Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recipe: Broccoli, Red Onion and Courgette Penne


I know when i've made something delicious, because I will have big second helpings at the table, and then two hours later, when i'm hungry again (such a greedy girl!) I will finish off the leftovers!! Might be a few less recipes over the next couple of weeks, i have SO MUCH work for for A2 levels it's insane. Also i'm out picking loads of things from my local country walks and marinating them/making them into jellies at the moment. At this rate i'm going to be giving "Hedgerow Hampers" to everyone for Christmas!

Broccoli, red onion and Courgette Penne (serves 2) £1.07 per portion

2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
300g courgettes, halved and sliced fairly thin
200g dried penne
100g broccoli, cut into small florets
100g crème fraiche
25g finely grated cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large saucepan, sauté the red onion, garlic and oregano covered for three minutes. Add the courgettes and cook covered for a further three minutes.
2. Meanwhile boil a large pan of salted water. Add the penne and cook according to pan instructions.
3. Remove the lid from the onion + courgette mixture, and keep frying on a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the pasta is ready.
4. 3 minutes before the pasta is ready, add the broccoli florets to the boiling water.
5. Drain the penne and broccoli well, and add to the pan with the courgette and onion mixture. Add the crème fraiche and cheddar and stir in, cooking the mixture for 1 minute or until everything is well combined and the cheese has melted. Season to taste and serve!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Recipe:Creamy Spaghetti with lemon and proscuitto


This is a delicious carbonara-esque dish. But lower fat, and made in the traditional way Italians make creamy sauces. When you make spaghetti carbonara it should never be swimming in sauce, the sauce should only just "coat" the pasta. This is a very easy recipe as well- I even taught my teenage stove-scared brother how to make it. This is also a much lower fat alternative to Carbonara. The only problem is i have used up the last of my last purple spring onions now though! I'm going to have to grow double the amount next year!

Creamy spaghetti with lemon and prosciutto (serves 2)

200g spaghetti
100g crème fraiche
1 egg yolk
60g prosciutto, diced
Zest of 1 lemon, and wedges to serve
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 spring onions (preferably red!) finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan and freshly chopped parsley for garnish

1. Mix the crème fraiche, egg yolk, prosciutto, lemon, basil and spring onions together.
2. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain, and return to the pan with 60ml of the pasta cooking liquid.
3. Stir in the creamy mixture into the pasta until the sauce has completely thickened and the pasta is fully cooked. This should only take 1 or 2 minutes. Season to taste (lots of black pepper especially) and serve with plenty of grated parmesan, parsley and a wedge of lemon.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Recipe: Butterbean and Tomato Salad


Fancied a nice simple but healthy saturday lunch for me and my parents. Had a load of homegrown tomatoes to use, so I decided to use some of them up with this. I Slow roasted the rest of them with fresh thyme, to be part of a lovely special cooked breakfast I made for my boyfriend's birthday this morning. I always think it's a nice touch to cook up breakfast for your partner on a special day. It's a lovely way to start the day. Anyway, used up some more of those purple spring onions, they are so scrumptious! I used some butterbeans that I had soaked and cooked from dry- which I think works better with this recipe because the canned ones tend to disentegrate easier. But if you want to use canned, i would say use about a tin and a half of butterbeans, drained and thoroughly washed.

Butterbean and Tomato Salad (serves 4 as a side dish) 72p per portion

350g drained cooked butterbeans (cold)
250g ripe tomatoes, chopped
Handful parsley, finely chopped
2 spring onions (preferably purple!)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together, season to taste and serve!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Recipe: Summer Vegetable Medley


Decided to finally pick some of my leeks. I havent grown too many of them this year- I am harvesting them at a young stage as i'm not sure how to do the "collaring" thing that you are supposed to do when growing fully matured leeks (to make sure you get more white part than green on the plants). First time growing them, and although they are a little fussy- in terms of thinning them out and transplanting them into the border, they were worth it. First carrots pulled as well! My dad planted them and i'm surprised about how well they have grown. They are a small sweet chantenay ("Chantenay Red Cored" to be exact) variety. Something very satisfying about pulling your first carrot! This is a delicious vegetable side dish, displaying the best flavours that come from fresh homegrown produce. My parent's like their veg particularly "well done" but i dont mind that sometimes. Leeks and courgettes are nice stir fried as well as slow cooked.

Summer Vegetable Medley (serves 3 as a side dish) 70p per portion

60g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
150g young leeks
100g young carrots
250g courgettes, sliced thickly
5 tbsp white wine
Handful parsley, finely chopped
½ tsp dried thyme
1 fresh or 2 dried bay leaves
80g frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a saucepan add the butter, olive oil, garlic, leeks, carrots and courgettes, and cook on a medium heat, covered, for 5 minutes.
2. Remove the lid and cook for a further five minutes.
3. Add the wine, parsley, thyme and bay leaves, and cook on a slightly higher temperature for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the peas and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste and serve.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Recipe: Creamy Chicken and Courgette Stew


My courgette plants are on the way out i think. I don't mind though really, they've served me very well this year. I cut off one of the plants as for some reason it started going a bit weird. Like the stems started going yellow and the plant started to go all mouldy and I dunno, all soft, for no reason i can figure out. I know courgettes are thirsty plants, but maybe we've actually had too much rain this year? Anyway, should get around 5 or so more until the frosts come I reckon. This recipe is sooo yum and it barely takes any time to make. If it doesn't thicken enough, add a little cornflour mixed in cold water to it at stage four. This is great served with rice or crusty buttered bread to mop up the delicious juices.

Creamy Chicken and Courgette stew (serves 2)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g diced chicken breast
100ml rose or white wine
1 rounded tbsp flour
500ml chicken stock
Large handful chopped parsley
½ tsp dried thyme
250g halved and sliced courgettes
Splash of single cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Sautee the red onion and garlic in butter and olive oil for 10 minutes, until soft. Add the chicken and cook for five minutes, or until beginning to brown.
2. Add the wine and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes, until most of the wine has evaporated.
3. Add the flour, stir to coat, and gradually add the chicken stock to the pan. Add the parsley and thyme and cook for 20 minutes on a medium to high heat, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the courgettes and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the cream, heat up for a couple more minutes, season to taste, and serve.

Recipe: Chicken Rogan Josh

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, these last couple of weeks have been such a palava. My college (Bath College) suddenly cancelled one of my A2 Level courses. I basically turned up on enrollment day (a few days before the start of college) and they just said "Oh we've stopped doing Film Studies here". Just like that. Gave me no suggestions on what to do, they just didn't care. I'd already applied for University saying that I would be completing 3 a levels this year (which is the neccessary qualifications needed for me to do my course). So i had to run around rather quickly and worringly, and find somewhere that I could do finish my a levels, or find an alternative way of doing them. Well, turns out that (very luckily!) I have managed to get into a local Sixth Form College. Of course everyone knows eachother from last year and i'm all my own and having to be "the new girl" which is a rather distressing situation. I am also allready fairly behind on this colleges work, as they began the year earlier. Anyway, can't rant anymore- I just think it's despicable what Bath College has got away with- and im glad i have washed my hands of them. If they mess up my University application I will TAKE THEM DOWN.

So this is a fairly healthy curry, and made with some of my own homegrown tomatoes as well. It is also really easy to convert this recipe into a vegetarian one- just use a 350g pack of quorn chicken style pieces instead of the chicken, and use 300ml vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock (the quorn tends to soak up more liquid than chicken). Oh and this is the last of my pepper recipes this season, I promise!I find it hard when autumn starts, to suddenly withdraw from the summer's wonderful produce.

Chicken Rogan Josh (serves 3) £1.77 per person, with 70g uncooked basics rice (then cooked).

3 tbsp oil
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 rounded tbsp Rogan josh curry paste
2 chicken breasts, cut into fairly large chunks
1 tin chopped tomatoes
200ml chicken stock
½ red pepper, diced
½ green pepper, diced
2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced into wedges
salt, sugar and pepper to taste
1 tbsp natural yoghurt and a little smoked paprika for garnish

1. Cook onions and garlic for a few minutes until softened, add curry paste and cook for a further minute. Add diced chicken and cook for a couple of minutes.
2. Add tinned tomatoes, peppers and chicken stock, and cook for 15 minutes, with the lid on.
3. Remove lid, and cook for a further 10 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, cook for the last 15 minutes, or until sauce is thick and the tomatoes are soft. season to taste and serve.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Recipe: Stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash


I feel that now it is officially Autumn, and with the season of Autumn arrives the wonderful array of squashes and pumpkins! I use butternut squashes mostly, as I find them easier to prepare than most pumpkin varieties. I got the squashes from Linda's farm again and they were really sweet and had a great texture. They are smaller than the ones you get in the shops though, but in my experience I find that the smaller butternut squashes tend to be sweeter, so In the supermarket I usually avoid the larger ones. This is a lovely recipe, I used my own homegrown courgettes and tomatoes, and the goats cheese I got at a fabulous french market (at which i also bought some stunning gourmet coffees!)

Stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash (serves 4) £1.59 per portion with side salad.

2 small butternut squash, peeled and halved vertically
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

300g (about 1 or 2) courgettes, diced
1 red onion, thickly sliced
2 ripe large tomatoes, quartered
Drizzle olive oil
Salt and pepper
100g goat’s cheese, diced

35g wholemeal breadcrumbs
15g pine nuts
20g finely grated parmesan
1 tsp dried thyme

1. Heat the oven to 200C. Scoop out the seeds and some of the flesh, to make four “fill-able” halves. Put the butternut squash halves into a roasting tin, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, add some salt and pepper, and place in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
2. Put the courgettes, red onion, tomato, olive oil, salt and pepper into a roasting dish, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes (stir up halfway through).
3. Mix all the dry ingredients (breadcrumbs, pine nuts, parmesan and thyme) together in a bowl.
4. Remove the roasted vegetable mixture from the oven. Put into a bowl and mix together with the goats cheese. Stuff the butternut squash halves with the roast vegetable and goats cheese mixture. Top with the breadcrumb mixture.
5. Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the topping is crispy and golden. Serve!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Recipe: Tomato, Mozzarella and Chorizo Salad


What's so nice about this recipe is that apart from the mozzarella and chorizo, everything is from my garden. The tomatoes, the herbs and these lovely purple spring onions. The purple spring onions are really nice, they taste brilliant and rather spicy actually! I'm definitely growing them next year. Oh and that basil is "Greek basil"- it tastes the same but it's just got lots of little leaves instead of large ones. I am also very proud of my tomatoes as well, don't they look nice?? Super Proud. This is the first time I have grown a "full sized" variety of tomatoes (rather than cherry) and the two 'alicante' plants i have been growing have been producing some lovely tasty, ripe, red fruits. And they actually smell of proper tomatoes, not like those horrible anaemic looking spanish ones you get in the supermarkets. Growing my own has been totally worth it. This is a main course portion, lovely served with crusty buttered bread. It is also nice served in smaller bowls as part of a tapas menu.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Chorizo salad (serves 2 as a main dish)

4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 spring onions (red if possible) finely sliced
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful of fresh basil and parsley, chopped finely
1 tbsp red wine or cider vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
150g good mozzarella, torn into chunks
150g chorizo, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a bowl combine well all the ingredients except the chorizo.
2. Put a frying pan onto a high heat. Fry the chorizo for 4-5 minutes, until crispy. (The chorizo doesn’t need extra fat to cook it as it releases it’s own oils).
3. Meanwhile portion out the tomato salad mixture evenly into two bowls.
4. When the chorizo is ready, evenly add the chorizo to each bowl, and pour the orange oil over both the salads (there is a lot of flavour in the oils).
5. Season the salad to taste and serve with crusty bread.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recipe: Roast Celeriac,Chilli and Courgette Tart


I know, I know, celeriac is hardly very seasonal. I do try, especially since I started working at River Cottage, to keep my meals local and seasonal. Because to be honest i have learnt a lot about cooking seasonally from working there. Before i kind of knew the basics, like brussel sprouts in winter and strawberries in summer. But now i'm realising when individual vegetables come in and out of season, and which is the best time to be eating them. Celeriac become seasonal in October through to January. However, we had one in the fridge that needed using up and I hate wasting any food, so I combined the celeriac with some of my homegrown courgettes and one of the nice hot chillies I brought back from Edinburgh (bought them at a fantastic and very expensive deli called Valvona and Crolla).

Roast Celeriac and Courgette Tart (serves 4) £1.24 per portion, £1.37 with salad.

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small celeriac, peeled and cubed
550g (about 2) courgettes, diced
½ tsp Schwartz Cajun Spice Blend (a mix consisting mainly of chilli powder + cumin)
Salt and black pepper
120g crème fraiche
1 large red chilli, finely diced
Handful fresh coriander (stems and leaves) chopped
1 circle ready made short crust pastry
50g Lancashire cheese, crumbled
1 egg, whisked (for brushing)

1. Heat the oven to 180C. Put the celeriac into a roasting dish. Drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle over the Cajun spice blend, salt and pepper, and put in the oven for 15 minutes.
2. Add the courgettes and cook for another half an hour. Half way through cooking, stir the mixture up in the roasting tin (to assist even cookery). Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
3. Heat the oven up to 200C. In a bowl mix together the roasted celeriac, courgette, crème fraiche, chilli and coriander. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Place the circle of pastry onto the tray, and fold/pinch the edges of the pastry so there are raised edges to the circle.
4. In the circle of pastry, evenly add the roasted vegetable mixture. Sprinkle over the Lancashire cheese and brush the egg on the edges of the pastry. Place in the oven for 25 minutes, and serve.