Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad

I finally have my laptop back, hurrah! Its been fixed and I'm now catching up with all the things I haven't been able to do, including writing my blog. I have quite a lot to catch up on, I've still been photographing what I've been cooking.

The first of these is a Hot Smoked Pasta Salad, its a recreation of one I saw in Tesco and decided would be easy to make myself and I was right. The original ingredients called for creme fraiche, but I didn't have any, so I used mayonnaise instead and it still tasted really good.

I am entering this into Presto Pasta Nights this week hosted by Katerina of Daily Unadventures in Cooking. Do check out her blog for the round up.

Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad

handful and a half of farfalle pasta
1 hot smoked salmon fillet
2 tbsp mayonnaise
dill, finely chopped
handful of rocket, cut in half if large
2 tbsp lemon juice

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. When it is cooked, drain and rinse in cold water to stop it sticking together.

Mix together the lemon juice, dill, and mayonnaise. Add the salmon and rocket to the pasta and stir in the dressing mixture. Serve.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Menu Plan Thursday?!

So I am very late with this this week, I was ill for two days, and I also don't have any Internet at home at the moment as my laptop got stood on and is currently being mended. It should be back a week on Saturday, and I only just got my Internet too! One of the best things I made last week was Three Mushroom Rice from Soy and Pepper, this was so so simple to make but absolutely delicious, so much so that I made loads and froze some to use in bento in the coming weeks. I used enoki, oyster and portabello mushrooms for this one.

Lunch: Fishfinger Sandwich with Potato Croquettes
Dinner: Out for Dim Sum, Yum!

Lunch: Broad Bean and Pea Risotto
Dinner: Sausage, Mushroom and Asparagus Penne in a Mustard Cream Sauce

Lunch: Asparagus and Ham Roll Ups, Enoki Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce, Pierogies, Chicken Tenders
Dinner: Out for French with my Dad

Lunch: Bratwurst, Bread and Sauerkraut
Dinner: Out, having dinner with my Dad again

Lunch: Three Mushroom Rice, Salad
Dinner: Stuffed Plaice with Veggies

Lunch: Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Bagel
Dinner: Out for Sushi

Lunch: Mushroom Omelette
Dinner: House Warming

Lamb Chop with Broad Bean and Pea Risotto

I am not a bit fan of making risotto on the stove top, all that stirring wears me out! So I have found a really good way of making risotto in the oven which completely leaves out the adding a ladleful of stock and then stirring for ages. I also don't like my risotto too creamy, or with too much liquid and this is drier than some I have had in restaurants. This method is simple add stock and stick in the oven and it produces lovely risotto.

This is a broad bean and pea version, but it works with most risottos. I have tried mushroom, courgette and lemon, and chicken risotto all with very good results. This one went perfectly with some simply grilled lamb chops. Measurements aren't exact as I just added a handful of things.

Broad Bean and Pea Risotto
(Serves 2)

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
175g risotto rice
375ml hot vegetable stock
handful podded broad beans

handful frozen peas

Heat some oil in an oven proof pan with a lid, and then add the onion and fry until starting to go soft, add the garlic and fry for a minute longer.

Then add the risotto rice and frozen peas and stir well. Add the stock and bring to the boil.

Season to taste, cover and bake for 15 mins, add the broad beans to the risotto and mix, you can also add more liquid at this point if it looks too dry. Put it back into the oven for another 10 mins or until the rice is just cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed.

Grate some Parmesan over and serve.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Cod Gratin

I have been without a Menu Plan for the last two weeks which made my meals somewhat all at sea, I have also had no Internet, as I suspect I have already said once or twice ;). I was very much reliant on my cookery books and my head, which was a really nice change, although thinking of things to make on the hop did not come easy. I like having the time to sit down and think about what I'm going to eat, find recipes and know what I have in the freezer.

One evening I was stuck for inspiration and searched through my cookery books for something to do with the fillet of cod which I had got out the freezer, and that meant that I did not have to go to the shops to buy any extra ingredients and I came across a recipe in my Leiths Easy Dinner Parties book for Individual Cod Gratins.

I don't have any individual gratin dishes so I just made a bigger one in a large dish and froze the leftovers. I also used veg stock rather than fish stock, creme fraiche instead of double cream and cheddar instead of Gruyere as those were the ingredients that I had in, and it still worked! The sauce however was a little runnier than I expected, but that may be because I didn't boil some of the sauce ingredients for long enough. I served it with some sauteed carrot and okra and it was delicious.

Individual Cod Gratins (from Leith’s Easy Dinner Parties)
Serves 6

900g Cod fillet, skinned
30g butter
6 small leeks, white part only, thickly sliced
Salt and pepper
290ml/1/2 pint dry white wine
425ml/ ¾ pint fish stock
150ml double cream
2 tbsp grainy mustard
3 tbsp chopped parsley
170g Gruyere cheese, grated
2 tbsp dry white breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Trim the cod fillet, remove any bones and cut into 1 in cubes and divide between 6 individual gratin dishes.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and sweat until soft but not too coloured. Season to taste with salt and pepper and divide between the gratin dishes.

Put the wine into a saucepan and reduce by boiling rapidly to a quarter of the original quantity. Add the stock and reduce again by half. Finally, add the double cream and reduce by half. Stir the sauce every so often to prevent the cream from catching on the bottom of the pan.

Add the mustard and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the sauce between the gratin dishes and sprinkle over with cheese and breadcrumbs.

Bake in the oven for 15 mins or until the top is golden-brown and bubbling.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Mortadella Pasta Salad

Midway last through last week I ventured to the NEC in Birmingham for the Good Food Show/Gardeners World Live. The Gardener's World section was about three times the size of the Good Food Show, and had outside show gardens rather like Chelsea Flower Show. Some were spectacular like this one which had plants growing out of all sorts of containers, from a car to the fountain in the washing machine and even old hand basins. It looked fantastic.

There was also a flower marquee which had displays from a variety of growers, with the added bonus that you could buy the flowers and plants that were on display. I bought a fuchsia, two lavenders, one pink and one with variegated leaves, and a packet of sorrel and some sprouting seeds from this man below.

He had a display with an incredible array of salads, vegetables and herbs and was taking bits off his display so that people could taste before buying!

The Good Food Show however was disappointing. There were not very many producers there, as I said it was about a third of a large exhibition hall, compared to the entire exhibition hall which it took up when I last went about 3-4 years ago. There were again very few meat producers, other than sausages and lots of large familiar brand names with enormous stands. This is the second large food fair that I have been to this year which was disappointing and it led me to wonder if and why smaller producers are giving up on the large food fairs. Are they more likely to go to farmers markets which have become much more widespread in the last five years. Is it the sheer cost of a stand at these fairs. One stall holder I spoke to at the Real Food Festival said it had cost him £2000 for his stall! Many of the small producers just cannot afford this, which is a shame as it means there is much less variety and far less producers. Or is it, dare I say it, the credit crunch?

Whatever the reason, this is a cheap and easy pasta salad to make, it comes from Nigella Express, and whilst it actually has very few ingredients it is really tasty and very quick to make. I'm adding this dish to this weeks Presto Pasta Night, this week hosted by Daphne of More Than Words. Check out her blog tomorrow to see the round up.

Mortadella Pasta Salad (from Nigella Express)
(Serves 4)

250g fusilli
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp German mustard
1 thick slice mortadella, diced into 5mm squares
1 x 20g packet curly parsley, finely chopped
25g grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Meanwhile whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and mustard to make the dressing.

Drain the cooked pasta and tip into a large bowl, pour the dressing over the pasta and toss well to coat.

When cool, stir in the mortadella pieces, chopped parsley, and parmesan flakes. Check the seasoning, add salt and pepper as needed.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Prawn and Leek Pasta with Dill Sauce

I really fancied pasta and prawns one night last week and searched around the Internet for something suitable. I stumbled across this Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta with Dill Sauce from On My Plate on foodgawker. Although I didn't have any asparagus, I did have a leek sitting in the bottom of my fridge and so I adapted the recipe and it worked really well. I love having my herbs sat outside the back door, it encourages me to find more recipes using them.

Prawn and Leek Pasta with Dill Sauce (adapted from Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta with Dill Sauce)
(Serves 4)

1 lb penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.Add the pasta and cook according to the pasta package or until the pasta is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the tablespoon of oil and the butter in a medium skillet until the butter melts and melds with the oil.

Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add the leeks and saute lightly until soft.

Add 1 cup of the pasta water, raise the heat to medium-high, and boil for about 2 minutes.

Add the dill and shrimp. Remove from the heat and stir in the additional olive oil, salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta and toss in a serving bowl with the shrimp and asparagus. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Sausages with Sauerkraut

The area of London which I have now moved to has a large Eastern European population which means that getting hold of ingredients for this sort of cuisine is really easy. I had a large jar of Sauerkraut which had been lurking in the back of my fridge for ages and really needed using. I love eating sauerkraut with bratwurst, but I found this sausages with sauerkraut recipe in Nigella Express and wanted to try it.

Its the first time that I have tried these sort of smoked sausages before, and they were really tasty, the packet said that I could eat them hot or cold, which is really good for salads and packed lunches. The recipe was really simple just bung everything in the oven and wait! I served it with Pierogis that I bought ready made in the supermarket, and a dollop of creme fraiche, but I found the pierogis disappointing, maybe potato in pasta is just too much carb for me. Nigella recommends steamed potatoes so maybe I'll try that with them next time.

Sausages with Sauerkraut (from Nigella Express)
(Serves 6)

1 large jar of Sauekraut, rinsed in cold water and drained
2 tsp juniper berries
3 dried bay leaves
8 smoked sausages, cut into smaller lengths if wished
1 x 75cl bottle Riesling wine
1 tsp white pepper corns

Preheat the oven to 200C. Cover the bottom of a small to medium roasting tin with the drained sauerkraut.

Add the juniper berries, bay leaves and sausages.

Pour in the wine and sprinkle the peppercorns over.

Bring the tin to a boil on top of the hob, then cover with foil and put in the oven to cook for 30 mins. Serve with German mustard.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Stir fried Sea Bass with Spinach and Spring Onions

I love Japanese food and I love eating at Wagamama's. I have had the original book for ages, but not made anything out of it. I ordered the noodle book from the Library to photocopy some recipes out of it, and put markers in almost all the pages and decided it would be easier just to buy the book! Lots of the recipes in the book, don't seem to appear on the Menu! Unless lots of them have been specials.

This Sea Bass with Spinach and Spring Onions is the first recipe that I have made out of it, and it was really tasty. The noodles are under there somewhere and it was a really good way to make the sea bass crispy.

Stir fried Sea Bass with Spinach and Spring Onions (from Wagamama Ways with Noodles)
(Serves 2)

100g somen noodles
200g spinach
3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 spring onions, cut into 3 cm lengths
2 tsp cornflour, seasoned with salt and white pepper
200g sea bass fillets, cut into bite size pieces
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds

Cook the noodles according to packet instructions, drain and refresh under cold water.

Blanch the spinach in boiling salted water for 30 secs or until just wilted. Drain and refresh under cold water and squeeze gently. Fluff up the spinach and set aside.

Combine the soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, fish sauce and rice vinegar in a bowl. Heat the oil in a hot wok and stir fry the spring onions for 1 min or until they just start to colour.

Dust the sea bass with the seasoned cornflour. Add to the pan and stir fry to 2-3 mins or until the fish is almost cooked. Add the spinach, noodles and ginger mixture and cook until everything is amalgamated and bubbling. Remove from the heat and pour over the sesame oil and serve scattered with sesame seeds.

Menu Plan Monday

A couple of weeks ago I went shopping for big things for my flat, like a bed and a washer dryer in John Lewis on Oxford Street. I went with my Mum and a friend and we stopped in the Bistro bit on the top floor for lunch.

I had a sardine sandwich, which I forgot to take a picture of, but was delicious, My Mum had this mango, feta and avocado salad, which was constructed into a very elaborate tower!

My friend had mackerel, with new potatoes and mustard, which looked gorgeous!

We had a really good day shopping and got pretty much everything I needed, and everything was delivered a week later apart from the washing machine which wouldn't fit! They are redelivering a smaller one on Wednesday.

I haven't done a Menu Plan Monday for a couple of weeks as things have been rather hectic, what with moving and lack of Internet, but the Virgin man comes on Wednesday! I was also away for most of last week at my parents. I went to Gardener's World Live and the Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham on Wednesday, and I was disappointed by the Good Food Show which took up about a quarter of the total space and there were very few independent producers. More on that later in the week.

This week's Menu Plan Monday is fairly simple, I have a friend coming over for dinner on Wednesday night and that's the Cook Book recipe of the week: Macaroni and Cheese from the Big Book of Casseroles by Maryana Vollsted, it looks really simple to make and hopefully I will have leftovers for lunches! I still can't decide what to have for dinner on Saturday, any suggestions will be gratefully received!

Lunch: Salmon Ravioli with Cream Cheese, Avocado and Rocket
Dinner: Naan Pizza with Ham, Spinach and Mushrooms (Nigella Express)

Lunch: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
Dinner: Stuffed Plaice fillet, Veggies

Lunch: Salad
Dinner: Sausage and Mash with gravy

Dinner: Macaroni Cheese, Salad (Big Book of Casseroles)

Lunch: Quiche, Salad
Dinner: Lentil Curry, Aloo Gobi Saag, Naan, Onion Bhaji

Lunch: Salmon Pasta Salad with Rocket, Dill and Lemon
Dinner: Lemon Chicken with Egg Fried Rice

Lunch: Fish Balls with Leftover Egg Fried Rice

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Devilled Mackerel with Potatoes and Spinach

One of the last dishes that I cooked in my room was Devilled Mackerel. I had some curry paste left over which needed using and found this mackerel recipe in one of my old Good Food magazines. I mixed the curry paste with some yoghurt and then put it on the fish, as I have a very low tolerance for chilli and this helps, but it wasn't in the original recipe.

This was a very tasty recipe, but some of the potatoes were not quite cooked in the 25mins, so I left them on a little longer, but the combination was fantastic and it was really simple to make. I cannot wait for the Internet to arrive only 7 days to go!

Devilled Mackerel with Potatoes and Spinach (adapted from Good Food Magazine April 2007)
(Serves 4)

4 mackerel, cleaned, gutted and heads chopped off
4 tbsp curry paste
4 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil
800g potatoes, cubed
1 onion, chopped
250g bag spinach

Heat oven to 220C. Mix half the curry paste with some natural yogurt. Make a couple of slashes in both sides of the fish and rub with the curry paste and yoghurt mixture.

Heat the oil in a roasting tray, then fry the potatoes and onion for about 8 mins until starting to brown.

Stir the remaining curry paste into the potatoes, then sit the fish on top and roast for 20-25 mins until the fish and potatoes are cooked.

Lift the fish onto plates, then place the potatoes back over a high heat. Add the spinach to the pan and cook for 3-4 mins until completely wilted. Scoop out and serve with the fish.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Lemon Linguine with Ham

First of all I need to apologise for how dark this photo is, I really need to make myself a light box and with all the cardboard boxes lying around, you'd have thought I would have done it by now!

This is one of my standby recipes that I have been making for years. I almost always have a tub of creme fraiche in the fridge, and one of the first things I bought to go in the freezer when I moved was frozen peas, combined with ham and my favourite of all, lemon, this makes for a fantastic and easy dish.

I'm also entering this into Presto Pasta Nights this week with Ruth at Once Upon a Feast. Check out her Blog for this weeks round up.

Lemon Linguine with Ham (adapted from Good Food Magazine August 2006)
(Serves 4)

400g linguine
cupful frozen peas
200ml tub half fat crème fraîche
grated zest ½ lemon and juice of 1 lemon
3-4 slices of cooked ham , cut into strips

Cook the pasta following pack instructions, adding the peas for the final 2 mins of cooking.

Drain the pasta well and return to the pan. Stir in the ham, crème fraîche, lemon zest and juice, then season. Serve with the grated parmesan scattered over.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

First Meal in the New Flat

Ok, so the title of this post is not strictly true, I did have a barbecue on Saturday night but completely neglected to take any pictures! So this is the first meal I cooked in the kitchen of my new flat!

It is fillet steak, boiled Jersey Royal potatoes, spinach and mushrooms with garlic and grainy mustard on the side and it was good, it would have been infinitely better if I could have found the salt and pepper! So it was kinda bland!

I am mostly moved in now, there is still a whole load of stuff at my parents house that needs to come down, but I think I have now unpacked all of the boxes. Apart from a slight mishap with the new washing machine; its too deep to go under the unit, all went well, and John Lewis are delivering a different washing machine in two weeks! I also currently have no Internet access at home and work has been really busy, which is why I haven't posted before now. The Virgin man is coming on the 17th so hopefully I will be all hooked up then!

One of the last meals I had before I left my old room was this Linguine with Lemon, Feta and Basil from i like to cook.

It was delicious, and a brilliant way to use up the feta that had been lurking in the fridge. I am so glad to be in my new flat with lots more space than I had before. I will try and take pictures and put them up soon. I also have loads of fresh herbs outside my back door now which will make a huge difference to my cooking. I also have to say a big thank you to Liz and Paul for all their help with moving and bookcases, I still have no idea how they fitted in the car, as well as my parents and my sister who helped with the move.