They’ve started construction work

Now that the Frankie and Benny’s restaurant has closed on Flowerdown Retail Park. The site will become a  Burger King with a drive-thru. Planning applications posted to the council showed how the site will be converted into a drive-thru and local businesses were consulted on the change.

The restaurant was closed due to the pandemic restrictions put in place in March 2020, and by August with other restaurants now allowed to open, Frankie and Benny’s remain closed.

It never reopened.

I posted last August (2021) that the site was going to become a Burger King.

Now nearly six months later construction work has started on the site with the conversion of the restaurant into a drive thru and burger joint.

I ‘ve never being a great fan of fast food burger joints, so I think the chances of ever eating out there is very slim. If I am going out to eat I like the whole dining experience, queuing for a brown paper bag full of fast food, is not really my thing.

Combine this news with the new Tim Hortons drive thru opening up at the old Pizza Hut, the closure of Prezzo and Pizza Express, the eating out scene in Weston is slowly turning into one of fast food and drive-thru eating.

With all the exciting stuff that happens in Bristol on the food scene, it’s a pity that Weston is going down this fast food road.

Homemade Hummus

hummus

Having got a food processor for Christmas one thing I wanted to try and make was some hummus.

I used this as the recipe for the hummus.

400g can chickpeas, drained
60ml extra virgin olive oil
50ml water
1-2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 lemon, juiced then ½ zested
3 spoonfuls of tahini

Drain and rinse the chickpeas in cold running water, and then place in the food processor with the olive oil.

Blitz until you get an almost smooth consistency. Then add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini and 30ml of water. Blitz again until you have a smooth creamy texture. You can add more water if it is too  thick. Season and then transfer to a bowl.

I have made some variations. For the coriander hummus I added a handful of chopped coriander and then blitz again. For the red pepper hummus, I chargrilled half a red pepper on the gas hob. I then removed the burnt skin before chopping it up. This was added to the hummus and blitzed in the food processor.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

I made some gluten free chocolate chip muffins following a recipe from my blog. It was only after I started making them that I realised I didn’t have natural yogurt. Rather than throw the initial mixture away or go out to buy some natural yoghurt, I used some creme frache I had in the fridge.

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. 

I bought my paper cases from Amazon, though I later found similar ones in Waitrose.

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter softened, plus 1 tbsp, melted, for greasing

140g golden caster sugar

2 large eggs

140g creme frache

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp milk

250g plain gluten free flour

2 tbsp of cocoa

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g of chocolate chips (dark or milk)

20g of fudge pieces to decorate.

Beat the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy. Then add the eggs and beat in for  about a minute. You then need to mix in the yogurt, vanilla extract and milk. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl with ¼ tsp fine salt.

Add this into the wet ingredients and stir in. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips and divide the mixture between the muffin cases.

Bake for 5 mins, then reduce oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and bake for 15-18 mins more until risen and golden, and a metal skewer inserted into the muffin comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then carefully lift out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

You can after a day or two, pop them in the microwave for 10-15 secs on high to freshen up.

Chewy Chocolate Flapjack

This is quick and easy recipe that results in delicious, moist, sticky chewy flapjacks.

150g unsalted butter
75g brown sugar
75g golden syrup
200g of oats

In a pan melt the butter, sugar and syrup together. I find the easiest way to measure the golden syrup is to put the pan on the scales, zero the scales and then add the syrup.

Once the sugar, butter and syrup are bubbling take it off the heat and stir in the oats.

My preferred oats are the Mornflake Whole Jumbo Oats.

Place the mixture  into a greased tin (or lined using baking parchment) and bake in a 180ºC (160ºC fan)  oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the edges are browned. If you cook for too long the flapjacks will be harder and not chewy.

I cool the flapjacks on a wire rack.

I quite like chocolate flapjack, so I melt a bar of chocolate and cover the flapjack. Once the chocolate has set I cut the flapjack into squares.

Easter Eggs on sale

Though I kind of expect to see Hot Cross Buns and Cadbury Creme Eggs just after Christmas, but here we are not quite two weeks into January and Tesco already have a full aisle of Easter Eggs for sale.

Just a reminder that Easter isn’t until the 17th April.

Really?

Roasted Pork Belly

M&S sell a pork belly joint seasoned with salt and pepper. We have this quite often, and I use the same technique each time. In a roasting pan I add a bed of cut vegetables. The actual composition does depend on what’s in the fridge. This time I used apple, onion, carrots, a garlic bulb cut in half, and some mushrooms. I drizzled some garlic olive oil as well over the joint.

I start off with a hot (fan) oven, about 200℃ and roast the pork belly for about ten minutes before turning the heat down to 160℃. I usually cook the join for about ninety minutes. The plan is to slow roast the joint to make it tender. A hot fast roast will result in a shorter cooking time, but the meat will be tough and chewy (and probably a little fatty).

I leave the joint to rest for about twenty to thirty minutes, which gives me time to increase the heat in the oven to finish off the roast potatoes and roasted vegetables. I will usually use the roasting pan juices to make some gravy.

I slice the joint into thin slices and serve with roast potatoes and vegetables.

Making some Game Chips

Game Chips

Having had my mandolin for a while now, one thing I did want to try was to make some game chips. These are slices of potato cut on the serrated blade on the mandolin and then twisted 90º before slicing again.

These are then deep fried in hot oil until cooked and brown. Drain and serve.

Paella

paella

Though I have been told that what I cook and call paella is not paella, in our house we call it paella. Outside the house, this is a Spanish inspired rice dish!

First I cook off some diced bacon (usually pancetta) in a large frying pan, or if I am cooking a lot in my large paella pan. I then take some chopped mushroom, onions and pepper and add that to the pan. Once the onions have softened I add the paella rice and ensure it is coated with the cooking oil and liquid. I always use a specialist paella rice in my paella dishes these days. To this I added a dry paella mix from Tesco. I also like the jar from Waitrose that you can get. Occasionally these days I will use saffron and my own selection of herbs and spices.

I then add fish or chicken stock to the pan, to cover the rice and then leave to cook. As I was told by a Spanish friend, don’t stir it (unlike risotto which you do).

Add some sliced chunks of lemon. I usually cook the fish (in this case just prawns) and chorizo in separate pans and add to the paella just before serving.

Time for some Seafood Ramen

Cooked a ramen dish this time last year. I based my ramen on the ramen dishes I have had at Wagamama.

In a bowl I added some cooked rice noodles. On top of this I added some sliced shiitake mushrooms, spring onions, pak choi and sliced red pepper. I then added some homemade ramen broth.

On top of the ramen I added scallops, prawns, squid and a tea-stained hard boiled egg. I also added some gyoza dumplings as well.

Time for a Fish Supper

Sometimes for special occasions we have a fish supper. This one comprised over baked salmon with lemon, pan fried scallops, pan fried prawns and squid strips.

The fish supper was served with salad and chunks of lemon.