Friday, 30 December 2016

Turkish Baked Pancakes

These are a bit like the gozleme I get from the Turkish shop down the road from me, except the shell on these is a bit harder, I suspect because it is baked rather than cooked over a brazier thing. I loved them anyway, a nice project for a Sunday lunch!

Turkish Baked Pancakes (from The Telegraph)
(Serves 4)

150g 00 pasta flour
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 salt
75-120ml ice-cold water

For the filling
225 feta, crumbled
4 tbsp chopped mint
4 tbsp chopped dill
4 tbsp chopped coriander

Put the flour into a bowl and add the olive oil and salt. Add 75ml of water and mix until a soft, smooth dough forms, adding more water if necessary. Dust the dough ball lightly with flour, wrap in cling film and put into the fridge for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into 4 pieces. Dust the worktop with plenty of flour then roll one piece out into a small disc. The dough will become tight, so leave to rest for a couple of mins until soft again.

Roll it, resting from time to time into a circle. When it measure 25cm across it should be paper thin.

Scatter a thin layer of cheese and herbs over half the dough, leaving a 1cm border round the edge.

Brush the edge with water then lift and fold the other half of the bread to make a semi circle.

Lift carefully onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 mins until puffed and pale gold.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Tuna Burger

This is a yummy tuna burger. Add as much or as little chilli as you like depending on your tolerance. Lovely Asian flavours.

Tuna Burger
(Serves 2)

150g tuna steak
1 egg
15g fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp grated lime zest
1 cm ginger, grated
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1/4 red chilli, chopped
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
squeeze lime juice
2 wholemeal buns

Put the tuna in a food processor and whizz until quite finely chopped but not pureed.

Mix the salmon with the egg, lime zest, ginger, coriander and chilli. Shape into 2 large flat burgers.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add a little oil. Add the burgers and cook for 4-5 mins per side.

While the burgers are cooking, mix together the mayonnaise, chilli sauce and lemon juice.

Lightly toast the bun and spread the sweet chilli mayo on both halves. Top with the tuna burger nd some lettuce and serve.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Swede and Leek Soup

This came out the newsletter that comes with my veg bag. It's a delicious veg soup, lovely and warming for this chilly weather.

Swede and Leek Soup (from Organiclea)
(Serves 4-6)

2 tbsp oil
700g swede, peeled and diced
225g potatoes, peeled and diced
450g leeks, sliced
1 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
1.5l vegetable stock
salt and pepper
150ml milk

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the swede, potatoes, leeks and garlic for 5 mins.

Add the mixed herbs, veg stock and season.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 mins or until the veg are soft.

Using a hand blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the milk, reheat and serve.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Prawn Okonomiyaki

My second lot of pancakes. This a Japanese pancake normally made with just cabbage but I thought I'd add some prawns in. It is absolutely delicious drizzled with sriracha hot sauce and mayonnaise.

Prawn Okonomiyaki (adapted from The Guardian)
(Serves 1)

1 egg
50g plain flour
50g stock, cooled
1-2 tsp spring onions, chopped
½ tsp fresh ginger, grated
125g cabbage, thinly shredded
10 king prawns, cut into 3

To garnish
sriracha sauce

Mix together the egg and flour, then stir in the cooled stock, making sure that there are no lumps. Add the spring onions, ginger, cabbage and prawns.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Pour the mixture into the pan, and fry for five mins each side. Add the garnishes to taste, and serve immediately.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Squash and Sweetcorn Pancakes

I'm loving pancakes at the moment, in all sorts of varieties. I made slightly larger pancakes and I served them with hummus, yoghurt and cherry tomatoes. Yum!

Squash and Sweetcorn Pancakes (from Little Grazers)
(Makes 10 little pancakes)

100g butternut squash, cubed
100g plain flour
120ml milk
1 egg
45g frozen sweetcorn
1/2 tsp paprika
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
vegetable oil

Add the butternut squash to a steamer over some boiling hot water and steam until softened. Add to a bowl and mash, set aside and allow to cool.

Add the flour and egg and whisk until you have a smooth slightly thick batter. Stir in the cheese, sweetcorn and paprika.

Grease a frying pan over a medium high heat with some vegetable oil. Add heaped tbsps of the mixture to make mini pancakes and cook until golden on both sides.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Potato Pie

I made this for my parents a couple of weeks ago. I liked it but the sauce split. I'm not sure why. It was pretty tasty though, I like potatoes as the pie crust.

Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Potato Pie (from Let The Baking Begin)
(Serves 4)

1.35kg potatoes, sliced thinly
2 chicken breasts
300g button mushrooms, quartered
4 strips thick cut bacon, cut into ⅓ inch pieces
½ large onion, chopped
30g grated cheese
125ml stock
60ml single cream
salt and pepper, to taste
garlic powder

Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add the chopped bacon and render the bacon until it crisps up. Add the chopped onions to the bacon and continue cooking until the onion is golden in colour. Tilt the frying pan to the side allow the fat to drip to the bottom and remove the onion and bacon to a separate bowl.

Heat the frying pan on high with the bacon fat in it, add the mushrooms and brown them over high heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Add the salt, pepper and garlic powder, mix to coat.

Cut the chicken breast into 1 inch pieces. Add the salt, black pepper and garlic powder and toss to coat.

Layer the ingredients in the following order: chicken, half of bacon and onion mixture, light sprinkling of cheese, mushrooms, bacon and onion mixture, a little bit of salt and pepper to season the mushrooms, light sprinkling of cheese and lastly arrange most of the potatoes on top.

Mix the chicken stock and cream and pour on top. Cover the baking dish with foil or lid. Place into preheated to 220C oven and bake for 15 mins, then reduce the heat to 180C and bake for another 40 mins. Remove the foil or the lid and cook for additional 20-30 mins or until the top is golden brown. Serve.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Courgette Falafel

These were delicious, I made a full batch and I think I turned all of them into a falafel pitta sandwich with yoghurt, pickles and lettuce. Really easy to make and tasty.

Courgette Falafel (from Tesco Magazine)
(Serves 4)

1/2 large courgette, trimmed and grated
2 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp harissa
handful coriander, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Wrap the courgette in a clean tea towel and squeeze out any excess moisture. Set aside.

Put the chickpeas, flour, harissa, coriander, 1 garlic clove, the lemon zest and a little seasoning in a food processor. Whizz until smooth. Add half the courgette and pulse briefly to combine.

Divide the mixture into 12 equal balls, then flatten into patties. Place the patties on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 mins. Serve.

Friday, 16 December 2016

One-Pot Cod with Chorizo, Butter Beans and Goat's Cheese

I loved this dish, it was so easy to make with minimal washing up and super tasty. Really one worth making.

One-Pot Cod with Chorizo, Butter Beans and Goat's Cheese
(Serves 4)

4 pollack fillets
25g plain flour, for dusting
400g can butter beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cooking chorizo cut into strips
200ml chicken stock
500g baby spinach
100g goat's cheese
2 tsp butter
crusty bread

Dust the pollack fillets with flour, shaking off any excess.

Heat a frying pan until hot, add a little oil and fry the fish fillets for 3-4 mins until golden brown. Carefully turn the fish over and fry for a further 1-2 mins or until golden and just cooked through.

Add the butter beans and chorizo to the pan, then add the stock and cook for 4 mins to heat through.

Add the spinach, goat's cheese and butter to the pan and cook until the cheese has melted. Place each fish fillet into a shallow serving bowl and spoon the butter bean mixture around. Serve with crusty bread.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Stuffed Chayote

I got a chayote in my veg bag one week. I had never heard of it or seen one before, but it's always fun to try something new! I googled and came up with this stuffed chayote recipe. These were surprisingly really tasty.

Stuffed Chayote (from Cook Pad)
(Serves 3)

3 medium chayote squash, cut in half
140g chorizo, chopped
2 small corn on the cob, kernels removed
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp chopped coriander
50g cheddar

Preheat oven to 180°C

Cook the chayote in a pot of boiling water for 20-30 mins, until tender but firm. Remove from the water and leave to cool.

While the chayote is cooling, cook the chorizo in a frying pan. When fully cooked tip into a kitchen towel. In the same sauce pan which should still have a tiny bit of grease left in pan from chorizo, add the onion and cook for 5 mins, add the corn, peppers and tomato. Saute for 1 min.

Scoop the seeds out of the chayote and discard. Scoop out meat leaving about a 1/4" shell.

Chop the chayote flesh and place in a bowl. Add the chorizo, onions, corn, peppers, tomatoes, coriander and half the cheese. Mix well.

Stuff the chayote shells with the mixture. Bake for 30 mins. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top for the last 5 mins of cooking time.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Smoked Mackerel and Beetroot Frittata

This was a delicious fritttata, it's along time since I've made one, but this was definitely a success. Yummy!

Smoked Mackerel and Beetroot Frittata (from The Times)
(Serves 1)

1 cooked beetroot, diced
1 smoked mackerel fillet, flaked
3 eggs
1 tsp sage

Preheat the grill to high. Heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the beetroot and smoked mackerel and cook for 2-3 mins.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour them into the pan, making sure all the ingredients are well spread out and are covered by the eggs. Sprinkle over the sage and cook over a medium heat for about 4 mins, until the underside is cooked.

Transfer the pan to the grill and cook for 4 mins, until the eggs have set. Serve.

Meal Planning Monday

Last week was busy. My veg bag arrived, last week I got jerusalem artichokes, carrots, turnip, leeks and kale. I've already made Leek and Swede Soup.

I also had my work's Christmas Dinner on Friday night at The Elgin on Ladbroke Grove. I only managed to take a picture of my starter; Bubble and Squeak with Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce. That was really good and the best part of my meal.

This week is also busy. I've got a cooking workshop at the Foundling Museum on Tuesday, which I'm really looking forward to and also some theatre on Thursday. At the weekend I'm going to the Delaunay again with my family. I'm really looking forward to that too!

Smoked Salmon and Sundried Tomato Barley Salad
Cannelloni Nicoise Style with Salad

Borlotti and Runner Beans with Sage and Tomato
Out at a workshop

Mushroom Galette with Salad
Glazed Pork Steak with Mash and Veg

Leek and Swede Soup with Bread
Out before the theatre

Bacon and Leek Quiche with Salad
Courgette and Quinoa Burger


Out at The Delaunay

Baked Turkish Pancakes (The Telegraph)
Chicken and Broad Bean Pilaf (Hairy Dieters)

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Leftover Turkey Green Enchiladas

I got to take some of the turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving home. The first thing I made were these enchiladas. I had tomatillos from the garden, so I used them to make a green enchilada sauce along with some poblanos from the garden too. Please adjust the chills to your liking. I also made my own tortillas using a Jamie Oliver taco recipe from Money Saving Meals. They were a lot of fun to make and definitely tasted better than shop bought ones.

Leftover Turkey Green Enchiladas
(Serves 4)

For the enchilada sauce
450g tomatillos
4 garlic cloves
2 jalapeno chillis, sliced
2 poblano peppers, sliced
2 serrano chillis, sliced
2 tbsp chopped coriander
½ tbsp cumin
1 tbsp spicy chili powder
salt and pepper
500ml chicken stock

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
300g leftover turkey
200g green beans
100g sweetcorn
300g leftover turkey
1 tbsp chipotle paste
60g cream cheese
8 tortillas
100g cheddar, grated

First make the sauce. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Peel and rinse the tomatillos. Chop them in half and set them skin sides up onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Add the peppers and the garlic to baking sheet and bake for 20-30 mins, or until the pepper skins are nice and charred. Remove from heat and leave to cool a little.

Peel the skins from the peppers and add the peppers to a food processor with the tomatillos and garlic. Add the coriander, cumin, chili powder and salt and pepper. Process to combine. Add the chicken stock and blend until smooth.

Heat a frying pan and add the oil. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 mins. Add the green beans and the sweetcorn and cook for 5 more mins. Add the leftover turkey and chipotle paste a cook stirring for a couple of mins. Add the cream cheese and stir to combine.

Put a little of the sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof dish.

Divide the filling between the tortillas, roll up and then place in the oven-proof dish. Cover with the rest of the sauce and top with the cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 mins until golden on top.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Chicken Salad with Raspberry Dressing

This was a yummy salad. It used up some of the loganberries that I picked from my garden in the summer. I added the veggies to the salad as I needed to eat them and I love to throw green veg in anywhere I can!

Chicken Salad with Raspberry Dressing (adapted from Waitrose Kitchen Magazine)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp oil
150g bread, torn into chunks
6 chicken thigh fillets
salad leaves
veg (beans, broccoli, peas), cooked and cooled
1 shallot, sliced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
150g raspberries

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and add the bread, fry for 2-3 mins until golden.

Rub the chicken with 1/2 tbsp oil, season and fry for 4-6 mins on each side until cooked through. Cover with foil and set aside to rest.

Meanwhile, arrange the salad leaves and the veg on a platter, top with the croutons.

Add the last 1 tbs oil to the pan and fry the shallot for 2 mins, until softened. Add the vinegar and the raspberries, then warm over a low heat until the berries start to burst. Season, then slice the chicken and add it back in to the pan. Spoon over the salad and serve.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Sausage, Cheddar and Mushroom Pasta Bake

I made this delicious pasta bake for dinner a couple of weeks ago. It was fab, really easy to make. I made a couple of changes, I added green beans to the recipe and I put tomatoes on top before the finally bake as I love tomatoes in macaroni cheese!

Sausage, Cheddar and Mushroom Pasta Bake (from Sainsbury's Magazine)
(Serves 6)

8 sausages
2 tbsp oil
2 red onions, chopped into wedges
300g mushrooms, halved or quartered
400g macaroni
200g green beans, chopped in half
400ml crème fraîche
200g mature cheese

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Cut each sausage into three and put in a large roasting tin. Drizzle over the oil, season with black pepper and toss. Roast for 15-20 mins until the sausages are starting to colour.

Mix in the red onion and mushrooms and cook for a further 20 mins or until they are tender and the sausages are golden.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta for 10 mins adding the green beans for the last 3 mins of cooking time. Drain and toss in the tin with the sausages, onions and mushrooms. Spoon over the crème fraîche and stir it through, along with half of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for 10-15 mins until golden and crusty.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Meal Planning Monday

So, although I did go out for meals during the week. None of them were particularly notable! Then on Saturday I struck gold! For lunch I went to Mamie's on Catherine Street in Covernt Garden for galletes. I went for the Forestiere Complet, which was cheese, ham, mushroom and egg and was absolutely delicious. They have this ipad ordering system which you do all yourself at the table.

Then for dinner I went to the Delaunay. I chose it because the friends I was eating with are vegetarian and they have a good fish selection and a separate vegetarian menu. The meal was absolutely wonderful. I started with Salmon Tartare, which came with picked veg and toast and was very tasty. I followed that with Mushroom Stroganoff and Spaetzle, which again was really very good. Then I had Kaiserschmarren for pudding, which is cut up pieces of dough with plum compote. It was huge but so so good. I had to chare it with one of my friends in the end! I will definitely be going back.

This week I have several evenings out of theatre and then my Works Christmas Meal on Friday. I also made lots of soup this weekend, so I'm stocked as it's definitely the weather for it! I can't decide on Sunday lunch but hopefully inspiration will strike later in the week!

Cavolo Nero and Potato Soup with Bread
Out before the theatre

Curried Carrot and Butterbean Soup with Bread
Out before the theatre

Ham and Cucumber Wrap with Crisps
Cod with Chorizo and Beans with Bread (Waitrose)

Salmon Pasta Salad
Chicken Curry, Onion Bhaji and Paratha

Curried Courgette Soup with Bread
Out for Work Christmas Do

Out at Cafe Pacifico
Mixed Veg Stir Fry

Tuna Burger (WeightWatchers)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Creamy Parmesan Mushroom and Spinach Tortellini Soup

This was a delicious creamy soup. Perfect for these cold winter evenings.

Creamy Parmesan Mushroom and Spinach Tortellini Soup (from Closet Cooking)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp butter or oil
225g mushrooms, quartered or sliced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp thyme, chopped
30g plain flour
125ml white wine
1.5l vegetable broth or chicken broth
225g cheese tortellini
40g parmesan, grated
280g baby spinach, coarsely chopped
125ml cream or milk
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and onion and cook until they start to go golden, about 10-15 mins.

Mix in the garlic, thyme and flour and cook, stirring, until the flour starts to turn a light golden brown, about 2-3 mins. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.

Add the broth and tortellini, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the tortellini is tender, about 10 mins. Add the parmesan, let it melt, add the spinach, let it wilt, add the cream, season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Serve.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Steamed Salmon and Lemongrass Pilaff

This was really delicious. Perfectly cooked. I added the veggies in at the same time as the salmon. Yum!

Steamed Salmon and Lemongrass Pilaff (from The Times)
(Serves 4)

1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, sliced
40g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp oil
300g long-grain rice
750ml chicken stock
4 200g skinless salmon fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
handful coriander leaves
handful thai basil leaves
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
soy sauce, to serve

Place the lemongrass, ginger and garlic in a small food processor and process until the mixture is finely chopped.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the lemongrass mixture and salt and cook, stirring, for 4 mins.

Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 12 mins.

Place the salmon on top of the rice mixture, cover and remove the pan from the heat. Allow to stand for 6 mins. Top the pilaf with coriander and basil leaves, spring onions, chilli and soy sauce to serve.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Creamy Coriander Tomatillo Soup

I grew some tomatillos this year in the garden and I am just getting around to using them. I made some delicious soup with some of them. Next I'm going to make something actually Mexican!

Creamy Tomatillo Soup (from Sumptuous Spoonfuls)
(Serves 4)

900g fresh tomatillos (weighed after peeling the outer shells off)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 - 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp oil
60ml whiskey
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin
1/2 - 1 tsp red pepper flakes
375ml evaporated milk
bunch coriander, chopped

Heat the oven to 180C.

Peel the papery shells off the tomatillos and rinse them just to make sure all the dirt is off. Slice them in half and set them in a bowl. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the tomatillos and toss them lightly in the oil to coat them. Place them on a baking sheet, cut side up, and sprinkle liberally with pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 - 30 mins or until they are tender.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion and garlic and heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Pour in about half of the whiskey and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is gone, then add the rest of the whiskey and cook again until the liquid is gone.

When the tomatillos come out of the oven, let them cool a bit, then add them to the saucepan blitz using a hand blender puree till smooth. Add in the cumin and red pepper flakes along with the evaporated milk and coriander and blend until the coriander is chopped into little bits. Warm the soup and serve.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Veal Chop with Mashed Potato and Sautéed Mushrooms

I got some veal chops cheaply in Waitrose and then this recipe popped up in my Mum's copy of the Telegraph magazine. It was lovely and tasty, I love the combination of the veal and mushrooms.

Veal Chop with Mashed Potato and Sautéed Mushrooms (from The Telegraph)
(Serves 4)

4 veal chops
4 tbsp oil

For the mash
1.4kg potatoes, peeled and quartered
60g unsalted butter
50g milk

For the mushrooms
240g mixed mushrooms
1 tbsp oil
knob butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
100ml white wine
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Rub the chops with the oil and season. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 190C.

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes until tender.

Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and add a splash of oil. Add the chops and cook until golden brown on one side, about 5 mins, then turn and cook for another 5 mins.

Remove the chops to a roasting dish and roast for 15 mins. Leave to rest for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, drain the potatoes, return to the pan and mash with the butter and milk. Season.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add the oil and butter. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown. Then add the wine and reduce until the liquid disappears. Remove from the heat, season and toss in the parsley.

Divide the mash between 4 plates, top with the veal and the mushrooms. Drizzle any mushroom juices round the plates.

Meal Planning Monday

So last week was busy, really I'd like a rest week but this week doesn't show signs of getting any quieter! Before we went to the theatre in Hampstead we once again went to Guglee, this time I tried the Seabass Nazakat, which was basically seabass with herbs and chilli steamed in a banana leaf with Bombay Aloo and a Mint Paratha. It was delicious and much better than their Chicken Tandoori.

My veg bag also arrived this week, in it I got squash, carrots, broccoli, cavolo nero and fennel complete with enormous fronds!

I also gave my gingerbread biscuit recipe out to a parent at school and she gave me some of the cookies she made. They were delicious!

Then on Thursday we went for Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, which we found rather disappointing. The staff were rude, both on arrival and they tried to take our food away before we had finished, when we still had 30 mins left at our table. The sandwiches were unexciting and a bit dry. The scones were terrible, far too full of baking powder. The cake offerings were miserly given the money we had paid and very uninspiring, the only good things were the macarons that actually tasted of lemon and the raspberry tart. Needless to say I won't be going back, it is clearly a con for the tourists, I'll go to the Wolseley next door for a better Afternoon Tea for half the price.

This week promises to be just as busy. I'm trying to fit exercise around everything and just about managing. I'm only allowed to swim on my back and use an exercise bike, both of which I have discovered are much more fun with a friend!

Smoked Mackerel and Beetroot Frittata with Salad
Leftover Turkey Green Enchiladas

Curried Courgette Soup with Bread
Out before the theatre

Tomato and Cheese Quiche with Salad

Pesto Prawn Pasta Salad
Chicken and Basil Coconut Curry with Rice

Stuffed Chayote
Tuna Burger

Out at Balthazar Boulangerie
Out at The Delaunay

Sweetcorn and Squash Fritters with Ham
Chicken and Broad Bean Pilaff (Hairy Dieters)

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Curried Courgette Soup

This used up the last of my courgettes. I love making courgette, this one is spicy and fresh. 

Curried Courgette Soup (from Health Magazine)
(Serves 4)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp curry powder
900g courgette, coarsely chopped
1l chicken or veg stock
salt and pepper
4 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander for garnish

Warm oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and curry powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Raise heat to medium-high, add zucchini, pour in broth and add 1 tsp. salt. Cover and bring to a simmer. Remove cover, reduce heat to medium to maintain a simmer and cook until zucchini is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let soup cool slightly. 2. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth whisk in sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into chilled bowls, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage

My Mum saved me some runner beans from her last crop, just so I could make this recipe! It was lovely and fresh and full of well, beans! 

Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage (from Plenty by Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4)

3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp tomato purée
½ tsp each ground cumin, turmeric and coriander
1 tsp each ground ginger and cardamom
pinch of ground cloves
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp caster sugar
150g sugar snaps, halved at an angle
200g runner beans, sliced at an angle
250g shelled broad beans
2 tbsp chopped lovage salt and black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Sauté on medium heat for 3 mins, stirring frequently; add the garlic and cook for 1 more min. Now add the tomato paste, spices and some salt and pepper and keep on cooking and stirring for another min.

Next, add the tomatoes, sugar and all the peas and beans. Stir to mix. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 mins, or until the sugar snaps are cooked through but are still crunchy. Season. Stir in the lovage and then served.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

I made this chocolate beetroot cake for a staff meeting a couple of weeks ago. I had a lot of beetroot that needed using and this was perfect. This is a picture before I added the icing. It was very rich and you'd definitely only need a small piece!

Chocolate Beetroot Cake (from Delicious Magazine)
(Serves 10-12)

250g plain chocolate, broken up
3 large eggs
200g light muscovado sugar
100ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
250g raw beetroot

For the icing
150g plain chocolate
100g icing sugar
100g soured cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 22cm round, loose-bottomed cake tin with a little butter and line the base with baking paper.

Place the plain chocolate in a bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt slowly until smooth, then set aside to cool.

Place the eggs, sugar and sunflower oil in a large mixing bowl and whisk together, using an electric hand whisk, for about 3 mins until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in vanilla extract, then sift over self-raising flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and gently fold in, together with the ground almonds.

Peel and grate the beetroot, then squeeze out the excess liquid. Fold the beetroot into the mixture with the cooled chocolate, until thoroughly mixed.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hr. Cover with foil if the cake browns too quickly. Test the cake by inserting a skewer into the centre to see if it comes out clean. Cool for a little while, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the icing, place the plain chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Allow to melt gently until smooth. Set aside to cool, then beat in the icing sugar and soured cream until you have a thick, creamy and spreadable icing. Spread it over the top and sides of the cooled cake and serve.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Chicken and Ham Hock Pretzel Pies

These were absolutely yummy. Something a bit different with the pretzel topping, full of chicken and ham. I served it with green veggies.

Chicken and Ham Hock Pretzel Pies (from WeightWatchers)
(11 Smart Points per serving)
(Serves 4)

165g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust 
½ x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast 
1 tsp brown sugar 
1 tbsp olive oil 
Calorie controlled cooking spray 
1 onion, finely sliced 
300g skinless chicken breast fillet, diced 
2 tbsp plain flour 
300ml chicken stock, made with ½ stock cube 
2 tbsp half-fat crème fraiche 
150g cooked ham hock, shredded 
100g frozen peas 
1tbsp fresh thyme leaves  
2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda 
rock salt 

Put the bread flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine 110ml warm water with the yeast, sugar and half the oil, and add to the flour. Mix for 5 mins, until you have a smooth dough. Put in a bowl misted with cooking spray, cover, and let rise in a warm place for  30 mins to 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, gently fry the onion in the remaining oil for 3-4 mins, until soft. Add the chicken and fry for 2-3 mins. Add the plain flour and cook for 1-2 mins, stirring. Gradually add the stock, stirring well between each addition. Simmer gently until the sauce starts to thicken, then add the crème fraiche, ham, peas and thyme. Set aside.

When the dough has risen, tip it onto a floured surface and divide into four equal portions. Roll each one into a long sausage, then form a U shape. Cross the ends over each other twice, fold the U down to sit on the two ends, and press the ends in to secure. Leave to rise for 20-30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Divide the pie filling between four pie dishes. Bring 1 litre of water to the boil and gently poach the pretzels, two at a time, for 1 min, turning once. Remove with a slotted spoon. Put a pretzel on top of each pie, scatter with the rock salt and bake for 20-25 mins, until deep golden brown.


Monday, 21 November 2016

Meal Planning Monday

Last week was lovely. I went to see a panel discussion about the Tastes of Childhood with Claudia Roden and Bee Wilson on Friday at the Foundling Museum, which was really very interesting. Then on Saturday I went to my friend Daniela's house for Thanksgiving. My contributions this year were Apple Pie, Green Bean Casserole, Creamed Kale and Spaghetti Squash. It was a really lovely day.

Next week I am out most evenings. At the theatre and then to The Ritz for Afternoon Tea on Thursday! Then at the weekend I am going to see my sister in Bath. So meals are not all that exciting. A lot of soup!

Curried Courgette Soup
Out for curry before the theatre

Summer Veg Pizza Pie with Salad
Wasabi Salmon Skewers with Rice

Mexican Vegetable Soup
Out before the theatre

Creamy Tomatillo Soup
Out for Afternoon Tea

Salmon and Cream Cheese Wrap with Crisps
Lamb Burger

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Smoked Salmon and Spelt Kedgeree

This is absolutely delicious. I had it for lunch, so I left the spelt to cool before topping with the salmon and egg. It's a great big hit of vitamin D too.

Smoked Salmon and Spelt Kedgeree
(Serves 2)

1 leek, sliced
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp curry powder
100g pearled spelt
500ml chicken or veg stock
2 eggs
100g green beans, chopped
juice 1/2 lemon
handful chopped dill
100g smoked salmon

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the leek, cook for 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 min. Add the spelt and stock and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15-20 mins, until the liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, put the eggs in a saucepan full of water bring to the boil and boil for 9 mins, adding the green beans for the last 2 mins of cooking time.

Peel and quarter the eggs. Season the spelt and stir in the juice 1/2 lemon, the beans and the dill. Top with the smoked salmon and eggs. Serve.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Duck Breast with Blackberry Sauce

This is a delicious dish to use up those autumn blackberries. It's a really lovely pairing. I served it with cauliflower mash, sugar snap peas and kale.

Duck Breast with Blackberry Sauce (from Lunch in Paris - Elizabeth Bard)
(Serves 2)

2 duck breasts
2 tsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
220g blackberries
splash sherry vinegar
1 tbsp chicken stock

Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in a frying pan. Cook over low heat until the fat is rendered and the skin is golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the sugar and the berries, and stir, crushing with the back os a wooden spoon until they begin to bubble.

Deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry vinegar. Add the chicken stock, reduce a tiny bit and set aside.

Finish cooking the duck breasts, skin side up, for 3 mins. Pour any juice from the duck into the sauce. Reheat lightly.
Serve the duck topped with the sauce.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Indian Salmon and Veg Flatbread Pizza

I made this lovely pizza one day for lunch during half term. It's a very quick way to get a pizza and tasty to boot.

Indian Salmon and Veg Flatbread Pizza
(Serves 1)

1 salmon fillet
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 red pepper, cut into chunks
1/2 courgette, cut into chunks
1 flatbread or tortilla
1 tbsp tomato paste
coriander leves
1 tbsp natural yoghurt

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Put the salmon on a baking sheet and sprinkle the curry powder over the top. Bake in the oven for 12-15 mins until cooked. Flake.

Put a little oil in a frying pan and fry the courgette and pepper until starting to soften.

Spread the tomato paste over the flatbread and top with the salmon, courgette and peppers. Put into the oven for 5 mins to crisp up. Remove from the oven and top with the yoghurt and coriander. Serve.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Pasta with Bacon, Spinach and a Poached Egg

Really simple pasta dish, full of flavour and quick to whip up.

Pasta with Bacon, Spinach and a Poached Egg
(Serves 1)

60g spaghetti
2 rashers bacon, chopped
30g cream cheese
1 egg, poached
handful spinach leaves
grated parmesan

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

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon until crisp and poach your egg.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and then add back to the pan along with the cream cheese, bacon and spinach. Stir to combine. Put into a serving bowl and top with the parmesan and egg. Serve.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Meal Planning Monday

So last week was, there was a fair bit of eating out and my veg bag arrived. This week I got; kale, carrots, onions, cauliflower, chillis, beetroot and a chayote. I'm not really sure what a chayote is but I'll give it a go!

On Thursday I went to Dirty Burger/Chicken Shop in Crouch End with a friend. I had the chicken with sweet potato fries and we shared onion fries.

Then we had apple pie with ice cream for dessert. The food was delicious but the service wasn't great and the got the whole of my friends order wrong!

On Saturday I had cake. We were going to go to Dominic Ansell but when we went in the place felt a bit well, pretentious! So we went down the road to Peggy Porshen, which is just an emporium of pink glitteryness! Mush more our scene! We shared the salted caramel cake and the strawberry and champagne cake. Both of which were absolutely delicious.

This week I am not going out for any meals, Monday will be a sandwich from Pret, apart from Thanksgiving, which I'm helping to cook at a friends house. I am really looking forward to it and have been tasked with green bean casserole and apple pie.

Spring Veg Curry with Rice Noodles

Squash and Kale Bake with Salad
Courgette Falafel Pitta

Tomato and Cheese Quiche with Salad
Creamy Salmon and Potato Bake with Veg

Bulgar and Chicken with Basil Pea Mash
Fettucine with Squash and Red Poblano Crema

Prawn Cocktail with Salad
Chicken and Chickpea Curry with Rice

Prawn and Salmon Cauliflower Chowder
Out for Thanksgiving

Chicken Salad with Raspberry Tarragon Dressing
Sausage, Cheddar and Mushroom Pasta Bake

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Tomato, Spinach and Garlic Quinoa

This is the last Secret Recipe Club ever :(. This month I had Pale Yellow, this blog is mostly a baking blog, but as I am currently trying to loose weight I went for a savoury salad recipe! I will definitely have to try some of the cakes when I'm not, they look delicious.

I took the salad with me when I went to London Zoo for the afternoon. I did make one substitution to the recipe and used chard instead of spinach. Yum!

Tomato, Spinach and Garlic Quinoa (from Pale Yellow)
(Serves 4)

200g quinoa
500ml vegetable stock
pinch salt
1 tbsp oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
140g fresh baby spinach
280g cherry tomatoes, halved
juice 1 lemon

Add the quinoa, stock, and a pinch of salt to a medium saucepan. Heat on medium-low so that the mixture is simmering. Stir occasionally and cook until all the stock is absorbed.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook until the onions begin to brown. Sprinkle the onions with a pinch of salt. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min. Add the spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted. Leave to cool slightly.

Add the tomatoes, then stir in the cooked quinoa. Squeeze in the lemon juice and mix to combine. Serve.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Courgette, Tomato and Cheshire Cheese Bake

Almost the last of the courgettes from the garden. Delicious tomatoey bake, a little time consuming as you have to grill the courgettes the first but really tasty.

Courgette, Tomato and Cheshire Cheese Bake (from The Guardian)
(Serves 2-3)

4 medium courgettes, cut lengthways in thin slices
500ml passata
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
200ml Greek yoghurt
1 egg
100g Cheshire cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 220C. Heat a griddle pan. Brush the courgettes with oil, then chargrill and season lightly.

Build the dish in a frying pan: start with a good layer of tomato passata in the base, top with a thin layer of red onions, and add a tightly packed layer of courgettes, sprinkled with oregano, salt and pepper. Repeat, and finish with a thin layer of passata.

Mix the yoghurt and egg, season, then spoon on top of the passata. Cover with cheese, sprinkle with oregano and bake for 20 mins until golden.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Broccoli, Pea and Spinach Gnocchi Bake

An easy veggie dish that came straight out my veg bag and the freezer.

Broccoli, Pea and Spinach Gnocchi Bake
(Serves 4)

800g gnocchi
1 head broccoli, cut into florets and stalk chopped
100g frozen peas
2 large handfuls spinach
3 garlic cloves, crushed
bunch mint, chopped
300g crème fraîche
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease the inside of a 2-litre ovenproof dish.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the gnocchi, broccoli and peas. Bring the water back to the boil and simmer for 3 mins, until the gnocchi are bobbing on the surface. Drain straightaway.

Return the gnocchi and peas to the saucepan and stir through the spinach, crushed garlic and mint. Add the crème fraîche. Mix until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and then season well with salt and pepper.

Transfer the contents of the pan to the greased dish, level the surface, scatter with parmesan and cook, covered, in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins, until the gnocchi have puffed a little. Serve straight from the oven.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Spinach Pancakes

So I made these because I didn't have any bread and I'd taken a burger out the freezer to eat! I also had a large amount of spinach in my fridge and I loved them. This, I think, is my most successful use of rice flour and flax seed, which have sat for months in my cupboard waiting to be used.

Spinach Pancakes (from Spabettie)
(Makes 10-12 3in pancakes)

3 handfuls fresh spinach
3 tbsp ground flax seed
125ml + 1 tbsp warm water
100g rice flour
1 tbsp baking powder

Combine the flax seed with the water, and put into the fridge to gel.

Put the spinach and flax gel into a food processor  and pulse until blended. Add the flour and baking powder, pulse until completely blended.

Pour in 1/4 cup increments onto a heated griddle over a medium heat, turning once when cooked through.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Meal Planning Monday

So I completely forgot to take pictures of either of the meals I went out for last week! Instead I'm including a picture of a giraffe we got to feed on Saturday. My sister and I went to a Meet the Giraffes experience at London Zoo and we go to feed the giraffes. They are amazing animals. really majestic and they have this fab way of curling their tongues around the carrots to eat them. We had a lots of fun!

Next week, I am going to try Dirty Burger/Chicken Shop, going to the RHS Urban Garden Show and out with a friend on Sunday. Still trying to get rid of some of those recipe clippings and also using a book this week! What a novelty!

Harissa Roast Veg with Giant Couscous (Hairy Dieters Fast Food)
White Chilli Chicken with Yoghurt Flatbread

Smoked Mackerel Flan with Salad
Veal Chop with Potato and Mushrooms (Telegraph)

Chicken with Bulgar Wheat, Pea and Basil Crush (Waitrose)
Creamy Crab Linguine (Waitrose)

Lettuce Soup with Bread
Out at Dirty Burger

Beetroot Falafel Pitta with Crisps
Aubergine and Feta Burger

Chard Pancakes with Lemon Yoghurt
Lemongrass Salmon Pilaff (Times)

Out for lunch

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Rice Noodles with Sticky Lime and Chilli Chicken

I do like a good stir fry and in fact haven't made one in ages. This is very tasty dish and very quick to make. I used veggies from the garden, but you can use whatever you like!

Rice Noodles with Sticky Lime and Chilli Chicken (from Olive Magazine August 2006)
(Serves 2)

4 chicken thigh fillets
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
125g rice noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
stir fry veg
1 tbsp soy sauce

Mix the chicken with half the lime juice and the sweet chilli sauce. Season. Put on a baking sheet, flattened out as much as possible and grill on each side for 5 mins or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a pan and stir fry the veg until cooked through, then add in the soy sauce.

Drain the noodles and add the veg and the rest of the lime juice. Serve.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Beetroot and Lentil Salad with Rose Petals

So I got given a box of rose petals. I had no idea what to do with them until the Waitrose Weekend Newspaper thing offered a few suggestions. One of them was to sprinkle them over a beetroot salad, so I duly accepted. I'm not sure that the rose petals added anything taste wise but they were very pretty!

Beetroot and Lentil Salad with Rose Petals
(Seves 1)

60g dried puy lentils
1 medium beetroot, cooked and cut into chunks
salad leaves
25g feta or goat's cheese, crumbled
parsley, tarragon, basil, chopped
1 tbsp rose petals
french dressing

Cook the lentils according to packet instructions and leave to cool.

When the lentils are cool, mix with the beetroot.

Put the salad leaves into a bowl and top with the lentils and beetroot. Sprinkle over the cheese followed by the herbs and rose petals. Pour over some french dressing and serve. If you are using a lunchbox to take to work, then pack the dressing separately and pour over the salad just before eating.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Broccoli and Smoked Mackerel Gratin

This was a delicious bake, use homemade or store bought bechamel sauce.

Broccoli and Smoked Mackerel Gratin (from The Guardian)
(Serves 4)

200g broccoli
375g smoked mackerel
2 large tomatoes, quartered
500ml bechamel sauce
4 handfuls fresh breadcrumbs
4 tbsp grated parmesan

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the broccoli and leave to cook for 3-4 mins until bright and still a little crisp. Drain and cool under cold running water, then set aside. Set the oven at 180C.

Remove the skin from the smoked mackerel and break the flesh into large pieces, removing any bones as you go. Put the smoked mackerel, drained broccoli and tomatoes into a shallow ovenproof dish or baking tin.

Pour over the béchamel sauce, scatter with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Bake in the oven for 45 mins or so, until crisp and bubbling.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Orzo and Roasted Tomatoes with Pesto Dressing

There really is something about roasted cherry tomatoes, they are just so sweet and delicious. This salad is fab and completely reminded me of those lovely summer days that now seem so long ago!

Orzo and Roasted Tomatoes with Pesto Dressing (from The Times)
(Serves 4)

400g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper
250g dried orzo
100g rocket leaves
2 handfuls of basil leaves
6 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
50g parmesan shavings

For the pesto dressing
6 heaped tbsp basil pesto
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the tomatoes in a roasting pan and drizzle over a little olive oil. Turn to coat, then season and roast for 20 mins until softened and starting to colour.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the orzo according to packet instructions. Drain, reserving 2 tbsp of the cooking water, and transfer to a serving bowl.

Mix together the ingredients for the pesto dressing, stir in the reserved cooking water and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the dressing over the orzo and stir until combined. Add the roasted tomatoes and rocket and toss again gently. Garnish with the basil, pine nuts and parmesan shavings before serving.

Meal Planning Monday

So last week was Half Term. I spent the first half going to exhibitions and doing householdy jobs. I also treated myself to some cake from Bea's of Bloomsbury. I went for a Jam Duffin and the German Chocolate Cake. I definitely preferred the duffin, which was delicious.

On Monday after pilates I went to Franca Manca for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised, the pizzas were not particularly expensive and they are absolutely delicious. The crust is sourdough and I went for Gloucester Old Spot, Mushroom and Ricotta. I can definitely recommend it.

Finally on Thursday I went to The Olive Grove, Oundle with my mum where we shared a mezze platter. There was plenty on this for two and I walked away feeling rather full! I wasn't all the impressed with the falafel but the pitta was nice, hot and crispy and the dips were yummy.

This week it's back to work and 7 weeks until the Christmas holidays!! I am out a couple of times, for an Indian on Monday I suspect and then to the Lyric Bar and Grill on Thursday. Next weekend I am going to meet some dinosaurs at London Zoo and possible play some board games in Draughts. I am still trying to get rid of some of those magazine and newspaper clippings, so that's where the majority of this weeks meals come from!

Cream of Asparagus End Soup with Bread
Out before the theatre

Hummus, Carrot and Beetroot Wrap with Crisps
Duck Breast With Blackberries, Potatoes and Veg

Smoked Salmon and Spelt Kedgeree (Waitrose)
Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage (Plenty)

Lettuce Soup
Out before the theatre

Mushroom Galette with Salad
Aubergine and Feta Burger

Tomato, Garlic, Spinach Quinoa
Steamed Salmon and Lemongrass Pilaff (The Times)

One Pot Leek Linguine (Tesco)
Chicken and Ham Hock Pretzel Pies with Veg (WeightWatchers)