Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Courgette and Basil Soup

This is a ridiculously easy soup to make but oh so flavourful.

Courgette and Basil Soup (from Knead Whine)
(Serves 5)

5 large courgettes, sliced
500ml hot vegetable stock
20g butter
200ml milk
Large handful of fresh basil, torn

Melt the butter in a large pan.  Add the courgette and cook at a medium heat for 5 mins.  Add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 12 mins.

Add the milk and basil.  Blend until smooth with a hand blender.  Gently reheat and serve.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Monkfish With Orzo, Fennel and Orange

This was really delicious. I clearly got a bit confused as I cut the monkfish up into pieces when I was only serving me, when actually I only needed to do that if I was serving four! Nevermind! It was still delicious and I cooked the monkfish for less time.

Monkfish With Orzo, Fennel and Orange
(serves 4)

For the orzo
4 tbsp oil
3 spring onions, sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 fennel, diced
1/2 aubergine, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 courgette, diced
2 tsp tomato paste
240g orzo
salt and pepper

For the monkfish
l for rubbing on the fish
mustard powder
sweet paprika
ground fennel
salt and fresh ground pepper
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter
juice 1/2 orange
fennel fronds for garnish

Remove the silverskin and rinse the monkfish tail and pat dry then slice into 4 equal pieces. Rub the monkfish pieces with the oil and sprinkle mustard powder, sweet paprika, salt, pepper and a little bit of ground fennel on each side. Place in the fridge for 20 mins.

In the meantime, place a saucepan on the hob and turn the heat to medium. Add the oil and add the spring onions, carrots, fennel, aubergine with a pinch of salt and sweat for 5 mins. Add the tomato paste and stir for a minute then add the orzo and stir constantly for 5 mins to toast.

Add the hot water, salt, pepper and cover. Simmer for 8-10 mins or until most of liquid has been absorbed. Add the courgette, adjust seasoning, cover and keep warm.

Take your fish out of the fridge and allow about 5 mins to come to room temperature. Place a large frying pan on your stovetop and turn the heat to medium-high. When the pan is hot add the monkfish and fry for 4 mins, turn it over and cook for another 2 mins.

Add the red wine vinegar and reduce for a couple of mins. Add the cold butter one tbsp at a time and swirl in. Squeeze the juice of half an orange and swirl, take off the heat.

Put the orzo mixture on to 4 plates and put the monkfish on top. Pour over the juice and serve.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Farro, Corn, and Runner Bean Salad with Goat Cheese

This was a really good and refreshing salad bringing back memories of the lovely hot summer we had.

Farro, Corn, and Runner Bean Salad with Goat Cheese (from The Daily Meal)
(Serves 4)

240g farro
350g runner beans or green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 in lengths
2 ears corn, shucked
3 spring onions, sliced thinly
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram leaves, plus 2 tsp whole leaves
2 tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
100g goat's cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the farro and cook according to packet instructions, adding the beans and corn for the last 2-3 mins. Drain and run under the cold tap.
In a large serving bowl, combine the farro, green beans, corn, and scallions. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, chopped marjoram, and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk in the vinegar, garlic, and mustard.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then sprinkle with the goat cheese and marjoram leaves and serve.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Apple and Blackberry Crumble Traybake

This was really yummy if extremely filling! I could only eat a small portion at a time. It was lovely heated and served with ice cram though!

Apple and Blackberry Crumble Traybake (from Sunday Brunch)
(Serves 6)

For the base
125g butter
100g caster sugar
150g plain flour
140g ground almonds

For the filling
125g butter
125g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
100g plain flour
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
Splash of vanilla essence
3 Bramley apples, peeled and cubed
200g blackberries
For the topping
50g demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 160°C. To make the base,butter, sugar, flour and almonds with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs, then press into a greased and lined 20 x 30cm baking tray. Bake for 15 mins then allow to cool.

For the filling, rub together the butter, sugar and almonds to form a crumble. Remove a couple of tablespoonfuls for the topping.

Add 25g flour, the cinnamon, baking powder, eggs and vanilla to the remaining mix and stir to form a batter. Pour the batter over the cooked base and sprinkle with the apples and blackberries.

Add the demerara sugar and the remaining flour to the reserved crumble and spread over the top of the fruit

Bake for 25 mins until the batter is set and the crumble topping is crisp and golden.

Cool the traybake a little, then slice and serve with ice cream.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Mooli or Daikon Au Gratin

With my last remaining mooli from the garden I made a lovely gratin. I would usually make a gratin with potatoes but this is a lighter version of that. You can buy daikon/ mooli at Asian supermarkets and also some Tesco's have now started selling it. It makes a lovely change from potato and it went really well with the duck recipe I posted yesterday.

Daikon au Gratin (from Your Lighter Side)
(Serves 8-10)

1/2 daikon, sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped chives
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
250ml double cream
100g cheddar, grated
40g Parmesan, grated

Soak sliced daikon radish in cold, salted water for 20 mins. Pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 160C. Arrange the sliced daikon in layers in a casserole dish.

Heat a little oil in a saucepan, add the onions and cook until transparent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic powder and pepper and stir, just until bubbling. Add the cream and stir occasionally until heated through, about 5 mins. Add in the parsley and chives. Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Pour the sauce over the daikon.

Bake, covered, for 45 mins, or until cheese is golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bake, uncovered, for another 10-20 mins until golden.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Pan Fried Duck Breast with Redcurrant Jelly Sauce

This recipe is a lovely way to use up that jar of red currant jelly sitting in the fridge. I served it with a mooli gratin which I'll post tomorrow and green veg. It was really tasty.

Pan Fried Duck Breast with Redcurrant Jelly Sauce
(from Rachel Allen's Easy Meals)
(Serves 4)

4 duck breast, (with the skin and fat left on)
2 shallots or 1 red onions, finely chopped
6 tbsp redcurrant jelly        
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
juice of 2 oranges 

Using a sharp knife, score the duck breasts with 3 long cuts, diagonally, at 2.5cm intervals through the skin, but not the meat. Repeat crossways to form a grid pattern. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a frying pan on a medium heat, add the duck breasts, skin side down, and after 2 minutes turn the heat down to low. Continue to cook, pouring off the fat every so often into a bowl
, for 10–15 mins or until the skin is crisp. Increase the heat to medium and turn over the duck breasts. Cook for 4–6 mins, depending on the thickness of the breasts and how cooked you like the duck, then turn off the heat and allow to rest for a few mins before serving.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Add 2–3 tbsp of the duck fat to a frying pan and place on a medium heat. Tip in the shallots or onion and cook for 5 mins or until softened but not browned, then stir in the jelly, vinegar and orange juice. Allow to bubble and reduce for 3–5 mins or until the mixture is syrupy in consistency. Season with salt and pepper, adding more jelly or vinegar if necessary.

Serve the duck drizzled with the sauce.        

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Frangipane Mince Pies

Merry Christmas! I thought I'd post a nice Christmas recipe on Christmas Day! As I don't do the majority of the cooking at Christmas I thought I'd share some special mince pies My Mum made these yesterday to go alongside some ordinary ones. I'm not a huge fan of almonds or frangipane type cakes but these were really good. The almondy frangipane goes really well with the mincemeat. We are having a quiet Christmas this year, with goose coming at about 4pm! I hope everyone is having a lovely relaxing Christmas.

Frangipane Mince Pies (from Waitrose Kitchen December 2013)
(Makes about 24)

150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
25g caster sugar
75g unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
75g soft cheese
50g ground almonds
1 egg yolk
410g mincemeat
50g flaked almonds
icing sugar for dusting

for the frangipane
150g ground almonds
100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
25g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest 1/2 lemon

For the pastry, tip the flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt into a bowl, Add in the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the soft cheese, ground almonds, egg yolk and 1 tbsp cold water and stir to combine until the dough starts to come together. Bring the dough together into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Lightly flour a work surface. Halve the dough and roll out one piece to a circle about 0.2cm thick. using an 8cm fluted cutter, cut out as many circles as you can and line a shallow 12 hole bun tin gently pressing the dough into the holes. Repeat with the second half of the dough. You should have around 24 pastry cases in total. Chill the pastry cases for 20-30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 180C. To make the frangipane, mix all the ingredients together with an electric whisk or wooden spoon.

Put 1 tsp of mincemeat into the bottom of each pastry case and top each one with 2 tsp frangipane, spreading it to cover the mincemeat. Scatter with flaked almonds and bake for about 20 mins, until puffed and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 4-5 mins, then transfer to wire rack until the pies are at room temperature. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Pea, Crab and Orzo Salad

This salad was glorious, a little summer sunshine on a rainy wintery day. It was lovely and light and fresh and definitely one I'll be making again.

Pea, Crab and Orzo Salad (adapted from Martha Stewart)
(Serves 2)

50g mange tout     
50g sugar snap peas     
50g garden peas
50g pea shoots     
2 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper     
1 tin jumbo lump crabmeat
Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the orzo and cook according to packet instructions. Add the sugar snap peas, mange tout and garden peas for the last 2-3 mins of cooking. Drain and rinse under the cold tap.
Whisk together the vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Put the pea shoots in a dish or lunchbox and top with the orzo and peas, followed by the crab. Drizzle the dressing over the salad toss to combine and serve.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Roasted Tomatillo Pasta Sauce

One more tomatillo recipe, the base is not that different from the Guatemalan stew I made a while back, in that it uses pumpkin seeds. The sauce was lovely and creamy. I sprinkled over Parmesan at the end but feta or goat's cheese would be even better.

Also just some lovely personal news I had to share. My sister had a beautiful baby girl yesterday morning! So I am an Auntie for the third time :) No name as yet but she weighed seven and a half pounds.

Roasted Tomatillo Pasta Sauce (from Greens and Seeds)
(Serves 4)

240g dried pasta
10-12 tomatillos, halved
2 poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded and halved
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
75g pumpkin seeds
juice 1 lime
1 tsp honey
crumbly cheese for garnish (feta, goat cheese, cojita, etc.)

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Place the tomatillos and poblanos onto a baking sheet, spray with cooing spray and sprinkle over a little salt. Roast for about 20 mins, or until vegetables are soft and just starting to brown.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a few mins, until they start to pop.

Transfer the vegetables to the food processor along with half the toasted seeds, half the lime juice and honey. Process for a minute or two then taste. Season to taste

Pour the pasta into a serving dish and stir in the tomatillo mixture. Add the pasta water, a little at a time until a creamy sauce forms. Top with the cheese, a squeeze of lime, and serve.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I found a huge bag of oats in my cupboard that needed using up and so I went on a bit of an oatmeal cookie making marathon! I made three different sorts of cookies for Mad Hatters only using the ingredients that I had in.

The first lot I made were chocolate oatmeal cookies using cocoa powder. Why is it that they only sell cocoa powder in huge tubs? Surely it doesn't get used that often?! Anyway, this used up a little of mine. I think I halved the amount of oats I put in as 360g seemed rather a lot especially as I was feeding them to kids. They were really good, although they ended up rather hard, the girls seemed to enjoy them though!

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (from Cate's World Kitchen)
(Makes 30)

150g butter, softened
200g light brown sugar (packed)
280g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
125g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
360g fashioned oats

Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat the butter until smooth and creamy and add the sugars. Mix well, then beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Sift the flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking soda into the butter mixture and fold until well combined. Stir in the oats.

To form cookies, scoop out 2 tbsp of dough at a time and flatten slightly, 12 to a sheet.

Bake for about 15 mins, or until set on the edges but slightly fudgey inside. Cool on the baking sheets for about 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad

This was a lovely Asian take on pasta salad and would be equally good made with noodles rather than pasta.

Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad (from Blog Chef)
(Serves 1)

60g dried pasta shapes
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp black pepper
1 chicken breast, shredded
1 tsp  coriander, chopped
1 spring onion, chopped

Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the sesame seeds and cook while stirring until they are lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook according to packet instructions. Drain the pasta and cool under running water.

In a jar with a tight fitting lid combine vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, black pepper and sesame seeds. Shake well.
Put the pasta into a bowl or lunchbox, pour over the dressing. Add the chicken and mix well. Add the green onions and coriander and serve.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Spinach and Goat's Cheese Pies

This is what I did with the rest of my hot water crust pastry, I made individual pies using up stuff in the fridge! I actually froze the pastry and it came out absolutely fine. The pastry is lovely and crunchy and the filling is delicious.

Spinach and Goat's Cheese Pies (from Allotment 2 Kitchen)
(Makes 12 Individual Pies or 1 large)

For the filling
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 leeks, chopped
6–8 spring onions, sliced
450g fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1 large courgette, grated
1 tbsp dried dill
1 tbsp cider vinegar
200g goat's cheese, crumbled
50g sliced black olives
2 tbsp raw rice
Salt and pepper to taste

For the pastry
650g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g vegetable fat - I use Trex
350ml water

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onions, garlic, leek and courgette until they are soft and beginning to colour. Add the spring onions, dill, chopped spinach and toss everything together until the spinach wilts. Cover and keep cooking on low heat for about 10 mins.

Uncover, raise the heat and stir occasionally for a few minutes more until the excess moisture completely cooks away. Stir in the cider vinegar and move from the heat. When cool, add the raw rice, crumbled goat's cheese and sliced olives. Stir well to combine.

To make the hot water pastry, mix together the dry ingredients.
Melt the fat in the water and heat until about to boil.

Add the liquid to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed.

Mould a ball of pastry into the shape of the individual muffin holes leaving a bit of the pasty hanging over the edges. Brush the edges with milk.
Once the muffin tin or cake tin has been lined with the pastry, spoon in the filling before topping with lid. Brush with pastry and pierce a hole in each lid. Bake at 200C for 30 – 35 minutes for individual pies or 45 – 55 minutes for a large pie. Serve.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Tuna Melt

I had a hankering for tuna and cheesy tuna. This is so simple but so good.

Tuna Melt (from Good Food Magazine May 2002)
(Serves 2)

200g can tuna
2-3 spring onions, finely chopped
4 tbsp mayonnaise
2 English muffins
50g cheddar, coarsely grated
generous pinch of paprika
Preheat the grill.

Drain the tuna, flake it into a bowl and mix with the spring onions and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the muffin in half and toast until lightly browned, then spread the tuna mixture on top. Scatter over the cheese and put under the grill until the cheese is bubbling.
Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Asian Salmon and Bulgar Salad

This is a weird combination but it really works. I sometimes end up with strange things to eat when I'm trying to use stuff up and I need whole grains, this was perfect.

Asian Salmon and Bulgar Salad
(Serves 4)

3 tbsp plus 2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp Thai curry paste
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
200g bulgar wheat
50g sugar snap peas, halved
4 salmon fillets
1 bunch of watercress, large stems discarded
50g bean sprouts
160g enoki mushrooms
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped coriander

Preheat the oven to 200C. In a small bowl, mix 3 tbsp of the oil with the vinegar, curry paste, soy sauce and mustard and season with salt and pepper.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the bulgar wheat according to packet instructions. adding the peas for the last 2-3 mins. Drain and leave to cool.

Bake the salmon for about 8-10 mins depending on the thickness of your fillet. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Put the rest of the oil into a frying pan and cook the mushrooms for about 5 mins until soft,. add the bean sprouts and cook for 1 min more.

In a large bowl, toss the bulgar, watercress, mushrooms bean sprouts, mint and cilantro together. Add 5 tbsp of the dressing and toss to coat. Mound the salad on plates and top with the salmon. Dab the remaining dressing on the salmon and serve.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Salmon and Courgette Pasta Salad

I love a good pasta salad. This one can be eaten hot too. I used up the last of my courgettes from the garden. Everything fresh has gone, now I only have the stuff that I froze, but it's exciting to still be eating stuff from my garden in December!

Salmon and Courgette Pasta Salad
(Serves 4)

1 large courgette, grated
1 tbsp oil
250ml low fat creme fraiche
pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped parsley
200g smoked trout, flaked
240g dried pasta

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook your pasta until al dente. Drain and cool under running water.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the courgette until softened.

Put the pasta into a bowl with the courgette, lemon juice and zest, creme fraiche, parsley and chilli flakes and stir to combine.  Add in the smoked trout and mix carefully to avoid breaking up the fish too much. Pack into lunchbox or serve.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Smoked Mackerel and Leek Bake

I've now made this twice, once with mackerel and once with peppered herring. Both times it was delicious! Although the second time I made it I managed to burn the top slightly. The first time I made it, I pre-cooked all the pasta and fish and sauce, combined it all, left it in the fridge and then sprinkled over the breadcrumbs and stuck it in the oven for 30 mins to cook and heat through and that worked perfectly too.

Smoked Mackerel and Leek Bake (from Good Food Magazine November 2009)
(Serves 2)

2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
knob of butter
150g penne
200ml pot reduced-fat crème fraîche
1 tbsp capers
2 smoked mackerel fillets, skinned and flesh flaked into large chunks
25g breadcrumbs
Preheat the grill.
Fry the leeks in the butter until very soft, about 10-15 mins.
Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions. 
When the leeks are soft, stir in the crème fraîche, capers and fish. Heat through for 1 min.
Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce, season to taste, then tip everything into a small baking dish.
Scatter with the breadcrumbs and grill until golden and crisp.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Spiced Sweet Potato Burgers

I've been wanting to make these for ages and finally got around to it. They are lovely and spicy and of course you can adjust the curry powder and chilli flakes to your liking. This was hot enough for me!

Spiced Sweet Potato Burgers (from Waitrose Magazine)
(Serves 4)

2 sweet potatoes, 550g, peeled and cubed
3 tbsp oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp mango chutney
3 tbsp chopped coriander

Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the sweet potato and 2tbsp oil, season. Spread out on a lined baking tray and roast for about 30 mins until golden.

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for about 5 mins, add the spices and fry for 2 mins.

In a bowl mash the beans with a fork into a chunky puree. Mash in the cooked onion and sweet potato. Stir in the chutney and coriander; season. Shake 4 burgers out of teh mixture and then bake on a lined baking sheet for 25 mins until golden.

Serve in a roll with mango chutney, onion and lettuce.

Soy Roast Trout with Peas and Soba Noodles

This was lovely and fresh tasting. I was surprised actually, I really used to hate trout and found it too sweet but now I love it, it's weird how our tastebuds change as we grow up, although I don't think I'll ever like tea or coffee!

Soy Roast Trout with Peas and Soba Noodles (from Gourmet Traveller)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp white sugar
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp rice vinegar
4 skinless trout fillets
250g soba noodles
150g sugar snap peas
150g snow peas
50g pea shoots
4 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally
toasted sesame seeds
For the dressing
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Combine the soy sauce, sugar, sake and rice vinegar in a small saucepan and simmer until reduced to a glaze (5-6 mins). Place the trout, skin-side down, on a baking sheet, brush thickly with glaze and bake until just pink (4-5 mins), then break into chunks and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles according to packet instructions, adding the peas for the last 1-2 mins, rinse under cold water and set aside.
Combine all the ingredients and whisk to combine, set aside
Divide the pea shooots among 4 bowls, put the noodles  on top, then add the spring onion and trout pieces. Drizzle over the dressing, toss to combine and serve scattered with sesame seeds.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Daring Cooks December 2013: Fish, Rice and Fennel Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

December's Daring Cooks’ Challenge had us on a roll! Olga from http://www.effortnesslessly.blogspot.com/ challenged us to make stuffed cabbage rolls using her Ukrainian heritage to inspire us. Filled with meat, fish or vegetables, flexibility and creativity were the name of the game to get us rolling!

This looks horribly complicated and although it's time consuming it's not all that complicated and I really enjoyed making them. I was so tired that I almost didn't, but the taste totally makes up for the effort involved. I made loads and froze the leftovers and I am so looking forward to eating them again. I went for fish as I had most of the ingredients already and I love fennel.

Fish, Rice and Fennel Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Servings: 8-10

1 savoy cabbage (or regular green cabbage)
7-8 fillet of tilapia (or fish fillet of your choice)
2 cups (500 ml) (14 oz) (400 gm) dry rice
1 yellow onion, medium size
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz) (30 gm) butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) black pepper
3 tablespoons (45 ml) (1½ oz) (40 gm) ghee (or butter, or olive oil)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) (1 oz) (25 gm) flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 cup (250 ml) (1 oz) (25 gm) chopped cilantro (coriander) or parsley
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine or stock
3 tablespoons (45 ml) of your favorite fish seasoning such as Old Bay (or just salt and pepper)
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream (>35% fat)
4 cups (1 litre) vegetable stock (or chicken or fish stock)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
3 bay leaves


Pre-cook rice:
- In a large pot, bring about 4 quarts (4 litres) of water to a boil.
- Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes.
- Drain rice using a colander, set aside.

Pre-cook cabbage and prepare cabbage leaves:
-  Using a large chef’s knife, remove core of the cabbage. Please be careful doing this, there is no need to cut out too much (see pictures below).
- To determine how much water exactly you will need to cook the whole cabbage: in a large pot, place your cabbage and pour enough cold water to cover the whole cabbage entirely. Remove cabbage from the water now place the pot with the water in it on the stove top.
- Bring water to a boil. Stick grill fork firmly into the cored center part of the cabbage and carefully place your cabbage into the boiling water, cored-side up. Be cautious, do not make a splash of hot water.
- Let cabbage cook for about 5 minutes. During the entire process of cooking the cabbage and separating leaves keep heat on its lowest setting so as to have the water barely boiling or near the boiling point.
- I like to separate the leaves without taking the cabbage out of the simmering water. It works better for me it eliminates splashes of hot water which can happen when moving the whole cabbage back and forth between pot and plate. So, I keep my cabbage in the pot at all times and use a long-handled grilling fork, sticking it into the core of the cabbage and using a regular fork or tongs to separate and remove the leaves, one by one, then transferring them onto a large plate. To separate the leaves right in the pot, pick a leaf at its thickest end and lift cabbage with your grill fork just a little bit, so as to release the bottom part of the leaf. While the whole process seems intimidating, it’s actually easy and even fun to do. Just be careful and keep the water barely simmering (or just below boiling point).
- Another way of separating leaves is taking the whole cabbage out of water (use a grill fork here too, sticking it firmly into the center, core part, of the cabbage). Then separate the leaves off the cabbage. When you reach the inner tough layer of leaves, return the cabbage back to the simmering water. After 5 minutes or so take it out and continue to separate leaves. And so on. It’s not my favorite way to get cabbage leaves because it involves moving the cabbage back and forth since this can create splashes of hot water. So be extra cautious if you choose this method.
- When you reach the layers where leaves are too small and too bumpy, stop the process of separating leaves and save the remaining cabbage to use elsewhere (soups, stews or salads).
- When leaves are cool enough to handle, cut off the tough ribs on each leaf. Now, the leaves are ready for filling.

Making Stuffing:

- In a skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook fennel until soft, about 5-10 minutes. At the end of cooking, add 2 tablespoons of butter, stir.
- Prepare fish fillets. Cut fillets into 1.5”x 4” (4cm x 10cm) pieces. If using tilapia, cut fillet lengthways into two pieces. Then cut each piece into two pieces – one large and another one half as small. When assembling, you will be using two small pieces in some rolls; and some rolls will have a single (bigger) piece of fish. Season fish pieces with a seasoning of your choice or just salt and pepper.

Rolling Cabbage Leaves:

- Place about one tablespoon of rice/fennel mix on a cabbage leave, closer to the tough edge. Place fish piece on a top of rice and roll leaves, tucking sides inside (refer to my pictures please).
- Place rolls, seam side down, into an oven proof dish (if cooking them in an oven) or into a large pot (if cooking them on a stove top). Sometimes I place a couple of torn leaves on the bottom of the pot to prevent rolls sticking, especially if I cook my cabbage rolls on the stove top.
- Continue to roll cabbage leaves until you have run out of leaves or stuffing.
- Tightly pack the rolls into a pot. Usually when I finish stuffing the leaves, I’ve got two layers of cabbage rolls, some bigger than others. I like to have them in different sizes, I consider it a bonus feature – after all, sometimes you want to have one and a half rolls, right? If you wish to have all your rolls the same size – just cut larger leaves in half before stuffing them.

Making sauce and finishing cooking cabbage rolls in an oven or on a stove top:


- Finely chop onion.
- In a large pan or skillet, using ghee (or butter, or olive oil), cook onion until soft, about 2 minutes.
- Add flour, turn heat down and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
- Season sauce with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, some black pepper and bay leaves.
- Add wine (or stock). Cook stirring for 1 minute. At this point it’s better to switch from your spatula to a whisk.
- Add heavy cream, stir. Then, in batches, stir in all the vegetable stock. Do not let sauce boil, but keep it near the boiling point.

- Pour sauce on top of the cabbage rolls. Add water, if needed, to cover rolls almost completely. If cooking in an oven, tightly cover baking dish with foil and cook in a pre-heated moderately hot, 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5, oven for 1½ hours. If you cook the rolls on the stove top, cover pot with a lid and simmer for 1½ hours on its lowest heat setting.

- Serve with a dollop of sour cream mixed with an equal amount of heavy cream.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Leon Chicken Superfood Salad

This was ok, a bit of a faff with all the ingredients and not massively flavourful. The addition of the aioli really helped to give it a boost.

Leon Chicken Superfood Salad (from Leon Cookbook)
(Serves 2)

2 tbsp quinoa
½ head broccoli
300g chicken thighs, each cut into 4 pieces and marinated overnight
2 handfuls rocket
2 handfuls baby spinach
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
120g frozen peas
1 lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sprinkling of alfalfa sprouts
3 tbsp aïoli
2 tbsp toasted seeds
chopped mint and parsley
salt and pepper

Put 80ml of water into a small pan and bring to the boil. Stir in the quinoa and boil fast for five minutes, then turn the heat down and simmer for five minutes more. Turn the heat off, fluff with a fork, and leave until cooled.

Preheat your grill to very hot, or get your griddle pan smoking.

Cut the broccoli into small florets and slice the stalks into 1cm thick circles. Drop into a pan of rapidly boiling salted water for three minutes, then drain and run under the tap until cold.

Season your protein. Then for chicken, grill for five minutes, turn it over, then five minutes more.

While all this is going on, build your salad: toss the leaves, tomatoes, broccoli and peas in the juice of half a lemon and the olive oil. Lift on to one big serving dish or individuals, scatter on the cooled quinoa and alfalfa. The next layer is the chicken. Top with the aïoli, seeds and herbs, with the other half lemon, wedged, on the side.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Guatamalen Green Chicken Stew

So on my hunt for things to do with tomatillos I came across this awesome looking stew. I only had a red pepper so my stew is not very green but it was really tasty. I loved the ground up seeds, it provided a lovely thick consistency to the stew.

Guatemalan Green Chicken Stew (from Panning the Globe)
(Serves 6)

112g pumpkin seeds, toasted
55g sesame seeds, toasted
2kg skinless chicken breasts or legs with bones
10-12 fresh tomatillos, husked
1 bunch coriander, washed and roughly chopped
3 tbsp olive oil or other cooking oil
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed and roughly chopped
2 green peppers, seeds and ribs removed and roughly chopped
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Corn tortillas to serve with stew
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 avocado, cubed or sliced
2 limes, sliced into wedges for squeezing on top
Put the pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds into a blender and pulse for 5 or 10 secs, until they are ground. Scrape into a small bowl or cup, and set aside.
Put the chicken and fresh tomatillos in a large pot with 2.5l water or enough to just cover and 2 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 30 mins. Transfer the chicken from the broth to a large plate or bowl and set aside. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatillos to the blender. Pour the broth through a strainer into a large bowl and set aside. You will need 1l of broth for the stew. Wipe out the pan.
Add the coriander to the blender with the tomatillos and add 250ml of the chicken broth. Puree for about 10-15 secs. Pour the mixture into the pan.
Add 3 tbsp of oil to a large sauté pan and cook garlic, jalapeño, green pepper and onion over a medium heat for 10-12 mins, stirring frequently, until they start to brown. Scrape them into the blender. Add 250ml of the strained broth and puree for 10-15 secs. Pour into the pan with the tomatillos and cilantro.
Add the ground seeds to the pan and 500ml of the broth. Bring contents of the pan to a boil. Lower to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered for 10 mins to thicken the sauce. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the bones and shred. Add the shredded chicken to the thickened sauce and season to taste. Simmer gently for an additional 10 mins.
Serve the stew in bowls, over rice, with corn tortillas. Sprinkle with cubed avocado, green onions and squeeze over some lime juice.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Barbecue Chicken Pockets

This was absolutely delicious. Really flavourful and all those lovely greens too!

Barbecue Chicken Pockets (from Big Girls Small Kitchen)
(Serves 1)

large handful fresh spinach or other greens like kale or collards, slivered
1 whole wheat wrap
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 chicken breast, chopped
1 tbsp barbecue sauce
25g cheddar cheese, grated

Heat a small pan over medium-high heat and film it with the oil. Throw in the spinach and sprinkle with salt. Cook until the leaves are wilted, stirring, about 2 mins. Remove to a bowl and squeeze in a tea towel to remove all extra liquid.

Microwave the wrap for 10 secs, until soft. Spread the centre of the wrap with a the mayo and mustard. Pile on the chicken, then drizzle on the barbecue sauce. Arrange the cooked spinach on top of the chicken. Sprinkle with the cheddar.

Wrap up, tucking in the sides as you go.

Heat a frying pan and place the wrap, seam side down in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, checking every so often so it doesn't burn. Turn the wrap over and cook for 2-3 mins on the second side. Cut in half and serve.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Fragrant Beef Noodle Soup

Whilst my presentation and photography leave little to be desired, this was actually a really flavourful dish. I amped up the veg from the original recipe adding baby corn and mushrooms and it was a really satisfying dinner.

Fragrant Beef Noodle Soup (from Waitrose Recipe Card)
(Serves 2)

100g rice noodles
2 beef stock cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
3cm piece root ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
1 red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
230g frying steak, trimmed of any visible fat
8 baby corn, halved
150g beansprouts
2 pak choi, thickly sliced
handful enoki or shimiji mushrooms
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve

Place the noodles in a large bowl, cover with a kettleful of boiling water and leave to soak for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure the noodles don’t stick together.

While the noodles are soaking, place the stock cubes, onion, ginger, chilli, cinnamon, star anise and 750ml boiling water in a large pan and bring back to the boil. Simmer for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, cook the steak in a non-stick frying or griddle pan for 2–3 mins on each side, until nicely browned but still a little pink in the centre. Transfer to a plate, let it rest for 5 mins, then slice thinly.

Stir the baby corn into the broth  and cook for 2 mins, then add the beansprouts, pak choi and mushrooms and cook for 2 mins or so more until the vegetables are tender.

Drain the noodles and divide between 2 bowls. Ladle over the broth and vegetables then top with the sliced beef and coriander. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Peppered Herring, New Potato and Watercress Salad

This was really easy and quick to make, it was also incredibly flavourful. The orginal recipe uses mackerel but Sainsbury's have started selling smoked herring and I thought I'd give it a go. It's really nice, much easier than the faff of fresh herring with all the bones.

Peppered Herring, New Potato and Watercress Salad
(adapted from Good Food Magazine May 2011)
(Serves 6)

750g baby new potatoes, larger ones halved
5 tbsp light mayonnaise
small bunch chives, snipped
200g watercress
270g pack peppered herring fillets

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 mins. Drain and allow to cool for 10 mins.

Make the dressing by mixing the mayo with most of the chives.

Divide half the watercress between 6 plates, chop the rest roughly and mix with half of the mackerel, the potatoes and mayo. Toss so that everything is covered in the dressing.

Pile the mackerel-potato mix on top of the watercress, then top with the rest of the mackerel and chives

Meal Planning Monday

So this weeks meal plan is basically use stuff up. On Friday term ends and I go away for a week with a group of 16-18 year olds on a French exchange, then I'm home for a couple of days and then it's Christmas! Time is just disappearing. So I managed to only buy three items in my grocery shop this week everything else I already had.

This was the view from my bedroom window last night, it looked so pretty I thought I'd take a picture. I have had a fairly quiet weekend. On Saturday my Mum came and we went to The Georgians exhibition at The British Library and then in the evening we went to a friends house for a Christmas party. There's another Christmas party for one of my book groups at lunch today and much fun and food will be had!




Ham and Egg Sandwich with Crisps
Venison Burger and Crisps

Smoked Mackerel and Bulgar Salad



Sunday, 8 December 2013

Spiced Tilapia with Roasted Pepper-Tomatillo Sauce

I've been experimenting with tomatillos again and made a sauce for fish. This one didn't have any chilli in it like all the recipes I've tried before, but it was very flavourful on it's own. I served it with rice and green veg.

Spiced Tilapia with Roasted Pepper-Tomatillo Sauce (from East 9th Street)
(Serves 4)

For the sauce
1 red pepper
2 tsp canola oil
4-5 medium tomatillo, husks removed
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp honey

For the fish
2 tbsp white flour
2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
4 tilapia fillets
1 tbsp canola oil

Preheat the grill.

Cut the red pepper in half and discard the seeds and membranes. Grill the peppers for 12-15 mins or until blackened. Remove and put into a sealey plastic bag. Let them for stand 10 mins and then peel off the skin and cut the pepper into chunks.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add tomatillos. Cook until tender. Add the salt and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 min. Add the pepper, cilantro, vinegar and honey to the pan and using a hand blender, blend until smooth. Set aside.

Combine all the dry ingredients for the fish in a dish and stir to combine. Coat the fish evenly with the spice mixture. Add the oil to a frying pan over medium-high heat and cook fish until browned on both sides.

Serve the fish with sauce.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Prawn and Egg Salad Sandwich

When I was a child we occasionally got sandwiches from M&S, my favourite was always the prawn and egg bloomer! This a slimmed down version of my childhood favourite, the eggs are less mashed up and it had a few more seasonings. It really is a fantastic sandwich.

Prawn and Egg Salad Sandwich (from Skinny Sometimes)
(Serves 1)

1 tbsp light mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/4 onion, finely chopped (optional)
7-8 prawns, cooked
1 egg, hard boiled and sliced
30g peas, cooked
1 wholemeal pitta bread
Mix spices and mayonnaise together in a small bowl and add the peas, eggs and prawns, stir well to combine.
Toast the pitta lightly and cut to make a pocket. Put the prawn and egg mixture into the pitta and serve.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Scalloped Corn and Macaroni

Comfort food is the name of the game at the moment! This was definitely comforting. I ate this as a main dish and it was lovely and filling. I think the addition of tuna or chicken to it would work really well too and I may try that next time.

Scalloped Corn and Macaroni (from The English Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

1 340g tin of corn, undrained
1 418g tin of creamed corn
240g macaroni
115g cubed cheddar cheese
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
250ml milk
salt and pepper
handful crushed cornflakes
handful of grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Mix together the undrained corn, creamed corn, macaroni, cheese, onion and milk in a casserole dish, season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180C and bake for 25 to 30 mins. Uncover and stir, adding a bit more milk if it looks a bit dry. Cover and bake for an additional 15 to 20 mins until the macaroni is soft.

Cover with the cornflakes and grated cheese and then bake for an another 10 mins, uncovered, until lightly browned and the cheese on top is melted. Serve hot.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Warm Smoked Fish and Sausage Salad

Now at first this appears like a weird combination but trust me, it totally works. It has huge flavour, I used a really tasty Gloucester Old Spot Sausage and smoked mackerel from Borough Market, both fantastic in their own right, together they are spot on. You have to try this salad!

Warm Smoked Fish and Sausage Salad (from River Cottage Fish)
(Serves 4)

1/2 tbsp oil
4 pork sausages
salad leaves
4 smoked mackerel fillets, cut into 4-5 inch pieces
1 red onion, finely sliced

For the dressing:
1 heaped tsp mustard
1 tbsp crème fraiche
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cider vinegar or wine vinegar
1 tbsp oil
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sausages and fry them gently for 20-25 mins until well browned.

Remove the sausages from the pan, slice them slightly on the bias into 2cm chunks, then return them briefly to the pan to brown the cut sides a little. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Add the smoked fish and fry lightly in the sausage fat for 1 min on each side.

To make the dressing, put the mustard, crème fraiche, sugar, vinegar and oil in a bowl and whisk until combined. Season to taste.

Put the salad leaves and red onion into 4 bowls. Put the fish and sausage on top and then drizzle over the dressing. Serve.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Soy Wasabi Prawn and Scallop Skewers

I think I needed to add more wasabi to this as it wasn't very hot. It was a nice combination though. I served it over noodles with stir fry veg.

Soy Wasabi Prawn and Scallop Skewers (from WeightWatchers)
(Served 1)

1/2 onion, cut into quarters
1/2 red pepper, cut into large chunks
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2-1 tsp wasabi powder
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp grated ginger
6 raw prawns
6 scallops
cooking spray

Preheat the grill. Split the onion quarters in half

In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, wasabi, honey and ginger until blended.

Pour half the soy mixture into a large bowl and set the rest aside. Add the prawns, scallops, pepper and onion to the bowl and toss to coat.

Alternately thread the prawns, scallops, peppers and onion onto each of skewers. Lightly spray the skewers with cooking spray.

Grill the skewers, turning as needed, until the prawns and scallops are cooked through, about 4 to 5 mins. Serve drizzled with the reserved soy mixture.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Crunchie Rocky Road

I love making cake for Mad Hatters! This one went down a treat and has been requested for the end of term party! It's really quick and easy to make and deliciously sweet and crunchie, the honeycomb of the crunchie is brilliant.

Crunchie Rocky Road (from Kitchen Hero - Donal Skehan)

150g digestive biscuits, roughly bashed into chunks
200g mini marshmallows, or large ones chopped into pieces
4 crunchie bars, chopped into chunks
250g chocolate, milk or dark
3 tbsp butter

Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and sit over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted.

Remove the bowl from the pan of water and add the biscuit mixture to the chocolate and stir until everything is coated.

Turn the mixture out on to a baking tray and spread it evenly, place in the fridge to firm up for about 30 mins. When the mixture is set, slice into square.


Monday, 2 December 2013

Creamy Chicken and Peppers

This was really delicious, I also found it with perfect timing. After saving lots of money in a shop at Waitrose with reduced food, including a whole load of peppers, I needed something to do with them and this was perfect. I changed the recipe slightly and I used fresh rather than dried herbs and it was lovely.

Creamy Chicken and Peppers (from The English Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

4 chicken breasts
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
3 peppers, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 onion, peeled, halved and cut into half moons
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
125ml cream
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
grating nutmeg
3 tbsp soft cheese
a couple handfuls grated mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Preheat the oven to 200C. 

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan until the butter begins to foam. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken lightly on both sides and then place it into a prepared baking dish.

Add the onions and peppers to the skillet. Cook, stirring until they begin to soften. Layer them in the casserole with the chicken, placing half beneath the chicken breasts and half on top.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook for about 30 secs.  Add the tin of tomatoes, herbs, stock cube, balsamic vinegar, sugar, nutmeg and cream. Heat to the boil, then whisk in the soft cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 mins on a low heat and then pour this mixture over the chicken and peppers.

Cover tightly with foil and then bake in the oven for 30 mins. After 30 mins, mix together the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle over top of the casserole and return to the oven, baking for an another 15 mins. Serve hot with rice or pasta.

Meal Planning Monday

This week is a funny week with a lot going on. I have two Christmas Parties/Dinners at the end of the week and various other things in between. I'm going to a talk on the Psychology Of Eating on Tuesday and out for dinner on Thursday. Apart from that it's two weeks until the end of term!

My parents came down at the weekend and my Mum bought lots of food from her freezer to mine so it's all full again! We had a lovely day on Saturday going out for lunch and then to the Pearls exhibition in the afternoon. We also went to Tesco in the evening and got lots of bargainous bread and veg. However, we also found lots of stuff that was out of date on their shelves which they can't sell and will just go to waste, most of it perfectly edible. It's disgraceful that they don't have proper stock checking going on and that despite saying the are committed to decreasing food waste, they actually waste rather a lot of food by not taking things off on their sell by date, when people can actually buy them.

Sausage and Chutney Sandwich with Crisps
Tuna Kebabs with Veg and Rice

Cheesy Swiss Bake with Salad
Bacon and Avocado Pasta Salad


Monkfish with Orange, Fennel and Orzo

Spicy Mackerel on Naan Bread with Crisps
Out at Pizza Express

Courgette and Basil Soup with a Brown Roll
Out at a Christmas Dinner


Out at a Christmas Dinner

Swede and Potato with an Egg
Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Herby Fried Fish Sandwich

I love a hot sandwich, and using smoked fish in this really made the sandwich that bit more flavourful.

Herby Fried Fish Sandwich
(Serves 1)
1 handful breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp dill, chopped
1/2 tsp chives, chopped
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp oil
1 smoked haddock or cod fillet
1 bread roll
1 tbsp tartare sauce
lettuce leaves
Put the breadcrumbs, herbs and salt and pepper into a bowl and mix to combine.

Put the bowls of breadcrumbs and egs side by side to prepare for coating the fish.
Dip both sides of the cod first into the egg mixture, shaking the fish lightly over the bowl to allow for any excess to drip off, then put the fish into the bowl of crumbs, pressing to coat one side. Turn it over and press to coat the other side evenly with the crumbs.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the fish and cook undisturbed, until the undersides are crispy and lightly golden, 3 to 4 mins. Turn the fish over and cook for another 3 mins.
Meanwhile, cut the bun in hald and lightly toast.
Spread the tartare sauce onto both halves of the bun. Top with the fish and then some lettuce. Serve.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Homestyle Chicken and Noodles

I have always been fascinated by American homestyle cooking and comfort food. Casseroles made with condensed soups and creamy bakes oozing comfort. I have seen many different versions of chicken and noodles but this was the simplest recipe I came across. It was delicious, so creamy and wholesome. I will definitely be making this again.

I had to make a couple of substitutions, I used leek intead of celery as I don't like celery and I used tagliatelle for the noodles as I have no idea what Americans mean by noodles really, to me that means oriental, but that's not what's in the picture and pasta was the closest I came!

Homestyle Chicken and Noodles (from Iowa Girl Eats)
(Serves 4-6)

2 chicken legs and 2 chicken wings, skins removed or 3 chicken legs
750ml water
500ml chicken broth
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 large onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, sliced
340g tagliatelle
150g frozen peas
250g skim milk
2 tbsp flour

Put chicken in the bottom of a large casserole. Add the water, chicken broth, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, onion, carrots, and celery. Bring to a boil then place a lid on top, lower heat, and simmer for 30 mins, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from pot then shred and set aside.

Meanwhile, add the tagliatelle to the casserole and cook according to packet instructions. Once tender, stir in the peas.

Put the milk and flour in a jar with a screw-top lid, then shake to combine. Drizzle into the casserole then stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 mins or until mixture is thick and bubbly.

Add chicken back to the pot then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Let chicken and noodles sit for 10 mins to thicken before serving.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Beetroot and Potato Soup

I made this soup a long time ago with the beetroot I was given by a friend. I froze it immediately and have only just got around to eating it. I was expecting it to be a bit too sweet but actually the lemon juice worked a treat and really cut through the sweetness of the beetroot. It has definitely reignited my interest in trying different dishes with it.

Beetroot and Potato Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1l vegetable stock
450g beetroot, peeled and quartered
225g potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
Sour cream or plain yogurt to serve
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 secs. Add the salt, pepper, and cumin, stir to coat and cook for another 30 secs.

Add the stock beetroot, potato, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30-35 mins, until the beetroot and potato are tender. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. 

Using a hand blender purée the soup, adding a splash of stock if needed. Add the lemon juice and honey and heat through.

Serve each portion with a swirl of sour cream or yoghurt.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

So in a effort to use up some of those tomatillos still hanging round my kitchen I made salsa. Tomatillos have a very particular taste that is, I think, like a very tomatoey tomato, although it's not from the same family. My sister didn't like it much, I do, but in small quantities. I used most of this salsa heated up over pinto beans and rice as I don't really have much call for salsa. It was really tasty though. I halved the amount of chilli I used because of my chilli problems, although I think my tolerance is building! It's all those chilli spiked gozleme I keep eating!

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (from Wellness Today)

450g tomatillos (or green tomatoes)
2 jalapeno chillis, seeeded and roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/4 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
juice half a lime
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cut the tomatillos in half and place them on a baking sheet with the jalapenos, onion, and garlic.

Bake for 30 mins. Remove veggies from oven and leave to cool.

Once cool, put the roasted ingredients into a food processor or blender with the lemon, salt, pepper, chilli, cumin, and coriander.

Adding the olive oil in a steady stream, blend until the mixture is smooth and even in texture.

Serve with tortilla chips.