The wonders of the onion ring

What's Cooking - Onion Rings

From time to time whilst cooking the mundane mid week meal, the one that is created from the stuff found in the cupboard and or fridge… you know the type of meal I mean, these are the ones often dictated by the “use by date” nearest to passing the point at which the urge to put it in the bin surpasses the urge to put it in your mouth….

… the resulting meal can often be found to be uninspiring and lacking that something….

Enter a little quick ten minute wonder, the humble onion ring. Often forgotten unless a steak is in the offering, these little crunchy wonders can be a pure heavenly delight that causes you to stop talking and let out a quiet sigh of contentment. Oh and did I mention that they are super easy to make!

The extensive list of ingredients includes:

  • 1 large onion (the larger the better)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 bowls for the above
  • Oil for frying

Method:

Peel and slice your onions starting from the tip and working towards the base so you can separate the slices into rings.

In bowl one put the egg and give it a quick whisk, in the second bowl put the flour and in the last bowl put the breadcrumbs.

The wonders of the onion ring

Take a ring of onion and dust it in the flour bowl and then straight into the whisked egg and make sure it’s fully covered in the egg. Finally into the bread crumbs, make sure to cover the ring and gentle press down to aid the crumbs attaching to your onion ring.

Place the finished ring onto a large flat tray and grab your next one. Repeat the process till you have a nice big tray of crumb encrusted rings and then place the entire tray into the fridge.

Heat up the oil in a deep heavy based saucepan or your chip pan. Ideally if you have a thermometer we are looking for 180C as this is the best temperature for ensuring crispy onion rings.

The wonders of the onion ring - time to get golden

Top tip: cook them in small batches as you don’t want the temperature of the oil to drop too much or you will lose the crispiness and end up with those horrible slimy pale things no one wants to eat.

Fry them till they are a nice golden colour, this will take about 3-5 minutes depending on how thickly you cut the rings at the start.

Pile them high and add to the meal you are cooking that was lacking and as if by magic the meal will be lacking no more and even the mundane will become awesome!

What's Cooking - Onion Rings.

Did you ever try onion rings made at home?

What’s Cooking – French Onion Soup

What’s Cooking – French Onion Soup

We all know that food is extremely important and it can determine how we feel and how we act. Good nutritional meals can help us stay in good form for longer. But what about people in assisted living; what do they get to eat? Well, as I just discovered some of the lucky ones get some pretty tasty food 😉

Sunrise Care asked me to try something from their menu. From their extensive selection of dishes that include: Beef Bourguignon, Bread & Butter Pudding, Crème Brûlée, Fish & Chips, French Onion Soup, Fillet of Sea Bream with Salsa, Smoked Chicken & Orange Salad, Smoked Paprika & Red Onion Chicken, Smoked Salmon & Egg Platter or Tomato & Basil Risotto, we decided to give the humble French Onion soup a try!

I must admit it was the perfect choice. The soup is extremely tasty with a rich velvety consistency and a full mouth flavour, the onions just seem to melt in your mouth. For a dish that epitomises the “just one more spoonful” approach to eating it actually came as a big surprise from a meal that doesn’t take all they long to prepare.

So what do we need to make this humble yet absolutely gorgeous soup? The ingredients as stated below will serve 4:

  • 15g butter
  • 1½ Spanish onions
  • 20ml sunflower oil
  • 30ml sherry
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 625ml beef stock
  • 15g cornflour
  • 5ml Worcestershire Sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1tsp of gravy granules

Method:

Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions, and sauté them for 2 minutes.

Then add the sherry and thyme (we didn’t have any fresh so we had to settle for dried).

Cook for a while until reduced by half in order to cook off the alcohol.

Add the butter and stock. Bring to the boil and hold simmering, covered for 30-35 minutes.

Mix the cornflour and Worcestershire Sauce together with a little bit of water until you have nice smooth paste.

Whisk the paste into the soup, and return it to a simmering state for another 10 minutes.

Whisk in the gravy granules and season to taste.

Normally French Onion Soup is served with cheesy croutons. You can use a ciabatta bread, cut it into 4 slices and grill both sides until light golden in colour. Top with parmesan cheese and finish under the grill for 1 minute. This is the easy option 😉

We went for a twist on our Cheese and Onion Rolls. This time they were made with tomato paste, bacon and of course cheese. They made a perfect addition into our soup!

What’s Cooking - French Onion Soup

So, what do you think?

Would you be happy to see a meal like this on your plate?

*I was provided with a small payment to cover the cost of cooking ingredients.

What’s Cooking – Breakfast Cheese and Onion Rolls

What’s Cooking – Breakfast Cheese and Onion Rolls

This is a special request recipe.

A good friend of mine (Paul yes that would be you), saw one of my posts in which I described what we were cooking when Iwona from Smakowite Jadlo was here… one of the items on the menu were Breakfast Cheese and Onion Rolls. Apparently he searched for the full recipe in hope of baking some, but the recipe was nowhere to be found… not surprised really as I never actually posted it… ooops. Anyway when I saw him last time he was clearly not impressed with me or my omission, so here you go Paul – this is especially for you 🙂

Breakfast Cheese and Onions Rolls

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 2tbsp flour
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 20g fresh yeast
  • 125ml milk

Additional:

  • 300g flour
  • 2tbsp melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk for egg wash

Stuffing:

  • 2 large onions
  • 100g cheese
  • Pinch of marjoram
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Pepper to taste
  • Butter for frying

Method:

Combine the fresh yeast with sugar, 2tbsp of flour and 125ml of milk and mix well in order to remove all lumps. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place to begin to rise for 15-20 minutes.

Gently melt the butter and combine with the eggs and whisk.

Into a large bowl put 300g of flour, the lightly beaten egg/butter mix, a pinch of salt as well as the starter dough and start to combine to form a ball of dough.

Knead the dough in the bowl until it doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl. Form a nice ball, cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for around 1 hour to rise.

Whilst the dough is raising this is the perfect time to prepare the stuffing.

Chop the onions into small pieces and fry slightly in some butter on a low heat. Do not let them change colour we just want to soften them.

Grate the cheese. The cheese will define flavour of your rolls so pick something you like and enjoy. We went for a lovely Swedish cheese from Västerbottensost.

Chop the herbs if you are using fresh ones.

Go make a cup of tea and relax for a while.

Breakfast Cheese and Onion Rolls.

When the dough has doubled in size remove from the bowl and place on a lightly dusted surface and work it a little with your hands. When ready roll out to achieve a thin flat base, ideally in the shape of a rectangular. Spread your onions evenly on top of the dough and then sprinkle with grated cheese. Add spices/herbs to taste but be very careful with the salt. If your cheese is quite strong tasting I would advice to skip the salt all together.

Now you need to roll everything up into a log. Starting with the long side, use a palette knife to raise the edge so you can grab it. Fold it over on top and then with flat hands gently roll it all up.

Breakfast Cheese and Onion Rolls

With a sharp knife cut the log into small slices roughly a couple of cm wide and place into a baking frame. Again cover with a damp cloth and set aside to rise for another 15-20 minutes.

Paint all the tops with some egg wash and bake in the middle of the oven you preheated earlier to 180C, for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm.

What’s Cooking - Breakfast Cheese and Onion Rolls

*Pictures credit: Iwona from Smakowite Jadlo

Who / What Am I? 26/09

Today was a strange day for me. It was filled with very mixed emotions ranging from huge sadness to pure joy. I had no idea that such an emotional rollercoaster could be so exhausting. Thus we had a need to turn on some comfort TV, just so we could stare at something. Do you know what we picked? We chose to watch “West Wing”. It might sound like a weird choice for some of you but if you have ever watched the series you will know why we picked it. It is packed with people you care about and despite the fact that it is about US politics we find it very comforting.

I have an extremely exciting project “brewing” in the near future, but I am quite unsure at this point if I can talk about it, so I will have to wait few a few more weeks before I can start blabbing all about it.

By the way before I forget I won that breakfast challenge, so a huge, huge “Thank You” to anyone who voted for my breakfast pancake recipe.

Oh, and you know what… my crisp sarnie won a Seabrook crisps’ competition and we are going to be on a billboard 🙂 How cool is that!

In regards to last week’s picture you guys had some awesome guesses. I must agree it does look a bit like a sweetie but of course it isn’t one. Have a look now at what the full shot looks like:

Who What Am I answer to 19 09Who What Am I cut out answer to 19 09

And now if you still don’t know what this is I will explain.

It was actually a little daft of me just to take a close up shot without using any wide view but now it is too late to fix it. The picture is of a spring onion in bloom. We had some onions which had started to grow green bits in our pantry so we decided to plant them… then left for too long in the plant pot they had now developed a flower, which looks just like the picture above.

This week I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for you something special, so I will share what I have and let’s hope it will give you something to think about, after all the ones I spend hours deliberating over you sometimes guess immediately, so let us see how you handle a snap decision…

Who / What Am I?

Who What Am I 26 09

Have a great weekend everyone.

What’s Cooking – Layer Potato Bake with Sausage, Mushroom & Onion

Layer Potato Bake with Sausage, Mushroom & Onion

This is a recipe my Mum used to make from time to time, and now that I am all grown up I make it… from time to time; though not often enough according to Mark 🙂

My Layer Potato Bake includes sausages, mushrooms and onions but you can adapt it to suit your needs. If you don’t have or don’t like sausage stick some bacon in… Not a fan of bacon? Not a biggie, just skip the meat part entirely and make a veggie version.

In a minute I will give you just one of the possibilities but really the filling options are endless and it is really up to you what you will stick between the potato layers. Some of our other favourites used in variation of this recipe are: peppers, sweet corn, grilled chicken, tomatoes and basil (not all at once, let’s just make that clear)

Ingredients list to make my Sausage, Mushroom & Onion version of Layer Potato Bake:

  • 12 large potatoes
  • 3 Polish sausages (they were called Śląska)
  • 3 large onions
  • 150g mushrooms (any mushrooms but field ones are the best)
  • 150g spicy cheddar cheese
  • 100g grated mozzarella cheese
  • Salt, pepper, sweet paprika to taste
  • Splash of olive oil for frying

Method:

We have to start with the potatoes. Peel and part boil them whole but ensure you just part boil; they can’t be overcook as you will not be able to slice them. I normally cook them for 15 minutes counting from the moment the water started to boil in my pot. Of course don’t forget to add salt into your potatoes for enhanced flavour.

Once they are cooked, drain and put them aside to cool and turn your oven on to 180C.

Now, it is time to start working on the rest of the filling.

Chop sausages, onions and mushrooms and get ready to fry them a bit.

Normally I would start with sausages. They are a bit fatty so I will have a nice amount of fat in my frying pan to fry the onions in. Just in case there isn’t enough add some olive oil. Fry your onions until lightly coloured, after 5 minutes add mushrooms. Just before the onions and mushrooms are ready add your spices – in my case I only use salt, fresh cracked pepper and sweet paprika.

Depending on the cheese you have, you might want to grate it or cut it into fine chunks. This time I used grated mozzarella (leftover after pizza night) and sliced spicy cheddar, which I cut into small cubes.

Now, it should be the perfect time to slice our potatoes. Ideally you want them about 0.5cm thick. Once all chopping is done, let’s build 🙂

Oh, you will need an oven proof dish with a lid. Add a little bit of olive oil, just to grease the bottom to avoid any potatoes sticking into it.

Layer Potato Bake with Sausage, Mushroom & Onion..

Step one: layer of potatoes.

Step two: layer of onion and mushroom mix.

Step three: layer of sausage.

Step four: layer of cheese

Repeat 🙂

You can add a little bit of cheeses on top of your potato layer as well if you want, I added some mozzarella at this point. You just keep filling until you run out of ingredients, but remember a potato layer needs to be second to last and then a pile of cheese on top to finish the dish.

Layer Potato Bake with Sausage, Mushroom & Onion...

Bake in the over covered for about 1hour. 45minutes into your bake remove the lid to allow the cheese to crisp on top.

Layer Potato Bake with Sausage, Mushroom & Onion.

Serve with salad… or not 😉

The bake can be a bit messy when you take it out of the oven. Everything is freshly cooked and it might not keep its form, but after few hours when everything is nice and cool, you will be able to cut a perfect piece and it should keep its shape… This way you can use it as a packed lunch for next day. Just pop into a microwave for few minutes and job jobbed… lunch is served.

Layer Potato Bake with Sausage, Mushroom and Onion

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