Winter wonder tray bake

Summer is over and the shops have lots of Hallowe’en stuff in already. There’s also Christmas goodies appearing!!! I came across this new Winter Chocolate Bar from Cadbury’s and decided to use it with my traybake.

I crushed a pack of digestives, added a handful of mini marshmallows, 150g melted unsalted butter, grated Crunchie Dairy Milk bar from Cadbury’s and added a can of condensed milk. I mixed this all and poured it into a oven tray. I added the chocolate on top and popped in the fridge.

Will get 24 pieces and already most have been booked!!!!

My extra hot chilli condiment

Last night I made my mouth watering and very hot chilli condiment. I call it a condiment as it’s not really a sauce or a pickle, more an accompaniment!!

I used 6 handfuls of fresh green chillis and red Thai birds eye chillis. These I chopped and blitzed in my Magic Bullet (2 full cups) to a rough consistency. In a deep sauce pan I heated 500 ml Groundnut oil.

I added the freshly ground chillis, 1 tablespoon of chilli powder, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 3 tablespoons of dry chilli flakes and my special ingredient, 1 tablespoon of Punjabi Achaar Masala. I was very luck to get this on a past trip to India!!!

The mixture was thoroughly stirred and cooked on high heat for 10 minutes. Then I reduced heat and simmered for 20 minutes and voila!!!!

Oh so hot and moorish, my wife and I had it with crackers and cheese!!

Home grown spuds and dinner!!

Just over 4 months ago, on the 23rd April and well into lock down, I planted 7, well sprouted potatoes or ‘spuds’.

Today I got to pick them. I knew there would be some as the plants grew quite tall. I was pleasantly surprised when I carefully plucked the plants from the ground and pulled out potato after potato.

When I dug the rest of the soil I revealed more of varying sizes. I then readied the plot for the winter.

As can be seen I managed to get a good harvest!! The spuds scrubbed up well and felt heavy and had a lovely colour. There were a few which had nodules on them and I managed to get over a dozen seeds for next year!!

My two daughters were thrilled and had picked the dinner menu- ‘bangers and mash’. So I thought well this would be a nice meal before school starts tomorrow.

I had some pork sausages, which I cooked in the halogen and also made a tangy and spicy king prawn dish. My eldest daughter cut a salad. I peeled the spuds (about 10 small/medium sized ones) and was amazed at how hard and dense they were and how well they kept their colour. I then boiled the spuds, mashed them, added butter, spring onions and chives and now my mash had become ‘champ’

We polished off the food in quick time and we all agreed that the home grown potatoes were the stars of the dish!! I still have lots left so what will we have during the week?!?!

Eat Out to Help Out at Mama Masala

During this fantastic promotion to help our beleaguered Hospitality and Catering industry, we chose to have a meal at our local Mama Masala restaurant. Mama Masala is a superb Indian and Italian restaurant and is 3 years old.

While we (wife, sis, brother in law and I) browsed the menu we nibbled on poppadoms and chutneys whilst washing down with Cobra, Kopparberg, Diet Coke and sparkling water.

We chose 4 starters, which we shared. These were Tandoori King Prawn, Chicken 65, Chilli squid and hot wings. They were really tasty and our favourite had to be the Chicken 65.

For mains we ordered Mix Tandoori grill with pilau rice, chilli chicken tikka masala with keema Nan, Punjabi pizza (topped with chicken tikka, paneer, onion, sweet corn and mushroom) and Punjabi style penne pasta.

The food looked and smelled delicious, we were a bit gutted the mix tandoori didn’t come out sizzling!! The meats were all succulent and charcoal flavoured and the pizza and pasta were spiced up Punjabi style and all went down very well. Great flavours and four of us were impressed..

Our bill was £92 less the £40 discount and worth every penny!! Ps had to take a doggy bag!!

The Nagpuri and Nan from Tale of Spice

Last night I had an amazing takeaway from Tale of Spice in Dundonald, it was the Nagpuri with Nan.

The Nagpuri is a chicken tikka and lamb dish cooked with onions and peppers in a thick, hot sauce with fresh green Chillies. The Nan was fluffy, soft and mopped up all the sauce.

This has to be my favourite dish so far at Tale Of Spice!!

Chicken Jalfrezi

This is what chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice from Tale Of Spice Dundonald looks like when it’s mixed and ready to go!!!!!

It was fabulous, spicy and eight big chunks of succulent chicken……mmmmm

Tale of Spice, spicy Butter Chicken

Tale of Spice must be one of my favourite Indian Restaurants in greater Belfast area. They have innovated in this lockdown by offering a take out and delivery service.

I had a spicy butter chicken and pilau rice take out last night.

Spicy I hear you say, yes spicy…..traditionally butter chicken is a mild, creamy and un sweet dish famous in Punjab. I asked chef for mine to be spicy and loved the heat, but, alas he had sweetened it-no doubt for the local palate. There were a generous number of succulent chicken tikka pieces and the sauce was creamy and spicy!! Definitely 9 out of 10.

My girls and I took very little time polishing it off!!

Tale of Spice, 2b Eastpoint Entertainment Village, Belfast Bt16

028 90487676

Sumptuous spicy summer salad

Here it is, my Tandoori Chicken summer salad.

I marinated 7 chicken thighs (overnight) in the fridge. For the marinade I used yoghurt, tandoori masala, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Chicken drumsticks or breast can be used however the thigh has loads of flavour!!

I have to ask Santa for a Tandoor oven so I have to suffice with my Halogen oven /air fryer. I placed the thighs as above and placed in oven. I set it at 220oC for 30 minutes. I cooked for 20 minutes, then turned pieces over once and increased the time by 10 minutes.

Once cooked I shredded and added to my salad, which was made from grated carrot, diced cucumber, celery, lettuce, sweet corn and red pepper. I dressed with minty yoghurt. This fed four hungry mouths!!

Tray bake by my daughter!!

My 11 year old daughter baked her first cake/tray bake yesterday, under the watching eye of the BFM!!A right of passage or a skill for life and an additional part of her lockdown education.

I made it easy for her by buying a ready to use Chocolate and Salted Caramel kit from Dr Oetker. It is a bit pricey at £3 but has all the ingredients and even comes with a disposable, paper baking tray!! All we had to supply were the 3 eggs, butter and milk. We decided to add a few extras like marshmallows, grated Dime chocolate and red food colouring.

My daughter assembled all the utensils and ingredients and followed the instructions to a tee. I have taught her to make sure she is fully prepped in terms of all ingredients, utensils and then to clean up as she goes along!! She also realised that a silicone spatula was much easier to use than the wooden spoon as recommended.

Great care was taken with the operation of the oven (H&S!!). The baking time was maybe 5 minutes too long and I guess we all know our ovens!! Whilst the bake cooled she whipped up the salted caramel buttery icing and added the food colouring. When cooled she applied the icing, marshmallows and chocolate shavings.
We did refrigerate the finished bake for an hour and then cut into 18 pieces (the serving suggestion recommended 12!!).The result was a very, very happy girl!! Suffice to say they went down a treat with a cup of tea during our movie night yesterday!!

Cheesy nacho movie snax

My girls wanted to have movie night and snax last night so I had to oblige!! Had homemade pop corn last week and last night it was nachos…..the result is below……..

It’s pretty straightforward, the ingredients are:

1. 150g of your favourite nachos (mine are cheesy Doritos, my wife loves the chilli ones, kids love the plain ones, so I used plain).

2. 100 g grated cheese (our favourite has to be extra mature/vintage cheddar, grated).

3. 1 small, finely diced, white onion.

4. 3, chopped and ripe vine tomatoes.

5. A handful of finely chopped coriander.

6. 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup and yes Heinz is best!!

7. About 10-15 sliced jalapeños (or more if you are adventurous!!).

8. Salt and pepper.

I had everything prepped before hand and refrigerated except for the nachos. Here’s how I did it:

Dice onions, tomatoes and cut the coriander. Add the ketchup, salt and pepper and mix in a bowl-that’s the salsa done. Grate the cheese and slice fresh jalapeños or use pre sliced ones. At this stage can add fresh garlic, Chillies or chilli sauce to have an extra kick.

When ready to cook/heat place the nachos evenly on a baking tray, lined with foil or parchment paper. Layer the salsa evenly and then sprinkle with cheese (can add more or less as per taste). Lastly sprinkle with jalapeños (I put on half as kids not big fans!!).

I cooked them in our new Halogen oven/ air fryer for about 8 minutes at 240oC but you can put into preheated oven at 250oC for 4-5 minutes or under a grill. I quartered the nachos with a spatula and served up for movie time snax!!