Friday, 29 May 2015

Pesto Pizza with Goat's Cheese and Aubergine

This was a very tasty pizza and lovely to have something a bit different from a tomato sauce base. I also loved the combination of the aubergine and goat's cheese which went really well together.

Pesto Pizza with Goat's Cheese and Aubergine (from Good Food Magazine July 2014)
(Serves 2)

1 packet pizza dough
1 small aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways
1 medium red onion, thickly sliced
cooking spray
4 tbsp fresh pesto (shop-bought or homemade)
75g firm goat's cheese
chilli flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C. Prepare the dough according to the packet instructions.

Spray the vegetables with cooking spray and season well. Heat a griddle pan and cook for about 5 mins each side, until black lines appear and the aubergines are soft. Remove and set aside.

Roll out the pizza dough and spread the pesto onto one side. Top with the aubergine, onion and goat’s cheese, broken into chunks, plus chilli flakes if you like it spicy. Cook on a baking sheet or pizza stone, until the cheese is melted about 12-15 mins.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Pear and Vanilla Smoothie

This is a delicious smoothie full of healthy goodness with the pear and the spinach. I was a bit worried about the spinach but you can't taste it as the sweetness of the pear comes through.

Pear and Vanilla Smoothie (adapted from Deliciously Ella)
(Serves 1)

1 pear
200ml milk
a big handful of spinach
a handful of oats
1 tbsp almond butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Slice the pear into pieces, taking out the core. Then place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Mushroom and Wild Garlic Wholemeal Quiches

When wild garlic was about I made these lovely quiches, the recipe came out of my head as I had some cottage cheese and the wild garlic to use up and had no quiches in my freezer. I have the quiches there as an easy lunch I can take to work with no prep the night before, useful when I'm out at the theatre! I was also given some wholemeal flour a little while ago and I wanted to find things I could make with it, this seemed a good way to start.

Mushroom and Wild Garlic Wholemeal Quiches
(makes 4 small quiches)

110 g wholemeal flour, plus a little extra for dusting 
pinch of salt 
25 g lard, removed from the fridge for 20 mins
25g butter, removed from the fridge for 20 mins
1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
300g mushrooms, finely sliced
bunch wild garlic, thinly sliced
butter and olive oil
rosemary, finely chopped
salt and pepper
4 eggs, beaten
50ml milk
150ml cottage cheese

Make the pastry first by rubbing the butter and lard into the flour in a large bowl until you have something resembling breadcrumbs, then add a tablespoon or two of cold water and bring it together into a dough with your hands, you may need to add a little more water to create the dough.  Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

In a large pan heat the oil and add onions, stir and gently sauté for about 15 mins until they begin to turn golden brown. Remove from the pan and then add a little butter and sauté the mushrooms, wild garlic and plenty of salt and pepper until they are tender, then turn up the heat a little and add the onions back in and remove from the heat.

Roll the pastry out and grease the quiche dishes. Line the dishes with the pastry. Scrunch up some baking parchment and then lay this into the pastry case and pour some baking beans on top. Blind bake for 10 mins on 150C

Once the pastry turns golden, take it out of the oven and set aside whilst you beat the eggs into the milk and cottage cheese. Pour the mushroom and garlic mixture into the pastry cases followed by the cream and bake on 160C for about 10-15 mins until golden and risen, set aside on a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So I skipped a day because of the Bank Holiday, which I spent walking around London and gardening. Last week went pretty much as planned. I went out for cake after work with a friend on Wednesday and we went to Sketch, near Oxford Circus. They have a number of themed rooms and we sat in The Glade. I had a Perfect Passion to drink, which was a non alcoholic cocktail of passion fruit, lychee and lime, slightly tart, slightly sweet.

Then I had the Gateau Chocolat/Caramel, which was Chocolate caramel mousse, cocoa dacquoise, crispy hazelnut feuillantine and caramel marmalade, it was seriously good. The atmosphere was amazing too, and if you go, you have to check out the loos!

This week is quiet, no going out in the evenings, just a week of work. Making it the perfect week to try and shift some of those excess pounds and have a WeightWatchers week. I have broken out my WeightWatchers cookbooks and I am exclusively using recipes from them. I thought I'd point everything out in my plan so you can see a little bit how I work with this plan. Recipes will follow of course.

Berry Blitz (Cooking the WW Way) (0)
Banana (0)
Chinese Vegetable Pancakes (WW Cooking for One) (9) Chocolate Milk (1)
WW Chocolate Orange Biscuit (2)
M&S Salt and Vinegar Lentil Curls (2)
Spiced Meatballs with Roast Carrot Couscous (WW Fresh and Easy Everyday) (12)

Cheese and Fruit (3)
Banana (0)
Eastern Coley Skewers in a Wrap (WW Fresh and Easy Everyday) (8) M&S Salt and Vinegar Lentil Curls (2)
WW Caramel Wafer (2)
Baked Chinese Trout with Noodles and Stir Fry Veg (WW Nice N Spicy) (11)

Cheese and Fruit (3)
Banana (0)
Creamy Smoked Mackerel Pasta (WW Seasonally Sensational) (15)
WW Chocolate Biscuit Bar (2)
Chilli Chicken with Flageolet Beans (WW Nice n Spicy) (6)

Cheese and Fruit (3)
Banana (0)
Italian Fish Stew (7) with Bread (2) (WW Seasonally Sensational) 
WW Triple Chocolate Biscuit (2)
Spicy Chicken Patties (5) in Pitta (4) (WW Fresh and Easy Everyday) with Walkers Lights (3)

Cheese and Fruit (3)
Banana (0)
WW Cheese and Onion Crustless Quiche with Salad (7)
WW Caramel Wafer (2)
Chicken Makhani (6) with Rice (5) and Mango Chutney (2) (WW Seasonally Sensational) 
(2 points to play with)

Berry Blitz (Cooking the WW Way) (0)
Out at Cupcake Tour
Courgette and Wild Garlic Soup (0) with Bread (2) (WW Seasonally Sensational)

Rhubarb Yoghurt (4)
Banana (0)
Smoked Haddock Florentine (WW Easy Everyday) (9)
Tuna Burgers (WW Simply Suppers) (9)
(4 points to play with)

Roasted Asparagus and Farro Soup

This is the second recipe I made from the Super Grains and Seeds cookbook that I borrowed from the library. This was an absolutely delicious soup. I made a batch which I froze and when I defrosted it was a bit more like stew than soup but the flavours with the fresh and in season asparagus were just wonderful.

Roasted Asparagus and Farro Soup (from Super Grains & Seeds by Amy Ruth Finegold)
(Serves 4)

185g farro
750ml water
900g asparagus
2 small shallots
2 tbsp oil
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves crushed
1l veg stock
1 tsp allspice
handful parsley
grated zest 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Put the farro into a sieve and rinse under the cold tap. Put the farro into a saucepan and cover with the water, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 mins, then drain and set aside.

Trim the asparagus, discarding the bottom ends as they are woody. Lay on a baking sheet with the shallots. Drizzle with oil, season well and sprinkle over the garlic. Roast for 20 mins, turning once.

When the asparagus is cooked, put it into a saucepan with the veg stock and puree with a hand blender.

Bring the soup to a simmer over a high heat and stir in the allspice. Add extra water to reach the desired consistency if needed. Add the farro, lemon zest and parsley and season. Serve.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Spelt and Spinach Salad with Prosciutto and Pear

I made this quite by accident, I suddenly realised looking through the cookbook this recipe comes from that I had all the ingredients and so made a last minute change to my meal plan. It's not usually my sort of thing but as I know that parma ham goes well with melon I though I'd give it a go with pear and it was delicious, the spelt added extra bite.

Spelt and Spinach Salad with Prosciutto and Pear from (Super Grains &Seeds by Amy Ruth Finegold)
(Serves 4)

200g spelt
handful fresh thyme
100g baby spinach
2 pears, sliced
12 slices prosciutto
salt and pepper

For the dressing
3 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil

Put the spelt in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over a high heat and then cook according to packet instructions. When cooked, drain and leave to cool.

Make the dressing by whisking 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar together with the oil.

Pour the dressing over the spelt and sprinkle in the thyme. Mix in the spinach and season with salt and pepper.

Put the spelt, spinach and thyme mixture onto a plate or into a lunchbox, and layer the pears and prosciutto on top.

Drizzle the extra 1 1/2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar over the top and serve.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Chickpea Pancakes

This is the first recipe I made from the Deliciously Ella cookbook. I found these relatively easy to make although you have to have the pan on a medium heat otherwise it is difficult to get the batter to make a big enough circle! They were delicious though. I used some for my enchiladas and then made a couple of refried bean, pepper and cheese quesedillas with the rest. 

Chickpea Wraps (from Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward)
(Makes 4 wraps)

2 tbsp ground flaxseed
130g chickpea (gram) flour
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper

Put all of the ingredients except the oil into a mixing bowl with 200ml water. Whisk it all together making sure the batter is smooth.

Leave the batter to thicken for about 5 mins.

While the batter thickens, heat a frying pan over a high heat and rub oil over the bottom of it using some kitchen roll.

Pour a quarter of the batter into the pan and spread it as thinly as possible into a circle. Cook for about 2 mins until there is no wet batter left on top, turn the wrap over and cook the other side.

Stuff with your favourite fillings and serve.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Chicken and Beans Enchiladas

This recipe feeds a crowd but is fairly easy to scale down to normal sized proportions! It's also really easy to make and yummy. I made my own chickpea pancakes as I got home and realised I didn't have any tortillas! They worked just as well.

Chicken and Bean Enchiladas (from Good Food Magazine July 2009)
(Serves 10)

3 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped,
1 sliced small bunch coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp cumin seeds
6 skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
415g can refried beans (we used Discovery)
198g can sweetcorn, drained
700ml bottle passata
1 tsp golden caster sugar
10 tortillas
200g cheddar, grated

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan, then fry the onions, peppers, chopped chilli and coriander stalks with half the garlic for 10 mins until soft. Stir in 2 tsp ground coriander and 2 tsp cumin seeds, then fry for 1 min more. Meanwhile, in another frying pan, fry the chicken in the remaining oil, in batches, until browned – add it to the pan of veg as it is done.

Stir the beans, sweetcorn, coriander leaves and 150ml of the passata into the veg and chicken. In a bowl, mix the rest of the passata with the other crushed garlic clove, the remaining spices and the sugar, then set aside.

To assemble, lay the tortillas onto a board and divide the chicken mixture between them, folding over the ends and rolling up to seal. Divide the passata sauce into the dishes you are using, then top with the enchiladas. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Cool and freeze (see freezing tips, below) or, if eating straight away, heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, then bake for 30 mins, scattering with more coriander leaves to serve, if you like.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So I had a lovely weekend, spent at my parents house with plenty of yummy food as well as a trip to the garden centre to pick up the last few things for the garden.

This week is relatively quiet, I am out tonight at a talk at the V&A and then pilates on Thursday other than that I have no plans. So the meal plan is somewhat adventurous with a few new things thrown in!

Salmon Sandwich Pie with Crisps

Ham and Cheese Cornbread Sandwich with Crisps


Smoked Trout Pasta Salad 
Mac and Peas with Salad

Mushroom and Wild Garlic Quiche with Salad
Saffron Prawns with Bulgar Pilaf (Super Grains & Seeds)

Wild Boar Burger 


Roasted Tomato Pasta

I was looking around for recipes to try and use up a pot of cottage cheese and came across this tomato pasta recipe, which I loved. One of my favourite things are roasted cherry tomatoes, they are just so sweet and delicious and combined with spinach and pasta make a wonderful dish. I served it with a green salad.

Roasted Tomato Pasta
(Serves 4)
(6 WW ProPoints Per Serving)

400g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
cooking spray
250g wholewheat pasta shapes
100g reduced fat plain cottage cheese
50g spinach, chopped

Preheat the oven to 220C. Put the tomatoes cut side up in a roasting tray an sprinkle over the thyme leaves an garlic. Spray with cooking spray and cook in the oven for about 15-20 mins until soft but not mushy.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain reserving 4 tbsp of the cooking liquid and return the pasta to the pan.

Stir in the cooked tomatoes, cottage cheese, coking water and spinach leaves into the pasta and toss gently. Serve.