I’m Back! Oh yea, and it’s our 2 Year Anniversary!

Where do I start, it’s been a while since my last post, too long.  I bet you’re all thinking I’d lost interest, well that’s understandable, I’d had that thought on occasions myself over the last few months… but I haven’t and here I am again!

I haven’t posted since the end of March (actually not as long as I’d thought) but I’ve been oober busy in that time.  The last three months have been manic, don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining but that’s why I’ve been away not that I’d lost interest.

I joined the Labour Party some time ago and became friends with our local Assembly candidate Vikki Howells.  I had the pleasure of being part of Vikki’s team designing her website and meme’s and also overseeing her social media accounts during her campaign:

Some of my work for Vikki Howell's campaign

Some of my work for Vikki’s campaign

Vikki was elected on the 5th of May and has hit the ground running, together we’ve worked on two cases, both with positive outcomes although they’re not yet complete so ssshhh for now!  I’ll keep you posted on things as they go on, but that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been away.

W38 Media my social media and design company

W38 Media my social media and design company

As a result of my work for Vikki my profile has increased, now don’t panic I’m not getting ahead of myself, what I mean is more people have seen my web design/graphic design work and therefore my company W38 Media is busy too, we’re currently working on a number of projects including a website for D Hill & Son Builders.  For more information on W38 Media visit our website here.

My fun at karaoke the last two Friday's in May

My fun at karaoke the last two Friday’s in May

You’ll never believe it but I’ve also made a comeback from my karaoke retirement.  Now I know most of you won’t know this but at one point in my life I was a karaoke DJ, I don’t blow my trumpet often but I wasn’t too bad at it either!  I recently covered two nights at a local pub and I thoroughly enjoyed it, two busy nights and lots of great (ish) singers it was good to be back, will I do it again, who knows?

Our two year anniversary, it's flown!

Our two year anniversary, it’s flown!

Well the reason for this post is simple, Wheelie Good Meals is two years old!  It’s kind of flown under the radar this year but I’m going to celebrate it with not one, not two, not three but four posts by next Wednesday, I know, I know I’ve had trouble doing one the last few weeks but I’m back baby!!

Some examples of my no/low carb diet

Some examples of my no/low carb diet

I’ve been on a low carb diet for months, and while having a few weak moments have been pretty damn good at it   I gave up pasta, rice, bread and potatoes… yes I know potatoes for two weeks which resulted in me getting into a t-shirt the next size down from my normal size.  I’ve since reintroduced potatoes in my life, potatoes were something I ate with every meal, sometimes even for breakfast, three times a day seven days a week.  Now I may have them three or four times a week as opposed to the 15/18 times I would normally have had them.

My daily regime of weights backed with a bit of Johnny Cash

My daily regime of weights backed with a bit of Johnny Cash

I’m even doing my weights almost every day (twice somedays), why you ask yourself well I’m fat… duh!  And yes I know I’ve been fat for years but I didn’t think it would be this enjoyable to do something about it (oh and don’t judge my choice in music lol).  My family especially my brother have been nagging me for years to do it… well now I am.  As my businesses improve and my community involvement increases I need to be as healthy as possible… and to do that I need to lose weight.  Someone asked me how I was doing it the other day and it’s easy…. I’m not going without anything!

My family shelf in my office

My family shelf in my office

My lack of potatoes led to Vikki buying me Mr Potato Head, you can see here on my family shelf in work, along with (of course) Postman Pat, Hayleigh, and two of my beautiful Godchildren.  My attitude now is, if I want potatoes, I eat potatoes!  If I want Rice… yes you’ve guessed it I eat rice.  I have probably had pasta and bread no more than five times since I started this lifestyle change a few months ago.  I’ve learned that if you cut something out your body mind wants it more so the secret is don’t cut it out.  Deprivation is the key to failure in my mind!  I’ve reduced my alcohol consumption down, no I haven’t given it up, I’m not a monk and like a drink!

We’ve got a Time-Saving Tuesday post coming up later on in the day which will be a review of Weight Watchers Hunters Chicken.  We also have a recipe coming up on Friday which is Cajun Salmon with a Mediterranean Sauce.Wheelie Good Meals Social Networking

Later on in the week I’ll fill you in on my latest dinner parties, yep parties I’ve had two lol and also Greg, my mother and I are off to Caradog’s so maybe there’ll be a cheeky review coming up, can’t wait!  Come back soon for more tasty treats, you can visit us on Social Media, you can see the details above.  We’re going to be more active on these platforms now that the busy period is over.

Thanks for ready

Rich signature

Time-Saving Tuesdays & 6 Nations of Food – Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce

It’s been a while since I last posted a Time-Saving Tuesdays review so I thought why not introduce it to the 6 Nations of Food feature, I know this is a slight deviation off track but bear with me as it’ll all make sense soon.  I’m going to review something that my mother and I ate on Easter Weekend.

Time-Saving Tuesdays & 6 Nations of Food – Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce

Time-Saving Tuesdays & 6 Nations of Food – Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce

I love mussels, I’ve cooked them a few times and they’re fairly easy to cook, my mother bought this for me from Lidl.  I hadn’t had them for years and was quite looking forward to them.

Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce - Cooking instructions

Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce – Cooking instructions

The cooking instructions were clear and easy to follow and these mussels can be cooked in the microwave, boiled in the bag or in the hob.  The guidelines are easy for all these cooking methods.

Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce - Ingredients

Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce – Ingredients

I would have said that the muscle liquor tasted very winey, however, there was no wine in it.  I don’t know what the predominant flavour was but the sauce was excellent.  With hints of garlic and little flecks of carrots and tomatoes running through the sauce it really set the mussels off well.

Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce - Nutritional information

Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce – Nutritional information

I probably didn’t eat 100g of them because I had other things to eat as well and my mother was sharing them with me, but there were 4.6g of Carbohydrates in 100g.  I suppose had I not been on my low carb diet I wouldn’t have even noticed.

Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce - Nutritional information from the front of the package

Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce – Nutritional information from the front of the package

Here is the nutritional information from the front of the pack, while the sugar levels are good the fat, saturated fat are not brilliant and there’s a lot of salt for half a pack.  My mother and I are nightmares though we love salt, so this suited us.

Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce - Ready to eat

Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce – Ready to eat

The sauce was stunning as I’ve said, if I’d been eating bread I could have just had a bowl full of the sauce and dunked some bread in to it.  Some of the mussels were a bit chewy and some were quite small, but those aside the rest were excellent, sweet and plump.  This is a great way to try mussels if you don’t feel confident in cooking them yourself.  They were quick and easy to cook, whichever way you chose to cook them, I say congratulations Lidl, these were a triumph.

Time-Saving Tuesdays & 6 Nations of Food – Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce

Time-Saving Tuesdays & 6 Nations of Food – Scottish Mussels in a Garlic and Butter Sauce

My next recipe, and final instalment of the Six Nations of Food will be towards the end of the week and it will be Mags Welsh Cakes…. I’ll let you guess what country that comes from lol.  I know I said I’d do Scotch pancakes but I couldn’t resist reviewing these Mussels. Wheelie Good Meals Social Networking

Remember, you can get in touch; you can visit our social media pages below, or subscribe to the blog for regular updates.

Bye for now!

Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays – Mother’s Day Gazpacho

This is the new feature I’ll be running on Wheelie Good Meals, it will alternate with Time-Saving Tuesdays.

What is Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays

Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays comes from my Grandmother she used to say Waste Not Want Not all the time, it was also a saying that Reverend Timms used to say on Postman Pat… sad I know!

As a nation we generate so much food waste it’s unbelieveable, I haven’t long recently cleared out some jars and bottles that were out of date. Spurred on by the needless waste, I thought it was time to look in to this whole problem in more detail. I recently read that the United Kingdom tops the European Union’s food waste charts.

We often get confused by the different dates that can be found on food packaging “Use By” “Best Before” and “Display Until” , if like me you are unsure visit this website here.

This week’s recipe

As you know my sister, brother-in-law and I cooked for my mother and his mother, we served Gazpacho as one of our starters, here’s how I made it, the full article that I based my recipe on can be found here

Mother’s Day Gazpacho

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Ingredients

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Ingredients

The ingredients are easy they included peppers, tinned tomatoes, fresh tomato, lazy garlic, bread, cucumber, Sweet Muscatel Vinegar and olive oil.

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Bread soaking in water

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Bread soaking in water

Place the slices of bread in a dish with enough water and leave it for twenty minutes, you can bypass that step but the article suggested it was a good idea, who was I to argue.

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Chopped up cucumber and peppers

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Chopped up cucumber and peppers

Chop up the peppers and the cucumber, as we’re going to blitz it don’t chop it too small, but chop it small enough to allow the blender to bitz them up.

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Cucumber and peppers in the blender

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Cucumber and peppers in the blender

Place them in the blender jug and set aside for later,

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Chop up a tomato for freshness

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Chop up a tomato for freshness

Chop up the tomato and put in the jug with the peppers and cucumber, the original recipe says to 1 KG of tomatoes but I didn’t have that many fresh tomatoes – I have added this one for freshness, but I’ll use tinned tomatoes later on.

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Add the lazy garlic to the blender

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Add the lazy garlic to the blender

Next add 2 teaspoons of lazy garlic, you could use two garlic cloves or garlic powder.

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Add the olive oil to the blender

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Add the olive oil to the blender

To the blender add 100ml of olive oil, excuse the mess, you’ll notice the silver container on the left – that’s what I use to keep my rubbish in. Because of easy access I keep all my peels, seeds etc in the silver container close to me on the table.

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Add a tin of tomatoes to the blender

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Add a tin of tomatoes to the blender

Add the tin of tomatoes and then blitz, you can do lots of things at this point, you can add herbs, tobacco sauce, Worcester sauce, or some dry mixed herbs but…… yep you’ve guessed it I kept to the original recipe.

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Ring out the bread and rip in to chunks

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Ring out the bread and rip in to chunks

Take the bread and ring the water out of them, then rip the slices into chunks and add to the blender – and blitz

Mother's Day Gazpacho - After blending add some seasoning to the blender

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – After blending add some seasoning to the blender

Season and then blitz again, season with salt and pepper, I like to add a bit more pepper than most people…. as you can see… but that’s personal taste.

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Add the sweet muscatel vinegar to the blender

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Add the sweet muscatel vinegar to the blender

Add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and stir through, you can blitz it up again to ensure that the vinegar and seasoning is distributed throughout the soup. Once you’ve made it sieve it to make sure it looks smooth, you’ll be surprised how much this makes and it can be frozen or kept in the fridge for a couple of days.

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Finely chop spring onions, cucumber and peppers for the garnish

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Finely chop spring onions, cucumber and peppers for the garnish

We served this with lots of little garnishes, tiny slices of cucumber and spring onions and tiny diced peppers and croutons.   There are lots of garnishes that you can use, but this is what the recipe recommended, credit to Graham for his amazing knife skills… puts mine to shame.

Mother's Day Gazpacho - Served in an espresso glass for effect

Mother’s Day Gazpacho – Served in an espresso glass for effect

Here it is in all its glory, served with garnishes. Don’t write it off, I know it’s cold soup and you’re probably thinking yuck… but please don’t it’s refreshing, light, zingy and great as a starter especially on a warm day. Heather’s espresso cups are awesome, I’m quite jealous, we were going to serve them in a shot glass, but this added a level of class.  To read more about our Mother’s day meal 2016, visit here.

Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays - Mother's Day Gazpacho

Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays – Mother’s Day Gazpacho

What’s next?

This feature will be looking at food waste, using left over products, products that are on the edge of their date and much more. What do you think I should include, give me your thoughts? Remember to get in touch, you can visit our social media pages below, or subscribe to the blog for regular updates.Wheelie Good Meals Social Networking

Thanks for stopping by, see you on the weekend for more 6 Nations of food…. come on Wales!

6 Nations of Food – (English) Toad In The Hole, (Irish) Champ and Onion Gravy

Ok so yet another hairbrained idea, I thought I’d honour the six nations by making “The Six Nations of Food”. My first two nations are Ireland and England, I’ve made Toad In The Hole and Champ.

Toad In The Hole

An old school classic, Toad in the hole is a traditional British dish made up of Sausages in a Yorkshire, it is often served with onion (hence why I’ve made onion gravy lol). Wikipedia states that the origin of the name “Toad-in-the-Hole” is disputed. Some suggest that the dish’s name comes from its resemblance to a toad sticking its head out of a hole.

Champ

Champ represents the Irish team in the Six nations and is a dish of inexpensive ingredients, it’s made by combining mashed potatoes and chopped spring onions. According to Wikipedia some areas the dish is also called “poundies.

The Recipe

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - Ingredients

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – Ingredients

To make this you need nine ingredients, the majority of which are in people’s larder, freezer or store cupboard. As you can see the batter is flour, milk and eggs, sausages are the star of the show, and a stock cube and onions for the gravy. There’s also 500ml of water missing from the photo above.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The process of making the Yorkshire Pudding batter

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The process of making the Yorkshire Pudding batter

I made the Yorkshire pudding batter using Brian Turner’s recipe, it’s so easy and, as you’ll see later really effective. You measure out the flour, milk and eggs in the same cup same quantities of everything. I used approximately 200ml of flour milk and eggs, it was roughly four eggs and one yolk. I know that sounds like an excessive amount of eggs but trust me it’s worth it.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - Seasoning the Yorkshire Pudding batter

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – Seasoning the Yorkshire Pudding batter

Mix thoroughly to ensure you haven’t got any lumps, if you do have lumps (like I did) pour the batter through a sieve to get rid of any lump bits. Season well with salt and pepper and mix, place in the fridge for half an hour or so to rest. I’ve just seasoned with salt and pepper but you could put herbs in or a spice to give the batter a bit of a kick – the world’s your oyster Yorkshire Pudding.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - Oil in the frying pan ready for the sausages

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – Oil in the frying pan ready for the sausages

Add some oil to an oven proof dish and place it in the oven 220oC and allow the oil to get hot. Place some oil in a frying pan and allow it to heat up, you can use vegetable oil and butter if you want here, but don’t use butter on its own.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - Frying the sausages

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – Frying the sausages

Place the sausages in the frying pan, be careful they spit – I nearly lost an eyebrow doing this. Cook them on all sides until they are brown, you don’t want to cook them all the way through yet. Once cooked put on a plate for later…. keep the pan we’re going to make our gravy in that.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - Chopped onion ready for the gravy

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – Chopped onion ready for the gravy

Chop the onions into half moons and then cut them into strips, you don’t want them to fine because we’ll be cooking them slowly. We’ll be cooking them on a low heat to allow them to caramelise.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The sausages in the tin ready for the batter

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The sausages in the tin ready for the batter

Check on the oil in the oven, if it’s hot take it out and place in the sausages. Remember to keep the oven door closed so that you don’t lose any heat.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - Pouring the batter in to the tin

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – Pouring the batter in to the tin

Take the batter out of the fridge and pour into the ovenproof dish. Because the oil is hot, be careful!

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The sausages move with the weight of the batter

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The sausages move with the weight of the batter

Pour all the batter in, remember that the oil is hot so be careful, if it’s hot enough the batter will start to cook as your pouring it.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The Toad In The Hole ready for the oven

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The Toad In The Hole ready for the oven

In the last picture you’ll notice that the sausages had slipped because they were carried by the batter. Straighten them up otherwise you’ll have one area of sausage and nothing elsewhere. Put the dish back in the oven to cook, I cooked it on the middle shelf for around half an hour, it may need more it may need less, every oven is different.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The process of making the onion gravy

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The process of making the onion gravy

Add some more oil to the pan if needed and fry the onions low and slow, when they start to soften and become a little sticky. Next sprinkle over a dessert spoon of flour, you can use regular plain flour here, I used self raising because that’s all we had. Stir the flour through the onions so that the onions are covered in flour.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - Beef stock made with a stock cube for the onion gravy

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – Beef stock made with a stock cube for the onion gravy

In a mug/jug pour 500ml of boiling water and add a stock cube, I season the stock now so that the salt and pepper is evenly distributed around the finished gravy.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The Toad In The onion gravy thickening nicely

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The Toad In The onion gravy thickening nicely

Pour the stock into the frying pan with the onions and stir continuously, try and pick up the sticky bits of sausages that were left behind. Cook until there is no taste of flour, I was really proud of this, I know it’s not what people would call “proper gravy” but oh my it was nice! Deep rich flavour of the onion and a silky smooth texture, not that I’m boasting or anything.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The Toad In The onion gravy ready for serving

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The Toad In The onion gravy ready for serving

I bought this gravy boat yonks ago and never really get to use it, until now, how good does the gravy look in it???

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The Yorkshire Pudding in all its glory

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The Yorkshire Pudding in all its glory

When it’s ready take the Toad In The Hole out of the oven, this one took on a life of its own. It was huge, I knew Brian Turner was a legend, and a chef I’m a massive fan of but wow… he knows his stuff!

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The Yorkshire Pudding and onion gravy in all their glory

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The Yorkshire Pudding and onion gravy in all their glory

You could just eat it like this, rip bits of the Yorkshire pudding off and dip it in the piping hot gravy, but as we’re civilised human beings…. I made champ to go with it.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - Ingredients for the Champ

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – Ingredients for the Champ

I’ve covered this on the blog before, it accompanied my Stunning Spiced Sausage Stew champ is so easy to make, Sharon my carer suggested it to me a while ago and made this way, it’s quick and easy.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The potatoes in the microwave

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The potatoes in the microwave

Prick the skin of the potato in several places and then cook on high heat for 10 minutes or more, you want the potatoes to be soft and fluffy when they are ready.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - Finely chopped spring onions for the champ

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – Finely chopped spring onions for the champ

Finely chop a spring onion and set it aside ready for the potatoes. I’ve only used two spring onions here, really speaking I could have probably used another one or two.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The process of making the champ

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The process of making the champ

Here we go, this is the straightforward bit, the jacket potatoes are cooked, the potato is soft and fluffy. Scoop the inside out, and place in a bowl, then add the spring onions and stir through, next add the milk and butter and combine all the ingredients together. I’ve used more milk here than I wanted, why, well because I’m heavy handed lol

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy - The whole meal ready to eat

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy – The whole meal ready to eat

This was stunning, I really enjoyed the whole process, anyone can make Yorkshire Pudding, it really is that easy, and so was the gravy, oh and the mashed potato was simple to, win win! The photos are not doing the meal justice at all because the Yorkshire Pudding was crisp and well risen, the mashed potato had a great hint of onion and was fluffy and the gravy was rich and deep in flavour.

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy

6 Nations of Food – Toad In The Hole, Champ and Onion Gravy

Give this one a go, it won’t disappoint I promise, it reaffirms my belief in TV Chef’s because this was Brian Turner’s Yorkshire Pudding batter recipe was amazing. If you do give it ago let me know.

Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays

Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays

I’ll be back on Wednesday with “Waste Not Want Not Wednesday” sharing my Gazpacho recipe from our Mother’s Day meal this year. I’m not going to be publishing the step by step recipes on the day, I will be writing them up and adding them at a later date.

Remember to get in touch, you can visit our social media pages below, or subscribe to the blog for regular updates.Wheelie Good Meals Social Networking

See you Wednesday

Rich signature

Things I Didn’t Like – Mother’s Day 2016

I know this post title sounds cryptic but bear with me, for Mother’s day this year Heather (my sister), Graham (my brother-in-law) and I decided to cook for our two mother’s – and as they’re like a double act that wasn’t hard to do. As always Heather came up with the idea Christmas time and, after, some discussions and some delayed emails we decided on a menu of taster dishes which we’d prepare in advance and on the day – there was one snag…. Jeremy Corbyn.

Mother's Day 2016 - Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and I at the Annual Kier Hardie Lecture

Mother’s Day 2016 – Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and I at the Annual Kier Hardie Lecture

Don’t get me wrong the Labour Leader doesn’t normally affect my plans but Saturday 5th March he was guest speaker in the Kier Hardie Lecture in Rhondda Cynon Taff and I had tickets! Was I going to pass that up for my beloved family…. no! 😆 , no I’m not that harsh Heather and I worked a compromise where her and Graham did some things in advance in their house and I prepared some in advance at home and we brought it all together on the day (well they did mainly, I just sat around 😀 )!

Mother's Day 2016 - The joys of soaking bread for the Gazpacho

Mother’s Day 2016 – The joys of soaking bread for the Gazpacho

Now, you’re probably wondering why the post is titled the way it is, well let me start with Thursday – I was making Gazpacho, I will publish the recipe in a the week, but let me tell you, it was not my favourite thing to cook. I hate getting my hands dirty and this recipe called for soaking bread (see above) in water for twenty minutes, squeezing the bread dry then ripping it up into chunks, before blending…. yuck :mrgreen: !

Mother's Day 2016 - The Gazpacho garnished with croutons and finely diced peppers, cucumber and spring onions

Mother’s Day 2016 – The Gazpacho garnished with croutons and finely diced peppers, cucumber and spring onions

Was it worth it, it really was! I had my doubts I’d only tried Gazpacho once or twice and couldn’t really get passed the cold soup thought. This was really refreshing, and great with the added garnishes of croutons, finely diced pepper, cucumber and spring onion. This was a real surprise with me, even though I made it I thoroughly enjoyed it, and so did everyone else.

Mother's Day 2016 - The starters in all their glory

Mother’s Day 2016 – The starters in all their glory

The starters are above, working our way around the table starting at the top left hand corner (by Heather’s hand) we have:

  • Garlic Sautéed Mushrooms,
  • Toast for Pâté (shop bought Pâté under Heather’s Hand)
  • Prawn Cocktail Spoons
  • Beetroot, Horseradish Crème Fraîche and Warm Smoked Salmon Shells,
  • Gazpacho Espresso Cups
  • Garnish for the Gazpacho (finely diced pepper, cucumber, spring onion and croutons)

There wasn’t anything on here that I didn’t like but there were some surprises, I had always been put off Horseradish by mother who doesn’t like it but we are both converts now, I know you can get different strengths but Graham mixed it with the Crème Fraîche and it was excellent with the picked Beetroot and Smoked Salmon. For the Beetroot pickle I was a bit scared, I had to deviate off my normal recipe which usually goes down very well with the family, especially Heather. I didn’t have any Balsamic Vinegar (which isn’t like me) so I used White Balsamic Vinegar instead (150ml of White Balsamic Vinegar, 250ml of Red Wine Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Salt and Pepper to taste). On the theme of things I didn’t like I’ve been proved wrong here, twice once with the Gazpacho and secondly with the Horseradish.

Mother's Day 2016 - The main courses ready to be eaten

Mother’s Day 2016 – The main courses ready to be eaten

Again, starting top left hand corner and working our way around we have:

  • Pork Three Ways starting with Pork Belly Squares,
  • Potato and Apple Rostis,
  • Pork Cheeks in a Paprika Sauce
  • Chicken and Chorizo Risotto,
  • Wraps
  • Sweet Potato Fries,
  • Salad Garnish
  • Pulled Pork in the middle by the Hoisin Sauce

There wasn’t anything here I didn’t expect to like, but I hadn’t tried Pork Cheeks before, and they were a revelation, so much that I finished them off the next night. The sauce was awesome, there was a hint of smokiness from the paprika but it wasn’t too heavy. I also loved the Sweet Potato Wedges, Graham roasted them with some Herbs De Provence Alice (my Niece) had bought for me. The Risotto was also excellent, and was another dish that acted as my tea the next night and the night after for that matter. Graham and Heather made all of the main course, and it was all superb, and, as you can imagine I’ll be pinching their recipe for Risotto and the Pork Cheeks soon for you all! We went for Pork as the main component for this course because it’s my mother’s favourite meat.

Mother's Day 2016 - Our mini deserts

Mother’s Day 2016 – Our mini deserts

Here are two of our three deserts, Strawberry tartlets and mini Raspberry Pavlovas. Graham and I can take no credit for this course, well not as far as I know anyway because Heather did it all… in fact I’m now calling her Heather Berry.

Mother's Day 2016 - Mini trifles as part of the desert course

Mother’s Day 2016 – Mini trifles as part of the desert course

Oh yes, wait there’s more mini shop bought mince pies and mini Strawberry and Kirsh Triffles. These were awesome, and a great way to end our meal, the recipes, and processes for these will follow soon.

Heather, Graham and I after the meal

Heather, Graham and I after the meal

We all had a fantastic time, Graham’s mother enjoyed herself, my mother enjoyed herself and even enjoyed the Horseradish Crème Fraîche. The biggest revelations of the night for me were Gazpacho which was extremely refreshing, so much so I finished the last one off and Graham’s Pork Cheeks (that’s not an insult) and his risotto….. recipes to follow, I hope!

It’s important to remember when planning a dinner party, manage your expectations.  Make some things in advance, buy some things and get as much preparation done as early as you can – and most importantly enjoy yourself.  And if you can’t think of what to cook, make a taster menu, lots of little things gives people more choice and it can often be easier than three larger courses.

I couldn’t go without telling you about the other thing I ended up eating that I didn’t like…. I was going to leave this paragraph out because there’s not mushroom for it…. but then I realised I was such a fun guy I had to put it in… 😳 Yep you guessed it I think I’m starting to like mushrooms, garlic mushrooms in the starter, well let’s just say I polished quite a few off.

Mothers Day Meals by Dave Hole

Mothers Day Meals by Dave Hole

I’ll be back on the weekend with a 6 Nations post but until then have a good week, I know this hasn’t been Time-Saving Tuesdays but there’s plenty of them to come. Thanks to Dave for this excellent logo, and Happy belated Mother’s Day to all you mams and mams to be out there. Don’t forget to get in touch with your ideas, pictures, comments etc, I’d love to hear from you.Wheelie Good Meals Social NetworkingIncidentally the Kier Hardie Lecture was an excellent event with 1000 people turning up to see and listen to him Jeremy Corbyn speak. Thanks to Greg as always for his company, photography and driving, a really good day all round.