Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tinned Tuna & Onion Sushi Maki Recipe!

Just the word 'Sushi' seems to put many people off. And that is because they wrongly think that Sushi = RAW fish. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Sushi in fact means 'Rice that is vinegared with a topping of raw, cooked or marinated, fish, shellfish, meat, vegetables or egg.
Sushi comes in many forms, including bowls of rice with scattered fish, meat and veg, hand rolled sushi with a seaweed covering and stuffed sushi.
Sushi is one of the most healthy foods you can create, and its also very artistic and impresses every one who see's it!
Everyone should try sushi, if your not keen on fish, its great with cooked chicken, beef or veg, such as cucumber, carrot and peppers.
The key to good sushi, is most definitely the rice, get this right and everything else is easy!
And the ingredients are now readily available in most large supermarkets, or if you live local to me, try Janson Hong on Bridge Street in Peterborough, they have everything that you need at prices that cannot be beaten. Also you will need a bambo sushi rolling mat (Makisu).

Sushi Rice.
300g (10oz) Japanese Sushi rice (no other rice will work)
330ml water
4 tablespoons of Sushi rice seasoning. (vinegar mixture)
2inch strip of Kombu (optional, but recommended)

1. It is very important to clean the sushi rice well, as this helps the rice to stick together. I find the easiest way to do this is to get a fairly large bowl fill it with clean cold water, and place the rice in a seive, and submerge it into the water, wash the rice thoroughly, and keep changing the water until it becomes clear and is no longer cloudy. Drain the water and let the rice stand for at least 30 minutes.
2. Put the washed rice into a heavy based saucepan, add the water and kombu (if using), cover with a close fitting lid. Bring to the boil over a medium heat until boiling, do not be tempted to lift the lid, listen for the boiling to commence, then boil rapidly for 3 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, remove from heat and let stand with the lid still on for a further 10 minutes.  Lift lid and throw away the Kombu (if using)
4. Transfer the rice to a large salad bowl (preferably plastic), I like to add a few drops of the vinegar mixture to the bowl beforehand and smear, this prevents the rice from sticking to the bowl. Spread the rice evenly in the bowl and slowly add the rest of the vinegar mixture a little at a time, whilst using a spatula in a slicing action (do not stir!) to make sure every grain of the rice gets coated.
5. The trick to really sticky rice, is to cool it very quickly, this can be done by fanning the rice, with a thin chopping board or a piece of card etc. You can speed the process up by spreading the rice on a large clean baking tray, then fanning it. It needs to be cooled to room temperature before you even attempt to use it.

Rolled sushi (Maki Zushi) shown on the left of the plate above.
2 small tins of cooked tuna (preferably in spring water)
1 small onion (chopped very finely)
1 tablespoon of mayonaise
Juice of one lime
Pinch of salt.
4-5 sheets of Nori (rolled dried seaweed)
Wasabi (Japanese horseradish, optional)

1. Drain the tins of tuna, and tip into a bowl, add the finely chopped onion, mayonaise, lime juice and salt, stir well.

1. Lay your bambo sushi mat on a work surface and place one sheet of Nori, shiny side down on it. Dip your hands in vinegard water, to prevent the rice from sticking to them, form two handfuls of the rice into log shapes and place into the centre of the Nori. (see picture 1.).
2. Spread the rice evenly and gently over the Nori, making sure you leave a 1inch gap at the top, and also try and get the rice as close to the edges as possible. If you like a hint of heat, place a small squirt of wasabi on your finger and spread it gently in a line on the rice. You really do not need much of this stuff, so be warned!
3. Place the some of filling in the centre of the rice, in a long sausage shape, about 1.5cm high (see picture 2.). Now were ready to roll!
4. This is the fun part. Place your thumbs under the bambo mat, and lift the nearest edge to you, and gently tuck the closest edge to you in, making sure it goes over the filling, then bring the mat down and gently squeeze. Then lift the font edge of the mat with one hand, and push the roll forward with the other, so that the uncovered piece fo Nori, seals the roll. It should lot a little similar to a sausage roll. Easy. yeah??  =)
5. Flatten the mat out and tidy the ends of the roll. Set aside in a cool place, not the fridge, as this will dry the rice out. And do the same with the other sheets of Nori.
6. When all the rolls are completed, get a moistened super sharp knife and cut into slices.
Practice really does make perfect. You'll probably struggle the first time, but please, please do not give up. You will get it eventually.
   These are great with all kinds of filling, prawns, breaded chicken, raw tuna, peppers, cucumber, tofu etc.
They really are best eaten pretty quickly after they are made, but can be stored in a sealed tub at room temperature for a couple of hours max.
    The main photo also shows the same filling in a battleship sushi (gunkan maki) and vinegar prawn temari sushi. I'll show you these another time! =-)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Bravo Brownies

So continuing on a chocolate theme, thanks to a kind donation of a massive tub of quality chocolate nuggets, heres my next waist widener!
Everyone loves a gooey sticky Brownie. And I am no different.

There are loads of recipes around for brownie, some good, some bad, this one works for me. As with any recipe that includes chocolate, the better the chocolate, the better the taste, same goes for cocoa powder, buy the best that you can afford, your taste-buds will thank you for it!


  • 250g unsalted butter (yes, that is a whole pack!!)
  • 200g Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) bashed up.
  • optional: 100g chopped nuts (I prefer brazils or almonds)
  • 60g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 65g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 180c, get a baking tin (around 25cm in length) and line it with greaseproof paper.
2. In a largish bowl or dish, melt the chocolate and butter over some simmering water, stirring until smooth. (be careful that the bowl does not touch the water, as this will ruin the chocolate.)
3. In a separate bowl sift the flour, sugar and cocoa powder, then add the melted chocolate and nuts. Mix well, until all the ingredients are combined.
4. Beat the eggs, then add to the other ingredients, stir until silky and shiny, and when you can see no egg, pour the mixture into the lined tray.
5. Place in the oven for around 20-25 minutes, the outside wants to be bouncy and cracking in places and a knife or skewer should still come out sticky, when inserted into the brownie. The trick is to get the timing spot on. So check a couple of times if needed.
6. Allow the brownie to cool, for a couple of hours, then remove from tin and chop to desired sizes.

This is great from the fridge, or warmed with vanilla ice-cream or clotted cream. It'll keep for around 4-5 days in a sealed container.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Choco Pavement!

This is my version of Rocky Road, but you can throw anything you like into the chocolate syrup mix, nuts, marshmallows, biscuits, brownie, chocolate bars, dried fruit, raisins, jellied sweets, cereals and whatever else you have in your sweet cupboard!
  The one ingredient you should definitely add is salted peanuts as these give a real hit of salt, that goes so well with the chocolate. So please use this recipe as a guide and chuck in whatever ingredients you fancy into the chocolate syrup mix. And obviously the better the chocolate you use, the better the taste.

Chocolate Syrup mix

  • 300g of good quality Chocolate 70% cocoa (use dark or milk, or a mixture of both). 
  • 125g unsalted butter.
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup.

Added extras

  • 200g salted peanuts.
  • 8 marshmallows chopped in half, or a handfull of mini mallows.
  • 50g of roughly pistachio nuts
  • 30g of rice krispies (puffed rice)
  • 25g of roughly chopped brazil nut

1. Make the chocolate syrup by melting all the ingredients together in a bowl placed over a saucepan with couple of inches simmering water, make sure the bowl does not touch the water, else you will ruin the chocolate. Stir constantly until silky smooth.
2. Add your chosen ingredients to the melted chocolate syrup, and mix well. Pour into a tin foiled lined tray or tub, let it cool and refrigerate for around 3-4 hours until its set solid.
3. Remove from the tinfoil, and cut into bite-size pieces and place in the fridge in a sealed container until ready to eat! This will keep for around a week, but you'll not have any left by then!!!!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Choc n nana shake

1 minute to make, time it.
This makes around 1 1/2 pints.


• 1 large ripe banana.
• 4 heaped teaspoons of choc milk shake powder (Nesquik etc).
• pinch of cinnamon powder.
• 1 pint of milk (565ml) (full fat is best)

1. Mash up the banana with a little of the milk, until it has no lumps, I use  a food processor, a hand held blender works fine too, as would a fork!
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, and blitz for 20 seconds.
3. Pour into frozen glasses if possible. Guzzle!

Tip: For a thicker shake before blitzing add a scoop of ice-cream, chocolate or vanilla, you could also freeze your banana before hand.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Chunky Onion Bhaji's

These are delicious and I challenge anyone not to eat them all up in one go! I have tried a few bhaji recipes, but none hit the spot, so a few tweaks of my own and I think this is the best onion bhaji recipe on the net.
These are not like traditional bought bhaji's, they have a bit of bite and a crispy texture. They also freeze well, and are great with a squeeze of lemon on them. So easy to make too.


  • 1 large onion, sliced into 1/2cm wide slices.
  • 2-3 tablespoons of flour, preferably Gram flour
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder.
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala. (homemade is best)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried coriander.
  • salt.
  • water.
  • Cooking oil for frying.

1. In a large bowl add the flour, coriander and all the spices, mix well then add salt to taste.
2. Slowly add water to the bowl and mix to a very sticky paste.
3. Add the sliced onion to the paste and mix until all the onion is covered.
4. Heat the oil until hot enough to turn a cube of bread brown, pretty quick, around 140c. A deep fat fryer is great for these.
5. Add egg size clumps of the mixture to the fat. Cook two at a time for 4-5 minutes turning occasionally, remove when crisp and golden, drain on plenty of paper towel, and serve.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Chicken, bacon, leek and bourbon pie


  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 medium leeks, clean and copped into 1cm rings
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon of Jim Beam bourbon, or any whiskey
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, chopped.
  • butter
  • 1 egg
  • Half a packet of pre-bought puff pastry, at room temperature.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 220c.
1. Fry the bacon in some butter until nearly crisp, in a saucepan larger enough to take all the ingredients, remove and place on a plate to rest, keep the juices for step 2.
2. In the same saucepan, and a big knob of butter and cook the leek over a medium heat until soft, but not browned, the add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
3, Add the chicken pieces cook until sealed (when all the pink vanishes), then add the rosemary.
4. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then turn down heat, add the rested bacon, season with the salt and pepper and simmer gently for ten minutes.
5. Whilst the filling is simmering, roll the puff pastry to about 3mm thick and to the size of your oven-proof dish, I use a 8" x 12" dish. Use the bottom of the dish as a cutting guide.
6. Add 150ml of double cream and the bourbon/whiskey and simmer for a few more minutes.
7. Pour the contents of the saucepan through a colander, and catch the gravy in another bowl, I usually let this sit for about five minutes. Place the drained filling into your oven-proof dish and carefully top iti with the puff pastry,
8. Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush over the pastry, I normally gently score the pastry with diagonal lines, being careful not to cut all the way through the pastry. Place the pie into the oven and cook for around 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crispy.
9. Serve with the drained gravy and some lovely potatoes and veggies, or its just as yummy with home made fries!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Classic vanilla in meringues with sugared pistachios

Had to show you this. I have just demolished it in under 5 seconds! Homemade ice cream is the best. Recipe and info to follow in the next day or so.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Best Brunch ever?

Add a perfectly poached egg to a crispy hash brown (see below for recipe), sprinkle with salt, and devour!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Pan fried pork loin served with hash brown and leeks with pancetta.

I managed to grab myself eight boneless pork loins for £3 today, so had a look in my fridge and cupboards to see what I had, and this is what sprang to mind. The only thing that took any time was the hash browns, the rest is a ten minute cook! I have had a couple of requests, and I think this will suit them both, one request was for a Valentines recipe, I think this would suitably impress any of your chosen Valentines, and also my Welsh banter boy wanted some leek recipes. BINGO!
The hash browns can be cooked in advance and then heated up in a little oil in a frying pan, just do not brown them up so much in the fryer! They are great with a poached egg on top too. =)

Serves 2, with extra hash browns for brunch!
Hash Browns

  • 3 medium sized maris piper potatoes. (Makes 5-6 hash browns.)
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying the hash browns.

Leek and Panchetta.

  • 3 medium sized leeks, chopped into 1cm circles.
  • 3 slices of pancetta or bacon, chopped roughly.
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove of garlic.
  • large knob of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 tablespoon of whisky or bourbon.

  • 2 boneless pork loins
  • olive oil and a knob of butter for frying.

1. Start by preparing the hash browns. Pre-heat oven to 180c. Place the 3 potatoes on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes, turning half way so that the skin does not brown too much on the bottom. They want to be firm, not cooked all the way, so that they are too soft to grate.
2. Remove from oven and allow to cool a little. Peel the potatoes using a knife, the skin should just come off easy, I hold the potato in a clean tea towel, as they are pretty hot. Then using a cheese grater, grate the potatoes into a bowl, using long strokes to get long pieces of potato. Add some salt to the bowl and gently stir.
3. Using a ramekin or round cookie cutter, press a large tablespoon of the potato into it quite firmly (they want to be around 1.5-cm deep, then turn out onto a plate, repeat this process until all your potato is used up. Place the plate in the fridge so they can firm up, which takes around half an hour, this prevents them from falling to pieces in the hot fat.
4. Meanwhile heat some olive oil and a knob of butter in a pan over a medium heat, until the butter has melted, season the pork loins and add to the pan, cook on both side for around 5 minutes or until cooked through, I find that if you baste the pork a few times with the juices and butter, they stay more moist. When cooked, remove from pan and rest on a plate whilst you do the final steps. Leave the juices in the pan for step 6.
5. Heat a deep fat fryer to 180c and add 2 of the hash browns cook for 5 minutes turning them over once or until they are golden and crisp, remove from the fat and drain on a paper towel. (if you do not have a deep fat fryer, you can use a saucepan)
6. Whilst the hash brown are cooking, in the same pan that the pork was cooked, add a little more butter and gently fry the leeks and garlic until they soften a little, then add the rosemary and bacon, cook until the bacon is crisp, then add seasoning and finally the special ingredient, that makes hell of a difference, whiskey, cook for a further minute.
7. Serve by spooning the leeks and pancetta into the middle of the plate, place the loin on top, then the delicious golden-crisp hash brown. Sprinkle the hash brown with a little more salt, and tuck in!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

The BEST Roast Potatoes, without fail!

Making good roast potatoes, is not something that everyone can do, but if you follow these instructions, you'll not go far wrong. I have found that Maris Pipers work best for me, but King Edwards are also great. And if you cannot get goose fat, duck fat or even lard/dripping works wonders too.
These potatoes, freeze great once they are cold. Just put them in a freezer bag, then when needed whack them on a empty/dry baking tray and cook at 220c for 20 minutes and they are great! I also love them cold the next day.

  • 4-6 Largish Maris Piper potatoes.
  • Goose fat.
  • 2 tablespoons coarse semolina.
  • Sea salt.

1. Pre-heat your oven to the highest temperature available.
2. Peel potatoes, and leave whole, wash under cold water for a few minutes, then rest in a saucepan of clean cold water, for around an hour. Then cut into pieces that are all roughly the same size, try to make sure they have at least one big flat surface, and that they are not too small.
3. Place in a saucepan of cold water, and bring to the boil, then boil for a further 3-4 minutes until the outside is just soft. then drain in a colander, and leave them to dry in it for around 5 minutes.
4. Return to the empty saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of semolina, and place a lid or plate onto the saucepan, and turn upside down and shake gently a few times, to bash up the edges of the spuds, and evenly coat them with the semolina.
5. Add enough goose fat, that when it is melted it goes around 1cm high, into a high sided oven tray, and place in the oven, you need to get this fat really, really hot, so hot that it smokes.
6. Carefully, and I mean carefully, remove tray from oven, and gently place the potatoes evenly in one layer, making sure the flat edge is not face down in the tray, they may bubble and spit, so beware. Turn oven down to around 240c. Cook in the oven for around 25 minutes.
7. Remove from oven, then turn potatoes over so that the flat edge is on the bottom, and cook for around another 20 minutes until brown, and crisp all over. Remove, and sprinkle with a generous helping of the sea salt. Enjoy!