My Love of My Thai @ The Old Steps (26 York Place, LS1 2EY)

The first time I had the pleasure of dining at My Thai  @ The Old Steps was for our 2016 Christmas party.   Before I even knew about the quality of the food, I was thrilled that we were not going for a dried turkey dinner with overcooked vegetables and salty packet gravy – there is nothing worse and  I am sure you’ve all lived that particular festive nightmare.

Fast forward to February 2017 and we needed a fast and tasty lunch. It was then my foodie Genie conjured up a fond memory.  We headed down the steps and entered into this small and cosy food palace.

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My Thai at The Old Steps, 26 York Place

We were greeted with a huge smile and warm welcome from our waitress and were seated opposite the industrious and open kitchen – possibly the best spot in any restaurant for me;  I love watching the relationship between the kitchen and the front of house ; it fascinates me and speaks volumes about a team.

Within a few minutes we had decided and our orders were placed.  A combination of Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fishcakes) and Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, followed by  Crispy Chicken and Tamarind Duck.

I have never been to Thailand so I  cannot authenticate if these delicious fish bites were true to their street food orgins but they were delicious, full of fishy meatiness with a hint of lime and a warm delicate heat from the curry paste.

Our main courses were served almost immediately and we both looked on with jealousy at each others dish.

The Crispy Chicken was as fabulous as I remembered (confession I could not help but order this dish again following my previous visit, not very adventurous I know)  with a slightly spiced and crispy coating surrounding the juicy and tender chunks of chicken.  The garlic sauce was sticky and sweet with super fresh carrots and spring onions running through the dish. The rice was the perfect clean accompaniment.

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Crispy Chicken and Tamarind Duck by My Thai @ The Old Steps

The crispy duck with a tamarind and palm sugar sauce was equally as tasty and David agreed between the two it was hard to hand out a first prize.

Overall the York Place venue is cosy, the team are friendly and super efficient.  The quality of the food and the flavours are outstanding as is the value for money – a  real Winder Winner.

I cannot wait to try the sister venue –  Thai Shack at Wade Lane  – to see how it differs from the Old Steps, I doubt it will be much other than the decor.  I even know which dish I will sample next, when in the words of My Thai  “I leave my pack lunch at home”.

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Louise x

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There’s no place like home – Delmonico Steakhouse (The Venetian, Las Vegas)

Is there anywhere more romantic than the grand canals of Venice for an evening meal?   This was a second visit for me to Delmonico but it meant so much more as my fiancé was experiencing the wonderful food that a Emril Lasagsse restaurant offers.  Not dissimilar to James Martin, Emril learnt his craft in pastry but swiftly moved on to become a world class chef, passionate about ingredients.

Delmonico Steakhouse opened in 1999 and whenever I speak to fellow foodies while on holiday in Vegas they always rave about this place.  It comes as no surprise that one of the best restaurants in Las Vegas is located it this stunning hotel.

We booked for 9pm and had a short walk from the Mirage and wandered through the beautiful italian styled casino.  We arrived slightly ahead of our reservation and joined other diners in the bar area while our table was prepared.

We ordered some pre-dinner drinks and within 5 minutes our hostess led us into the warmly lit dining room.  I often wondered why this function is needed as the young lady did not carry our drinks not really very hospitable.wp-1477429326702.jpg

We were seated in the first room in with a wonderful view of the main restaurant (the kitchens are tucked away here, so no viewings of the Chefs’ in full throttle). We were welcomed to our table by our waiter, Drew, who advised us of the house specialities for that evening and that Michael would be our Maitre’d guiding us through the menu until our order.

The wine list was the most extensive I have ever seen with plenty of choices for the high rollers.   We selected a reasonable priced Argentine Malbec Casarena Reserva 2012 for $45.00.  This wine is produced by Casarena in Mendoza, the largest region in Argentina for the Malbec grape and this wine is known for its big sweet black fruit flavours.

We moved onto the menu, which as you would expect was not as extensive, but offered an excellent selection to please any carnivore.  For us it was an easy choice, we’d come to a steakhouse and we were not going to take a different direction other than maybe a lighter starter.  wp-1486642771230.jpg

The Maitre’d, Michael returned to take our order of Vine Ripened Heirloom Tomato Salad ($18) to share followed by a glorious Chateaubriand with asparagus and smashed garlic potatoes.

Anyone with OCD look away now, as the sight of this cucumber being slightly right of centre might drive you nuts.   wp-1486634843901.jpgThe amouse-bouche (or if you prefer hors d’eouvre ,some say the former is for a bite size portion but I thought the latter was supposed to be bite sized too) was a slice of cucumber with a blackeye-pea humous; a welcome palate cleanser between our cocktails and malbec.

The bread served gave us a smile and a slight chuckle as their “Mushroom Bread” (as announced)  was indeed a Yorkshire Pwp-1486634780945.jpgudding, maybe not the norm but then we are in Vegas and this city anyting but normal.  The Mushroom Bread was served with a salted butter so possibly the most calorific bread basket I’ve ever been had.  I love butter, but even I draw the line at buttering Yorkshire Puddings!

The atmosphere of Delmonico is warm and cosy despite the size of the restaurant and the front of house team are well-balanced in their style between formal and friendly.  Diners ranged from large tables of men only (clearly on a stag celebration; or should I say bachelor) but not so that it interfered with the smaller tables or couples.  We were within one of the larger alcoves with two other couples and as the tables have good spacing you could hear soft conversation without feeling overlooked (unlike Gordon Ramsey Steak at Paris).

The Heirloom Tomato salad was served just in time to hold off our hunger for the main event.  Priced at $18 a plate I had high expectations for this salad with slices of burrata cheese, red onions, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and slithers of fresh basil. Burrata, meaning buttered, gives you a wonderfully creamier texture compared to mozzarella; a cheese often served with tomatoes, but don’t confuse the two as they are different.

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The salad was divine a fabulous mix of tart, sweet and creamy and a serving more than enough for us to share. I would not normally choose tomato based salads but Delominco’s changed my view and certainly set the bar very high.

We were cleared and waited for our Chateuabriand, a fillet which was raised naturally by Creekstones Farm in Kansas (the home of my favourite fictional heroine).  The term naturally raised is what we in the UK call organic, some cattle in North America can be fed growth hormones and feed which is genetically modified.

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Drew arrived centre stage and presented the Chateaubriand and as flambeau work commenced our fellow diners were drawn to the watch the gentle basting of those rich meat juices over our fillet.  I wondered if these diners, who had opted for the larger portioned creole steaks, looked on with intrigue or envy?

This Kansas reared fillet was as good as any I have ever eaten – no wonder Dorothy uttered those immortal words “there’s no place like home”

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The accompaniments were just perfect; the asparagus was crisp and perky in contrast to the smashed potatoes which oozed a salty butter and warm garlic flavour.  As I write this review a month on I swear I can recall every tender bite and flavour of this simple yet glorious meal.

Despite being tempted with a wonderful sweet menu we had no room for dessert and politely declined.  The team at Delmonico thought better and presented us with a complementary sorbet to cleanse our pallets, a lovely touch to end a fantastic dining experience.   The bill was $198 before a gratuity, about £150 at the time of the exchange rate and worth every penny.

I sit on my couch back in England on this cold autumn day dreaming of our return to this fabulous restaurant or to another Emeril Palace.  Just maybe, if I click my heels, I too can return to savour this fine Kansas beef.

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Happy eating

 

You can ring my bell – Eight Bells Inn, Chipping Camden (Church St, GL55 6JG)

We walked into this cosy pub in the heart of beautiful Chipping Camden where a warm welcome was chirped from behind one of the six hand pumped beers.  I thought as we entered, we have stuck gold looking around this low-beamed bar complete with a roaring fire but best of all was the fabulous smell of something delicious being cooked in the kitchen.   On first impressions it seemed impossible to not love this  Cotswolds village inn; please don’t let the food change our first impressions.

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The Eight Bells was a welcome relief after only 50 yards from here we first stumbled into the Lygon Arms, which may be a popular Racing UK venue, but the menu and atmosphere was less than enticing.

We found a table and considered as we were dining at 8.00pm at Charingworth Manor later and it was already 2.00pm we order a lighter lunch of sandwiches, but could not resist a portion of their chips.  The decision to choose sandwiches was not an easy one whilst we watched our fellow diners tuck into a huge Lamb Shank and Hook Norton Beer Battered Cod but we stayed strong.

We ordered a couple of pints of the aforementioned Hooky from Hook Norton  the pubs most local brewery (about 20 miles east) and what a great pint of golden and maltyness. The pub is lovely and we pleased to have found a seat across from the a roaring fire.

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Perfect Pint of Hooky by Hook Norton

Did you know that Hook Norton still deliver to some local pubs by Shire Horse and Dray? If you in the area it would be worth checking the Hook Norton site to see if you can see these beautiful horses in action.

This inn was busy with a gentle hum which felt very calming or maybe it was the pint of Hooky giving the soothing effect – either way we had found a real gem in this corner of the Cotswolds which has a fabulous atmosphere.

Our lunches were served and both were presented neatly with no fuss or garnish on the plate. I’m never sure how I feel about a lack of green on a plate but in the interests of zero waste I trust the Chef to waste any leaves (I hasten to add you can top your order for an extra mix of salad and chips).    The chips were golden and tasty – crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

David loved the Brie and Bacon Ciabatta as it had a great balance of filling to bread and was oozing with hot creamy brie over thick slices of quality back bacon.  What was unexpected was the apple chutney which really added to the mixture and made this creamy, meaty sandwich a ten out of ten for him.

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Brie and bacon ciabatta

The rare roast-beef, was as ordered rare, all too frequently we are promised this but served overcooked but not today.  With lots of peppery rocket, and sweet and spicey horseraddish all in a crunchy ciabatta (did you know ciabatta was commercially only introduced to the UK in 1985 by M&S). This was looking good and it tasted good too but the beef was fighting for its place in the flavour race as it was quite thinly sliced. It was a real shame as they advertise the sandwiches as hearty.  On a positive the beef was tender and of good quality.  Just more slice of beef for the £7.95 would have seemed fairer and given a perfectly filled and balanced sandwich.

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Rare roast beef sandwich

The bill was just under £27 for the two of us before a tip so reasonable value. We really enjoyed our visit to the Eight Bells and next time we are going to Cheltenham we will definitely make a point of calling in and trying their main courses.  If we are organised enough (this pub has 6 gorgeous en-suite rooms which book fast) we would like to stay here so we can sample some more of their excellent kept beer.

So if you are a regular visitor to Cheltenham races I would recommend you put this lovely 17th century inn on your list of considerations, with its beautiful setting and 4 star rooms and a concise and varied menu that is reasonably priced oozes confidence .

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Anzac Biscuits; easier to bake than going to the shops

It was an autumnal Sunday afternoon and after watching Super Sunday, which was a disappointing match (that goal was never offside) I decided we needed cheering up with a cup of tea and a treat.  I could not be bothered to go to the shops for a pack of biscuits on this wet and chilly day so I reached for Mary Berry’s bible to find inspiration.

The first one I turned to was Anzac Biscuits.  It was fate as these are childhood favourites of mine and Mum used to make these moreish biscuits on a regular basis. I probably have not eaten these since I was in primary school. These biscuits are now all about comaraderie and the were originally  baked in Australia and New Zealand to honour the soldiers from the battle of Gallipoli. They were great to bake during rationing as the binding agent is syrup instead of eggs and they are super easy to make without any kitchen wizardry. 

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I fired up the oven and greased my fabulous Bake-Off baking sheet; I love this adonised aluminium baking sheet and really regret not buying another back in 2015.

The ingredients you will need are:

  • 150g (5oz) butter cubed (to speed up dissolving)
  • 1 dessert spoon of Golden Syrup
  • 1 dessert spoon of Maple Syrup
  • 175g (6oz) Sugar (split between Demerara and Golden Caster)
  • 75g (3oz) Self-raising flour
  • 75g (3oz) desiccated coconut
  • 100g (4oz) porridge oats
  • Equipment you will need are 3 baking sheets, small or medium pan, cooling racks and small palette knife or spatula.

The method is so simple, it’s easier than going to the shops to buy biscuits – just follow these steps:

  1. Turn your oven on to setting 160°c fan or gas mark 6
  2. Lightly grease 3 baking sheets
  3. Melt the butter, sugars and syrups in a pan and melt until melted / dissolved
  4. Add the dry ingredients (SR flour, coconut, porridge oats)
  5. Mix your dry into your wet ingredients and stir until combined well
  6. Spoon a heaped teaspoon onto trays (about 9 per tray) and pressing each one with the back of a spoon to flatten slightly.wp-1477239462139.jpg
  7. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Once baked (edges will be a golden brown) leave for 2 minutes to cool slightly before moving onto your cooling racks.

Store in an air tight container if you can resist eating them all before they have cooled.

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Louise x

 

Broadway Burger Bar and Grill – New York New York Hotel & Casino Vegas

Our trip to New York started by a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and a win on our favorite slot The Big Bang Theory which delivered $13.20 of a $5 bet, a good start to the evening. As we roamed the streets of NY NY seeking a cheap eat (as cheap as you can get in Vegas) we liked the look of the Broadway Burger Bar and Grill so we rolled the dice and took a chance.

Where else in the world can you  be in two cities in one city.

There were already quite a few large parties seated looking happy with their meals and the diner had a nice buzz.  We were seated and the waitress explained about the menu which was quite extensive and nearly as long as the condiments list – I’ve never seen one of these before but I like the concept. I love to load up a cheeseburger with my holy trinity of ketchup, mustard and mayo.  The only issue being there  was not a pen in sight to complete the form you are supposed to hand to your server – a minor detail.

Drinks were ordered with a Sterling Sauvignon Blanc at $9 (it was delicious, with a lovely fruity and pear flavour) and  Sam Adams Boston Lager at $6.50 – the best price we’ve seen this beer at so far.

Jess our server was quick and friendly as we find is common place in America .  I was teetering between the Philly Cheese Steak and The Cowboy and decided to go with the former as its one of my favorite all time american sandwiches.  David ordered the Turkey and Brie with a white balsamic onion marmalade and our sides were the Buttermilk Onion Rings ($4.50) and Hand Cut French Fries ($3.50) ( call me a cynic but I struggle to believe these will not be factory cut).

The Philly Cheese Steak is an Estancia burger topped with shaved rib-eye steak, sweet peppers, onions and provolone cheese.   Estancia is essential free range meat which is hormone free and grass fed.

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It took 15 minutes from order to table. David loved the Turkey burger, it was super juicy with the Turkey well seasoned and moist with enough brie not to overpower just compliment the paring.

The Philly was made up of good ingredients but the balance was wrong, it needed more cheese less meat – crazy I know coming form a true carnivore but it just didn’t pay homage to a true Philly Cheese Steak.

It just did not have that “drip” factor.

The meat was tasty but could have been juicier with a better balance between the meat and the cheese. The onions were not sweet enough.

We paid $51.75  for the bill and the diner asked for a minimum of 16 % service charge which is a bit steep for a burger,basically a one hit service ride. So all things considered would we go back?  Not in a New York minute as down the road at Hash House A Go Go you get way more burger for your buck.

MacMillan Bakeathon

I never need an excuse to hone my technical skills so this the MacMillan Coffee Morning was a great opportunity to practice and develop my baking skill. As I was away on the Coffee Morning I decided to bake twice a week leading up the worlds biggest coffee morning.

The first offering was a classic Victoria Sponge, which turned out better than I expected for a first attempt.

I did the all in one method using

225g self raising flour

225g Stork

225g golden caster sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

I was unsure as of my bake mixture  and in my panic and added an extra egg yolk.

It was layered with fresh strawberries and a white chocolate topping.

First Victoria Sponge with a twist
First Victoria Sponge with a twist

However I would say there is no other jam to use than the delicious Tip Tree Raspberry Seedless Jam.

With just jam
Victoria Sponge

So the next Victoria Sponge was baked and this time ensured all the ingredients weighed 225g  using only Tip Tree as a filling.  It still was good but personally I think the extra egg in the first bake really stole the show – others thought not.

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As I had chocolate icing left over I made fairy buns to use this up. I loved these little sponges I just wished I’d put some jam into the centre.

Fairy Cakes
Fairy’s

Next two bakes were my signature bake Banana, chocolate & Pecan Loaf, with my twist of adding Maple Syrup, I usually add 2 tablespoons this time I added 4 of Clark’s Maple Syrup.

Banana loaf with Lindt Chocolate
Victoria Sponge

Over two weeks and four bakes we raised fifty pounds sterling, and probably added a few to our waistlines but I’m sure all who contributed feel good for donated to MacMillian.

This also helped me decided that from now on when baking is taken into the office I will ask for a donation with every slice

Thank you for all your support and if you like my blog or just love looking at food you can follow me on Twitter #EatBakeBlog or Instagram.

Louise

NB : Funds are registered under number  32734220

 

Handmade Burger co (Trinity Walk WF1 1QU) 

Needs must sometimes and hunger drove our needs today.  

After supporting the Crofton Library Craft Fair we headed into Wakefield for a bout of pre holiday  shopping. Sadly the two independent cafés were closed so we headed into Handmade Burger Co. 

We were greeted and seated swiftly by our smiley waitress and were offered a run down of how the ordering works, how you can tailor your burger as they are all made to order.

My choice was easy, I opted for the organic offering – Jimmy’s Beef Cheese Classic. I hope it lives up to my expectations.  I was intrigued by the Yorkie burger but i resisted  and played it safe (burger encased in two Yorkshire Puddings).

Drinks were priced as you’d expect at  £4.95 for a Pinto Grigio Rose for 175ml and  £2.85 for the bottomless soft drink..

The burger arrived..

First impressions were good and the escaped chunk of burger I tasted had good flavour just not juicy. My first bite was owned by the amount of onion relish /marmalade dolloped on the burger which was obscene. Once scrapped off,  with the cheese revealed I could taste the burger and my first impressions remained decent flavour but quite dry.

I think the bun could have been better as it crumbled a bit as I tucked in or maybe they could toast the bun that stops the rot. Speaking of rot, not so fond of lettuce which is ready for its new life in the composting bin (see exhibit A).  There was a need for better salad toppings; maybe big beefy tomatoe but this is not a deal breaker.

Overall despite some flaws this is better that GBK and as most chain restaurants the meal priced for two mains with drinks at £28.95 in a city centre is about average centre.   I ewould revisit in a moment of hunger but it’s not going to be a regular haunt.

If you like my blog you can follow me on Twitter.

Louise x

Sam Smiths Spread Eagle (Nostell/Wragby Wakefield) This is no euphemism 

It was a hot summer bank holiday (yes you read correctly) and a restless couple recovering from a busy family weekend felt indecisive. Then in a moment of clarity and a desire to enjoy this sun we headed to Nostell  Priory on foot to walk in their beautiful grounds.  We set off then after about 15 minutes and despite all good intentions and previous refusals, I was convinced we should try the Spread Eagle for lunch.  My hesitation was maybe unjust but I had they worst glass of red wine in a Sam Smiths pub in Durham; and I have drunk Retsina.  We headed into the pub and out into the beer garden to find a bench with a wonderful views.

We ordered two pints, one being a beer shandy for myself as there was really no other choice as I find the Sam Smiths range of soft drinks dreadful.   We had already agreed we would play it safe with a cold lunch, despite the pull of a venison burger, we ordered two sandwiches – resisting a bag of crisps (my achilles heel, if you thought Brad Pitt played a weak man, well trust me, he ain’t got nothing on me when it comes to those bags of saturated fat).

Our sandwiches, tuna fish and a ham salad, were delivered to our table about 15 minutes later by a smiley and helpful young lady.  Both sandwiches were presented pleasantly, had an unexpected garnish of crisps and salad (bang goes my syn limit for the weekend – put it in front of me and I will eat it).

The granary bread has a great crunchy crust and held its own against my hungry grip, and tasted as good.  Both we filled well and topped with fresh and crisp salad – a real winner and a pleasant surprise.

 We had two pints for under a fiver – a true bargain; the Yorkshireness is taking over in this Cheshire imigrant.

Lovely view.

Summer time pints at the Spread Eagle

 

The proof in the pudding will be when we visit to try their Sunday lunch – to me this is the true test of a good pub as if you cannot offer a good sandwich, pie and roast dinner you should not be offering food.

We enjoyed our visit to the Spread Eagle as the pub is clean, has good staff (whom clearly take pride in their work) and it offers good pub food at a reasonable price and would recommend if you are visiting the local area and are in need of a refreshment you consider this pub.

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Bèarnaise Sauce; it holds no fear anymore.

I made this delicious herby buttery sauce for the 3rd time last night for my Dad’s birthday meal.  Each time I have made this it has held some mystery to me – from when it has gone wrong and split –  to when it has worked.  The reason being I have not noted doing anything differently at each time which was probably down to rushing as I was trying to cook the sauce at the same time as the main. I have now learnt to take a breath and make the Bèarnaise in advance.

I first made Béarnaise for David as it’s his favourite sauce which had been ruined by a memory of an insipid and cold serving from the extremely expensive and disappointing RARE (which quelle surprise has since closed its restaurant) and we needed to erase this food memory.

I am a fan of James Martin’s, but for love nor money I can’t find in our selection of supermarkets Tarragon Vinegar which he recommends.  But this is not a problem as my second ever cook book, Nigel Slater’s Real Food has a recipe which uses White Wine Vinegar and Aspalls is a store cupboard staple in our house (two words, Rioja grapes).  If you are a foodie or enjoy a good blog I like Henry Chervallier Guild’s who some describe as an uppercrust hippy.  Its amazing what learning journey’s food takes us on.

What I love most about the Aspall brand is that their ciders have been made since 1728  and have remained in their family for 8 generations making them the 10th oldest family business in the UK – I always feel good supporting an independent business.

So what next…

The method is quite easy it just needs some speed and patience.

Do all your prep – get your bain-marie ready by placing the bowl over a good two inches of simmering water, separate your eggs, wash and chop the tarragon, peel and finely dice the shallot.

Ensuring you have everything ready makes this process less stressful.

Equipment essential to this dish:  ballon whisk, glass bowl (that sits comfortable on a pan to make a bain-marie), small non-stick milk pan, chopping board and a sharp knife.

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Ingredients

  • banana shallot – sliced and diced finely
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons of Aspall white wine vinegar
  • teaspoon of dried tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • teaspoon of Maille Dijon mustard
  • 150g almost melted butter (I personally use melted)
  • Handful chopped tarragon (use more or less to your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Maldon Sea Salt.

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Fresh tarragon before getting the chop

  1. Place the shallot, whole peppercorns, dried tarragon,  white wine vinegar and water into the small pan
  2. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer to reduce this by half (it only takes about 2 minutes)
  3. Take the reduction off the heat.
  4. Put your two egg yolks into the glass bowl  and whisk quickly together then add the Dijon mustard and mix in.
  5. Next strain the reduction into the eggs leaving the solids behind.
  6. Mix and keep whisking then start adding the melted butter, quickly whisking, adding small amounts, regularly, whisking each addition of butter well.

    The sauce should start to thicken, looking smooth at all times and eventually looking like a rich custard

  7. Keep whisking thorough each addition of butter , until you have added it all; but leaving the milky residue behind (don’t panic if the butter does not separate clearly,  as I have never felt this has impacted on the Bèarnaise)
  8. Remove from the heat and take a spoon and fold in your fresh tarragon adding a good pinch of salt – taste and add more seasoning if required
  9. Add to a warmed bowl and serve20160828_185117.jpg

I recommend you make this in advance of your meal as it will stand nicely at room temperature.

We love this with any cut of steak and I made this on Sunday night to use up the tarragon. We had this with a delicious Ribeye steak from Farmer Copleys or why not do as Nigel Slater suggests and simply enjoy with chips as a dip.

If you like my blog you can follow me by clicking on the links below or via twitter and instagram

Louise xx

EatBakeBlogGB


 

The Great British Bake Off is back and I can’t stop baking

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It started last week when my countdown was at 7 days.  First to be baked was Lemon Drizzle which was a first.  Little did I know Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were about to set the same challenge.   Not content with my first attempt at Lemon Drizzle I baked it again, this time making the drizzle a thicker consistency, achieving this by using smaller lemons which of course gave less juice and giving me a great crunchy zesty topping.

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Lemon Drizzle –

Then I spotted the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong run by The Baking Nana and Robert Allen and that just got me inspired further.    The first challenge was a Victoria Sponge – a cake I had not baked since 2009; so I was a little bit rusty.   The timing for this was great, as Linda my colleague had baked a recipe that I had been threatening to copy it for weeks.  I dusted off (well not literally) my cake tins and warmed up the oven.

The cakes went in and I waited impatiently starring into my oven waiting for that moment they looked that beautiful golden colour.

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Victoria sponge in the making

The baking part was easy but the icing was tougher.  It was a white chocolate icing which despite following the recipe to the gram was too runny.

I added more icing sugar and reached a consistency I was happy with and hey presto.  This cake was sold at work slice-by-slice to raise money for MacMillan’s Coffee Morning which I plan to bake for every week until the 30th.

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So what next, well I had white chocolate icing left so on Monday evening I decided to make some Fairy Cakes and top these off with the leftover icing.

My only regret is that I didn’t cut out and insert some strawberry jam.  These little cakes went down well at work and helped top up the funds.

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Fairy cakes – bargain at 50 pence

Wednesday came and it was GBBO day I thought enough baking I will just enjoy watching but its difficult when you’ve come home to find some less than pert bananas.

Oven on, Kenwood out and banana’s mashed I added some Coconut Flour to my usual recipe.

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Coconut Flour added to my Banana Loaf

I loved this new combination and will definitely be experimenting further with coconut and try and make a gluten free cake at some point.

To really push myself I am going to try and make a drizzle loafs as a tribute to a Bounty Bar if you see the standard on #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong you understand why I need to start pushing myself harder.

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Thanks for reading and please leave any comments below – happy baking.

Louise