Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Sausage, Cheddar and Mushroom Pasta Bake

I made this delicious pasta bake for dinner a couple of weeks ago. It was fab, really easy to make. I made a couple of changes, I added green beans to the recipe and I put tomatoes on top before the finally bake as I love tomatoes in macaroni cheese!

Sausage, Cheddar and Mushroom Pasta Bake (from Sainsbury's Magazine)
(Serves 6)

8 sausages
2 tbsp oil
2 red onions, chopped into wedges
300g mushrooms, halved or quartered
400g macaroni
200g green beans, chopped in half
400ml crème fraîche
200g mature cheese

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Cut each sausage into three and put in a large roasting tin. Drizzle over the oil, season with black pepper and toss. Roast for 15-20 mins until the sausages are starting to colour.

Mix in the red onion and mushrooms and cook for a further 20 mins or until they are tender and the sausages are golden.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta for 10 mins adding the green beans for the last 3 mins of cooking time. Drain and toss in the tin with the sausages, onions and mushrooms. Spoon over the crème fraîche and stir it through, along with half of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for 10-15 mins until golden and crusty.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Meal Planning Monday

So, although I did go out for meals during the week. None of them were particularly notable! Then on Saturday I struck gold! For lunch I went to Mamie's on Catherine Street in Covernt Garden for galletes. I went for the Forestiere Complet, which was cheese, ham, mushroom and egg and was absolutely delicious. They have this ipad ordering system which you do all yourself at the table.

Then for dinner I went to the Delaunay. I chose it because the friends I was eating with are vegetarian and they have a good fish selection and a separate vegetarian menu. The meal was absolutely wonderful. I started with Salmon Tartare, which came with picked veg and toast and was very tasty. I followed that with Mushroom Stroganoff and Spaetzle, which again was really very good. Then I had Kaiserschmarren for pudding, which is cut up pieces of dough with plum compote. It was huge but so so good. I had to chare it with one of my friends in the end! I will definitely be going back.

This week I have several evenings out of theatre and then my Works Christmas Meal on Friday. I also made lots of soup this weekend, so I'm stocked as it's definitely the weather for it! I can't decide on Sunday lunch but hopefully inspiration will strike later in the week!

Cavolo Nero and Potato Soup with Bread
Out before the theatre

Curried Carrot and Butterbean Soup with Bread
Out before the theatre

Ham and Cucumber Wrap with Crisps
Cod with Chorizo and Beans with Bread (Waitrose)

Salmon Pasta Salad
Chicken Curry, Onion Bhaji and Paratha

Curried Courgette Soup with Bread
Out for Work Christmas Do

Out at Cafe Pacifico
Mixed Veg Stir Fry

Tuna Burger (WeightWatchers)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Creamy Parmesan Mushroom and Spinach Tortellini Soup

This was a delicious creamy soup. Perfect for these cold winter evenings.

Creamy Parmesan Mushroom and Spinach Tortellini Soup (from Closet Cooking)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp butter or oil
225g mushrooms, quartered or sliced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp thyme, chopped
30g plain flour
125ml white wine
1.5l vegetable broth or chicken broth
225g cheese tortellini
40g parmesan, grated
280g baby spinach, coarsely chopped
125ml cream or milk
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and onion and cook until they start to go golden, about 10-15 mins.

Mix in the garlic, thyme and flour and cook, stirring, until the flour starts to turn a light golden brown, about 2-3 mins. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.

Add the broth and tortellini, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the tortellini is tender, about 10 mins. Add the parmesan, let it melt, add the spinach, let it wilt, add the cream, season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Serve.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Steamed Salmon and Lemongrass Pilaff

This was really delicious. Perfectly cooked. I added the veggies in at the same time as the salmon. Yum!

Steamed Salmon and Lemongrass Pilaff (from The Times)
(Serves 4)

1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, sliced
40g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp oil
300g long-grain rice
750ml chicken stock
4 200g skinless salmon fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
handful coriander leaves
handful thai basil leaves
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
soy sauce, to serve

Place the lemongrass, ginger and garlic in a small food processor and process until the mixture is finely chopped.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the lemongrass mixture and salt and cook, stirring, for 4 mins.

Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 12 mins.

Place the salmon on top of the rice mixture, cover and remove the pan from the heat. Allow to stand for 6 mins. Top the pilaf with coriander and basil leaves, spring onions, chilli and soy sauce to serve.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Creamy Coriander Tomatillo Soup

I grew some tomatillos this year in the garden and I am just getting around to using them. I made some delicious soup with some of them. Next I'm going to make something actually Mexican!

Creamy Tomatillo Soup (from Sumptuous Spoonfuls)
(Serves 4)

900g fresh tomatillos (weighed after peeling the outer shells off)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 - 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp oil
60ml whiskey
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin
1/2 - 1 tsp red pepper flakes
375ml evaporated milk
bunch coriander, chopped

Heat the oven to 180C.

Peel the papery shells off the tomatillos and rinse them just to make sure all the dirt is off. Slice them in half and set them in a bowl. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the tomatillos and toss them lightly in the oil to coat them. Place them on a baking sheet, cut side up, and sprinkle liberally with pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 - 30 mins or until they are tender.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion and garlic and heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Pour in about half of the whiskey and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is gone, then add the rest of the whiskey and cook again until the liquid is gone.

When the tomatillos come out of the oven, let them cool a bit, then add them to the saucepan blitz using a hand blender puree till smooth. Add in the cumin and red pepper flakes along with the evaporated milk and coriander and blend until the coriander is chopped into little bits. Warm the soup and serve.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Veal Chop with Mashed Potato and Sautéed Mushrooms

I got some veal chops cheaply in Waitrose and then this recipe popped up in my Mum's copy of the Telegraph magazine. It was lovely and tasty, I love the combination of the veal and mushrooms.

Veal Chop with Mashed Potato and Sautéed Mushrooms (from The Telegraph)
(Serves 4)

4 veal chops
4 tbsp oil

For the mash
1.4kg potatoes, peeled and quartered
60g unsalted butter
50g milk

For the mushrooms
240g mixed mushrooms
1 tbsp oil
knob butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
100ml white wine
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Rub the chops with the oil and season. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 190C.

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes until tender.

Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and add a splash of oil. Add the chops and cook until golden brown on one side, about 5 mins, then turn and cook for another 5 mins.

Remove the chops to a roasting dish and roast for 15 mins. Leave to rest for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, drain the potatoes, return to the pan and mash with the butter and milk. Season.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add the oil and butter. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown. Then add the wine and reduce until the liquid disappears. Remove from the heat, season and toss in the parsley.

Divide the mash between 4 plates, top with the veal and the mushrooms. Drizzle any mushroom juices round the plates.

Meal Planning Monday

So last week was busy, really I'd like a rest week but this week doesn't show signs of getting any quieter! Before we went to the theatre in Hampstead we once again went to Guglee, this time I tried the Seabass Nazakat, which was basically seabass with herbs and chilli steamed in a banana leaf with Bombay Aloo and a Mint Paratha. It was delicious and much better than their Chicken Tandoori.

My veg bag also arrived this week, in it I got squash, carrots, broccoli, cavolo nero and fennel complete with enormous fronds!

I also gave my gingerbread biscuit recipe out to a parent at school and she gave me some of the cookies she made. They were delicious!

Then on Thursday we went for Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, which we found rather disappointing. The staff were rude, both on arrival and they tried to take our food away before we had finished, when we still had 30 mins left at our table. The sandwiches were unexciting and a bit dry. The scones were terrible, far too full of baking powder. The cake offerings were miserly given the money we had paid and very uninspiring, the only good things were the macarons that actually tasted of lemon and the raspberry tart. Needless to say I won't be going back, it is clearly a con for the tourists, I'll go to the Wolseley next door for a better Afternoon Tea for half the price.

This week promises to be just as busy. I'm trying to fit exercise around everything and just about managing. I'm only allowed to swim on my back and use an exercise bike, both of which I have discovered are much more fun with a friend!

Smoked Mackerel and Beetroot Frittata with Salad
Leftover Turkey Green Enchiladas

Curried Courgette Soup with Bread
Out before the theatre

Tomato and Cheese Quiche with Salad

Pesto Prawn Pasta Salad
Chicken and Basil Coconut Curry with Rice

Stuffed Chayote
Tuna Burger

Out at Balthazar Boulangerie
Out at The Delaunay

Sweetcorn and Squash Fritters with Ham
Chicken and Broad Bean Pilaff (Hairy Dieters)

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Curried Courgette Soup

This used up the last of my courgettes. I love making courgette, this one is spicy and fresh. 

Curried Courgette Soup (from Health Magazine)
(Serves 4)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp curry powder
900g courgette, coarsely chopped
1l chicken or veg stock
salt and pepper
4 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander for garnish

Warm oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and curry powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Raise heat to medium-high, add zucchini, pour in broth and add 1 tsp. salt. Cover and bring to a simmer. Remove cover, reduce heat to medium to maintain a simmer and cook until zucchini is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let soup cool slightly. 2. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth whisk in sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into chilled bowls, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage

My Mum saved me some runner beans from her last crop, just so I could make this recipe! It was lovely and fresh and full of well, beans! 

Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage (from Plenty by Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4)

3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp tomato purée
½ tsp each ground cumin, turmeric and coriander
1 tsp each ground ginger and cardamom
pinch of ground cloves
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp caster sugar
150g sugar snaps, halved at an angle
200g runner beans, sliced at an angle
250g shelled broad beans
2 tbsp chopped lovage salt and black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Sauté on medium heat for 3 mins, stirring frequently; add the garlic and cook for 1 more min. Now add the tomato paste, spices and some salt and pepper and keep on cooking and stirring for another min.

Next, add the tomatoes, sugar and all the peas and beans. Stir to mix. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 mins, or until the sugar snaps are cooked through but are still crunchy. Season. Stir in the lovage and then served.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

I made this chocolate beetroot cake for a staff meeting a couple of weeks ago. I had a lot of beetroot that needed using and this was perfect. This is a picture before I added the icing. It was very rich and you'd definitely only need a small piece!

Chocolate Beetroot Cake (from Delicious Magazine)
(Serves 10-12)

250g plain chocolate, broken up
3 large eggs
200g light muscovado sugar
100ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
250g raw beetroot

For the icing
150g plain chocolate
100g icing sugar
100g soured cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 22cm round, loose-bottomed cake tin with a little butter and line the base with baking paper.

Place the plain chocolate in a bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt slowly until smooth, then set aside to cool.

Place the eggs, sugar and sunflower oil in a large mixing bowl and whisk together, using an electric hand whisk, for about 3 mins until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in vanilla extract, then sift over self-raising flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and gently fold in, together with the ground almonds.

Peel and grate the beetroot, then squeeze out the excess liquid. Fold the beetroot into the mixture with the cooled chocolate, until thoroughly mixed.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hr. Cover with foil if the cake browns too quickly. Test the cake by inserting a skewer into the centre to see if it comes out clean. Cool for a little while, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the icing, place the plain chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Allow to melt gently until smooth. Set aside to cool, then beat in the icing sugar and soured cream until you have a thick, creamy and spreadable icing. Spread it over the top and sides of the cooled cake and serve.