Monthly Archives: March 2009

On the Rocky Road!



Well, F1 is back and wasn’t it a great start to the season. With the underdogs of Brawn GP dominating in qualifying and the the race itself. It is quite impressive considering that they did not really have a team until 3 weeks ago. I would like to wish Brawn GP and Jenson Button especially, lots of luck for the future. You have had an awful few years and survived to tell the tale. I will be cheering for you!

On another F1 note, I would like wish Mark Webber good luck for the 2009 season and congratulate for the progress he has made despite his injury over the winter months. Mark is known has Mr Unlucky in F1 and I would like to tell him to keep his chin up, as his time for a GP win will come. Mark, you are favourite F1 driver and I will be cheering for you!

Today’s recipe is called Rocky Road. It is an adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s recipe from Nigella Express It is a really simple recipe to make and it is the one recipe that I get the most compliments for, except for my curry recipe. (The secret to my curry will be revealed at a later date!)

Ingredients
50g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
1 tablespoon runny honey
500g milk chocolate
10 digestive biscuits, in a freezer bag, bashed with rolling pin into small bits (or you can do it in a food processor if you are felling lazy or not angry enough to hit something!)
handful of marshmallows

Optional extras
Amaretti biscuits (based up in same way as digestives – do not add if anyone eating it is allergic to nuts!)
Glace cherries
sultanas
add to your own taste)

Method

In a saucepan, melt butter, golden syrup and chocolate in saucepan over low heat. once melted, turn off heat and add digestives and marshmallows. Mix well and carefully as yo do not want bits flying over the kitchen. Add any other optional ingredient if wanted as well. Put mix into small baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with icing sugar and put in fridge for a few hours or overnight. Chop up into small squares with sharp knife. Make sure they are small because it can be quite sweet and it is full of calories. Eat and enjoy!

My next post will be on GIS. Simple stuff that you may not know how to do with the GIS. I hope you all have a great week. I am looking to the weekend, as its another F1 GP in Malaysia and the BTCC starts at Brands Hatch. I can’t wait!

Happy Cooking!

Jo

Trains, Trains, Trains!

On Friday Night, Stuart and I decided that we would meet up in Birmingham and go for a meal at Wong’s. (Restaurant information below). This sounded such a simple plan. I would get the train to work in Worcester on the morning and then the train to Birmingham after I had finished work.

However, things are never quite that simple. I left work to late to get the fast train to Birmingham so I had to get the train that stops at nearly every station between Worcester and Birmingham. This was going OK and I was on Twitter to make the journey go quicker. Except, when we got to Kidderminster, the train had technical difficulties and had to be cancelled. I had to wait 20 minutes for the next train. This meant I did meet Stuart in Birmingham until 7.45pm and our table was booked at 8pm. I arrived very harassed and annoyed at the train company. I felt much better after a glass of wine!

I am sorry for my rant about the trains, I had to get it out of my system. I would use them more if they could run like the train services in Europe and Japan. (I.e on time, clean and very efficient)

Anyway, on a different subject, let me tell you about Wong’s. It is a Chinese Bar and Restaurant on Fleet Street in Birmingham. Contact details are below.

Wong’s

Bar and Restaurant

5-11 Fleet Street

Birmingham

B3 1JP

Tel: 0121 212 1888

View Larger Map

Wong’s is the best Chinese restaurant in Birmingham and the surrounding area, in my opinion. There are no pictures for the food I am afraid. Its a bit posh and as I am not recognised Restaurant Critic I did not want any funny looks!

We had:

Chicken Yuk Sung

Crispy Duck with Hoisin sauce and pancakes

Fried Chicken with hot and spicy garlic sauce

Venison with ginger and spring onions

Egg Fried Rice

Mixed Veg with black bean sauce

and two bottles of red wine and some tap water. The bill came to £86 in total. This is quite a lot for a normal Chinese but trust me, Wong’s is well worth the money for a treat occasionally. I am urge you go there and give it a try. Local Chinese families go there to celebrate occasions and it is nearly always quite busy. I suggest you book a table.

However, don’t take my opinion about it. Give it a go for yourself. Let me know what you think. Also, Stuart and I enjoy eating out so if you have any recommendations for restaurants or pubs anywhere please let me know either on the blog or through Twitter.

I will post another recipe over the weekend or on Monday.

Happy Cooking!

Jo




Down the Mexican Way…


Yesterday I decided to have a go and make my own Chilli Con Carne for the very first time. I have made it many times before, but mostly using Uncle Ben’s sauces, which I know is cheating in a big way!

On Saturday, I asked the wonderful people who use Twitter if they had a good recipe for Chili Con Carne. I had responses from @FizzyDuck and @BigSpud I used a combination of there suggestions to make my Chilli Con Carne. I consider the recipe below to be a draft recipe as I have only made it once and I think it needs refining slightly, so don’t take this recipe has correct and feel free to make any changes you want to it and let me know how it went for you. (By the way, Stuart and I do not like kidney beans so there are none in this recipe. If you want to add them, add them in at the same time as the tomatoes or passata.)

Ingredients
1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 large red or green chili, seeds removed, chopped finely
Olive Oil
500g steak mince
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons hot chilli powder
1 Cinnamon stick
1 oxo beef cube
400g tin of chopped tomatoes or passata
1 tablespoon chilli ketchup (I use Heinz)
few drops of Worcestershire Sauce
few drops of soy sauce
hot water from the kettle
Salt and pepper
rice or garlic bread to serve

Method
In a large saucepan (I use a Le Creuset casserole pot 24cm), put in the olive oil and allow to warm slightly. Add the onions, and the dried spices and some salt (it draws the water out of the onions, so they go soft but not brown) and allow to cook until the onions are nearly soft. Then add the chilli and the garlic and stir before adding the mince.

Allow the mince to brown, and add the oxo cube (just crumble it in). Then add the tomatoes and kidney beans (if using). Add the chilli ketchup, Worcestershire and Soy sauce. Add hot water should the sauce get to thick and allow to simmer for 10 min’s. Put the Cinnamon stick in when you simmer it, as if you leave it in there too long, it will taste of apple pie (not good!) Once the chilli is at the right consistency for you, serve with rice and garlic bread. Enjoy!

To finish this week, I will leave you with a couple of my favorite cookbooks for you to read and enjoy. The links will take you to the Amazon UK site. I recommend them both highly. Please let me know if you agree or disagree.

Cook with Jamie – My Guide to Making You a Better Cook by Jamie Oliver

In The Mood for Food by Jo Pratt

Happy Cooking!

Jo



Beef Chili on Foodista

Hello and Welcome to my Blog!

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for checking out my new blog. My blog has the title says is going to be about ‘Anything and Everything’ however I do have some interests that will probably take over many of these pages. They are (in no particular order):

  • Cooking
  • Watching Food TV programmes
  • Reading and buying many cookery books
  • Watching motor racing (especially Formula 1 and the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC))
  • I work as a GIS Technician at the University of Worcester, UK (I use ESRI ArcGIS 9.3- if anyone is interested), therefore GIS will also feature on my blog
  • Archaeology and history will also occasionally pop up on my blog.

I will post recipes on here, some which I have invented myself and others from cookery books I love. (Full credit will be given to any concerned celebrity chefs out there!) I will write book, film and TV reviews on here as well.

I am not sure how often I will blog, but I will try and do it once every week or two weeks. I will post a link on Twitter whenever I blog.

To start how I mean to go on, here is a recipe for Carrot Soup, that my godmother Rebecca gave to me. It is very simple and very tasty. (Sorry for no picture but it has been a while since I made it)

Ingredients
2-3 red onions
3 sticks of celery (or a celery heart if you prefer)
3-4 large carrots or 6 smaller carrots
onion salt or sea salt
black pepper
1/2 pint veg stock
olive oil

to make it a carrot and coriander soup you need:
1 teaspoon Ground coriander
a bunch of coriander to taste, chopped

Directions
Peel and chop red onions into chunks
Chop up celery onto chunks
Peel and chop carrots into chunks
Add olive oil into a pan, allow to heat up and add onions. celery and carrots. (if adding coriander, add the ground coriander now as well)
Cook until softened (about 10 mins or so)
add veg stock and allow to simmer until carrots are cooked through.
Season to taste
purée to smooth consistency (if too thick add more stock)
add coriander (if using) and serve with crusty bread

Please let me know any comments you have about my recipes, if they work for you or not. I may be able to offer advice to help you get it right next time. Please let me know what you think of my blog as well.

Check out my friend Geokaren’s blog if you like food, cooking and anything geospatial

Thanks

Jo

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