Monday, 3 August 2015

Spring Veg Sausage Casserole

Ok so it's not really the weather for casseroles, but this is a delicious one and well worth making. I used broad beans out the garden and I would recommend double podding them but I didn't bother and it would have been better if I had. This is just such a bright and flavourful dish, I love all the fresh veggies in it.

Spring Veg Sausage Casserole (from Good Food Magazine July 2013)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp oil
8 good-quality sausages
1 small onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, quartered, then sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp plain flour
150ml white wine
500ml chicken stock
200g pack green beans, halved
300g broad beans, double podded (unpodded weight)
300g peas
zest 1 lemon, juice of ½
handful parsley, chopped
handful basil, chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the sausages, cook for a few mins until browned all over, then transfer to a plate. Tip the onion and fennel into the pan and cook for 10-15 mins until nice and soft, then add the garlic and the fennel seeds. Cook for a few mins more, moving everything around the pan now and then, to prevent the garlic from burning.

Stir the flour into the vegetables, and cook for 1 min. Pour in the wine, let it bubble for 1 min, give everything a good stir, then add the stock and return the sausages to the pan, seasoning well. Cover, then gently simmer for 30 mins.

Add the green beans, broad beans and peas, then cook, uncovered, for 2 mins more. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, and herbs. Add a little more salt and pepper if it needs it, then serve with crusty bread.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Mexican Chicken Salad

I made this into a warm salad but there is no reason why you can't pack it into a lunchbox, just pack the tortilla chips separately and sprinkle over at lunchtime. I loved the combination of flavours and textures in this dish.

Mexican Chicken Salad (adapted from Good Housekeeping Salad Days)
(Serves 4)

2 chicken breasts, chopped into chunks
1 tsp fajita seasoning
225g sweetcorn
125g cheddar, grated
25g jalepeno peppers, chopped
400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 spring onions, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
juice 1 lime
50g tortilla chips, crushed
salt and pepper

Heat a frying pan with come oil over a high heat. Sprinkle the fajita seasoning over the chicken and then add the chicken to the pan, cook for 5-6 mins until golden and cooked all the way through.

Divide the salad leaves between 4 bowls and top with the sweetcorn, jalepeno, beans and spring onions. Sprinkle over the tortilla chips and then top with the chicken followed by the grated cheese. serve.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Fish-rizo with Broad Beans

Apparently this dish is called fish-rizo because the seasoning resemble chorizo! I'm not sure that's try but it was a very flavourful dish. I couldn't keep my fish chunks whole, they rather disintegrated, if anyone knows how to keep them whole let me know, but this was till a lovely dish

Fish-rizo with Broad Beans
(from River Cottage Light and Easy - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
(Serves 4)

700g white fish fillets - pollack, coley, whiting haddock, cut into chunks
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
small pinch cayenne pepper
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 garlic clove, sliced
2 tbsp oil
150g cooked broad beans
juice 1/2 lemon
chopped mint

Put the fish into a bowl with the spices, garlic and oil. Add a pinch of salt and mix so that the fish is covered. Leave for up to half an hour in the fridge if you have time.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Add a little oil, then the fish, cook tossing often, for 4-5 mins, until cooked through. Stir in the broad beans and cook for another min. Squeeze over the lemon juice and remove from the heat.

Divide between bowls and sprinkle over the mint. 

Friday, 31 July 2015

Spinachy Wraps

I made this on a bit of a whim looking for something to go with some fish-rizo I was making from the same book, but I'll definitely be making them again. Although mine turned out a bit more like a pancake rather than a wrap, I think a larger pan is in order.

Spinachy Wraps
(from River Cottage Light and Easy - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
(Makes 4)

150g spinach, washed
4 medium eggs
100g chickpea flour
salt and pepper

Cook the spinach however you want and drain well. When it is cold, squeeze out all the liquid and chop fairly finely.

Put the eggs into a bowl and beat together. Beat in the gram flour until it forms a smooth paste, then add the chopped spinach and season. Stir well, then add enough water (50-75ml) to form a loose, spinachy batter with a pourable texture like double cream.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a thin film of oil. When hot, pour a quarter of the spinach mix into the centre of the loan. Use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture out into an even disc about 20cm in diameter. Cook gently for a couple of minutes, then use a spatula to loosen the pancake. The base should be set but not brown. Flip over and cook for another min or so to seal the second side. Transfer to a plate to cool and repeat with the remaining mixture.

Fill generously and serve.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Sizzling Korean Style Beef with Sesame Seeds

I thought this would be an interesting accompaniment to the Okonomiyaki. I added some peppers and beans to the stir fry and it was delicious, the perfect accompaniment, even if it is from a completely different country!

Sizzling Korean Style Beef with Sesame Seeds (from Skinny Meals in Heels by Jennifer Joyce)
(Serves 4)

500g rump steak, trimmed
3 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
8 spring onions, cut into 3 cm pieces
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Thinly slice the beef. Combine the sugar, soy, mirin, garlic and sesame oil in a bowl. Add the beef and stir well to coat, season with pepper.

Heat a small amount of veg oil in a frying pan over a high heat until very hot. Cook half of the beef for 40 secs, turning until browned, the remove and repeat with a little more oil and the remaining beef. Return all of the beef to the wok and add the spring onions. Stir fry for 1 min, then add the sesame seeds. Serve.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015


Like the steamed buns I have been wanting to make Okonomiyaki for an age. I finally had some cabbage lying around in my fridge and I thought why not! I loved it, eggy but pancakey and then all the cabbage, it really was lovely and I urge you to top it with mayonnaise and brown sauce - delicious.

Okonomiyaki (from The Guardian)
(Serves 1)

1 egg
50g plain flour
50g stock, cooled
15g raw potato, grated
1-2 tsp spring onions, chopped
½ tsp fresh ginger, grated (or Japanese pickled ginger, diced)
125g cabbage, thinly shredded

To garnish
Kewpie mayonnaise (or regular)
Okonomiyaki sauce (or HP sauce)

Mix together the egg and flour, then stir in the cooled stock, making sure that there are no lumps.

Add the grated potato to the batter, then stir in the spring onions, ginger and cabbage.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Pour the mixture into the pan, and fry for five mins each side.

Add the garnishes to taste, and serve immediately.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Buckwheat Noodles with Wakame and Ginger

This was a really tasty and flavourful salad. I used up the last of the seaweed my mum brought me back from Japan last year and I also added in some dried radish. 

Buckwheat Noodles with Wakame and Ginger
(from River Cottage Light and Easy by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
(Serves 2-4)

15g dried wakame seaweed
150g soba/buckwheat noodles
1 large carrot
1 large courgette
10g toasted sesame seeds

For the dressing
2cm nob ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp mirin
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Put the wake into a bowl of cold water to rehydrate. Follow the packet instructions for how long to soak.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to packet instructions, usually 5 mins.  Drain and run under the cold tap to cool down. Drain thoroughly and then tip the noodles into a large bowl.

Peel the carrots and slice into spaghetti or thin matchsticks. I used a julienne peeler but you could use one of these new fangled spiralizers. Do the same with the courgette but don't peel. Add to the noodles.

When the seaweed has plumped up drain it well and squeeze out the excess water with your hands. Chop the seaweed roughly and add to the noodles and veg.

To make the dressing, mix together the ginger, miring, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. Pour this over the noodles and toss so that everything is coated and the ingredients are evenly distributed. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So it's been another busy week. On Monday I went on a tour of the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace, which was fab, they have some absolutely amazing pieces of embroidery. On Tuesday we went to Painting Paradise at The Queen's Gallery, which was a stunning and really interesting exhibition about gardens. They had some beautiful faberge flowers on display that were just gorgeous.

In the afternoon we went to Ladybird by Design at the House of Illustration, this was an exhibition all about Ladybird books which both my Mum and I remeber from growing up. The illustrations were fantastic and it was a wonderful nostalgia trip.

On Wednesday we went to Yauatcha for lunch. I love coming to Yauatcha, there dim sum is so good. We had a variety of dishes and I had a Tokyo Cooler to drink which was a non-alcoholic cocktail featuring peach and guava juice. I meant to do a whole write up - I took enough photos but this week seems to have disappeared.

Friday I went to the Coral Reefs and Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at The Natural History Museum and stopped off in Soho on the way back to try Pilau. Pilau is a pop up serving Indian Wraps. You can choose from Butter Chicken, Lamb and Marrow or Spicy Paneer. I went with the paneer, which was an excellent choice. It's a bit like an Indian burrito in that it includes rice. The other additions I chose were shoestring bhaji, Indian slaw, red onions and lettuce. There was also the choice of three sauces, chilli, mango and apricot chutney and coriander yoghurt. I can't recommend this place highly enough, the paneer was lovely and soft and as a whole it just worked perfectly together. I apologise for the picture I'm not sure how else I could have shown you the inside!

I made one of my favourite sandwiches yesterday; Bun from the farmer's market, a ripe tomato with salt and pepper, buffalo mozzarella and home grown basil. Best Thing Ever!

Yesterday evening I did a Mexican Street Food Course at Recipease in Notting Hill with my sister. We made small corn tortillas and topped them with a sweetcorn salsa, chipotle chicken and tomato, spinach and feta. We also made guacamole and fresh tomato salsa. The meal was incredibly tasty and I loved the chicken, but it was nothing that I couldn't have got a recipe off the internet and done myself. Still it was good fun and I love picking up new recipes.

This week I'm back working for three days. All of the books are being moved out of the library so I have to go in and oversee. I'm also going to play at The Bush Theatre and to see Book of Mormon. Then on Thursday I go on my annual trip to Northumberland for a week and a bit. I'm really looking forward to leaving the big city for a while and chilling out. We have a trip to Edinburgh planned and various other things we might get up to, so no meal plan next week.

Crab and Asparagus Quiche with Salad
Out before the theatre

Salmon Sandwich Pie with Crisps
Courgette and Gnocchi Casserole (WW Cooking for Two)

Out possibly
Chilli Con Carne Meatballs with Bulgar Wheat

Mango Pork Burger
At my parents house

Chipotle Loganberry Chicken Thighs

This was a really lovely recipe that I stumbled across when looking for things to do with the huge amount of loganberries I have collected this year. I made jam a few days before and this was a handy way to use up a little. You could of course use raspberries as with the original recipe or you could use smushed up loganberries or raspberries if you don't have any jam.

Chipotle Loganberry Chicken Thighs (from Handle the Heat)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp loganberry jam
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tbsp chipotle paste
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp oil
8 boneless chicken thighs (skin on or removed)
salt and pepper

In a small saucepan, combine the jam, lime zest, lime juice, chipotle, and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until slightly syrupy.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken thighs evenly with salt and pepper. Saute chicken for about 6 mins per side, or until golden brown. Spoon the raspberry mixture over the chicken before serving.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Roast Duck Breast with Herbed Freekeh and Preserved Lemon

This was an incredibly tasty dish and I was so excited that I managed to cook the duck perfectly! This looks like a complicated recipe but actually it's deceptively simple.

Roast Duck Breast with Herbed Freekeh and Preserved Lemon
(Serves 4)

200g freekeh
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
4 duck breasts, skin scored
1 tbsp oil
2 small preserved lemons, cut into tiny dice
50g dried figs, chopped
handful chopped mint
handful chopped parsley
juice 1 1/2 lemons
125ml extra virgin olive oil

Cook the freekeh according to packet instructions adding the olive oil and salt to the water.

Preheat the oven to 220C. Season the duck breasts and heat a frying pan until very hot. Fry the duck, skin side down, in the oil until golden. Turn the breasts over and cook until coloured, this should take a couple of mins. Put the duck into a roasting tin and roast for 7-9 mins. When cooked, remove to a plate, cover with foil, insulate with a few tea towels and leave to rest for about 5-10 mins.

Toss the lion rind with the freekeh, along with the figs, herbs, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with pepper.

Slice the duck breast and toss with the fresh. Serve with a green salad.