Sunday, April 29, 2012

Recipe: Green Lentil and Vegetable Chilli

Made this very tasty chilli for my family last weekend- went down a storm! Dad had thirds, lol! Made it as it's very healthy, for part of my new diet/ healthy eating regime. I'm basically at the gymn 5 days a week, and i'm living mostly off soups, salad, wholegrain cereal, fruit- and then a balanced healthy evening meal. Got to be a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables- which is what this is. Was doing really well on this diet until yesterday- when my boyfriend suggested we go and get a Toby Carvery- what a disaster! Almost 5 pounds gained back just from 1 day! Just not fair really. This dish is also quite nice with a bit of soft goats cheese crumbled on top.

Green Lentil and Veg Chilli (serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery sticks, diced
1 red chilli, finely diced
Big handful fresh coriander, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
250g chestnut mushrooms, diced
1 courgette, diced
1 pepper, diced
250g green lentils
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp marmite
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste
Coriander for garnish

1. Sautee the onion, garlic, celery, chilli and coriander in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, courgettes, pepper and carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add all the other ingredients and cook covered, on a medium heat, for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove the lid, and cook on a high heat for about 5-10 minutes- or until thickened. Season to taste, and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Recipe: Traditional Chicken and Vegetable Casserole

This is a really basic casserole that is always a staple in my flat. It always makes exactly the right amount for two, it's really comforting, it's got potatoes in there so it's filling enough not to have to have mash or bread with it, and it's just scrumptious. I think everyone has a dish that they cook often, because they normally have all those ingredients in the fridge/cupboards, and this is one of mine!

Chicken and Vegetable Casserole (serves 2)

50g butter
1 white onion
1 clove garlic
2 leeks
1 large chicken breast, diced
100ml sherry
1 tsp dried rosemary
500ml vegetable stock
2 tsp lemon juice
1 large potato
2 carrots
2 tsp bisto gravy granules
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cook the onion, garlic, leeks and chicken in the butter in a casserole dish for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the sherry and rosemary, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, lemon juice, carrots, and potatoes, cover with the lid, and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
2. Remove casserole from the oven, add 1 tsp of bisto, stir until well combined, and return to the oven for a further hour.
3. Remove from the oven, add another tsp of bisto, and cook on the hob, stirring often, until the casserole has thickened enough. Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley and serve!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recipe: Gazpacho

For those of you that don't know, Gazpacho is a traditional spanish vegetable soup- that is served cold. Sounds like a strange dish, but it is absolutely delicious, healthy and refreshing. I served these as part of a canape night- had my first ever paid canape job the other day!! It was so exciting and I think everything went down really well. I was only left with 7 canapes after making 200 of them, so im guessing everyone liked the food. Nick made me some business cards too, I feel like a "real adult" now that I have business cards! This recipe works very well just as a bowl of soup,with some nachos on the side, not only just as canapes- when making it as a soup or starter, you dont need to add the water. The water is needed in the canape mix so that it's a thin enough texture to drink from the shot glasses.

Gazpacho (makes 40 shots)


1/4 Red onion
1 Cucumber
500g Ripe Tomatoes
1 Clove of Garlic
1 red pepper
200ml tomato juice
200ml water
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar
Lots of salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh basil for garnish

1. Roughly chop onions, cucumber, tomato and garlic. Deseed the pepper and roughly chop.
2. Place all of these ingredients in a blender, and blend until completely smooth. Since this recipe makes a lot, liquidise the ingredients in batches, depending on the size of the blender. You may need to add more water, add as much as you need until you have a “shot-drinkable” consistency.
3. Season to taste, and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Serve with some freshly chopped basil leaves.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Recipe: Mushroom Stroganoff

This was a nice quick little lunch I made for myself today- rich and creamy and satisfying- with a bit of a kick! Traditionally stroganoff is made with beef, but I remember mushroom stroganoff always being served as the vegetarian alternative in my school canteen. Had this with some rice, but it also awesome with chips, as well as great on the side of a juicy steak!

Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side dish-  £1.28 per portion as a side

30g butter
½ white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
180g chestnut mushrooms, diced
100ml sherry
½ tsp hot smoked paprika (plus extra for garnish)
120ml single cream
Splash of lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Fry the onions and garlic in the butter for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further two minutes. Add the sherry and paprika, and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add the cream, lemon juice, and plenty of seasoning, and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. Serve, garnished with a load of fresh parsley and a sprinkling of smoked paprika.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Recipe: Pork Mince Pie

I never knew how cheap pork mince was- it's even cheaper than beef in fact, £2 for 500g!?! That's insane! I cooked this for my brother and one of his mates that he had round, i went over to cook for him as our parents are currently away in Sharm El Sheik and so Michael is left all on his own. And he can't cook a damn thing- seriously, he can't even open a tin!!! He's been surviving off pot noodles and scotch eggs ever since theyve been away i think. This was a very filling and substantial meal, that kept both me and two hungry teenage boys happy. The pie can be a little messy when it comes to serving, as the mince kinda falls out everywhere, but the flavour is fantastic!!

Pork Mince Pie (serves 3) £1.76 per person with 1/2 tin baked beans on the side!

3 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp marjoram
500g pork mince
2 tbsp Worchester sauce
2 generous teaspoons English mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry sheet
Milk or beaten egg to glaze

1. Fry the onion, garlic and marjoram in the olive oil, for 10 minutes, stirring often. Increase heat to high, add the pork mince, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the Worchester sauce and mustard, and cook for another 5 minutes. Season to taste and set aside to cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the pastry sheet on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Cut the pastry in half, pile all the mince mixture onto one half, and top with the other half. Crimp the pastry at the edges, and cut a couple of holes in the top of the pie to avoid soggy pastry.
3. Brush with beaten egg or milk, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Recipe: Sweet Potato and Chilli Bean Pie

This is sooo scrummy! A really comforting lunch that I made this damp and dreary Easter monday. Theres something very comforting and nice though about being all cosy and warm with a big bowl of food indoors, whilst looking out at all the cold rain outside. I feel a bit scared about the next couple of months though, ive got so much Uni work to do! I', having to write a 2000 word lab report on making a smoothie. Yeah i'm actually not joking!! I tend to serve this dish with some sour cream or herby yoghurt, as it does have a slight kick to it!

Sweet Potato and Chilli Bean Pie (serves 3) £1.47 with a 50g dollop sour cream on the side each!

20g butter (plus extra for the mash topping)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 white onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
Large handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 leek, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stick, diced
½ tsp garam masala
1 x 41g Schwartz Chilli con Carne recipe spice mix
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Pinch of sugar
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Splash of milk
1 tsp cumin seeds
15g finely grated parmesan

1. Sautee the onion, carrot, garlic, chilli, celery, coriander and leeks in the oil and butter for 20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil, and boil the sweet potatoes for about 25 minutes, or until soft.
2. Add the garam masala, chilli spice mix, tomatoes, and kidney beans to the vegetable mixture and stir until well combined. Season to taste, and pour into a baking dish, and smooth over until even. Preheat the oven to 200C.
3. Drain and mash the sweet potatoes with some butter and a little splash of milk, until the mash is smooth. Top the kidney bean mixture with the sweet potato mash, smooth over, and create a lined pattern with a fork on top of the mash (this helps the topping to get crispier).
4. Top evenly with the cumin seeds, and then the grated parmesan, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Finally, put under a hot grill for about 5 minutes or until the top has browned and has turned slightly crispy. Serve!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Recipe: Macaroni Cheese

I expect that every family has their own take on the classic dish that is macaroni cheese. It's simple, tasty, cheap, and very easy to make. Some people add bacon, or roasted tomatoes- some versions even include beef, or red wine! Had a disastrous attempt at making one about a month ago using red wine and smoked bacon- actually ended up tasting revolting- Cheers metro recipes for making me waste a load of nice ingredients! My mum makes a really nice version with mushrooms, and cheese sauce made with wholemeal flour, thats very interesting too. This version has three different cheeses in it, which I think just gives it a great savoury edge (but lets not think about the calorie count, ey!). I served this with some delicious new season asparagus, just steamed with a bit of lemon butter on top.

Macaroni Cheese serves 2 £1.66 per serving with peas as a side dish.

250g macaroni
40g butter
40g flour
500ml semi-skimmed milk
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp crushed garlic
100g grated red leister cheese
15g finely grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
100g grated cheddar

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cook the macaroni in boiling water, according to it’s packet instructions. Meanwhile, make the white sauce (like you would normally) with all the other ingredients, except the cheddar cheese.
2. Drain the macaroni and add it to the cheese sauce. Stir to combine well, season to taste, and pour into a large baking dish. Top with the cheddar cheese, bake in the oven for 30 minutes, and then serve!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Recipe: Sundried Tomato and Basil Frittatas

This is another canape recipe that I will be making for my friends birthday party next week, and it's a very quick and simple variety to make. I was surprised how much a lot of these "frittatas" rose, almost like souffles, but they settle down once you get them out of the muffin tin and onto a plate or tray. This recipe can also be a fantastic filling for a full-sized quiche.

Sundried tomato frittatas (makes about 36)

12 medium eggs
60g finely chopped sundried tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
Black pepper and a little salt
Butter (for greasing)

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs well. Add all other ingredients to the beaten egg.
2. Butter/ grease all the individual holes in two mini-muffin tins. Spoon the egg mixture 2/3rds into each hole (do not pour, as this will mean the later fritatas will have more sundried tomato than egg mixture, as the sundried tomato sinks to the bottom of the mix).
3. Bake in the oven for about 14 minutes, or until fully cooked. Plate and consume either hot or cold.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Recipe: Asian tomato and rice soup

I had to make another rather quick dinner, from the bits and bobs we had in the house last night, before rushing off to a comedy show, so i made another rather nice soup! It's almost a fusion dish really, with tomato not really being added to many chinese/ asian dishes, but it is absolutely scrummy- sweet, tangy and a little bit spicy! If you cant find the wiltshire chilli farm sauce, any sweet chilli sauce of some sort will do!

Asian Tomato and Rice Soup (serves 2) £1.19 per serving with bread and butter.

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
½ white onion, diced finely
1 garlic clove, diced finely
½ red chilli, finely diced
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp crushed ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 litre vegetable stock
40g The Wiltshire Chilli Farm Fruity chilli sauce
40g basmati rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly chopped coriander for garnish

1. Sautee the onion, red chilli and garlic in the rapeseed oil for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the ginger, tomato paste and ground coriander and cook for a further 2 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, sugar, stock and chilli sauce, and boil for 10 minutes. Add the rice and cook on a high heat for a further 12 minutes. Season to taste, garnish with fresh coriander and serve!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Recipe: Chinese Chicken Egg Drop Soup

Yesterday I had a bit of a longer break than normal from work, so i figured i would have time to cook something for my lunch. This recipe is FAB, definitely takes less than 30 minutes to create, infact i would hazard that it can take even less than 20. If any of you have had chinese takeaways or been to a chinese restaurant before, you may be familiar with the "chicken and sweetcorn soup" they serve, the recipe of which is usually identical in each restaurant. That dish is a variation (the thicker version we all know of is apparently an "American-Chinese" invention) of the traditional "Egg Drop" or "Egg flower" soup. By adding the egg in a slow stream whilst the soup is boiling, it creates delicate thin strands of cooked egg within the soup that creates a fabulous texture. I have also made this exact same recipe with some cooked egg noodles added in at the end and that worked pretty well too.

Chicken Egg Drop Soup (serves 2) £1.84 with prawn crackers on the side.

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 finely chopped spring onions
1 small cooked chicken breast, diced finely
1 150g tin sweet corn
900ml chicken stock
20ml dark soy sauce
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Sautee the spring onion in the rapeseed oil for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add all the other ingredients except egg, and boil for 5 minutes.
2. Whilst the soup is boiling rapidly, pour the beaten egg in a steady stream whilst stirring constantly, to create thin strands of cooked beaten egg within the soup. Do this four about 2 minutes or until all the egg is cooked.
3. Season to taste and serve!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Recipe: Crushed Pea, Spring Onion and Mint Linguini

I thought considering spring is in full swing now that I ought to switch to the more lighter "zestier" recipes perhaps. All the new leaves on the trees and all the lush sunshine has always made me think that if Spring had to have a definitive colour, i reckon it would definitely be green. This is a really great, fresh, healthy recipe- that is not only great as a main course, but also a fab starter (i usually serve a small amount of it with a large pot of olive on the side) or as a side dish to an Italian meat dish. Fresh peas can of course be used instead of frozen if you like, but they will probably require a bit more cooking that explained in this recipe.

Crushed pea, spring onion, and mint linguini (serves 4 as a main, or 8 as a side dish or appetiser) £1.04 per portion

500g dried linguini
350g frozen peas
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling later)
2 tbsp olive oil
6 spring onions, sliced finely
40g finely grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Put the frozen peas in a bowl and pour enough boiling water (from a kettle) to cover them. Leave them for a few minutes to defrost in the water.
2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the linguini, and cook according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, drain the peas, and “pulse” in a food processor with the mint, extra virgin olive oil, and a little seasoning- you want it “crushed” rather than completely smooth and blended, so don’t blend for too long.
3. In another large pan, fry the spring onions in the normal olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the crushed pea mixture to this, the cooked linguini (along with a ladleful of the starchy water that the pasta had been cooking in) and parmesan. Stir around with tongs on a high heat for two minutes until everything is hot and well combined.
4. Season to taste, and serve, with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the top.