Chinese New Year: Celebrate The Year of the Dog with A Feast (plus Rosé)!

I love celebrating Chinese New Year – if you live in a big city check to see if there are any events near you coming up: Southampton always has a lion dance and dragon dance going on somewhere in the city, and you can find out more here. I’ve said before that sharing other people’s food, traditions and holidays is the purest way of showing appreciation and love, so with that in mind, I’d like to share some great recipes for celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Dog on Friday 16 February!

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Teriyaki Burgers: Red Tractor Week Blogger Challenge

Here’s yet another Japanese recipe for Red Tractor Week – just because the produce is British, doesn’t mean the recipes have to be! I’m taking part in a challenge to share my favourite recipes containing Red Tractor products, and I picked up some beef mince from Lidl with the Red Tractor logo so I could share this recipe with you. The Red Tractor logo on your food means that the product has reached the standard set out for animal welfare, food safety, traceability, and environmental protection. Plus, it can be traced back to British farms! (See the website here for more info.)

I love making these little burgers using pork and beef mince, although you can just use beef if you prefer. As you can see, they work really well in bento or lunch boxes, but equally you can have them for dinner. I like to serve them with rice, but you can also serve them with potato wedges for a more western-style meal.

Hamburger and pepper egg

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Welsh Rarebit For Red Tractor Week

This week I’m sharing some of my favourite recipes in support of Red Tractor – the logo added to products grown or produced in Britain to their exacting standards for animal welfare, food safety and traceability! (See more here.) 

Today I’m sharing one of my favourite dairy recipes – it’s perfect for dark, rainy autumn days… Welsh rarebit!


Ingredients 

  • 25g butter
  • 25g flour
  • 125ml milk
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 225g cheese
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4-6 slices bread

Method

Heat the butter in a saucepan until melted and then add the flour. Stir well and cook for a minute

Gradually add the milk, stirring, and heat until thickened. 

Add the mustard powder, cheese (reserving a handful for the topping) and Worcestershire sauce and heat until the cheese is melted. 

Meanwhile, toast the bread on both sides. Spread the Rarebit onto the bread, then add the grated cheese. Pop until the grill until bubbling!


This post contains sponsored content. 

Spicy Thai Turkey Mince: Red Tractor Week Blogger Challenge

This week, Red Tractor has challenged a variety of bloggers to bust out some of their favourite recipes using Red Tractor products. I thought I’d share with you a great, zesty turkey mince recipe that you can pop in a bento or lunch box, or cook for a main course or starter!

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Treat Yourself 4th July Style!

Every year I get more and more press releases about Thanksgiving and 4th July – which I love, because I’m a foodie hipster and I was into this before it was cool (do you have that on record?). This year, I was asked if I’d like to try some Post cereals, and of course, I said yes, because if there’s one thing Americans know how to do, it’s add sugar to stuff that’s already sweet, and make it even more awesome that it already is.

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Yes, I love healthy breakfasts, avocado on toast, granola, poached eggs, etc, but you know, sometimes you just want a bowl of cereal and milk, simple, sweet and delicious. Bleary eyed and morning-breathed, hunched on the sofa and counting down the minutes to work, or bleary eyed and tousled-haired, hunched over the sink eating a midnight snack, a bowl of cereal is always a tasty treat. But I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. Of course, if you portion it right, cereal is actually a low-cal option, as both the cereals I was sent were around 120 calories a serving…

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Itsu Gyozas: A Taste of Japan At Home

I’m a massive fan of gyozas, so much so that I own three gyozas presses, have written my own published recipes for them, and have spent an excruciating five minutes in a ramen joint in Tokyo trying to work out how to pronounce the word properly so I could order some from the waitress (disclaimer: I still don’t know. But I just pointed in the end!).

Although gyozas aren’t exactly the mysterious food item for UK consumers that they used to be ten years ago, you’d still be hard-pressed to find any ready-made in supermarkets outside of Asian speciality stores. That’s why I was so excited when I found out that Itsu were launching their own cook at home gyozas, ready frozen and available in Tesco and Waitrose in three flavours:  Vegetable Fusion, King Prawn and Sesame Tuna. The packets cost £3.50 per pack and contain 20 dumplings, and dipping sauce.

Itsu Gyoza packet

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Drink Your Dinner: Minted Pea Soup Recipe

The days are getting brighter, which means dinners are getting lighter! One of my favourite spring dinner recipes is this minted pea soup – it’s so easy to make but it’s super delicious (and good for you too!)

Minted Pea Soup Recipe

  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • Knob butter
  • 300 frozen peas
  • 750ml veg or chicken stock
  • Sprig mint, chopped
  • 3 tbsp crème fraîche

Slice the spring onions and fry in the butter until soft.

Add the peas, mint and stock and bring to the boil.

Simmer for five minutes and then blitz in a blender until smooth. Stir in the crème fraîche and serve!

I like to serve this up with homemade crusty white bread and butter – I made the loaf above with the New York Times no knead bread recipe and it turned out a treat!

Depending on how much bread you serve, this will feed two people as a main course, or four for a small starter.

If you want to make your soup extra special, add in some beautiful edible flowers. I got mine from Greens of Devon – they send a big collection of assorted flower heads, which you can store for a few days if you keep them cool. They’ll elevate even the simplest dish from a basic offering to a feast!

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Valentine’s Day Ice-cream Bites

This Valentine’s Day, I decided to make a sweet treat for my husband and I based on one of those cool recipe gifs that’s going around – namely this one: http://imgur.com/gallery/cuC8oxf.

Instead of making a boring bunch of squares, though, I decided to create some heart shapes, using a silicone mould! And, even better, I was contacted by Haagen-Dazs to see if I’d like some vouchers for their new strawberry cheesecake flavour ice-cream. It was like the heavens parted to shine the light of free ice-cream upon my head…

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Here’s how you make them!

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Gougères: A recipe for the perfect chic little nibble at your next summer party

Gougères.

I’d heard of gougères before I made them, but I could never really understand why people raved about them so much. Basically, these are cheese puffs, made from the same kind of pastry usually used for patisserie like eclairs or choux buns – except this is a savoury version. They’re just cheesy, pastry bites – but in this case, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Trust me when I tell you that these will be devoured in short order at your next party – and they’re so chic you can even serve them for something formal as well as a BBQ!

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