Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Kedgeree For Sunday Brunch

This week I experienced my first ever work appraisal. Having been in catering for 30 years it's not something any establishment I've worked in has done, but I found the experience to be a good one and, from it, I took new enthusiasm.
One of the questions was what I liked or disliked about my job. My main like was menu planning, and the fact that I have freedom to change our lunchtime menu weekly. It keeps me motivated, stops the boredom and increases my knowledge of new foods.
One of my dislikes was cooking breakfasts! Bit of a hard one that considering the amount of breakfasts I cook weekly. But the challenge of cooking, watching for burnt toast, overdone eggs, then putting several different elements on a plate at one time can be an extremely hard, tedious and boring daily job.
After discussing my dislike with Kate she suggested looking into breakfast specials to keep my motivation going, especially on a Sunday when we serve brunch all day long.
With this in mind I took to Pinterest, my trusted idea search website to look for inspiration.
So I typed in 'Breakfast' and amongst many ideas that appeared was the dish Kedgeree.
I loved the sound of it so looked further for some good recipes.  

Smoked Haddock Kedgeree
Brunch at The Nook On The Square

I don't have many memories of school, especially not good ones, but I have a distant memory of making Kedgeree once and remembered it contained rice, fish and eggs. Oh yes and the rice was yellow!!!
Looking now into the origin of Kedgeree I was interested to learn that it is of Indian origin, so contains spices, and, it seems, the addition of smoked haddock and boiled eggs appeared when the dish came to England. It is a dish enjoyed hot or cold.
I took a little of each recipe I looked at and here is my version of the mixed rice dish.
All components were cooked first then put together in a pan as and when a customer ordered it.
Below I have fragrant basmati rice, cooked with a couple of teaspoons of turmeric in the water to change the colour from white to yellow, cooked and flaked smoked haddock, boiled eggs, finely chopped red onion and fresh tomato and a pot of blended spices and herbs.

Ingredients for Kedgeree
With all ingredients prepared I melted a knob of butter in my pan with a handful of red onion, tomato and a teaspoon of my blended herbs and spices.
After cooking for a few minutes I added a portion of rice. The rice seemed to stick to the pan so  I added more butter and a little water although, after more research into the dish, next time I would add a little cream at this point.
Fry the onion and tomato on butter.
With the rice sizzling nicely I added the haddock and boiled eggs. 
Kedgeree cooking in the pan
As soon as all the ingredients were hot to touch, over 75° if you have a thermometer I served into a warm bowl with a small dish of natural yoghurt.   
Smoked Haddock Kedgeree
Brunch at The Nook On The Square

Decorated with chopped coriander, wedge of lemon and a sprinkling of cumin on the yoghurt this was a welcome addition to the Sunday Brunch menu last week at The Nook.
Looking now for more breakfast ideas, what's your favourite?

Brunch at The Nook On The Square
Smoked Haddock Kedgeree

Ingredients for this lovely dish for 2 people are:

1lb Cooked and flaked Smoked Haddock
8oz Fragrant Basmati Rice, cooked in couple teaspoons of turmeric to turn yellow
3 Hard Boiled Eggs
Knob butter
1/4 Pint Cream
Salt & Pepper to Taste.

Herbs and Spices Blended In Processor:
Small Red Chilli
Clove Garlic
1ins  Ginger
Handful Coriander
1 Tbsp Curry Powder
1/2 Squeezed Lemon Juice

Tasty Tuesdays
Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Broad Bean And Basil Pate

It's a short harvesting season for Broad Beans, also known as Fava Beans, I learnt this evening, spanning from late May to early September.
Known as King of all beans they have a flavour smoother, sweeter and richer than all beans. According to Hannibal Lecter they are eaten well with liver and a nice bottle of Chianti!

Broad Beans, also known as Fava Beans.
Here at The Nook we like to work with seasonal food on the weekly menu.
This week I sought inspiration to use these fine beans for a dish and attempted a new pate, and boy the result was lovely.  

Broad Bean and Basil Pate accompanied by Mushroom Pate, Humus and Various selection of breads.

As with my mushroom pate I sweated some onion and garlic with butter in a pan then added some boiled broad beans. Unlike Hannibal Lecter I didn't reach for the chianti, instead I poured some pinot grigio in the pan with some basil leaves and allowed it to reduce down.
After allowing it to cool a little I placed the mixture into the processor with some cream cheese and seasoning and whizzed together.
I left to set overnight and it turned into a lovely smooth paste and soooo tasty.

Broad bean and basil pate on todays menu
The pate served up nicely in a bowl and accompanied on a rustic board with my chestnut mushroom pate, hummus and salad. On the side I served pitta bread, toasted focaccia and baked shortcrust pastry biscuits.
A big winner on the menu this week, I definitely recommend giving it a try .    
Broad Bean and Basil Pate

Linking up this week with:

Monday, 15 June 2015

The Good Food Show NEC Birmingham June 2015

Last weekend saw the annual 'Good Food Summer Show' arrive at the NEC Birmingham.
For the past 3 years my interest in food has grown immensely and when I received tickets for the show as a birthday present I was really excited at the prospect of an interesting, educational and inspiring day out. 8

The Good Food Show at NEC Birmingham June 2015
Lots of people made the journey to Birmingham. There were many stalls ranging from oils, pastries, artisan breads, sweets, wines and spirits.
Crowds gather to the NEC Birmingham for The Good Food Show

This section was cakes and bakes.  
Cakes and Bakes section of The Good Food Show NEC Birmingham
 Meringues to die for!

Flapjacks of all varieties.
My favourite had rocky road topping.


                                     Enormous éclairs.

Sponge cakes. Sticky toffee sponge was delicious.
Individual sponge cakes

                            Various flavours of focaccia
Artisan focaccia at The Good Food Show

This man was demonstrating and selling whisks. He was quite the salesman and always had a crowd around him to entertain.

Spiralised vegetables and fruit, wow!! A very entertaining German was demonstrating how to transform vegetables.. I must confess to buying a spiraliser.
Spiralised fruit and veg at The Good Food Show
As we walked round I spotted tv chef  Phil Vickery doing a demonstration so we stopped to watch.

It was so interesting to listen to stories of his travels and listen to the food knowledge he shared.

Phil Vickery demonstrating at The Good Food Show
At 4pm we headed to the main theatre to be entertained and inspired by another tv chef, James Martin. In the space of half hour he treated us to a show producing 4 dishes, food knowledge and rather witty banter!
James Martin at the NEC Birmingham June 2015

I was rather intrigued at how much butter James used in all his dishes. Definitely not healthy eating but a great show.

James Martin at The NEC Birmingham
Our tickets also included entry into Gardeners World so we spent our last hour walking around the flower displays. Below are a selection of my favourites.
                              Al fresco dining display.

                             An English Garden display.

I don't know what these were but so so beautiful.

Brilliant day out and our tickets are valid for Novembers show as well. Looking forward to another lovely day out .

Linking up with:
Tasty Tuesdays
Foodie Friday and Everything Else  

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Bloody Mary King Prawn Salad

As a child growing up in the 70s it was a rare treat to eat out in a restaurant. When I was lucky enough to have that treat from my parents the only thing I would ever order would be a prawn cocktail starter followed by scampi, chips and peas.
Prawn cocktail is now described as such an iconic food from the 70s. Ask anyone for a description and the information you would receive would include a glass dish for serving, shredded lettuce topped with prawns bound in the classic marie rose sauce, made basically from mixing mayonnaise and ketchup, a wedge of lemon and a dusting of paprika. Classic!
Classic, retro or 70s, however you describe it you cannot deny it still remains as popular as ever, although modern times have moved the basic style on and added twists to it.

The Iconic 70s dish Prawn Cocktail
This weeks salad at The Nook On The Square demonstrates one of these twists. True it's not a starter but a light main meal but we begin the process the same with a lettuce base. Covering the lettuce is a mixture of onion, gherkins, olives, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, celery and avocado. Amongst all this dotted around are some sauce covered King Prawns and a lovely big wedge of lemon.

A twist on the classic prawn cocktail  - Bloody Mary King Prawn Salad at The Nook On The Square
As for the twist on the Marie Rose sauce, well, mix mayonnaise, ketchup, squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and a shot of Vodka and there you have Bloody Marie Rose Sauce. We served it in a shot glass to
a. look like a drink &
b. reflect the iconic starter by using a glass for service!
Bloody Mary King Prawn Salad at The Nook On The Square
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Monday, 8 June 2015

The Humble Hash

In the years during, and post, World War 1 and 2, and for several years to follow, the humble Hash dish was a popular meal in most households due to the basic, low cost ingredients.
The traditional dish comprises of chopped and diced meat, potatoes, spices and onions.   Due to rationing limiting the availability of fresh meat in the war years corned beef became a popular meat in the dish.
It isn't a dish I ever fancied much as I'm not a great lover of corned beef, but it seems that new variations are developing and becoming more popular on restaurant menus.

One variation I have come across recently is Smoked Salmon Hash.
We had an excess of salmon in the fridge at work so I took a look through Pinterest for ideas on how I could use it and come across the hash dish.
So quick and easy to make and tastes absolutely delicious. This dish now appears regularly on our lunch menu and is always popular.

Smoked Salmon Hash Topped With A Poached Egg and Served With Salad.

For each person allow:
1 1/2 potatoes (par boiled and diced 1/2in squares)
2 slices smoked salmon (cut into small thin slices)
Handful finely chopped red onion and red pepper
Capers (amount according to taste)
Chopped dill
S&P to taste.
25g butter
1 or 2 poached eggs

In a frying pan melt butter and throw in the potatoes, onion and pepper. Fry until the potatoes start to brown and crisp, then add salmon, capers, dill, salt and pepper.
Cook for a further couple of minutes and serve topped with 1 or 2 poached eggs. I added a side salad when serving and a wedge of lemon.

As the salmon hash is so popular on the menu I decided to have a go at a breakfast hash as a Sunday morning breakfast special at The Nook this week.
Promoted by our waitress Sarah once again it proved to be a big hit with diners and I sold several portions.

Breakfast Hash with Potatoes, Sausage, Bacon and Smoked Applewood Cheese, Topped With 2 Poached Eggs

For each person allow:
1 1/2 potatoes (par boiled and diced into 1/2in squares)
Handful diced red onion and red pepper
1 cooked sausage (cut into small pieces)
1 rasher cooked bacon (cut into small pieces)
25g - 50g smoked applewood cheese (grated or chopped)
S & P
25g butter
1 or 2 poached eggs.

In a frying pan melt butter and throw in the potatoes, onion and pepper. Fry until the potatoes start to brown and crisp, then add the sausage, bacon,salt and pepper.
Cook for a further couple of minutes then scatter the Applewood over the top and grill for a minute until melted. Serve topped with 1 or 2 poached eggs and parsley.

For my next trial recipe I am going to swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes and use Spanish and Italian meats, herbs and spices.

For perfect poached eggs use this method -
Fill a non stick frying pan with water and boil to just before boiling point. Crack each egg into a cup first then slide it into the water. Turn off your heat and add a lid to the saucepan, then set your timer for 4 minutes.
Remove the lid and serve - nothing could be easier!
And there you have it,

Linking up this week with:
Tasty Tuesdays
Foodie Fridays and Everything Else  

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Mushroom, Feta and Roasted Pepper Pate

I had a bit of a busman's holiday this week on my days off and went for tea and cake at a local café.
Looking at their specials board I noticed they had Mushroom and Stilton Pate on their lunch menu. Sounded lovely.
I often make mushroom pate at The Nook but never thought of adding cheese.
I had feta left over in the fridge this week so thought I would adapt my usual pate recipe and include it.

I chopped some mushrooms and pan fried them in lots of butter.

Sauté Mushrooms in Lots Of Butter 
Then I crumbled the feta in and cooked until melted. 
Mushrooms and Feta

I had some roasted peppers in the fridge and had a brainwave to throw them into the mixture. It seemed to be drying out in the pan so I added some cream and seasoned.
The mixture looked gorgeous and, if you didn't want to blitz into a pate, it would have been equally as gorgeous to stir through some pasta.
But for this recipe I put all the mixture into the food processor and blitzed until smooth, then refrigerated.
Mushrooms, Feta, Roasted Red Pepper and Cream

And here is the finished product!
 Feedback from our customers was very positive. Great to have another vegetarian option on the menu.

Mushroom, Feta and Roasted Pepper Pate served with Rhubarb, Fig and Ginger Chutney, toasted breads and salad.

I served it with my Rhubarb, Fig and Ginger chutney, toasted red onion focaccia from The Revel Bakery, and my own Lemon and Poppy Seed bread.
Mushroom, Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Pate.

Linking up this week with:
Tasty Tuesday

Veggie Wednesday
Foodie Friday and Everything Else.