Thursday, December 28, 2017

Restaurant Food at Home - Jamie's Italian

Another copycat meal tea for us, this time from Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant. JD and I love Italian food and we're keen to get Leigh and Erin to try more of it. They already enjoy homemade pizza and Leigh like lasagna. Other than that they're a bit suspicious of pasta dishes we have.

I browsed the restaurant menu and decided on this meal:

Sausage Ravioli £12.95 x4
Funky chips £4 x4
Molten chocolate pudding with vanilla gelato £6.50 x4
Ginger mojito £3.70 x4

Total £108.60


I'd want at least a night in a hotel and meal for that or a whole fun day out with the kids! Anyway, I'll try start breathing again because we're only copying this meal, not paying for it. :D

Here's our version which cost  £14.64.

Sausage Tortellini

2 packets of ready made sausage tortellini
500ml passata
100g grated cheese
5g mixed herbs

Cook the tortellini according to the packet (usually in boiling water for a few minutes). Pour in a dish and cover with passata. Sprinkle cheese and herbs on top. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes on 200C.

 Funky fries

Just some fried chips liberally sprinkled with chopped parsley and garlic salt.

 Ginger Mojito

Pour ginger beer into a glass, add 2 teaspoons of sugar, squeeze in lime juice and mix well. Top with some crushed mint leaves and lime wedges.

Molten chocolate pudding with vanilla gelato

 4 x Morrisons Finest molten chocolate puddings with homemade gelato and toffee sauce.

It all made for a delicious meal. Especially the puddings which were so fancy the chocolate sauce had glitter in it. Leigh liked the tortellini, Erin didn't try it but loved the funky fries. JD and I enjoyed it all. Especially that it was £93.96 cheaper. :)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Subscription Box Review - Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh is a subscription service that delivers ingredients and recipe cards to make planning meals easier. We decided to try out the Classic Hello Fresh box for 3 meals for 2 people, which costs £34.99. Being thrifty I got our box with a Groupon offer for £9.99.

The box arrived on time in an hour delivery slot. Well packed and undamaged.

Inside it contained 3 colour coded packages of ambient ingredients, 3 recipe cards and 1 package of fridge ingredients.

We picked the Creamy Mustard Chicken to cook first.

All the ingredients are supplied with the exact amount you need.

Our finished meal.

Things We Liked:

The recipe was delicious.
You get a decent portion.
There's no food waste.
It's easy to cancel so no obligation. 

Things We Didn't Like:

It's pretty expensive at the regular price.
The recipe said you needed 2 frying pans, we only have 1.
The instructions sometimes weren't clear.
Our mustard seeds popped out of the pan all over the kitchen. (We're still finding them now)

We enjoyed cooking this meal together but the recipe was a bit vague in some places. Someone with less cooking experience might struggle to follow the instructions easily. I think it could've been laid out better.

I'm not sure who this subscription service is meant for but it isn't us. We plan out our meals each week and get our shopping delivered anyway so it isn't a hassle. Our week's food bill is £70ish. Each meal from Hello Fresh costs £5.83 per person. It's almost cheaper to get a takeaway!

I'd recommend this subscription to anyone who likes cooking, leads a busy life and doesn't mind spending money.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I is for IceCream

A few weeks ago, my workmate Cathy was kind enough to lend us her ice cream maker to play around with. This is how we got on!

The first ice cream we made was lemon frozen yoghurt. Made up of lemon juice, sugar, greek yoghurt and cream. You mix all the ingredients together and chill them for 30 minutes so they're cold. You have to pre-freeze a bowl that sits inside the machine so you have to plan making ice cream at least 6-8 hours beforehand. Put the bowl in the machine and set the paddle going. Pour in the ice cream mix through a hole in the top and leave to churn for about 20-30 minutes. The machine clicks as the paddle starts turning the opposite way when it's done. Turn off the paddle and quickly scrape out the ice cream into a plastic tub and freeze for about an hour to firm it up. Or just eat as it is if you don't mind looser ice cream.

The frozen yoghurt made a really smooth creamy ice cream. We all enjoyed it and it was a good start to our ice cream journey.

Next, JD wanted to try some chocolate ice cream made with ready made custard. You make it by melting chocolate with thick double cream in a pan until it's smooth. Leave it to cool a bit then stir in the ready made custard. It looks delicious like this too!

Chill the chocolate pudding in the fridge for 30 minutes and then churn it in the machine exactly the same way as before. Freeze it for an hour in a tub again and you have chocolate ice cream.

This ice cream was also delicious smooth and creamy. I could get used to this.

Next we made a plain vanilla ice cream and added chocolate chips. Vanilla ice cream was made by mixing vanilla, double cream, milk and sugar. Chilled as usual and churned until thickened. We found that the ice cream mixtures that started off thick took 30 minutes to thicken whereas mixtures that were more runny in texture thickened much quicker. About 10-15 minutes. We added the chocolate chips near the end.

We experimented with different toppings and had ice cream cones. This one has M&Ms and toffee syrup stirred through it. We tried mint choc chip ice cream, clotted cream ice cream and vanilla gelato.

I think my favourite was the chocolate custard ice cream. We had it again this time with choc chips. Yum!

The ice cream maker was easy to use as long as you followed the instructions to the letter. It was a bit noisy to have churning for 30 minutes at a time and the paddle was difficult to scrape ice cream off. But other than that it was great to have freshly made ice cream whenever we wanted. The ice cream was enthusiastically received for the first couple of weeks then we all got a bit sick of eating it so often. JD and I preferred the plainer flavours of ice cream such as the lemon or chocolate rather than ice cream with syrup and toppings. I think Leigh was the only one keen to continue eating ice cream indefinitely.

It was fun to play with for a few weeks anyway, thanks Cathy :)
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