National Sandwich Week with the Central Co-Operative

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Having previously managed the payroll for a very large food manufacture of about 100,000 sandwiches a day many years ago, the invitation from the Central England Co-Operative to create a great sandwich combination using tasty ingredients that could be found in your local store to celebrate National Sandwich week was was right up my street!

As the weather has been very changeable recently, including snow, hailstones, ice, wind and sunshine (and all in one day too!) I decided on a combination of a hot, toasted, sandwich and a lovely salad to go with it. I bought a variety of ingredients including a pack of sandwich thins, Mozzarella cheese, tomato pesto, mixed salad leaves, beautifully sweet Piccolo tomatoes, sweet baby peppers and some delicious mixed root vegetable crips to make my lunch.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
After preparing a really quick salad using the leaves, peppers and tomatoes, I simply tipped some of the root vegetable crisps into a small bowl and set about preparing my toasted sandwich.

Drain the Mozzarella and slice about 5mm thick.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
The Sandwich Thins are pre-sliced so it’s very quick and simple to separate the two halves.  Place a couple of generous teaspoons of the tomato pesto on one side of the bread.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Spread the pesto over the bread into a relatively even layer.  Repeat with the other sandwiches as required.  I made two for lunch today; one each for my husband and myself.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Tear the mozzarella slices into strips and cover the pesto.  I’ve left a small gap around the edges to stop the cheese oozing out (and being wasted) on to my sandwich press. Top with the other half of the Sandwich thin.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Preheat your sandwich maker (I have an Antony Worrall Thompson for Breville flat sandwich press that I’ve had for many years).

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Place your sandwich onto the sandwich maker and close the lid.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Toast for a few minutes until the top is nicely browned and the mozzarella has started to melt.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Slice diagonally using a sharp knife.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Serve with a helping of salad and some of the root vegetable crisps.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Tasty (the sandwich that is!)

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative

I was sent a voucher from the Central England Co-Operative to buy my ingredients to participate in the creation for National Sandwich Week.

Hot Cross Bun & Butter Pudding

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It’s Spring and the weather is starting to heat up a little. Flowers are starting to show and share their beautiful colours with the world as they awaken from winter. It’s Easter this weekend; a time for rebirth, and the clocks ‘Spring forward’ giving us lighter nights to enjoy.

I’ve not quite joined the cold pudding club yet, as the nights can still give us a chill, so I’ve decided to choose an old favourite for my recipe creation with the Central England Co-Operative and bring you a twist on a bread & butter pudding, but using hot cross buns instead, and adding extra fruit.  These red berry hot cross buns are absolutely delicious and I’m really glad I didn’t use both packets when making my recipe as I know I’ve got spares to enjoy toasted with butter and a coffee tomorrow evening.  This is how I’ve made my Hot Cross Bun & Butter Pudding.  All my ingredients are Co-Operative own brand products:

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Unsalted butter

6 red berry hot cross buns

1 punnet blueberries

4 large eggs

300ml double cream

30ml milk

Dark chocolate infused with orange oil

Custard to serve

 

1. Preheat your oven to 160°C.

2. Slice your hot cross buns horizontally and butter both of the cut sides.

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3. Butter the inside of an ovenproof dish.

4. Place the bottom slices of the buns, buttered side down, into the base of your dish.  Cutting them to fit the gaps.

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5. Sprinkle the blueberries over the buns.

6. Using the cross on the bun tops, cut the bun tops into strips about 1.5cm wide. Make a cross with these, cut side down.

7. Cut the remaining pieces into chunks and place them around your cross, cut side up to give a contrast.

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8. Beat the eggs, cream and milk together and pour over the hot cross buns.

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9. Allow this to soak into the buns for 5 minutes.

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10. Break the chocolate squares into smaller pieces and use to outline your cross.

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11. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the egg and cream mixture has set.

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12. Serve with custard.

This recipe was created for the Central England Co-Operative. I received vouchers to purchase my ingredients to create this recipe.

Pulled Pork and Pears with Central England Co-op

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Recently I was invited to take part in producing a dinner time recipe by the Central England Co-Op.  The best bit was that I wasn’t limited in what I could come up with; I was given free range to produce an amazing plate of food for you, so I chose to do one of my all time favourite meals – a good old Sunday roast!  Come and share my creation and enjoy!

2kg Pork shoulder joint.
5ml Sea Salt
Fresh Thyme
2 Onions
For the gravy
400ml Pear Cider
80ml Double cream
Black pepper to season
For the pears
25g Butter
10ml Rapeseed Oil
4 Pears
15ml Demerara sugar

1. Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan.
2. If not already done by your butcher, score the skin of the pork through the rind, but not right the way through to the flesh.
3. Pat the skin dry, then season with the salt and rub in well.
4. Tuck pieces of the thyme into some of the slashes in the rind.
5. Peel and quarter your onions and use these as a ‘trivet’ in the base of your roasting pan.

6. Place your pork joint on top of the onions, add 250ml of water and cover tightly with foil.
7. Place in the oven and cook for 3-3½ hours until the meat is cooked through.
8. Remove the meat from the oven, along with the onions.
9. If you want to make crackling, then at this point, turn the oven up to 220C.  Cut through the strings securing the pork joint and cut the rind away from the flesh.
10. Cover the meat and onions with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
11. Place the pork rind on a wire rack in the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes until it has bubbled up and is crispy.
12. Add the pear cider to the roasting tin over a medium heat and stir to remove all the residual flavours (you’ll often hear this called ‘de-glazing’ the pan).
13. Transfer the gravy to a saucepan and bring to the boil, and then add the cream and reduce to a simmer. Don’t worry if it starts to look as if it’s splitting, it will come back together as it reduces.
14. Allow the gravy to simmer gently, stirring occasionally.  Season with freshly ground black pepper, to your own personal taste.
15. Meanwhile, melt the butter and the oil in a pan then add the demerara sugar and stir through.
16. Quarter the pears lengthways and remove the core (I left the skin on mine).
17. Gently heat the butter and oil then cook the pears until they’re tender.

18. Using two forks, ‘pull’ the pork apart (rather than slice it).  You’ll find that it’s lovely and tender and will do this easily.
19.  Serve the pulled pork with the pears and the pear cider gravy and a piece of crackling.
20.  I accompanied mine with gorgeous, crispy, roast potatoes and freshly steamed broccoli.

Enjoy!

I was sent £25 of food vouchers from the Central Co-Op with which to create my meal recipe.  I also purchased additional pears and apples, along with some vanilla ice cream and made a crumble for dessert.