March 21, 2015

Saturday's are all about indulging on good food with good company, maybe spending a day at the museums or at the markets or perhaps having a long stomp in the countryside. 

Once you are exhausted from a morning of culture or if you're in need of warming up after a long walk, these burgers are bound to impress, fill any empty tummies and are super easy to do, especially if you have a handy burger press; I am trying out Leukue's. Not only did it help with the shape, it was great for portion control, and of course gave a pretty impressive homemade burger. Sold!

I chose lamb for these burgers and stuffed them with halloumi for a Greek feel (everyone knows my love affair for Greece, and these definitely took my tastebuds back!)

For 4 hearty burgers you will need...

600g lamb mince 
4 Brioche buns 
1 egg
1/2 cup of bread crumbs 
A good shake of salt and pepper 
1 pack of baby courgettes 
1 onion finely chopped 
1 pack halloumi
Spicy relish

Get the best quality brioche buns you can find, these really make your burgers feel extra special. Buy them in any supermarket or if you are feeling really adventurous you can make them! 

The burgers are pretty large so lightly fried courgettes go well. With a good zing of lemon juice and a slug of olive oil they make a great side.  

First mix up your mince, egg, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper and then using a press or by hand shape your burgers...

Once all burger mince has been squished, make an indent into your burgers using the other side of the press, and stuff with your chopped halloumi. 

Cover with more mince and place on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for around 20 mins. 

Slice up your baby courgettes and lightly fry them until they are nice and golden. Set to one side. 

Chop your onion and again fry up until golden and crispy. 

You can now get to work assembling the rest of your burger fillings. I like to melt cheese onto the base of my burgers, it adds that little bit extra to this pretty indulgent meal and of course you can never have too much of the stuff!

Once your burgers are cooked...stack 'em high!

 Burgers, stuffed or unstuffed with crispy fried onions, some fresh cos lettuce for some colour, some spicy relish and topped with the other half of your toasted brioche bun.

Delicious, cheesy and simple for a lavish Saturday lunch!

March 20, 2015

Greek Salads are always hard to make neat or elegant. The beauty of a Greek salad are the fresh sun blushed beef tomatoes, creamy yet crumbly feta and tasty olive oil from a local olive grove, or the best you can get in a local deli.

Traditionally huge chunks of the juiciest tomatoes are chopped roughly with very little elegance together peeled cucumber and slithers of red onion and finally topped with a slab of feta, sprinkled with oregano and lashings of the freshest olive oil. 

Last night I wanted to make a Greek salad that looked a bit more attractive and that could be thrown in the mix with other salads that exude elegance. 

For salad for 4 you will need...

3 large beef tomatoes 
1 cucumber 
Pack of feta
Kalamata olives 
Red pepper
Red onion 
Olive oil (the best you can get your hands on!) 
A Lemon 
Finally some good tasty sourdough for toasting and tearing up to dunk, dip and polish your plate clean once your salads have been demolished, soaking up   
leftover oil and final feta crumbs.

Start by thinly slicing your peppers, your cucumbers and your tomatoes. 

Next chop your olives, crumble your feta and slice your onions. 

Now start building your plates. Do this in any way you fancy. If you are doing a starter you could layer your veg, if you are doing a platter you could be more liberal in your decoration and toss everything together before serving up with some olive wood servers or finally layer your salads onto toasted, garlic rubbed sourdough for a more hearty starter or side.  

Slice up your lemons into thick wedges and squeeze generously over your salads just before you are about to serve, this will really xing up your flavours and add a little boost of colour to your rainbow plate. 

A great way to spruce up an all time favourite and really start dreaming of those long Greek summers...

March 16, 2015

Side salads can often be forgotten about with the hustle and bustle of preparing main dishes or gathering the perfect ingredients for that planned pud.
This Butternut squash platter not only adds colour to your table and lots of flavour, it is also is far too easy to not share.

It's perfect for those cooler spring lunches, it can be served warm but still gives you that bubble of excitement that summer is round the corner, as you can now weigh into at least the dreamy idea of alfresco dining we all love when those long summer evenings start and days seem endless.

For a medium side platter for 2 you will need...
1 medium sized butternut squash
1/2 cup of feta
2 tbps extra virgin olive oil
sprinkling of chilli flakes
fresh sage for serving

Start by roasting up your butternut squash with oil, chilli and a good shake of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for around 30-40 mins until IT'S squash is soft but still holds it shape and not mushy.

Carefully spoon out your deliciously roasted squash and scatter on a plate or dish.

Next sprinkle over your crumbled feta and dress with fresh sage for colour and added flavour.

If you like it hot you can always dust over a few extra chilli flakes or slice up a fresh one if you like it really hot!

Enjoy with friends this weekend alongside a traditional roast or just on its own!

March 07, 2015

What better way to show off your new mandolin slicing skills than making a swish 'salad stack' to tuck into as a swanky starter? (Great you might think...) well thats what I thought too...

With the packaging off the mandolin for roughly 4 minutes and having sliced an apple and a half in under a minute things were going well... just as I questioned...

 'ooo I wonder where the safety switch is..' combined with 'ooo the inside of that apple is pretty sliced all thin..'

before I knew it I had well and truly massacred my finger and alas, found no safety switch, just the kitchen bench looking like a murder scene.

After a trip to boots, a bandaged finger and a good pile of sliced apples later I set about assembling my apple slices

To make Salad Stacks for 4 you will need...

6 apples... you can mix and match the best slices for your stacks, the more choice the better.
1 pack of creamy gorgonzola 
1 cup of crushed walnuts 

Very very carefully thinly slice your apples with a mandolin, if you have one, or a knife will do just fine,  and in hindsight probably safer if you are not a regular mandolin user!

Place apple slices under cold water to prevent any browning of the apple flesh. 

Pick the best slices and pile high, then the decoration is up to you.

Scatter or layer up the gorgonzola and then dust with your crumbled walnuts. Add some creamy dressing if you fancy it too. 

Ta Daa!! Super easy, super swish starters for everyone to enjoy and easy on the calories too (if you go easy on the gorgonzola!) 

March 02, 2015

Making Meringues is always a fun activity and most people really love them as a dessert or a treat. 

This recipe is really easy you just need a good pair of beaters, a piping bag and a mixing bowl. 

For about 15 Kissing Meringue Kisses you will need...

4 egg whites 
200g white caster sugar 
pinch of cream of tartar 

For the butter cream
2oz butter
1 tsp rosewater 
4oz icing sugar 

Start by beating your egg whites and cream of tartar  until stiff peaks form this will take about 5 minutes. 

Then slowly add your sugar, add about a tablespoon at a time and beat each spoonful in thoroughly. 

Continue until you have used all your sugar and your meringue is nice and glossy. 

Pipe your Meringues into neat dollops on some baking parchment and cook in a cool oven, 100C for 2 hours turn the oven off and then leave them in the oven for as long as you can (this will keep them crisp for longer)

Now get on with your butter cream. Mix your rosewater, icing sugar and butter until well combined.

Get a knife and start to stick your meringues together, pick ones that look pretty similar.

I added a bit of pink colouring to some of mine, this is optional as of course is the colour you choose.

Pile high on a plate and enjoy for afternoon tea or a mid morning snack!

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