Monday, 23 January 2017

Five Spice Beetroot and Gammon Stew

I'm starting to really like beetroot. This is a lovely comforting winter stew with a slightly Chinese edge to it.





















Five Spice Beetroot and Gammon Stew (from Recipes from a Pantry)
(Serves 2-3)

1 onion, roughly chopped
200g raw beetroot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp veg oil
200g smoked gammon, cubed
1 tsp five spice powder
2 400g tins borlotti beans rinsed and drained
400ml chicken stock
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Add the onion, garlic and beetroot into a blender and whizz into a puree. Heat the oil in an oven ready casserole dish and brown the gammon, before quickly mixing in the Chinese five spice. Remove the gammon and set aside.

Add the beetroot and onion puree and cook for 5 mins before returning gammon to the pot. Add everything else in, mix well and bring to the boil.

Cover the casserole, transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 1 hr.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Jerusalem Artichoke Latkes

I got some Jerusalem artichokes in my veg bag and I was hunting about for interesting things to do with them. These latkes were what I found. They are quite tasty, but they don't hold together all that well! This is also a massive amount for 2 people!! I served it with cottage cheese too.

















Jerusalem Artichoke Latkes (from Naturally Ella)
(Serves 2)

225g Jerusalem artichokes, grated
225g potatoes, grated
112g parsnips, grated
1 large egg
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp chopped chives
salt and pepper
2 to 3 tbsp oil for frying

For Serving
2 poached eggs
sriracha
chives

Put the grated Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes and parsnips in a clean tea towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out all the excess liquid. Place in a bowl and add the eggs, flour, chives, salt, and pepper and mix.

Heat a medium, frying pan over medium-low heat. Add a tbsp of the oil and swirl around the pan. Wet your hands and measure out about 3 tbsp of the Jerusalem artichoke mixture. Pat into a patty that’s about ¼in thick. Place in the heated pan and fry for three mins. Flip and fry for another three mins. The outsides should be golden and crisp while the inside should be hot.

Repeat with remaining mixture. Add more oil as needed. Divide between four plates and serve topped with poached eggs, sriracha, and chives.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Homemade Pasta

I made home made pasta! I absolutely loved it and it tasted so much better than bought stuff! I got a pasta maker for my birthday and this was the first time I used it. It was just so much fun to make and satisfying too! I followed Jamie Oliver's instructions to the letter and it worked perfectly. I served it with salmon, cottage cheese, pesto and green veggies. Yum! Next time, ravioli!



Homemade Pasta (from Jamie Oliver)

6 large free-range eggs
600 g Tipo '00' flour

Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together – with a bit of work and some love and attention they’ll all bind together to give you one big, smooth lump of dough!

You can also make your dough in a food processor if you’ve got one. Just bung everything in, whiz until the flour looks like breadcrumbs, then tip the mixture on to your work surface and bring the dough together into one lump, using your hands.

Once you’ve made your dough you need to knead and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, otherwise your pasta will be flabby and soft when you cook it, instead of springy and al dente.

There’s no secret to kneading. You just have to bash the dough about a bit with your hands, squashing it into the table, reshaping it, pulling it, stretching it, squashing it again. It’s quite hard work, and after a few minutes it’s easy to see why the average Italian grandmother has arms like Frank Bruno! You’ll know when to stop – it’s when your pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. Then all you need to do is wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure the cling film covers it well or it will dry out and go crusty round the edges (this will give you crusty lumps through your pasta when you roll it out, and nobody likes crusty lumps!).

How to roll your pasta: First of all, if you haven't got a pasta machine it's not the end of the world! All the mammas I met while travelling round Italy rolled pasta with their trusty rolling pins and they wouldn't even consider having a pasta machine in the house! When it comes to rolling, the main problem you'll have is getting the pasta thin enough to work with. It's quite difficult to get a big lump of dough rolled out in one piece, and you need a very long rolling pin to do the job properly. The way around this is to roll lots of small pieces of pasta rather than a few big ones. You'll be rolling your pasta into a more circular shape than the long rectangular shapes you'll get from a machine, but use your head and you'll be all right!

If using a machine to roll your pasta, make sure it's clamped firmly to a clean work surface before you start (use the longest available work surface you have). If your surface is cluttered with bits of paper, the kettle, the bread bin, the kids' homework and stuff like that, shift all this out of the way for the time being. It won't take a minute, and starting with a clear space to work in will make things much easier, I promise.

Dust your work surface with some Tipo ‘00’ flour, take a lump of pasta dough the size of a large orange and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting - and roll the lump of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all. Click the machine down a setting and roll the pasta dough through again. Fold the pasta in half, click the pasta machine back up to the widest setting and roll the dough through again. Repeat this process five or six times. It might seem like you're getting nowhere, but in fact you're working the dough, and once you've folded it and fed it through the rollers a few times, you'll feel the difference. It'll be smooth as silk and this means you're making wicked pasta!

Now it's time to roll the dough out properly, working it through all the settings on the machine, from the widest down to around the narrowest. Lightly dust both sides of the pasta with a little flour every time you run it through. When you've got down to the narrowest setting, to give yourself a tidy sheet of pasta, fold the pasta in half lengthways, then in half again, then in half again once more until you've got a square-ish piece of dough. Turn it 90 degrees and feed it through the machine at the widest setting. As you roll it down through the settings for the last time, you should end up with a lovely rectangular silky sheet of dough with straight sides - just like a real pro! If your dough is a little cracked at the edges, fold it in half just once, click the machine back two settings and feed it through again. That should sort things out. Whether you're rolling by hand or by machine you'll need to know when to stop. If you're making pasta like tagliatelle, lasagne or stracchi you'll need to roll the pasta down to between the thickness of a beer mat and a playing card; if you're making a stuffed pasta like ravioli or tortellini, you'll need to roll it down slightly thinner or to the point where you can clearly see your hand or lines of newsprint through it.

 Once you've rolled your pasta the way you want it, you need to shape or cut it straight away. Pasta dries much quicker than you think, so whatever recipe you're doing, don't leave it more than a minute or two before cutting or shaping it. You can lay over a damp clean tea towel which will stop it from drying.




Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Creamed Corn with Baghdad Eggs

Another yummy vegetarian lunch or breakfast. I didn't bother to cook the spinach, but you could if you felt like it. 






















6 fresh corn cobs
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
½ tbsp chia seeds
400g young spinach leaves
8 eggs
1 tsp sumac

For the spice mix
3 tbsp finely chopped shallots
4 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 garlic clove
large pinch smoked paprika
2 pinches dried chilli

To prepare the spice mix, put a small frying pan on medium heat, cook the shallots in the olive oil until soft then add the remaining ingredients. Turn the heat to low, stir well and leave for another 2 mins. Leave to cool.

Cook the corn cobs in salted water for about 10 mins. Drain and, once cool enough to handle, strip the kernels from the cob with a knife. Place three quarters of the corn in a blender with the olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning.

Process to a very fine texture and add the remaining cooked corn and the chia seeds. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

Cook the spinach in 3 tbsp boiling water until wilted, then drain in a colander. When ready to serve, fry the eggs in a little oil with the spice mix. Divide the creamed corn between four plates, dot with the spinach and slide the eggs on top. Sprinkle with sumac and serve with flatbreads.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Cheese and Onion Topped Vegetable Pie

This was a yummy veggie pie.

















Cheese and Onion Topped Vegetable Pie (from Waitrose Autumn)
(Serves 4)
(9 WW SmartPoints per serving)

800g potatoes, peeled and chopped
splash milk
1 tbsp oil
1 carrot sliced
1 pepper, diced
300g leeks, washed and thickly sliced
40g butter
40g plain flour
400ml milk
1 tsp mustard
80g cheddar cheese, grated
1 bunch spring onions, sliced

Put the potatoes into a saucepan and over with water. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 mins until tender. Drain and return to the pan.

Add the milk and mash well. Season.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the veg for 5 mins. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 min. Gradually add the milk stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in the mustard and 20g cheese, season and pour over the veg.

Mix the remaining cheese and spring onions into the mash and spoon on top of the veg. Bake for 30 mins until golden.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Sweet Leek and Fennel Tuna Pasta Bake

Yummy, yummy pasta dish full of veggies. Bit of a different version of a tuna pasta bake! I didn't have any olives so I used 2 tsp of capers instead. Anything slightly salty would do!





















Sweet Leek and Fennel Tuna Pasta Bake (from Super Food Family Classics - Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 4)

4 black olives, torn up
4 cloves garlic, sliced
oil
2 leeks, sliced
1 bulb fennel, sliced
2 400g tins plum tomatoes
2 tins tuna in spring water
300g wholewheat pasta
1/2 parsley, chopped
150g cottage cheese
20g parmesan, grated

Add the olives and garlic to a large pan over a medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil. Add the leeks and fennel and cook with the lid on for 15 mins or until softened, stirring regularly.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta for 5 mins, drain.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C. Tip the tomatoes into the pan, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, then just over half fill one of the empty tins with water, swirl around and pour into the pan. Drain and flake in the tuna, then simmer for 10 mins.

Add the pasta, cottage cheese and parsley to the tomato pan, season. Tip into a baking dish, sprinkle over the parmesan and bake for 25-30 mins until golden and bubbling. Serve.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Salmon and Prawn Fish Pie

There is a lot of veg packed into this fish pie, it is a really yummy dish. 
















Salmon and Prawn Fish Pie
(Serves 4)

olive oil
1 rasher bacon, sliced
1 large carrot
1 bunch spring onions
½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp plain flour
600ml semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp mustard
400g frozen chopped spinach
4 x 120g salmon fillets
200g raw peeled prawns
400g frozen peas
125g feta cheese
600g sweet potatoes
600g cauliflower

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Put the bacon into a large roasting tray with 1 tsp of oil, then put on a medium heat. Wash and trim the carrot and spring onions, chop into 1cm dice, and once the bacon is lightly golden, stir them into the tray.

Finely slice and stir in the parsley stalks. Cook for 10 mins to soften, stirring regularly, then stir in the flour. Gradually pour in the milk, bring up to a good simmer, then stir in the mustard and frozen spinach. Simmer for 5 to 10 mins, or until the spinach has thawed.

Chop the salmon into bite-sized chunks, halve the prawns, finely chop the parsley leaves and stir it all through the sauce with the frozen peas, then crumble the feta over the top and turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, wash the sweet potatoes and cauliflower (leaving the skins on for extra nutritional benefit) and chop into 3cm chunks. Cook in a large pan of boiling salted water for 15 mins, or until cooked through, then drain and mash well, taste, and season. Gently spoon the mash over the fish pie filling, spreading it out with a fork. Bake for 40 mins, or until golden and crisp on top, and bubbling at the edges.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Meal Planning Monday

The I only went out for a couple of meals last week. Both were at the V&A! The first one I had Artichoke Bruschetta with Cucumber and Chickpea Salad and Beetroot and Radicchio Salad. Yummy and fresh.


I also went to Comptoir Libanais for lunch with my mum, we had a dips platter, falafel (which were huge), a halloumi manou'sha and some kibbeh. It was ok, the food wasn't as good as other Lebanese I have had but it was passable.


Next week, I'm meant to be going to the theatre on Monday, but the tube strike has put the end to that. Then next weekend I'm going to on a retreat in Tunbridge Wells. I'm really looking forward to some me time.


Monday
Soup with Bread
Sausage and Bean Pie with Salad

Tuesday
Carrot, Spinach and Preserved Lemon Quiche with Salad
Mushroom, Cavolo Nero and Rice Stuffed Squash

Wednesday
Beetroot Falafel with Pitta and Crisps
Chicken and Basil Coconut Curry with Rice

Thursday
Cretan Pastries with Hummus and Salad
Smoked Mackerel and Spinach Gratin with Salad

Friday
Soup with Bread

Southern Indian Crab Curry

This is a mildly spicy curry full of flavour. It was really simple to make and luscious to eat!





















Southern Indian Crab Curry (from Cook with Jamie - Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 4)

cooking spray
3 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
5 green cardamom pods, crushed and husks removed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 medium white onion, peeled and finely sliced
2-3 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
2 heaped tsp turmeric
250g brown crabmeat
400ml light coconut milk
juice 2 lemons
500g picked white crabmeat
1 bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked
salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and add the fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, onion and chilli. Fry on a medium heat for 4 to 5 mins until lightly golden, then add the turmeric, a couple of sprays of cooking spray and the brown crabmeat. After a min or so, pour in the coconut milk and a tinful of water. Let it simmer for 5 mins. Then add the lemon juice and simmer for another 10 mins, or until the sauce resembles double cream in consistency.

Add the white crabmeat and half the coriander, simmer for 4 more mins. Season carefully with salt and pepper and a little more lemon juice if you think it needs it. Serve sprinkled with the rest of the coriander.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Turkish Eggs

I had these delicious eggs for lunch on New Year's Day and they were fab. Really easy to make and tasty, something different to do with eggs!





















Turkish Eggs (from Hairy Dieters Fast Food)
(Serves 4)
(5 WW SmartPoints)

cooking spray
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika or chilli powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp tomato puree
4 medium tomatoes, diced or 200g can chopped tomatoes
8 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
50g feta, crumbled
parsley or mint, chopped

Heat a frying pan and spray with cooking spray. Add the onion and peppers and cook over a medium heat for about 7-10 mins, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle over the paprika and oregano. Add the tomato puree and cook for a further couple of mins, then add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 mins.

Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Add then to the tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until the eggs have combined with the tomato mixture and are just cooked through. Divide between 4 bowls and sprinkle with feta and herbs. Serve.