Sunday, 29 March 2015

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Bake

This is a wonderfully low carb meal, the spaghetti squash takes the place of any pasta and the ricotta creates a creamy sauce. The original recipe had kale in it but I went for cavolo nero as I prefer the taste and it has less tough stems. 

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Bake (adapted from Sequins and Scotch)
(Serves 4)

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
425g ricotta
1 large egg
4 handfuls cavolo nero, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 tsp italian herbs
50g parmesan, grated
225g mozzarella, grated

Heat oven to 200°C. Place the squash on a baking sheet  and roast until tender, 40 to 50 mins.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, kale, garlic, nutmeg, spices, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper

When the squash is cooked, with a fork, gently scrape out the strands of flesh from the spaghetti squash and add to the ricotta mixture. Mix gently to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a shallow casserole dish, sprinkle with the mozzarella, and bake until browned and bubbling, 18 to 22 mins.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Pesto Ricotta Pasta Salad

This is a really simple pasta salad recipe that I made with some leftover ricotta and the stuff that I always have in my fridge. I was disappointed that the flavour of ricotta was not stronger but otherwise this is a tasty pasta salad.

Pesto Ricotta Pasta Salad
(Serves 1)

60g dried pasta shaped
4 stalks tenderstem broccoli
1 tbsp ricotta
1 tsp pesto
5 black olives, halved
2 sundried tomatoes, sliced

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions, adding the broccoli for the last 3-4 mins. Drain, run under the cold tap and drain again well. Leave to dry.

Mix the ricotta and pesto in a bowl and add the pasta, broccoli, olives and tomatoes. Mix well to combine. Pack into a lunchbox or serve.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Smoked Mackerel, Spinach and Potato Dauphinoise

This was really really delicious, I loved the combination of the soft potatoes, with the silky smoked mackerel and spinach. If you're looking for an awesome dish with oily fish I urge you to try this!

Smoked Mackerel, Spinach and Potato Dauphinoise (from Foodie Quine)
(Serves 4)

750g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 fillets of smoked peppered mackerel, flaked
240g baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
300ml creme fraiche

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a shallow ovenproof dish.

Peel the potatoes and slice as thinly as you can. Do the same with the onion.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until translucent, add the spinach and garlic and cook until wilted. Add in the smoked mackerel and creme fraiche and stir gently until combined, season.

Arrange a layer of approximately 1/3 of the potato in the bottom of the dish top with the spinach mixture. Top with more potato and then the spinach and then the potato again. So that the top layer is potato.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Check after 45 minutes and cover with foil if you think the top is getting too brown.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Meal Planning Monday

Last week went to plan. I think the highlight of the week was the trip to Dennis Severs House in Folgate Street. It is an amazing time capsule, with the rooms made up to feel as though the occupants have just left. You walk around in silence so that you can take in the sights, smells and sounds and the attention to detail is incredible.

At the weekend I went to see Behind the Beautiful Forevers at the National Theatre, which was really good and really evoked the sights of India. Then on Sunday I went to the Edible Garden Show, which was rather disappointing. It wasn't very big and although there were lost of innovative things on offer it was a bit poor with only a couple of stalls selling actual plants. I bought 3 tomato plants, 2 mini cucumber plants and an aubergine plant. I am also growing some plants from seed and they have all started to come up.

This week is a quiet week, I am only out one night, bowling with work, and then at the weekend my parents are coming and we are going to Borough Market and then having family over for lunch and then my Mum and I are going on a chocolate tour of Soho on Sunday which I'm really looking forward to. There is a lot of freezer diving going on this week as I have a lot of food in the freezer that needs eating.

Beetroot and Bulgar Wheat Salad (Salad Days)


Rosemary Salmon with Jerusalem Artichoke Mash and Veg


Chinese Prawn Noodle Salad (Salad Days)
Ham Pasta Bake with Salad

Borough Market Feast

Smoked Haddock, Barley and Spinach Salad

This is an adapted recipe, it's supposed to be eaten hot but it tastes really good cold in a lunchbox as well. It takes a little bit of effort but it's worth it.

Smoked Haddock, Barley and Spinach Salad
(adapted from Grains, Seeds and Legumes by Molly Brown)
(Serves 6)

1 tbsp dijon mustard
100ml white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tsp caster sugar
180ml extra virgin olive oil
75ml creme fraiche
220g pearl barley
2 tbsp oil
250g leeks, sliced
350g baby spinach leaves
1 kg smoked cod or haddock, cut into 6 portions

Make the dressing; put the mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper and sugar into a small bowl. Gradually add the extra-viring olive oil, whisking as you go. Stir in the creme fraiche and check for seasoning.

Cook the barley in boiling water until tender about 30 mins. Drain rinse in cold water, drain well and transfer to a bowl and stir in some salt and pepper.

Heat a tbsp of oil in a saucepan, add the leeks and cook until soft. Add to the barley and mix well.

Put the spinach in the bottom of a lunchbox and top with the barley mixture.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the fish to the pan. Cook for 2 mins until golden brown. Turn the flesh over, reduce the heat a little and cover the pan. Cook for about 5 mins or until the flesh is opaque. Take the pan off the heat. Leave to cool.

Break the fish into large chunks and place on top of the barley mixture. Pack the dressing separately and pour over and mix at lunchtime.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Pork Fillet with Prunes, Mustard and Barley

I really enjoyed this dish but I wasn't that keen on the prunes. I think they either need chopping up a bit or removing from the dish. It would have worked well without them. I used cavolo nero for the greens which were delicious.

Pork Tenderloin with Prunes, Mustard and Barley (from Amazing Grains by Ghillie James)
(Serves 2-3)

1 tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
100g barley
650ml chicken or veg stock
15 pitted prunes
100ml white wine
400g pork tenderloin, cut into slices
200g kale or greens, thickly shredded
2 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp creme fraiche
salt and pepper

Bring the stock to the boil and cook the barley according to packet instructions.

Meanwhile, soak the prunes in the wine for 30 mins.

Season the pork slices with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat, brown the pork on both sides. Remove to a dish and add the onion and garlic, fry for a few mins until soft and translucent.

Add the kale or greens and fry adding a splash of water. After a couple of mins add the prunes and wine. Reduce for 30 secs and then stir in the mustard and creme fraiche and add the pork back to the pan. Taste for seasoning, then remove the pork from the pan.

Add the cooked barley to the sauce and stir together. Divide the barley mixture between 2 plates and then top with the pork.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Golden Scallops with Sun-Blush Mash and Greens

This recipe has been on my radar for quite a while and when I got some scallops half price in Waitrose I knew I had to try it. I don;t have a food processor big enough so I just chopped the sun-dried tomatoes by hand and grated the cheese and mixed them in. I also changed the greens using what I had in the fridge. It was ok although I think I over cooked the scallops, I liked the combination with the bacon.

Golden Scallops with Sun-Blush Mash and Greens (adapted from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)
(Serves 4)

Sun-blush mash
800g potatoes
40g sundried tomatoes in oil
1 splash milk (optional)

200g tenderstem broccoli
200g green beans
200g sugar snap peas
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon

4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
12 large scallops
1/2 lemon

Slice the potatoes 1cm thick, put into a casserole pan then cover with boiling water and the lid.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and ad the broccoli, asparagus and peas, cook for 3 mins. Drain and toss with the extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Put into a serving bowl.

Crumble the cheese into a food processor, add the sundried tomatoes, half a tbsp of their oil and blitz well. Finely slice the bacon. Pat the scallops dry with kitchen towl, then score on one side in deep crisscross and season with salt and pepper. Put 1 tbsp oil into a frying pan, add the scallops score side down. Cook until lightly golden on boths ides, then add the bacon.

Drain the potatoes, tip into the processor and pulse up, loosen with a splash of milk is needed. Season and spoon onto a plate. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over the scallops, shake and toss the pan then serve on top of the mash with the veg on the side.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Pasta Salad

I've seen the combination of goat's cheese and beetroot around a lot recently and as a goat's cheese fanatic I had to try it. Beetroot is supposed to be a superfood and I'm trying to pack as much veg into my diet as possible. It goes really well with the creaminess of the goat's cheese and this was a really satisfying lunch.

Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Pasta Salad
(Serves 1)

60g dried pasta shaped
2 vacuum packed cooked beetroot, cut into chunks
handful spinach leaves
20g soft goat's cheese, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

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

Put the spinach in the bottom of a lunchbox or bowl. Top with the pasta, beetroot and goat's cheese. Pour over the oil and balsamic vinegar and toss with the ingredients. Serve.

If you are packing this into a lunchbox, pack the olive oil and balsamic separately to the salad and add at lunch time.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Meal Planning Monday

Last week was pretty good if full on. Neither of the theatre performances during the week were that good but I really enjoyed Muswell Hill at the Park theatre on Saturday. We had a lovely Mother's Day yesterday, my sister and I went to my parent's to surprise my Mum, and took her out to lunch to The Olive Garden for pizza! It was a really lovely day.

This week is kind of quiet, tonight is pilates, Wednesday I am going to Dennis Severs House at Folgate Street and then on Friday I am going to a Ceilidh in Camden. At the weekend I am going to an exhibition at the Guildhall Library and to see Behind the Beautiful Forevers at the National Theatre.

The meals are all fairly simple, I'm especially looking forward to the Smoked Mackerel and Spinach Dauphinoise. I haven't quite got around to working out what I'm eating for lunch either weekend day but I'm sure I'll dig up something!

Prawn Cocktail with Salad
Turkey and Broccoli Rice Bake with Salad

Smoked Haddock, Barley and Spinach Salad (Grains)
Jerusalem Artichoke and Spinach Pasty with Salad (Ottolenghi)

Ham and Corn Scalloped Potatoes with Salad
Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Crisps

Corn Dog Casserole with Crisps
Smoked Mackerel and Spinach Dauphinoise

Pesto Ricotta Pasta Salad
Spaghetti Squash and Kale Casserole

Veggie Burger

Mac and Peas
Veak Burger with Celeriac Chips

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Spelt Salad with Paprika Chicken, Tomatoes and Green Beans

I made a complete wreck of this recipe and didn't really read the recipe properly. So there are a few things missing from the original recipe. I also forgot to marinate the chicken, but nevermind! It was still a lovely filling salad and the roast cherry tomatoes were out of this world!

Spelt Salad with Paprika Chicken, Tomatoes and Green Beans
(from Amazing Grains by Ghillie James)
(Serves 4)

2 tsp oil
3 tsp smoked paprika
zest 1 lemon
juice 1/2 lemon
1 1.5kg chicken
300g cherry tomatoes
150g green beans
200g spelt
700ml chicken stock
3 spring onions, finely sliced
3 handfuls salad leaves
12 pitted black olives, halved
salt and pepper

For the dressing
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp capers, chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
juice 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Mix together the oil, paprika and lemon zest and juice, along with some salt and pepper and rub all over the chicken. Leave for 20 mins to marinate. Preheat the oven to 200C.

Transfer the chicken to a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 1 hour or until the juices run clear. Baste the chicken once during cooking and then again before adding the tomatoes to the tin for the final 20 mins.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the spelt according to packet instructions, adding the beans for the last 3 mins. Drain and refresh under the cold tap and put into a bowl.

Transfer the tomatoes from the roasting tin to the bowl. Put the chicken on a board and lave to rest. Spoon off any fat from the tin and add 2 tbspfuls of the remaining juices to the bowl. Shred the chicken and add to the bowl along with the spring onion, salad leaves and olives.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together. Pout two thirds of the dressing over the salad, tossing everything together. Serve, adding more dressing if needed.