February 2019 Staff Testing!
Elizabeth's Date Night in Osaka
Date night in Osaka!
For this one, I initially thought the creme caramel dessert sounded a bit complicated so I left it out for last and cooked the Okonomiyaki (starter) and the Tantan ramen (main course) simultaneously.
I made a few mistakes for all of these dishes – like burning the starter ever so slightly (can you even tell from the photo?) and only remembering to add an ingredient (vinegar) to the main after I’d eaten all of it…but I can’t say that either of these things affected the meal at all…it was all so delicious!
What do I love most about Date Night recipes? DESSERT! I eventually got around to making the crème caramel, which was so much easier than what I had envisioned in my head when I first read the instructions. Again, I messed up and put the ginger flakes in with the sugar, and although I managed to get rid of some of it, I couldn’t get all of it out. Despite that, I still very willingly ate both desserts on my own! Waste not, want not right?
Chris' Keema Matar Night
Keema Matar and how not to open a bottle of oil.
Keema Matar, one of Steph's favourite dishes, is a simple but devastatingly tasty dish based on lamb mince, chilli and cinnamon. Being very easy to make (it's pretty much a 'stick it in and leave' kind of affair) it left us able to get on with the sides. I took care of the vegetable subji, carrot pickle, rice and raita whilst Steph used her new found love of bread making to deal with the samosas. We never tend to cook these as they're quite involved compared to parathas or naans, but the process was a lot more fun and filling the samosas was oddly satisfying...
Unusually we bought a large bottle of oil to deep fry the samosas (as every time we deep fry we use almost an entire bottle of oil) and, being a large bottle scrub, I wasn't used to how squeezy they are once opened. As a result upon removing the 'safety lock' from the cap, it exploded in a fountain of oil that went up the wall and covered the toaster. Bit of a fail. End product was amazing, the keema was spicy and sweet, the pickle was very fiery but paired nicely with the subji and raita and, apart from the oil catastrophe, it was a quick and easy cook!
Alice's Cheeseburger Tacos
Whilst for our customers Friday Night Curry is the most popular subscription, for staff testing it's most definitely Food Truck so I was very lucky to snap up this cheeseburger tacos recipe. By Food Truck standards this is quite an easy recipe (no deep frying involved!) but it looks like a really impressive spread once it's all laid out on the table. It also tastes delicious - the highlights for me being the pickled chillies and the sour cream burger sauce. I made the classic spicery error of adding the fries seasoning to the ketchup and vice versa but it didn't really matter that much - we just had slightly spicy chips and salty ketchup.
Top tips for this recipe 1. When you're rolling out the tortillas (as with any bread) try and use as little flour as possible as the result will be much softer and pliable tortillas (all the better for folding round those burgers!) 2. Minced chuck steak with a bit of fat makes for the most tasty burgers
Dan's Hungarian Lecso
This month I thought I'd jump out my comfort zone and try something new with the Hungarian Lecso kit. I visited Budapest back in 2014 and after visiting a few dodgy restaurants along the way I wasn't too keen on the local cuisine! I was intrigued to see how The Spicery's take on the dish would match in terms of my prior experience. Safe to say I wasn't left disappointed (Hallelujah!)
The Hungarian Lecso was simple to prep and straightforward to make. We used red and yellow peppers for the dish and found they really complimented the dish. The paprika really did make the meal, it was bursting with flavour and unlike anything I've had previously. The sour cream and potato pancakes all complimented one another really well and all in all it was nice to try something different.
Dessert (the most important dish of the day according to my girlfirend) was Cherry and Poppy Seed Retes. We chose to replace the cherries with raisins for this one and it worked a treat. The filling was nice and simple to prep and as the raisins were caramelising the smell of cinnamon sugar filled my flat! After a quick Google to make sure my rolling technique was on form I popped the retes in the oven and waiting until it was golden brown before dishing up. I would definitely recommend eating this hot - the dessert was perfectly sweet and reminded me of apple strudel. I definitely missed a trick not trying this whilst I was in Hungary!
Maisie's Korean Buchimgae
I was excited to nab this recipe for testing as I'm such a big fan of kimchi and have tried (not very successfully) to create it semi-authentically at home- I was very keen to try this quick 'cheat' version of kimchi.
It didn't disappoint! Extremely easy to make, and the Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru) give it a lovely rich flavour. I was happy to see that the kimchi was included in the pancakes (Buchimgae) as well as a lot of chunky spring onions to really bulk them out so we almost didn't need the sticky rice (we did eat it though...all of it)
As for the main event, we had a vegetarian in the house and so I substituted the chicken with tofu and mushrooms- I've now realised that i'm not the biggest fan of tofu, but the mushrooms were a great alternative! The soy-ginger-sesame-sauce ( choganjang ) went down very well, just like a really well pimped up soy-sauce.
I was surprised by how quick and easily this meal came together- with not many ingredients and certainly no expensive ones. I'll definitely be reaching for the next Korean tester kit!