Slow Cooked Bonfire Night Chilli con Carne // Amy Elizabeth

So the nights are drawing in and the central heating is firmly on, which means its time to start rustling up warming stews and decadent roasts. Yorkshire puddings. That sort of thing. I have already posted a recipe for chilli on the blog before, but now that Bonfire Night is coming back around, it’s back on my mind. I love chilli con carne – it’s one of my favourite meals – covered in cheese, sour cream and piled on top of a fluffy baked potato. I could eat it all year round, but it’s particularly good on cold nights when slippers and snuggly jumpers are a must. 

Slow Cooked Bonfire Night Chilli con Carne // Amy ElizabethSlow Cooked Bonfire Night Chilli con Carne // Amy Elizabeth This particular chilli takes a little time, but the investment is worthwhile. The meaty brisket just falls apart, and brings a tonne of flavour to the mix. Make it the night before if you’re throwing a fireworks shindig and reheat for your guests – it can take it. I don’t tend to put peppers in my chilli due to personal preference, but they’re traditional so feel free to throw some in. Carrots wouldn’t go amiss either if you want to bulk the dish up. Pile it up high with your favourite toppings, and be sure to wear gloves if you’re using sparklers on the night… 

Slow Cooked Bonfire Night Chilli con Carne // Amy Elizabeth Slow Cooked Bonfire Night Chilli con Carne // Amy Elizabeth

 

Slow Cooked Bonfire Night Chilli con Carne
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 500g beef brisket
  2. salt & pepper
  3. 1 onion, chopped
  4. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  5. 300ml red wine
  6. 300ml beef stock
  7. 1 can chopped tomatoes
  8. 1 can kidney beans, drained
  9. 200g mushrooms, chopped
  10. 1 tbsp. dried chilli flakes (or more or less to taste!)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C
  2. Cut the brisket into large chunks and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Gently fry the brisket and onion until the onion has softened and the brisket is browned. Add the garlic for the last minute of cooking.
  4. Place everything in an oven-proof casserole dish and cover with the wine and stock. Season with more salt and pepper and cover with a lid.
  5. Cook for 4 hours until beef is tender.
  6. Remove from the oven and using two forks, gently pull apart some of the larger chunks of meat.
  7. Stir in the tomatoes, chilli flakes, kidney beans and mushrooms.
  8. Turn up the heat on the oven to 180C and cook the dish uncovered for a further hour or so, until the sauce has thickened and everything is cooked through.
  9. Serve with baked potatoes and your choice of toppings.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

 

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bottles

It seems like autumn is well and truly here – I’m sitting under a fuzzy blanket dosed up on painkillers thanks to my first cold of the season. No fun. However, it’s not all doom and gloom; is it ever? This week has been slow-paced and much-needed. I baked some salted caramel cookies and some banana muffins. I watched Buffy. I cuddled the cat. I ordered some sparkly dresses to (maybe) wear as a wedding dress. It’s been good for me. How was your week? 

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Rosemary & Lemon Treacle Tart // Amy Elizabeth

Rosemary & Lemon Treacle Tart // Amy Elizabeth

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Let’s just say that pastry is not one of my strengths… I have never been particularly confident with pastry – it feels tricky, fiddly and time-consuming. So, for the most part, I have always stuck to shop-bought and, for the most part, it has sufficed. 

However, when I got the idea for this treacle tart in my head, I knew that ready-made, ready-rolled pastry wasn’t going to cut it. They say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone, well, so do decent baked goods. So I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in – kneading, rolling, blind baking, the whole shebang. 

And… it wasn’t bad. In fact, it was pretty darn good for a pastry novice like myself. The pastry was flaky and flecked with the savoury taste of rosemary; although it was a little uneven in places, I avoided the dreaded soggy bottom. I like to think the crinkled edges give it a rustic effect.

There’s a lesson in all of this about not being afraid of failure, pastry-wise. The worst that can happen is it can end up in the bin. The best that can happen is that you get a delicious treacle tart, with an unusual but very welcome hit of rosemary and lemon. Sticky, sweet and best served warm with a big, fat dollop of cream. 

Rosemary & Lemon Treacle Tart // Amy Elizabeth

Rosemary & Lemon Treacle Tart
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For the pastry
  1. 225g plain flour
  2. 110g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 1-2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
For the filling
  1. 450g golden syrup
  2. 100g fresh breadcrumbs
  3. Zest of 1 lemon
  4. Juice of 1/2 lemon
To serve
  1. Thick double cream, clotted cream or ice cream (you choose!)
Instructions
  1. 1. In a bowl, rub together the butter and flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. 2. Mix in the egg using a knife. Throw in the rosemary.
  3. 3. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and bring the dough together. Knead for a few minutes to form a smooth dough.
  4. 4. Roll the dough to your required thickness (around 5mm) and use to line a pie dish. Don't worry if there's some overhang around the edge - we'll trim that off later! Prick the base all over with a fork.
  5. 5. Leave the pastry to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. 6. Preheat the oven to 190C
  7. 7. Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans (not baked beans!) or rice. Blind bake for 15 minutes before removing the beans/rice and returning to the oven for around 5 minutes more until the pastry is golden brown.
  8. 8. Trim any excess pastry from the rim of the dish.
  9. 9. Mix together the golden syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice and breadcrumbs. Tip into the pastry case.
  10. 10. Pop back in the oven to cook for 25-30 minutes.
  11. 11. Serve warm with your chosen accompaniment.
Adapted from James Martin
Adapted from James Martin
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

 

 

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The Crabbieshack at The British Street Food Awards 2014 // Amy Elizabeth

This weekend, Leeds played host to one of the most exciting foodie events in the UK: the British Street Food Awards, a three-day extravaganza of food and drink bringing the best of the best to our fair city. It’s not surprise really, Leeds has been championing street food for months (if not years) and some of the most celebrated street food vendors hail from here. Unsurprisingly, I snapped up a ticket almost straight away and eagerly checked the listings to see what culinary delights were on offer. 

Little Blue Smokehouse at British Street Food Awards 2014 // Amy Elizabeth

Manjit's Kitchen Chapasty at British Street Food Awards 2014 // Amy Elizabeth

It was a food-lover’s paradise, with some incredibly exciting menus tempting you from all angles. Sadly, we couldn’t have one of everything – funds and stomach capacity are limiting things – so it was paramount to choose wisely. After much deliberation I got stuck into a soft-shell crab burger from The Crabbieshack, topped with sweetcorn salsa and lobster mayonnaise and some pork & black pudding dumplings from Dorshi (which I’ve been craving ever since they left Trinity Kitchen). The dumplings were just as good as I remembered, if not better, and although the crab burger was incredibly messy to eat it was also incredibly good. 

Soft Shell Crab Burger from The Crabbieshack // Amy Elizabeth

Dumplings from Dorshi // Amy Elizabeth

Between us, we managed to try quite a few things – a black bean and chocolate soup, some avocado toast, a brisket burger with the hottest sauce known to man, a chapasty and yet more dumplings – but sadly we weren’t quick enough on the draw so by the time it came for round two, a lot of places had run out of the most popular items. Which meant that I didn’t get to try the ox cheek bun from eventual winners Fu-Schnickens but thankfully they hang around this neck of the woods so I’m hoping to stumble across them again.

Rainbow Pearl Barley at Dorshi // Amy ElizabethHowever, that little niggle aside, it was a lovely night with some lovely people and some lovely food, and you can’t say fairer than that. Events like this give me the warm fuzzies for Leeds and its fantastic food scene, which is only going from strength to strength. Next time, I’ll be there on day one so I don’t miss a bite of anything!

Leeds at Night // Amy Elizabeth

You can see all the winners on the British Street Food awards website – be sure to check them out if you see them around town!  

 

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trees

Watching lots of Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  

Eating takeaway sushi as much as possible. 

Visiting Universities with my baby sister. How is she old enough? 

Tasting wines at Cornucopia. I’d like to learn more. 

Trying to decide on a wedding dress. 

Driving solo, for the first time in years. 

Knitting yet more snoods. 

Reading Jane Eyre on the bus. It’s so much better the second time. 

Toasting engagements and 30th birthdays. 

Working my socks off. Can I have another bank holiday? 

Cooking belly pork and lamb shoulder. 

Wearing boots again. My favourite. 

Planning a foodie podcast. Watch this space… 

How about you? 

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Vespa

Now that summer is over, everything feels like it’s slowed down. There is less spontaneity, fewer plans and more nights spent on the sofa underneath a fleecy blanket. I am okay with this. It was time. It means I have time to tidy my house, do a proper food shop and slow cook lamb for dinner.  Which is very boring and domesticated, I know, but it’s definitely good for my peace of mind. That’s not to say that that nothing has been going on. I’ve been practising my driving (which is going well – the parking, not so much), I ran my fastest ever 6k and I spent last night at Millennium Square trying the best street food the country has to offer. I’ll be writing more about that in due course, but safe to say it was incredible! What have you been up to this week? 

 

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A lot of people come to this blog looking for restaurant recommendations in Leeds. Although I have written about a fair few of my favourite places, I haven’t covered it all – some of the places I go to the most never get a mention, probably because I’m too busy having a good time there to get out my phone and take a snap. 

So I’ve rounded up my favourite haunts in Leeds to eat, drink and shop for those people looking for somewhere new to try. These are all places that I have been, most of them more than once, which means that there are a few glaring omissions which get rave reviews from other Leeds foodies but I have yet to visit. Kendells Bistro, The Greedy Pig. and The Reliance are just a few that spring to mind. I’m sure that these will make their way onto the map in due course. 

Everyone has different taste, of course, so these are just my personal favourites – the places I find myself visiting regularly or dreaming of going back. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do! 

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Dark Chocolate // Amy Elizabeth

I am bad at eating breakfast. At school and university I was religious in my breakfast-eating, adamant that I couldn’t function in the morning without a bowl of cereal or a slice of toast. However, somewhere in my working life I have got out of the habit and more often than not it will be lunchtime before I eat. It’s not always because I would prefer an extra ten minutes in bed (although I would). It’s more often because I find breakfast foods completely unappetising in the morning. However expensive the granola, it always feels a bit cardboard-y. 

Breakfast Yoghurt with Banana & Dark Chocolate // Amy Elizabeth

That said, I think I have found a solution in this breakfast yoghurt. It’s very much a copy of Leon’s ‘Yoghurt of the Gods’, which I picked up on a trip back from London earlier in the summer. It’s easy to assemble, sweet enough to satisfy and the dark chocolate adds a lovely texture and bitterness to this otherwise unnervingly soft dish. There’s something about being allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast that just makes it appealing – but I can feel vaguely virtuous as it’s dark chocolate and that cures heart attacks, or something. This doesn’t really count as a recipe, but I wanted to share the combination in case there are other breakfast-averse folk like me out there, searching for a solution. 

What do you eat for breakfast? I would love more suggestions! 

Breakfast Yoghurt with Banana & Dark Chocolate
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Ingredients
  1. 1 banana, sliced
  2. 2-3 big spoonfuls Greek yoghurt
  3. 1 big squidge of honey
  4. 1 square dark chocolate, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the banana and yoghurt at the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Pour over honey and dark chocolate to taste.
  3. Stir together (or don't) and enjoy with your morning coffee or juice.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Pear and Cardamom Soda Bread

Have you ever considered applying for the Great British Bake Off? Despite my love of a well-baked cake, it’s not something that’s ever crossed my mind – I love the show but I am aware of my own failings as a baker. Brownies, I’ve got nailed. I’m pretty nifty with a tart and I’m not bad with biscuits but when it comes to bread, I’ve got a long way to go. 

However, this soda bread recipe is easy peasy, lemon squeezey. Even the most bread-phobic like me will be able to knock up a loaf in less than fifteen minutes. I based this on A Girl Called Jack’s recipe for rhubarb & ginger soda bread, but subbed it for some autumn-y flavours. I am a bit obsessed with cardamom at this time of year. September is actually a really fruitful month, with lots of lovely my favourite foods in season so I’m trying to make the most of it with plenty of apples, pears and butternut squashes. 

You can use any kind of pears for this recipe, but they’re best if they’re ripe and a bit bashed around because they’re sweeter. Pears are a bit awkward – they take ages to ripen and then go past their best in a snap – so this is a good way to use up a couple from the bottom of the fruit bowl. 

Pear and Cardamom Soda Bread

Pear & Cardamom Soda Bread
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Ingredients
  1. 200ml semi-skimmed milk
  2. Juice of 1/2 lemon
  3. 300g plain flour
  4. 1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
  5. 1 tbsp. golden caster sugar
  6. 2 medium-sized pears, peeled and chopped into small cubes
  7. Seeds of cardamom pods, crushed
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Pour the milk and lemon juice into a jug and briefly stir. Leave for a few minutes to curdle into buttermilk.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the bicarbonate of soda and flour.
  4. Add the pear and cardamom seeds. Stir together until combined.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. It should be slightly sticky but not too wet. Add more flour if it becomes too sticky.
  6. Spread some flour onto a chopping board. Tip out the dough and knead a couple of times to bring together. Shape into a loaf and pop into a loaf tin.
  7. Cut a crease down the centre and bake for 40 minutes.
  8. Serve warm with lashings of butter.
Adapted from A Girl Called Jack
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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golden hour(Photo by Jake Givens)  

I feel like these introductions are always the same – but that’s because life pretty much plods along at the same pace.  I’m happy with that. When I was younger I dreamed of an exciting life full of twists and turns, but I am learning that contentment comes from a steady life with a few adventures thrown in. This week has been much the same as any week, work and play in equal measures. My definitely highlights were last night’s menu at Cornucopia, birthday celebrations for a sweet friend on Saturday, and some drinks & piles of pulled pork with Emma and Ally on Tuesday. Blogger talk is always fun. I also drove my new car on my own for the first time and didn’t die, which is a massive win. And I started work on a new scarf. It’s official, everyone is getting scarves for Christmas. 

How was your week? 

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