Sunday, 30 June 2013

Plaice with Prawns and Dill

This was a hugely simple dish to make and cook but really really tasty. I didn't have the time to skin the fish first so I cooked it with the skin on. I would probably bake the fish next time as much of the cheesy filling leaked out into the water below whereas had I baked it the filling might have stayed in better.

Plaice with Prawns and Dill (adapted from Ultimate Philadelphia Cookbook)
(Serves 4)
100g low fat soft cheese
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
8 prawns, chopped
4 skinless plaice fillets
Mix together the soft cheese, dill, prawns and pepper.
Lay the plaice fillets on a board and divide the prawn mixture between them. Roll up the fish and secure with a cocktail stick.
Place in a steamer and cook for 8-10 mins until the fish flakes when tested with a knife. Serve.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Roasted Carrot and Barley Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

This was a really lovely and flavourful barley salad that takes a little prep but is essentially really simple to make with big bold flavours. The original recipe uses squash but I'm not much of a fan of butternut squash except in soup so I changed it for carrots and it worked perfectly.

Roasted Carrot and Barley Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
(adapted from Good Food Magazine November 2008)
(Serves 4)

500g carrots, cut into batons
1 tbsp olive oil
250g pearl barley
300g Tenderstem broccoli, cut into medium-size pieces
100g sun dried tomatoes, sliced
1 small red onion, diced
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 tbsp small capers, rinsed
15 black olives, pitted
20g pack basil, chopped
For the dressing
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Heat oven to 200C. Place the carrots on a baking tray and toss with olive oil. Roast for 20 mins.
Meanwhile, boil the barley for about 25 mins in salted water until tender, but al dente. While this is happening, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Drain the barley, then tip it into a bowl and pour over the dressing. Mix well and let it cool.

Boil the broccoli in salted water until just tender, then drain and rinse in cold water. Drain and pat dry. Add the broccoli and remaining ingredients to the barley and mix well. Serve.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Chicken Puttanesca

This is a lightened up version of Puttanesca and according to The Times is only 247 calories per serving without the pasta. I made a few changes, I used a tin of chopped tomatoes rather than fresh cherry tomatoes and I only had black olives but mixed would be nice. It was a delicious meal, the lovely saltiness of the anchovies, olives and capers was a lovely contrast with the tomatoes and chicken.

Chicken Puttanesca (adapted from The Times)
(Serves 6)

1 tbsp olive oil
20 anchovy fillets, drained
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp mixed olives, stoned
2 tbsp capers
12 chicken thighs, boned and skinned
450g tagliatelle
bunch of fresh basil, stems removed
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based casserole dish. Add the anchovies and garlic and fry gently for 2-3 minutes, until the anchovies have melted but the garlic has not browned.

Stir in the tomatoes, olives and capers, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add the chicken thighs and stir well to combine. Place a lid on the casserole and put on the middle shelf in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven; give the chicken a good stir so that it’s well coated in the puttanesca sauce. Return to the oven, without the lid, and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the tagliatelle according to packet instructions.

Remove the puttanesca from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before stirring in the basil leaves. Season and serve over the pasta.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Rhubarb and Pear Crumble

Another crumble! This is the last one I made during half term, it's a Rhubarb and Pear crumble and it was delicious, so good with ice cream! I still have more rhubarb so I'm trying to think of lovely things to do with it.

Rhubarb and Pear Crumble (from Good Food Magazine March 2007)
(Serves 6)

3 ripe pears
600g rhubarb
100g golden caster sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
For the crumble:
175g plain flour
50g rolled oats
100g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
50g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 200C.
For the topping, put the flour, butter and sugar in a bowl and rub with your fingers until you have a mixture that looks like breadcrumbs, mix in the oats and then set aside in the fridge.
Peel the pears and chop into large chunks, then chop the rhubarb into finger-length batons. Tip into a large ovenproof dish and toss with the sugar and orange zest and juice.
Crumble over the topping and bake for 40 mins until golden and bubbling at the sides. Serve with ice cream.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Smoked Salmon Pitta Pizza

This provided me with a lovely lunch on a beautiful sunny weekend lunchtime. I was really quick to make but gave me that kinda pizza fix I was craving. Soft cheese and smoked salmon warmed up? What could be better?! I served it with a lovely green salad with lettuce from my Mum's garden and radishes from mine.

Smoked Salmon Pitta Pizza (adapted from Good Food Magazine April 2013)
(Serves 1)

1 pitta bread
1 tbsp low fat soft cheese
1-2 slices smoked salmon, sliced
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 tsp capers
sprinkling of chopped dill

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Spread the top of the pitta with the soft cheese. Add the smoked salmon and then sprinkle over the red onion, capers and finally the dill.

Bake in the oven for 10 mins or until the pitta is crispy and golden. Serve with a side salad.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Mars Bar Cake

This brings back memories of childhood. It's the cake my Mum always used to make for our birthday parties and after school tea with friends etc. The recipe came from a nursing friend of my Mum's and it's now made by both my sisters and myself for parties, book clubs and pacifying clients.

The original recipe only called for two Mars bars but since then Mars bars have shrunk and so you now need three of them. Although I'm sure that Mars would hotly dispute the diminishing size of their Mars bars, the proof is in the pudding (or cake). Having experimented, two is now not enough to hold the cake together and three works perfectly. The cake is so good, my book group ate it all up in minutes with many asking for second and third helpings and they kept telling me how good it was. But seriously, what could be better than melted Mars, crushed biscuits and chocolate, so simple but so good!

Mars Bar Cake

60g butter/margarine
3 Mars bars
1 tbsp golden syrup
225g digestive biscuits
150g milk chocolate

Melt the butter, Mars bars and golden syrup together in a saucepan over a low heat or in a bowl over a pan of boiling water if you're prone to burning chocolate like me!

Meanwhile, bash/crush the digestive biscuits with a rolling pin until they half are like breadcrumbs but there are still some chunks.

When the mars mixture is melted add in the digestives and mix well to combine, then tip into a greased and lined tin.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water and spread on top of the mars and digestives. Place in the fridge and leave until it sets. When set, turn out of the pan and cut into squares.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Puy Lentil, Couscous and Hummus Salad

This is really more of a putting together recipe than an actual cooking anything recipe but it's here for inspiration more than anything, and that's what this blog is partly about, recipes to be used and played with, using whatever you have in the house. This salad was really simple to throw together but the flavour combinations were fantastic. The hummus when mixed with everything gave the dish a different sort of "vinaigrette" which worked fantastically and I loved the crunch of the pumpkin seeds.

Puy Lentil, Couscous and Hummus Salad (adapted from Salad Pride)
(Serves 1)

60g lemon and garlic couscous
1/2 head lettuce, shredded
100g puy lentils, cooked
2 tbsp hummus
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted

Put the couscous into a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover by about 1/2 cm. Leave for 5 mins until the couscous has soaked up all the water then fluff with a fork, leave to cool.

Grab your lunchbox and put the shredded lettuce in the bottom of the box. Top with the couscous, followed by the puy lentils. Dollop the hummus on top of the lentils and then sprinkle the toasted pumpkin seeds over the top.

Meal Planning Monday

Another Monday, they seem to come around so quickly! Two weeks until the end of term and only three until I finish for the summer! So much to do before then though. This week is another busy week both work wise and in the evenings. I'm going to the theatre two nights, to Zumba of course and to a party on Friday and dinner and the cinema on Saturday. I also finally have an appointment for the first round of Botox on Thursday afternoon, I'm rather terrified and thankfully my Mum is coming with me and then staying the night afterwards. So all in all busy!

In line with that my meals are quick and easy; two days I'm eating on the run so I'm taking a pack up with me, the quick and simple things the rest of the week. I'm looking forward to the possible Barbacoa on Sunday. I have some stewing beef in the freezer and am going to throw it in my slow cooker and hope it comes out like it's meant to!

I've been having fun in the garden this weekend in between the rain showers and I have my first mooli!

It's going into a stir fry with the mackerel and some home grown pak choi on Thursday. It's so exciting now the garden is producing and I'm not having to buy so much veg!

Broccoli and Rice Casserole with Salad
Orzo Pasta Salad with Parma Ham and Spinach

Spiced Potato and Lentil Soup with Naan
Beans and Greens Salad with Chorizo (Waitrose Recipe Card)

Quiche and Salad
Salmon Hash with Veg

Aubergine Meatball Pitta with Crisps
Ginger and Chilli Mackerel with Stir Fry Pak Choi, Mooli and Noodles

Cheese and Pickle Sandwich, Crisps, Hummus and Olives
Baked Potato with Baked Beans, Sausages and Cheese

Salmon and Avocado Sandwich
Out with friends for curry

Barbecue Hotdog Spaghetti

I'm linking up with Mrs M, check out her blog for more meal planning ideas and I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Spiced Potato and Lentil Soup

I really liked this soup although mine turned into more of a dahl than a soup but I loved the warmth of the spices in the dish wich went pefectly with the lentils and potatoes.

Spiced Potato and Lentil Soup (from Tinned Tomatoes)
(Serves 4)

tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1cm piece ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
a good pinch of chilli powder
4 medium potatoes, chopped into chunks (1 cm approx)
200g red lentils
1.2l vegetable stock
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
salt and pepper

Saute the onion, garlic and fresh ginger until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the spices and mix well. Add a splosh of water to prevent the spiced onions from sticking to the pan.
Add the potatoes and lentils, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes until the potatoes and lentils are tender.
Season with salt and pepper, then add the fresh coriander and serve.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Chorizo and Greens Calzone

I love having pizza but ordering a take away is so expensive and as it comes from quite a long way from my house it tends to be a bit soggy when it arrives. So I tend to make my own. I use the pre-packeted pizza base mixes as I think they taste better and are quicker than anything I have made myself, which means that I can pretty much make pizza in half an hour. It's fantastic.

This calzone is delicious and lovely and filling with the addition of the tomato lentil sauce which isn't in the original recipe. The bread bit was really crunchy too, no soggy pizzas here!

Chorizo and Greens Calzone (adapted from Good Food Magazine February 2010)
(Serves 2)

1 packet of pizza base mix
1 portion tomato and lentil sauce
12 slices chorizo
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200g spring greens
1 ball low fat mozzarella, torn into pieces
grated Parmesan
Make the pizza base according to packet instructions.
Heat oven to 200C. Put a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in the oven. Cut any central tough veins out of the greens, then finely shred the leaves.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll one piece out into the largest circle that you can, then spread half the tomato lentil sauce over half the pizza base leaving a border. Layer half the chorizo on top of the sauce.
Sizzle the garlic in a little oil in a pan, then add the greens and toss. Tip half onto the chorizo, then add half the mozzarella and grate over lots of Parmesan. Fold the dough over, fold in and pinch the sides together, and slide onto a baking sheet dusted with semolina.
Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, then bake for 15-20 mins or until puffed up and browned.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Mango Crumble

As I had way too much topping from the Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble I made, I used the rest of the topping mixture to make several other crumbles. This is a mini mango crumble. I made three mini mango crumbles and three mini rhubarb crumbles to take back home with me, which I then froze. The mango ones were delicious, I am now a total crumble convert and this is such a simple recipe to make! I hadn't made crumble topping by hand for ages and its actually much quicker and less arduous than I remembered. I'm still resisting buying that food processor!

This crumble would also be good using tinned mango or peaches instead.

Mango Crumble (adapted from Market Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

2 large sweet ripe mango, peeled and sliced
50g brown sugar
2 pinches nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground cloves, or four whole cloves 

175g plain flour
50g rolled oats
100g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
50g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Place the mango slices in a saucepan with the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves and cook gently for 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat.

To make the crumble topping; Place the flour, butter and caster sugar into a food processor and whizz until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. You can of course do this by hand. Mix in the oats.

Spoon the mango mixture into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the crumble topping. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Serve with ice cream or creme fraiche.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Smoked Salmon and Egg Wrap

Yes those are my knobbly knees you can see in the background! I was sitting on the tube when I took the photo of the wrap and then I enjoyed eating it. This is a really good sandwich, delicious, simple to make and put together in no time, and you guessed it, it contains that all important vitamin D from the oily fish!

Smoked Salmon and Egg Wrap (adapted from Good Food Magazine June 2010)
(Serves 1)

2 slices smoked salmon
1 hard boiled egg, cooled, shelled and sliced
1 corn tortilla/wrap

For the mustard mayonnaise:
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 small red onion, very finely sliced

Mix the mayonnaise and mustard, then stir in the onion.

To assemble, spread a layer of the onion mayonnaise over the wrap and add the smoked salmon, some sliced hard-boiled egg and a few leaves of lettuce. Roll up tightly.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Japanese Beef Casserole with Miso Wasabi Mash

I had been wanting to make this recipe for ages but never quite got round to it, and I am so glad I finally did. The dish is really flavourful and the meat is so tender. It is probably a Japanese recipe for those who don't much go in for noodles/stir fries etc as it's basically a traditional English casserole but with added Japanese flavours. The mash was fantastic too, I loved the hit of the horseradish. I served it with asparagus and spring greens.

Japanese Beef Casserole with Miso Wasabi Mash (adapted from Fuss Free Flavours)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 leek, sliced
800g stewing beef, cut into cubes
2 tbsp flour
1 mug beef stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp sake
1 tbsp miso
1 star anise

600g potatoes
1 tbsp miso
couple of squeezes of wasabi

Pour the sesame oil into a large frying pan and fry the onions, garlic, celery and leek for a few minutes until softened, transfer to the slow cooker pot or casserole dish.

Fry off the cubed beef in batches – there should be space around each piece so it browns properly. Once browned add to your cooking pot. When frying off the last batch of beef add the flour, this should absorb all the remaining fat. Cook for a few minutes and transfer to your cooking pot.

If necessary deglaze the pan with some of the stock. Pour the stock, soy sauce and sake over the beef and vegetables. Add the miso and star anise and stir well. If necessary add a little water so the beef is almost covered.

Cook in the oven for two and a half hours at 150°C.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Mash with the miso and wasabi and serve with the casserole.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Wholemeal No-Knead Bread

All the way back in 2009, I discovered No-Knead Bread and I have made it on and off for the last 4 years but always white. When I was home for the bank holiday weekend, (yes that's how far behind I am in posting!), I wanted to make bread but didn't really have the time to knead it, sit and wait for it to rise for a couple of hours, knock it back, let it rise again etc. So, I went with no-knead bread which is so easy to make and less time consuming in the actual being active time. I usually make a white version of this using all white bread flour but this is a half white, half wholemeal version and a wholly wholemeal version works just as well.

The bread is cooked in a casserole dish. I used my Mum's trusty Le Creuset but any cast iron casserole dish with a lid will do. It produces a fantastic loaf, a bit like sourdough, crusty on the outside but lovely and soft in the middle.

Wholemeal No-Knead Bread (adapted from The New York Times)
(Makes 1 loaf)

1 1/2 cups white bread flour
1 1/2 cups brown bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 sachet yeast
1 1/2 cups water

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add the water a bit at a time, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.

Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it somewhere warm for about 12 -18 hours, it's best if you make it in the evening and leave it over night. When you come back you should have a bubbly mixture, about twice the size.

Heat the oven to 230°C and pop your casserole dish in to preheat for 30-45mins. While the dish is heating up, scrape the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Set aside to rest until the casserole dish is heated.

Take your dish out the oven and carefully place the dough inside. Using your mitts, place the lid back on top and place it back into the oven. Bake for 30 mins.

Remove the lid and bake for a further 15 - 30 mins until golden on top. Take it out of the casserole dish and leave it to cool on a cooling rack.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Cauliflower and Broccoli Macaroni Cheese

You remember this Fish Pie I made back in May? Well this is the macaroni cheese I used the other half of the bechamel sauce for. I took pictures at the time and then froze it to eat later on. I was basically using up slightly out of date pasta and and some leftover broccoli and cauliflower. I really liked the addition of the veg into the macaroni cheese. I love cauliflower cheese anyway so I didn't mind the cauliflower being there and the broccoli actually added brilliantly to the dish and as there is the added veg you don't need so much pasta. Definitely one to make again.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Macaroni Cheese (from Donald Skehan)
(Serves 4-6)

250g macaroni
1 cauliflower, broken into florets
1 broccoli, broken into florets
700ml cold milk
50g butter, plus extra for greasing
50g plain flour
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
pinch of nutmeg
200g cheddar cheese, grated 

Fill a large cooking pot big enough to hold the cooked pasta, broccoli and cauliflower with water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 12 minutes or until al dente.

Five minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the cauliflower florets to the water. Two minutes later, add the broccoli florets - if you don’t have enough space just put on a second pot of boiling water. Cook for 3 more minutes, then drain. Place back in the pot and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease a 25cm x 25cm ovenproof baking dish, approximately 5cm in depth.

Add the milk to a saucepan over a medium to high heat and the whisk in the butter and flour. Continuously whisk until the mixture comes to a steady simmer and continue to cook until you have a thick sauce.

Add the wholegrain mustard, a pinch of nutmeg and three quarters of the cheese. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Mix through until the cheese has melted and then pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni, cauliflower and broccoli and mix through until everything is combined.

Pour the contents of the pot into the baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the top has turned golden and the sauce is bubbling up the sides. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.     

Meal Planning Monday

It's Monday again and only 3 weeks till the end of term and only 4 weeks left for me! Last week's plan went pretty well, I stuck to it and had some yummy food. I am however now so behind in posting things that there will be about a two week wait to see anything!

I also had pudding every night last week and the scales say that I didn't gain any weight either! The zumba definitely works!! So the first three nights were left over cobbler, and then I made a mini apple pie:

Which was basically left over scone dough, the rest of the apple sauce and half a bramley apple, peeled and sliced with 1/2 tsp of demerara sugar sprinkled on top and baked for 30 mins, really tasty. The next night I made an apple galette type pudding:

This was the last bit of scone dough rolled out flat with jam spread on top of it, the other half of the apple, peeled and sliced and demerara sugar sprinkled on top, baked for 20 mins. This was also really good although the jam caught around the edges. I served both with ice cream. The last of the leftover pork was used to make green chilli pork enchiladas:

This was pork and cheese rolled inside corn tortillas put in a dish with a packet of green chilli enchilada sauce poured over the top, topped with cheese and baked. This was really good, spicy but not too spicy and there were leftovers of this too which I froze!

I also got given a cake by one of the Year 8s last week. We'd been talking about them and she brought one in for me!

It's a fairy cake with the middle cut out which was then filled with melted marshmallow and then topped with butter cream and mini marshmallows! It was really lovely.

This week all the leftovers are gone :(. I am trying to do two things this week, clear out the freezer and use some of the recipes I have lying around. My living room seems to be covered in recipes I've printed out and I really need to use some of them and throw them away! I also need to create more space in the freezer and use things that have been hanging around for a while. I am off to the theatre tomorrow night to see Travels with my Aunt at the Menier Chocolate Factory and out for dinner after Zumba tonight but the rest of the week is quiet although no doubt I will still find myself running about all over the place!

Rice and Avocado Salad with a Wasabi Dressing (Waitrose Recipe Card)
Out at Itsu

Green Chilli Chicken Enchiladas
Honey Mustard Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad

Spaghetti Squash Bake with Salad
Buffalo Burger

Chorizo, Garlic Aioli and Roasted Red Pepper Pitta with Crisps
Halloumi, Asparagus and Tomato Bake (Waitrose Recipe Card)

Sardine Salad
Chorizo Hash

Out at Subway

Monkfish wrapped in Parma Ham with Mash and Sea Kale

As always I'm linking up with Mrs M, check out her blog for more meal planning ideas.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Birthday Highjinks - Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

This is the last of my birthday recipes and the second of the two cobblers I made, this one is a more American version and was so so good. Whereas the English version was a little too sweet and the scones a little firm for a pudding topping the cake batter mixture was perfect. It would also be easier to make smaller versions of this, which I will definitely be doing! I've also filled up all week on leftover puddings, it's been fantastic!
Although the outlay for the party was a fair bit, actually I've had so many leftovers and things that it's practically fed me for the week. I bought a very good quality piece of pork and even so my Mum and I worked out that the pork was just over £1 per portion, which is pretty good value really. None of anything else was particularly expensive and a lot of it simply used up things I already had and at the end of the day I had a fantastic night with good friends and good food and that's what really matters.

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler (from Hairy Biker's Mississippi Adventure)
(Serves 6-8)

2 x 410g tins sliced peaches, in juice
75g granulated or golden caster sugar, plus 4 tbsp       
2 tbsp cornflour
75g butter, softened
1 large egg
150ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g blueberries

Preheat the oven to 190C. Drain the peaches, reserving the juice from just one of the cans - you’ll get about 110ml.

Put the peaches and the juice in a medium saucepan and add 2 tbsp of the sugar. Cook the peaches and sugar for three minutes, or until they reach a gentle simmer.

Mix the cornflour with 4 tbsp cold water and stir into the pan. Cook over a low heat for 2-3 minutes or until the peach juice has thickened and looks almost clear, stirring constantly. Tip into a 1.5 litre shallow ovenproof dish.

To make the topping, put the 75g of sugar in a large bowl and add the soft butter, egg, milk, vanilla extract, flour and baking powder.

Beat like hell with a wooden spoon or electric whisk. The batter should be thick and smooth and drop easily from the spoon. Don’t worry if there are a few small lumps of butter in the mix. Stir in the blueberries.

Put big spoonfuls of the batter on top of the fruit. There will be a few gaps but the cobbler mixture will soften to fill them.

Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tbsp sugar and bake for 35 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is well risen and golden brown. Serve with cream or ice cream.     

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Birthday Highjinks - Apple and Blackberry Cobbler

I made two puddings for Saturday night, both cobblers to keep with the American theme. However, this is actually an English style cobbler using a scone like mixture to form the topping rather than the more American cake batter topping. At least I think I have that right! I tried a bit of both and although I liked this one I preferred the Peach and Blueberry cobbler.

Apple and Blackberry Cobbler (adapted from Market Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

700g bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced
200g blackberries
75g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
25g butter, plus extra for greasing 
For the cobbler topping
450g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
200g chilled butter, diced
100g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
60ml milk
1 tbsp demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 200C. Generously butter a deep, 1.5 litre ovenproof baking dish.

Put the apple slices, blackberries, caster sugar and vanilla seeds into the prepared dish and mix gently to coat the fruit in vanilla and sugar. Dot with the butter.

For the cobbler topping: sift the flour, a pinch of salt, ground ginger and ground cinnamon into a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg and milk until combined.

Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, reserving a little to brush on the top of the cobbler. Mix well (a dinner knife works well for this) then remove from the bowl and knead lightly on a floured surface into a smooth dough.

Roll out the dough until 1.5cm thick and, using a cookie cutter, divide it into 12 rounds. Arrange these rounds over the apple mix – it doesn’t matter if there are gaps. Brush the tops of the cobbler with the reserved milk/egg mix and sprinkle with the demerara sugar and a little pinch of salt.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the cobbler topping has risen and turned golden and the filling is bubbling. Serve with ice cream.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Daring Cooks June 2013: Aubergine No-Meat Meatballs with Pasta

A slight break from my birthday recipes for Daring Cooks!

The June Daring Cooks’ challenge sure kept us rolling – meatballs, that is! Shelley from C Mom Cook and Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to try meatballs from around the world and to create our own meatball meal celebrating a culture or cuisine of our own choice.

There were so many things I wanted to try for this challenge but time got away from me. I am obsessed with Italian Wedding Soup but have never made it myself. However, I had things that needed using up and chose to do that rather than go out and buy all new ingredients, but I will make some of the other recipes and the things other people made in due course! I had aubergines lurking in the fridge that needed using and a search found these fantastic aubergine no-meat meatballs. I had no idea what they were going to taste like and when I took that first bite, they were so good. Different from meat meatballs but really really good. So much so that I've mnade another batch which I've frozen.

Aubergine No-Meat Meatballs with Pasta
(from Abel and Cole and The Metro)
(Serves 4)

olive oil
2 aubergines, cut into a small dice
1 smallish onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper
zest 1/2 lemon
squeeze lemon juice
handful of pitted black olives
pinch of chilli powder
A large handful of fresh basil or 1 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 mug of breadcrumbs
a bunch of fresh basil
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
2  400g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
300g dried spaghetti or penne
25g Parmesan cheese, for grating

Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Sizzle the aubergine, onion and garlic in a bit of oil till soft and starting to colour. Add more oil, if needed. Season well.

When it's almost done, add a squeeze of lemon juice and the lemon zest.
Tip it into a food processor with the olives, chilli, balsamic vinegar and breadcrumbs. Whizz it up till everything comes together. Or just chop and mix everything up on a large cutting board.

Taste the mix. Add more herbs or spice if needed. If it’s a bit dry, add a splash of olive oil. If it’s too wet, add more breadcrumbs. Shape into balls. Two aubergines will give you about a dozen rounded tablespoon-sized balls.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil for the pasta.
Heat a large pan on a medium heat and add 2 glugs of olive oil. Add the onion and stir for 7 mins or until softened and lightly golden. Then add the garlic. As soon as they get some colour, add the larger basil leaves then add the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and season to taste.

Sizzle the balls in olive oil till golden all over.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Drain, and return the pasta to the pan. Spoon in half the tomato sauce, adding a splash of the reserved water to loosen.
Pile onto plates with the rest of the sauce and meatballs on top. Sprinkle over the small basil leaves and some grated Parmesan. Serve.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Birthday Highjinks - Bonfire Baked Beans

These beans went down a treat on Saturday. They are actually something I make so often that I'm really surprised I've never put them on here before. They are so much better than tinned baked beans and are delicious either on toast, with large croutons mixed in or as a side dish. I didn't put the bacon in the version I used on Saturday as we already had pork and they were a fantastic accompaniment.

Bonfire Baked Beans (from The Independent)
(Serves 4-6)

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 rashers smoked bacon, diced
1/2 tsp pimenton/smoked paprika
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp tomato puree
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 400g cans beans (flageolet, borlotti, cannellini, black eye etc), drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tomato ketchup

Gently cook onion, garlic and bacon in the oil for 3-4 mins until the onions are soft but not coloured.

Add the pimenton, sugar and tomato puree and stir over the heat for 1 min, then add the tomatoes, beans and ketchup, season and add a cup (or half the tomato tin) of water and simmer for 45 mins stirring every so often until the sauce is thick.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Birthday Highjinks - Sauces

To accompany the pork I made two sauces. The first was a smokey barbecue sauce, which I have posted about before. It went beautifully with the pulled pork and I really need to work out if I could can it and keep it in jars as it is so good. Neither myself or my Mum is sure where the recipe comes from but we think it might be the Cordon Bleu cookery course. It wasn't all that thick, from memory it isn't supposed to be, so I added a tsp of cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water to thicken it up so it could be used in sandwiches.

For those who wanted something a little more traditional in an English way I made apple sauce too. This went down well on the night and was also delicious the day after with the cold pork. I'm also going to try it in my porridge tomorrow morning with a little added sugar.

Bramley Apple Sauce (adapted from Good Food Magazine January 2009)
(Serves 6-8)

3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced
50g caster sugar
splash of water

Put the apples and sugar in a pan and add a splash of water.

Place the pan on a low heat, stirring occasionally until the apples break down into a smooth purée. Tip into a serving dish.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Birthday Highjinks - 6 Hour Slow Roast Pork (Pulled Pork)

The main focus of my birthday meal was the delicious pulled pork. I forgot to take a picture of the pork before we pulled it apart as I was busy doing the side dishes, but you can see from the picture how amazingly it turned out. The crackling was fantastic, it was even still crunchy the day after and having pork and crackling sandwiches was amazing! The recipe below is for a traditional pork roast with gravy but I used the recipe without the gravy as I just wanted the meat for the pulled pork bit and it worked perfectly. The meat just fell apart off the bone. I also added in the smoked paprika as I thought it would give the meat a bit of added flavour.

6 Hour Slow Roast Pork (adapted from Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 4-6)

2 kg shoulder of pork, bone-in, skin on
 salt and pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 red onions, halved
2 carrots, peeled and halved lengthways
1 large leek, cut into large chunks
1 bulb garlic, skin on, broken into cloves
6-8 bay leaves
600 ml water or organic vegetable stock

Preheat your oven to 220°C.

Place your pork on a clean work surface, skin-side up. Using a small sharp knife make scores about a centimetre apart through the skin into the fat, but not so deep that you cut into the meat. If the joint is tied, try not to cut through the string. Rub salt right into all the scores you've just made, pulling the skin apart a little if you need to. Rub with half the smoked paprika

Brush any excess salt off the surface then turn it over. Season the underside of the meat with a few pinches of salt, pepper and the rest of the smoked paprika. Place your pork, skin-side up, in a roasting tray and pop in the preheated oven. Roast for 30 minutes, until the skin of the pork has started to puff up and you can see it turning into crackling. At this point, turn the heat down to 170°C, cover the pork snugly with a double layer of tinfoil, pop back in the oven and roast for a further 4 and a half hours.

Take out of the oven, take the foil off, and baste the meat with the fat in the bottom of the tray. Carefully lift the pork up and transfer to a chopping board. Spoon all but a couple of tablespoons of fat out.

Add all the veg, garlic and bay leaves to the tray and stir them into the fat. Place the pork back on top of everything and return to the stove without the foil to roast for another hour. By this time the meat should be meltingly soft and tender.

Carefully move the meat to a serving dish, cover again with tinfoil and leave to rest while you make your gravy. Spoon away any fat in the tray, then add the water or stock and place the tray on the hob. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to scrape up all those lovely sticky tasty bits on the bottom of the tray. When you've got a nice, dark gravy, pour it through a sieve into a bowl or gravy boat, using your spoon to really push all the goodness of the veg through the sieve. Add a little more salt and pepper if it needs it.

Serve the pork and crackling with your jug of gravy.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Birthday Highjinks - Salsa and Guacamole

Saturay was my birthday and in the evening I had a few friends round for a meal. I am obsessed with food from the Southern States of America so I made a kind of American Barbecue/Tex Mex feast.

I did slow roast pork, baked beans, macaroni cheese, curly fries, coleslaw, green salad, bread rolls, curly fries, barbecue sauce and apple sauce. Then we has a peach and blueberry cobbler and an apple and blackberry cobbler for pudding, with a carrot cake that my Mum had made. The whole meal was fantastic, really tasty and it was lovely to be able to try everything all together for the first time. I would love to go to this region of the States and taste it all properly. I'm going to post the recipes for some of the food over the next week or so, with a break for Daring Cooks in Friday. The macaroni cheese I totally cheated on and used a jarred sauce I'd brought back from the States and the curly fries were out a packet. For the coleslaw I used this recipe leaving out the yoghurt as one of my friends is lactose intolerant. My Mum made the bread rolls and the lettuce came from her garden, everything else I will put up in due course including the puddings!

We started off the evening in the garden as the afternoon/evening was lovely; sunny and mild. I served Tomato and Corn Salsa and Guacamole with tortilla chips and crisps along with some Pimms and lemonade.

Tomato and Corn Salsa

1/2 mug sweetcorn
1 tomato, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
8-9 leaves oregano, chopped
juice 1/2 lime

If your sweetcorn is frozen cook for about 5 mins in boiling water.

Then combine everything except the lime in a bowl. Squeeze over the lime juice and serve.


2 ripe avocadoes, peeled, stoned and chopped
small red onion, chopped
juice 1 lemon
8 drops Tabasco sauce
small bunch coriander, chopped

Put the avocadoes and red onion into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the avocadoes are mushed a bit. Add in the lemon juice, tabasco and coriander and pulse until the mixture is smooth with a few chunks.

Meal Planning Monday

I had an absolutely fantastic birthday on Saturday, the weather was glorious and I had a few friends over for dinner in the evening and made pulled pork. I have so many leftovers, it's brilliant and I'm adding pork to everything! I was really pleased with the way all the food turned out and it was lovely to see everyone. On Sunday I got a bit more of the garden done and planted out my tomatillo plants scattered all over the garden. Everything all went as planned last week except that I forgot the sea kale on Friday, will try again with that this week.

This week is fairly hectic work wise, I start my summer set of lessons this week with the Year 7s and they do an activity where they have to match a set of covers to the blurbs on the back, it's a really interesting lesson and usually really fun. Other than that a fairly quiet week.

Pearl Barley and Puy Lentil Salad
Leftover Pork Green Enchiladas

Asparagus and Egg Salad with Chorizo
Cauliflower and Broccoli Macaroni Cheese and Salad

Chicken and Bacon Pasta Salad
Lentils, Poached Egg and Paprika Spiked Yoghurt

Ham and Asparagus Wrap with Crisps
Salmon with Lemon Orzo and Sea Kale

Smoked Mackerel and Horseradish Potato Salad (WW Magazine Clipping)
Meatball Pasta Bake

Salmon Tart and Salad
Hyderabadi Lamb Shank with Rice and Veg

Fennel Lasagne

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Truffle Butter Sea Bass with Saffron Linguine and Peas

This dish was another collaboration with my Mum, she did the fish and I was in charge of the pasta. It's a really simple idea but both parts worked really well together. It was served with some lovely English watercress and some broccoli and made for a very tasty summer dinner.

Truffle Butter Sea Bass with Saffron Linguine and Peas
(Serves 2)

2 seabass fillets
2 tbsp truffle butter
1 tsp dried dill
120g linguine
100g frozen peas
pinch saffron
2 tbsp double cream
1/2 lemon, zested
squeeze lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Tear off two pieces of foil and two pieces of greaseproof paper slightly smaller than the foil. Smear 1 tbsp of the butter on the greaseproof paper, place the fish on top and pop the rest of the butter on top of the fish. Sprinkle over the dill and scrunch the foil to form a parcel. Place on a baking tray and put into the oven for 10-15 mins.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions adding the peas for the last 5 mins.

Put the saffron in a small bowl and pour oven 1 tbsp boiling water.

When the pasta is cooked drain and return to the pan. Add the saffron, double cream lemon zest and juice and stir well.

To serve, divide the pasta between two plates and place the fish on top spooning over any juices from the parcel.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salsa

This recipe is really nothing new, there are hundreds of recipes for this kind of thing out there but it is so easy and tasty I thought I'd post my version. This was the other salad I made to take to Wimpole Hall, again using up ingredients from my fridge and made at 7am before I left so that the avocado wouldn't go brown! We ate it as a side salad with the quiche but it would also be lovely as a salsa with some tortilla chips and really that's what it is. You could also add in some chilli if you wanted too but I didn't think that would go with the rest of what we were eating!

Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salsa
(Serves 2 as a side dish)

1/2 large tomato, diced
1/2 large avocado, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
50g sweetcorn
juice 1/2 lime
1 tbsp coriander, chopped

Combine the tomato, avocado, onion and corn in a bowl. Squeeze over the lime juice and sprinkle over the coriander, mix well and serve.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble

As I said in my post about flapjacks a couple of days ago I used to hate oats, this extended to crumbles. In conversation with my sister over the weekend I said I'd made crumble and she complained that we'd never had crumble as children, because my father didn't like it, but that she loved it and I had to set her straight and say we didn't have crumble much as children because I didn't like it! I remember my Mum making her rhubarb crumble when rhubarb season came around and I had stewed rhubarb which I liked much better!

I have definitely become a convert! I made several crumbles over the Bank Holiday weekend. I think that this recipe yields too much crumble topping, now this may just be because I like my crumble topping relatively thin, but it meant that I could make more than one. This is the big one I made for pudding:

I also made some mini rhubarb and ginger crumbles, which I must remember rise up and explode over the side, so to fill them slightly less full next time, and some mango crumbles, the recipe for which will follow next week. All of which were really tasty. I have upped the amount of ginger in the recipe below than I actually used as we didn't feel it was all that gingery but if you want to use less, the recipes I looked at only used 1 tsp.

Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble (loosely adapted from BBC Food)
(Serves 4)

600g rhubarb, washed and cut into inch chunks
80g caster sugar
1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh ginger

175g plain flour
50g rolled oats
100g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
50g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Place the rhubarb into a saucepan with the sugar and a splash of water. Cook until the rhubarb has almost broken down but there are still a few lumps and add in the ginger.

Meanwhile, Place the flour, butter and caster sugar into a food processor and whizz until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. You can of course do this by hand. Mix in the oats.

Transfer the rhubarb mixture to a deep dish. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over top and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins until golden brown on top. Serve with ice cream.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Wimpole Hall and Asparagus Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad

On the Saturday of the Bank Holiday Weekend I met a friend and we went to Wimpole Hall and Home Farm in Cambridgeshire. We had a lovely wander round the house in the morning and then sat and had a picnic in the grounds for lunch. The day was beautiful, lovely and sunny and just a little windy but warm enough to sit outside. I made a couple of salads to accompany the quiche that my friend had made. The first of those was this easily whipped up pasta salad and I mean easy as I made it when I got home at about 10pm the night before! But it was super tasty and a really good compliment to the quiche. The spinach came from my garden and the asparagus from Walthamstow Market was English so tasted fantastic, it also used up odds and ends from my cupboard and fridge, much better than letting things go to waste.

In the afternoon we walked down to the walled garden and Home Farm. The garden was in that in between stage getting ready for growing vegetables but not yet big enough to be impressive! Home Farm was lovely though and we got to see baby chickens and geese and also baby lambs, all incredibly cute! It was a lovely day out and I am so glad that the weather held.

Asparagus Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad
(Serves 2 as a side dish)

70g dried macaroni
4-6 stalks of asparagus, cut into inch chunks
50g spinach
3 sundried tomatoes, sliced
1 heaped tsp pesto

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the macaroni according to packet instructions adding the asparagus for the last 2-3 mins. Drain and run under the cold tap.

Pour a kettle of boiling water over the spinach to wilt it and then run under the cold tap. When cold squeeze out as much of the water as you can.

Combine the macaroni, asparagus, spinach and sundried tomatoes in a bowl. Stir in the pesto and mix thoroughly. Serve.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Mexican Egg and Rice Scramble

This is something I came up with to use up halves of things before I went away for the bank holiday weekend. I had half a tomato and half an avocado that needed to be used and the only meal I needed to make was breakfast. There were many ways this could have gone, but I fancied something rice based and the avocado and tomato made me think Mexican, so the scramble was born.

The traditional way of making egg fried rice, which is essentially what the base of this is, is to use cold cooked rice but I actually prefer using just cooked rice, I like the texture with the eggs better, but of course you can use cold cooked rice if you like it that way or you have any left over. I also only used a little spice, we all know I'm not good with chilli but add more to your taste. This turned out really well and as a bonus it was nice and sunny on Sunday so I sat out in the garden to eat it!

Mexican Egg and Rice Scramble
(Serves 1)

50-60g rice
1 tsp oil
1 egg, beaten
pinch cumin
pinch chilli powder
1/2 tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
1 spring onion, chopped
1 tsp coriander, chopped

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the rice according to packet instructions. Drain.

Heat a frying pan with a little oil and pour in the beaten eggs and stir. When the eggs are half scrambled add in the rice and spices and continue to stir.

Add the tomato, avocado and spring onion and mix to combine. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle over some coriander. Serve.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Chocolate Covered Flapjacks

I love going to my parent's house not least because I get to see my parents but also it means there are other people to cook for! I love my Mum's kitchen which is twice the size of mine and has an island bit in the middle creating loads more surface space. I am really lucky as she is quite happy for me to do what I want in the kitchen and of course she gets to eat the results! We also do a lot of cooking together now when I go home or when she stays with me, helping each other out to create a dish like the Burmese Chicken Curry we made a few months ago. It's fantastic being able to do that, especially as she is a fantastic ook in her own right and pretty much taught me how to cook. She is always the one I ring up when I want to know something about an ingredient or a food pairing! I feel very lucky to have both my parent's love and support.

I went to my parent's house for the bank holiday weekend and when I got there and I knew I wanted to bake, I had a hankering for something oaty. When I was little I didn't like flapjacks or anything that contained oats, I didn't like the texture. Now, I still don't like the idea of muesli or proper porridge and so stick to ready brek for breakfast, but I do like flapjacks and so that's what I made after a quick shopping trip to pick up some oats and chocolate. As oats are pretty healthy I thought I'd add the chocolate to balance things up a bit! I'd never made them before but they were really easy to make and although they were delicious, they could have done with a bit more ginger.

Chocolate Covered Flapjacks (adapted from Baking Made Easy - Lorraine Pascal)
(Makes 12)

175g butter
150g golden syrup
150g light brown sugar
350g porridge oats
50g raisins or sultanas
½ lemon, finely grated zest
1/2 tsp ground ginger
150g milk chocolate

Preheat the oven to 150C and line a 20cm/8in square baking tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat. Dip a brush in the butter and brush the baking tin with a little bit of it. Add the golden syrup and sugar to the butter and heat gently. Once the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the porridge oats, raisins, lemon zest and ginger.

Pack the mixture into the baking tin and squash down. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Bring half a pan of water to the boil and put a bowl on top, make sure that the bowl isn't touching the water. Break the chocolate into the bowl and stir until it is melted.

Once the flapjacks are cooked, remove from the oven and pour over the chocolate, leave to cool until the chocolate is set, in the fridge is quickest, then turn out onto a chopping board and cut into squares.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Sweet Chilli Chicken Wrap

This is the last of my lunches from before half term. Every Thursday I work until 1.45pm without a lunch break and so I eat my lunch on the tube on my way home. That means it has to be portable and easy to eat. Salads are out as I tend to drop them all over myself, so I tend to stick to a sandwich of some variety. I love wraps, they are a little bit healthier than a traditional sandwich and more versatile and this Sweet Chilli Chicken Wrap is simple but delicious.

Sweet Chilli Chicken Wrap (from a WeightWatchers Magazine Clipping)
(7 WW ProPoints per serving)
(Serves 1)

2 tbsp extra light soft cheese
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 wrap
lettuce leaves
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/2 tbsp coriander, chopped

In a small bowl mix together the soft cheese and the chilli sauce.

Heat the wrap in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften it.

Lay the lettuce leaves on top of the wrap, then spread the soft cheese and chilli mixture on top. Lay the chicken on top of that and then sprinkle over the coriander. Roll up and eat or put in a lunchbox.

Meal Planning Monday

It's the first day back after half term today and it is going to be busy busy, as is the week I suspect. I had a lovely week off, I spent the bank holiday weekend at Wimpole Hall on the Saturday and then at my parents, where I did a lot of baking. It was crumbles galore, as well as flap jacks and a loaf of bread. I love being able to feed lots of people as I don't get to do it very often. My whistle stop tour of Paris on Wednesday was fantastic. I went to two exhibitions, both heavily featuring German art, one at the Louvre and the other at the Musee D'Orsay and of course I bought cheese before we left! Then the rest of the week was spent cleaning and tidying the house and gardening, enjoying the sunshine! I also picked my first vegetable of this year, radishes!

It is typical though that the weather turns lovely just as term starts again after a slightly ropey half term week! This week I am trying to use up stuff from the freezer to make extra room as it's my birthday on Saturday! I am doing an kind of Deep South/Tex Mex feast for a few friends. I am hoping to make pulled pork and then curly fries, macaroni cheese, baked beans, coleslaw and salad to go with it, as well as barbecue sauce and apple sauce and then apple and blackberry cobbler for dessert. My Mum is also making homemade buns and a carrot cake. I am so excited but also a little nervous as I have only done pulled pork in a slow cooker before and this is in the oven but I am so looking forward to proper crackling!

Couscous, Lentil and Hummus Salad
Out at the theatre

Cheese and Onion Quiche and Salad
Chinese Sausage, Noodles and Greens

Chorizo and Hummus Pitta with Crisps
Goose Curry and Rice

Smoked Salmon and Egg Wrap with Crisps
Chicken Puttanesca with Mash or Pasta (Sarah Raven)

Roast Carrot Barley Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Plaice with Prawns and Sea Kale (Philadelphia Cookbook)

As always I am linking up with Mrs M, check out her blog for more meal ideas and I hope everyone has a fantastic week.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Mushroom, Asparagus and Cambozola Pasta Salad

This pasta salad was a partial mop up of some of the things I had leftover before going away during half term. It started off as a mushroom pasta salad and then the asparagus and cambozola got added in but it works really well as a salad dish. I know I typically always say things are fast and easy to make but that's what I major on especially when making lunches. I don't want to be spending ages making something that's going to be eaten cold the next day, there are too many things to do in the evening as it is. So, I usually make my lunches as dinner is cooking which is why they take no time at all.

Mushroom, Asparagus and Cambozola Pasta Salad
(Serves 1)

60g dried pasta shapes
1 tbsp oil
1 portobello mushroom, halved and sliced
4 asparagus spears, cut into inch lengths
25g cambozola, cut into small chunks
1 tsp pesto

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions adding the asparagus for the last 3-4 mins. Drain and run under cold water. Leave to drain thoroughly.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan and add a tbsp oil. Fry the mushroom pieces until they are golden, set aside to cool.

Combine the pasta, asparagus, mushrooms and cheese in a bowl and mix in the pesto. Pack into a lunchbox.