Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Pasta with Seafood

Pasta with Seafood started out life as Spaghetti ai Frutte di Mare except I had no spaghetti and no clams so I decided to put together what I thought might work, and you know what?  It did, it was delicious.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Apple Tarte Tatin

By the title and picture I've given away my favourite dish of the day!

The highlight and so much of a highlight was this tarte tatin, half of my "individual" portion was stolen by my son because he thought it looked pretty good "Oooh, what's that?"

Friday, 27 March 2015

Vegetarian Pasta Bake

Meat free week day 5.  A busy day with my son, starting with some toast with butter and ginger jam, lunch was a picnic (hospital clinic) of cucumber, pepper and carrot dipped into hummus and a piece of sweetcorn pizza followed by half a bag of crisps  and half of my son's apple.  I also had some melon in the afternoon.

For tea, my son and I then ate a vegetarian pasta bake together.  It was a simple mix of cooked wholemeal pasta, home made (made previously and frozen) pasta sauce and fried courgette (zucchini) and mushrooms.

This was all topped with white sauce and vintage cheddar then served with green vegetables (beans and peas).  Five vegetables on one plate.  I hesitate to call it a recipe because it's my go to use up stuff and get my son (and me) eating vegetables kind of meal.  It's also good with meat, prawns, anchovies, chorizo, bacon, cooked chicken etc if you are a meat eater.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Balsamic Onion Tart

Day 4 of my Meat Free Week and I can honestly say I've only had one wobble, one moment.  Admittedly that one moment was thinking about steak but it quickly passed.  Apart from the first day with my disappointing ginger noodles, the meals I have eaten have been genuinely delicious.  My lunches of hummus, fig and feta salad and today's rice noodles with vegetables and chilli sauce have had people coming to my desk to investigate what I'm eating and leaving looking impressed and slightly jealous.

Today's evening meal came courtesy of only four main ingredients but tasted like far more.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


My 3rd day meat free has been pretty good.  I love pakoras, I probably make them a little too often to be healthy but packed with vegan goodness, four different vegetables (chickpeas, carrot, spinach and onion) and just loveliness, they are an acceptable treat in my book.  Better than chips fried in dripping anyway.


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Fig and Feta Salad

The second day of my meat free week has been much better than day 1 and my lunch of Fig and Feta salad was the highlight.

I was wrong when I said yesterday that vegetarian food is difficult, actually it's perfectly simple and follows the same ideas as meat and fish cookery; buy good produce and put it together with love.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Meat free week day 1

Today has been ok, not the expert in vegetarian food that I hoped I would be, but certainly ok.

Lunch was pitta stuffed with hummus, cucumber, tomatoes and tabasco.  Pretty lovely actually and really satisfying but I was a little disappointed in my tea.  My aim was a lovely dish of gingery sweet noodles with vegetables but it didn't quite work.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Meat Free Week

I heard about Meat Free Week accidentally through twitter, there was something that chimed with me.  I eat well, I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables but we all get into a rut and sometimes shaking things up by eating differently for a week can be enough to challenge our preconceptions.

So I am taking part and this was my Sunday shop in preparation (well some of it).

Doesn't that all look massively appetising?  Every colour of the rainbow from greens of cucumber, rocket and courgette to the purple grapes and figs.  I actually can't wait.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Slow Cooked Turkey with Haricot Beans

I love my slow cooker.  It even gets used throughout the summer for filling but summer friendly dishes like chillis but in autumn, winter and colder days of spring is where it comes into it's own.

For years I was stuck in a rut of only cooking cheap beef cuts in mine, I ventured into lamb and mutton (curried this is fantastic) and had brief and delicious forays into pork but poultry is not something I've tried much.

When shopping one day I saw a pack of boned turkey thigh.  Is there anything more comforting than turkey?  It just makes me think of lying on the sofa, cosy watching TV after Christmas lunch.

So I gave it a go using beans to add a bit of interest but also a great source of fibre and one of your five a day.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Baked Vegetables with Chorizo

I am a meat eater but I don't feel that each meal has to be accompanied by a slab of meat, in fact, I try and listen to my body and what it wants, often I find I want fish, vegetarian or vegan food or, as in this case, a meal which is dominated by the vegetables rather than the meat.

This is a dish inspired by memories of Andalusian cuisine heavy with paprika and chickpeas (garbanzo beans).  I do love looking at the food with an eye to the history of a region, you can see the conflict in the food of Southern Spain full of Moorish spices and chickpeas with the very Christian influenced heavy use of pork, although the quantities of olive oil can sometimes be slightly frightening.  I once had a lovely tapas dish of chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, paprika and spinach but the amount of oil was eye watering.  The kind of thing you eat not worrying about the calories because you're on holiday!

I do love chickpeas, they are such a great flavour but work so well with lots of other ingredients.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Baked fish with caper sauce

Was it Delia Smith who said she always liked to have capers in her larder?  You can imagine the gags...  Anyway, I am fairly new to capers (only about 25 years late on this one).  It was one of those things I thought I didn't like until I properly tried them.  If you like olives, pickles that kind of thing you will like capers.

I had a jar in my fridge after making the salsa verde so I decided to include them in this fish dish too, and you know what?  It works.

The prawns aren't vital but make the whole thing seem more special.  I used Basa as the white fish as it's what I had in the freezer and it's a really good thrifty option but any white fish would work.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Baked Bream with Salsa Verde

I love sea bream and I think it's much underrated.  It is a fantastic white fish with a lot of the flavour of seabass but with much thicker fillets.

I have to admit I normally serve it with a squeeze of lemon juice, a grinding of sea salt and not much else.  It is nice filleted but on the bone is best.  Fish cooked whole always tastes better in my opinion.

You can, if you like add some anchovies to the salsa verde or use it as a dressing for barbecued or grilled meats or vegetables and if serving with vegetables, this could be a lovely vegan dip packed with flavour.  There is something so deliciously spring like about the splash of green on the plate.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Why restaurateurs need to stop being nuts

Today, I was horrified to hear that 100 restaurateurs have signed a letter to try and get the Food Information for Consumers legislation changed.

Reproduced from the BBC Good Food Website

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Pork and Chorizo Chilli

I bought some pork shoulder on a whim thinking I'd slow cook it but then I changed my mind on the garlic and mustard dish I was planning and improvised a slow cooked chunky pork chilli and man it was good.  You could also use pork belly I would think for this but it would make it less healthy.  Ok, chorizo isn't the healthiest thing but with masses of beans, this isn't so bad either and really thrifty (and most importantly tasty).