Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Super Speedy Stir-Fry

Yes, I know stir frys are pretty quick anyway, but this one was even quicker. I prepared my vegetables in the morning as I had a pretty busy afternoon and evening planned, and wasn't sure how much time I'd have to eat. So I sliced the onion and mushrooms, grated the ginger and weighed out the beansprouts and pineapple... I had Pineapple and Beansprout Stir-Fry in case you hadn't guesses from those ingredients! Then when I got back later it was simply a case of cooking, which was literally a matter of minutes. The only other ingredients were five-spice powder, soy sauce and vinegar, which combined with the juice from the tinned pineapple to make a sauce. You wouldn't think you could get such a 'Chinese-y' tasting sauce from pineapple juice, soy sauce and vinegar, but you really can!

I had half a tine of pineapple and some beansprouts left So for lunch today, I basically made the same stir fry (also with the soy sauce, spice powder and vinegar again), but added some shredded spinach. It was like having tea for lunch, but it was very filling and kept me going all afternoon!
 Wrapped and ready to go

All ingredients out and in order... you have to be organised when doing a stir fry!


Just had time to get a quick snap... just...
I'm glad I didn't do rice like I was thinking of, look how much there is!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Great Green Eggs

I wasn't going to post about this meal, but it was too good an oppurtunity to pass up... I had green eggs for tea... sadly no ham. Ok, if you want to be boring, it was a spinach omlette. I got the recipe from the 'Fritatta Party' section in Nigella Express... there are quite a few variations... including a ham one. I may have to do a Green Omlette and  a Ham Omlette together next time. Just to say I had green eggs and ham! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go and read a Dr Seuss book...

Friday, 19 April 2013

Freestyle Friday #11

I am always happy with the meals I do on Freestyle Friday, but I have to say, I really really liked this one! At the start, I had a stuffed pepper in my head... With cous cous and raisins... But much as I LOVE raisins and cous cous, I just wasn't really feeling it. So I decided to make a stir fry, because I have some dried noodles that have been in the cupboard for a while. And I have been wanting a stir fry for a while, but for some reason it hasn't made it on to my menu! Well it did this week, but anyway. For this reason, it turned from a Chinese stir fry to a Thai stir fry! Along with the noodles, I had some chilli infused olive oil, chilli paste, a yellow pepper, some cherry tomatoes, some iceberg lettuce, Thai-7 spice, lime juice and dessicated coconut. The iceberg lettuce may seem odd, but it was there, and this is Freestyle Friday! It was only the last few leaves in the middle, and I sliced them as they were (in a kind of ball) so they were in strips. It kind of took the place of a green leaf you might put in like pak choi, or bok choi, something like that. Again, tomatoes aren't exactly traditional, but again, they were there! I kept a segment of lime back and squeezed over the top after I dished up. I was also going to leave the noodles crunchy, but I thought it would be more 'stir fry like' if I cooked them first before adding to the vegetables... And I am glad I did. A tasty, spicy, filling meal. And all off the cuff. Can't be bad.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Marvellous Mexican Burritos

Bring on the burritos! They were a great success tonight, so bring 'em on for next time! The filling I had was borlotti beans, a homemade tomato sauce, a few pickled jalapenos and a bit of cheese. The borlotti beans gave a nice smokey, barbecque like flavour, which was nice next to the spiciness of the jalapenos and the salty cheese.

The tomato sauce was one I have made before, it is acctually a pasta sauce, but is used throughout the recipe book in a few other dishes. Even though the sauce is simple, it really is good. It's hard to describe... not too sweet, not too salty, none of the ingredients overpower each other... it's just... right! And it seems to go with everything! Half of the sauce is mixed with the beans and spread on the tortilla wraps, then red onions, then wrap them up! It was quite hard to get it neat, but I am quite pleased with my first attempt. After they have been baked, the rest of the sauce and cheese go on the top, and it is then grilled for a few minutes until everything is hot and bubbling. Fiery (well, mine was!) and filling, just the way I like it.

One thing I would say, if you are going to make this, is to make sure you drain the beans and even the tinned tomatoes well, otherwise they will just make the wraps soggy!

Simmering sauce- tomatoes, onion, garlic, sugar seasoning.

Ok so maybe I shouldn't have used a red bowl for this photo, but you get the idea!

Looks good already!


...and bubbling!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Strange Soup

I'll come right out and say it, this recipe sounds weird... Egg and Lemon Soup. Not what you might call a traditional combination, but it is very popular in Greece. According to my recipe book anyway. It is a Greek soup, made with stock, lemon juice, rice and eggs. The eggs are just a thickening agent really, but I have to say, it was really, really nice. Unlike Chinese soup with eggs, where the point is to have strands, you pour the egg into the stock and rice slowly, and stir until it thickens, and you just end up with a really nice, thick soup! Seems a lot more luxurious than it is.

Before the eggs are added, they are whisked until they are frothy, and combined with the lemon juice and a ladleful of stock. I was quite excited to whisk the eggs, because I could use the whisking attachement for my food processor, which I haven't used before. Looking at it, I didn't really know how it would work, but I definitely trusted it to do the job, so I gave it a whirl. Literally.

Again, the weather was quite pleasant this evening, if not as sunny and warm as yesterday, and this was a nice Spring-like light soup to ring the changes of the seasons!

Hmmm... goes...

... it works!

After adding the first bit of lemony, stocky egg- doesn't look very appetising, but give it time...

I borrowed my flatmate's mug to help me decant the second serving into a freezer bag, as I usually struggle with two hands and about three things to hold at once... why I haven't done this before, I don't know!

Ta-da! A lot tidier than usual!

With a bit of extra parsley on the top.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Delightful Dhal

Let's get one thing straight. I love Indian food. Homemade, restaurants, the lot. When I go home, it has become a kind of unofficial tradition that we go to one of our local Indian restaurants for a meal. I do not object to this in the slightest. I made a dhal for tea tonight, which is a lightly spiced Indian lentil dish. It is often served on the side of larger dishes, but I made it the star of the show tonight and had it as a main meal! It is a one pot meal as well, so for those of you that don't like washing up, I highly recommend this... All the ingredients (well, all four of them if you include the water!) go into a saucepan, bring it to the boil and simmer for half an hour. I slightly underestimated the heat it would need (oh, to be cooking on my oven at home!), so mine was more of a lentil soup, but it was still a good meal! It was even a nice bright orange colour to go with the sun we've been having today.

Just after it had come to the boil... even the bubbles are pretty!

Simmer time now!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Motivational Muffins and Tangy Tabbouleh

My friends and I have had a few exams this week. I was talking to my two best friends, and it came about that I would make them muffins if they revised. I don't mind, I kept one for myself! I have used this recipe before, and I mainly chose it because it has no icing. No icing, I hear you cry?! I do have to transport them to lectures tomorrow... along with another bag... on my bike... And muffins don't always need it to be honest! It is  a Mary Berry recipe, and I have had positive feedback from more than one source. I also had to buy yoghurt for this recipe. The cheapest tub they had was a 500g, and I only needed 125g so I had lots and lots left over which was a great added bonus! I love a good deal, and the chocolate chips I got were reduced to 15p... cheap muffins!

Yoghurty milky coffee mix... yum!

Dry ingredients...

Altogether now... on 2nd thoughts I'll just have this...

Ready to go in
While they were cooking, I had a special Sunday breakfast- one of my homemade bagels withe Nutella and banana, and a Nestlé cappucino sachet. Fabulous.

Hot hot hot! Just out of the oven.

Cool down session...

Mine! I haven't acctually eaten it yet, honest!
You may have guessed from the title, the meal I made for tea tonight was Tabbouleh. Easy to prepare, and not exactly quick, but time between steps. The soaking of the bulghur wheat takes 20 minutes, then you chill for however long you have, chop some veggies, stir and done! I called it tangy, because I used a lot of lemon juice, so it was very vibrant and citrus-y. The raw onion added to the tang, but was also a little sweet so not too overpowering. It was light but filling, which was good as I had some leftover Mexican Beef Salad for lunch (see that here!) which was very filling!
Ready to chill

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Baking Bagels

I had a day off from studying, as I finishedm  exams yesterday, and one thing I did today was make bagels! I have made baguettes and ordinary bread before, but always with my mum, so it was quite an exciting moment!

It is a Nigella Lawson recipe (surprise!), and all in all I think they turned out ok. The recipe warned that the dough was very dry and stiff, and it really was. Usually you want a wet dough, but not in this case. Kneading was hard work, but got there eventually... although I don't think I needed to do my arms workout this morning! The problem was, because the dough was so dry, it didn't really come together very well, which was a problem when shaping the bagels. As you will soon see, they are quite rough around the edges, but they taste good so that's all that matters... for a first attempt, I don't think they are too bad. Next time I will try to get them neater, there will definitely be a next time. I managed to get a good shiny, hard outside like bagels usually have which I was pleased about.

I had one for tea with a mini salad of cherry tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, feta and red onion. Almost a Greek salad, although I didn't intend it at the start! Tomorrow I am going to have one warm, with Nutella... maybe with banana as well... Oh the possibilities...

Dry ingredients

Just after I mixed the liquid in

You can see here how dry it is!

In an oiled bowl, ready to rise...

Good luck!

A bit rough and ready, but ready to be poached and baked

One bagel!


Look how fluffy they are inside, not bad if I do say so myself!

Tea. Delicious.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Freestyle(ish) Friday #10

I put 'ish', because I wasn't technically following a recipe... well I was... sort of. My mum made this for us at home, and she didn't use a recipe. I basically followed what she did, so that is why I was sort of following a recipe and sort of not!

Anyway, the ingredients are as follows: minced beef, red onion, sweetcorn, a red pepper, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, chilli powder and cheese. The only real prep was to make a tortilla bowl. This was simply a case of brushing a tortilla lightly with oil, pressing it into a bowl and putting it in the oven for 10 minutes at Gas 6/220C. Then it just needs to cool for a little bit- I don't know exactly how long I did mine for! The beef can cook while you chop the ingredients and then it just a case of mixing everything together. Even better, I have leftovers for lunch for two days now! I could have made it serve more, but... I had a dollop of Greek yoghurt as well, but that was just a little extra because I had some, not an essential.

For dessert, as I finished my exams today, I had a tropical fruit crumble. I put half a can of tropical fruit into my NEW mini Le Crueset pot, and topped it with a normal crumble topping and a spoonful of tropical granola. Very quick, but very tasty.

My tortilla bowl ready to go in

Very red at the moment...

But look how colourful now!

All together, minus the Greek yoghurt

Leftovers, the best part?!

Coastal Blue Le Crueset! With my fruit.

You can see the lovely fading colours much better here!

Nearly done, just needs the oven.