Saturday, November 30, 2013

Recipe: Indian Lentil and Vegetable Soup with Leerdammer chapattis

This sounds like a really odd fusion of flavours- Indian lentils and spices combined with Dutch style cheese, but it works trust me. This is more of my recipe work as a brand ambassador for Bel Cheese- I've been asked to write wintery recipes, and I have decided to try and make them as interesting as possible. These leerdammer and mango chutney chapattis are good with any sort of Indian dahl/soup, and nice as a side dish for Indian curry dishes too.
 
Indian lentil and vegetable soup with Leerdammer chapattis (serves 4)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, diced
1 celery stick, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
300g red split lentils
1.5 litres vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh coriander to garnish
8 chapattis
240g finely grated Leerdamer
8 tbsp mango chutney

1. Sautee the onion, celery, carrot and garlic in the olive oil in a large saucepan, covered, for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the spices and cook for a further 2 minutes.
2. Add the lentils and vegetable stock, and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
3. Lay the chapattis out and spread each one with mango chutney evenly. Sprinkle Leerdamer cheese evenly over 4 of the chapattis. Top with the other 4 chapattis, and press down firmly (to prevent all the Leerdamer from melting out of them.)
4. Once the soup is ready, heat up a large frying pan onto high heat. Fry the chapattis one by one, for 1 minute each side (so that the cheese inside melts and the outside of the chapatti becomes slightly charred). Quarter the chapattis and serve with the hot soup.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Recipe: Sausage and Sweet Potato One Pan Dinner

Oh my god I am going to cook this again, and again, and AGAIN!! Really yummy, cheap, easy to make, and can all be made in one roasting pan- I do love it when a delicious recipe requires little effort, and even better, little washing up. Whenever I make a roast, I always make sure I make a LOT of gravy, as in my opinion the best part of a roast IS the gravy (many would argue it would be the meat, but it doesn't matter how sexy your roast chicken is, if it isn't paired with a lovely sauce, get outta here!). So I often have leftover gravy, which is how I came up with the idea for the dish. You could make your own gravy for this dish, or you could even buy ready-made onion gravy- most of the supermarkets sell it.

Sausage and Sweet Potato One Pan Dinner (serves 2)
 
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 plump pork sausages, pricked
2 sweet potatoes (about 600g), peeled and diced
½ tsp smoked paprika
320g green beans (frozen)
400g onion gravy (homemade or ready made!)
Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the olive oil, sausages, sweet potato, smoked paprika and some salt and pepper in a roasting pan. Shake about a bit to coat the ingredients in the oil and paprika, and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
2. Add the green beans and gravy, stir ingredients around a bit, and put back in the oven for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Recipe: Algerian Beef Casserole

This is so delicious! The beef becomes so tender with the slow cooking process. When I was shopping for the ingredients of this dish, I was just going to get like normal diced casserole or braising beef- but they didn't have any normal beef- they only had posh Hereford casserole beef, or I noticed they had a rolled brisket. It would have been either £8 for 700g of diced beef, or basically £7.30 for an over 900g beef brisket- I just decided I would buy the brisket dice it up and give it a go in this recipe and it really worked! I'm definitely going to buy bigger cuts and dice em' up in the future.

Algerian Beef Casserole (serves 5)
900g rolled beef brisket, diced
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tbsp z’atar (a middle eastern spice blend of sesame, cumin, thyme and oregano)
Squeeze of lemon juice
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp oregano
Salt and pepper

30g margarine
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
6 carrots, peeled and sliced thickly
1 litre chicken stock
20g cinnamon syrup (or use ¼ tsp ground cinnamon)
40g sultanas
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp plain flour, mixed with a little water.
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a mixing bowl, mix together all the spices and beef, rubbing the marinade into the meat, and set aside for at least 1 hour (or preferably overnight).
2. In a large saucepan fry the red onion in the butter and olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the marinated beef and fry for a further 5 minutes. Add all the other ingredients (except the flour) and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.
3. Add the flour, and cook for a further 45 minutes, stirring often. Season to taste and serve!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Recipe: Cheap Cheat's Chicken Chasseur

Haha, try saying that three times fast. Or try saying that after you've had the other 500ml of red wine! Chicken chasseur is a classically French dish- very similar to a coq au vin I suppose, the main differences being the lack of bacon, the addition of tomato puree, and chasseurs tends to be a bit lighter- made with a mixture of wine and stock, rather than the sauce solely being made from wine. Traditionally it a slow-cooked casserole dish, using whole chicken legs, but this is a quicker version for those busy weekdays. Biggest budget tip- if you're trying to cut food costs, but still have a carnivore to feed (as meat is expensive!), bulk up your meal with plenty of vegetables- as you can see, I have used the same amount of mushrooms than chicken in this dish.

Cheap Cheat’s Chicken Chasseur (serves 3)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
275g mushrooms, quartered
200ml red wine
20g tomato puree
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped(plus extra for garnish)
275g Leftover roast chicken (dark meat preferably)
300ml chicken stock
1 rounded tsp plain flour, mixed with a little water.
Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Fry the onion, thyme, carrot and mushrooms in the olive oil for 10 minutes. Add the red wine and tomato puree and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the parsley, chicken and stock, and cook on a medium heat for a further 15 minutes. Add the flour mixture, and cook on a low heat for a further 15 minutes, stirring often.
3. Season to taste and serve, garnish with extra parsley if desired.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Recipe: Ham and Savoy Cabbage Hash

I love potato hashes, they are so comforting and yummy. There is the traditional "corned beef hash", which is delicious and very cheap to make, but I think a hash can be made out of anything, just so long as you have potatoes, onions and garlic! I have some issues trying to brown my hashes in my kitchen- the best way to make it all crispy is if you have a good massive deep frying pan- which unfortunately I do not own. So, If I can be bothered (cause it's quite nice non-crisped too!), I cook it all up in a big saucepan, then pour the mix into a roasting dish lined with greaseproof paper, and chuck under the grill until browned.

Ham and Savoy Cabbage Hash (serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side dish)
800g potatoes, peeled and diced
400g diced savoy cabbage (about half a medium cabbage)
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
¼ tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp celery salt
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
160g diced honey roast ham
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish 

1. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes, drain and set aside. Boil the savoy cabbage in salted water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
2. In a large pan (or if you have it, a large deep frying pan) fry the red onion, garlic and thyme in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add all of the other ingredients and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
3. If you wish to brown the hash, pour into a baking dish and put under the grill until golden. If not, season to taste, and serve with plenty of fresh parsley on top!  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recipe: Herby Tomato Soup

This is a delicious smooth and rich soup. Was a bit of a use-up originally- chucking whatever I needed to use up in a pan and blending, which is how many brilliant soup flavours were invented I reckon. Makes a nice healthy alternative to the creamy Heinz tomato soup, which I also love, but sometimes I was something a bit fresher "zestier" tasting!

Herby Tomato Soup (serves 3)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, diced
1 red onion, diced
4 celery sticks, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
800g tomato passata
700ml vegetable stock
100ml skimmed milk
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
Squeeze of fresh lemon.
Generous handful fresh basil, chopped
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste
(Optional) Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil for garnish

1. Fry the onion, celery, carrot and garlic in the olive oil for 8 minutes. Add all other ingredients except the fresh basil, and cook on a medium high heat for 30 minutes.
2. Add the fresh basil, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Blend, season to taste, and serve, with a drizzle of olive oil and some extra fresh basil.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Recipe: Puoy Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd's Pie

Wow! This is a belter of a recipe! It passed the "meat-eaters" test as well, since my carnivorous boyfriend absolutely loved it and didn't mind I was serving him a meat-free meal. Officially a vegetarian shepherds pie is called a "Shepherdess's Pie", I found out yesterday. I made a nice vegetarian gravy with this, and had it with peas and asparagus- although feel free to serve it with whatever you fancy.

Puoy Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie (serves 4)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 tins puoy lentils, drained and rinsed
250ml vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

900g potatoes, peeled and quartered
100g Philadelphia
Salt and pepper to taste
15g finely grated parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 200C (Fan oven 180C). Fry the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, mushrooms and thyme in the olive oil for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and vegetable stock, and cook for a further 10 minutes. Pour into a baking dish and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water, until soft. Drain, add the Philadelphia and seasoning and mash. Top the lentil mixture with the mash, and smooth over the surface. Make lines on the top with a fork. Top with parmesan, and put in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven and serve, with veggie gravy and vegetables of your choice!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recipe: Roast Chicken and Vegetable Stew

Oh my goodness I can't believe how expensive baby sweet corn is! It's £10 per kilo at the co-op these days. That makes this lovely vegetable a rather seldom treat for me. This is a really nice quick, tasty, healthy dinner- that's great for getting 2.5 of your 5 a day easily, and for using up delicious leftover roast chicken. V8 is a tomato juice mixture, made of 8 different vegetable juices- I absolutely love it! You can just use tomato juice if you can't find V8 anywhere.

Roast Chicken and Vegetable Stew (serves 2)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
500ml chicken stock
100ml V8
175g baby sweetcorn, halved
1 rounded tbsp flour, mixed with a little water
320g leftover roast chicken (dark meat preferably)
150g asparagus, diced
125g frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, V8, baby corn and flour mixture, and cook on a high heat for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add all the other ingredients, and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minute (or until the sauce has thickened). Season to taste and serve.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Competition: Quorn Make One Change Photo Competition

Another rather sexy win! Anyone that knows me well knows how much I love Le Creuset....... mwah!!! * surreptitiously kisses Le Creuset casserole*. Quorn ran a competition, where you shared photos of dishes you have made with Quorn, with the possibility of winning either landmann barbeques or le creuset sets. Well I shared a fair few photos, and I won one of the "Le Creuset 5 Piece Starter Sets"! Lovely!! I love quorn, as of course my vegetarian parents do as well. Thanks very much Quorn!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Recipe: Spring Green and Bacon Pie

It's hardly Spring, I know, but I was going to be trying out this recipe using spinach- however, they had ran out of spinach at the shop, and I noticed there was a big bunch of reduced spring greens on the shelves so I thought I would improvise and try using them instead. Turns out me and the boyfriend reckon this recipe works much better with the spring greens, a more desirable texture in my opinion.  I served this with Co-Op tinned ratatouille on the side, the stuff is lush actually! Never bought tinned ratatouille before, but they only cost 79p per can, and it's much healthier than having it with baked beans or mash+gravy or something.

Spring Green and Bacon Pie (serves 3)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1 large leek, finely sliced
4 rashers smoked bacon, diced
170g finely sliced spring greens
3 eggs
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Plenty of black pepper
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
*Serving suggestion: Ratatouille (Homemade- or Co-Op tinned is very nice as well)
 
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Fry the leeks, garlic and bacon in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the spring greens and fry for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool a little.
2. Mix the eggs, mustard and black pepper into the spring green mixture. Lay out the sheet of ready rolled puff pastry, on a baking sheet lined baking tray. Spoon all the filling onto one half of the pastry sheet.
3. Fold the other half of the pastry over the top of the filling, and press and crimp at the edges, making sure the filling doesn’t leak out too much anywhere, and the filling is well distributed throughout the pie. Cut a couple of little holes in the top of the pie (to let the steam escape, to avoid soggy pastry).
4. Put the pie in the oven for 26 minutes. Remove from the oven, and serve with whichever accompaniment desired (gravy, potatoes, vegetables, salad, baked beans, ratatouille etc.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Recipe: Leek Potato and Bacon Soup

A lovely traditional leek and potato soup, made utterly awesome with the addition of bacon!! You'll need a nice big saucepan to make this though, it's a good recipe to make for when you have a large crowd to feed, like as a starter for the Christmas day/ Boxing day dinner for example. Or you can just make It and freeze it like I've done- feeds me and the boyfriend for one dinner, then I freeze six portions of it for later. Economical eating!

Leek Potato and Bacon Soup (serves 8)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 leeks, diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 rashers smoked bacon, diced
1kg potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
1 bay leaf
800ml skimmed milk
1.2 litre chicken stock
Plenty of salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the leeks, garlic and bacon in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add all the other ingredients and cook on a medium high heat for 30 minutes, stirring often.
2. Blend, season to taste and serve!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Recipe: Broad bean, Spring Onion and Mint Soup

This is a lovely fresh tasting soup! I know I know, broad beans aren't in season at the moment, but packs of frozen broad beans are super cheap, very good for you and particularly tasty in my opinion. I used dried mint for the soup, because it's much cheaper to do so, but if you want to use fresh I would use about 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint.

Broad bean, spring onion and mint soup     (serves 4)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for garnish if desired)
10 spring onions, sliced (8 for the soup, 2 finely sliced for the garnish)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
600g broad beans
1.1   litre chicken stock
200ml skimmed milk
½ tsp dried mint
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the spring onions and the garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add all the other ingredients, and cook on a high heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Season to taste, blend, and serve garnished with chopped spring onions and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Recipe: Apple and Cardamom Jelly

Rather an unusual one, but mum gave me the last of the garden's apples, and I was in a bit of a quandary as what I should so with them. Didn't want to go out and buy loads of ingredients for it, and have had a box of cardamom pods in the cupboard for aaages. When I use cardamom pods in curries/ rice dishes, I only tend to use 3 or 4 of them, so they last me a while. This is a lightly cardamom flavoured apple jelly, so the cardamom doesn't punch you in the face, but feel free to go for more if you enjoy a strong cardamom flavour. The jelly goes fantastically with roast pork, as well as being very nice with Indian dishes, instead of going for the usual mango chutney.

Apple and Cardamom Jelly (Makes about 1kg, but varies batch to batch).
1.5kg apples (try using red skinned apples for a pleasant pinkish colour in the final jelly)
10g cardamom pods
2 litres water
Juice of 1/4 lime
1/2 tsp. salt
400g sugar to 500ml drained liquid

1. In a large saucepan add the apples, water, cardamom, lime and salt. Bring to the boil and  45 minutes.
2. Strain through a jelly bag/muslin for 2 1/2 hours.
3. Put the strained apple liquid back in a large pan with the appropriate amount of sugar. Bring to a rolling boil, skimming off any scum that may form. Stir constantly for about 35 minutes- or until it is at setting point (you have to use your own judgement!)
4. P
our into jars and wait to cool and set. Seal with a lid.