Friday, August 30, 2013

Cheap Food Factfile: Apples

I decided I would start creating little “ingredient fact-files” on my blog, so that you guys can learn a little about the history, science, nutritional information, and funny facts regarding some of the foods you cook with and eat. All of these ingredients I’ll feature will be cheap, and will be nutritious- these are my main focuses. Firstly, I thought I would start with apples.

Price per kg: £1.30

The apple is a seeded fruit, that originated from Central Asia. Since then, it has been grown for thousands of years in Europe, and was brought to North America by the English and Irish settlers.

There are over 7500 different varieties of apples, with the most popular in the UK being:

·         Pink Lady
·         Cox Orange Pippin
·         Honeycrisp
·         Fuji
·         Granny Smith
·         Gala
·         Golden/ Red Delicious
·         Braeburn 

Health Benefits
Theres a reason why they say “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”! As well as being one of your 5 a day fruit and vegetable portions, it is also low in calories, and a good source dietary fibre. It is perhaps this high fibre content that links the consumption of apples with lower risk of colon cancer, and also aids with weight loss in overweight/obese individuals- with dietary fibre keeping you fuller for longer.

Nutritional Information  (per 100g)
Calories- 52kcal
(of which Sugars)- 10.39g
Protein- 0.26g
Fat- 0.17g
Dietary Fibre- 2.4g

We British think that apples are an English staple, but in fact almost 50% of the world’s apples are produced by China. The two other biggest producers are America and Turkey.

Interesting Apple Fact
Apple seeds are poisonous! Don’t panic though, a few swallowed seeds will do you no harm, but a whole cup of the things (about 120g) will kill you! There is a chemical in the seeds, called amygdalin, which is like a mix of sugar and cyanide.

Ways we like them!
The most popular way of consuming apples in this country (apart from eating them raw) is in an apple pie or an apple crumble. Apple sauce is very popular in both USA and in England (to put with roast pork!). Apples can also of course be pressed and filtered to make apple juice, and can also be fermented to create many alcoholic beverages (particularly popular in England and France) such as Cider and Calvados. Cider vinegar is also a very popular ingredient for use in salad dressings.

I’m not too much of a sweet girl (we all knew that!), but I quite like apples- the main ways I like to have them is chopped up and mixed with yoghurt and honey for breakfast, or, I like chucking 1 or two into blended soups- they go particularly well in tomato/red pepper soups, or spiced butternut squash/sweet potato soup, because they add a nice sweetness to them.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Recipe: Sausage and Squash Cassoulet

A "Cassoluet" is a French slow cooked dish, incorporating pork and white beans. Traditionally it can be a mix of sausage, pork belly and duck, and using cannelini or flageolet beans. This recipe uses just sausages, to make it cheaper, and I used butterbeans because they didn't sell cannelini/flageolet at my local sainsburys. Depending on the region, the dish is normally topped with breadcrumbs and herbs. Like the Moroccan "tagine" or the English "casserole", the cassoulet is named after the earthenware dish it is cooked in- the cassole. I cook the whole thing in my trusty le creuset casserole pot, but you can cook this on the hob in a pan, then transfer the mix to a baking dish before topping with breadcrumbs.

Sausage and Squash Cassoulet (serves 3)
6 plump pork sausages
30g wild garlic butter (or 30g butter + 2 crushed garlic cloves)
1 white onion, diced
½ butternut squash, peeled and diced into large chunks.
1 tbsp dried rosemary
100ml cider
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
300g butternut squash/sweet potato soup
250ml beef stock
1 tin butterbeans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
100g breadcrumbs
1. Grill the sausages under a hot grill until well-cooked/browned. Remove from under the grill, allow to cool, slice, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180C. In an ovenproof dish (I use my le creuset casserole dish), fry the onions, squash, and rosemary in the butter for 10 minutes, stirring often.
2. Add the cider and tomatoes, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the reserved sausages, soup, stock, beans and seasoning, and stir until well combined. Top with the breadcrumbs, put in the oven (uncovered!) for 1 hour 15 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven and serve!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Recipe: Herby Toad in the Hole

My first ever toad in the hole- and it worked, yay!!! Admittedly, I overcooked this one a bit, but no harm done- just trimmed the burnedy bit off the top. The important thing is that it rose beautifully, and tasted fantastic. I served this with a homemade onion and cider gravy, and buttered mixed veg.

Herby Toad in the Hole (serves 2)
5 plump pork sausages
1 red onion, sliced into thick wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
3 eggs
170g plain flour
185ml milk
1 tbsp dried rosemary
Plenty of salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Prick the sausages, and arrange the sausages and red onion wedges in a large baking dish. Pour over the olive oil, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, flour, milk, rosemary and seasoning well, until you have a smooth thick batter. Remove the sausages from the oven, pour over the batter, and put back in the oven for 35 minutes.

3. Remove from the oven, and serve!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: My Ten Favourite Money Saving Foods

A couple of days ago I wrote a review about various ways of saving money on your food budget. This post is about my 15 favourite foods to buy when on a budget, in order to stay healthy, full, and in the money.

First of all, the starches are a man's best friend, so my first three favourites are carb heavy:
1) Pasta- 39p per 500g from Sainsburys (Basics pasta shapes and Basics spaghetti)
Pasta is a lifesaver, and a student staple, because of it's ability to fill you up, the easiness of preparation, and that fact you can add almost anything to it to make a meal. Basics pasta, with a tin of tomatoes, jazzed up with a stock cube and a pinch of mixed herbs, is one of the easiest cheapest meals that i prepare regularly. Also, if you end up cooking too much of it, you can mix it with a dressing/other ingredients and turn that into a nifty pasta salad packed lunch. Also, cooked pasta can be mixed with various leftovers, topped with breadcrumbs and turned into a quick pasta bake. The options are endless! Couscous, it's smaller cousin, at 71p per 500g, is also great for packed lunches, and very quick to prepare, just requiring a bowl and some boiling water.

2) Rice- 40p per 1kg from Sainsburys (Basic long grain white rice)
Rice, even cheaper than pasta, is another carb heavy staple, that is very versatile. I often use it on the side of numerous meals- particularly curries and tagines. It can of course, also be made into rice salads for packed lunches- as well as working as a thickener for sauces and soups (add a tbsp of dry rice during the cooking process to aid thickening). Main meals can be made using rice and a few other ingredients also- such as Indian biryani, Paella, and Chinese fried rice dishes.

3) Potatoes- £2.40 per 2.5kg (Bagged Sainsburys white potatoes)

A bit more expensive than the dried staples, but an essential part of budget cooking. The phrase "cheap as chips" was created for a reason- potatoes are very cheap, versatile, filling, and also unpeeled are very high in vitamin C. Used in soups to thicken, mashed, boiled, roasted- you name it! Leftover mash can be made into all sorts of things too- try mixing with an egg and some leftover vegetables/ diced onions, form into cakes, and fry a few minutes each side- and you've got bubble and squeak cakes, a very economical and tasty dish. I have heard from blogs that the cheapest way to go with potatoes is to get canned potatoes- i have never tried them, but checking online, they do seem much cheaper than the fresh variety (43p per kg rather than 96p per kg).

Now onto our fruit and veg. In the majority of cases, fruit and vegetables are cheaper than meat, so when cooking meals, so it's good to choose recipes with plenty of veg, pulses and starchy carbohydrates, whilst using a small amount of meat. In fact, it's economical, and fairly healthy, to have at least 1 "meat free day" a week. When it comes to fresh produce on a budget, steer clear of chillies, peppers, fresh herbs, salads, berries (except strawberries, they are fairly cheap in the summer) exotic mushrooms (e.g shitake) and exotic fruits (e.g. fresh figs).

4) Broccoli- £2.50 per kilogram (Sainsburys, loose)
Broccoli is one of the cheapest dark green vegetables you can buy, and is one of Britains most popular vegetables also. I think everyone (apart from fussy children i suppose) loves broccoli, and as well as making a great veg to put in recipes, it seems to go very well as a side dish for the majority of main meals, with a little butter. Broccoli Cheese (Broccoli with a basic cheese sauce on top, gratinated in the oven) is a favourite cheap eat of mine, which i tend to have with buttered white bread- not the healthiest/most well balanced meals I know, but it fills a hole. I'm not sure of the per kg price, but savoy cabbage can end up lasting for ages- put a quarter in a soup, quarter in a curry, quarter steamed with butter as a side, and maybe 1/4 for a posh coleslaw packed lunch salad- bobs your uncle. For some reason in Sainsburys their organic savoy cabbages are the same price as their "normal ones"- but the organic ones are much bigger- so i always buy them, weird huh?

5) Large White Onions- 90p per kg (Sainsburys loose)
Onions definitely have to be on the list, because as many of us cooks know, onions are the base for any good recipe. Soups, sauces, curries- everything. In fact tonight, because i have a bag of onions in the fridge and not much else, i'll be making a french onion soup, and serve it with some reduced bread i'll get from the co-op in a minute. All i need is onions, bit of leftover booze (got some cider from last night), butter, garlic, stock, and any dried herbs I have in the cupboards. Dinner sorted! Garlic is also very important in bringing out the flavours of basic dishes- fresh is fairly pricey, but a jar of garlic granules are cheap and will last you a while.

6) Apples- £1.30 per kg (Sainsburys loose)
When it comes to getting your 5 a day, in this country apples are one of the cheapest fruits you can buy. I normally have them as snacks or a couple for breakfast. Apples can be put into main meals/savoury dishes too- I often chuck 1 or 2 into a vegetable soup or casserole, theyre nice diced up and added to salads, and if you have a load of them (we're talking about kilograms) you can make them very economically into a load of chutney, which'll last for years if made properly.

7) Bananas- 12p per kg (Sainsburys loose)
Filling, awesome as a snack, cheap, and a good source of  potassium fibre- a bunch of bananas is one of my regular weekly purchase, along with my milk and fruit juice. Sometimes i wonder why bananas are so cheap- surely all of em are imported from foreign countries, so you would have thought they'd be pricier than english fruits like apples and pears. Eh- i'm not complaining! Over-ripe bananas can also be blitzed up into smoothies and used for baking.

Next are the proteins, very important as part of a balanced diet. As mentioned earlier, i try not to eat meat at least once a week, which I usually manage, but the South African boyfriend is a little more fussy- i made a chickpea and veg curry with rice the other day, and he went out to get a kebab because "today I really really need some meat"- silly boy, he didn't know what he was missing!

8) Dried Pulses- Price Varies (£1.10-£2.18 per kg)
It is better value to get bags of dried pulses than to get pre-cooked ones in tins generally- but that's if you actually have the time to cook them. Cheapest dried pulse I found from Sainsburys was split peas, which was £1.10 per kg (which is funny actually, i seem to remember my local Co-Op have better prices for pulses) but most dried pulses (kidney beans/butter beans) were £2.18 per kg. Basic tinned kidney beans in salted water were 88p per kilo, but of course you must remember how much the dried beans will swell up when cooked, and therefore they are much better value.

9) Chicken- Sainsburys Whole Basics Chicken (£2.50 per kg) Basics Chicken Legs (£2.24 per kg) Basics Chicken Drumsticks (£2.65 per kg) Basics Skinless Chicken Breasts (£9 per kg)
Chicken is my meat of choice generally. It is cheaper than beef, lamb, or pork, and basically goes with everything- it being a delicious, but also a neautral flavour. You have noticed chicken breasts are much more expensive- but you have to think that a large part of the per kg price on whole chickens/legs/drumsticks is made up of the bone, which of course, we don't eat- whilst when you cook breasts, you eat all of it. Basically, once you've cooked it all and removed the bones, legs/drumsticks are the same price as breasts. Buying a whole chicken however, is definitely the cheapest way to go- if you have the time and energy to roast it, and cleverly use the leftovers (1st night roast dinner, 2nd night curry/stew, 3rd night fried rice/pasta dish, 4th night soup made with stock from the bones). I don't tend to buy Basic chicken, because i have ethical issues regarding battery farming, but at the moment Sainsburys large whole free range chicken (2kg) is the same £2.50 per kilo price than the basics range. And usually, all the time, they have a deal- buy 3 x 1.35kg chickens for £10 (£3.33 per kilo)- just buy one and put two in the freezer for later.

10) Beef Mince- £3.65 per kilo (Sainsburys Basic 400g)
Mince is a family staple, can be made into numerous recipes (trust me, you can buy books with titles such as "1000 ways with mince"), from Italian spag bol, to Indian Keema curries, to English shepherds pie. Mince goes a long way, and freezes well. Beef mince is generally the cheapest, although pork can be fairly cheap also- the cheapest mince i have found other than the basics beef (which i havent tried actually, but it sounds allright) is Sainsburys basic frozen pork+beef mince. If you are concerned with animal welfare, their "free range" 500g beef mince packs only £6 per kilo.

11) Eggs- 18p each (Basics x18 box) or 21p each (Free Range x15 box)
Everyone knows, eggs are cheap. I struggle a bit with eggs to be honest- i don't like omelettes, fried eggs, poached eggs or boiled eggs- the only way i like them is well-scrambled, or used in main course (egg fried rice, or in burgers/patties of some sort, or in baked items like cakes/cookies). A few scrambled eggs, with a little bit of butter, on a couple of slices of toast, is one of the cheapest breakfasts/lunches I can make. I would reccomend you guys to buy free range if your budget can handle it- they are only 3p more per egg, and free range are so much nicer! Again, as mentioned in a previous post, buying the eggs in bulk (15 or 18, not 6) are a much cheaper way of buying them. Beaten eggs are also very easily frozen, and then defrosted to use for scrambled eggs/baking).

12) Tinned Chopped Tomatoes- 88p per kg (Sainsburys Basic 400g carton)
A tin (or carton) of tomatoes can be used in almosr any dish to bulk it up and add flavour. It can also be used to make the quickest of dishes, add some herbs and a stock cube to make a pasta sauce, or add some cooked chicken and vegetables, and serve with couscous or rice.

13) Stock Cubes- £2 per kilogram (Sainsburys Basic 10x10 stock cubes)

Premade stock cubes is the quickest and easiest way of adding flavour to dishes, without having to use various expensive herbs, spices, and sauces in order to create a tasty sauce.

14) Dried Mixed Herbs- £23 per kilogram (Sainsburys basic 13g mixed herbs)
Yes I know, look at the price tag, it's mental! Herbs and spices are expensive, but i think as long as you have stock cubes, mixed herbs, and the spices below, you can create such an array of dishes. You don't want your cooking to be boring now do you?? However, with the price tag in mind, i reccomend you find out whether you have any mates with gardens that herbs are growing in. We know how expensive fresh and dried herbs are, so if you can possibly get it for free- go for it! Also, many hedges in this country are often made of bay trees. OK, i'm not saying go chop down bushes, but hedges won't miss a couple of bay leaves missing, and thats free to you isn't it? Why not ey?

15) Curry Powder- £12 per kilogram (Sainsburys basic 80g Medium Curry Powder)
Not only for use in curries, but mix it in with your roast vegetables, add to your casseroles and soups to give depth and warmth. Expensive, but flavourful, and in my house i would say neccessary! You may find, if you have an asian shop near you, that curry powders or garam masala can be bought in bulk for cheaper- but i don't have a big asian store near me to check this.

I hope you guys found this all interesting, and useful- over the years I have included some fairly expensive recipes, and i'm sure there will be more to come too, but 80/90% of the time i am eating on a budget, using these ingredients!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Recipe: Cheat's Olive and Ham Lasagne

Hey guys. Talking about quick and economic eating, this one does pretty well. If you make lasagne from scratch, it can take absolutely AAAAges (homemade pasta, homemade ragu. homemade white sauce etc.). It may not be the classiest of dinners, but last night when I got back in, and it was friday night and I was absolutely knackered from the week- but still wanted a good hearty homemade dinner, this hit the spot. I would have used fresh lasagne sheets as well to shorten the amount of prep time, but my local Co-Op didn't sell them. If you do use fresh sheets in the dish, it probably only needs to be in the oven for about 45 minutes. With the olives and the greek yoghurt, i spose it's a bit like a Greek Lasagne!

Cheat’s Olive and Ham Lasagne (Serves 4)
8 dried lasagne sheets
Drizzle olive oil (to stop sheets from sticking together)

800g pasta sauce (I use Lloyd Grossman’s Bolognese sauce)
150g sliced green olives stuffed with pimiento (100g for sauce, 50g for top)
200g diced ham
400g Greek yoghurt
1 egg
120g grated mature cheddar (70g for sauce, 50g for top)
Plenty of salt and pepper

1.Preheat the oven to 180C. Get a large saucepan of boiling water on the go. Precook the lasagne sheets for 3 minutes, using oil to stop them from sticking together (cook these in batches if necessary).
2. Mix together the pasta sauce, olives and ham. In another bowl, mix together the yoghurt, egg, cheddar and seasoning.
3. Layer a third of the pasta sauce into a large baking dish. Layer 4 of the pre-cooked lasagne sheets on top of the sauce. Layer another third of the tomato sauce, and ½ of the white sauce on top of that. Put the other 4 sheets on top of this, and top with the last of the tomato sauce, and the last half of the white sauce.
4. Top this white sauce with grated cheddar, and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, garnish with the rest of the sliced green olives, and serve!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Buying Food on a Budget!

Let's just say i've been living on much more of a strict food budget lately. This summer i gave up my chef-ing work to focus on my work placements/ and on my last year of uni, and am hoping (surviving on savings and a student loan) to survive my third year of uni without having to get a part-time job.  This means until i get a job after graduation (July next year), I'm needing to be strict about budgeting, and over the last couple of months have already been eating economically. Firstly, here are a few hints (which may be common knowledge to older individuals, but as a student beginning to actually think about budgeting their food costs, these recently noticed tips do help with my spending).
1) Look at the per kg price- O.K, so something may be £1, and you think, ah, it's only a pound, it's cheap- WRONG! When shopping, and even when purchasing 2 for 1 deals, look at the "per kg" price, and you may notice it is more expensive than you think. I've been generally keeping to a "Under £10 per kg" rule, which means I can buy most things to be honest. May have to start being stricter with this already. Just by looking at this, i've noticed that most beef and lamb cuts are too expensive (mince is ok) for my budget, fresh herbs and chillies are ridiculously expensive, peppers seem extortionately priced compared to other fruit and veg, and (this surprised me) fresh salad is VERY expensive.

2) Buy in bulk- when your only feeding yourself, or like me, only feeding two, sometimes buying in bulk amounts (particularly fresh items) can be a bit more difficult. However, when it comes to dry items, such as rice and pasta, buy in as large amounts as you can. Most shops sell 1kg bags of pasta/rice/cous cous, and most sell 2kg bags of potatoes. If you have one near you, Asian shops are very good for this sort of thing- you can get 10kg sacks of rice for almost nothing! Again, with most items, if you look at the per kg price of items, you will notice that products in larger amounts tend to be cheaper. If you happen to be lucky enough to be a member of a catering wholesaler (such as Bookers Wholesale), you can  get some seriously good bulk catering purchases- sometimes you may find you have a mate who does event work/catering work that has a members card, that might let you borrow it for a little bulk shop.
3) Use your freezer to it's full potential- If you have a freezer, then even if you are by yourself, you can still cook meals for 4, but just freeze three other portions once you've made it. Also there are a lot of budget supermarkets that do very good deals on cheap frozen food, like Aldi, Lidl or Iceland (although I guess us Bathonions are kinda food snobs- we don't have an Aldi or a Lidl, and we do have an Iceland- but i never go in there, haha! Maybe this needs to change!).
4) Check out prices of your local fruit/veg stall/greengrocers/butchers- Make a note of the cost of a few things in your usual supermarket, and then checkout any local business around you and see if they may be lower. I know for a fact that a fruit and veg stall near me has much cheaper prices than in my supermarket. The butchers near me is fairly cheap, but it depends which cuts you are buying. The bakers on my street does deliciously amazing bread, but at a hefty price.
5) Buy tinned items, frozen veg, and dried pulses-  There are certain things that are always in my cupboard/freezer, because they are such good value and they are good for use in loads of different recipes. Tinned tomatoes are a must, as they can be used in anything- from a pasta sauce, to a curry, to a soup. Frozen veg, of all varieties, are cheap and good value. Personally I always have frozen peas in my freezer. It's good also to have mixed frozen veg (a mix of carrots, green beans, sweetcorn and cauliflower normally) because that can be made into a quick healthy dinner really easily- without loads of prepwork. Dried pulses, if you have time for preparation, are one of the cheapest filling nutritional things you can buy. Ok so they take an hour boiling, or overnight soaking, but in the end it's totally worth it- often you can make at least 4 meals from a pack of dried pulses for less than £1 for a packet. And all of these, of course, have a massive shelf life.

6) Make your own lunches- If like me, you have to bring a packed lunch into work, skip on spending loads of money and make your own! Often a packed lunch can easily be made from leftovers from the night before, or if, like me, you tend to have pasta, rice, or couscous in the cupboards, it's really easy to whip up a quick salad for the next day.
 7) Reduced to Clear- Normally, once a week, I do a "reduced" shop- basically i buy a load of (freezeable!) reduced items and chuck them in the freezer, defrosting whenever I fancy. I use this strategy mostly for reduced ready meals, and reduced meat. Remember also that a lot of reduced fresh items, such as fruit, veg, potatoes, pre-made things that can't be frozen, can be made into soups, sauces or full on meals, and then again frozen. The reduced labels and the freezer are meant to be best mateys! Often reduced items are dotted around the place, but most supermarkets have a reduced section- sometimes a chilled one and a dry one, find where they are! Another good note is to go to the shop about a couple of hours before closing- the baking section, and the butchery/rotisserie section are usually completely full of reduced items at this time.
8) Vouchers- or as our lovely American  neighbours would put it, become a "Coupon-Clipper"!! You'll find them everywhere, in newspapers, in magazines, in in-store brochures, on the actual packets of the food you purchase. Increasingly you will find vouchers online, not just websites, but if I were you I would "like"companies on facebook and you'll find all sorts of offers- printable vouchers and things, as well as giveaways, for people who follow them.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Competition: Cook's United Barbeque Competition!

Yup- another one, this time a BIG BBQ COMPETION! This was's summer barbeque competition, where you entered up to two barbeque recipes, which were then put to the public vote, to see who would come out the winner! My BBQ Chilli Dawgs and Spicy Marinated Chicken Drumsticks were in it to win it, and turns out the drumsticks came out on top! Whey! They are rather scrummy, a rather deserving winner I think!!
The prize was a big barbeque, I believe its full title is "Outback Spectrum 3 Gas BBQ (hooded I think?)". Isn't it rather shiny and lovely ey? The south african boyfriend is happy, shall have to get a Braii going on it some point soon- although the weather is going to have to turn better for us if we want to get this beast burning!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Recipe: Chilli con Carne with Creamy crushed new potatoes

This is one of my favourite chilli recipes, as well as one of my favourite potato dishes too! Sounds really weird to mash up new potatoes with yoghurt, but trust me, it is absolutely delicious. Must be much healthier than the normal buttery mashed potato I make too! Bit of a lazy chilli recipe i suppose, what with using pre-made sauces/ tins for things, but you end up with such a nice flavour at the end of it, without having to use a whole cupboard full of expensive spices. I crumbled up burgers for this recipe, simply because they were good quality burgers from the Co-op that were reduced in price substantially, so thought i'd give it a go- works a treat in a chilli it turns out!!

Chilli con carne with creamy crushed new potatoes (serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
4 beef burgers (weighing around 450g in total), crumbled
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
Large handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ red pepper
½ yellow pepper
300g tomato and chilli pasta sauce
1 tin kidney beans in chilli sauce
500ml chicken stock
2 cubes chocolate
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

750g sliced new potatoes
300g Greek yoghurt
15g chopped chives (plus a little extra for garnish)
Plenty of salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onion, beef, garlic, chilli, coriander and tomato puree for 10 minutes, or until the beef has been browned. Add the peppers and smoked paprika and fry for a further 2 minutes.
2. Add all the other ingredients, and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the sliced new potatoes for about 25 minutes, or until soft but not falling apart.
3. Drain the new potatoes, mash together with the Greek yoghurt and chives, and season well. Season the chilli to taste, and serve this with the crushed new potatoes, with some extra chopped chives garnished on top.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Recipe: Spiced Lamb Burgers, with Chargrilled Aubergine and Coriander Yoghurt

Yes indeed folks- another yoghurt recipe! This time in the form of a creamy herb yoghurt, to dollop on top of sizzling spiced lamb burgers! I love those chargrilled antipasti things you get in jars/packets- aubergines, courgettes, peppers- whatever! I figured because of the moussaka link, that chargrilled aubergines would go well with the lamb. What is also nice in this is a tsp of red onion chutney spread on the base if you fancy it.

Spiced Lamb Burgers, with Chargrilled Aubergine and Coriander Yoghurt (serves 4)

500g lamb mince
1 egg
30g breadcrumbs
2 tsp dried mint
1 tbsp garam masala
1 green chilli, deseeded and diced finely
2 banana shallots, diced finely
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Generous amounts of salt and pepper

180g Greek yoghurt
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

4 toasted sesame buns
4 slices of chargrilled aubergine (from deli/or antipasti jar)
Salad and fries to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Mix together all the burger ingredients, shape into 4 large burgers, and put into the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up. Put a griddle pan onto high heat, and fry the lamb burgers for 2 minutes on each side.
2. Transfer these burgers to an oven tray, and put in the oven for 8 minutes, to fully cook through (if cooking these on a barbeque, just transfer them to the lower heat part of the barbeque, and turn them occasionally until cooked in the middle).
3. Meanwhile, mix together the yoghurt, herbs and seasoning. Lay a slice of chargrilled aubergine on the base of the buns, top with the hot lamb burgers, and with a dollop of the herb yoghurt. Serve, with salad and fries if desired!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Recipe: Greek Roast Beef with Spicy Courgettes and Potatoes, and a Dijon Mustard Yoghurt

Feels like it's been ages since i've posted up a recipe isn't it? Since my last recipe post, I have gone to Penzance, gone to Glastonbury, moved house, won a competition and got a new job! In fact, this recipe is the first one i've posted from my new home- I love my new flat with my new furniture in it and my lovely boyfriend! Yay. As you guys know, i won a month's supply of Total Greek Yoghurt, and so i'm finding out creative ways of using this surplus of yummy dairy products! This is a really interesting dish- it's like a sunday roast beef dinner- Greek style! I really like this Greco-Anglo Fusion dish, and the flavours work so beautifully together. Za'atar is a middle eastern herb/spice blend (and my lovely friend Emily brought me a jar of it back from Israel!) , but if you can't find it anywhere, use a mix of oregano and cumin instead.

Greek Roast Beef with Spicy Courgettes and Potatoes, and a Dijon Mustard Yoghurt (serves 2)

1 Scotch beef joint for two (from Co-Op)
500ml lager
1 tsp za’atar
Pinch salt and pepper

Courgettes + Potatoes
50g wild garlic butter (or use 50g normal butter + 2 garlic cloves)
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 courgettes, halved and sliced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp za’atar
1 rounded tbsp tomato puree
500ml beef stock
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Mustard Yoghurt
200g Greek Yoghurt
25g Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 200C (Fan Oven 180C). Rub the beef joint with the za’atar and a little seasoning. Put into a roasting dish with the beer, and put into the oven for 40 minutes (for medium well). Take out half-way through cooking time and baste with juices.

2. Meanwhile, fry the chilli, courgettes, potato, sesame seeds and za’atar in the garlic butter on a high heat for 6 minutes, stirring often. Add tomato paste and cook for a further two minutes.

3. Add the beef stock, and cook for a further 20 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fully cooked and the sauce is thickened.

4. Remove the beef from the oven, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving (if there are any extra juices left in the pan, pour it into the courgette mixture). Mix together the yoghurt with the Dijon mustard, and season to taste.

5. Carve the beef, and serve with the courgettes and potatoes, and a pot of the mustard yoghurt on the side.