Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Orzo Salad with Crab, Sweetcorn, Shiitake Mushrooms and Creme Fraiche

This was a surprisingly good salad, the combination of the mushrooms sweetcorn and crab is delicious and I suspect it would have been just as good without the creme fraiche

Orzo Salad with Crab, Sweetcorn, Shiitake Mushrooms and Creme Fraiche
(from A Perfectly Tossed Salad)
(Serves 4-6)

250g orzo pasta
2 tbsp oil
2 corn cobs, shucked
2 tbsp shallot, finely sliced
salt and pepper
340g shiitake mushrooms
3 tbsp olive oil
small bunch parsley, chopped
225g white crab meat
115ml creme fraiche
small bunch chives, chopped
2 pinches cayenne pepper
3 tbsp thinly sliced basil leaves
squeeze lemon juice

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the orzo according to packet instructions. Drain, run under cold water and drain again well.

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp oil over a medium high heat. Add the sweetcorn, shallow, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for about 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the corn is crisp-tender. Add the mushrooms and parsley. Continue to cook for a further 5 mins, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are wilted and tender. Take the pan off the heat.

Transfer the orzo to a large bowl and add the olive oil, the mushroom mixture, crab meat, creme fraiche, chives, basil, squeeze lemon juice, a little salt and the cayenne pepper. Stir the salad to combine, then season and serve.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Meal Planning Monday

It's half term! I am looking forward to spending time at home and spent yesterday sorting out the garden, pulling up old veg, planting the bulbs and doing the window boxes and planting onions and garlic. It really is one of my favourite places to be. 

So this week is pretty chilled, I'm working tomorrow and doing a couple of workshops in the afternoon, on Tuesday I'm meeting a friend for lunch, rest day on Wednesday with a comic and manga workshop for librarians in the evening and then on Thursday I'm going to my parents for the weekend to go to the dentist and my godfather and his partner are coming for the weekend, really looking forward to seeing them. I have loads of things to do around the house though as I've not had time during term time, so lunchtime meals will be a bit haphazard!

Currently reading: Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop - Kate Saunders

Farro and Roasted Pepper Salad (Plenty)
Sardine Pasta Bake with Salad

Out with a friend
Pumpkin Pasta with Salad


Lamb Kofta Curry with Rice


Blackberry and Apple In and Out

I'm not sure about suet puddings although this was tasty it was a bit greasy from the suet I think. It was a bit different from a cobbler and I'm not sure that I'd bother making it again although I would like to try making a sponge pudding at some point which I think uses suet.

Blackberry and Apple In and Out
(From The Good Granny Cookbook - Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall

225g self-raising flour
113g shredded beef suet
3 Cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
large handful of blackberries
3 tbsp caster sugar
285ml milk

Preheat the oven to 190C.  Butter a 3l oven-proof dish.

Mix the flour, suet and sugar together.  Add enough milk to bring the mixture to a dropping consistency.  Fold in the apples and blackberries, gently.  

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and then bake for 30-35 mins or until it is brown and crunchy on top. Eat warm, with ice cream.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Summer Storecupboard Salad

This is a really very tasty salad. It's a lovely combination of summery ingredients and the salami that I bought is incredibly delicious.

Summer Storecupboard Salad (from A Salad for All Seasons)
(Serves 4)

1 tin artichoke hearts
1 tin cannellini beans
4 tbsp pesto
2 tbsp olive oil
100g salami, roughly torn
200g sun blush tomatoes, drained and chopped
100g pitted black olives 

Slice the artichokes into halves or quarters, depending on the size. Toss the beans with the pesto and olive oil. Next add the salami, tomatoes and olives.

Finally add the artichoke hearts and pack into a lunchbox or serve.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Mushroom, Tarragon and Taleggio Mac and Cheese

I made this for my family for dinner one evening. I got the cookbook when I went to Corbridge in the summer and bought some taleggio and then couldn't remember what I'd bought it for. I found the book again and thought it would make a lovely dinner party dish. Everyone loved it with lots of second helpings asked for! The book has all sorts of different mac and cheese recipes, loads of which I want to try so look out for them. I served it with a green salad and some garlic bread.

Mushroom, Tarragon and Taleggio Mac and Cheese
(from Mac and Cheese - Laura Washburn)
(Serves 6-8)

500g macaroni
300g portobello mushrooms
2-3 tbsp oil
handful parsley leaves, chopped
handful tarragon leaves, chopped
600ml double cream
100g cheddar cheese, grated
50g Parmesan, grated
250g taleggio, thinly sliced 
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet, stems up, brush with the oil. Season lightly with salt and roast for 15-20 mins until tender. Remove and let cool slightly, slice the mushrooms and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
Put the cream into a large saucepan and bring just to the boil, stirring occasionally, the reduce the heat and ass the cheddar, Parmesan and halve the taleggio, stir well to melt. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Add the cooked macaroni and the mushrooms to the cream and mix well. Season. Transfer the pasta mushroom mixture to an oven-proof dish and spread evenly. Top with the remaining taleggio and some black pepper. Bake in the oven for 25- 30 mins. Serve.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Couscous Salad with Courgette and Goat's Cheese

This was a just a salad where I grabbed what I had in the house and put it all together! It was a lovely fun salad with lots of vibrant colours and flavours. Had I thought about it some herbs would be nice in here too, or you could exchange the lemon juice for balsamic.

Couscous Salad with Courgette and Goat's Cheese
(Serves 1)

60g Israeli couscous
1 small courgette, sliced
1 tbsp pine nuts
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 artichoke hearts, quartered
30g soft goats cheese
1 tsp olive oil
juice 1/4 lemon

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the couscous according to packet instructions. Drain, run under the cold tap and then drain again well.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan and add the pine nuts, toast until golden.

Tip the pine nuts out of the pan and add a little oil. Heat and then add the courgette and cook until browned. Leave to cool.

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl, drizzle over the olive oil and squeeze over the lemon juice. Stir well to combine and pack into a lunchbox or serve.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Carrot, Sweetcorn and Elderflower Soup

This is probably one of the most unexpectedly tasty soups I have ever made. Something about the elderflower really picks this soup up. It's not the most appealing soup visually but the taste is just amazing.

Carrot, Sweetcorn and Elderflower Soup
(from Soup for All Seasons - New Covent Garden Soup Company)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, finely sliced
700ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp elderflower cordial
400g sweetcorn
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions, carrots and celery, then cook for 10 mins.

Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Add the elderflower cordial, then cover and cook for 15 mins until the veg are tender.

Blend until smooth with a hand blender.

Add the sweetcorn, season to taste, then cook for a further 10 mins and serve.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Courgette Tarte Tatin

I loved this, I really like savoury tarte tatins and I am really getting the hang of shortcrust pastry which I seem to be making all the time at the moment as I try and use as much of the stuff from the garden as possible. This is really tasty and a good way to use courgettes from the garden!

The book is also shaped like a round courgette, the French really know how to do cookbooks!

Courgette Tarte Tatin (from Larousse Courgette)
(Serves 6)

6 courgettes, cubed
4 tbsp oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
200ml basil pesto
1 packet short crust pastry
200g soft goat's cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper

Heat a frying pan and add the oil, followed by the courgettes, cook for 5 mins.

Preheat the oven to 200C. 

Add the pesto and brown sugar to the courgettes, caramelise for 10 mins under a low heat, stirring often. Season.
Sprinkle the goats cheese over the courgette mixture and then top with the pastry, tucking the edges lightly under the courgette mixture. Cook in the oven for 25 mins. Serve with green salad.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Chicken, Red Pepper, Green Bean Pesto Mozzarella Salad

There is just something about the taste of proper mozzarella, it really makes this salad. The creaminess just works so well in the salad and the croutons are brilliant at mopping up the extra pestoey sauce,

Chicken, Red Pepper, Green Bean Pesto Mozzarella Salad
(From The Times Magazine)
(Serves 4)

200g green beans
1 jar red peppers
4 chicken breasts, cooked
4 tbsp pesto
2 handfuls croutons
250g mozzarella, torn
Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the beans for 4 mins, drain and run under the cold tap. Leave to dry.
Slice the peppers and chicken and combine with beans and remaining ingredients. Season and serve. If you are packing into a lunch box, pack the croutons separately and add just before eating.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Meal Planning Monday

So last week wasn't as busy as it should have been as I had a good awful migraine on Wednesday that put me in bed and so missed the theatre as well as a day at work. Other than that the week went as planned. The theatre on Tuesday was pretty good and the Vogue Gowns talk at the V&A was also really good. Yesterday I went to the Knitting and Stitching Fair at Alexandra Palace and had a really lovely day. In the morning we learnt how to crochet a daisy, which was ok although I was a bit useless at it! We then wondered around the show and I bought a couple of pairs of earrings and a tapestry cushion kit, then in the afternoon we learnt how to make a felt bangle, which I found much easier and I felt quite proud of what I achieved!

This week is thankfully much quieter, I definitely need the rest especially as I feel like I'm coming down with something. On Monday night I'm going to see Fred and Madge at the tiny Hope Theatre, Wednesday I'm going to Zumba and then out to Five Guys for dinner and then Pilates on Thursday after that I have a lovely restful beginning weekend to half term.

Currently reading: Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

Tuna, Bean and Sun Dried Tomato Salad (Grains)
Out before the theatre

Ham and Mustard Sandwich with Crisps
Shrimp Creole with Dirty Rice

Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad with Green Beans
Out at Five Guys

Crab Pasta (Jamie's 15 Min Meals)

Roasted Red Pepper Farro Salad (Plenty)
Salmon En Croute with Veg

Courgette Tatin with Salad (Courgette)
Spelt Cobbler