Tuesday 18 February 2014

Low Cost Dinner Party Post #1: Baked Camembert, Goulash of Pork Shoulder, and Baileys' Chocolate Pots.

Hi team. So this is my first post regarding how to cook for a dinner party, without blowing the budget. Oh so often, the ingredients to feed guests surpass what you would pay at a restaurant, but not if you stick with me! My boyfriend lives in London, so we decided to belate our Valentines until tomorrow, so I cooked this menu for dinner party guests, it went down a treat! Really easy, and really flavoursome, it allows you to get everything out the way in the morning and get on with your day! Being clever with cheaper cuts of meat, allows you to feed the five thousand for pittance. I used pork shoulder for my Goulash and payed £5.85 for a 2.1kg joint, which fed six, with leftovers. The starter was easy, a traditional Rosemary and garlic baked camembert. Camembert is often very reasonable, and mine cost £1.50 each and were shared between two people. Desert has very few ingredients so really kept the costs low. So, no excuses, get your friends round for a gorgeous meal, without the stress!  

Camembert (For six) 

3 Camembert 
Crusty bread to serve
Any other dipping vegetables (Mange tout, Asparagus etc) 


1. Spike each Camembert with sliced Garlic and Rosemary sprigs. 
2. Keep in their cases, and bake in the oven for ten minutes, just before serving at 200C/fan 180C/Gas6 just before serving. They are ready when they become gooey, and you can dip your bread in them, fondue stylie.

Pork Shoulder Goulash 

2-2.5 kg Pork Shoulder Joint
Salt and Pepper 
4 peppers 
A jar of Chargrilled Peppers (drained)
3 red onions 
3 cloves of garlic 
One red chilli 
3 Table Spoons of Smoked Paprika
Table spoon of crushed Cumin 
Tin of Chopped Tomatoes 
Glass of Red Wine 
3 Table Spoons of Red Wine Vinegar 
4 Table Spoons of Natural Yoghurt
Fresh Tagliatelle


1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4Heat some olive oil in a large pan. Rub the Pork Shoulder fat skin side up with salt and pepper, and place into the pan. This will render some of the fat down and crisp the skin which can be turned into crackling. 
2. After 15 minutes set aside. Dice the onions and add to the same pan with all of the herbs and spices as well as salt and pepper. 
3. After ten minutes of sweating the onions, add the sliced and jarred peppers, the chopped tomatoes and the red wine, and give a good mix up. Let this bubble away and prepare the meat.
4. Take the rind of the pork of. Trim up the meat, taking off some of the fat from under the rind and any large visible pieces. Don't be tempted to take all the fat off, it makes the meat tender, and you won't be eating it all, as it melts away. 
5. Add the pork back to the pot, add the vinegar and enough water to just cover the pork. 
6. Put in the over for 3 hours. Once cooked, the sauce will have reduced and thickened and you'll be able to press on the pork and it will just fall apart. When this is done, take the pork out of the pot, and shred it up using two forks. Now is the time to scrape off any excess fat, it has already done its job. 
7. Add back to the pan with the Yoghurt. If you've prepared the dish in advance simply pop it back onto the hob when you're ready to serve until it's bubbling away again. Cook your pasta for around 3 minutes, and voilĂ !. 

Baileys Chocolate Pots 

285ml of Double Cream 
150g of 70% Cocoa Solid Dark chocolate 
100g Milk Chocolate 
2 Large Egg Yolks 
3 Table Spoons of Baileys 
30g of Butter 


1. Heat the cream in a pan, until bubbles appear around the edge. Take off the heat and add your chocolate. Stir into the cream until it melts. 
2. Whisk the two egg yolks together and beat into the chocolate and the cream. Then add the Baileys and the butter when the mix is cooler. Add too soon and you risk the alcohol splitting. 
4. Pour into your desired pots, (I used small gold coffee cups), and chill for four hours. 


Tuesday 11 February 2014

Ingredients Post #1 :Clever Store Cupboard = Clever Cooking!

I believe a well stocked store cupboard is the key to successful and delicious meals. I like to keep ingredients which can be used for different types of food from different countries. My main sections are; Italian, Asian (Chinese and Japanese), Indian and Mexican. So, let me teach you the secret of ingredients! It also means that if you keep your stock cupboard well filled, you spend less money having to buy all the ingredients from scratch when you find a new recipe to cook. Your cuisine will be easier and more economical! 


Dried Red Chillies (you can also buy fresh chilli, and freeze them, they defrost in seconds when it comes to cooking, Madras Curry Powder, Cumin Seeds, Ground Coriander,Mustard Seeds,Chilli Powder, Garam Masala, Basmati Rice. 

Soy Sauce (dark and light), Wasabi Paste, Sesame Oil, Fish Sauce, Hoi Sin Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar, Sesame Seeds, Selection of Noodles, Thai Curry Paste, Coconut Milk.

Tomato Puree, Garlic, Red Wine, Olive Oil, Dried Mixed Herbs, Dried Oregano, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Selection of Pasta, Arborio Rice, Parmesan (in the fridge), Mozzarella (in the freezer, defrost 3 hours before using). 

Smoked Parprika, Kidney Beans, Cumin Seeds, Cayenne Pepper, Dried Chilli, Tortilla Wraps, Tabasco. 

Other Necessities:
Chopped Tin Tomatoes, Lea and Perrins, Red and White Wine Vinegar, Mustard, Flours, Sugars, Selection of Seeds, Cous Cous, Quinoa, Honey, olive/rapeseed/vegetable oil. 

Stick to this, and you will always have enough flavoursome treats available to knock up an amazing meal, ready for after work or dreaded impromptu guests! 

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