Friday, 31 August 2012

Tuna Melt Baguette Pizzas

A very quick & easy lunch for the whole family. I had a very busy day, with BT coming out & rewiring our phone line! That meant I couldn't spend the afternoon in the kitchen as I had planned. A quick meal was needed, so this was perfect. The kids can muck in & help too. Change the toppings to your own favourites if you like.

Serves 4

1 long baguette (or 2 small ones)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
Small tin of sweetcorn
Tin of tuna
Half a red pepper, diced small
150g cheese (i used mozzarella but any will do)

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cut a long baguette in to 2 halves. Cut each of those lengthways, so you have 4 open baguettes.  Spread the tomato puree on each open slice, spreading to the edges. Mix the tuna, sweetcorn, pepper and half the cheese in a bowl then divide between the baguette slices. Top with the remaining cheese.
Pop into the oven for 12 minutes, then serve with a side salad.

Foodie Penpals - August Reveal

I am always so excited to get my foodie penpals parcel through the post! Everyone is always so thoughtful and I love the goodies that I get. This month the lovely Rebecca from reallynicefood sent me this box of tasty food. I tucked into the Mr Trotter's pork scratchings as soon as they arrived, as I do have a fondness for savoury snacks! I shared them with my son, and the packet was soon gone. For pudding yesterday, we shared the parkin, something which I had never tasted before. It was like a rich treacly ginger cake - seriously yummy. The pop-a-cob looks like fun, which we have yet to try - saving it for movie night. Lastly, a jar of blackcurrant & lavender jam - sounds very interesting. I may bake some bread over the weekend to try this jam out. Thank you Rebecca!

If you would like to see what I sent my penpal in Belgium, head on over to patisseriechezmyrtille !

If you would like to join in with Foodie Penpals, head over here to read more about it. You don't have to be a food blogger to join in - you just have to enjoy food :)

Thursday, 30 August 2012

New Products - Cookies & Cream KitKats

I spied these in Asda the other day, and had to buy them! I love new flavours of food, things like this make me happy :D The packet barely lasted 2 days, both me & the kids loved them. I dont think there is much "cookie" taste, but there is definite cream flavour! These are basically a sweeter version of the basic KitKat. Yummy though!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Salmon Saltimbocca

Another recipe from the great Lorraine Pascale TV show, Fast, Fresh & Easy Food. This looked so simple that I had to try it, so had it for lunch today with a rocket side salad. The classic combination of salty prosciutto and salmon is a winner. I am really enjoying her recipes right now, I have a few more to try out in the next few days. You could also use pancetta.

Allow 1 salmon fillet (approx 175g) and 3/4 slices of prosciutto per person.
3 sage leaves per portion
Oil for frying.

Lay 3/4 slices of prosciutto ham, overlapping slightly, on a plate. Place the salmon on top and season. Lay the sage leaves on top, then wrap in the ham.

Heat the oil in a frying  pan. When sizzling, add the salmon parcels. Let them crisp on each side, and until the salmon has cooked through. Serve with potatoes and rocket salad.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Buttermilk Roast Chicken

I have seen numerous recipes online that involve brining chicken in buttermilk, so when I saw some in Morrisons I grabbed some to try this out. It was well worth it! The chicken is so moist & tender after roasting, and had such a lovely flavour. I think next time I may try brining for 24 hours, I did it for around 6 hours today. Everyone loved it, and I had used cheap chicken quarters so was a great value meal too. I served ours with sauteed potatoes and sweetcorn.

4 chicken portions
1 carton buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, bruised and skins removed
Lots of salt & pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, then pour over the chicken pieces. Allow to marinate for as long as possible (at least 2 hours, preferably over 12).

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the chicken pieces on a roasting tray, and pour a tablespoon of the buttermilk mixture over each one. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until beautifully coloured & cooked through.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Sweet & Sour Pork Balls

I am really enjoying Lorraine Pascale's TV show, Fast, Fresh & Easy Food. I want to try everything! After watching it this week, I realised I had most of the ingredients in to make this dish. I absolutely loved it! All the kids did too, and my husband definitely wants me to make it again - great result! One of my daughters commented that our house smelled like a Chinese restaurant :)

Serves 4 plus a small dish for the wee one!

10 good quality pork sausages, skins removed
100g dried breadcrumbs
1 egg
Oil for frying

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
425g of pineapple chunks in juice
75g tomato ketchup (10 squirts)
5 tblsp balsamic vinegar
2 tblsp honey
Juice of 1 lime

450g rice
75g salted peanuts, crushed
Half a bunch of spring onions, chopped
Knob of butter
Salt & pepper to season

Mix together the sausage meat, breadcrumbs and egg. Shape into small balls and fry gently in your largest frying pan.
Cook your rice per packet instructions.
Once the balls are coloured on all sides, add the pepper, garlic, all the pineapple juice and HALF the pineapple chunks, tomato ketchup, vinegar, honey & lime juice. Stir to combine, and allow to simmer gently.
When the rice is cooked, add the butter and season Top with the peanuts & spring onion and mix through.
Serve the meatballs on top of the rice, and pour over the sauce.

Creamy Mushroom and Basil Chicken

Some days I like to eat low carb, and this a perfect dinner for those days! I serve potatoes for everyone else, and just some extra chicken for me. I love mushrooms, and I love cream, so this was a winner in my book. 

Serves 4  

1 tbsp olive oil or butter (or a mix)
8 chicken thighs
A small pinch of salt and pepper
12 mushrooms, sliced
1 leek, sliced 
200ml chicken stock 
150 g double cream
100 g peas (frozen or fresh)
A handful of basil
 New potatoes, boiled, to serve

Heat the oil in a large heavy based frying pan. Pat the chicken pieces dry with kitchen towel, season and fry skin side down for a couple of minutes to colour. Turn the chicken over and cook for another couple of minutes to colour on the other side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Now fry the mushrooms and leeks in the same pan for a few minutes until softened then set aside. Transfer the chicken back into the pan and pour the chicken stock over and cook on a low heat until for around 5 -10 minutes until cooked all the way through.
Next stir in the double cream, some of the basil, peas, leeks and cooked mushrooms and heat through for a couple of minutes. Garnish with basil and serve with boiled new potatoes.

Tuna Fried Rice

The kids had some friends over for dinner, so I wanted something easy, cheap and tasty to feed them all. The good thing about this recipe is that it is made from storecupboard & freezer items. Its a great stand-by meal for children. Make sure to completely cool the rice before frying it, otherwise it will clump and go gooey! If I have just cooked the rice, I rinse it in a sieve under cold water then let it dry. Serves 4.

250g  rice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Large handful frozen peas, thawed
Large handful sweetcorn
200g tin tuna in brine drained
2 ripe tomato, deseeded and cut into thin wedges
2 tbsp soy sauce
A small handful roughly chopped parsley

Cook the rice according to packet instructions, cool completely and then set aside.Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok and stir-fry the rice on a high heat for 1-2 mins. Add the peas, sweetcorn, tuna and tomato and stir-fry for a further 2 mins. Stir in the soy sauce and parsley and heat through. Serve in bowls.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Beef Pot Roast

I was recently sent this great cookbook, Grandma's Quick & Thrifty Cookbook, to review. This would make a great gift for someone who has just started to cook. There are lots of tips & tricks, lots of easy recipes and a section at the back on how to make gravy/sauces etc.

I am eager to try out some of the cakes & puddings that are in here. The first recipe I tried though was pot roast beef brisket - a lovely cheap piece of meat. It came out so tender! We had it with roast potatoes and yorkshire puddings. I will be trying out more recipes from this book in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! You can buy your own copy here LINK.

2 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp mustard powder
1.2kg beef shoulder.topside/brisket
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled & diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 slices rindless bacon, diced
2 bay leaves
250ml beef stock

Mix the flour & mustard powder, and coat the beef with it. Heat the oil in a large pot, and seal the beef on all sides. Remove to a plate, and add the chopped vegetables to the pot. Fry & soften them, then add the bay leaves & stock. Bring to a simmer, then place the beef on top. Cover, turn the heat low and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the beef, let rest for 15 minutes. Carve into slices, and serve with the vegetables & gravy poured over.

Friday, 17 August 2012

American-style Chicken Burgers

I had taken some chicken breast out of the freezer, and had no idea what to do with them. Then on my blogger feed, a recipe for chick-fil-a burgers popped up! Thats an American fast food chain, and as I have a soft spot for fast food, I wanted to try them. I was bit sceptical about the icing sugar in the recipe, but decided to go for it anyway. I'm glad I did, they tasted fantastic! Plus because you make them at home, you know what is in them and know that here are no hidden nasties. I served mine with just some mayo on a bun - yum!

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 egg
Splash of milk
1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
vegetable oil for frying
4 buns

Place chicken breasts in a bag and pound out chicken to 1/2 inch thickness.
Beat egg and milk together in a bowl.  Combine flour, sugar and spices in another bowl.  Dip chicken on both sides in egg first, then flour mixture.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan.  Fry each piece for a few minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through.  Serve in rolls with mayonnaise.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Tuna Pasta Bake

One of the classics that my kids love! This is my store-cupboard meal than I can always rely on. Simple, quick & tasty - perfect for the kids tea on a busy evening! I served it with a green salad. Clean bowls all round!

Serves 4

400g pasta
Tablespoon cornflour
600ml milk
200g strong cheddar , grated plus an extra handful to scatter on top
2 x 160g cans tuna drained
Large handful frozen sweetcorn
Large handful frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Boil the pasta, but remove from the heat 2 minutes before the cooking time and drain.

In a saucepan, warm the milk & season. Mix the cheese with the cornflour & mix to coat. Add to the warming milk a bit at a time, letting it melt before adding more.

Pour the drained pasta into a baking dish. Add the tuna and then the sweetcorn & peas.  Pour over the sauce, and mix. Scatter the extra cheese on top before putting into the oven for about 15 minutes.

Five Spice, Ginger & Soy Poussin

I have always wanted to try poussin, no idea why really! I saw them reduced in Tesco, so bought some to try out. After reading up about them, I realised that they need a sauce or marinade as they don't have as much flavour as chicken. I found a recipe on the Good Food website that took my fancy, so adapted it slightly. Poussin are fiddly to eat I found, hard to get all the meat without getting messy! I'm not sure if I would try them again, but they do look impressive as a dinner party meal. I served mine with a green herb salad drizzled with a toasted sesame & ginger dressing.

2 poussin
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves , peeled and sliced
a thumb-sized piece root ginger , cut into matchsticks
250ml chicken stock
125ml red wine
100ml soy sauce
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Season the poussins, put in a large roasting dish and drizzle with the honey and 5-spice. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan, fry the garlic and ginger for 2 minutes, then add all the liquids. Simmer for 10 minutes then pour over the poussins and cover with foil. 

Roast for 30 minutes, then remove the foil, turn the oven up to 220C/fan 200C/gas 6 and cook for another 20 minutes. Cut each poussin in half with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors and spoon over some of the sauce.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Summer vegetable curry

I needed a quick but filling dinner idea, and found this on the BBC Good Food website. It was really tasty, though I think I added too much thai curry paste as it burnt my mouth a little! Great flavours though, and a great way to use up leftover veg. You could use aubergine, baby corn, sugar snap peas etc instead of any of he veg I have used.

1-2 tbsp red Thai curry paste (depending on taste)
500ml low-sodium vegetable stock
2 onions , chopped
2 courgettes , diced
75g red lentils
200ml can reduced-fat coconut milk
2 red or yellow peppers , deseeded and cut into wedges
140g frozen peas
100g bag baby spinach , roughly chopped

 Heat the curry paste in a large non-stick saucepan with a splash of the stock. Add the onions and fry for 5 mins until starting to soften. Stir in the courgette and cook for a further 5 mins - add a little more stock if starting to stick. 
Add the lentils, coconut milk and the rest of the stock, and simmer for 15 mins or until the lentils are tender. Add the peppers and cook for 5-10 mins more. Stir through the peas and spinach and cook until spinach has just wilted.

Tomato & Garlic Soup

This recipe is one I found on another blog, here. The soup looked delicious, so I had to try it! It really was tasty, I ate 2 whole bowls for lunch. I have another 2 portions frozen, though I have a feeling I will be deforsting them soon. It is super healthy too, with all that garlic. The lady who created teh recipe also says that it is very tasty cold, so I may try it that way next.

 500g tomatoes, quartered
1 red pepper, deseeded & cut into chunks
2 red onions, peeled & cut into wedges
1 bulb of garlic, each clove seperated & peeled
600ml vegetable stock
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper

Turn the oven to preheat at 220c. Put all the chopped veg into a roasting tin & spray with low cal spray, then season. Roast in the oven for about 45 mins, until all softened and starting to char slightly at the edges. Blend all the veg along with the stock, vinegar & worcester sauce until smooth. Garnish with basil and serve hot, or cool & serve cold.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Smoked Sausage Stroganoff

A friend shared a recipe with me for a dish called "Fancy Hotdogs". I didn't have any hotdogs in, but I did have a smoked sausage in, which I thought would add more flavour anyway. I also added mushrooms for extra flavour (and because I love mushrooms!). The recipe suggests you serve it with pasta, but we ate it as it was. Quite tasty, considering it was made with store cupboard items!

Serves 1 adult, 2 children

1 smoked sausage ring, sliced 1 cm thick
1 onion, chopped
10 button mushrooms, sliced
Oil or butter for frying
150ml soured cream
Fresh parsley to garnish

Heat the oil/butter and fry the onion, mushrooms & sausage together until softened and golden. Add the soured cream and let simmer for 3 minutes. Add a little bit of water if it is too thick or not saucy enough. Serve with rice or pasta, and garnish with parsley.

Facebook Group

I have a Facebook group here if anyone would like to chat about food and cooking or just ask for ideas :)

One-Pan Duck with Savoy Cabbage

This is the first time that I have bought and cooked duck breasts! Usually they are too expensive, but Tesco are offering them in their 3 meats for £10 deal, so I wanted to try them. I would buy them again as I really enjoyed them! I have already bookmarked a few recipes to try :) This was a tasty dish, I will repeat this one as well.

2 duck breasts
1 tsp black peppercorns , crushed
3 rashers smoked streaky bacon , chopped
1 Savoy cabbage , trimmed, quartered, cored and finely sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Lightly score the skin of the duck breasts, then generously season with the peppercorns and a sprinkling of salt. Lay the duck breasts, skin-side down, in a non-stick sauté pan, then place over a low heat. Leave the duck for 15 mins to brown and release its fat, then flip over onto the flesh side for 5 mins.Remove the duck from the pan, then turn up the heat.

 Fry the bacon until crisp, then add the cabbage. Cook for 1 min, add a splash of water, then fry for 2 mins, just until the cabbage is wilted. While the cabbage is cooking, whisk any juices from the duck with the vinegar and olive oil. To serve, carve the duck breast into slices. Drizzle over the dressing and serve.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Pork Medallions in Sage & Onion Sauce

Pork tenderloin was on special offer in Morrisons, so I bought one without knowing what I was going to do with it! I looked at a few recipes, and cobbled together my own version. I love onions & mushrooms, so had to include those. Sage always works well with pork, so it seemed natural to include that. It was quite tasty, I will certainly make it again.

Serves 2

1 pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon olive oi1
1 teaspoons butter
1 onion, sliced
100g button mushrooms, halved
1 garlic clove, minced
200ml chicken stock
Pinch of dried sage
Salt & Pepper to season
Chopped parsley to garnish 

Slice tenderloin into 1/2-in-thick medallions. In a frying pan, brown pork in oil for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and set aside. In same pan melt the butter. Add the onion, mushrooms and garlic; saute for 1 minute. Add the stock and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for a few minutes to reduce slightly. 
Lay pork medallions over mixture. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley if desired.