July 19, 2010
This week I had yet another food gift from a friend at work, yellow courgettes, I just love colourful food…
I then saw a recipe although I cannot remember where (a newspaper supplement, I cannot be more specific sorry!) which I wanted to try, luckily it’s a simple idea so I managed to recreate something like it…
Griddled Courgettes with mint and goats cheese on toast, yummy…
2 smallish courgettes, sliced as thinly as you possibly can
75 g soft goats cheese
6-7 fresh mint leaves
sea salt and cracked black pepper
some nice bread (I used a plain ciabatta)
1. Drizzle your bread with olive oil and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes
2. At the same time griddle your courgette slices on a very hot griddle pan until you get the nice grill markings, making sure to salt them first
3. Once baked I also griddled the bread, for that grilled look but there is no need
4. Arrange the courgettes on the toast, crumble the goats cheese on with the mint leaves, and finally drizzle with olive oil and lots of black pepper
As you can see I also made a tomato bruschetta, for this I literally just roasted about 15 baby plum tomatoes in the oven at the same time as I baked the bread then tossed with some torn basil leaves, chopped garlic, salt and pepper.
Another 10 minute dinner, with thanks to Nicola for the Courgettes!
June 16, 2010
So in the lovely weather last week some my uni boys (who live on BBQ food and not much else in the summer months) fired theirs up, my first BBQ of the summer was a very meaty affair!
Oliver made some amazing lamb koftas and a very spicy salsa
To make the lamb kofta;
500g lamb mince
1tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Paprika
3 garlic cloves
handful fresh chopped mint
Sea salt and black pepper
Mix together all the ingredients until well blended. Divide into 8 balls, then roll each ball on a board with a cupped hand to turn them into ovals.
Thread onto 4 metal skewers and brush with oil.
You need to cook these through, this should take about 10 minutes on each side on a medium heat.
Don’t turn until they are well sealed or the meat will stick to the grill or pan.
Serve with some yogurt (mix some natural yoghurt with some finely chopped mint, half a finely chopped apple, finely chopped cucumber)
6 tomatoes finely chopped removing the middle
2 red onions finely chopped
1 green chilli finely chopped (no seeds)
drizzle of olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
fresh coriander leaves
Mix it all up and leave for as long as you have for the flavours to combine. You can play about with the ingredients and quantities of this to make a salsa you like, maybe more/less chilli, more red onion, some parsley instead of coriander, mix it whatever you feel.
and Teeny marinated some chicken and made a really good potato salad…
plus we had hot dogs to snack on whilst we waited for all of that… I ate a LOT of food!
For ease of eating on our laps in the garden, we made wraps out of everything…
Thanks Boys! When’s the next one?
June 15, 2010
So after the success of the blueberries and pomegranate salads I really wanted to try strawberries in a salad. I had a quick dig around and found a Jamie Oliver recipe that was perfect!
I used some parma ham, baby salad leaves, strawberries, fresh mint, fresh basil and dressed with some olive oil and balsamic glaze…
I chucked in some asparagus as well… I try to use asparagus as much as possible when it’s in season, it’s so good and doesn’t last very long.
Plus some dry-fried halloumi on top…
The finished salad was so good, I hope you try it… don’t forget the mint and basil they really make it!
Finish with a little salt and a lot of pepper (to taste)
4 slices parma ham
5/6 large strawberries per person
3/4 slices halloumi per person
1 handful fresh basil leaves
1 handful fresh mint leaves
good handfuls of salad leaves
I also added some sweet potato chips as I was very hungry but you really don’t need to.
To make these all you need to do is chop your sweet potato into chips, drizzle some olive oil over, sprinkle with lots of sea salt and black pepper then some dried chilli flakes and lots of paprika, tasty and very healthy!
P.s. Goats cheese works well too, I had that for my lunch today, Yum
June 11, 2010
This is another salad that has gone down well with the Boy. It’s very simple and the only thing that requires time is the sweet potato, everything takes minutes.
For 2 people (large salad) or 3 (a starter size)
1 large sweet potato
1 block halloumi
10 spears asparagus
1. Cut into chunks and roast the sweet potato for about 30 minutes, with some sea salt, black pepper, paprika and dried chilli sprinkled
2. When almost done, steam the asparagus for 3 minutes, and fry/grill the halloumi for as long as it takes to cook 2-3 minutes each side)
3. Mix the salad leaves (and any extras you want to add – like cherry tomatoes) in a large bowl with some olive oil, cut the asparagus into bite size pieces, add the sweet potato and arrange in a bowl or on a plate.
4. Pile the halloumi on top and sprinkle the pomegranate seeds, finally drizzle some balsamic reduction or vinegar over the top
This was so good that when I was visiting my uni friends who were very hungry and asked me to pick them some food up on my way over, I said I would make them something … and they loved it!
I had to improvise as they had no balsamic but some lime juice, oil and pepper worked very well.
Got the thumbs up from them too!
June 11, 2010
For my Mum’s Birthday I decided to have her to lunch at mine instead of going out, I put flowers all over the dining room, made canapes and cupcakes (recipes coming soon) and a very special lunch.
This is a recipe from my favourite blog 101cookbooks.com, but I had to change it a little as I was making it for my Mum and she can only eat goats cheese, I also went a little overboard on the cheese so have not included my quantities (partly because I didn’t measure!), although it was really good so if you want extra cheese then go for it.
2 medium courgette, sliced into very thin coins
scant 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or spelt flour)
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
scant 1/2 cup cold water
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
scant 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
pinch of salt
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (I used soft goats cheese in the tart and topped with some sliced hard goats cheese)
Preheat your oven to 375F degrees, and place a rack in the middle. Oil a 10-inch tart pan and set aside.
Start by tossing the sliced courgette with the salt in a medium bowl. Transfer the courgette to a colander and let it drain while you make the tart shell and tomato sauce.
To make the tart shell combine the flour, salt, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl.
Drizzle the olive oil over the flour and stir that in as well.
Drizzle the cold water over the flour and mix with a fork just until it is absorbed.
Knead one or twice – just until the dough comes together into a ball.
On a lightly floured surface use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle roughly 13-inches across.
Ease the pastry into your tart pan and press it into the corners and up the sides without stretching the dough.
Trim away any excess dough, and place the pan in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes.
When the dough is done resting, prick the crust with a fork a few times.
Now line the pastry with parchment paper and fill the tart with pie weights.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Carefully remove the paper and pie weights, then toast the tart crust in the oven for another five minutes or so before transferring it to a rack to cool.
Leave the oven on, but dial it down to 350F.
This might sound like a lot of faff but it is actually really easy and so worth it, the crust was my favourite thing about this tart, and that’s saying something as there is cheese in this!
In the meantime, you can make the sauce. Stir the garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt together in a small, cold saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook until the garlic starts to sizzle just a bit. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, cook the sauce down a bit, 10 minutes or so, then remove from heat. (I also added some roasted cherry tomatoes)
When you are ready to assemble the tart, use a spatula to spread half of the ricotta cheese across the base of the tart shell. Now spoon about half of the sauce over the ricotta and arrange half of the zucchini in a single layer on top of the sauce (see image). If your courgette is still quite wet, press it into some paper towels. I use my fingers for this next part. After spooning the remaining ricotta over the courgette, push it around a bit with your fingers so that it forms a layer. Arrange another layer of courgette and finish with the remaining sauce. You want the filling to nearly, but not quite fill the pan.
Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet – in case you end up with an overflow – and bake for roughly 40 minutes or until the tart is cooked through. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
If you do the ricotta version Heidi recommends dusting the top with parmesan.
I loved this and cannot wait to make it again, I had lots left over for my lunchbox as well.
I served this with a roasted vegetable salad and mustard dressing also from 101cookbooks which goes really well. This is a tasty lunch and can be healthy if you’re careful with the cheese.
June 11, 2010
Last night the Boy was (supposed) to be out for dinner so I made something I have fancied for ages but have not made for dinner as boys don’t generally consider salad a dinner option… goats cheese salad…
I really hate supermarkets but I do think they are a necessary evil if you work full-time and are not 100% organised like me, and when making a fresh salad I really hate them, but that said last night I found some good bits and made a really good salad!
I started with some salad leaves, I brought three boxes of ‘fresh and naked’ leaves (don’t google at work!) they come in cute boxes with ideas of how to eat them on the back…
I actually like lettuce, I really love lambs lettuce and baby leaves especially and I love that I can buy these little boxes in supermarkets so I can stay away from the rubbish bags, these packs even tell you who packed them for you… by name!
I also bought a sun dried wholemeal loaf with peppers and tomatoes within to make some croutons, to make these brush or drizzle your bread with olive oil (depending on how healthy you’re feeling) and bake in the over for 5-10 minutes, I would get them in first then whilst they’re going you can assemble your salad…
some quite good goats cheese (you could use any soft cheese), I already had some scrummy pomodonino tomatoes and cucumber (love) and blueberries (fruit in salad is good, also try figs or chunks of apple)
I decided to add some balsamic almonds and asparagus to help fill me up… after I had added all this it has become quite a large salad!
To make the almonds cut whole almonds in to halves (as many as you want) then pan fry them in balsamic vinegar for 5-10 minutes (another one to get started at the beginning) this makes them really sticky and they taste great
The chuck all the ingredients in a big bowl and drizzle with some olive oil and plenty f black pepper (I use tons on everything I eat!) then arrange on a plate or bowl and drizzle with some balsamic glaze (which is much sweeter and vinegar) or vinegar. Enjoy!
As it happened the Boy came home for dinner after all, luckily I had made enough for two and it got a hungry man’s approval too! However if you really are hungry you could always add some sweet potato chips or roasted butternut squash in the mix (and swap blueberries for pomegranate seeds mmmmmmmm)
June 11, 2010
This is a dinner I made using the leftover ingredients from the Chorizo hash… it takes 10 minutes if the prep is done, a little longer if not…
2 handfuls of spaghetti/linguine
1/2 tinned chopped tomatoes
punnet roasted tomatoes
2 tbsps tomato puree
2 garlic cloves chopped/crushed
1 onion chopped
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
2 rashers bacon per person (optional)
slug red wine
sea salt and black pepper
I used my sauce left from the Chorizo Hash recipe but if you need to start from scratch here you go;
1. Roast your tomatoes (roughly 15-20 minutes at 180)
2. Add to the tinned chopped tomatoes, add the red wine and cook off
3. Add the garlic and 1/2 fresh basil chopped
pop to one side
To make the pasta;
1. boil your pasta for about 7-10 minutes depending on whether you like it Al Dente or not
2. If add bacon pop under the grill now
3. Pan fry your onion, for 2-3 minutes then add the mushrooms cook for a further 2-3 minutes before adding the peppers, then add the tomato sauce and mix well. If having bacon add now.
4. Add half the sauce to the pasta and mix well and serve with the rest of the sauce piled on top.
5. Serve with fresh basil, add some parmesan if you like!
Very healthy if you leave the bacon (or try chorizo or sausage) and parmesan, but even more yummy with!