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!

Dinner Party #2 – December 2014

Following the success of July 2014’s dinner party I hosted another one in December 2014 – why are you only hearing about this now you ask… mmm I don’t have an answer ( 😳 )

The guest list started off at about eight people and slowly people dropped off, I’m not sure why (crosses fingers it wasn’t because of my cooking 😆 ) but the final list became myself, Greg and Ginge. Greg features quite often in this blog, other than being one of my best friends he’s one of the Parkers (he’s drives me) and of course he plays pool with me.

Ginge on the other hand hasn’t featured much. He’s the better looking half of our double act Ginge ‘n’ Jones. I used to run an entertainment society and Ginge and I compèred the shows for years…. some would say we were rubbish others would say nothing at all! Before Ginge ‘n’ Jones we were known as the Ginger Ninja and The Wheelie Wonder… why, no one really knows lol!

Ginger Ninja and Wheelie Wonder

Ginger Ninja and Wheelie Wonder

The recipes are all new, well mostly, for this dinner party. I wanted to try some new recipes out, in my last dinner party I served food that people had already seen on the blog and wanted to try. This time it was a new starter and a new main!

I will upload the recipes at a later date and link them back to here, however, for now the menu was:


 

Starter

Pan Fried Scallops, Pea and Mint Pureé and Chorizo

Main Course

Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry with Saffron Rice

Dessert

Apple Charleston Served with Cream Chantilly


As with most of my dinner parties there’s a bit of cooking for the guests to get involved with. Both Greg and Ginge are used to helping me in the kitchen, this time it was Ginge’s turn to play sous chef for the majority of the cooking, along with my trusted side kick Mags!

Dinner Party #2 – December 2014 - Starter - Pan Fried Scallops, Pea and Mint Pureé and Chorizo

Dinner Party #2 – December 2014 – Starter – Pan Fried Scallops, Pea and Mint Pureé and Chorizo

The starter was cooked by me on my own, well mainly honestly 😀 it was Scallops with and Mint Pureé and Chorizo. The chorizo were fried in a pan and then they were taken out and the scallops were cooked in the oil that came from the Chorizo. The Pureé was made by blending Coleman’s Mint Sauce and frozen peas. It’s a simple and easy recipe to knock up, ideally better when you’ve got bigger scallops. Everyone enjoyed this although it was commented that there wasn’t quite enough of it…. I suppose that’s the point of a starter though to leave you wanting more!

Dinner Party #2 – December 2014 - Main Course - Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry with Saffron Rice

Dinner Party #2 – December 2014 – Main Course – Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry with Saffron Rice

Ginge felt the Kofta curry was very authentic and tasted “as if a Moroccan had made it” (his words not mine 😳 ). They were cooked in a rich sauce taken from Dean Edwards Mincespiration recipe book which is an amazing book to own if you love mince of any variety. The rice was cooked in the microwave, it was cooked with saffron and topped with a sprinkle of herbage! The recipe will follow for this, it’s worth waiting for honestly, it’s another fantastic recipe from a fantastic book.

Dinner Party #2 – December 2014 - Dessert - Apple Charleston Served with Cream Chantilly

Dinner Party #2 – December 2014 – Dessert – Apple Charleston Served with Cream Chantilly

The dessert was Strictly Suppers #5 Apple Charleston served with Cream Chantilly. This was double cream whipped, sweetened with icing sugar and infused with fresh Vanilla Seeds. I had difficulty getting the seeds out of the pod, but I had Ginge on hand for that job… honestly every good home should have a Ginge on hand! This was a nice dessert, I think I should have served it with something that had a bit more oomph. Maybe with some flavoured ice cream and/or a coulis.

Dinner Party #2 – December 2014 - A Meeting Of Minds - Ginge v Will

Dinner Party #2 – December 2014 – A Meeting Of Minds – Ginge v Will

A great night was had by all, really nice atmosphere which culminated in a meeting of two Ginges…. This is Will my father’s cat, and friend to all (except me lol)

Not sure when the next dinner party will be but I’m going to be experimenting with slow cooking soon so maybe that’ll be on the menu haha.

Don’t forget to visit us on our social media pages and get in touch with your thoughts, suggestions and ideas. If you’ve tried this recipe.

See you Tuesday,

Richard – Wheelie Good Meals 😀

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Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Well it’s the end of the Strictly Series of 2014 (until the Christmas Special and the return of the legend that is Sir Bruce) 😀 ! Here’s a quick little dessert you can enjoy the Strictly Christmas Special with (or if you’re sad like me you can watch the re-run of the final 😳 ). This is an Apple Charleston…. or more commonly known as Apple Charlotte, it’s an adaptation of James Martin’s recipe, which can be found here. This brings the end to my #StrictlySuppers Series, I know I haven’t been as pie hot as I should have been but let’s be honest it was ambitious… take it from me I won’t be doing Bush Tucker Trials Treats next year lol.

Caroline and Pasha performed two fantastic Charleston dances in this series, on week 9 (Around The World Week) they scored 39 dancing to “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”. They topped the 39 score by one point in the second dance of the final to the same song…. and they went on to be deserved winners of the series.

This is part of my Dinner Party Menu I hosted on the 13th of December with my guests the good mates Greg and Ginge…. no they’re not a double act :D.

I enjoyed making this, normally I make Tiramisu or Cheese Cake but it was nice to make something different…. and probably nice for my guests too :D.

Some of the Ingredients for Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Some of the Ingredients for Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

The Equipment Required for Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

The Equipment Required for Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

You’ll notice from the pictures above that there aren’t many ingredients and I’m not using a great deal of equipment, it really is fairly straightforward to cook. Firstly preheat your oven to 2200C/4250F/Gas 7, remember all the measurements, temperatures and times in this recipe are open for interpretation depending on your circumstances.

Butter the moulds, I bought some Dariole Moulds years ago in my “I must have lots of equipment phase” just after I started cooking. I used these because, well, I’d never used them before, equally you could use a ramekin or some other form of container. Put to one but you can use ramekins, obviously the amount of bread you use varies on the size of your moulds. Sprinkle sugar around the moulds being careful to tap off any excess, set aside for later.

Peel and chop the apples into bite sized pieces,

Chopped Apples Ready For Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Chopped Apples Ready For Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Once you’ve chopped them up place in a sauce pan with the butter and cinnamon, remember to use as much cinnamon or as little as you like. If I’m honest cinnamon is something that I never really liked, but in keeping with broccoli and cauliflower it’s growing on me.  You’ll notice in the image below there are two different types of pans, the first one was too small lol,so I had to swap pans ^^'. Gently cook the apple, cinnamon and butter in a pan until the apples soften, stirring occasionally. I added some water to the sauce pan as it was a little dry but that’s optional.

Different Stages of Cooking The Apples For Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Different Stages of Cooking The Apples For Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Once the apples are soft (like the bottom half of the picture above), take off the heat and allow to cool, set aside for later. Now here’s the Blue Peter “sticky back plastic” bit (well almost), butter the bread slices with the butter.

Preparing The Bread For The Moulds For Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Preparing The Bread For The Moulds For Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

The above image looks a bit chaotic but honestly, cut the bread into strips to make the side of the moulds and then circles for top and bottom.  I found this the most potchy (fiddly) part of the process, cutting all the bread to the right size. Remember to cut circles for the top and bottom. Use the bread to line the bottom, and sides of your moulds.

The Moulds With The Sugar and Bread For Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

The Moulds With The Sugar and Bread For Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Spoon the apple filling inside and sprinkle with the brown sugar. I didn’t have brown sugar so I used granulated, it worked ok but brown would be better for more of a crunch. Place in the oven and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden.

Ginge's Hand Holding The Vanilla Seeds For The Whipped Cream To Go With The Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Ginge’s Hand Holding The Vanilla Seeds For The Whipped Cream To Go With The Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Take your vanilla pod, cut the end off and slice down the middle, then scrape all the seeds out. I had difficulty in doing this, I was lucky to have a friendly ginger person to assist me (hand model above) as my Sous Chef, if like me you have difficulty in getting them out then use vanilla extract (not vanilla essence). Whisk the vanilla and double cream together until it becomes thick.

When ready to serve place a plate on top of your mould and turn upside down, if the Charleston doesn’t come out straight away, loosen with a knife. Add a dollop of the cream to the side of the plate, serve warm or cold.

Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

Strictly Suppers #5 – Apple Charleston (Apple Charlotte)

I hope you enjoy this recipe, I know my guests and I did, don’t forget to download our step-by-step recipe from the link here. We’re almost at the end of 2014 :D, I’m not going to get all soppy now don’t panic but this is the last of our #StrictlySuppers Series ;), don’t all cry at once. I promise new things for the new year including #MicroMonday which will be an incorporate our #ReadyMealMonday theme along with cooking in the Microwave.  Feel free to get in touch with ideas, questions etc, you can email enquiries@wheeliegoodmeals.co.uk or go to one of our Social Media pages.

Ta ta 😎

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Strictly Supper #4 – Pesto Double

More commonly known as Pesto & Cheese Tart with Sweet Chilli Jam

Strictly Suppers 4

Where do I start with this one, well it’s another loosely linked one but it’s a tasty and b quick and easy. The idea came was born a while ago after I had defrosted some ready rolled pastry and didn’t really know what to do with it. I’d made some pesto so lined the pastry with it and the sprinkled cheese on it…. yum….   My brother-in-law Graham will appreciate this, he’s a fully paid up member of the Wheelie Good Cheese Fan Club (ok that doesn’t exists but it was funny in my head). I make these sort of tarts all the time and I know he’s a fan (either that or a good liar 😉 )

The strictly bit for this recipe is that it’s based in the Paso Doble which is a Spanish name for a French dance routine and translates as double step. For more information on the particular routine click here. Pixie Lott scored a staggering 38 out of 40 (the highest this season) and Judy Murray scored a lowly 18.

As dodgy as the photos look this is a really good recipe and I really enjoy making it, as I’ve said in the downloadable copy I make this in different guises. The ingredients are simple I’ve used Tesco Pesto (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it 😀 ) along with jus rol pastry. You can use any hard cheese but I like Gruyere for taste and consistency. The equipment below, you can use a grated for the cheese, but to make it easier I used a food processor. I’ve also greased the tin ready to be used.

Some of the Ingredients for Strictly Suppers #4 Pesto Double

Some of the Ingredients for Strictly Suppers #4 Pesto Double

Some of the Equipment for Strictly Suppers #4 Pesto Double

Some of the Equipment for Strictly Suppers #4 Pesto Double

Firstly preheat your oven to 2000C, remember all the measurements, temperatures and times in this recipe are open for interpretation depending on your circumstances. In a food processor put the Gruyere Cheese and blitz until it’s grated finely, set aside for later.

Cubed Peppers for Strictly Suppers #4 Pesto Double

Cubed Peppers for Strictly Suppers #4 Pesto Double

Then finely chop the pepper, cut them into small dice for the sauce. Once chopped place the pepper, sugar, chilli flakes, water and white wine vinegar in a saucepan and place on the stove and bring to the boil. Be careful with the amount of chilli you use and also the amount of sugar, when I cooked it for the purposes of the blog I was a bit heavy handed with the chilli… that wasn’t fun 😳

Leave to simmer for 30 minutes until the water has turned pink. Remember that you should taste as you go along, make sure you have enough chilli and sugar to suit your tastes. Once the sauce has turned pink allow to cool by setting it aside for later.

The Chilli Jam after it was blended and thickened for Strictly Suppers #4 Pesto Double

The Chilli Jam after it was blended and thickened for Strictly Suppers #4 Pesto Double

Once cool, place in a food processor and blitz until smooth, I sieved it and then put it back on the heat and cooked it’s so that it became sticky and jam like. This will keep for a few days in an air tight container, if you find it’s too spicy you can mix it with some mayonnaise to lessen the heat.

Different stages of the tart before cooking for Strictly Suppers #4 Pesto Double

Different stages of the tart before cooking for Strictly Suppers #4 Pesto Double

To make the tart place the puff pastry on a baking tray and score the edges, you’ll do this to get a border. Then prick the pastry with a fork to make lots of dots to stop the pastry rising. Place the red pesto on the one side of the tart and then the green on the other side. I left a border between the two and covered it with cheese. You could put caramelised onions on top of the pest, that would be nice but it’s lovely just as it is.

Egg wash the tart and place in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until it’s golden brown. As I’ve said all ovens vary so just be aware that you want it to go brown… keep watching it to make sure that the cheese doesn’t burn (or go quiet brown like mine did  😳)

Strictly Suppers #4 The Pesto Double Tart Before Being Cut

Strictly Suppers #4 The Pesto Double Tart Before Being Cut

Don’t be alarmed if the pastry looks like it’s becoming green or red it’s the oil in the pesto steeping out… honest O-) Serve with the chilli jam, it’s great warm or cold, you can see here I’ve served a slice of red and green pesto.  You can use any pesto for this recipe, I’ve used Tesco because well… that’s where I was shopping lol.

Strictly Suppers #4 The Pesto Double Tart With Sweet Chilli Jam

Strictly Suppers #4 The Pesto Double Tart With Sweet Chilli Jam

Don’t forget to download our step-by-step recipe from the link here. Feel free to get in touch with ideas, questions etc, you can email enquiries@wheeliegoodmeals.co.uk or go to one of our Social Media pages.

Ta ta 😎

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Casa Costello

Strictly Suppers #3 – Salsa Sesame Tuna

Strictly Suppers 3

This is a weak one for the Strictly Suppers theme as the salsa was the accompaniment but it’s all I’ve got this week. I’ve always wanted to try sesame crusted tuna but never got round to it, so I could think of no better an opportunity than to try it out for my blog. I made this on a Tuesday night, for those of you who don’t know I play pool on Tuesday’s so I usually pushed for time, if I can prepare and cook it after coming home from work and before I go to pool then it’s fairly easy and straightforward.

The highest scoring celebrity Salsa this year was Jake Wood (Max Branning from Eastenders) who scored 35 while the lowest to date was Thom Evans who scored 25, both of these happened in week two.

Ingredients for Strictly Supper #3, Salsa Sesame Tuna

Ingredients for Strictly Supper #3, Salsa Sesame Tuna

If you hadn’t guessed already I love Tuna, and I love Strictly so this was a marriage made in heaven. The first thing to do was prepare the Salsa. I made a basic one for this recipe because it was quick and easy, I finely chopped the onion and then the tomatoes…. keep them as course or as fine as you like. Season with salt and pepper and add a good glug of extra virgin olive oil and the lime juice. Tomatoes can take a lot of pepper and salt so be generous, but remember to taste as you go along. Some people add sugar to tomatoes, I don’t, why, because I don’t like it lol!

Strictly Supper #3, Different Process For The Salsa in Salsa Sesame Tuna

Strictly Supper #3, Different Process For The Salsa in Salsa Sesame Tuna

In the past I’ve added chilli flakes, spring onions, chives lots of different ingredients to perk up a normal every day salsa. If you want to make different types of salsas check out the BBC Food website set this aside for later.

Strictly Supper #3, The Tuna Covered in Oil and Seasoning For The Salsa Sesame Tuna

Strictly Supper #3, The Tuna Covered in Oil and Seasoning For The Salsa Sesame Tuna

You’ll see above I oiled the tuna and then seasoned it with salt and pepper. It is important to oil the fish not the pan so that it doesn’t produce smoke. Cover the tuna steak with sesame seeds, try make sure that plenty of the sesame seeds stick to the fish…. You’ll notice below I didn’t do a very good job at this, but it was good enough for me 🙂

Strictly Supper #3, The Tuna Covered in Sesame Seeds For The Salsa Sesame Tuna

Strictly Supper #3, The Tuna Covered in Sesame Seeds For The Salsa Sesame Tuna

Now it’s time to cook the fish, put a frying pan on the hob and heat it until it’s very hot. This is important as it makes cooking the fish easier (in fact it makes cooking most things easier 🙂 ). Place the fish in the frying pan and fry for two and a half minutes (2:30) on each side (or as much or as little as you like). The fresher the fish the less time you have to cook it, if the fish is fresh from a fish mongers then you can serve as rare as you dare!

As you can see below I have served the salsa and the tuna with my mother’s chunky chips, you could use fried potatoes or some polenta.

    Strictly Supper #3 - Salsa Sesame Tuna and Mam's Home Made Chips

Strictly Supper #3 – Salsa Sesame Tuna and Mam’s Home Made Chips

This was a great little quick and easy mid week meal and with the lime juice in the salsa it was very fresh and zingy. My mother makes the best chips ever, my nieces and nephews love my mother’s chips and so do I so there was nothing else I could serve with them.

As always you can download our step-by-step recipe from the link here. Feel free to get in touch with ideas, questions etc, you can email enquiries@wheeliegoodmeals.co.uk or go to one of our Social Media pages.

Ta ta 😎
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