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COOKING NEWSLETTER - JANUARY 2012

Welcome to the Hub-UK Newsletter. If you have ideas that you think might work we would love to hear from you and by the same token if you think something is rubbish let us know . . . but do it nicely! newsletter@hub-uk.com

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AROUND THE SUPERMARKET  

There is always something happening in supermarkets - new products, product demonstrations, shelves reorganised so you can't find anything. Not always interesting, quite often boring and sometimes a chore but just occasionally something catches your eye, something is interesting . . .

Schwartz Recipe Inspirations Kits

SchwartzNoticed a new Schwartz product on the supermarket shelves this month. I assume it has only just been launched as it was not particularly prominent in my local supermarket, in fact it was in a position where most people would walk past without noticing.

The new product is called Recipe Inspirations Kit and currently there are four different ones in the range. It is on a promotional special offer at the moment and is half price which is 99p. This would mean that its true price is £1.98 which I think would be rather expensive when you see the quantity of herbs and spices in a pack.

Tray-Baked Piri Piri ChickenThe packaging is really what you are paying for and it certainly catches the eye. You can see from the product image that there are six small blister packs containing the various herbs or spices. On the back of the packaging you will find the particular recipe this collection of herbs and spices has been put together to make. It is intended that you can cut out recipe in order to make a recipe card collection which would suggest that Schwartz intend to broaden the range of recipes available.

Whether there will be further recipes remains to be seen as it will obviously depend on how successful the initial launch of the product is.

Ever fancied a cooking holiday? Ever fancied learning
to make bread - www.cookingholidays.co.uk

There are four recipes available at launch and they are Tray-Baked Piri Piri Chicken, Creamy Pan-Fried Pork with Apple and Sage, Beef and Beer Stew with Herb Dumplings and Rosemary Roasted Chicken & Potatoes. I did not think these were particularly inspiring dishes to create, especially when it is a new product. However that is just my personal opinion. I am sure there are plenty of people who would enjoy these dishes.

I have not had time to try making one of them as yet, and I am not sure they inspire me enough to want to do so. But then again perhaps they are not targeted at those of us who already cook and experiment but those who are afraid to try cooking something a little different.

If any of the dishes are something you enjoy then give it a go and see how it turns out. If successful you will not have to buy another one of these packs, just keep the recipe card and buy the larger bottles of herbs and spices. In the long run that would be a lot more cost-effective, with the added bonus that you can adjust the quantities to suit your own personal tastes.

The video below demonstrates the making of the Tray-Baked Piri Piri Chicken. Have a look and see what you think and if any of you try it before I do why not let me know what you think.

Editorial note: This site is not paid to promote any of the products or places featured in this newsletter.

EASY TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING CORNERS  

When someone says they have an easy to cook recipe the reaction is almost invariably that it must be boring. This simple trout recipe from Natoora goes to show that good food can be simple to prepare.

TROUT WITH ARTICHOKE PURÉE

Ingredients:

For the purée:
500g Jerusalem artichokes
75ml double cream
80g butter
juice of 1 small lemon
salt and pepper

For the fish:
extra virgin olive oil
4 trout fillets
50g butter

How to make:

  • For the purée, peel and chop the artichokes then place in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil.

  • Allow to simmer for around 8 - 10 minutes until tender.

  • Then drain and puree them with the cream and lemon juice using a blender.

  • Blend until smooth, then transfer to a saucepan with the butter, some salt and pepper.

  • Keep warm until ready to serve.

  • For the fish, heat the oil in a non-stick pan.

  • Season well and when the oil is nicely hot, add to the pan, skin side down.

  • Cook for 4 minutes until golden brown and so that the fish is nearly cooked.

  • Turn the fillets over and add the butter.

  • Cook for a further 1 - 2 minutes until cooked through.

  • Now spoon the puree onto each plate, place the fish on top and serve with salad or seasonal vegetables.

www.natoora.co.uk

SOUP OF THE MONTH  

ITALIAN COURGETTE SOUP

CourgettesThe Italians have long been making quick and easy soups. With the fresh ingredients and short cooking times these are not only very nutritious but also possess a wonderful freshness of flavour.

This recipe uses courgettes (unseasonable but still available) but it works equally well with marrow or cucumber. You can apply the same preparation and cooking method as below to many other variations . . . you might just need to cook the soup a little longer for root vegetables like carrots or blanch and refresh leaf vegetables like spinach first.

Ingredients:

500 gm courgettes
50 ml olive oil
25 gm flour
1 1/2 ltr chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbs basil - fresh and finely chopped
1 tbs mint - fresh and finely chopped
75 ml cream

How to make:

  • Rinse the courgettes, top and tail if required and cut into small pieces.

  • Place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (complete in two or three lots depending on the size of the processor).

  • Lightly heat the oil in a saucepan, add the courgette and gently cook until lightly softened but not browned and oil has been absorbed (approximately 2 - 3 minutes).

  • Sprinkle in the flour and stir through. This small amount of flour is to allow the oil to be absorbed more and lightly thicken the soup, it may be omitted if you wish.

  • Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes.

  • Stir in the basil and mint.

  • Stir through the cream and allow to boil once more.

  • Pour into bowls and serve with grated / shaved cheese on top such as cheddar, parmesan, pecorino, etc.

Serves 6 to 8

Tallyrand

WHEN SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE  

RICH SCONES

Ingredients 

8 oz self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 oz margarine
1 oz sugar
2 tsp currants or sultanas
1 egg and milk to make 1/4 pt liquid

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C / Gas mark 7.

  • Mix flour and salt.

  • Rub in margarine.

  • Mix in sugar and fruit and add enough liquid to make a soft dough.

  • Turn onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness.

  • Cut into rounds.

  • Place on a greased baking tray and brush the tops with any remaining liquid.

  • Bake in the preheated oven fro approximately 10 minutes (ovens vary).
THE MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES  

Baked beans, baked beans, they're the beans for me!

A few years ago two chefs, that worked for Heinz, reckoned there is an exact science in order to enjoy baked beans on toast at their best. According to them to get the perfect dish you need to follow this method:

  • Use only white bread, cut to a thickness of 1.56cm (just over half an inch).

  • Toast it in an oven grill and never in a toaster.

  • Always butter the toast - never use margarine.

  • The butter must be unsalted butter and chilled to exactly 16.5ºC.

  • The beans themselves should be cooked at 63.5ºC.

  • Spooned over the toast and not poured over.

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