Saturday, 1 November 2014

Lamb Lollipops with Curry Sauce and Rice and Peas

This was deceptively easy, the recipe looked very complicated but wasn't at all. I've find that a lot with these Jamie recipes, the ingredients list is very long but the recipe is really simple if needing quick work to get everything ready on time. This one was absolutely delicious and just the idea of lamb lollipops is so cool! I am still a bit dubious about adding uncooked lentils to the rice and then only cooking them for five mins but it doesn't seem to have done me any harm!

Lamb Lollipops with Curry Sauce and Rice and Peas
(from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)
(Serves 4)
Rice and Peas
300g basmati rice
8 cloves
40g dried red split lentils
300g podded raw or garden peas

8 large lamb cutlets on the bone, trimmed of fat
1 tbsp garam masala
olive oil
4 spring onions
1 fresh red chili
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
4 jarred red peppers
1 heaped tsp runny honey
balsamic vinegar
3 sprigs of fresh coriander

Curry sauce
2 tbsp korma paste
1 400g tin of light coconut milk
1 lemon

2 uncooked poppadoms
fat-free natural yoghurt

Put 1 mug of rice and 2 mugs of boiling water into the medium pan with a pinch of salt and the cloves, then put the lid on, stirring occasionally. Rub the lamb with salt, pepper and the garam masala, bash and flatten them with your fist, then put into one of the hot frying pans with 1 tablespoon of oil, turning when gnarly and golden brown.

Put the korma paste and coconut milk into the other frying pan with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, stir together, bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes, then turn the heat off. Mix the lentils into the rice. Trim and slice the spring onions, chili, peeled ginger and peppers, then toss in with the lamb. Stir the peas into the rice and lentils.

Pour half the curry sauce into a bowl (pop the rest in the fridge to use another day). Break up the uncooked poppadoms and pop in the microwave (800W) for a minute or two to puff up. At the last minute, toss the lamb with the honey and a splash of balsamic. Serve the lamb scattered with coriander leaves and scrunched-up poppadoms, with the rice and peas, yoghurt and lemon wedges on the side.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Salami and Sesame Potato Salad

I made a few changes to the original recipe mostly because I knew I wanted to eat it cold rather than warm. My potatoes melted rather quickly but the salad was tasty, kind of bog standard for what I make normally with the lemon mayonnaise but the salami was a bit different and I had really good garlicy salami.

Salami and Sesame Potato Salad (froim The Good Food Channel)
(Serves 4)

800g waxy new potatoes, cut into even sized pieces
4 tbsp mayonnaise
juice 1 lemon
150g salami, thinly sliced
small bunch of dill, chopped
salad leaves
2 tbsp seeds

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, then cook until tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat a frying pan to medium heat, add the sesame seeds and toast for about 6–8 mins, until golden. Set aside.

Mix together the lemon, mayonnaise and dill together and season.

Arrange the salad leaves in a serving bowl, toss the potatoes and salami with half of the lemon mayonnaise and pile on top of the lettuce. Scatter with the sesame seeds serve.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Breton Tuna and Bean Gratin

I made a few changes to this recipe, I used creme fraiche instead of cream and cannellini instead of haricot beans but given that I made a purée with them it didn't much matter! This was a really delicious gratin, lovely with a crash green salad.

Breton Tuna and Bean Gratin (from Grains, Seeds and Legumes by Molly Brown)
(Serves 4)

1 onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp oil
2 400g tins haricot beans
salt and pepper
2 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp milk
1 tin tuna in olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes
40g grated Gruyere or cheddar
2 tbsp coarse white breadcrumbs
15g butter
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium low heat and sauté the onion until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for another 4 mins or so. Drain one of the tins of beans and add to the pan, then add the remaining tinned beans and their juices. Season well and set the pan over a low hear so that the beans can meld with the onion.

Transfer the beans and onions to a food processor and blitz to a purée. Add the creme fraiche and milk and mix them in. Tip the mixture into a bowl and add the tuna and its olive oil, the chilli and half the cheese. Stir together. Scrape the mixture into a small oven-proof dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for 25-30 mins until golden on top, sprinkling the parsley over 5 mins before the end of cooking. 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Spelt, Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Salad

The inspiration for this came from a Waitrose ready to go meal and I used the ingredients on the packet   minus the rubbish to make my own version. The original has lentils in it but I didn't have any so I left them out. The salad was ok, not the best thing ever but decent.

Spelt, Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Salad
(Serves 1)

1 small beetroot, quartered
50g spelt 
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp creme fraiche 
Squeeze lemon juice
handful mint, chopped
handful spinach
25g goat's cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Put the beetroot in the middle of a piece of tin foil drizzle with balsamic vinegar scrunch the tin foil over the top of the beetroot and bake in the oven for 1 hour until soft. Leave to cool.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the spelt and cook according to packet instructions. Drain, run under the cold tap, drain again well.

Mix the mayonnaise, creme fraiche and lemon together in a bowl. Chop the beetroot into small pieces and add them and the spelt and mint to the mayonnaise mixture. Mix well to combine. Add in the spinach and goats cheese and stir gently. Pack into a lunch box or serve.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Crab and Sweet Chilli Pasta

This is a bit of a different pasta sauce. The addition of the sweet chilli was really interesting and lightly spicy. I used tinned crab rather than fresh as it's much cheaper but it was a really fresh and delicious sauce.

Crab and Sweet Chilli Pasta
(Serves 4)

I tbsp olive oil
200g red peppers, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
100ml fish stock or water
400g tin chopped tomatoes
350g fresh crab meat
250g spaghetti
1 tbsp chopped coriander
salt and pepper

Heat some oil in a pan and add the peppers, garlic, onion and a pinch of salt. Cook over a medium heat until soft. Add the sweet chilli sauce, fish stock and chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 20 mins.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Add the crab and coriander to the sauce then stir in the pasta. Toss together well, season and serve.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Meal Planning Monday

So this weeks been rather lovely. Last Saturday I met a friend I hadn't seen in a while for coffee and it was lovely to catch up. I spent all of Sunday in the garden digging things up and picking the last of my veg, I felt an enormous sense of wellbeing just pottering in the garden, so much so that I cancelled a Zumba class and a workshop I was meant to attend!

On Monday I worked in the morning and then went to a couple of workshops at the Apple shop to help me with the Macs I now use at work. I met another friend for lunch on Tuesday, we went to the Grain Store in Granary Square next to Kings Cross station and had a lovely veggie chilli with rice, although many of the items on the menu were a bit bizarre and the waitress was equally bizarre, but it was lovely to catch up with her as well and find out all the gossip. 

Wednesday, I went to Neil's Yard Dairy in Covent Garden and picked out some cheese for the weekend, then in the afternoon I went to the garden centre with my next door neighbour and bought a couple of huge pots for some trees for the garden. Then on Thursday I made both soup and ice cream! I finally made the sloes I picked over the summer into syrup and from that made sloe ice cream, which tastes delicious! I went to my parents on Thursday evening and then I spent Friday catching up on jobs that needed doing as well as going to the Farmers Market where they live.

My godfather and his partner came for the weekend and it was lovely to see them as I don't get to see them that often. I made dinner on Saturday night, I did a Delia tortellini pasta bake, followed by a friend's recipe for apple pie. Delicious! On Sunday we had sea bream with lots of lovely veg and cheese for afters. It was a lovely chilled weekend and I spent some time sorting out things left in my parents house that really needed chucking out, especially as I've not actually lived there since 2007!!

Next week is a quiet one, I'm going to the theatre on Monday with my father. I've also started going back to WeightWatchers on Tuesday's because it's much easier to loose that half a stone I've gained rather than the stone it'll be after Christmas. It was lovely going back to see everyone and I even found out about some ballroom dancing classes that I might be able to go to! Very exciting! Zumba on Wednesday and Friday then at the weekend I'm meeting a friend for lunch on Saturday, going to a Give or Take day in Walthamstow in the afternoon and then I'm going to my sisters for dinner in the evening. Then on Sunday I'm meeting a different friend to go and see the poppies at the Tower of London and the Knitwear exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum. Ok so maybe it's a bit more jam packed than I thought! Much better than sitting around on my tod doing nothing though! The food is lovely and varied a few new things and a few old.

Currently reading: The Dressmaker by Maria Duenas

Courgette and Brie Soup with a Scone
Out before the theatre

Cheese and Tomato Quiche and Salad
Devilled Mackerel with Beetroot and Dill

Wild Rice, Ham and Pea Salad
Yellow Thai Curry with Rice

Greek Chicken with Couscous and Tzatziki (Jamie's 15 Min Meals)
Pumpkin Pasta Bake

Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
Spicy Cajun Chicken, Smashed Sweet Potato with Corn Salsa (Jamie's 15 Min Meals)

Out at the Hornbeam Cafe
Out at my sisters

Out with friends
Chicken and Snail Paella

Macaroni with Smoked Mackerel, Dill, Spring Onions and Sour Cream

Macaroni with Smoked Mackerel, Dill, Spring Onions and Sour Cream
(From The Guardian Cook)
(Serves 4)

250g macaroni
1 tbsp olive oil
3 smoked mackerel fillets, flaked
1 medium cucumber, deseeded and diced
20g dill, chopped
3 spring onions, sliced
150ml sour cream
1/4 lemon
salt and pepper

Spring a pan of water to the boil and cook according to packet instructions. Drain, run under cold water and the drain again well.

In a bowl, mix together the pasta and oil and then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix together well and serve.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Pig's Cheeks with Barley and Wholegrain Mustard Lentils

Another old fashioned comfort food dish. Well the meat is old fashioned, the barley and lentils less so. It really was delicious and a bit of a change from serving slow cooked cuts with mash and veg.

Pig's Cheeks with Barley and Wholegrain Mustard Lentils
(Serves 4)

12 pig's cheeks
seasoned plain flour
1 tbsp oil
100ml white wine
275ml beef or chicken stock
200g pearl barley
100ml olive oil
salt and pepper
30g butter
225g puy lentils
1 bay leaf
100ml double cream
2 1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
70ml lemon juice
2 onions, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
grated zest 1/2 lemon

Flour the pig's cheeks well. Heat the oil I'm a frying pan over a medium high heat and fry the cheeks until coloured. Add the wine and 250ml stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to very low, cover and cook gently for about 2 hours. If the cheeks start to dry out add a bit more liquid.

Bring an of water to the boil and add the barley, cook according to packet instructions. Drain, stir in 80ml oil, salt and pepper, and 2 tbsp lemon juice while the barley is still warm.

Put the remaining olive oil and half the butter into a saucepan over a medium heat and gently sauté the remaining onion and celery until soft but not coloured. Add the lentils, bay leaf and 450ml water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20 mins or until tender. Drain and remove the bay leaf.

Put the cream in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the mustard, the remaining lemon juice and seasoning. Add the lentils and stir everything together.

Plate the barley and lentils. Top with the pig's cheeks drizzled with the cooking juices. Serve.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Pasta with Peppers, Anchovies and Pine Nuts

This was a delicious pasta dish, the anchovies really pack a punch and the peppers were a little bit spicy but not overly so. This doesn't look like much but it's really worth making.

Penne with a Peppers, Anchovies and Pine Nuts (from Waitrose Weekend)
(Serves 2)

100g dried pasta shapes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets, chopped
2 pimiento red peppers, drained and sliced
15g pine nuts
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
finely grated Parmesan

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic. Cook for 30 secs or until golden then add the anchovies and mash down into the oil. Add the peppers and cook for several mins until heated through. Stir in the pine nuts, oregano and season,

Drain the pasta and toss in the pepper sauce. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Cajun Chicken Gumbo

Another comfort food favourite, I wanted something to go with some dirty rice I bought in the States and of course it had to be gumbo! This was a fairly traditional gumbo that was packed full of flavour with the Cajun spices and really easy to make too.

Cajun Chicken Gumbo (from Good Food Magazine April 2012)
(Serves 6)

4 tbsp olive oil
5 skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunky pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, sliced
3 bay leaves
5 tbsp plain flour
4 tsp Cajun spice mix
600ml chicken stock
2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
300g thickly sliced ham, trimmed of any fat and diced
3 spring onions, sliced
2 tbsp very roughly chopped parsley

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wide casserole or a large frying pan and fry the chicken for a few mins to brown. Tip out onto a plate. Add the onion to the pan with 1 tbsp more oil and fry for 5 mins until almost softened. Add the celery and fry for another 2 mins, then tip out to join the chicken. Add the remaining oil, bay leaves and flour to the pan and cook into a paste. Carry on cooking, stirring constantly (with a splash of water if you need), until golden brown, then stir in the spices for 2 mins.

Gradually stir in the stock until smooth and saucy. Return the chicken and veg to the pan, along with the peppers, cover and simmer gently for 15 mins. Stir in the ham, cover and simmer gently for 10 mins more. Check for seasoning, then serve, sprinkled with the spring onions mixed with the chopped parsley.