Saturday, 22 February 2014

#FlavourOfTogether Schwartz; Chilli Obsession; Courgette Fritters, Spicy Meat Balls, Poached Pears & Ice-Cream


I am lucky enough to be chosen to take part in the Schwartz Flavour Forecast Blogger Challenge.

Schwartz have experts, working all year round, forecasting what we will be eating, our actual eating habits for the coming year, its an on going job. It makes sense, have you ever been looking at a cook book and thought I fancy cooking that, then endlessly researching where you can buy the ingredients, herbs or spices.  It used to happen to me all the time.  Less often these days, there is a wider range of herbs and spices available in most supermarkets.

More people are cooking, cooking from scratch and cooking fresh food.  Also I should mention different nationalities introducing new cuisines, I myself like to wonder down the World aisle for new, exotic flavours.

I have been challenged to come-up with a new recipe based on the Flavour Forecast trends below:

Chillies Obsession: 
Food lovers everywhere are seeking out their next big chilli thrill.
Modern Masala: 
Indian food is finally having its moment, breaking free of its traditional confines with modern interpretations.
Clever Compact Cooking: 
Proving that big flavours can come from small spaces, cooks in urban kitchens are making the most of what’s available.
Mexican World Tour: 
Mexican flavours are making their way around the globe, with people everywhere discovering new aspects of this bright, casual cuisine.
Charmed by Brazil: 
The world’s attraction to Brazilian cuisine is heating up, thanks to its seductive mix of global and native influences.
Schwartz have spoilt me, by sending me so many spices, some things I have never heard of, never used before, things I have to look-up.  So being experimental I have put together a 3 course dinner uses as many herbs and spices as possible! 
 I have chosen CHILLI OBSESSION, most people who know me know I like to hot!
STARTER: 
Courgette Fritter 
Tzatziki 
Flat bread

Courgette Fritter:
 200g grated courgette 
100g ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp of Garlic minced 
1/2 tsp of Black Onion 
1 tsp of Chillies Crushed
1tsp of grated Parmesan cheese 
Salt and pepper
olive oil to lightly fry 
First I grated the courgettes, they are very watery, I squeezed the liquid out of the grated courgettes.  Place the courgette and rest of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, mixed it all together with your hand.  
Heat a thick/heavy non-stick frying pan.
I use a 1 tbsp measure cup to scoop out one fritter measurement and fry in the pan.  
Cook for 3 minutes on a medium heat each side, well go crispy brown.  Add oil when pan becomes dry. Cook as many as possible at the same time
Tzatziki:
200g Greek Strained (thick) yoghurt
2 tbsp finely chopped dill leaves 
juice of 1/2 lemon 
Salt
  
Mix all together, pop in the fridge until serving time.

Flat Bread:
190g plain flour
150ml of warm water 
1 tbsp of olive oil 
1/2 tsp Black Onion
1/2 tsp Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Chillies Crushed 
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt
Mix flour, oil, black onion, sesame seed, chillies and salt together, add a little water at a time. The dough is tough keep mixing and working until the dough is soft and stretchy.  If necessary add a little oil if too sticky. 
Split the dough mixture into 16 pieces, roll into balls, cover them film and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. 
Heat a large frying pan, roll out dough balls, they are about 1ml thin. Gently fry on a high heat, until light brown on each side. Cook as many as possible at the same time. 
MAIN:
Meat Balls & Rice (makes approx. 36)
Meat Balls: 
500g Lean Minced Beef
1 egg
2 tbsp Golden Breadcrumbs
1 beef Oxo cube
1 tsp Mixed herbs
1/2 tsp Paprika Smoked
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp Onion Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Granules
1/2 tsp Cumin Ground
1 tbsp  Vegetable Oil 
 
Mix all together, then sprinkle the surface with golden breadcrumbs. Split the meat in to 36 (approx) pieces, roll into balls and cover in bread crumbs. Warm up a heavy frying pan, add the oil. Place the balls into the frying pan on a medium heat.  Cook for 15 mintues, tossing to cover evenly, make sure not to burn.  Take off heat once cooked, should be brown throughout.
Sauce:
2 tins of chopped tomatoes 
2 tbsp of tomato puree
1 large Red Onion
1 Beef Oxo cube - 
1 Vegetable Oxo Cube
1 pint of boiling hot water
1 tsp Mixed herbs 
1/2 tsp Oregano 
1/2 tsp Garlic Minced 
1tsp Cayenne Chilli Pepper 
1 tbsp Cumin Ground 
1 tbsp Vegetable oil
Pinch of Salt & dash of Pepper
Use a large heavy pan, I use a pressure cooker.  Warm the oil, add finely chopped red onion, garlic, mixed herbs, salt.  Stir for a couple of minutes, your nose will tell you its cooking, the garlic smells fantastic. Add the tomato puree and stir.  Crush both of the Oxo cubes together in a jug, add the boiling waters, stir until all dissolved.  Turn the sauce (dry at the moment) onto a high heat.  Graduly add the stock, keep adding and reducing, should only take 5 minutes to add all the stock, turn the heat to low. Add Cayenne Chilli Pepper, Cumin and tin tomatoes. 
Add the meatballs & oregano to the sauce, keep on a low heat, cover and stir every 5/10 minutes.  Will be ready in 30 minutes. 
Rice:
1 & 1/2 cups of Basmati Rice
1 ball of Vermicelli
Salt 
1 tbsp of Vegetable Oil 
3 cups of boiled water
Use a small pan, add oil, rice, salt, crush the Vermicelli with your hand and add to rice. On a low heat stir all and cook until the rice looks coated or white and the vermicelli toasted. 
Then add the 3 cups of boiled water, everything may bubble up, quickly stir and cover with lid. Turn heat up to medium and cook for 2 minutes (ONLY) then turn back to low and simmer for 25/30 minutes. (keep covered, never lift up lid) Turn off heat and let rest for 5 minutes with the lid on.  Rice to ready to serve.
     
DESSERT: 
Poached Pears and Hazelnut Chocolate, Almond Ice-Cream 
Poached Pears:
2 Pears Conference (could make upto 4/5)
225g Caster Sugar 
1 bottle of Shiraz Red Wine
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cinnamon Stick chop half length ways
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Grounded
Nutmeg a sprinkle 
Add the wine, caster sugar, Vanilla, Cinnamon & Nutmeg gently simmer. Top & Tail the Pears and peel, make sure they are whole, add to the pan and cook for 30 minutes, turn throughout to completely cover. Should be tender when done. Take the pears out, can put them in the fridge. 
Turn up the heat on the wine, reduce the sauce, then leave to cool, this will cool as a thick syrup. 
Hazelnut Chocolate, Almond Ice-Cream:
250ml Whole Milk
250ml Whipping Cream
300g Nutelle
1 tsp Vanilla Extract 
1 tbsp of Almonds Grounded 
Put everything into a blender/food processor. Mix at super high speed. Pour it all into an ice-cream maker.  Let it churn for 30/40 minutes until thick.  Transfer to the Freezer I say leave over night to ensure its frozen. 
 





This is my tasty spicy Chillllli Sensation, smells terrific and tastes delicious.  My kids loved the dishes, the fritters and flat bread (first time I have cooked these), dipping finger food is the best for them.   My Chilli inspiration comes from the dislike of bland food. I found a hint of the hot stuff, livings up any dull dish. I made pears and ice-cream for the first time, im so pleased with it, so easy to make and so scrummy.

Schwartz has forecasted this Year's 5 Top Flavours, I think you will be surprised.

Aji Amarillo: A hot Peruvian yellow chilli with bold, fruity flavour.
Kashmiri Masala: An often homemande blend of spices from Northern India featuring Cumin, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, cloves and ginger.
Tea: Not just for sipping anymore, this natural ingredient is making its way into rubs, broths and marinades
Chamoy Flour: A unique Mexican condiment -made from apricot, lime, chillies and spices - just beginning to gain a following in the U.S.
Cassava Flour: Also know as manioc or tapioca flour, this gluten-free alternative is a Brazilian staple prized for it versatility

Some new and delightful flavours, watch this space... I bet all the chefs will be uses them this year! 


In 2014, global flavour leader McCormick, parent company of UK leading herbs and spices brand Schwartz is celebrating its 125th anniversary. The yearlong celebration kicks off with the launch of the 125th Anniversary Edition of the Flavour Forecast and the Flavour of Together programme, with the goal of connecting people around the world as they share 1.25 million stories about special role food and flavour plays in our lives

Get involved and share your story at Schwartz  & Facebook - Schwartz Cooking Club
This is great Bloggers Challenge from Tots100. I had lots of fun cooking, experimenting with new spices and even more fun eating it. I received great herbs & spices & £50 to buy all my ingredients to get my cook on! 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Have you missed me?

I have been taking a blogging break, not just because I can.  I found the closer it got Christmas the more demanding my life had become, I originally thought I would be back after Christmas & New Year.  Then I felt pressured to write a witty post about welcoming the New Year with a Resolutions, which to be honest with, I think I'm hopeless at.  So I sat on the fence and said nothing.  However if you had made a resolution, have you managed to stick to it?  

So I decided to write beginning of February and have slightly been carried away.   But, I am back. I have a list as long as my arm and some to write about!

News about projects, reviews, lifestyle and of course little Noah.

 
I have really missed writing to my lovely readers but have had some great family time.  

HELLO