Not enough time

One of the nice things about Aldi is also one of the annoying things about Aldi.

Each week they have new stuff, alas they only get limited stock in for that week and once it is sold they don’t get any more stock in.

This means that you can find something you really like, but you generally won’t be able to buy it again.

I recently managed to make some tasty raspberry and white chocolate cookies using a pack of raspberry and white chocolate from Aldi. This was one of their one week stock, as a result I am not able to replace the pack I finished.

A couple of weeks ago they had venison steaks for sale, I bought a pack and cooked them for dinner and they were some of the best venison steaks I have ever had. I cooked them in a frying pan in butter with garlic and herbs.

venison steak

The end result was tasty, delicious and really tender meat.  To go with it I made a sauce with pancetta, mushrooms and port. I really enjoyed and cooking the venison steaks.

However I wasn’t surprised when I went back to Aldi they no longer had any and weren’t selling it any more.

This week though they were selling venison fillet. I bought a pack and cooked it in a similar way. It was very nice, but was not as good as the steaks.

Next week, well there could be anything there…

Gluten Free Breakfast Waffles

One of my regular breakfast dishes is gluten free breakfast waffles. I use a quick and simple method to make these puffy waffles.

Gluten Free Breakfast Waffles

I bought a special waffle frying pan from Aldi a few months back and it works really well for cooking these breakfast waffles.

Waffle Pancake Pan

These ingredients should make three batches, so twenty one waffles in one cooking session.

I take a cup of self-raising gluten free flour, a cup of milk, one egg, a large spoon of sugar and some vanilla essence.

Whisk the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter. You may want to add extra milk if the batter is too thick.

Heat the pan on a moderate to low heat, you need these to cook through and not be overdone on the outside and sticky in the middle, You’re aiming for a puffy waffle with crisp outside.

I brushed the pan with some sunflower oil and pour Not too much) of the batter into the pan. I always put less in than it looks to fill the waffle area, as the batter will expand as it cooks.

You have to take care to ensure that the pancakes cook all the way through, but isn’t overdone on the surface. I find turning them can be quite messy, so I use two spoons to turn them. One to scoop underneath and the the other to keep it from slipping and messing up the pan.

I served these with sugar or golden syrup. I think I might need to get some maple syrup if I am going to make these again.

Time for a Buttermilk Chicken Burger

Buttermilk Chicken Burger

Sometimes I cook and sometimes I just buy stuff I can heat from chilled or frozen. Often it’s time, sometimes convenience, othertimes it’s because I like it.

I really quite like the Buttermilk Chicken Thigh Burgers from Aldi. You get two in a box.

Buttermilk Chicken Burger

These are baked the oven. I served mine in a brioche roll with cheese. The chicken is moist and tender and the seasoned breadcrumb is nice crunchy and tasty.

They are quite large so will fill the bun easily. I have noticed that they are a little inconsistent in size when I have bought them, but in some ways that I quite like, it feels a more natural product.

Mushroom Tortellini

Mushroom Tortellini

This is a warming pasta dish that has a somewhat autumnal feel to it, but you can eat it at anytime.

I generally make this sauce (and variations of it) for a range of different pasta, but as I quite like tortellini, this time I had the sauce with filled pasta.

I use fresh tortellini, one day I might get round to making some by hand, I have made fresh pasta before, but then my pasta machine broke, and I haven’t replaced it. This was a spicy sausage tortellini from a supermarket which takes a few minutes to cook.

To make the sauce, in a large frying pan add a splash of olive oil. I also sometimes use truffle oil, which has a real flavour boost to the sauce. Then add some diced pancetta. My personal favourite of the moment is the pancetta from Aldi, however I also quite like buying it (when I can) from an Italian Deli and dice it myself. One the pancetta has started to cook, add chopped red onion and red pepper. Once the onion and pepper have softened, add some (well a fair bit) of sliced mushrooms. I usually add some butter as well at this point to help with the mushrooms cooking. I prefer using chestnut mushrooms, but also throw in some of the Woodland mushrooms from Morrisons as well. 

Stir.

When the mushrooms are nearly cooked, add a small bag of baby spinach. This will wilt down and should be stirred in.

I then add some creme frache mix into the mushrooms.

At this point I cook the pasta, which only takes a few minutes, drain, and add to the sauce. I then generously grate some parmesan into the sauce and pasta along with some freshly ground black pepper. 

Serve and add more parmesan to taste.

Gluten Free Breakfast Waffles

Breakfast Waffles

This is a quick and simple method to make puffy breakfast waffles.

I bought a special waffle frying pan from Aldi a few weeks back and it works really well for cooking breakfast waffles.

Waffle Pancake Pan

These ingredients should make three batches, so twenty one waffles in one cooking session.

I take a cup of self-raising gluten free flour, a cup of milk, one egg, a large spoon of sugar and some vanilla essence.

Whisk the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter. You may want to add extra milk if the batter is too thick.

Heat the pan on a moderate to low heat, you need these to cook through and not be overdone on the outside and sticky in the middle, You’re aiming for a puffy waffle with crisp(ish) outside.

I brushed the pan with some sunflower oil and pour Not too much) of the batter into the pan.

You have to take care to ensure that the pancakes cook all the way through, but isn’t overdone (or even burnt) on the surface. I do find turning them can be quite messy, so be careful. I use two breakfast spoons to turn them.

Serve with fresh fruit or maple syrup.

Christmas Four Bird Roast

I usually write a blog post about our Christmas lunch, in the main when it comes to the following year I can remember what worked well and what was less of a success.

A few years ago I spent over a hundred pounds on a four bird roast from Marks and Spencers. It was nice, but was very much a turkey with a little bit of goose, duck and chicken.

The Sainsbury’s version of the four bird roast is a goose stuffed with turkey, duck and guinea fowl. I will say that this is basically a stuffed goose; it’s 62% goose, 9% turkey and there is 8% duck and 8% guinea fowl. Like the Marks and Spencers’ roast it wasn’t cheap, but was half the price of the Marks and Spencers’ version.

This year I would have been tempted to get it again, however Sainsburys weren’t doing it this year. In the end I went with the Aldi Christmas Four Bird Roast again, which we had enjoyed last year.

Christmas Four Bird Roast

The Aldi four bird roast was a little skimpy on the goose and duck, but I did expect that for a ten pound roast. It was simple to cook, but I did let it rest for thirty minutes which seemed to help with carving and the meat was very tender and moist.

It was quite tasty, stuffing wasn’t anything to write home about, but I did supplement it with some homemade stuffing, as well as bacon wrapped sausages.

Overall a success and good value for a tenner.

Cooking the Turkey

Well the Christmas dinner was a real success this year, really pleased with the end result. I like to write about it so next year I can remember what we had, what we liked and what I should avoid.

We had a fair few extra people around so I cooked two roasts, one was the four bird roast from Aldi (which costs just £10) and a more expensive roast from Morrisons, comprising turkey breast wrapped around a smoked pork tenderloin and then covered in pork crackling.

Both roasts were simple to cook and were both full of flavour. Turkey can often be dry, but I managed to avoid that, but that was probably much more down to the style of the roast, it wasn’t a whole bird.

The Aldi four bird roast was a little skimpy on the goose and duck, but I did expect that for a £10 roast. The stuffing was okay, but was slightly overpowering and could probably have down with less herbs.

Alongside the main dish I served a range of vegetables, including a brussel sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta. Timing I find is quite critical with this kind of meal, so I had done a fair bit of preparation in advance, so things went smoothly. For example I had made and prepared my stuffing the night before, I had already trayed up the pigs in blankets and cocktail sausages.

Overall the meal was a success and enjoyed by all.