Thursday, 31 July 2014

Salad Nicoise

I do like to return home after a holiday. It gives me great pleasure landing on home turf. I've only been away one week, but tonight look forward to my own bed and all that is homely and familiar. I have just spent a week in Nice with my family, I loved the city, but not the food. There's lots of tourist trap restaurants, which unfortunately we seemed to stumble upon. I ended up self catering on a few evenings as we were nearby to a decent supermarket. As Nice is the home of salad Nicoise and the one I had in a restaurant was very average, I made my own version one evening. I enjoyed it much more without the inflated price tag. There are lots of variations on this recipe I'm sure, but my version was fairly simple.

Serves 4
Salad leaves of your choice
1 tin of tuna
I tin of anchovies
4 boiled eggs, quartered
8 tomatoes quartered
A vinegarette dressing

Optional Additional ingredients:
Green beans 
new potatoes
broad beans

Monday, 21 July 2014

Strawberry Vacherin

If you can make meringues then this dessert won't be too much of a challenge. I thought it was a change from my normal Pavlova, but looks equally as impressive. The recipe is from Olive Magazine.

Serves 8
4 egg whites
100g caster sugar
100g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Strawberry cream;
400g strawberries, 4 -5 finely chopped and the rest hulled
300ml double cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

On a piece of non stick baking parchment draw out 2 rectangles 20cm long by 10cm wide, spacing them apart. Heat the oven to 120ºC.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks then beat in the sugar in 4 batches. Then fold in the icing sugar in 4 batches. Add the vanilla. Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a wide, straight edged nozzle. Pipe the meringue in longs stripes onto each rectangle, making sure the stripes rest alongside each other so there are no gaps. Pipe any remaining meringue onto a separate sheets in small rounds, no more than 1.5cm across and flatten any peaks with a wet finger. Bake the buttons for 30-40 mins and the rectangles for 1 - 1½ hours or until they sound crisp when tapped. Leave to cool in the oven.
Whip the cream, vanilla extract and icing sugar then fold in the chopped strawberries.
Lay one rectangle on a plate and spoon some strawberry cream down the centre, add a layer of sliced strawberries and some blobs of strawberry cream on top, then put the top layer of meringue. Spoon the rest of the strawberry cream into a piping bag and pipe blobs all over the top (I just spooned it on), then add slices or quarters of strawberry and meringue buttons. Serve with any remaining strawberries.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Griddled nectarine and feta cheese salad

The marriage of fruit and cheese is always a good one, so when I saw a recipe for a similar salad I had to give it a try. The salad could be made with peaches and I would think other cheeses such as goats cheese or mozzarella would be equally as good. 
Simply fry or griddle the nectarines and add to salad leaves of your choice and chopped feta. Lovely with a drizzle of balsamic glaze. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Malted banana ice cream

I have had a mere taste of this ice cream, but enough to know what a great, easy recipe it is. Another use for those very ripe bananas. I am into my fourth week of dieting. I feel like I have given up practically everything I like and I'm not seeing a massive difference. Still every little helps and I'll keep making the treatie things for the other members of the family and look on longingly.
I found the recipe on a blog I follow called 'Delicious, Delicious, Delicious'. My daughter claimed it was the nicest ice cream she had ever had!

300ml of double cream
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
4 tbsp of horlicks
1 can of condensed milk (397g)
2 tbsp of vodka (optional, but will keep the texture smooth for longer in the freezer)

Whisk all the ingredients together until thick and airy, then freeze in a suitable container. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Tandoori Chicken

It takes minutes to prepare this low fat chicken tandoori. Five minutes in the morning before work, and dinner is prepared ready to cook for the evening. The chicken was incredibly tender, due to the marinating. I added a little red food colouring to the marinade, I think this is how they get the strong red colour in Indian cooking. I served mine in a pitta bread, with wilted spinach and fried onions.
I used the leftover pieces for the kids packed lunches the next day, which was a change from the rather dull sandwiches they usually take.

Serves 4

4 tsp of tandoori curry powder
1 tsp of ground cumin
Juice of a lemon
1 large pot of low fat yoghurt
1 clove of garlic
4 chicken breasts
A little red food colouring (optional)
1 tbsp of vegetable oil

Mix the tandoori curry powder, cumin, lemon juice, yoghurt and garlic. Cut the chicken into 2 cm cubes, coat thoroughly in the mixture and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the marinated chicken until slightly cooked, about 2 minutes on each side. 
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes.