Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nora's Broccoli & Cream Cheese Crumble

This is so quick and simple to make I didn't even get round to taking a photo :O(
Some Broccoli, Yesterday.

My best friend was recently involved in a serious motorcycle collision with a car after the driver decided to perform a U-turn in the road with no warning. The good news is my friend is now well on the way to making a fantastic recovery.

The reason for this little tale is that whilst staying with his family during the early days after the accident (helping out with hospital trip transport etc and general, friendly support) my friends mum - Nora - cooked a broccoli bake to have as a side dish with a BBQ one evening.

At the time I figured Broccoli Bake was Broccoli Bake (ie the scourge of early days vegetarian pub food) but the smells drifting from the kitchen soon peaked my interest...

After my first mouthful I was well and truly hooked! totally delicious so here it is:

Serves 6 as a side dish - 3 as a main - or 1 if it's me :O)
  • Two large broccoli heads - rinsed & broken into small florets
  • 300g Cream Cheese - Philadelphia if you're really posh but I just use my supermarkets own brand.
  • 300g Unsalted Butter
  • 400g TUC crackers (rectangular cheesy biscuits) - crumbled finely
  1. Steam the broccoli until tender.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to around 190C while you carry on with the rest.
  3. Melt the cream cheese and butter together in a pan (or microwave in a plastic bowl).
  4. Mix the broccoli with the cheese butter mixture and combine - allow the broccoli to break apart a bit.
  5. Add the mixture to an oven dish and sprinkle liberally with the cheese biscuit crumbs.
  6. Place in the oven on a low shelf for around 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  7. Eat.
  8. Make more...
  9. Eat again :O)
My friend continues to make progress and even though I had to return home after a month my thoughts are still with him and his family. Thanks again to Nora for this quick, easy & delicious broccoli bake.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Delicious Party Chicken Drumsticks

I'm currently back home in the UK for my Father in law's 60th birthday and my wife and I were asked to help out with some of the catering for the buffet.

Having been the victim of awful, dry and tasteless chicken in the past at buffets I quickly decided I wanted to make some drumsticks with a difference. They would be served cold but I wanted them to be not only succulent and moist but also have a unique flavour.

The secret here is not just the marinade but also several bastes with the juices during the cooking as well as turning the drumsticks.


  • ZipLoc bags or a large, lidded bowl - to marinade the chicken.
  • A roasting tray - or several depending on the amount you're cooking.
  • A cooling rack.
  • Some tin foil (alu foil).
  • Glass jug.
  • Basting pump thing - I don't bother with one of these I tend to pour the juices from the tray into the jug and then pour it back over maybe giving it a brush too.


For the marinade - for 80 drumsticks
  • 2 litres apple juice
  • 1 bottle maple syrup
  • 3 sticks cinnamon roughly broken
  • 2-3 tablespoons muscavado sugar dissolved in hot water
  • 10-20 cloves of garlic - up to you how garlicky - peeled or unpeeled and crushed
  • Olive oil - a good splash - maybe 4 to5 tablespoons
  • Soy sauce - 4 to 5 tablespoons
  • Malt vinegar - 1 to 2 tablespoons
80 Chicken drumsticks


1) Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl.

2) Add the chicken to the marinade either in the bowl or spread the chicken out into several ZipLoc bags and pour the marinade into the bags - enough to cover the meat.
3) Leave for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
4) Pre-heat the oven to 200C (gas mark 6).
5) Place the chicken into the baking tray/s and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

6) Remove from oven and turn the chicken over, pour the juices into the jug (or use a basting pump thing) and pour them back over the meat.
7) Return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
8) Remove from the oven again and pierce the thickest part of the largest drumstick with a sharp knife, if the juices are clear the chicken is done.
9) Remove the chicken from the baking tray/s and place on the cooling rack.

The marinade should have stuck to the chicken giving it a golden glaze and the meat itself should be succulent, tender and as was the case at our party create a great deal of positive comments from your guests.


ps The marinade also works great with pork steaks, ribs etc

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Luxury Cauliflower Cheese

If you are fed up with boring old cauliflower cheese, give this a try it is delic.........

  • 225 g (8 oz) leeks, sliced
  • 175 g (6 oz) carrots, diced
  • 450 g (1 lb) cauliflower florets (or you can use half cauli and half broccoli if you like)
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) milk
  • 50 g (2 oz) any type blue cheese
  • 25 g (1 oz) cornflour
  • 50 g (2 oz) grated cheese (whatever you have in the fridge)
  • 2 tsp chives
  • 1 tsp mustard (I use Dijon but use any you have)
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 25g (1oz) grated cheese
  • 15 g (1/2 oz) fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
  1. Cook the leeks, carrots and cauliflower in a large saucepan of lightly salted, boiling water for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, gently heat the milk, cornflour and cheese together, whisking all the time until smooth. When the milk and cheese mixture is almost boiling, turn heat down and cook, stirring, until you have a thick and smooth sauce. Add chives, mustard and seasoning and stir well.
  3. Transfer the drained vegetables to a flameproof dish and pour over the sauce. Mix together the grated cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top. Grill under a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the topping is bubbling and golden. Serve at once.