potatoes into quarters.

1. I put them in seperately. To fasten the potato cooking process I took my casserole dish placed the prepared potatoes in the dish and covered with boiling water. I boiled until slightly cooked, and then drained.

I then placed butter and veg oil in the casserole dish on high heat and put the potatoes in and stirred. I add extra knob or two of butter and placed in the over until crisp and golden

2. Alternatively do it an easier and more traditional way and chop (part boil optional) and then place it around the chicken in the roasting tray after the chicken is preped. Add a drizzle of oil, but the chicken oils will also assist the roasting process. They can cook at the same time and come out together.

I cooked the potatoes and cracked on with prepping the chicken in the meantime.

Roast Chicken

To prep the chicken, I rinsed the chicken and then patted it dry. I then seasoned with salt and pepper and added fresh thyme sprigs to taste. I also cut a whole cloister of garlic to place on the tray and stuffed the bottom with an onion and garlic. I then waited for the potatoes to be done (or you could place them around the chicken if your going with option 2 and put the potatoes to cook with the chicken). Then placing the chicken to roast for 75mins.

The trick to getting crispy chicken skin

I took http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/My-Favorite-Simple-Roast-Chicken-231348 hints. usually I baste the chicken with butter before roasting but usually my chicken is tasty and cooked but lacks the beautiful crispy texture and shine of the chicken skin. As thats the best part I changed the way I cook it by not pre basting the chicken, basting it with some butter and juices nearer the end instead.

It is also why i rinsed and patted dry the chicken before cooking. The article suggests that pre basting, or not drying before seasoning makes the chicken retain moisture in the skin, stopping it from crisping during the cooking process.

I did not cover the chicken with foil, and even having dried out the skin, the inside of the chicken was the most tender I have ever managed to cook it!

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Dessert: Chocolate Fondant

Whilst my food was cooking I also had time to work on dessert!

I love the texture of chocolate fondant as the center is hot melted goodness. So delicious! I used Guardians http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/feb/10/how-cook-perfect-chocolate-fondants how to cook the perfect fondant for my recipe.

Makes 2

60g unsalted butter, cut into dice, plus extra to grease
1 tbsp cocoa powder
60g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
60g caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour

I buttered the inside of 2 small ramekins and then put the cocoa in one and turn it to coat the inside, holding it over the second mould to catch any that escapes. Do the same with the other mould.

I then placed the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water and stirred until melted. Allow to cool slightly.

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Then worked on the rest of the mixture. Vigorously whisking together the egg, yolk, sugar and a pinch of salt until pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate and butter, and then the flour. Spoon into the prepared moulds.

Once done, I placed the ramekins in the fridge, ready to put in the oven after we have eaten dinner.

Now all you have to do is wait for the chicken and potatoes to be done, boil mixed vegetable bag or what vegetables you like (we chose cauliflower, broccoli, carrot and asparagus). Reheat the fillet, in the oven, and the parsnips in the microwave and serve. Alternatively place food on plate and reheat each plate.

Stir some bisto gravy granules with hot water and pour over the top… food is served!!! What an indulgence for a perfect easter evening…

Put on to a hot baking tray and cook for 12 minutes (14 if from cold, 16 if frozen) until the tops are set and coming away from the sides of the moulds. Leave to rest for 30 seconds and then serve in the ramekins or turn out on to plates if you’re feeling confident – they’re great with clotted cream or plain ice cream.

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When I did mine my fondant didn’t set enough. I was supposed to fold in the flour but accidentally whisked it in instead, next time I will do that differently, and cook it for a tad longer!

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Foodie Word of the Day: Tassie

“A cup or goblet for drinking wine; A decorative ring or plug at the end of the barrel of a pen; A small tart or miniature pie.”

This is a colloquial term for a small tart. Tart: an open pastry case with a filling, usually of something sweet such as fruit

Lemon Tassies with Berry Topping

Sweet Tart Pastry Making Demonstration:

Foodie word of the Day: Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

Amuse-bouches – I know the term Bouche from the childish mention of Ferme La Bouche (or however thats spelt!). But what does this curious term mean. Come Dine With Me’s more pretentious contenders do this.

They are different from appetisers as they aren’t ordered from a menu. They are served for frree by the chef’s selection. These are served both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to the art of cuisine. The term is French, literally translated to “mouth amuser”.

I tried one at Cinnamon Kitchen the other day, it was delightful!

Funny how some really fancy restaurants serve Amuse Bouche portions as mains!

The Sugar Myth Unveiled

We were sitting in the office when the question was asked: Is brown sugar healthier than white sugar?

[For informative reading, read the complete article. Otherwise, scroll down for the summary!]

We have been trained to believe all things brown are better for us: brown rice, brown bread, brown pasta… but what about sugar? Being a carbohydrate like the others it has been led to believe that brown sugar is healthier. I wanted to examine this claim.

What is sugar made from?

Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants but are only present in sufficient concentrations for efficient extraction in sugarcane and sugar beet. Sugarcane is a giant grass and Sugar beet is a root crop, both create sugar but grow in different climates, Sugarcane in hot, and sugar beet in cooler temperatures. 

But this is just the base ingredient, it requires processing before it reaches the table of the consumer.

How is it made?

The sugar cane is taken to be refined. The first stage involves immersing the sugar crystals in a concentrated syrup which softens and removes the sticky brown coating without dissolving them. The crystals are then separated from the liquor and dissolved in water. The resulting syrup is either treated by carbonation (a type of chemical reaction process).

Both involve the precipitation (dissolve the fluid) of a fine solid in the syrup and when this is filtered out, a lot of the impurities are removed. The sugar syrup is concentrated by boiling, cooled and seeded with sugar crystals causing the sugar to crystallize out. The white crystals are dried in hot air, ready to be packaged or used.

What does the refining process achieve?

So we are talking brown sugar versus white sugar, which is more healthy? The question first must be: Exactly what do we mean by that?

There are raw unrefined regular sugar, refined white sugar and brown sugar.

Raw Unrefined Sugar

It’s not the same as the brown sugar that you see in the store, even though they are both brown.Unrefined raw sugar is made from the juice from the sugar cane plant and has trace minerals and nutrients present.

Raw sugar contains roughly eleven calories per teaspoon and has the same vitamin and mineral consistency that is found in the juice from the sugarcane plant. These minerals include Phosphorus, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium.

Refined White Sugar

Refined sugar is devoid of all nutrients. Typically, white sugar is made of pure carbohydrates. when sugar is refined and processed there are many harmful ingredients that are added to the sugar as a result. Some of these include: Phosphoric Acid, Sulfur Dioxide, and Formic Acid.

When the term “refined” is used in reference to food products, most people think of a highly processed or altered product. However, in the case of sugar production, the term “refined” simply means “to make pure.” During the refining of sugar, natural sugar is extracted from the whole plant material to make a granulated product that can be easily used in food and beverage preparation.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is sugar that has been refined and then molasses has been added to it. Brown sugar varies in color according to the amount of molasses that has been added to it. Like white refined sugar, brown sugar does not have the nutritional content found in unrefined. Both white refined and brown sugar are comprised of sucrose.

So what is the difference between brown and white sugar?

When people talk of brown sugar, they are generally comparing two grocery products one stating ‘brown sugar’ one saying ‘white sugar’ and I have made that comparison on that basis.

So to help you make your decision I have made a Summary below:

  • They are equally unhealthy, equally void of nutritional substance.
  • The only difference is the colour, obviously, which is due to the addition of molasses.
  • Molasses also may create a mild difference in flavour between them.
  • White sugar is more processed as the colour is whitened, but this near to no effect on the end of products nutritional values. Refining of white or brown sugar, does not mean it is processed and unhealthy, it just removes substances we cannot or would have difficulty consuming.

Of course, if your referring to RAW SUGAR (Which is brown) then there is a difference, and it is healthier – but as rule in cookery if used as a substitute, it weighs differently to brown and white sugar, so recipe measurements must be adapted when swapping them around.

Hope this helps!

Guest Post: Little Miss May’s Glorious Banana Cake

This cake recipe was given to me by a very good friend of mine and fellow foodie. She is an amazing cook whether its party food and creative alcohol innovations, great home sushi and asian cookery of baking. It was only right that I include her in my blog:) Hope you like the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe Bananas
  • 4oz Butter or Margarine
  • 2 Eggs
  • 8oz Self-Raising Flour
  • 6oz Sugar
  • Jar of Nuttela (covering the cake)
  • Maltesers (decoration)
  • Icing Sugar (finishing touches)

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Recipe:

1> Preheat the ovan to Gas mark 4.

2> Get two big bowls and mash the bananas in one and in the other mix the sugar, butter and eggs until it becomes creamy.

3> Tip in the mashy bananas in with the creamy mix then add the self-raising flour and mix well.

4> (Usually banana cakes are placed in a loaf tin but I prefer it in a round tin that you can pop the bottom. Its easier to bake and transfer onto a plate.) place the mix into the round tin and put it in the oven for 40mins to an hour.

5> Once done, smother with Nuttela (the best bit!!). Grab some Maltesers and sprinkle some icing sugar on them and decorate the cake to your liking.

Foodie Word of the Day: Consommé

Consommé

Stephanie Moon from Great British Menu

This term was posted following far too many evenings watching Great British Menu for comic relief. Consommé was one of the elements in Stephanie’s humorous dish: Why did the chicken cross the road? 

She placed the watery mixture into a whisky-like glass and her first batch was commented to not be clear enough, which it seemed was a bad thing. But what is it exactly?

Consommé is a strong, rich, flavourful soup made by concentrating and clarifying stock. 

The word consommé means “completed” or “concentrated” in French. 

Beef or veal consommé is made from brown stock, and has a rich, amber color. Chicken consommé is made from chicken stock, and is a pale yellow color. In each case, however, the distinguishing characteristics of a consommé are its strong flavor and its clarity.

The Process

Consommé is clarified through a process that involves simmering the stock along with a mixture of egg whites and lean ground meat called a clearmeat. 

As the consommé simmers, the clearmeat solidifies into what is known as a raft which floats atop the liquid. The clearmeat draws proteins and other impurities that cloud a stock out of the liquid, leaving it perfectly clear.