Sunday, June 24, 2012

Recipe: Harissa Turkey with Pomegranate Couscous and Tzatziki

This is something I quickly whipped up in my lunch break from work today. It's really quick to make (20 minutes), healthy, filling, and soooo tasty. I love harissa- if you are unsure as to what it is, it is a tunisian spice paste made mostly of chilli, but mixed with other ingredients like peppers, onions, carrots, and cumin. It can be varying levels of spiciness so finding the brand you like is important. My favourite is Bart's harissa paste, lots of flavour and not too spicy for me. All the main supermarkets sell it so you won't have a problem finding it- you'll find it in the "world" section in supermarkets (where you find a mishmash of things like miso paste and dolmades and various other cool ingredients).

Harissa Turkey, with pomegranate and coriander couscous and tzatziki
2 turkey breast escalopes
2 tsp Harissa paste
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Cous Cous
150g cous cous
180ml boiled water
Seeds from half a pomegranate
Large handful fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbsp balsamic salad dressing (pre-made or home-made)
Salt and pepper to taste

250g natural yoghurt
½ cucumber, grated
½ red onion, finely diced
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp garlic paste (or vey finely chopped garlic)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. In a roasting tray, lay the turkey escalopes out. Cover in the Harissa paste, some olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, put boiling water over the couscous and cover for at least 5 minutes (or until the couscous is cooked). Add the pomegranate, coriander, dressing to the cooked couscous, season to taste, then set aside.
3. Meanwhile, Mix together all the tzatziki ingredients together in a bowl, and season to taste.
4. Remove the turkey from the oven, and serve with the couscous and a few generous tablespoons of tzatziki.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Recipe: Greek Salad

Hey guys. So "Widcombe Rising" is Bath's biggest street festival, it is a big mish mash of art, drama, music, food, drink and festivities- and my boyfriend Nick and Natural Theatre Company director Ralph Oswick organise it every other year . An estimated 8000 people visit Widcombe Rising on the day, and it is always fantastic and fun filled. This year,since it was all "Olympiad" themed, i decided to have my own stall selling Greek salads! I did really well actually, and reckon i would have sold out if it hadnt have rained a bit on the day. This is the recipe that i used to fill my greek salad pots, it's a main course sized portion for 1, that can of course easily be multiplied to feed a family, or to make a fab side dish. In the picture i've just used red peppers (because i ran out of green, lol) but it's always good for appearance sake to use different coloured peppers. Also, this dish is so healthy- each portion makes up 3 of your five a day!!

Greek Salad (serves 1 as a main course)

100g tomatoes, sliced into wedges (or halved cherry tomatoes)
5 black olives
20g thinly sliced red onion
¼ (50g) peeled and sliced cucumber
30g (1/4) red pepper
30g (1/4) green pepper
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
50g feta (diced into cubes)
Pinch dried oregano

1. Combine all the ingredients except the feta and oregano together in a mixing bowl. Plate up the Greek salad, top with the feta, and sprinkle the dried herbs over the top. Serve!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recipe: Turkey Saag

Hey guys! Sorry I havent posted in a while, but i've been doing a lot of shifts at Cosy Club lately, and then I had to cater for a big street festival on sunday (which i'll fill you in on all the details in a couple of days). This is another really nice recipe incorporating turkey, a meat that I am becoming very fond of at the moment. It's just nice to know that the meat i'm consuming is incredibly low in fat and very high in nutrients at the same time. I've converted Nick onto it as well, he loves it too now. "Saag" is the Indian word for Spinach, and you will often see Chicken (Murgh) or Lamb (Goscht) Saag in Indian restaurant menus, although in my recipe i chucked in a few new potatoes as well to make it a little more filling. PS: I made the paste using my new hand blender/ processor attachment thing, am in love with it SOOO much!!

Turkey Saag (serves 4)

Curry Paste:
½ white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 green chilli, seeded
Small handful fresh coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp olive oil
500g diced turkey breast
1 tin coconut cream
300ml chicken stock
1 red pepper, diced
125g (about 3) new potatoes, diced
200g spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Coriander for garnish

1. In a food processor, blend together all the curry paste ingredients until it forms a paste. Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan, and add the curry paste, frying for a couple of minutes. Add the turkey, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add all the other ingredients (except the spinach), and cook for a further 20 minutes on a high heat, stirring often. Add the spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste and serve with some extra fresh coriander.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Competition: New Covent Garden Soup of the Month: Summer Green Minestrone!

Hey guys! One of the most exciting wins of the last couple of years is having one of my recipes developed and produced by New Covent Garden Soups! This months "Soup of the month" is my "Summer Green Minestrone with Smoked Bacon". The theme of the competition was "Shape up with Soup" and they thought my recipe fitted the bill perfectly- containing lots of healthy green veggies, but with the flavourful addition of smoked bacon.

It's an adaption from a recipe on this website, they had to use white onions instead of red, add some potatoes, and blend it up a bit- so it's not exactly the same as my original recipe, but I had it for my lunch today and i think it tastes great! Infact I think it's one of NCG's best soups actually! Am so happy about the whole thing, and this will look fab on my C.V. when i want to go into food product development after my degree. Look how happy I am, haha!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Recipe: Boursin, Parma Ham and Artichoke Bruschetta

This is another recipe I created for the Bel cheese academy, the most yummy Italian style starter, or perfect when you just fancy a light lunch or a quick bite to eat. You can use other types of cold cuts instead of parma, such as serrano ham or salami. To make it an even quicker lunch, you can use the chargrilled artichokes you get from delis instead of roasting your own. In this recipe, using normal boursin or boursin cuisine is fine, you dont need to make any adaptions.

Boursin, Parma Ham and Artichoke bruschetta (serves 5 as a starter)

For the artichokes:
1 in artichoke hearts, in water
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic paste
½ tsp chilli flakes
Salt and pepper

For the bruschetta:

5 large slices ciabatta or tiger bread
Drizzle olive oil
100g boursin cuisine garlic and herb
5 slices Parma ham
50g mixed watercress and rocket salad
50g toasted walnuts

1. Drain and rinse the tinned artichokes, and cut into quarters. Mix the extra virgin olive oil and garlic paste together well. Place the artichokes on a non stick baking tray, cover in the garlic oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Cook under a hot grill for about 10 minutes, or until slightly charred. Set aside.
2. Brush the slices of bread with olive oil and put under the grill for a couple of minutes, until toasted. Spread with boursin cuisine, and top each bruschetta evenly with the artichokes, parma ham, salad and walnuts. Serve!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Competition: BritMums Lean on Turkey Competition- Spiced Turkey Burgers with Avocado Relish

Hey guys. So Britmums and Lean on Turkey have teamed together to host their "Lean on Turkey" recipe competition, the prize of which for 6 very lucky people are £250 and a personal masterclass with no other than Marco Pierre White!! I thought I would enter one of my favourite, summery turkey recipes- which are these very simple turkey burgers! Looking outside the window, it isn't really barbeque weather- but i'm really hoping the weather will perk up again soon! The competition is open until the 11th June, and you must be a food blogger to enter. Heres the link, and hope you enjoy! If the people need to contact me if they have chosen this as a winner, my email is

Turkey Burgers with Avocado Relish (serves 4)

6 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp Curry paste (preferably Korma)
500g turkey breast mince
Salt and pepper

Avocado Relish
1 ripe avocado, diced
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ red onion, finely diced
1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
Squeeze of fresh lemon
½ tsp Worchester sauce
Couple of drops of tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste

4 x Burger Baps
2 tbsp sunflower oil (for cooking)

1. Mix together the burger ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined (this is the easiest to do with your hands. Form the mince into 4 burgers, put on a plate, and keep in the fridge for 15 minutes (this helps the burgers keep their shape whilst cooking).
2. Mix together all the relish ingredients in a bowl, season to taste, and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put a large frying pan or griddle pan onto a high heat with the sunflower oil, and fry the burgers for 2 minutes each side. Place the cooked burgers on a tray and in the oven for 10 minutes.
4. Serve the turkey burgers in floury white baps, topped with the avocado relish, and with salad and fries/wedges if you like.

*if you are cooking on the barbeque, just put the turkey burgers onto the barbie, and turn them ever couple of minutes, until they are no longer pink in the middle and serve.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Recipe: Creamy Boursin, Leek and Mushroom Tagliatelli

This is another recipe I have written for Bel, and it is as tasty as it is calorific! I suppose unfortunately pretty much none of my Bel recipes have been "low fat", but when you're dealing with items such as Boursin and Leerdamer, you just have to think of them as slightly indulgent I suppose. If using normal garlic and herb boursin (not "cuisine") i reccomend that you increase the milk to 200ml instead.

Creamy Boursin, leek and mushroom Tagliatelli (serves 2)

200g dried Tagliatelli
2 tbsp olive oil
15g butter
1 leek, sliced thinly
125g mushrooms, sliced thinly
200g boursin cuisine
150ml semi skimmed milk
50g wafer thin smoked ham, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Sautee the leek in the butter and olive oil for 5 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. In a bowl, mix together the milk and boursin cuisine until smooth, and mix into the leeks and mushrooms.
3. Add the drained Tagliatelli, stir to coat, and once the sauce is thick enough (the pasta absorbs the liquid very quickly) serve, with the diced smoked ham.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review: Circo Bar, Bath

Imagine my surprise when I hear that one of my very good friends, who I worked with a couple of years ago at River Cottage, had become a head chef! First of all, this makes me feel kinda old (we’re both 21 for gawds sake!!) but also I must admit I was a little surprised. Hannah won’t mind me saying that she’s definitely a bit of a hippie. Glastonbury, harem pants, the whole she-bang. The most chilled out, lovely chef (and person in fact) that I have ever worked with. As soon as I found out she had become the head chef of the place I HAD to try this food out. I know Hannah is a great chef, and has similar tastes/ ideas about food as me, so when visiting Circo I pretty much knew already that I’d be getting a damn fine meal.

I only just realised that Circo even did food actually- I have been here before but for late night drinks/ clubbing. Hannah’s menu is simple, but mouth-watering- there are a couple of sharing platters (a meaty or veggie one), a selection of delicious sounding home-made pizzas, a selection of tapas dishes (about eight or so), a few side dishes and a choice of two puddings. Since I suppose I was only going out for a light dinner, before going out for drinkies with mates, I didn’t fancy a whole big pizza to myself- so I ordered a couple of tapas. I ordered the chicken and mango skewers, with tzatziki dip, and the homemade spiced potato wedges with aioli. I also had a couple of cocktails with these- Circo do some very good cocktails, they make a fantastically authentic tasting Cosmopolitan, although in my opinion their margaritas need a bit of work.

The skewers were STUNNING, the chicken was very tender and the mango had gone all beautiful and caramelised from being on the griddle, dipped into some very fresh tzatziki with plenty of fresh coriander garnished over the dish. The wedges (of which was a very generous portion!) were also supremely tasty, with a good Aioli (garlic mayonnaise- was chatting to Hannah afterwards and she said “well theres nothing nicer than a good homemade garlicky mayonnaise is there?” I certainly had to agree with her!). The food was actually very very good value as well, considering the quality of the food and the ingredients, and the fact that she makes everything from scratch. If I remember right, the pizzas are about a tenner and the tapas dishes are around £5 each. So I ended up spending £16 on drinks! (The cocktails there are £8 each, rather expensive I think!) and just £10 on food, which was fantastic value as I’d had such a nice meal and was completely stuffed! The bar staff were all pretty friendly as well actually. I would have to give a 10/10 for food (and that’s not just mate rates- I definitely mean it!) and an 8/10 for service, giving an overall score of 9! If any of you are ever in Bath, you have to check this lovely little cocktail bar/ restaurant out- its fantastic!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Recipe: Pulled BBQ Beef, Leerdammer and Jalapeno Toasties

This is a recipe I created for Bel, and for the British Sandwich association. It's really scrumptious and is a great thing to have as a quick dinner or lunch. Also, it serves 8 (as i was kind of developing a recipe that caterers would use), but it can be a great crowd pleaser at home- bringing it to the table at a barbeque or party is great because people can just pick up a slice of one and nom it all down very easily! I have used Leerdammer Mature here, as that is what i was provided with, but feel free to use normal or low fat leerdammer instead if you wish.

Pulled BBQ Beef, Leerdammer and Jalapeno Toasties (makes 8 toasted sandwiches)

The slow cooked BBQ beef
8.8kg brisket joint of beef
300ml orange juice
500ml water
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
6 crushed cloves garlic
(this should end up making 500g beef)
340g BBQ Sauce

(Makes enough beef for 8 toasties)

Per Toastie
105g pulled BBQ beef
15g green or red sliced pickled jalapenos
2 slices Leerdamer Mature
2 slices thick white bread

1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Put all the Beef ingredients (except the BBQ sauce) in a large deep baking tray, wrap in tin foil tightly twice (so no steam can escape) and cook in the oven for 3 hours.
2. Remove from the oven, and remove the pieces of beef from the other ingredients, into a mixing bowl. The liquid can be discarded, or can be used to flavour soups, stews, casseroles or chillis.
3. Shred the cooked beef and mix with the bbq beef until well combined. Allow to cool.
4. Assemble the toasties, and put in a toastie machine for 5 minutes, or until the bread has become golden brown and the cheese has melted. Cut on the diagonal, and serve- on its own, or with salad, coleslaw, fries or wedges.

*The bbq beef, once cooled, can be kept in the fridge for three days.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Recipe: Chicken, Bacon and Boursin Pie

You will be getting a load of Bel cheese recipes from me over the next few weeks. As you guys may remember about 1/2 a year ago i won an Ipad from Bel, and then after this they asked me whether i wanted to become a Brand Ambassador. I of course agreed, and whilst they have been sending me loads of lovely cheese, i've been busy developing scrumptious recipes! In the recipes i used a product called "Boursin Cuisine"- which is something caterers can find in bulk, but it's basically the same as normal boursin, only a bit more creamier. If you cant get boursine cuisine, instead just add 50ml single cream to the recipe as well as the normal Boursin you get from supermarkets.

Chicken, Bacon and Boursin Pie (serves 2)

1 tbsp olive oil
6 spring onions, finely sliced
5 rashers thin streaky bacon, diced
400g diced chicken breast
200ml skimmed milk
200g Boursin Garlic and Herb Cuisine
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 sheet ready rolled short crust pastry (or homemade)

1. Sautee the spring onions and bacon in the olive oil on a medium high heat for five minutes. Add the chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the skimmed milk and cook for a further 10 minutes.
2. Add the boursin cuisine, increase the heat to high, and keep stirring the mixture until it has become quite a thickened consistency. Season to taste, and set aside to cool.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a greased pie dish with short crust pastry, then bunch up and roll out the rest of the short crust pastry thinly. Spoon the pie filling into the pastry evenly, top with the rest of the rolled pastry, and trim any excess away from the sides of the pie dish.
4. Decorate the edges of the pastry, and add a pastry leaf or some other design for the middle of the pie, brush with beaten egg, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.