A challenger to the humble burger

American comfort food is everywhere at the moment. You can’t walk through Brighton without stumbling over a sesame seeded burger bap or slow cooked rack of ribs. Hell even Greggs now sell pulled pork. The competition is tough. There are trail blazers out there like Troll’s Pantry or my personal favourite Meat Liquor, but you’ll often find a bunch of over priced under achievers mixed amongst them. The £12.95 George and Payne cheese burger oddly seasoned with raisins springs to mind. Personally, any burger priced above a tenner needs to be pretty damn epic.

Every now and then there are whispers about something off the beaten track. A challenger to these over priced pub burgers and right now it’s Likkle Bickle. A husband and wife team who are bringing Caribbean street food to the seaside and food hacking the humble burger in the process. Meet the Ribwich. A lovely soft brioche bun stuffed with short rib beef slowly braised in rum and finished with scotch bonnet chutney. Served up with crunchy plantain chips. Now this is the future.

This is some to the best street food I’ve had and I urge you to seek Likkel Bickle out.

Tuesday Night Pancakes

So Tuesday is a bit of an odd day of the week for eating in our house. It sits neatly between ‘I’m only eating healthy stuff Monday’ and ‘I’ve given into the bag of office Haribo Wednesday’. However, once a year good old shrove Tuesday rolls into town with its offerings of guilt free fluffy pancakes.

It’s not a greatly planned event in our home, but more blind panic when we realise we have an excuse for pancakes on a Tuesday. Anna normally goes ice cream and banana, but I prefer a little lemon, sugar and cinnamon….erm, with some ice cream on the side. However, this year we wanted to make more of a meal of it. Forget those flimsy thin pancakes. We want thick old American ones dripping in maple syrup. Banoffee Pancakes seemed like a good shout, but hot toffee sauce just seems like we’re pushing our luck a little for a Tuesday. So we’re going back to a recipe we found ages ago, which is probably more like breakfast, but hey what’s not good without bacon right?

So here they are. Tuesday night pancakes that should actually be for Saturday morning recipe. The recipe name probably needs a little work.

What you’ll need
240g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda and another teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 large egg with a pinch of salt
500ml buttermilk or 500ml milk with two teaspoons of lemon juice if you can’t find any
2 tablespoons of melted butter
150g jumbo porridge oats
Rashers of streaky bacon. Personally I think if it’s not smoked it can’t be bacon
Fresh fruit and maple syrup to finish

Mix all you dry ingredients together in a bowl and separately whisk the egg and buttermilk. Then stir and combine the mixture together.  Allegra McEvady recommends making the batter the night before and keeping it in the fridge…it seems to make the pancakes a little bit more magic.

When you’re ready to get breakfast going, fold in the oats and melted butter. The trick is to do this with as little stirring as possible, it doesn’t matter if you have streaks of the melted butter left. Grease up a thick based frying pan or griddle if you want it to look fancy. A medium heat should do as you don’t want to burn them, but make sure the pan is hot.

Now each pancake should be about 4 tablespoons worth if you’re looking to be accurate. I found a soup ladle worked just as well. They’re ready to flip over when big bubbles start to appear on the top and around the edges, should be around 2-3 minutes. Then time for the flip, they’re fairly thick so be careful if you’re showboating and not using a spatula. Same amount of time for the other side or when they’re lovely and golden-brown. Serve straight away, with grilled crispy bacon, fresh fruit and a generous amount of maple syrup. Now that’s what I call a Tuesday night dinner!

Paleo BlueBerry, Coconut & Banana Cookies

As I roll into my annual “must lose the spare tyre” post festive detox, I’m on the hunt for an eating plan I can, erm…get my teeth into. Forget that 5:1 diet, that’s just starvation, but ‘hello’ to Paleo.  Eat as much as you like. Avoid the carbs, dairy and basically anything that comes in a box with microwave instructions. This seems achievable right? Now I won’t lie. I’ve had a crack at this before and the results, well in my mind anyway, seemed pretty good. So I’m back on it and ready to smash out 4-weeks of nothing by grass fed meat and vegetables. What could go wrong.

Prep seems to be the key to avoiding temptation here. So armed with enough lunch boxes to host my own Tupperware party and I’m ready to go. Chicken salad lunch. Check. Almonds to graze on. Check. 11am bit of cake for my cup of tea……erm, nope.

Cookie Mix

So here’s my challenge. Create a cake that tastes like a cake, but it’s actually gluten and wheat free. So here it is.

Guilt Gluten Free Blueberry, Banana and Coconut Cakes
170g coconut flour
3 organic eggs
1tsp baking soda
1tsp ground cinnamon
2 mashed ripe bananas
125g fresh blueberries
1tbsp olive oil
60g maple syrup
Pinch of salt

Blueberries

I’ve learnt two things about coconut flour. It’s expensive and absorbs any amount of moisture like a sponge. So I needed a way to make it go a little further, plus add enough moisture to prevent it tasting like I’d just eaten some sand. To get around this I used mashed banana and packed it full of healthy blueberries. It worked a treat and it’s pretty simple.

Heat your oven up to 200°C and combine all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the banana, eggs, olive oil and maple syrup with a food mixer. Bit-by-bit add all your dry ingredients until combined. Gently fold in your blueberries.

IMG_1733

Baked Cakes

Don’t worry if the batter appears fairly sticky. That’s just the coconut flour, but if your want more moisture in the batter supplement some coconut flour for ground almonds. Pour the batter into a lined baking tray and smooth flat.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool before cutting into cake slices. Either cut into bars, or for this post I used a cookie cutter and made them into handy little handheld cakes.

Paleo Cakes

Leftovers?

So what to do with all these leftovers? We’ve already done the best bit, where you go round with two slices of bread and fill them with only things you like. A cold bit of ham? Oh yes please. How about these leftover brussels? …..erm, no thanks they belong in the bin. I’ll have a slice of that blue cheese, as well as those stuffing balls, with a little mustard wedged between my two slices of bread please. Anna? Well her sandwich was more pickle and turkey based….not my bag.

Leftover Turkey Pie

The only thing is there are only so many sandwich challenges you can manage before those leftovers pass their reusable date. So what to do? Turkey curries are always popular, but I like a good pie. It’s a cracking last meal dish before you head off into a detox January of kale smoothies and portion controlling. Plus, if you’ve just about had enough of Christmas dinner a pie will freeze really well for a later date.

Leftover Turkey Chopped Leftovers

Turkey and Gammon Pie (feeds 4 people)
750g leftover turkey and ham
400ml chicken stock
1 sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry
1 egg
1 small red onion (diced)
150g button mushrooms (sliced)
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon crème fraîche
Salt, pepper and fresh thyme

Chop up all you leftover turkey and ham into pieces about 1cm thick. In a large pan gently fry the onions and mushrooms in olive oil, until they start to colour. Add the turkey and ham with the tablespoon of flour and stir to prevent it sticking. Once it starts to stick to the pan add a small amount of the stock and deglaze the pan. Then add the crème fraîche, remaining stock, fresh thyme and mustard. Stir well and bring the pan to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and take the pan off the heat.

Turkey Pie Filling

Roll out the pre-rolled pastry onto a floured surface and turn the oven onto  200°C/ 400°F. Flip your pie dish upside down onto the pastry and cut around the dish leaving an extra couple of centimeters. Crisscross the pastry to score it and if you have it in you use the remaining pastry to make some fancy decoration bits. Tip your pie filling into the dish and wet the edge of the dish with a little water to help the pastry stick. Place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp it down with a fork to hold in place. With a knife poke two little holes into the middle to let the steam out.

Quickly beat the egg and brush the eggy mix all over the pie pastry. Bake on the top shelf for about 20 minutes, or until it starts to go golden. Your oven is likely to be different so you might need a few minutes either way. Serve with mash, gravy and peas. On a side note, just like a puppy this recipe isn’t just for Christmas and works well for any leftover joint of meat.

Gawker Pie

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