Saturday, 22 November 2014

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Mascarpone

This is meant to be a hot dish and I think it would be lovely as such but I had it cold for lunch and it was really good. I'm not a huge fan of tinned chickpeas but adding them to the couscous cooks them a bit and makes them softer.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Mascarpone (from Good Food Magazine October 2009)
(Serves 4)
4 red peppers, deseeded and sliced
2 courgettes, halved and then cut into thick sticks
2 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
½ tsp sugar
6 tomatoes, quartered
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
200g couscous
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
50g mascarpone or full-fat soft cheese
small handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat oven to 200C and put the kettle on. Put the red peppers and courgettes in a roasting tray with the garlic, olive oil, sugar and some seasoning. Roast them in the oven for 20 mins, then add the tomatoes and sliced chilli. Roast for 20 mins more until the tomatoes and peppers are bursting with juices.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl stir together the couscous and chickpeas, and pour over 200-250ml boiling water until just covered. Covered with cling film and leave to stand for 10 mins, then fluff up with a fork, adding more water if needed.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir in the mascarpone. Divide the couscous between 4 plates, top with the roasted veg and finish with some chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Or pack into a lunchbox and leave to cool.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Turkey with Veg and Couscous Salad

This is a take on a Weightwatchers recipe with my own twist. It was delightfully tasty and a bit different with the chopped tomatoes mixed in. I didn't think I'd like it cold but I loved it.

Turkey with Veg and Couscous Salad
(Serves 1)
60g Israeli couscous
1 turkey breast
pinch cumin
pinch coriander
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 small courgette
handful sugar snap peas, halved
handful spinach leaves
1/2 small tin chopped tomatoes
Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the couscous according to packet instructions, drain, run under the cold tap and drain again well.
Heat a tbsp oil into a frying pan, add the onion, pepper and courgette and cook for 2-3 mins. Stir in the cumin and coriander. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for 2-3 mins more. Add the chopped tomatoes and spinach and stir to combine. Add the couscous and cook for a min or 2.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan. Spray the turkey with cooking spray and cook for 3-4 mins on each side. Remove and leave to cool.
Transfer the couscous mixture to your lunchbox and leave to cool. Slice the turkey and top the couscous when cool.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Gourmet Chicken Wraps with Chipotle Mayo, Chunky Salsa and Salad

I love anything vaguely Mexican and anything with chipotle which doesn't seem to effect me quite as much as other chillis. This was a rather tasty wrap worth the effort. I have chanhged the recipe that called for making the salsa and mayo from scratch, life's too short, so I used bought salsa and mixed chipotle paste with ready made mayo.

Chicken Wrap with Chipotle Mayo, Chunky Salsa and Salad (from What Katy Ate)
(Serves 4)

2 chicken breasts
zest and juice 2 limes
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
large handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
handful salad leaves
8 tortilla wraps
2 avocados, halved, destoned and sliced
1 tbsp chipotle paste
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp mayonnaise
4 tbsp salsa

Place the chicken on a piece of greaseproof paper and cover with another piece of greaseproof paper, bash with a meat mallet or rolling pin until the thickness of 1cm. Place the chicken into a ziplock bag.

Add the lime zest, lime juice, garlic, olive oil, half the mint and salt and pepper to the bag and shake well. close the bag and place into the fridge for 30 mins to 1 hour.

Warm a griddlepan over a medium heat, add the chicken and marinade and cook for 5-7 mins. Turn the chicken over and cook for a further 5-7 mins, until the marinade is bubbling ans the chicken cooked through. Remove and cut the chicken into strips

To serve; divide the warmed tortillas between the plates and arrange the salad leaves in a strip down the middle of each tortilla about three quarters of the way down, Top with a tablespoon of salsa, some chicken strips, a few slices of avocado and finally the chipotle mayo. Fold the bottom of the tortilla over the filling, then fold over the left and right sides and serve.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Chicken and Snail Paella

I knew I was going to have to change a paella recipe as there weren't many out there for paella with snails in or they had a rabbit in too and those that I could find were American and I couldn't be bothered to convert. So I used a Jamie recipe for a relatively quick paella, most other took upwards of an hour and went from there. I changed the recipe quite a lot but it still came out rather tasty, lightly spiced full of veggies.

Chicken and Snail Paella (adapted from Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 6)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
70g snails
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, roughly chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1 red pepper
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 cube chicken stock
300g paella rice
100g frozen peas
100g green beans, chopped in half
1 lemon
Pour the  oil into a large lidded shallow casserole or paella pan on a medium heat, add the garlic, onion, carrot, parsley stalks, chicken and paprikas, and fry for around 5 mins, stirring regularly. Deseed and chop the pepper, then add with the snails to the pan for a further 5 mins.

Stir through the tomato purée and crumble in the stock cube, then add the rice and stir for a couple of mins. Pour in 750ml of boiling water and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the lid on and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 mins, stirring regularly from the outside in and from the inside out, and adding a splash of water if needed. Stir in the peas and beans, replace the lid, and cook for a further 5 mins, or until hot. Season, scatter the parsley leaves over the paella, and serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Smoked Mackerel and Harissa Potato Salad

This was just lightly spicy but really nice and creamy. There is no end of things you can do with smoked mackerel and I just keep finding more! Brilliant for the extra oily fish I need to eat!

Smoked Mackerel and Harissa Potato Salad (from Good Food Magazine August 2014)
(Serves 4)
5 tbsp natural yoghurt 
1 heaped tbsp harissa
juice ½ lemon
400g baby potatoes 
3 large tomatoes, deseeded and diced
1 red onion, diced
300g smoked mackerel, flaked
2-3 good handfuls salad leaves

Mix the yoghurt, harissa and lemon juice, then season to taste. 
In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, tomatoes and onion, then stir in the dressing to coat. Divide the salad leaves into 4 bowls and top with the potato mixture. Scatter with the flaked mackerel. Serve.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Meal Planning Monday

So Book Week went well, and I don't have to do it again for a year! I think it's the most tiring week I've ever had! But the kids were really cute all dressed up as book characters on Friday. I went to see a very good play called Accolade at the St James Theatre and to the Tricycle Theatre to see The House That Would Not Stand which was a bit odd but very well acted. I also went to Hint Hunt on Friday, where you get locked in a room and have to solve clues in hour in order to get out. We managed it with 2 secs to spare!

This week is quieter, I'm going to a talk at the V&A about Drawing Rooms and then to see Our Town at the Almeida. I'm also going to meet friends on Saturday for lunch and then going to the National Portrait Gallery to see the exhibition about William Morris. Four weeks to New York!!

Currently Reading: Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief - Rick Riordon


Out before a talk at the V&A

Bacon and Leek Quiche with Salad
Courgette and Red Pepper Pie with Veg or Salad (Leiths Vegetarian Bible)

Prawn and Freekeh Salad (Northern Living Magazine)
Mackerel, Pea and Pesto Jacket Potato with Salad (Waitrose Recipe Card)

Out before the theatre

Ham and Mustard Sandwich with Crisps 

Raclette Tart with Salad

Veggie Burger
Mooli and Egg Fried Rice

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals: Ratatouille with Saffron Rice

The original of this recipe has fillet steak included in it too but I was in the mood for vegetarian, veg and lots of it. I had a cold and I was definietly craving Vitamin C!  I loved the flavurs coming out of this, it's amazing the difference an anchovy and a bit of balsamic can make!

Ratatouille with Saffron Rice (from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)
(Serves 4)
1 courgette
1 small aubergine
2 mixed-colour peppers
1 red onion
1 heaped tsp harissa
2 anchovy fillets
2-4 cloves of garlic
700g passata
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ bunch fresh basil
2 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt

For the rice
1 mug (300g) 10-minute wholegrain or basmati rice
1 good pinch saffron
½ lemon

Halve the courgette lengthways, slice the aubergine 1cm thick and place both on the griddle pan, turning when charred. Put 1 mug of rice, 2 mugs of boiling water, the saffron, lemon half and a pinch of salt into the small pan, cover and cook until fluffy, stirring occasionally. Tear the seeds and stalks out of the peppers, then roughly chop with the peeled red onion and put into the casserole pan with the harissa, anchovies and 1 teaspoon of their oil. Squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher and stir regularly

Remove the charred courgette and aubergine from the griddle pan, leaving it on the heat, and roughly chop them on a board. Add them to the casserole pan along with the passata and vinegar, and boil with the lid on for about 5 mins. Serve with the yoghurt and saffron rice.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe with Lemon, Green Olives, and Cucumber

This was ok as pasta salads go, not overehelming but pretty decent.

Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe with Lemon, Green Olives, and Cucumber (from Kalyn's Kitchen)
(Serves 1)
60g dried pasta shapes
1/2 can tuna
5 black or green olives, halved
1/2 small Persian cucumber, cut into small dice
salt and pepper
For the dressing:
zest and juice from 1/4 lemon
1/2 tsp olive brine (from olive jar)
1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp natural yoghurt
splash olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, stir, and cook according to packet instructions. Drain, run under the cold tap and drain again well.
Mix together the zest and juice of lemon, the olive brine, mayo and yoghurt, whisk in the olive oil.
Add the tuna, sliced olives, and chopped cucumbers to a bowl that's big enough to hold all the salad and mix in about half the dressing.  Gently stir in the pasta and as much additional dressing as you need for the salad to be as wet as you'd like it. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Devilled Mackerel with Beetroot and Dill Relish

This is a really good way to have beetroot and mackerel. It's not a dish I would ever have thought of as working but it really did. I served it with a little steamed samphire.



Devilled Mackerel with Beetroot and Dill Relish
(Serves 4)
4 mackerel fillets, cut in half
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 small pack cooked beetroot (around 300g)
1 small bunch dill, chopped, plus a few sprigs to garnish
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tomato, diced, to garnish
Brush the mackerel fillets on the skin side with a little oil, then rub in with your fingertips and season.
Grate the beetroot on a coarse grater into a bowl. Add the olive oil, then sprinkle over the dill and balsamic glaze to taste. Mix gently and season with salt and pepper.
Place the mackerel fillets, skin side up, under a hot grill for about 3 minutes, then turn over. Spread the flesh side with the Dijon mustard and return to the grill for a further 2 minutes.
Place a pile of the beetroot salad in the centre of each plate and top with the mackerel fillets. Serve immediately with the diced tomato.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals: Greek Chicken with Herby Vegetable Couscous and Tzatziki

This is another one of Jamie's triumphs. I really loved the flavour of this salad especially when I mixed the tzatziki into it. I used Israeli couscous rather than normal which didn't detract from the dish at all. I also ate it cold in a lunchbox for lunch. One to be made again.

Greek Chicken with Herby Vegetable Couscous and Tzatziki (from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals)
(Serves 4)
300g couscous
2 mixed-colour peppers
1 red chilli
4 spring onions
1/2 bunch of dill
200g peas

1 small handful black olives
extra-virgin olive oil
40g feta cheese

2 chicken breast
Dried oregano
Ground allspice

1 lemon
olive oil

1 lemon
1/2 cucumber
250g yoghurt
1/2 bunch of mint

Put the cous cous in a bowl and pour over 2 mugs of boiling water with a pinch of salt, cover with cling film.

Place the chicken breasts onward a large piece of grease paper and sprinkle with salt, pepper, oregano, allspice and lemon zest. Fold over the rest of the greaseproof paper and bash with a rolling pin. You want to flatten the chicken out so it’s about 1.5cm thick. Then place it in a frying pan with some oil and fry for about 3-4 mins each side

Whilst the chicken is cooking, grate the cucumber coarsely, sprinkle with salt and squeeze out the extra water. Put it into a bowl with the yoghurt and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Mix together and then rip up the mint and mix it in.
Take the chicken off the heat and put the spring onions, peppers and chilli in a blender and whizz up until they are finely chopped. Mix this in with the cous cous as well as some cooked peas and the feta and olives. Drizzle some olive oil and the rest of the lemon juice onto the cous cous.

Season to taste, cut your chicken into strips and lay it around the cous cous with the bowl of tzatziki in the middle. Serve.