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Mushroom toasts with bacon, thyme, garlic and roasted bone marrow

This is without doubt one of the most deliciously mouth watering recipes I’ve ever devised, for obvious reasons I guess. Roasted bone marrow spooned over garlicky mushrooms and salty jewels of bacon and perfumed woody thyme… what’s not to love? These mushroom toasts would be ideal for a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve dinner party. Just go easy on the garlic so as not to knock your guests side ways with your garlic breath.

This recipe really packs a punch in terms of flavour and it’s just so simple. Aside from waiting for the bone marrow to cook it only takes about 10 minutes to throw together, so even when you’ve still got some last minute wrapping to do you can find 10 minutes right?

Bring some restaurant elegance into your home

It is easy to bring a little bit of restaurant into your own kitchen. In fact, Christmas has to be the ideal time. Your guests will really appreciate the touch of elegance it brings to the dinner table, plus you’ll look extra chefy. All you have to do is ask your butcher for some femur bone cut into small discs and pop it into the oven. Job done! Well almost…

The inspiration for the recipe

The inspiration for this recipe came from a book I recently bought for a friend. It’s a book I feel compelled to share with all foodies I know. ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ is always on hand in my kitchen. If you’re a foodie and you’ve not heard of it or read it I urge you to pop out and grab a copy. As the title suggests, the book is set out like a thesaurus and is a bible of parings, recipes and ideas for the creative cook. On many an occasion I’ve taken inspiration from the book, perhaps when I have a random ingredient left over and I’m not sure what to pair it with. I can always count on The Flavour Thesaurus to come up with the goods.

The recipe

Garlic mushroom toasts with bacon, thyme and roasted bone marrow
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Starter, Main, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 250g mushrooms (I used Chestnut and Shiitake), roughly chopped
  • 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
  • Splash of white wine
  • 2 disks of femur bone (bone marrow) - ask your butcher for this
  • 4 thick slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Turn the oven on to the highest temperature and pop in the bone marrow (in a roasting tin). It will take about 35-40 minutes.
  2. When the marrow has only 10 minutes from being done heat the butter and olive oil in a pan on a medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme, cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Then add a splash of wine and allow to cook until reduced. Season to taste.
  5. Pop the slices of sourdough bread under the grill. Remove when lightly toasted and whilst still hot rub them with a garlic clove.
  6. Remove the bone marrow from the oven and carefully spoon out the soft marrow from the middle - stir this through the mushroom mix.
  7. Pile the mushroom mix on to the toasts and garnish with a little fresh thyme.
  8. Serve immediately.

 

 

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Steak with Gruyere and Chive Croquette Potatoes, Red Cabbage and a Mustard Sauce with Shiitake Mushrooms



This recipe is my entry for the Maille Culinary Challenge. I was invited to participate in the challenge to create a mouth-watering recipe including at least one Maille product. They were kind enough to send me two of their delicious products free of charge and I was able to pick from a rather extensive list including many delicious ingredients. Rather than just including one of the ingredients, I decided to use both; I figured this would ensure I really thought hard about a recipe with different components. I quite often create recipes with one star piece, either the meat or fish and the sides will be fairly simple – such is my style of cooking. However, seeing as this was a culinary challenge it was only right that I challenged myself and created a dish where each element bought something special to the recipe. I chose the following ingredients:
The red cabbage worked beautifully with the balsamic glaze; it brought an intense sweetness to the dish that truly was delicious, whilst the mustard has a woody earthy flavour that compliments the shitake mushrooms wonderfully.
Fingers crossed my recipe goes down well. The first prize for the Maille Culinary Challenge is a “Food Lover London Tour” worth £390, and two runners up will receive a luxury Maille Gift Box with accessories valued at £150. Yes please!


Serves 4

Ingredients
* Half a red cabbage, finely sliced
* Half a red onion, finely sliced
* 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large potatoes
2 tbsp chives, snipped
90g Gruyere cheese, grated
Pinch white pepper
100g plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g golden breadcrumbs (preferably not fresh)
1 litre of vegetable oil
100g fresh shiitake mushrooms
200ml double cream
4 Sirloin Steaks
Method
Start by finely slicing the red cabbage and red onion. Place in a saucepan with 2 tbsp of butter, the garlic, balsamic glaze and water; season with salt and pepper and cook on a medium heat for about 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes, boil for 25-30 minutes, until soft. Remove from the heat and drain well, return the potatoes to the pan. Add 2 tbsp butter, chives, cheese, white pepper and a splash of cream, roughly mash. Don’t worry if they are a little lumpy, a bit of texture works well in the croquettes. Allow the mashed potato to cool slightly.
Whilst the mash is cooling, line up three bowls, fill one with the flour, one with the egg and a tbsp of water and the other with the bread crumbs. Take a small amount of the mashed potato in your hands and roll into a small ball, slightly smaller than a golf ball, roll in the flour, shaking off any excess. Then roll the ball in the egg and finally the bread crumbs. Place aside and repeat until you have used all of the mash, set these aside while you prepare the sauce.
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Slice the shiitake mushrooms, place in a pan with the remaining butter and season, fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes, once softened add the mustard and cream; heat through while you cook the steak and fry the croquettes as below.
Season the steak and fry in a little oil for the desired length of time, depending on how you like your steak cooked. I had fairly thick Sirloin that I like rare, so I fried for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Once cooked, set the steak aside and allow to rest. This is very important as it lets the fibres in the meat relax and allows the juices to flow, meaning you’ll end up with a much tastier steak.
Fry the croquettes in batches for about 30 seconds, they will brown very quickly. Remove from the oil and place on kitchen towel to drain off any excess oil.

Slice and serve the steak, topped with the mustard sauce and some snipped chives, three croquettes and some red cabbage.
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Hot & Sour Asian Broth

A very quick, simple recipe for you folks that love Asian flavours – you’ll be amazed at just how speedy this wonderful fusion of flavours is. It’s the perfect winter warmer, the heat from the chillies and ginger will warm you right through.
This is the second recipe for a hot and sour broth I’ve posted on Miss Friday’s Feast; it’s such a good dish, with so many delicious Asian flavours I didn’t think you’d mind another recipe that is an improvement on my last one. This recipe brings much more pungent, vibrant and fresh flavours, and makes for a perfect light meal or lunch. It’s perfect for a diet as it doesn’t compromise on flavour; in fact it’s overloaded with it and will certainly leave you feeling as if you’ve had a healthy, but filling meal. Rich was a huge fan, he loved it, which is always a good sign.       
I’ve not been very precise with the ingredient quantities here as it’s really a case of tasting as you go along. Some will prefer this a little sweeter, so should add less fish sauce and lime juice, whilst others (me) will love the salty tang of the fish sauce and fresh zing of the lime juice. It’s all a matter of personal taste, so be sure to have a slurp of the broth a few times throughout the cooking process. This is something you learn to do more and more, taste your food as you go along, it’s really important as some unbalanced flavours are hard to amend once the dish is finished. This recipe serves 2.

Hot & Sour Asian Broth 

Handful of king prawns
Handful of dried mushrooms, soaked and drained
Handful of freshly chopped coriander 
500ml chicken stock
2 nests of noodles (rice noodles or Pad Thai)
1 tbsp chilli oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Small knob of ginger, minced
1 stalk of lemon grass, finely chopped
2 green finger chillies, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
Juice of half a lime
Start by boiling the kettle and soaking the noodles in boiling water.
Heat the chilli oil in a small casserole pot, add the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chillies, continue to cook for 3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and prawns, cook for 5 minutes until the prawns are pink and the mushrooms softened, and then add the fish sauce, lime juice, soy and sugar. Stir well and cover with the chicken stock.
Turn the heat down to a simmer and transfer the noodles to the broth. Simmer for 15 minutes and serve in warmed bowls with a sprinkling of coriander

If you enjoy my recipes then please do ‘like’ my Facebook page to keep up to speed with the latest culinary delights to come out of my kitchen. Each post features a photo and a link back to the blog where you’ll find the easy to follow recipes.  
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Steak & Ale Pie



Bored of the age old steak dinner for Valentine’s Day? Why not impress your valentine with this super tasty steak and ale pie? If you’re planning on spending a romantic evening in with a bottle of wine and a delicious homemade treat then give this delicious pie a whirl, I promise you’ll impress you’re other half. If you’d rather not spend the whole evening cooking then you can use a readymade pastry, but make it yourself and you’ll really notice the difference, and possibly earn a few extra brownie points. What could be better than a man making pie and getting covered in flour? I digress.
This recipe serves six, so there will be plenty of leftovers (which is fortunate, because once you’ve tried you’ll want more and more). Once made, you can freeze the pie in individual portions ready for lunches or a quick weeknight dinner. You can also freeze any leftover pastry for up to one month, just wrap it in cling film and pop it in the freezer for another time.
The best part about this pie is in the decoration, of course for a valentines pie I perhaps should have used a heart shaped cutter, but never mind, stars it is. You can get creative with your pastry cutting skills, maybe even spell out your partners name in pastry… too tacky? Okay, moving on.






Ingredients:
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 450g casserole steak
* 230g pack of smoked bacon, roughly chopped
* 4 carrots, roughly chopped
* 1 large onions, roughly chopped
* 2 tbsp plain flour
* 2 tsp sugar
* 300ml dark ale (a cheap own brand is fine)
* 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
* 400ml beef stock
* 1 bouquet garni
* 300g mushrooms, halved
* 650g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
* 250g cold baking butter, diced
* 1 egg, beaten
Method:

Heat oven to 160C. In a large casserole dish, fry the steak and bacon in a little olive oil until browned all over, set aside. Add the chopped carrots and onions and more oil if necessary, cook on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, then add the sugar and flour, stir well.
Add the steak and bacon back to the pan and stir well. Pour over the ale, Worcestershire sauce and stock, season well and add the bouquet garni, simmer for a few minutes before putting a lid on and transferring to the oven. Cook for 2-3 hours.
Meanwhile, measure out your flour and dice the butter, crumble them together with your (clean) fingers using a rubbing motion between your thumb, forefinger and middle finger. Add a pinch of salt. Once the butter and flour are combined, slowly add ice water and knead to form the pastry (I found that about 180mls did the trick). Wrap the pastry in cling film and pop it in the fridge while your pie cooks.
Once the steak is cooked, remove from the oven and turn the oven temperature up to 200C. Transfer the steak mixture to a pie dish and leave to cool while you roll out your pastry.  Roll out the pastry to a size that will cover the pie (you’ll want to leave another inch around the side). Pop your pastry on to the pie and cut around the edge, tucking the pastry under to form a seal. Brush the top with the egg wash and cut out your decoration. Add this to the top and brush again with egg. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
Serve with steamed vegetables and mashed, jacket or roast potatoes.  
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Stir fried Garlic Beef with Oyster Sauce

Hoo Hing’s Chinese Supermarket


Have you ever been to a Hoo Hing’s Chinese supermarket? I had the pleasure of visiting the one in Enfield on Sunday, which was rather exciting. Really exciting actually, for a foodie it’s like an Aladdin’s cave of Chinese ingredients. You’d love it, assuming you like Chinese food that is. There is just so much to look at, it’s overwhelming really, with a hundred different sweet chilli and soy sauces, noodles and cooking utensils. I left with a receipt as long as my arm, if not longer, and still I hadn’t spent a fortune. Who knew you could buy 60 vegetable spring rolls for £2.65? I know what you’re thinking, I bet they were awful, but they are actually delicious.   
Historically, I’ve never been a fan of Chinese food, finding it all too gloopy and stodgy, often feeling like I had a hangover after eating it, seriously! I’ve always preferred Indian and Thai food, who doesn’t love a curry? But, I’m putting this down to bad experiences at poor Chinese restaurants. However, I’ve recently decided that it’s these bad restaurants that I dislike rather than Chinese cuisine itself. So, in an attempt to discover delicious authentic Chinese food I’ve decided I’d be better attempting to make my own, which prompted my visit to Hoo Hings Supermarket.
So, with my thinking cap on and a cupboard stocked to the rafters with tasty new ingredients, I set about making a delicious little beef dish with a fillet steak I picked up in Aldi for a few pounds, bargain! I marinated the beef in a little garlic oil, fresh garlic, ginger and some oyster sauce, before adding it to a hot wok and adding chillies, spring onions and green peppers and dried mushrooms (these had been soaked first). The almost sinister looking thick and sticky oyster sauce has such a wonderful sweetness that works beautifully with the steak and green peppers. Leaving it all to marinate couldn’t be easier, stir frying it takes minutes and you’ve a delicious, guilt free Chinese meal to enjoy in the comfort of your own kitchen without spending a fortune.
Before you read the list of ingredients and panic about the monosodium glutamate (MSG), let me just mention that it’s really a small amount and you use it instead of salt. All Chinese food, takeaway or otherwise will have MSG added; it’s a flavour enhancer and it really does make the world of difference – and used in moderation it’s completely fine. In fact, you’ll be surprised at just how many foods contain MSG. Next time you reach for a packet of crisps check the list of ingredients, they’ll most likely contain it – that’s why they are so morish!

Stir-fried Garlic Beef with Oyster Sauce

Serves 2

* 1 fillet steak, sliced thinly
5 tbsp Oyster sauce
2 tbsp garlic oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp of monosodium glutamate
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
Knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 green chillies, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Large handful of fresh bean sprouts
Half a green pepper, roughly chopped
Handful of dried mushrooms, soaked and drained
2 nests of egg noodles (thick)
1. Start by marinating the beef in a dish with the oil, soy, oyster sauce, MSG, garlic, ginger and green chillies – leave this for as long as possible, but half hour will suffice.
2. Heat a little oil in a wok (over a high heat) and add the green peppers and half of the spring onions stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add the beef and marinade and stir fry until the beef is cooked to your liking, only a couple of minutes for me. Add the bean sprouts and mushroom, stir well and continue cooking for another minute until the vegetables have softened.
3. Serve the beef on a platter, garnished with the remaining spring onion and a bowl of egg noodles on the side.
This dish is delicious washed down with an ice cold Chinese Tsingtao beer.