To celebrate the launch of their new Illumina range, Russell Hobbs got in touch and asked if I'd like to take part in a virtual 'Come Dine With Me' blogger challenge. I thought this sounded like a great idea, especially when I discovered who the other two bloggers taking part would be - the lovely Galina from Chez Maximka and the equally lovely Ali from Dragons & Fairy Dust. I can't wait to see what they come up with for the main course and dessert, and I'm just a bit sad that we aren't meeting up for real !
Russell Hobbs sent me through an Illumina 3-in-1 Hand Blender from the range. The whole Illumina range has been designed with an innovative colour control light ring which changes colour to represent speed with clear guidance on which setting is best for different food types, helping to take the guess work out of cooking. As well as having all the benefits of a stand-alone hand blender, the Illumina Three-In-One Blender (RRP £49.99) also comes with whisk and mini-chopper attachments so you can whip up your egg whites and chop up ingredients for dips and salsa with ease. This made short work of chopping up the ingredients that I needed for my starter.
I decided to go slightly Middle Eastern and take my inspiration from a dish that we discovered in Morocco called Briouates. These little filo pastry parcels can be stuffed with whatever you want, from spinach and minced meat to honey and walnuts. I decided to go for a savoury option and a sweet/savoury option.
Duo of Cheesy Briouates
1 pack filo pastry
1 large leek
2 slices high quality ham
a knob of butter
300g grated cheese
1/2 tin crushed pineapple
Finely slice the leek (which literally takes seconds if you're using the 3-in-1 blender). Heat the butter in a small frying pan and fry the leeks over a very low heat, until they are soft and cooked through but not browned. Chop the ham and stir into the leeks then sprinkle over half of the cheese and cook, constantly stirring, until it has totally melted and the leeks/ham/cheese start sticking together into a large lump. Turn off the heat and leave to cool.
In a separate bowl, put 100g chopped pineapple with the rest of the cheese. Put in the microwave for 30 seconds (repeat if necessary) until the cheese has melted. Stir to combine and set aside to cool.
Take one of the sheets of filo pastry. Brush the top edge with olive oil and fold in half, sticking the two edges together with the oil. Place a portion of filling (ham/leek/cheese or cheese/pineapple) on one third of the filo sheet and fold over twice (left side with filling to the middle, then right side to the left side). Fold over both edges to seal in the filling and brush with olive oil to seal.
I'm not sure you're allowed helpers for Come Dine With Me but I couldn't say no when the Madhouse Mini-testers wanted to get involved !
They did a great job !
I used a piece of chive to mark out the leek/ham/cheese ones. (The two on the left are sweet Nutella ones that Sophie begged to make to use up the leftover filo sheets !)
We decided to be a bit healthy and baked ours in the oven for 15 minutes after brushing them with olive oil but you can also fry them in olive oil in a frying pan or even deep fry them.
The combination of light flaky filo pastry and gooey cheese got a unanimous thumbs up. Everyone also started throwing new ideas of ingredient combinations at me to try out next time - cheese and ketchup, goats cheese and pear, tuna mayonnaise, chilli con carne and cheese, chocolate and banana !
I can't wait until Wednesday to find out what Galina has concocted for our main course and Friday for Ali's dessert !
I'd also like to link up these briouates for Galina's Read Cook Eat challenge because they were inspired by the briouates cooked up by the Moroccan maid Mona in the chilling novel The Darkening Hour by Penny Hancock, which I reviewed here.
for more information on the Illumina range : http://uk.russellhobbs.com/
Disclosure : I received a shopping voucher for the ingredients and the 3-in-1 blender in order to take part in the Virtual Come Dine With Me challenge.
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