Tuesday, 31 May 2016

White Chicken Chilli

This is really simple to make. I make my own fresh salsa verde every summer from the tomatillos in my garden and then freeze it. This is the last lot. This chilli was yummy, you could of course add some chilli o bump up the spice level.

White Chicken Chilli (from Gimme Some Oven)
(Serves 2-4)

500ml chicken stock
250g cooked shredded chicken
2 400g tins cannellini beans, drained
300g salsa verde
2 tsp ground cumin
optional toppings: diced avocado, chopped fresh coriander, grated cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips

Add the chicken stock, chicken, beans, salsa and cumin to a medium saucepan, and stir to combine.

Heat over medium-high heat until boiling, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 5 mins. Serve warm with desired toppings.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Daring Kitchen May 2016: Sun-dried Tomato and Rosemary Twist Bread

This month we were challenged to make twist bread by Tandy of Lavender and Lime. I love making bread, it's something that I do every couple of weeks anyway, but this was a special bread and definitely required more effort than my normal brown loaf!! It is yummy though stuffed with all those sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary.

Sun-dried Tomato and Rosemary Twist Bread
(adapted from Jamie Geller's Joy of Kosher)

680g / 5 1/2 cups (spooned & scraped) bread flour
15g / 4 3/4 tsp instant yeast OR 20g / 7 tsp active dry yeast
118g / 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
375ml / 1 1/2 cups water
1 large egg yolk
60ml / 1/4 cup canola oil (if your sun dried tomatoes are in oil, then use that oil), plus extra for the dough
22g / 3 1/2 tsp flaked salt
150g / 1 1/3 cups sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
5g / 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 large egg lightly beaten with 5ml / 1 tsp water, for egg wash
10g / 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1. Place the flour, yeast, sugar, water, egg yolk and oil into a stand mixer bowl
NOTE: If using active dry yeast, activate it in the water for 5 minutes first
2. Use a dough hook and knead for 1 minute
3. Add the salt and knead for a further 5 minutes
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface
5. Knead gently and shape into a ball
6. Rub the bowl with a little bit of oil
7. Place the dough back into the bowl, seam side down
8. Cover and leave to prove until doubled in size
9. Lightly oil your hands and punch back the dough
10. Cover and prove for 1 hour
11. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface

12. Knock back and roll out into a rectangle
13. Spread on the tomatoes and rosemary
14. Roll up tightly, lengthwise
15. Trim off the edges
16. Cut in half, down the middle, but not going all the way to the bottom

17. Slightly open the two halves
18. Twist the dough to resemble a length of rope

19. Shape into a circle

20. Place onto a lined or sprayed baking tray
21. Cover dough with a damp cloth and leave to prove for 30 minutes
22. Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5
23. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle on the sesame seeds
24. Bake for 10 minutes
25. Reduce the temperature to 175°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4
26. Bake for a further 45 minutes
27. Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for 15 minutes
28. Place onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before cutting

Meal Planning Monday

So it was meant to be a quiet week, but instead I went out a couple of times!

I went to Pho & Bun on Shaftesbury Avenue, we had a set meal. We started with chilli and salr squid, spare ribs and summer rolls. We then had bao. I went for the 28 day aged beef burger bao. The starters were really good but I was a bit disappointed in the bao.

On Sunday I wen to the Great British Tattoo Show at Alexandra Palace. There was a very cool postcard exhibition by all the artists featured at the show on the theme of Britain.

We also went to a vintage and alternative fashion show, which turned out to be mainly wedding dresses.

We then went to Syl's near Crouch End for tea. I had a banana milkshake and achocolate cherry mousse cake. Both were delicious.

On our way back to Finsbury Park we went to a garden which was open as part of Open Gardens at 36 Ashley Road. The garden was beautiful, with lots of acers and a beautiful water feature.

Next week, is actually quiet at the moment! Although next weekend, I'm going to see Alice Through the Looking Glass and to the Underwear Exhibition at the V&A.

French Onion Soup with Cheese on Toast
Spring Sausage One-Pot with Cauliflower Mash

Crab Mac n Cheese with Salad

Kale and 3 Cheese Calzone with Tomato Sauce

Tortelloni, Asparagus, Salmon and Creme Fraiche


Out with a friend
Crocodile Burger


Sunday, 29 May 2016

Zesty Macaroni Salad

I loved the fresh taste of this pasta salad. The dressing is lovely and zingy with the lime juice and it is perfect for a summer picnic.

Zesty Macaroni Salad (from Eats Well With Others)
(Serves 4)

200g dried macaroni
juice and zest 1 lime
bunch coriander, chopped
4 tbsp salsa
3 tbsp sour cream or yoghurt
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground pepper
2 peppers (any colour)
60g cheddar cheese, grated
4 spring onions, chopped

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

In a large bowl, whisk together the lime zest and juice, coriander, salsa, sour cream, cumin and pepper.

Add the pasta, peppers, cheese and onions to the dressing, and toss to combine. Pack into a lunchbox or serve.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Slow Cooker Pulled Goat

I had a hankering for pulled pork but no pork, however I did have some goat in the freezer and hey presto - pulled goat. This dish is lightly spicy, makes the messiest sandwich and is lovely with barbecue sauce.

Slow Cooker Pulled Goat (from This Mama Cooks)
(Serves 6)

1 400g can chopped tomato
3 tbsp chipotle paste
125ml cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tsp dry mustard
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1.3kg goat meat
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

Stir tomato sauce, chiles, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, chili powder and salt in a 6l slow cooker to combine. Add the goat, onion and garlic and stir to cover meat thoroughly.

Put the lid on and cook on low for about 12 hours until the mountain can be pulled apart. Check every so often to make sure it’s not getting dried out. If the liquid levels are getting low add some water, broth or more tomato sauce. When done, shred with a fork.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Wild Garlic Hummus

It's wold garlic season again, yay! So although I can't forage any myself I took a trip to Borough Market on a Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago where they had bunches of the stuff. I used some of it to make a hummus. There was too much tahini in the original recipe for me so I have cut the amount in the recipe below.

Wild Garlic Hummus (from Farmer's Girl Kitchen)

1 400g tin chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini
1 lemon, juiced
50g wild garlic, roughly torn
60ml olive oil
some of the cooking liquid from the chickpeas or water

Put all the ingredients down to the olive oil into a food processor and blitz. Add cooking liquid or water, a little at a time, until you have the thickness and texture you desire.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Foodies Read: Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard - Goat's Cheese Salad with Fresh Figs

This is my May Foodies Read. It's a memoir of an American meeting a French guy and moving to Paris. The trials and tribulations of ex-pat living.

The book itself it not actually all that interesting, there are definitely more interesting memoirs of moving to France out there and she does complain about a lot of things, which gets a bit irritating but the most interesting thing about this book are the recipes. I have bookmarked so many to make. I decided on making the Goat's Cheese and Fresh Fig Salad from the book as the weather has turned a bit sunny and I had all the ingredients in the house.

The salad was delicious and really evoked a French summer. The sweet juiciness of the figs is complimented by the flavour of the goat's cheese. It was such a lovely dish to sit outside and eat in the sunshine.

Goat's Cheese Salad with Fresh Figs (from Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard)
(Serves 2)

1 small head lettuce
4 figs, cut into quarters
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
250-300g soft goat's cheese
2 large thin slices sourdough bread

Preheat the grill.

Spread the goat's cheese on top of the bread and put under the grill until the cheese is softened and beginning to colour.

Meanwhile, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and mustard. Toss with the lettuce and the figs.

Divide the salad between two plates, top with the goat's cheese toasts and devour.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Stuffed Swordfish

This was seriously one of the most flavourful dishes I have made in a while. It was a little bit of a faff to make but it just was so so good. I served it with crushed potatoes and salad.

Stuffed Swordfish (from Cooking Channel)
(Serves 1)

1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
2-3 cubes butter
60g wild mushrooms (shiitake, oyster), finely chopped
30g raw prawns, chopped
90ml white wine
1 tsp chopped spring onions
30g crabmeat
30g toasted breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
1 200g piece swordfish
40g plain flour
3 tbsp butter
60ml fish stock
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the garlic (minus a pinch) and red pepper flakes and sauté for 5 mins. Then add the mushrooms and prawns and continue sautéing until the prawns turns pink.

Add half the wine and simmer for a couple of mins before adding the spring onions. Add the crabmeat and the breadcrumbs, to tighten up the stuffing, and season with salt and pepper. Leave the mixture to cool for about 5 mins before stuffing the swordfish portions.

Sprinkle the swordfish steak with salt and pepper and lightly dust with the flour. Then, once the stuffing is cool, cut a slit in the side of the fish and make a pouch with your fingers. Fill the pouch with the stuffing.

Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan and saute the swordfish a over medium-high heat. Cook for 3 mins until lightly browned, then turn it over and put the frying pan in the oven for about 8 mins to finish cooking.

Once the fish is done, take the pan out of the oven, add the pinch of minced garlic to the pan and lightly brown over medium-high heat. Then deglaze the pan with the remaining wine. Add the fish stock and lemon juice to the pan and a knob of butter, stir until melted. Season the sauce with a little salt and add the parsley.

Take the swordfish out of the pan and place on a serving dish. Pour over the sauce and serve.

Meal Planning Monday

Last week was busy. I went to the theatre with a friend on Tuesday evening and before we went for dinner at Woodlands Indian Restaurant on Panton Street. We each had a Thali, one London Thali and one Delhi Thali. The food was all vegetarian and absolutely delicious, although there was way too much food! I will definitely go back though, I want to try the dosas.

We also had some visitors at school, the nursery class had eggs, which then hatched into chicks. They are gorgeous.

I took part in the Big Dance Pledge on Friday evening, it was an amazing evening and lovely to have friends and family who came to support me.

Then we had friends over for dinner on Saturday night and we made red mullet with fennel, jersey royals and veg. It was delicious.

This week things slow down. My Mum is staying for Chelsea Flower Show until Wednesday so that plan is a bit bitty. I'm then having a rest and over the bank holiday I'm hoping to get out in the garden and sort out the front of my flat.

White Bean, Mint and Lemon Dip and Salad Wrap

Smoked Salmon and Watercress Quiche with Salad
Out at a friends house

Tuna Pasta Salad
Rabbit Bolognese with Pasta

Falafel Bowl with Dill Yoghurt Couscous and Pickled Radish
Merguez Bean Pot with Flatbread

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
Tortelloni with Asparagus, Creme Fraiche and Salmon

French Oneion Soup with Cheese on Toast
Creamy Brown Rice, Mushroom, Chicken and Asparagus Bake

Beetroot and Farro Burger
Crispy Duck Lasagne

Saturday, 21 May 2016

French Onion Soup

I haven't had French Onion Soup in a long time but I suddenly had a hankering for it a couple of weeks ago and so I made a batch for the freezer. It is delicious, one of those amazing comfort food dishes that warm you up, and actually really easy to make.

French Onion Soup (from Good Food Magazine April 2013)
(Serves 4)

50g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1kg onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
4 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 tbsp plain flour
250ml dry white wine
1.3l hot beef stock

Melt the butter with the oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onions and fry with the lid on for 10 mins until soft. Sprinkle in the sugar and cook for 20 mins more, stirring frequently, until caramelised.

Add the garlic for the final few mins of the onions’ cooking time, then sprinkle in the flour and stir well. Increase the heat and keep stirring as you gradually add the wine, followed by the hot stock.

Cover and simmer for 15-20 mins. Serve with melted cheese on toast on top.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Roasted Carrot Hummus

As well as lots of mushrooms I have also been getting lots of carrots in my veg bag, so I used them to make some hummus. This was delicious and served me well for breakfast last week.

Roasted Carrot Hummus (from Farmers Girl Kitchen)

200g carrots
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper
1 400g tin cooked chickpeas
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 heaped tsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin

 Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the carrots on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil and salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 mins in the oven until soft.

Put the carrots and all the other ingredients into a mixer and blitz until blended and smooth. Spoon into a bowl and level to remove any air pockets. Serve.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Chocolate Chip Mug Cake

I fancied a tasty treat to round off my meal last weekend and what better than a 1 person serving mug cake. This is the first time I've tried making them and I made 2 over the weekend. The first one I cooked for 2 mins because it didn't look cooked on top after 1 min, but it went dry very quickly and was definitely overcooked. The second time I did it for 1 min 15 secs and that was definitely better. I tried mint chocolate chips and cinnamon chips, bother delicious.

Chocolate Chip Mug Cake (from Kirbie's Cravings)
(Serves 1)

4 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp low fat milk
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp chocolate chips

Combine all the ingredients except chocolate chips into a microwave safe mug. Mix with a small, whisk until a smooth batter forms and no lumps remain.

Stir in half of the chocolate chips. Sprinkle remaining half over surface. Cook in on high in the microwave for about 1 min. Let cool a few minutes before eating.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Meal Planning Monday

So last week was lovely, on Thursday evening I went to Denim n Dine with a friend, I posted all about it on Thursday.

On Sunday I helped my Mum and her friend with Afternoon Teas in the village hall for charity. There was a fantastic selection of cakes and we raised a lot of money.

My Mum also gave me a small bunch of flowers from the garden and Smudge hasn't appeared on the blog in a while!

So this week is absurdly busy. I am out every night, Monday is pilates, Tuesday, I am going to see How the Other Half Love with a friend, Wednesday I finally have an MRI scan and a dance rehearsal, Thursday I'm off to Into the Hoods and Friday is the Big Dance performance! My Mum is then coming to stay for the weekend and part of next week for Chelsea Flower Show! Phew! As a consequence the meal plan is basically a freezer grab. It's a good job I've done a lot of batch cooking over the last couple of weekends, I'm going to need it!

Merguez, Lentils and Couscous with Roasted Veg
Salmon and Aubergine Cannelloni with Salad

Sundried Tomato and Cauliflower Tortelloni Soup
Out before the theatre

Mushroom and Cheese Bake with Salad
Salmon and Prawn Sandwich Pie with Crisps

Mushroom Galette with Salad
Ham and Veg Crumble with Salad

Baked Beans on Toast
Salmon Fishcakes with Salad

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Mushroom Stroganoff with Garlic Chives

I have been getting a lot of mushrooms in my veg bag, so I decided to make a mushroom stroganoff and serve it over baked celeriac. I love the use of garlic chives in this recipe as they are now starting to come back in my garden. You could also add sour cream to make it creamy but I didn't have any so I just left it out. 

Mushroom Stroganoff with Garlic Chives (adapted from Allotment2Kitchen)
(Serves 3 - 4)

2 tbsp oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
250g mushrooms, sliced
200ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
handful of garlic chives, chopped
salt and pepper

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry over a medium heat until soft and golden.

Add the mushrooms and continue to saute for about 5 mins until cooked through. Add the vegetable stock, garlic chives and soy sauce to the mushrooms, and leave to simmer gently. Season and add the garlic chives. Serve.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Denim n Dine, Pedro Passinhas Pop Up

On Thursday evening I went to a pop up dinner at Blackhorse Atelier, Walthamstow. It is a pop up run by Pedro Passinhas who has worked at The Fat Duck and La Gavroche.

It is in a factory building close to Blackhorse Road tube station, so we had dinner surrounded by sewing machines and rolls of denim, hence the name.

The kitchen was off to one side so you could see the chefs preparing the dishes as we ate.

We were welcomed with a cocktail. The we sat down at a communal table for the first course, Pain D'epices with local Walthamstow honey butter. This was delicious.

Then came Prawn with Dulce Seaweed and Peas, the prawns had been flattened out into a kind of dumpling skin and the crispy seaweed was the perfect complimentary texture.

We then had Carrot Bark with Stracciatella and Pistacio. This again was a lovely combination of textures and flavours. Stracciatella is the creamy middle bit of buffalo mozzarella and was just sublime.

The final main course was, I think, my favourite. Squid Tagliatelle with Ceps and Nougatine. So there was no pasta involved, the squid had been cut into thin strips to form the tagliatelle. This was served with crunchy quinoa, which again was just the perfect texture to go with the soft squid and mushrooms. Sublime.

We then had a pre-dessert. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Jelly, Goat's Cheese and White Chocolate rolled in Hazlenuts and then Honey Water over a kind of Creme Caramel.

The last course was Almond Vanilla Rice Pudding with Cardamom Ice Cream and a Coconut and Rum Sauce. Now, I don't like rice pudding, it reminds me too much of schools dinners and its a texture that I just can't get on with and this didn't convert me. Having said that the cardamom ice cream was really good. I loved the flavour of that.

All in all this was a lovely decadent meal. I don't often have haute cuisine and it was lovely to be treated, the squid was just out of this world, and the simpleness of the bread and honey butter to start was fantastic. The waitress was really friendly and personable which helped the experience and as the menu changes with the seasons I may well take a trip back in the Autumn. I would definitely recommend you take those 4 stops north of Highbury and Islington and try out Denim n Dine, which is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and is BYOB.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Tuna Kebabs

For the Friday of the last Bank Holiday I had a home made takeaway of kebabs and rice. I went for Tuna with an Asian feel and peppers and cherry tomatoes but you could pretty much use any veg that's good on a kebab. I served it over egg fried rice with salad.

Tuna Kebabs (from Better Recipes)
(Serves 4)

4 tuna steaks, cut into chunks
2 onions, quartered
2 peppers, cut into large chunks
8 cherry tomatoes

For the marinade
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
30ml toasted sesame oil
juice 1 limes
1 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 piece ginger, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce

Mix together marinade ingredients.

Thread the tuna and vegetables onto skewers. If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 5 minutes before so they do not burn. Pour half the marinade over the skewers and refrigerate for half an hour.

Preheat the grill and grill kebabs for 5-7 mins per side. Serve.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Butterscotch Oat Bars

I made these for my Staff Meeting this week and they went down a treat. I wasn't at the meeting but I got lots of compliments when I got back. They are yummy and you can now find butterscotch chips in Sainsburys.

Butterscotch Oat Bars (from Jay's Baking Me Crazy)

155g plain flour
180g oats
½ tsp salt
115g butter
130g butterscotch chips
200g brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla

For the glaze
50g brown sugar
2 tbsp water
90g butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 23cm x 23cm pan with baking parchment.

Put the butterscotch chips in a large bowl. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until nutty brown in color, about 10 mins, stirring regularly with a whisk to prevent burning.

Pour the butter over butterscotch chips and stir until chips are completely melted and smooth.

Stir in sugar and mix until dissolved. Add the vanilla and the egg and mix well. Stir in the flour, oats and salt.

Press into the greased and lined pan and bake for 18-20 mins.

When you take the bars out of the oven, make the glaze. Mix the water and brown sugar in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 30-60 secs or until it starts to just boil.

Remove from the microwave and add the butterscotch chips, stir until completely smooth. Pour over the warm bars. Leave to cool fully, at least 2 hours, before cutting into squares.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Squash and Lentil Curry

To go with the Saag Paneer I made a Squash and Lentil Curry, it was gently spicy rather than mega spicy but the flavour was delicious.

Squash and Lentil Curry (from Oh She Glows)
(Serves 4-6)

1 tsp oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp curry powder
1l vegetable stock
200g red lentils
1 butternut squash, cooked
fresh grated ginger, to taste
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 mins over a low-medium heat.

Stir in the curry powder and cook for another couple of mins. Add the stock and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins.

Stir in the cooked butternut squash and cook over a medium heat for about 5-8 mins. Season with salt, pepper, and add some freshly grated ginger to taste.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Meal Planning Monday

Another Monday. So last week was busy, at the minute it slows down in June so I'm looking forward to the rest!

My veg bag arrived and this week I got cauliflower, mushrooms, salad leaves, carrots and dried chilli. I'm getting a bit bored of cauliflower, but I'm sure I can think of something to turn it into. 

This is what my garden looks like. I love this time of year and get all excited when the tiny plants start pushing through the soil.

On Saturday night my sister came over and we had a barbecue in my back garden, one of the highlights was definitely making s'mores. We had some with milk chocolate and some with white reeses pieces. Yum!

Yesterday I went to a talk at The London Library on building a character. The speakers were Nicholas Hytner, Simon Callow, Simon Russell Beale, Natascha McElhone and Harriet Walter and I did swoon just a bit! Afterwards we went for tea in The Parlour in Fortnum and Mason. I had the Pavlova with Passionfruit Curd and Raspberries, which was delicious. 

This week is busy too, tonight I'm free, tomorrow I have a mentor meeting, Wednesday is Big Dance rehearsal, Thursday I am going to Denim N Dine (a pop-up by Pedro Passinhas, which I am very excited about), Friday I am going to a friends house for dinner and I am going to my parents for the weekend. Like I said, I'm looking forward to doing very little in June!!


Chicken Sausage Sandwich with Crisps 

Goose Curry with Rice

Out at Denim n Dine


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Saag Paneer

It's time for Secret Recipe Club again. I was going to sit this month out as I'm changing groups but then there was a orphan in my new group and I wanted to help.

So this month I got Ellie from The Hobo Kitchen, I could have chosen lots of her recipes but I went for a curry and saag paneer. Partly because it meant that I could do something I have wanted to do for aaaages, make paneer from scratch and I did just that! The recipe was posted a couple of days ago. It was yummy, I served the saag paneer in dosas, which are a kind of Indian pancake and accompanied it with a squash and lentil curry. Yum!

Saag Paneer (from Hobo Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

400g paneer, cubed
200g spinach
1 chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch ginger, grated
2 tsp coriander powder
2 1/4 tsp cumin powder
1 1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp garam masala

Put the spinach and the chilli in a food processor and blitz until pureed.

Put the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the paneer. Fry until golden. Then remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.

Add the onion and grated garlic and ginger to the oil and fry until the mixture is lightly browned. Add all the spices except the garam masala.and stir. Leave the mixture to cook for about 5 mins, stirring occasionally.

Add the spinach to the onion mixtures and stir to combine. Season with salt. Lower the heat to a simmer. Let the mixture simmer for about 5 mins. Stir in the garam masala and the paneer. Leave all the ingredients to simmer for another five mins. Serve.

Saturday, 7 May 2016


I have been wanting to make cheese for a while, and this was really simple to make. I would say that you need a very large pan as when my milk boiled it rose out of the pan and splashed all over the hob! Paneer is bland, so it needs lots of spices to give it flavour, I turned it into a recipe that will post in a couple of days time.

Paneer (from BBC Food)
(Makes 250g)

2 litres whole milk
200-250ml fresh 'live' yoghurt, or 2 tbsp lemon juice

Bring the milk to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan.

Once the milk starts to boil and rise up, stir in the yoghurt or lemon juice. Keeping the milk on the heat, stir gently to help the milk curdle; it should only take about a minute. If it does not separate, add the rest of the yoghurt and keep stirring. The curds will coagulate and separate from the watery whey.

Remove from the heat. Line a large sieve with muslin or cheesecloth and place over a large bowl or saucepan. Strain the cheese into the sieve and run some cold water through it. Discard the whey or use for another purpose.

Wrap the cheese in the cloth and hang from the kitchen tap over the sink to allow the excess water to drain for 20 mins. Then, keeping it fairly tight, put the paneer onto a clean work surface. Place a heavy weight on top for 30-40 mins, or until it is flattened into a firm block.

Store any unused pieces in the fridge in water and cover. You can also freeze the paneer in an airtight container. Defrost before use.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

I made this salad using up the ends of jars and things in the fridge. It was very tasty and very simple to make. 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
(Serves 1)

50g pasta shapes
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 olives, halved
2 artichoke hearts, quartered
1 spring onion, sliced
1/4 bag baby spinach
1 tsp capers
20g feta cheese
1 tbsp pesto
1-2 slices parma ham, torn into smaller pieces

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

Put all the ingredients up to the cheese in a bowl and stir gently to combine. Put into a bowl or lunchbox and top with the parma ham. Serve.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Tzatziki Pasta Salad

I love a pasta salad and this was delicious.

Tzatziki Pasta Salad (from Spicy Southern Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

For the dressing
100g plain Greek yoghurt
35 ml mayonnaise
20g feta cheese
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

250g dried pasta, cooked to al dente
170g marinated artichoke hearts, drained, halved or quarted
16 black olives
12 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
1 small cucumber, diced
4 spring onions, sliced
40g feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill

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

In a bowl, stir together greek yogurt, mayonnaise, feta cheese, garlic, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil to make the dressing.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, artichoke hearts, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber, and spring onion.

Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and toss to coat, put into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the rest of the feta and the fresh dill on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Meal Planning Monday

Last week was fab, with lots of cake! On Monday I went pond dipping with the Nursery children at school and we saw a peacock, which was quite spectacular.

On Tuesday I met a friend for Vietnamese food, the only thing I managed to take a picture of were some rice paper rolls, delicious.

Afterwards we went for cake at Cutter and Squidge and had Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake and Eaton Mess Cake.

Yesterday I went to the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park to see the Cherry Blossom, it was beautiful.

After that we went to Primrose Bakery for cake. I had Cookie Dough Layer Cake and a Coffee Milkshake.

This week is once again busy. Today will be taken up with cooking and gardening. Then theatre Tuesday and Thursday, Big Dance rehearsal on Wednesday and then I am going to a talk at the London Library on Sunday.

Partridge Fajitas
Stuffed Swordfish with Garlic Mash

Vegan Garam Masala Carrot Soup with a Scone
Out before the theatre

Crab Sandwich with Crisps
Goose Curry with Rice

Jerusalem Artichoke and Rosemary Soup with a Scone
Out before the theatre

Mushroom and Spinach Quiche with Salad
Curried Duck Breast with Mango Mayo

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
Pulled Goat Sandwich with Cranberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Sandwich with Crisps
White Chicken Chilli with Rice