Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Mushroom, Roasted Asparagus and Wild Rice Salad with Goat's Cheese

The original recipe for this was for a warm salad but it tasted just as good cold packed up for lunch. I love how versatile rice, pasta, grain and potato salads can be. They always end up as tasty and filling lunches.

Mushroom, Roasted Asparagus and Wild Rice Salad with Goat's Cheese
(adapted from Closet Cooking)
(Serves 2)

100g basmati and wild rice
1 tbsp oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
120g mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
salt and pepper
120g asparagus, cut into chunks
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
handful salad greens
50g goat's cheese, crumbled
Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the rice according to packet instructions. Drain and run under cold water
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, sauté until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté until just caramelised, about 10-15 minutes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, toss the asparagus in the oil along with some salt and pepper. Spread the asparagus out in a single layer on a baking dish and roast in a preheated 200C oven until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
When all is cooked, put the wild rice, mushrooms, asparagus, dill, balsamic vinegar and oil in a bowl and mix to combine.
Serve the mushrooms, asparagus and rice on a bed of salad greens and garnished with the goat's cheese.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Cornflake Crumbed Plaice

This is a really easy and quick way to get breaded crunchy fish. The cornflakes give a different texture to breadcrumbs and also an extra crunch. I served it with new potatoes from the garden, mange tout, beans and tartare sauce.

Cornflake Crumbed Plaice (from Fish is the Dish)
(Serves 1)

1 plaice fillet, skinned and boned
salt and pepper
2 tbsp oil
50g cornflakes, crushed into small crumbs

Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Take a large oven proof baking tray, and drizzle the oil over it. Put the plaice fillets on the baking tray and turn them over to coat in the oil. Season the plaice fillets with salt and pepper, turning over to season both sides.

Sprinkle the crushed cornflakes over the plaice fillets, turning them over to coat both sides.

Put the plaice in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until crumbs are crispy and the fish is opaque.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Prawn and Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon

As the heat increased I didn't feel much like cooking or eating elaborate dishes and so stuck to salads, but warm salads. This is a really interesting salad and I would never have thought of adding preserved lemon to a salad, but it works and is definitely worth a try.

Shrimp and Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon (from Thyme for Cooking)
(Serves 2)

200g raw prawns, cleaned
120g asparagus, trimmed, cut into inch chunks

120g tenderstem broccoli, cut in half
1 clove garlic, sliced
12 olives
1/2 preserved lemon, pulp removed, rind thinly sliced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
200g salad greens

2 tbsp fresh, snipped marjoram

For the vinaigrette

1 1/2 tbsp Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 tbsp sherry wine vinegar
3 tbsp salad olive oil

Make the vinaigrette by whisking the mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl and then gradually whisking in the olive oil until thick and creamy.

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic, asparagus  and broccoli and sauté until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add remaining 1 tsp olive oil, paprika, cumin and sauté briefly. Add the prawns and quickly sauté until cooked through. They will curl and turn pink when done. Remove the pan from the heat.

Return the asparagus, broccoli and garlic to the pan. Add the olives, preserved lemon and 2 tbsp of the vinaigrette. Stir well to combine.

Toss the salad greens and marjoram with the remaining vinaigrette. Divide and arrange on 2 plates. Spoon the prawns and asparagus into the centre and serve.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Lamb Steak Tacos

This is a delicious take on a steak taco, using beef instead of lamb. Its really flavourful and makes a very quick evening meal.

Lamb Steak Soft Tacos (adapted from For the Love of Cooking)
(Serves 2)

2 lamb leg steaks
salt and pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp taco seasoning
2 flour tortillas
1 can refried beans
1 avocados, diced
lettuce, chopped finely
cheddar cheese, grated
1 tomato, diced
2 spring onions, diced
sour cream

Season both sides of the steak with salt, pepper, garlic powder and taco seasoning.

Heat a griddle pan that has been coated with cooking spray over medium high heat. Cook the lamb steaks for 3 minutes on each side or until the steak is done how you like it. Place the steaks onto a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into chunks.

Heat the refried beans in a pan over medium heat, stirring often, until hot.

Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or until warm and pliable.

Spread the hot refried beans down the centre of the warm tortillas then top with steak pieces followed by lettuce, avocado, cheddar cheese, tomato, salsa and green onions. Serve with salsa.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Smokey Barbecue Hot Dog Pasta

This is such a fun thing to make and especially good fun for kids as the pasta goes all wiggly and it looks a little like octopi! It also very tasty. I used my tamarind chipotle barbecue sauce as I had some left over but you could any home made or store bought barbecue sauce.

Smokey Barbecue Hot Dog Pasta
(Serves 1)

60g spaghetti or angel hair, broken in half
2 thin hot dogs/1 jumbo hot dog, cut into chunks
1 tbsp barbecue sauce

Thread each chunk of hot dog with several strands of the pasta.

Bring a pan or water to the boil and add in the pasta and hot dogs cooking according to packet instructions.

Drain and then mix with the barbecue sauce. Serve.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Carrot and Chickpea Soup

Now I know you're thinking that it's totally the wrong weather for soup but I made this a little while ago and though it was worth posting. It used up half a tin of chickpeas and some carrots that were very near going off and made this beautiful and vibrant orange soup. Not to mention that it;s also ridiculously tasty too!

Carrot and Chickpea Soup (adapted from Mark Bittman)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
450g carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1l vegetable stock
1 400g tin chickpeas
250ml orange juice

Put the oil in a large pot over medium heat; a minute later, add the onions, carrots, and garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to keep the vegetables from burning, until the onions and carrots have coloured, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cumin and paprika and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds.

Add the stock and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are very soft, about 30 mins; add more liquid as necessary so the mixture remains soupy.

When the chickpeas are very tender, add the orange juice. Blend the soup with a hand blender and put into bowls to serve.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Skinny Mango Milkshake

This is a really simple milkshake to make and it can be made really easily with a hand blender. I've been trying to find different things to drink rather than just fizzy drinks or water and I came up with this milkshake. It's very adaptable, I've used bananas as well, and peach although the peach didn't work so well as there were too many stringy bits!

Skinny Mango Milkshake
(Serves 1)

300ml skimmed milk
1/2 large mango, roughly chopped
1 scoop light vanilla ice cream

Put all the ingredients into a blender or pot for a hand blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and drink.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Salmon and Avocado Grilled Sandwich

This is a deliciously different grilled sandwich. You have to be really careful grilling the bread, I kept burning it! But although the cheese is a surprising addition it totally works. You could use any cheese you fancied really. I happened to have mozzarella in but you could use cheddar or gouda, anything that melts well.

Salmon and Avocado Grilled Sandwich (adapted from Sumptuous Spoonfuls)
(Serves 1)

1 salmon fillet, cooked and flaked
1 tsp Greek yoghurt
1 tsp light mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
1/2 tsp chives, chopped
squeeze lemon juice
1 ciabatta roll, split in half
handful grated mozzarella
1/2 avocado, sliced

Mix together the salmon, yoghurt, mustard, dill, chives and lemon juice.

Spread the salmon mixture on the bottom half of the roll and top with the mozzarella. Grill for 5-6 mins until the cheese is bubbling and golden. Toast the top of the bun at the same time although this will take a shorter amount of time.

Top the salmon and cheese with the avocado and then the top of the roll. Devour.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Marble Pear Traybake

I could not get this recipe to cook. I put it in for the time the recipe said and it was still uncooked in the middle. I ended up putting it back three times and turning it over before it was fully cooked. I think if I was to make it again I would put some of the cake mixture in the bottom, put the pear in the middle and cover with more batter then cook it to stop the bottom from being soggy. Otherwise it was a very moist and tasty cake.

Marble Pear Traybake (from Wellsway School)

100g caster sugar
100g soft margarine
2 eggs
100g self raising flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pear (fresh or tinned)

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a baking tin.

Cream the sugar and margarine together.

In a small bowl beat the egg with a fork. Add the beaten egg a little at a time, to the margarine and sugar.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into mixture and fold in using a metal spoon.

Core and chop the pear into small pieces, Scatter pieces of pear into the lined caked tin.

Spoon half of the plain mixture into the tin. Stir in the cocoa to the remaining cake mixture.

Spoon the chocolate mixture into the baking tin and then swirl the two mixtures together to create a marble effect.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes golden brown and springy to the touch.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Monkfish Wrapped in Rosemary, Lemon and Parma Ham

This was so good. I bought a monkfish tail as a treat and I have split it into three and frozen the rest. I love monkfish but it's so expensive so I don't get it very often. The combination of the smokey salty parma ham and the soft fish is just amazing. They go so well together and the rosemary and lemon zest were a nice compliment to the fish. I served it with steamed greens and garlic mash.

Monkfish Wrapped in Rosemary, Lemon and Parma Ham
(adapted from Nigellisima - Nigella Lawson)
(Serves 2)

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
zest ½ lemon
2 monkfish tail fillets
2 slices Parma ham
1 tbsp olive oil 

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Scatter the chopped rosemary and the lemon zest onto a chopping board, and then roll the monkfish in the mixture. The dampness of the fish should make everything stick.

Wrap each monkfish fillet with a slice of Parma ham. You made need two if the fillet is large

Drizzle the oil in a shallow roasting tin and place the Parma ham covered fish in the tin. Roast for 15 minutes or until the fish is just cooked.

Meal Planning Monday

I don't really have much to report except to say that I'm on holiday and trying not to spend too much money! Last weeks menu plan got swapped around so many times I didn't know if I was coming or going. That I think is largely due to the luxury of being on holiday and having more flexibility. I think this weeks will be more fixed as I have food to use up before I go away.

Other than that I am trying to get my CPD Chartership started this week and as you can see I am already procrastinating. It's not that I don't know what to do, it's more of I'm not sure how to put things in a coherent order and I don't really want to do it! Ah well, I shall keep plugging away. I have also damaged my ankle and so there will be less Zumba than there normally is during the holidays until that recovers.

Veggie Burger with Tomato Chutney and Crisps
Salmon and Sorrel Filo Parcels with Courgette and Potato Gratin and Veg

Duck, Peach and Mango Salad
Ham Hock and Cabbage Hash with Baked Beans

Lamb and Barley Salad
Pasta with Courgette Blossom

Sardine Fishcakes and Salad
Out for dinner at a friends

Brie and Tomato Tart with Salad
At my parents house

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Chorizo, Beans and Greens Salad

I am always on the look out for different potato salads that can be eaten as main meals to take to work. This fits the bill perfectly. It was lovely and spicy with the chorizo and the pesto brought every thing together.

Chorizo, Beans and Greens Salad (adapted from a Waitrose Recipe card)
(Serves 4)

750g new potatoes, halved
220g green beans, cut into inch lengths
240g tenderstem broccoli, halved
400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed
6 tbsp pesto
100g chorizo, sliced

Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water for 15 mins, add the beans and broccoli and cook for a further 3–4 mins until tender.

Drain the vegetables, place in a large serving bowl with the butter beans and pesto and toss well together.

Heat a large frying pan and cook the chorizo slices in batches for 1 –2 mins on each side until they are crispy. Pile on top of the salad and serve.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Miss Lane's Malteser Slice

This went down a treat with my book group. It's a recipe that came from one of the teachers at school and it is amazing. Soft and fudgy yet crunchy with the biscuit and maltesers. It 's also a very versatile base recipe and you could substitute the maltesers for nuts, raisins, chocolate pieces or marshmallows and the digestives for chocolate chip cookies, which would make a lovely rocky road.

Miss Lane's Malteser Slices

110g butter
300g milk chocolate
300g dark chocolate
3 tbsp golden syrup
225g maltesers, halved
225g digestive biscuits, crushed

Grease and line a brownie or cake tin.

Melt 250g of the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.

Take the bowl off the heat and add in the maltesers and digestive biscuits, mixing well to combine. Press it into the tin.

Melt the rest of the chocolate, 350g, and pour over the top smoothing out. Chill in the fridge and slice into squares when it is almost set.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Parma Ham Orzo Salad with Goat's Cheese

This is a lovely salad, really easy to make and a bit different given that rather than there being lots of pasta, there was lots of spinach instead and it was really good. Everything worked really well together and I will definitely be making it again, I think it would be just as nice with chicken rather than parma ham as in the original recipe but parma ham was what I had!

Parma Ham Orzo Salad with Goat's Cheese (adapted from The Sweets Life)
(Serves 6)

360g uncooked orzo
6 slices parma ham, sliced
200g spinach, roughly chopped
200g cherry/plum tomatoes, halved
6 sun dried tomatoes, sliced
85g black olives, halved
1 red onion, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
150g crumbled goat cheese

Cook orzo according to packet instructions. When cooked, drain and run under the cold tap. Drain well.

Combine the orzo, parma ham, spinach, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, olives, onion, and basil in a large bowl, tossing to mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with oil, salt, and black pepper. Pour over pasta mixture and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with goat's cheese just before serving.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Pigs in Ponchos

These were so good and so fun to make and eat. I bought a tin of refried beans which I used for these but I'm finding them a bit spicy so I'm going to try and make some which don't blow my head off! I love all these different combinations of Mexican ingredients used in all sorts of ways, very versatile.

Pigs in Ponchos
(Serves 1)

1 frankfurter
1/2 tin refried beans
2 corn tortillas
1 tbsp salsa verde
2 tbsp cheddar or Montery jack, grated
cooking spray

Parboil the hot dogs for a few minutes to heat through. In a medium saucepan, heat the beans over medium heat, adding a little water to thin slightly. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 15 secs to soften.

Make the ponchos: Top one tortillas with a thin layer of salsa verde, a swirl of mustard and lots of cheese, then cover each with another tortilla. Spread the top tortilla with some beans and set a dog at one end. Wrap and roll up the tortilla stack around the hot dog.

Spray the ponchos with cooking spray and grill for a few minutes to brown and crisp the tortillas.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Tamarind-Chipotle Glaze with Mexican Rice

This was a delicious meal. The chipotle-tamarind sauce was particularly good, with a hint of spice but mostly a lovely warmth. The rice was lovely too and definitely something I will make again as it was not much effort for fantastic flavour. The pork however, took much longer to cook than the 10 mins the original recipe suggested. I took this lovely photo, cut into the pork and realised it was still rather pink in the middle so back under the grill it went. By the time it was cooked enough to actually eat, everything else was cold and it was rather hacked to bits! I served it with refried beans and sweetcorn.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Tamarind-Chipotle Glaze with Mexican Rice
(adapted from Olive Magazine September 2009 and Mel's Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

1/2 onion, chopped
250ml red wine vinegar
2 tsp garlic powder or garlic granules
125ml tomato ketchup
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp chipotle paste
50g tamarind purée
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
300g pork tenderloin
For the rice:
200g basmati rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
55g tomato paste
1 tbsp of lime juice
small bunch coriander, chopped
2 tsp cumin
To make the barbecue sauce, cook the onion in a little oil until caramelised. Add the red wine vinegar, ketchup, 500ml water, garlic powder or granules, cumin and sugar and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the chipotle paste tamarind purée and cook for another 10 minutes on a low heat. Add the Worcestershire sauce at the very end.

Meanwhile, cook the rice according to packet instructions.

While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions in the oil for 10 minutes, until translucent and starting to brown. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomato paste and cumin and cook for another minute or two. Mix in hot, cooked rice, lime juice and cilantro. Mix until well combined. Season to taste with salt.
Season the pork and brush with the sauce. Grill for about 10-20 mins depending on the thickness of your pork, turning once or twice until cooked through. Pour over the remaining sauce and serve with the rice.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Rice and Avocado Salad with Wasabi Dressing

This is a rather nifty little salad using radishes from my garden. I am a bit overwhelmed with radishes at the moment as you always get when growing things! You put in a row and they all appear at once! So I'm adding them to pretty much everything. I loved the spiciness of the wasabi in the dressing which went so well with all the veggies and pepped up the rice.

If you are packing this to take to work for lunch and making the night before, leave the avocado out and add it to the salad in the morning with the dressing so that it doesn't discolour.

Rice and Avocado Salad with Wasabi Dressing (adapted from a Waitrose Recipe Card)
(Serves 4)
200g basmati and wild rice 
100g green beans, cut into inch pieces
100g asparagus, cut into inch pieces
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into cubes
40g radishes, thinly sliced
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
100g goat’s cheese, crumbled
For the dressing: 
1½ tsp wasabi powder
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
Cook the rice according to packet instructions. Add the asparagus and beans and cook for the last 3 –5 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drain, run under cold water, drain again well and tip into a large bowl.

Add the diced avocado, radishes, pumpkin seeds and goat’s cheese and toss together.
In a small bowl, whisk together the wasabi powder with 2 tsp cold water and leave for 2 minutes for the flavours to intensify. Stir in the mirin, sesame oil and seasoning then pour over the salad and mix together. Serve straightaway.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Sardine Salad

I first made this salad ages ago when I was doing weightwatchers and bought a can of sardines in tomato sauce rather than in spring water, which the recipe called for and it worked so well that I kept making it this way. It means that you don't need to bother with the salad dressing either, as the tomato sauce provides a lovely dressing.

Sardine Salad (adapted from the WeightWatchers website)
(5 WW ProPoints per serving)
(Serves 2)

1 romaine lettuce, shredded
1/2 cucumber, cut into chunks
4 tomatoes, quartered
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 cans sardines in tomato sauce

Layer the salad up starting with the lettuce, then the cucumber, tomato, peppers and onion. Place the sardines on top, and grind over a little pepper. Serve.

Meal Planning Monday

Chicken Yakitori with Beans Sprouts and Pak Choi Rice (Waitrose Recipe Card)
Salmon Tart and Salad

Grilled Mackerel Salad
Chorizo and Greens Calzone with Salad

Pasta Alla Genovese
Venison Burger with Crisps

Marinated Lamb Steak with Barley Salad
Mackerel with Roasted Rhubarb and Sea Kale

Crispy Steak and Blue Cheese Wrap and Crisps (Good Food Soups and Salads Book)
Thai Yellow Prawn Curry and Rice

Chorizo and Cheese Quesadillas 
Goose Curry with Spinach and Mooli Curry and Rice

Goat's Cheese Salad
Chard and Mushroom Stuffed Meatloaf with Potato and Courgette Gratin and Veg

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Chorizo Hash

This is a very tasty but very different hash from the Salmon Hash I made before. It uses cubed sauteed potatoes instead of mash. I had seen this sort of hash before but kind of made up my own recipe as I went along, using an Olive Magazine clipping for inspiration. I loved the spiciness of the smoked paprika and the chorizo which really livened up the dish. I also added in the greens for extra veg and they added a nice contrast in texture to the potatoes.

Chorizo Hash
(Serves 2)

300g new potatoes, quartered
olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
40g chorizo, sliced
150g spring greens, sliced
½ a small bunch parsley, chopped
2 eggs, poached
Boil the potatoes until tender, drain and cool. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the potatoes and the smoked paprika, fry, turning over until golden and crisp.
Add the chorizo and fry for another 2-3 mins until chorizo is crisp.  Add in the spring greens and cook until they have just wilted. Season then stir through the parsley.
Serve the hash topped with poached eggs.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Hyderabadi Lamb Shank

I was a little disappointed with this recipe. It promised much, but didn't really deliver on flavour, it may possibly be a bit more flavourful cooked in stock rather than water. The meat was lovely and tender however; although I had to adjust the cooking time from 1 to 2 hours as my lamb shank was rather large and didn't look cooked enough after 1 hour. I served it with boiled rice and Indian spiced cabbage, fennel and green beans.

Hyderabadi Lamb Shank (from Great British Chefs)
(Serves 4)

4 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods
6 cloves
3 small onions, peeled and finely sliced
4 lamb shanks
1 1/2 tbsp of ginger paste
1 1/2 tbsp of garlic paste
1 tsp of ground turmeric
1 tsp of chilli powder
2 tsp of ground cumin
2 tbsp of ground coriander
4 tbsp of plain yoghurt
3 large ripe tomatoes
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and sauté for half a minute. Add the sliced onions and sauté over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown
Add the lamb shanks and cook over high heat for five minutes, stirring constantly
Add ginger and garlic paste, stir well for a couple of minutes and then add the turmeric, chilli, cumin and coriander powders and salt. Sauté for a further five minutes. Add the yoghurt and sauté for a further 5 minutes over high heat
Add the chopped tomato, stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until the oil separates from the masala
Add enough hot water to cover the shanks and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, simmer and cook until the lamb is done, approximately 2 hours or until the meat just starts to come away from the bone
Remove from the flame and allow the lamb shanks to cool in the liquid. Remove the shanks using a pair of tongs and strain the cooking liquid into a clean pot
Cook the strained liquid for a further 10 minutes or until reduced to the desired consistency and season to taste with salt
To finish, add the cooked shanks back into the sauce, cover and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Grilled Hot Dog Tortas

These were so good. Not exactly good for you but really tasty. I did lower the calorie content a little by using low fat creme fraiche and chicken hot dogs but still, it's nice to be naughty especially when it's fun food! You could add more toppings if you want to; pickled jalapenos or use onion instead of the radishes whatever you use this sandwich is really yummy.

Grilled Hot Dog Tortas (adapted from Epicurious)
(Serves 1)

1 tbsp butter
1 large ciabatta rolls, cut in half
1/2 small tin refried beans
2 cheese singles
1 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream
1 tsp mustard
2 cooked hot dogs (I used chicken)
1/2 small avocado
1 radish

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Spread the butter over the cut sides of the rolls. Cook the rolls, buttered sides down, in the skillet until they are light golden brown and crisp, but still soft in the middle, a minute or two.
Spread a layer of beans over the bottom half of each roll, then put the cheese on top. Spread the creme fraiche and mustard over the roll tops.
Cook the hot dogs, cut side down, in the same pan until they're golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Set the bun bottoms, cheese side down, on top of the hot dogs. Cook for a minute more, so the cheese has a chance to melt.
Transfer the bun bottoms and the hot dogs together onto a cutting board. Top with the avocado and radish. Cover with the roll tops and press firmly but gently.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Meatball Pasta Bake

The pasta and tomato sauce elements of this dish were delicious, but the meatballs ended up a bit dry. I'm not sure how you avoid this unless you just cook the meatballs from raw in the oven. Otherwise a tasty dish which fitted in with last months Daring Cooks theme.

Meatball Pasta Bake (from Ocado)
(Serves 4)

1 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g beef mince
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 splash worcestershire sauce
1 handful rosemary, chopped
1 handful  parmesan, grated
salt and pepper
1 splash oil
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tins chopped tomatoes
300ml beef stock
1 pinch sugar
300g fusili pasta
1 handful fresh basil
2 handfuls cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Mix the beef mince with half of the onion, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, Parmesan and salt and pepper.

Roll into golf ball sizes onto a plate, cling film and put in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

Fry the rest of the onion in the oil for a few minutes and then add the garlic. Stir for a few mins and then add the tomato puree. Cook for minute or two. 

Tip in the chopped tomatoes, beef stock, sugar and season with salt and pepper then simmer for 20 mins.

Cook the pasta in boiling water until just cooked, then drain and toss in oil.

Take the meatballs out of the fridge and place in hot frying pan with a splash of oil to colour the outside of the meatballs. sauce.

Add the balls to the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 mins. Put the pasta in a large deep dish and add the meatballs.

Rip some basil over the top and mix so that the pasta is coated in the sauce. Sprinkle with cheddar and bake in oven until the topping is golden - about 20 mins.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish and Potato Salad

This was so good and I totally wasn't expecting it. It seems such a simple thing, just a few ingredients mixed together, but the horseradish really sets everything off and brings all the flavours together beautifully. I am definitely going to be making this one again and again.

Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish and Potato Salad
(from a WeightWatchers Magazine Clipping)
(8 WW ProPoints per serving)
(Serves 1)

100g new potatoes
40g low fat natural yoghurt
1/2 tbsp horseradish sauce
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
60g smoked mackerel, flaked
1 small lettuce, shredded

Put a pan of water on to boil and cook the potatoes for 15-20 mins until they are tender, drain, run under the cold tap and then drain again well.

Mix together the yoghurt and horseradish in a bowl. Add the red onion, potatoes and smoked mackerel and mix together.

Put the lettuce in the bottom of your lunchbox and top with the potato, mackerel mixture. Refrigerate overnight and take to work in the morning.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Asparagus and Ham Wrap

This is not so much a recipe as a putting together of ingredients to make a sandwich but what a lovely sandwich it was. I'd never really thought of eating asparagus cold in a sandwich before but it is perfect and complemented the smokey ham brilliantly. I am so cross that the asparagus season has been so short this year but you can't control the weather! I've been trying to make the most of what was available especially as English asparagus tastes so much better than the stuff flown in from abroad.

Asparagus and Ham Wrap
(Serves 1)

1 wrap
35g low fat soft cheese
2 slices ham
4-5 asparagus stalks

Heat the wrap in the microwave for 30 secs so that it softens.

Spread the soft cheese on top of the wrap, lay on the ham and then top with the asparagus and a grinding of pepper.

Roll up and eat!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Puy Lentils, Poached Egg and Smoked Paprika Yoghurt

This was a deliciously different salad. I used a combination of spinach and chard, both out of my garden and the rest mopped up leftovers. It was really simple to make even with lots of different parts to it and so tasty.

Puy Lentils, Poached Egg and Smoked Paprika Yogurt
(from Food to Glow)
(Serves 2)

300g cooked lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
½ red onion, chopped or 6 spring onions, chopped
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
¼ tsp smoked or paprika (optional)
A good handful of chopped greens, such as chard, kale, spinach, mustard
2 tbsp fresh dill, parsley or coriander, chopped
2 eggs
½ tsp cider vinegar (for egg poaching)

Heat the oil in a sauté pan and add the onions. Saute gently on a low heat until they are soft, stir in the cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric and chopped greens.

Increase the heat and stir occasionally, to just wilt the greens. Cover and leave while you sort out the yoghurt and eggs.

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt and paprika. Maybe add a squeeze of lemon if you like.

Poach the eggs.

To serve;  put a spoon of lentils on a plate, dollop on half the yogurt, top with more lentils and place the egg on the pile of lentils. Sprinkle over the chopped herbs.

Meal Planning Monday

Term has ended and things are a bit quieter if no less busy! I have three and a half days to work this week and then I am off for six weeks! This is the time when we sort everything out for next year, finish things off and do the tasks we can't do when the school is as manic as usual. I also have a trip to the cinema, one to the theatre and zumba this week too, so definitely busy. On Friday afternoon I have booked myself a pedicure to celebrate the end of term, I'm looking forward t the relaxing hour which is just what I need at the moment!

My garden is now coming into it's own and I have loganberries, strawberries, lettuce, pak choi, spinach, mooli, courgettes and radishes all ready. I am planning my meals around them now to make the most of what's free and also using stuff in the freezer so I can begin some big cooking in the summer!

Turkey, Barley, Courgette and Mushroom Salad
Bacon and Greens Sandwich (Nigel Slater)

Been Chilli with Doritos and Sour Cream
Courgette and Prawn Orzo Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

Fish Pie and Salad
Lemon, Olive and Rosemary Chicken and Butterbean Salad

Halloumi Aubergine Burgers
Out at the theatre with my father

Salmon Tart and Salad
Curried Brown Rice Broccoli Casserole

Tuna Kebabs
Steak and Chips


Sunday, 7 July 2013

Chicken and Bacon Pasta Salad

Again a very simple salad, this time with pasta. Easy to make the night before and store in the fridge for a take to work lunch.

Chicken and Bacon Pasta Salad
(Serves 1)

60g dried pasta shapes
2 bacon medallions, chopped
handful green beans, cut into inch lengths
1 small chicken breast, shredded
1 tsp light mayonnaise
1 tsp Greek yoghurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions adding the beans for the last 3 mins. Drain, run under the cold tap and then drain again well.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with a little oil and fry the bacon until it is cook through and golden.

Mix the mayonnaise, yoghurt and mustard together in a bowl. Add the pasta, chicken, bacon and beans and mix well so that everything is coasted in the mustard mixture. Serve or pack into a lunchbox and refrigerate over night.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Asparagus and Egg Salad with Chorizo

This is such a simple idea with very few ingredients but so effective. I used really lovely English asparagus, which made this dish really tasty and just the combination of ingredients was superb.

Asparagus and Egg Salad with Chorizo (adapted from Thyme for Cooking)
(Serves 2)

2 eggs, hard boiled
250g asparagus, cut into in lengths
60g spicy chorizo, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp oil
1 large lettuce, shredded

For the vinaigrette
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tbsp tarragon, chopped
1 tbsp chives, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp tarragon vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in nonstick skillet. Add green garlic, asparagus, and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, until they are crisp-tender and starting to brown. Add chorizo and fry 1 minute longer.

Peel the eggs and cut into chunks.

In a large bowl whisk together mustard, vinegar and oil. Add the herbs.

Arrange the lettuce on a plate and top with the asparagus, garlic, chorizo and eggs. Pour over the vinaigrette and serve.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Mediterranean Roasted Halloumi with Basil Dressing

This is a lovely and low fat dinner. It was really flavourful, with the roasted tomatoes and asparagus bringing out the flavour of the vegetables and the pesto was a perfect accompaniment.

Mediterranean Roasted Halloumi with Basil Dressing
(adapted from a Waitrose Recipe Card)
(Serves 4)

500g new potatoes, halved lengthways
200g asparagus, chopped in half
125g cherry tomatoes, halved
½ x 250g pack halloumi, thickly sliced
4 tbsp pesto
basil leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Cook the potatoes in pan of boiling water for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain, then tip into a large, shallow roasting tin. Roast for 20 minutes.
Turn up the heat to 220ºC. Add the halved tomatoes, asparagus and sliced halloumi to the tray and roast for a further 5–10 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Drizzle over the pesto and scatter over some ripped basil leaves and serve.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Pearl Barley and Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Broccoli

This was a lovely and really filling salad I kinda threw together from leftovers and things from the fridge. It turned out really tasty. I might add a bit of smoked paprika next time, I am totally addicted to the stuff!!

Pearl Barley and Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Broccoli
(Serves 1)

60g pearl barley
100g puy lentils
4-5 pieces tenderstem broccoli, chopped in two
1/2 roasted red pepper, sliced
4-5 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 onion, sliced

For the dressing
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp olive oil

Bring 2 pans of water to the boil and cook the barley and lentils separately according to packet instructions. Adding the broccoli to the barley for the last 3-4 mins. Drain and run under the cold tap, drain again thoroughly.

Roast the onion and cherry tomatoes for 10-15 mins until the tomatoes soften and the onion goes a bit golden.

To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, cumin and olive oil.

Put the barley and lentils into a bowl. Add the onion, tomatoes and roasted red peppers and pour over the dressing. Stir to combine and serve or pack into your lunchbox.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Chorizo, Roasted Pepper and Garlic Aioli Wrap

This sandwich was born out of the need to use up some chorizo, (you might have noticed it figuring a lot round here lately), and also the garlic aioli that was in my Christmas parcel. The flavours went perfectly together and even better the bread didn't end up soggy. I love the Warburtons square wraps as they are that little bit thicker and don't go soggy when made in the morning for lunchtime.

Chorizo, Roasted Pepper and Garlic Aioli Wrap
(Serves 1)

1 wrap
1/2 roasted red pepper, sliced
6 slices chorizo
1-2 tsp garlic aioli sauce

Heat the wrap in the microwave for 30 secs to soften.

Heat a frying pan and fry the chorizo for a couple of minutes until golden.

Lay the lettuce on top of the wrap, then the roasted red pepper, then the chorizo. Top with the garlic aioli and roll up.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Honey Mustard Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad

This is a really easy pasta salad. I used the honey mustard sauce from IKEA that usually accompanies gravadlax but works really well mixed with a little yoghurt as a pasta salad sauce.

Honey Mustard Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
(Serves 1)

60g dried pasta shapes
1-2 slices smoked salmon, chopped
handful green beans, cut into inch lengths
1 heaped tsp honey mustard sauce
1 heaped tsp plain yoghurt

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

In a bowl or your lunch box, mix together the honey mustard sauce and yoghurt until combined. Add in the pasta, beans, smoked salmon and pepper and stir until it's all mixed together. Put in your lunchbox and refrigerate until morning.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

These brownies were a total fail. The top burnt after about 15 mins in the oven and they never really cooked in the middle. Although this is usually not a bad thing with brownie these ended up kinda grainy. But, anyway, I'd used ingredients to make them and I hate throwing things in the bin, so I scraped off the burntness and slathered them in cream cheese frosting. The book group girls didn't seem to mind though and they disappeared quickly!

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Southern Living)
(Makes at least 16)

115g dark chocolate
85g butter
450g sugar
4 large eggs
187g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 small bottle red liquid food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting
225g soft cheese
3 tbsp butter, softened
187g icing sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line and grease a 22cm square brownie tin.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Gently stir in flour, baking powder and salt and then add the food colouring and vanilla. Pour mixture into the tin.

Bake for 44 to 48 minutes or until a skewer inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack, then gently lift the brownies of the the tin.

To make the frosting; beat soft cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the icing sugar and salt, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Spread the frosting on top of brownies, and cut into 16 squares.

Meal Planning Monday

After the Botox on Thursday I have been left with very little energy and a very stiff neck. I had a relaxing weekend in which I didn't really achieve a lot but I did finally get myself a tabletop freezer and I had a lovely barbecue with some friends yesterday.

When my Mum came on Thursday we had a very simple meal in the evening of Chilli, Ginger and Garlic Mackerel over noodles and veg. Simple but delicious. We also had olives with gouda and hummus with veggie crisps to start and a delicious white chocolate and morello cherry mouse for pudding, all courtesy of Mr Waitrose!

This week is also very quiet, I am going to the Arcola to see Fifty Words with my father on Wednesday and I will go to a couple of Zumba classes if I have the energy. I still can't think what I want to eat on Thursday lunchtime, my sandwich creativity has run out!

Carrot and Chickpea Soup
Lamb Steak Tacos

Meatball Pasta Bake with Salad
Prawn and Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon

Rice, Mushroom and Asparagus Salad
Out at the theatre with my father

Avocado Egg Salad Wrap with Crisps
Cornflake Crumbed Fish with New Potatoes and Veg

Out with Colleagues for Lunch
Tuna Spaetzle Bake

Baked Smoked Salmon and Egg with Salad
Sausage and Mash

Spinach and Artichoke White Pitta Pizza