Monday, 1 September 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Last week went ok, it's been peaceful, now term starts properly with the kids! Next week is a WeightWatchers week. It's been a long time coming. I haven't been able to do any exercise for the last couple of weeks for a variety of reasons, so I thought I'd try it this way. I am however going out twice next week, so it's not likely to be a very successful, but at least it's making me use my cook books!

I am going to book to go and see Cats, which starts in December, next week, I'm so excited! I'm also going to try Patty and Bun for the first time if the queue isn't too long. Then I'm off to the cinema on Saturday to see the Hundred Foot Journey and going out for lunch beforehand.


Fiery Chicken Pitta Pockets with Crisps (WW Book of Recipes)
Wakame Soba Noodle Soup (Plenty)

Wild Rice Salad (WW Rice and Noodles)
Out at Patty and Bun

Smoked Mackerel and Potato Salad (WW Seasonal)
Tuna and Spring Veg Sauté (WW Weekdays)

Courgette and Tarragon Soup with Bread
Flageolet Bean Pie with Salad

Orzo Pasta and Ham Salad (Cooking the WW Way)
Miso Roasted Salmon with Potatoes (WW Cooking for One)

Out before the cinema
Allotment Fritatta (Cooking the WW Way)


Summer Vegetable Crumble (Goat's Cheese Book)

Summer Pizza

I made this pizza out of various things that were ready in the garden, I didn't want to bother making tomato sauce so I used salad dressing as the sauce and it was delicious. I really love the pizza stone I got for Christmas and love being able to make my own crispy pizza!

Summer Pizza
(Serves 2)

1 packet pizza mix
2 tbsp Caesar dressing mix
1 tomato, sliced
1 small green courgette, sliced
1 small yellow courgette, sliced
1 radish, sliced
50g grated cheddar and mozzarella mix

Make up the pizza dough according to the packet instructions.

 Roll out and then cover with the Caesar dressing. Lay the slices of tomato on top and then the courgette and radishes. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until the cheese is golden and the base crisp. Cut into slices and serve.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Courgette and Brie Soup

It's that time of year again, courgette soup making time! I try to make a couple of new ones each year, this time it's courgette and brie. Yummy!

Courgette and Brie Soup 
(from New Covent Garden Company Book of Soups)
(Serves 6)

450g courgettes, sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1.2l vegetable stock
225g brie, end rind removed and cut into pieces
salt and pepper

Put all the ingredients except the brie in a large saucepan. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 15 mins until the veg are tender. Stir in the cheese until melted. Cool a little, then blitz until smooth. Season and serve.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Chickpea and Cauliflower Burgers

In an effort to eat less red meat, I'm also eating more vegetarian food than I used to. I love veggie burgers. I make a batch, freeze them and then I have a really quick supper that I can just grab out of the freezer. These are the latest lot I made, really tasty. I served it in a seedy bun with dill pickle, cheese, tomatoes and barbecue sauce.

Chickpea and Cauliflower Burgers (from The First Mess)
(Serves 4)
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 garlic clove, rough chopped
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
6 tbsp chickpea flour
2 tbsp chopped chives

Steam the cauliflower over a pan of boiling water until tender, about 8-10 mins. Remove the cauliflower and run some cold water over it. Towel the florets lightly and then place in the bowl of a food processor.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Add the chickpeas, garlic, Old Bay seasoning, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the cauliflower. Pulse the mixture until you have a meal that clumps together when you squeeze it. You should still see little bits of chickpeas. Put the chickpea and cauliflower mixture into a large bowl and stir in the flours and chopped chives until your mix is fully combined and the flour is absorbed. Season.
Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and with wet hands form the mixture into 4 patties. The out the patties onto the baking sheet. Bake for 30 mins, then serve,

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.