Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Prawn and Egg fried rice

I googled "good food and red shoes" this morning and 37,000 sites came up. I guess my blog will probably be 36,998 on that list. I've given myself a bit of credit there. I don't think I'm going to be discovered that way, so if as a reader you like the recipes then pass the blog on to your friends and at least more people can get to see it. If you try the recipes let me know what you think. You can post comments on the pages.

Today's dinner is another recipe from a Sunday paper, I collect recipes that have a quick preparation time, as although I love to cook, I don't want to spend hours slaving away on a day to day basis.  I remember when the kids were little spending far too long on fancy meals for them, for most of it to end up in the bin.  I expected a bit much of their taste buds at a young age, it's paid off now though. The meals were always appreciated by Steve, so my efforts weren't totally wasted.

This recipe may seem like it has a long list of ingredients, but the soy sauce, oil and sweet chilli sauce are good staple ingredients and will last a long time. They can be used in lots of recipes and I'll post some to include them soon.  The best thing about this recipe is Steve likes to cook it, and dinner tastes so much better when someone else has made it for you.

Preparation time 10 min, cooking time 10 min

Serves 4
400g basmati express rice
3 eggs
2 tbspn of vegetable or groundnut oil
2 red chillies,seeds removed and chopped (I think 1 is enough if doing this for children)
2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
6 spring onions, chopped into pieces
400g raw large peeled prawns ( I used a 250g for our meal)
4 tbspn dark soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
2 tbspn of sweet chilli sauce
2 large handfuls of frozen peas (make sure they are defrosted properly before use)
1 Lime ( optional)

To cook the rice follow the instructions on the express rice packet (usually in the   microwave for 2 mins)
Beat the eggs in a bowl.  Heat a large wok or frying pan and add the vegetable oil or groundnut oil, when it's hot add the chilli, garlic and spring onions and stir fry for 2 mins.  Add the raw prawns and cook until pink. Remove all the ingredients from the wok into a bowl.   Add the heated rice followed by the egg into the wok.  Stir until the rice is coated with the cooked egg.  Add the prawns and chilli mix back into the pan with the rice, then add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sweet chilli sauce and the peas.  Mix together well and then serve. Serve with lime and torn coriander if you like.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Chicken with Lemon and Honey

I had planned to cook a different meal tonight, until I realised that I was lacking in a vital ingredient. Luckily the main ingredient was chicken thighs and as there are so many recipes for these, finding another to cook was easy. I had just made James a lemon and honey drink as he's full of cold and this jogged my memory of a recipe in "Food for Living" by Rachel Allen, that I hadn't tried before.
It was very, very easy. After I trimmed a little fat from the meat, it was 4 mins until the dish went into the oven. I had rosemary in the fridge, it was good but not essential to  the flavour. My only failing was I only had one pack of chicken thigh fillets and I had to give my meal up on the condition I could try it to write about it.   I served it with new potatoes and green beans. Everyone loved it, I'll definitely do it again. Even though the cooking time is 40 mins, you can just go off and do something else.  

Chicken with Lemon and Honey
Serves 4
8 pieces of chicken thigh fillets or other chicken 
pieces (with or without skin)
2 lemons
2 tbspn honey
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 6 sprigs of thyme

Preheat the oven to 180C
Place the chicken pieces in a large baking dish. In a small bowl mix the juice of the lemons with the honey, then pour this over the chicken. Place the empty lemon halves in the dish for extra flavour. Season with salt and pepper and place the sprigs of rosemary and thyme between the chicken pieces.  
Cook in the oven for 40 mins until the chicken is golden. Remove from the oven. Pour the juices from the dish into a saucepan and boil uncovered for about 5 minutes until the juices have thickened slightly. Season the sauce if needed. Serve the chicken and sauce with a salad or rice (or whatever you fancy.)

The kids really enjoyed it, the only comment was more sauce would have been good, so next time I would increase the honey and lemons.

A Really Simple Mushroom Soup

Since I started this blog on Friday I've become a bit of a pain.  I am talking about it incessantly with my family, taking up a huge amount of news feed space on facebook and dreaming of food.  I've even gone as far as tidying the shelf I keep my cookbooks on.  There are so many lovely recipes out there to share and hopefully I can do that in this blog.  I've got my favourite books with recipes that I will use time and time again.  I also subscribe to Olive magazine which means there's an endless stream of new recipes to try. 

I love making soups, in my opinion they do taste so much better than anything you can buy. I have just made this for lunch it took under 10 mins to prepare and 15 mins to cook.  Obviously you don't have to dress the soup like the photo, I just want to do things properly.

1 tbspn of olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
380g of closed cup mushrooms roughly chopped
750ml of stock, ( I use Bouillon vegetable powder)
A little salt and Pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan, and fry the onion until soft and golden, add the mushrooms and sweat for a minute.  Add the stock, cover and simmer for 15 mins until the mushrooms are soft.  Once cooked, puree the mixture to a smooth consistency. I use a hand held blender, but a food processor would work too.  If you want a thinner soup add a little milk until you get the right consistency.

I served mine with a raw chopped mushroom and a dollop of creme fraiche, just a bit for creaminess.

It will keep in the fridge for a day or so.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Afternoon Tea and Lily's scones

Out for lunch today for a birthday celebration, so I won't have a meal photo to upload later. I am photographing or should I say Steve is photographing the meals as I cook them, then I'm writing about them. No recipe book photos used, this is what the food looks like, no enhancing needed.
Last Sunday we had afternoon tea, I have good memories of these whilst living at home with mum and dad. My mum had a teak tea trolley, she still has it infact. Very retro and fashionable now. We used to have sandwiches and Marks and Spencers blackcurrant sundaes, in the living room for Sunday evening tea.
The photo above was taken at Rachel's 12th Birthday party for a group of her girlfriends. It was a very civilised afternoon.

Lily's scones

If I'm going to make scones I use the following recipe from Nigellas "How to be a Domestic Goddess" book. I won first prize with them in our Village show years ago. My one and only claim to fame.

The addition of jam and cream makes them even more wonderful.

500g plain flour 

a pinch of salt
2 tsp bircarbonate of soda
4 ½ tsp cream of tartar
50g of butter, 25g of trex (or use another 75g butter)
100 ml milk
1 large egg, beaten for egg wash

Preheat oven to 220C. Sift the flour, salt, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Rub in the fats till it goes like damp sand. Add milk all at once, mix briefly with a knife. Knead lightly together on a floured surface. (it may seem very sticky) Roll out to approx 3cm thickness. I use the top of a glass to cut mine out, you should get 10-12 large scones.
Place on the baking tray close together and brush with the egg wash. Put in the oven and cook for 10 mins or until risen and golden.

Add 75g of raisins or sultanas for fruit scones. To make cheese scones, add 75g of mature cheddar grated. I think sundried tomatoes and cheese would be delicious.

They are best eaten freshly baked, but if you have some left over they freeze well.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Tagliatelle with smoked salmon, capers and creme fraiche

When I ask Rachel and James what they would like for tea they usually request this meal.  It comes from a book called " Vegetarian Pastability" that I bought whilst travelling with Steve in Sydney in a life before children.  We stayed in  hostels with shared kitchens, and while other travellers were adding boiling water to their super noodles I was cooking bows with broccoli, brie and walnuts.  We must have looked a bit daft but we ate well without spending a fortune. The recipe states cream but I usually use creme fraiche.  Either works.

Serves 2
100-125g of smoked salmon cut into pieces
juice of half a lemon
sea salt and black pepper
200g of tagliatelle
150 ml of single cream
4 tbspns of capers
swiss cheese (emmenthal or Gruyere) grated

1. Cut up the salmon using a sharp knife, put in a bowl and squeeze over a sprinkling of lemon juice and some black pepper.
2. Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al'dente, drain and put back into the pan.  Add the cream or creme fraiche while the heat is turned down low.  Pour in the capers and the salmon and mix together.  Season with a little salt and black pepper and serve on warm plates.

Cheese is good with this but not essential.

Gooey School Treacle Sponge

I spent too long messing around on this blog yesterday and by the time that Rachel left at 6.30, I hadn't even started on my dinner party meal.  I'm a fast cook but a messy one, so the kitchen was a bomb site from earlier.  I had to think of a quick and easy dessert, so opted to make gooey school treacle sponge.  I started a t 6.40, my kitchen scales were missing in the mess of the kitchen, so even with minutes of looking for them the pudding was ready for cooking just before 6.50.  I eventually found them under my copy of "Nigellas, How to be a Domestic Goddess."  I bashed the escalopes with my rolling pin, got them all prepared and ready to fry and put the potatoes on to boil at 7ish.  Our guests arrived not long after, where I was able to go and sit down and have a relaxed glass of wine before starting the cooking.  Usually at a dinner party I'll try and do something that's in the oven when the guests arrive, so the actual standing over the stove time is minimal.  That's not always the case though.  We sat down to eat around 7.40 which wasn't bad given the chaos I was in earlier.  I put the pudding in the oven as we sat down.

Gooey School Treacle Sponge
serves 6
from Olive Magazine

6 big tbspn golden syrup
100g butter, plus extra for the dish
100g sugar
2 eggs
half tsp of vanilla essence
100g self-raising flour

1. Butter a 1 litre baking dish and dollop the syrup in the bottom.  Put the soft butter in a food processor(assuming you have one) with the sugar and blitz until pale.  Beat in the eggs one at a time then the vanilla.  Add the flour and pulse until just mixed.  Scrape into the dish, on top of the syrup.
2. Bake in the oven at 180c/fan for 30 mins until risen and golden.

Mine took a wee bit longer it was a bit squidgy in the middle when I first looked so I stuck it back in for 5 more minutes.  I served with creme fraiche, but custard, cream or yoghurt would be equally as good.

You could always prepare this in advance, just stick in the fridge and take out the warm to room temp before cooking.  It says in the recipe 20 mins to prepare, I think much less.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Turkey escalopes with sage butter

I found this recipe in one of the Sunday supplements. It's become a firm and trusty favourite.  I have just made it for Rachel's tea as she is off on a sleepover tonight.  It was done and dusted within half an hour and that was eating it too.  I'm cooking it later for a dinner party with the addition of baby new potatoes to bulk it out. It helps when your lovely neighbour grows sage in her garden too. 

Serves 2
2 turkey escalopes
4 tbspns plain flour
1 large  egg
8 tbspns of dried breadcrumbs (Paxo)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 tbspns vege oil
75g butter
6 sage leaves
juice of a lemon

1. Give the escalopes a good bash with  a rolling pin to make them as thin as possible, they will cook much quicker that way.
2. Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs into separate bowls.  Season the flour well, place the escalopes first into the flour, then coat in the egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
3. Heat a large frying pan and pour in the oil.  When it's hot lay in the breaded turkey and cook for 4-5 mins on each side until golden brown.
4. Remove the escalopes from the pan and lay onto kitchen paper.  Pour away remaining oil from the pan.
5. Place the frying pan back on the heat and add the butter.  When the butter starts to foam add the sage leaves and the juice of the lemon and cook for 20-30 seconds.
6. To serve place on individual plates and pour on the foaming butter.

Easy.  Serve with anything you like , rocket for a lighter version, potatoes and greens for a more substantial dinner.

Skinny Pizza

I got this idea sitting in M & S deli watching the chef very quickly prepare them for a customer. Not only are they quick but they are very tasty and versatile. Any number of toppings will work. My son James loves pizzas but I find bought ones lacking in flavour and more importantly ingredients. 

Tortilla Wraps
Shop bought pesto
Tomato Puree
Cheddar cheese
Olives (whichever variety you prefer)
Sundried/sunblush tomatoes
Parma ham

Spread the pesto on one of the tortilla wraps, place the other tortilla wrap over the first. Spread that one with tomato puree and scatter on the cheddar cheese. Crisp up in a hot oven until the tortillas are crispy and the cheese has melted. Pile on the rocket and then all the other ingredients, topped with shavings of parmesan. Ready to eat in about 10 mins.

Tuna and sweetcorn
Pepperoni, (omit the rocket and put in the oven to cook the pepperoni)