Changes in 2017

Ho Ho Ho!  Merry Christmas, Happy New year, I hope you’re all having a fantastic holiday period.

This is just a quick post to let you know I haven’t evaporated, won the lottery or been sent to Coventry.  I’ve had a very, very busy few months both personally and in work, as some of you may know I’ve been chosen to stand as a Labour candidate in a nearby village in the 2017 elections.   As you can imagine it’s busy, busy, busy… I’m not complaining I’m here to do it.

My food tastes have changed in 2016, I’m sadly going to have to admit I’m a grown up (cries in to his wine).  2015 was a massive culture shock for me food wise I realised I liked Cauliflower, Broccoli, Olives and red wine to name just a few new discoveries.  2016 was a shock too, my biggest finds were Broad beans, horseradish, mushrooms and a massive new found love of red meat.  My teeth haven’t got any better but I’ve learned how I like my steaks cooked and my mother, and especially my father are amazing at cooking red meat… awesome!

New food tastes

New food tastes

So what have I got planned for Wheelie Good Meals for 2017, well I’m going to be ditching some key themes from the past, they are

  • Mystery Bag Meals,
  • Strictly Suppers
  • Six Nations of Food

I say ditch they’re not exactly going to the great big wheelie bin in the sky they,re just not going to feature regularly, we’re also going to focus more on budget living, so Time-Saving Tuesdays and Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays will be focusing on cost effective recipes which are healthy.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading on food banks and food poverty over the last few months and along with drawing support from friends, businesses and celebrity chef’s I tweet with I’ll be looking to make all my recipes affordable on a very low budget.

Reviews over the last couple of years

Reviews over the last couple of years

However, that being said I will continue the restaurant and food festival reviewing and hope to line one up every month starting with January, I will share with you my foodie travels both on here and instagram.

My family and I have had an horendous month of December with a family bereavement, I’ve learned two things this month, I’ve learned that you are never prepared for tragedy, and age is no criteria for how you deal with it.  I’ve seen people whom I think of as “kids” deal with personal tragedy in the most mature and adult way.  I’ve also learned that I have tremendous friends, two in particular, I always feel like it’s all “me, me, me” because my friends have to come in to my life, driving me, sorting my oxygen out etc and I don’t feel like I give anywhere near as much back.  But you will never know how grateful I am for my friends, one person who deserves a mention here familywise and that is a fellow (Wheelie Good Mealer) Alice  who has worked with me for a few months and is now leaving to work over the bridge.  Alice has been amazing working with Accessible Wales and has been a great asset to the team, she’s also been a good friend, companion and most of all… stealer of my drinks.

Alice and I

Alice and I

Have a good new year folks, enjoy your time with your friends and family, drink as much as you can, eat as much as you can and worry about it in the new year.

My five most popular recipes of the last couple of years:

Leftover Chicken Tikka Masala

Saira Hamilton’s Chicken Bhuna

Melanie’s Food Adventures – Hedgehog Traybake

Dean Edwards’ Lamb Kofta Curry

Toad in the Hole with Yorkshire Pudding and Onion Gravy

And my Review highlights have been:

Tesco Value Chicken Curry and Rice

Uncle Ben’s Chilli Con Carne and Rice and Dolmio Pasta Carbonara

Bisto Lasagne

Westlers Burgers in Onion Gravy

Restaurant Review – Caradogs at Ty Newydd

Greg and I with a fantastic background of the harbour

Greg and I with a fantastic background of the harbour

Thank you Dave for all your design work, and for your creativity and thank you as always to Greg for being with me for all my reviews, food festivals and for being Greg!

See you in 2017 folks…

… Happy Days!

Mystery Bag Meals Logo

Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

This is the first of My Mystery Bag Meals series, a series based on Ready Steady Cook.  You can see all the ingredients below, including the ones I used from my Store Cupboard

Ingredients for Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Ingredients for Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

This mystery bag was set by Melanie from (www. melaniesfoodadventures.com) The ingredients were:

  • Ready Rolled Puff Pastry £1.30
  • Ready to Eat Chicken Chunks £2.00
  • Pack of Trimmed Green Beans £0.50
  • Tub of Crème Fraiche £0.90

This bag came to a total of £4.70… good shopping I thought, so what was I going to do with this bag of loveliness…. a Chicken Stroganoff Pie

It’s quite funny posting this today because a year ago today I posted “Graham’s Caramelised Red Onion and Goats Cheese Tart”. This recipe is loosely based on a recipe Graham gave me for his Stroganoff, and it was cooked by my niece Alice and I when she came to stay recently. The first thing to do is pre-heat your oven to 2000 C, next chop the onion and garlic, as you’re cooking it in the saucepan and in the oven you don’t have to chop them too finely…. ok you can cute them as fine as you want to, with me time was tight and I was lazy.

Chopping the Onion and Garlic for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Chopping the Onion and Garlic for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Once you’ve chopped the garlic and onion set them aside for later, next put some butter in a sauce pan and some olive oil. Heat on a low to medium heat…. I hate these recipes that say cook something for x amount of minutes without telling you what temperature to cook it on.

Melting the butter to fry the onions for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Melting the butter to fry the onions for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

When the butter has melted add the onions and Sweat the onions slowly then add the garlic, you should be careful not to burn the garlic. Cook it gently stirring regularly.

Frying the onion and garlic for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Frying the onion and garlic for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Once the garlic and onions have softened it’s time to add the Smoked Paprika. As I said earlier this is an adaptation of Graham’s Strongonhoff recipe, he uses Paprika that isn’t smoked but I only had Smoked Paprika in the cupboard. Alice and I (well Alice not me honestly your honour was a bit heavy handed with ye ole Paprika… on reflection I’d add about 1 level teaspoon. Cook gently so that you cook out the powderiness of the spice. I can never understand how people put raw curry powder with mayonnaise for dips and dressing, raw spices have a sand like texture, reminds me of falling when messing about on the beach – or so I imagine lol.

Adding the Smoked Paprika to the Onion and Garlic for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Adding the Smoked Paprika to the Onion and Garlic for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Once the Paprika, Onion and Garlic have got to know each other, are relaxed and enjoying each other’s company….. add another guest to the party. It’s time to add the star of the show… the cooked chicken, I have a confession to make, there’s less cooked chicken than there should be, why, because I was hungry the night before lol

Adding the Cooked Chicken to the Smoked Paprika, Onions and Garlic for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Adding the Cooked Chicken to the Smoked Paprika, Onions and Garlic for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Keep stirring that until the chicken is fully covered with the Paprika and all the flavours are combined and everything is cosy, the chicken is pre-cooked so don’t worry too much just bring things up to temperature.   At every party there’s always someone who is fashionably late… this occasion it’s the Crème Fraiche, it’s an ingredient I don’t use often, although to draw more links to this time last year I do use it in Graham’s Goats Cheese Tart and my Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart.

Adding the Crème Fraiche to the Saucepan of ingredients for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Adding the Crème Fraiche to the Saucepan of ingredients for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

 

Make sure everything has amalgamated and all the flavours are combined, taste, taste and taste again. I really can’t stress how important tasting your food is, no one knows how it should taste better than you. Season at this point and stir again, everything should be red and lushness looking, I love red, being a Manchester United fan it’s hard not to lol.

All the ingredients ready to be added to the pie dish for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

All the ingredients ready to be added to the pie dish for my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Roll the pastry out, sprinkle some flour. Score a boarder around the edge of the pastry, then prick the middle area to ensure it doesn’t rise. Leave to one side to top the pie. While the pie crust is sitting relaxing place the filling ingredients in the pie tin.

The pie filling in the tin waiting for the pastry top to make my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

The pie filling in the tin waiting for the pastry top to make my Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie

Place the pastry on top of the pie tin, ensure that it goes fully around the tin you are using. In my opinion it shouldn’t touch the filling, once on the tin crimp the edges and slash some slits in it, then brush with an egg to get the pastry golden brown.

My Mystery Bag Meals - Chicken Stroganoff Pie ready to be cooked

My Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie ready to be cooked

Place in the oven and cook until the pastry is golden brown, all pie filling ingredients are cooked all ready so it is just a case of cooking the pastry lid until it’s golden brown.

Mystery Bag Meals - Chicken Stroganoff in the oven cooking

Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff in the oven cooking

Can you spot the guest appearance in the picture above…. there’s a gold star in it if you can! It was stunning, my mother said to me she’d never had a Chicken Stroganoff Pie, neither had I but then I’d never heard of a Chicken Tikka Slice until I bought one from Gregg’s…. there’s a first time for everything!

Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie after being cooked

Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie after being cooked

This was stunning, Alice and I thoroughly enjoyed it, had a rich deep taste which was smoky from the Paprika, I thoroughly enjoyed it, if I’d had more time I’d have done more with the beans…. but as it was they were just boiled lol. To download a step-by-step guide for this recipe click here.

Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie with Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes

Mystery Bag Meals – Chicken Stroganoff Pie with Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes

I’ve had a nightmare few weeks, just lacking motivation, I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to write this, because I couldn’t be arsed to do anything…. excuse the vulgarity. I’m feeling better now thankfully and working on my new business so things are looking up… woop woop!

Anyway enough of the boohoo’s time to move on, this recipe was made by myself and Alice, who (unlucky France) has come back home after her time away. We had a fab week when she came up recently and did lots of cooking including a Pasta Dissaster as I’ve said before, I’ll share that with you soon! I’ll be doing another Mystery Bag Meals challenge in at the end of September, do you want to be the one who suggests the bag. Email mbm@wheeliegoodmeals.co.uk. Cook this one, it’s a great recipe and quick and easy. Thanks to Alice for helping me cook it, Melanie for the ingredient suggestions and Dave Hole for creating the fab logo. The bag types and costs are listed below, don’t panic I’ll be the one forking out for the ingredients lol… you’ve just got to give me the list 😀

Mystery Bag Meals Information

Mystery Bag Meals Information

If you like Stroganoff then check out my Mushroom Stroganoff I made many moons ago lol. Thank you for stopping by remember you can sign up to the blog for updates and visit us on our social media pages which are listed below.

Facebook:          www.facebook.com/wheeliegoodmeals

Twitter:               www.twitter.com/wheeliegdmeals

Instagram:          www.instagram.com/wheeliegoodmeals

Youtube:             www.youtube.com/wheeliegoodmeals

Pinterest:           www.pinterest.com/wheeliegdmeals

I know I’ve been potching (messing about) with the layout of the site, I’m still looking for a new one but I’ll be going back to the old look for now.  Bear with me, I’ll get there!  See you Tuesday, I’ll be back as normal…. is that a good thing, I’ll let you decide lol

Rich

Mystery Bag Meals Logo

Are you Ready, Steady… Then Let’s Cook Some Mystery Bag Meals

Mystery Bag Meals Logo

Mystery Bag Meals Logo

Ok you’ve guessed it Mystery Bag Meals is based on one of my favourite all time cookery programmes Ready Steady Cook. It was hosted by Ainsley Harriott (and Fern Britton) and featured a round where chef’s aided by a celebrity had to cook meals from a bag of ingredients. There were different types of bags, these included:

  • Classic Bag – The original format where the contestant brought in a bag of ingredients costing up to £5.
  • Budget Bag – Similar to the ‘Classic Bag’ but the ingredients could only cost up to £3.50.
  • Bistro Bag – Ingredients worth £7.50.
  • Gourmet Bag – Worth £10.

These four are going to be the basis for my new Mystery Bag Meals feature. I want people to email mbm@wheeliegoodmeals.co.uk stating the ingredients they want me to cook with. Anyone can get involved from my friends and family to anyone reading the blog…. or people who love Ready Steady lol. Every fortnight I’ll put up on facebook and twitter what the theme is for the next Mystery Bag Meals – Remember you don’t have to buy the ingredients just state the following:

  • The ingredients
  • How much each one costs
  • Where you priced them from

The ingredients will be bought by a friend and provided to me on the day I’m going to cook them. I’ll cook the recipe within a set time limit:

  • Classic Bag – 60 minute – up to £5.
  • Budget Bag – 30 minute – up to £3.50.
  • Bistro Bag – 1 ½ hours – up to £7.50.
  • Gourmet Bag – 2 hours – up to £10.

I know Ready Steady Cook had a set time frame for all their bags but let’s be honest they were professional chef’s I’m not. I’m cooking in my house with a million things going on, let’s make it realistic.

Mystery Bag Meals - Store Cupboard Essentials

Mystery Bag Meals – Store Cupboard Essentials

I will also have a series of store cupboard essentials to use… like the show, I managed to find a list online of all their store cupboard ingredients… it was huge, I’ve whittled mine down to.

  1. Bread
  2. Milk
  3. Eggs
  4. Self Raising Flour
  5. Spices
  6. Dried Herbs
  7. Olive Oil
  8. Salt and Pepper
  9. Tomato Purée
  10. Caster Sugar
  11. Balsamic, Malt, White and Red Wine Vinegar
  12. Soy sauce
  13. Tabasco sauce
  14. Worcestershire sauce
  15. Baking Powder
  16. Butter
  17. Wine
  18. Potatoes
  19. Onions
  20. Garlic

Melanie from Melanie’s Food Adventures has kindly given me the ingredient list for my first bag…. it’s a Classic bag, the ingredients are below and came to £5.

Mystery Bag Meals - Ingredients For The First Challenge

Mystery Bag Meals – Ingredients For The First Challenge

If the ingredients come over the allowed price some will be left out (so for example I may only use a third of a pack of beans rather than the whole pack), come back Saturday to find out what I did with them, it’s a good one.

I have always loved Ready, Steady Cook and am watching the re-runs now on The Food Channel it’s quality tv and should never have been axed. It’s where I first saw lots of chef’s including two of my favourite television chef’s Brian Turner and James Martin.

Mystery Bag Meals - James Martin and Brian Turner Two Chef's From Ready Steady (picture from www.wphcancercharity.org.uk)

Mystery Bag Meals – James Martin and Brian Turner Two Chef’s From Ready Steady (picture from www.wphcancercharity.org.uk)

Three mentioned before I go, massive thanks to Dave Hole who has created a load of logos for me recently and, in all fairness, to tight deadlines for me… I know I’m a nag, and he’ll never know how greatful I am for his work…. Thanks Dave. Secondly congratulations to my friend Rhys Robers for being chose as the Labour Party’s candidate to be the next Cynon Valley Assembly Member, you can read Rhys’ blog here

Lastly, a big happy birthday for tomorrow to one of my best friends, the one and only (cue Chesney Hawkes) Greg, “Parker, Edgar Linton, 8 Ball, Wesley” Davies boy! Hope you have a cracking one you deserve it

See you all on Tuesday.
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