Thursday, 2 February 2017

Sausage, Tomato and Potato Bake

This is a really easy bake, pop it in the oven, forget about it for 15 mins, add some stuff, forget about it for another 15 mins, stir in the some pesto, dinner! I made it when I got back from a trip and was more concerned about getting stuff done around the house whilst it was cooking. It's damn delicious too!

Sausage, Tomato and Potato Bake
(Serves 2)

4 sausages, cut in half
200g new potatoes
1 onion , cut into 8 wedges
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
150g mushrooms, chopped
4 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
2 tbsp basil pesto
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Put the sausages, onions and potatoes into a roasting tin and spray with cooking spray. Put in the oven.

After 15 mins add the cherry tomatoes and mushrooms, stir and continue to cook for another 15 mins.

Removed from the oven and stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and pesto. Serve with a green salad.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Cajun Chicken Spaghetti Squash

This was delicious, lovely and spicy and the usual watery nature of the spaghetti squash was gone, so all in all a success.

Cajun Chicken Spaghetti Squash (from Destination Delicious)
(Serves 6)

2 medium spaghetti squashes
2 tbsp oil
salt and pepper
450g chicken breast, chopped into small cubes
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 peppers
3 tomatoes, diced
60g cream cheese
bunch parsley, chopped  

Preheat the oven to 200C. Prick the spaghetti squashes with a fork and put into the oven. Bake for 40mins - 1 hr until soft. set the squash aside until cool enough to handle. Sprinkle 1 tbsp cajun spice to the chicken and combine.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in  frying pan over a medium high heat, add the chicken and sauté for about 5 mins. Add the onion, garlic and peppers to the pan with 1 tsp cajun seasoning and sauté until softened.

Then, add in the tomatoes and cream cheese. Stir until combined. Take the mixture off the heat. When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the spaghetti strands out of each half. Add the spaghetti squash and the chicken to the sauté pan and toss to combine. Serve.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Salmon Bulgar Risotto

This really does have a risotto like texture despite not being made anything like a risotto. It was also very tasty and felt like the flavours of summer in the middle of January!

Salmon Bulgar Risotto (from Beauty Bites)
(Serves 4)

4 tomatoes, chopped
4 salmon fillets, chopped
200g bulgar wheat
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp oil
1 pepper, chopped
handful coriander, chopped
handful dill, chopped
handful green olives, chopped
1 tbsp capers

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the bulgar according to packet instructions. Drain.

Add the tomatoes to frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat for a few mins, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to fall apart and start looking like a sauce. Then add the bulgar and chopped salmon and mix together. If you need to, add some water.

After 3-4 mins cooking, stir in the garlic and oil. Cover and stir from time to time for another 3-4 mins. Turn off the heat and add the pepper, coriander, dill, olives and capers, cover and let sit for a few more mins on the warm stove. Serve.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Brussel Sprout and Mushroom Hash

One use for those leftover brussels sprouts!

Brussel Sprout and Mushroom Hash (from Closet Cooking)
(Serves 2)

1 tbsp oil
1 small onion, finely diced
225g mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp thyme, chopped
450g brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
salt and pepper
4 eggs

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms release their moisture, it evaporates and the mushrooms start to go brown, about 15 mins.

Add the garlic, thyme and brussels sprouts, saute until tender, about 5 mins, let sit until the bottoms start to caramelise, about 5 mins, then mix everything up and season. Make small wells in the hash, add the eggs and cook until you're happy wth them.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Brazilian Prawn Soup

This is a delicious soup, just lightly spicy and very filling.

Brazilian Prawn Soup (from Jo Cooks)
(Serves 6)

2 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
100g long-grain rice
pinch chilli flakes
salt and pepper
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
1l water
250ml coconut milk
400g prawns, halved
juice 1 lemon
small bunch parsley, chopped

In a large saucepan heat the oil over low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and cook stirring occasionally until the onion and pepper are soft.

Add the rice, chilli flakes, salt, tomatoes and water to the pot and bring a boil. Cook until the rice is almost done, about 10 mins.

Stir in the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and then add the prawns. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the prawns are just done, 3 to 5 mins. Stir in the black pepper, lemon juice, and parsley and serve.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Five Spice Beetroot and Gammon Stew

I'm starting to really like beetroot. This is a lovely comforting winter stew with a slightly Chinese edge to it.

Five Spice Beetroot and Gammon Stew (from Recipes from a Pantry)
(Serves 2-3)

1 onion, roughly chopped
200g raw beetroot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp veg oil
200g smoked gammon, cubed
1 tsp five spice powder
2 400g tins borlotti beans rinsed and drained
400ml chicken stock
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Add the onion, garlic and beetroot into a blender and whizz into a puree. Heat the oil in an oven ready casserole dish and brown the gammon, before quickly mixing in the Chinese five spice. Remove the gammon and set aside.

Add the beetroot and onion puree and cook for 5 mins before returning gammon to the pot. Add everything else in, mix well and bring to the boil.

Cover the casserole, transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 1 hr.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Jerusalem Artichoke Latkes

I got some Jerusalem artichokes in my veg bag and I was hunting about for interesting things to do with them. These latkes were what I found. They are quite tasty, but they don't hold together all that well! This is also a massive amount for 2 people!! I served it with cottage cheese too.

Jerusalem Artichoke Latkes (from Naturally Ella)
(Serves 2)

225g Jerusalem artichokes, grated
225g potatoes, grated
112g parsnips, grated
1 large egg
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp chopped chives
salt and pepper
2 to 3 tbsp oil for frying

For Serving
2 poached eggs

Put the grated Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes and parsnips in a clean tea towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out all the excess liquid. Place in a bowl and add the eggs, flour, chives, salt, and pepper and mix.

Heat a medium, frying pan over medium-low heat. Add a tbsp of the oil and swirl around the pan. Wet your hands and measure out about 3 tbsp of the Jerusalem artichoke mixture. Pat into a patty that’s about ¼in thick. Place in the heated pan and fry for three mins. Flip and fry for another three mins. The outsides should be golden and crisp while the inside should be hot.

Repeat with remaining mixture. Add more oil as needed. Divide between four plates and serve topped with poached eggs, sriracha, and chives.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Homemade Pasta

I made home made pasta! I absolutely loved it and it tasted so much better than bought stuff! I got a pasta maker for my birthday and this was the first time I used it. It was just so much fun to make and satisfying too! I followed Jamie Oliver's instructions to the letter and it worked perfectly. I served it with salmon, cottage cheese, pesto and green veggies. Yum! Next time, ravioli!

Homemade Pasta (from Jamie Oliver)

6 large free-range eggs
600 g Tipo '00' flour

Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together – with a bit of work and some love and attention they’ll all bind together to give you one big, smooth lump of dough!

You can also make your dough in a food processor if you’ve got one. Just bung everything in, whiz until the flour looks like breadcrumbs, then tip the mixture on to your work surface and bring the dough together into one lump, using your hands.

Once you’ve made your dough you need to knead and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, otherwise your pasta will be flabby and soft when you cook it, instead of springy and al dente.

There’s no secret to kneading. You just have to bash the dough about a bit with your hands, squashing it into the table, reshaping it, pulling it, stretching it, squashing it again. It’s quite hard work, and after a few minutes it’s easy to see why the average Italian grandmother has arms like Frank Bruno! You’ll know when to stop – it’s when your pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. Then all you need to do is wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure the cling film covers it well or it will dry out and go crusty round the edges (this will give you crusty lumps through your pasta when you roll it out, and nobody likes crusty lumps!).

How to roll your pasta: First of all, if you haven't got a pasta machine it's not the end of the world! All the mammas I met while travelling round Italy rolled pasta with their trusty rolling pins and they wouldn't even consider having a pasta machine in the house! When it comes to rolling, the main problem you'll have is getting the pasta thin enough to work with. It's quite difficult to get a big lump of dough rolled out in one piece, and you need a very long rolling pin to do the job properly. The way around this is to roll lots of small pieces of pasta rather than a few big ones. You'll be rolling your pasta into a more circular shape than the long rectangular shapes you'll get from a machine, but use your head and you'll be all right!

If using a machine to roll your pasta, make sure it's clamped firmly to a clean work surface before you start (use the longest available work surface you have). If your surface is cluttered with bits of paper, the kettle, the bread bin, the kids' homework and stuff like that, shift all this out of the way for the time being. It won't take a minute, and starting with a clear space to work in will make things much easier, I promise.

Dust your work surface with some Tipo ‘00’ flour, take a lump of pasta dough the size of a large orange and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting - and roll the lump of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all. Click the machine down a setting and roll the pasta dough through again. Fold the pasta in half, click the pasta machine back up to the widest setting and roll the dough through again. Repeat this process five or six times. It might seem like you're getting nowhere, but in fact you're working the dough, and once you've folded it and fed it through the rollers a few times, you'll feel the difference. It'll be smooth as silk and this means you're making wicked pasta!

Now it's time to roll the dough out properly, working it through all the settings on the machine, from the widest down to around the narrowest. Lightly dust both sides of the pasta with a little flour every time you run it through. When you've got down to the narrowest setting, to give yourself a tidy sheet of pasta, fold the pasta in half lengthways, then in half again, then in half again once more until you've got a square-ish piece of dough. Turn it 90 degrees and feed it through the machine at the widest setting. As you roll it down through the settings for the last time, you should end up with a lovely rectangular silky sheet of dough with straight sides - just like a real pro! If your dough is a little cracked at the edges, fold it in half just once, click the machine back two settings and feed it through again. That should sort things out. Whether you're rolling by hand or by machine you'll need to know when to stop. If you're making pasta like tagliatelle, lasagne or stracchi you'll need to roll the pasta down to between the thickness of a beer mat and a playing card; if you're making a stuffed pasta like ravioli or tortellini, you'll need to roll it down slightly thinner or to the point where you can clearly see your hand or lines of newsprint through it.

 Once you've rolled your pasta the way you want it, you need to shape or cut it straight away. Pasta dries much quicker than you think, so whatever recipe you're doing, don't leave it more than a minute or two before cutting or shaping it. You can lay over a damp clean tea towel which will stop it from drying.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Creamed Corn with Baghdad Eggs

Another yummy vegetarian lunch or breakfast. I didn't bother to cook the spinach, but you could if you felt like it. 

6 fresh corn cobs
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
½ tbsp chia seeds
400g young spinach leaves
8 eggs
1 tsp sumac

For the spice mix
3 tbsp finely chopped shallots
4 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 garlic clove
large pinch smoked paprika
2 pinches dried chilli

To prepare the spice mix, put a small frying pan on medium heat, cook the shallots in the olive oil until soft then add the remaining ingredients. Turn the heat to low, stir well and leave for another 2 mins. Leave to cool.

Cook the corn cobs in salted water for about 10 mins. Drain and, once cool enough to handle, strip the kernels from the cob with a knife. Place three quarters of the corn in a blender with the olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning.

Process to a very fine texture and add the remaining cooked corn and the chia seeds. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

Cook the spinach in 3 tbsp boiling water until wilted, then drain in a colander. When ready to serve, fry the eggs in a little oil with the spice mix. Divide the creamed corn between four plates, dot with the spinach and slide the eggs on top. Sprinkle with sumac and serve with flatbreads.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Cheese and Onion Topped Vegetable Pie

This was a yummy veggie pie.

Cheese and Onion Topped Vegetable Pie (from Waitrose Autumn)
(Serves 4)
(9 WW SmartPoints per serving)

800g potatoes, peeled and chopped
splash milk
1 tbsp oil
1 carrot sliced
1 pepper, diced
300g leeks, washed and thickly sliced
40g butter
40g plain flour
400ml milk
1 tsp mustard
80g cheddar cheese, grated
1 bunch spring onions, sliced

Put the potatoes into a saucepan and over with water. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 mins until tender. Drain and return to the pan.

Add the milk and mash well. Season.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the veg for 5 mins. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 min. Gradually add the milk stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in the mustard and 20g cheese, season and pour over the veg.

Mix the remaining cheese and spring onions into the mash and spoon on top of the veg. Bake for 30 mins until golden.