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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
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
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.
Self Raising Flour
Salt and Pepper
Balsamic, Malt, White and Red Wine Vinegar
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
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)
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
This is a variation on “Graham’s Caramelised Red Onion and Goats Cheese Tart” I posted back in August 2014. This tart was using up ingredients that I needed to use up, and it was a good use of them too. Give this a go, it’s quick and easy and one I know you’ll love – and Graham will for that matter!
Ingredients for Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart
This really is quick and easy…. I know I say it all the time but trust me there’s hardly any effort in this one at all. Just beat a few eggs, do a bit of grating and then whap it in the oven… job done! The first thing you’ll need to do is preheat your oven to 2100 Celsius.
Saffron steeping in water for Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart
Place some saffron strands in a glass. Try not to use too many because they say saffron can have a metallic taste. Pour some boiling water on top of the saffron and allow it to steep for about fifteen minutes. I love saffron, it’s very opulent and weight for weight is more expensive than gold! It’s mainly used as a colouring but does offer a slight taste, for more information on Saffron visit Wikipedia.
Eggs for the filling of the Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart
Crack three eggs into the jug, add salt and pepper, as you can see I’ve used whole eggs, they give the body to the tart! Season well, you can’t beat a bit of salt and pepper!
Grating Courgette and Cheese for the Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart
The next step is probably the hardest bit in the whole process, it’s time for a bit of grating…. or not! I’ve grated the courgette and the cheese here but equally you could put them in a food processor, why not! I suppose the only reason not to is the washing up afterwards, but I don’t do that in my house so it’s not a problem… ssshhh don’t tell anyone I said that! Remember to keep some circles of courgette back for decorating at the end, I used five but you can use more or less – or not bother… make the recipe your own!
Adding Creme Fraiché to the eggs for the filling of the Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart
Add 2 tablespoons of Crème Fraiche to the eggs and whisk again until combined. Don’t panic if it looks a bit lumpy, it’ll come together when you whisk it, set that aside for now!
The Saffron ready to use after steeping in water for Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart
After allowing the saffron to steep in the boiling water add that to the egg mixture and whisk in. You’re only really using the saffron as a colouring for this recipe.
Adding the grated Courgette to the eggs for the filling of the Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart
Next add the courgette to the whisked egg mixture and stir through, then take the tart case and break off the goats cheese bit by bit placing them on the tart case. You want to try and get an even layer of cheese, if you don’t like goats cheese you could use mascarpone or mozzarella.
Breaking the goats cheese on the tart base for the Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart
Then pour the egg mixture over the cheese and top with the remaining courgette rings, on top of that sprinkle the grated cheese, this with give it a golden finish.
Topping the tart case with the egg mixture and the Courgettes for the Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart
Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. The tart should be slightly firm but with a little wobble.
Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart golden brown and fresh from the oven
I served it with a side salad, you can serve it on its own it’s that good! I love courgette’s and this was a great way to use them up. It’s light but tasty, an ideal light lunch, packed lunch option or a snack to keep you going. You can download the recipe here.
Courgette, Saffron and Two Cheese Tart with a side salad
Come back Tuesday for a review of Tesco Chilli Con Carne in a tin and also this week sees the launch of my new feature Mystery Bag Meals, a feature which sees me taking on a Ready Steady Cook esque challenge with ingredients suggested by anyone who wants to take part… more on this to come.
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.
Congratulations to Greg and everyone at the Caerphilly Players for an excellent p of Under Milk Wood… I went to see it last week with Ben “The Hair” Way… I miss performing! Also coming up this week is my write up about mine and Greg’s visit to the Cardigan Bay Fish Festival.
This is my long awaited Lamb Kofta Curry which I made with Ginge and Greg for our dinner party some time ago. I’ve adapted this from a Dean Edwards recipe for Beef Kofta.
Some of the Ingredients For Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
I’m a big fan of Dean’s, I followed his masterchef series and have since enjoyed his work on “Take on The Takeaway”, Lorraine and This Morning. When he released his cookbook “Mincespiration” I had to buy it. Why, because I’m Dean Edwards fan duh! 😆 no not just that but because, as you know I’m a massive fan of Mince, in any form!
This may look complicated because of the amount of ingredients above but honestly it isn’t some of it can be made the night before, this is my take on his recipe. For the authentic recipe…. buy the book! I did, I bought it from Amazon and at the moment it’s one of my favourite cookery books. You’ll know this already as this is the second recipe I’ve made from it, the first one was Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatball Curry.
The Lamb for the Koftas in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
To make it authentic in my mind I used Lamb mince but the original recipe states you should use beef… lamb, beef, who cares! It’s all good! Place the lamb in a bowl, I have a big silver bowl that I use for recipes like this that require a lot of mixing, this does because you’ve got to break up the meat and get all the flavourings in to it.
The Onions for the Koftas in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Chop the onions in to half moon shapes, we’re going to put them in to a food processor and blitz them, why because it’s quicker than finely chopping everything! That was the main reason but also it turns the onions in to a paste almost which can help to bind the koftas.
The Onions in the food processor ready for blizing for the Koftas in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Place in a mini food processor and blend, obviously if you haven’t got one or you can’t be arsed getting it out then chop the onion by hand, but I would try and keep them quite small. Once you’ve chopped the onion by hand add it to the meat.
The Onions and Minced Lamb for the Koftas in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
To the onion mixture add about 1 Tbs f Dry Mixed herbs, the recipe originally called for 3 Tbs of fresh Coriander, I didn’t have that – if I had I wouldn’t have used that much as I don’t really like fresh coriander.
Mixed Dry Herbs with the Onions and Minced Lamb for the Koftas in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Once you’ve done that add 2tsp of Garam Masala. Garam Masala is Hindi, Garam is hot and Masala is a mix of spices, it is usually used in North Indian and South Asian cooking and is a mix of spices.
Adding the Chilli Powder to the Mixed Dry Herbs, Onions and Minced Lamb for the Koftas in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Next add ½ tsp of chilli powder, or as much or as little as you like – don’t leave it out, if you’re not a fan of heat just put a pinch in, it’ll be better with it in. Season with salt and pepper.
The Kofta’s ready to go in the fridge for the Koftas in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Shape in to golf ball sized balls, you can place them in the fridge for them to set – these can be left over night or until you are ready to cook them, at least half an hour. Now we’ve made the koftas we can make the sauce, the spices in the sauce take the form of ground spices, which are bought all ready ground and whole spices which we will grind yourself.
The Ground Spices For the Curry Sauce in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
For the ground spices place 1 Tbs of Garam Masala, and 1 tsp each of Ground Turmeric and Ground Cumin in a small bowl, mix them up so they combine and then set aside for later on, you can do this and the whole spices the night before if it’s easier. For the whole spices you’ll need Coriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds and Mustard Seeds.
The Whole Spices For the Curry Sauce in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Place 1 tsp of all three in a bowl, once you’ve done that you need to mix them up so they are all combined. At this point you need to place them in a small pan and place them on a really low heat
Roasting the Whole Spices For the Curry Sauce in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Gently dry fry the whole spices in a small pan on a low heat… be careful they can burn quickly. Once they have browned and starting to smell lovely take them off the heat.
Grinding up the Whole Spices For the Curry Sauce in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Place the seeds in to a spice grinder or a coffee grinder, the one above I bought from Amazon a few years ago it’s a James Martin Spice Grinder. If I’m honest I only started using it when I launched Wheelie Good Meals but it’s great, it does a really good job on spices and doesn’t take too long doing it either. You could do as Dean Edwards suggests and use a pestle and mortar to crush the spices, that would be more authentic… and more hard work 😆 . Everything you’ve done so far can be done the day before you want to eat this recipe.
Finely chopped Onions for the Curry Sauce in Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Now this needs to be done on the day you’re going to serve you’re curry. Finely chop the onions I used 1 and ½ but you can use more or less. The onion gives the main body to the sauce really so don’t skimp. I chopped these to give the sauce a bit of texture.
Frying off the Koftas ready to make Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Put some oil in a pan, heat and then put the koftas in, fry until they are golden brown. Don’t worry too much about them because they’re going to be finished off in the sauce, when they are brown take them out and put them on a plate, cover with foil and set aside.
Garlic, Onion, Ginger which form the base of the Curry Sauce for my Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Fry off the onions and the 2 tsp Minced Garlic Granules (like the picture above) then add the 2tsp of lazy ginger, I’ve used lazy ginger because it’s what I had in the cupboard if you were using real ginger I’d grate a thumb sized piece, remember if you like it hot leave the skin on!
Adding the spices to the Garlic, Onion, Ginger which form the base of the Curry Sauce for my Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Add the ground spices we prepared earlier and give them a stir, it’s important that the onions, ginger and garlic get to know each other. Then add the ground whole spices we also prepared earlier, they need to get to know everyone too so give them a stir, cook until they start to become fragrant.
The Coconut Milk adds body to the curry sauce for my Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
To the spices, onions, garlic and ginger add a tin of coconut milk, give it a stir to make sure it all combines then add the tin of tomatoes. Once you’ve added them give the whole thing a good stir to ensure everything gets to know each other, there’s nothing worse than being invited to a party and not being introduced to all the guests.
The Tinned Tomatoes are the final element of the curry sauce for my Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
I’ve chose to used chopped tinned tomatoes as opposed to pasata in Dean’s recipe because I wanted another texture in the meal. Add the kofta’s and cook gently for 40 – 50 minutes covered.
The Koftas simmering in the curry sauce for my Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
While the Kofta is simmering away we need to crack on with the rice. If you are using saffron place some strands in a glass. Try not to use too many because they say saffron can have a metallic taste.
Saffron ready to make the accompaniment of Saffron Rice to go with my Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Saffron is more expensive than gold apparently – that’s another reason to be sparing with it. Pour some boiling water on top of the saffron and allow it to steep for about fifteen minutes.
Saffron steeping in water ready to go over the rice to accompany my Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Place the water and the saffron along with more water on top of the rice and cook using the boiling method. Alternatively you could use easy cook rice which can usually be microwaved in two minutes.
The Saffron rice cooking ready for serving with my Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry
Serve on a plate with the boiled rice, I’ve made this twice, the first time (first picture) I didn’t steep the saffron if I remember correctly and the second time I did but the curry was more saucier than the first time.
My Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry and Saffron Rice From Dinner Party #2
The point I’m making with this is don’t worry if things turn out different each time you make them – I don’t! Do things your way, how you feel comfortable and at your own pace and as long as what you cook tastes nice, or at least is edible then you’re on a winner.
The second time I served my Dean Edwards Lamb Kofta Curry and Saffron Rice
This is a stunning recipe, really rich with deep Moroccan flavours. The colour of the sauce was enticing and just made you want to eat it. Ginge and Greg both enjoyed it, as did Stacey the second time I cooked it.
Remember you can find us on Instagram, we’ve taken off a little bit recently because, we’ve had a lot of likes and a couple of comments in the last few weeks. Come back on Tuesday for my Review of Asda’s Keema Masala, I know a few of you liked last week’s Asda Pasta Bake and have bought it because of the review…. let’s hope I like this one, but if I don’t, you’ll know about it 😆 !
Here is my first attempt at a video for my recipes, I know it’s not brilliant but it’s a first attempt. The idea came from Melanie from Melanie’s Food Adventures and I used Photostory to create it, the music was generated from Photostory. We’ll also be having more from Melanie with her guest post later on this week, it’s a Lemon, Poppy Seed and Raspberry Cake, it sounds fab… don’t miss it!
And coming soon I’ll be challenged by friends, family members and anyone else who wants to take up the mantle in Ready Steady Cook Style Challenge called “Ready Steady Cook Style Challenge”…. just kidding it’s called “Mystery Bag Menu”…. who writes this stuff, honestly it’s comedy genius (ssshhh it’s all in my head 🙄 )
Well hello there, how is your weekend going? Are you coping as badly as me with this horrific weather as I am? This recipe is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face especially when the weather is so bad!
I have been a fan of Dean Edwards since Masterchef 2005, he was a digger driver, hence the nickname Digger Dean! Dean was runner that year and has since gone on to be the resident chef on shows like Lorraine, GMTV and This Morning. My personal favourite though was the series “Take On The Takeaway” where Dean had the opportunity to support top chef’s such as Gary Rhodes, Ken Hom and Ainsley Harriott in their attempt to make a takeaway classic for a family quicker and cheaper than their usual local takeaway.
Dean Edwards Mincespiration Recipe Book – One Of My Favourite Cookery Books
Dean launched his first book in February 2013 called Mincespiration, my copy can be seen above, although what you can’t see very well is all the book marks of recipes I want to try! As you all know I love mince so this book was right up my street, I decided to make the “Pork Meatball Thai Curry” on page 110. As always this is my take on the recipe and varies slightly from the version in Deans book. Keep your eyes peeled for more recipes from this book, I featured one in my Dinner Party in December which was a Lamb Kofta Curry.
Ingredients for Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatball Curry
Don’t be put off by the ingredients above, the list is not that complicated and can be obtained in all supermarkets. I made this recipe twice, the first time I cooked it I used coconut extract and milk, this worked ok but it was much nicer with the coconut milk. Fish sauce (Nam Pla) is an Asian condiment, it’s taste is unique and has been described by Nigella’s team on her website as having a salty, slightly sour but very savoury flavour. If you are going to make more Thai food I strongly suggest you buy this, however, if you are allergic to shellfish you won’t be able to use it. If that is the case use a few drops of Worcestershire or Soy sauce which will give you the salty flavour, Nigella recommends adding some lime juice for the sour flavour.
The Equipment and Utensils Used In Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatball Curry
The equipment picture above shows you how easy it was, I just used these (oh and a ramekin for the Thai paste once I’d made it). I always think you can tell how easy a recipe is by how many utensils, pots and pans it takes to make it.
The Process of Making The Thai Paste for Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatball Curry
The first thing you need to do is to make the Thai curry paste, I’ve shown the three different stages above. Peel the onion and garlic, deseed the chilli and place them along with the rest of the Thai Paste ingredients in a food processor and blitz. As you can see I’ve used 2 teaspoons fo crushed ginger in my recipe but you can use a thumb sized piece of ginger root. You’re looking for a paste consistency, mine above was almost paste like, I think I’d added a bit too much oil perhaps but it was fine. Naturally with any recipe it’s a set of guidelines, recipes are there to steer you on the right path but experiment, do what’s right for you.
First Attempt At Making The Paste For Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatball Curry
The colour and the consistency will depend on how much of the ingredients you use and how much you blitz them, I recipe tested this twice and had two different types of paste, the second one tasted the best (above) but the first one looked more like a paste (right)
Now for the balls (if you’ll excuse the expression) you should start making the balls by placing the minced pork, ground coriander and salt and pepper in a large bowl. With clean hands mix thoroughly till all the ingredients are combined. Wet your hands as this will make it easier to roll the meatballs, then take the mixture and shape into balls, the recipe suggests golf balls but I made them slightly larger as I think it worked better.
Top tip – when rolling meatballs, keep one hand still and roll with the fingers of the other.
The Process of Making Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatballs For the Curry
Place on a plate, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the balls until they are just starting to go golden brown, place on kitchen paper to drain the fat away and then cover with foil and set aside.
To make the curry sauce, start by frying the sliced onions, I cut my onions on the half moon for the first one but for this cook I blitzed them slightly in a food processor. Fry them until softened then add the Thai Curry Paste and the Lemon Grass (bruise the Lemon Grass before adding it) and cook for a few minutes. The pan will eventually look something like the image on the left, once you’re at this stage Add the coconut milk, stock and fish sauce and bring to a gentle simmer.
Different Stages of Cooking The Sauce For Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatball Curry
When the sauce is ready add the meatballs back to the pan, remember to pour in any resting juices. Now this is where I’m a bit weird (only here I hear you say… yes… only here J )! In my opinion you should add the resting juices but NO BLOOD if you’ve cooked the balls well enough you may have some resting juices that have run out of the meat, this is tasty and shouldn’t be lost. If you haven’t cooked the balls enough (not that that’s a bad thing) you’ll have blood on the plate, I wouldn’t add that, just the balls. Cook this for a further fifteen minutes or until you are happy that it is ready.
Add a squeeze of lime and sugar, taste and add more of either if required to get a good balance of flavours. Dean’s original recipe states to use Coriander but I didn’t have any at hand so I chopped up some parsley and sprinkled that through.
Mashed Potatoes with Spring Onions – Serving Suggestions To Accompany Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatball Curry
Tilda Brown Basmati Rice – Serving Suggestions To Accompany Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatball Curry
There are lots of serving suggestions for this, when I cooked it the first time I had it with some mashed potatoes that I sprinkled some finely chopped spring onion through (above). The first time I cooked it my mother and I had Tilda Quick cook Brown Basmati Rice (right) in the cupboard, this is really easy to cook and very tasty, there are lots of other quick cook rice sachets out there, just this is what we had in our cupboards.
This recipe is a real revelation, as you know I wasn’t a massive coconut fan but boy did it work in this recipe. I’ve cooked lots of things in the past that I have called Thai because they’ve had ingredients that I associate with Thai cooking but this was awesome. It was rich, comforting, had a depth of flavour that was fantastic and I think that was because of the fish sauce. When I tested it the first time I didn’t add any sugar and lime juice… because I know best, clearly not! The addition of the sugar and the lime juice really balanced the flavours, it changed it from being nice to… wow!
Dean Edwards Thai Pork Meatball Curry Served with Boiled Rice
The only piece of advice I can give you when cooking this really is take your time, don’t rush a step because allowing all the flavours to meld together and get to know each other will give you the real depth of flavour that I got at the end.
Keep your eyes peeled as our next instalment in our Time-Saving Tuesdays series will be coming up soon (notice I said soon and not Monday, you know what I’m like). If you’ve got any questions, ideas etc, email email@example.com or go to one of our Social Media pages.