Saturday, 31 May 2014

Smoked Trout and Bulgar Salad

This was a lovely and fresh tasting barley salad. Just be careful when you drain the barley for the second time that you drain thoroughly and maybe leave for a bit to dry and I ended up with a little water in the bottom of my box.

Smoked Trout and Bulgar Salad (from Good Food Magazine August 2005)
(Serves 2)

100g bulgar wheat
juice 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tomato, halved, deseeded and diced
4 spring onions, finely sliced
20g parsley, leaves roughly chopped
handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
2 smoked trout fillets
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp chopped dill
Cook bulgar wheat according to pack instructions, and leave to cool. Make a dressing: whisk the lemon juice, garlic and olive oil together and season to taste.

Tip the bulgar wheat into a bowl, add the tomatoes, spring onions, parsley and mint. Pour the dressing in and stir to combine. Flake the trout into chunks –discarding skin and bone. Gently fold into the salad.

Mix the yogurt and dill together in a small bowl, adding enough water to give the consistency of pouring cream. Season to taste and serve alongside the salad to drizzle on top.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Fish Finger Pie

I took the basic recipe and poshed it up a bit, out of necessity rather than by design. The original recipe is very simple; Frozen fishfingers, baked beans, potatoes and cheese. Out of those ingredients I only had baked beans and cheese, but what I did have was cod, a box of Special K, celeriac and swede, all viable substitutes. So using my initiative, I made my own fish fingers and made a slightly posher and less carb heavy version. I have to say it was delicious and definitely something I'll be making again.

Fish Finger Pie (adapted from This Mummy)
(Serves 4)

1/2 swede, cut into chunks
1/2 celeriac, cut into chunks
1 egg, beaten
85g Kellogs Special K, crushed
zest and juice 1 lemon
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
400g skinless white fish, sliced into 12 strips
2 cans baked beans
50-100g cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Put the celeriac and swede in a saucepan full of water and cook for 20-25 mins.

Meanwhile, pour the beaten egg into a shallow dish. Tip the cereal onto a plate. Mix the lemon zest into the breadcrumbs along with the oregano and some salt and pepper.
Dip the fish strips into the egg, then roll them in the breadcrumbs.

Put the fish fingers in the bottom of a deep ovenproof dish and bake for 15 mins.

When the fish fingers are cooked, take the dish out of the oven and pour over the cans of baked beans. Return to the oven to warm the beans through for 3-5 mins.

When the celeriac and swede is done, mash with a knob of butter and a splash of milk and set aside.

Spoon the mash over the fingers fingers and beans and top with the grated cheese.

Return to the oven and cook for about 10 mins until the cheese is melted and going golden on top.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Chocolate Crunchie Fudge

This was last weeks book group offering, which seemed to go down better with the teachers than the kids! I thought it was ok but a bit rich for me! I think I must have the same taste buds as a 12 year old!

Chocolate Crunchie Fudge (from Baby Centre)
(Makes 39 Pieces)

400g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
397g tin condensed milk
25g butter
100g icing sugar
4 x Cadbury Crunchies

Line a 20cm square brownie tin.

Melt the butter, chocolate and condensed milk gently, until smooth and glossy. Then sift the icing sugar over the chocolate mixture and whisk in with an electric whisk.

Bash three of the crunchies, still in their wrappers and pour the broken pieces into the fudge mixture and stir through.

Pour the mixture into the lined pan and smooth with a spoon. Bash the last crunchie and sprinkle over the top of the fudge.

Leave in the fridge for an hour to set. Cut into squares and serve.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Hairy Dieters Shredded Duck Wraps with Hoisin Sauce

This is a healthy rift in the traditional duck pancakes, using actual pancakes. I found it a bit too, well, vegetabley. One of the wonderful things about duck pancakes for me is the pancakes and this just didn't quite hit the spot, I think all in all it was just a bit watery.

Shredded Duck Wraps with Hoisin Sauce
(From The Hairy Dieters Eat For Life - Si King and Dave Myers)
(Serves 4)

2 duck breasts, skin removed
500ml cold water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 star anise
2cloves garlic, finely sliced
25g chunk ginger, peeled and finely sliced
3 spring onions, cut sliced lengthways
200g cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
2 little gem lettuces, leave a separated
3 tbsp hoisin sauce

Place the duck breasts in a large saucepan and put the water over them. The duck should just be covered. Add the soy sauce, star anise garlic and ginger and stir well. Bring the liquid to gentle simme, cover and keep at a gentle simmer for 1 hour. Tun the duck halfway through the cooking time.

Just before the duck is ready, prepare the veg. Remove the duck from the cooking liquid and place them on a plate. Shred the duck by tearing it apart with two forks. 
To eat; place a few strips of cucumber and spring onion into. Lettuce leave, add some shredded duck and top with a little hoisin sauce.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Celeriac Remoulade

This was lovely and refreshing. I served it to my parents with cold cuts and salady bits after we came back from the theatre last weekend.

Celeriac Remoulade (from The Observer)

1 medium celeriac, peeled and shredded
juice half lemon
4 heaped tsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbso fromage frais
2 tbsp chopped pasley
salt and pepper

Put the celeriac into a bowl and toss immediately in the lemon juice.

Mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, yoghurt and parsley. Season with salt and black pepper, then fold into the shredded celeriac. Set aside for 30 mins then serve.

This needs to be eaten immediately, it doesn't keep overnight.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Rhubarb Pudding

I really loved this pudding. I love anything that is fruit and cake batter! My Father compained there wasn't enough rhubarb but I had lots in my portion. The tartness of rhubarb also cut through the sweetness of the batter really well.

Rhubarb Pudding (from Beauty and Lace)
(Serves 6)

750g rhubarb, sliced into 1cm pieces
220g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
125g self-raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease an oven proof dish.

Toss the rhubarb with half the caster sugar and scatter in the base of the baking dish.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, until smooth.

Fold in the vanilla and flour gently with a metal spoon, then pour the batter over the rhubarb.

Bake for 45 mins until golden. Serve with ice cream.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Zesty Lime Prawn and Avocado Salad

This is a really simply put together salad, lovely and zesty with the lime juice. I served it over lettuce.

Zesty Lime Prawn and Avocado Salad (from Skinny Taste)
(Serves 4)

450g large cooked prawns, peeled and deveined, chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
juice 2 limes
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped coriander
salt and fresh pepper to taste

In a small bowl combine the red onion, lime juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Let them marinate for at least 5 mins.

Put the prawns, avocado, tomato and chilli in a large bowl, add the onion mixture and then stir to combine. Add the coriander and toss gently. Season and serve.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

River Cottage Kale Speltotto with Goat's Cheese

I made this on a bit of a him so that I could use up the spring greens growing in my garden before the slugs or caterpillars got them. I also used barley instead of spelt, which took much longer to cook and much more liquid than the time given for spelt. Nevertheless it was really tasty and well worth my arm falling off from all the stirring!

Kale Speltotto with Goat's Cheese
(from River Cottage Veg - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
(Serves 4)

1l vegetable stock
50g butter
2 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
A few sprigs thyme, leaves chopped
2-3 leeks, trimmed and sliced into 2cm thick slices
150g kale or spring greens, stems removed and leaves shredded
300g pearled spelt or barley
125ml white wine
50g hard goat's cheese
salt and pepper

Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep it at a low simmer over a very low heat.

Heat about half the butter and 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and sweat gently for about 10 mins, until the onion is soft.

Stir the spelt through the softened onions and cook gently for a min or two. Add the wine and let it bubble until all the liquid is absorbed.

Now start adding the stock, about a quarter at the time, as you would for a risotto, stirring often, letting  each addition be absorbed before adding the next. It should take about 25 mins for the spelt (10-15 mins longer for barley) to become tender but still with a bit of bite.

While the spelt is cooking, sweat the leeks in the remaining oil and butter in a small frying pan over a medium heat, tossing and stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the kale or greens for the last 5 mins.

Take the finished Speltotto off the heat and stir through the leeks, kale or greens and grated cheese. Season. Serve topped with more grated cheese or sliced goat's cheese and a grinding of pepper.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Smoked Trout Pasta Salad with Fennel

This was a lovely and simple pasta salad packed with flavour.

Smoked Trout Pasta Salad with Fennel
(Serves 1)

60g dried pasta
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 small fennel bulb, chopped
1 heaped tsp mayonnaise
1 heaped tsp yoghurt
1 tsp chopped dill
squeeze lemon juice

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, drain, run under the cold tap and drain again well.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add in the fennel and garlic, cook for about 5-7 mins until the fennel is soft. Leave aside to cool.

Mix together the mayonnaise, yoghurt and dill with the lemon juice. Add in the pasta, garlic and fennel, mix well to combine. Serve or pack into a lunchbox.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Lemony Rhubarb Cake

For my staff book group last week I made a lemony rhubarb cake. It was enjoyed by all, with one teacher asking for the recipe. So definitely a success! I think it could have done with a bit more fruit in it, but it did have a lovely balance between sweet and tart, and adding more fruit might make it too tart to be edible. The streusel topping was awesome and added a lovely crunch to the cake.

Lemony Rhubarb Cake (from Baking in Pyjamas)
(Makes 1 2lb Loaf)

175g caster sugar
80ml rapeseed or sunflower oil
1 large egg
125ml buttermilk
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
190g self-raising flour
150g rhubarb, diced

For the topping
45g self-raising flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
35g butter
Pre-heat the oven to 180C  and grease a 2lb loaf tin. Set to one side.
Mix together 150g of the sugar, the oil, eggs, buttermilk, salt, baking powder, lemon zest, vanilla extract and the flour with an electric beater until everything has been thoroughly incorporated to make a smooth batter.
In a small bowl mix together the rhubarb and 25g of sugar and set aside.
Using a spatula gently fold the diced rhubarb into the cake batter. Scrape into the loaf tin.
Make the streusel topping by putting the sugar, lemon zest and the flour into a small bowl. Add the butter in small pieces and using your fingertips rub everything together until you have a bread crumb textured mixture. Scatter this over the cake batter.
Bake for 50-60 mins or when a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake come out clean.
Leave in the tins on a wire rack to cool for 20 mins then transfer them to the wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


I meant to post this last week sometime and it went a bit by the wayside. I whipped up this quick tzatziki to go with my Greek Meatball Sandwich. It was perfect! I loved the addition of the paprika.

Tzatziki (from BBC Food)

350g Greek yoghurt
1 cucumber, diced
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, grated finely
glug extra virgin olive oil
paprika, for sprinkling

Combine the yoghurt, cucumber, lemon juice and garlic in a bowl. Add a glug of olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. Serve.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Storcupboard Pasta Salad

This is dead simple but wonderful for using up those ends of jars. It's very versatile you could pretty much put what you want in it. I used aubergine pesto on this occasion as I had it open but any sort of pesto would do.

Storecupboard Pasta Salad
(Serves 1)

60g dried pasta
chunk cucumber, chopped
handful cherry tomatoes, halved/quartered
half a roasted pepper, chopped
1-2 sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
3 artichoke hearts, quartered
chunk cheese, cut into cubes
chunk salami, cut into cubes
1-2 stems of wild garlic, chopped
1 large tsp pesto

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook according to packet instructions. Drain,run under the cold tap and then drain again well.

Put all the ingredients into a bowl, add in the pesto and stir to combine. Serve.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Chicken, Sweetcorn and Broccoli Lasagne

This was a very easy and tasty lasagne, full of lovely fresh veg. It was really easy to throw together on a Sunday night after a busy day of dashing around.

Chicken, Sweetcorn and Broccoli Lasagne (from Foodie Quine)
(Serves 4-6)

4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
325g tin sweetcorn, drained
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
6 lasagne sheets
1.7l milk
85g margerine
85g plain flour
salt and pepper
1 tsp English mustard powder
100g mozzarella cheese, grated 

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the broccoli for 5 mins.

To make the white sauce; add the milk, margarine and flour to a saucepan and whisk constantly over a medium heat until the sauce thickens. Add the nutmeg, mustard powder and season to taste.
Add the chicken, sweetcorn and broccoli into the white sauce. Layer the lasagne sheets and chicken mixture in an ovenproof dish and top with mozzarella.

Bake for 30 mins or until bubbling and golden brown.

Meal Planning Monday

Last week just disappeared. You know when there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything? Last week felt like that. Some stuff is easily left until half term which starts on Saturday, hurrah! Other things just seemed to take forever!

I went to a really interesting talk at the V&A on Wednesday about the Vivien Leigh Archive, which they acquired last year. Some of it is on display in the theatre and performance galleries at the museum but most is away in storage so it was really good to get the opportunity to see what they have and also learn more about her. I also went to Byron Burger to try their Miami Slice burger, the special for this month, my friend and I agreed that it was ok but nothing special and the pork scratchings were a bit pointless.

I had a lovely if busy weekend as my parents were here. On Saturday we went to The Orange Tree theatre in Richmond and saw a very amusing play called School for Scheming. Then on Sunday my neighbour took me to a garden centre and then I pottered about in the garden and did some baking. I've got some beautiful flowers coming out in the garden including my fabulous iris.

This week is rather busy! I am going to the theatre four times and eating out on three of those nights. So apart from lunches not much planning is required.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Out before the theatre

Kale Soup and Bread
Squid with Hummus and Pine Nuts (The Times, Eat)

Smoked Trout and Bulgar Wheat Salad
Spanish Meatballs (WW book)

Pancake Bites
Out before the theatre

Out with colleagues
Out before the theatre

Tomato Tarte Tatin with Salad
Baked Ham

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Soup

This is a really yummy soup. It's lovely and creamy and fantastic served with a piece of crusty bread.

Creamy Mushroom and Roasted Cauliflower Soup
(from Closet Cooking)
(Serves 4)
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tbsp oil, divided
salt and pepper
2 leeks, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
500g mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp thyme, chopped
62ml white wine
750ml chicken stock
250ml milk
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Toss the cauliflower florets in 2tbsp oil along with the salt and pepper and arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower for 20-30 mins, until lightly golden brown.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and leeks and and saute until tender, about 7-8 mins. Add the garlic and thyme and saute for about another min until fragrant.
Add a little of the chicken stock and deglaze the pan. Add the rest of the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 mins. Season.
Remove from the heat and using a hand blender blitz until smooth. Add the milk and heat gently. Serve.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

This was my offering for Mad Hatters this week. I have one pupil who can't eat egg so I'm trying to make things that she can eat. Replacing egg with fruit or veg seems to work quite well. This is such a cheats recipe but it really had to be tried. The result was a soft cake like cookie, which was really rather tasty. The spices really came through and the chocolate chips were nice and melty.

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Oh Sweet Velvet)
(makes about 24 cookies)

1 box red velvet cake mix
1 400g tin pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves or all spice
100g chocolate chips
Pre-heat the oven to 180C
In a bowl, mix together the cake mix, pumpkin, and spices. Add in the chocolate chips and stir well.
Using a teaspoon, spoon dollops onto a baking sheet and cook for 12 to 15 mins.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This is quite a versatile dish, I added chicken and beans instead of chickpeas, you could you any sort of green instead of kale. I used cavolo nero, but it is really tasty. It also used up the last little bit of spaghetti squash I had in the freezer. I have the not so little plants sat waiting to be planted out for this year, so I can make more awesome spaghetti squash dishes.

Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
(from The Taste Space)
(Serves 2)

1 small spaghetti squash
1 tbsp oil
1 small onion, quartered and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
200g kale, stems removed and thinly sliced
200g can beans/chickpeas
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
6 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips

Preheat oven to 200C.

Pierce the spaghetti squash multiple times with a fork or knife. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, turning the squash half way through cooking.  Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once the squash has cooled, cut it in half and remove and discard the seeds and scrape the strands of squash out with a fork.

Whilst the squash is cooling, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden, around 1 min more.

Add the kale to the pan along with a splash of water to keep it moist. Raise the heat to medium-high, and cook the greens until they turn a brilliant green, stirring often. Stir in the spaghetti squash, beans, curry powder, smoked paprika and chilli flakes. Continue to cook and stir the squash for an additional 3-4 mins, or until the kale ribbons are tender, but still nice and bright. Add the sun-dried tomatoes. Season and serve.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Greek Meatballs

This was a really tasty and lovely sandwich. I'll post the recipe for the tzatziki tomorrow.

Greek Meatballs (from Closet Cooking)
(Serves 4)

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
450g lean ground lamb
large handful breadcrumbs
63ml milk
zest 1 lemon
1 egg
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp dill or mint, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions and fry until translucent. Add the garlic and remove from heat.

Put the remaining ingredients in a bowl, add the onion and garlic and mix well to combine. Divide the mixture into small pieces and roll into balls.

Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan and brown the meatballs for about 8-10 mins.

Serve in a pitta bread or wrap with tomato, red onion and tzatziki.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Lemony Orzo Salad with Chicken and Roast Tomatoes

This was a hot pasta dish that I made into a salad. It's really not that difficult to do especially with pasta dishes featuring yoghurt! This was really tasty, the flavour of the roasted tomatoes is just awesome and with the lemon, really good. Worth trying hot or cold!

Lemony Orzo Salad with Chicken and Roast Tomatoes
(adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride)
(Serves 1)

handful cherry tomatoes
cooking spray
salt and pepper
60g orzo
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 small chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
couple of squeezes lemon juice
1 tbsp basil, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 200C.

Spray the tomatoes with cooking spray, season, toss, and place into a baking dish and bake for 20 mins. Leave to cool.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the orzo and cook according to packet instructions. Drain, run under the cold tap and drain again well.

Meanwhile, heat a small amount of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another min. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

In a large bowl combine the orzo, artichoke hearts, chicken, onion and garlic. Add the yoghurt and lemon juice and mix well. Finally add in the tomatoes and basil and toss gently. Pack into a lunchbox, or serve.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Applesauce Cookies

These were last week's Mad Hatters offering. I wasn't actually at the session as I took a group of Year 7s on a trip to the Vikings Exhibition at the British Museum. Apparently they went down well though with one girl gleefully telling me she ate 5!

Applesauce Cookies (from The Smart Cookie Cook)

225g butter, softened
125g powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
60g applesauce
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
215g all-purpose flour

100g sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 160C.

Mix together the butter, sugar, salt, applesauce, cinnamon, and vanilla until well-combined. Then gradually add in the flour. Mix until fully incorporated and smooth.

Form dough into balls by hand and place on cookie sheets. Gently flatten balls, but not too flat. Bake for 18 mins or until lightly browned.

Gently roll the warm cookies in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Kale and Butterbean Stromboli

These pizzas look a bit of a mess! I rolled the pizza dough out a bit too thinly on one and the other I forgot to add cheese! so I sprinkled a bit on top after cooking. These stromboli were ok, a bit dry for my liking, when I eat the second one I'm going to make a tomato sauce to go with it. A tomato sauce makes everything better!

Kale and Butterbean Stromboli (adapted from Veg Hot Pot)
(Serves 2)

1 packet pizza dough mix
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
large bunch kale
1 small tin butter beans
salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp aubergine pesto
handful grated mozzarella
Make the pizza dough according to the packet instructions, roll out and leave to rest.

Heat a small amount of oil in a pan and add the garlic, fry for a few secs. Then add in the kale lightly stir fry until softened and wilted, you may need to add a splash of water. Add the butter beans for a couple of mins and then season.

Spread the aubergine pesto over the pizza dough. Top with the kale and butter beans, spread out evenly, the sprinkle the mozzarella over the top. Then roll the dough up from left to right to create a long log. Seal the ends.

Place on a baking tray or pizza stone and cook in the oven for 20-25 mins until the dough is golden.

Meal Planning Monday

Wow, so last week passed in a flash, despite it still being a five day week for me! I was in so much pain by the end of last week that I ended up paying to go and see a physio. He spent an hour and  a quarter with me and I think I finally understand a bit more and have some useful things to do, including rolling around on a tennis ball!
Food wise I pretty much stuck to plan. There was only one swap out, when I realised that the avocados I had were much riper than I thought, I made this lovely Avocado, Bacon and Egg sandwich on homemade bread to munch on for lunch yesterday instead. Not worth a whole post but definitely worth a mention.

I also spent part of yesterday with my neighbour breaking into my shed as I've lost the padlock keys! She came with an electric saw, which went through the bracket in no time, but it does mean that I now have to attempt a spot of DIY next weekend and get a new one. This is not something I am any good at!

I also repotted all my little sweetcorn plants, I have 24! Too many for me, but luckily the ones I don't have space for have good homes to go to. I also have aubergine, chilli and tomatillo plants sheltering on my windowsill which are still slightly too small to go out. The tomatillos are just peaking through and in a couple of weeks the aubergine and chilli plants will be big enough to be repotted.

This week I tried really hard to use my cookery books rather than just relying on the Internet for a meal plan. It's really difficult especially with Pinterest where I can easily search for recipes using a particular ingredient. However, I persevered, and pretty much everything comes either from my head, the freezer or a cookbook.


Storecupboard Pasta Salad
Sticky Asian Salmon Kebabs with Pak Choi and Rice

Mushroom Burger

Smoked Trout and Fennel Pasta Salad (Salads Book)
Out for dinner

Salami and Cornichon Sandwich with Crisps
Chicken, Sweetcorn and Courgette Enchiladas

Duck in Lettuce (Hairy Dieters)
Kale Speltotto with Goat's Cheese (River Cottage Veg)

Tomato Tarte Tatin with Salad

Mexican Mackerel Nachos

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Spring Greens Salad with Asparagus and Ham

I used my first radish from the garden for this salad. This year I've grown rainbow radishes, so I have some that are deep purple on the outside and some white as well as ordinary pink ones. It's all very exciting. This was a lovely salad really filling but packed full of lovely fresh flavours.

Spring Greens Salad with Asparagus and Ham (from Thyme for Cooking)
(Serves 2)

4 slices ham, cut into strips
8-10 asparagus spears, cut into 1in lengths
50g goat cheese, sliced into rounds
2 eggs, hard-boiled and quartered
200g lettuce, leaves torn into eatable size pieces
2-3 radishes, sliced

For the dressing
125ml Greek or plain yogurt
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chives, chopped
1 tbsp tarragon, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Bring a pan of water the the boil. Add the asparagus and boil for 2 mins. Drain and run under the cold tap.

To make the dressing: Whisk together the yogurt, mustard and lemon juice. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly. Stir in herbs.

Put the salad leaves into two bowls. Add half of the dressing and toss well to combine.

Arrange the ham, eggs, asparagus, radishes and cheese on top of the lettuce leaves. Drizzle a bit of dressing over all and serve the extra dressing on the side.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Wholemeal Loaf

This was a really lovely loaf. It's a mixture of whole and white flour as I find that all wholemeal flour makes a very dense loaf of bread. It also gave me an excuse to try out my new Kenwood Chef that I got as an early birthday present. It worked really well at kneading the dough, better than when I used it to mix cake batter and easier on the arms!

Wholemeal Loaf (from Leiths Cookery Bible)
(Makes 1 large loaf)

225g strong white flour
225g strong wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
300ml lukewarm water
2 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp caster sugar

Put the yeast into a small bowl with the sugar and pour over enough water to make a smooth cream, about 1-2tbsp. Set aside to become frothy.

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the centre.

Tip the yeast mixture into the well, rinse the yeast bowl with a little of the water and add to the flour along with enough of the water to form a soft dough.

Stir the mixture in a bowl with a wooden spoon to make a soft dough, adding more water or flour as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead for 10-15 mins bu hand or 5-7 mins in an electric mixer, adding extra flour if the dough is too sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough into an oiled bow, turning it over to coat the surface with oil. Cover the owl with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise. 
When the dough has doubled in size, punch your fist into the centre of it to deflate. Turn it on to a work surface and knead for 1 min to knock it back. Let the dough rest for 5 mins before putting into a large loaf tin. 
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cover the dough loosely with oiled cling film and leave to prove until nearly doubled in size, about 30 mins.
Glaze the dough with beaten egg or milk.
Place the dough into the oven and bake for 30 mins or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Turn out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Rhubarb and Ginger Queen of Puddings

I made this fantastic pudding last weekend. It really is one of the yummiest things I have eaten in a long time. The whole thing just goes together beautifully. I did make the mistake of eating it after the sausage and corn bake which also included breadcrumbs! My tummy was very full for the rest of the evening!

Rhubarb and Ginger Queen of Puddings (from Good Food Magazine March 2012)
(Serves 8)

140g breadcrumbs
4 eggs, separated
400ml milk
½ tsp grated nutmeg
250g golden caster sugar
500g rhubarb, cut into 4cm batons
4 balls stem ginger, chopped, plus 2 tbsp syrup
Heat oven to 160C. Grease an ovenproof baking dish.

Place the crumbs in the bottom of the baking dish. In a jug, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, nutmeg and 50g of the sugar. Pour the custard mixture over the crumbs and leave to soak for 10 mins. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 45 mins, until the custard is set but still has a little wobble.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the rhubarb in a saucepan with 100g of the remaining sugar, stem ginger, syrup and 2 tbsp of water. Set over a medium heat and cook for 10-15 mins until the rhubarb is tender. Leave to cool.
Heat oven to 200C. Place the egg whites in a large clean bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. At this stage, begin to slowly add the remaining 100g sugar, beating well between each addition, until all the sugar is incorporated and the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Spoon the rhubarb onto the baked custard. Spoon or pipe the meringue on top and bake for 15-20 mins until the meringue is browned. Serve.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Lentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil

I had a small amount of lentils at the back of my cupboard, nothing more than a 1 person serving. This was the perfect recipe to use them up.It was quick and simple and tasty. I served it over lettuce in a wrap but it would be just as nice, as the original recipe suggested, over some sourdough bread. Or if you're not a fan of carbs, just the lettuce.

Lentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil (from 101 Cookbooks)
(Serves 4)

70g pine nuts or chopped walnuts
85g baby spinach or arugula, sliced
40g basil leaves, sliced
120g cooked lentils
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
juice 1 lemon
250g plain Greek yogurt
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts or walnuts and cook until lightly toasted, 5 to 7 mins. Lay them out on a chopping board to cool, then chop them roughly to the size of the lentils.

Place the lentils in a bowl and mix in the spinach, basil, parsley, and garlic. Squeeze the lemon into the lentils, mix, and then fold in the yogurt. Mix again, and then pour in the olive oil, stirring, as you do, to combine. Season. Finally, fold the nuts into the dish, and finish with a drizzle of oil.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Sausage and Corn Bake

I really loved this. It was like a very stiff bread sauce with sweetcorn and sausages. The flavour was fantastic. In the original recipe the sausages are cut in half but I forgot that step! It probably looks better to do that, so next time I'll try it.

Sausage and Corn Bake (from The English Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

1 418g tin of creamed corn
1 285g tin of sweetcorn, drained
115g butter, melted
125ml of water
1 tbsp chicken boullion powder/liquid stock
1 tsp mixed herbs
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
170g coarse dried bread crumbs
8 sausages

Preheat oven to 180C.  Grease a shallow 1 litre baking dish.

Mix all the ingredients, except for the sausages in a bowl, stirring well to combine. Spread in the baking dish.

Brown the sausages all over in a hot pan, then nestle them into the corn mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 mins until browned.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Meal Plan Monday

So it's Tuesday. I usually do this in advance and then get blogger to automatically post it on a Monday but I never quite got around to it over the weekend. I spent the gorgeous bank holiday weekend doing a combination of baking and gardening. I also went to a housewarming/birthday party and a may day fair, all in all a lovely weekend. Some of the baking I did will appear in posts over the coming days.

I've just got back from the Viking Exhibition at the British Museum, which was really interesting, although I'm knackered now as I went with the whole of Year 7. The rest of the week is pretty busy, this term is ridiculously short and so really jam packed full of work stuff. I'm gong out for Mexican tonight, pilates later in the week and then I'm working on Saturday at an old girls AGM. Meals are once again clean out the fridge, easy as after all the weekend cooking I've lost all my energy! Really enjoying the sunshine though!


Sticky Squid Balls with Noodle Bowls (Jamies 15 Minute Meals)

Out for Mexican


Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap with Crisp
Swede, Leek and Potato Gratin with Salad

Prawn Marie Rose with Avocado and Bread

Cajun Trout with Rice and Salad

Tomato Tarte Tatin with Salad

Mashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich Filling

Looking for something healthy and filling last week for a sandwich seemed a bit of a chore. I finally came across this avocado and chickpea recipe. It was definitely filling, I have reduced the chickpeas by half from the original recipe as I thought there were too many. I served it in a whole meal pitta with tomato and lettuce.

Mashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich Filling (from Amuse Your Bouche)
(Serves 2)

200g tin chickpeas, drained
1 avocado
Juice of half a lime
3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
salt and pepper
Coarsely mash the drained chickpeas and the avocado together with a fork or potato masher, and add the lime juice, coriander and sliced spring onions. Mix well and season to taste.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Miso Brown Rice and Broccoli Salad with Fiery Prawns

Again another easy salad to take to work. I actually used a pre-cooked packet of prawns instead of following the recipe below, but you coud leave the prawns to cool and then put them on top and then pack into a lunchbox.

Miso Brown Rice and Broccoli Salad with Fiery Prawns
(from Good Food Magazine March 2014)
(Serves 3)

100g brown basmati rice
140g frozen peas
140g tenderstem/purple sprouting broccoli
1 tbsp white or brown miso paste
½ tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp rice vinegar
½ tbsp clear honey
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
200g raw shelled prawns
2 stems wild garlic, finely sliced
handful coriander, roughly chopped

Cook the rice according to packet instructions, adding the peas and broccoli for the last 3 mins of cooking. Drain and run under the cold tap, drain well.

In a small bowl, mix the miso, ginger, vinegar, honey, sesame oil and seasoning.
Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the garlic and half the chilli and cook gently for a couple of mins, taking care not to burn. Throw in the prawns, lots of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Turn up the heat and cook for a few mins until the prawns are cooked through.
Put the rice, peas, broccoli, spring onions and coriander into a large bowl and toss through the miso dressing. Divide between three bowls and spoon the spicy prawns on top, scattering over the remaining chilli. Serve.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Salmon and Broccoli Rice Bake

This was really really tasty. I love any kind of casserole and I'm really getting into my rice bakes. It was really easy to make and although the cream of mushroom soup makes it kind of trailer trash I guess, it would be really easy to feed a crowd.

I also had a hilarious time trying to get the tin open. I only have a "magic" tin opener that opens tins at the side, but the rim on this tin was too wide so it was barely cutting into the tin. I ended up having to ask my neighbour if I could borrow her tin opener and arrived on her doorstep clutching my partially opened tin of salmon! Thankfully she had a normal tin opener and we successfully opened it!

Salmon and Broccoli Rice Bake (method adapted from The English Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

200g rice
1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 small tins of boneless skinless salmon, flaked
1 tin of condensed mushroom soup, undiluted
1 small bottle of Caesar salad dressing
2 handfuls of  Ritz crackers, crushed
100g cheddar, grated

Preheat the oven to 200C.  Grease a 1l casserole dish.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the rice according to packet instructions, adding the broccoli for the last 3 mins, drain.

Put the rice, broccoli, salmon, mushroom soup and Caesar salad dressing into a large bowl and mix well until combined. Tip out into the casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheddar over the top and then sprinkle over the crushed crackers.

Bake for 25-30 mins, until the casserole is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Serve.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Chocolate Banana Muffins

The original recipe made big muffins but I turned them into mini ones so that I could give them too the girls at Mad Hatters. The mixture makes about 12 big ones. I also gave some to my next door neighbour, whose hands you can see in the picture, and my sister. I realised last night I'd forgotten to take a picture and so panicking  I knocked on my neighbours door and asked if she had any left! Luckily she had two so I took a quick shot of them. The girls had woolfed mine down yesterday! With hindsight I think they would have been better with the addition of chocolate chips but were actually very tasty as they were, I just like the chips as a bit of a contrasting texture.

Mini Chocolate Banana Muffins (from Recipes from a Pantry)
(Makes 40ish)
3 very ripe bananas
2 tsp lemon juice
125ml vegetable oil
2 large eggs
100g soft brown sugar
225g plain flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a mini muffin tin with muffin cases.
First mash the banana together with the lemon juice in a large bowl, then add the oil, when the mixture is combined, add in the eggs and sugar.
Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda and mix until just combined. The batter might be slightly lumpy.
Using a teaspoon, spoon the batter into the muffin cases. Bake the muffins for 10-12 mins or until the muffins are dark and risen.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Smoked Mackerel Pasta Salad with a Lemon Yoghurt Dressing

So it's back to work and easily transportable salads time! This easy and delicious pasta salad fits the bill perfectly and it contains oily fish, hitting that Vitamin D spot too!

Smoked Mackerel Pasta Salad with a Lemon Yoghurt Dressing
(from the Good Food Channel)
(Serves 4)

250g dried pasta shapes
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
4 peppered smoked mackerel fillets, flaked
200g natural yogurt       
1 tbsp horseradish,      
1/2 lemon, juice only
1 tbsp snipped fresh chives
100g cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 little gem lettuce

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and run under the cold tap, drain well. Tip into a large bowl and add the spring onions and mackerel

To make the dressing, put the yoghurt in a small bowl and stir in the horseradish, lemon juice and chives. Season to taste. Gently fold into the salad and then stir in the tomatoes. Arrange 3-5 gem leaves in the centre of each plate and place the mackerel salad on top and serve.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Pesto Chicken and Pasta with Asparagus and Poached Egg

This was such a simple meal but really highlighted the freshness of the asparagus. I got the asparagus from the village shop close to where my parents live and in turn it comes from Thorney which is just a few miles up the road. They always produce fantastic tasting asparagus and so I really wanted to show that off, this dish definitely does that! Sometimes the simplest things are the best!

Pesto Chicken and Pasta with Asparagus and Poached Egg
(Serves 1)

60g tagliatelle
1 tsp oil
1 chicken breast, cut into chunks
5-6 stalks asparagus, cut in inch pieces
1 egg
2 tsp pesto

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

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with the oil and cook the chicken until golden.

Put the asparagus in a steamer and place over the pasta for the last 3 mins of cooking.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and poach the egg to your liking.

Drain the pasta and put back into the pan with the chicken, stir through the pesto. Transfer to a bowl. Put the asparagus on top of the pasta and then top with the egg. Sprinkle with black pepper and shave some Parmesan over the top. Serve.