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Quick Pickled Carrot and Parsnip Salad with nuts and soft Goat’s Cheese (AD: WITH SARSON'S #PICKLEIN15)

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Hi again! I’m delighted to be bringing you a whole series of new recipes, thanks to Sarson’s. I’m sharing my ideas for dishes using their brill new product - Sarson’s Pickle in 15 vinegar blend. It’s very simply a ready-to-use pickling blend that means you can create all sorts of pickled things really easily and quickly. Instead of making your own pickling liquor (by adding sugar and spices to vinegar, basically), this product means you cut out a whole stage in the recipe process and simply pour it over the veg/fruit, straight from the bottle. Wait (you guessed it) 15 minutes, and it’s done!

This third post is for my ideal Christmas Eve dinner. A cold, no stress spread of nibbles and an easy, quick, vibrant salad. A light meal before the Big Feast of Christmas Day! The salad includes quickly picked carrot and parsnip ribbons, made using the Sarson’s Pickle in 15 vinegar blend.

As you can see in the pictures, I think the perfect accompaniment to the salad is simply some cheese and crackers, a plate of smoked salmon and delicious bread and a big bowl of satsumas! Maybe a Lindt ball or 5…

I’ll be at my mum’s this Christmas Eve and so we’ll no doubt still manically be wrapping presents late into the evening (last minute merchants, always!), but there’ll be a bottle of cold Tio Pepe by my side and a bag of Twiglets very nearby at all times!

I hope you’re eating well, whatever you are doing over the holidays, and do let me know if you try this!

Quick Pickled Carrot and Parsnip Salad with nuts and soft goat’s cheese

Serves 4

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4 medium Carrots (multicoloured if you can find them)

1 small Parsnip

Sarson’s Pickle In 15 (I used the Mediterranean Blend for this)

2/3 Red chicory, base trimmed, core removed, leaves separated

50g rocket

125g Soft Goats cheese

Small handful Walnuts pieces, toasted in a dry pan and roughly chopped

Small handful hazelnuts, toasted in a dry pan and roughly chopped

2 tbsp Olive oil

2 tsp Honey

1 tsp wholegrain mustard

Start by peeling your carrots and parsnip and discarding the peel. Continue to peel your veg, working your way around, making long thin ribbons. Stop when you get to the cores (and bin them!). Divide the different coloured carrots (if using multicoloured ones) and the parsnip between separate bowls and cover all the veg with the Pickle In 15 vinegar blend.

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Meanwhile, arrange the chicory and rocket on a large salad platter.

After 15 minutes, drain (reserving the liquid). Squeeze the vegetable ribbons over the sink to get rid of excess liquid. Lay the pickled vegetables on the salad, tangling it all together.

Dot the goat’s cheese all over the salad and scatter the nuts on top.

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In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, mustard and 1 tbsp of the pickling liquid with a generous pinch of salt and a good few grinds of black pepper . Drizzle all over the salad and serve immediately.

You can find the Sarsons Pickle In 15 vinegar blend in stores now. The Lightly seasoned variety is in Tesco Extra & Morrisons stores and the Mediterranean variety is exclusively in Morrisons.

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Chocolate Puddles

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Whatever anyone tells you, making homemade gifts will rarely save you money, especially if you’re as easily swayed as I am by lovely boxes and bags and bottles and tags and end up spending as much as if you’d just popped down the shops. Whoops. However, of course, it’s really about the time, effort, creativity and thought that’s gone into it.  These very quick and easy chocolates puddles are not ‘tempered’ (Google it) which will mean they need to be kept refrigerated before gifting. They can be topped with whatever you like. I used up loads of bits from my cupboard (after a mammoth granola making session!) but you’re limited only by your imagination  - dried fruit, seeds, nuts, even broken pieces of pretzels. I love to include at least one salty element to counterbalance the sweetness of the chocolate.

Makes approx. 25 x 1” puddles

150g dark chocolate (look for approx 70% Dark), broken into chunks

Mixture of toppings (total weight approx. 200g) – I used raisins, salted almonds, hemp seeds, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, desiccated coconut, dried rose petals and bee pollen

1.      Slowly melt the chocolate, either in a microwave or in a bowl set over (but not touching) very gently simmering water.

2.      When it’s totally melted, stir and spoon teaspoonfuls onto a tray lined with baking paper. While still wet, gently top with a combination of toppings on each one.

3.      Place in the fridge to set, then place in a small cellophane gift bag. They will need to be kept refrigerated until you gift them.

  • DRIED CRANBERRIES make a particularly Christmassy topping

  • GIVE A BAG AS A GIFT with a bottle of the deliciously Christmassy Pedro Ximenez sherry. Look out for Noe from Gonzalez Byass

  • MAKE THESE IN ADVANCE they’ll be fine in the fridge for at least a week

This recipe originally appeared in my column in InStyle Magazine in 2015

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Quick Pickled Pear & cheese toasties with cranberry jam (AD: WITH SARSON'S #PICKLEIN15)

sarsons story 1 month 2.jpg

Hello again! I’m delighted to be bringing you a whole series of new recipes, thanks to Sarson’s. Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing my ideas for dishes using their brill new product - Sarson’s Pickle in 15 Minutes. It’s very simply a ready-to-use pickling blend that means you can create all sorts of pickled things really easily and quickly. Instead of making your own pickling liquor (by adding sugar and spices to vinegar, basically), this product means you cut out a whole stage in the recipe process and simply pour it over the veg/fruit, straight from the bottle. Wait (you guessed it) 15 minutes, and it’s done!

This second idea is for a pretty epic toastie – it uses three different cheeses, a quick homemade cranberry jam (use shop-bought cranberry sauce if you want to) and some super quick and ridiculously easy pickled pears, using the Sarson’s Pickle in 15 Minutes.

Use any cheese combination you like for this – a great way to use up the remnants of a Christmas cheeseboard! Adding at least some mozzarella into the mix will give you those sexy stretchy cheesy bites!

 

Serves 2

For the cranberry jam (makes about 6 tablespoons)

200g Frozen or fresh whole cranberries

100g Sugar

3tbsp (45ml) Water

3 tbsp (45ml) Orange juice

 

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan, stir to combine and heat over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for approx. 20 mins, stirring occasionally to burst the berries.

Use a stick blender to blitz until smooth then pass through a fine sieve.

Pour into a jar and cool. Once cold, move into the fridge and it will keep for 2 weeks.

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For the pickled pears

1 medium pear

1 bottle Sarson’s Pickle in 15 Minutes (I used the ‘Lightly Seasoned’ variety).

 

Halve the pear lengthways from stalk to base, then thinly slice widthways and place in a bowl.  Simply cover with the Sarson’s Pickle In 15 and put to one side for 15 minutes.

This will make enough pickled pear for at least 2 sandwiches.

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For the toasties

50g Mature cheddar, grated

50g Gruyere, grated

75g Mozzarella, finely chopped.

4 slices of Sourdough

4 tsp Mayonnaise

4 tsp Cranberry jam

Quick pickled pear slices, drained

 

Blitz all the cheeses together in a food processor. Spread the outside of your bread with mayonnaise and the insides with the cranberry jam. Lay the slices jam side up and divide half the cheese mixture onto two slices, top with a few slices of pickled pears and then the rest of the cheese. Season with plenty of black pepper and a bit of sea salt. Close the sandwiches, mayo side up. If you have a sandwich press, now’s the time to use it! If you don’t then you can fry the sandwiches in butter in a large frying pan, weighing it down with something heavy like a heavy bottomed saucepan, then flipping it over and repeating until golden on both sides.

Serve with the remaining pickled pear slices and the extra jam on the side.

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Smoked tofu nugget rice bowl with pickled plum and red onion slaw (AD: with Sarson's #PickleIn15)

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Smoked tofu nugget rice bowl with pickled plum and red onion slaw (AD: with Sarson's #PickleIn15)

Sarsons finished dish month 1.jpg

Hello! I’m delighted to be bringing you a whole series of new recipes, thanks to Sarson’s. Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing my ideas for dishes using their brill new product - Sarson’s Pickle in 15 Minutes. It’s very simply a ready-to-use pickling blend that means you can create all sorts of pickled things really easily and quickly. Instead of making your own pickling liquor (by adding sugar and spices to vinegar, basically), this product means you cut out a whole stage in the recipe process and simply pour it over the veg/fruit, straight from the bottle. Wait (you guessed it) 15 minutes, and it’s done!

This first idea is for a really delicious rice bowl topped with smoked tofu nuggets and piled up with loads of veggies, including a simple quick pickled plum and red onion slaw. Loads of veg, full of protein and fibre and it’s also totally vegan and gluten free, for those of you that need those things.

Make sure all your ingredients are prepared and ready – this is going to come together quickly once the cutting has been done!

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For the nuggets

225g box smoked tofu

2 tbsp cornflour

¼ tsp Chinese five-spice powder

Large pinch smoked paprika

300ml vegetable oil

For the slaw

1 plum (halved, stoned and thinly sliced into half moons)

½ red onion (finely sliced)

1 tsp sesame oil

100g Red cabbage, finely shredded

1 small raw beetroot, peeled and cut into matchsticks

Sarson’s Lightly Seasoned Pickle in 15 Minutes

To serve

Brown rice (short grain is my favourite)

Baby leaf spinach

Edamame (frozen and cooked according to packet instructions)

To garnish

Fresh coriander

Hoisin and/or sriracha sauce

Toasted sesame seeds

Nori seaweed flakes (optional)

Method

Cook the brown rice according to packet instructions

Meanwhile, prepare the nuggets: Lay the block of tofu on a few sheets of kitchen paper. Fold another sheet of kitchen paper in half and use to gently press out the liquid. Cut into 8 equal-size cubes. Put the cornflour in a shallow bowl, add the five-spice powder and paprika, then mix well. Toss the tofu cubes in the spiced cornflour until they’re evenly dusted on all sides.

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To make the slaw, mix the plum slices and red onion in a medium bowl with the sesame oil and the Sarson’s Lightly Seasoned Pickle in 15 Minutes vinegar blend. Leave for 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Add the cabbage and the beetroot and mix it all up. Place to one side while you get on with the tofu.

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Pour the vegetable oil into a wok and put over a high heat. Once hot, shake off any excess cornflour from the tofu, then carefully lower each nugget into the hot oil using a slotted spoon or tongs. Deep-fry, turning regularly (and carefully), for 4-5 minutes until all sides are golden brown and crisp. Remove the tofu cubes from the pan using a slotted spoon or tongs, then drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle the cubes with flaked sea salt while they’re still hot – this helps to keep them crisp.

Fill a third of your bowls with the cooked brown rice. Add a big pile of the pickled plum slaw and a handful of baby spinach and the edamame beans. Sit the nuggets on top and garnish with coriander, the toasted sesame seeds and nori flakes and serve with hoisin and/or sriracha sauce so you can adjust the flavour as you like.

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Organic Almond and Honey Granola

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Organic Almond and Honey Granola

I've created this recipe as part of the Organic Trade Board's Wake Up To Organic campaign. Breakfast is a great way to start getting more organic goodness into your diet and partnered with some top quality organic milk, yogurt and fruit, this granola is a really delicious start to the day.

On Wednesday 17th June 2015 you can come along to The Better Food Company's St Werburghs store (map here) and try it for FREE! There'll be free yogurt and milk and fruit compote from Yeo Valley too and the Better Food Co's instore cafe will be open if you want to buy coffee or anything else. You can shop from the shelves from 8am too (specially extended hours).

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