Pork Belly “Tonkotsu” Ramen

R-Amen that we live in a world where bowls of warm noodle soup exist, amiright?  There’s something about Ramen that always puts a smile on my face (and my husband’s; which is no mean trick because he’s one of those “Soup isn’t food it’s just sustenance!” kind of people).  It’s far easier to make than you’d think, provided you can get hold of all the Japanese cooking essentials like Mirin and Miso.  I used to make it a lot when I lived in London because there was a Japanese Centre in Piccadilly where all the ingredients could be easily found.  Nowadays, the local supermarket has pretty much everything you need to make an easy peasy bowl of ramen. 🙂

Pork Belly “Tonkotsu” Ramen – Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Pork Belly Strips
  • Egg
  • 1 tbsp of Mirin
  • 1 sachet of Green Miso Paste (I used the packet kind you can find in the supermarket)
  • 500ml boiling water
  • Dried Seaweed
  • Chopped Spring Onions
  • Noodles of choice
  • Carrots (cut into thin strips)
  • Pea Shoots
  1. First, cook the Pork Belly: I roasted mine in the oven for an hour at 190°, turning once to make sure both sides are nice and crispy.
  2. Next, cut down the pork belly into thin slices and add to a deep saucepan (at this point you can fry them in a little oil to crisp them up a bit more if you like).  Add the mirin and the miso paste and then pour on the hot water.
  3. Add the chopped spring onions and carrots and then leave to simmer for about an hour.
  4. Meanwhile, boil your egg for five minutes and then drop into a bowl of cold water to prevent the yolk from cooking any further.
  5. Add the noodles to your stock (how long they take to cook will depend on which noodles you use – but usually they’ll only take a couple of minutes).
  6. Split the noodles between two bowls and then pour on the stock with the meat and veg.  Garnish with seaweed, pea shoots and half a soft boiled egg.
  7. Slurp away! 🍜

How’s your week been?  Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

10 DIY Foodie Gifts for Valentines Day

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“If music be the food of love, play on”, so famously wrote a certain Mr Shakespeare, and while music definitely has the power to shuffle my mood, food is capable of doing just as good a job.  So what better way of treating your favourite someone this Valentines Day (or Galentines Day!) than to cook up something sweet (or spicy!) for them?  So, if you’re like me and feel that food is the uh, food of love… then scroll on 😉

1. Chilli and Red Pepper Jam

Simple to make, these jars of spicy jam make great DIY presents all year round and are perfect with cheese, or even drizzled on sausages, burgers and even homemade chips.

2. Blood Orange Glazed Doughnuts

Blood Oranges are in season right now, and are perfect for making a very Valentines appropriate pink glaze for these mini ring doughnuts.

3. Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can’t go wrong with a fresh batch of cookies, especially when they’re crisp on the edge and gooey in the middle like these ones.  They’re flavoured with mint and chocolate, but the recipe is easily adapted for any filling you fancy!

4. Orange and Almond Loaf Cake

A perfect bring-along treat for Galentines Day, this simple almond loaf cake has a bright pink, blood orange glaze.

5. Marshmallow Teacake Cupcakes

Remember those chocolate and marshmallow tea cakes from when you were a kid?  Well here they are in cupcake form – only with the boring biscuit bit ditched in favour of cake!  What’s not to like?


6. Chocolate Orange Flavoured Welsh Cakes

If you’ve got any chocolate oranges hanging about in your cupboard (…is that even possible?), then why not chop up a few segments and put them in these heart shaped Welsh Cakes?

7. Praline and Chocolate Dipped Madeleines

Madeleines are normally flavoured with lemon, but these are a little bit fancier dipped in chocolate and hazelnut praline.  Easier than they look, they’re a great little treat to box up and gift to your favourite people.


8. Bakewell Tarts

Everyone loves a good tart (…steady now…) and Bakewell Tarts are one of my absolute faves.  This recipe makes two individual tarts that would be perfect as a dessert if you’re planning on cooking a special dinner on Valentines Day.

9. Brigadeiros (Easy Chocolate Truffles)

These are dangerously easy to make, and easily adapted too!  Just combine condensed milk, chocolate and butter in a pan and heat to combine.  Leave to cool then roll into these bite-sized balls.

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10. Lemon and Gin Blondies

I’m not sure whether it’s true that Blondes have more fun, but these bite sized lemon and gin-flavoured Blondies are a zesty alternative to Brownies. 🙂

Happy Valentines Day everyone! ♡

Lemon and Gin Blondies

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I come out the other end of Christmas with a bit of a chocolate hangover (says the girl who just bought a load of Malteaser Tree Chocs in the January Sales…).  Alright, it’s a very brief hangover, but I definitely start craving summery sweet things and cakes with a bit of a zing to perk me up on those gloomy January days, and these Blondies are kind of like a treat-sized Lemon Collins. 🙂

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Lemon and Gin Blondies

Ingredients

  • Zest and Juice of 2 Lemons
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 150g Self Raising Flour
  • 150ml Gin
  • Powdered Sugar to dust
  • Sprigs of Thyme to Garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 180° and line a square baking tin with grease proof paper.
  2. In bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest, gin and flour, then pour into the baking tin.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes (the middle will be gooey, but will set once cooled).  Leave to cool, then cut into rectangles.
  4. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with a sprig of thyme.

I bet these would work well in the summer with some lavender – I might have to do an encore on this one.  Have a great week everyone! X

Indian Potato and Cauliflower Fried Flatbreads

Other than a Chicken Jalfrezi, there are two dishes I’m likely to have a strop over if they’re not on the table when I go out for an Indian; Aloo Gobi, and Aloo Parantha.  Both potato dishes (Aloo Aloo!), Aloo Gobi is a vegetarian dish made from potato, cauliflower and Indian spices (my mother in-law makes great Aloo Gobi) and Aloo Parantha is basically a veggie flat bread stuffed with potato and fried in butter (yum).  They are my absolute faves – they’re such great comfort food, perfect for this time of year.  So why not combine the two and have the best of both worlds, eh? 😉

Aloo Gobi Parantha

Ingredients

  • 250g of Potatoes, chopped (I used one Maris Piper and one Sweet Potato)
  • 1 Echalion Shallot, finely chopped
  • 250g roughly chopped Cauliflower
  • 100g roughly chopped Green Chillis (the smaller, the spicier!)
  • 225g Atta Flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 100g Melted Butter
  • 125 ml Warm Water
  • 50g roughly chopped fresh Coriander
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  1. First, make the dough: If you’ve got a bread maker then you’re good to go – pour in the water and oil first, followed by the flour and salt.  Run the “dough” program and then leave it to do the hard work! 😉
  2. Next make up the Aloo Gobi filling: boil the potatoes and cauliflower until soft, then pour out the water and mash.  Add the onion, green chillis, coriander and spices and stir together.
  3. Once the dough is ready, divide it into six equal balls.  Now the tricky bit; filling the parantha and then rolling it out without it spilling out the side, AND trying to keep it in a perfectly flat circle.  I’m RUBBISH at this part; I’m sure there’s a knack to rolling them out perfectly, but I’m still nowhere near figuring it out!  You’ve basically got to roll them out a little, plonk a spoonful of filling in the middle and then parcel it up and roll out the dough again until it’s flat and round.  Sounds easy, right?
  4. Heat up your frying pan with a little melted butter and cook the parantha on both sides, brushing with butter as you go.
  5. Serve hot with fresh yoghurt (I flavoured mine with a little turmeric) and tamarind sauce.

What’s your favourite Indian dish? 🙂

Chocolate and Praline Dipped Madeleines

I’ve made (and scoffed) Madeleines more than a few times.  They’re so easy to make and are the perfect kind of tea cake to stick out on a plate whenever you’ve got someone coming over for elevenses (they’re made to be dunked!).  Traditionally they’re flavoured with lemon, but since it’s Christmas I thought I’d do something a little more fancy pants.  These ones are dunked in melted chocolate and then sprinkled with praline and a little bit of edible glitter (if you can’t use glitter at Christmas, then when can you?).  I’d never made praline before and to be honest it took two attempts; I made the mistake of stirring the sugar as it was heating and it crystallized in the saucepan and looked like snow.  Oops!  How many times have I rolled my eyes as Bake Off contestants make exactly the same mistake?!  Typical!  I got it the second time round though and had more than enough left over.  It’ll be jazzing up my porridge over Christmas I think!  😉

Chocolate and Praline Dunked Madeleines

Ingredients

  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • A splash of milk
  • 100g butter melted (and a little extra to grease the tin)
  • 100g chocolate (I used milk, but I bet dark chocolate would be even better!)
  • 100g chopped hazelnuts
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 50ml water
  1. Preheat the oven to 200° and grease the madeleine tin with a little butter.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and the caster sugar in a bowl until combined and frothy.
  3. Pour in the melted butter (be careful if it’s still hot – if you pour it in too quickly you’ll get scrambled eggs!), and then stir in the flour.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tray – about a desert spoonful for each madeleine mould should do the trick.  Leave them to rest for about 10 minutes before you whack them in the oven.
  5. Bake for around 10 minutes until the madeleines have risen and cooked through.  Leave the madeleines to cool while you work on the toppings.
  6. To make the praline, scatter the chopped hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes until golden.  In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water together on a low heat until it caramelizes (don’t stir!).  Pour the caramel over the roasted hazelnuts and leave to cool.  Once it’s cooled, smash it with a rolling pin.
  7. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, then dunk the tips of the madeleines. Once they’re all coated in melted chocolate, dunk them into the praline to coat the melted chocolate tip. Leave to set, then scoff! 🙂

Have a great week everyone!  Hope the final run up to Christmas hasn’t got you too stressed! X