Just a quick post today, and not a recipe as such, more of a chuck these together they taste quite good!

I am working quite hard at the gym at the moment and am ravenous when I get home but need to stay healthy or I would be un-doing all my good work… so this was a compromise between ‘I need more than a salad’ and staying healthy…

I literally chucked remains of the fridge on some chicken, left for 10 minutes (as I say… starving, no patience) but I suggest you leave to marinade longer and the wrapped it up in a parcel…

Baked it in the oven for about 15 minutes and served with the standard sweet potato chips (do a search for the recipe, it’s on here a lot) and some steamed asparagus… Perfect!

So I used;
2 red chillies
bunch spring onions
half bunch coriander
zest and juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime
sea salt and lots of black pepper

I also mixed up some lemon and lime zest and juice with some creme fraiche to serve

Make your own Hummous

June 11, 2010

Once you have made your own you’ll realise just how rubbish shop-bought versions are! If you have done it before this is a slightly different version from the norm…

This is another great snack to have ready when you have people over for dinner… you should always have something for people to nibble on while they wait, just in case they are super hungry.

This is not a hummous made from chickpeas so is slightly different, it’s lighter and I prefer it.

200g/7oz canned cannellini beans
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
½ lemon, juice only
5ml/½ tsp ground cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150ml/1/4 pint olive oil

Drain the cannellini beans and place in the liquidiser or food processor with all the remaining ingredients except the oil.

Blend to a smooth paste, adding a little oil at a time to make the smooth paste like consistency.

Taste, adding a little more salt, garlic or lemon juice if required. This is best prepared overnight and chilled.

To serve, sprinkle a little chopped parsley, optional. Drizzle with a little more olive oil over the top.

I served with plenty of black pepper and lemon zest, some chopped olives or tomatoes would be nice as well. The last time I made it we had some bread from the farmers market but crudities would be a lighter less filling option.

Simple Chicken Supper

June 11, 2010

This chicken recipe is so easy and simple and YUM!

Chicken with chilli, lemon, mint and yogurt

1 pack boneless chicken thighs (about 10)
4 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
1 red chilli (or more to taste) chopped
2 lemons (zest of 1, juice of 2)
Glug of olive oil
5-7 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 handfuls fresh mint leaves
sea salt and black pepper
greek yogurt

Pre-heated oven to 180-200

1. Make shallow slashes in the chicken thighs with a sharp knife and toss them in a large bowl with everything except the mint and yogurt making sure they are throughly coated. Add the lemon halves. Let them marinate for about half an hour if possible.

2. Place the thighs in a roasting dish and pour the rest of the marinade over them and add the lemon halves to the dish placing around the chicken. Crush salt over the thighs and cook for roughly 30-40 minutes, making sure you baste the chicken with the juices halfway through.

3. When they are done, sprinkle with about a tbsp of water and add the mint leaves and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

4. Add sea salt to the yogurt to taste and serve the chicken with the yogurt and a simple salad (I added chips as well!)

The leftover chicken made amazing sandwiches, wholemeal crusty bread, mayo and some salad leaves… so good!

This is an adapted recipe from The Times

Skip the Starter

June 11, 2010

Whenever I have friends over I never make a starter, I think I overfeed people anyway with massive mains so just have some crudities out for when people arrive to nibble on with a light dip that won’t fill people up.

This is an easy homemade sour cream and chive dip, really simple and better than shop bought!

Literally all you need to do is whip up sour cream (I use half fat) with a massive handful of finely chopped chives, with the juice of half a lemon and the zest of a whole lemon. The serve with as many vegetables as you like… I like to use lots of different colours.

10 Minute Dinner

June 11, 2010

Last night I made a very healthy yummy dinner that took just 10 minutes… the following is for 2 people

1 salmon fillet
2 portions linguine
1 lemon
2 portions asparagus (as little or as many as you want)
2 portions cherry tomatoes (as little or as many as you want)
half fat crème fraiche 

First boil some water and cook your pasta, I like my al dente so only cooked for about 7 minutes but this can take up to 10 as well, at the same time pop the salmon in the oven at 180C for about 10 minutes (this will vary depending on your oven), you could also poach or grill the salmon.

I sprayed it with a little olive oil and cracked some seat salt and black pepper over the top.

Then zest your lemon and add to about half a small pot of crème fraiche depending on your taste (whether you want a thin coating or lots of sauce), juice half of the lemon and add this as well, then crack some seat salt and black pepper into it to taste.

Steam your asparagus for 3 minutes to keep it nice and crunchy then cut into 1 inch piece, then half your cherry tomatoes and mix it all together, maybe heat for 2 minutes and serve!

Date Night

June 11, 2010

So last weekend I decided I wanted to spoil the Boy, by cooking him a 3 course meal and that I would make a real effort on presentation, which is not my forte!
I can do rustic pretty but not restaurant fussy… but I wanted to try so here you are… the results;

The Menu
Rounds of stacked beetroot and goats cheese with an orange vinaigrette

Roasted salmon with braised red cabbage and beetroot, parsnip chips and watercress

Lemon posset with Orange flower biscuits

I cannot remember where I got the starter idea from I just love goat’s cheese and I have wanted to roast some beetroot at home for ages and thought the purple of the beetroot would be impressive.

The salmon recipe was from TimesOnline

The lemon posset recipe from a National Trust Summer Pudding book my Mum brought me, you can buy it here. Lemon posset is one of my favourite puddings and I have always wanted to make it. The result was very different from those I have had in restaurants which have always been pudding like, but mine was more of a mousse, probably because of the added egg whites and so was very light, it was very good!

For the beetroot stack
2 raw beetroot
2 tsp chopped chives
1 tsp fresh thyme
Black pepper and salt to taste
2 tbsp milk
120g soft goat’s cheese
Watercress to garnish

Firstly you need to roast the beetroot, I cut off the top and bottom but left the skin on, drizzled in olive oil with black pepper and salt and roasted for about 45 minutes at 180c, but this will vary depending on size, the lower heat and slower you roast them the better.
You can do this early on or even the day before if you like, or you could even use ready cooked beetroot, but it much nicer roasted yourself.

To prepare the goats cheese pop it all in a large mixing bowl, with the milk and whip using an electic mixer then add the herb, salt and pepper and whip until combined well.

This can be put aside until you’re ready to eat, then just stack it all up, I did four layers of beetroot, three layers of cheese, I suggest you slice your beetroot as thinly as you can and maybe only have three layers as ours was quite a big starter in the end.

I served with an orange vinaigrette , hazelnuts and rocket

For the orange vinaigrette
Orange juice – from 1/2 oranges
Orange zest -1/2 an orange
1/2 tsp Dijon/English mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp thyme
Black pepper

Literally just whisk it all together, this dressing gets better day by day so make extra you will use it all up

For the roasted salmon
2 Salmon fillets (skin on if possible)
sea salt
black pepper
2 onions, sliced
1tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely sliced
600g red cabbage (about 1/4 of a whole one)
150 ml red wine
100 ml orange juice (1/2 oranges)
2 tbsp cranberry jelly
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
150 cooked beetroot, finely diced
1 tbsp orange zest

Heat the oven to 200c
Melt the butter and oil and cook the onions until soft
Add the garlic and red cabbage, tossing well

Add the red wine, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the orange juice, cranberry jelly, red wine vinegar, sea salt and pepper, tossing well.

Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, tossing occasionally and adding a little water if necessary.

Season the salmon, brush the skin with olive oil and sear, skin-side down, on a flat griddle pan or in a large frying pan until crisped. Place skin-side up in the roasting pan and bake for 15 minutes or to your liking.
Add the diced beetroot and grated orange zest to the cabbage and heat through. (This makes quite a lot, I served this a couple of days later with some grilled sausages and olive oil mash, yum!)

Serve the salmon on a bed of red cabbage and top with grated orange zest

As the recipe suggests I served this with parsnip chips (roasted for 30-40 minutes in olive oil, a little honey, sea salt and black pepper) and watercress drizzled with a little of the vinaigrette

For the Lemon Posset;
600ml double/whipping cream
grated rind of 1 1/2 lemon’s
150ml dry white wine
4 tbsp lemon juice
115g caster sugar
3 large egg whites
2 tbsp caster sugar
extra lemon zest for decoration

Beat the cream and the lemon rind in a mixing bowl until thick. Beat in the wine until thick again. Add the lemon juice very gradually, beating all the time.
Add sugar to taste and beat until stiff.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff and standing in peaks, then whisk in the 2 tablespoons of sugar until smooth and glossy.
Fold the egg whites in the cream mixture, then pile into a glass or china bowl; this made quite a lot, enough for 6 big servings (we had it for pudding for a few days!)

with Orange Flower Biscuits
50g unsalted butter
1 large egg
40g caster sugar
pinch of salt
45g plain flour
2 tbsp orange flower water

Some kind of tin, I used a muffin tin which was not ideal, but made cute little biscuit rounds in the bottom

Melt the butter over a low heat then leave to cool.
Beat the egg, caster sugar and salt in a bowl for 5 minutes, it should look like mayonnaise
Then sieve the flour in, fold this in with a wooden spoon and fold in the butter with the orange flower water.
Mix well but don’t be too rough
Leave this in the fridge for an hour then take out and leave at room temperature for half an hour.

Heat the oven to 220c, grease the tin, whatever shape you’re using and put about a teaspoon full in each section, bake for 5 minutes, if they need a little longer just keep an eye on them. Let them cool on a rack and enjoy

This pretty much took me all day (with breaks to do other things but I prepared most of it in the afternoon and then put it all together and cooked the salmon and parsnips when we were ready to eat, by then I wasn’t very hungry but I think the Boy appreciated my efforts :)

My little brother is living in Beirut at the moment, working as Middle East editor at The Daily Star, an English speaking newspaper… my brothers blog is here has his articles and lots of interesting news about goings on direct from Beirut! This is him next to a graffited wall in the city… with my name on it!

There have been massive ‘food fights’ going on between Lebanon and Israel about the origin of the famous middle eastern foods hummus and falafel… and with some record breaking…

Photo from France24

An article from the BBC and France24 explains it!

Don’t know if I fancy making that much falafel… but the recipe below for Baked Sweet Potato Falafel is so good I had to share, I make this a lot for lunch boxes and even though it’s vegan it got the Boy’s approval (who is a devoted carnivore!)

Linking to to a recipe, one of the reasons I started this blog was 101cookbooks.com. Based in San Francisco Heidi focuses on all natural healthy cooking and cites recipes from her favourite cookbooks as well as her own… this one is from the Leon cookbook

Baked Sweet Potato Falfel

2 medium sweet potatoes (orange inside), around 700g
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 big handfuls of fresh coriander, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
120g chickpea flour (I got mine from the Indian section of my local supermarket)
a splash of olive oil
a sprinkling of sesame seeds
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C and roast the sweet potatoes whole until just tender – 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Turn off the oven, leave the potatoes to cool, then peel.

Put the sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground and fresh coriander, lemon juice and chickpea flour into a large bowl. Season well, and mash until smooth with no large chunks.
Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. You can add a tablespoon or so more of chickpea flour if necessary.

Reheat the oven to 200C. Using a couple of soup spoons (put a well-heaped spoonful of mix in one spoon and use the concave side of the other to shape the sides) make the mixture into balls put them on an oiled tray. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

Makes about 18 falafel, enough for 4 – 6.

I then made these into wrap with a cabbage and carrot coleslaw

With a mashed avocado with chili and lime juice, a guacamole of sorts