Friday, 17 April 2015

Cocktail Friday: Cucumber Mint Margarita

Cocktail Friday: Cucumber Mint Margarita

I fall in and out of love with cocktails the same way I do with certain recipes. Make them too often and they tend to lose their charm – or more accurately I sort of become immune to their charm(s). But if I have a little break from them, they suddenly appear shiny and new again. Take Margaritas for example. Usually my go-to cocktail every summer, I almost forget they exist the rest of the year.

I made some classic Margaritas the other day – purely because I was out of other options spirits-wise – and BOOM totally in love with them again. You know what else I am enamoured with? My little portable photo background my husband made for me. Basically a customised pallet rescued from our kitchen remodel with added wheels, it is perfect for moving around, low enough for easy overhead shots and just a lovely vibrant blue (that was just luck). I only wonder why I didn't do this a year ago. I am now slightly completely obsessed with pallets and their many uses – just take a look at my DIY Pinterest board.

Cocktail Friday: Cucumber Mint Margarita

Anyway, back to Margaritas. This one is a very refreshing blend of cucumber, lime juice, mint, silver tequila and Grand Marnier – perfect for sipping while watching the final episodes of Mad Men.

Cucumber Mint Margarita
Makes 1
60ml | 2fl oz cucumber juice (from about 150g | 5.3oz cucumber)
60ml | 2fl oz silver tequila
30 ml | 1fl oz Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec)
30 ml | 1fl oz fresh lime juice
1 tsp sugar syrup
6 mint leaves, roughly chopped
lime wedge or strip of cucumber to decorate
sea salt to frost the glass

Method
  1. Fill a shallow plate with sea salt. Moisten the rim of a Margarita glass (or a rocks glass, jar etc.) with a lime wedge then dip into the salt to frost the glass.
  2. Coarsely grate the cucumber then use your hands to squeeze out the juice into the cocktail shaker. 
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients and a large handful of ice. Shake until frost forms on the outside of the shaker.
  4. Strain into the prepared glass and decorate with a lime wedge or a strip of cucumber.
Cocktail Friday: Cucumber Mint Margarita


Cocktail Friday: Cucumber Mint Margarita

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Spring pasta with sprouting broccoli and black garlic and Tefal Ingenio giveaway

Spring pasta with sprouting broccoli and black garlic

Paris may be the most romantic city on the planet but a few years ago I managed to get a most unromantic bout of vicious food poisoning while there on a – you guessed it – romantic weekend. I will spare you the horrific details but let's just say that I emerged on a Sunday morning kitten-weak and slightly shell shocked. Determined not to let the events of the night before ruin our last day we stumbled into a wine bar/restaurant. My husband (who had escaped unscathed) ordered a full meal but I pathetically asked for the most basic thing I could handle – plain pasta.

The restaurant owner was most sympathetic and the plain pasta I ordered ended up being an incredibly delicious plate of spaghetti tossed with butter, herbs and a little garlic. To this day whenever I feel under the weather or in need of comfort I remember that dish. Luckily you don't have to be recovering from anything in order to enjoy a plate of carb heaven – and it is an incredibly easy and quick meal to throw together.


Spring pasta with sprouting broccoli and black garlic
Spring pasta with sprouting broccoli and black garlic and Tefal Ingenio giveaway

This time I decided to use the purple sprouting broccoli my neighbour brought over from his garden and the black garlic Sainsbury's had sent me. Basically an aged white garlic that has a much more mellow, molasses-balsamic flavour it adds a sweet/savoury edge to sauces and is highly addictive! You can make this dish with fresh garlic instead – it will have a slightly different, but no less delicious, taste. You can use any spring vegetables instead of the sprouting broccoli – asparagus and peas being ideal replacements. Just make sure not to overcook the vegetables – plunging them in cold water after cooking will help them keep their bright green colour.

Since we moved into the new kitchen I have fallen in love with my Tefal Ingenio set all over again – had to shelve them temporarily while cooking on a portable induction hob. Now I have thrown out all my old pots (such a relief!) and am just using the Ingenio set and a couple of specialist pots and pans. Tefal are offering one very lucky Supergolden Bakes reader the chance to win an amazing 13-piece Tefal Ingenio Induction set worth £180. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for details on how to enter this fab giveaway.


Spring pasta with sprouting broccoli and black garlic

Spring pasta with sprouting broccoli and black garlic
Serves 2 generously
400g | 14oz orecchiette (or pasta shapes of your choice)
200g | 7oz purple sprouting broccoli
60g | 2oz grated Parmesan & more to sprinkle over the dish
3-4 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1 tbsp unsalted butter
splash virgin olive oil
2 cloves black garlic, sliced thinly
squeeze of lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method
  1. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add 1/2 tsp salt. Cook the broccoli until al dente – 3-4 minutes – drain and plunge into cold water. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Rinse and drain then set aside.
  3. Heat a little butter and splash of olive oil in the same pot you used for the pasta. Add the Parmesan, cream, parsley, garlic and lemon juice and stir for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the broccoli and pasta and stir to coat. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a little extra Parmesan coarsely grated over the top.
Notes: add a splash more cream if the dish is looking a little dry.

Spring pasta with sprouting broccoli and black garlic
Spring pasta with sprouting broccoli and black garlic

Disclaimer: I was asked by Sainsbury’s to create a recipe using black garlic and was compensated for the cost of the ingredients.

Win a 13-piece Ingenio set worth £180


Terms and conditions
> Giveaway open to UK residents over the age of 18 only.  
> One winner will receive a 13-piece Tefal Ingenio Induction set worth £180The complete set comprises of: 16 and 20cm saucepans; 22 and 28cm frying pans; a 26cm sauté pan, 26cm wok; 16, 20 and 26cm glass lids; 16 and 20cm plastic lids; two bakelite handles.
> The giveaway ends on the 13th of May at 11:59:59 PM. 
> Please comment on this post first before proceeding with other ways to enter, otherwise your entries will not be valid.
> Entries using an automated process or software to create bulk entries will be disqualified. 
> The winner will be randomly selected, announced in the Gleam giveaway box and contacted via their provided e-mail address shortly afterwards. Please claim your prize within 4 days of being notified.


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