Blog Posts by Jo Romero

  • Easter 2014: What To Do With Leftover Easter Eggs

    If you’re lucky enough to have an excess of Easter eggs after this weekend and can’t face chomping on them straight from the pack, why not transform them into something else?

    Here are 7 ideas for using up your leftover chocolate…

    Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

    Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding [Jo Romero]

    Bread pudding is easy to make and - as an added bonus - uses up any stale bread, too. Just chop some leftover chocolate and sprinkle it into the bread pudding mixture before scraping into the tin and baking. You could also add the broken up chocolate to bread and butter puddings, tucking the pieces in between the bread slices before pouring the custard on top and baking. Don’t forget other desserts - swirl broken up pieces of chocolate into warm, vanilla-speckled rice pudding for a luxurious touch. Lovely.

    Ganache Cake Topping

    Ganache Cake Topping [Jo Romero]

    Made a cake and don’t know what to top it with? Indulge in a glossy ganache topping made from your leftover Easter eggs. To cover the top of a cake that’s 21cm wide, break 120g leftover chocolate into a bowl and add 100ml double cream. Heat gently, in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water, until the chocolate has melted. Make sure the bowl containing the chocolate and the spoon

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  • Mother's Day 2014: 10 Of The Best Foodie Gift Ideas

    Is Mum a food lover? Then you’re in luck. Here are ten foodie gifts she will love - just in time for Mothering Sunday

    A ‘Teatorial’ and Coffee and Chocolate Tours
    The St. Ermin’s Hotel at St James’s Park is hosting a special Newby tea tasting event, where a tea expert will be on hand to reveal all about the evolution, customs and etiquette of tea drinking. Mum can then be treated to a Spring Afternoon Bellini Tea created by Masterchef finalist Adam Handling.

    Or maybe Mum would prefer a coffee? Then Chocolate Ecstasy Tours have a Coffee and Chocolate Tour that would be right up her street. The 3-hour tour involves learning about coffee and the different types and flavours, along with chocolate samples and VIP discounts. Check out the Chocolate Ecstasy Tours website for more information - tours are priced at £45 per person and gift vouchers are also available.Photo © Kavita Favelle 2014.

    Because all mums love tea right? Copyright [Kavita Favelle]

    White Chocolate and Raspberry Bark
    This white chocolate bark is really simple to make - a perfect home-made gift for Mum this Mother’s Day. We've added dried raspberry pieces for flavour - but you could experiment with

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  • Gluten-Free Recipes: Burgers, Salads And Crumbles Just In Time For Spring

    Eating gluten-free? Then check out these simple and tasty recipes for some mealtime inspiration…

    Pulled Pork with Quick Chipotle Beans
    Pulled pork is one of the easiest joints of meat to cook - you just season the pork shoulder joint and slide it into the oven, leaving it to roast slowly all day. Serve with these smoky, spicy beans, some plain boiled rice, avocado, lettuce and a spoonful of sour cream on the side. Serves 4-6, with leftover pork.

    Pulled pork salad with chipotle beans [Jo Romero]

    Ingredients
    pork shoulder joint, approx 1.6kg
    salt and pepper
    400g tin borlotti beans (or other beans of your choice)
    400g tin chopped tomatoes
    your favourite chipotle chilli sauce, to taste (check the label  to make sure it’s gluten-free)

    Method
    Turn the oven up to as high as it will go - around gas mark 8-9 or 220ºC. Lay the pork shoulder, skin-side up, on a shallow roasting tray and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the hot oven for 25 minutes and then turn the oven down to gas mark 3/170ºC. Continue to cook slowly for 5 hours, or until the meat is tender and can be shredded with a fork. Take out of the oven and leave to rest while you make

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  • Saint Patrick's Day 2014: Chef's recipes to help paint the town green

    Irish food is so much more than stew and spuds. Celebrate St. Paddy's Day with these mouthwatering Irish dishes

    Are you planning a special meal to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Then take inspiration from some of these chef’s recipes, inspired by Irish dishes and ingredients. What will you be making?

    Parlour’s Famous Soda Bread
    This recipe comes from Jesse Dunford Wood, owner and head chef at Parlour in Kensal Rise, London. Makes about six small loaves.

    Parlour's Famous Soda Bread

    Ingredients
    375g plain flour
    125g porridge oats
    15g salt
    15g bicarbonate of soda
    30g soft brown sugar
    375g buttermilk
    50g black treacle

    Method
    Mix together the ingredients to form a dough. Dust with flour and cut into quarters. Cut deep, spray with water, then dust heavily with flour. Bake at 220ºC in an oven with a low fan setting - or better still, no fan, so the flour doesn’t get blown off, for 17 minutes.

    The dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days to be baked when needed.

    Menthol Molly Cocktail
    This St. Patrick’s Day cocktail was devised by Steve Manktelow from Goat Chelsea and the Chelsea Prayer Room. Serves 1.

    The Menthol Molly cocktail

    Ingredients
    50ml Tullamore Dew

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  • Six Nations Party Food Recipes

    Cook up a treat for friends and family while watching the rugby this weekend with these themed snacks

    Been following the Six Nations rugby tournament? Here are six party recipes, inspired by ingredients and dishes from the participating countries. Who will you be cheering on?

    Wales: Glamorgan Sausage Bites
    You can adapt a Glamorgan sausage recipe to make bite-sized party nibbles. These treats are vegetarian and kids love them too. You can even get them to help with grating the cheese or combining the mixture. Makes 12-14.

    Glamorgan Sausage Bites

     

    Ingredients
    100g Caerphilly cheese, rind cut off and discarded
    100g fresh breadcrumbs
    1 small leek, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
    3 eggs
    1 tbsp chives
    pinch of salt and pepper
    40g Panko breadcrumbs

    Method
    Grate the Caerphilly cheese and place in a bowl, adding the fresh breadcrumbs, leek, two of the eggs and the chives. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir, to combine the ingredients well.

    Crack the remaining egg in a separate, small bowl and tip the Panko breadcrumbs into another small bowl.

    Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and pinch a

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  • How to get more fish in your diet – expert tips

    We share expert tips for preparing and cooking fish.

    Although we’re an island nation, surveys suggest that many of us aren’t that comfortable with preparing or cooking fish. But fish shouldn’t be overlooked - it can be cheap, healthy and nutritious. We asked experts for their advice on everything from how to buy the freshest fish to which sauces to serve alongside…

    And today (Friday 14th March) you can head to Sainsbury's and get a free alternative when you ask for one of the Big Five: cod, haddock, tuna, salmon and prawns at the fish counter.

    (Copyright: REX)Buying the freshest fish

    The ‘fishy’ smell can sometimes put people off cooking fish - but very fresh fish won’t smell fishy at all. Head Chef Ben Fisher at The Gallivant in Rye told Yahoo that shoppers should look for fish that has “bright eyes, bloody gills, slimy skin and is firm to the touch.” Avoid fish with sunken, cloudy eyes – an indication that the fish is no longer at its best - and always eat (or freeze) as soon as possible after purchase.
     
    Easy filleting tips

    Buying fish in ready-to-cook

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  • What is ‘clean eating’ and how to start

    Clean eating's been a buzz word for the beginning of January so our food writer sheds some light on what it is and how to clean up your diet

    It’s January. And after the excesses of Christmas the prospect of a detox is probably at its most appealing. But instead of jumping on the usual flurry of faddy January diets, could ‘clean eating’ be the answer?

    We look at what it is and how you can start. Clean eating - stick to whole foods and plenty of fruit and veg (REX)

    Clean Eating: the basics
    Clean eating has increased in popularity, championed by American health writer Tosca Reno. It’s not so much a diet as a lifestyle choice which shuns processed foods and refined sugars in favour of whole, natural foods. And you can incorporate ‘clean eating’ into any diet - if you’re vegetarian, vegan or need to eat gluten-free you can still eat clean - just remember that if you do eat meat and dairy they should be eaten in their natural, unprocessed form.

    Fans of clean eating also say that it can reward you with clearer skin, more energy and deeper sleep. It can also help you lose weight - not surprising as you’ll have ditched processed foods that are often calorie-laden and low on nutrients.

    So how do you get

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  • The world's most EXTREME Christmas food

    The world’s longest yule log? A mince pie that costs £3,000? If you thought your Christmas traditions were extreme, check these out...

    Largest chocolate Santa

    The world's biggest chocolate Santa weighed in at 1,200lbs and contained nearly 3 MILLION calories!

    Executive pastry chef Laurent Branlord made this huge chocolate Santa Claus for a display at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Florida. It weighs 1,200lbs (around 544kg), contains 2,956,818 calories and took 300 hours to finish. A spokesperson from Disney told Yahoo! that every year Laurent Branlord creates an extra chocolate figure to add the to display and this year it was the giant nutcracker to Santa’s right. Bet you’d struggle to get that in your stocking.

    The World’s ‘Most Precious’ Christmas Pudding

    Pastry chef Martin Chiffers is the man behind the world's most precious Christmas pudding, which cost £23,500. [VeryFirstTo.com]

    After offering a £125,000 four-course Christmas dinner last year, luxury website VeryFirstTo.com have something very special on offer this year: the world’s most precious Christmas pudding. The £23,500 pud, which will serve 12 people, is to be created by pastry chef Martin Chiffers. Ingredients include a 200-year old Cognac (costing £10,890 per bottle), Agawa dates, Mamra almonds and other fine alcohols and organic ingredients. And for luck? A gold

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  • Breakfast recipes for slow weekends: Cinnamon doughnuts and sweet potato pancakes

    If you've got some extra time this weekend why not try rustling up one of these tasty treats?

    Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day - so take time over it this weekend with these indulgent breakfast recipes.

    Apple and Cinnamon Mini Doughnuts

    You’ll need a mini doughnut mould to create these bite-sized doughnuts with the classic combination of grated apple and a sticky, cinnamon glaze. They’re oven-baked, not deep-fried - just plonk a batch on the table and see how quickly they disappear.

    Apple and cinnamon mini doughnuts

    Ingredients
    60g plain flour
    30g golden caster sugar
    1 tsp baking powder
    quarter teaspoon cinnamon
    1 apple - peeled, cored and grated
    100ml semi-skimmed milk
    half teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 egg
    20g butter, melted and left to cool slightly

    For the glaze
    4 tbsp icing sugar
    quarter teaspoon cinnamon
    hot water

    Method
    Preheat your oven to 180ºC. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and grated apple. In a jug, mix together the milk, vanilla, egg and butter. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until you get a smooth batter. Scrape the batter into a

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  • For Caribbean Food Week try these tasty recipes with a tropical twist

    Creamy curries, rum-soaked bananas and new ways with jerk seasoning - we love the tropical tastes of the Caribbean, but you don't need a holiday to enjoy them

    It’s Caribbean Food Week next week in the UK (19-25 August) and so you can get involved, we’ve come up with four simple Caribbean-inspired recipes you can make at home.

    Rum bananas, anyone?

    Caribbean Prawn Curry Lettuce Cups
    These lettuce leaves are filled with prawns cooked in a creamy mild Caribbean curry sauce - perfect served as a starter or a light snack. They take just a few minutes to make. Makes 8 cups.Give your curry a health twist in a lettuce leaf [Jo Romero]

    Ingredients:
    1 tsp olive oil
    1 tsp Caribbean Mild Curry Powder
    180g fresh raw, peeled prawns
    2 tbsp coconut cream
    pinch of salt
    quarter tsp dark brown muscovado sugar
    8 little gem or gem heart lettuce leaves, washed and dried
    1 small spring onion, finely sliced
    2 tbsp finely chopped sweet red pepper

    Method:
    Gently heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Stir in the curry powder and fry for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Tip in the prawns, coating them in the spices and then pour in the coconut cream - you just need enough to make a sauce that will cling to the prawns. Add a pinch of

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