Saturday, 18 April 2015

Cauliflower Tots

I had a friend over for lunch last week and I made Spinach, Feta and Chickpea Burgers and then to go on the side I made these cauliflower tots. Apparently cooking spray here is not the same as the same as in the States, all my tots stick to my muffin tin and I had to scoop them out with a teaspoon! But they were delicious, lovely and cheesy.

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Tots (from Kalyn's Kitchen)

1/2 large head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
60g sharp cheddar
25g Parmesan cheese, 
coarsely grated 
2 tbsp chickpea flour
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
salt and pepper
1 egg

Preheat oven to 200C. Spray a Mini Muffin Pan with non-stick spray.

Cut away the leaves of the cauliflower, but use most of the inner core part. Coarsely chop the cauliflower, place in a microwave proof bowl, cover with cling film, and microwave for 2 mins on high. (Microwaves can vary so you may need to experiment with the time, but the cauliflower should be just slightly soft.) Quickly take off the cling film and let the steam escape, and if you see any water in the bottom of the bowl, put the cauliflower into a colander and let the water drain off.

Put the steel blade in the food processor, add the cauliflower, and pulse until the cauliflower is finely chopped but still slightly chunky. (Be careful not to over process so you don't end up with cauliflower puree!) If there is any water in the food processor bowl, drain the cauliflower again in the colander.

Put finely chopped cauliflower into a bowl and add the cheddar, Parmesan, chickpea flour, salt, Old Bay seasoning, and pepper. Stir until the ingredients are well-combined. Add the egg and stir until the ingredients are mostly coated with egg.

Using a tablespoon scoop out rounded spoonfuls of the mixture and place it in the mini muffin pan. Bake for 15 mins. Carefully turn each cauliflower tot over in the muffin tin and bake for 15 mins more, or until tots are nicely browned on both sides. Serve hot; these are best served right out of the oven.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Mint Chocolate Chip Courgette Brownie

I am trying to use up my stash of chocolate chips and I went for mint chocolate chip brownies. I'm also trying to use up things that I froze from last summer, such as grated courgette and they went together to make a lovely "healthy" brownie!

Mint Chocolate Chip Courgette Brownie (from Two Peas and Their Pod)
(Makes 16 Brownies)

340g granulated sugar
125ml sunflower oil
250g all purpose flour
4 tbsp cocoa
3 courgettes, grated
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
150g mint chocolate chips

 Preheat oven to 180C. Grease an 20cm x 28cm brownie pan, set aside.

Mix together the sugar, oil, and flour, combine until mixture resembles wet sand. 

Add the cocoa, courgette, vanilla extract, salt and baking powder. Mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the brownie batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean and the brownies are set.

Cool on a wire rack. Cut brownies into squares and serve.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Ham and Pea Soup

This isn't really a recipe more a something that I made. On Easter Monday I went to RHS Garden Wisley, which is a beautiful garden west of London.

We stopped for lunch in their cafe and I had the ham hock, which was huge! Looking at it there was no way I could eat it all, so we asked for something to take the remainder home in and they provided us with a plastic box and bag. 


Once home I set about making ham and pea soup.

First I added the leftover ham and bones to a large saucepan with 1 onion, sliced and 1 potato, chopped. Then I covered the whole thing with water until it was level with the bones. Then I brought it up to a boil and turned the heat down to medium and cooked it for about 30 mins until the veg was soft. Then I took it off the heat and left it for a little while to cool and removed the bones. Then I put it into the fridge overnight to solidify and then I skimmed the fat off the top. I put the ham stock mixture back into a saucepan and heated it,  I added about 100g peas and cooked them for about 5 mins. Then I whizzed the whole thing with a hand blender and made a lovely soup. It served 2 people and was delicious.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So I'm back at work today after a two week break for the Easter holidays. Easter weekend I went to Eastbury Manor House and RHS Wisley and then last week I spent my time seeing friends and sorting out the house and garden. Last weekend I went on a tour of Borough Market with four tastings, bread from Bread Ahead, cheese from Neil's Yard Dairy, oysters from Richard Haward's Oysters and a Moo Pie from Pieminister. Then in the afternoon we went to see A Breakfast of Eels at Print Room at the Coronet in Notting Hill, which was a good but ultimately forgettable play. The Print Room has recently moved to it's new home at the Coronet and they are slowly doing up the building. On Sunday I did chores in the morning and then went to the cinema in the afternoon to see Fast and Furious 7, which was a wonderful tribute to Paul Walker who died last year. Last weeks meals were a bit of a hodge podge, trying to use up the mountain of leftovers from Easter weekend and other bits and pieces I had lying around.

This week is kind of busy, theatre tonight, talk at the V&A tomorrow, pilates on Thursday and then at the weekend I am seeing my sister and nieces on Saturday and going on a Cupcake and Macaron tour on Sunday. So meals are simple and quick, with nothing too taxing!

Out before the theatre

Mac and Peas with Salad

Tomato and Raclette Quiche with Salad
Apricot Dijon Glazed Salmon with Bulgar Wheat and Veg

Multi Veg Paella

Smoked Salmon and Pea Pasta Salad
Gnocchi and Courgette Bake (WW Cooking for Two)

Out with my sister
Lamb Steak with Minty Yoghurt and Couscous (WW Cooking for One)

Courgette, Mint and Wild Garlic Soup
Mushroom Farfalle with Salad (Jamie's 15 Min Meals)

Friday, 10 April 2015

Chinese Prawn Noodle Salad

This was a tasty salad although it ended up a bit watery. Next time I would actually bother to deseed to the cucumber!

Chinese Prawn Noodle Salad (adapted from Salad Days - Good Housekeeping)
(Serves 4)

200g egg noodles
2 carrots, cut into chunks
handful green beans, halved
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 cucumber, halved lengthways seeded and finely diced
350g cooked prawns
1 tbsp coriander

For the dressing
2 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 tbsp sesame oil

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the noodles according to packet instructions, adding the carrots and beans for the last 2-3 mins of cooking, Drain, run under the cold tap and drain again well.

Make the dressing by whisking the honey, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil together with some black pepper. Pour the dressing over the noodles, carrots and beans and toss together.

Stir the spring onions, cucumber, prawns and coriander into the noodles and divide between four bowls.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Pearl Barley and Roasted Beetroot Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing

I have an issue with this salad. The original recipe says to roast the veg for 1 and a half hours but if I'd done that they would have been incinerated, so I changed it to 45 mins and they were perfect. Also all my lovely glaze burnt and stuck to the pan so there were no lovely juices to drizzle over. I'm not sure if it's just that my oven is hotter than most or what but definitely be careful with this recipe.

Pearl Barley and Roasted Beetroot Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing 
(from Amuse Your Bouche)
(Serves 2)

2 medium leeks, trimmed and cut into 1 inch chunks
5 medium carrots, halved lengthwise then cut into 2 inch chunks
4 fresh beetroot, peeled and cut into wedges
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp maple syrup or honey
Black pepper
100g uncooked pearl barley
salad leaves

Heat the oven to 190°C . Place the vegetables in a large roasting tray, and add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and plenty of salt and black pepper. Mix well with a spoon until evenly coated. Place in the oven and roast for around 45 mins, or until soft and slightly crispy on the edges.

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

When the pearl barley is cooked, drain it. 

Divide the salad leaves between 2 bowls and then top with the barley followed by the  roasted vegetables drizzled with any excess dressing.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Ham and Pea Pasta Bake

This is the first time I've made a proper white sauce that was thick and unctuous. Before all my white sauce were very thin and never seemed to thicken properly, the key is using much more flour and butter than you think you need!

Ham and Pea Pasta Bake (from Simply Delicious)
(Serves 4-6)

150g butter, cubed
125g flour
750ml-1l milk
pinch of nutmeg
white pepper and salt to taste

300g macaroni
4-5 slices chopped left-over ham
200g frozen peas
100g cheddar cheese, grated

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. Slowly pour in the milk whilst continuously whisking to get rid of any lumps. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to cook for 10 minutes. Add the nutmeg and season to taste.

While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente adding the peas for the last 3-4 mins.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Combine the cooked pasta, gammon and peas with the white sauce then mix well. Transfer to a baking dish and top with the cheddar.

Place in the oven and allow to bake for 15-20 mins until the top is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 mins then serve.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Mackerel and Potato Salad with Lemon Fennel Dressing

This was a lovely fresh tasting salad.

Mackerel and Potato Salad with Lemon Fennel Dressing 
(adapted from Good Food Magazine June 2012)
(Serves 2)

175g small new potatoes
200g smoked mackerel fillets, skin removed
4 spring onions, finely sliced
140g small cooked beetroot, sliced into wedges
small bunch dill, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
juice 1 lemon, zest of half

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Place the potatoes in a small saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 15 mins or until fork-tender. Cool and cut into thick slices.

Flake the mackerel into a bowl and add the cooled potatoes, spring onions, beetroot and dill.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, caraway seeds and some seasoning. Pour over the salad and toss everything well to coat. Scatter over the lemon zest. Pack into plastic containers and chill, or eat straight away.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Sausage and Bean Casserole

This is a really simple easy to make but very flavourful sausage casserole, especially if you use good quality sausages. I had some nice plump Northumberland Sausages from a farm shop.

Sausage and Bean Casserole (from Good Food Magazine October 2011)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
8 pork sausages
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp tomato purée
400g can butter beans
400g can baked beans in tomato sauce
½ small bunch thyme
200ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
2 slices white bread, whizzed to crumbs

Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish, then brown the sausages all over. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining oil, tip the veg into the dish and fry for 10 mins. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for 1 min more.

Heat oven to 200C. Return the sausages to the pan with the beans, thyme and some seasoning, then pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, then bake in the oven for 25-30 mins until the crumbs are golden and the stew is bubbling.