Thursday, 20 August 2015

Baked Aubergine, Figs, Tomato & Leek

With all the work and research I put into the weekly menu at The Nook it is lovely when great feedback about the food is received. Our latest Trip Advisor review was much appreciated this morning and makes all the hard work put in by all the staff well worth the effort.

"Stopped for lunch on the way home, never having been to Dunchurch before. Frankly we would have settled for a standard bar meal (it was late and we were hungry) but instead we had a gorgeous quiche - thin pastry & plenty of filling, & a fabulous baked Camembert topped with sliced peach and pomegranate seeds, both delicious. We had expected an average cafe and had discovered a hidden gem.

Prices were reasonable considering the quality and as for so-called slow service - well, the staff were delightful and in our opinion food like this is well worth waiting for "

Todays light bite dish, as many of my others, I discovered on pinterest.
Dishes such as these always excite me as they are a) different, b) gluten free c) great fresh ingredients and d) vegetarian.  
Easy to prepare and quite quick to make this has been another success on the menu.

The aubergines are first prepared, and baked in the oven, topped with a scattering of finely chopped garlic, sea salt crushed black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Prepared aubergine with garlic & olive oil
When soft to touch sprinkle crumbled feta on top and return to the oven for 5 minutes whilst preparing the other ingredients.
Melt a little butter or oil in a frying pan and add some halved cherry tomatoes. As their skins blister add some thinly sliced leeks and cook for a couple of minutes.

Baked aubergine with feta topping
Take the aubergine from the oven and place the tomato and leek mix on top of the feta. Slice, or quarter, one or two fresh figs and place amongst the other ingredients.
Baked Aubergine, Feta, Fresh Figs, Cherry Tomatoes and Leeks.
 A drizzle of balsamic reduction, made by boiling up balsamic vinegar and sugar, finishes this dish off nicely. 

Baked Aubergine, Feta, Fresh Figs, Cherry Tomatoes and Leeks.
Linking up this week with:
Tasty Tuesdays
Foodie Friday and Everything Else
Simple and Sweet Fridays

Friday, 14 August 2015

Caribbean Brown Chicken Stew

  It seems very rare that I cook at home these days. My boys have grown, and fend for themselves, and, after a long day of cooking for the general public each day at work, I really can never be bothered when I get home.
The past 10 days I have been on sick leave from work. For a workaholic this is not good news, especially as the first few days found me bed bound and unable to walk. I'm now at the stage where I feel well in mind but my body is still slightly lagging behind and I'm bored!
Hopefully my return to work is imminent so my days now turn towards thoughts of new meals for the menu when I return.  
This week on the internet I came across this rather lovely dish called Caribbean Brown Chicken Stew made from lovely fresh chicken, vegetables and herbs, exactly the type of meal that would fit the café menu.
Not quite sure what makes it 'Caribbean' to be honest but I made it for my family and what a lovely, tasty meal. My son thought the chicken would also work well in a tortilla wrap.   

Lots of photos today. Cooking at home allows me more time.

Ingredient list - to serve 2-3 people

5 or 6 chicken thighs, skinned
Zest & juice of 1 Lime
4 Spring Onions, finely chopped plus 1 extra to garnish
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 Red Chilli (or Scotch Bonnet if you like the heat) de-seeded & finely sliced
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Red Pepper, finely chopped
4 Sprigs Thyme
2 Inch Piece Ginger, peeled & grated
3 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
25g Butter
Tin chopped Tomatoes

This isn't a speedy dish. Allow time to marinate the chicken, at least an hour, overnight if possible to taste the full flavour.
To marinate, place the chicken pieces in a bowl and add all the ingredients except for the sugar and tomatoes. Cover with cling film and keep chilled in the fridge.
When the chicken is ready to cook, remove from the marinade and pat dry with kitchen towel. Keep the marinade to one side as this adds to the stew later.
Heat the butter in a deep frying pan ( I used my wok) and add the sugar. As it begins to caramelise add the chicken pieces and fry until you have nice caramelised bits on both sides.
Remove from the pan and set to one side.
Using the same pan, add the marinade and fry for a few minutes to soften. 
Add the chicken pieces and the tinned tomatoes and just enough water to cover the chicken. Season and simmer for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened.

 When ready serve with rice and garnish with chopped spring onion.

Definitely on the menu next week!!  
Linking up this week with:
Tasty Tuesdays
Foodie Friday and Everything Else
Sweet and Simple Fridays

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Baked Camembert With Figs, Peaches, Passion Fruit, Pomegranate & Pistachio Nuts

 The kids have finished school for the summer, and August has arrived bringing the hot weather for the holidays. Well supposedly!!
As always, in England, we have a few hot, sunny days and get all excited, and then the clouds, wind and rain burst through again.
Remaining optimistic for hot weather this week I have put a light bite meal of baked camembert on the menu. 
Baked Camembert has become quite a popular dish the past few years in pubs and restaurants.
Easy and quick to prepare, the camembert is placed in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 180° and served with crusty bread, usually on a slate or wooden board.
This is usually it, however, I spotted a gorgeous photo on pinterest this week with figs, pistachio nuts and pomegranate on top of the camembert and knew that was perfect for the café menu!
I was right, already it's been a great success, with 2 alternative toppings being served.

One version was topped with fresh, juicy peach, pistachio nuts, pomegranate seeds and my raspberry & strawberry ketchup served with crusty white baguette.

Is your mouth watering??

The second version was with fresh figs, passion fruit, pomegranate seeds, pistachio nuts topped with my tasty raspberry & strawberry ketchup.
Served on a rustic, wooden board with warm crusty baguette. 
Which version is your favourite?  

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