Thursday, 17 April 2014

Roast in the Hole

This was something a little bit different and a very easy way to pack loads of veg into toad in the hole! The original recipe uses chicken thighs and that would be just as delicious. You could also play around with the veg you want to use. Most veg tastes really good roasted so the word is your oyster. Lovely served with lashings of gravy or brown sauce.

Roast in the Hole (adapted from Belleau Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

8 sausages
2 large carrot, sliced
3-4 parsnips, sliced
1 onion, chunkily sliced
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
calorie controlled cooking spray
2 eggs
100g plain flour
6fl oz milk
4fl oz water
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Put all the veg into a roasting tin, season well  and add the herbs, then spray over the cooking spray, toss a few times until the veg is coated. Lay the sausages on top.

Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 20 mins or until the veg are soft, then remove the foil and roast for a further 15 mins until the sausages are browned.

Meanwhile, make the Yorkshire pudding batter. In a large bowl beat the eggs into the flour, then add the milk and water, season and beat well. Pour this over the veg and sausages and place back in the oven for another 20-30 mins until the batter has risen and turned golden brown. Serve.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Steak and Cream Cheese Sandwich

This was a very easy but really delicious sandwich, such a simple idea but you can't beat a steak sandwich!

Steak and Cream Cheese Sandwich (from The Ultimate Philadephia Cookbook)
(Serves 1)

2 tbsp caramelised onions
1 steak
1 brown roll
30g low fat soft cheese

Heat the caramelised onions in pan over a low heat.

Heat a griddle pan and cook the steak for 1-2 mins on each side depending on the thickness of the steak and how well you like it done.

Toast the bun and spread with the soft cheese. Top with the steak followed by the onions. Eat!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

I had some very sad looking cauliflower in the fridge and was looking for ways to use it up. I tend to eat soup about once a week, those WeightWatchers habits are hard to break! So soup it was. This soup is fantastically flavourful and creamy, lovely served with some crusty bread.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup (from BBC Food)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
800g cauliflower florets, roughly chopped
1l vegetable stock
150ml single cream

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry for 2-3 mins, or until just softened.

Add the ground cumin and ground coriander and fry for a further 1-2 mins, or until fragrant.

Add the cauliflower and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8-12 mins, or until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from the heat and blend with a hand blender.

Add the cream, season with salt and pepper and warm through for 1-2 mins. Serve.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Daring Cooks April 2014: Palatschinken

The April Daring Cooks Challenge was brought to us by Joanna from What’s On The List. She taught us all about Pathiri and challenged us to create our own version of this inspirational Indian dish!

Ok, so, mine's not Indian. I decided that cooking for one and making what looked like a cake might be a bit difficult. What I really wanted to make is a blintz dish that I have eaten in an Israeli restaurant close to where I work but I couldn't find a recipe that even came close to that. So I rang my Mum and she had a look in her old Cordon Bleu cookery course and came up with this. The beginning of the recipe says of this dish "This recipe given to Cordon Bleu many years ago by a Czechoslovakian us a marvellous way of presenting small quantities of leftover meat and vegetables. It is a good lunch or supper dish." There are also other suggested fillings; lamb, carrot, cabbage and tomato. Recipes available on request!

I made a few adaptations to the recipe as this one also had layers of pancakes with filling in between and I wanted them rolled up! But the rest of the recipe is the same. I made 4 pancakes and 4 fillings. so far I've eaten the mushrooms and the ham and both were really really tasty, so I look forward to trying the chicken and spinach at a later date.

Palatschinken (from Cordon Bleu Cookery Course)
(Serves 4-6)

For the pancake batter
110g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
200ml semi-skimmed milk mixed with 75ml water
50g butter

For the white sauce
45g butter
30g plain flour
315ml milk

2 eggs separated
60g cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper

For the fillings

100g cooked ham, diced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chutney

100g cooked chicken, shredded
1 hard-boiled egg
1 tbsp stock or cream

30g butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
120g mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp flour
2-3 tbsp stock or milk
1 tbsp mixed herbs, chopped

50g spinach
1 tbsp butter or cream

Prepare the pancake batter by sifting the flour into a bowl and whisking in the eggs. Then slowly add milk and water until the batter is smooth and the consistency of single cream. Leave to stand in a cool place for 30 mins. Melt the butter a little at a time and fry the pancakes, you should have about 8. When done, set aside to cool whilst you prepare the fillings.

For the ham filling: Mix the ham with the mustard and chutney, stir well to combine.

For the chicken filling: Mix the chicken and egg together. Season well and bind with a little stock or cream.

For the mushroom filling: Melt the butter and cook the shallot until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until all the water has evaporated. Mix together the flour and stock or water. Season and bring the mixture to the boil. Add the mixed herbs and stir well.

For the spinach filling: Either melt the butter and stir in the spinach, or put the spinach into a pan and add the cream and heat gently. Then add a little nutmeg.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Grease a large oven-proof dish.

Place half of each filling down the centre of one pancake, role up and place into the casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining filling and pancakes.

Make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and mix in the flour. Stir continuously for a few mins to cook out the flour. Add the milk a little at a time stirring in between each addition until the mixture becomes thickened.

Take the pan off the heat and leave for a couple of mins. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the white sauce with 1 tbsp of the cheese.

Spoon the sauce over the pancakes, making sure that the sauce runs down the sides of the pancakes. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 20-30 mins until golden and puffed up. Serve.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

New Potato and Grilled Trout Salad with Dijon and Parsley Dressing

This was a really tasty salad, full of flavour. The original recipe called for salmon but I used trout and it worked perfectly.

New Potato and Grilled Trout Salad with Dijon and Parsley Dressing
(adapted from Woman and Home)
(Serves 4)
400g new potatoes, large ones halved
3 trout fillets
1 tbsp grainy mustard
40g capers, drained and rinsed
100g cornichons, sliced
6 spring onions, sliced
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
large pinch sugar
4 tbsp olive oil

Put the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water and cook for 15 to 20 mins until tender. Drain and allow to cool for a few minutes. Heat the grill to high, spread the mustard over the trout fillets and grill for 8 to 10 mins until just cooked through.

Toss the potatoes through with the capers, cornichons and spring onions and season. Mix the mustard together with the vinegar and sugar, and add the oil gradually to form a thick vinaigrette. Season well.
When the trout is cooked through, flake into large pieces. Dress the potatoes with the vinaigrette, scatter over the parsley and top with the trout  flakes. Serve warm immediately, or leave to cool and pack into your lunch box.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Mini Egg Tiffin

For the last Mad Hatters of the term we had an Easter party. So I made mini egg tiffin. I have to say this recipe didn't work perfectly to me. I think you really do have to crush the biscuits up well as mine fell apart. Luckily the girls didn't mind too much and scopped up handfuls to eat! It was very tasty. I swear there is something in cocoa powder that makes it addictive!

Mini Egg Tiffin (from The Goddess Kitchen)

85g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp cocoa
170g digestives, crushed to crumbs
170g mini eggs, lightly crushed
30g mini eggs, left whole

Gently melt the butter and golden syrup in large pan. Stir in the cocoa, digestives and crushed mini eggs.

Line a 1lb loaf tin with cling film. Press mixture into tin then press the whole mini eggs into the top. Refrigerate until set.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Cauliflower and Red Pepper Farro Salad

This was a really lovely salad, I am definitely becoming a bit more enamoured with cauliflower if I can do something interesting with it and this dish really works.

Cauliflower and Red Pepper Farro Salad (adapted from Closet Cooking)
(Serves 4)

1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
250g farro
1 small red onion, chopped
100g feta, crumbled
50g mixed seeds, toasted
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
handful parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the cauliflower florets in the olive oil with the salt and pepper. Arrange the cauliflower florets in a single layer in a baking dish. Roast the cauliflower in a  for about 20-30 mins until lightly golden brown.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the farro according to packet instructions.

Place the cauliflower, red pepper, farro, onion, feta and seeds into a large bowl.

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper together.

Pour the dressing over the salad followed by the parsley and mix well to combine.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Double Chocolate Shortbreads

These are addictive! Ridiculously so, I couldn't leave to box alone! They tasted a bit more like really buttery cookies than shortbread but that could be for a couple of reasons. Firstly I didn't leave them in the fridge to chill and secondly my oven is doing funny things to cakes and biscuits so everything is undercooked. So moreish though!

Double Chocolate Shortbreads (from Good Food Magazine May 2011)
(Makes 12)

175g butter, softened
85g golden caster sugar
200g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
100g chocolate chips, milk or dark
Mix the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the flour and cocoa, followed by the chocolate chips, you might need to use your hands.

Halve the dough and roll each piece into a log about 5cm thick. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hr or for several days.

Heat the oven to 180C. Slice the logs into 1cm-thick rounds, transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 10-12 mins. Cool on the tray.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Bacon, Lettuce and Avocado Sandwich

Now you don't really need me to tell you how to construct a sandwich but this was a thing of such beauty that it really deserves a post. I don't usually buy BLT sandwhices because my only experience of them is streaky bacon, limp lettuce and soggy bread. Homemade now that's something different altogether. I constructed this in the morning before going to work and then ate it 7 hours later and there was not a soggy bit of bead in sight. The flavour combinations are just awesome. I urge you to make this sandwich!

Bacon, Lettuce and Avocado Sandwich
(Serves 1)

2-3 rashers smoked back bacon
2 slices wholemeal bread
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 large lettuce leaves
1/2 tomato, sliced
1/2 small avocado sliced

Grill the bacon to your liking and then leave to cool.

Lightly toast the bread and leave to cool for a few mins.

When cool, spread the mayonnaise over one side of each slice of toast. Top with tomato, followed by the bacon, avocado and finally the lettuce. Out the final piece of bread on top and devour.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Honey and Soy Mackerel

I had some pretty fantastic meals last week, this being one of the best. I love mackerel, I *LOVE* mackerel, it has to be one of my favourite fish. This was a lovely Chinese style mackerel dish, really simple but very flavourful.I servied it with sesame stir fry veg.

Honey and Soy Mackerel
(Serves 1)

1 whole mackerel, gutted and cleaned
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp clear honey
1 knob stem ginger, finely chopped
juice 1 lime

Slash the fish 3 times on each side, cutting right down to the bone. Mix the soy, honey, stem ginger and lim juice. Rub all over the fish and well into the slashes. Lay on a foil lined baking tray and set aside for 20 mins.

Preheat the grill and grill the fish for 5-6 mins on each side. Serve.