Recently I was contacted by the lovely people at Hello Fresh and asked if I would like to give their service another go. Of course I jumped at the chance, three days of not having to worry about what to cook? Er…yes please! So the following Monday a box of Hello Fresh goodies arrived at my door with a rather nice hand written note. It also turns out that Hello Fresh are celebrating their one year birthday. Eagerly I opened the box to see what I would be preparing for that week. Inside was all the ingredients to make a chicken, fish and pork based meal. Below you can see how I got on:
Day 1 – I decided to cook that night the Smoked Paprika Chicken with Avocado and Barley Salad.
Not having to worry about not having the right amount of ingredients was great and as you can see they were indeed fresh!
First part of the recipe of consisted of chopping the vegetables, I’m not the best chopper so they are a little bigger than the recipe states but I don’t think it mattered very much.
Then I prepared the chicken by covering it with olive oil, paprika and black pepper and then placing it under the grill. I think I am definitely going to start using paprika to flavour my meat it gave the chicken an amazing taste!
Then I boiled the pearl barley, which was probably the most nerve-wracking part as I have never cooked or eaten this before so I was a bit worried it would go wrong.
This was then drained and rinsed and put to one side. For the salad dressing I mixed balsamic vinegar and olive oil together. To finish I mixed the chopped avocado and the rest of the vegetables together with the balsamic dressing . I then sliced the cooked chicken and laid it on top. Below is the finished dish which tasted unbelievable! My mother who is the most critical person of my cooking couldn’t get enough of it and we have decided to add it to our weekly dinner schedule at home. I think this dish is great if you are looking for something fuss free and easy and even if you don’t like cooking you will find this easy to prepare.
Day 2 – I decided to make the Ribollita with pancetta and Garlic Parmesan croutons
This was probably for me the most fiddly and time-consuming dish to prepare but it was also the most filling. Ribollita is perfect for when the weather is chilly as it is sure to give you the energy needed to keep you warm. Unfortunately because I had used all the celery in my first recipe I had to forgo it for the Ribollita, although I don’t think it was that detrimental as the dish still tasted lovely.
Day 3 – Pan-fried Salmon with homemade Guacamole and New Potatoes
With this recipe I’m not too sure what happened, but maybe I should have cooked my salmon dish first because when I checked the salmon I wasn’t sure it was still OK to eat. It doesn’t help that my fridge can be dodgy. I ended up throwing away the salmon and going to purchase a new one. With fish I’d rather be safe than sorry.
The finished dish tasted amazing, the guacamole gave the salmon a spicy edge, and the potatoes were a nice accompaniment. The dish also felt really easy to whip together. I could definitely see myself attempting to make this again.
Overall I really enjoyed my Hello Fresh experience, it was nice to not have to worry about having the right ingredients in the fridge and even for someone who doesn’t think myself much of a good cook, I was quite pleased with my attempts. I will definitely be adding the pan-fried salmon and the smoked paprika to my recipe book.
December 7th 2012 – Make A fresh and fruity
Mandarin and Marscapone cheese Tart.
Here is the recipe if you would like to make it at home:
Shop bought pastry case – 99p from Tesco.
250g Marscapone cheese
1 egg (separated)
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
2 drops of vanilla essence
For the filling, place the egg yolk into a bowl with the caster sugar and whisk together.
Add the mascarpone and beat until thoroughly combined. Stir in the vanilla essence.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg white with a clean whisk until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Gently fold the egg white into the mascarpone mixture.
Whisk the mixture together and fold into the pastry base. Use a spatula to smooth the mixture evenly.
Piece the mandarins and starting on the outside arrange in a circlular fashion until you reach the middle. You can even mix fruits add cherries for a more christmasy look.
Leave to chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
December 8th 2012: Watch Barney’s New York &
Disney goes High-Fashion with “Electric Holiday”
If you can’t be bothered to leave the house this weekend because it is just too cold! Then, amuse yourself by watching this very cute Christmas animation from Disney. I just love it! Watch as Minnie embarks on a fantastical fashion adventure in Paris, where she walks the runway in Lanvin and look out for cameos from big names in fashion such Linda Evangelista, Daphne Guinness, Naomi Campbell, Lady Gaga and Sarah Jessica Parker.
This version of a Chinese take away dinner is great for the kids as it’s not full of salt and other nasties, and half the price! It’s deliciously sticky and lots of fun to try with chopsticks (perhaps with a fork on the side!)
What you need (serves a family of 4):
250g long grain/basmati/brown rice
400g of diced pork or chicken
150g of broccoli florets
150g of carrots cut into matchsticks
1 red pepper, sliced
1 tablespoon of soya sauce
2 tablespoons of runny honey
Juice of 1 orange
1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil/olive oil
4 spring onions chopped finely
What you do:
Put the rice on to cook, according to instructions on the packet.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or a wok, and then add the diced pork or chicken. After around 10 minutes and just as the meat starts to turn a golden brown, add the broccoli, carrots and red pepper, and fry together with the pork or chicken for another 5 minutes.
Once all the meat and vegetables have cooked through, add the Soya sauce, honey and orange juice to the pan. Toss all the ingredients well in the sauces.
Once the rice is cooked, tip that into your pan, and stir everything together so the meat, veggies and rice all get a good coating of the sticky sauce. Let it cook for around 5 minutes or until the sauce has reduced a little.
Serve steaming in bowls, with a little sprinkling of spring onions on top.
I have been obsessed with making a Strawberry Marscapone Tart for the last few weeks after tasting Marscapone cupcakes last month. If your are anything like me you like cooking but baking seems like hard work! Then this recipe will help you create something that your friends will be impressed by.
1 Sweet Tart Case
I cheated a little and bought mine from M&S for £2.25
Souffle’s are easy and quick to make. Today I made one for myself, following the recipe below. Souffle basically means “full of air” but you don’t need many ingredients in order to make it.
Hot Vanilla Souffle Recipe
Hot Vanilla Souffle Recipe with Vanilla Essence, Butter, Flour, Milk, Sugar and Eggs
1 oz (25g) Butter
1 oz (25g) Plain Flour
1/4 pint (150ml) Milk
1 oz (25g) Castor Sugar
Heat the oven Mark 5 or 400F or 200c and have ready a thoroughly greased 6 inch (150mm) souffle dish. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, cook together gently for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the milk, beating constantly to keep the sauce smooth. Bring to the boil stirring all the time. Remove from the heat, stir in the sugar and vanilla essence – about 1/4 teaspoon depending on the strength of the essence – and leave until the saucepan itself is cool enough to handle comfortably. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Whisk the egg whites stiffly and fold carefully through the souffle mixture. Turn into the prepared dish and bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes. Serve immediately.
Based on the Hot Vanilla Souffle Recipe in:
The Book of Sweets & Puddings
by Myrtle Lindlaw (Spectator Publications 1967).