The Crazy Kitchen: August 2016

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Wednesday 31 August 2016

5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas

5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen

There's less than a week left until my kids are back at school, and I've been working with Iceland to create a few lunch ideas to beat the monotony of lunch boxes, and make them more fun.

These are all simple ideas that require little or no cooking, and if your kids are anything like mine, they will love them. The freezer comes in very handy as it's easy to grab a few ingredients that can be cooked straight from frozen to make a quick meal. It's also great when batch cooking as extras can be cooked up and stored in the freezer to grab when time is short, or add straight to a lunchbox, with the added bonus of keeping other lunchbox items chilled. Frozen ingredients such as vegetables, for example, can also save you money as nothing goes to waste - and they are full of more goodness than that past-its-best broccoli lurking at the back of the fridge too!

First up are these chocolate dipped strawberries topped with a few sprinkles. These can be made in just a few minutes and will brighten up any lunch, as well as helping kids get their 5 a day.

5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen 5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen

Next up are these bbq meatball pops, made using Swedish meatballs, which can be cooked from frozen. 

5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen

I always try and keep a pack of puff pastry in as you never know when you're going to need to make an emergency pie or tart, and these twin packs of ready made puff pastry are convenient to keep in the freezer and defrost overnight before using.

5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen
5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen

BBQ Meatball Pops - makes 9

250g puff pastry
9 Swedish meatballs
bbq sauce
1 egg, beaten
wooden lollipop sticks
  • roll the pastry out into a rectangle approx 2-3mm thick
  • cut 9 squares from the pastry, approx 8-9cm
  • add approx half a teaspoon on bbq sauce to the centre of each square of pastry
  • pop a frozen meatball onto the sauce
  • hold a wooden lollipop stick on top of the meatball and fold up the sides of the pastry and squeeze together around the stick
  • repeat with the remaining meatballs and lay onto a baking sheet
  • place in the freezer for 10 minutes whilst the oven preheats to 200C
  • brush the parcels with beaten egg and bake for approx 25 minutes, until golden brown
5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen

These traffic light sandwiches are fun to make and eat, and you could get the kids involved with choosing fillings, and making the sandwiches. You just need a couple of round cookie cutters and some red, orange and green fillings. I chose strawberries, orange cheese and lettuce. 

5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen 5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen 5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen 5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen

Fourth on the list are these interestingly shaped triangular sausage rolls. They're made with frankfurter sausages and only take a few minutes to cook. They can easily be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge until you're ready to bake them. Try experimenting with shapes and see what else you can come up with.

5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen

triangular sausage rolls - makes 8

250g puff pastry
8 frankfurter sausages
1 egg, beaten
  • roll the pastry out into a rectangle approx 2-3mm thick
  • cut a rectangle of pastry wide enough to sit 3 frankfurters on, with space in between
  • cut out 3 further pieces, with 2 of them being slightly smaller
  • lay 3 frankfurters onto the first piece of pastry, and brush the edges with beaten egg
  • lay another piece on top and press down to seal the edges
  • brush the top with beaten egg and lay a further 2 frankfurters on top, with one of the smaller pieces of pastry on top of those
  • brush beaten egg over the top before laying the final frankfurter on top, and the final piece of pastry on top of that (see image below)
  • place in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up, as this makes it easier to slice
  • using a sharp knife cut slices approx 1.5cm wide
  • brush beaten egg around the edges and return to the freezer for 10 minutes whilst the oven preheats to 200C
  • bake for 15-20 minutes, until puffed up and lightly browned
  • cool on a wire rack
5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen 5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen 5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen

The final recipe is for a popular one in this house, and something that Jack is looking forward to taking to school in his lunchbox. He likes to dip them in ketchup so I'll be popping a little pot of sauce in with these. These polka dot fritters are predominantly sweetcorn and dotted with peas. If you're feeling more artistic than me, you could try making faces with additional ingredients.

5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen

polka dot fritters - makes 6

40g plain flour
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of garlic granules
5 tbsp semi skimmed milk
125g frozen sweetcorn, thawed
handful of frozen peas, thawed
olive oil for frying
  • mix together the flour, cayenne, garlic and milk to a smooth batter
  • stir in the sweetcorn
  • heat the oil in a frying pan
  • spoon some of the corn batter into the pan and allow to spread
  • scatter a few peas into the batter
  • cook over a medium heat for a few minutes each side, until cooked through and lightly browned 

5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen 5 Fun Back to School Lunchbox Ideas #poweroffrozen
What will you be putting in your kids lunch boxes this term?

Check out these great lunchbox ideas from other bloggers also taking part in the #PowerOfFrozen challenge :

This post has been commissioned by Iceland #PowerofFrozen

Tuesday 30 August 2016

10 top BBQ Tips & Simple Bank Holiday BBQ Recipes

Yay it's Friday, and double yay that it's a bank holiday weekend.

We've had some pretty good weather so far this summer (hope I haven't tempted fate there), and it's set to [mostly] continue over the bank holiday weekend too. 

Come rain or shine many of us will be getting the barbecue out this weekend and enjoying some great food, and possibly a few drinks, with family and friends. If you're bored of the usual sausage and burger offerings then Heinz have some delicious looking dishes that are really simple to make with sauces from their range, and with a little imagination you can get some really tasty results from run of the mill cuts of meat. For example, earlier in the week I mixed some Heinz Seriously Good mayonnaise with garlic and herb seasoning and used it to coat some thinly sliced chicken breast pieces before barbecuing on our little camping bbq. The mayo helped keep the moisture in the chicken, and the end result was chicken that was crisp on the outside and lovely and juicy in the centre.

10 top BBQ Tips

If you're planning on having a bbq this weekend the following tips from Josh Katz, head chef at Berber & Q, may be useful. Included with the tips are recipes for Heinz Peri Peri & Honey Glazed Smoked Chicken Wings, BBQ Whole Head of Broccoli, Harissa & Charred Spring Onion Aioli and Seared Duck Breast with Heinz BBQ sauce, Molasses & Soy Marinade, which can be thrown together in minutes. The videos are guaranteed to make your mouth water and light the bbq immediately!

Heinz Peri Peri & Honey Glazed Smoked Chicken Wings

5 tips for a last-minute BBQ (by Josh Katz)
If you find yourself making an impromptu last-minute decision to throw a barbecue or are short on preparation time, follow these tips to get you over the line.
1)    Steer clear of large joints of meat that require slow cooking, or those that really benefit from spending a long time in a marinade. Sausages, steaks and hamburgers are good options for a last-minute BBQ because the preparation time is minimal (if any) and they cook quickly on the grill.

2)    Heinz Tomato Ketchup is a great ingredient to have up your sleeve for a BBQ at short notice, because of its versatility. I use it in both my hamburger mix and when making my Sweet & Sour BBQ Sauce, but of course it’s also the perfect accompaniment to a good hot dog, the quickest and easiest of options for a last-minute BBQ.

3)    Chicken wings are a brilliant option for a last-minute barbecue because they need far less time on the grill than either the breast, legs or thigh, all of which can often burn on the outside before being cooked all the way through, especially when using a sweet marinade. Try out my Heinz Peri Peri & Honey Glazed Chicken Wings for a recipe that’s both quick and easy.

4)    Certain vegetables such as leeks, sweet corn & broccoli are brilliant just grilled simply on a BBQ with little more than a drizzle of olive oil, some salt & pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. They’re perfect as a quick-and-easy vegetable side to accompany the rest of your barbecue. Whilst the meat or fish is cooking, set about making a Heinz Sweet Chilli Sauce Butter or Charred Spring Onion Aioli to turn your vegetables into a main event. 

5)    Use a chimney starter to get your charcoal burning in no time. They’re cheap and easy to purchase on the Internet, but are also simple and safe to use. Most importantly, they take away all the stress and time associated with building a charcoal fire. You’ll have hot burning embers that are ready to cook on in no time at all.

5 tips on how to BBQ like a Pro
2-zone cooking: Direct & indirect grilling
Try and master the art of setting up your barbecue for 2-zone cooking, with your charcoal banked to one side to enable both direct grilling (straight above the charcoal) and indirect grilling (set off to the side of the charcoal). Any barbecue that has a lid is effectively an oven that can be used for low n’ slow smoking and roasting. Larger joints of meat, or those that have been marinated with high sugar-content require indirect grilling to ensure that the meat cooks through without burning on the outside. Chicken is a good example of a meat that, when grilled directly, can often burn before being sufficiently cooked. Rather, bank your chicken away from the coal with the lid of the barbecue on, before moving it over to the opposite side to be finished with direct grilling in order to achieve the desirable browning of the skin. 

The Maillard Reaction
The Maillard reaction is an important process for any aspiring BBQ cook to understand. It’s the moment when the presence of heat initiates a reaction between the amino acids and reducing sugars present in proteins, resulting in what is commonly referred to as ‘browning’. It is this reaction that is responsible for the richness and depth of flavour that is so desirable in barbecue. 

Using all of your fire
Burning charcoal is prized by BBQ pros. You have paid for it, so try and really make use of it by extracting as much as you possibly can from the energy source. The common perception with barbecue is that it’s primarily for the purposes of grilling your chosen meat. However, you could be grilling onions for an accompanying salad, blackening your broccoli for a vegetable side and lightly grilling your hamburger buns all from the same fire and at the same time as cooking your meat. Once the coal has settled down to burning embers or a glowing ash, you can extract yet more from your fire, by burying peppers or sweet potatoes within and returning several hours later. The residual heat leftover from your barbecue is brilliant for cooking vegetables.

Don’t be afraid to char your food
‘Charring’ is a word commonly thought of as having negative connotations in cookery. However the right amount of char on the right ingredient can often have desirable effects rather than an unwanted one. The correct amount of charring can be delicious. But beware – if you take this too far, what was once charred, can become acrid, bitter and leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. 

Dry brining & the importance of allowing time for a marinade
Dry brining involves salting your meat a few hours before you plan to cook it. This has the benefit of enhancing its flavour, but more importantly encourages the proteins present in the meat to retain water more easily, ensuring that it will remain moister through the cooking process. 

People often forget how important time is when marinating. In order to get the best taste possible, make sure to marinade your meat for a minimum of 4 hours or, even better, overnight before barbecuing. Hold back some of that marinade to use for basting whilst cooking.

Heinz Peri Peri & Honey Glazed Smoked Chicken Wings  Serves 2-4

800g Chicken Wings (Approx 12 in number)
Ingredients for the rub:
     1tsp Smoked Paprika
     1tsp Cayenne
      ½ tsp Cumin, ground
      1tbsp Kosher Salt
      1tsp Black Pepper, coarse
For the marinade:
      60ml Heinz Peri-Peri sauce
      1tbsp Lemon Juice
      20ml Maple Syrup
For the glaze:
      150g Heinz Peri-Peri sauce
      180g Clear Honey
      30ml Lemon Juice
      1tsp Salt
      ½ tsp Black Pepper, coarse
For garnish:
      1 Spring Onion thinly sliced
      1 Lemon, cut into 8 wedges
      1tbsp Chopped Parsley
  • Start by preparing the rub. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. Toss the chicken wings in the rub so that each wing is coated liberally.
  • Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and pour over the rubbed chicken wings. Allow the wings to marinate for 2 to 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  • Whilst the wings are marinating, prepare the glaze by combining all of the ingredients in a pan and reducing over a medium to high heat by approximately 25%.
  • Fire up the barbecue for direct grilling over high heat, but bank the coals to one side (if possible).
  • Grill your wings, turning regularly whilst basting with the glaze, until the skin is crisp and slightly charred and they are completely cooked through (approximately 15-20 minutes). Should the wings start to crisp on the outside too much, before being cooked all the way through, transfer them to the other side of your grill where they are not directly positioned above the coals, and place the lid on the barbecue. This will turn your barbecue into an oven and will enable the wings to continue cooking through without burning.
  • Remove your wings from the grill and serve immediately with the lemon wedges, blackened on the grill and squeezed over the top, and some chopped parsley strewn all over.

BBQ Whole Head of Broccoli, Harissa & Charred Spring Onion Aioli  Serves 2 as a vegetable main, or can be shared between 4 as a side

      1 Head of Broccoli
      20ml Olive Oil
      1tsp Salt (Maldon Flaked, preferably)
      ½ tsp Black Pepper, coarse
For the Charred Spring Onion Aioli:
      120g Heinz Salad Cream
      80g Crème Fraiche
      4 Spring Onions, blackened on the grill & finely chopped
      2 Garlic Cloves, minced or finely chopped
      20ml Olive Oil
      20ml Lemon Juice
For Garnish:
      2tbsp Harissa (good quality)
      3 Anchovies (optional)
      1tbsp toasted Hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • Start by blanching the whole head of broccoli in some boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from the water and refresh in a bowl of iced water.
  • Make the Charred Spring Onion Aioli by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl thoroughly.
  • Fire up the barbecue for direct grilling over high heat. Whilst the fire is coming to temperature, roll the broccoli in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  •  Grill the broccoli atop the burning coals until lightly blackened and crisp all over.
  • Remove the broccoli from the grill and serve on a base of the Charred Spring Onion Aioli, with some reserved for spooning over the top, along with the harissa, the chopped hazelnuts and anchovies (if using) ripped into a few pieces.

Seared Duck Breast with Heinz Classic Barbecue sauce, Molasses & Soy Marinade  Serves 2

2 Duck Breasts, trimmed of excess fat
Ingredients for the rub:
      1tsp Fennel Seeds
      1tsp Chilli Flakes
      1tsp Salt (Preferably Maldon Flaked)
      ½ tsp Black Pepper, coarse
      Zest of ½ an Orange
For the marinade:
      45g Heinz Classic Barbecue Sauce
      30ml Soy Sauce
      20ml Apple Juice
      ½ tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
      1 Garlic Clove, minced or finely chopped
      30ml Maple Syrup
For the glaze:
      100g Honey
      60g Heinz Classic Barbecue Sauce
      40ml Cider Vinegar
For Garnish:
      2 Leeks, tough dark green outer leaves removed & cut in half
      1 small Red Onions, cut into quarters
      1 Baby Gem Lettuce, cut into quarters
      40ml Olive Oil
      1tbsp Salt (preferably Maldon flaked)
      1tsp Black Pepper, coarse
      Handful of Pomegranate Seeds
      Handful of picked Flat-leaf Parsley leaves
      20ml Pomegranate molasses
      100g Crème Fraiche
  • To prepare the duck breasts, trim away any excess fat, score the skin and remove any unwanted sinew.
  • Prepare the rub for the duck breasts by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and mixing together thoroughly. Rub all over the duck to ensure they are evenly covered.
  • Make the marinade by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and stirring to combine. Toss the duck breasts in the marinade and allow to marinate for 4 to 6 hours or preferably overnight.
  • Prepare the glaze by combining all of the ingredients together in a pan, bringing to the boil, and reducing by 25%.
  • Fire up the barbecue for direct grilling over a medium to high heat, but bank the coals to one side (if possible). Grill the duck breasts directly over the coals, skin-side down, and allow to cook until the skin turns golden brown. Baste the duck breasts intermittently with the prepared glaze, and continue to cook by turning regularly and glazing. Should the breasts start to blacken on the outside too much, before being cooked all the way through, transfer them to the other side of your grill where they are not directly positioned above the coals, and place the lid on the barbecue. This will turn your barbecue into an oven of sorts, and enable the duck to continue cooking through without burning.
  • Cook the duck to desired preference, 5-7 minutes for medium-rare, 7-9 minutes for medium, and longer than 9 minutes for medium to well done. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 3 minutes.
  • Whilst the duck is resting, prepare the garnish salad by rolling the leeks, red onions and baby gem in olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables on direct heat until charred and softened.
  • Serve the duck breast thinly sliced alongside the grilled vegetables drizzled with pomegranate molasses and with picked parsley leaves and pomegranate seeds strewn over the top. A dollop of Crème Fraiche alongside is added for cooling and to cut through the sharpness of the molasses.

Which is your favourite recipe? Do you have any tips for Adding a Little Magic to your BBQ?

In collaboration with Heinz

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