Thursday, 31 December 2009

Japanese Salmon and Avocado Rice

Just before Christmas I made a really lovely lunch from leftovers that needed eating up in the fridge. I found a recipe from Good Food Magazine and adapted it slightly to what I had left. I also made egg fried rice rather than just sushi rice as I made it the night before and took it to work to eat, and egg fried rice seems to dry out less. This was really tasty and healthy to boot, although it would have been even healthier with just normal sushi rice.

Japanese Salmon and Avocado Rice (adapted from Good Food Magazine August 2009)
(Serves 4)

300g sushi rice
350g smoked salmon, sliced
2 small, ripe avocados , sliced
juice 1 lemon
4 tsp light soy sauce
4 tsp toasted sesame seeds
2 spring onions , thinly sliced

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or follow these instructions if you don't have a rice cooker: Rinse the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. Drain and put in a large pan with 400ml water. Bring to the boil, turn the heat to low, cover, then cook for 10-12 mins until the rice is almost cooked. Remove from the heat, then leave, covered, for another 10 mins.

Thinly slice the salmon and arrange on a plate with the sliced avocado. Drizzle over the lemon juice and soy, making sure everything is evenly covered. Leave in the fridge to marinate for 10 mins.

Carefully tip the juices from the salmon into the rice, then stir in with a little salt. Divide the rice between 4 bowls. Scatter the sesame seeds and spring onions over the salmon and avocado, then serve with the rice.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Spaghetti Squash masquerading as Pasta with Prawns, Scallops and Cream Sauce

Over the summer I grew some spaghetti squash, I have only ever eaten this vegetable simply done as a side dish with a little butter and some salt and pepper. I had however read somewhere that it can be used as a substitute for pasta so I asked my friends on the cooking community at LiveJournal to see if it was true, and they confirmed that it was. I tried it out and came up with prawns and scallops in a cream sauce.

This is how it came out, I added a handful of mange tout to the dish, to add some crunch. It was delicious and worked perfectly as a dish, you could probably use pretty much any pasta sauce with this and it would work. It left me feeling full but not with the over full feeling I often get with pasta.

Spaghetti Squash as Pasta with Prawns, Scallops and Cream Sauce
(Serves 1)

1 small spaghetti squash
handful of raw prawns, deshelled
4 scallops
1 tsp old bay seasoning
handful of mange tout
2 tbsp creme fraiche
couple of squeezes of lemon juice
grated Parmesan

Put the prawns and scallops in a Ziploc bag with the old bay seasoning and shake so that the fish is coated. Leave to marinate for up to 24hrs.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Prick holes in the spaghetti squash with a fork and bake the squash in the oven for about 40-50 mins, until it feels soft.

About 10 mins before the spaghetti squash is ready heat a frying pan with a little oil. Saute the prawns and scallops for about 5 mins, until the scallops are cooked and the prawns have turned pink. Add in the mange tout about 2 mins into cooking the scallops and prawns.

Add a couple of squeezes of lemon juice to the pan and the creme fraiche. Stir until combined and the creme friache has heated through.

Take the seeds out of the spaghetti squash when it has cooked and scrape out the insides into a pasta bowl. Cover with the fish and creme fraiche mixture, and grate some parmesan over the top.

Serve with garlic bread and a side salad.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas Meals

Christmas is over as my Father would say! We have had a lovely and quiet couple of days with lots of yummy food, a roaring fire and lots of lovely presents.

Our starter for Christmas Day was a Shellfish Selection from Waitrose. We had a last minute dash round Waitrose on Christmas Eve whilst waiting for my sister to have her hair cut. We went in for two items and came out with a basket full! The Shellfish Selection contained smoked salmon, prawns, crab and prawn mousse. It was really tasty.

This is how the table looked for Christmas dinner, although I have managed to cut out the top of the centerpiece, which is a very large champagne glass shaped glass container with lots of silver baubles in it, and a candle in the middle.

We had beef wellington for Christmas Dinner, with roast potatoes, roast carrots, mange tout, broccoli and red wine gravy. It was absolutely delicious. The beef wellington had a portabello mushroom, fillet steak and ardennes pate all wrapped in puff pastry.

On Boxing Day we had relatives over for lunch and had the more traditional roast goose for lunch. with stuffing, roast parsnips, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage and gravy.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta

I'm now back at my parents for Christmas, it was really weird going out into the snowy landscape, as they've had much more snow than we got in London. Christmas is a quiet one this year with just my parents, my sister and me, although we do have relatives coming on boxing day. We're also having a non-traditional Christmas meal of Beef Wellington! We will have a Goose on Boxing Day though! It is nice being back though and we are off to a friends house for drinks and nibbles later on and then we're going to put the Christmas tree up later on. I would like wish everyone a very Merry Christmas :)

This is not a very Christmassy dish though but it was delicious. I had one piece of hot lightly smoked salmon and it went perfectly with the mustard and dill sauce. I think I might use less sauce next time though as it overpowered the dish slightly.

Hot-Smoked Salmon Pasta (adapted from Leiths Simple Cookery Bible)
(Serves 4)

450g hot smoked salmon cut into thick slices
350g tagliatelle
4 tbsp creme fraiche
8 tbsp ready made mustard and dill sauce
ground black pepper
handful of frozen peas

lemon juice and 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the salmon slices onto a baking sheet and put in the oven for 10 mins until warmed through or if you have the uncooked kind like I did, cook for 25 mins in the oven until cooked.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, add the frozen peas for the last 3-4 mins of cooking time.

Drain the pasta and peas well. Return to the pan and stir through the creme fraiche, mustard and dill sauce and black pepper.

Divide between warmed bowls and place the salmon slices on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle over the dill. Serve.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Menu Plan Monday and Paris 2

Ok, so the week before last I went to Paris for a couple of days, this is continuation of my post about Paris from last week. On Thursday morning I went to L'age D'or Hollandaise, an exhibition all about the golden age of Dutch art, it had not only the paintings but also some of the objects which appeared in the paintings. I went to the exhibition with Hope who adopted me and my blog in adopt a blogger 3, and I had a really good time, the exhibition was really interesting, but they kept hiding the information boards in English. I can read a bit of French but not much and so it was really cool to have Hope translate the board when we couldn't find the English ones!

On Thursday evening I went out for dinner with Hope and her partner D, to a wine bar in the Montparnasse area of Paris. Both Hope and I had the Andouille (I think) Sausage casserole which had lots of lovely green veg in it. It was called something funny on the menu but I can't remember what now! It was delicious.

D had duck breast on pureed potatoes, which looked really good too.

We did have pudding, but I forgot to take pictures of it! All in all I had a really lovely evening and it was lovely to meet both Hope and D.

I didn't even post last weeks menu plan! I went out for dinner 3 times last week, and the other two evenings were late nights, so I didn't do anything special! We had our work's Christmas dinner, which went ok and I went to the S&M cafe (Sausage and Mash), and had sausage and mash with a friend. Then on Friday I went to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, with another friend and we had mulled wine and bratwurst sausages! It was freezing though and the market wasn't very good.

This weeks Menu Plan Monday is very short as, in case you didn't know, its Christmas on Friday! I'm going home to spend the break with my parents, and so there's no planning needed for the end of the week. The rest of the week is just using up left over veg and items from my fridge to create quick and easy meals.

Lunch: Roast Chicken, Stuffing, Potatoes, Carrots, Broccoli and Gravy
Dinner: Hummus and Pitta Bread

Lunch: Ham and Cheese Orzo Casserole, Salad
Dinner: Beef and Veg in Black Bean Sauce

Lunch: Japanese Smoked Salmon and Rice Salad with Avocado
Dinner: Out with my Dad at a Polish restaurant

Lunch: Fish finger Sandwich with Potato Croquettes
Dinner: Home

Friday, 18 December 2009


I don't usually post about things I've eaten when I go out for a meal, usually because I'm so busy eating the meal I totally forget to take my camera out of my bag, unless reminded by someone. This one was special though. I spent the second half of last week in Paris with my parents. We rented an apartment on the South Bank for a couple of days, primarily so that my parents could go to the Opera, but I tagged along to go to Art Galleries.

I spent Wednesday evening in the Louvre. I can highly recommend this. It is open until 9pm on Wednesdays and Fridays and after 6pm the price drops to 6 euros and the queues have disappeared. So I got in very quickly and the galleries that I went round (Dutch Paintings and French Paintings) were relatively quiet with a few groups and people drawing but not that many people, enough time to stand and admire the Lace Maker by Vermeer anyway!

On Thursday I went to L'age D'or Hollondaise in the morning with Hope from Hopie's Kitchen, more about this one later, and then for lunch I met my parents and we went to Les Bouquinistes which is a restaurant with Guy Savoy, I think this means its owned by him but he doesn't cook there? Not sure! Anyway we had the Lunch Menu which was 29€ for three courses and a glass of wine. We started with rillettes of salmon on a mousse with Carrot Soup, which was delicious, I took no pictures as we'd eaten it before I remembered the camera! For the main course, my Mum and I had guinea foul with a liver and nut stuffing and celeriac, salsify and artichokes. This was absolutely delicious.

My Dad had "Rasscasse", which apparently translated into English is scorpion fish, although the waiter described it as like cod, with veg underneath it. That was also really good.

For dessert my Dad and I had a chocolate plate, with Chocolate Mouse, pear and pear sorbet.

My Mum had a Mango and Rice pudding thing, which she didn't like! But all in all it was a delicious and really filling meal.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Stir-Fried Pork in Ginger with Onion

Wow, ok so far its been a bit of a mad week! I got home on Monday night to discover that I had no heating or hot water! The pressure in my boiler had disappeared and the nob at the bottom of the boiler which is supposed to re-pressurise the system didn't work! I went to bed in pyjama bottoms, a long sleeved nightie and socks and I had to get up in the middle of the night to put a jumper on it was so cold!

I called British Gas at 8am and they had an engineer out to me at 3pm that same day, who fixed the problem. He did say that I was very lucky to get someone the same day as they had had a very busy Monday, but it's fixed and I have heating! It is fantastic! I was amazed at how quickly the flat got really cold.

I also handed in both my pieces of coursework and my website is all up and running for the duration of marking anyway! Its so nice to have them in and now I can have a peaceful Christmas before term starts again in January. I had an amazing trip to Paris and I will write more about that later in the week as I took pictures too!

I thought I'd share this Chinese dish with you, its really simple to make but really tasty too. It could have done with a little more sauce however and I think I ended up squirting some tonkatsu sauce into the side of the bowl so that the rice wasn't too dry.

Stir-Fried Pork in Ginger with Onion (adapted from Japanese cooking for two by Kurumi Hayter)

1/2lb sliced pork
1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

for the marinade
1 oz ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sake

Mix the ginger, soy sauce and sake together in a bowl to make the marinade. Add the pork and marinade for 30 mins.

Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok. Add the pork to the pan and saute for 3 mins

Add the onion and cook for 2-3 mins more.

Add the remaining marinade and cook for 1-2 mins. Serve with noodles or rice.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Daring Cooks December 2009: Salmon en Croute

The Decemeber 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.

I really enjoyed doing this Daring Cooks, I love eating salmon en croute but usually just get it out of a packet from the supermarket, so it was nice to try it from scratch. I cheated and used ready made pastry and I did have a small problem with the puree. I only have a tiny food processor big enough to make hummus and that sort of thing. So I had to use a hand blender to make the puree, it made the puree really liquid. I tried putting it in the fridge for a bit to see if that would stiffen it up, but that didn't work! So I tried to carefully pour it into the salmon parcels, but lots of it oozed out! So I heated the remainder of the sauce and put it in a jug to pour over, and then it thickened up! Very bizarre.

I made this for my parents when they came for dinner, and they really enjoyed it. I served it with celeriac mash, runner beans and sugar snap peas.

Salmon en Croute
(Serves 4)

Mascarpone or cream cheese 5.2 ounces/150 gr
Watercress, rocket (arugula) and spinach - 0.6 cup/4.2 ounces/120 gr
Shortcrust pastry - 17.6 ounces, 500 gr. Use a butter version such as Jus-rol which is frozen or dorset pastry. or... make your own!
Salmon fillet (skinless)- 17.6 ounce/500 gr
egg - 1 medium sized

1.Heat the oven to 200°C/390 F. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green puree. Season well.

2. Roll the pastry out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (approx. 2-3 mm thick) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the join will be at the top, so trim the edge neatly), making sure you don’t have any thick lumps of pastry as these won’t cook through properly. Trim off any excess as you need to. Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like. Brush with the egg glaze.

3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test whether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. Serve with the rest of the watercress puree as a sauce.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Masala Prawn Stir Fry

I am sitting in the lounge at St Pancras waiting for the Eurostar to take me to Paris! Very exciting! I'm going to the Louvre this evening and ten tomorrow I am going to the Pinacotheque to see The Dutch Golden Age Exhibition. I am also going to meet Hopie of Hopie's Kitchen , my adopter from Adopt a Blogger, and we are going to the exhibition together! How exciting is that?! I am so looking forward to meeting her after months of swapping emails! It promises to be a fantastic couple of days.

That has absolutely no connection to the recipe below! I love noodles but I have never tried using them in Indian cuisine, although I am told they are quite popular. So this was an experiment for me, and a very tasty one. The noodles and the curry taste went really well together and I will definitely have to experiment with curry and noodles.

Masala Prawn Stirfry (adapted from Leiths Simple Cookery Bible)
(Serves 4)

300g large prawns, peeled and cooked
2 heaped tbsp tikka masala or korma paste
250g medium rice noodles
1 tbsp oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 red peppers, cored, deseeded and cut into 1cm strips
2 courgettes, sliced
3 tbsp water or stock
handful of roughly chopped coriander

Mix the prawns with the curry paste and leave to marinate for at least 30 mins or overnight.

Cook the rice noodles according to packet instructions.

Heat the oil in a wok, add the onion and stir-fr for 2 mins, then add the red pepper and stir fry for 1 min further.

Add the courgettes and prawns to the wok and cook for 1 min or until heated through.

Drain the rice noodles and add to the wok wit the water or stock, stirring so that the curry paste coats the noodles. Stir in the coriander.

Serve in a warmed bowl.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Menu Plan Monday

These essays are really taking there toll, again I haven't updated between menu plans! I am about half way through them now, although I have left the worst until last! I have to write a 1500 word design critique of a website I'm creating using xhtml, and I have no idea what to write!

One of the highlights of last week was this Green Tea Soba Noodles with Tuna Steak from My Cooking Hut. The flavours worked really well together and this was a really tasty dish.

I changed the recipe a little bit and added mushrooms and mange tout instead of courgette as that's what I had in the fridge.

This week is very short, I'm going away at the end of the week for a few days, so I'm trying to use up everything in the fridge and not buy any more. I'm also going home for Christmas so I don't want to have too much left around for then either!

Lunch: Fish Fingers and Potato Croquettes
Dinner: Breaded Veal with Japanese Curry, Noodles or Rice

Lunch: Macaroni Cheese, Salad
Dinner: Fish Soup, Bread Roll

Lunch: Broccoli and Mushrooms with Rice Noodles and Chicken Patties
Dinner: Out with my father

Lunch: Away
Dinner: Away

Lunch: Away
Dinner: Away

Dinner: Sausage and Mash with Onion Gravy, Veg

Lunch: Croque Monseiur, Salad
Dinner: Out for a Christmas Party

Monday, 30 November 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Yesterday I had the most fantastic breakfast burrito. I was just planning on eating the avocado for lunch but I was starving and decided that wouldn't be enough! So I used my original grilled avocado with bacon and cheese recipe, added some cherry tomatoes, scrambled egg, a dollop of creme fraiche and rolled it all in a tortilla and it was delicious, filled me up til I finished work at 5pm.

Last week's meals went ok, I had two delicious meals out, one was Thai fishcakes with sweet chilli sauce and it was absolutely delicious, then I went out for Thanksgiving dinner on Friday with a friend. I kept looking at all the delicious food on people's blogs and I wanted to join in! We went to an American Diner in Islington, and had the typical Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, cranberries, stuffing, mashed sweet potato, mashed potato, green beans and gravy, with pumpkin pie and toffee pie to finish, it was fantastic. All the waiters were dressed in costume and there were lights and balloons everywhere! The only disappointment was no marshmallows with the sweet potato! I will definitely have to go back to try their usual diner fare.

This week's Menu Plan Monday is light and easy. I have two pieces of coursework due on the 15th December so I need to spend time doing them rather than cooking, its a good job I have a well stocked freezer! I do, however, have my parents coming over for dinner on Saturday and I am making this months Daring Cooks meal which I am so excited about!

Lunch: Breakfast Burrito
Dinner: Potato and Ham Gratin, Salad

Lunch: Ham and Cheese Orzo Casserole, Salad
Dinner: Ginger Pork on Sticky Egg Fried Rice

Lunch: Inarizushi with Prawns and Spicy Mayo, Dumplings, Japanese Wasabi Potato Salad, Prawns with lime and sweet chilli (Bento)
Dinner: Pitta Bread with Hummus and Olives and Salami, Pretzels

Lunch: Out?
Dinner: Goats Cheese and Mushroom Risotto

Lunch: Enchiladas
Dinner: Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta (Leiths)

Lunch: Salad with cheese and salami etc
Dinner: Tuna Steak and Sesame with Green Tea Noodles

Lunch: Smoked Haddock, Rocket and Rice Salad
Dinner: Daring Cooks

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Smoked Haddock and Cannellini Beans

I actually made this quite some time ago, but I thought it was worth writing about. Along with my obsession for Mexican food, I also have an obsession with beans at the moment. Its a cheap and easy source of protein, and so filling. Over the past few weeks I've made everything from Bean Chilli to White Bean Hummus to Smoked Haddock and Cannellini Beans. I cannot seem to get enough of them.

This is a really simple Nigella recipe that I adapted slightly as I got some leeks on sale and have been throwing them in everything! The flavours really complemented each other. It could have been added to with a dash of double cream or creme fraiche, but I didn't have any.

Smoked Haddock and Cannellini Beans (adapted from Nigella Express)
(Serves 2)

350g Smoked Haddock fillets, skinned
small sprig parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 leek, chopped
375ml water
80ml white wine
2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
salt and pepper

Lay the fish fillets in a large frying pan with a sprig of parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns and leeks. Pour in the water and the wine and bring it to the boil.

Cover the pan with foil and simmer the fish in the poaching liquid for 3-5 mins. Take off the heat and remove the fish to a plate.

Tip out all but about 60-125ml of the cooking liquid from the pan, you will need just enough to warm the beans, and tip the cannellini beans into the pan and warm through.

Turn off the heat and place the fish on top of the beans in the pan. Add the oil, most of the parsley, the chives, and the salt and pepper. Stir everything together and breaking up the fish as you go. If the fish got a little cold whilst it was out of the pan, turn the heat back on and warm through.

Sprinkle with the rest of the parsley and serve.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Easy Chicken Pie

One of my definite highlights of last week was the chicken pie I had on Saturday night. I have been really busy lately with college and work and I've been having some medical issues too. Just keeping the house straight seems to be falling under the radar. I really need to put time aside to keep everything in shape.

So I have been looking for really simple dishes that I can make with little effort. This chicken pie is one of them. Its starting to get chilly here, we seem to have had some unseasonably warm weather recently but I think there is starting to be a nip in the air, which calls for warming pies and hearty stews.

The original recipe called for sweetcorn, which I'm not a big fan of, so I used leeks and peas instead and they worked really well. The pie was creamy without being cloying, and the parsnip mash was good, if a little sweet, I think potato mash, as was in the original recipe, would have been better.

Easy Chicken Pie (adapted from Good Food Magazine July 2009)
(Serves 1)

1/2 small onion, sliced
2 skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 small leek, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
75-100ml chicken stock
handful of frozen peas
3 tbsp crème fraîche
handful parsley or basil leaves, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped

Heat the grill. Fry the onion and chicken in the oil for 5-10 mins until the onion is soft and the chicken golden, add the leeks. Pour over the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 mins until the chicken is cooked. Stir in the frozen peas and cook for a couple more minutes. Then add 3 tbsp crème fraîche and the herbs.

Meanwhile, boil the parsnips until soft. Drain and mash with remaining crème fraîche, or milk and butter. Spoon the chicken mix into a pie dish and top with mash. Place on a baking tray, then grill until potato is golden.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I have a small obsession with Mexican food at the moment, I just can't get enough of it, burritos, tacos, fajitas. Mexican food here in the UK is usually appalling but recently things have started getting better, thankfully there are few good burrito shops and Mexican restaurants starting to pop up, which means I can feed my Mexican craving!

A couple of weeks ago I made enchiladas. I've only ever tried them before as a Marks and Spencer's ready meal, and really liked them. I cheated with this one and bought ready made sauce, but it was at least Old El Paso! I also didn't stick to a recipe, I sort of made it up as I went along, and this is the result:

I fried some chicken pieces with some onion, a yellow pepper and some fajita seasoning to give it a kick. Then I added some premade chilli to the pan and warmed it through, I wrapped the mixture in flour tortillas and laid them in an oven proof dish. Then I covered the tortillas with a jar of enchilada sauce and topped with some grated cheddar cheese and baked in the oven for about 20 mins.

I ate it with some salsa and some guacamole and it was delicious. Not at all authentic, but really tasty.

One of my definite highlights from last week was the Easy Chicken Pie with leeks, peas and Parsnip Mash. It was a recipe from Good Food magazine which I adapted to the veg I had leftover, and it was so simple yet so tasty. I also loved the Prawn Masala Stir Fry, the combinations of the Indian spices with the noodles was delicious and it is definitely something I am going to have to investigate more!

This week I am really looking forward to the cassoulet. I have been meaning to make it for ages and never seem to quite get around to it, so fingers crossed for this week. I am also trying to increase the number of bento I made, I really enjoy them when I have them, but don't bento nearly enough!

Lunch: Macaroni Cheese, Salad
Dinner: Out at Browns, had flatbread with mozzarella, peppers, chorizo and ham and steak frites, delicious (Thank you Em!)

Lunch: Mushroom Rice, Chicken Tenders, Asian Cucumber salad (Bento)
Dinner: Beef Fajitas

Lunch: Pitta Bread with Hummus, Salami, Cucumber
Dinner: Out for pizza with my Dad

Lunch: Out with a friend
Dinner: Black Bean and Pinto Bean Chilli with Cornbread

Lunch: Mini Quiche, Cocktail Sausages with Mustard, Pesto Potato Salad (Bento)
Dinner: Old Bay Seasoned prawns with crème fraiche and lemon pasta

Lunch: Teriyaki Salmon with Stir Fry Noodles (Bento)
Dinner: Out with a friend

Lunch: Prawn and Pesto Pasta Salad
Dinner: Cassoulet with Chicken Thighs, Smoked Sausage, Kielbasa and Haricot Beans

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole is one of those quintessentially English dishes, and unfortunately one that I don't have very often. This is only the second time I've ever made it! But it is a hearty dish fantastic for cold weather. We made it once in my second year at university and it didn't work very well, the batter didn't rise and it ended up really stodgy. Thankfully this one was much better! I love the combination of batter and sausages, but my Dad really doesn't like this sort of batter so we didn't have it at home.

I used a combination of two recipes one from Leiths Simple Cookery Bible and this one from BBC Good Food. I made it in a loaf tin, as I was only making it for me and that was the smallest metal tin I had. I ended up with rather a lot of the batter but it was perfectly cooked inside, and the gravy was really tasty as well. I served it with parsnip mash, broccoli and mange tout.

Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp oil
8 pork sausages
1 onion, sliced

For the Batter
110g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs
150ml water mixed with 150ml milk

For the gravy
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion , thinly sliced
2 tsp plain flour
2 tsp ready-made English mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
600ml chicken or vegetable stock

Make the batter; sift the flour into with the salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre, break the eggs into this well. Beat lightly,then gradually pour in half the milk and water, beating all the time to form a smooth,thick batter.

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Put the sausages in a large roasting tin (preferably metal). Scatter over the onion and drizzle with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the sausages are starting to colour and the onion is tinged brown at the edges.

Remove from the oven and quickly pour the batter over the sausages. Return to the oven for a further 35-40 minutes until the batter is crisp and well risen.

Meanwhile, make the gravy. Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan, add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the mustard, Worcestershire or soy sauce and stock and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 15 minutes, then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Chicken Breast in a Bag with Cannellini Beans, Leeks, Cream and Majoram

I was looking for something to do with a pot of double cream. When I went shopping I added it to my list, so I must have had a recipe in mind, but when I got home I could not remember what on earth I wanted it for. So I looked through my cook books, and came up with this Chicken Breast in a Bag recipe from Happy Days with the Naked Chef.

I was a little confused by the recipe, it says "place in your bag with the creamy sauce", I'm not sure whether it means mix the ingredients for the sauce together and then add them to the bag, or just add the ingredients to the bag. I did the latter and the sauce split, so clearly I did the wrong thing! It was also a little bland for me, I served it with parsnip mash.

Chicken Breast in a Bag with Cannellini Beans, Leeks, Cream and Marjoram (adapted from Happy Days with the Naked Chef - Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 2)

2 chicken breasts
1 leek, chopped
400g tin of cannellini beans, drains and washed
1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 small handful of fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked
1 small glass of white wine
140ml double cream
salt and pepper

Using wide tin-foil, make your bag by placing 2 pieces on top of each other, folding in three sides and leaving 1 side open.

Preheat the oven to 220C. Put the leeks into a pan and cook in boiling water for 2 mins just to soften. Drain and mix in a bowl with all the other ingredients, including the chicken, mushing a handful of the cannellini beans to a pulp in your hands.

Season well, then place in your bag with the creamy sauce, making sure you don't pierce the foil. Close up the final edge, making sure the bag is tightly sealed and secure on all sides, carefully slide it onto a baking tray. Place in the middle of the oven for 25 mins.

Remove from the oven, place the bag on a big plate,

Monday, 16 November 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I only seem to have time to do my Menu plans at the moment, which is a shame as I have loads of pictures of recipes I've tried clogging up my camera, just no time between work and college and everything else to write much!

Last week had quite a few highlights, although I didn't make the kipper cakes from scratch, they were so delicious I had to give them a mention. I bought them from a little fish shop in Craster on the North East coast, which also had a whole lobster, deshelled for about £4, and these kipper cakes were so good, they were basically all fish and no potato and completely stunk out the staff room at work but were totally worth it!

The other highlight was the Toad in the Hole, now the last time I tried to make toad in the hole was years ago when I was at uni and it was a complete disaster, where the batter didn't rise at all. This time was different, I had to make it in a loaf tin as it was the only thing I had small enough for a one person toad in the hole and the batter rose perfectly. It was lovely with the onion gravy I made.

In this weeks Menu Plan Monday I am really looking forward to the Prawn Masala Stir Fry. Its from my new cook book which is Leiths Simple Cookery Bible. It has some fantastic simple recipes in it that I want to try out. I've also never tried an Indian noodle recipe so I'm wondering what the combination will taste like.

Lunch: Pasta with Tomato and Mascarpone Sauce
Dinner: Went to Wagamama's with my sister

Lunch: Courgette Soup and Pate Sandwich
Dinner: Chickpea Curry with Curry Sauce and Rice

Lunch: Pesto and Sour Cream Pasta Salad with Hot Smoked Salmon and Mange Tout
Dinner: Prawn Masala Stir Fry (Leiths)

Lunch: Out, treating myself, not sure what yet
Dinner: Paprika Pork Loin Steak with Couscous and ratatouille

Lunch: Ham and Cheese Orzo Casserole, Salad
Dinner: Beans on toast

Lunch: Rice Noodles with prawns, sweet chilli, lime and soy sauce, Pak Choi, Gyoza (Bento)
Dinner: Black Bean and Vegetable Curry

Lunch: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with ham
Dinner: Easy Chicken Pie with leeks and peas and Parsnip Mash (Good Food)

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Menu Plan Tuesday

Last week got rather mixed around, so my Menu plan didn't get anywhere near as planned! Hopefully this week will be better although I have already fiddled with this one a couple of times as things come up! This naan pizza is from the week before last but it was so tasty that i thought it was worth sharing.

It uses a naan bread as a base, I then put about 3 tablespoons of home made tomato sauce on the base, added some spinach, olives and goats cheese and baked it in the oven for about 8-10 mins. It was so quick and easy to do and delicious to eat

This week's Menu Plan Monday I am trying out loads of new recipes, I'm still slowly working through the cookbooks on my shelf and trying different recipes from them. I wasn't a big fan of Sunday's dinner, but I will write more about that later in the week. I am looking forward to the toad in the hole, Its the first time I've tried to make it for just one, so I'll see how the batter goes.

Lunch: Dumpling Noodle Soup
Dinner: Chicken Breast in a bag with cannellini beans, leeks, courgettes, cream and marjoram(Happy Days with the Naked Chef)

Lunch: Out with my Mum
Dinner: Crispy Prawns, Egg Fried Rice, Spring Rolls and Wontons

Lunch: Kipper Cakes, Salad
Dinner: Out

Lunch: Croque Monsieur, Salad
Dinner: Toad in the Hole with Parsnip and Potato Mash, Veg

Lunch: Macaroni Cheese, Salad
Dinner: Maple Salmon with Courgette and Pesto Pasta

Lunch: Chicken Tenders with Egg Fried Rice, and Soy Sauce and Ginger Courgettes (Bento)
Dinner: Smoked Haddock with Cannellini Beans and Leeks (Nigella Express)

Lunch: with my parents
Dinner: Enchiladas

Friday, 6 November 2009

Sundried Tomato, Sage and Goats Cheese Stuffed Chicken Leg with Gravy

I love roast chicken, it is my ultimate comfort food, but a whole chicken is too big for just me. Sometimes I have a Poussin, which is much smaller, but I found some chicken legs in a farm shop in Northumberland, which are easier to stuff. I also love goats cheese and chicken and goats cheese seemed like a winning combination, so I added a few things to it and stuffed the chicken leg.

I served it with steamed broccoli and pasta with cabbage and pesto. The chicken was delicious, but I didn't really like the cabbage. It left a very strange after taste in my mouth!

Sun dried Tomato, Sage and Goats Cheese Stuffed Chicken Leg with Gravy
(Serves 1)

1 chicken leg
1/4 small log soft goats cheese
2 sun dried tomato pieces, sliced
3 sage leaves sliced

Preheat the oven to 200C

Make a pocket between the skin and the flesh of the chicken leg.

Slice the goats cheese, sun dried tomatoes and sage thinly and stuff the pocket with the cheese, sun dried tomatoes and sage.

Cook the chicken leg for about 30-40 mins until the skin is golden and crispy.

I left it to rest a bit whilst I made gravy with the pan juices by adding a little plain flour to the roasting pan and then some hot water and stirring. I put it back in the oven for about five mins
and voila lovely thick gravy.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Menu Plan Monday

My Mum gave me a packet of sliced smoked duck breast which she had left in her fridge, I used half of the packet in a bento and then the other half in this smoked duck and sesame potato salad. I didn't have any plum sauce so I used hoisin instead and it tasted delicious.

Last weeks Menu Plan went OK, the highlight was definitely the Miso Salmon with Green Tea Noodles and Mushrooms which I made for my Mum. The flavours went really well together. I have found a recipe for Tuna Steak with Green Tea Noodles which I'm hoping to try soon. This week is quite mixed with some tried and tested recipes and some new ones. I bought a pot of double cream when I went shopping on Friday and I still can't remember why I bought it! I'm using it in the veal stroganoff and a potato and courgette gratin that I can't think of anything to go with, I'll have to have a think during the week.

Lunch: Croque Monsieur, Tomato and Goats Cheese Salad
Dinner: Cheese and Ham Orzo Casserole, Garlic Bread

Lunch: Out for sushi with my Mum
Dinner: Beef Yaki Soba

Lunch: Hummus, Artichoke and Olive Pitta Bread
Dinner: Pesto Pasta Salad with Mushrooms, Garlic Sausage and Green Beans

Lunch: Three Mushroom Rice
Dinner: Veal Stroganoff with Parsnip and Potato Mash, Veg

Lunch: Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne, Salad
Dinner: Kipper Cakes with Veg

Lunch: Battered Prawns with Broccoli, Mushrooms and Noodle Stir Fry (Bento)
Dinner: Cassoulet with Smoked Sausage

Lunch: Game Pie and Salad
Dinner: Potato and Courgette Gratin

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Grilled Salmon with Green Tea Noodles and Mushrooms

My Mum came to stay on Tuesday evening and I wanted to cook her something special, but easy, for dinner. She loves Asian food but doesn't get to eat much of it, as my dad doesn't really like noodles or rice, so she chose Asian style salmon and I chose the recipes. I found this recipe from Wandering Chopsticks, adapted it, and teamed it with Green Tea Noodles, an impulse buy from the Japan Centre, and mushrooms.

I'm not a big fan of almonds or nuts in general, as was suggested as an accompaniment for the noodles the original post, so I used mushrooms instead. I also had problems with the glaze, what I got was more liquid, more like a marinade, So I left the salmon fillets in it for about half an hour to marinade and then rubbed miso paste on the salmon before I grilled it. I then heated the marinade in a small saucepan to create a sauce. It was delicious and the two parts of the meal went really well together, and my Mum loved it too!

Green Tea Noodles with Exotic Mushrooms
(Serves 2)

1 bundle of green tea noodles
100g mixed mushrooms
handful mangetout
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp soy sauce

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions.

Saute the mushrooms, until they are lightly browned and the mange tout are cooked but still crisp.

Add the cooked noodles to the pan and add the mirin and soy sauce, stir fry for a minute until it is warmed through and serve.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Chinese Style Fish Soup

I haven't been very good at posting here recently, mainly due to college and work. I have just finished writing my first essay in about 3 years and boy am I glad that it's over! I'm not sure how happy I am with it, but if I fiddle with it anymore its going to drive me insane!

I also went to Lille for the day yesterday with my Mum and sister and we had a fantastic time. We ate lunch at La Compostelle, where I had an Asian beef salad and then dourade with red pepper and walnut pesto, a cream sauce and courgette risotto, and they were both delicious. We then looked round the shops and went to the supermarket where I stocked up on all the things I love but can't buy here. We also had tea in Meert and bought the most delicious cakes to eat on the train on the way back, it was a little tricky to eat them as we had no forks, but really tasty none the less.

As the evenings get colder here, although this week its been unseasonably warm, I start making lots of soups and casseroles. I love Asian style soups, especially noodle soup. This one was originally just a fairly plain Chinese fish soup with no noodles and not much veg, so I used the basic recipe and jazzed it up a little, adding egg noodles, spinach, sugar snap peas and mange tout. It was delicious.

Chinese Style Fish Noodle Soup (Adapted from Ken Hom's Hot Wok)
(Serves 4)

450g cod fillets
1 egg white
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
1.2 ltrs chicken/veg/fish stock
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
2 tsp finely shredded root ginger
2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
1 tsp chilli oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
mixed stir fry veg
2 packets of straight to wok noodles

Remove the skin from the fish fillets and then cut them into small pieces, about 2.5cm square. Combine the fish, egg white, salt, pepper, sesame oil and cornflour and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 20 mins.

Pour the stock into a wok and bring it to a simmer. Add the soy sauce, shaoxing rice wine, ginger and spring onions and simmer for 30 secs. Then add the veg and noodles and simmer for 2 mins.

Add the fish and stir gently for 1 min. As soon as the fish turns white, immediately turn off the heat. Add the chilli oil and vinegar. Ladle the soup into individual bowls, garnish with fresh coriander and serve immediately.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Menu Plan Monday and Rabbit

I am actually late with this again, things just got away from me at work again yesterday, so i started the post and never actually posted it! I also managed to print off the paper copy and leave it at work! I leave it down to the new pills I'm taking which are sending my head a little squiffy!

Anyway on Saturday night I made a delicious rabbit casserole from a recipe found through google. It was Provencal Rabbit Stew with Olives and Capers from We Are Never Full.

It ended up being a little too salty for me, but I made a fantastic pasta sauce by watering down the leftover liquid and adding sour cream to the leftovers for dinner yesterday.

This weeks Menu Plan Monday is like normal full of quick and easy meals. My Mum is coming to stay on Tuesday night as we are off to Lille for the day on Wednesday. I told my friend that I was basically going to Lille to grocery shop and she laughed and said that was typically me! So on Tuesday evening I'm trying something different to feed my Mum! I bought green tea noodles and had absolutely no idea what to do with them, but I found a fantastic mushroom noodle recipe so I'm going to try that as a side dish with some miso salmon.

I am so looking forward to going to Lille and all the exciting ingredients I can buy which I can't get here, especially lots of cheese!

Lunch: Smoked Duck and Sesame Salad
Dinner: Goats Cheese and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Leg, Pasta with Pesto and Veg

Lunch: Onion Bhaji with Curry Fried Rice, Indian Spinach, Raita and Mango Chutney (Bento)
Dinner: Leftover Rabbit with Creamy Sauce and Pasta

Lunch: Pesto and Tomato Potato Salad, Sausages with Ketchup and Mustard (Bento)
Dinner: Miso Salmon with Green Tea Noodles and Mushrooms

Lunch: Out for lunch in Lille
Dinner: Picnic from Lille

Lunch: Hoi Sin Smoked Duck with Yakisoba Noodles (Bento)
Dinner: Pitta/Naan Bread Pizza with Goats Cheese, Spinach and Olives

Lunch: Quiche and Salad
Dinner: Goan Fish Curry, Lentil Curry, Rice

Lunch: Courgette Soup, Bread
Dinner: Chicken Nuggets, Baked Beans and Chips

Monday, 19 October 2009

Menu Plan Monday, Actually on a Monday!

This week I am actually posting this on a Monday! Hurrah! Last week went pretty well, only a few last minute changes were made. I ended up having take away on Friday evening so the Chinese Fish Soup rolls over to this week, and I still haven't braved my deep fat fryer to make the chicken and potato croquettes, I will have to work up the courage.

I spent a couple of days at my parents last week and was cooked for by my Mum. We had a lovely swordfish dish on Tuesday night and then steak and chips on Wednesday, and there really is nothing better than a home made chip! The highlight of last week for me was the Shrimp and Grits, I completely forgot to take a photo of it, but I loved the texture of the grits, which I added loads of cheese and butter to. I adapted one of the recipes from Jamie's America, which I bought last week, which added meatballs to the recipe, and the meat and prawns worked really well with the smokey flavour of the Old Bay.

I also participated in a snack swap through Live Journal this month and received my box of goodies over the weekend. I swapped with a lady in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and all the snacks she sent were local to her area, the nearest five minutes away and the furthest an hour away!

I rifled through the box a bit before I remembered to take the picture, but this is all the fantastic stuff I got, all laid out.

I have already eaten the whoopie pie, which I loved, and demolished half the block of Hershey's chocolate, which I kinda like, although its not as creamy as English chocolate. The pie is a shoofly pie, made out of molasses and looks really tasty, and I cannot wait to try the apple butter.
This week is fairly simple fare, mostly from my freezer stash as I have to write an essay and won't have much time for cooking.

Lunch: English Muffin Cheese on Toast
Dinner: Out at an Asian Fusion Restaurant

Lunch: Macaroni Cheese, Salad
Dinner: Vegetarian Chilli in a Tortilla with Cheese and Sour Cream

Lunch: Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad with peas
Dinner: Chinese Style Fish Soup (Ken Hom)

Lunch: Fish Finger Sandwich, Salad
Dinner: Steak Pie, Potato Gratin, Veg

Lunch: Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas, Salad
Dinner: Chicken and Bamboo Shoot Stir Fry, Jasmine Rice (Chinese Food Made Easy)

Lunch: Pesto Potato Salad with tomatoes, Frankfurters with Mustard/Ketchup (Bento)
Dinner: Out for dinner with a friend

Lunch: Salad with Cheese, Smoked Duck etc
Dinner: Spaetzle with Sausage and Tomato Sauce

Friday, 16 October 2009


I had been wanting to make home made pizza for ages but never had the right ingredients or enough time. Then I was given the leftovers from the great bagel making, which included a big ball of mozzarella and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it!

I used a Leiths recipe to make the base, and then made my own tomato sauce, and topped the pizza with mushrooms, ham, peppers, homemade sun dried tomatoes and onions. It was delicious, but the base was a little too bready for me. I'm not sure how to combat this using domestic recipes, because all my cookery books go for a bread like base, will have to do some searching around.

Pizza (from Leiths Cookery Bible)
(makes 2 10 in Pizzas)

10g fresh yeast
1 tsp sugar
110ml warm water
200g strong flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 quantity of pizza sauce
225g mozzarella, shredded
3 tbsp Parmesan, grated
a selection of toppings

Cream the yeast with the sugar and 2 tbsp of the lukewarm water.

Sift the flour with the salt and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining water and oil. Mix together to make a soft but not wet dough. Add more water or flour if necessary.

Turn out onto a floured surface and need well for about 5 mins until the dough is smooth. Place in a clean bowl and cover with greased cling film. Leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 230C. Divide the dough into 2. Roll each piece into a 10 in circle. Place on a greased and floured baking trays.

Crimp or flute the edges of the dough slightly to help keep in the filling. Spread with the pizza sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese and toppings and pour over a little oil.

Bake in the top third of the oven for 5 mins, then turn down the temperature to 200C and bake for a further 15 mins.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Daring Cooks October 2009: Vietnamese Chicken Pho

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. There were two recipes this month, but I only had time to do the main one which was Vietnamese Chicken Pho.

I have wanted to make pho for as long as I can remember, but never seemed to get around to it. I was also scared of how spicy the dish was, I'm not very good with chilli as I have said many times before, but with this recipe each person can control how much they put in which was fantastic. I invited my sister round for dinner and made this for us both, we loved being able to pick and choose what extras we put in. I have one criticism, not of the recipe itself, but probably more of traditional pho, we felt that it could have done with more green veggies and next time I make it I will add some to the accompaniments tray. Otherwise the broth was really flavourful and it was a delicious filling meal. Thank you to Jaden and to Daring Cooks.

This one was mine:

This one was my sisters:

Vietnamese Chicken Pho
(Serves 4)

For the Chicken Pho Broth:
2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
½ onion
1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
1 to 2 tbsp sugar
1 to 2 tbsp fish sauce
1 lb (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)

2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed
Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha chili sauce
Hoisin sauce
Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice

To make the Chicken Pho Broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.
In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.

Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.

Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

This is how it looked on the table. I was pleased because it gave me an excuse to use my Chinese set of dining ware, so we even had chopstick rests and bamboo ladles, and we used chopsticks to eat the meal!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Menu Plan Tuesday

I'm late again with this! I spent most of yesterday running around after kids. One of my colleagues set up a project with two local schools to do some archaeological surveying and activities and I did some of the tours to look at the buildings still standing around the site. We also got the kids to do rubbings of the coal holes on the ground. It was a fantastic day although I felt very windswept by the end. Luckily the weather held out and it was a beautiful if rather windy day.

I am coming to the last of the veg which is growing in the garden, the courgette plants are still producing, but thankfully at a much slower rate and size than before, my average size being a couple of inches. I also planted some sorrel quite late on and now that is producing with abundance, and I had no idea what to do with it. I came across this chicken recipe on the Good Food Channel website and it was delicious. The sauce worked really well with the flavours of the sorrel and the chicken. It was definitely the highlight of last week.

This week I'm home for a couple of days, so no cooking and I'm also trying shrimp and grits. I could only get instant grits at the supermarket, so I'm not sure how well they will turn out, but hopefully if I add enough butter and cheese it'll be ok!

Lunch: Out with my Mum and Sister (had Eggs Benedict)
Dinner: Out at Yo! Sushi

Lunch: Chicken, Green Bean and Pesto Pasta Salad
Dinner: Chickpea Curry, Curry Sauce and Rice

Lunch: Ham and Mustard Sandwich
Dinner: Home at my Parents

Lunch: Home
Dinner: Home

Lunch: Spaghetti, Chicken, Blue Cheese, Spinach and Beans, Salad
Dinner: Shrimp and Grits, with Old Bay Seasoning, Veg

Lunch: Mini Quiche, Potato Salad, Ham and Cheese Wraps
Dinner: Chinese Style Fish Soup (Ken Hom)

Lunch: Potato and Chicken Croquettes, Broccoli and Mushroom Noodles
Dinner: Grilled Sausages with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes, Egg

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Maple Pork and Apples

My parents have a small orchard at the back of their house which has about 6-8 apple trees, this year they have gone crazy! They have had so many apples that my Mum said when she picked them it didn't look like she'd picked any, they were that full. So I have been supplying people at work with apples and using a few myself in cooking. I am not a big fan of raw apples but I don't mind them cooked in dishes. I found this recipe for Maple Pork and Apple somewhere on the Internet, I'm not sure where though, so I'm sorry in advance to whoever's recipe this is.

I actually ate this quite a while ago, but never got around to writing about it. It was really simple to make and a great one pan dish. I served it with mash potato, green beans, sugar snaps, samphire and mushrooms.

Maple Pork and Apples
(Serves 4)

4 pork loin chops
2 tbsp butter
12 baby carrots, halved lengthways
1 medium apple, sliced and pips removed
1/3 cup maple syrup

Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. In a frying pan melt the butter over a medium heat and add the chops. Brown for 2 mins, turning once. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add carrots, apple and maple syrup. Cover and simmer for 8 mins or until done.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chops, carrots and apples to a warm plate bring the syrup mixture to a boil, and boil gently for 1-2 mins until thickened. Pour over the chops and serve.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Menu Plan Tuesday

This is a very quick Menu Plan Monday, I didn't post it yesterday cos I was sick and today I've been at college. Its very simple, and I'm actually out a lot this week. I'm also hoping to make some courgette and herb soup with my last two giant courgettes.

Lunch: Prawn, Broccoli and Noodle Stir Fry
Dinner: Pizza

Lunch: Courgette and Watercress Soup, Bread Roll
Dinner: Japanese Beef Curry with Noodles

Lunch: Bagel with Lox Spread and Capers
Dinner: Chicken and Sorrel with Crème Fraiche, Potatoes, Veggies

Lunch: Salmon Ravioli with Peas and a Crème Fraiche
Dinner: Out with my Dad

Lunch: Special and Egg Fried Rice, Chicken Nuggets with Orange Sauce
Dinner: Spinach and Feta Pasty, Veg

Lunch: Pesto and Prawn Pasta Salad
Dinner: Out? If not Chickpea Curry, Curry Sauce, Rice

Lunch: Quiche, Salad
Dinner: Out with my Dad and Sister

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Vegetarian Chilli in a Slow Cooker

I used my slow cooker for the first time last weekend. Its only a small 2/3 person one, but just the right size for me. I made a vegetarian chilli, which I've never made before either. I looked around for recipes online, but I couldn't find any I liked, most had either a meat substitute or squash in them, I hate the texture of minced meat and I'm not a big fan of squash either! So I kind of made it up as I went along.

Even for me, this wasn't hot enough, I think next time I make it I'm going to add some chilli powder in as well, but I wasn't sure how hot the chilli sauce was with the kidney beans. It was however really flavoursome. I served it with some lime and coriander rice, which was gorgeous and I put sour cream and grated cheese over the top. Delicious!

Vegetarian Chilli
(Serves 2)

1 can kidney beans in chilli sauce
150g ish dried pinto beans
1 small can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano

Put all the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 8-10.

Serve over lime and coriander rice with sour cream and grated cheese on top.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

I have been eating loads of vegetarian meals recently including lots of beans and pulses. I used to really dislike, lentils and chickpeas. I'm not a big fan of crunchy with soft, so nuts in salad, chocolate and ice cream is a no-no, and similarly I always found the texture of chickpeas too hard, but I have discovered that if I cook them for long enough and they go softer without being mushy I actually love the taste of them.

This Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas and Tomatoes dish was definitely one of the tastiest chickpea recipes I've tried. The egg wasn't in the original recipe, but I added it in for a bit more protein and it went really well with the flavours of the dish.

Coriander Potatoes with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and an Egg on top (adapted from Australian Women's Weekly Lebanese Cooking)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
4 medium potatoes, sliced thickly
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cups/310ml water
300g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Heat oil in a large frying pan, cook onion and garlic, stirring until onion is soft.

Add spices and cook stirring until fragrant. Add the potato and cook until lightly browned.
Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute, stir in undrained crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, sugar and water, simmer covered for about 25 mins or until the potatoes are tender.

With about 5-8 mins of cooking time left crack an egg onto the top of the mixture and re-cover with the lid, leave for 5-8 mins (depending on how you like your egg), and serve with the chopped coriander sprinkled over.