Shakshuka Boats | Tomato & Red Pepper Baked Eggs in Tortilla Cups

PARTNEREDPOST

My first thought on seeing these new bite-size versions of Old El Paso’s Stand ‘N’ Stuff tortillas was to bake eggs in them, with a rich tomato sauce bubbling underneath. Given Old El Paso’s Mexican flavours, such an idea might put you in mind of huevos rancheros – fried eggs laid onto round corn tortillas and smothered in a fiery cooked salsa – but actually, my inspiration was shakshuka – eggs poached or baked in a spiced tomato sauce. This Middle Eastern dish is becoming really popular around the world, especially for breakfast and brunch.

I decided to use a punchy chipotle paste to add a smoky chilli heat to the tomato and red pepper sauce, my little nod to huevos rancheros.

Shakshuka Boats on Kavey Eats 1

My Shakshuka Boats are pretty quick to make – the sauce takes no more than ten minutes, assembly of the boats is very quick and the eggs take just 5-8 minutes under a medium grill. However, if you want to make it even quicker, substitute a jar of ready made chilli con carne sauce (that you would usually add to minced beef) or spiced tomato salsa and cook for a few minutes in a pan to thicken up a little.

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Hens eggs, quails eggs

I tried this recipe with both quails eggs and hens eggs. Both worked very well so it’s completely up to how much egg to sauce you fancy! On balance, I preferred the large yolks of the hens eggs.

Shakshuka Boats | Individual Tomato & Red Pepper Baked Eggs in Tortilla Cups

Makes 12 (serve 2 to 3 per person)
Total time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients
For the tomato and red pepper sauce
400 grams tinned tomatoes
100 grams roasted red peppers
Generous pinch of salt
Half teaspoon sugar
2-3 tablespoons of chipotle paste, to taste
For the shakshuka boats
12 Old El Paso’s Stand ‘N’ Stuff mini tortillas (see note)
12 small hens eggs or quail eggs (see note)
25-30 grams of Parmesan or similar hard cheese, finely grated
Optional: parsley or coriander to garnish

Note: I bought a jar of roasted red piquillo peppers for this recipe but any roasted red peppers will do.
Note: If you can’t find chipotle paste, substitute one to two teaspoons of a spice mix such as fajita seasoning, cajun spice rub or chilli con carne seasoning. Alternatively, keep it simple with some sweet smoked paprika and a little chilli powder.
Note: If you can’t find quails eggs or small hens eggs, buy medium or large hens eggs. Before adding the eggs to the boats, break each one into a small bowl and scoop out one to two tablespoons (depending on whether the egg is medium or large) of the egg white, taking care not to break the yolk. Leftover egg whites can be used to make meringues or frozen to use later.

Method

  • If the red peppers are not already skinned, carefully peel or scrape the skin off, and then chop into small pieces.

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  • Place all the tomato and red pepper sauce ingredients into a large frying pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly, until the sauce has thickened. This should take around 8-10 minutes, depending on your pan and the heat.

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  • Lower the grill tray so that it’s not right up under the elements, then preheat the grill on a low-to-medium setting.
  • Lay the twelve tortilla boats out on a baking tray. Add about one tablespoon of the sauce to each one, spreading it out across the bottom. If using quails eggs you can use a touch more.

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  • Break the eggs one at a time into a small bowl, remove excess egg white if necessary, and slip the egg gently over the tomato sauce in a tortilla boat. Repeat with all the eggs and boats.
  • Top the eggs with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and transfer to the grill.

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Hens eggs, quails eggs, under the grill

  • Grill until the egg whites are cooked, with no translucent areas remaining. This will take 5-8 minutes depending on whether you are using quails eggs or hens eggs, the heat of your grill and the distance between the grill element and the eggs. These cooking times result in cooked whites and soft yolks. Check regularly throughout the cooking time and give a little longer if needed.

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  • Garnish with parsley or coriander leaves, if using. Serve immediately.

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Hens egg yolk, quails egg yolk

I hope you love these cute little shakshuka boats and are inspired to try your own.

Here’s a Pinterest-friendly collage to save the recipe for later.

Shakshuka Boats on Kavey Eats

My shakshuka boats are perfect for breakfast and brunch or a light lunch or dinner and a great option when you need to cook eggs for several people at once; if you’ve ever tried doing twelve fried eggs at the same time, you’ll know what I mean!

Kavey Eats was commissioned by Old El Paso for the development and publication of this recipe.

Old El Paso Mini Stand ‘n’ Stuff Tortillas are available from major supermarkets (RRP £2.29).

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A Taste For… Garam Masala

When cooks from the Indian subcontinent talk of garam masala, they talk of whole or ground.

In his seminal and encyclopaedic book, McGee on Food and Cooking, Harold McGee explains that a greater surface area (from cracking or grinding spices) allows flavour molecules to escape more rapidly into the dish. This is why whole spices can be added at early stages of cooking, giving them plenty of time to release their flavours slowly, whereas supplemental spicing, added at the end of cooking, is best ground.

Chef proprietor of successful restaurant Café Spice Namasté, author of several Indian cookery books and celebrity television presenter, Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL shares his thoughts, ‘whole garam masala should always be delicate and fragrant; ground garam masala, if used incorrectly, can alter the flavour and taste profile of a dish beyond repair’. He adds that garam masala is not a ‘fix for all seasons’, in a gentle admonishment to those who add it where it doesn’t belong.

My mum Mamta Gupta, the home cook behind mamtaskitchen.com, has been sharing Indian recipes and cooking tips online for 15 years. She explains ‘although garam means hot, this masala (spice mixture) doesn’t include chilli; the warmth comes from black peppercorns’.

Her standard garam masala recipe consists of black peppercorns, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon or cassia bark and bay leaves. Although she will occasionally add cumin, nutmeg, or mace, she prefers not to include too many spices in her basic blend; ‘some people add star anise and fennel – I’ve even seen pomegranate seeds added. But I prefer to store them separately and add them individually to specific dishes.

Both Cyrus and Mamta warn that cheaper ready-made garam masalas are often bulked up with cumin and coriander seeds, as both are less expensive than the core spices both recommend. Yet another reason to make your own, and in small quantities so that the flavours don’t fade before use.

Indeed, Cyrus is keen to remind us ‘we all have different palates’ and that all of us smell and taste differently – ‘you make your own recipe as you go along, with trial and error – use your imagination!’ Although he talks through his most common garam masala ingredients (green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon or cassia bark, star anise, nutmeg or mace, black peppercorns and cumin), he also advises you to skip an ingredient if you can’t get hold of it and ‘don’t waste your time thinking you will not get a good masala’.

The biggest debate concerning garam masala is whether or not to roast the spices before grinding – as with much of Indian cooking, there is no one right or wrong answer. As Cyrus points out, ‘ground garam masala has a million recipes I should think, and a million thoughts towards it.

Like her mother and grandmother before her, Mamta seldom roasts her garam masala spices prior to grinding as she feels that ‘the flavour is released and then lost before using’. She likes to make garam masala in small batches, so it’s still fresh when used and then ‘sprinkle it on top of the cooked dish while still hot, close the lid and let the flavours infuse’.

Cyrus, on the other hand, advocates careful roasting in a clean oven, free of smelly fat deposits. He bakes his whole spices on a tray for 20 to 30 minutes at gradually decreasing temperatures from 160°C down to 120°C. Once they are completely cooled, he grinds and sieves before storing the finished garam masala in a clean jar. To use, he suggests adding just half a teaspoon at a time, tasting and adding more if desired.

At the end of the day’ says Mamta, ‘there are no rigid rules for garam masala. Do what suits you and the recipe best.’

Mamtas Garam Masala Recipe on Kavey Eats (text)-1

Mamta’s Ground Garam Masala

Reproduced from MamtasKitchen.com, with permission

Garam masala is used to add flavour to many Indian dishes. Mum’s recipe is based on how she saw her mother making it; the choice of spices and amounts of each spice vary from family to family. This version is quite strong so use only a little at a time; mum’s recipes usually specify less garam masala than is generally recommended because hers is quite intense and fresh. As spices lose some of their most volatile flavour molecules on grinding, it is better to make small amounts at a time, use within a few weeks, and make more as needed. As it is often cheaper to buy larger bags of whole spices, these can be stored in the freezer to retain freshness.

Ingredients
1 tbsp black pepper corns
1 tsp whole cloves
4-5 large, whole, brown cardamoms
4-5 dry bay leaves
3 inch cinnamon stick or equivalent amount of cassia bark
Optional
4-5 whole green cardamoms
Half a nutmeg, freshly grated or 2 tsp ground mace
1-2 tbsp cumin seeds

Method

  • Grind all ingredients together.
  • Sieve to remove coarse particles, fibres and husks.
  • Store in a clean airtight jar.

Mamtas Garam Masala Recipe on Kavey Eats (text)-2

 

This piece was written in 2014 and first published in Good Things magazine. ©Kavita Favelle.

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Blueberry Custard Ice Cream

One of the most joyous things about summer for me is the abundance of fresh fruit. Seasonal British-grown fruits are a particular joy – that pleasure that comes from missing them when they are gone and anticipating them just before they are back once again… and then, here they are!

Blueberries are one such fruit but I only came to love them in recent years – their taste is much more subtle than many of the sweet bright berries I favoured as a child, not to mention the wonderfully perfumed and intense tropical fruit imported from warmer climes.

Over the years I’ve become such a fan of these unassuming blue pearls. They’re lovely eaten straight from the punnet – that little squirt of juice as they pop in your mouth followed by their mild grapey taste. They’re also perfect scattered over yoghurt or muesli for breakfast, cooked into pancakes drenched in maple syrup or dropped like jewels into a baked tart or cake.

Blueberry Custard Ice Cream on Kavey Eats (3)

Calling this recipe Blueberry Custard Ice Cream is probably a tautology, since custard is the classic base for many traditional ice cream recipes, I don’t really need to mention it… But the flavour of the custard base really comes through – the marriage of egg-enriched dairy and sweet tart blueberries making a frozen treat that puts me in mind of eating blueberries bobbing about in a bowl of custard. So there you are – Blueberry Custard Ice Cream!

Some of the recipes I’ve seen online are illustrated with photos of vivid purple ice cream – I have no idea how they achieve so bright a colour since the recipes I’ve checked include neither food colouring nor freeze-dried blueberry powder. Fresh whole blueberries have a gorgeous purple-blue skin but the flesh inside is pale green; when blended, the resulting fruit puree is a pretty purple-burgundy but that colour is quickly muted when combined with cream or custard. The higher the ratio of fruit to cream or custard, the more intense the colour will be but if you use fresh blueberries, don’t expect really colourful ice cream.

Another alternative is to substitute bilberries, a closely related berry which looks very similar to a blueberry on the outside but has purple-red flesh inside – indeed I wonder if bilberries have been used in many of the ‘blueberry’ recipes I see online?

Blueberry Custard Ice Cream on Kavey Eats (1)

Blueberry Custard Ice Cream

Makes approximately 1 litre

Ingredients
– Custard base
225 ml milk (I used semi-skimmed but full fat is fine)
225 ml double cream
4 large eggs
60 grams sugar
– Blueberry puree
240 grams fresh blueberries
120 grams sugar
– Blueberry stir-in
120 grams fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons vodka

Note: I often add a little alcohol to my ice creams to make the finished ice cream a little softer. You can omit the vodka if you prefer; in that case, add plain chopped blueberries to the ice cream when churning.
Note: I used my wonderful Froothie Optimum power blender to make the custard ice cream base so the recipe method is based on using a power blender. An alternative stove top method for making the custard is provided below.

Method

  • Combine all the custard ingredients (milk, cream, eggs and 60 grams sugar) in a high spec power blender, increase the speed to high and blend for several minutes. The speed of the powerful blades generates enough heat to cook the custard while continuing to mix it. Nothing catches and burns, there are no lumps and it’s very straightforward.
  • Once the custard is cooked, transfer to a jug or bowl and set aside.
  • Use a blender or food processor to blitz 240 grams of blueberries with 120 grams of sugar. Once blended into a smooth liquid puree, combine with the custard base and mix thoroughly. (You can either pour the custard back into the blender and blitz for a few seconds or scrape the blueberry puree into the custard and mix with a spoon).
  • Finely chop 120 grams of blueberries and place in a small bowl. Pour two tablespoons of vodka over the chopped blueberries and set aside.
  • Pour the blueberry custard mix into an ice cream machine – I use and recommend the Sage by Heston Blumenthal Smart Scoop – and add the chopped blueberries in vodka. They will quickly be stirred into the mixture by the churning blades.
  • Most ice cream machines produce a fairly soft ice cream, so either serve immediately or transfer into a box and freeze until firm.

Alternate method for making custard base on the stove top

  • Gently heat the cream, milk and half the sugar in a saucepan until it reaches boiling, then remove from the heat. Meanwhile beat the remaining sugar and egg yolks together in a large bowl. Slowly pour the hot mixture over the eggs, whisking continuously. Then pour the combined mixture back into the pan and cook gently until it thickens. Make sure you stir continuously so that the custard doesn’t catch and burn. [Now revert to step two of the instructions above].

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Blueberry Custard Ice Cream on Kavey Eats (2)

This is my recipe for August’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream Fruit challenge. BSFIC is open to all bloggers around the world. Whether your blog is all about food or only occasionally about food, if you publish an ice cream, sorbet, ice lolly (popsicle) or slushy recipe featuring fruit this month, click on the link and follow the instructions to join in.

IceCreamChallenge

Other delicious blueberry recipes from fellow bloggers:

Special Offer: For an additional 2 years warranty free of charge on any Optimum appliance purchased, follow this link, choose your Optimum product and enter coupon code “Special Ambassador Offer” on checkout. Please see my sidebar for more information about affiliate links.

Save for later on Pinterest using this handy collage pin.

Blueberry Custard Ice Cream on Kavey Eats (tallpin)

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BSFIC July Roundup | Dairy Free

A quiet month this month, but I still have some delicious dairy free frozen treats to share with you for Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream.

findingnemohomemadepopsicles6

First up are these whimsical Finding Nemo Popsicles from Jessica at The Healthy Mouse. The Nemo pops are orange creamsicle flavoured and the Dory ones are blueberry lemonade flavoured. Jessica has used both coconut milk and dairy free yoghurt in these recipes, a healthy homemade alternative to ready-made popsicles.

pimms ice pops

Claire at Foodie Quine is a girl after my own heart with these adult-only Pimm’s O’Clock Ice Lollies featuring Pimm’s and lemonade with strawberries, cucumbers and lemonade. Can I put in an order for a big bowl of these, please?

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I really love the idea for these Summer Pudding Ice Lollies by Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen. Having made a summer compote with freshly picked summer berries, a moment of inspiration lead her to transfer it into lolly moulds for a cooling summery alternative.

Nectarine Maple & Bourbon Mini Ice Pops on Kavey Eats (Landscape Text Over)

For my own dairy free challenge, I too went for an adult-only option – creating these Nectarine, Maple & Bourbon Mini Ice Pops in a large ice cube tray. Very quick to make using my Froothie Optimum power blender, and deliciously decadent and cooling.

Strawberry_oreo_lollies_

Our last entry for the month is another gorgeous ice lolly idea – these Four-ingredient Oreo and Strawberry Popsicles by Lucy at Supergolden Bakes. I love her vintage moulds, the wooden spoon lolly sticks, the flavour combination itself and the way the biscuits poke out of the bottom!

IceCreamChallenge

I hope you’ve enjoyed these summer frozen treats as much as we have!

Do look out for August’s BSFIC, where I’ll be calling for your fruit-based concoctions – ice creams, sorbets, ice lollies, granitas, you name it!

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Nectarine, Maple & Bourbon Mini Ice Pops

The last couple of weeks have been a scorcher and I’ve been turning to home made ice lollies (popsicles) to cool down. My mango lassi ice lollies made with fresh mango and natural yoghurt were superbly refreshing and so too are my latest batch – combining fresh nectarines, maple syrup and bourbon in mini ice pops for grown ups.

These will work equally well with peaches or nectarines or you could even use apricots if you have some to hand.

Nectarine Maple & Bourbon Mini Ice Pops on Kavey Eats (Portrait Text Over)

As I’ve used the darkest grade of Canadian maple syrup which is much stronger in flavour than light, medium and amber grades, I used half sugar and half maple syrup in my mixture to keep the maple flavour from overwhelming. However if you are using medium or amber syrup, you can use 100% maple syrup as your sweetener if you prefer.

Nectarine, Maple & Bourbon Mini Ice Pops

Makes approximately 12 mini ice pops depending on the capacity of your moulds, or you can make a small number of regular sized ice lollies instead.

Ingredients
300 grams nectarine flesh, skin on (about 3 nectarines)
4 tablespoons dark maple syrup
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon

Note: You can substitute peaches or apricots for nectarines in this recipe, if you like.
Note: If your fruit is very sweet and ripe, you can reduce the volume of maple syrup and sugar a little.
Note: As I used a power blender to blitz my mixture, I left the nectarine skins on as my blender purees them very well. You can peel the fruit if you prefer.
Note: I used half and half dark grade maple syrup and regular sugar. If using medium or amber maple syrup, you can replace the sugar with another 4 tablespoons of maple syrup if you prefer.

You will also need ice cube moulds (or regular ice lolly moulds) and lolly sticks. Because of the alcohol and maple syrup, this recipe remains a little sticky once frozen, so make sure you use flexible plastic or silicon moulds to allow for easy removal of the finished pops.

Method

  • In a blender, blitz the nectarine flesh until smooth.
  • Add three quarters of the maple syrup / sugar and blend again.  Taste before deciding whether or not to add more. As freezing changes the way we taste sweetness, the mixture should be a little oversweet to your taste at this stage.
  • Add bourbon and blend again.
  • Pour into your ice cube mould or into regular ice lolly moulds if you prefer.
  • Insert a lolly stick into each one.
  • Freeze upright for 24 hours.
  • Once frozen, unmould individual ice pops by stretching and flexing the mould and gently teasing out the ice pop.
  • Eat straight away, returning the rest to the freezer immediately if not serving.

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I used my Froothie Optimum power blender to blend my nectarines into a super smooth smooth pulp, much as I use it to make smoothies. The powerful motor can also blend solid frozen fruit straight from the freezer to make an instant sorbet. I’ve also made several delicious soups in it as well as custard-based ice creams – it’s a great no-fuss way to make custard from scratch and fruit curds are also a doddle.

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Nectarine Maple & Bourbon Mini Ice Pops on Kavey Eats (Landscape Text Over)

This is my entry into this month’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream, which has a theme of dairy free. All bloggers are welcome to join in, please check the challenge post for information. This is also my post for Munchies & Munchkins’ Al Fresco challenge.

IceCreamChallenge mini

Save for later on Pinterest using this handy collage pin.

Nectarine Maple Bourbon Mini Ice Pops (Pinterest Tall Pin)

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Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes With Miso Mayonnaise

PARTNEREDPOSTFor me, mayonnaise is indelibly associated with the summer; an integral part of food eaten outside. The picnic rugs and garden tables of my childhood were laden with bacon and mayo-dressed potato-salad, rich and creamy coleslaws, a huge bowl of tuna-sweetcorn-mayo and a bottle of homemade Marie Rose sauce to slather over burgers and sausages charred from the barbeque. And that remains the same today.

To celebrate the launch of their new [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise, Heinz have set a challenge to create a recipe including the new mayonnaise as a key ingredient; the recipe is to be presented on a spoon, a single mouthful packed with flavour. Given that canapés are often made in large numbers, I favour ideas that deliver hugely on taste but are quick and easy to make and don’t need a long list of ingredients. These Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes with Miso Mayonnaise are my entry into the Heinz [Seriously] Good Spoonfuls Competition – simple, delicious four-ingredient spoonfuls based on my favourite Japanese flavours.

Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes With Miso Mayonnaise on Kavey Eats (Titled2)

At the heart of these canapés is hot smoked salmon. You might be wondering what the difference is between regular smoked salmon, hot smoked salmon and gravlax? For the first, raw salmon is smoked without heat which cures the fish without cooking, resulting in a silky slippery texture that is best suited to serving in thin slices. For the second, the fish is either hung or laid out in racks within hot smoke, creating the wonderful flaky texture of cooked fish plus all that delicious flavour from the smoke. Gravlax and lox are both made by curing salmon without any smoke at all, applying combinations of salt, sugar, herbs and spices to draw out the moisture and preserve the fish – the texture is much like smoked salmon but the flavour is quite different.

Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes With Miso Mayonnaise on Kavey Eats (c)-8793

Miso paste is a fabulously versatile ingredient and great for adding a savoury note to all manner of dishes. Made by fermenting soybeans with a fungus known in Japanese as kōjikin, the pungent, salty and umami-rich paste is used as a seasoning throughout Japanese cooking. There are many different varieties available in Japan, usually broadly divided by their colour. White is the mildest and sweetest. Red, aged for longer, is stronger and saltier. As it is aged miso paste darkens through red into brown. Some varieties have grains such as rice or barley added to the soybeans.

Nori is the Japanese name for edible Pyropia seaweed and usually refers to thin dried sheets that are made by shredding, pressing and drying fresh seaweed. These are most commonly used in sushi – particularly for maki rolls and gunkan maki and for tying toppings to nigiri sushi – but are also a popular garnish for all manner of dishes including rice and ramen.

Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes With Miso Mayonnaise

Makes 12 one-bite canapés

Ingredients
Approx. 250 grams hot smoked salmon fillet (see note)
100 grams Heinz [Seriously} Good Mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons miso paste, to taste (see note)
1 sheet nori (Japanese dried seaweed)

Note: Hot smoked salmon is also known as kiln-roasted salmon. Look for pieces cut across the fillet – this will make it easier to cut evenly sized cubes.
Note: I used white miso paste for my Miso Mayo, as I had a tub open in the fridge, but you can use whichever you prefer. The saltiness and intensity of flavour vary hugely between different types and brands, so add a little and then taste before adding more.

Method

  • Carefully cut the hot smoked salmon fillets into evenly sized cubes. Depending on the shape and size of your fillets, you may get a few more than 12. The salmon is delicate and will flake easily, so be gentle!
  • Weigh the mayonnaise into a bowl and add one tablespoon of miso paste. Mix thoroughly and taste before adding more if necessary.
  • Carefully cut the nori sheet into thin strips.
  • Carefully wrap a strip of nori around each cube of salmon, letting the two ends overlap underneath. They should stick easily to the oily fish and remain in place.
  • Spoon a small dollop of miso mayonnaise on top of each piece and serve.

 Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes With Miso Mayonnaise on Kavey Eats (Titled1)

Other delicious Heinz [Seriously] Good Spoonfuls canapé ideas from some of my friends:

Kavey Eats was compensated by Heinz Foods UK for the development and publication of this recipe.

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Heston’s Triple-Cooked Chips

Popularised by Heston Blumenthal, triple-cooked chips (french fries for you North Americans) are very simple to make at home and not at all as faffy as they sound.

The first cooking is to parboil the chipped potatoes; the next is to fry the chips at a low-to-medium temperature and allow them to cool and dry; the third is to fry again at a higher temperature to finish. One of the handy aspects of this recipe is that it allows you to do the prep and first two stages of cooking in advance, so that you are left only with a quick hot fry to finish just before serving.

Says Heston, ‘The first secret is cooking the chips until they are almost falling apart as the cracks are what makes them so crispy. The second secret is allowing the chips to steam dry then sit in the freezer for an hour to get rid of as much moisture as possible. The final secret is to cook the chips in very hot oil for a crispy, glass-like crust.

Even without putting them in the freezer, following Heston’s method will result in very delicious chips indeed.

Heston Blumenthals Triple Cooked Chips on Kavey Eats

Rather appropriately, we made our triple-cooked chips in the Smart Fryer designed by Heston Blumenthal for Sage Appliances. This is a fantastic step up from our last deep fat fryer which served us well for the last three years but is now falling apart, particularly the basket and the hinge of the lid. That was our first deep fat fryer and it was a great improvement over using a deep casserole dish on our gas hob. But it was heavy and unwieldy making it hard to empty the oil out of and a pain to clean.

Our new Sage Smart Fryer has an ingenious design – the entire fryer separates into five components: a heating element and control panel unit, the exterior shell of the fryer, a removable inner well, the frying basket and the lid. With the exception of the element and control panel unit, all the other components are dishwasher safe, which is very handy for cleaning. Being able to remove the inner well of the fryer also makes it so much easier to pour out the 4 litres of oil that the fryer holds. Other helpful design aspects include a double-walled exterior shell for insulation, a viewing window in the lid and a foldable handle on the fryer basket so it can be stored inside the basket when not in use.

In terms of cooking, you can set temperature and time manually in Custom mode or use one of the six preset Cook modes. These are Twice Fried Chips (that’s triple cooked chips in other words – the first cooking being the parboiling), Fish, Nuggets, Calamari, Doughnuts or (single fry) Chips. Choosing any of these Cook modes will display the preset time and temperature, which you can manually adjust if you wish. Once you’ve pressed the Start / Cancel button, just wait for the Heating message to disappear, then indicate whether you’re putting in Fresh or Frozen food, press the Timer button and lower the basket of food into the oil. When it’s finished, the fryer will beep. At this point you can either press the Timer and cook for an additional period, or press Start / Cancel to turn off the heating element. The Twice Fried Chips setting has an additional choice to make – whether you’re on the 1st Fry or the 2nd Fry. The Scroll / Select knob allows you to indicate this.

If you do not have a deep fat fryer you can fry the chips in a heavy-based casserole dish or pan on your hob, however you will need a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil.

sage the smart fryer 3 sage the smart fryer 1
images provided by Sage

Heston’s Triple Cooked Chips

Recipe method by Kavey Eats

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chips
groundnut or grapeseed oil to fry
Salt, to serve

Note: Heston recommends traditional floury varieties such as Maris Piper, Desiree or King Edward and suggests cutting the chips chunky – 2 cm x 2 cm thick – but smaller is also fine.
Note: Keep the peeled potatoes in a bowl of cold water as you work, and likewise with the chips as you cut them. This will stop browning on exposure to the air.
Note: The v
olume of oil needed depends on the capacity of your deep fat fryer. Mine is 4 litres.

Method

  • Place the chips into a large saucepan of cold water (making sure they are covered with water) and cook over a medium heat. Simmer until the chips are soft all the way through.
    [Pete’s technique is to bring the pan of cold water and chips to a boil, then turn off the heat and leave to soak for five minutes.]
  • Drain the chips and carefully spread them out on a cooling rack or baking tray to dry out. You can also place them into the freezer for an hour to remove more moisture, if you have space and time.

Heston Triple Cooked Chips on Kavey Eats-181215 Heston Triple Cooked Chips on Kavey Eats-181953

  • Heat the oil in your deep-fat fryer to 130 °C. Once it reaches temperature, fry the chips (in batches if need be) until they take on a pale yellow colouring. This takes at least 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oil, drain and spread out to cool before the second frying. At this stage, if you don’t want to cook and serve the chips straight away you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days, if you wish.

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  • Now heat your oil to 180 °C. Once it reaches temperature, fry the chips until golden brown, around 5-7 minutes.
  • Drain, sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Note: If you are using the Smart Fryer’s Twice Fried setting, note that the recipe provided doesn’t include the parboiling stage, and therefore frying times are a little longer to cook the chips through to the centre. You can still use this mode to make Triple Cooked Chips but adjust the timer down by a couple of minutes for each fry.

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Kavey Eats received a Sage by Heston Blumenthal Smart Fryer for review. As always, I was not obliged to write a positive review; all opinions are my own and I recommend only products I truly believe in. This post contains affiliate links; please see my sidebar for further information.

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A Taste For… Tomatillo | Tomatillo Salsa

From its name you might think it’s a type of tomato. It certainly looks a lot like one, once its husk is peeled away.

In fact, although the tomatillo is a member of the expansive nightshade family (which includes tomatoes as well as potatoes, aubergines, chillis and peppers), it actually falls within the physalis genus, making it more closely related to the cape gooseberry.

Like the cape gooseberry, the tomatillo is a smooth-skinned round fruit enveloped in a delicate, paper-thin, lantern-shaped husk. Green and pliant on the plant, once picked the husk starts to dry out, turning brown and brittle; the greener the husk, the more freshly picked the tomatillo.

Both cape gooseberries and tomatillos hark originally from Central and South America and, indeed, tomatillos are a staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine. They are eaten fried, grilled or boiled in many different preparations and are a core ingredient of salsa verde.

Ripe tomatillo fruits can range from yellow to red and purple but green is the most common colour, making them look even more like unripe tomatoes.

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The similarity of their names is no coincidence; both words come from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, with tomatillos originally being known as tomātl (fat water) and tomatoes as xitomatl (fat water with navel). When the Spaniards exported the tomato to the rest of the world, they took with them the name tomate.

But unlike the tomato, the tomatillo has not yet become a common global ingredient. Although imported Mexican fresh tomatillos are sometimes available in Europe, it has often been easier to find the fruit in tinned form.

However, in recent years, specialist farmers have started to grow tomatillos here in the UK. Edible Ornamentals, a chilli specialist in Bedfordshire, is the largest tomatillo grower in the UK and sells the fruit commercially. Owners Shawn and Joanna Plumb once lived in San Antonio, Texas, where they became very familiar with tomatillos along with many varieties of chilli. Mexican cooking is very popular in Texas.

Joanna is an enormous fan of tomatillos, explaining that “the flavour is like nothing I have ever tasted. It is a cross between a tomato, a cucumber and a water melon. Very refreshing.” Although she loves eating the fruits straight off the plant, she also enjoys them in a traditional green salsa.

Of course, one sure-fireway of getting your hands on fresh tomatillos is to grow them yourself. “Tomatillos grow like triffids,” warns Joanna, and recommends training them up a vertical support so they don’t take over your garden. You will need at least two plants as they pollinate each other.

Keen gardeners can buy tomatillo plants directly from Edible Ornamentals’ nursery in Chawston, Bedfordshire and visiting the farm also offers the opportunity of a chilli tour and Pick Your Own. You can also grow from seed – available from a number of seed catalogue companies. Tomatillos usually start fruiting in July or August and, if you grow them in a greenhouse or polytunnel, continue until the frost comes along.

If you are able to find fresh tomatillos, the good news is that they last for a couple of weeks in the fridge; up to twice that if the husks are removed. They can also be frozen, whole or chopped. And, of course, you can cook them and preserve in jars. It’s worth noting that tomatillos have a high pectin content, making them a great ingredient to add to jams and chutneys.

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Homegrown tomatillos, fresh tomatillos in the kitchen of a London-based Mexican restaurant chain

Tomatillo Salsa Recipe

by Joanna Plumb of Edible Ornamentals

Ingredients
10 tomatillos with husk removed, finely diced
Half a finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 serrano chile pepper, minced
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
0.5 teaspoon ground cumin
0.5 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Method

  • Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, and Serrano chilli into a bowl.
  • Season with coriander, oregano, cumin and salt.
  • Leave for about 30 minutes and then serve.
  • Can be used as a side dish, in fajitas or as a dip for tortilla chips.

You may also be interested in Joanna’s chilli growing tips, which she shared with us during our visit.

Tomatillo Salsa and an introduction to tomatillos

This piece was written in 2014 and first published in Good Things magazine. ©Kavita Favelle.

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Harumi Kurihara’s Green Beans with Minced Pork

A few days ago I shared my review of Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara. Kurihara is one of Japan’s most well known cookery book writers and TV cookery show presenters and also runs a chain of home ware shops and cafes, and publishes a quarterly recipe magazine. To write Everyday Harumi, she spent time living, shopping and cooking in England all the better to ensure that the recipes were achievable for British cooks.

We have made her delicious green beans with minced pork a few times and love the balance of flavours and textures. It’s quick and simple to cook and a small amount of meat goes a long way, so it’s perfect if you’re trying to reduce the amount of meat you eat.

Don’t forget, you can win a copy of the new paperback edition of Everyday Harumi in my latest giveaway.

greenbeans/mincepork

Green Beans with Minced Pork

This dish is something of a tradition in my household. It is easy to prepare, only needing soy sauce for seasoning, and makes use of wonderful ingredients like ginger, garlic and Japanese leeks. It is a great dish that can be rustled up quickly if guests drop in unexpectedly. I usually serve it with white rice and if there are any leftovers, they don’t last long in our house.

Serves 4

Ingredients
500 g green beans
40 g leek
15 g fresh ginger, peeled
8 g garlic
Sunflower or vegetable oil – for frying
200 g minced pork
30–45 ml soy sauce
sliced fresh or dried red chillies – to taste
sesame oil – to taste

Method

  • Prepare the green beans, lightly cook in boiling water, then rinse under cold running water.
  • Drain the beans, pat-dry and cut diagonally into easy-to-eat pieces.
  • Finely chop the leek, ginger and garlic.
  • Put a little oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the chopped leek, ginger and garlic, allowing the flavours to infuse in the oil, then add the minced pork and stir-fry.
  • Add the green beans, then add soy sauce and red chilli to taste.
  • Continue to cook until the beans have heated through. Add a little sesame oil to taste and serve with hot white rice.

Recipe extracted from Everyday Harumi with permission from Conran Octopus.

Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara is published by Conran Octopus. The hardback edition is currently available on Amazon for £16.59 (RRP £20). The newly published paperback version is available on Amazon for £13.48 (RRP £14.99).

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Sweet Cherry Crumble Crisp

Also known as a fruit crisp in parts of North America a fruit crumble is one of Britain’s favourite desserts; a comforting bowl of cooked fruit topped with a layer of flour, sugar and fat crumbled together and baked in a hot oven.

It’s popularity grew enormously in the era of rationing during and after World War II, when a thin layer of crumble was an economic alternative to the volume of pastry needed to make a pie. Foraged and home grown fruit made it even more so.

A crumble is also wonderfully easy to make, especially versions where the fruit filling doesn’t need to be cooked ahead of assembly.

The most popular fruit for crumble is apple, often combined with blackberries or rhubarb, though I’ve also enjoyed crumbles made with peaches, plums or gooseberries. Cherry crumbles are less common, perhaps because the fruit is one that remains quite expensive here, even when its in season.

Recently I bought a bag of ‘sweet cherries’ at a local market that were anything but – far too sharp but with a lovely flavour beneath the acidity.

Although I do love the basic flour, sugar and butter crumble mix, I have come to prefer this version with rolled oats added to the mix. The combination of oats and flour makes for a topping that remains crisp and crumbly on top, but still provides that magical layer of gooey stodginess, where the crumble has sucked up some of the moisture from the fruit below.

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I’m calling this a ‘crumble crisp’ because I love both the British and North American names for this dish, and combining them makes me smile.

Sweet Cherry Crumble Crisp

Serves 4-5

Ingredients
Filling

400-450 grams pitted cherries, halved
Optional: 25 grams Demerara sugar
Optional: 1 tablespoon cherry brandy or other cherry liqueur
Topping
100 grams plain flour
75 grams butter
100 grams Demerara sugar
50 grams rolled oats

Note: As I don’t have a cherry pitter, I halved each cherry and used the tip of the paring knife to help slip out the pip. Since the cherries sit more snugly together when halved, I recommend halving them even if you have a proper pitter.

Equipment: Our casserole dish has a 7 inch (18 cm) diameter, which results in a decent depth of fruit beneath a generous layer of topping. Using a larger dish will result in thinner layers and may require an adjustment to the cooking times. However, you can double the quantities and use a 10 inch (25 cm) diameter dish to make a larger crumble, if you prefer.

Method

  • If the cherries are a little sharp, sprinkle with 25 grams of Demerara sugar, cover with cling film and set aside for an hour.
  • If you plan to bake the crumble as soon as it’s assembled, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Alternatively, you can prepare the crumble a few hours in advance, set aside, and bake in a preheated oven when required.
  • To create the crumble crisp topping, blend the flour and butter in a food processor for a few seconds until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Using the pulse function helps to distribute the butter evenly and ensure that the entire mixture is crumbled. If you don’t have a food processor or prefer to do this by hand make sure the butter is cold, cut it into small cubes and then rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips until the entire mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the Demerara sugar and rolled oats to the flour and butter mixture and stir with a spoon or spatula. Be gentle enough not to compress the topping, but ensure that the oats and sugar are well mixed in.
  • If you are adding cherry brandy or liqueur to the cherries, pour the alcohol over the cherries, stir well and then transfer cherries to your baking dish (see above), making sure to include all the juices and liquid in the bowl.

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  • Spread the crumble crisp topping evenly over the cherry filling. Don’t pat it down, the intention is for it to retain an aerated crumbly texture.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the topping has taken on a golden colour.
  • Serve hot with custard, cream or vanilla ice cream.

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What’s your favourite recipe for fresh cherries? Have you used them in a crumble or do you prefer a more traditional apple filling? And what do you think of adding oats into the topping? Let me know in the comments; I love hearing from you!

Other ideas for fresh, canned and dried cherries:

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