Cheese Lovers Day

Hey guess what! I have just found out its #cheeseloversday – awesome! Surely this means I can skip the healthy eating for one day and indulge?! 

Reposting some cheesiness in celebration…..

Cheese member

Check out these recipes and celebrate this wonderful day…

Welsh Rabbit

Easy Cheesy Mushrooms on toast

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Creamy, Cheesy, Chicken, Broccoli, Leek and Pasta Bake

This was a hit with all family members! 8 and 9 from the kids. This fed 4 of us with a bit left over. I cooked this all in one pan, so if you’re planning on doing the same you’ll need quite a deep frying pan, with a lid, as you steam the veg in the same pan as the chicken so it’ll need to be covered. If you haven’t got one you’ll need to cook the leek and broccoli in the pan for longer, so add them into the pan when the onion goes in.

Ingredients

  • 6 Boneless chicken thighs (chopped into small chunks)
  • 1 leek (sliced)
  • Broccoli (my kids love Broccoli so I put lots of it in (all of it – as you buy it in a bunch at the supermarket)
  • Half an Onion (finely sliced)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 200g Cheese (grated)
  • 150ml Double Cream
  • 250ml Chicken Stock
  • Pasta (however much you want really – you know your appetite)
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  • Boil the kettle and put the water in a pan on the hob to boil with the pasta
  • Put a knob of butter in a deep frying pan and fry off the chicken so it’s sealed on all sides
  • Put the onion in with the chicken and cook until soft
  • Add the leek and broccoli and fry for a further few minutes until it softens slightly
  • Add in the chicken stock and lemon juice and cover, let simmer for about 7 minutes until the stock reduces right down, this needs to be covered to steam the veg.
  • Once it’s reduced down to half it’s size add in the cream and half the cheese and keep simmering until the sauce thickens to your taste
  • Add in the salt and pepper and stir in the pasta
  • Put into a baking dish, sprinkling over the remainder of the cheese and pop in the over at 180 for about 10 minutes or until top turns slightly brown.

Voila.

(You can actually miss out the last step, you don’t have to bake it as well if you can’t be bothered and want less washing up!)

For a little bit of added flavour a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard is nice in this sauce too.

 

 

Cheese on toast catastrophe – message to the World…..and to Cheese

How can anyone get cheese on toast wrong, it’s got to be the most simple thing in the world to make, right?

Well, the other day, I was really looking forward to some cheese on toast! Let it be known that I love cheese more than life itself; the thought of eating cheese on toast actually makes me dribble a little bit; anyway…I made, what can only be described as, the worst choice EVER, by trying to counteract my cheesy naughtiness with………….granary bread! I know, what was I thinking?! It was the worst cheese on toast I’ve ever had in my entire life. 

I felt completely deflated and downright miserable, (I might have even cried a bit) not to mention really guilty about the fact the cheese was probably pretty excited at being taken out of the fridge to lie on a slice of thick white bread; if Cheese had hands it would have been rubbing them with glee and slapping on the Worcester sauce whilst humming a chirpy tune before lying under the heat of the grill….imagine it’s dismay on seeing the granary (WTF?) I can almost hear the scratchy sound of a needle being dragged across a record ruining Cheese’s happy thoughts. Poor Cheese. 

I am not dissing granary bread as a stand alone product I might add, I’m not a bully I wouldn’t exclude anyone/thing like that, I like marmite on granary toast and prawn Mayo sandwiches on granary – it has its uses. Cheese on toast is not one of them though.

To Cheese: I am so sorry! Please forgive me. I promise NEVER to do it again. I love you.

To People: do not try this at home.

No-ones feelings were hurt in the making of this blog post.

Runny Cheese on Toast (Welsh Rabbit)

I know, I know, it’s Welsh Rarebit, but when Mum used to do it for my sister and me we always used to call it Welsh Rabbit, it kinda stuck and now it feels weird calling it anything else.

I have adapted Mums recipe over the years to suit Beardy and Me and though we don’t have it that often (it’s not really substantial enough to fill us up), if you’ve been out for lunch it’s a good quick easy snack to make with little fuss…..

Ingredients

  • Cheddar (lots of it – grated)
  • 1 Egg per person (beaten)
  • Splash of Milk
  • Knob of Butter
  • Splash of Cream (optional)
  • 1 tsp Mustard (I sometimes use French and sometimes English – depends on my mood, wholegrain is also nice)
  • Couple of shakes of worcester sauce
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Obviously you can alter the mustard/seasoning/worcester sauce to your own taste

Method

  • Melt the butter with the milk in the pan (the ‘splash’ of milk should cover the bottom of the pan)
  • When the butter has melted add in the egg and also add the cheese, handful by handful
  • As the cheese is starting to melt add in the mustard
  • You should start to get something that looks like runny scrambled egg
  • Add in the rest of the cheese and cream if you’re using it.
  • Add some salt to season and lots of black pepper
  • Finally add in the worcester sauce
  • Serve on thick white toast/bagel/muffin

Some people like to put this under the grill afterwards to bubble up, which is equally as nice but I can’t be bothered to wait, so normally just pop it straight on the toast and scoff it down!

Most Welsh Rarebit recipes won’t have an egg in, but I prefer this as it’s not quite so runny and fills you up a bit more. I’ve seen a few other recipes which use Guinness instead of milk/cream too – might try that next time.

This recipe takes about 10 minutes to cook.

 

Easy Cheesy Mushrooms on Toast

cheesy mushrooms

It’s all about simple, quick dinners this week. Beardy has abandoned me for a week on a business trip, so I’m cooking for one and really can’t be bothered with anything that’s going to take longer than about 10 minutes…and yes! Shocker! I actually remembered to take a photo!!!

After Beardy, Bear and Boo, Cheese is my next big love (if you’re a follower you’ll know this already), then comes Mushrooms, so what better than a plate of Cheesy Mushrooms on Toast! Not very interesting you might think, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. No measurements, no messing, no mucking – just chucking! Hmmm, might make that my new motto.

Ingredients

  • Pack of mushrooms (I like to break them up with my fingers rather than cut with a knife as like mouthfuls of rustic chunkiness)
  • Butter
  • Handful of cheddar cheese
  • Couple of slices of brie (I had this left over so chucked it in)
  • Half a ball of mozzarella, torn up
  • Half a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
  • Lots of black pepper

Method

Basically, fry off the mushrooms in a bit of butter for a few minutes and then chuck everything else in until you have a big gooey cheesy mess of loveliness (did I mention I love cheese?), pop on top of your toast/bagel/muffin and enjoy! Job done. Yummy in my Tummy.

(also yum with some blue cheese in place of the mustard).

Kids Chicken and Bacon Carbanana (Carbonara)

I say kids, because it’s super creamy and cheesy, in other words, unhealthy (and delicious), not that I ply my kids with unhealthy stuff you understand, they eat well and have a very balanced diet (she says after just posting a peanut butter cookie recipe!), but because of this I don’t mind spoiling them occasionally with something creamy and delicious, something I very rarely treat Beardy and myself to! If I mention the word ‘cream’ in a dinner to Beardy I get a disappointed look (we’re trying to be ‘good’), thus forcing me to sneak away and secretly hide in the fridge eating cheese and drinking cream, out of Beardys view, shhhh, he doesn’t need to know (if I get caught I’ll just say I’m nibbling a lettuce leaf – got it covered!) Saying all this, it still doesn’t stop him ‘making sure it tastes ok!’

So, if you’re a follower of my blog you’ll know I don’t like spending loads of time cooking for the kids. I love this recipe because it’s easy and quick. We got in late tonight and I had some chicken, bacon and double cream to use up and this is what popped into my head. They both love normal Carbonara (or Carbanana as they used to call it), so knew they’d like it, but there is always something, no matter how small, left on the plate, not tonight, oh no, I almost didn’t need to wash their plates up they were so clean!

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
  • 4 rashers of bacon, cut into small strips
  • 1 egg
  • Grated cheddar cheese, about a handful (I usually use Pecorino, but didn’t have any)
  • Double cream, say, half a cup
  • Pasta (I used Farfalle but obviously you can use whatever you have)
  • Pasta cooking water

Method

Put the pasta on to boil. In the meantime, put a couple of glugs of oil in a large pan and fry off the bacon until it’s crispy, set aside with the juices in a separate dish. Fry off the chicken until done, get rid of the fat. Chuck the bacon with it’s juices and pasta back into the pan with the chicken and add half the cream. Crack the egg over the top of the mixture and mix in well, making sure you break the yolk (you can obviously mix up the egg before you put it in, but it just saves on washing up if you crack it straight in the pan). Season (I like to add lots of pepper). Add in the cheese and the rest of the cream until it becomes a thick creamy sauce. Then lastly add in a ladle or two of the pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce up.

You can make this slightly healthier by adding broccoli, which I would have done if I’d had more time but I didn’t, so I didn’t.

Bear and Boo polished this off in about 3 minutes, and I gave them quite big portions. Both gave it 10/10. Shame it’s so unhealthy!

 

 

Cheesemember

cheese

I am a cheese freak. I’m not ashamed to admit it, I love cheese more than life itself. If I had to make the decision to choose between what I have in my life now or losing cheese forever I would choose cheese. (not strictly true, but you get my point). I am like the cheese version of Goldmember.

So herein my quest begins……the search for the best cheeseboard in London, or anywhere in the UK for that matter!

So today I had a pretty good one down what was formally known as The Bolt Hole in Suffolk Street EC4, now part of the Jamies chain, which included one of my favourites – blacksticks blue, which very kindly my boss offered to refrain from eating, (after I stabbed him with my knife and, whilst tilting my head in a creepy fashion, said, in my best scary voice ‘IT’S MINE’ ). Appraisal time, so admittedly maybe not the best timing, but it’s done now, what can you do? Like I said, I love cheese!

Vivat Bacchus is always up there with its wonderful smelly cheese rooms, you can choose your own cheese so you can’t really go wrong, but they never give you quite enough, in fact not even close to enough for a cheeselover. If I’m in the mood for cheese I want lots of it, and that’s pretty much er…always!

Cheese in Leadenhall Market – great for buying but no comfy sofas to snuggle up on. You have to sit outside in the freezing cold on uncomfortable chairs, bum getting cold and numb – an epic cheese experience it is not, which is a shame because it’s where Beardy buys me my other favourite, Mont D’Or. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a feeder, he just knows that if I find out he’s walked past it without bringing some home, his life won’t be worth living.

I’d like somewhere where I can slump on a sofa, large glass of red in my hand, massive selection of blue, soft, hard, smelly, all kinds of cheese in front of me, rosy cheeked bliss emanating from me, preferably in my pyjamas……hold on, I have probably just answered my own question, the best cheeseboard in the UK, or anywhere for that matter, has to be your own home? BUT I’m still going to continue looking for that special spot you can tuck yourself away with friends for an evening (no chance of kids disturbing you), to endure (my) life’s other wonder of the world – CHEESE!

Please comment if you have any recommendations!

Salmon & Broccoli Bake

salmon and broccoli

Creamy Salmon and Broccoli Bake

Being a semi-working Mum (3 days a week) I’m always looking for quick easy dinners to do the kids. I find myself getting annoyed and frustrated at myself when I put the same things on the menu because I just don’t know what else to cook, so I try to find or create new dishes, just to satisfy my own irritations really.

I don’t want to spend ages cooking them as kids and new food just doesn’t mix, whenever I put something new in front of them, I get met with an ‘urgh’ face or an ‘I don’t like that’ (obviously before they’ve tried it), it infuriates me, BUT I persist because I like to write something different on my blackboard. I’ve even created a reward chart now where one of the rows is to try to new food and they get a little monster against the row if they eat it, 10 monsters = little treat.

So quick, easy, new dishes is the key for me. I can’t wait to see what the kids think of them and get quite excited when they like them. I couldn’t really go wrong with this as they both love Salmon, Broccoli and Potatoes (especially new potatoes). This was a bit of a mish mash of stuff I had to use up by the best before date so I got a big pat on the back for this one (by myself obvs coz no-one else will).

I haven’t put any measurements on here because I didn’t measure them, I just kinda chucked it all in, when I’m making up my own recipes I very rarely measure!

By the way, I forgot to take a photo of it after I cooked it so this photo is just a generic Salmon and Broccoli Bake, not my one, but it’s the picture that looked most like it (apart from my cheese on top was a bit more browned!)

Ingredients

Salmon fillets (2 – cut into chunks) (you could also use chicken)
New Potatoes (or you can also use pasta)
Broccoli (or any veg really!)
Cheese (you can use cheddar, which is what I used but could equally use any other, blue cheese I think would be especially nice if you’re using chicken!)
Garlic
White wine (1 glass)
Double cream or Cream Fraiche (as much as you want really!!! – I use loads)
Onion (finely chopped)
Breadcrumbs (if you want to)

Method

  • Boil your potatoes in a pan of salted water.
  • Whilst potatoes are boiling, put a few glugs of oil in a pan and add in the garlic and chopped onion, fry for a few minutes.
  • Cut up the broccoli and give it a quick 2 minute blast in the microwave with a little bit of water.
  • Add the broccoli, salmon, white wine and cream to the pan and fry for a few minutes. I also add a bit of water at this point, not much, just maybe 2 or 3 tbsps.
  • Take out your potatoes and cut them in half or thirds/quarters if they’re particularly big.
  • Add your potatoes to the other mixture and mix it all up. Season the mixture to your liking.
  • Transfer, in layers, to a baking dish, covering each layer with some grated cheese. When you put on your top layer I put another layer of cheese on top and then breadcrumbs on top of this.
  • Put into the oven for approx 10 mins.
  • Enjoy!

With the cheese, if your using blue cheese I wouldn’t bother putting a layer on the top with this as it’s such a strong taste and I’d just crumble a few bits in between the layers.

If you’re using chicken, I’d add this in with the garlic and onion at step 2.

I love this recipe as you can change so many aspects of it, it’s so versatile.  I might try chicken with leek and pasta next time. If you don’t like cream or cheese or are lactose intolerant you could also substitute them with tinned tomatoes and a bit of chili or tomato puree and lemon juice.

So, results: Bear gave it an 8/10 and Boo, always one to give high marks – 100/10! (she’s still not got it).