19 Dec 2015

Making Frangipane Mince Pies With a Thermomix TM5

Frangipane Mince Pie Cut in Half

The Thermomix is new in my kitchen and an early Christmas present from hubby. I love kitchen gadgets and whilst I don't believe for one moment they make you a better cook, for me they're fun.
I'm not going to say it will replace all my other stuff or that it's going to save me money (I wish), how can I make sweeping statements when I've only used it for a few weeks.

I went for this brand because they have a history of making a well engineered product, are the best on the market and I didn't want to have buyers regret. There are no sharp edges on the jug, the blades are fearsome, there is an integrated digital scale, it whizzes at unbelievable speeds, it will even steam and every piece can be washed either by hand or will go into the dishwasher but not the main part obviously, and the product is totally awesome (if I'm allowed to say that).

This new model is digital and has a recipe chip on the side with ingredients and method and it's extremely user friendly.

There's lots of online help with forums where people are passionate, freely give their time and expertise to answer questions and importantly the Thermie community are friendly too.

When the machine arrived I hoped and longed that we would bond and I'm pleased to say that it's a little helper and I'm in awe of this magnificent piece of kitchen equipment, little wonder it's used in professional kitchens.

Sadly the cost is eye watering........

Thermomix TM5

I went a little off piste and didn't use the Thermomix recipe on the recipe chip and used a favourite pastry recipe for the mince pies. To make the pies all you have to do is weigh in the ingredients, yes it's got built in digital scales which I think is very cool.

The dough takes 25 seconds at Speed 4........

Pastry Dough

Nothing wrong with this pastry, although it does take a while to understand how you can throw everything in and hey presto pastry!

Block of Sweet Pastry

I was really happy with my block of pastry and all I had to do was wrap it in cling wrap and pop it into the fridge for half an hour.

The pastry rolled out a dream.....

Pastry being rolled out for mince pies

Now for the frangipane......

Ingredients in the TM5 jug

Weigh in all the ingredients, butter, egg, ground almonds, flour and caster sugar. 1 minute/Speed 3

Frangipane being made in a Thermomix TM5

A few seconds later frangipane!

Uncooked Frangipane Mince Pies

Pastry, mincemeat and a dollop of frangipane topped with a few flaked almonds.

Cooked mince pies
The baked mince pies
Conventional Recipe

Makes: approx 18

175g plain flour
75g butter, cut into cubes
25g icing sugar
1 large egg, beaten

100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs
100g ground almonds
1 level tbsp plain flour
1⁄2 tsp almond extract, or to taste

Filling and Topping
Jar mincemeat, homemade is best!
a few flaked almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
2. Add the flour, butter and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor, whiz until the mixture is the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg and pulse until the dough starts to come together. Knead lightly, Wrap in clingwrap and chill for approximately 30 minutes.
3. Now make the frangipane, place the butter and sugar into the food processor and blend until soft. Add the eggs and whiz again. Add the ground almonds, flour and almond extract and mix briefly.
4. Roll the pastry out thinly preferably on a silicone mat and cut out 18 x 6.5cm circles. Now line the tins with the pastry rounds. Place a teaspoon of mincemeat into each pastry circle and top with the frangipane mixture.  Sprinkle over a few flaked.
5. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tins from the oven and cool for a while on a wire rack.

Note: This is a private purchase and there isn't any brand involvement.

8 Dec 2015

Handmade Pistachio Panettone Cake from Sicily - Panbacco (Review)

Presentation Box for Pistachio Panettone Cake
The Panettone Cake is presented in beautiful packaging
Would I like to try an artisan pistachio panettone cake filled with glorious pistachio cream? You bet I would.......

I love panettone but have never strayed far from the usual fruit version. The cake is smothered in a layer of the most rich, delicious white chocolate and sprinkled with the finest pistachio's. Oh my goodness this is definitely a thing of beauty and a real talking point.

Handmade Pistachio Panettone Cake from Sicily

There is a layer of pistachio cream within the soft textured dessert cake and the aroma from the cake is heavenly.

A slice of Pistachio Panettone Cake

If Christmas cake is too rich or Christmas pudding too heavy, or you would like a break from tradition, this huge 900g cake will serve a crowd.

For me, my ultimate foodie heaven is mid-morning coffee and a slice of panettone - simply delicious!

About the producer and product:
Made by artisan Claudio Luca this is a quality product of Artigiano in Fiera, the world's largest fair of professionally handmade products.

Available from: Artimondo
Price: £12.34 plus p&p

Disclaimer: We were sent the product for review.

6 Dec 2015

Bread Maker Recipe

Bread Maker Crusty Loaf
Crusty bread fresh from the oven
I know bread makers are a bit 'Marmite' but I wouldn't be without mine and it doesn't matter whether the bread is being made from start to finish or it is simply being used to make dough, the results are always foolproof.  It's easy peasy adding a load of ingredients into the pan, set the menu, leave it for a couple of hours knowing that it's working for you and return to a pan of glorious dough that only needs shaping, proving and baking. It always works for me.......

This crusty bread has a light crumb and texture, it is ideal for sandwiches, eat with cheese or place on the griddle pan.

Bread Maker Crusty Loaf

The recipe can be made in a food mixer or by hand but the amount of water may need adjusting. Also if using organic flour this can take more water.

To ensure a crusty loaf - place an old tray close to the base of the oven, preheat the oven, place the risen loaf on a tray on the middle shelf, pour cold water into the tray below and this will create steam. Close the oven door and voila a crusty loaf of bread.

1 tsp Easy Bake yeast
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
350ml water

You will need: A large baking tray sprinkled with flour and semolina

1. Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order as outlined in your manufacturers instructions.
2. Set the dough setting.
3. When the machine has finished tip the dough from the pan carefully onto a floured baking tray.
4. Flour your fingers and gently shape the dough trying not to knock the air out, Flour the top of the dough and leave to prove uncovered until doubled in size. Sprinkle semolina over the bread and slash the dough several times with a sharp knife being careful not to deflate the dough.
5. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
7. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

You may like:
Tomato and Caramelised Onion Focaccia
Goat's Cheese and Rosemary Buns
Apple and Ginger Buns

26 Nov 2015

Judge Deep Pie Maker Review

Judge Deep Pie Maker

It's that time of the year again! Cold, windy, rainy, Christmas is on the horizon, so let's stop for a warm comforting pie using the Judge Deep Pie Maker which will make a lovely homely gift.

Here at Kitchen Delights we love pies and it doesn't matter if it's a savoury pie served with gravy or a sweet pie served with hubbies beloved Birds Custard!

Christmas Deep Filled Mincemeat Pie with homemade pastry which cooked brilliantly.....

Mincemeat Pie made in the Judge Deep Pie Maker

The plates are non-stick so no worries here with sticking.

Interior of the pie maker

The pie maker is supplied with a reversible pastry cutter for the base and lids.

Pastry template and pastry for the deep pie maker

The pies are deep and so I used a couple of narrow strips of baking parchment which I overlapped and this makes it far easier and safer to remove them from the pie maker when they are cooked and piping hot. Simply place the discs of pastry into the pie maker then add the filling.

Pies being assembled in the pie maker

Now top with the lids.

Pies with lids on ready to be cooked in the pie maker

No need to preheat simply close the lid and secure with the clip.  Turn on and when the green light comes on, which only takes 2/3 minutes, the pie will be cooked in approximately 15 minutes.

I was cautious with the filling because mincemeat easily escapes out of pastry cases.  With the pie maker though it's best to fill right to the top because the pie lid will struggle to bake if the filling sinks too far down into the pie cavities. It's best to use a cooked filling which is at room temperature otherwise it will take longer to bake the pastry.

Sadly I don't have a photograph of the finished mincemeat pies in the pie maker because somehow in my excitement to try the pies I forgot to take a photograph but you can see the finished pie showing the filling at the top of this page!

Now for testing with ready made shortcrust pastry which proved to be far easier to roll and manipulate, it saves heaps of preparation time too.

Mince beef pies made in a pie maker

The pies are lovely and crisp, they can easily be trimmed to make them look neat but I prefer a savoury pie to have a more rustic homely look.  The filling doesn't leak or dry up and they were delicious.

Easy to clean - when the appliance is cold wipe with a damp cloth.
Judge 2 year Electrical Guarantee
Typical Instore Price £37.50

Disclaimer: I was sent the product for review, all thoughts are my own.

21 Nov 2015

Christmas Gift Guide Ideas For the Home Cook

Taste by Laura Rowe

Taste - The Infographic Book of Food by Laura Rowe
Foodies will adore this book it's a real page turner, perfect for Christmas Day and one to keep on the coffee table after the 'big day'.  The inside of the book with it's amazing illustrations are as eye catching as the book cover. From food trends to ideas how to use ingredients, the book provides a wealth of knowledge and one to turn to time and again. A bookshelf must from talented food journalist Laura Rowe,

RRP £20
Author: Laura Rowe
Illustrator: Vicky Turner
Publisher: Aurum Press
Hardback: 224 Pages


Oh Come All Ye Tasteful - The Foodies Guide to a Millionaire's Christmas Feast by Ian Flitcroft

Oh Come All Ye Tasteful

Foodie fun at Christmas with lots of ideas about how to dine and drink like a millionaire over the festive period.  It doesn't matter if you're a competent cook or an armchair cook you'll find this a good read. The book is full to the brim with humour, some of it 'tongueincheek' but lots of useful advice too. There are 30 recipes to try including the ultimate roast potatoes covered in edible gold leaf (now there's a talking point), some recipes are ridiculously easy and others take more effort. The book covers everything from aperitifs, cocktails and wines, choosing the turkey, making Christmas Plum and Chocolate Bomb for pudding, cheese recommendations, coffee, to an unexpected petits fours recipe for chocolate covered brussel sprout!

Author: Ian Flitcroft
Publisher: Legend Press
RRP £9.99 Hardback or £6.99 ebook
Stockists: Amazon, Waterstones, Hive


Super Quick Muffin Tin Meals

Super Quick Muffin Tin Meals Cookery Book

Innovative meal ideas, both sweet and savoury, using a muffin tin. The author Melanie LaDue lives in Phoenix, Arizona and writes the blog Reasons to Skip the Housework. There are 70 delicious easy to make recipes from chicken burrito bites, mini shepherds pie to snickerdoodle rolls there's something for everyone. Portion control will be on our minds come the new year and muffin size meals will no doubt be on the menu.
For us here in the UK some of the ingredients aren't readily available but an internet search and a little imagination will help find an alternative product.

Publisher: Race Point
RRP £16.00
Available: Quarto Books


Stellar Colourtone 4 Piece Cutting Board With Kitchen Knives

Coloured Chopping Board and Knives Set

A non-slip cutting board is essential when using sharp knives, there's nothing worse than chasing a chopping board around the work surface. Supplied with 3 handy soft touch knives with sheaths for safe storage. There is a draining groove around the sides of the board which is very handy when you're cutting fruits.

Splash of colour in the kitchen.
Chefs knife 18cm, Santoku knife 14cm, Utility knife 9cm
Dishwasher safe.
Well known trusted brand.
Stellar Lifetime Guarantee.
Available in either red or lime.
Stockists: Pride Kitchens
Current Price £38.60


Judge Milk Frother

Judge Milk Frother

We love frothy coffee and this is a quick, easy and convenient way to make frothy milk for lattes, cappuccino's and hot chocolate. Simply whiz away and as if by magic the 14,000 motor will froth your milk for your very own coffee shop style drinks.  All you have to do is make an espresso, top with your freshly made hot frothy milk and hey presto latte!
Takes 4 - AA batteries.
Judge Milk Frother (TC344)
RRP £12.00
Stockists: Harts of Stur


Steenbergs Spice It Up Baking Box
Steenbergs Spice It Up Baking Box

A selection of spices from Steenbergs

The Spice It Up Baking Box contains 4 mini jars of difficult to source ingredients and will make a great stocking filler for the home cook.
Lebkuchen - a baking spice mix used to make German Christmas biscuits.
Mahlab - a rare spice from the Middle East and used in Turkish breads, pastries and cakes.
Mastic - used in the Middle East as a thickening agent in ice cream, sauces and seasoning.
Tonka Beans - originate from Guyana on the Okurinoco River. Reminiscent of vanilla and can be grated as you would nutmeg.

Steenbergs are a family-run company in Ripon, who specialise in ethical sourcing and hand-blending of spices, teas and home baking ingredients with a focus on organic and Fairtrade.

Price: £7.50

Disclaimer: Thank you to all the brands for the samples.

19 Nov 2015

Review: Ella Kitchen and Tableware from Premier Housewares

Ella Textiles and Mugs by Premier Housewares

Here at Kitchen Delights we love 'a bit of retro' and this Ella Collection design, described by Premier Housewares as stylised floral in a retro design, will add fun and colour to your home.

I've been enjoying using the set of four stylish mugs - two have a white background and two with a black background, both colourways are yellow and green.

The pack of four mugs come beautifully presented and will make a fabulous gift.

Set of 4 Ella Mugs by Premier Housewares

The pack of 3 cotton tea towels to match measure w40 x h60cm.

Ella Tea Towels by Premier Housewares

To complete the retro look there are double oven gloves, single oven glove, apron, lap tray, table mats and coasters and they will all make a lovely gift.

Set of 4 porcelain mugs £13.49
Pack of 3 cotton tea towels £9.99
Stockist: Prime Furnishing

Disclaimer: We were sent the products for review, all thoughts are our own.

16 Nov 2015

Review of Percy & Founders, London, Autumn Menu

Percy & Founders Restaurant Sign

The London Reporter @paulfoodie experiences all day dining at the coolest place to be spotted in central London.

It's always exciting to be invited to review a new restaurant with other blogger's. Everyone is always up for a fantastic night out and we all enjoy meeting new people. So if a venue facilitates this well, then it's proof that they've done their job to perfection.

Last week we dined at Percy & Founders which is on the former site of the Middlesex Hospital. We were treated to fizz in the main bar then whizzed through to tables opposite the open kitchen in the dining area. Don't you just love seeing chefs hard at work? I do, and it makes me trust a restaurant seeing the process and appreciating the skill and hard graft involved.

The Kitchen Pass at Percy & Founders

The menu is very British and whilst deciding what to have, we were brought sharing boards with vegetables and dips as well as a selection of hams and bread.

Vegetables and dips

Bread platter

So for starters - we enjoyed potted rabbit with apple jelly served in a glass kilner style jar with a flip back lid and hot toast which was beautifully presented. It was lovely and quite rich as you would expect but other options could have been charred mackerel or salt-based celeriac.

Potted Rabbit with Apple Jelly

We also enjoyed a MAGNUM of Alsace wine - wow! Now the inside of the restaurant and bar are truly impressive. As a fellow foodie, you may have noticed the all day dining trend and how the venues are light, modern and look like they cost a heap of money. They lend themselves to lounging...

Interior view of Percy & Founders

Lamb loin and shoulder was my main choice. It was served with an onion purée and roasted shallots. Again we were treated to a Magnum of wine between the bloggers, but this time a 2009 Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Domaine Bachelet Monnot, Burgundy - wow, talk about an embarrassingly fabulous size! If I were to go again, I think I would go for the shepherd's pie with venison. It screamed comfort and just what we need during these blustery autumn months.

Lamb loin with shoulder of lamb

Everyone looked like they could pop at this point, but when the going gets tough the tough get eating up their desserts. Yup, that's right. So on I went with vanilla pears with rice pudding ice cream which is fine if you need a palette cleanser and something lighter but I found that I had enormous food envy of my dining companion as he smugly ate crepe soufflé with apricots and caramel.  It was all washed down with a beautiful dessert wine - a 2013 Jurancon 'Marie Kattalin', Domaine de Souch, South West.

Vanilla pears with rice pudding ice cream

A special thank you to the staff who were so passionate. The executive chef Diego Cardoso came and said hello which was really cool. He had been the former head chef at Angela Hartnett's Murano. Also, thanks to the Beverage Director Marc-Andrea Levy - again a man who knows all there is to know about wine and made it a great night.

Beverage Director

Percy & Founders
1 Pearson Square

Disclaimer: We were guests of Percy & Founders. All thoughts are our own.

14 Nov 2015

Traybake Chicken Dinner - Steam Combination Oven

Traybake Chicken Dinner

After a visit to Bridgnorth market there's nothing to beat a one tray roast chicken dinner and cooked in the steam combination oven it saves time and a load of washing up, the whole meal took approximately one hour to cook.

The potatoes take the longest and from freshly peeled they are tossed in oil, seasoned and added to the tray.  After 15 minutes I added the chicken legs, and then for the final 15 minutes the onions and carrots.  I cooked the sprouts in a pan before adding to the tray because to date I haven't experimented cooking these on the steam combination setting, these were also added to the tray for the last 15 minutes of cooking at 200ºC.

One Tray Chicken Dinner

The Good Food Show Winter in Birmingham is just around the corner, I don't know if there will be any demo's using these ovens but I wouldn't be without mine.

More steam combination recipes:
Potato Boulangere
Traybake Vegetables

7 Nov 2015

Christmas Gift Guide 2015

Glenrothes Vintage Reserve Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The Glenrothes 'Vintage Reserve' Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
I would like to present the perfect luxury present for the whisky lovers in your life and it comes with it's own unique story too! This malt whisky was apparently first tasted at the Lord Provost of Glasgow's Burns' Night Supper last January. The evening was attended by an astonishing 645 diners, this supper set the Guinness World Record for the largest such event.
This is the most complex whisky yet from The Glenrothes' and is a blend of vintage malts from the last three decades.
The stunning bottle is available in it's very own presentation box RRP £39.00 (70cl). 40% ABV. Waitrose, Ocado, whiskyshop.com and royalmilewhiskies.com.
Twitter: @TheGlenrothes
Echo Falls Red Fruit Fusion Drinks
These two eye catching bottles are part of the fabulous new range from Echo Falls, both are made with natural flavours and fruit extract. They will make a perfect present and are an alternative to wine. We tried the Winter Spice Fruit Fusion flavoured with cinnamon, orange and lemon well chilled and poured over ice, it reminded us of a light port and lemon but with mild bitter back notes. Alternatively there is an easy recipe on the reverse of the label for a mulled version which we preferred.
Alc 10.5% Vol
Stockist: Tesco RRP £5.99

Orange and Cranberry Echo Falls Fruit Fusion is a delightful seasonal combination of cranberries and oranges.  This too can either be served chilled or warm and we're looking forward to trying this over Christmas.
Stockist: Asda RRP £5.99

'Oh I'd Love a Babycham' - will anyone admit to remembering the ad or even remembering the fawn that adorn both the bottle and the glass?  Retro drink Babycham was launched in the UK way back in 1953 and celebrated it's 60th anniversary in 2013. This light and sparkling perry is sure to bring a smile.
Best served well chilled. Popping Cork Bottle 750ml.  Alcohol content 6%.
RRP £3.49
Stockists: Asda, Tesco, B&M

Jacob's Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir

Jacob's Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir - is popular here at Kitchen Delights all year round and for the festive season it makes a wonderful drink.  Fizz is my drink of choice and with it's crisp fruity taste and lots of bubbles it is sure to please.
A premium sparkling white wine from Australia.
Stockists: Tesco, Ocado, Co-op, Asda
RRP £10.39

Brancott Estate Classic Pinot Noir

Brancott Estate Classic Pinot Noir from New Zealand is deep red, fruity and easy to drink, This is a premium drink and will go well with red meats and game.
Stockists: Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Co-op, Majestic
RRP £12.39

Concave Wine Cooler by Epicurean

Elegant concave wine cooler by Epicurean - Have you ever bought a present for someone and then kept it for yourself because you couldn't bear to part with it? I believe this wine cooler may well fall into that category......It will look fabulous on the Christmas table and you won't have to keep on running backwards and forwards to the fridge to fetch a new bottle of chilled wine.

Cool barware.
Made from stainless steel with a hammered finish.
Double Wall.
Hand wash only.
The wine cooler measures approximately 12.75cm dia x 19.5cm high.
Stockist: onlinekitchenware
RRP £29.25

CELIA organic gluten free beer

Perfect for the non-wine drinker - CELIA a Czech organic gluten free beer uses Saaz hops which apparently are the only hops to have a protected status. The light beer is batch-brewed in the cellar of a 14th century castle in the Zatec foothills.
Alc. Vol. 4.9%
Stockists: Ocado, Waitrose, Oddbins
330ml - RRP £2.50 each

The delightful iconic Lindt Advent Calendar

Lindt Advent Calendar

The master chocolatiers have been busy making the cutest chocolate reindeers for both children and grownups alike. There is a chocolate behind every window including chocolate mini reindeer, chocolate snowball, Lindor baubles and a 40g santa. Roll on the 1st December........
RRP £5.49
Available: Nationwide

Stocking Filler Ideas......

Ombar Chocolate Bars

Ombar - Made from ground raw cacao nibs these bars are made from organic ingredients, dairy free and with no artificial flavours,  We tried the flavoured chocolate bar Cranberry & Mandarin and the fruity combination was delicious. A great present for foodies.

Stockists: Planet Organic, Wholefoods, Independent Health Stores
35g bar RRP £1.99

The Bay Tree Christmas Pickle and Boxing Day Chutney

The perfect pairing from The Bay Tree Food Company is their gift set of Christmas Pickle and Boxing Day Chutney.
Many of us love our festive buffets and the delicious Christmas Pickle bursting with cranberries, apples and currants will go well with white meats. The Boxing Day Chutney which is a mix of apricot chutney and coriander will go well with meats and cheese or can be added to a curry.
RRP £8.30
Stockists: The Bay Tree

Disclaimer: I was sent the above products for the Gift Guide, thank you to all the brands.