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Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry

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This is such a quick and easy dinner, with bonus points for being vegan too! Even the meat loving Mr T enjoyed this when we ate it last night, and after a few requests for the recipe I thought I’d jot it down.

I’ve served it with Roasted Cauliflower here (Cut a cauliflower into florets, toss in olive oil, salt and cumin and roast at 220 for 25 mins) but it can be served with rice or my super easy flat breads too!

Serves 3 hungry people, or 4 as a smaller portion (or 2 if you’re really greedy like me!)

Ingredients

1 onion – chopped
1 sweet potato – peeled and chopped
1 can chickpeas – drained
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
Half a bag of spinach
2tsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar
Chopped fresh coriander (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Olive or coconut oil

Method

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan – I use a cast iron casserole – and cook the onion with a pinch of salt over a medium heat until softened. Add the sweet potato and a splash of water, then cover and cook for about 4-5 mins until the sweet potato is softened too, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid, add the spices and stir well to coat, then add the chickpeas, tomatoes and coconut milk – stir well to combine and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to a medium until its simmering and leave to cook for 10 mins until the sauce thickens. Add the lemon juice or vinegar, stir and test for seasoning. Add the spinach and coriander and let it wilt. Then you’re ready to serve garnished with a little more chopped coriander!

Enjoy!

 

Chickpea Curry

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Lamb Kofte and Pink Onions

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I LOVE these. I love making them as they’re so quick and easy and most of all I love eating them as they taste SO good! I have made them a few times using different mixes of spices and ingredients and I think this is the best but, as always, play around with your recipes and make them how you like them.

They go beautifully with my easy peasy flatbread, but equally you could use pitta or standard tortilla wraps. I serve them with a smear of Greek yoghurt mixed with some mint sauce which is an easy and tasty addition to most meals. I also do a version of a quick pickled onion which cuts through the sweet fatty lamb perfectly so I urge you to try them too.

Top tip – Don’t use lean minced lamb. You need some fat in the meat to stop them being tough and dry. They will cook quicker the smaller you make them. Unlike traditional kofte which are usually in balls or long kebabs, I make mine into small patties which retain their juices and get a lovely crisped up outside. Yum!

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 red onion
Half a lemon
Small bunch of fresh coriander
400g lamb mince
1 tbsp of pine nuts, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of mace or nutmeg
1 tsp of dried mint or mint sauce
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil for frying

Optional to serve

Homemade flatbread / Pitta bread / Tortilla – warmed slightly
100g greek yoghurt mixed with a tsp of mint sauce
Lettuce leaves
Sliced cucumber

Method

Cut the onion in half lengthways through the root. Slice half into thin half-moons. Add these to a bowl with the juice of the lemon, a few coriander leaves and a good pinch of salt. Mix well and leave to macerate while you make and cook the kofte.

Grate the other half of the onion into a bowl. Chop the rest of the coriander (leaving a few leaves to garnish if you like) and add this to the bowl with the lamb mince. Add the nuts, spices, mint or mint sauce and season well with salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands, really squeeze it all together and mash it around to ensure even distribution of seasoning and spice. Form the mixture into around 8 small patties and chill for 10-15 mins to firm them up.

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and add the kofte. Cook for around 3-4 mins until they’re brown and then turn over to cook the other side for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and rest on a plate for a minute or two while you make flatbread (optional) and plate the rest.

To serve – Lay a warm flatbread on a plate (or pitta / tortilla) and smear a dollop of your Greek yoghurt mixture across it. Top with lettuce leaves and cucumber. Add the kofte and drizzle some more yoghurt across the top. Finish with the pink pickled onions and a scatter of coriander leaves.

This is perfect midweek food that looks a bit special and tastes great. Try it and let me know how you get on!

Kofte

Sea Bass, crushed potatoes and beurre blanc

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Sounds fancy eh?!

It’s not as difficult as you might think. If you have someone to impress, or just fancy something a bit indulgent, this is perfect. The entire dish can be whipped up in less than 30mins and its sooooo tasty!

Beurre Blanc is a smooth creamy butter sauce which goes amazingly with fish. It is chock full of butter so definitely not for those who are counting the calories!

Get creative with the fish you use. I’ve used Sea Bass, but Bream would work too, or maybe monkfish or perhaps some lovely Dover Sole. Experiment, it’s what cooking is all about.

Ingredients – Serves 2

2 Sea Bass fillets
8 New Potatoes
8 Asparagus spears
Sea salt
Olive oil
Knob of butter

Beurre Blanc

2 shallots – finely chopped
60ml water
60ml white wine vinegar
60ml dry white wine
125g cold unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Finely chopped chives to garnish

Put the shallots, water, white wine vinegar and white wine into a pan and bring to the boil. Boil it steadily for about 10-15mins until the liquid has reduced and only a couple of tablespoons remain. It is optional to sieve the shallots out now, but I don’t. Chop the butter into cubes and add it a cube at a time, whisking until its combined and becomes a thick, smooth sauce. Set aside and keep warm.

Fill a saucepan with boiling water and add salt and the new potatoes. These will take around 20 mins to cook. 10 mins into the potato cooking time heat a frying pan over a medium/high heat. Brush the skin of the sea bass with olive oil and season with salt, then add the fish to the hot pan, skin side down. Cook for 4 mins and then turn over, the skin should be crispy. Cook the other side for 1 minute and leave the fish to one side, skin side up to rest.

Add the asparagus to the potato water with 5 mins to go (or you could steam it separately – I’m trying to keep it simple!) and when tender, remove them and drain the potatoes.

Crush the new potatoes with the butter and check for seasoning.

Serve the dish with the fish sat on the crushed potatoes and the asparagus on the side, with the beurre blanc sauce poured generously around the dish and garnish with the chopped chives.

OPTIONAL – In the picture below you will notice that there are a few pearl scallops dotted around the plate, they are totally optional – with those I just fried them briefly in a little butter for about a minute. Some brown shrimps or cockles would work very well too.

Sea Bass

Courgetti and Crispy Skin

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After having Rodlet, I decided I wanted to eat a bit healthier and reduce the amount of pasta I had become accustomed to pigging out on!

Part of this plan involved Courgetti. Long thin strips of courgette to replace noodles or spaghetti. I was dubious at first. Courgette is not pasta. Nevertheless, I tried it, and I’m so very glad I did. Courgetti features a lot in our meals nowadays and I even started to crave it.

Courgetti can be made very easily using a spiralizer, a clever piece of kit which can be bought online for less than £20, but it can also be made using a bog standard box grater. Simply lay the grater on its side, large holes facing upwards, and run the courgette lengthways along it, making long thin strips of courgette. Voila!

I tend to use Courgetti as a replacement for pasta when it would have been served alongside something else, like fish or a meaty Bolognese sauce. Two of my favourite dishes both feature crispy skinned Salmon and Courgetti, but with different sauces.

Pan frying salmon fillets makes them soooo delicious I cant even begin to explain it. The skin goes beautifully crisp and the outside flesh gets a lovely crust while the inside of the salmon is perfectly juicy and soft. Yum. I’ll explain how below, and then give you two ideas for sauces to serve on your courgetti with it. The fish could be replaced by chicken but I urge you to try the salmon – you wont be disappointed.

Pan Fried Salmon – Serves 2

2 Salmon fillets – skin on
1 tablespoon oil – I use olive oil or coconut oil
Pinch of Salt

Heat your frying pan over a medium high heat. Rub the salmon all over with the oil, concentrating on covering the skin, and season with salt.

Place the salmon down in the pan, skin side down and cook, without moving it, for around 3/4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. You will notice the fish changing colour as it cooks. Turn the fish over and cook the other side for 1 minute. Then turn it onto its side (if you can) for another minute, and repeat with the other side. Flip it back onto the skin side for 30 seconds and then remove the fillets. Place them on a plate with the skin up and rest for 2/3 mins. The residual heat will finish cooking the centre of the salmon and when you cut into it you’ll see how juicy and soft it is! My mouth is watering now…!

To cook your Courgetti, just toss it in the pan the fish was cooked in until its hot, about 1/2 mins. You don’t want to overcook it or it will turn to mush.

You could make a homemade pesto that would go with this beautifully, simply by smashing a handful of basil, a clove of garlic, a handful of toasted pine nuts and some sea salt in a pestle and morter. Then add some grated parmesan and enough extra virgin olive oil to loosen it. Toss with the Courgetti and top with some more pine nuts and shavings of parmesan. I like to serve this with roasted tomatoes.

Another idea is to make a quick fresh tomato sauce by gently frying chopped onion and garlic with some salt until soft and adding chopped cherry tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes until they’re soft and have released their juice. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a handful of chopped basil and toss through the Courgetti.

I hope you give this a go, please let me know how it goes!

Salmon courgettiSa;mon Courgetti tomato

I’m baaaaaack!

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Hello readers! I hope you are all well and have been eating some yummy food!

I’ve been a bit AWOL. But there’s good reason…I am now the proud mother of my baby boy, we’ll call him Mini Rod, who is 5 months old. We’re currently starting weaning so I am hoping to share my love of good food with him now. Though carrot wasn’t a massive hit, banana seems to be!

Anyway, I’ve been working on some new recipes for you and hope you enjoy them… 🙂 x

 

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Quick and Easy

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Here are a couple of my favourite things to eat when I’m in a rush.

Since having Mini Rod I’ve developed a few recipes that I can whip up in less than 10/15 minutes at lunchtime. That fact they take mere minutes to prepares means that not only are they really tasty, they’re convenient too – not a ready meal in sight in our house!

So here we have it. Avocado and Smoked Salmon Toast and my Super Speedy Mushroom Pasta.

I love Avocado Toast anyway, but the addition of Smoked Salmon makes it feel really substantial and luxurious.

Ingredients – Serves 1

2 thick Slices really good bread – I like Sourdough
1/2 a really ripe avocado
60g smoked salmon
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt and Pepper

Method

Toast the bread. In the meantime, mash the avocado with salt and pepper and set aside.

Once the bread is toasted, drizzle it with the olive oil and spread with the mashed avocado. Top with smoked salmon and a squeeze of lemon juice. Devour and make lots of yummy noises!

Avocado toast

Super Speedy Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients – Serves 1

100g dried pasta – I like pappardelle
Handful of mushrooms -sliced
Handful of chopped parsley
1/2 clove of garlic – crushed
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Method

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add salt. When it is rolling, add the pasta and stir.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and garlic, add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley. Turn off the heat.

The pasta is likely to be cooked now, so drain it, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan with the mushrooms and toss it all together, adding some of the reserved cooking water if it goes a little dry.

Serve piping hot, topped with a little cheese if you want. Lovely jubbly.

Mushroom Pasta

Mixed Bean Quesadillas

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One of these will serve 2 as a light lunch or one for dinner. Its one of my favourite things to make when im in a rush because its maximum flavour for minimum effort! It also works out fairly inexpensive to make.

Quesadillas are a fab alternative to a sandwich, perfect for kids and grown ups alike, just watch the salt and use wholegrain tortillas for the little ones. They’re handheld, full of goodness and have melted cheese. What’s not to like?!

Top tip – Make these the day before for lunchboxes, just wrap in foil once cooked and cooled.

Ingredients (Makes 4 Quesadillas)

8 Flour Tortillas
2 Onions – chopped
1 can mixed beans – drained
1 red pepper – chopped
2tsp Paprika
2tsp Ground Coriander
2tsp Ground Cumin
100g Medium Cheddar (or more!) – Grated
Half a bunch of fresh coriander – chopped
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Method

Sauté onions and red pepper in olive oil with a pinch of salt and the spices. Once they are softened, add the mixed beans and fresh coriander. When the mixture is hot, mash with a potato masher and season. Set aside.

Place a tortilla into a clean pan on a medium heat and sprinkle over some grated cheese, add a layer of the beans and some more cheese, then place another tortilla on top. When the base is brown and crisp, carefully flip it over and brown the other side.

Once both sides are brown and the cheese is melted, cut into wedges and serve (or cool for lunchboxes). I like these with sour cream and homemade guacamole. Delish!

Bean Quesadilla