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Marchants Blog

Meatballs
28/03/2018
By: Tash Manning

Meatballs

For a relatively inexpensive but very satisfying and comforting meal, it would be hard to beat meatballs. The classic of course is a ‘Lady and the Tramp’ style bowl of Spaghetti & Meatballs, with a rich, tomatoey sauce – loved by children and adults (and animated dogs!) alike. 

 
I base my meatballs on a recipe from Nigella, often using turkey mince in place of the beef and pork, and occasionally with the addition of some finely chopped smoked bacon. I particularly like this recipe for two reasons: firstly, its suggestion of using semolina in place of breadcrumbs, as I never seem to have breadcrumbs around when needed; now I always have a pack of semolina in my larder on standby for when I make meatballs and it works brilliantly well. Secondly, is that you don’t have to fry off the meatballs before adding them to the sauce, not only does this save on a frying pan to wash up (not that I’m lazy of course…) but I ...
The Sunday Roast
17/01/2018
By: Tash Manning

The Sunday Roast

There can’t be many things more traditionally British than the Sunday Roast. For some, a Sunday just isn’t a Sunday without a roast, whether home cooked or served in a local pub. Others however, enjoy them on any day of the week, whenever the mood takes them. Regardless of when you have yours, it’s a lovely thing to share and enjoy with family or friends. But with life moving at such a fast pace nowadays, and Sundays no longer the day of rest they once were (remember when shops were shut on a Sunday?!), actually taking the time to stop and catch up over a long, leisurely lunch is a real treat.
 
A succulent joint of roasted meat, accompanied by golden, crispy roast potatoes, an array of vegetables and plenty of meaty gravy really is a thing to behold. There are of course other accompaniments to the roast to consider too, such as Yorkshire pudding – though typically served with beef, many consider this an essential part of a ...
Casserole, Stew or Braise?
30/11/2017
By: Tash Manning

Casserole, Stew or Braise?

Casserole, stew, braise – all terms we associate with slower cooking, but what do they actually mean? What is it that defines a dish as a casserole rather than a stew, or are they really just different names for the same thing? 

There’s a very interesting book called Cooked by Michael Pollan; in it he explores how we, as humans, have developed various methods of cooking, which have not only transformed natural ingredients into something great to eat but also played a part in altering the course of our evolution. The book takes us right back to basics and is split into four parts (or perhaps should I say elements): Fire, Water, Air, Earth. In the section entitled ‘Water’, Pollan looks at the part water plays in the process and spends some time cooking food in liquid; he says “much like a stew, a braise is a method of cooking meat and/or vegetables slowly in a liquid medium. In a stew, however, the main ingredient is typically cut into ...

The Sausage
31/10/2017
By: Tash Manning

The Sausage

Sausages in some form or another have been around for centuries, with most places around the globe having their own versions – Chorizo from Spain, Kielbasa from Poland, Merguez from North Africa, and more sausages from Germany than I have the time or inclination to list here (over a thousand!), to name but a few. Some are raw, some are cured, some are smoked, but the one thing they all have in common is that, more often than not, they are delicious, economical and hugely popular.

The great British banger plays an important, if not central, role in many of our classic dishes – Toad in the Hole, Bangers & Mash and of course the Full English Breakfast. And who doesn’t love Pigs in Blankets?! This Ultimate Toad in the Hole recipe combines two classics in one – Toad in the Hole and Pigs in Blankets! The term ‘banger’ goes back to the days during the First World War when food shortages meant sausages were filled with less ...
Autumn Eating
27/09/2017
By: Tash Manning

Autumn Eating

The leaves are turning, the days are shortening; autumn is once again upon us. Leisurely, balmy evenings spent enjoying supper in the garden with a lovely glass (or two...) of something chilled, will become just another memory of summer. As the BBQ is packed away for another year and the casserole dish is hauled back out of the cupboard, our plans for dinner turn towards more warming, hearty dishes – fresh, crisp salads just don’t quite hit the spot anymore; the cooler, darker evenings call for something a little more substantial.
 
If time allows, and that’s to say cooking time rather than preparation time, a stew or braised dish gently cooking away in the oven is one of the real pleasures of the change in seasons. After a bit of assembling, you can pretty much leave it to its own devices for a few hours whilst you get on with other things; if you’re feeling energetic, then maybe raking up all those flame-coloured leaves that ...

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