A Greek-ish salad recipe.

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Summer has finally arrived in England. And nothing says summer food to me, more than a fresh tasty Greek salad. This is not a traditional Greek salad in any sense of imagination, but it’s my take on it. Quick, easy and delightful. You can add and change the recipe to suit your fridge contents, but it always must have tomato, cuecumber, green bell pepper, red onion and fetacheese. The Rocket adds a peppery taste that works well. It’s best eaten straight away, but will keep for a few days in a sealed container in the fridge. An optional extra is to add chopped dill, it makes quite a difference to the taste, but it’s a superb addition. Beef tomatoes also work well. This salad is great with a BBQ, fish or sliced chicken breast. Also awesome in some freshly baked bread.
Salad Ingredients
2 medium sized salad tomatoes, halved then sliced.
Half a red onion, very finely sliced.
Half a large cucumber, seeds removed with a spoon, then sliced into 10mm slices.
1 green bell pepper (capsicum), seeds and stem removed then sliced.
100g of feta cheese, drained and chopped into 5mm cubes.
A handful of rocket.
Dressing Ingredients
1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper. To taste.
5 fresh mint leaves chopped finely. (Use 1 teaspoon of dried mint if you must).
1 heaped teaspoon of dried oregano.

Instructions
1. Place all the salad ingredients into a suitable bowl.
2. Mix the dressing ingredients into a small dish or cup.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad and coat it well.
4. Serve immediately.

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The best BBQ Corn on the cob recipe, ever.

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Sweetcorn, it’s not really eaten much on the cob, here in the UK, well not as much as on the continent. Which is a shame, as it’s a great vegetable, sweet, tasty and really easy to prep. And the additional flavour you get from grilling it is so, so delicious it’s criminal!
Mexicans use corn in so many dishes, it’s a very versatile food. Not many street corners in Mexico do not have a corn seller adorning them. This recipe is just as good on a BBQ or in a griddle pan, make sure you wrap the corn well, give it a few layers, so the buttery goodness doesn’t leak everywhere.

Ingredients
1 tsp chili powder.
1/2 tsp dried oregano.
1 pinch onion powder.
1 teaspoon of Paprika.
Cayenne pepper to taste.
Garlic powder to taste.
Salt and pepper to taste.
100g of butter. Softened.
6 ears corn, husked and cleaned.

Directions
1.Preheat your BBQ grill or griddle pan, to a high heat.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the chili powder, oregano, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend in the softened butter.
3. Apply this mixture to each ear of corn, and place each ear onto a piece of tin foil big enough to wrap the corn. Wrap like a Cristmas cracker, and twist the ends tightly to close.
4. Place wrapped corn on the preheated grill, and cook 20 to 30 minutes, until tender but still a bite to it. Turn corn clockwise occasionally during cooking. Keep in foil, until ready to eat. Great dipped in mayo.

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Spicy Skin of Pig. Or Pork Scratchings recipe if you prefer.

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Hands up who loves everything that’s unhealthy? Well you do have to treat yourself once in a while. Pork skin is one of those foods that you either love or hate. I’m team love. Such a cheap, delicious, salty, fatty delight. Great with beer, or whilst watching a movie or your favourite sports team. These really are the top treat for snackers.
Pork Rind is readily available in most supermarkets nowadays, or just ask your local butcher. It’s really cheap and normally comes ready prepared. These snacks will keep for a week or so in a sealed air tight container or zip locked freezer bag.

Ingredients
1 slab of Pork skin (rind).
1 tablespoon of salt.
1 teaspoon of paprika.
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper.
1 teaspoon of hot Paprika (Pimenton)
1 teaspoon of onion powder.
Half a teaspoon of cayenne powder. (Add more if you like extra hot)
Half a teaspoon of garlic powder.

Directions
1. Dry the skin by patting with kitchen towel. And leave to dry in a dark cupboard overnight or for at least a few hours. When ready, preheat the oven to 160° C or 365° F.
2. Cut the skin. This can be tricky, so a sharp knife is essential, a clean Stanley knife (Utility knife) is perfect. Cut it into rough 30mm squares.
3. Mix all the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. And then vastly sprinkle over the skin. Making sure every piece gets its fair share.
3. Place the seasoned skin, spaced well apart onto baking trays and place into the pre-heated oven.
5. Cook for 50 minutes or until crispy. Beware they can burn easily so keep your eye on them.
6. When cooked, transfer onto kitchen paper to cool. Add more salt if needed. When cooled, store in an airtight container.

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Smashing Summer Smoothie.

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When the UK occasionally gets a sunny day, there is nothing more healthily refreshing than a fresh fruit smoothie. Smoothie bars really haven’t taken off over here yet. When I have been on my world travels, they seem to be everywhere, especially in Australia and America. I love creating new concoctions, depending on what fruit is on offer or in season, and fresh herbs add a great twist to most drinks.
This is a simple but tasty recipe, that anyone can make. It’s easily done with a food processor, smoothie machine, blender or a hand held stick blender. You can add or change ingredients to suit your stock, chopped fresh mint also is a great addition when added at the end.

Ingredients
A small handful of raspberries.
Juice of one medium sized orange. I used a Jaffa.
1 banana, peeled.
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or seeds from one pod.
2 heaped tablespoons of Greek yoghurt.
275ml of semi-skimmed milk.
3-4 crushed ice cubes.
A squirt of honey (optional for sweetness).

Directions
1. Place raspberries, banana and vanilla into a blender, food processor or tall jug.
2. Blend until smooth. Then add the orange juice and honey if using. Blend again.
3. Add the yoghurt, crushed ice and milk and pulse until mixed well.
4. Pour into suitable glasses and enjoy.

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I’m back!

Kitchen Sink Chillicoming soon

I have been planning a new version of my blog for a while now. Most people have passed through my blog via twitter, and anyone who follows me, (if you do not, why not? https://twitter.com/mrcraiglyons) will know the hashtag #makefoodnotwar, so it seemed kinda right to rename my blog, and I think it suits my philosophy a lot more. I mean, war is not fun, war does not make you happy, there are no winners in war, but food, well everyone wins, everyone loves food, and by golly, food can be so much fun, to eat, to make, to share. So come on people, please spread the word and . . .
#makefoodnotwar

The Hammer Burger – recipe.


This is hopefully the first of many guest posts on Lyons Made. Created by Matthew Ryan (@ClaretNBlues on Twitter) is this monstrous ‘Hammer’ burger. Give it a try and let us know what you thought of it. Cheers Matt!

When Craig asked me to do a guest piece on Lyons Made, the original plan was to submit a recipe for a ‘Luther Burger’ – a bacon and cheese burger sandwiched between 2 toasted iced doughnuts, drizzled with maple syrup. But I was so desperate to to try my new creation that I decided the ‘Luther’ could wait.

What I bring you today is something special indeed!. What is it? It’s a burger, topped with caramelised onions and a fried egg between two toasted cheese sandwiches. Before you pass judgement, I implore you to try it, you will NOT be sorry you did. (Although your waistline might!)

Ingredients

For the burger (makes around 4)
550 minced beef
25g chopped coriander
1 red onion, chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard or half a teaspoon of wasabi.

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

other ingredients

4 slices of white bread

1 medium onion (sliced)

4 slices of cheese (Kraft or any supermarket brand is fine)

1 free range egg
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
1 teaspoon of white sugar
2 tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oil
American Mustard (optional)

1. Place all the burger ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Using your hands, shape into four equal-sized burgers, I sometimes use a circular cutter. Putting these raw burgers in the fridge for half an hour, may help prevent them from breaking when cooked.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pan and add the sliced onions. After about 4-5 mins add the balsamic vinegar and sugar to the onions and heat on low/medium for around 25 mins or until caramelised, stirring regularly. If the onions begin to go dry, just add a tablespoon or 2 of water. The vinegar will add a new dimension to your onions.

3. While the onions are cooking, grill or fry your burger to your specifications (about 15 minutes under  grill, turned once), (I like mine medium rare) and prepare your sandwiches for toasting by placing 2 slices of cheese between 2 slices of bread. Now you need to make your toasties, I do mine in the George Foreman grill but they can be done on any grill or in a toastie machine.
4. Now you can fry your egg. Again, you can do this to the specifications you like. I like mine with a runny yolk.
5. When the cheese sandwiches are toasted, place the cooked burger on top of one and drizzle with ketchup. Add the cooked onions on top of the burger. Next place the egg on top of the onions and drizzle with American mustard.
6. Place the second toasted cheese sandwich on top on press down firmly. I usually find at this stage that 15 seconds in the microwave helps it all all gel together nicely, but this is optional.
7. Tuck in and enjoy!

photo by Matthew Ryan

Thai infused Pumpkin Soup Recipe

It’s fast approaching Halloween and, come to think of it, winter. So that means, the supermarkets are full of pumpkins. Here is a recipe to put this versatile vegetable to good use.
Perfect for them cold days, or to put in a flask for work lunch. this will make at least 4 hefty bowls full. It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, or you could even freeze it if you wish.

Ingredients
1kg of de-seeded, peeled and cubed pumpkin flesh. Or Butternut Squash.
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds.
1-2 tablespoons of Thai green curry paste. I used tuk tuk foods brilliant authentic paste.
2 cloves of smoked garlic, crushed. (Substitute with normal garlic if preferred.)
900ml of stock. I used one chicken cube and one vegetable cube.
Juice of one lime
Salt and black pepper
Handful of fresh chopped coriander 
100ml of double cream.
Method
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the chopped onion and cumin seeds, cook gently for 4-5 minutes, until nearly golden. 
2, Add the curry paste and garlic, and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the pumpkin, stir well and then cook for another 3-4 minutes.
3. Add the stock, and cook gently with the pan covered, until the pumpkin is soft, around 30 minutes.
4. Season well, with the salt and black pepper, add the coriander, and blitz with a hand blender, or push through a sieve with a wooden spoon.
5. Stir in the cream, and then the lime juice, mix well and serve warm, with home made bread or crusty rolls.