Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Recipe: Champagne Cupcakes

I'm making these romantic and decadent fairy cakes for my parents' ruby wedding anniversary bash this weekend and thought it was about time I gave them a test run and, at the same time, featured a new dessert recipe on the Blog. I am sure the main event will be the very exciting bespoke celebration cake created by the talented Best Friend Jess (blog post and photos to follow) but couldn't resist the opportunity to do some baking!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Recipe: Goat's Cheese, Beetroot and Orange Salad

Another sunny day, another delicious summer salad recipe to keep you going!

I made this for my lunch today and ate it in the garden, feeling very virtuous and trying to ignore the gorgeous aromas wafting over the wall from my neighbours' BBQ...

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Recipe: Pork Medallions with Black Pudding, Haricot Beans and Spring Greens

I seem to be a bit obsessed with cooking pork lately, maybe since the success of slow-roasting a huge slab of pork belly at my family's Jubilee weekend celebrations, and add it to my plate at every possible opportunity. I stumbled upon an awesome, simple supper recipe by Waitrose in my recipe file, consisting of haricot beans, black pudding and spring greens, and decided to give it try. With a pork medallion piled on top, naturally. The rich, meaty gravy created by the black pudding is a great partner to the crunchy greens and warming haricot beans.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Recipe: North African Pork & Lentil Curry

Determined not to waste (or, more likely, nibble on every time I open the fridge) some delicious slow-roasted pork belly, I knocked up a little leftovers recipe on Monday evening. It was the perfect start to a long week and made great use of some great quality meat. 

I love improvising in the kitchen and usually take inspiration from combinations of ingredients in a handful of favourite recipes. My inspiration for Monday's quick supper was from a North African chicken tagine recipe. I decided to use the sweet and spicy flavours with a tomato-based sauce to liven up my leftover pork belly; served on some cous cous with a good hit of red chili, the dish really hit the spot. 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Recipe: Sweet Potato & Thai Coconut Soup

I'm on my third week of making soup for packed lunches and I'm still loving it. My latest batch, of Sweet Potato and Thai Coconut Soup with cashew nuts, really hits the spot. Thai curry is one of my favourite flavours and the sweet potato makes this soup delightfully filling and satisfying. It's easy to make and you can re-heat it without affecting the quality too. 

Here's what you need: 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 onion, chopped
1 - 2 teaspoons Thai curry paste - I use red from Mae Ploy (it's quite feisty!) 
1 litre vegetable stock 
100 - 150ml reduced-fat coconut milk 
750g sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 
Handful cashew nuts
Creme fraiche or extra coconut milk, to serve 
What you do:

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the chopped onion. Fry gently for 4 - 5 minutes. Stir in the curry paste (note: if using good quality thai paste, 1 teaspoon will be plenty). Cook for 1 more minute until fragrant.

2. Add the sweet potato and stock and bring to the boil. Simmer until the potato is tender (about 10 - 15 minutes). 

3. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the coconut milk and season well. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then whizz in the blender until smooth.

4. Serve with a dollop or swirl of creme fraiche or coconut milk and a handful of crushed cashew nuts.

Delicious!! Enjoy :-)

Next week: I want to try something new!! Ideas please...

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Recipe: Savoury Crumble with Mediterranean Veg & Tomato sauce

As part of yet another healthy eating phase, I'm subjecting The Boy to a few meat-free evenings each week. I decided to create a new recipe this evening using Mediterranean-inspired flavours and vegetables and a slightly adapted crumble topping borrowed from a Minced Beef Crumble recipe that we both love. The rich tomato and balsamic vinegar sauce, mix of roasted and sauteed vegetables, and the crispy crumble and Parmesan* topping make this dish a successful vegetarian mid-week supper. Hoorah! 


For the sauce...
2 cloves of garlic - one whole with skin on for roasting; one peeled and minced/pressed 
1 onion - half for roasting in segments; half chopped finely for the sauce
1 red and 1 green pepper
1 courgette
Large handful of mushrooms, roughly chopped
175 - 200g drained and rinsed borlotti beans
400g chopped tomatoes
6 fresh vine tomatoes 
Generous glug of balsamic vinegar
Dried basil
Herbes de Provence
1 (ish) tablespoon tomato puree
Salt and pepper

For the crumble...
100g self-raising flour
40g margarine
25 - 50g Parmesan cheese, depending on your taste
Salt and Pepper

1. Heat the oven to about 200 degrees Celsius and add some olive oil to a large, deep ovenproof dish. Prepare some chunks of onion, a whole clove of garlic, red and green peppers, and courgette, and chuck into the dish. Add whole vine tomatoes. Mix with the olive oil, season well, and add a sprinkling of herbs such as dried basil and herbes de Provence. Put in the oven to roast.

2. Meanwhile, prepare a tomato sauce using the rest of the vegetables. In a large frying pan or saucepan lightly fry the minced garlic and finely chopped onion in a little olive oil until softened. Dice about a quarter to a half of each red and green pepper, half a courgette, and add to the pan. Keep moving and soften the vegetables.  Add the chopped mushrooms and stir.

3. Add a big splash of balsamic vinegar and a generous tablespoon of tomato puree and coat the pan with the liquid. It will reduce quickly. Add some herbs and then the chopped tomatoes, filling the empty can about half-full with tap water and adding to the mixture. Stir well and leave to simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes.

4. Keep an eye on the roast vegetables and keep giving a shake. When they are turning golden-brown, prepare the crumble topping. Put the flour in a bowl and add the margarine, cut into small chunks. Rub between the fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the grated Parmesan and some salt and pepper.

5. Add the borlotti beans to the pan and stir into the sauce. Take the roast vegetables out of the oven and add the sauce to the ovenproof dish, stirring everything well. Using a spoon, sprinkle the crumble mixture all over the top of the dish and add a dusting of paprika. Bake in the oven at 190 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes or until the topping is golden-brown and crisp.

I served the Savoury Crumble with potato wedges cooked in olive oil, pepper and paprika. The Boy likes his carbs. It would work equally well with a nice green salad.

Enjoy! :-)
*Check the Parmesan you use is actually vegetarian if you are serving this to actual vegetarians!

Recipe: Red Lentil, Chickpea and Chilli Soup

This week I've made a warming and flavourful Red Lentil, Chickpea and Chilli Soup. It's creamy, chunky and has a nice spicy kick from the chilli and cumin. It's really easy to make and you can keep it in the fridge and heat it up when you want it. Even better, I usually have all of the ingredients in the cupboard so it's a good Sunday night "I've forgotten to go food shopping" recipe too!

Here's what you need...

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
Large pinch of chilli flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
140g red split lentils
850ml vegetable stock or water
400g chopped tomatoes
200g chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Creme fraiche - to serve

1. In a large saucepan dry fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 minute. Add the oil and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils, stock and chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until softened.

2. Next, pour the mixture into the blender and whizz until it is a rough puree, then transfer back to the pan and add the rinsed and drained chickpeas.

3. Heat as desired and season well. To serve, add a dollop of creme fraiche.

Enjoy! :-)

Next week, I'm planning to create my own version of a gorgeous soup I had from Camyoga's Dandelion cafe - Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup. Yummy!  

Monday, 20 February 2012

'Twas the night before Shrove Tuesday...

I hope there are no rules about tucking into pancakes a day earlier than is traditional as I'm taking advantage of a free evening to make a huge pile of pancakes and eat them all to myself. I'm going to Ashtanga Yoga tomorrow and it doesn't feel right to gorge on lard and sugar after pretending to be a dedicated yogi all evening. Plus, The Boy just won't accept that pancakes constitute a meal in their own right and he's away On Business at the moment. So, hoorah, it's Pancake Time! 

I've decided to go for the classic pancake recipe with a lemon and sugar combo, adding a little zing to proceedings with some delicious homemade cinnamon sugar a friend gave me for Christmas. I'm not sure whether anyone actually needs to know the recipe for pancakes but, considering that I had to Google it last year, I'll pop it down here just to be on the safe side:

What you need to make 6 large pancakes:

115g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 medium egg
170ml milk
55ml water
Vegetable oil for cooking
Lemons and sugar, to taste

What you do:

1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
2. Beat the egg and pour in to the well.
3. Mix the milk with the water and slowly add to the egg, beating with a wooden spoon. Gradually incorporate the flour from the sides of the bowl.
4. Strain through a sieve into a jug.
5. Leave to rest for 30 minutes (optional).
6. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat. Rub with a thick wad of oil-soaked kitchen paper.
7. When hot, start cooking your pancakes! You might like to try removing the pan from the heat and ladling the batter into the pan at an angle. Then, whizz it around so the batter thinly covers the whole pan.
8. When the batter begins to set and form bubbles, loosen the edges and flip!

Here are some little snaps to whet your appetite... Enjoy! :-)

Jess's Homemade Cinnamon Sugar!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Recipe: Chicken & Spinach One-Pot Pilaf

Gorgeous pilaf / biryani dish using frozen veg, basmati rice, chicken and not much else!

This is my favourite "store cupboard" recipe at the moment; for times when I fancy something tasty but can't be bothered to go shopping for lots of fresh ingredients. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like (or let the heat be guided by the variety of curry paste you happen to have in the kitchen if you're lazy like me!).

What you need:

Chicken breast pieces
Onion - diced
Ground cumin
Ground turmeric
Chicken oxo cube - made up to stock of about 300ml
Cardamon pods
Garam Masala
Curry paste - vindaloo is good for a spicy kick, or tikka paste is full of flavour but milder
Basmati rice (one portion)
Frozen veg - like green beans / peas
Frozen leaf spinach
Creme fraiche to serve (optional)

1. Fry the onion in a little oil in a big pot, on a low heat, until soft. Add about a tsp each of ground cumin and ground turmeric (or similar indian spices, if you don't have those in the cupboard).
2. Boil some water and make up chicken stock (about 300ml - 400ml depending on how much rice you use). Add a couple of cardamon pods and a good shake of garam masala. Stir and leave to infuse.
3. Add chicken cut into pieces to the pot and fry until coloured on the outside.
4. Add about 2 tsp of curry paste and the basmati rice to the pan and stir through for about one minute.
5. Pour in the stock and stir through.
6. If you are using large pieces of frozen vegetables (such as broccoli), add them now, bring to the boil and cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Be careful not to let it stick! Keep stirring regularly if in doubt!
7. Add the remaining vegetables and the frozen spinach (nestle them into the rice) and leave the lid off with the mixture simmering for about another 10 minutes, until the rice is cooked and the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or natural yoghurt and some fresh coriander! Voila!

Enjoy :-)

Monday, 24 October 2011

Recipe: Autumn Sausage Stew

What do you do when your parents donate a stack load of locally sourced vegetables to your groceries? Chuck them all in a pot with some big fat Cumberland sausages, herbs, chilli and chopped tomatoes and simmer. Or if, like me, you need a recipe to follow, see below for more details.

Autumn Sausage Stew

You'll need:

Olive oil
Bacon, chopped finely with fat on
Chopped onion
Crushed garlic (according to taste - I used 3 small cloves)
Diced red chilli
Chopped spring onion (according to your taste - I used 1, all of the white and some of the green bit)
Cumberland or other flavoursome sausages, allow 3 per person
1 large carrot, sliced
2 parsnips, large cubes
Chopped tinned tomatoes
Beef stock cube and approx. 400ml of hot water
Salt & pepper
Caraway seeds
Herbes de Provence
Tomato puree
Small tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Butternut squash, sliced and roasted in a little oil

1. Gently fry the garlic, onion, spring onion and chilli in olive oil in a big stock pot.

2. When softened, add the sausages and fry until the skin turns golden-brown.

3. Add the carrot and parsnip and fry for a few minutes, until onion etc is turning dark gold.
4. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes (400ml), followed by a few squeezes of tomato puree and then season and add herbs/seeds, to taste. Stir well.

5. Top up with stock made with beef stock cube and hot water until the veg is covered with liquid. Stir well and cover the pot with a lid and leave to simmer.

6. Meanwhile, peel and slice some butternut squash into wedges and roast in an oven at 180 degrees with a little olive oil. Turn halfway through cooking - should take about 30 minutes for them to be cooked through and nicely browning at the edges.

7. Simmer the stew for as long as you like, stirring occasionally and ensuring the vegetables don't get too mushy! I cooked it for about 1 hr, before removing the lid and adding the beans.

8. When the stew starts to thicken, add the roasted butternut squash and stir through. Most liquid should be absorbed, leaving a thick sauce and moist sausages and vegetables. Serve with some chopped chives and extra seasoning if required.

We had this stew with some stuffing balls - red onion, pepper and sage flavour goes well. You could also try it with some french stick or mashed potato if you're really hungry! ;-)

A yummy comfort food dish for a chilly autumn evening. Photo to follow...

Enjoy! :-)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Recipe: Canarian Curry

A hotty but a goody!

I brought back a bottle of Mojo Picon (canary chili sauce) from Gran Canaria earlier this year as lots of dishes in the restaurants we went to contained it and it gave a nice kick in a kind of fruity way! Whilst on holiday we cooked a chicken smothered in it one night in our apartment (I think in the microwave if I recall correctly!!) and had it with salad and rice and it was absolutely delicious! On the last night of the holiday we ate at a fantastic restaurant on the little square off the harbour in Puerto de Mogan. It was very traditional and rustic, with friendly staff, authentic embroidered table cloths and wall hangings, and little maritime artefacts and lanterns hanging around our heads. "La Bodega" served us a tapas selection of traditional Canarian Delights - including potatoes cooked in canarian sauce and also succulent rabbit in the picon sauce - plenty of chili, garlic, peppers and a warming fruity sauce.

Last week we experimented with the last few dollops of sauce, having only used it on unoriginal things like chips and pizza until now, and created this curry. We used beef but I think chicken would be fab with it.


Beef or chicken
Red onion, chopped
Garlic, pressed
Celery, chopped
Jalapeno or similar chili, in rings
Chopped tinned tomatoes
Tomato puree
Chickpeas, drained
Red wine
Canary chili sauce
Fresh coriander leaf, roughly chopped
Lemon juice

I really did chuck it all together and guess quantities, to taste, but here are some rough instructions:

1. Fry the cubed meat off in a large, deep frying pan in olive oil until no pink bits remain - I squeezed half a lemon over the meat before I started cooking

2. Add chopped onions, garlic and celery and soften on a fairly low heat

3. Squeeze a generous amount of tomato puree over the meat and veg and add the canary chili sauce according to your spice threshold - I dribbled over about a tablespoon altogether

4. Coat everything with the sauce, and use like a paste

5. Once coated and frying nicely, add the tin of tomatoes, allow to boil, season, stir and pop a lid on, leaving to simmer on a very low heat for as long as you like

6. When you are happy with the consistency of the sauce and that your meat is cooked through / tender enough according to your liking, remove the lid and reduce down slightly whilst you cook the rice

7. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with haricots verts or similar, and lemon wedges if you desire

Photo to follow next time I make it - I didn't expect it to be nice enough to blog about :D

Enjoy! :-)

Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Boy can cook! Recipe: Toulouse Sausage "Stew"

A fab quick and easy supper - a cheat's stew

Saturday night dinner was created by the Boy this weekend - based on his favourite combinations of ingredients, Toulouse Sausages and Butter Beans. I'm not sure how happy he was about me immediately asking for the recipe to add to my blog (he doesn't buy in to this "arty, bohemian, social media stuff") but it was so delicious I had to share it...

What you'll need:

Toulouse Sausages
Canned butter beans
Vegetable stock
White wine
Chilli flakes
Olive oil

Serve with: green beans, roasted tomatoes and french stick

1. Fry the sausages, allow 2 per person, in a big frying pan until coloured.

2. Add and gently fry chopped garlic, leeks and small pieces of bacon in a little olive oil to the pan.

3. When soft, add the drained butter beans and stir through. Add a little water and vegetable stock - not too much liquid - and allow to boil down. Add white wine, salt and pepper and some chilli flakes if you like a little kick. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated or thickened up and the sausages are cooked through. It takes about 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile roast some good size tomatoes in a little oil at 200 degrees centigrade, until the skin splits and they darken slightly. Boil or steam the green beans.

5. Slice some french stick and serve on the side, with a glass of white wine (like a Sancerre).

This is delicious and really filling, with a gorgeous garlicky, spicy, warming flavour of wholesome beans and meat. As the Boy says, its not an exact science so improvise with the quantities to get the best taste and consistency to suit you. Real comfort food.

Enjoy! :-)