We were fortunate enough to be invited to the official launch of ‘Delicious Gifts: Give, Love, Bake’ with an intimate and eclectic crowd at famous rock’n’roll haunt The Scotch, thanks to one of our i-Chef Industry Leaders, Rob Kirby.
Delicious Gifts celebrates beautifully styled, handcrafted food gifts for all occasions, direct from Rob and Amber Kirby’s home kitchen.
Eighty delightful recipes are accompanied by stunning photography from Jodi Hinds, along with inspiration, guidance and ideas for how best to wrap and package these thoughtful gifts.
To buy your copy of Rob’s book with a special i-Chef discounted rate of 25% off, please add the code ‘ichef2017’ when you check out at Bloomsbury books.
For a sneak peek at the scrumptious recipes Rob and Amber have evolved, we have a preview of three exclusive recipes; so if you didn’t make the most out of National Pie Week last week, make these instead.
Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pies
Who doesn’t love pie? These individual pots are oozing with rich creamy sauce.
We’ve used a quirky cockerel-shaped cookie cutter and served in steel tins to decorate.
Share and enjoy on the day of making.
200g ready-made puff pastry
200g chicken breasts, diced
400ml chicken stock
40g plain flour, sieved
100ml double cream
10ml olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
150g button mushrooms, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 egg yolks, beaten, for glazing
Flour a work surface and roll out the pastry until about 2mm thick. Line 4 individual 200ml pie pots with the pastry (large ramekins or muffin tins will work just as well if you don’t have small pie pots). Cut 4 pastry lids to top the pies using a round cutter or a large saucer that’s slightly larger than the pots. Place the pots and pastry tops in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Place the chicken and chicken stock in a saucepan over a low heat, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, remove with a slotted spoon, set to one side and leave the stock on a rolling boil.
In another saucepan, melt the butter gently over a low heat and stir in the flour to form a smooth paste, then whisk this mixture into the boiling stock to thicken it. Turn the heat down so the sauce is gently simmering and add the cream, stirring continuously as the sauce simmers for a further 5 minutes. Then take the saucepan off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the shallot, garlic and mushrooms and fry until they have softened and are cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushroom mixture and cooked chicken to the sauce and allow to cool slightly.
Remove the pie pots and lids from the fridge and spoon in the chicken filling, but don’t overfill. Brush the underside of the lids with beaten egg yolk and place them on top of the pies, crimping the edges to seal the pies properly. Brush the top of the lids with beaten egg to glaze, then pierce a small hole in the top of each pie with a sharp knife.
Package and keep chilled.
ON THE LABEL WRITE:
“Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown.”
Oh girls … cue the Gloria Gaynor ‘I will survive’ track and put that waste of space behind you! If your bestie is going through a little heartbreak, help her over that hill and show her the new horizon of possibilities.
‘Plenty More Fish in the Sea’ Mini Lobster Brioche Rolls
250g cooked lobster meat, chopped
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon wasabi
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
juice of 1 lime
8 mini brioche rolls
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the chopped lobster meat in a bowl, fold in the mayonnaise, wasabi and tarragon, then squeeze in the lime juice and season.
Split the brioche rolls down the middle and fill with the lobster mixture, package and place in your hamper.
‘Good Riddance’ Champagne and Pink Rhubarb Bellini
50g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bottle Champagne
Peel and chop the rhubarb into 5mm rounds and place in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the sugar, vanilla extract and water. Gently bring to the boil over a medium heat for 2 minutes, then turn the heat down and gently simmer for a further 5–10 minutes until soft and tender.
Pour into a sterilised jar. Place in the hamper with Champagne and a spoon.
ON THE LABEL WRITE:
“Spoon into Champagne glasses and top up with fizz when it’s time to party.”
‘Dry Your Eyes Princess’ Cucumber Soother
¾ green apple
5cm cucumber piece
6 stems parsley
1 handful spinach
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
1½ teaspoons linseeds
200ml fresh apple juice
6 ice cubes
Blitz all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, pour into a sterilised bottle and pop in the hamper.
It Was Always a ‘Rocky Road’
MAKES 6–8 BARS
100g unsalted butter, softened
150g dark chocolate (preferably 72% cocoa solids)
150g Mars Bars, chopped
3 tablespoons golden syrup
250g plain digestive biscuits
100g dried cranberries
100g mini marshmallows
60g hazelnuts, chopped
Line a 25 x 15 x 4cm cake tin with clingfilm.
Melt the butter, chocolate, Mars Bars and golden syrup together in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of boiling water. Once everything has melted, give the mixture a stir to blend it properly, then take it off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Put the biscuits in a sealable plastic food bag and smash them up using a rolling pin. Add the cranberries, marshmallows and hazelnuts to the bag of biscuit crumbs, give it good shake to mix, then tip out into the bowl of melted chocolate.
Thoroughly mix all the ingredients and tip the chocolate mixture into the lined tin, making sure you spread it evenly. Place in the fridge for about 2 hours until it has set.
Once the mixture is solid, pop the cake out of the tin, using the clingfilm as leverage, cut it into bars and wrap for the hamper.
Steak and Mozzarella Wedge
A work of art in itself and probably the tastiest sarnie ever! The Italians know how to eat and who are we to argue?
This is the perfect picnic centrepiece.
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 x 160g sirloin steaks
3 red peppers, quartered and de-seeded
1 large ball Pugliese bread (around 500g)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons horseradish sauce
60g baby spinach
2 x 125g buffalo mozzarella, sliced into 1cm rounds
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a chargrill pan. Season the steaks, then sear for 2 minutes on each side over a high heat. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and allow to smoke, then add the peppers and gently chargrill until tender and soft. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
Using a serrated knife, cut off the top third of the loaf. Using your hands, gently remove the soft dough from inside the loaf and the lid, leaving you with the crust intact (discard the dough or make breadcrumbs for another recipe).
Rub the inside of the loaf case with the remaining olive oil, the garlic and horseradish. Place half the red peppers in a layer to cover the bottom of the loaf case and season. Take half of the spinach and flatten it firmly on top of the peppers. Remember to season between each layer. Firmly press half the mozzarella on the spinach layer. Press the steaks firmly on the mozzarella layer. On top of the steaks add the second ball of sliced mozzarella, then pack on top the remaining spinach and finish with the remaining peppers. The layered ingredients will be overflowing, but don’t worry as the lid will help to contain them.
Place the bread lid on top and tightly wrap the whole loaf several times with clingfilm. Place the wrapped loaf on a baking tray, place another baking tray over the top and weigh down with a large casserole dish or a heavy weight. Leave in the fridge for 3–4 hours for the loaf to press down.
To serve, remove the clingfilm and cut into wedges.
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