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.