Dinner

Warm Halloumi Salad With Chick Peas & Lime

Is it still February? Just? Phew! Then here is my second salad of the year, just in time. This is a lovely warm and comforting salad with just enough zing to keep it fresh tasting. Halloumi is one of my most favourite cheeses, and it's the one way that I can guarantee I'll get a salad down my kids necks ;)

So, c'mon #getyoursaladon

Warm Halloumi Salad with Chick Peas & Lime

Ingredients (makes two main salads):

  • 100g green beans, washed & trimmed
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 lime, juice & zest
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded & finely sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 70g rocket leaves
  • 225g halloumi, sliced (light works well)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Cook the beans in a pan of boiling water for approx 2 minutes before adding the chick peas. Cook together for another minute, or until the beans are just tender.
  2. Meanwhile, make your dressing by whisking the lime juice, lime zest, sliced chilli and 3tbsp of the olive oil. Season to taste and set aside.
  3. Drain your beans and chickpeas and return to the pan. Immediately pour over the dressing and toss to combine.
  4. Next up, in a small bowl cover your sliced onion wedges with boiling water to soften - leave for about 5 minutes before draining and stirring into the bean mixture along with the tomatoes and rocket. Toss to combine every thing together, before dividing between two large salad bowls.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat. When hot, add your halloumi and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden.
  6. Add to the salad & serve.

Enjoy and be sure to check out our January Salads #getyoursaladon

Lucy made a Blood orange, Mozzarella & Radicchio Salad with Sourdough Croutonswhilst I made aKale & Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Apple & Feta- both deelish!

Portabello Mushroom Burger

Every now and then, I crave burgers - who am I kidding, I'm always craving burgers, but as a fully signed up member of club grown-up, I realise that I can't eat them every day. Every now and then though I notice I've got some lonely little leftover Portobello mushrooms sitting in the fridge, and what better way to use those up than with a juicy vegetarian take on the old fashioned cheese burger ?!

This recipe is simple stuff. I served it with some Mexican Slaw and a homemade ketchup / mayo / pickle combo and it was delicious. It would also go well with some sweet potato wedgesand a big old dollop of homemade tomato ketchup!

Portobello Mushroom Burgers w/ Mexican Slaw

For the burgers (serves 4):

  • 4 Portobello mushrooms
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 burger buns
  • cheese slices (optional)
  • ketchup / mayo to dress (optional)

For the slaw:

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled & grated
  • 1/2 small red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 hand full coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, thinly sliced (deseeded for less heat)
  • large pinch of coarse salt
  • small glug of olive oil
  • juice from one lime

Method:

  1. Heat a small glug of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsps of olive oil and a pinch of salt & pepper, and brush the mixture over the mushrooms before adding them to the pan.
  3. Cook for 5-7 minutes on both sides, occasionally basting if needed with the remaining Balsamic & oil mix.
  4. Whilst the burgers are cooking, make your slaw by simply combining the carrots, red cabbage, red onion, coriander and green chilli in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt, drizzle over the olive oil & squeeze the juice from the lime. Stir well to ensure everything is evenly mixed.
  5. When your burgers are almost done, add the optional cheese slice & begin to toast your buns.
  6. When the cheese it slightly melted, turn the heat to low whilst you load up your buns with your slaw first, before adding the burger and topping with your desired burger sauce topping...

Fig, Aubergine & Rocket Pizza

I think this is the first pizza recipe that I have posted on here, so yay for that. It's also the first time I've had fig on a pizza, so a round of applause to that too. It's also the very first time that I've posted a recipe that is semi-shop brought so hooray for occasionally taking the pressure off! I made this pizza last Thursday when I wanted something that could be made and consumed in the 1hr 15 minutes that my big kids were at their Woodcraft folk club (hippy street cred? check!).  India was in bed, I poured a glass of something that may, or may not have been alcohol free, and I made this delicious pizza topping - lovingly created on top of a Sainsburys pizza base (other supermarkets are available people ;). Had it been the weekend, I probably would have made my own dough, because let's face it, it does taste much better that way, but for a quick supper, this is 100% the way forward for me and I don't feel guilty, not one. little. bit! 

Fig Aubergine & Rocket Pizza (Makes 2 pizzas)

Ingredients (tops two pizza bases):

  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 35g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 onion, peeled
  • 1 large aubergine
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g grated mozzarella
  • 3 or 4 figs, sliced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dried oregano
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh rocket

Method:

First up make your pizza sauce. I always use this pasta sauce recipe as my pizza topping. It's simple and gorgeous & if you've never tried it over pasta then you MUST. 

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425f / 220c / GM7 and pop in a flat baking tray to warm up with the oven.
  2. In a medium size saucepan put the chopped toms, butter and onion half into a pan on the hob. Bring to the boil then immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes until slightly thickened.
  3. In the meantime, slice your aubergine into thin rounds. Sprinkle with sea salt and let sit on some kitchen paper for about 5 minutes.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and gently fry off the aubergine in batches. You want them to be slightly browned all over. Once done, set aside.
  5. Once your sauce is ready, take a large spoonful of each and spread over the base. You don't want loads, just enough to comfortably cover the bases.
  6. Sprinkle each base evenly with most of the grated mozzarella, then continue by adding the aubergine slices, the figs and the cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with a little balsamic vinegar (to bring out extra sweetness from the figs) and then add the remaining mozzarella & a generous helping of dried oregano.
  7. Bake for about 10-15 minutes in the top half of the oven until the topping looks bubbling & delicious.
  8. Scatter with the fresh rocket & enjoy!

Pssst - we're having this again tonight!!

Kale & Quinoa Salad With Pomegranate, Apple & Feta

I had a plan for this year - I was going to make and blog about a new salad every week. Partly because I think salads get a bad press, especially in the stodgy wintertime, and partly because salads are one of my favourite types of food. But, as with all plans I seem to make regarding this blog, it hasn't quite worked out that way, and here we are in week 3 of January and I've only got one salad under my belt. Oh well, let it be

'a salad a month'

instead, or

'a salad when I get around to it'.

We are really onto a winner here, with our debut salad of 2014. It's got kale, it's got quinoa and it's got pomegranate - all great for you and perfect for this time of year. The added apple gives it an extra sweet kick & the walnuts provide a really nice texture. 

This salad really is quick, easy and tastes absolutely delicious - enjoy!

Kale & Quinoa salad with Pomegranate, Apple & Feta

Serves four

For the salad:

- 1/3 cup quinoa

- 1/2 cup water

- 6 cups kale, finely shredded

- 1 large apple, sliced into matchsticks

- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

- 1/4 feta, crumbled

For the dressing:

- 1 tbsp minced garlic,

- 1 tsp dijon mustard

- 1 tsp agave

- 3/4 tsp coarse salt

- 1/4 tsp black pepper

- 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

- 2 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar

- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

- 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Method:

1. Cook the quinoa by bringing the water and the quiona to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Simmer for approx 15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let it sit uncovered for about 5 minutes, to cool.

2. Once cooled, toss together the quinoa, kale, apple, pomegranate and walnuts. Let sit whilst you make your dressing:

3. In a clean jam jar mash together the garlic, mustard, agave, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the red wine vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. Put the lid on tight, and shake well to combine. (The remaining dressing will keep in the fridge in a  tight fitting lid for about a month)

4. Dress the salad with the dressing

according to taste

before sprinkling over the crumbled feta.

5. Serve & enjoy!

The Ultimate Veggie Chilli

Finally, it happened.

Finally, I got the urge to get back into my kitchen, turn the radio up, pour a huge glass of wine and make something new. This hasn't happened in ages and I've really missed it (and to be honest i was getting a little worried). Don't get me wrong, we have been eating (mainly tacos I'll admit) but I just haven't seen any recipes that I was desperate to give a go - until the other night. I pulled down my Kitchen & Co book again & whipped up their veggie chilli. It's bloody good, and the way they recommend you serve it with wraps, fresh guac and salads was awesome. 

When i'm testing out a new recipe, I like to do as I'm told the first time around and this time it really paid off. It was like a burrito / chilli mash-up and one I'll be making until the

cows

 lentils come home (see what I did there? Genius).

This is perfect winter grub, ideally eaten in front of a roaring fire. All together now,

"ahhhhhhh"

.

Recipe from Kitchen & Co

You will need (serves 6):

- 200g pearl barley

- 200g green lentils

- 200ml fresh filter coffee

- 3 large dried chillies

- Olive oil

- 1 large white onion, halved & sliced

- 1 tbsp smoked paprika

- 1 tbsp cumin

- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper

- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

- 4 large cloves of garlic, sliced

- 2 fresh red chillies, deseeded & sliced

- 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

- 1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, drained & rinsed

- 2 jarred roasted peppers, halved & sliced (optional)

- Vegetable stock (approx 750ml)

and to serve:

- Flour tortillas, warmed 

- 400g cheddar cheese, grated

- soured cream

- fresh guacamole - homemade is always best!

- gem lettuces, shredded

- 1 bunch coriander, chopped

- fresh lime halves to squeeze

And you will need to do this:

1. Preheat your oven to 160/GM3.

2. Soak the pearl barley and lentils together in a big bowl of cold water and set aside. Pour the fresh coffee over the dried chilli's and leave them to soak.

3. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole pot over a low heat. Add your onions, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and ground cinnamon and cook gently, stiring often for about 15 minutes.

4. Once the 15 minutes have passed, the onions should be nice and soft. Add the garlic and fresh chillies and mix.

5. Next, remove the dried chillis from the coffee mixture, and slice (no need to remove the seeds, just the tops). Add to the pan along with the coffee, tinned tomatoes, kidney beans, drained lentils and pearl barley. If you are using the jarred peppers, add them here also.

6. Top the pan up with enough stock to cover all the pulses comfortably. Put a lid on and cook in the oven for about an hour. You'll know the chilli is done when the lentils are soft but they still have a little bite left to them - do not let it turn to mush as it will ruin it. Season well & serve with all the sides or spoon over an oven baked jacket topped with soured cream.

and here's a treat for you - I often get asked what my kitchen is like (!) Well, let me tell you this - it is pink, very tiny and i hardly have any work space at all, team that with the fact that I am

the

messiest cook out there and you get this! A new series if you will:

this is what the kitchen looked like after:

and I

always

cook listening to something. This time, it was

this podcast.

Spicy Chick Peas

Well hello there! It's been ages hasn't it?

 (no one noticed i was gone? oh.)

It's been half term here & it's been a busy one. We've been away, we survived storm St Jude (why do they name them?) I made stressful Minecraft pickaxes for the big kids Halloween costumes and I've consumed my body weight in pickle (not pregnant). We also ate at the most amazing Thai street food cafe, but more on that another time because what I'm here to talk to you about today is Spicy Chickpeas - lucky you! This Indian dish is my new favourite thing to make and eat and because i'm really good at sharing, I'm spending my Saturday morning typing all this out for you. You really need to make it (not just because this is taking ages to get down) but because it's bloody lovely and generally wolfed down by all. Except if you're called India, then you won't eat it because you never eat anything.

Serves 4

Recipe adapted from here.

You will need:

1 tin chickpeas, drained & rinsed

3 cm ginger, peeled and grated

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1-2 tbsp oil

2 large onions, finely chopped

1 1/2 tbsp tomato puree

2 whole green chilli's

3 tsp salt (or to taste)

1 400g tin chopped tomatoes

3 tbsp chopped coriander, plus extra to garnish

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground coriander

1tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

And you will need to do this:

1. place your drained & rinsed chickpeas into a bowl & fill with enough water to just cover them. Set aside.

2. Either in a pestle & mortar or a blender mix together the garlic & ginger into a paste. Set aside.

3. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat & add your cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle and the ginger paste & stir fry for 30 seconds.

4. Add the onions and saute until light brown then remove from the heat. Add your tomato puree, green chilli's, salt, chilli powder, ground coriander, garam masala, ground cumin & turmeric. Return to the heat and mix well for 30 seconds.

5. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently until a thick sauce develops (approx for 6-8 minutes).

6. Add the chickpeas & the water they have been sitting in, cover & simmer over a low heat for approx 15 minutes.

7. After 15 minutes, remove the lid and turn the heat up to medium. Reduce for a further 15-20 minutes until you see a thick sauce.

8. Finally stir through the fresh coriander and serve with rice, naan breads & some riata. Enjoy!

Note: When I make this for the kiddos, I use only 1tsp salt and I omit the chilli powder.