If you’re a regular reader of the presenter blogs you’ll probably notice they’ve been a bit like buses recently – none for ages and then a whole flurry at once! Our social media team have been updating their systems so we couldn’t blog while that was going on, but all is sorted now, hence a second blog in a week from me as I try to catch you up on everything that’s going on. Right – here we go!
First a quick bit of personal news. Some of you might know that outside QVC, I write crime novels – so far a series of three “cosy”crime books, the Cora Baxter Mysteries, for a small publisher. For a while though I’ve wanted to write something a bit different, so earlier this year I finished quite a dark, psychological suspense novel, and after the usual rejections (you have to be very, very, thick skinned to be an author – I have a stack of agent/publisher rejections from over the years!) I signed with a new literary agent. And now, a couple of months later, I’m beyond thrilled to tell you that I’ve signed a two-book deal with publishing giants HarperCollins. The first book will be out in spring 2019. Some bubbly has been drunk and a little happy dance danced, and now I have to crack on with edits and also with my next book – it’s going to be a busy winter!
Next, a quick peek ahead to a Today’s Special Value offer coming to QVC next Monday 27th August. It’s from Luxform, and it’s a brilliant motion sensitive, battery-operated security wall light. When I do early shifts at QVC I have to get up at 3.15am and leave the house around 4am, and I can tell you that I wouldn’t be without my outside security lights that come on as soon as I step outside the front door. These Luxform lights are bright (500 lumens) and made from durable, weather-proof plastic, and of course being battery operated there’s no need for cables or wiring. You just need to screw them to the wall, wherever you feel you need extra light. The batteries are said to last up to six months too. A great buy, especially with those nights already getting longer (sob!).
By the way, have you noticed that we’re running an amazing promotion at the moment? We have QVC’s 25th birthday celebrations just around the corner and to mark the occasion, there’s a great voucher offer. If you spend a certain amount between the 22nd August and 16th September, you’ll get a money-off voucher! It’s a £10 voucher if you spend £100 during that period, £15 if you spend £150 and £25 if you spend £250. Full details and terms are on the website. If you’re going to be shopping anyway, might as well bear that in mind!
And finally, this blog is going live on Friday 24th August which is also the day superstar chef Rick Stein makes his debut on QVC. I’m very excited about working with him on the Rick Stein’s Kitchen show as I mentioned in my last blog, and also about tasting some of his creations. He’ll be whipping up three dishes during the show, and I’ve got hold of the recipes! I’ve copied them for you below, so if you watch him in action and fancy doing some cooking afterwards, you’ve got them to hand. Enjoy!
Mussels with bayonne ham & shallots
1.5kg raw mussels, scrubbed
2 tbsp dry white wine
1 shallot, finely chopped
75g Bayonne or prosciutto ham, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
Handful mixed flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, chervil and chives, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Put the mussels in a large pan, add the white wine, cover and steam over high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes until opened, shaking the pan from time to time.
Remove from the heat and strain into a colander set over a large bowl. Reserve the cooking liquor and keep the mussels warm.
In the pan, melt the butter and gently cook the shallots, ham and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes, until softened but not browned.
Add the mussel cooking liquor, bring to the boil and reduce by half.
Add the mussels and the herbs and mix well.
Season with black pepper and serve in warmed bowls with crusty bread.
Grilled hake on spring onion mash with soy butter
4 x 200g pieces of skin-on thick hake fillet
A little melted butter, for brushing
1 tsp salt
Sea salt flakes and coarsely crushed black pepper
A little milk
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
For the soy butter sauce
600ml chicken stock
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
75g unsalted butter
1 tomato, skinned, seeded and diced
1 heaped tsp chopped coriander
For the spring onion mash
1.25kg Maris Piper or other floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced
Put the fish, skin-side down, in a shallow dish and sprinkle with the salt.
Set aside for 30 minutes. Then rinse the salt off and dry the fish on kitchen paper. Brush each piece with melted butter and put skin-side up on a greased baking tray. Sprinkle the skin with a few sea salt flakes and some black pepper.
For the spring onion mash, cook the potatoes in boiling unsalted water for 20 minutes until tender.
For the sauce, put the chicken stock and soy sauce into another pan and boil rapidly until it has reduced by half.
Pre-heat the grill to high. Grill the hake for 8 minutes on one side only.
Just before the fish is ready, add the butter to the sauce and whisk it in. Remove from the heat and add the tomato and coriander.
Drain the potatoes, return to the pan and mash until smooth.
Heat the butter in another pan, add the spring onions and turn them over in the butter for a few seconds.
Beat them into the potato with a little milk and some salt and white pepper.
Spoon the spring onion mash into the centre of 4 warmed plates.
Rest the hake on top and spoon the sauce around the outside.
Poached salmon with mayonnaise, new potatoes and cucumber salad
1 quantity Basic Court-bouillon (see below)
1 x 1.5kg – 1.75kg (3 – 4 lb) salmon or coral trout, cleaned and trimmed
750 g (1 ½ lb) new potatoes, scraped
3 sprigs mint
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 quantity mayonnaise made with olive oil
Put the ingredients for the court-bouillon into a fish kettle, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Then carefully lower the salmon into the court-bouillon, bring back to a gentle simmer and poach gently for 16 – 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water with one of the mint sprigs until tender, then drain and keep warm.
Peel the cucumber and slice it as thinly as possible, preferably on a mandolin. Chop the leaves from the remaining mint sprigs and mix with the cucumber, the white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt.
Lift the salmon, still sitting on the trivet, out of the fish kettle and allow any excess water to drain away. Carefully lift it off the trivet with 2 fish slices and put it on a serving plate.
Remove the skin by making a shallow cut through the skin along the backbone and around the back of the head and carefully peeling it back. Carefully turn the fish over and repeat. Serve with the new potatoes, mayonnaise and cucumber salad.
6 fresh bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 carrot, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
2 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3.4 litres (6 pints) water
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan or fish kettle, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
You can set the court-bouillon aside or chill at this stage until needed.
Bring back to the boil before using.
That’s it for now. Have a lovely weekend!