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COOKING NEWSLETTER - NOVEMBER 2011

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  

GüThere 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 . . .

Goo or Gü . . .

The other day I published a video recipe for a Hot Chocolate drink by Fred Ponnavoy the Head Chef at Gü. This got me to thinking that, whilst I had tried a couple of desserts from Gü, I had not tried the more sumptuous sounding ones.

Now I have!

These are not the cheapest pudding on the supermarket shelves but they are the quality one . . . and trying to resist them as you pass by is difficult after you have succumbed once. There is no point boring you with descriptions of each dessert as no matter how eloquent I was you would still not know how good they are. Anyway why spoil the fun – you should try them out for yourself.

My local supermarket only stocks a limited range so I shall have to go further afield to satisfy myself as to the quality of these wonderful desserts. These two are on my short-list to try:

Hot chocolate souffle Chocolate torte
Hot chocolate souffle Chocolate torte

Potted background to Gü

Gü is one of those products you have regularly seen on the supermarket shelves but have you ever wondered who or what Gü is?

Gü was started by James Averdieck when he came up with the idea for a top-notch chocolate pud brand when he was working in Belgium and fell in love with the local patisseries and their chocolate.

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

He then met Perry from Big Fish who helped him brand the range and together, they sneakily slipped some Gü sample boxes on to the shelf of the local supermarket and watched shoppers grab them immediately. It was a triumph!

So Gü was launched with three products in 2003 and now it is estimated that a Gü pud is eaten somewhere in the world every 2 seconds. These days there is a whole range and you can find out more on the Gü web site.

Now get tempted by one of the great Gu ads:

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

AROUND THE SUPERMARKET FOLLOW UP  

Follow up to Last month's Around the Supermarke

Last month saw Morrisons new range of ready meals featured in this section and they were a big recommendation. Those featured still are but having just tried the Beef Wellington I have to say I will never buy it again. Very disappointing, and if that was fillet steak it was the poorest piece of fillet steak I have ever eaten . . . and since when did fillet steak have fat in the middle?

I am not someone who usually leaves food on a plate but I left two-thirds of it. The dog was not so fussy and he enjoyed the meat!

Morrisons Beef Wellington
LIVING THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN  

Spanish Cooking Chorizo

Making Spanish chorizoThe Spanish chorizo has gained worldwide fame for flavour, character and versatility in cooking, ask any Spanish butcher and his recipe will without doubt be the best, secret ingredients and all . . . Spanish chorizo (pronounced: ‘chor-ee-tho’) is a cured pork sausage widely available in Spain in many different varieties. Chorizo can be smoked in the north of Spain whereas in the south it is simply left to cure unsmoked – both are good but where chorizo is concerned nothing beats pure Spanish quality and that means searching out the local family run businesses that have been making these sausages for generations.

We are talking about the kind of chorizos you see hanging behind every ‘carniceria’ in Spain, the strings of paprika infused pork sausages hand tied together in the blink of an eye by family members that once stood behind the rustic counter of the now bright and shining work tops of the rural village butchers. Run by their sons and daughters, there is something about quality hand made produce like this in Spain that will never die and nor should it as artisan chorizo really is in a class of its own.

To taste good chorizo is to experience a real flavour of Spain, sliced chorizo in a vacuum pack may have its place as a quick ‘tapa’ but when it comes to cooking the artisan chorizo excels. Chorizo can be used as an ingredient in many dishes from soups and stews to being braised in red wine and barbequed along with chicken and other meats. There is also something about chorizo with beans such as the Asturian dish ‘Fabada Asturiana’ which works with such perfection only a fool would dare to change the traditional recipe. When cooked or lightly fried the chorizo releases all its flavours and colours turning and flavouring partners like chicken a paprika red and adding that unmistakable Spanish twist on tapas or main meals.

Spanish chorizoFresh not raw – Chorizo by its very nature is a cured sausage, most ‘fresh’ chorizos will have been cured for around seven to ten days and feel soft yet firm to the touch. Young chorizo sausages such as these can be classed as ‘cooking chorizos’ which are great for the barbeque, grilling or using as an ingredient. Chorizo should be a deep red in colour and you may often notice a white mould on the outer skin which is a sign that the chorizo has been hung and cured in the right conditions just like a fine cheese. When buying freshly cured Spanish chorizo from Spain it will usually arrive vacuum packed (depending on type, variety and supplier) once the pack is opened the sausages should be hung in a cool dry place where they will continue to cure and firm up.

Fresh chorizo sausages straight from the vacuum pack are exactly that – fresh and although cured your chorizos will need a little air to circulate around them. Put them back in their natural environment, release them from frustration and let them cure to perfection in natural air where you can then slice them for the next casserole or tapas dish. Chorizo sausage storage does tend to be and will continue to be a burning issue, depending on how they come, type and where they originate. For comprehensive, easy to understand advice from the experts and from Spanish producers contact www.orceserranohams.com

Cooking Chorizo:

The barbeque is the chorizo’s best friend and where it arguably performs best, grilled chorizo deserves a status all of its own in the gastronomic world over red hot charcoal or naked flame and no matter which strength you choose (mild or spicy) those typical flavours of Spain will ooze out over the flames ending up on the tapas table, in the casserole or perhaps the rustic broth producing a fabulous and unique Spanish flavour.

Types of Spanish chorizo >>>

EASY TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING CORNERS  

This cake makes a great alternative to the normal Christmas fruit cake or better still used to compliment it. Why not serve the fruit cake on Christmas Day and the chestnut cake on Christmas Eve with a deep, rich, strong cup of coffee.

CHESTNUT CAKE

Ingredients:

500gm chestnuts - peeled
250ml milk
250gm caster sugar
6 egg yolks
100gm butter - melted
100gm almonds - finely chopped
100gm dark cooking chocolate
50ml brandy
1 lemon
6 egg whites

How to make:

  • Brush the cake tin (25 - 27cm round) lightly with some melted butter and lightly flour

  • With a small sharp pointed knife, make two slits on the flat side of the chestnuts in a cross formation

  • Place the chestnuts on a roasting tray in a very hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes (you can buy them whole or puréed in tins, jars or frozen but fresh taste better)

  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly and peel. The chestnuts must still be hot to warm while peeling, if allowed to cool too much they will be difficult to peel

  • To prepare the cake break the chocolate into pieces and melt in the microwave or in a double boiler (bain-marie) and set aside

  • Place the peeled chestnuts in the milk with a little extra sugar, bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 15 minutes until soft

  • Drain and puree the chestnuts in a food processor

  • Place the sugar and eggs in a bowl and whisk until thickened

  • Add the melted butter and combine

  • Add the chopped almonds, chocolate, zest and juice of the lemon and the brandy and combine

  • Whisk the egg whites to the stiff peak stage and fold gently into the above mixture

  • Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in the middle of a preheated oven at 180ºC for 45 minutes.

Tallyrand

SOUP OF THE MONTH  

TUSCAN BREAD AND TOMATO SOUP

Ingredients:

500g tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
crushed chillies
basil
1lt beef stock
300g day old bread
extra virgin olive oil

How to make:

  • Heat some oil in a large saucepan or pot.

  • Gently fry the garlic and some chillies, removing the garlic when golden brown.

  • Puree the tomatoes then add to the pot with some basil and cook for a couple of minutes.

  • Then add the bread, thinly sliced and mix.

  • When the bread has soaked up the sauce, add the hot stock.

  • Season with salt and pepper.

  • Cook for 15 minutes adding more stock if necessary.

  • Rest for an hour, then mix again to dissolve the bread.

  • Serve hot, but not piping hot, with a drizzle of olive oil and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Serves 4

www.natoora.co.uk

WHEN SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE  

ALMOND SHORTBREAD FINGERS

Sliced almondsIngredients 

10oz plain flour
2oz cornflour
9oz butter
4oz caster sugar
2oz ground almonds
Almond essence
Flaked almonds
Caster sugar to dust

Method

  • Preheat the oven to160°C / 325°F / Gas mark 3

  • Put flour and cornflour into a bowl.

  • Cut butter and rub into the flour.

  • Stir in the sugar, almonds and the almond essence.

  • Using your hands press the mixture into a 18cm x 28cm x 4cm tin.

  • Mark into 18 bars with a knife and sprinkle with almonds and a littel caster sugar.

  • Bake in preheated oven for approximately 35 minuites until golden brown.

  • Remove form oven and cut into bars.

  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.
THE MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES  

Christmas Dinner

So you want to cook a roast turkey but lack the confidence or the know how?

Roast turkey

The Hub-UK step-by step guide takes you through how to cook a roast turkey Christmas dinner from preparing the turkey, planning the meal to finally pouring the gravy!

Read How to cook a Roast Turkey . . .

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