Thursday, 28 February 2013

Orzo and Mozzarella Salad

I had a ball of mozzarella that needed using up and so I came across a pasta salad that used mozzarella and some more of that jar of sun-dried tomatoes that has been sat in my fridge for a while. It was a lovely summery pasta salad eaten on a cold winter day!

Orzo and Mozzarella Salad (adapted from Good Food Magazine July 2010)
(Serves 4)

300g orzo or other tiny pasta shape
4 tsp pesto
30g toasted pine nuts
2 medium mozzarella balls, roughly chopped
100g sun-dried tomatoes, very roughly chopped
24 cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
1/2 cucumber, chopped
grated parmesan

Boil the orzo for 8 mins until tender, then drain and cool under cold water. Drain again, then tip into a large bowl.

Stir the pesto through the orzo, then season. Add the mozzarella, tomatoes and cucumber. Scatter with the remaining pine nuts and some Parmesan, if you like. Pack into your lunchbox.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Spicy Prawn Caesar Salad

I had a fairly manic half term visiting family and friends and also having some building work carried out at my flat, this week has been a bit busy too as we got the news yesterday that the school I work in is to be inspected next week, so everyone is running around trying to get everything together for the inspection making work busy as well. Add to this a dodgy tummy and the fact that I keep forgetting to download the photos from my camera, blogging isn't really happening! Hopefully things will calm down enough for me to sort myself out over the weekend.

This is one of the lunches I had before half term, it was a delicious twist on the classic Caesar Salad.

Spicy Prawn Caesar Salad (adapted from Martha Stewart)
(Serves 4)

4 corn tortillas
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
350g prawns, peeled and deveined
6 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
1 large head romaine lettuce cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 190C. Place tortillas on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown and crisp, turning once, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then break into pieces.

Heat the grill. In a large bowl, toss the prawns with remaining teaspoons of oil and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper. Lay shrimp flat on a grill pan, and cook until browned and opaque throughout, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice, Parmesan, anchovies, and up to 2 tablespoons of water. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, toss the lettuce with dressing. Divide among plates, and top each with shrimp and broken tortillas. Garnish with more Parmesan.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Pasta with Creamy Greens and Lemon

This is a very simple pasta dish but wonderfully healthy with all the greens involved.

Pasta with Creamy Greens and Lemon
(adapted from Good Food Magazine February 2011)
(Serves 4)

300g pasta
140g broccoli florets
100g frozen soya beans
100g frozen peas
3-4 large leaves spring greens, sliced
150g light or extra light soft cheese
zest and juice 1 lemon
85g grated Parmesan
handful basil leaves

Cook the pasta in a very large pan following the pack instructions, adding broccoli florets, frozen soya beans, frozen peas and greens for the final 3 mins of cooking time.

Drain, saving a ladleful of the cooking water first, then tip everything back into the pan. Stir in the soft cheese, lemon zest and juice, grated Parmesan, a handful basil leaves, some seasoning and a splash of cooking water. Serve.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Honey Cloud Pancake with Lemon and Raspberries

This is a rather late post for which I apologise. I wasn't going to bother with pancake day. At the most I was going to use some shop bought frozen lemon and sultana pancakes but that was it, I was on my own that evening, late back from work and couldn't be bothered! Then everyone started talking about the pancake parties they were going to, or the pancakes they were making and I wanted pancakes too! So I started looking and found this recipe for cloud pancakes which I had never heard of before and the recipe was for one, perfect!

It wasn't really a pancake in the sense of what I would call a pancake. It was more like a sweet Yorkshire pudding with fruit but it made me feel a bit more in the spirit of the day!

Honey Cloud Pancake with Lemon and Raspberries (adapted from Things We Make)
(Serves 1)

1 large egg
60ml milk
30g flour
1 pinch of salt
2 tsp of honey
1 dash of vanilla extract
1 tbsp of butter
handful raspberries
zest 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
To make the main batter, in a bowl, mix the egg with flour, salt, honey, and vanilla then whisk in the milk.

Heat a small 6″ oven proof frying pan. Melt one tablespoon of butter in the hot pan.

Pour the batter in and cook on the hob for a few minutes until starting to set at the very edge.

Sprinkle the raspberries and lemon zest on top and bake in the oven for10 mins until puffed up and golden.

Drizzle with honey and serve.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Broccoli, Chicken and Noodle Salad

Can I do Wordless Sundays? It's a noodle salad!

Broccoli, Chicken and Noodle Salad
(adapted from Olive Magazine February 2011)
(Serves 2)

125g purple sprouting broccoli
50g ramen noodles
100g edamame, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
½ tsp grated ginger
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 small cooked chicken breasts, shredded

Boil the broccoli stems until tender, then rinse and drain in very cold water. If the stems are large, cut them in half lengthways.

Cook the noodles following packet instructions, adding the edamame for the last 3 mins of cooking. Rinse well in cold water and drain thoroughly.

Make a dressing by mixing the tamari, mirin, sesame oil, ginger and spring onion. Put the broccoli, noodles, edamame and chicken in a bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss together, adding some extra seasoning if you like. Serve.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Lemony Crumbed Turkey with Broccoli Bean Mash

I am trying to vary what I eat a bit. As a child I never had turkey at home, at Christmas it always goose and at other times of the year it was chicken, but I'm experimenting and so far I can't taste a huge difference from chicken and it doesn't seem to dry out as many people seem to report. This was really lovely, I used tenderstem broccoli rather than normal, which didn't work so well as the stalks didn't mash but otherwise it was delicious.

Lemony Crumbed Turkey with Broccoli Bean Mash
(from Good Food Magazine January 2013)
(Serves 4)

3 tbsp plain flour
1 large egg
100g fresh breadcrumbs
zest 1 lemon,
small handful parsley, chopped
450g turkey breast steaks
2 tbsp sunflower oil
4 vines cherry tomatoes
350g broccoli, cut into small florets
400g can butter beans, drained
4 tbsp pesto

Preheat oven to 180C.

Put the flour into a wide, shallow bowl with a little seasoning. Whisk the egg in a second shallow bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and parsley to a third shallow bowl.

Dip each turkey steak into the flour, shaking off any excess, then into the egg, and finally into the breadcrumbs - press the crumbs into the turkey to make sure they really stick. Put the steaks on a large baking tray and bake for 20 mins. Add the cherry tomatoes to the tray and bake for a further 5 mins.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the broccoli and cook for 5 mins. Add the butter beans and cook for 2 mins more until broccoli is really tender. Drain well and tip back into the pan. add the pesto and mash everything up with a potato masher. Divide the turkey, broccoli bean mash and tomatoes between plates - adding lemon wedges for those who want to squeeze some over.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Bulgar Wheat, Lentil and Feta Salad

I put way too many lentils into this. I didn't have any canned lentils but had a packet of dried green lentils and just poured some into the saucepan, it was far too many! So I made the best of it and used half of what I cooked, which was still so many that I couldn't finish it. The dish however was fairly tasty and it made a very easy take to work lunch.

Bulgar Wheat, Lentil and Feta Salad (adapted from Good Food Magazine July 2009)
(Serves 4)

200g bulgar wheat
1 tsp olive oil
1 shallot or ½ onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp tarragon, roughly chopped
400g can Puy or green lentils, rinsed and drained
¼ cucumber, diced
100g feta cheese, crumbled
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
zest and juice 1 orange
1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar

Cook the bulgar wheat according to packet instructions, drain well, then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan, then cook the shallot or onion for a few mins until softened. Add the tarragon, stir well, then remove from the heat.

Stir the softened shallot and tarragon into the cooled bulgar wheat along with the lentils, cucumber, feta, spring onions, orange zest and juice and vinegar. Toss together well and pack into your lunch box.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Chicken Pesto Croissant Sandwich

I've been wanting to make croissant sandwiches for ages. I'm used to having a croissant for breakfast with jam or toasted with ham and cheese but not as a cold sandwich. This was delicious, the slight sweetness of the croissant itself went really well with the rest of the ingredients making a tasty sandwich.

Chicken Pesto Croissant Sandwich
(Serves 1)

1 low fat croissant
1 tsp low fat pesto
1 tsp low fat mayonnaise
1/2 chicken breast, cooked and sliced
handful salad leaves

Cook the croissant according to packet instructions. Leave it to cool for a few mins and the slice in half crossways.

Spread the pesto on one half and the mayonnaise on the other half. Place the chicken on top of the bottom half and the salad leaves on top, then top with the top of the croissant. Cut in half and serve.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Watercress and Feta Frittata

This was a meal designed to use up leftovers. I had one egg white leftover from making burgers the other day and I was desperately trying to think of something to do with it. Make a meringue was my first thought but to go to all that effort for one meringue?! I then remembered someone saying to me that they enjoyed egg white omelettes, so I thought I'd compromise and make a one egg, one egg white frittata and have it for breakfast for a couple of days.

The recipe also used up the end of a block of feta, the rest of a bag of watercress, and half an onion that I had sitting around in the fridge which had been bought for some other purpose but that needed using. In that way making it a frugal breakfast, or in fact a dish that could be enjoyed at any time of day! I'm adding it to this months Credit Crunch Munch, set up by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla at Fab Food 4 All.

Watercress and Feta Frittata
(Serves 1)

20g feta
1 tsp oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
40g watercress, large stalks removed
1 whole egg and 1 egg white
40ml milk
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Line a small square baking dish with some parchment paper and add the feta cheese.

In a frying pan over a medium high heat, heat the oil, add the onions and fry until golden. Add the watercress and stir until wilted.

When the watercress is wilted add it with the onion to the feta cheese in the tray.

Put the eggs in a bowl, and beat with a little black pepper. Pour over the top off the feta watercress mixture.

Bake in the oven for approx 15-20 mins, until egg mixture is set and slightly golden on top.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Storecupboard Pasta Salad

This is a simple pasta salad to make with items out the storecupboard. I didn't have to rush out and buy anything for this recipe it was all in my cupboards already! Easy and tasty too!

Storecupboard Pasta Salad (adapted from Good Food Magazine July 2009)
(Serves 2)

140g dried pasta shapes
2 tsp finely chopped red onion
1 tsp capers
1 tbsp pesto
2 tsp olive oil
185g can of tuna in spring water, drained
3 sundried tomatoes, chopped

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and ru under cold water to cool. Set aside.

Mix the onion, capers, pesto and oil. Flake the tuna into a bowl with the pasta and tomatoes, then stir in the pesto mix.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Mini Lemon Yoghurt Cupcakes

So these cakes have a bit of a crazy story behind them. Well not crazy but more interesting than I ate this it was wonderful! If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you will know that every so often I make cakes for the various book groups that I run, especially Mad Hatters, which is for the 11-14 year olds. A few of the girls can't eat chocolate and as many of my bakes seem to be chocolate heavy I thought I'd cater to them one week, and found this Lemon Yoghurt Cupcake recipe and thought perfect!

Instead of making full sized cupcakes I plumped for mini ones, I am trying to feed 40ish kids here! So I thought I'd make the original recipe and a half, to make 18 full sized cakes and 36 mini ones right? WRONG, this is the wonderful expanding batter! I think by the end I'd made about 60 cakes and I only had one 12 hole mini muffin tin so it was a quick turn around each time one was ready to come out of the oven! To be fair no-one complained and many of them even had two!

My mum also iced them all whilst waiting for the sofa so not only did I come home to a beautifully clean flat but I also came home to iced cakes! I was frugal with the icing sugar as I didn't have all that much left, so they only got a drizzle rather than a whole layer but they still tasted fantastic.

Mini Lemon Yoghurt Cupcakes (from Blue Kitchen Bakes)
(makes about 30 mini ones, 12 full size)

250g caster sugar
50g butter
2 eggs
200g low fat natural yoghurt
grated zest of 1 lemon
250g self raising flour

For the icing
100g icing sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a mini muffin tin with cases.
In a mixing bowl beat together the sugar, butter and eggs until light and creamy then beat in the yoghurt. Add the lemon zest then fold in the flour. Divide between the cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes until risen, lightly golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing pour the lemon juice into a large bowl and gradually add the icing sugar, stir the sugar in until you get a thick spreadable icing. Drizzle some icing on each cake and leave to set.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Thai Beef Noodle Salad

I love Good Food Magazine, when I have no energy or time it comes along and provides me with easy things to cook! This beef noodle salad was perfect, especially when I had some beef stir fry meat that I needed to use up. I left out most of the chilli and only used a little bit as I'm not overly fond of it and thought the sweet chilli sauce would provide enough heat for me!

Thai Beef Noodle Salad (adapted from Olive Magazine September 2006)
(Serves 2)

125g medium rice noodles
2 tsp five spice powder
1 sirloin steak, about 300g, trimmed of fat and sliced
1 small cucumber, cut into ribbons with a potato peeler
1 red chilli, shredded
small handful of coriander leaves

For the dressing
3 tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp fish sauce

Put the noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over. Leave until tender then drain and rinse well with cold water.

Season and sprinkle the beef with the five spice. Heat a frying pan until very hot and fry the steak for a couple of minutes until brown but not quite cooked through, set aside to rest and cool.

Stir together the dressing ingredients.

Toss the noodles, cucumber and chilli with the steak and dressing. Scatter coriander over and serve.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Tandoori Pork Burger with Raita

This is what we had for lunch on sofa moving day! Really easy and simple to make. I formed the burgers and made the raita before everyone arrived and then all I had to do was cook the burgers for lunch. It was something a little different with the Indian twist on things.

Tandoori Pork Burger with Raita (adapted from Olive Magazine August 2009)
(Serves 4)

500g lean pork mince
1 red onion, grated
2 tbsp tandoori curry paste
small bunch coriander, chopped
150ml pot natural yogurt
1/2 cucumber, deseeded
4 spring onions,
mini naan bread to serve
crisp lettuce leaves to serve

Put the mince, onion, curry paste and half the coriander in a bowl, season and mix really well. Form into 4 burgers. Grill for about 4-5 minutes each side until cooked through.

Meanwhile mix the rest of the coriander with the yogurt, cucumber and spring onions. Serve the burgers with warm naans and the raita.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Grilled Turkey with Bulgar Wheat Greek Salad

The original recipe for this uses chicken but when I checked what meat I had got out of the freezer it was in fact turkey. It's the same thing really! So I used the turkey instead and it was lovely, it didn't dry out at all and the addition of both the turkey and the bulgar to a Greek salad was delicious.

Grilled Turkey with Bulgar Wheat Greek Salad
(adapted from Good Food Magazine June 2012)
(Serves 4)

225g bulgar wheat
25g butter
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garlic powder
4 turkey steaks
1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
300g tomatoes, roughly chopped
handful pitted black olives
1 red onion, finely sliced
100g feta cheese, crumbled
small bunch mint leaves, chopped
juice and zest ½ lemon

Preheat the grill.

Cook the bulgar wheat following the pack instructions, then rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly.

Toss the turkey steaks in 2 tsp of the olive oil with the chilli powder, garlic powder and some seasoning. Lay in a hot griddle pan and cook for 7-8 mins each side or until cooked through.

Next, tip the tomatoes, olives, onion, feta and mint into a bowl. Toss in the cooked bulgar wheat. Stir through the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and season well. Serve with the turkey on top.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Daring Cooks February 2013

For the January-February 2013 Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Carol, one of our talented non-blogging members and Jenni, one of our talented bloggers who writes The Gingered Whisk, have challenged us to make homemade sausage and/or cured, dried meats in celebration of the release of the book Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn! We were given two months for this challenge and the opportunity to make delicious Salumi in our own kitchens!

So I didn't make meat sausages, a) I don't have a meat grinder and b) I couldn't get hold of any sausage casings, so I went vegetarian and came up with a vegetarian sausage. It's not hugely ingenious, it is mashed potato, leeks and cheese basically but it was very tasty! I served it for brunch with a poached egg, balsamic cherry tomatoes, watercress and a chicken frankfurter that needed eating! The egg with the veggie sausage was delicious.

Vegetarian Sausages
(Serves 2)
150g baking potato, peeled and cut up
10g butter
60g leeks, trimmed, finely sliced (prepared weight)
small handful white breadcrumbs
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
75g mature cheddar, finely grated
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp mustard
½ tsp flaked sea salt
5 tbsp sunflower oil
freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and boil for about 15-20 mins until tender. When cooked, drain and mash.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the leek gently for 8-10 minutes, or until very soft but not coloured.

Put the mash potato, breadcrumbs, leeks, parsley, thyme and cheese in a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Add the egg with the mustard, salt and pepper and mix together until well combined.

Divide the leek mixture into four portions and roll into sausage shapes. Place the sausages onto a tray lined with baking parchment. Chill the sausages in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C. Bake the sausages for 25-30 mins. Serve.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Polenta Pizza

Whilst I call this Polenta Pizza, it isn't really pizza. The base didn't go crispy at all. I suspect that I needed to bake the base before putting the toppings on top and then cook again with the toppings, but none of the recipes I browsed through suggested that. So it didn't make me like polenta any more! However, the tomato and lentil sauce did make a brilliant pizza sauce. I think I'm next going to try the polenta in a cake.

Polenta Pizza
(Serves 1)

200g cooked polenta
1 portion tomato and lentil sauce
3 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 artichokes in oil, halved
5-6 slices smoked sausage
1 tsp capers
1 sun dried tomato, sliced
1/4 ball mozzarella, sliced

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Line a medium-sized ovenproof frying pan with greaseproof paper and evenly spread the cooked polenta on top.

Spread a layer of the tomato and lentil and tomato sauce on top of the polenta. Place the cherry tomatoes, artichokes, smoked sausage and sun dried tomatoes on top of the sauce, sprinkle over the capers and put the mozzarella on top. Bake in the oven for 10 mins, or until golden.

Serve with a green salad.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Tomato and Lentil Sauce

This a wonderful sauce and a bit more robust with the addition of lentils. It is delicious with pasta and I also used it on the polenta pizza that I made, coming up tomorrow.

Tomato and Lentil Sauce (from Fuss Free Flavours)
(Serves 6-8)

1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
100g red lentils
8 sun dried tomato halves
Dash balsamic vinegar

Add the oil to a medium frying pan, saute the onions and garlic until soft and starting to turn golden. Add the tomatoes, lentils and half the tin of water. Turn down the heat, cover and leave to simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Check every 5 minutes or so, adding more water so the mixture remains runny.

Add the sun dried tomatoes and some of the oil from the jar, and using a hand blender blitz to a silky smooth paste, add a drizzle of water if needed to thin, it should be a spreadable, but not runny consistency.

Season to taste with the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Having just written out my meal plan I'm looking at it thinking I'm not sure I want most of that! I feel a bit cold, achey and tired today, but at least it's stopped snowing! I'm thinking of doing a vegetarian week the week after next. Not really sure why, I think it might have been the overload of food in general over the weekend, entirely my own fault, which has made me crave lovely fresh veggies and looking at this there are some perfect meals for that week here! So things may change.

Next week is half term and I'm away visiting family for most of the week so I won't bother to menu plan. This week is pretty good, some Zumba, a theatre trip and having dinner at a friend's house on Friday. Work also has slowed down a bit, it all got a bit manic last week, but unfortunately there has been no heating in the library over the weekend so we are all freezing! I may have pancakes for dessert on Tuesday, I won't get home until 7.30ish so I'll see how I feel.

Broccoli, Chicken and Noodle Salad
Pasta with Creamy Greens and Lemon

Caesar Salad with Spicy Shrimp
Sri Lankan Lamb Curry with Rice

Mozzarella, Tomato and Orzo Salad
Mexican Chicken and Tortilla Soup

Tuna, Olive and Pesto Wrap with Crisps
Out at the Theatre

Roasted Mushroom, Green Bean and Bulgar Salad
Out at a friends house

Check out At Home With Mrs M for more meal planning ideas

Creamy Sweetcorn Dip

This works beautifully as both a dip and a sandwich filling. It also used up the last of my frozen sweetcorn!

Creamy Sweetcorn Dip
(Serves 12)
(1 WW ProPoint per serving)

100g low fat soft cheese
500g frozen corn kernels
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor, pulse a few times, scrape down the sides of the bowl and process until smooth. Serve with crisps or crudites, or with ham in a wrap or sandwich.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Jamies 15 Minute Meals: Glazed Pork Fillet with Cajun-Style Pepper Rice and BBQ Sauce

I'm having a bit of a Jamie fix at the moment. I have recorded the whole of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals and I'm watching them with the cookbook (borrowed from the library) sat by my side! This is the first one I've actually tried to cook though and it worked! It took me 30 mins rather than his over ambitious 15 but it was so tasty, the BBQ sauce having the right kind of tang and the pork and rice were beautifully cooked. So they work! There are several more that I want to try, so I might even invest in the book for myself!

I changed a couple of things. I didn't have any okra so I left it out and I also forgot the garlic in the BBQ sauce, but I don't think it did it any harm.

Glazed Pork Fillet with Cajun-Style Pepper Rice and BBQ Sauce
(adapted from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)
(Serves 4)

600g pork fillet
1 heaped tsp ground allspice

1 red onion
1 stick celery, chopped
2 peppers, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 pinch cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
240g brown rice, cooked
1 lemon
1/2 bunch fresh basil

BBQ sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 heaped tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp brown HP sauce
1 heaped tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp tabasco
3 tbsp fresh apple juice

pickled veg
4 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt

Heat a frying pan and add 1 tbsp oil. Score lengthways through the centre of the pork, open it out like a book, then flatten it slightly. Rub with salt, pepper and the allspice, then add to the pan. Turn once when it has a dark golden crust, after about 4 mins.

Heat another tbsp oil in a casserole and add the onion, celery, and peppers. Then add the paprika, cumin and fennel seeds and a cup of water, stirring regularly.

To make the BBQ sauce, put all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl with a pinch of salt, then mix well. When the pork has a good crust on both sides, transfer to a baking dish. Pour over most of the sauce and place under the grill until the pork is cooked through. Pour the rest of the sauce into a small bowl to serve on the side.

Stir the rice into the veg pan, squeeze over the lemon juice, then roughly chop and add the basil and season to taste. Slice up the pork and serve with the extra sauce and some pickled veg. Dollop some yoghurt over the rice before serving.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Prawn Layer Salad

We've all seen those layered salads beloved of supermarket sandwich and salad shelves, looking a bit forlorn as everyone ignores them. Well, I actually quite like them on occasion! The supermarket ones usually have pasta in but as I was going out for dinner I decided to make mine carb free and just concentrate on the salad bit. It's basically prawn cocktail on top of a layered up salad and it was really good, just like supermarket version but cheaper to make than buy! I packed the cocktail sauce in a separate box to take with me to stop everything getting soggy.

Prawn Layer Salad
(Serves 1)

1 egg
1 little gem lettuce, shredded
195g can sweetcorn, drained
1 carrot, coarsely grated
½ small cucumber, diced
100g cooked prawns
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
splash Tabasco sauce

Boil the egg in a small pan of boiling water for 8 mins, drain and run under cold water until cool. Shell, then slice.

Layer the salad in a bowl starting with the lettuce, then the sweetcorn, carrot, cucumber, egg and finish with the prawns.

Mix the mayo and ketchup with a dash of Tabasco, then pour over the top. Serve with a lemon wedge, if you like.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Baked Salmon with Antipasti

I think that we were all shocked by the news a few weeks ago about just how much of our food actually goes to waste. I try to be as frugal as I can be, which I suspect is made slightly easier but also more difficult by living on my own. Sometimes it's hard to come up with creative ways of using entire pots of creme fraiche in a week when only feeding one, but also I can choose what I eat and I have a whole freezer to myself so I can batch cook and freeze leftovers, which I do all the time. It definitely made me look through my cupboards and see what needed using and make a start on those green lentils that were hanging around in the back of the cupboard, as well as using up my mountainous supply of pasta before I buy anymore, despite having a huge hankering for wholewheat fusilli!

This recipe is such a simple idea but such a good way of using up those bits of jars that hang around in the fridge only to go mouldy. I had a couple of artichokes languishing in a jar, half a jar of both sun dried tomatoes and capers and this was a perfect way to use up some of these ingredients and it was so tasty too. The saltiness of the antipasti went really well with the salmon and I got my omega-3!

Baked Salmon With Antipasti (from Fuss Free Flavours)
(Serves 2)

1 tbs roasted artichoke antipasto (drained of the oil)
1 tbs sun dried tomatoes
1 tsp capers
1 tsp lemon juice
2 salmon fillets or sea trout

Mix the artichoke, tomatoes, capers and lemon juice and blitz either in the food processor or with a stick blender. Keep a chunky texture rather than pureeing to a smooth paste.

Take a sheet of foil (about 60cm) and lightly oil. Place the fish skin side down into the middle of it, spread the antipasti mix over the top.

Left the edges of the foil up and fold them together to make a parcel. Place on a baking tray
Bake at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the fish. Open the foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Salad

This is a mishmash of two recipes, that somehow really worked together. I'd been wanting to try Tequila Lime Chicken forever but never got round to it and then I found the salad recipe and with the coriander in both I thought it would bring the two together and it does work. the addition of mushrooms is mine too as they needed using up! It's a lovely light and reasonably healthy lunch.

Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Salad
(adapted from Closet Cooking and Tesco Real Food)
(Serves 4)

For the chicken
60ml tequila
120ml lime juice
2 tbsp oil
zest half lime
1 jalapeno pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 handful coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
4 chicken breasts

For the salad
300g basmati and wild rice
200g tenderstem broccoli, cut into 3cm lengths
200g mushrooms, sliced
400g 0% fat Greek yogurt
3 tbsp fresh chopped coriander, plus extra to serve
15 mint leaves cut into thin strips
juice and zest of 2 limes
6 sliced green spring onions
4 tequila lime chicken breasts, sliced

Put the tequila, lime juice, oil, lime zest, jalapeno, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper in a food processor and blitz until pureed.

Place the chicken  in a freezer bag, add the marinade and marinate for several hours or over night.

Grill the chicken until cooked, about 5-7 minutes per side, then set aside and leave to cool.

To make the salad; Cook the rice according to packet instructions, adding the broccoli for the last 3-4 mins.

Heat a frying pan and add a little oil, add the mushrooms and fry until golden, then leave to cool.

Meanwhile, mix together the yogurt, coriander, mint, lime juice and lime zest and leave to infuse for a few minutes. Put the chicken, rice, broccoli, and spring onions in a large mixing bowl and season.

Add the yogurt dressing and combine the ingredients together. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped coriander.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Pea and Bacon Pasta Salad

This is a really quick and easy pasta salad. As I go through term unsurprisingly I get more and more tired and so quicker and easier recipes are definitely the order of the day. I'm trying a new drug for my migraines at the moment and that's sending my brain kinda wonky and I also seem to have a million and one things to do at the moment, so time is limited. I'm looking forward to the slightly slower pace of life the Easter holidays will hopefully bring!

Pea and Bacon Pasta Salad (adapted from WeightWatchers Foods)
(Serves 4)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)

240g dried pasta shapes
100g peas, defrosted if frozen
cooking spray
4 low fat rashers bacon, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
100g low fat soft cheese
1 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped
black pepper to season

Add the pasta to a pan of boiling water and cook according to packet instructions, adding the peas for the final 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, mist a pan with cooking spray and add the bacon. Fry, stirring, for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute.

Drain the pasta and peas and run under cold water to cool down. Add the bacon and soft cheese. Stir to coat the pasta, add a little water if the mixture is too stiff. Stir in the parsley and season with pepper. Pack into your lunchbox.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Braised Sausages with Puy Lentils

I used half a tin of puy lentils to make my Roasted Carrot Salad last week and I was scrabbling around for ideas of what to do with the other half of the tin. I had some Pork and Black Pudding Sausages hiding the freezer and I came up with a braised sausage and lentil dish, something comforting and warming for this time of year. It's really easy to make and definitely provided that warmth I was seeking.

On a slightly separate but still sausage related note, those Black Boar and Wild garlic Sausages I had last week were absolutely delicious! A different flavour from pork and the wild garlic really came through. They came from The Parsons Nose, who have a stall on Walthamstow Farmers Market.

Print Recipe
Braised Sausages with Puy Lentils
(Serves 1)

2 pork sausages
1/2 onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small stick celery, chopped
1/2 400g can Puy lentils
splash white wine
300ml chicken stock
2 leaves spring greens, sliced

Heat a wide pan with a lid or a casserole dish and add a little oil. Brown the sausages all over. Remove, then add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until onions are softened. Add the lentils and stir. Add the wine and reduce a little, then add the stock, season and add back the sausages.

Put on a lid and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until lentils and sausages are cooked through, add the spring greens for the last 3-5 mins of cooking until they are wilted. Add a splash of water if needed or remove the lid for the last 5 minutes if there's too much liquid.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Cumin Lamb, Slaw and Mayo Wrap

I spent part of my weekend getting my old sofa out of the house, which we managed to do without demolishing it, but we did have to take the front door off! The sofa sat around for a few hours outside and then there was a knock at the door and two men asking if they could have it, as it saved me a phone call to the council I was more than happy and off they toddled with it! The new ones being delivered today. We also went to the William Morris Gallery just up the road, which looks fantastic after it's refurbishment and is well worth a visit. In the evening we watched Sherlock Holmes, which I'd never seen before and quite enjoyed, it's very Hollywood! Sunday, I cooked, did the housework and Zumba'd! There's still so much to do round the house though! I'll get there!

I had this sandwich for lunch one day cold and it was really good, it probably would have been better hot as the lamb had gone a little chewy but it was very tasty. I loved the slaw too it added that lovely crunch to the sandwich and the addition of the pepperdew peppers was genius.

Cumin Lamb, Slaw and Mayo Wrap (from Good Food Magazine August 2012)
(Serves 4)

4 small lamb leg steaks
2 tsp olive oil
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 carrots, coarsely grated
2 spring onions, finely sliced
400g white cabbage, very finely sliced
5 sweet peppadew peppers, 2 roughly sliced
3 tbsp light mayonnaise
4 flatbreads

Heat a griddle pan. Rub the lamb steaks with the oil, cumin and some seasoning. Griddle for about 3-4 mins on each side or until cooked to your liking. Place to one side on a plate to rest.

In a large bowl, stir the sugar into the vinegar until dissolved. Add the carrots, spring onions, cabbage and some seasoning, and toss together.

Blitz the whole peppers and the mayo in a food processor.

Heat the flatbreads in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add a heap of the slaw to each flatbread. Slice the lamb, trimming off any excess fat and lay on top of the salad, drizzling with the resting juices. Spoon over the mayo and scatter with a few of the sliced peppers. Roll up and eat. Serve any extra salad on the side.

Meal Planning Monday

I again have a hectic week, hopefully not as crazy as last week, where I don't think I sat down other than to eat and in bed, but you never know! I have an author visit at work on Wednesday and we are still in the midst of crazy researching for Founder's Day as well as lessons and all sorts of other library related things going on. I've forgotten to bring the pad I write the menu plan on with me and I can't remember what's happening past Thursday! So I shall fill that in when I get home and check.

I'm supposed to have a sofa being delivered today so bless my Mum she is sat in my house waiting for John Lewis to arrive, any time between 7am and 3pm! I also made a large amount of mini lemon cupcakes yesterday for Mad Hatters this week and if she has time she's going to ice them too! I don't know what I'd do without her. Otherwise, this week is quiet in the evenings, so hopefully an opportunity to catch up on some sleep, there will of course be Zumba, I'm watching a relay on Saturday and off to a party Saturday evening. Quite a nice week I hope!

Thai Beef Noodle Salad
Whatever my Mum picks up in Waitrose

Green Lentil and Frankfurter Soup
Cheese and Onion Quiche and Salad

Bulgar Wheat, Feta and Lentil Salad
Cheesy Veggie Pasta Bake

Chicken and Pesto Croissant Sandwich with Crisps
Out with my parents

Storecupboard Pasta Salad
Breaded Turkey with Broccoli Bean Mash


Sri-Lankan Lamb Curry


Grilled Fish with New Potatoes, Red Pepper and Olive Salad

Baking: Cocopop Marshmallow Crispy Square things

Go to At Home with Mrs M to get more menu ideas

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Carrot Cake Traybake

I made this cake for the first meeting of our Staff Book Group at school. Most of the staff joining us are on some kind of diet at the moment so I went with a low fat version of a classic. It was delicious! The leftovers I took to the staffroom the following morning and many teachers had it for breakfast! I cut into much smaller squares so I think I had about 30 pieces in the end which cut down the points even more.

Carrot Cake Traybake (from WeightWatchers Seasonally Sensational)
(Makes 14 slices)
(3 WW ProPoints per serving)

cooking spray
3 eggs
125g caster sugar
75g low fat spread, melted
150g self raising flour
1 heaped tsp mixed spice, plus a pinch to dust
250g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

For the icing
100g low fat soft cheese
75g 0% fat Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 17cm x 25cm rectangular cake tin with baking parchment and spray with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric whisk, beat the eggs and sugar for 3-4 mins until the mixture is pale and thick. Pour in the low fat spread.

Sift the flour and the tsp of mixed spice into the bowl and the fold everything together until you have a smooth batter.

Stir in the carrots and pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 25-30 mins until the cake is firm and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and stand the tin on a wire rack while the cake cools.

Meanwhile, beat the soft cheese, yoghurt and icing sugar together. When the cake is completely cool, remove from the tin and spread with the icing. Dust with a pinch of mixed spice and cut into slices.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Thai Veg with Israeli Couscous

Today I am destroying a sofa with the hope that a new one will arrive on Monday! Whilst I'm doing that, here is a lovely lunch recipe, it is fantastic served hot or cold and is my first try with giant Israeli couscous and I have to say I like it!

Thai Veg with Israeli Couscous (adapted from Straight Up Food)
(Serves 4)

300g dry Israeli couscous
1 tbsp oil
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
3 carrots, thinly sliced or julienned
8 mushrooms, diced
½ head of cabbage, thinly sliced
100g frozen peas, thawed
bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
4 spring onions, chopped

For the sauce
30 ml water
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp soy sauce

Cook the couscous according to packet instructions. Drain and rinse with cool water.

While couscous is cooking, blend sauce ingredients until smooth, check that peanut butter is completely incorporated. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and then add the broccoli, carrots and mushrooms, and cook on a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to begin softening. Add the cabbage and peas, and cook for another 5 minutes, until the broccoli, carrots and cabbage are softened.

Add the sauce, couscous, coriander and scallions to the vegetables, and thoroughly mix through, cooking another minute or two. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Transfer to your lunchbox and garnish with cilantro or toasted sesame seeds.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Honey Mustard Chicken with Parsnips

This was a really simple casseroley type dish that used up the last of the parsnips! I used way too much onion as you can see!

Honey Mustard Chicken with Parsnips (from Good Food Magazine March 2009)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
2 onions, finely chopped
350g parsnips, cut into sticks
300ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp clear honey
few thyme sprigs

Heat half the oil in a large frying pan or shallow casserole with a lid. Brown the chicken until golden, then set aside. Heat the remaining oil, then cook the onions for 5 mins until softened.

Nestle the thighs back amongst the onions and add the parsnips. Mix the stock with the mustard and honey, then pour in. Scatter over the thyme, then bring to a simmer. Cover, then cook for 30 mins until the chicken is tender, then season. Serve with steamed greens.