Friday, 21 October 2016


With some of the last of the tomatoes from the garden, I made kisir, which is a lovely Turkish grain salad. Really easy to make. I served it topped with a poached egg.

Kisir (from Amazing Grains by Ghillie James)
(Serves 4)

1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp tomato puree
200g bulgar wheat, rinsed
250ml boiling hot veg stock
4 tomatoes, diced
handful mint, torn
small bunch parsley, chopped
3 spring onions, finely chopped
juice 1 lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
salt and pepper

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a medium pan and saute the onion, chilli and garlic for 3-4 mins. Stir in the cumin, then the tomato puree and cook for a min. Add the bulgar wheat and the boiling hot stock, then take the pan off the heat. Cover with a lid and leave it to sit until the bulgar has cooled, about 15 mins.

Fork the cooked grains to separate, then add the tomatoes, herbs and spring onions. Mix in the lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil and pomegranate molasses and season, stir to combine. Serve.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Salmon and Bulgar Pilaf Salad

I served this as a salad but I think the original recipe was meant to be eaten hot. Delicious!

Salmon and Bulgar Pilaf Salad (from BBC Food)
(Serves 4)

4 salmon fillets, boned and skinned
1 tbsp smoked paprika
250g bulgur wheat
85g frozen peas
200g runner beans, chopped
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
juice 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Sprinkle the smoked paprika over the salmon and cook in the oven for 12-15 mins, or until the salmon is cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook the bulgar wheat according to packet instructions. Add the beans for the last 5 mins of cooking time and the peas for the last 3 mins.

Flake the salmon and mix it into the bulgur wheat with the peas and beans. Add in the chives and parsley and squeeze over the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Meal Planning Monday

I only went out for one meal last week, to Fez Mangal in Ladbroke Grove for dinner. It was really good Turkish food, and there is something about that rice. I don't know what they do to it but it is so tasty! I had Chicken Shish.

This week is the last one before half term and it's sneaked up on me! I am going out a few times, and I have book club on Tuesday. The weekend is hopefully quiet. I'm still trying to make recipes from my newspaper clipping and also use things up in the freezer.

Fish Pie Pancake Bake with Salad
Cheese and Pickle Sandwich with Crisps

Kisir (Amazing Grains)
Pasta with Tuna Meatballs and Tomato Aubergine Sauce

Orzo and Roasted Tomatoes with Pesto Dressing (The Times)
Broccoli and Smoked Mackerel Gratin

Lunch Provided at Work
Artichoke, Goat's Cheese and Lentil Salad (Waitrose)

Carrot and Preserved Lemon Tart with Salad
Pea, Creme Fraiche and Mint Gnocchi (The Times)

Duck and Spring Onion Burger
Sticky Lime and Chilli Chicken with Noodles

Veggie Burger
Pigeon and Peach Sausages with Mash and Gravy

Fennel and Tomato Gnocchi Bake

This handily used up a leftover half bulb of fennel and some of the huge amount of tomatoes I have from my garden! The original recipe uses pasta but I swapped it for gnocchi and it was yum!

Fennel and Tomato Gnocchi Bake (adapted from The Guardian)
(Serves 4)

300g gnocchi
2 tbsp oil
1 fennel bulb, sliced
200g cheddar, grated
100ml half-fat creme fraiche
1 tbsp dijon mustard
335g cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper

For the breadcrumb topping
2 tbsp olive oil
100g white breadcrumbs
zest 1 lemon

First make the breadcrumbs. Put the oil in a small pan over a medium heat. Fry the breadcrumbs until golden. Add the lemon zest, some salt and fry for a min more. Remove from the heat.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the gnocchi and cook for 2 mins less than the time on the packet. Drain, reserving some cooking water.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Put the oil in a saucepan large enough to hold the cooked pasta. Fry the fennel over a medium heat until soft and starting to brown. Add the creme fraiche and reduce the heat. When the creme fraiche is warm, add the grated cheese, leave to melt, and stir to combine. Add the mustard and the tomatoes and stir again. Add the cooked pasta along with a splash or two of its cooking water (you want it pretty saucy) and mix until combined. Season to taste.

Spoon into a roasting dish and top with the lemony breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins. Serve.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Chicken and Runner Bean Paella

It's a while since I made paella and I love it. I had some runner beans to use up so this was a must. I changed the original recipe a bit, but adding in some chorizo and courgette.

Chicken and Runner Bean Paella (from Good Food Magazine August 2014)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
8 skinless chicken thighs
150g chorizo, chopped
1 medium courgette, chopped
1 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped
225g paella rice
1 tbsp sweet paprika
100ml dry white wine
850ml hot chicken stock, stirred with 2 large pinches saffron
350g runner beans, strings removed, then sliced into chunks
200g uncooked large king prawns

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and garlic, and fry for 5 mins. Push the onions over to one side, add the chicken and chorizo and cook for 10 mins, turning occasionally, until the chicken is nicely coloured. After 5 mins add the courgette and pepper.

Stir in the rice and paprika, then pour in the wine. Let it sizzle a bit, then stir in the saffron stock. Add the beans, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 mins until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the stock. If it starts to look dry, add a splash more stock.

Add the prawns for the final few mins, if using, until they turn from grey to pink. Season generously and allow to stand for 1-2 mins before serving.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Dukkah Crusted Chicken with Hummus

I really love the taste of dukkah and this crusted chicken is really tasty and crunchy. I served it with avocado pasta and bans but it would be just a delicious with pitta and lemon. When I get some more chicken breast I think I might try it this way.

Dukkah Crusted Chicken with Hummus (from The Times)
(Serves 4)

4 chicken breast fillets, skin on
oil, for brushing
20g dukkah
handful rocket, chopped
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
200g hummus

Brush the chicken with oil and sprinkle with the dukkah. Cook in the oven for 20-25 mins.

Place the chopped rocket, lemon rind and hummus in a bowl and mix to combine.

Slice the chicken and serve with the hummus and extra rocket.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Borlotti and Runner Beans with Sage, Tomatoes and Garlic

This is a most delicious vegetarian stew. My Mum gave me lots of runner beans from her garden and I have been slowly using them up. It also used tomatoes, onion and garlic from my garden too. Yum!

2 tins borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp oil
2 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves
pinch chilli flakes
small bunch sage leaves, half roughly chopped
600g vine tomatoes, roughly chopped
pinch sugar
400g runner beans, strings removed, sliced diagonally
200-300ml vegetable stock
small bunch oregano leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp creme fraiche

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the onions gently for 10 mins or until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and whole sage leaves, then cook for a few mins more. Add the tomatoes, taste, then add the sugar if needed. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 5-10 mins, stirring, until reduced.

Add the borlotti and runner beans with 200ml stock and bring to a gentle simmer, then cook for another 8-10 mins until the borlotti beans are just beginning to fall apart and the runner beans are tender. You may need to add a little more stock – the stew should be saucy but not soupy.

Stir through most of the chopped sage and oregano, then stir in the creme fraiche. To serve, drizzle with olive  oil, scatter over the remaining herbs, then spoon into bowls. Serve with a chunk of crusty bread.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Meal Planning Monday

So I haven't done a whole lot of Meal Planning Mondays recently and I haven't posted any interesting photos for a while either. So I thought I'd catch you all up on what I have been eating out over the last few weeks.

I went for lunch a couple of weeks ago at Mildred's Kings Cross with a friend. Mildred's is a vegetarian restaurant, with it's main restaurant in Soho and this is the newest restaurant. I had the Aubergine and Halloumi Burger with a side of Sweet Potato Fries and then we shared a Chocolate Beetroot Fudge Cake with Ice Cream. Both was really really good.

I also had dinner at Arabica in Borough Market, we shared Crispy Semolina Crumbed Seafood, Moutabel (aubergine dip) with Flatbread, Cheese and Za'atar Man'ousheh and Cretan Dakos Salad. All of which were delicious and I went back a couple of weeks later and had other itms from the menu which were equally delicious. This is fab Lebanese food.

I also went to Aqua Shard for a Roald Dahl themed Afternoon Tea, it was really fun and very chocolatey tea. The views were also stunning.

Last week I went to the RHS Harvest Festival, which was like a huge Village Show! There were some enormous vegetables!

I also got my first veg bag after a break over the summer; I got tomatoes, broccoli, collard greens, onions and garlic.

I also made myself a delicious noodle soup on Saturday with veg from the garden and my veg bag. Yum!

Salmon and Bulgar Pilaf
Creamy Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Brown Rice Bake with Salad

Cretan Pasties with Salad
Pasta with Greens and Goat's Cheese (The Times)

Ham and Egg Salad with Chunky Croutons
Out with a friend

Soup with a Scone
Out before the theatre

Mushroom Galette with Salad
Red Orzo Risotto with Goat's Cheese (The Times)

Kisir (Amazing Grains)
Cheesy Courgettes (Savoury Rice Dishes)
Mexican Pig's Cheek Nachos (Waitrose Magazine)

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Italian Wonder Pot

It's time for Secret Recipe Club. This month I had An Affair From The Heart, Michaela is a stay at home mum with four kids, who loves to entertain. She makes sure that everyone sits down around the table for dinner each evening, the same as my parents did when I was a child.

I have seen various recipes for one pot pasta floating around the internet and when Michaela had one on her blog it was an excellent excuse to try it! I changed the recipe a little as I used fresh cherry tomatoes from my garden rather than tinned and it was truly delicious and really easy to make all in one pot.

The Italian Wonder Pot (from An Affair From The Heart)
(Serves 6-8)

340g spaghetti, broken in half
2 tbsp oil
100g spinach slightly chopped
1 medium sized onion, sliced
900ml vegetable stock
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp dried basil
½ tbsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼-1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
salt and pepper

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir so the liquid covers the pasta and veg. Cover and bring to the boil, turn down to simmer and continue cooking for 15 mins, the pasta will absorb the liquid. Stir occasionally so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Serve, topped with grated Parmesan.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Artichoke and Spinach Scones

I had some leftover artichokes and spinach from meals last week and I came across these scones and thought they'd be a fab way of using up my leftovers. They are delicious and a great accompaniment to soup.

Artichoke and Spinach Scones (from Gold Medal Flour)
(Makes 12)

360g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
60g butter, cut into cubes
50g parmesan cheese, grated
4 artichoke hearts, chopped
100g spinach
250ml milk
1 egg, divided

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Put the spinach in a colander and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Leave to cool, then squeeze out the excess water and chop.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and garlic powder. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the cheese, artichokes and spinach, stirring to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Stir the milk mixture into the dry ingredients, you might not need all of it, so add gradually.

Place dough on a floured surface and form into a disk, 3/4 to 1-inch in thickness. Cut out into circles with a cutter. Place the scones onto a lightly greased or lined baking sheet.

Brush the top of each scone with the leftover milk and egg mixture or just egg.

Put into the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until golden brown. Leave to cool.