Monthly Archives: August 2011

Tesco Real Food BBQ Challenge

This summer, Tesco has part of their Real Food campaign is asking Britain’s guys and girls to take part in a BBQ challenge. They are hosting a battle of the sexes to find out who rules the roost when it comes to cooking on the BBQ. I have been invited to take part and have been lucky enough to sent a portable suitcase BBQ and some Ipod speakers so I can party while I am cooking my dishes to take part in this challenge.

There are lots of categories that you can enter dishes into including burgers, chicken, fish and desserts. The judges are looking for dishes that provide a twist on a BBQ classic and stand out from all the others. The competition is running for 3 weeks with the first weekly winner being chosen on Wednesday 24th August and last being chosen  on Wednesday 7th September. Each weekly winner will receive a gas BBQ worth up to £250. It will be up to you to decide whether the guys or the girls by the number of likes you give the recipes on the BBQ challenge Facebook page.

What are you waiting for? Come on girls! Lets show them that BBQ cooking is not just a male thing. We can do it just as well and probably better. Here is one of my favourite girlie tunes to get you inspired to get in the garden and get cooking! Sisters are doing it for themselves!! :-)

I will be back in a week or so with my BBQ recipes that I am submitting for this challenge.

Many thanks to Helen from Tesco for inviting me to take part in this challenge :-)

Happy BBQing! :-)

Hairy Biker’s Cauliflower Cheese

Since finding out I was pregnant, I have been eating more comfort food and food that is generally easy to prepare, as my taste buds no longer like too much spice or complicated flavourings and I have little energy to prepare anything too complicated. One of my favourite things to eat ever is cauliflower cheese. I have already blogged my recipe for it here and it is one thing I turn back to again and again in times of need.

A little while ago, the Hairy Bikers appeared on The Great British Food Revival, a BBC TV programme telling us about the glory of cauliflower and they shared a recipe for Perfect Cauliflower Cheese with Bacon and Mushrooms. I was intrigued, could my beloved cauliflower cheese be improved by the addition of bacon and mushrooms or would it be too overpowering and destroy my favourite dish? Either way, I knew I had to find out so below is my adapted version of the Hairy Biker’s cauliflower cheese with bacon and mushrooms.

Cauliflower Cheese with Bacon and Mushrooms

Ingredients (serves 1 hungry person as a main or 2 as a side dish)

  • 1 bag of prepared cauliflower and/or broccoli florets
  • 1 packet of bacon lardons/pancetta cubes  
  • 6-8 Chestnut mushrooms, peeled and finely sliced
  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 25g butter
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of plain flour
  • Big handful of cheese – I use cheddar but use any strong cheese that you like
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Method

  1. In a frying pan, put in the olive oil and allow to heat up. Fry the bacon lardons/pancetta cubes in the oil until brown and crispy.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and put on a piece of kitchen towel to drain. Fry the mushrooms until cooked through in the remaining bacon fat and olive oil. Leave to drain on kitchen towel until needed.
  3. Meanwhile, boil or steam the cauliflower/broccoli until tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, add in the butter and cook gently until melted. Add in the two tablespoons of flour and whisk until combined. Allow it to cook out for a minute to remove the raw taste from the flour. Put in the milk and whisk the sauce regularly until it is smooth and thickened. Take off the heat otherwise it will over cook.
  5. Add in salt and white pepper to taste, along with the nutmeg and mustard. Add in most of the cheese but leave some back for the topping and stir until melted. Add the cooked bacon and mushrooms into the sauce.
  6. Put the cooked cauliflower/broccoli in an oven proof dish. Pour the sauce over and then sprinkle with any remaining cheese. Put under a hot grill for a few minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Serve and enjoy.

Overall, I was very impressed with this dish. I am not sure that I would cook cauliflower cheese with the extras in all the time, but if you have guests round and want to bring it up a notch, then this certainly fits the bill. Well Dave and Simon, you have showed me a way to make cauliflower cheese even better. Thanks guys! :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

PS: Apologies for the absent and the long gap in between posts. If you would like to know why, please see the post on Jo’s Nursery here

Product Review: Hotel Chocolat The Sleekster Everything Collection

A little while ago, I reviewed a fantastic Easter egg from Hotel Chocolat. Well this time, I have been lucky enough to be sent to review The Sleekster Everything Collection from their new summer range. Hotel Chocolat have a wide range of Sleeksters designed to suit everyone’s tastes. They are designed so that they can be posted and put through letterboxes with ease, making them the ideal gift for a loved one who lives a bit further away.They can be delivered the next day or on a day of your choosing, so you know they will always get there perfect.

The Everything Collection does pretty much what it says on the box and includes something that will suit everyone’s tastes so is ideal for sharing. I shared my box with the girls at work and we all loved the chocolates. Our favourites included, Brownie, Butterscotch ganache and Milk Liquid Caramel. The selection also included a few praline chocolates which we tasty but slightly overpowering for some of our tastes. There are two of each chocolate types in the box and 14 types of chocolate in all, which is reasonably good value of money as the box costs £20. It may be slightly too expensive as an every day box of chocolates but for a special occasion, I believe it is well worth the money. I am hoping that Stuart will buy me another box soon :-) *Hint Hint!*

Many thanks to Hotel Chocolat and Beth at Jam and Cream PR for sending me the chocolates to review. It is much appreciated. :-)

Cupcakes by Chrissie Competition Winner

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about a children’s cupcake decorating workshop that I went to with Cupcakes by Chrissie. I had a fantastic time. Over the last two weeks, I have been running a competition to win a workshop with Chrissie and learn how to decorate fabulous cupcakes yourself.

In total, there were 16 entrants to the competition:  Cupcakes by Chrissie Competition Entrants who gave the correct answer to the following question:

What is the number of the Wilton piping nozzle used to make the grass on my cupcakes?

A) 244

B) 211

C) 233

The answer is C – 233. Well done to everyone who got the answer correct. The winner was selected by Random.org and I am pleased to announce that it is Natalie Cullip. Well done to Natalie. I will be in touch soon with what you need to do next. Thanks to everyone for taking part.

Happy Cooking! (or Baking!) :-)

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