Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Beef Escalope with a Delicious Gravy and Potatoes - Recipe and review

Today we had a such a lovely meal, beef escalope with a delicious gravy and boiled potatoes. This meal is one of my favorite and brings such great memories from my school time. I went to Swedish schools during my whole study period from grade one to uni and up to Gymnasium (high school) you get one hot meal every day at school. Many of my friends did not like the school food, but I loved it. Everything they did appealed to me and I used to eat everything they cooked. I cant really remember anything they served, that I did not like. We would get 3 different things to choose from, so that might be the case why I liked it so much. If not the food, there was always 2 different salads and knäckebröd (Swedish crisp bread), butter and always a glass of milk. At school, we used to get boiled potatoes, meatballs and gravy which is where I got the inspiration from for this meal. To finish it off, we had Lingonsylt (lingonberry jam), yummi.

I get all meat from the butchers. When I want steaks or thin fillets, I generally buy a big chunk and cut it in thin pieces myself. Then I freeze 2-3 pieces, where I layer the meat flat in the freeze bag.  So when I make this meal, all I do is defrost meat, boil potato and make this super easy gravy. 

I always use one brand, when it comes to gravy: Knorr. My favorite gravy with meat is these two, and how do I get it better? I use half half from both. They come in bags in powder form. All you need to do is heat up some butter and milk in a saucepan and then add the powder and mix for a few minutes until it becomes thick and gravy-ish in the consistency. I like it quite thick. It tastes like homemade gravy and is very flavorful. And since it takes no time to make it, it is my go to sauce every time I make meatballs or steak fillet or escalopes with boiled potato. To dip a piece of the potato in the sauce is so tasty and creamy.

2-3 steak fillet
3-5 potatoes
1 egg
1 cup flour or more if needed
paprika powder
salt and pepper
bbq spice mix
frozen vegetable mix
Knorr gravy mix (gräddsås and brunsås, or one of them, cooked accordign to the package)

1. Start by hammering the steak fillets thinly and then season with salt, pepper and paprika. Dip it first in egg and then in a mix of flour, bbq spice and paprika and fry it for a few minutes on each side on medium-high heat in a nonstick frying pan.

2. Boil the potatoes and if you want, fry some frozen vegetables in a non stick pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Make the gravy according to the package. I start by melting 1-2 tbsp of butter in a saucepan and add the two powders and mix it. As it becomes dry, I add some milk, roughly 1 cup, and mix well until I have the desired consistency. If I want it to become more creamy I add a splash of double cream.


Monday, 7 October 2013

Essential serving ware for dinner parties

If you like entertaining and love to have dinner parties like me, I am sure you will agree that good serving ware is essential to have for a successful dinner party. I always look out for new serving plates. My best tip is to select a few pieces that you know will always come handy and you will use often. Another tip is to buy timeless pieces that can go well with different sets of plates and glassware. But they don't need to cost a lot, rather choose pieces that will give great value for the price. Personally I like to buy serving ware in white as it goes with everything really. I have chosen pieces that are oval shape as well as square. This will give a nice variety to choose from depending on what I serve. My favorite places to find a good bargain for serving ware are second hand shops and car boot sales. I have made some of my best deals here, how about 2 £ for 2 big serving bowl each, or 1,50 £ for a big oval shape serving platter. Not bad right?! 

But you can also make great deals in various department or retail stores, especially during sales. My latest buy comes from Wilko, where a I bought several serving pieces from their White Collection. I have to say that they are very good and come handy for everything really. I bought almost 5-8 pieces and all came up to 35 £ (which is generally the price for one piece in a nicer department store). This is a selection of what I bought:

To help you a little when it comes to choosing serving ware, I have done a list of serving ware that I think is worth investing in:

  1. Serving platter and trays, as they are versatile and can be used for many things such as serving rice, fish, potatoes, starters, deserts, cookies and cakes
  2. Serving bowls, for soups, stews, fruit, nuts, candies and sweets, pasta, vegetables or a nice salad
  3. Serving utensils, for soups, rice, pasta, cakes
  4. Jug for water or juice
  5. Condiment set for dips and side dishes
I hope this will help you a little next time you have a dinner party. Have fun when choosing your serving ware, but make sure you keep in mind where to store them. I have a special designated compartment in my book case in the dining area for my serving ware as they are too big to keep in my small kitchen :)

Baked salmon with U-kuva i-Africa spice rub and mashed potato - Recipe

I have discovered a new brand of spices that I am interested in using more of in my cooking. U-kuva i-Africa is a fair trade brand specializing in spices and sauces inspired from all corners of the beautiful African continent. So far I have used the Jacobsbaai spice rub for fish and it was truly a special mix and very flavorful. Unfortunately I couldn't find this mix in their product section on their website so I hope they have not discontinued it as it was very good. I used the mix to rub in a baked salmon, served with veggies and mashed potato. In the mashed potato, I also used a very tasty mix to spice it up a bit: Pepper creek farm's Parmesan Garlic Bread Dipping mix. I love to find new spice mixes and introduce them to my cooking in various ways. These two spices I bought from TK Maxx, which generally have spices and sauces that are a bit hard to find elsewhere and more exclusive.

3 salmon fillet
U-kuva i-Africa Jacobsbaai spice mix
10 potatoes
pepper creek farm parmesan garlic bread dipping mix
salt and pepper

1. Layer the salmon fillets in a oven dish and rub them with a little oil and the U-kuva i-Africa Jacobsbaai spice mix all over, with the skin side down. Bake in the oven 185 degrees for 30 minutes.

2. Boil the potatoes and once done, mash up with a potato mash utensil. Add salt and pepper, 1 tsp of Pepper Creek Farm Parmesan garlic bread dipping mix. Also, add butter and milk to taste and mix everything well.

3. Serve The salmon with the mashed potato and dry fried veggies with a pinch of Parmesan garlic bread dipping mix.