Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Hummus and Roast Veg Wrap

Really this was a clear out the fridge sandwich last week. I haven't really been in my house for the last month, I was away for two weeks, then I went home for a few days and now because of the tube strike I've decamped to my sisters for a few days. It's been really lovely to see everyone but I can't wait to get back to my flat this evening and see young Smudge. It also means that I didn't have all that much food in my flat, although I did go and do a big shop at the weekend and had a trip to the Farmer's Market in Walthamstow, which I found was surprisingly good. I got some faggots to try, as well as wild garlic, cavolo nero and purple sprouting broccoli. All of which I can't wait to try.

This is a really simpleuse stuff from the fridge sandwich with a lovely flavour. You could also add a handful of olives or some feta if you have it.

Hummus and Roast Veg Wrap
(Serves 1)

1/4 aubergine, diced
1 wholemeal flatbread
1 tbsp hummus
1/2 roasted red pepper
2 artichoke hearts, quartered
handful salad leaves

Preheat the oven to 200C. Spray the aubergine with cooking spray and bake for 20-30 mins until golden.

Heat the flatbread in the microwave for 15-20 secs to soften. Spread the hummus over the wrap and then top with the veg and salad. Roll up tucking in the ends.

Heat a griddle and place the wrap on the griddle turning it over so that it gets those nice charred marks on it. Serve.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Apple and Elderberry Pie

I actually made this pie a little while ago and froze it, which is why it looks a but rough around the edges! It was delicious, I do love a good apple pie and I'm really enjoying the elderberries that I picked from my parents garden.

Apple and Elderberry Pie (from Becky Doughty)
(Serves 4-6)

For the pastry
175g plain flour
pinch salt
40g lard
40g butter

For the filling
200g elderberries
3 tbsp cornflour
113g caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 cooking apple, thinly sliced
2 tsp cinnamon
60g butter
100g brown sugar

To make the pastry; sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, Then cut the fat into small cubes and add to the flour. Using your fingertips, lightly rub the pieces of fat into the flour.

When the mixture looks like bread crumbs, start to add 2 tbsp of cold water. Use a round-bladed knife to start the mixing, cutting and bringing the mixture together. Carefully add more water if needed, a little at a time, then finally bring the mixture together with your hands to form a smooth ball of dough that will leave the bowl clean.

Wrap the pastry in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Whilst the pastry is resting, mix the cornflour with 4 tbsp of water and add it to berries and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring , until it looks like syrup. Add more cornstarch if the mixture is not thick enough. Remove the pan from heat, add the lemon juice, and set aside.

Heat the butter in a frying pan and add the apples, saute until they are starting to soften but still hold their shape. Add the cinnamon and brown sugar and toss the apples to coat. Gently fold the berries into apples.

Meanwhile, remove your pastry from the fridge. Dust your work surface with flour, cut the pastry in half and, using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces out until it's just under 1cm thick. Butter a shallow 26cm pie dish and line with the pastry, trimming off any excess round the edges using a sharp knife.
Pour the apples and elderberries into pie dish, Brush the edge of the pastry with beaten egg. Roll out the second piece of pastry, and lay it over the top of the pie. Trim the edges as before and crimp them together with your fingers. Brush the top of the pie with the rest of the beaten egg and make hole in the top of the pastry.
Bake at for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbling.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Fake Bakes

I had half a celeriac sat in the fridge staring at me, needing to be used and then I remembered the fake bakes that I'd seen on Slice of Slim, a WeightWatchers blog, that was featured in the magazine a couple of months ago. It's a less pointy alternative to potato for those doing WeightWatchers but doesn't scrimp on the taste. You can also prepare swede in the same way. This was really delicious. I served it with a small tin of baked beans and some cheddar grated over the top for a filling dinner.

Baked Celeriac (from Slice of Slim
(Serves 4)
(0 ProPoints per serving)
1 large celeriac
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Give the celeriac a really good scrub using a vegetable brush, especially if you are going to leave the skin on. Cut into quarters.

Spray with cooking spray and rub into the outside.

Bake for 40-45 mins. Turn a couple of times during cooking so that each side of the celeriac gets a charred appearance.

Meal Planning Monday

I have been off work for three weeks for the Easter holidays, but I am back to work today, with only four weeks to go until half term and so much to cram in. I have had a fantastic break, the last week I have spent pottering in the garden getting everything ready for the summer. These are just some of the plants I have to put in. I've already put in broad beans and lettuce plants as well as a few perennials I bought and the seeds I planted a month or so ago. I love this time of year.

I also went to see my parents for a couple of days last week. My Mum and I went out for lunch to Lyveden New Bield a local National Trust Property where she volunteers. The Sandwich we had was so good that I thought it worth photographing. It's a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich but I love what the chef Mel did with it, making a kind of club sandwich.

Lastly I wanted to share the gorgeous sundae glasses I brought back from New York. I bought them in a cook shop called Fish's Eddy and I love the shape of them. They are also not all that wide so perfect for small portions of ice cream.

This week it's back to reality with a bump. There has been a tube strike called for Tuesday and Wednesday so I am decamping to my sisters. Given that I've pretty much been away for three weeks already, I'm feeling rather sorry for poor Smudge who, although my neighbour is feeding her, has been left on her own and I would really rather spend time at home. I'm going to a talk tonight at the V&A and to Pilates on Thursday. I'm also rather hoping that going back to work will get my body clock right as I'm still jet lagged and finding really hard to get to sleep. Fingers crossed!

Out before a talk

Sorrel and Goat's Cheese Quiche with Salad
Whatever I can find!

Lunch at School

Asparagus and Ham Wrap with Crisps
Cheesy Panade with Salad

Lamb Chops with Mash and Veg

Tomato Tarte Tatin with Salad

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Banana, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Ginger Cookies

I had a LOT of overly ripe bananas! So with more of the bananas I made cookies. The recipe was actually very useful as it used up lots of other little bits of ingredients. They were more cake like than cookie really but I did make them rather large! I still have more bananas so expect more banana related recipes! 

Banana, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Ginger Cookies (from The Sweets Life)

113g unsalted butter
160g sugar
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
190g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
180g rolled oats
90g chocolate chips
60g crystallised ginger, finely chopped

Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper and set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar and the egg, beating until smooth. Mix in the bananas.

Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, add the  cinnamon and oats, mixing with a metal spoon until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and crystallised ginger.
Chill the dough for 30 mins to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 mins until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Leftover Lamb and Hummus Wrap

This was the last of my leftover lamb. A really simple wrap but very tasty. You can't really go wrong with lamb and hummus!

Leftover Lamb and Hummus Wrap
(Serves 1)

leftover lamb
1/2 pepper, sliced
1/4 onion, sliced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 wholemeal wrap
1 tbsp hummus
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the lamb, onions and peppers. Sprinkle over the cumin and smoked paprika and cooking stirring until the onions are translucent and the pepper is starting to soften.

Meanwhile, Heat the wrap in the microwave for 15-20 secs until it softens. Spread over the hummus. Take the lamb and peppers of the heat and put on top of the hummus. Top with the cherry tomatoes, roll up and serve.

Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Burgers

In between all that leftover lamb I made some veggie burgers. They had been at the back of my mind for sometime and I finally had all of the ingredients to make them. They were very tasty and felt very wholesome. I served them on a wholemeal bun with lettuce, tomato and barbecue sauce.

Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Burgers (from Veg Hot Pot)
(Serves 4)

150g dried red lentils
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and sliced
6 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tbsp gram flour
small bunch coriander stalks, finely chopped
olive oil
Cook the lentils in boiling water according to packet instructions, until they are tender and split open but not completely broken down. Drain and allow to cool.
Heat the oven to 200C. Spray the butternut squash with cooking spray and roast in the oven for 20-25 mins. Leave to cool and then mash with a potato masher.
Put the lentils, butternut squash, finely sliced spring onions, crushed garlic, spices, flour and coriander stalks in a large bowl. Gently mix together with your hands and when fully combined shape into 4 burgers and place them on a plate in the fridge for at least half an hour.
When ready to cook heat a small amount of oil in a large frying pan and fry the burgers for around 4 minutes on each side until lightly browned and hot all the way through. Or cook in a preheated oven for 20-30 mins until golden.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Leftover Lamb Moussaka

This is the first thing I made with the leftover lamb roast. I've never eaten moussaka before as I don't like mince, so after reading this recipe in The Guardian it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it. I have to say it was delicious, the leftover lamb worked really well in this recipe and I like the easy bechamel sauce over the top.

Leftover Lamb Moussaka (from The Guardian)
(Serves 4) 
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g leftover lamb
pinch ground cinnamon and paprika
200g tinned chopped tomatoes (about ½ tin)
250ml chicken stock
handful parsley and mint, chopped
1 aubergine
2 large tomatoes, sliced
2 eggs
200g Greek yoghurt
100ml milk
1 tbsp crumbled feta and grated parmesan
Olive oil, for grilling
Salt and black pepper
Cook the onion in 1 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes without letting it brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Chop the lamb finely, either by hand or in a food processor, then add to the onion mix along with the spices. Season with salt and pepper.
Turn up the heat and add the tomatoes and the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.
While the lamb is bubbling away, turn the oven to 180C. Slice the aubergine into pieces about ½–1cm thick. Rub in a little olive oil and grill – either on a griddle pan or under a grill – for a few minutes either side, until browned and soft. If you do not have either, you can fry it in a little extra olive oil.
Take the lamb mix off the heat, stir in the herbs and pour into an ovenproof dish. Top with the slices of grilled aubergine, and sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Now top the dish with the tomato slices and a little more black pepper.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs with the yoghurt and milk, adding the cheese and black pepper. Pour over the top and place in the oven for about 30 mins until the top is golden brown.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Banana Bread Crumble

To have after my delicious roast on Easter Sunday I made a Banana Pudding. I seemed to end up with a lots of bananas leftover after my trip to France and as they'd been sat on the counter top for a week some of them were looking decidedly brown, not so good to eat but perfect for cakes and puddings. This was so good! I loved the combination of cake batter bottom and crumble mixture on top and the bananas were a winner. I served it with homemade vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Banana Bread Crumble (from Never Enough Thyme)
(Serves 6-8)
140g self-raising flour
200g sugar
240ml milk
113g butter, melted
4 medium-size ripe bananas, sliced
For the crumble topping:
150g light brown sugar
70g self-rising flour
113g butter, softened
90g oats
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and milk until just blended. Whisk in the melted butter.
Pour the batter into a lightly greased 28cm x 18cm baking dish. Top with the banana slices. 
To make the topping, in a medium bowl use a fork to stir together the brown sugar, flour, and butter until it forms a crumbly mixture. Stir in the oats.
Sprinkle the topping mixture over the banana slices. Bake for 40-45 mins or until golden brown.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce if you're feeling wicked

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Jamie's Mothership Sunday Roast Lamb

I made my first roast lamb! I thought as it was Easter I'd have a go at roast lamb and as Jamie Oliver is usually pretty good at roasts I thought I'd try one of his recipes. It was really good, lovely and succulent. I served it with the savoy cabbage and bacon recipe from the book and then had mashed celeriac and Mediterranean roast veg, which were reduced in Sainsburys. I had lots of leftovers and I will share the recipes with you over the next few days. I also had pudding which comes tomorrow!

Jamie's Mothership Sunday Roast Lamb (from Saving with Jamie - Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 6)

1 bulb of garlic
1 bunch of fresh rosemary
olive oil
1 2.5 kg shoulder of lamb, bone in
3 onions
4 rashers smoked bacon
1 large Savoy cabbage
1 tbsp plain flour

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

In a pestle and mortar, bash 4 peeled garlic cloves, half the rosemary leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper into a paste, then muddle in a good lug of oil. Stab the lamb ten times, then stick your finger in each hole and massage the marinade in and all over.

Peel and quarter the onions and place in a snug-fitting roasting tray, with the lamb on top. Add 50ml of water, cover tightly with tin foil and cook for 3 hours. Remove the foil, pour away all the fat and add another 200ml of water to the tray. Cook for 1 hour more, or until the meat falls away from the bone, adding another good splash of water, if it starts to dry out.

Meanwhile, chop the bacon and cook in a large frying pan on a medium heat until golden. Trim, roughly slice and throw in the cabbage with a splash of water, cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened, then season to perfection.

Remove the lamb from the oven, transfer to a plate and cover. Put the tray on a medium heat on the hob and stir in the flour, then pour in 600ml boiling water and any lamb resting juices. Stir well and simmer until you're happy with the consistency. Pour the gravy into a jug, or if you prefer it smooth, pour and push it through a sieve first. Serve.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

New York

I have been on holiday for the last couple of weeks. I spent the first week in Picardie, France with a group of 11 and 12 year olds. We visited a traditional bakery and enjoyed croissants and pain au chocolat, went to a market in Etaples, a chocolate factory and a snail farm, all of which were fantastic. Sadly I don't have any pictures as all of them have pupils in, but I brought back lots of goodies. The girls also learnt to make mayonnaise and on the last day we went to an aquarium, so I do have a picture of some giant tortoises!

The second week I spent in New York. I had a wonderful week visiting museums, going to the theatre and wandering around the shops. I also tried out some of the food places I had lined up. 

The first was The Halal Guys, a food truck at the corner of 53rd St and 5th Ave. There were three choses, chicken, meat and falafel. I went for a chicken wrap, which was ok, not the best things I've ever tasted but ok, I forgot to take a picture! I also tasted a black and white cookie and a cupcake from Amy's Bread both of which were fantastic, but devoured too quickly for a picture!

One of the other things I have been dying to try are cannoli. I guess you can get them here but I've never seen them. 

This was from the grocery store/deli near where we stayed and it was yummy; sweetend cream cheese inside a chocolate biscuit shell.

I also had a diner meal somewhere near Chelsea Market, which we wandered around but as we wanted to sit down and eat we found a diner. I had a diner burger with bacon and cheese served with sweet potato fries.

And a red velvet shake.

I also finally tried Katz's Deli as I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about. I had a Corned Beef Reuben with pickles and at $17.45 it was ridiculously expensive for something that I didn't think was that great. It was a bit bland even with the thousand island dressing. I don't think I'll bother going back. 

On a recommendation from my friend Laurel I went to The Two Little Red Hens Bakery and got cherry cheesecake. It was out of this world. So smooth and creamy with a crunchy base, the best cheesecake I have ever eaten.

As you can see we'd already tucked in before taking a picture!

I also bought a 1912 cookery book: Lowney's Cook Book

Which I was told by the bookseller was THE cook book of the South.

There are still so many other places and dishes I want to try, I can't wait to go back. Fingers crossed!

Chicken and Pea Filo Pies

My first meal home from holiday was these Chicken and Pea Filo Pies that I grabbed out the freezer. They were really tasty and the filo was lovely and crunchy. I'll share some foodies New York pictures with you later in the week, when I get around to organising them!

Chicken and Pea Filo Pies (from Olive Magazine)
(Makes 12)

4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
300g peas
6 tbsp low fat creme fraiche
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, crushed
small bunch parsley, chopped
juice 1/2 lemon
8 sheets filo pastry, cut into 15cm squares

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Mix the chicken, peas, creme fraiche, paprika, garlic, parsley and lemon juice together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush a 12 hole muffin tin with oil. Take 4 pieces of the Filo and lay them over each other, overlapping to make a star shape. Brush with oil then punch into a hole to make a pastry cup. Repeat until all the holes are filled. 

Divided the chicken mixture between the cups then scrunch any overhanging pastry to cover the tops. Cook for 25-30 mins until golden. Serve.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken

On one of the last nights before I went on holiday I made this very easy Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken. It used up leftovers and was so easy so that I could concentrate on packing! It is also ridiculously tasty! I served it over oregano spiked rice.

Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken (from Slender Kitchen)
(Serves 8)

675g chicken breast, skinless and boneless
450g chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
salt and pepper
750g/2 jars salsa verde
Combine everything is the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours. Serve over rice.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Dorset Apple Traybake

In an effort to use up the last of my eggs I made a cake! I took about a quarter of it on holiday with me and have the rest to my next door neighbour Vicky to enjoy. It was a little dry around the edges but lovely and moist in the middle. It also might have benefited from a little cinnamon or mixed spice in the mixture.

Dorset Apply Traybake (from BBC Good Food Magazine May 2006)
(Makes 16 large pieces)

450g cooking apples
juice of ½ lemon
225g butter, softened
280g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
350g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
demerara sugar, to sprinkle
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a rectangular baking tin (approx 27cm x 20cm) with parchment paper.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples then squeeze the lemon juice over. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Then fold in the flour and baking powder and mix well until smooth. Spread half the mixture into the tin. Arrange half the apples over the top of the mixture, then repeat the layers. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar.

Bake for 45-50 mins until golden and springy to the touch. Leave to cool for 10 mins, then turn out of tin and remove the paper. Cut into bars or squares.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Roast in the Hole

This was something a little bit different and a very easy way to pack loads of veg into toad in the hole! The original recipe uses chicken thighs and that would be just as delicious. You could also play around with the veg you want to use. Most veg tastes really good roasted so the world is your oyster. Lovely served with lashings of gravy or brown sauce.

Roast in the Hole (adapted from Belleau Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

8 sausages
2 large carrot, sliced
3-4 parsnips, sliced
1 onion, chunkily sliced
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
calorie controlled cooking spray
2 eggs
100g plain flour
6fl oz milk
4fl oz water
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Put all the veg into a roasting tin, season well  and add the herbs, then spray over the cooking spray, toss a few times until the veg is coated. Lay the sausages on top.

Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 20 mins or until the veg are soft, then remove the foil and roast for a further 15 mins until the sausages are browned.

Meanwhile, make the Yorkshire pudding batter. In a large bowl beat the eggs into the flour, then add the milk and water, season and beat well. Pour this over the veg and sausages and place back in the oven for another 20-30 mins until the batter has risen and turned golden brown. Serve.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Steak and Cream Cheese Sandwich

This was a very easy but really delicious sandwich, such a simple idea but you can't beat a steak sandwich!

Steak and Cream Cheese Sandwich (from The Ultimate Philadephia Cookbook)
(Serves 1)

2 tbsp caramelised onions
1 steak
1 brown roll
30g low fat soft cheese

Heat the caramelised onions in pan over a low heat.

Heat a griddle pan and cook the steak for 1-2 mins on each side depending on the thickness of the steak and how well you like it done.

Toast the bun and spread with the soft cheese. Top with the steak followed by the onions. Eat!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

I had some very sad looking cauliflower in the fridge and was looking for ways to use it up. I tend to eat soup about once a week, those WeightWatchers habits are hard to break! So soup it was. This soup is fantastically flavourful and creamy, lovely served with some crusty bread.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup (from BBC Food)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
800g cauliflower florets, roughly chopped
1l vegetable stock
150ml single cream

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry for 2-3 mins, or until just softened.

Add the ground cumin and ground coriander and fry for a further 1-2 mins, or until fragrant.

Add the cauliflower and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8-12 mins, or until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from the heat and blend with a hand blender.

Add the cream, season with salt and pepper and warm through for 1-2 mins. Serve.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Daring Cooks April 2014: Palatschinken

The April Daring Cooks Challenge was brought to us by Joanna from What’s On The List. She taught us all about Pathiri and challenged us to create our own version of this inspirational Indian dish!

Ok, so, mine's not Indian. I decided that cooking for one and making what looked like a cake might be a bit difficult. What I really wanted to make is a blintz dish that I have eaten in an Israeli restaurant close to where I work but I couldn't find a recipe that even came close to that. So I rang my Mum and she had a look in her old Cordon Bleu cookery course and came up with this. The beginning of the recipe says of this dish "This recipe given to Cordon Bleu many years ago by a Czechoslovakian us a marvellous way of presenting small quantities of leftover meat and vegetables. It is a good lunch or supper dish." There are also other suggested fillings; lamb, carrot, cabbage and tomato. Recipes available on request!

I made a few adaptations to the recipe as this one also had layers of pancakes with filling in between and I wanted them rolled up! But the rest of the recipe is the same. I made 4 pancakes and 4 fillings. so far I've eaten the mushrooms and the ham and both were really really tasty, so I look forward to trying the chicken and spinach at a later date.

Palatschinken (from Cordon Bleu Cookery Course)
(Serves 4-6)

For the pancake batter
110g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
200ml semi-skimmed milk mixed with 75ml water
50g butter

For the white sauce
45g butter
30g plain flour
315ml milk

2 eggs separated
60g cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper

For the fillings

100g cooked ham, diced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chutney

100g cooked chicken, shredded
1 hard-boiled egg
1 tbsp stock or cream

30g butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
120g mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp flour
2-3 tbsp stock or milk
1 tbsp mixed herbs, chopped

50g spinach
1 tbsp butter or cream

Prepare the pancake batter by sifting the flour into a bowl and whisking in the eggs. Then slowly add milk and water until the batter is smooth and the consistency of single cream. Leave to stand in a cool place for 30 mins. Melt the butter a little at a time and fry the pancakes, you should have about 8. When done, set aside to cool whilst you prepare the fillings.

For the ham filling: Mix the ham with the mustard and chutney, stir well to combine.

For the chicken filling: Mix the chicken and egg together. Season well and bind with a little stock or cream.

For the mushroom filling: Melt the butter and cook the shallot until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until all the water has evaporated. Mix together the flour and stock or water. Season and bring the mixture to the boil. Add the mixed herbs and stir well.

For the spinach filling: Either melt the butter and stir in the spinach, or put the spinach into a pan and add the cream and heat gently. Then add a little nutmeg.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Grease a large oven-proof dish.

Place half of each filling down the centre of one pancake, role up and place into the casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining filling and pancakes.

Make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and mix in the flour. Stir continuously for a few mins to cook out the flour. Add the milk a little at a time stirring in between each addition until the mixture becomes thickened.

Take the pan off the heat and leave for a couple of mins. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the white sauce with 1 tbsp of the cheese.

Spoon the sauce over the pancakes, making sure that the sauce runs down the sides of the pancakes. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 20-30 mins until golden and puffed up. Serve.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

New Potato and Grilled Trout Salad with Dijon and Parsley Dressing

This was a really tasty salad, full of flavour. The original recipe called for salmon but I used trout and it worked perfectly.

New Potato and Grilled Trout Salad with Dijon and Parsley Dressing
(adapted from Woman and Home)
(Serves 4)
400g new potatoes, large ones halved
3 trout fillets
1 tbsp grainy mustard
40g capers, drained and rinsed
100g cornichons, sliced
6 spring onions, sliced
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
large pinch sugar
4 tbsp olive oil

Put the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water and cook for 15 to 20 mins until tender. Drain and allow to cool for a few minutes. Heat the grill to high, spread the mustard over the trout fillets and grill for 8 to 10 mins until just cooked through.

Toss the potatoes through with the capers, cornichons and spring onions and season. Mix the mustard together with the vinegar and sugar, and add the oil gradually to form a thick vinaigrette. Season well.
When the trout is cooked through, flake into large pieces. Dress the potatoes with the vinaigrette, scatter over the parsley and top with the trout  flakes. Serve warm immediately, or leave to cool and pack into your lunch box.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Mini Egg Tiffin

For the last Mad Hatters of the term we had an Easter party. So I made mini egg tiffin. I have to say this recipe didn't work perfectly to me. I think you really do have to crush the biscuits up well as mine fell apart. Luckily the girls didn't mind too much and scopped up handfuls to eat! It was very tasty. I swear there is something in cocoa powder that makes it addictive!

Mini Egg Tiffin (from The Goddess Kitchen)

85g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp cocoa
170g digestives, crushed to crumbs
170g mini eggs, lightly crushed
30g mini eggs, left whole

Gently melt the butter and golden syrup in large pan. Stir in the cocoa, digestives and crushed mini eggs.

Line a 1lb loaf tin with cling film. Press mixture into tin then press the whole mini eggs into the top. Refrigerate until set.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Cauliflower and Red Pepper Farro Salad

This was a really lovely salad, I am definitely becoming a bit more enamoured with cauliflower if I can do something interesting with it and this dish really works.

Cauliflower and Red Pepper Farro Salad (adapted from Closet Cooking)
(Serves 4)

1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
250g farro
1 small red onion, chopped
100g feta, crumbled
50g mixed seeds, toasted
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
handful parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the cauliflower florets in the olive oil with the salt and pepper. Arrange the cauliflower florets in a single layer in a baking dish. Roast the cauliflower in a  for about 20-30 mins until lightly golden brown.

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

Place the cauliflower, red pepper, farro, onion, feta and seeds into a large bowl.

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper together.

Pour the dressing over the salad followed by the parsley and mix well to combine.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Double Chocolate Shortbreads

These are addictive! Ridiculously so, I couldn't leave to box alone! They tasted a bit more like really buttery cookies than shortbread but that could be for a couple of reasons. Firstly I didn't leave them in the fridge to chill and secondly my oven is doing funny things to cakes and biscuits so everything is undercooked. So moreish though!

Double Chocolate Shortbreads (from Good Food Magazine May 2011)
(Makes 12)

175g butter, softened
85g golden caster sugar
200g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
100g chocolate chips, milk or dark
Mix the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the flour and cocoa, followed by the chocolate chips, you might need to use your hands.

Halve the dough and roll each piece into a log about 5cm thick. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hr or for several days.

Heat the oven to 180C. Slice the logs into 1cm-thick rounds, transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 10-12 mins. Cool on the tray.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato Sandwich

Now you don't really need me to tell you how to construct a sandwich but this was a thing of such beauty that it really deserves a post. I don't usually buy BLT sandwiches because my only experience of them is streaky bacon, limp lettuce and soggy bread. Homemade now that's something different altogether. I constructed this in the morning before going to work and then ate it 7 hours later and there was not a soggy bit of bread in sight. The flavour combinations are just awesome. I urge you to make this sandwich!

Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato Sandwich
(Serves 1)

2-3 rashers smoked back bacon
2 slices wholemeal bread
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 large lettuce leaves
1/2 tomato, sliced
1/2 small avocado sliced

Grill the bacon to your liking and then leave to cool.

Lightly toast the bread and leave to cool for a few mins.

When cool, spread the mayonnaise over one side of each slice of toast. Top with tomato, followed by the bacon, avocado and finally the lettuce. Out the final piece of bread on top and devour.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Honey and Soy Mackerel

I had some pretty fantastic meals last week, this being one of the best. I love mackerel, I *LOVE* mackerel, it has to be one of my favourite fish. This was a lovely Chinese style mackerel dish, really simple but very flavourful.I servied it with sesame stir fry veg.

Honey and Soy Mackerel
(Serves 1)

1 whole mackerel, gutted and cleaned
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp clear honey
1 knob stem ginger, finely chopped
juice 1 lime

Slash the fish 3 times on each side, cutting right down to the bone. Mix the soy, honey, stem ginger and lim juice. Rub all over the fish and well into the slashes. Lay on a foil lined baking tray and set aside for 20 mins.

Preheat the grill and grill the fish for 5-6 mins on each side. Serve.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Israeli Couscous with Chicken and Peas

I adapted a hot couscous dish to make a salad and it kind of worked. It is lovely and lemony and the peas give that lovely freshness to the salad, but it was missing something, I'm just not sure what.

Israeli Couscous with Chicken and Peas (adapted from A Family Feast)
(Serves 4)
250g Israeli couscous
40g Parmesan cheese, grated 
4 spring onions, finely sliced
50g frozen peas
3 chicken thighs, cooked and shredded
zest of 2 lemons
juice 1 large lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the couscous, cook according to packet instructions adding the peas for the last 3-4 mins of cooking. Drain and run under the cold tap, drain again well.
Put the couscous, Parmesan, spring onions, peas and chicken in a bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Pack into a lunchbox or serve.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Mexican Mackerel Nachos

I wasn't going to bother posting this but this about the third time I've made this dish and I love it so much it's going on the blog. I have also stockpiled several tins of the Limited Edition Mexican Mackerel so that I can make it in the future when they suddenly decide to withdraw the flavour, which they should not do, it's so good! If you need your hit of oily fish there is no better way to get it!

Mexican Mackerel Nachos (from a Princes Tin of Mackerel)
(Serves 1)

1 can Princes Mexican Mackerel Fillets
50g corn tortilla chips
30g cheddar cheese, grated
soured cream
tomato salsa

Pre-heat oven to 200°C.

Arrange the tortilla chips in an oven-proof dish. Break the mackerel in to chunks and spread it and the sauce over the tortilla chips.

Sprinkle over the grated cheese and bake in the oven for 8 mins or until the cheese is melted.

Serve with sour cream and tomato salsa over the top.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Courgette and Apple Cake

This cake is awesome. It was lovely and rich and moist and just well delicious. The original recipe has nuts in but I left them out. It didn't seem to cook all the way through in the middle but I think that's the fault of my oven rather than the recipe. I made this to have with coffee for my Mum and I and it went down a storm. I also heated some up in the microwave and had it with ice cream for dessert and it stood up to that too. You can't go wrong making this cake!

Courgette and Apple Cake (from The Guardian - Nigel Slater Recipe)
(Serves 6)

200g butter
200g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
150g courgettes (about 2 small ones), grated
1 small apple, grated
200g plain flour
a large pinch salt
½ tsp baking powder
pinch cinnamon
zest 1/2 orange
140g sultanas

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line the base of a 2lb loaf tin.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs to the mixture a little at a time, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Squeeze the grated courgette and apple with your hands to remove any excess moisture, then add to the mixture.

Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon together, and gently fold into the mixture. Stir in the orange zest and sultanas.

Transfer to the loaf tin and bake for about an hour, or until golden and firm to the touch. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Devilled Egg Pasta Salad

This salad was something a little bit different. I don't think I've ever eaten deviled eggs proper but this salad was really good so I shall definitely have to try them.

Deviled Egg Macaroni Pasta Salad (from 37 Cooks)
(Serves 2)

100g macaroni
2 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled,
2 slices ham, chopped into small cubes
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 dill pickles, finely chopped
1/2 lebanese cucumber, chopped
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp dill, finely chopped
1 tbsp  pickle juice
4 spring onions, finely chopped

Cook macaroni according to the packet instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Leave in a colander to drain well.

Cut the eggs in half, remove the yolks and place in a small bowl.

Finely chop the whites and place them in another large bowl. Add the macaroni, ham, onion, pickles and cucumber to the bowl.

For the dressing, mash up the yolks and add the mayonnaise, mustard, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning, paprika, dill and pickle juice. Mix well to combine.

Add the dressing to the macaroni bowl, stirring well so that everything is coated. Sprinkle over the spring onions and serve.