Sunday, 31 August 2014

Courgette and Brie Soup

It's that time of year again, courgette soup making time! I try to make a couple of new ones each year, this time it's courgette and brie. Yummy!

Courgette and Brie Soup 
(from New Covent Garden Company Book of Soups)
(Serves 6)

450g courgettes, sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1.2l vegetable stock
225g brie, end rind removed and cut into pieces
salt and pepper

Put all the ingredients except the brie in a large saucepan. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 15 mins until the veg are tender. Stir in the cheese until melted. Cool a little, then blitz until smooth. Season and serve.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Chickpea and Cauliflower Burgers

In an effort to eat less red meat, I'm also eating more vegetarian food than I used to. I love veggie burgers. I make a batch, freeze them and then I have a really quick supper that I can just grab out of the freezer. These are the latest lot I made, really tasty. I served it in a seedy bun with dill pickle, cheese, tomatoes and barbecue sauce.

Chickpea and Cauliflower Burgers (from The First Mess)
(Serves 4)
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 garlic clove, rough chopped
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
6 tbsp chickpea flour
2 tbsp chopped chives

Steam the cauliflower over a pan of boiling water until tender, about 8-10 mins. Remove the cauliflower and run some cold water over it. Towel the florets lightly and then place in the bowl of a food processor.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Add the chickpeas, garlic, Old Bay seasoning, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the cauliflower. Pulse the mixture until you have a meal that clumps together when you squeeze it. You should still see little bits of chickpeas. Put the chickpea and cauliflower mixture into a large bowl and stir in the flours and chopped chives until your mix is fully combined and the flour is absorbed. Season.
Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and with wet hands form the mixture into 4 patties. The out the patties onto the baking sheet. Bake for 30 mins, then serve,

Friday, 29 August 2014

Chicken, Mushroom and Courgette Pasta Bake

When I was away in Northumberland we out for quite a lot of our meals, especially with the builders making everything fishy! We made a very ad hock pasta bake with what was in the fridge one night, it was really simple but very tasty, and a small amount of ingredients went a long way, we'd had a reasonable sized lunch so we only ate about 2/3rds between us but on a normal night it serves two.

Chicken, Mushroom and Courgette Pasta Bake
(Serves 2-3)

100g dried pasta shapes
2 tbsp oil
1 chicken breast, cubed
1 large portobello mushroom, chopped
1 small courgette, sliced
25g butter
25g flour
1/2 tsp mustard powder
400ml milk
30g cheddar cheese, grated 

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, put the oil in a frying pan and add the chicken, cook until browned then remove from the pan. Add a little more oil and add the mushroom and courgette and cook until golden.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour and mix together, cook for a min or so to let the flour cook out. Stir in the mustard powder. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring well in between each addition, until you have a thick sauce.

Add the pasta, chicken, mushroom and courgette to the white sauce and mix until well combined. Tip into an ovenproof dish and cover with cheese.

Put into the oven and bake for 25-30 mins until golden and bubbling. serve with salad.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Herb and Lemon Ribs

One of the things I've really wanted to make for a while is ribs. The Times did a whole supplement on ribs by Donna Hay and we went for a herbs and lemon marinade and then served it with corn on the cob, potato salad and barbecue sauce. Delicious!

Herb and Lemon Ribs (adapted from Eat! The Times)
(Serves 4)

1 onion, quartered
1 garlic clove, halved
6 curly parsley stalks
1 lemon, quartered
1 small bunch lemon thyme
2 tbsp green peppercorns
500ml white wine
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp table salt
2kg (4 racks) American style pork ribs

Place the onion, garlic, parsley, lemon thyme, peppercorns, wine, balsamic vinegar and salt into a dish and add the ribs. Leave to marinate for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Carefully remove the ribs from the marinade and place the ribs on a grill rack over a pan lined with foil. Brush with oil and roast for 45 mins to 1 hour. Serve with barbecue sauce.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Cheese and Courgette Scones

These were an after thought after making the fruit scones, but they were a very good after thought! These were better than the fruit scones, possibly because I ate it warm with lots of butter! I have also frozen some, so I hope they taste just as good when defrosted. I'm going to have them with soup as something a bit different from bread.

Cheese and Courgette Scones (from Not Just Green Fingers)
(makes 7-8)

225g self raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
175g grated courgettes
60g margarine
150ml milk
60g grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 220C, line a baking tray.

Put the grated courgettes in a clean tea towel or muslin and squeeze out as much juice as possible
In another bowl put the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the margarine with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs
Add the grated cheese and courgette and mix, making sure the courgette doesn’t stick together in large lumps.
Add enough milk to make a soft dough that is not too sticky, add more flour if your dough is too sticky or more milk if it's too dry.
Roll out the dough 1cm thick and cut into rounds with a pastry cutter
Place the scones on the baking tray and bake for 10-15 mins or until golden and risen.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Sizzling Chicken Fajita Salad

This was so tasty and a healthy take on a fajita. I really do love a warm salad. 

Sizzling Chicken Fajita Salad (from Iowa Girl Eats)
(Serves 2)

4 chicken thighs, cut into strips
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 courgette, cut into batons
1 tbsp oil, divided
1 romaine lettuce, shredded
handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, chopped

For the marinade
juice of 1/2 lime
1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 jalapaeno, seeded and minced
2 tbsp chopped coriander
For the vinaigrette
juice of 1/2 lime
handful coriander, chopped
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper

Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl then add chicken and toss to coat. Cover then let sit and marinate at room temperature for 30 mins. 

Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a food processor or blender then process until smooth. Set aside.

Divide the lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado between two plates, drizzle with half of the dressing and mix well to coat the salad and divide between two bowls.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan on a high heat. Add the chicken in one layer on the bottom and cook for 1 min undisturbed. Stir then sauté for another min or two. Add the onions and courgette. 

Cook for 1 min, undisturbed, then stir and saute until tender, about another minute. 

Top the salad with the chicken and courgette mixture and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Serve.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Meal Planning Monday

I had a fairly relaxed beginning of the week, I went blackberry picking but all the blackberries had gone! They'd either all been picked or had shrivelled, they seem to still be out in South London but all gone near me, so I picked some sloes instead.

I'm going to make syrup and then ice cream out of them. I then started my new job, which went ok, I'm still really excited, I just need to get my head around everything as theres a lot of information to take in. On Saturday I spent the day at Kew Gardens with a friend, I had a really lovely day catching up with her and seeing all the beautiful dahlias that were out.

This week theres a lot of information still to take in at work, but I am going to a really funky pub called The Churchill Arms in Notting Hill for Thai food on Friday, other than that a quiet week for me. It was meant to be a Weightwatchers week but I had other things that needed eating that didn't really fit in, I still have my holiday weight to loose!

Currently Reading - Cloud Street by Tim Winton

Rice Stuffed Courgette (Plenty - Ottolenghi)

Lunch provided at school

Smoked Trout, Asparagus and Pea Pasta (Jamie's 15 Min Meals)

Flageolet Bean Pie with Salad 

Chicken Salad (Jamie's 15 Min Meals)
Out for Thai food

Soba Noodles with Wakame (Plenty - Ottolenghi)
Salmon, Courgette and Tomato Linguine (Metro)

Vegetable Crumble (Goat's Cheese Book)

Fruits Scones

My next door neighbour spent a few days in Cornwall recently and brought back some clotted cream, so to go with the cream I made some fruit scones for us both. This is the first time that I've made proper scones. I made the rhubarb ones a little le ago, but this is the first time in years I've made sultana ones. To be hones, they weren't all that good, there were a bit solid and not the fluffy scones they should have been, I think I roles the dough out too thin. I shall have to try again! Thank you Vicky for the clotted cream too, delicious!

Fruit Scones (from Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course)
(Makes 7-8)

225g self-raising flour
40g butter or margarine
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
pinch salt
40g sultanas
150ml milk

Preheat the oven to 220C, grease and line a baking tray.

Sift the flour into a bowl and rub the butter into it rapidly, using your finger tips. Next stir in the sugar and salt, and add the sultanas, then take a knife and use it to mix in the milk little by little. Now flour your hands a little and knead the mixture to a soft dough. You might not need all the milk, add more if the mixture is too dry or add flour if too sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured pastry board and roll it out to a thickness of 2cm using a lightly floured rolling pin. Take a 4 or 5 cm pastry cutter and place it on the dough, the tap it sharply so that it goes straight through the dough. After you have cut out as many scone shapes as you can, knead the dough trimmings together again and repeat until you have used it all.

Place the scones on the baking sheet, dust each one with a little extra flour and bake near the top of the oven for 12-15 mins until the scones are golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with cream and jam.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Raclette Tart

I love raclette cheese! I was hurrying to find things to do with the cheese after heating it up on top of boiled potatoes and cold meats before the cheese went bad and I came across this recipe from Nigel Slater in The Guardian. It was really good, lovely and tasty and the cheese was fantastic and melty in the bottom of the tart.

Raclette Tart (from The Guardian)
(Serves 6)

200g plain flour
100g butter
1 egg yolk

For the filling:
350g raclette, thinly sliced
50g salami, thinly sliced or shredded
2 tsp peppercorns
12 cornichons, halved
2 eggs
150ml creme fraiche
good pinch thyme leaves, chopped
Put the flour in a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. Cut the butter, rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk, mix a little more then add enough milk – a couple of tablespoons – to bring the dough to a soft, rollable consistency.
Flour a board, roll the pastry out and use it to line a 22cm shallow-sided tart tin – preferably one with a removable base. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Set aside for 20 mins in the fridge to rest. This will stop it shrinking during baking. Set the oven to 200C and place a metal baking sheet in the oven.
When the pastry case has rested, bake on the hot baking sheet for 20 mins. Remove the case from the oven, carefully lift out the paper and baking beans, then return to the oven for 5 mins, until dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 180C.
Put the eggs in a mixing bowl, then stir in the crème fraîche and a little salt and black pepper.
Place the slices of cheese neatly in the base of the tart case. Scatter over the shredded salami, green peppercorns and cornichons, then pour over the crème fraîche and egg mixture. Place on the heated tray in the oven and bake for 25-30 mins until the filling is lightly set and pale gold. Leave to cool a little before serving.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Fried Butterbeans with Feta, Sorrel and Dukkah

So this is the first recipe I tried from Plenty, I borrowed the book from the library and have bookmarked so many recipes I want to try! This I found a little dry but if you had it as a side dish I think that that would be mitigated a little bit. The flavours however were fantastic, there were lots of layers of flavour and it was delightful!


Fried Butterbeans with Feta, Sorrel and Dukkah
(Adapted from Plenty - Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4)

450g dried butterbeans
2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
60g butter
4 tbsp olive oil
8 spring onions, sliced lengthways
1 garlic clove, crushed
200g sorrel, cut into 2cm strips, plus extra thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
150g feta, broken into pieces
2 tsp Dukkah
handful chervil or dill, chopped

Place the butterbeans in a large bowl and add twice their volume of cold water and the bicarbonate of soda. Leave to soak overnight.

The following day, drain the beans, place in a large pan and cover with plenty of fresh water. Bring to the boil and boil for at least 30 mins, or until soft but not disintegrating. They could take over an hour to cook, depending on size and freshness. Add more water during cooking if necessary. When done, drain.

Next heat some of the butter and oil in a frying pan, add enough beans to cover the bottom and fry over a medium-high heat for 1-2 mins on each side, or until the skin is a nice golden brown and blistered. Remove to a large bowl and continue with batch of butter, oil and beans.

When cooking the final batch, as soon as the beans are almost done, add the spring onions, garlic and sorrel and sate for about a min. Then add the rest if the beans to the pan, remove from the heat and season with salt. Allow the beans to cool.

Drizzle the beans with the lemon juice and scatter over the feta, dukkah, chopped herbs and some thinly sliced sorrel. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Morroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad

I made this lovely salad for lunch. The original salad doesn't have any lentils in it, but I wanted something a little more substantial and added them. It was delicious, lightly spicy and the carrots were still crunchy.

I used my own carrots from my garden, lovely and purple!

Morroccan Carrot And Lentil Salad (adapted from Plenty - Yotam Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4)

1kg carrots
80ml olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 250g packet cooked puy lentils
1 tsp caster sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green chillies, crushed
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped preserved lemon
40g chopped fresh coriander
120g Greek yoghurt

Peel the carrots and cut them into 1cm thick pieces, depending on the size, they should all roughly be the same size. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 mins, or until tender but still crunchy. Drain in a colander and leave to dry out.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until soft and slightly brown. Add the cooked carrots and lentils to the onions and then the rest of the ingredients apart from the coriander and yoghurt. Remove from the heat, season with salt, stir well and leave to cool.

Before serving stir in the coriander. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, a drizzle of olive oil and some extra coriander.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Salmon with Warm Courgette, Fennel and Barley Salad

I am now into the eat courgettes with everything phase. I am giving away as many as I can but I'm also eating a fair few myself. This was really lovely and lemony, the salad working brilliantly with the salmon.

Salmon with Warm Courgette, Fennel and Barley Salad
(from Girl Interrupted Eating)
(Serves 2)

120g pearl barley
2 salmon fillets
1 tbsp old bay seasoning
1 large courgette, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the barley according to packet instructions.

Put the salmon in the oven and cook for 15 mins

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the courgette and fennel, and cook until slightly golden and soft. Once the barley is cooked, add to the pan along with the parsley, preserved lemon, poppy seeds, lemon zest and juice and seasoning, stir well. 

Put the barley mixture into two bowls and top with the salmon. Serve.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Homity Pie

This is really something I really loved from school dinners at my previous job. The macaroni cheese, Cumberland sausage and mash and homity pie were my favourites. So I decided to recreate the pie in mini form for me and I have to say that my version tasted a lot healthier but still full of flavour.


Homity Pie (from Amuse Your Bouche)
(makes 1 large pie)

250g plain flour
150g butter, cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp oil
1 leek, halved lengthwise then sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
450g potatoes
25g butter, softened
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp mild/medium curry powder
3 tbsp milk

Put the flour and butter into a bowl and using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the egg and mix until it forms a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and put into the fridge for half an hour.

Flour a board and roll out the pastry. Lightly grease a large flan dish, and lay the pastry on top, pressing gently into the corners of the dish. Trim the pastry to fit. Place some baking beans on top of the pastry and blind bake for around 15-20 mins, until golden brown.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, and cook the leeks and garlic over a medium heat for around 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft. Meanwhile, chop the potatoes into fairly small chunks, and boil for around 15 mins, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Use a fork to lightly mash the potatoes. Add the leeks and garlic, butter, parsley, curry powder, egg, milk, and half the cheese. Mix well. Transfer the mixture to the pie crust, and spread out into an even layer. Top with the remaining cheese, and bake for a further 25-30 mins, until the cheese is crispy and the pastry is golden brown. Serve with salad.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tortellini Caesar Salad

Although this was a really simple salad to put together I thought people might like to see other things that can be done with a bottle of Caesar salad dressing. I know I was trying to come up with things! This was a very tasty salad, not a typical Caesar Salad and in fact you could throw anything in it, but the combination of the slightly spicy dressing and the pasta was really good. Could also be eaten hot or cold.

Tortellini Caesar Salad
(Serves 1)

handful tortellini
salad leaves, ripped up
small chunk salami, sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
small chunk mozzarella, cubed
1 tbsp Caesar salad dressing

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

Whilst the pasta is cooking, put the salad leaves in a bowl and top with the salami, tomatoes and mozzarella. When the tortellini is done, drain and then put on top of the salad. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Meal Planning Monday and Eating Out in Northumberland

So I've had a really cool couple of weeks. I started the two weeks with a trip to Paris, I didn't really take any pictures and didn't have all that much remarkable food, and I completely forgot to take a picture of any of it! However I did rediscover Kir in the hotel bar!

And we found Percy Pigs in Marks and Spencer, which made us giggle!

I then spent 10 days in Northumberland, where I did have some delicious food. I spent the first few days helping my parents clear two rooms that are being renovated in their house. Then my Mum and I spent a few days eating well!

The first place we visited was The Running Fox at Felton, where we had melts, I had a goat's cheese with beetroot and apple chutney and my mum had cranberry and brie. They were slices of bread with cheese on top and then the chutney. The portions were very generous with a lovely side salad. Of course, I forgot to take any pictures! We also bought a loaf of corn bread and some rocky road to take home.

The next day we went for lunch at The Angel in Corbridge. I had the burger

Again it was a generous portion, the chips were lovely and thick and the burger was fantastic and juicy. We spent the day in Corbridge and had a look round the shops, my favourites are the Cookshop, which seems to sell everything you could possibly want and The Corbridge Larder which has a fantastic selection of Northumbrian cheeses as well as lots of other foodie items. I really love visiting Corbridge and try to do so every time I get the chance to go up north.

Our last foodie outing was to the The Treehouse Restaurant at Alnwick Gardens. This was a really cool experience.

The restaurant is up in a huge treehouse. We had the set lunch menu and shared a started and pudding. I only managed to take pictures of our main courses, to start with we shared kipper pate with toast, for the mains I had fillet of Red Mullet with Summer Veg and a Bouillabaisse Broth, 

My mum had sausages and mash, with the sausages coming from a local Alnwick butchers

There was a bit of a discrepancy in portion sizes though, my mum's was huge and mine was tiny, she had three sausages. For pudding we had a trio of strawberry puddings; strawberry crumble, strawberry sorbet and a strawberry daiquiri. The food was ok, not out of this world but pretty good.

Out of this world was the hot chocolate and chocolate and almond croissant from a tiny chocolate shop called Cabosse in Warkworth, oh my god, so so so good. The hot chocolate was lovely and thick and rich and the croissant was just awesome. It has totally converted me to almond croissants, I had another one yesterday!

I also tried white pudding for the first time whilst away and I bought some more from Moorhouse Farm Shop, I had it for lunch a couple of days ago in a stottie with mushroom and ketchup, so so good.

Now on to this week. I have a fairly slow week, I'm going to the Park Theatre on Tuesday to see Crystal Springs and then I start my new job on Thursday, which I'm really excited about. I'm also hoping to go blackberry picking when it stops raining as they seem to be ready already! And to the Jean Paul Gaultoer exhibition at The Barbican. Then I'm meeting a friend to go to Kew Gardens on Saturday, really looking forward to that. This weeks meals are sort of adventurous and kind of clear out the freezer a bit so that I can fit more courgette based dishes in!

Courgette and Brie Soup with bread (Covent Garden Soup Book)
Thai Yellow Prawn Noodles

Sea Bass with Saffron Braised Broad Beans and Peas (Waitrose Recipe Card)

Israeli Couscous Salad with Merguez Sausages (Salads Book)
Rice Stuffed Courgette (Plenty - Ottolenghi)

Cheese and Pickle Sandwich with Crisps

Out with work
Mackerel with Tomato and Quinoa (Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)

Carrot and Lentil Salad with Freekah Pilaf (Plenty - Ottolenghi)


Chicken with Potatoes, Prunes and Pomegranate Molasses

This was so so so good, the flavours were just perfect, lovely and sweet and sticky prefect with the chicken. I served it with a green salad and veg. If you make one thing make this!

Chicken with Potatoes, Prunes and Pomegranate Molasses 
(from The Guardian)
(Serves 6)

4 chicken legs
500g charlotte potatoes 
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
120g pitted prunes
30g grated fresh ginger
100ml soy sauce
90ml pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp maple syrup
120g sweet mango chutney
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
20g oregano sprigs

Heat the oven to 200C. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, the tip into a large casserole dish. Cover with a lid (or thick foil), and bake for 10 mins. Lower the heat to 180C, and cook for two hours longer, stirring every now again.

When the time is up, remove from the oven, stir once, cover and set aside for at least 15 mins, to rest and allow the flavours to mingle. Garnish with a few oregano leaves and serve.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Greek Salad with Samphire and Rosemary Salted Herrings

This is another one of those lovely warm salad I've been enjoying. The original recipe called for sardines, but herring was just as good. It also gave instructions for pickling the samphire but I didn't have the time so I just cooked it quickly and added it to the salad. Yummy!

Greek Salad with Samphire and Rosemary Salted Herring
(From The Sunday Times)
(Serves 4)

For the dressing
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp mustard
squeeze of lemon
handful of mint, finely chopped
parsley, finely chopped
few leaves of oregano, finely chopped
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp sea salt
5 tbsp olive oil
120g samphire 
For the salad
25g sea salt
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves
4-8 herrings, butterflied
500g heritage tomatoes, cut into different sizes
1 red onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 baby cucumber, sliced into 1cm discs
100g pitted kalamata olives
250g good-quality feta cheese, cut in half lengthways
First make the dressing; place the sherry vinegar, mustard, lemon, mint, parsley, oregano, sugar, salt and olive oil into a food processor and blend for 1 min. Transfer to a small bowl.
Bring a small pan of water to the boil and add the samphire, cook for 1 min, drain and then run under the cold tap.
Blend the salt and rosemary in a food processor until well mixed, then sprinkle over the sardines. Heat a barbecue or griddle pan with a little oil and fry the sardines skin side down for 3 minutes until lightly charred. Flip over and fry for another 2 minutes. 
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, red onion, pepper, cucumber and olives. Toss with the dressing. Top with the feta and more dressing if needed. Serve the samphire and sardines on the side.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Broad Bean Burgers

These were wonderfully tasty. I shoved it in a bun, which is totally the wrong thing to do. These should be eaten elegantly with a nice salad, although they were very nice with blue cheese and barbecue sauce, it didn't show the burgers off to their full potential.

The original recipe called for the burgers to be fried in 125ml sunflower oil but I made them a little bit more healthy by baking. I also made them bigger than suggested as I wanted them for a main meal rather than a snack.

Broad Bean Burgers (from Plenty - Yotam Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4)

3/4 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp coriander seeds
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
225g spinach
2 tbsp olive oil
500g shelled broad beans
350g potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
1/2 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp chopped coriander
40g breadcrumbs
1 egg
salt and pepper

Put the whole seeds in a pan and dry-roast on a high flame for 3-4 mins or until they start releasing their aromas. Grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar.

Wilt the spinach I'm a hot pan with a splash of water. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out any liquid, then chop roughly and set aside.

Blanch the broad beans in boiling water for about a min, drain and refresh under cold running water. Once cool enough to hand remove the skins and discard.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 mins or until tender. Drain and tip into the a large mixing bowl. Immediately add the skinned broad beans, crushed spices, chilli, garlic, tumeric, olive oil and some salt and peppers use a potato masher to mash it all up roughly. Next add the wilted spinach, coriander and breadcrumbs. Check seasoning and mix in the egg.

Wet your hands and shape the mix into fat patties. Chill for 30 mins. 

Preheat the oven to 200C and cook for 20-30 mins.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Sausage and Pesto Barley Salad

I used some lovely wild boar and forest fruits sausages I got from The East London Sausage Shop in Walthamstow to make this delicious summer salad. It was very tasty.

Sausage and Pesto Barley Salad
(Serves 2)
100g pearl barley 
4 sausages
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 courgette, sliced or cut into batons
1 red onion, sliced 
12-14 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
40g feta, crumbled
2 tbsp basil, chopped
1 tbsp chives, chopped
2 tbsp pesto
4 tsp olive oil
lettuce leaves

For the vinaigrette
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the sausages in the oven and cook for 25-30 mins, turning after about 20 mins.

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

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and sauté the peppers, courgette and onions.
Make the dressing by mixing the vinegar and mustard, then slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly.

Put the barley, peppers, courgette and onion into a bowl, add the pesto and stir well to combine.

Once the sausages are done, remove and cut into about 5 pieces.

Tear the lettuce and put into a large salad bowl along with the herbs. Add the dressing and toss well to coat.

Divide the lettuce and arrange on 2 plates, Top with the barley mixture, followed by the sausages, cherry and tomatoes and feta. Serve.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals: Lamb Kofta Curry with Fluffy Rice, Beans and Peas

This month, the Daring Cooks challenged us to think inside the box - the icebox, that is! Audax taught us some really cool tips and tricks for stocking our freezers with prepare-ahead meals that can keep our taste buds satisfied even during the busiest of times.

This is another one of Jamie's tasty 15 Minute Meals, still didn't take 15 minutes but it was very tasty. This really was worth making, I've definitely had a run of really good meals recently, it was a very decent curry. It was also suitable for freezing and therefore good for Daring Cooks this month! Curries freeze really well, I often make big batches of things and freeze things in portions for later use.

Lamb Kofta Curry with Fluffy Rice, Beans and Peas
(adapted from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals - Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 4)

1 250g ready cooked puy lentils
1 heaped tsp garam masala
400g lean lamb mince
1 tbsp oil
3 ripe tomatoes
1 thumb size piece of ginger, peeled
2 spring onions, trimmed
1 red chilli
1 bunch coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp runny honey
2 heaped tsp rogan josh curry paste
1 200ml can light coconut milk
4 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt
1 lemon

1 mug (300g) 10 min whole grain or basmati rice
5 cardomom pods
200g green beans
200g frozen peas

Put the lentils in a bowl with salt, pepper, garam masala and mince, the mix and scrunch together with clean hands. Divide the mixture in half, then with wet hands quickly squeeze and mould each half into 6 fat fingers. Put them into a hot frying pan with 1 tbsp oil, turning when golden.

Put 1 mug of rice, 2 mugs of boiling water and the cardamom pods into a saucepan on a high heat and cover with a lid. Squash the tomatoes into a liquidiser, add the ginger, spring onions, half the chilli, coriander stalks, tumeric, honey, curry paste and coconut milk, the blitz until combined. Pour into the kofta pan, bring to the boil, then simmer and season to taste.

Take the lid off the rice, add the peas and beans, mix it all up and give it just a few more minutes. Finely slice the remaining chilli and coriander leaves and scatter them over the curry, dollop with yoghurt then serve with lemon wedges and the rice, beans and peas.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals: Butterflied Herring with Tuscan Bread Salad

Another one of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals, they just seem to tie with the ingredients that I have in at the moment. I did change this one a little though, I used herring instead of sardines and bacon instead of pancetta. I also added in lettuce, but I haven't put that in the recipe below. This was a bit disappointing, the salad was really tasty, but I'm not sure about the herring. It wasn't massively tasty, definitely some lemon would have been good, and maybe sardines would have been better.

Butterflied Herring with Tuscan Bread Salad (from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)
(Serves 4)

1 pinch saffron
4 spring onions
1/2 red chilli
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 lemons
olive oil
8 fresh herring, scaled and butterflied
4 rashes bacon

1/2 ciabatta loaf
1 garlic clove
4 anchovy fillets
extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
800g ripe mixed colour tomatoes
1/2 bunch spring onions
1/2 bunch basil
1 tbsp capers
200g jarred roasted red peppers
30g feta cheese

Put the saffron, spring onions, chilli, parsley, fennel seeds, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper into a food processor, then pulse into a coarse paste. Rub the paste over a baking tray just big enough to lay out the herring flat on top, skin side up. Lay the bacon between the fish, then grill until golden and crispy, about 8 mins.

Cut 4 2cm thick slices of ciabatta and place on a griddle pan until tossed on both sides. Peel the garlic and out it into the processor with the anchovies, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, the balsamic and half the tomatoes, spring onions and basil. Whizz to a smooth dressing and season to taste, then tip into a large serving bowl.

Add the capers to the bowl, then randomly cut up and add the peppers. Tear the ciabatta into thumb sized pieces, add to the bowl and toss together. Halve or quarter the remaining tomatoes, trim and finely slice the remaining spring onions and add, the pick over the rest of the basil leaves. Crumble over the feta, and drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil to finish. Serve with the sardines and lemon wedges.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Lentil and Spinach Pie

This was a spur of the minute make with leftover spinach from a different recipe. It was a nice cosy pie, I made half the recipe and it only to 30 mins to cook, so I'd keep checking on it. It felt really healthy with all the veg as well. I used red pepper instead of celery in the original recipe.

Lentil and Spinach Pie (adapted from Kitchen Diaries II - Nigel Slater)
(Serves 6)

2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced 
1 red pepper, diced
350g mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 bay leaves
3-4 short sprigs thyme
500g jar lentils
500ml vegetable stock
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
500g spinach
1kg floury potatoes
75g butter
Heat the oil in a casserole over a medium heat for 10 mins until the onions are golden and almost tender. Add the mushroom and the garlic and stir in to the veg. Add the bay and thyme and then the lentils, together with their bottling liquid, and stir briefly. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil then turn down the heat and leave the mixture to simmer for 20 mins, season with salt, pepper and the balsamic vinegar.

Peel the potatoes, cut them into pieces and boil until tender about 15-20 mins. Drain well, then mash with the butter. Beat hard with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Wash the spinach and whilst still wet, pile 450g into a pan with a lid and let it steam, with an occasional stir over a high heat for a couple of mins until it starts to collapse. Cool under the cold tap, then wring them out and stir into the lentils. (Don't be tempted to add the spinach raw to the lentils, it will produce a lot of water as it cooks and make lentil soup). Fold the remaining spinach into the mash potato.

Spoon the lentils into a baking dish and top with the potato in large rough spoonfuls. Bake for an hour until the edger are bubbling.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Gooseberry and Almond Pudding

This was a really yummy pudding. I got some gooseberries from a pick your own farm near my parents. I have a gooseberry bush but as I only bought it this year it won't fruit until next year, so in the meantime I had to get my gooseberry hit! The combination with the almonds was delicious. I doubled the pudding mixture as it didn't look enough but there wasn't enough fruit, so next time I'd double the fruit too.

Gooseberry and Almond Pudding (from Great British Puddings)
(Serves 4)

250g gooseberries, topped and tailed
110g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
30g self-raising flour
30g ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 170C. Put the gooseberries into an oven-proof baking dish and sprinkle with 50g of the sugar.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and remaining 60g sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Soft in the flour and fold this into the mixture, along with the almonds. Cover the gooseberries with this mixture.

Bake the pudding in the oven for 40-50 mins until the sponge is golden brown and has risen. Serve.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This is one of those "trashy" dishes involving cream of whatever soup, but to me they hold a fascination and they taste good, however trashy they may be. This one was especially appealing as it had crisps on top!

Tuna Noodle Casserole
(Serves 4)
250g dried pasta shapes
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
125ml milk
1 200g can tuna, drained
150g frozen peas, cooked
1 packet crinkle crisps, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions, adding the peas for the last 3-4 mins. Drain.
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a casserole dish.
Combine the pasta, mushroom soup, milk, tuna and peas, season and place into the dish, sprinkle evenly with crushed crisps.
Put into the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Serve.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Spinach and Goat's Cheese Croissant

This was a really tasty sandwich, I love goat's cheese and with spinach and the sweetness of the croissant it worked perfectly. I love being able to eat hot sandwiches!

Spinach and Goat's Cheese Croissant
(Serves 1)

handful spinach
1 croissant
20g goat's cheese

Heat a frying pan and add the spinach and splash of water, cook until just wilted. Leave to cool and then squeeze out as much water as you can. 

Halve the croissant and spread with the bottom half with goat's cheese, top with the spinach and then the other half of the croissant. 

Put onto a panini press and cook until crispy. Serve.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals: Crab Bolognaise

This was one of those Jamie meals that I've been anticipating for quite a while, ever since I saw it on the TV programmes. But crab is not really an everyday meal, it's rather expensive for that. Despite that this is lovely and tasty. I think I've used more anchovies in the last few weeks cooking out this book than ever before, but they do give dishes a lots of easy flavour.

Crab Bolognaise (from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)
(Serves 4)

1/2-1 red chilli
1 carrot
2 spring onions
2 garlic cloves
1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 bunch fresh basil
320g dried spaghetti
1 lemon
300g crabmeat, brown and white
white wine
700g passata

Halve the chilli, carrots and spring onions and put them in a food processor with the garlic, fennel seeds, anchovies and basil stalks. Blitz until finely chopped. Tip into a casserole pan with 1 tbsp oil, stirring often.

Finely grate the lemon zest over the veg. Add the brown crabmea, a splash of white wine and the passata, then stir, cover and leave to simmer for about 5 mins.

Roughly chop the basil leaves and sprinkle most into the sauce with the white crabmeat, the squeeze in the juice of the lemon. Loosen the sauce with the pasta water if needed, the drain the spaghetti and top into a large bowl. Spoon the sauce over the top and serve scattered with the reserved basil.