Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Chinese Chive Steamed Bun

This is not something that I have cooked, but it something I am now addicted to! Steamed Buns! There is nice little stall just as you go out of China Town in London which sells Steamed Buns nicely warmed and ready to eat, in a variety of flavours. They also sell croquettes and rice in banana leaves which I will have to try!

This one was a Chive Steamed Bun, which I had never tried before so I was surprised by the egg inside, but it was delicious. I also bought a Pork one at the same time and that was really tasty too. I have found a recipe on Just Hungry for them that I want to try, but I think I'll make plain ones to eat with the Chinese Lentil Dish I made a little while ago.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's Menu Plan Monday was mostly followed! I ended up going out for dinner on Friday evening so I had the veal on Sunday instead. One of the highlights of last week was the Smokey Shrimp and Polenta. I strayed away from the original recipe which was Smokey Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta Cakes, when it came to the polenta. I had frozen some sticks of polenta when I made some a few weeks ago and defrosted these. I tried to pan fry them as this had worked really well with the cooled polenta last time, but unfortunately they fell apart so I ended up with normal polenta, slightly fried. I have to say that the sauce was heavenly, and the prawns beautiful as well.

This weeks Menu Plan Monday is a mix of freezer things and made from scratch meals. The cook book recipe is Grilled Fillet Steak with Leeks and Butter Beans from Jamie Oliver's How to Cook, which I currently have out of the Library. This is actually the only meal in the book that I actually want to make, so I'm glad I didn't spend lots of money buying the book.

Lunch: Steamed Chive Bun (From China Town)
Dinner: Veal Piccata, Goats Cheese Mash, Veggies

Lunch: Leek and Gorgonzola Bake, Salad (LL)
Dinner: Chicken Pie, Veggies

Lunch: Hot Smoked Salmon Salad
Dinner: Out for a friends Birthday Drinks

Dinner: Out, being cooked for by a friend

Lunch: Chicken Markhani, Spinach Rice (Bento)

Lunch: Ham and Goats Cheese Roll Ups, Salad?
Dinner: Fish Pie, Veggies

Lunch: Falafel with Couscous Salad (Bento)
Dinner: Grilled Fillet Steak with Leeks and Butter Beans (Jamie Oliver)

Sunday, 29 March 2009


I had a couple of bento lunches this week, they are definitely more interesting to take to work than a sandwich and bag of crisps. I also invested in a Laptop Lunchbox, which arrived really quickly, I ordered it on Thursday and it arrived on Saturday, although the postman did wake me up at 8am! I'm hoping to use this to make sandwich and salad bentos, although I'm not sure how well it will hold things in place as only one of the inner containers has a lid. It does come with a spoon and fork set though.

Wednesday's Bento was leftover rice salad from Tuesday evening, with a green chick of sweet chilli sauce. The top layer held three fish balls, 2 cherry tomatoes, a cucumber slice and a mini cadbury's caramel.

Thursday's Bento held a cheese and onion quiche, with salad, and then a side car of chicken samosa, blue strawberry of raita, a babybel and a mini flake.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Creamy Ham and Artichoke Pasta

This weeks cook book recipe was Creamy Ham and Artichoke Pasta. I had this on Wednesday before I went to the National Theatre. It was very quick and easy to make and really tasty, I served it with Garlic Bread and a Side Salad. The play was also very good, it was called England People Very Nice, and although it relied a lot on stereotypes, it was funny and entertaining.

This is what I'm entering into Presto Pasta Nights this week, back with Ruth of Once Upon a Feast, the founder! Check out the round up for lots of delicious pasta and noodle dishes.

Creamy Ham and Artichoke Pasta (adapted from Good Housekeeping 30 Minute Suppers)
(Serves 4)

500g pasta
500ml carton creme fraiche
280g jar roasted artichoke hearts, drained and halved
80g pack ham, torn into strips
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
40g parmesan cheese, grated

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

Drain well, reserving some of the cooking water, the put the pasta back in the pan.

Add the creme fraiche, artichoke hearts, ham and chopped sage and stir everything together, thinning with a ladleful of cooking water. Season well with salt and pepper.

Spoon the pasta into bowls, sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese over the pasta and garnish with sage leaves.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Three Delicious Meals

This weeks meals so far have been a mix of cheating and proper cooking! It has been a very busy week at work and I haven't had much energy for cooking! This week has been a week of good news! I now have an estimated completion date on my flat of the 3rd-11th May, so I really needed to start emptying my freezer. I now seem to only have single portions of things, so I'm not sure what I am going to cook for my sister on Sunday evening! This means that hopefully I will move in sometime at the beginning of June.

I also found out on Tuesday that I have been accepted to do a Masters in Library and Information Studies at UCL! This is fantastic news as it means I can finally become a qualified Librarian, and although it will take two years and be really hard work, I can't wait to start!

Monday's dinner was Quorn and pesto fillet with roast cherry tomatoes, lemon spaghetti and steamed veg. I had never tried Quorn before, but was always curious as to what it tasted like, so I bought some pesto filled fillets which were on offer in Sainsbury's to try. The packet suggested roasting some tomatoes with it and this worked a treat and provided some liquid to what I think would otherwise have been a very dry meal. This I teamed with this Lemon Linguine recipe that I had had bookmarked for quite a while. I used spaghetti instead of Linguine as this is what I had in the cupboard, it was a huge success and both parts of the meal went really well together, and actually the Quorn wasn't too bad, tasted like chicken really!

On Sunday I tried another recipe that I had bookmarked, this time it was French Baguette Casserole (with Egg, Spinach, Mushroom, Onion and Gruyere). I left this one in the oven a little too long hence the too brown colour! But it was really tasty and I have frozen some into portions for lunches in the next few weeks.

Tuesday was the first and only night of proper cooking this week. I went for Seared Tuna with Asparagus and a Hot Rice Salad. I had been to a private view of an exhibition near Kings Cross earlier in the evening, which was bizarre and very dark. You couldn't really talk to people as the room was too dark to see people's faces! The installation itself was also a bit strange.

This was slightly tipsily made which may explain the slightly empty plate and that there was no effort made to wipe the plate before photographing it! This is one of those dishes that I made a lot a little while ago but have not had recently, and it was still delicious. I also had lots of leftovers to make a bento for the next day.

Seared Tuna with Asparagus and a Hot Rice Salad
(Serves 1)

1 tuna steak
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the hot rice salad
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 asparagus spears
½ pepper, deseeded
140g/5oz rice, cooked

For the dressing
handful of basil, coriander, parsley and chives, roughly chopped
½ lemon, juice only
pinch of curry powder

Drizzle oil over the asparagus and griddle for three to four minutes until tender.
Griddle the pepper until the skin blisters and goes black.
Remove the skin and slice the pepper.
Make the dressing for the salad by combining all the ingredients in a bowl.
Add the rice, peppers and asparagus and stir through.
Drizzle the tuna with oil and season.
Sear in a hot pan for one minute either side, or a little longer if the tuna is thick.
Serve the tuna on top of the rice.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's Menu Plan Monday went quite well. It was lovely to return to Bento again and have something pretty to look at when I open my lunch box. I am now considering getting one of the Laptop Lunch sets for bulkier lunches, rather than the dull freezer bags I currently use!

One of the highlights of last week was my Neice's christening in Bath Abbey. I was very honoured to be asked to do a reading, as well as very nervous. Luckily it was only in front of 40 people most of whom I had met before, rather than a whole church congregation. Afterwards we had a meal at the Guildhall There was a choice of main courses including a Beef Stew, Chicken, and a Vegetarian option. I went for the Chicken, which was Chicken and Bacon in a Dijon Cream Sauce with New Potatoes, Broccoli, Carrots and Courgettes. It was really well done and amazing that they could serve 40 people with something so delicious.

I did however fail to make my cook book recipe! I looked in the freezer and there wasn't enough room to store the leftovers, so I ate a ready made Beef Steak Pie from Moorhouse Farm instead to clear out a bit of room. This weeks cook book recipe is Artichoke and Ham Pasta from Good Housekeeping's 30 Minute Meals. I have been meaning to make this one for a while and I finally have some artichokes in stock.

Lunch: Bread and Cheese etc
Dinner: Out, my sister cooked for me (Lamb Curry, Rice and Naan. Scrummy!)

Lunch: French Baguette Casserole, Salad
Dinner: Quorn and Pesto Fillet with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon Spaghetti, Salad

Lunch: Salad with Kielbasa and Cheese, Croutons etc
Dinner: Tuna Steak with a Hot Rice Salad (Make extra)

Lunch: Fish Balls and Cold Rice Salad (Bento)
Dinner: Ham and Artichoke Pasta, Salad (Good Housekeeping Meals in 30 Minutes)

Lunch: Cheese and Onion Quiche, Salad
Dinner: Smokey Shrimp and Polenta Cakes, Veggies

Lunch: Egg Salad Bagel
Dinner: Veal Piccata, Sauteed Potatoes, Veggies

Lunch: OUT?
Dinner: Celeriac and Smoked Salmon Gratin

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Steamed Sea Bass

On Friday afternoon I went to the opticians to have my eyes tested again, which took forever, and my eye sight has changed, which means new glasses. So that was £250! I know that these are essential items, I can't see without them, but really £250!! At least I do have some nice new red frames.

Earlier in the week, whilst moving the table in my bedsit, I knocked all my white plates and bowls that I use for this blog off the table, and smashed all but two of them. I was so cross. That warranted a trip to Marks and Spencer to replace them, they are only about £2-3 each so it wasn't too bad and they had a 3 for 2 offer on, even cheaper! I also found some gorgeous retro red coffee cups for £1 each so I bought 4 of them.

I arrived home with a much lighter purse and wanting something yummy and comforting for dinner. I had planned to make this sea bass dish a couple of weeks ago but didn't get around to it, so I tried again this week.

It was very simple to make, but the flavours were delicious. It also came out slightly spicy, and I still can't figure out why, other than that the garlic I used had been near some chilli. The original recipe called for pak choi, but I didn't have any, so I just used some sugar snap peas and broccoli. I served this with jasmine rice which I boiled in some vegetable stock, something I've never tried before, which definitely added some flavour to it.

Steamed Sea Bass (adapted from Good Food Aug 2006)
(Serves 2)

small piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
splash of sherry or saki
2 x 140g fillets sea bass
veg such as pak choi, sugar snap peas, spinach or broccoli

In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients, except the fish and the veg, together to make a soy mix. Line one tier of a two-tiered bamboo steamer loosely with foil. Lay the fish, skin side up, on the foil and spoon over the soy mix. Place the fish over simmering water and throw the veg into the second tier and cover it with a lid. Alternatively, add the veg to the fish layer after 2 mins of cooking - the closer the tier is to the steam, the hotter it is.

Leave everything to steam for 6-8 mins until the veg has wilted and the fish is cooked. Divide the greens between two plates, then carefully lift out the fish. Lift the foil up and drizzle the tasty juices back over the fish.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Two Bento

This week I have been trying to get back into bento, as I think I said in an earlier post. I love the cute boxes that I bought ages ago, but I hardly ever use them. I prefer my trusty Lock & Lock boxes which can be microwaved, but even then I don't make a bento style meal! However it is a good way to have something appetising to eat at lunch time, and to use up leftovers.

The first one is partly left over Chinese from Friday night; Pork Balls with Stir Fried Noodles and Veggies, and sweet chilli sauce in the green chick pot. The other layer was some ardennes pate, with a cherry tomato and some crackers underneath, and an inarizushi. I forgot to bring any soy sauce for the inarizushi, but had some left over sweet chilli sauce from the pork balls which was I used to add some flavour.

Yesterday I did some extra hours in the purchasing unit for work and made another Bento! This one is a potato salad bento in my pretty two tiered blue bento box. I am really sorry for the awful photo. When I used the flash it bleached the potato salad white and without it the photo is too dark! On the left is frankfurters which were marinated in Honey and Mustard, two cherry tomatoes, and my last two kinder schoco bons. The left is pesto potato salad, with red onion and cucumber.

Pesto Potato Salad
(Makes 1 portion)

2 medium potatoes
1/2 red onion, chopped
2/3 slices of cucumber quartered
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tsp pesto

Boil the potatoes for about 15mins until cooked through, then cut into smaller pieces.

Mix the yoghurt, mayonnaise and pesto together so that it all combines. Add in the potatoes, onion and cucumber and serve.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Dijon Pasta Salad

Last week's cook book recipe was Dijon Pasta Salad from Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson. It was really easy to make, I reduced the recipe to one serving, but it could easily be used for a buffet or to feed lots of people for lunch. The paprika added a nice spicy flavour to the salad.

I am also adding this to Presto Pasta Nights, this week hosted by Aquadaze of Served with Love. Check out all of the delicious pasta dishes at the Presto Pasta Nights website

Dijon Pasta Salad (adapted from Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson)
(Makes 8-10 Servings)

1 pound tricoloured fusilli or rotini pasta
2/3 cup vegetable/sunflower oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
2/3 cup mayonnaise
6 rashers of bacon, cooked and chopped
1/4 cucumber chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Cook the pasta in boiling water until done, usually 11-13 mins. Drain. Run cold water over the pasta until it is completely cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard and mayonnaise.

Add pasta and all other ingredients to dressing, mix carefully, and taste for seasoning. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's Menu Plan Monday went quite well, the only thing that I didn't make was the Steamed Sea Bass with Bok Choi, as when I made the plan I had forgotten that I was going out for dinner on Saturday. In the end that was cancelled so I had Chinese takeaway instead! The leftovers are nicely stored in the freezer. One of the highlights of last week was the Pork Paprikash which came from Dining Alone Blog, I made this for my sister on Sunday and it went down a treat.

This weeks Menu Plan Monday is mostly things out of the freezer, and there is not a lot of actual cooking involved! I am also trying to get back into making bento but none of my pretty boxes are microwave safe so I'm using lots of the lock & lock boxes instead. This weeks cook book recipe is Black Bean Curry from my Slimming World Curry book. Its also the only vegetarian meal this week.

Out at my Niece's Christening
Bread and Cheese

Noodles and Veg, Pork Balls (Bento)
Smoked Haddock Fishcake, Salad

Salad with Cheese, Ham etc
Out for dinner

Frankfurter, Potato Salad (Bento)
Sausage and Mash with onion gravy, Veggies

Baked Cabbage and Fish Risotto, Salad
Chicken en Croute, Salad

Pate and Lettuce Sandwich
Steamed Sea Bass with Pak Choi

Bread and Cheese
Black Eye Bean Curry (SW), Naan Bread

Things to make and freeze:

Gorgonzola, Leek and Tortellini Bake
Chickpea Soup

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Baked Sausage Parcels and a Couscous Salad

I am always trying to think of new or different things to take to work for lunch each week. I like having variety in what I eat and could not take the same sandwich day in, day out, but sometimes I struggle to think of things to take. Mondays and Thursdays are easy because I work until 8pm so I need to take a hot lunch, which is usually left overs, so the problem is with the days where something smaller is needed.

Yesterday I went for a couscous salad, really simple and quick to prepare. I used half a sachet of couscous and poured the required amount of boiling water over it, and then left it for 5 mins. The night before I had sauteed some courgette until it looked soft and cooked. When the couscous had adsorbed all the liquid, I added some butter and fluffed it with a fork. Then I added the cooked courgette, some halved cherry tomatoes, some halved olives and some feta cut into cubes, and voila, a lovely filled salad.

Dinner last night was Baked Sausage Parcels. I had lots of ends of vegetables left over from other recipes and this is a perfect dish to use them up in. This time it was red pepper and courgette but I have previously used mushrooms and cabbage which worked just as well. I also used merguez sausages as it adds a nice spicy element to the dish. I served the parcel on top of a potato and carrot rosti, but you could add potatoes to the pepper mix, after boiling them for about 10 mins.

Baked Sausage Parcels (adapted from a Waitrose recipe card)
(Serves 1)

2 sausages
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1/2 courgette, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1/2 tsp paprika or pimenton
25ml approx white wine of veg stock

Preheat the oven to 200C

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, add 1 tbsp of oil and fry sausages for 4-5 mins, or until just browned. Remove from the pan. Add another tbsp of oil to the pan and fry the peppers, red onion, courgette and garlic for 3 mins, until starting to soften. Stir in the paprika and season.

Line a square of foil, about 30cm square, with a slightly smaller piece of baking parchment. Put the pepper mixture in the square and top with the sausages. Drizzle with any juices from the pan.

Fold the squares in half to form a parcel and turn in the edges to seal, leaving one edge open. pour the wine or stock into the parcel then fold over the last edge to seal completely. Lift onto a baking sheet and place in the for 30 mins or until the sausages are cooked through.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Mushroom Lasagne with Hollandaise

I actually made this Mushroom Lasagne a couple of weeks ago but completely forgot to blog about it. I ate the leftovers, which I had frozen, for lunch yesterday which reminded me! I seem to be eating a lot more vegetarian meals than I used to, and I recently picked up Leiths Vegetarian Bible for £10 at a local discount bookstore. I love the Leiths Cookery Bible and the Baking Bible which my mum has, so I thought I would try the Vegetarian one out, and there looks to be some really interesting recipes in it, not least this Mushroom Lasagne. I also added about a handful of spinach to the recipe, and served the lasagne with a tomato, red onion and basil salad.

I'm going to add this to Presto Pasta Nights, next week hosted by Pam of Sidewalk Shoes. Do check out the round up on Friday, full of delicious dishes.

Mushroom Lasagne with Hollandaise Sauce (from Leiths Vegetarian Bible)
(Serves 4)

450g assorted mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
55g butter
1-2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
lemon juice
8 sheets of plain or spinach lasagne

Cut Mushrooms into even sized pieces about the size of a walnut. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add butter and when foaming add the mushrooms and fry briskly until tender. Stir in the garlic and fry for a further 1 min. Add the parsley, and season with salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice. Set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add lasagne sheets and cook for 5-10mins until al dente.

Meanwhile, you can make the hollandaise if you want to, I just used a jar.

Preheat the grill. Drain the lasagne sheets thoroughly and arrange them slightly crumpled in a single layer in a warmed oven proof dish.Put spoonfuls of the mushrooms mixture on top of each sheet of lasagne and top with a spoonful of hollandaise sauce.

Flash under the grill to brown the top of the hollandaise.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Chinese Lentils

For Christmas, my sister bought me lots of foodie items. One of these was sheets of dried Kombu, and there was a suggested recipe on the back, Lentil Pate. Now, when I made this it didn't really turn out like pate, more like the consistency of Lentil Curry. I don't know if I added too much water, although it was as much as the recipe said, or whether something else was wrong but anyway this is what came out, and it actually tasted really nice. I love Lentil Curry but it was nice to have a change of flavours.

The Kombu added a really nice flavour to the lentils, and I added some spinach to increase the veggie content of the meal which was a nice added texture. I served this with egg fried rice and some tamarind sauce which added a bit of spiciness when eaten with the lentils. On reflection this was a huge amount of food, but delicious.

Lentil Pate/Stew
(Serves 2-3)

175g brown lentils, washed (I used a tin of green lentils!)
1 strip of kombu
2 bay leaves
800ml water
1 onion, diced small
2 carrots, diced small

Finely chop spring onions or chives.
Bring lentils, kombu, bay leaves and water to a boil, add vegetables and cover and cook on a medium flame for 45mins.
Check that the lentils are well cooked and soft.
Dilute 1 1/2 tsp miso with a small amount of water and add to the lentils, along with the mustard and tahini to taste.
Cook over a low heat for 5 mins more and then discard the bay leaves and blend to a smooth consistency.
Serve with finely chopped spring onions or chives.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Shark Steak with Noodles

I remember eating Shark as a child, when you could buy it from Morrison's Fish Counter, but I hadn't had any for a long time. There is a nice fish seller who has a stall on my local high street and as I walked past, the shark steaks caught my eye.

I wanted to do something simple with the shark, so that the flavour of the fish still came through, and I found this recipe whilst browsing through the Internet, which really fitted the bill. I teamed it with some noodles and stir fried veg, but I have to admit that I cheated with the sauce for the noodles as it was just a packet of Chow Mein Noodle Sauce! The flavour combination worked really well though.

Marinated Shark Steak
(Serves 4)

4 shark steaks
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice or wine vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Minced green onions and parsley

Place the Shark Steaks into a bowl.
Combine soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, oil, parsley, garlic and black pepper. Pour over fish. Marinate for 30 minutes, turning once.
Remove fish, reserving marinade. Put under a hot grill, 4 to 5 inches from heat, about 4 minutes per side. Brush with marinade before turning.
Serve with minced green onions and parsley sprinkled on top

Monday, 9 March 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's highlights were definitely the Chicken, Orzo and Ginger Soup which was so tasty, and the Roast Pigeon on Saturday night which was perfectly cooked, despite looking slightly charcoal like in the picture below! The Brussels sprouts with pancetta accompaniment was also really good, and I used the leftover pigeon bones to make stock yesterday which will make some delicious soups!

Menu Plan Monday this week is again really simple. I am going to my Parents house for a night this week for a doctors appointment, so I will get some good old home cooking on Tuesday, which I am really looking forward to. This weeks cookbook recipe is Dijon Pasta Salad with Bacon from Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson. I have been reading lots of culinary mysteries recently and many of them have recipes at the end of chapters, so I'm going to try one out! I will some day write a comprehensive list of food in fiction. I have found many lists on the topic but they all seem to have different books on them!

Lunch: Helping friends move (Ham Sandwiches, Mummy Highfield's Lemon Curd Cake, and Sparkling Wine, Yum!)
Dinner: Pork Paprikash with Pasta, Salad

Lunch: Cheese, Ham and Orzo Casserole, Salad
Dinner: Chinese Lentil and Rice

Lunch: Salad with Cheese etc
Dinner: Home

Lunch: Home
Dinner: Out for Lebanese with a friend

Lunch: Mushroom Lasagne, Salad
Dinner: Ham and Mustard Sandwich

Lunch: Courgette, Olive and Feta Couscous Salad
Dinner: Merguez sausages in a bag with peppers and potatoes

Lunch: Dijon Pasta Salad with Bacon (Dying For Chocolate)
Dinner: Steamed Sea Bass with Bok Choi

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Fish and Cabbage Risotto

Yesterday I went to Borough Market with my Mum and bought lots of yummy vegetables, as well as a mackerel fillet and a venison and Stilton pie. I love going to Borough Market, looking at all the different food displayed really nicely and the range of food available. One of the lovely things is actually being able to pick up the veg and discard the ones I don't like, which I can't do in the supermarket, I can also tell where the veg comes from and that its lovely and fresh.

Whilst cabbage risotto doesn't sound like the most exciting or flavoursome dish, it was actually really tasty. I bought some Basa fillets from Sainsbury's a couple of weeks ago as they were on offer and I was curious. The recipe originally called for smoked haddock, but said you could use any white fish, so in went the basa, and it worked really well! I served it with a tasty green bean and tomato salad.

Baked Fish and Cabbage Risotto (adapted from Good Food)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
300g risotto rice
1l fish or vegetable stock
280g white cabbage, thickly sliced
400g skinless white fish, smoked haddock etc
3 tbsp crème fraîche
50g Parmesan, freshly grated

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat oil in a 2-litre casserole dish, then soften the onion over a medium heat for about 5 mins. Tip in the rice and cook for 2 mins, stirring well. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then add the cabbage. Cover and bake for 20 mins.

Remove the pan from the oven and give the rice a stir. Place the fish on top of the rice, replace the lid, then bake for 5 mins.

Flake the fish into large chunks and stir into the rice with the crème fraîche and half the parmesan. Season with freshly ground pepper, then sprinkle with the remaining parmesan to serve.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Of Cameras, Soups and Omelettes

I have been having a bit of an experiment with my camera this week. After a chat with a colleague at work, who has the same camera as me, I have picked up some tips and tricks, that hopefully will make some of my photography better. I have discovered the macro button and this definitely seems to make my close up shots less blurry. I usually take about 6 or 7 different pictures of a finished meal, but the close ups were always blurry before so I never put them on here. Most of the photographs are however, still, by no means that good, but I think they are slowly improving.

Meals this week are still simple and quick, but still really tasty. I started the week with a Smoked Salmon Omelette, it was supposed to be frittata, but I didn't have any potatoes! Instead I added some basil and some sugar snap peas to the salmon and eggs, and served with a side salad, and it was still a tasty and filling meal.

My comfort food Sunday Lunch was this Chicken, Orzo and Ginger Soup from La Fuji Mama. I didn't have any coriander, so added some pea shoots and cabbage instead, which gave the soup a bit more veg content. Needless to say this was delicious.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Simple Salmon with Hollandaise Sauce

This is a really simple supper I had on Friday evening. The salmon fillet had been sitting in my freezer for ages waiting for some inspiration and the potatoes had started to grow shoots so really needed using up. I didn't have the energy to think of something new and exciting so fell back on one of those classics everyone makes! Baked Salmon with a Hollandaise Sauce, served with Boiled New Potatoes and Mixed Vegetables.

The salmon was really simple, I just put the fillet in a square of greaseproof paper and tin foil, minced a clove of garlic and sprinkled it over the top of the salmon, ground some salt and pepper over it and a squeeze of lemon juice and then baked it for 20mins at 200C. It was slightly over cooked for me though, so I think 15mins in the oven would have been better, but it still tasted delicious. The vegetables were a mix of steamed green beans and cabbage, with some vinaigrette over the top.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Menu Plan Monday on a Tuesday

I'm late again with Menu Plan Monday, I never seem to have enough time on a Monday to type up my plan for the week even though I made it on Saturday! This week is a lot of leftovers and clearing out the fridge. I am trying to eat less simple carbs, although it doesn't seem to be working that well! This weeks cook book recipe is the Salmon Fritatta which comes from Good Food's 101 Simple Suppers.

This is one of my yummy lunches from last week. Smoked Haddock and Poached Egg Salad with sprouting beans and pulses.

Lunch: Chicken Orzo and Ginger Soup
Dinner: Out with my sister

Lunch: Left over Chinese from Friday
Dinner: Chicken Curry, Bombay Potatoes, Naan Bread

Lunch: Salad with Olives and Feta etc
Dinner: Smoked Salmon Omelette/ Fritatta, Salad (Good Food 101 Easy Suppers)

Dinner: Out with friends

Lunch: Tartiflette, Salad
Dinner: Chicken en Croute, Veggies

Lunch: Prawn Cocktail, Salad
Dinner: Marinated Swordfish Steak, Sauteed Potatoes, Salad

Lunch: Out?
Dinner: Roast Pigeon, Roast Potatoes and Veggies