Friday, 29 August 2014

Chicken, Mushroom and Courgette Pasta Bake

When I was away in Northumberland we out for quite a lot of our meals, especially with the builders making everything fishy! We made a very ad hock pasta bake with what was in the fridge one night, it was really simple but very tasty, and a small amount of ingredients went a long way, we'd had a reasonable sized lunch so we only ate about 2/3rds between us but on a normal night it serves two.

Chicken, Mushroom and Courgette Pasta Bake
(Serves 2-3)

100g dried pasta shapes
2 tbsp oil
1 chicken breast, cubed
1 large portobello mushroom, chopped
1 small courgette, sliced
25g butter
25g flour
1/2 tsp mustard powder
400ml milk
30g cheddar cheese, grated 

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, put the oil in a frying pan and add the chicken, cook until browned then remove from the pan. Add a little more oil and add the mushroom and courgette and cook until golden.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour and mix together, cook for a min or so to let the flour cook out. Stir in the mustard powder. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring well in between each addition, until you have a thick sauce.

Add the pasta, chicken, mushroom and courgette to the white sauce and mix until well combined. Tip into an ovenproof dish and cover with cheese.

Put into the oven and bake for 25-30 mins until golden and bubbling. serve with salad.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Herb and Lemon Ribs

One of the things I've really wanted to make for a while is ribs. The Times did a whole supplement on ribs by Donna Hay and we went for a herbs and lemon marinade and then served it with corn on the cob, potato salad and barbecue sauce. Delicious!

Herb and Lemon Ribs (adapted from Eat! The Times)
(Serves 4)

1 onion, quartered
1 garlic clove, halved
6 curly parsley stalks
1 lemon, quartered
1 small bunch lemon thyme
2 tbsp green peppercorns
500ml white wine
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp table salt
2kg (4 racks) American style pork ribs

Place the onion, garlic, parsley, lemon thyme, peppercorns, wine, balsamic vinegar and salt into a dish and add the ribs. Leave to marinate for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Carefully remove the ribs from the marinade and place the ribs on a grill rack over a pan lined with foil. Brush with oil and roast for 45 mins to 1 hour. Serve with barbecue sauce.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Cheese and Courgette Scones

These were an after thought after making the fruit scones, but they were a very good after thought! These were better than the fruit scones, possibly because I ate it warm with lots of butter! I have also frozen some, so I hope they taste just as good when defrosted. I'm going to have them with soup as something a bit different from bread.

Cheese and Courgette Scones (from Not Just Green Fingers)
(makes 7-8)
225g self raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
175g grated courgettes
60g margarine
150ml milk
60g grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 220C, line a baking tray.

Put the grated courgettes in a clean tea towel or muslin and squeeze out as much juice as possible
In another bowl put the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the margarine with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs
Add the grated cheese and courgette and mix, making sure the courgette doesn’t stick together in large lumps.
Add enough milk to make a soft dough that is not too sticky, add more flour if your dough is too sticky or more milk if it's too dry.
Roll out the dough 1cm thick and cut into rounds with a pastry cutter
Place the scones on the baking tray and bake for 10-15 mins or until golden and risen.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Sizzling Chicken Fajita Salad

This was so tasty and a healthy take on a fajita. I really do love a warm salad. 

Sizzling Chicken Fajita Salad (from Iowa Girl Eats)
(Serves 2)

4 chicken thighs, cut into strips
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 courgette, cut into batons
1 tbsp oil, divided
1 romaine lettuce, shredded
handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, chopped
For the marinade
juice of 1/2 lime
1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 jalapaeno, seeded and minced
2 tbsp chopped coriander
For the vinaigrette
juice of 1/2 lime
handful coriander, chopped
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl then add chicken and toss to coat. Cover then let sit and marinate at room temperature for 30 mins. 
Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a food processor or blender then process until smooth. Set aside.
Divide the lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado between two plates, drizzle with half of the dressing and mix well to coat the salad and divide between two bowls.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan on a high heat. Add the chicken in one layer on the bottom and cook for 1 min undisturbed. Stir then sauté for another min or two. Add the onions and courgette. Cook for 1 min, undisturbed, then stir and saute until tender, about another minute. 
Top the salad with the chicken and courgette mixture and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Serve.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Meal Planning Monday

I had a fairly relaxed beginning of the week, I went blackberry picking but all the blackberries had gone! They'd either all been picked or had shrivelled, they seem to still be out in South London but all gone near me, so I picked some sloes instead.

I'm going to make syrup and then ice cream out of them. I then started my new job, which went ok, I'm still really excited, I just need to get my head around everything as theres a lot of information to take in. On Saturday I spent the day at Kew Gardens with a friend, I had a really lovely day catching up with her and seeing all the beautiful dahlias that were out.

This week theres a lot of information still to take in at work, but I am going to a really funky pub called The Churchill Arms in Notting Hill for Thai food on Friday, other than that a quiet week for me. It was meant to be a Weightwatchers week but I had other things that needed eating that didn't really fit in, I still have my holiday weight to loose!

Currently Reading - Cloud Street by Tim Winton


Rice Stuffed Courgette (Plenty - Ottolenghi)

Lunch provided at school

Smoked Trout, Asparagus and Pea Pasta (Jamie's 15 Min Meals)

Flageolet Bean Pie with Salad 

Chicken Salad (Jamie's 15 Min Meals)
Out for Thai food

Soba Noodles with Wakame (Plenty - Ottolenghi)
Salmon, Courgette and Tomato Linguine (Metro)

Vegetable Crumble (Goat's Cheese Book)

Fruits Scones

My next door neighbour spent a few days in Cornwall recently and brought back some clotted cream, so to go with the cream I made some fruit scones for us both. This is the first time that I've made proper scones. I made the rhubarb ones a little le ago, but this is the first time in years I've made sultana ones. To be hones, they weren't all that good, there were a bit solid and not the fluffy scones they should have been, I think I roles the dough out too thin. I shall have to try again! Thank you Vicky for the clotted cream too, delicious!

Fruit Scones (from Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course)
(Makes 7-8)

225g self-raising flour
40g butter or margarine
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
pinch salt
40g sultanas
150ml milk

Preheat the oven to 220C, grease and line a baking tray.

Sift the flour into a bowl and rub the butter into it rapidly, using your finger tips. Next stir in the sugar and salt, and add the sultanas, then take a knife and use it to mix in the milk little by little. Now flour your hands a little and knead the mixture to a soft dough. You might not need all the milk, add more if the mixture is too dry or add flour if too sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured pastry board and roll it out to a thickness of 2cm using a lightly floured rolling pin. Take a 4 or 5 cm pastry cutter and place it on the dough, the tap it sharply so that it goes straight through the dough. After you have cut out as many scone shapes as you can, knead the dough trimmings together again and repeat until you have used it all.

Place the scones on the baking sheet, dust each one with a little extra flour and bake near the top of the oven for 12-15 mins until the scones are golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with cream and jam.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Raclette Tart

I love raclette cheese! I was hurrying to find things to do with the cheese after heating it up on top of boiled potatoes and cold meats before the cheese went bad and I came across this recipe from Nigel Slater in The Guardian. It was really good, lovely and tasty and the cheese was fantastic and melty in the bottom of the tart.

Raclette Tart (from The Guardian)
(Serves 6)

200g plain flour
100g butter
1 egg yolk

For the filling:
350g raclette, thinly sliced
50g salami, thinly sliced or shredded
2 tsp peppercorns
12 cornichons, halved
2 eggs
150ml creme fraiche
good pinch thyme leaves, chopped
Put the flour in a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. Cut the butter, rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk, mix a little more then add enough milk – a couple of tablespoons – to bring the dough to a soft, rollable consistency.
Flour a board, roll the pastry out and use it to line a 22cm shallow-sided tart tin – preferably one with a removable base. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Set aside for 20 mins in the fridge to rest. This will stop it shrinking during baking. Set the oven to 200C and place a metal baking sheet in the oven.
When the pastry case has rested, bake on the hot baking sheet for 20 mins. Remove the case from the oven, carefully lift out the paper and baking beans, then return to the oven for 5 mins, until dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 180C.
Put the eggs in a mixing bowl, then stir in the crème fraîche and a little salt and black pepper.
Place the slices of cheese neatly in the base of the tart case. Scatter over the shredded salami, green peppercorns and cornichons, then pour over the crème fraîche and egg mixture. Place on the heated tray in the oven and bake for 25-30 mins until the filling is lightly set and pale gold. Leave to cool a little before serving.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Fried Butterbeans with Feta, Sorrel and Dukkah

So this is the first recipe I tried from Plenty, I borrowed the book from the library and have bookmarked so many recipes I want to try! This I found a little dry but if you had it as a side dish I think that that would be mitigated a little bit. The flavours however were fantastic, there were lots of layers of flavour and it was delightful!


Fried Butterbeans with Feta, Sorrel and Dukkah
(Adapted from Plenty - Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4)

450g dried butterbeans
2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
60g butter
4 tbsp olive oil
8 spring onions, sliced lengthways
1 garlic clove, crushed
200g sorrel, cut into 2cm strips, plus extra thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
150g feta, broken into pieces
2 tsp Dukkah
handful chervil or dill, chopped

Place the butterbeans in a large bowl and add twice their volume of cold water and the bicarbonate of soda. Leave to soak overnight.

The following day, drain the beans, place in a large pan and cover with plenty of fresh water. Bring to the boil and boil for at least 30 mins, or until soft but not disintegrating. They could take over an hour to cook, depending on size and freshness. Add more water during cooking if necessary. When done, drain.

Next heat some of the butter and oil in a frying pan, add enough beans to cover the bottom and fry over a medium-high heat for 1-2 mins on each side, or until the skin is a nice golden brown and blistered. Remove to a large bowl and continue with batch of butter, oil and beans.

When cooking the final batch, as soon as the beans are almost done, add the spring onions, garlic and sorrel and sate for about a min. Then add the rest if the beans to the pan, remove from the heat and season with salt. Allow the beans to cool.

Drizzle the beans with the lemon juice and scatter over the feta, dukkah, chopped herbs and some thinly sliced sorrel. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Morroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad

I made this lovely salad for lunch. The original salad doesn't have any lentils in it, but I wanted something a little more substantial and added them. It was delicious, lightly spicy and the carrots were still crunchy.

I used my own carrots from my garden, lovely and purple!

Morroccan Carrot And Lentil Salad (Plenty - Yotam Ottolenghi)
(Serves 4)

1kg carrots
80ml olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 250g packet cooked puy lentils
1 tsp caster sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green chillies, crushed
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped preserved lemon
40g chopped fresh coriander
120g Greek yoghurt

Peel th carrots and cut them into 1cm thick pieces, depending on the size, they should all roughly be the same size. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 mins, or until tender but still crunchy. Drain in a colander and leave to dry out.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until soft and slightly brown. Add the cooked carrots and lentils to the onions and then the rest of the ingredients apart from the coriander and yoghurt. Remove from the heat, season with salt, stir well and leave to cool.

Before serving stir in the coriander. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, a drizzle of olive oil and some extra coriander.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Salmon with Warm Courgette, Fennel and Barley Salad

I am now into the eat courgettes with everything phase. I am giving away as many as I can but I'm also eating a fair few myself. This was really lovely and lemony, the salad working brilliantly with the salmon.

Salmon with Warm Courgette, Fennel and Barley Salad
(from Girl Interrupted Eating)
(Serves 2)

120g pearl barley
2 salmon fillets
1 tbsp old bay seasoning
1 large courgette, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the barley according to packet instructions.

Put the salmon in the oven and cook for 15 mins

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the courgette and fennel, and cook until slightly golden and soft. Once the barley is cooked, add to the pan along with the parsley, preserved lemon, poppy seeds, lemon zest and juice and seasoning, stir well. 

Put the barley mixture into two bowls and top with the salmon. Serve.