Recipe: Steak’n’Stuff

Despite my recent foray into the wonderful world of veganism, I can’t deny myself some good steak now and then. Hey, if we don’t eat cows there will be no need for them and the species will die out completely, so we may as well drink their juice and feast off their loins. I’m the worst vegan that has ever existed.

This steak dish is actually great if you’re on a budget as one steak stretches to feed two people, meaning it costs less and you consume a little less red meat. Win-win. My mushroom sauce is pretty famous now yet it’s so simple anyone could do it. You only need a few key ingredients and some store cupboard essentials to make a splendid meal for two. Whether it’s date night or you’re cooking whilst half asleep after a long day at work, this is simple but delivers a punch.

Serves 2

What you need:

For the chips –

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • a generous pinch of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the mushroom sauce –

  • 150g mushrooms, sliced
  • a generous knob of butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • a generous pinch of mixed herbs
  • 60g cream cheese
  • 100ml beef stock (made with a stock cube)

For the steak –

  • 1 steak of your choice (I used sirloin)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tomato, halved

To serve –

  • Onion rings, either home made or otherwise

What you do:

  1. Start with the chips. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into chip shapes. Put them onto a baking tray along with all the other ingredients for the chips, scrunch together and bake in an oven pre-heated to 180°c for around 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  2. To make the sauce, heat the butter in a pan until it starts to foam then add your sliced mushrooms and cook down until they shrink and start to brown. Next, add the garlic and mixed herbs and cook for a minute more before stirring through the cream cheese. Let the cream cheese loosen a little before splashing in the beef stock and stirring well to create a creamy sauce. This can then be left on a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring now and then.
  3. When ready, coat your steak in the oil and season generously with black pepper. Heat a pan until it’s really hot then add the steak and cook it to your liking. This really depends on the type and thickness of the steak you have so use your instincts or the instructions on the packaging. In the same pan, cook the tomato halves cut side down. Be sure to rest your steak for a minute or two then cut it into lovely slices.
  4. Serve the steak sprinkled with some sea salt and then spoon the sauce over the top. Have your sweet potato fries, tomato half and onion rings on the side and enjoy.

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The ultimate man feast!

June Roundup

It’s The Gammon Kitchen’s 6 month sort of birthday! Hi to all of you who have been with me from the start and welcome to my new followers. Thank you to each and everyone of you who has liked, commented or followed my journey and I hope you stick around! I’ve been a bit quiet on here over the last couple weeks. In all fairness, I’ve only missed two posts but my presence on social media has taken a back seat whilst I’ve been focussing on my day job. The joys of working in customer services during a busy summer sale period! The slight break has given me time to refresh and I’m ready to get back into the kitchen and share more of that with you.

June has been such a wash out in Britain. We’ve had non-stop rain, thunderstorms and even some cold days. It’s grim. July hasn’t exactly started any better either but here’s hoping for some improvement. The UK isn’t just suffering due to the weather though, we’ve been hit with political and economic bombshells that have turned the whole country a bit mental. Whilst I don’t agree with the decision that has been made, life is certainly too short to worry about such things and we all need to move on, drown our sorrows into some chocolate cake and then be positive for the future.

Before moving on, let’s look back at The Gammon Kitchen’s posts during the month where I turned half vegan. As in I tried to be vegan, managed a few days, went vegetarian for a further few days then kinda gave up but still want to try to go back.

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Recipe Review: Sabrina Ghayour’s Feta Bites / What I Ate In A Day #9 / Recipe: Salted Caramel Pineapple Wedges / A Vegan Food Shop / Recipe: Chickpea, Spinach and Potato Curry / What I Ate In A Day #10 – Vegan EditionWhat I Ate In A Day #10 – Vegan Edition / My Vegan Week / Recipe: Sweet and Salty Pecans / Recipe Review: Leon’s Lemon Cake / My Hero Ingredients / Recipe: Pimped Up Kidney Beans / Summer is Coming

A Vegan Food Shop

So I decided to join in with the current trend and become a vegan. For a week. I love my food and the thought of having to cut stuff out of my diet filled me with fear, but I wanted to try a different kind of food lifestyle and figured it can’t be too hard if I only have to sacrifice some of my favourite things for just a week. Right?

‘Why bother?’, I hear you ask. Well, veganism is on the rise as more people learn of the damage caused to the planet by consuming animal products. There is also a belief that following a plant based diet is better for you health wise. So if we can help the planet, save a few animals and nourish our bodies in a better way surely it’s worth trying. I don’t think there is any scientific proof behind the vegan health claims but if people feel better for eating this way then good for them. I’m trialling it to see if I feel any different from cutting out all animal based products. I keep getting a mental image of a little lamb skipping away from the slaughter house saying ‘Thank you Tania!’ as it bounds into freedom.

The first thing I did in preparation was a food shop to stock up on the right kinds of foods. I’ve already got a huge stash of cooking ingredients such as grains and loads of spices and condiments so it was mostly fresh fruit and vegetables I needed as well as some tinned goods. Tyler, my partner, has decided to meet me halfway and will be eating some of the food I make along with fish and has a few emergency meals planned for if he just can’t take it. I thought about making the cat vegan too but she begged me not to, so she’s eating the rest of the ham that’s lingering in the fridge from last week. Our food shopping, including Tyler’s cheat additions (not pictured) came to just under £80.

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Here’s what I bought:

  • Mixed leaf salad
  • Baby plum tomatoes
  • Avocados
  • Jersey Royal potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Mixed peppers
  • Spring onions
  • Cucumber
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Pomegranate
  • Bananas
  • Medjool dates
  • Raw cacao powder
  • Pecan nuts
  • Maple syrup
  • Mixed herbs
  • Gherkins
  • Coconut milk (tinned)
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Butter beans (tinned)
  • Kidney beans (tinned)
  • Chickpeas (tinned)
  • Black beans
  • Beetroot juice
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Bean burgers

So I’m all ready to tackle a week without meat or dairy. I’m OK to forgo meat for a while, I like meat but actually don’t have that much of it, but cheese. Oh God. Cheese. And to be super helpful, my food processor has just broken so I can’t make the raw brownies from Deliciously Ella which I think would have made this week so much easier! Never mind. I will let you know how I find my week as a vegan in a later blog post, stay tuned!

 

 

May Roundup

Guess who’s got over 100 followers??? Me!!! Thank you all ever so much for taking the time to read, like, comment on and follow my blog. I love my little corner of the internet and have enjoyed spending another month sharing my stories and recipes with you. You can like The Gammon Kitchen’s Facebook page to see more.

A few things that happened in May:

  • I tried Pizza GoGo. Let’s just say Domino’s have nothing to worry about as they won’t be losing my custom.
  • I ate an Indian takeaway for breakfast.
  • I watched the entire previous 5 seasons of Game of Thrones in the space of a month and now have to wait for the next episodes with the rest of the peasants.
  • I had the worst case of flu known to man. Or so it felt.
  • I rediscovered Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream and couldn’t be happier about it.

And here’s all the blog posts from the past month, in case you missed any.

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Recipe: Berry Rose Smoothie / Recipe Review: Byron’s Ronaldo Burger / Recipe: Rocky Roads / What I Ate In A Day #8 / Recipe: Courgetti With Pesto Chicken, Mushrooms and Goat’s Cheese / Jamie’s Food Revolution 2016 / Recipe: Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Risotto / Recipe: Easy Cinnamon Swirls / My Cookbook Collection / Recipe: 3 Ingredient Asparagus Brunch / How To Spot A Foodie

I hope all you lovely people have had a wonderful month filled with delicious food and lots of fun!

 

How To Spot A Foodie

Foodies. Those lesser spotted creatures that look like everyone else on the outside, but a closer inspection reveals deep rooted abnormalities turning them into an entirely separate breed of human. They’re not to be feared, but should be approached with caution to avoid long winded conversations about the best kind of salt to use on your Jersey Royals or how to extract the most amount of flavour from a stalk of lemongrass. Normally found in groups, foodies pick their friends wisely and those humans who consider beans on toast to be an acceptable dinner will not fare well when approaching a group of these beings. So how can you avoid stumbling into this trap? Read on to tell just how you can spot a foodie.

  • Foodies can be found in many places that normal people are in. They, like everyone else, will visit the supermarket. You can usually find them browsing the speciality ingredient aisle, checking the cocoa percentage of a premium chocolate bar or making sure their eggs are not just free range but from local hens who are given daily massages. You will not see them adding budget brand tinned tomatoes into their trolley or buying sliced white bread. It’s best to avoid foodies in a supermarket altogether. They’re in familiar territory and will absolutely judge you on the contents of your basket.
  • You may work with a foodie and not even know it. Sure, you might go into work with a cheese sandwich and a packet of crisps, as will a foodie. Your sandwich will be two slices of Kingsmill with a lump of Cathedral City stuck between them, and a packet of Monster Munch if you’re feeling a bit special. A foodie will have local artisan sourdough filled with cave aged cheddar, rocket and a homemade beetroot relish (that sounds nice actually doesn’t it?) and a few vegetable crisps that have been made at home with a mandolin. Don’t be afraid to talk to a foodie at work, just be prepared for them to question you about your own lunch choice, as well as what you had for breakfast that day and dinner the night before.
  • If you visit a foodie’s house you will likely be greeted with something exciting to eat. This is a good thing, embrace it, but be sure to lavish the foodie with compliments about the food even if you’ve had better at your local greasy spoon. Foodies are sensitive creatures and don’t react well to criticism. During your visit you will probably be subjected to a tour of the kitchen and shown the lovely bottle of extra virgin olive oil that was recently acquired on a trip to France. Plus, they will definitely have a salt pig. It’s foodie law.
  • Foodies love to go out for dinner and you may well find them visiting the same places as you do. If you observe really carefully you will be able to pick them out. They tend to spend a while browsing the menu and will have a plethora of questions for the waiter. They will want to know where the beef in the stroganoff is sourced from, what kind of wine is used in the risotto and if the cheesecake is baked or fridge set. These are important questions for a foodie and they will not be happy if Sam the waiter can’t deliver some decent answers. If the foodie is out dining in a group of other similarly designed beings, you will hear them discuss the merits of each other’s food choices for the entire evening. A rookie foodie may even be found taking a sneaky picture of their dinner. You are welcome to snigger at this act and encourage others to do so, just make sure the foodies don’t spot you or you will be mentioned as the ‘table of loud mouths’ on their TripAdvisor review.
  • It’s a well known fact that all foodies spend their spare time reading cookbooks and food magazines, checking in with likeminded people on social media and watching what people eat in a day on YouTube. These are known as social activities for foodies and they may well reject your invitation to go to the pub in favour of broadening their knowledge. Probably for the best as they would only chew your ear off about how the peanuts in The King’s Head just aren’t the same as the rosemary and brown sugar ones they made at home last weekend.

Foodies are amongst us. Fact. Don’t let their bragging and gloating bother you, they usually only do it to make themselves feel better about their own shortcomings.

P.S. Do you like my handmade one of a kind salt pig filled with Maldon sea salt, artistically photographed with a really expensive extra virgin olive oil and a completely pointless but lovely wine cooler?

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Recipe: Easy Cinnamon Swirls

When I was little my mum used to drag me out shopping every Saturday, it was very much the thing to do. We would go to the local market and pick up some bargains, mostly pig’s ears for our dog to chew on. Oh how I miss my doggy. The best part of our Saturday market trips was a visit to the bakery. I would always be treated to a cake and if I’m honest is the reason why I was still going shopping with my mum well into my teenage years.

Real bakeries just don’t seem to exist any more and the one I went to as a child closed a long time ago. Cooking sweet pastry at home recently reminded me of the delicious smell of that bakery and how I used to love my weekly baked treat. It’s not that I would always get a cinnamon swirl, but cinnamon is strangely so evocative of my childhood and these super simple cinnamon swirls are a hit of nostalgia. And they really couldn’t be easier.

Makes 12

What you need:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 70g butter, melted and cooled
  • 150g soft light brown sugar
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar

What you do:

  1. Lay your sheet of puff pastry out on a piece of greaseproof paper and brush the melted butter all over., leaving a little behind for later.
  2. Crumble the soft brown sugar evenly over the pastry, making sure there are no gaps and the sugar is nice and even. On top of that, sprinkle some cinnamon straight from the jar. How much you use is up to you, I used enough to be able to see the thin layer of cinnamon sitting on top of the sugar.
  3. Now roll up the pastry carefully lengthways using the greaseproof paper to help you form it into a log shape. Cut the log into 12 evenly sized slices then put them flat side down onto a lined baking sheet leaving plenty of space in between. Brush the tops with a little extra butter and cook the swirls in an oven at 200°c for around 15 minutes, until the swirls have expanded and are golden and puffy.
  4. Leave the cinnamon swirls to cool on a rack whilst you make the icing. Mix the icing sugar in a bowl with a couple of drops of water to make a runny icing. Drizzle this over the cooled pastries and leave them to set. You are then ready to eat!

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These are incredibly sweet but the perfect size to enjoy as a treat with a nice cup of tea or coffee and can be whipped up so quickly whenever you need a little something. Oh how I wish the bakeries of my childhood still existed!

 

 

Recipe Review: Byron’s Ronaldo Burger

Be still my beating heart. Byron, as in the burger restaurant chain, have gone and released a cookbook so us burger junkies can create the proper burger experience in our own homes. Dangerous, yes, but oh so fabulous. I love a good burger. In fact, I love a terrible burger too. Even burgers you get from greasy vans that lurk in car parks, they’ll do for me. But you can’t beat a home-cooked patty in a good bun with all the trimmings, eaten in private so no-one can mock you for the ketchup dripping down your chin.

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This beautiful book is bursting with recipes for burgers, condiments, sides and more. My initial flick through landed me on the Ronaldo burger. I had what can only be described as a foodgasm then had to put the book down for fear of hyperventilating. It seemed only right then that this should be the first recipe I try. I totally recommend you getting the book to try this and many others yourself, but will also outline the recipe for you below.

To start with, you need to make the buttered onions which act as a condiment in the Ronaldo burger. To do so, you finely chop an onion, simmer it in boiling water for around three minutes, drain well and then cook gently with 50g of butter, a pinch of salt and half a teaspoon of sugar. Cook the onions for around 20 minutes to allow them to become completely soft. This part alone was a complete triumph and I think I will be having buttered onions with everything from this day forward.

The next step is to cook your beef patties. Now, Byron advise to mince some chuck steak yourself, you could do this, or use some high fat content steak mince and form it into patties. Heck, you could even buy some good quality pre-made burgers. Confession, that’s what I did here. No regrets. Cook the patties to your liking and once perfect, place on a baking tray and top with the buttered onions. The Ronaldo burger is a double burger, as in there are two patties so you would need 8 burgers to feed four people. As the burgers I bought were really hefty, I only used one per person.

Crisp up some slices of prosciutto by placing them in a moderate oven for about 3 minutes, then place two slices on top of each burger, followed by a slice of cheese. Place the burgers under a hot grill for a few minutes until the cheese is gloriously melting.

Toast a brioche bun. On the bottom of the bun, lay some slices of gherkin then top with a swirl of ketchup and the same again of American style mustard. Place your onion, prosciutto and cheese topped burger on the bottom of the bun, top with a handful of store-bought crispy onion pieces (my favourite thing at the moment), swirl some more ketchup and mustard on the other half of the bun and then squish it down on top of the stacked burger.

Apply to face and thank the lords that be for this amazing burger.

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The recipe in the book was easy enough to follow and all the elements came together to create an amazing burger. Now I’m just very confused as to wether this is my favourite, or the Jamie Oliver Insanity Burgers. Try both and let me know what you think!