Friday, 22 August 2014

Morroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad

I made this lovely salad for lunch. The original salad doesn't have any lentils in it, but I wanted something a little more substantial and added them. It was delicious, lightly spicy and the carrots were still crunchy.

I used my own carrots from my garden, lovely and purple!

Morroccan Carrot And Lentil Salad (Plenty - Yotam Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4)

1kg carrots
80ml olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 250g packet cooked puy lentils
1 tsp caster sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green chillies, crushed
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped preserved lemon
40g chopped fresh coriander
120g Greek yoghurt

Peel th carrots and cut them into 1cm thick pieces, depending on the size, they should all roughly be the same size. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 mins, or until tender but still crunchy. Drain in a colander and leave to dry out.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until soft and slightly brown. Add the cooked carrots and lentils to the onions and then the rest of the ingredients apart from the coriander and yoghurt. Remove from the heat, season with salt, stir well and leave to cool.

Before serving stir in the coriander. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, a drizzle of olive oil and some extra coriander.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Salmon with Warm Courgette, Fennel and Barley Salad

I am now into the eat courgettes with everything phase. I am giving away as many as I can but I'm also eating a fair few myself. This was really lovely and lemony, the salad working brilliantly with the salmon.

Salmon with Warm Courgette, Fennel and Barley Salad
(from Girl Interrupted Eating)
(Serves 2)

120g pearl barley
2 salmon fillets
1 tbsp old bay seasoning
1 large courgette, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the barley according to packet instructions.

Put the salmon in the oven and cook for 15 mins

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the courgette and fennel, and cook until slightly golden and soft. Once the barley is cooked, add to the pan along with the parsley, preserved lemon, poppy seeds, lemon zest and juice and seasoning, stir well. 

Put the barley mixture into two bowls and top with the salmon. Serve.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Homity Pie

This is really something I really loved from school dinners at my previous job. The macaroni cheese, Cumberland sausage and mash and homity pie were my favourites. So I decided to recreate the pie in mini form for me and I have to say that my version tasted a lot healthier but still full of flavour.


Homity Pie (from Amuse Your Bouche)
(makes 1 large pie)

250g plain flour
150g butter, cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp oil
1 leek, halved lengthwise then sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
450g potatoes
25g butter, softened
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp mild/medium curry powder
3 tbsp milk

Put the flour and butter into a bowl and using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the egg and mix until it forms a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and put into the fridge for half an hour.

Flour a board and roll out the pastry. Lightly grease a large flan dish, and lay the pastry on top, pressing gently into the corners of the dish. Trim the pastry to fit. Place some baking beans on top of the pastry and blind bake for around 15-20 mins, until golden brown.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, and cook the leeks and garlic over a medium heat for around 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft. Meanwhile, chop the potatoes into fairly small chunks, and boil for around 15 mins, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Use a fork to lightly mash the potatoes. Add the leeks and garlic, butter, parsley, curry powder, egg, milk, and half the cheese. Mix well. Transfer the mixture to the pie crust, and spread out into an even layer. Top with the remaining cheese, and bake for a further 25-30 mins, until the cheese is crispy and the pastry is golden brown. Serve with salad.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tortellini Caesar Salad

Although this was a really simple salad to put together I thought people might like to see other things that can be done with a bottle of Caesar salad dressing. I know I was trying to come up with things! This was a very tasty salad, not a typical Caesar Salad and in fact you could throw anything in it, but the combination of the slightly spicy dressing and the pasta was really good. Could also be eaten hot or cold.

Tortellini Caesar Salad
(Serves 1)

handful tortellini
salad leaves, ripped up
small chunk salami, sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
small chunk mozzarella, cubed
1 tbsp Caesar salad dressing

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

Whilst the pasta is cooking, put the salad leaves in a bowl and top with the salami, tomatoes and mozzarella. When the tortellini is done, drain and then put on top of the salad. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Meal Planning Monday and Eating Out in Northumberland

So I've had a really cool couple of weeks. I started the two weeks with a trip to Paris, I didn't really take any pictures and didn't have all that much remarkable food, and I completely forgot to take a picture of any of it! However I did rediscover Kir in the hotel bar!

And we found Percy Pigs in Marks and Spencer, which made us giggle!

I then spent 10 days in Northumberland, where I did have some delicious food. I spent the first few days helping my parents clear two rooms that are being renovated in their house. Then my Mum and I spent a few days eating well!

The first place we visited was The Running Fox at Felton, where we had melts, I had a goat's cheese with beetroot and apple chutney and my mum had cranberry and brie. They were slices of bread with cheese on top and then the chutney. The portions were very generous with a lovely side salad. Of course, I forgot to take any pictures! We also bought a loaf of corn bread and some rocky road to take home.

The next day we went for lunch at The Angel in Corbridge. I had the burger

Again it was a generous portion, the chips were lovely and thick and the burger was fantastic and juicy. We spent the day in Corbridge and had a look round the shops, my favourites are the Cookshop, which seems to sell everything you could possibly want and The Corbridge Larder which has a fantastic selection of Northumbrian cheeses as well as lots of other foodie items. I really love visiting Corbridge and try to do so every time I get the chance to go up north.

Our last foodie outing was to the The Treehouse Restaurant at Alnwick Gardens. This was a really cool experience.

The restaurant is up in a huge treehouse. We had the set lunch menu and shared a started and pudding. I only managed to take pictures of our main courses, to start with we shared kipper pate with toast, for the mains I had fillet of Red Mullet with Summer Veg and a Bouillabaisse Broth, 

My mum had sausages and mash, with the sausages coming from a local Alnwick butchers

There was a bit of a discrepancy in portion sizes though, my mum's was huge and mine was tiny, she had three sausages. For pudding we had a trio of strawberry puddings; strawberry crumble, strawberry sorbet and a strawberry daiquiri. The food was ok, not out of this world but pretty good.

Out of this world was the hot chocolate and chocolate and almond croissant from a tiny chocolate shop called Cabosse in Warkworth, oh my god, so so so good. The hot chocolate was lovely and thick and rich and the croissant was just awesome. It has totally converted me to almond croissants, I had another one yesterday!

I also tried white pudding for the first time whilst away and I bought some more from Moorhouse Farm Shop, I had it for lunch a couple of days ago in a stottie with mushroom and ketchup, so so good.

Now on to this week. I have a fairly slow week, I'm going to the Park Theatre on Tuesday to see Crystal Springs and then I start my new job on Thursday, which I'm really excited about. I'm also hoping to go blackberry picking when it stops raining as they seem to be ready already! And to the Jean Paul Gaultoer exhibition at The Barbican. Then I'm meeting a friend to go to Kew Gardens on Saturday, really looking forward to that. This weeks meals are sort of adventurous and kind of clear out the freezer a bit so that I can fit more courgette based dishes in!

Courgette and Brie Soup with bread (Covent Garden Soup Book)
Thai Yellow Prawn Noodles

Sea Bass with Saffron Braised Broad Beans and Peas (Waitrose Recipe Card)

Israeli Couscous Salad with Merguez Sausages (Salads Book)
Rice Stuffed Courgette (Plenty - Ottolenghi)

Cheese and Pickle Sandwich with Crisps

Out with work
Mackerel with Tomato and Quinoa (Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)

Carrot and Lentil Salad with Freekah Pilaf (Plenty - Ottolenghi)


Chicken with Potatoes, Prunes and Pomegranate Molasses

This was so so so good, the flavours were just perfect, lovely and sweet and sticky prefect with the chicken. I served it with a green salad and veg. If you make one thing make this!

Chicken with Potatoes, Prunes and Pomegranate Molasses 
(from The Guardian)
(Serves 6)

4 chicken legs
500g charlotte potatoes 
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
120g pitted prunes
30g grated fresh ginger
100ml soy sauce
90ml pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp maple syrup
120g sweet mango chutney
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
20g oregano sprigs

Heat the oven to 200C. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, the tip into a large casserole dish. Cover with a lid (or thick foil), and bake for 10 mins. Lower the heat to 180C, and cook for two hours longer, stirring every now again.

When the time is up, remove from the oven, stir once, cover and set aside for at least 15 mins, to rest and allow the flavours to mingle. Garnish with a few oregano leaves and serve.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Greek Salad with Samphire and Rosemary Salted Herrings

This is another one of those lovely warm salad I've been enjoying. The original recipe called for sardines, but herring was just as good. It also gave instructions for pickling the samphire but I didn't have the time so I just cooked it quickly and added it to the salad. Yummy!

Greek Salad with Samphire and Rosemary Salted Herring
(From The Sunday Times)
(Serves 4)

For the dressing
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp mustard
squeeze of lemon
handful of mint, finely chopped
parsley, finely chopped
few leaves of oregano, finely chopped
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp sea salt
5 tbsp olive oil
120g samphire 
For the salad
25g sea salt
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves
4-8 herrings, butterflied
500g heritage tomatoes, cut into different sizes
1 red onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 baby cucumber, sliced into 1cm discs
100g pitted kalamata olives
250g good-quality feta cheese, cut in half lengthways
First make the dressing; place the sherry vinegar, mustard, lemon, mint, parsley, oregano, sugar, salt and olive oil into a food processor and blend for 1 min. Transfer to a small bowl.
Bring a small pan of water to the boil and add the samphire, cook for 1 min, drain and then run under the cold tap.
Blend the salt and rosemary in a food processor until well mixed, then sprinkle over the sardines. Heat a barbecue or griddle pan with a little oil and fry the sardines skin side down for 3 minutes until lightly charred. Flip over and fry for another 2 minutes. 
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, red onion, pepper, cucumber and olives. Toss with the dressing. Top with the feta and more dressing if needed. Serve the samphire and sardines on the side.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Broad Bean Burgers

These were wonderfully tasty. I shoved it in a bun, which is totally the wrong thing to do. These should be eaten elegantly with a nice salad, although they were very nice with blue cheese and barbecue sauce, it didn't show the burgers off to their full potential.

The original recipe called for the burgers to be fried in 125ml sunflower oil but I made them a little bit more healthy by baking. I also made them bigger than suggested as I wanted them for a main meal rather than a snack.

Broad Bean Burgers (from Plenty - Yotam Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4)

3/4 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp coriander seeds
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
225g spinach
2 tbsp olive oil
500g shelled broad beans
350g potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
1/2 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp chopped coriander
40g breadcrumbs
1 egg
salt and pepper

Put the whole seeds in a pan and dry-roast on a high flame for 3-4 mins or until they start releasing their aromas. Grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar.

Wilt the spinach I'm a hot pan with a splash of water. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out any liquid, then chop roughly and set aside.

Blanch the broad beans in boiling water for about a min, drain and refresh under cold running water. Once cool enough to hand remove the skins and discard.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 mins or until tender. Drain and tip into the a large mixing bowl. Immediately add the skinned broad beans, crushed spices, chilli, garlic, tumeric, olive oil and some salt and peppers use a potato masher to mash it all up roughly. Next add the wilted spinach, coriander and breadcrumbs. Check seasoning and mix in the egg.

Wet your hands and shape the mix into fat patties. Chill for 30 mins. 

Preheat the oven to 200C and cook for 20-30 mins.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Sausage and Pesto Barley Salad

Sausage and Pesto Barley Salad
(Serves 2)
100g pearl barley 
4 sausages
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 courgette, sliced or cut into batons
1 red onion, sliced 
12-14 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
40g feta, crumbled
2 tbsp basil, chopped
1 tbsp chives, chopped
2 tbsp pesto
4 tsp olive oil
lettuce leaves

For the vinaigrette
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the sausages in the oven and cook for 25-30 mins, turning after about 20 mins.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the barley, cook according to packet instructions. 

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and sauté the peppers, courgette and onions.
Make the dressing by mixing the vinegar and mustard, then slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly.

Put the barley, peppers, courgette and onion into a bowl, add the pesto and stir well to combine.

Once the sausages are done, remove and cut into about 5 pieces.

Tear the lettuce and put into a large salad bowl along with the herbs. Add the dressing and toss well to coat.

Divide the lettuce and arrange on 2 plates, Top with the barley mixture, followed by the sausages, cherry and tomatoes and feta. Serve.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Lamb Kofta Curry with Fluffy Rice, Beans and Peas

This month, the Daring Cooks challenged us to think inside the box - the icebox, that is! Audax taught us some really cool tips and tricks for stocking our freezers with prepare-ahead meals that can keep our taste buds satisfied even during the busiest of times.

This is another one of Jamie's tasty 15 Minute Meals, still didn't take 15 minutes but it was very tasty. This really was worth making, I've definitely had a run of really good meals recently, it was a very decent curry. It was also suitable for freezing and therefore good for Daring Cooks this month! Curries freeze really well, I often make big batches of things and freeze things in portions for later use.

Lamb Kofta Curry with Fluffy Rice, Beans and Peas
(from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals - Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 4)

1 250g ready cooked puy lentils
1 heaped tsp garam masala
400g lean lamb mince
1 tbsp oil
3 ripe tomatoes
1 thumb size piece of ginger, peeled
2 spring onions, trimmed
1 red chilli
1 bunch coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp runny honey
2 heaped tsp rogan josh curry paste
1 200ml can light coconut milk
4 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt
1 lemon

1 mug (300g) 10 min whole grain or basmati rice
5 cardomom pods
200g green beans
200g frozen peas

Put the lentils in a bowl with salt, pepper, garam masala and mince, the mix and scrunch together with clean hands. Divide the mixture in half, then with wet hands quickly squeeze and mould each half into 6 fat fingers. Put them into a hot frying pan with 1 tbsp oil, turning when golden.

Put 1 mug of rice, 2 mugs of boiling water and the cardamom pods into a saucepan on a high heat and cover with a lid. Squash the tomatoes into a liquidiser, add the ginger, spring onions, half the chilli, coriander stalks, tumeric, honey, curry paste and coconut milk, the blitz until combined. Pour into the kofta pan, bring to the boil, then simmer and season to taste.

Take the lid off the rice, add the peas and beans, mix it all up and give it just a few more minutes. Finely slice the remaining chilli and coriander leaves and scatter them over the curry, dollop with yoghurt then serve with lemon wedges and the rice, beans and peas.