Monday, 28 January 2013

Marvellous Mexican Eggs

Another great recipe from Nigella Lawson tonight; Mexican Scrambled Eggs. I have been meaning to have this for ages, my mum makes it quite a bit at home, and recommended it to me ages ago. I just kept forgetting to out it on my menu. Which is bad, because it was so yummy, I have been missing out! It is basically scrambled eggs (obviously!), with tortilla, tomato, chilli and spring onion in. It is a nice light, but filling tea. The tortilla is first fried to make it crispy, but in barely any oil so it is still light and not at all greasy. The tortilla I used was a chilli and jalapenõ one, the recipe says plain, but I think it went really well! It was quick to make as well, which is always a bonus. Safe to say, it will be on my menu quite a bit now- Well I do have a lot of lost time to make up for...

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Freestyle Friday #5

I know it's Sunday, but I did make this dish Friday! It isn't really a 'thing' as such, but I suppose you could call it a warm salad. The main ingredient I wanted to use was the spinach, as it was fresh and doesn't keep long. If I had more room in the freezer I would have frozen it, but what can you do? Baby new potatoes and half a can of sardines in tuna were also main ingredients, plus a hard boiled egg. The spinach I just wilted for a minute or two in the water that the egg was boiled in. I also bought some green chillies this week for another recipe, but they only came in packs. As they were also fresh, I chopped one and added it to the potato and sardine mixture.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A Perfect pot, Lovely Lunches, and a Magic Mixer

Yesterday was quite exciting, because I got to use my mini Le Crueset pot for the first time! I made a simple lunch in it, baked eggs on spinach, with some toast fingers to dip. It might not seem like a lot, but along with an apple and yoghurt, it was very filling.

Look how cute!

Today was also exciting, because I got to use my new kitchen machinery... I'm never quite sure what to call it as it does so many things! It's official name is the 'multipro compact', so I think I'll just call it the multipro. It was actually very very excting because I got to use it two different ways, three times! I used the grater to grate the ingredients for the soup I'm having for tea tomorrow, and then the blender to blend the soup and make a smoothie for lunch!

The soup I'm having is Carrot and Orange, and the spoonful I tried to test the seasoning was good, so I'm pretty sure I'll like it. Sweet carrots with tangy orange and fresh coriander, it just tastes good for you!

Look, all clean and shiny and new!

And now it's not- but I prefer it this way ;-)

The soup just before it was blended
My smoothie was pretty simple, just a banana, some natural yoghurt I had left over, milk, and a teaspoon of honey. I was going to add peanut butter, as peanut butter banana smoothies are absolutely delicious, but it didn't need it. The tanginess of the yoghurt complemented the sweetness of the banana and honey, and this was also a very filling lunch!
Once again, nice and shiny...

And now it's not!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Curry, Cupcakes, Spinach and Soup

I have several things to share with you today, as you probably guessed by the title! First up, curry.

Last night for tea I made chicken lentil curry, a paper recipe from a magazine that came highly recommended from my mum. And with good reason. It was, quite simply, delicious. Even though it was quite a simple recipe, the flavours were just amazing. Safe to say I'll be making this a lot! The colours were great as well as the flavours! I loved the way the lentils changed colout from a bright red-orange to a muted khaki brown, the bright green of the spinach, the white of the yoghurt before it was stirred in, and the colour of the curry against the clean white of the rice.

Now, cupcakes! It was one of my flatmates' birthdays today. He drinks red tea (rooibos) like me, so when I saw a recipe for a Rooibos Loaf I knew I had to make it for his birthday. I don't have a loaf tin with me, so decided to make cupcakes. They worked really well, and he (and everyone else!) really enjoyed them. They were quite sweet as two of the four teabags were vanilla red tea (just what I happened to have); they really tasted as though they had honey in! A very nice, light fruitcake which I'm sure would be fabulous as a loaf too.

The fruit soaking in red tea

A quick side note, not even a recipe. For lunch today I made a spinach and Christmas Chutney sandwich, and the colours looked lovely together (very Christmassy, red and green!), so I had to take a photo!
The homestretch! Tea tonight. Moroccan Lentil Soup, another paper recipe. It was supposed to take an hour and a half, but as I have had a long and busy day, I did it for half the times at a higher heat. It worked fine. Just goes to show, you don't always have to stick exactly to the recipe! The main ingredients were lentils, obviously, and chickpeas. Alongside them were tinned tomatoes and quite a few spices- including smoked paprika, which I will be trying to use a lot more now. I bought it for another recipe a while ago, I hadn't had it for a while and really loved the taste. It was smoked paprika, slightly different to sweet, but both are good!

Filling and tasty, who could ask for more?
Tomorrow: I have a special lunch planned for tomorrow, made in a very special dish...

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Finally, Freestyle Friday #4

Sooo, Freestyle Friday has returned for 2013, even if it is a day late. I had quite a lot of vegetables this week, so I decided to make a stir fry. The vegetables I used were broccoli, mushrooms and swede. Swede might sound strange, but I thought if you can't experiment on Freestyle Friday, when can you! I just cut it into thin strips and added it at the same time as the broccoli. It was cooked just right, which I was of course pleased about. I also added a small piece of fresh ginger, also cut into thin strips. I didn't put the ginger in first, as is quite usual with a stir fry, but later, after the 'hard' vegetables, because I wanted it to retain it's fireiness.

The sauce was just one out of a jar, which I bought a while ago to use in a stir fry sauce recipe (yes, a sauce in a sauce, I know...) I was originally going to have it with noodles, but due to a large lunch, I wanted something light. But I did add a few broken up dried noodles that were at the bottom of the packet, just to add some texture. To 'top', the stir fry I made an egg roll, which was basically a one egg omlette, rolled up and cut into little strip roll things! It was filling, but fresh and healthy feeling, which I needed after this lunch...

Banoffee crepe with vanilla ice-cream!
I have to say, I never ever usually have a lunch like this, but everyone needs a treat now and then! Anyway, back to tea...

My egg roll in progress...

It looks like a lot for one person, but mushrooms cook down and it is only vegetables!

Super swede?

Super swede! See how the broccoli is getting nice charred brown bits on? The swede also did that after a bit longer cooking.


Friday, 18 January 2013

Charming Chickpeas

I have posted about this curry before, can't find it anywhere, but you guys are welcome to trawl though last posts if you so wish! Anyway, I have modified the recipe slightly, which is why I am posting about it again. When I had it befor, I liked it so much, and it was so filling, I emailed my mum the recipe. She loved it too, but we both agreed it was too dry, and needed 'something'... We thought tomato purĂ©e or sauce might be too rich, so I agreed to experiment next time I made it. I was prepared to add tomato sauce to it, but when I was draining the chickpeas I had a flash of inspiration... Use the chickpea liquid! I'd already tipped some away, but I just added the rest (probably about a third to half a can) when the chickpeas themselves were added. It actually turned out a little but TOO liquids, but definitely better. I suggested to my mum to add the liquid in increments until it is just right. It was still delicious and filling though, so I am not at all complaining.   It doesn't even need the rice, it would go just as we'll on it's own.

And do not fear, Freestyle Friday is not gone, it is just on Saturday this week! And I as I head out to my university placement on Monday, expect quite a bit more freestyle days!

Simple Scrambled Satisfaction

I realise I haven't been posting much recently, but I just have so much on at the moment! I will post when I can, so do keep an eye out.

Anyway, down to business... My usual breakfast at the moment is a poached egg on toast, but a few days ago, I decided to have scrambled. Both poached and scrambled are quick to make, and they are so filling! I only added pepper and the tiniest bit of salt to the egg, but it was definitely enough. Kept me full for a fair few hours, plus it just tastes good! If you find yourself feeling hungry pretty much straight after breakfast, try an egg or two and you'll be surprised!


It only looks grey because of the amount of pepper I put in!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Superb Stuffed Aubergines

The stuffed aubergines I had last night were good for two reasons. One, they were nice to cook. The whole process from ingredients to meal took an hour. I had things to do for pretty much all of that time, but I wasn't rushed, just a nice and steady pace. And two, they just tasted good! They were stuffed with the chopped aubergine flesh, lemon zest, pine nuts, paprika, onion, garlic, parsley, mushrooms and a few breadcrumbs. The recipe asked for white breadcrumbs, but I usually get brown bread, and I wasn't going to get a whole other loaf just for 2 tsps of breadcrumbs! I honestly don't think it made a difference at all.

There was a variation on the recipe, to add raisins and cinnamon... I have a thing for raisins, as yo may well know, so expect to see some more superb stuffed aubergines quite soon!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Perfect Pots and Mastering Messicani

I mean potatoes, not cooking pots. Both me and my mum write pots instead of potatoes on our menus for the week, hence the title. I had one last night for tea, with... nothing. Usually I have something, beans, or tinned fish or something, but yesterday I let the potato shine! Just soft, slightly sweet flesh mashed with a teeny knob of butter, and a crispy skin. Which I saved until last, as usual.

Tonight I had messicani pasta with Christmas Chutney. Again, simple, but again, good. Somehow the shape made it more exciting, even though I'm sure it didn't impact the taste! I got the shape a while ago when I had a gift card (so a little extra to splurge!). Like one of my favourite cooks, Nigella Lawson, I love unusual pasta shapes, so when I saw them I had to have them. The chutney basically contains everything that comes to mind when you think of Christmas. Cloves, cinammon, orange, ginger, raisins, red wine. Combined with a great pasta shape... delicious.