Cook, Bake and Eat do Ready Steady Cook #6

So we’ve been a bit rubbish haven’t we? It’s been almost four months and we haven’t shared any Ready Steady Cook shenanigans with you – oops! Please forgive us. We can’t really say anything other than things have been busy and we’ve just been rescheduling challenge #6 again and again. We promise to do better from now on though – and do yell at us if we fail in that respect. You have our permission! Anyway we are now back with a bang and a truly scrumptious recipe, enjoy!
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The ingredients that Lau chose were: beef mince, parmesan, kidney beans in a chilli sauce (a mistake buy it has to be said), bread and sweet potatoes. Quite a good mix of ingredients if you ask me and I honestly couldn’t wait to get creating a delicious dish. After much deliberation I finally decided on a meatball bake which it turns out is delicious and easy to make. My two favourite things in a recipe!
So how do you make it I hear you ask, well here goes. First off you will need the following:
  • 450g beef mince
  • 2slices of bread
  • 2eggs
  • 1giant sweet potato
  • 1tin of kidney beans in chilli
  • half a jar of passatta (200g)
  • 20g grated parmesan cheese
  1. Pulverise two pieces of bread into breadcrumbs then combine them in a large bowl with 450g of mince and two eggs.
  2. Leave them in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours so the mixture is easy to work with, then form them into meatballs. In terms of size you should aim for about twenty small ones – think Ikea meatball sized!
  3. Pop the meatballs in the bottom of your casserole dish and bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 180 until they are almost cooked all the way through.
  4. Meanwhile peel and slice your sweet potato into slices about 2cm thick.
  5. Add them to a pan of boiling water and bring to the boil.
  6. Once the water’s boiling cook them for another ten minutes or so until a fork goes in easily.
  7. Drain the potatoes and slice each thick slice into two or three thinner slices.
  8. Next mix your tin of kidney beans with 200g of pasatta.
  9. Once your meatballs come out of the oven pour the tomato and bean mixture over the top of them so it’s spread evenly.
  10. Layer the sweet potatoes on top and then sprinkle with 20g of grated parmesan cheese
  11. Return the dish to the oven and cook for half an hour until the dish is piping hot.
  12. Eat and enjoy!

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I honestly was so pleased with how this turned out – it really was so scrumptious and it makes a change from using mince for spag bol, chilli or lasagna. Plus it’s perfect for rainy, dark and depressing days – so why not give it a try. We’d love to know how it goes down in your house!
– Fi xxx

Cook, Bake and Eat do Ready Steady Cook #5

Hello lovely people and welcome to the first round of Ready Steady Cook in 2014. This time it was Fi’s turn to choose the five key ingredients that I had to cook with. For some reason I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this challenge – I think because I didn’t do much cooking in December, so I was itching for a chance to get going. The five ingredients that Fi picked are below…

 

broccoli / cod / passata / brown rice / bacon lardons

As soon as I saw these ingredients I was grinning as it seemed like the perfect chance to create something warm and delicious for dinner. So that’s exactly what I did on the first Sunday of January. Aside from the ingredients that Fi gave me I also used 1 red onion and 3 tablespoons of double cream as we had some in the fridge already.

Here’s what I did to create cod with bacon and tomato sauce on brown rice.

1. Fry the chopped onion until slightly soft, then add the bacon lardons (NB we only used half of the bacon in this pack) and continue to fry. While this is cooking, cook the broccoli in the usual way. Preheat the oven to 180 ̊C and place the cod in some oiled foil ready for the oven.

2. Once the bacon is cooked add the carton of passata sauce and some herbs. I went for some mixed herbs as I wanted an italian flavour to the dish. I don’t have amounts as I just did it by taste and smell as I went along (sorry). Once you’ve started the sauce you can cook your rice – I did this in the microwave as I could leave it alone for 18 minutes, only stirring every now and again. Once the rice is in put your cod in the oven for 17 mins.

3. Once the sauce has thickened add in the double cream, this makes the sauce really creamy, but isn’t strictly necessary. We had some leftover in the fridge so I figured I may as well throw it in! Leave the sauce to simmer until your fish is cooked.

4. The rice, cod and sauce should all be ready at around about the same time, so now just construct your plate of food and enjoy!

Just a quick note to make – This gave us twice as much sauce as what we actually needed, so next time we would use half the amount of passata, the bacon and the cream.We’ll definitely be making this again as it was scrumptious!

Lau xx

p.s. Check out the new banner that Fi made for this series in 2014. I love it 🙂

Cook Bake and Eat do Ready Steady Cook #4

Greetings fellow foodies and how are you this merry Wednesday? Can you believe that there’s just over a month until Christmas, how exciting is that – I’m not sure I can bear it. I’m almost buzzing with excitement and I can’t wait until it’s okay to wear my Christmas jumper in public, it’s still too soon right? Today’s post is the fourth instalment of this here Ready Steady Cook business, I bet you’re excited to see what we’ve been nibbling on aren’t you?! Well read on…

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So as Lau mentioned in her last post, we’ve sort of changed the rules of the challenge, so now it’s five ingredients and not £5. As let’s be honest sometimes you want to treat yourself which you can’t always do for just £5. The ingredients Lau picked for me were a pack of sausages, lots of raspberries, brownie mix, sweet potatoes and digestive biscuits. As you can see from the ingredients, someone fancied brownies! As for what I made, I went for a classic autumn recipe with the sausages and made a toad in the hole, which was out-of-this-world in its deliciousness. It was so good that I now want it every single week, there’s just something about the crunchy top of the Yorkshire pudding and the squishy doughy inside – scrumptious pairing if you ask me.

The toad in the hole was a breeze to make, simply

  • cook the sausages for ten minutes in your dish (add some vegetable oil so they don’t stick)
  • Combine two eggs and 140g plain flour to form a smooth paste. Then add in 175ml of milk a bit at a time, stirring continuously.
  • Pour the batter mix over the sausages so that they are 2/3 covered
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes
  • If you’re like me you’ll forget to take pictures of the finished article, whoops! It was just too good I couldn’t help it!

I served out toad in the hole with ketchup and sweet potato fries, see here for the recipe we used. An interesting combination I agree, but delicious nonetheless!

For pudding I created a new form of brownie: The raspberry, chocolate and biscuit brownie AKA brownie heaven! To make these wonderful creations you do the following:

  • Line your brownie pan and then spread the bottom with broken up digestive biscuits
  • Make up the brownie mix as per the instructions on the pack before adding in half of your raspberries – slowly stir to combine
  • Pour the mix over the biscuit base
  • Sprinkle the rest of the raspberries on top
  • Bake as per the brownie mix instructions

So there you have it, an amazingly delicious ready steady cook meal, what do you think, did I do good?

Now over to Lau for the scores, argh the pressure! Fi x

Hello, here are the scores on the doors –

Use of Ingredients – 10/10

Ingenuity – 10/10

Taste – 10/10

So full marks all round from me. Both of the dishes that Fi cooked were completely delicious, used all the ingredients well and had clever thinking so I couldn’t mark any other way!

Lau xx

 

Ready Steady Cook #3

Hello foodie friends and welcome to part 3 of our attempt at Ready Steady Cook. If you need a reminder of past events then check out Part 1 and Part 2 here.

I’m going to start off by saying that we have slighty changed the rules around here. Basically we’ve realised that £5 is a pretty tough amount of money to get enough ingredients to do two courses. With that in mind we have updated the rules (see them here) so that instead of a £5 limit there is a 5 item limit. So the buyer picks five ingredients and challenges the ‘cook’ to make a two course meal for two people with them. All makes sense yes?

So onto part three of the challenge. Below are the ingredients that Fi picked for me to cook with.

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Turkey steaks, blue cheese, creme fraiche, caramel chocolate and shredded wheat.

Obviously with ingredients like this I knew I would be making a main course and pudding – nothing knew there then. I swear sometime soon we will end up with a starter and main in this challenge!

So first off I decided to make a turkey pasta dish with the turkey, blue cheese, creme fraiche and other ‘store cupboard’ ingredients. Here’s what I did.

  • Chopped the turkey steaks into smaller chunks.
  • Prepare and cook the pasta as normal, I also added some leftover broccoli that needed using up into the pan to cook with it.
  • While the pasta and turkey are cooking start on the sauce. Here I used a basic white sauce recipe then at the end I added a good chunk of blue cheese and a generous spoon of the cream. Stir this until you get a really creamy sauce.
  • Once all these are cooked drain the pasta/broccoli and add the turkey and blue cheese sauce to the pan.
  • Mix together – we also added some spinach leaves as we always have these in the fridge.

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So there we have it – a delicious blue cheese and turkey pasta for our main course. Seriously this was so good that I am debating using blue cheese in all future sauces from now on.

For the pudding my first thought was to melt the chocolate and mix it with the shredded wheat – kind of like your basic Easter nests – to make a tray bake. I then thought that I could take the Halloween theme and cut up the tray-bake into coffin shapes and give out to trick or treaters. So that was the plan, except then I actually started and I realised that caramel chocolate reacts differently to being melted than normal Cadbury’s chocolate. Basically it started to cool straight away, I don’t know if it’s because I used the microwave or if it’s just the caramel factor but I literally only had time to mix the two ingredients quickly together (using a lot of muscle) and shape into ball shapes before they had hardened! So we had truffle shaped caramel chocolate shredded wheat things. Not the best looking things, but quite tasty – if you could deal with the chewiness that is.

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So now over to Fi for her scores on the doors!

Use of ingredients: 8/10 – I thought the two courses were a fairly obvious choice for the ingredients, but they all worked so well that I can’t mark Lau down for that!

Ingenuity: 7/10 – The idea of chocolate coffins was inspired (even if it didn’t work) so I’m going to give Lau a 7/10 for ingenuity. Plus blue cheese in a sauce was the best thing ever so extra points for that!

Taste: 8/10 – everything was truly delicious and I could eat that pasta dish every day for the rest of my life and still adore it!

Lau xxx

Ready Steady Cook #2

Massive apologies one and all as it’s taken me FOREVER to actually write up this post about part two of our Ready Steady Cook challenge. I’m not sure what’s taken me so long apart from life generally getting in the way, so sorry about that and let’s get back to the business of a cooking challenge! As you might remember it was Lau’s turn to choose the mystery ingredients for me to cook with, and she presented me with the following: Scottish mackerel fillet (£2.00), milk chocolate (30p), a potato (98p), basic digestives (31p), Spinach (50p) and a pot of double cream (85p). In total my six ingredients came to £5.04, so only marginally over budget and actually if you remove the cost of the squares of chocolate and numerous digestives that I ate during the cooking process then we’re probably under budget! 20130922-162959.jpg

I was ever so slightly concerned when presented with my ingredients, not the sweet ones as I knew straight off what I’d make with those, but with the mackerel. Confession time: I’ve never cooked with mackerel before and I’ve only ever eaten it in pate form so I wasn’t sure where to start! I automatically thought pie but I didn’t know what kind really, but thankfully my good friend, the Good Food website, came to my rescue as I found this recipe for a mackerel pie which contained all of my ingredients. Perfect you say? I followed the recipe almost exactly:

  • Boil the potatoes until they are almost ready to eat
  • Cut them into chunks and lay half of them on the bottom of the two dishes
  • Remove the bones and skin from the fish and throw the flesh on top of the potato layer
  • Add the remainig potatoes to the top
  • Pour over the cream
  • Cover the dishes with foil and bake on 190°C for half an hour
  • Remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes until brown (or you’ve lost all patience!)
  • EAT with a side salad of spinach leaves

This mackerel pie was absolutely scrumptious and I can highly recommend it for the upcoming cooler evenings. As for the pudding side of things, I went for a simple rocky road recipe as with biscuits and chocolate it was begging to be done! Thankfully we have a massive collection of nuts and dried fruit in the cupboard so I had lots of options to add to the ingredients Lau gave me. For the Rocky Road I simply:

  • Melted the chocolate in the microwave
  • Mixed together the broken up digestives, raisins, sultanas, flaked almonds, hazelnuts and cashews in a separate bowl
  • Combined the two
  • Pressed the mixture into a lined tray
  • Cooled it all in the fridge for two hours before cutting them into large squares

This is possibly my favourite pudding idea, as it’s just so so simple and tastes divine. Also you don’t really need a lot to make it scrumptious! So there we have it my two yummy dishes: Mackerel and potato creamy pie and rocky road – yummy! Now we just need to know what Lau thought of my endeavors. So Lau, over to you…

Use of ingredients: 10/10 – I felt a bit mean with these ingredients, but Fi used them so well that she really does deserve top marks. 

Ingenuity: 7/10 – the fact that Fi picked something completely new deserves high marks, but the rocky road appears quite a lot in the flat so I think a seven is fair here. 

Taste: 10/10 – Totally delicious and the fish dish is one of my new favourites.

– Fi and Lau xx

Ready Steady Cook #1

So hello and welcome to the first installment of our Ready Steady Cook cooking challenge – I’m going to come up with a short catchy title, I promise – let’s start today’s post by looking at the ingredients that Fi picked for me to cook with…

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one aubergine / 250g beef mince / one can of evaporated milk /

one pack of raspberry jelly / a tin of peaches

Honestly when I first saw this selection of food I had a bit of a panic. I had no idea what I was going to cook. I just couldn’t get my head around what to do with these five items. Straight away I separated the aubergine and mince into the the savoury main course and the remaining three ingredients into my sweet desert option. Then I set about brainstorming. A good 24 hours later I was set and ready to go, with a beef and aubergine lasagne and a peach and raspberry trifle. I decided to get cooking on the bank holiday Monday so that I’d have plenty of time to get everything done as I knew there were a lot of steps that I needed to get through.

Beef and aubergine lasagne

Bought ingredients – aubergine, mince

Store cupboard ingredients – onion, pasata, herbs, lasagne sheets, milk, butter, flour, salt & pepper

Here’s a look at what I did…

  • chop the onion and fry in a little oil
  • once softened add in the mince and brown off
  • add in the pasata and the herbs and simmer over a low heat to lose some of the liquid
  • meanwhile slice the aubergine along the longest length and then make your white sauce using the milk, butter, flour and seasoning
  • Now layer the lasagne up. I went for a thin layer of mince, aubergine, lasagne sheets, white sauce, meat, aubergine and so on. Finish with a layer of pasta and then the remaining white sauce
  • Cook in the oven – takes about 30 minutes.

Peach and raspberry trifle

Bought ingredients – evaporated milk, peaches and raspberry jelly cubes

Store cupboard ingredients – eggs, margarine, sugar, flour and vanilla essence

and here’s what I did…

  • first I made a basic sponge cake, with all the ingredients from the cupboard. Thank god we make a lot of cakes in our house!
  • make the jelly as per the packet instructions
  • I read online here that you can whip evaporated milk into whipped cream so this was my aim. I did think about using the milk in the lasagne but thought that this might be a better option instead – just to try something different.
  • Right next it’s time to layer up the trifle. I cut the cake into squares and started by layering that at the bottom of the bowl. Then goes the jelly, the peaches and the cream, I did three layers of everything ending with the cream on top.

Yes I do realise that my pudding would have looked a lot better if it was in a glass bowl, but we don’t have one so in came the second option *must add to my christmas list*. I was also tempted just to make two small trifles, but then I would have been left with a lot of extra jelly and cake so I thought why not make a mahoosive one – practice for the next Evans family Christmas maybe…

I had so much fun making these dishes, personally I loved the aubergine with the lasagne, it gave a lovely flavour throughout the dish. Plus it was so filling – luckily I’d been spinning so I was hungry!

The pudding was slightly different, the jelly and the cake were delicious but there was a slight issue with the whipped cream – I forgot to snap a picture but it went into the fridge all full and when we took it out to serve the cream had basically disappeared – we were just left with a bit of foam. We decided to dive into the dish anyway and actually it was great, all I can think is that the sponge had soaked up the cream as it was so soft and perfect with the jelly and peaches. Plus both Fi and I aren’t huge fans of cream so actually I think this worked in our favour!

Now the only thing left is for Fi to get marking my dishes…

Use of ingredients: 8/10 I’ve gone with eight because I think an aubergine and beef lasagna was a genius way to mix the ingredients – and it hadn’t even crossed my mind! As for the missing two points, well I think Lau should really have used the milk in the two meals, that would have shown true cooking cleverness!

Ingenuity: 9/10 A trifle was inspired, I would never have thought of making a cake with these ingredients, and using the evaporated milk as cream was rather clever I think – so bonus points for that!

Taste: 9/10 Both parts of this meal were seriously scrumptious. I particularly loved how the aubergine flavoured the lasagna and the milk softened the cake, so delicious.

Until next time… Lau and Fi xx

Cook Bake and Eat do Ready Steady Cook, kind of…

Here at CB&E we are embarking on a somewhat new and exciting challenge. We see it as another attempt to try new meals and to stretch our cooking skills, plus we’re hoping it could be quite fun too.

So what are we doing? Well it’s basically like the classic UK TV programme Ready Steady Cook but with a couple of differences. Here’s how it goes….

  • The ‘buyer’ chooses a bag of shopping that doesn’t cost more than £5
  • The ‘chef’ then has a couple of days to plan a two course menu for two people (the two of us) using the ingredients in the bag
  • The ‘chef’ also gets access to store cupboard ingredients – we’re talking basics like eggs, salt, sugar, flour, couscous, rice & pasta, plus condiments
  • On the designated night the chef cooks the meal
  • The ‘buyer’ scores the food under the following categories; Use of Ingredients, Ingenuity and Taste.
  • The total gets added to the marking tally and the competitiveness starts!
  • NB. there won’t be a time limit for the ‘chef’ to cook the meal like there is in the TV show – that would just be mean!

It goes without saying that we will obviously be writing each of these nights up when they happen. At the moment we’re thinking we’ll be able to fit in one round of cooking each person per month, but we’ll see how it goes. I hope you’ll enjoy reading how this goes. Look out for the first bag reveal and recipe post coming soon.

Lau xxx