Friday, 25 July 2014

Taste Test: Walkers Crisps - The 'Do Us A Flavour' Finalists

So. Remember when Walkers launched a contest for the public to come up with some unique crisp flavours? And they would pay the winner £1 million? 

Well, the finalists have now been chosen - after David Walliams and Marco Pierre White put their heads together to come up with the final 6 flavours. (Mine wasn't in there. Booooo.)

The final crisp flavours are: 

Sizzling Steak Fajita
Chip Shop Chicken Curry
Cheesy Beans on Toast
Ranch Raccoon
Hot Dog with Tomato Ketchup
Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce

Walkers sent us a packet of each for us to have a nibble on and try them for ourselves. We gathered around the table, broke open the packets and tentatively nibbled on each one. 

The Chip Shop Chicken Curry was mild, and sweet - the flavour is exactly like chip shop curry - and was one of our all-round favourites. I loved the flavour of the Sizzling Steak Fajita - beefy but you can taste the flavour from the peppers and spices. Quite a complex crisp flavour, with a lot going on, which was why it was my personal favourite.  

Cheesy Beans on Toast was a bit of a head scratcher for all of us. When you crave beans and cheese on toast, isn't it the texture of the soft beans, the silky sauce and the oozy melted cheese that have as much allure as the actual flavour? The crisp tasted exactly like beans and cheese, but I wasn't sure that it worked for me as a crisp flavour. My nine-year old loved it, though, although she agreed it was a bit weird missing the texture. 

Ranch Raccoon was my 6-year old's favourite - it was kind of creamy in flavour, a bit like soured cream flavoured crisps - and, we had to admit - it was a good tasting crisp, even if none of us knew what a raccoon actually tasted like. 

The Hot Dog with Tomato Ketchup was towards the bottom of the list - everyone thought that although you could find the pink-frankfurter flavour in there, it tasted predominantly of tomato. A bit like a stronger version of a prawn cocktail crisp. Not one I would probably look out for in the shops, to be honest.

My husband liked the Pulled Pork flavour the best - you could taste some roasty porkiness, and definitely a barbecue sauce flavour - it works well as a crisp flavour, too. 

Have you tried any of the finalists' crisp flavours? Which are your favourites? 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Breakfast Pork and Leek Burgers

I love these burgers. They're made from good pork mince but taste like sausages. It's great if you're looking to cut down a bit on your processed meat but still have a sausage craving.

These burgers are paleo, dairy-free, AIP compliant and gluten-free and they just take a few minutes to cook.

aip paleo pork and leek burgers

Breakfast Pork and Leek Burgers
Makes 4
1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely
1 tsp coconut oil
pinch of salt
1 leek, trimmed, washed and finely sliced
400g pork mince
good pinch of mace
pinch of sage

Fry the onion in the coconut oil, with the salt, until softened. Add the leek, and continue to cook, until the leek has started to soften too. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and leave to cool. 

Once completely cooled, add the pork mince, the mace and the sage, and mix well. Combine to form patties, and fry them for 5-6 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Gorgeous with a fried egg and beautiful with greens. Veggies for breakfast? 

You betcha. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Dulce de Leche Stuffed Chocolate Churro Bites

THIS is what I am talking about. 

Mini churros filled with dulce de leche and then dipped in a mixture of dark and milk chocolate. We ate long, crispy churros in Argentina last year that had been filled with dulce de leche repostero and then coated completely in chocolate.

The recipe for the actual churro batter comes from Nigella - in her book Kitchen, which was in turn, adapted from a recipe by Thomasina Miers. It's a brilliant, easy recipe. Most churro recipes need you to make a sort of buñuelo mixture by heating up and beating flour, butter, water and eggs - but hers is just a quick whisk in a bowl and then a squeeze out of a piping bag. 

Nigella uses a large star-shaped nozzle for hers, I've used a Wilton 1M piping nozzle, that I use for piping swirls onto cupcakes. It's intentional: I wanted the churros to be 'one-bite-wonders, rather than the long, ridged spindly ones that are more traditional. Also, that way you get a good filling of dulce de leche. And don't worry about how you get the dulce de leche into the churros. It's easy. 

You could dip the churro bites into dark or milk chocolate if you prefer - I like to use a mixture of both.  

Dulce de Leche Stuffed Churro Bites
Makes about 30
Nigella's churro mixture (don't bother with the cinnamon and sugar - you won't need it for this)
oil, for deep-frying
approx 200g dulce de leche caramel
100g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate

Make up the churro mixture as per Nigella's instructions, leaving out the bit where you mix the cinnamon and sugar together - you won't need it. Scrape the thick dough into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M nozzle - a large, star-shaped nozzle you might usually use for icing your cupcakes. 

Fill a smallish saucepan with the deep-frying oil, so it comes up to about two-thirds up the sides. Heat it up to 170ºC, or until a little dollop of batter sizzles and turns golden. Dangle the piping bag carefully over the saucepan and squeeze and then snip little 'bites' off and into the oil. Aim for them to be about 2cm in length. Drop them in fairly close to the pan so they don't splash. The oil will be very hot. Cook them in batches of about 5-6. 

As they turn crisp and golden in the oil - they'll take just a couple of minutes - fish them out with a slotted spoon and onto a waiting plate lined with kitchen paper, to soak up any excess oil. Let them cool, and once they're all done, turn off the heat under the oil. 

Next, once the churro bites are cooled, get a skewer and make a little hole at one end of each churro bite - wiggling it around so you have somewhere to squeeze the dulce de leche into. Don't push all the way through, just about two-thirds of the way in. Scrape the dulce de leche into a second piping bag fitted with a small nozzle - the kind you might write names on birthday cakes with. Twist the top, and then pipe dulce de leche into the hole you made with the skewer, pulling it out slowly as you squeeze. Arrange on a plate. 

Finally, melt the two types of chocolate together, either slowly in a microwave or over a pan of simmering water, and then dip the churro bites in, so the chocolate comes up just about half-way. Place on greaseproof paper to dry. Serve when the chocolate is set. 

The churros are best eaten on the day they're made - if you try and store them in the fridge for the next day, they'll go soggy. 

Notes: You can also buy chocolate dulce de leche - if you can get hold of this, just stuff them with this and skip the chocolate coating. Or, after stuffing, you could just roll them in cinnamon sugar. 


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