Monday, 31 March 2014

Chickpea, carrot and coriander falafels

This is another recipe from 'A Girl Called Jack', the budget recipe book by Jack Monroe. This is the third recipe I have done this week from the cookbook. A vegetarian friend came for dinner the other evening, she is also avoiding dairy at the moment, so the kidney bean burgers went down a treat. I loved these falafels with the sweet mango chutney and I think they'd make a good lunch box snack cold for the kids. 

Makes 12
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion
400g can of chickpeas
shake of cumin
1 carrot
parsley (I didn't have this)
a handful of fresh coriander
1 tbsp flour for dusting your hands
I added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Peel and finely chop or grate the onion, and grate the carrot. Fry together in a tablespoon of oil over a low heat for a few minutes until softened.
Tip into a large mixing bowl with the chickpeas, and add the chopped parsley and coriander, and a shake of cumin.
Mash it all together with a potato masher (or a fork) until the chickpeas have broken down into a mush. The oil from the carrots and onion will help combine the chickpeas together, but you may need to add a tiny bit more.
Flour your hands, and mould into golf ball shapes. Heat a little more oil in the sauté pan and fry until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Bacon and pea risotto with cranberry sauce

This risotto was inspired by a recipe from my new cookbook 'A girl called jack' by Jack Monroe. I would never have thought to put a sweet sauce with a risotto but it worked really well. The original recipe was bacon and brie, but I improvised and used cream and Parmesan instead, as I had no brie. Risotto is the ultimate comfort food,  I always forget how delicious it is.

Serves 2
100g bacon
½ an onion
40g Brie
140g rice
1 chicken stock cube or bouillon vegetable stock
500ml boiling water
fistful of parsley

Optional: cranberry sauce to serve
Chop the bacon into small pieces. Put into a shallow frying or sauté pan. Peel and finely chop the onion, and add to the pan with the bacon. Bring to a low heat. No additional fat is required: the fat will ‘leak’ from the bacon as it heats slowly.
Soften the onions in the bacon fat. When they are almost translucent, add the rice and stir in well to toast the edges.
Make up 500ml of chicken stock. When the ends of the grains of rice have started to turn clear, add half of the stock and stir in. Keep adding the stock gradually as it is absorbed by the rice. (You may find that you do not need all of it – a good risotto should have a soupy texture, but be slightly al dente).
Just before serving, chop the Brie and stir through until it is mostly melted, and scatter chopped parsley through to lift the flavour.
If you have any apple or cranberry sauce kicking around in the cupboard, a teaspoon on top would be divine.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Venison in red wine casserole

A friend brought a huge hunk of venison at the weekend, so I used the ingredients I had at home to make this simple and really delicious casserole. Cooked slowly in the oven, the meat was tender and the gravy rich and dark. Very slyly we got away with the kids thinking that it was beef. 

Serves 6
Oil for frying
approx 1.5kg of venison, diced  (I used the shoulder cut off the bone)
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed
a heaped tablespoon of plain flour
a bottle of red wine
3 heaped tablespoons of conserve, I used a christmas conserve with strawberries, cherry jam, cranberry or redcurrant sauce would work well too
4 or 5 carrots cut lengthways 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 170ºC. Heat the oil in a heavy based casserole dish and brown the meat in batches. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and when it is all browned fry the onion and garlic until cooked. Add the browned meat to the onions and spinkle in the flour to soak up any juices. Pour in the red wine until the meat is covered. Stir in the sweet conserve or sauce then season. Add the carrots, bring the casserole to the boil on the hob then transfer the dish to the oven for at least 3 hours. Serve the meat with some mashed potatoes and some green vegetables. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Mexican chicken stew with toasted sweet corn salsa

This is not dissimilar to Accapulco chicken which I have posted previously on my blog.
I doubled the recipe for 6 of us tonight with a couple of portions leftover. I loved the squeeze of lime juice over the salsa topping, it made for some great flavours. Add some extra chilli for a bit more of a kick. The recipe was another one I found on the Tesco Recipes site. There are some tempting recipes on there at the moment. I found that it didn't need rice to accompany it, but to make it go even further you could serve some on the side. 

Serves 4
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 x 431g pack chicken fillets, roughly chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1tsp tomato purée
1tsp mild chilli powder
½tsp ground cumin
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin kidney beans
75g frozen sweetcorn
1 small avocado, peeled and chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
½ lime, zested and juiced
handful coriander, chopped

Heat ½ tbsp oil in a pan. Cook the chicken for a few minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the pan. Heat another ½ tbsp oil and fry the onion for 3 minutes. Stir in the pepper and cook for 2 minutes until soft. Stir in the garlic and tomato purée. Sprinkle over the spices and stir, then add the tomatoes and beans. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan. Cook the sweetcorn for a couple of minutes until lightly browned. Spoon the chicken into bowls. Scatter over the toasted corn, avocado and spring onions. Sprinkle over the lim
e zest, juice and coriander to serve.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Salmon fillets with avocado, asparagus and spinach salad

Avocados are rarely ripe when you need them, so my meal last night was missing one of the main ingredients. This meal from the Tesco recipes site was incredibly quick to prepare, as the only cooking involved was the asparagus. Using ready cooked salmon fillets is easy, but equally cooking some salmon fillets wouldn't be a hardship.

Serves 4
150g bunch asparagus, cut into lengths
200g baby spinach
1 avocado, halved stone removed and chopped
juice 1 lemon
1tbsp olive oil
2 cooked salmon fillets
2 tbsp mixed seeds

Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, drain then plunge into cold water to cool, drain again and set aside. Divide the spinach between plates, toss the avocado with the lemon juice and oil then add this to the spinach, flake over the salmon and finish with asparagus and seeds. Serve with crusty brown bread if you like.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Chicken goujons with wholemeal pitta and tomato salsa

The kids loved this meal and were fighting over seconds. I must make a note of the meals that they really enjoy sometime. I found the recipe on Tesco recipes while doing my on line shop the other evening. It was a really simple meal to make, and healthy too as the chicken is baked, not fried. Of course by the time you have ladened it with mayonnaise, as the children do, it isn't quite so low in calories.

Serves 4
125g granary breadcrumbs (I used paxo golden breadcrumbs)
2tsp paprika
1tsp dried mixed herbs
400g chicken breast, cut into strips (skinless)
1 medium egg, beaten
8 wholemeal pitta breads, toasted
211g fresh tomato salsa
salad, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Mix together the breadcrumbs, paprika, herbs and seasoning.
Dip the chicken first in the egg and then coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a large greased baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cooked throughout. Pierce a thicker piece of the meat to ensure juices are running clear and it is completely cooked.
Serve in toasted pitta bread with tomato salsa and salad.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

I saw it on Pinterest, so thought I'd give it a go.

I loved this link a friend shared on Facebook. I reckon we can all relate to it. Certainly the cake pops I have attempted to make bare a resemblance to the failed attempts . The pink scary looking hedgehog had me in stitches.
Click on the link to take a look. Failed baking attempts.