After last week’s fab show of The Weekend Kitchen I jumped in the car and headed to pick up my sister so that we could jump on a plane to Cork and join my parents for my dad’s 70th birthday celebrations on the Sunday. It also happened to be St. Patrick’s Day so double the fun! I felt a little guilty that I wasn’t going over with Fred and the girls but we wouldn’t have been able to let Tilda miss school on the Monday and also the flights for two nights in Ireland would have paid our mortgage that month!!! We had however already had a special lunch back home a few weeks ago which included them all so they didn’t miss out on wishing my dad Happy 70th Birthday.
We made it down to my parent’s cottage just in time to nip to the pub for last orders and then the following morning it was all action stations to sort the house for the party. My mum had been cooking for days so most things were done but we put up balloons and re-organised the furniture to fit everyone in. Two of my aunts and my uncle were all staying too so plenty of help around which gave us an opportunity to get out for a walk too. I know I live by the sea but I swear the air is even cleaner and more refreshing than back home. It’s the kind of sea air that sends you off to sleep like a log at night.
There was also a parade down into the village for St. Patrick’s Day and so my sister Holly went down to join some friends to get dressed up and join in for a bit before the party was truly underway. I dashed down too to catch the end of it and it was so lovely to see all the kids taking part, they were all under a long piece of fabric painted up to look like a big snake. For those that don’t know, the legend is that St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland. It was our friend Linda’s turn to dress up as St. Patrick this year and so we laughed a lot at her hilarious get up!
Back at the house, the party was great fun and a fab turn out. My dad really enjoyed himself and did a lovely speech. My mum had a cake made with a vegetable patch on it, as my dad is a keen home veggie grower these days! The drinks were flowing and didn’t stop till well in to the evening when people started to head off and there was only one thing left to do, get back to the pub again in the evening, well it was Paddy’s day after all!!
What have I been wearing – Dennis Basso Linear print Shirt
Some of you may have spotted me wearing this shirt on The Weekend Kitchen last Saturday. We had a number of phone calls about it and questions on my social media pages so I knew I had to feature it as it’s now in stock!! We have only recently been getting more fashion pieces in from Dennis Basso as opposed to his usual coats, you may remember I featured a cream blouse not long ago. There are some really great pieces so do check them out, but this piece I think is going to be popular.
It’s a strong pattern so you can keep the rest of the outfit really simple. The geometric pattern is really eye-catching but if the black and red is too much then there is also a version with stone instead of red which is less in-your-face. It’s got quite full sleeves which adds to the drama and a hi-low hem which looks great un-tucked and covered buttons at the cuff. I have also styled it tucked in with a leather biker jacket to show you a different look. I went for black leggings and black cropped trousers to keep it simple but you could also go with white jeans or even a fabulous red pencil skirt. It’s a fun piece and will definitely add some oomph to anyone’s wardrobe.
Today’s Special Value – Skechers
I’ve been trying out the Skechers Glider Slip-on Bungee Trainer this week and I really do like them a lot. I have them in the Rose which is perfect as a lot of my gym gear has pink on it. It also goes with my FitBit! They really hug around the foot nicely. I have the size 8, I’m really a size 8.5 in trainers but these are fine on me as long as my socks aren’t too thick! The bungee laces make them really quick to get on and give them a sleek look. They are perfect for my long walks and would also be good for gym classes like Step and Zumba. They are lightweight, and breathable and perfect for freshening up your trainers for spring and summer. I will throw these on for the school run too and will be able to run around with the kids in the park. What do you think? Will you be treating yourself? There are seven colours to choose from and the offer is on air today! (Thursday 21st March)
What’s coming up – Joules
Summer is definitely around the corner when offers like this start to arrive! The Joules Today’s Special Value coming next week (Monday 25th March) is the perfect dress for any holidays away this Easter and for hopefully another great summer here in the UK! It’s 100% cotton and comes in four different colours. Lemon multi, Blue Multi, Navy multi and Black Multi. It’s sleeveless so lovely and cool and also nice to get your arms out in the sun. It’s got lacing at the neck which can be loosened or tied up and it’s going to go so well with gladiator sandals and flip-flops this summer. Set the reminders for Monday!
What I’ve been cooking – Sausage and Lentil Casserole
In preparation for this week’s show with Dean Edwards I got to sample the Althams 48 piece mixed sausage selection! Well I didn’t make it through all 48 as that would have me rolling out the door but I did get make a start! It includes Lincolnshire, Pork and Leek and Classic Pork and they are the most beautiful tasty and juicy sausages. They are proper sizzling in pan sausages!
I was spoilt for choice but I decided to make a sausage casserole with the Lincolnshire sausages.
First I browned the sausages in a pan with vegetable oil and garlic until they were lovely and brown. I then added sliced red onion and let them brown off. I then cheated by adding frozen sliced peppers but you could use fresh too obviously. Once they started to cook through I added a can of chopped tomatoes, a squeeze of tomato puree and a jug of stock (Around 400ml).
I then poured in a cup of red lentils and let it all simmer until the lentils were softened. You have to keep the heat medium to low with the lentils otherwise they burn to the bottom so you need to give it a stir quite often. I added salt and pepper and that was pretty much it. So easy and simple and a great dish for all the family. You could add extra flavours like chilli or paprika if you wanted to too.
Oh my goodness, one of my favourite things in the world is cheesecake and this did not disappoint. It is completely gorgeous on its own but if you want to add some extra flavour then you can make a sauce or add melted chocolate or fruit. Dean has done some fab sauces for it in the recipes below which he will show us how to make on Saturday. So I kept it quite simple and made a summer fruits coulis of sorts.
I had blueberries, strawberries and raspberries in the freezer so I simply took a handful of each and popped them in a pan with a teaspoon of sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon. They turned into a beautiful sauce which I decided not to puree. I liked that some of the fruits stayed whole for added texture. Once that was cooled I drizzled it over a slice of the creamy cheesecake and that was that. It didn’t last long! The Forman & Field Cheesecake base is so gorgeously crunchy and even has a few ginger biscuits added to it for a subtle flavour. I would recommend this for entertaining over the Easter bank holiday!
So that’s what I did with some of the amazing food we have available at QVC but what is Dean Edwards planning on doing?! He’s our chef this Saturday on The Weekend Kitchen so tune in to see him create his recipes which I have posted below. I hope you’ve been enjoying the shows this series, do let me know what you think in the comments below.
QVC Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Chickpea salad (serves 4)
4 Althams Barnsley Chops
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. rose harissa (Belazzu)
Zest ½ lemon
Small squeeze lemon juice
2 x 400g tins chickpeas
3 cloves garlic crushed
½ red chilli deseeded and chopped
½ red onion sliced
2 tbsp. fresh mint chopped
2 tbsp. fresh coriander chopped
Juice ½ lemon
1 tsp. rose harissa
2 tbsp. natural yoghurt
½ cucumber peeled and deseeded
150ml natural yoghurt
1 tbsp. fresh mint chopped
1: Marinade the lamb in the oil, harissa, lemon zest and juice. Cover and leave to stand for at least an hour if possible. Cook on a pre-heated pan for three minutes per side. Leave to rest for 5 minutes
2: Drain the chickpeas and fry off in a dash of oil for 2-3 minutes then add the garlic, chilli and harissa then cook for a further minute. Just before serving add the onion, herbs, lemon juice and yoghurt, season with salt and pepper
3: To make the raita mix the diced cucumber, yoghurt, and herbs in a bowl, season then leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
QVC Proper Toad In The Hole (serves 4)
Yorkshire pudding batter:
3 eggs beaten
120g plain flour
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
Good pinch of salt
4 tbsp. oil
8 good Althams pork and apple sausages
3-4 sprigs rosemary
1 red onion peeled and cut into six segments
150g cherry tomatoes on the vine
1: To make the Yorkshire pudding batter, mix the beaten eggs, flour and thyme then whisk in the milk, add a good pinch of salt and place in the fridge to rest for an hour
2: Place the sausages into a medium sized ovenproof frying pan and cook for around 6-8 minutes until golden all over, remove and set aside. Pour the oil into the pan and heat until really hot, pour in the rested batter then place in the sausages, red onion and tomatoes in an ordered fashion, finally dot in some sprigs of fresh rosemary. Cook in an oven set at 230c / gas mark 8 for 25 minutes; do not open the door whilst cooking
QVC Smoky Chorizo Potato Hash with Nacho Sauce (serves 4)
1kg new potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. olive oil
200g uncured chorizo cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion diced
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
Lager cheese sauce:
2 cloves garlic minced
25g unsalted butter
25g plain flour
330ml Mexican lager (Corona)
150g Paxton and Whitfield cheese – grated
Sour cream for serving
Fresh coriander for serving
Fresh jalapenos sliced (optional)
1: Place the potatoes, oil, onions, chorizo and spices into a bowl along with a pinch of salt and pepper then mix well, scatter into a baking tray then cook in a pre-heated oven set at 180C/ gas mark 4 for 45-50 minutes
2: Meanwhile to make the lager cheese sauce, melt the butter over a low to medium heat along with the garlic, then whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, gradually pour in the lager and milk whisking as you go and continue whisking until thickened and smooth. Stir in the cheese then season with salt and pepper
3: Remove the potatoes from the oven then drizzle over the cheese sauce and sour cream then scatter over the jalapenos and coriander
QVC Cheesecake Sauces
Chocolate Caramel Sauce:
100g soft toffees (I like Werther’s)
100g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
Small pinch salt
300g rhubarb cut into 1cm pieces
20g unsalted butter
60g golden caster sugar
1 small piece of stem ginger chopped finely
1 tsp stem ginger syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1: To make the chocolate caramel sauce, pop the toffees and milk into a small pan and heat gently until the toffees have melted, stir occasionally until smooth. Add the sugar and water then bring to the boil then, add in the cocoa powder and stir until fully incorporated then reduce over a medium to high heat until thickened. Add a pinch of salt then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly
2: To make the rhubarb compote, pop the butter into a pan, then the rhubarb, sugar, ginger, syrup and cinnamon. Cook gently for around 10 minutes or until nice and gooey
3: Serve with a slice of Foreman’s cheesecake and a crumbling of Amoretti biscuits which have been blitzed to a crumb in a mini processor
QVC North African Carrot Salad (serves 4)
400g baby carrots halved length ways
1 heaped tsp. harissa paste
½ tsp. ground cumin (or 1 tsp. if not using harissa)
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 large handfuls of baby spinach
1 red onion sliced (optional)
Seeds from a pomegranate
100g feta cheese crumbled
Small bunch fresh coriander
2 tbsp. olive oil
Juice ½ lemon
1 tsp. melefsis honey
1: Place the carrots into a bowl then drizzle on the oil then spoon in the harissa paste and cumin. Stir well to make sure everything is well covered then bake in an oven set at 190C/ gas mark 5 for 45-50 minutes.
2: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil and honey then season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss together the spinach and onion with the dressing then portion onto plates, top with the carrots then scatter over the pomegranate seeds and feta cheese, finally scatter over some fresh coriander
QVC Patatas Bravas (serves 4)
800g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and 1″ cubed
100g chorizo finely chopped
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 red onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic – minced
½ tsp. smoked paprika
½ red chilli finely diced
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley – chopped
1: Par boil the potatoes for 5 minutes then drain and leave to dry out for 5 minutes, shallow fry in some olive oil until browned and crispy, this should take around 10-15 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper
2: Over a medium heat fry the chorizo, onion, garlic and chilli for 5 minutes until softened. Add the paprika and tomatoes and cook down for 10 minutes, add the sugar and season with salt and pepper
3: Spoon the sauce over the potatoes and sprinkle over chopped parsley. I like to serve with some garlic mayo