Quiche with sweet potato ‘pastry’

I love it when an experiment works! I’d had an idea of trying out mashed sweet potato instead of pastry. I’ve been thinking about it for days…

Here’s how it went.

Ingredients:

4 small sweet potatoes

4 eggs

Salt and pepper

Paprika

Smoked bacon

Red onion

Peas

pine nuts

Asparagus

300ml double cream

Stilton

Hard Italian cheese

1. Wash, peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Put in a pan of water and boil until soft.

2. In a cup, mix one of the eggs with salt and pepper and some paprika.

3. When the potatoes are soft, mash together with the egg. Leave to cool.

4. Fry the bacon in pieces until crispy. Then add the onion, peas and pine nuts. Once cooked, leave to one side.

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5. Grease a loose bottomed quiche tin with butter. Tip the mash into the tin. Carefully, with the back of a spoon, spread around the tin, covering it all equally and up the sides too.

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6. Cook in a pre heated oven on gas 7 for approx 20 minutes or until hard.

7. In a bowl, add the remaining 3 eggs to the cream. Season and crumble in 2/3 of the Stilton. Mix well.

8. Pour the cream mixture in with the bacon and bits.

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9. Once the case is hard, pour in the cream mixture carefully.

10. Arrange the asparagus on top of the mixture. Sprinkle over some more pine nuts, the remaining Stilton and some grated hard Italian cheese. Bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes on gas 6 until a knife comes out clean.

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Hurrah! It worked! I was so happy (saddo) it was also mega delish served with salad and balsamic vinegar. So much so the husband wants to take leftovers to work.

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Make your own pizza!

Pizza is a favourite take out meal of mine. I love the massive carb and cheese fest. What’s great about making your own though, is that you can have it exactly as you want. Triple cheese? No problem. Different meats? Great. Chocolate spread? Whatever floats your boat. 

I’ve found a great recipe for a simple dough base- http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4683/pizza-margherita-in-4-easy-steps

You can put things into the dough too, for example; I put some garlic granules. You could use cheese or herbs etc.

Then I simply put it together how I want. 

Firstly though, as I want a deep pan base, I let the dough rise for a good couple of hours. Then I let it to rise again after the toppings are on. For a thin and crispy base, you don’t have to let it rise. So it makes a great quick and easy meal. 

After letting my dough rise, and kneading it again, I pushed it into my pizza pan. Then I choose my sauce to be a mix of tomato puree and BBQ sauce (remember to not spread all the way to the edges, you want a crust)

Grated Mozzarella was liberally spread over the sauce, then on goes:

Sliced tomatoes

Pepperoni

Onions 

Sweetcorn

And a sprinkling of basil

Then ‘cos I want more cheese in my life, more Mozzarella and finally mature cheddar. 

It was cooked on gas 6 for about 30 minutes.

Here’s the beast! 

Come to Mama!

I was forced to share shared it with the Husb’ and I’m gutted there was only 1 piece leftover 😦

Sweet and spicy soup

Cold, miserable day outside? Check!

Need warming up? Check!

Want comfort food? Check!

Have soup!

This is such an easy yet satisfying soup that will warm your cockles and fill you up, leaving you feeling happy.

Makes a huge saucepan, enough for 4 and leftovers.

Ingredients:

2 butternut squash

2 carrots

2 parsnips

2 chopped onions

4 garlic gloves, finely sliced

1 tbsp butter

2 green chillies, finely chopped

Olive oil

Turmeric

Salt and pepper

2 vegetable stock cubes

Creme fraiche

850ml hot water

Chives

1. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 6. Peel and chop the butternut squash, carrots and parsnips into large chunks. Place them on a baking tray and drizzle over some oil. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes, turning half way through

2. Whilst the veg is cooking, in a large saucepan, sweat the chopped onions with the garlic and chillies until soft.

3. When the veg is soft, add them to the pan of onions.

4. Make up the stock with the hot water and 2 stock cubes and salt & pepper. Pour over the veg in the pan. Stir in 4 tbsp of creme fraiche and a good shake of turmeric. Blitz with a hand blender until smooth.

5. Reheat when ready to serve

6. Swirl over some creme fraiche and sprinkle over some chopped chives

The sweetness of the butternut squash and the spiciness of the chillies make this dish divine! Serve with some buttery crusty bread! Delicious.

Spicy fries with a sour cream and chive dip

We love a good tv snack here at RDK towers :p and what with the weather being quite frankly, rubbish! What’s better than a hot tv snack?!

What we need is a big bowl of comfort. This is where spicy fries come into place.

What you’ll need:

Potatoes (I used 3 for 2 people)

Handful of flour

Cajun spice mix

Smoked paprika

Turmeric

Ground cayenne

Chilli powder

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

Sour cream

Chives

1. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 6. Wash and peel the potatoes and cut into thick wedges. Put in a pan full of water and boil for 4 minutes

2. In a large bowl, put in the flour and all of the spices and mix together

3. When the potatoes have cooked for 4 minutes, coat thoroughly with the spice mix and leave to cool slightly

4. Put the fries on a baking tray and cover the fries in a little oil. Cook on the top shelf of the oven on gas mark 6 for approximately an hour, turning every so often until golden and crispy

5. When the fries are cooked, in a small bowl or ramekin, pour in some sour cream and mix in some chopped chives

Nom nom, a great snack to share whilst watching trashy tv.

Filled Yorkshire pudding

They say you should only have Yorkshire puddings with a roast beef dinner, but I like to break that tradition (obviously a wild child! Ha!) and have them with every kind of roast. Sunday dinners wouldn’t be the same or as nice in my opinion without 1 or even 2  me, greedy?! of the fine Yorkshire puds.

Now, I really love toad in the hole too (sausages cooked in the yorkshire pud batter) but I can never, ever get it right. It either comes out as flat as a pancake (…which I suppose the mixture is really….) or it rises and the top is nice, brown and crispy but the middle is like a cake. Or just stodge.

So. I thought about how I could do toad in the hole, but actually make it nicer (the above does taste nice, but it just isn’t right) And I thought about it and remembered having a huge pudding filled with the sausages inside and not actually cooked in the batter.

I thought about how I could make a big pudding, big enough to fit in the rest of the food, and came up with a cake tin. The kind that you have two of, and you sandwich the two cakes together.

So now I had to think what I’d like to go inside the pud. Obv some nice sausages and some fluffy buttery mash is a must. Then one of my favourite vegetables and what seems to be a staple with sausage and mash. Peas. Then it’s the gravy. Now, I must admit that I’ve never made gravy totally from scratch. Yet. But I didn’t this time either. Sorry. I like to brown and caramalise onions in some butter and brown sugar, then simmer and reduce in red wine and I also cook the peas in the wine. Then when the rest of the food is nearly done, I add some water, bring to the boil and add the ever trusty Bisto gravy granules.

So, here’s what I did:

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the Yorkshire puddings-

75g plain flour

1 egg

75ml milk

55ml water

Oil to coat the pans

Salt and pepper

——————-

3 potatoes

4/6 Good quality sausages

Peas

1 onion

Knob of butter

Brown sugar (I don’t measure, I normally just put a little tip of the bag in)

Red wine

Water (use as much as you want for your desired amount of gravy)

Bisto gravy granules

Butter for the mash

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1. Peel the potatoes and cut into small pieces, put in a pan of water, set aside

2. Turn the oven on to gas mark 7. Grease the two cake tins. Put the oiled tins into the oven, to get them sizzling hot. Put the potatoes on the hob and bring to the boil

3. Make the batter. In a bowl, sift the flour and make a well in the middle

4. Break the egg into the well and beat, gradually incorporating the flour until it vaguely resembles dough, and then beat in the milk, water and salt and pepper, only a little bit at a time. Each time you add the liquid, mix until it’s smooth

 5. Chop the onion and put in a frying pan with the knob of butter and brown sugar, cook until soft and caramalised. Then pour in some red wine and bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced

6. When the oil is sizzling, divide the batter mix into the two tins evenly

7. After the Yorkshire puddings have been in the oven for about 15 minutes, cook the sausages under the grill, turning every few minutes for about 15 minutes

8.  Add the water and peas to the onions

9. Drain the potatoes and mash well with some butter and salt and pepper
 
10. Add in the gravy granules to the onions and mix
 
11. 30 minutes after the puddings went into the oven, they should be done. Take them out of the tins and put them on a plate. Put the mash and sausages in and then pour the gravy over. Ta dah! Beautiful, even if I do say so myself 🙂
 
I’m SO pleased they turned out right for once. Mmmmmmm yummers.
 
Great ol’ comfort food for the cold weather that is drawing in! And I’ll definitely be cheating and making toad in the hole this way again.

Stuffed chicken breasts, wrapped in Parma ham. Served with asparagus, garlic and parmesan and potatoes with garlic, spring onion and wilted spinach in a stilton cream sauce

Calorie overload! But SO worth it!…

This is a plate full of oozy, cheesy goodness. Not one to eat everyday, but makes a great special Saturday meal in.

It does take quite a while and there are a few things that have to be done at the same time, so the kitchen can get a bit heated. But, if you prepare ahead, it’ll help.

Ingredients:

Chicken breasts

Parma ham

Garlic and herb cream cheese

Asparagus

Garlic

Olive oil

Grated parmesan

New potatoes

Butter

Salt and pepper

Spring onions

Spinach

Double cream

Blue cheese (I used Stilton- currently obsessed!)

1. Prepare the chicken. Remove all fat and flatten the chicken with a rolling-pin in between some cling film. Make a slit in the side to make a pocket. Spoon in some of the cream cheese

2. Lay down 2 pieces of Parma ham, slightly overlapping. Place the breast about half way down the ham and roll. Ensuring the slit is covered well. Repeat with all the chicken breasts and then set aside, covered, in the fridge

3. Wash and quarter the potatoes, place in an oven proof dish with a little oil. Chop in some garlic and spring onions. Season with salt and pepper. Put a bit of butter around the potatoes. Put in the oven on gas mark 6 for 20 minutes, then turn and put back in for another 20 minutes and turn again

4. Wash and chop the asparagus to fit into a small over dish. Rub the asparagus with a little oil. Chop in some garlic

5. Put the chicken in the oven for 6 minutes then turn and return for another 6 minutes. In a frying pan, cook the chicken on high for a few minutes on each side to crisp up the ham. When the chicken is crispy, leave to rest in the pan for a few minutes. Whilst in the frying pan cook the asparagus

6. Place the asparagus in the oven for 12 minutes. After the 12 mins, grate over some parmesan and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

7. Also whilst the asparagus is cooking, in a pan, melt the blue cheese in the cream. When totally melted, add in the spinach until melted. Add to the dish of potatoes and cook until the asparagus is done

(My camera steamed up!)

8. Dish up!

Parmesan chicken, spanish style potatoes and salad

I’m missing Spain already! So had to have something to remind me of that wonderful place, and my favourite ever meat is chorizo. Can you get more Spanish?!

Ingredients:

New potatoes

Garlic

4 tomatoes

Chorizo

Chicken breasts

Grated parmesan

Flour

Basil

Cajun spice mix

Smoked paprika

Pepper

Balsamic glaze

Sweet chilli sauce

Olive oil

Lettuce

Rocket

Spring onions

1. Start of by preparing the potatoes. In a glass Pyrex dish, put in some washed and quartered new potatoes, along with some olive oil, 2 sliced tomatoes, garlic, chorizo, sweet chilli sauce, balsamic glaze, smoked paprika and pepper

2. Put the potatoes in the middle shelf of the oven at gas mark 5, turning every 20 minutes for an hour

3. In a bowl crack in one egg white. In another bowl, tip in some flour, grated parmesan, basil, cajun spice mix, pepper and smoked paprika

4. Flatten the chicken with a rolling-pin and slice each breast into 4 slices

5. Take the chicken strips one at a time and first dip in the egg white then roll into the flour mixture. Set aside on a plate

6. When the potatoes are nearly done, cook the chicken under the grill for approximately 6 minutes on each side

7. Whilst the chicken is cooking, prepare the salad on the plates. Mix the lettuce with the rocket. Slice the spring onions and tomatoes. Drizzle over some balsamic glaze

8. Time to plate up. Next to the salad, stack the chicken and spoon on the potato mixture

I wish you could smell (and taste!) just how good this is.

Mexican feast!

I absolutely love Mexican food. Fajitas being my favourite. They are so easy to make and are a really filling meal. They are great to make if you’ve got a crowd over or are fab for just a cosy meal for 2.

To make these for 2 people, you will need:

3 peppers

1 large onion

2/3 chicken breasts

Cajun spice mix

Fajita spice mix

Cheese

Salsa

Guacamole

Sour cream

Refried beans

Lettuce

Tomatoes

Tortilla wraps

1. Wash and thinly slice the peppers and onion

2. chop the chicken into small pieces then sprinkle over some Cajun seasoning

3. Put the peppers, onion and chicken in a frying pan with a bit of oil. Cook on a high heat until slightly charred

4. Whilst the chicken and veg are cooking, prepare the rest. Put lettuce and sliced tomatoes into a bowl. Grate some cheese, and sort out the sour cream, guacamole and salsa.

5. When the chicken and veg are nearly done, put the refried beans in the microwave for about 1 minute, then the tortilla wraps for about 30 seconds.

Now it’s time to dig in and build your fajitas!

What’s great about fajitas is that you can make them any which way you want.

Then it’s time to wrap!

 

 

The World’s best ever share ‘n’ tear garlic bread and pizza plait

Woah, that’s a big statement! The World’s best ever garlic bread?! Well maybe not (as I’ve not tried them all!) but my husband says it is and I think it is….so it must be right?!

I came across this recipe on Pinterest, one of my most favourite and the most addictive website ever! (I’m full of the big statements today huh?)

Here’s the website which the photo on Pinterest linked to (which I adapted slightly): http://www.consultantdietitian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=125:garlic-pull-apart-bread&catid=41:breads-muffins-and-biscuits&Itemid=68

As well as the garlic bread, I was making a pizza plait along side it. I doubled the dough recipe from here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4683/pizza-margherita-in-4-easy-steps

Here’s how I made them-

Garlic bread ingredients:

Half of the dough recipe from the BBC good food link above (remember I doubled it to make the pizza as well, so really it’s one quantity of the dough recipe)

Approx 4 tablespoons butter

1 beaten egg

Lots of grated Parmesan and extra mature cheddar

4 cloves of finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1. Make the dough from the above link and knead for 10 minutes. Allow to rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours.

2. After the dough has risen, divide it into two for the pizza and garlic bread and put one aside. Pull off small pieces and roll into balls. Arrange in a lightly buttered dish/tray.

3. Make the garlic butter. In a bowl/jug, put in the butter and mix in the beaten egg, chopped garlic, salt and parsley, and cheeses.

4. Spread the butter mixture all over the dough balls.

5. Cover with cling film and allow to rise again. (I went out to the supermarket for an hour or so and left it to rise) It should double in size (mine filled the dish and was bursting at the seams!)

6. Cook in the oven on gas mark 4 for approx 30 minutes or until its golden brown.

Here it is in all its glory! I will seriously never buy garlic bread again. Truly scrummy.

Pizza plait:

I made this when the garlic bread was rising.

Ingredients:

The other half of the dough

Tomato puree

BBQ sauce

Extra mature cheddar

Pepperoni

Half and onion

A little egg to seal the sides

1. Roll the dough out onto a greased baking tray. Lightly with a knife, divide (only marking not cutting) the dough, evenly into three sections. On the outer sides, cut 8 even slits. (you can roll it out better than mine, I was just in a rush to get it ready)

2. In the middle section, spread over BBQ sauce and tomato puree, then add the grated cheese, pepperoni and onions (you can use whatever you want obviously, I was just using what we had in)

3. Lightly brush over beaten egg on the ends of the strips so that they stick together. Then, starting from one end, carefully criss cross the dough sections, taking one from one section and then folding one from the other section over. Repeat until it’s all plaited.

(again not very good as I was in a rush!)

(Hehe it looks like a mouth with teeth!)

4. Wrap the tray loosely in cling film and allow to rise. (The garlic bread and pizza were both left to rise when I went out and then cooked together when I got back)

5. Cook in the oven at gas mark 4 for approx 30 minutes or until golden brown.

I accidentally cooked mine a little too long… it was rather hard but still really yummy.

 

 

Chicken, roast potatoes & vegetables with a Stilton sauce

This is my current* favourite meal.

It has everything that I love. Chicken, a creamy sauce, roast potatoes, cheese, veg…

This would make a fabulous romantic meal for two or just a really great midweek/weekend meal.

Ingredients:

Serves 2

Chicken breasts

White wine (optional)

Green beans

2 Carrots

Asparagus

New potatoes

Garlic

Cream (I use double)

Stilton

Rosemary

Sea salt

2 lemons

  1. Prepare the veg. Peel the carrots and cut into batons. Slice the ends of the green beans and snap the asparagus. Put into a pan of water. Slice a lemon and squeeze into the veg and water. Place the slices into the pan. Set aside.
  2. Wash the new potatoes and slice in half. Put them into a roasting tray along with some olive oil, as much garlic as you like, rosemary and sprinkle on some sea salt. Slice the other lemon and squeeze over the potatoes. Then chop the lemon and arrange in the tray.
  3. Cut the blood/fat off the chicken breast and place in another (small) roasting tray. Pour over the white wine until the breast are covered (if not using wine, you could use water with a stock cube in). Wrap the tray in foil.
  4. Turn the oven onto gas mark 4. Put the potatoes on the middle shelf and the chicken on the bottom.
  5. Turn the potatoes after half an hour and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
  6. In a large frying pan, pour in the cream and put some chopped garlic in. Crumble the Stilton into the cream. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes.
  7. After 15 minutes, Bring the veg to the boil.
  8. Turn the potatoes.
  9. When the vegetables are nearly ready (depending if you prefer them al dente or soft) turn the cream in the pan onto a low heat. Keep stirring until the Stilton melts and the sauce is warm. Do not boil the cream.
  10. Now, if you want too, you can quickly fry the chicken on a high heat to brown it or just dish it up.
  11. It’s time to plate up! Serve the chicken with the Stilton sauce on with the crispy potatoes and veg on the side, you can remove the lemon if you so wish.

If anyone tries this, I really hope you enjoy eating it and the smell if gives, as much as I do 🙂

*This could change at anytime :p