Recipe: Cheesy pork steaks and potato rosti plus the winner of a handy Microplane Cube Grater

It’s time to announce the winner of this fantastic Microplane Cube Grater. Congratulations to Elaine from Oxfordshire who will soon have a lovely addition to her kitchen.

The perfect way to make preparing food so much easier, the grater features three original Microplane blades. The Fine blade is ideal for grating citrus, spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic and ginger and Parmesan to sprinkle liberally on your pasta.

The Ribbon blade, which conveniently grates in both directions, is ideal for grating chocolate, apple, soft and hard cheeses and a variety of vegetables, like onion, carrots and courgettes.

And then there’s the Coarse blade which is best for grating medium to hard cheeses like cheddar and a range of fruit and veg like apples, ginger, coconuts, carrots and potatoes.

This space-saving grater includes a durable, transparent cover that is also a box to contain whatever you’re grating, so no mess. It also has handy measurement marks on two sides and is available in black, red and green.

To celebrate this handy little grater I’ve came up with two tasty dishes that I needed to grate ingredients for. Altogether it’s a simple and amazingly tasty meal that you have to try.

Cheesy Pork Steaks

Serves 2

4 thin pork steaks

2 tbsps vegetable oil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 beef tomato, sliced into four large slices

1 cup grated comte cheese (or any strong-flavoured cheese like cheddar)

Pour the oil into an ovenproof dish. Add the pork steaks and make sure they are well coated with the oil.

Lay the tomato slices on top of the pork and sprinkle with the oregano.

Top with the grated comte cheese.

Place in the oven at 180C and bake for about 20 mins.

stage1

Top the pork steaks with the juicy tomato slices

stage2

Top with the grated cheese before baking in the oven

 

pork

The delicious dish straight out of the oven

Simple potato rosti

I love potato rosti! It comes in many different forms and every chef has their own favourite. I’d never made it before today so decided to try the simplest method I could. Here it is, basically one ingredient and so tasty – obviously grating those potatoes makes some kind of magic.

Makes enough for two as a side dish (with a little left over for later)

2 medium potatoes

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Boil the potatoes until they are tender but not soft. Allow them to cool then chill for about an hour.

Grate the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Heat half the butter and oil in a heavy-based non-stick pan until it is sizzling. Add the grated potato and cook for a couple of minutes, then shape the potato into a flat cake by pressing down on it gently with a spatula.

Cook on medium for a couple more minutes, then gently shake the pan to make sure it’s not stuck to the bottom.

Cook for about 10 minutes until golden.

Place a place on top of the pan and invert it so the potato cake sits cooked side up on the plate.

Add the rest of the butter and oil to the pan and slide the cake in with the uncooked side on the bottom. Cook for another 10 minutes until crispy and golden on the other side.

rosti

A portion of deliciously golden rosti

Cube Grater - Green

And here it is in green…the handy Microplane Cube Grater

You can find out more about Microplane at www.microplaneintl.com

Recipe: Easy three cheese and spring onion tart

I love a good cheese tart, so today when I realised I had extra cheese in the fridge, I had to tranform it into a tart. This recipe is really simple, especially if you buy the pastry case ready made, which I recommend. And the cheesy smells that swirl around the house while it’s cooking are delectable.

It’s enough for four healthy portions, or good served (in small pieces) as snacks at a party.

A yummy three-cheese tart to indulge in

A yummy three-cheese tart to indulge in

1 tbsp olive oil

2 bunches of spring onions, trimmed and chopped

2 large eggs

150ml whole milk

25g mature cheddar, grated

50 parmesan, grated

A few sprigs of thyme, leaves only

1 x 230g Jus-rol shortcrust pastry case

150 goat’s cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 180C and put a baking tray in to heat.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the spring onions until they are soft.

Beat the eggs in a bowl, then whisk in the milk. Tip in the spring onions, cheddar and parmesan and stir together with the thyme.

Pour the mixture into the pastry case in its foil container and scatter the goat’s cheese over the top.

Cook for 40-45 minutes or until set and golden.

 

Viandas Salamanca: a Proper Spanish deli in The Strand

Living in London is wonderful, there’s always something new to discover. And I can’t tell you how excited I felt when I spotted this place. I visit Spain a lot and love the country, its people and the food. And now there’s a little touch of authentic Spain in, guess where, Covent Garden! Hooray.

Viandas Salamanca sells foodie delights from the Salamanca (north west) area of Spain. The first thing you notice when you walk in is the aroma of ham and cheese filling the air, inhale it and enjoy. One wall is covered with hanging jamons in all their glory, there are fridges full of different meaty delicacies in vacuum packs and cheeses from the region.

jamon

A wall full of jamon…paradise

You can also ask for your jamon to be freshly carved for you off one of the legs that sits temptingly on the counter. Impossible for me to resist!

cheese

Cheese glorious cheese

And then there’s the sandwiches – large baguettes packed full of Spanish jamon – well, overflowing with it really as you can see from the picture below! When you order one you’re given the choice of adding tomato, which is in the form of a little sachet of the tomato concotion that is used on pan con tomate. Lunch really doesn’t get much better than this!

looking in

Looking into the Spanish treasure trove from the street, check out the amazing baguettes

This sort of produce is not cheap, but that’s no surprise as it is of the highest quality and takes a lot of time and love to produce. So go on, treat yourself. I know I did!

pigs

The special pigs are acorn-fed to produce the delectable jamon

Viandas Salamanca is at 99 Strand, London WC2

Recipe: Cheesy garlic chicken with roast vegetables

Okay, it’s fair to say that I cook a lot, and I do love it. But I do try to keep it as simple as possible, unless I’m heading into one of my full-on cook-all-weekend extravaganzas where the fridge is bursting with ingredients and my head with ideas!

Most of my recipes are quick and easy. Like this delicious one-pan dinner I made last night. I love cooking all in one dish, so little washing up. Vary this dish by using different vegetables, different herbs, even different meat. It’s light and delicious with a lovely mix of the flavours of lemons, oregano and garlicky cheese. Don’t worry if some of the cheese leaks out into the pan (as it has here), it’s all meant to be served together anyway.

Serve with a baked potato for a more substantial meal.

chicken1

Flavours of the Mediterranean all in one pan

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts, skin on

50g soft cheese with garlic, I used Philadelphia garlic and herb

1 red onion, quartered

1 courgette, sliced into chunks

1 yellow pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into quarters

1 orange pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into quarters

1 lemon, quartered

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsps olive oil

Make a small pocket under the skin of the chicken breast by sliding a sharp knife under the skin. Stuff it with the soft cheese and wrap the skin securely around.

Add the peppers, onion, olive oil and half the oregano into the roasting tin and roast at 180C for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and add the courgette and chicken breasts. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken and vegetables and add the lemon quarters to the tin.

Return to the oven and cook for another 20-25 mins until the chicken is done.

chicken2

My new Stellar James Martin Roaster is perfect for one-pan dishes like this and for my favourite Sunday roast. It’s made of heavy grade carbon steel for even heat distribution, is non-stick and really easy to clean. Find out more about James Martin’s range at www.stellarcookware.co.uk

Recipe: Simply the best macaroni cheese

So this is my friend Candy’s recipe for macaroni cheese. She was taught to cook it during school holidays on the North Coast of Natal in South Africa, by her Aunt Jenny. She cooked it for us recently and I think it’s the nicest macaroni cheese I’ve tasted, so I had to make it myself and share it with you.
A comforting, cheesy feast that really satisfies. Thanks Cands.
Serves 6
A beautiful macaroni cheese that really hits the spot

A beautiful macaroni cheese that really hits the spot

1 packet streaky bacon or pancetta, chopped
50g butter
4 tbsps all-purpose flour
1 litre Milk
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
350g Cheddar cheese, grated
150g Gruyere cheese, grated
1 x 500g packet Macaroni or Penne
3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper
Fry bacon bits in a frying pan until nice and crispy. Drain on a paper towel and set aside for use later.
Boil pasta according to packet instructions until al dente, drain and set aside.
To make your bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a pan. Add the cayenne pepper to the melted butter, then add the flour to the melted butter and mix in until a thick roux is formed.  Add half of the milk to the roux, stirring constantly. You may need to use a whisk to get rid of any lumps. Add the rest of the milk and keep whisking on the heat until you have a lump-free, thickening sauce.
Add  200g of the Cheddar to the bechamel mixture, whisking it in – the balance of the cheddar will be used for sprinkling on top of your dish.  Add the Gruyere and mix in well until melted and incorporated into the sauce.
Season the bechamel well with salt and black pepper.
Add the crispy bacon bits to the sauce.  Pour the drained pasta into the bechamel sauce and mix through.  Pour the pasta and bechamel mixture into a bake-proof casserole dish and arrange tomato slices on top.
Sprinkle the remaining grated cheddar cheese on top.  Place in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 30-35 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.

 

The cheesy concoction before it went into the oven

The cheesy concoction before it went into the oven

Do you have a favourite dish you learnt to cook as a child? I’d love to hear all about it and try it out for myself, do let me know.

Happy Easter cheesy recipes

The Easter weekend is nearly upon us…hooray, four days to chill out and cook! Yes, a long weekend is just the motivation I need to start conjuring up menus to try in my head. Watch this space.

To get those creative juices flowing, take a look at these stunning recipes from Castello cheeses.

They’ve teamed up with foodie adventurer Stefan Gales and I just love these fantastically creative Easter egg recipes with a twist. Enjoy and Happy Easter everyone.

Tickler and cider fondue served in an eggshell with Tickler soldiers fried in beurre noisette

A beautiful and clever dish

A beautiful and clever dish

Serves 4

350g Castello Tickler Extra-Mature Cheddar (grated)

200ml fine strong cider

1 tablespoon of cornflour, mixed to a paste with 2tbsp cold water

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

1tbsp truffle oil

Soldiers

8 slices sourdough

200g Castello Tickler Extra-Mature Cheddar thinly sliced

100g butter for frying

Juice of 1 lemon

Put a thick-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat, add the cider and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, mix in the grated cheese, cornflour paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir gently until all the cheese has melted. It should be as thick as Greek yoghurt, so if you need to thicken or loosen it add more cheese or cider. Keep it warm until you’re ready to serve

Lightly toast the sourdough slices, then make four unbuttered sandwiches with cheddar slices inside

Heat a large knob of butter in a frying pan until sizzling, then just as the butter turns brown, add 1 tbsp of lemon juice and turn one of the sandwiches in it to coat and continue frying until slightly crispy. Repeat with the rest of the sandwiches, then slice them into soldiers and put them on plates

Stir ½ tbsp. truffle oil into the fondue, taste and add another ½ tbsp. if you need to (truffle oils can vary in strength). Put each egg-shell in an egg cup and fill with the fondue (there’ll be more leftover for seconds!) and serve.

Pineapple Halo mixed with creme fraiche in a chocolate egg with orange zest 

Chocolately eggs to stimulate the taste buds

Chocolately eggs to stimulate the taste buds

Makes 2 eggs 

2 hollow chocolate eggs

½ wheel of Castello Pineapple Halo

4tbsp crème fraiche

Zest of one orange

Carefully slice the top off the chocolate eggs using a hot knife dipped in water from a boiled kettle. Put them into egg cups

Put the cheese, crème fraiche and ¾ of the orange zest into a bowl and mix it together with the back of a fork. Fill each eggshell with the mixture, and then put the remaining orange zest on top to look like the yolk.

To find out more about the Castello cheese range visit www.castellocheese.co.uk