Friday, 30 September 2016

Creamy Smoky Fish and Spinach Gratin

This was absolutely delicious, one of the best recipes from my cuttings box. It was also very easy to mix and used up the mashed potato I had languishing in the freezer. 

Creamy Smoky Fish and Spinach Gratin (from The Times)
(Serves 4)

1 tsp oil, plus extra to oil the dish
1 small onion, diced
sprig of thyme
salt and pepper
half glass of wine
200g spinach or chard leaves, roughly chopped
500g cooked potatoes, mashed, or in crumbled pieces (if roasted or boiled)
150ml cream or crème fraîche
few gratings of nutmeg
200-300g smoked fish, such as mackerel, kippers, haddock or pollock, broken into large flakes

For the topping
40g breadcrumbs
40g cheddar, parmesan or emmental, grated

Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly oil an ovenproof dish, about 28cm in diameter.

Heat the oil in a medium-large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and thyme, and a pinch of salt and sauté gently, until the onion is softened, for about 15 mins.

Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer. Add the spinach or chard leaves, put the lid on and cook for 1-2 mins, until just wilted.

Remove from the heat and add the potatoes and cream or crème fraîche. Stir to combine and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Gently fold through the fish. Tip the fish mixture into the oven dish. Toss together the breadcrumbs and cheese and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 25 mins until golden and bubbling.

Leave to cool for a few mins before serving with a green salad.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Summer Vegetable Pizza Pies

These were actually really very good. Lovely and tasty with all those summer flavours. 

Summer Vegetable Pizza Pies (from WeightWatchers)
(Serves 4)

1 packet pizza dough mix
plain flour
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
200g courgettes, chopped
2 peppers, deseeded and chopped
650g tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp thyme leaves
125g mozzarella, torn

Preheat the oven to 22C. Make up the pizza dough according to packet instructions. Dust a work surface with some flour and turn out the dough, leave it rise for however long it says on the packet., then divide into 4.

Dust the work surface with little more flour and then roll out the dough to make 4 rough circles about 20cm. Set aside on a baking tray.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic, courgette and peppers. Cook for 8 mins until softened a little. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and thyme, cook for a further 3 mins, then season and remove from the heat.

Divide the veg and mozzarella between the dough circles, the fold the dough around the covering some of the veg.

Bake in the oven for 12-15 mins. Serve with salad.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Chicken Tikka Masala

This takes a bit of effort and wasn't very spicy but it was flavourful. I think the chillies I used just weren't very hot!

Chicken Tikka Masala (from The Times)
(Serves 6-8)

1 level tsp ground cloves
1 level tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 heaped tsp garam masala
3 lemons
6 garlic cloves
1 thumb-sized piece ginger
6 heaped tbsp natural yoghurt
800g skinless boneless chicken breasts
3 fresh green or yellow chillies

For the sauce
2 onions, finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1-2 fresh red chillies, finely sliced
1 bunch coriander, slice the stalks and chop the leaves
1 level tbsp ground coriander
2 level tsp turmeric
1 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 heaped tsp garam masala
6 tbsp ground almonds
2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
1 chicken stock cube
 2 x 400g tins of light coconut milk

Put the cloves, cumin and 1 heaped tsp each of paprika and garam masala into a small pan and toast for 1 min, then tip into a large bowl. Finely grate in the zest of 1 lemon, squeeze in all its juice, crush in the garlic, peel and finely grate in the ginger, and add the yoghurt and 1 tsp sea salt. Cut the chicken breasts into 5cm chunks, then massage all that flavour into the meat. Skewer up the chicken chunks, interspersing them with lemon wedges and chunks of green or yellow chilli, but don’t squash them together too much. Place on a tray, cover with clingfilm and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.

Make the sauce. Put the onions, garlic, chilli and coriander stalks into a large saucepan on a medium-high heat with a tbsp of oil and cook for 20 mins, or until golden, stirring regularly. Add the ground coriander, turmeric, paprika and garam masala. Cook for 2 mins, then add and toast the almonds. Pour in the tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube and add 300ml boiling water. Simmer for 5 mins, then stir in the coconut milk. Simmer for a final 20 mins, stirring occasionally, then season.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, drizzle it with a little oil, then grill on a hot barbecue, in a hot griddle pan or under a hot grill, turning until it’s very golden and gnarly on all sides. Slice the chicken off the skewers straight into the sauce, reserving the lemons. Simmer for 2 mins while you use tongs to squeeze some jammy lemons over the curry, to taste. Swirl through some more yoghurt, sprinkle with the coriander leaves, and serve with parathas or rice.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Blackberry Clafoutis

My sister came to help me out with a bit of housework and so I made her dinner. This was our pudding. I used blackberries that I picked on Walthamstow Marshes and they were oh so sweet.

Blackberry Clafoutis (from Sainsburys)
(Serves 4)

10g unsalted English butter
40g plain flour
30g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
200ml milk
1/2 tbsp sunflower oil
225 g fresh blackberries

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease a shallow, 1-litre ovenproof tart or flan dish with the butter.

Sift the flour and sugar into a bowl. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Slowly add the milk to create a smooth batter. Stir in the sunflower oil and mix well.

Put the blackberries in the base of the dish then pour over the batter.

Bake for 35-40 mins, until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Serve.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Mediterranean Chicken Parcel

I was given this recipe by a friend and I finally got around to making it. I used courgettes and tomatoes from the garden and it was delicious. I served it with new potatoes and beans.

Mediterranean Chicken Parcel
(Serves 1)

1 chicken breast
1 tbsp pesto
1 medium courgette, sliced thinly
40g mozzarella
10 cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly oil a 25cm sq of foil.

Put the courgette into the middle of the foil.

Cut a pocket into one side of the chicken. Spread with the pesto and tuck in the mozzarella. Place on top of the courgettes, add the tomatoes and wrap over the foil and scrunch up.

Bake on a baking sheet for 25-30 mins or until the chicken is cooked. Serve.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Crab-Stuffed Grilled Squid with Shaved Courgette and Sweetcorn Salad

This was a really simple fresh salad. The squid was very tasty and the courgette, corn and tomato salad was lovely and fresh. I'm still trying to use all those veggies from the garden!

Crab-Stuffed Grilled Squid with Shaved Courgette and Sweetcorn Salad
(adapted from The Perfectly Tossed Salad by Mindy Fox)
(Serves 4)

225g white crab meat
2 tbsp mayonnaise
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
8 cleaned squid bodies with tentacles
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 corn on the cob, kernels removed
1 shallot, chopped
300g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large courgette, peeled into strips
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
handful basil leaves, large ones torn

Mix together the crab, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Stuff the squid with the crab mixture, leaving a 1cm space at the top. Seal the squid with toothpicks.

Heat the 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the sweetcorn, shallot, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 3 mins, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the tomatoes, toss and cook for 1 min. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool.

Put the courgette ribbons into a bowl, add the olive oil, basil and salt and pepper and toss together.

Heat a griddle pan over a medium high heat. Drizzle the squid with the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil and season. Lightly brush the griddle pan with oil, then grill the squid bodies for 13-15 mins, turning frequently until golden in spots. Cook the tentacles for 2-3 mins.

Mix the courgette and sweetcorn together and put into bowls. Top with the squid. Serve.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Cannelloni Nicoise Style

This was absolutely delicious. Really simple to make but oh so flavourful. I used the cherry tomatoes from my garden and they are so sweet cooked this way. 

Cannelloni Nicoise Style (from Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook)
(Serves 4)

For the tomato sauce
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp oil
pinch salt

For the filling
2 courgettes
8 large fresh lasagne sheets
8 tsp olive tapenade
200g grilled peppers
200g cooked artichokes
200g creme fraiche
100g mozzarella, sliced or grated

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the tomatoes, oil and salt into a small saucepan. Cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for 8 mins or until the tomatoes have burst. Meanwhile, using a peeler, slice the courgettes into ribbons.

Spread the tapenade thinly over the lasagne sheets. Lay a few of the courgette ribbons down the length of the sheet just to cover them.

Mix the peppers and artichokes and spoon three tbsp of the mixture down the centre of each sheet, then roll up tightly from the long side, keeping the filling inside. Put 2 tbsp of sauce in a baking dish and then put the roll on top. Repeat with the rest of the sheets.

Pour the tomatoes over the lasagne rolls. Stir some pepper into the creme fraiche until smooth and put tbspfuls randomly on top of the cannelloni. Top with the mozzarella and put in the oven and back for 30 mins until golden and bubbly. Serve.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Blueberry, Oat and Chia Seed Muffins

These muffins are a bit dense but they are very tasty. They used up lots of stuff I had in cupboards and they are slightly more complicated than a straight forward muffin but tasty.

Blueberry, Oat and Chia Seed Muffins (from Time Out)
(Makes 12)

75g wholemeal flour
125g plain flour
200g rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp chia seeds
2 really ripe bananas, peeled
2 large eggs, separated
250 milk
2 tbsp runny honey
3 tbsp oil
125g blueberries

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.

Cobmine the flours, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, chia seeds and a pinch of salt in a bowl, the create a well in the middle.

Mash the banana in a separate bowl, then add the egg yolks, milk, honey and oil. Mix well, then pour it into the well. Mix everything gently until a wet batter forms.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold them into the muffing batter with the blueberries until evenly mixed.

Divide the muffin mix between the paper cases and bake for 25 mins or until cooked through and golden.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Courgette and Mozzarella Piadina

This was a delicious sandwich, with really easy flatbread made in minutes. It used courgette from my garden and gorgeous mozzarella. Really tasty.

Courgette and Mozzarella Piadina (from Waitrose Autumn)
(Serves 2)

2 courgettes, cut into thin slices
olive oil
1 tsp red wine
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1/2 chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
zest 1 lemon, grated
250g self-raising flour
125g buffalo mozzarella
handful basil leaves

Preheat the grill to high. Brush the courgette slices with oil and season. Spread out on the grill pan and grill for 4-5 mins per side until softened and golden. Mix together the vinegar, garlic, chilli and lemon zest. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and the courgette slices and mix well.

Meanwhile, place the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt and 6-7 tbsp cold water. Mix well with a fork until it starts to come together as a soft dough. Divide into two pieces, place on a lightly floured surface and roll each one into a 18cm circle.

Warm a frying pan over a medium heat. Spray with oil, add one of the dough circles and spray the top with more oil. Cook for 2-3 mins on each side until just golden and slightly risen. Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Lay the courgette slices and any juices onto half of each bread circle and sop with the mozzarella and basil. Fold over the other half of the bread to cover the filling and press down gently. Slide one piadina back into the pan, place a large heavy saucepan on top and press down gently.  Cook for 3-4 mins on each side until golden and the cheese has melted. Serve.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Sweetcorn Fritters with Avocado and Bacon

Most of my sweetcorn failed to come to anything, they had no kernels of corn on them! My Mum gave me one of hers and so I made these fritters. They were very filling but delicious and went perfectly with the bacon and avocado. I also served it with a gorgeous tomato and onion salad.

Sweetcorn Fritters with Avocado and Bacon (from Cook Yourself Thin by Gizzi Erskine)
(Serves 2)

1 large egg
150g Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp cornflour
60g plain flour
salt and pepper
200g tin sweetcorn, well drained
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp oil

4 slices smoked bacon
1/2 avocado sliced
1 tbsp maple syrup

Put the egg, yogurt, cornflour, flour and salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk together until it becomes a smooth batter. Add the corn and spring onion and mix thoroughly.

Heat a frying pan until it is fairly hot and add 1 tbsp oil.  Drop ladlefuls of the mixture into the pan until you have 4 fritters. Cook for 2-3 mins or until the bottom is crisp and golden. Then turn over and cook the other side for 2-3 mins. You might need to do this in 2 batches.

Add a little more oil if you need to, then add the bacon to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins on each side, until cooked through.

Serve 2 fritters on each plate, top with 2 slices of bacon and a few slices of avocado. Drizzle with the maple syrup.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Duck Kebab

Something different to do with a duck leg! These were very tasty. The original recipe is for 1 but 2 duck legs was too much for me, so I think it serves 2 better. The coriander chutney is lovely too.

Duck Kebab (from The Times)
(Serves 2)

For the coriander chutney
200g fresh coriander leaves
1 green chilli
small garlic clove
100g fresh root ginger
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the duck kebabs
2 duck legs
1 green chilli, finely chopped
10g shallots, diced
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
5g fresh root ginger, grated
5g garlic, finely diced
5g fresh coriander, chopped
½ tsp garam masala
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tomato, deseeded and sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
100g cucumber, julienned
juice 1/2 lemon
2 pitta breads

Put the coriander chutney ingredients in a food processor and blitz. Store the chutney in the fridge until ready to use.

Remove the meat from the duck legs and blitz it to a fine mince in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the chilli, shallots, breadcrumbs, root ginger, garlic, coriander and garam masala to the mince and mix well. Form four patties with the mince.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the patties for 4 mins on each side until golden.

Meanwhile, combine the tomato, red onion slices, cucumber and lemon juice to make a salad. Toast the pitta breads for 2 mins. Cut each one in half and spread some coriander chutney on the inside. Finally, add the salad and duck kebabs. Serve.

Meal Planning Monday

Nothing much happened last week. I had a lovely take-away from Pizza Toto last weekend that I forgot to add to last weeks meal plan. We had garlic bread.

Followed by Vegetable Calzone. Both were absolutely delicious and I will definitely order from them again.

As you can see I've got a bit of my cooking mojo back. I'm loving using fresh ingredients from the garden and next week I am continuing to do that and I am also continuing to use those recipe cuttings for the majority of my meals. I am going out a couple of times next week. First to Mildred's in King's Cross for lunch on Monday and then to Borough Market on Tuesday. Next weekend I'm going to my parents on Sunday and hopefully to Compton Verney to see the 1950s design exhibition.

Out with a friend
Chicken Tikka Masala with Rice

Cauliflower, Chickpea and Cumin Broth with a Scone
Out with a friend

Summer Veg Pizza Pies with Salad
Tagliatelle Gratin with Pancetta

Lentil, Beetroot, Herb and Rose Salad
Creamy Smoked Fish and Spinach Gratin

Warm Prawn with Indian Spiced Lentils (Perfectly Tossed Salad)
Sausage and Bean Pie with Veg

Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Wrap
Three Bean Chilli Bake

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Cretan Pastries with Courgettes, Mint and Feta

It's that time of year, a glut of courgettes. I started using the ones from my garden to make these lovely Cretan pastries. The recipe said that it served 4, so I halved the recipe and I ended up with 15 of them! They are small but I only managed to eat 3 for lunch! So I'd say they served more like 8! Although if you have a hungry man maybe less people! It take a bit of time to make them but actually really simple.

Cretan Pastries with Courgettes, Mint and Feta (from The Times Magazine)
(Serves 6-8)

500g flour
100ml olive oil
1 tsp salt
lukewarm water

for the filling
4 medium courgettes, grated
150g feta, crumbled
3 tbsp mint, shredded
300ml oil for frying

Put the flour into a bowl, pour in the olive oil and the salt. Mix by hand, slowly adding lukewarm water until you have a smooth elastic dough. It should be soft but not sticky. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and leave it to rest for 30 mins.

Put the courgette into a bowl, season with salt and leave for 10 mins. Meanwhile, put the feta and mint into another bowl. Put the grated courgette into a clean tea-towel, gather up the edges and squeeze the liquid out of the courgette, and add to the feta and mint. Season with pepper.

Dust board or counter top with flour and roll the pastry out as thinly as you can. Use a small bowl, about 10cm in diameter, to cut out the discs and dust with flour to stop them sticking. Place 1 tbsp of the filling in the centre of each disc. Close them gently in half and press the edges with a form to seal the edges.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. When it is hot add the pastries and cook gently on both sides until golden. Remove from the pan and place on kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil. Serve.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Bruschetta with Roasted Tomatoes, Poached Egg and Dukkah

This is probably one of the best breakfasts I have eaten. I love love love roasted tomatoes, especially when they come from my garden, and these are just so tasty. The addition of the egg is fantastic. You have to try this!

Bruschetta with Roasted Tomatoes, Poached Egg and Dukkah (from The Guardian)
(Serves 4)

900g mixed tomatoes (cherry, plum, round, yellow, orange, red, black), halved or quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled, 3 thinly sliced and 1 crushed
2 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
100ml olive oil
10g parsley leaves, finely chopped
4 slices sourdough or ciabatta
4 eggs, poached just before serving
50g dukkah

Preheat the oven to 180C. 
Put all the tomatoes cut side up on a large, greaseproof lined baking tray. Sprinkle over the garlic slices, oregano, a pinch of salt, pepper and two tbsp of oil, and roast for 25030 mins. Remove and set aside. 
Change the oven to a grill setting. In a small bowl, mix the remaining oil with the crushed garlic and parsley. Brush this over both sides of the bread and lay them out on a large baking tray. Grill for 2-3 mins on each side, until golden-brown. Spoon the warm tomatoes on top, followed by a poached egg, sprinkle with dukkah and serve at once.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Tapenade Salmon with Runner Beans and Preserved Lemons

This was absolutely delicious, really flavourful. I used tomatoes from my garden and runner beans from my Mum's garden, lovely and fresh tasting.

Tapenade Salmon with Runner Beans and Preserved Lemons
(from Waitrose Weekend 14 August 2014)
(Serves 4)

450g runner beans, cut into thin ribbons
2 preserved lemons, chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
4 salmon fillets
2 tsp tapenade

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Toss the runner beans with the preserved lemons, onion and tomatoes. Arrange over the base of a small roasting tin. Season and drizzle with oil.

Make several slashes in the skin of the salmon and spread with the tapenade push it into the slits. Place skin side up on the beans.

Cook in the oven for 20-25 mins until the fish is cooked through. Serve with potatoes.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Thai Chicken Wrap

This is one of the best wraps I've had in a while, put in more or less chilli as your tolerance allows! It was so fresh and zingy tasting.

Thai Chicken Wrap (from WeightWatchers Magazine)
(Serves 2)

1 chicken breast, sliced into strips
1/4 cucumber, deseeded and sliced
1/2 small carrot, grated
juice 1/2 lime
lettuce leaves
2 tortilla wraps
1 tsp mayonnaise

for the marinade
1 green chilli, deseeded
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, roughly chopped
small bunch coriander
juice and zest 1 lime
1 tsp Thai fish sauce
2 tsp oil

Place all the marinade ingredients in a small food processor and blitz until you have a thick paste. Combine with the chicken and mix well. Cover and set aside for 30 mins.

Meanwhile, combine the cucumber and grated carrot with the lime juice. Preheat the grill.

Spread the marinated chicken pieces on the baking tray and place it under the grill. Cook for 10-15 mins or until firm but still tender and moist. Set aside to cool for a few mins.

Smear half the mayonnaise over each tortilla. Place a few lettuce leaves in the middle. Add the grated carrot and cucumber and top with the chicken. Wrap up the tortilla and serve or pack into a lunchbox.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Duck with Plum Sauce

My Mum has a lovely plum tree in her garden and so I brought a few back to London with me especially to make this recipe. It was really good, the plums went really well with the duck. I didn't have any veg but some lovely greens would have gone really well. 

Duck with Plum Sauce (from The Guardian)
(Serves 4)

4 duck breasts with skin
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp julienned ginger
8 plums, halved and stoned
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 tbsp lime

Score the skin of the duck breasts and season with salt, pepper and five-spice powder. Fry the duck in a large frying pan, skin side down on high for 1 min, then cook on low for 8 mins. Turn over and cook for 6 mins. Move to a warm plate, cover with foil and rest.

Pour off the excess duck fat and fry the ginger for 2 mins. Add the plums to the pan, then add the honey, soy sauce, cinnamon stick, star anise and lemon juice. Cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened.

Slice the duck breasts and serve with the sauce. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew

I wanted something super healthy when I came out of hospital, so I helped my Mum make this delicious curried lentil and sweet potato stew. It was lovely comfort food and the yoghurt really cut through the flavours.

Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew (from Love and Lemons)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp oil
½ onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 large sweet potato, chopped
2 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp ground cardamom
150g dried red lentils
1l vegetable stock
125g chopped green beans
75g frozen peas, thawed
120g spinach
juice 1 lime, plus extra lime wedges for serving
juice ½ small lemon
pinch chilli flakes
small bunch coriander, chopped

for the Yoghurt Sauce
125g greek yoghurt
½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
squeeze lemon or lime juice
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and a few pinches of salt and pepper and cook for about 5 mins until soft. Add the carrots, garlic, ginger, and sweet potatoes and stir. Add the curry powder, cardamom, and season. Stir again and cook until the spices are fragrant, about 1 min. Add the lentils and stock. Reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots and sweet potatoes are soft, 20 to 30 mins.

Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the yogurt sauce.

Use an immersion blender (or a potato masher) to coarsely blend the stew. Add the green beans, peas, and spinach and cook for another few mins. Add the lime juice, lemon juice and chilli flakes and stir to combine.

Divide into 4 bowls and sprinkle with coriander. Serve with the yoghurt sauce.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Meal Planning Monday

So I have been eating a few interesting things whilst I've been incapacitated. I stayed at my parents house for two and a half weeks and whilst there we went to our favourite Chinese restaurant, Mr Pangs in Stamford.

We started with paper wrapped prawns, seafood gold cup and five-spiced prawns.

Then followed with crispy chilli beef, sizzling prawns with spring onions and garlic and mandarin chicken. We've been coming here for about 20 years, usually for special occasions and the food has always been fantastic and it was no different this time.

I went for Afternoon Tea at BB Bakery one Saturday too, I've been on the bus and the boat afternoon teas that they do but I've never had afternoon the at the cafe. It was fine, it's not the best afternoon tea but they do at least do hot chocolate!

In my garden this year I have been growing black tomatoes and they have finally ripened. I just thought they looked really cool! Some have gone a bit red but some are totally black. They make for a very pretty salad!

My Mum made me scrambled egg a couple of times and the eggs were so orange that I thought I'd take a picture of that too!

When I got back to London my Mum and I went to Cay Tre for dinner. I really enjoyed this meal, the food was really fresh and very tasty. We had prawn summer rolls that were lovely and crunchy.

Then we followed this with Monk Fish Cheeks with Lemongrass and Chilli and Sizzling Prawn and Squid, which came with lots of veg and we had Egg Fried Rice. There were so many other things I could eat on the menu so I will definitely go back.

Then just before my Mum went home we went to The Barn in Highbury for lunch. I had their pasta of the day, which was with roasted veg and a pesto cream sauce. The portion was huge and very tasty.

Anyone who cooks regularly and enjoys cooking will have a huge stack of magazine clippings. I have a huge box file! I finally had time to go through them and pick out some I wanted to make. So the next two weeks meal plans are from those clippings. Most are from Waitrose Food and various newspapers but hopefully there's a lovely variety of food!

Squash and Lentil Burger Burger
Sausages with Chocolate Balsamic Glaze

Thai Chicken Wrap
Tapenade Salmon with Runner Beans. Tomatoes and Boiled Potatoes

Cretan Pastries with Courgette, Mint and Feta
Duck Kebab

Crab Stuffed Grilled Squid with Courgette and Sweetcorn
Goat and Beetroot Curry with Rice

Courgette and Mozzarella Piadina
Mackerel with Linguine and Sicilian Pesto

Hot Crab Open Sandwich
Three Bean Chilli Bake

Sweetcorn Fritters with Avocado and Bacon
Cannelloni Nicoise Style

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Secret Recipe Club: White Fish Curry

It's time for Secret Recipe Club! I love being able to  explore new blogs and this month I got Searching For Spice, written by Corina. She loves using spice in her cooking, and loves making curries, stir-fries and spicy salads, and with a blog title like that I had to make a curry! There were so many recipes I could have picked but I went for a quick fish curry, I'm going to make many more of her recipes in the future. It was absolutely delicious and really quick to make. I served it over noodles but I think it would be better with rice. 

White Fish Curry (from Searching For Spice)
(Serves 2)

2 fillets white fish
100ml yoghurt
100ml water
chunk ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
1 small onion, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the onion, cook until soft.  Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and continue to fry for 2 more mins. Then add the bay leaf and other spices. Stir as it cooks for a few mins.

Lower the heat and add the yoghurt and the same amount of water. Bring slowly to the boil and then simmer for about five mins.

Add the fish and push to the bottom of the pan so the sauce covers it. Simmer gently for about 10 mins.

Serve over rice and noodles.

Courgette Kinda Cookies

I managed to grow a marrow out of one of my courgettes and it's not really good for anything apart from grating so I made some cooking with it. These are a little bit healthy in that they include wholewheat flour, honey and courgettes and they are very tasty!

Courgette Kinda Cookies (from Time Out)
(Makes 20)

100g butter
100g honey
1 large egg
28g wholewheat flour
140g rolled oats
170g raisins
150g courgette, grated
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Melt the butter in a bowl and add the honey. Leave to cool and then beat in the egg.

Combine the flour, oats, raisins, courgette, baking powder, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Stir in the wet ingredients.

Roll into balls, flatten and put onto a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10-15 mins.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Tuna Meatballs

I made these meatballs a while ago and they are absolutely delicious, easy to make and make a change from beef or lamb meatballs. I served them with pasta and a tomato and aubergine sauce I found in the freezer.

Tuna Meatballs (from Anne's Kitchen)
(Serves 2)

1 tin tuna in spring water
1 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
1 medium egg
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
1 tbsp finely chopped basil leaves
1 tbsp oil

Put the tuna, parmesan, egg, breadcrumbs and basil into a bowl and mix together gently. Use your hands to form mini meatballs.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat and fry the meatballs for about 2 mins on each side until lightly crispy.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Sausage and Bean Pie with Ciabatta Crumbs

This is a delicious pie, lovely and filling and will be perfect for the coming winter months. The original recipe suggests Toulouse sausages but I used others and it was still delicious.

Sausage and Bean Pie with Ciabatta Crumbs (from The Times)
(Serves 4)

For the spiced tomato sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions
2 large garlic cloves
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp brown sugar

For the pie:
4 tbsp olive oil
8 sausages
150g chorizo cooking sausage, sliced
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped
140g ciabatta bread, torn into pieces
zest 1 lemon, grated

Make the spiced tomato sauce: heat the olive oil over a gentle heat. Add the onions, and cook for 5 mins to soften. Add the garlic and spices, and cook, stirring, for a couple more mins. Pour in the tomatoes, add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir well then simmer gently, uncovered, for about 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in your casserole pan over a medium-high heat. Add the sausages and brown them all over, then add the chorizo and fry for a min or two, or until starting to crisp at the edges. At this stage your sausages won’t be fully cooked through, but that’s okay. Add the beans, half the parsley and the tomato sauce.

Pulse the torn ciabatta in a food processor for just a few seconds or until it forms rough breadcrumbs. Stir in the remaining oil, half the remaining parsley, half the lemon zest and a little salt.

Pile the crumb mixture on top of the sausage mixture, spread out evenly and bake in the oven for 35–40 mins or until the crust is golden and the sausages are cooked through. Cover with foil if it starts to brown too much. Once cooked, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and lemon zest and serve.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Slow Cooker Chicken and Basil Coconut Curry

I rarely use my slow cooker, but I wanted something easy to make just before I went into hospital. So I got it out of the high up cupboard in which it is tucked. This curry is delicious. Please do adjust the chilli to your liking. I served it with rice and mango chutney.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Basil Coconut Curry
(from The Food Charlatan)
(Serves 6-8)

6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, skin removed
salt and pepper
1 tsp oil
2 cans coconut milk
2 tbsp dried basil leaves
salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 tbsp yellow curry powder
1/2 or 3/4 tsp chilli powder
1 large red onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 chillis, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp cold water
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
bunch coriander, chopped

Remove the skin from the chicken and season each thigh. Heat the oil in a large frying pan to a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add 3 chicken thighs. Don't put them too close together, you want to avoid steaming. Cook for about 2 mins, until nicely browned on the bottom. Then flip the chicken over to brown the other side for about 1-2 mins. Remove the chicken to a plate. Repeat searing process with the other 3 chicken thighs.

Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk, basil, salt and pepper, curry and chilli powder in a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add the red onion, garlic, and chilli. Add the browned chicken and stir to combine. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and transfer to a plate or cutting board. Leave to cool for a few mins. Shred the chicken, removing the bones and any tough bits.

Add the ginger to the slow cooker.

In a small bowl, combine the cornflour and water. Stir until it's not lumpy. Add this to the slow cooker and stir.

Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir. Return the lid and cook for another 10 mins. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the coriander. Serve with rice or naan.