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Tag Archives: dinner

Recipe – Sicilian Sardine Pasta

I had a tin of sardines hanging around in my cupboard so wanted to find a recipe to use them up that was not too ‘fishy’. I know that probably sounds ridiculous but I’m not a huge fan of the taste of oily fish on its own but mixed with other things, I quite like the saltiness it can add. I found a few versions of this Sicilian dish online and kind of mixed up a few recipes to create this one. We enjoyed this for dinner one night and the fennel and pine nuts add really lovely flavours and textures.

Ingredients

A generous handful of dried raisins or currants

1 can of sardines in oil

1 fennel bulb, chopped – save the fronds too!

A pinch of chili flakes

Diced bread – you could use normal bread but a sliced up French stick is better

One onion, roughly chopped

A handful of pine nuts

Enough pasta for two people (I used fusilli)

A small handful of fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

How to make it

  • Begin by soaking the raisins in hot water for about 15 minutes until plump then drain

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  • Pour a little of the oil from the sardines into a large frying pan on a low to medium heat
  • Add the chili flakes and the fennel fronds then sauté for a minute
  • Add the diced bread and fry for about 5 minutes until crisp and golden

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  • Transfer the croutons to some kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil
  • Add the rest of the sardine oil to the pan followed by the fennel and onion

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  • Soften on a medium heat for about 10 minutes
  • In a separate pan, cook your pasta until al dente then drain
  • Add the pine nuts and raisins to the fennel and onion followed by the sardines (you can break the fish into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon)

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  • Cook for about 5 minutes then add the croutons back in and cook for another 3
  • Add the pasta and mix well
  • Season to taste then serve with fresh parsley sprinkled on top

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Recipe – Sausage and Beer Casserole

Ahhhhhh hello half term! This break could not have come soon enough for me and I plan on making the most of it. I started today with a lovely lie in then eggs and smoked salmon – a perfect start.

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Today’s recipe is a lovely seasonal dish that you can make for a crowd or some extra portions for the freezer. You can also add a twist depending on what sausages or beer you decide to use!

Ingredients

A glug of olive oil

6 sausages

I onion, roughly chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

A tray of mushrooms, sliced

1 can or bottle of beer

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

Mixed herbs (fresh or dried)

Salt and pepper

A handful of green beans

How to make it

  • Begin by lightly frying the sausages in a large pan with the oil until browned on all sides
  • Add the onion and garlic and fry for another 5 minutes

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  • Next, add the mushrooms for another few minutes

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  • Pour in the beer, chopped tomatoes, herbs and a good helping of salt and pepper

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  • Mix well and leave to simmer for about half an hour
  • Add your green beans (I also threw in a handful of shredded carrot I had in the fridge)

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  • Serve with crispy potatoes or mash

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Recipe – Mushroom and Chickpea Stew

It definitely feels like the end of summer. I usually walk home from my Pilates lesson in the evening sun on Mondays but last night I was wrapped up, running home in the wind and rain. We haven’t caved in and put the heating on yet but I don’t think it will be far off!

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I enjoyed this healthy stew all summer but it would be just as comforting in the coming colder months with a big dollop of sour cream on top.

Ingredients

A glug of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 teaspoons of turmeric

3 teaspoons of cumin

1 teaspoon of dried chili flakes

Salt and pepper

1 red onion, roughly chopped

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

5 tablespoons of tomato puree

Boiling water

1 courgette, halved and sliced

1 tray of mushroom, sliced

1 can of chickpeas, drained

1 small jar of black olives

Fresh coriander

Sour cream (or natural yogurt)

How to make it

  • Begin by heating the olive oil in a deep pan on a medium heat
  • Add the garlic, turmeric, cumin, chili flakes, salt and pepper and gently fry

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  • Add the onion and fry for another few minutes
  • Next, pour in the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and fill the empty cans with boiling water and add them too, stirring well

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  • Bring to boil then turn it down to a simmer
  • Add the courgettes and mushrooms and cook for about half an hour

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  • Add the chickpeas and olives and cook for another 15-20 minutes

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  • Season to taste then serve with couscous, a generous handful of fresh coriander and good dollop of sour cream

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Recipe – Chicken, Courgette and Cranberry Couscous Salad

Anyone else love a bit of alliteration?!

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I’ve only been back to work for a few weeks and I am already craving more variety for my lunches. This salad is really tasty and one I will be making a big bowl of in the coming weeks. I love giant couscous but this would work just as well with the normal variety as well as quinoa.

I have purposely left the ingredients fairly vague as it is a real ‘throw-it-in-as-you-go’ recipe and if I made it again I’m sure I would find something else in my fridge to add!

Ingredients

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3 courgettes, sliced

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded

A small jar of black olives, halved

A handful of cranberries or pomegranate seeds

Half a block of feta, cubed

Fresh coriander

A couple of radishes, chopped

Four servings of giant couscous (or other grain)

How to make it

  • Begin by lightly frying the courgettes in oil until they have started to soften then allow to cool

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  • In a large bowl, add the courgettes, chicken and black olives and season well

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  • Next, add the cranberries, feta, radishes and coriander and mix well

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  • Add the couscous and serve with hummus and flatbreads

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Recipe – Coca Cola Chicken

After indulging in chicken wings on an almost daily basis whilst in America, I was craving chicken again so had a play around with this recipe. I call it Coca Cola chicken but it is akin to a very mild, sweet barbecue sauce and one that makes the meat almost fall off the bones. You can make this with drumsticks, wings or even thighs.

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Ingredients

A glug of olive oil

9 chicken drumsticks

One can of Coke (I used Diet Coke)

One tin of chopped tomatoes

One teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

Salt and pepper

Some fresh coriander

How to make it

  • In a large pan, add the oil and chicken and brown for a few minutes on each side on a medium heat
  • Pour over your can of Coke, bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and mustard, season well and stir
  • Lower the heat slightly and allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring regularly, until the sauce has reduced and thickened

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  • Remove the chicken legs and scoop up the rest of the sauce
  • Serve warm with some fresh coriander and my Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

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Recipe – Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

Last week, I made a chicken dish and I wanted to make a really flavoursome side dish that didn’t involve my usual default ingredient of potatoes. I found a tin of chickpeas in my cupboard, my brain started ticking and I came up with this little beauty.

We ate them warm from the oven but I think they would be lovely left to cool as a salad ingredient too.

Ingredients

1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

One garlic clove, crushed

One teaspoon of cumin

One teaspoon of smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

A drizzle of olive oil

A handful of fresh coriander

How to make it

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4
  • In an ovenproof dish, place the chickpeas, garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and oil. Stir well to ensure the chickpeas are coated in the spices

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  • Roast for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and slightly crispy

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  • Sprinkle over the coriander and serve

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Recipe – Fish Tacos

Phew – it is hot! I have been loving the sunshine so far this week – we are even thinking of an impromptu camping trip at the weekend if it continues. My weekly food shop reflected this today too with lots of lovely fruit and salad ingredients and treats coming in the way of salted caramel ice cream!

One of my favourite summery recipes is fish tacos. They are light, vibrant and full of flavour and don’t take too long to cook either. I serve my fish with a salsa, salad, sour cream and hot sauce. I would usually have guacamole too but my avocado didn’t ripen in time for this recipe!

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Ingredients

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

A handful of fresh coriander

The juice of one lime

Salt and pepper

4 small white fish fillets (you can use any firm white fish for this recipe – I picked up haddock this time)

A handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped

About 1/3 of a red onion, finely chopped

A couple of radishes, chopped

Mini tortilla wraps

Salad leaves

Sour cream

Hot sauce

How to make it

  • Begin by making the marinade for the fish. In a bowl, add a glug of olive oil, garlic, coriander and most of the lime juice (save a squeeze for the salsa!)

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  • Add the fish fillets and allow to marinade for at least an hour
  • Next, I made up my salsa by mixing up the tomatoes, red onion, radishes, some more coriander, salt, pepper, olive oil and a squeeze of lime juice

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  • Heat a griddle pan to a medium heat then lay your fish fillets in the pan
  • Cook for a few minutes on either side

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  • Now layer up your tacos! I like to start with salad, then the fish and finally the salsa and sauces…sooooooo good! x

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Recipe – Courgette and Parmesan Arancini

I feel like I have been teasing you with this recipe for a while and what better way to celebrate the end of the exam period at school than with a delicious arancini recipe?! These little balls of crunchy, cheesy risotto are one of my favourite things to order at an Italian restaurant and I was pleased to find out that they aren’t too tricky to make either.

In order to recreate this, you will need some leftover risotto and I highly recommend following my recipe here! I have left the amounts for this recipe rather vague as it really depends on how much rice you start with but it’s pretty simple to increase or decrease the amounts.

Ingredients

Leftover risotto

A good helping of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

A few tablespoons of plain flour

One egg, whisked up

A few tablespoons of breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

A glug of olive oil

How to make it

  • Begin by adding a good sprinkling of Parmesan to the leftover risotto to up the cheese factor

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  • Prepare your three dipping bowls/ saucers with the flour, egg and seasoned breadcrumbs

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  • Wet your hands and roll the risotto into small golf ball-sized shapes

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  • Heat some oil in a pan on a low to medium heat
  • Roll each ball in flour, egg then breadcrumbs
  • Add to the frying pan and gently fry until golden brown – you may need to do this in two batches

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  • Drain on some kitchen paper to absorb any grease
  • Serve with a big salad and enjoy! x

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Recipe – Courgette and Parmesan Risotto

Hello and May the 4th be with you on this sunny Bank Holiday Monday. We’ve had a lovely slow start to the day so far and plan on having a nice, relaxed day at home.

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Ian brought me breakfast in bed (he’s a keeper!), I did some yoga (I’m attempting the 30-day Yoga with Adriene series!) then treated myself to a warming pomegranate face mask before settling down for some blogging and coursework and maybe a little order from the Stila website!

I mentioned last week that I had amazing courgette arancini when we went out for dinner recently and that I was determined to recreate it at home. Well, the first step in that is to make some risotto which essentially forms the filling. However, I didn’t just want to make a big pan of risotto and let it cool down without enjoying a big bowlful of it first so you could think of this as Meal #1 in the task of perfect arancini! This is a delicious dinner, especially with the courgette, chorizo and pine nut toppings.

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The below amount made enough for 4 people (2 bowls of risotto for dinner then a big bowl of arancini the next day!)

Ingredients

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1 tablespoon of butter

6 shallots, chopped (you could just use an onion too)

One garlic clove, crushed

2 courgettes – one and half grated and the remaining half sliced into half circles

Salt and pepper

A pinch of chili flakes (optional if you want a bit of heat)

180g of risotto rice

1.5 litres of good quality stock (I used chicken stock)

50g of Parmesan

One tablespoon of cream cheese

A glug of olive oil

A thumbs length of chorizo, sliced

2 tablespoons of pine nuts

How to make it

  • Begin by melting your butter in a large pan on a medium heat
  • Add the shallots and garlic and gently fry until it softens and turns translucent
  • Now add the grated courgette, season well, add the chili flakes  and cook for another few minutes

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  • Then add the risotto rice and stir well

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  • Begin adding the stock one ladleful at a time, stirring almost constantly until absorbed then repeat

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  • When the rice has softened and taken on a creamy consistency, add about 30g of the Parmesan cheese and the cream cheese then season to taste

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  • Now for the risotto ‘toppings’!
  • In a separate frying pan, heat some olive oil and lightly fry the remaining courgette and chorizo slices until golden brown and starting to crisp

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  • Remove from the pan then lightly toast the pine nuts, making sure not to burn them

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  • Serve the risotto with the courgette, chorizo and pine nuts sprinkled on top

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  • Oh, and don’t forget the rest of that Parmesan!

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Arancini recipe coming later this week! x

Restaurant Review – A Midweek Treat at the Muddy Duck

It feels slightly strange blogging about our village pub as we are up there on a frequent basis (maybe a little too frequent!) but we had such a good meal recently, I felt it merited a post. Rather than trying somewhere new, Ian and I decided to wander up to our local for a midweek dinner.

I started with an Aperol Spritz cocktail which looked like a glass of Iron-Bru but this Italian aperitif has a lovely bitter-sweet taste and is apparently rather popular with the Hackney hipsters.

For my starter, I went for a salad which included two of my favourite ingredients: beetroot and goats cheese. Containing golden yellow and deep purple beetroot, which had been both pickled and roasted, this salad had a rich sweetness from the beets matched by the sharpness of the goats cheese, some of which had been whipped with lemon to add another texture and flavour. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I think the only thing missing was a crunch of some nuts or crispy bread.

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Ian had a twist on ham, pea and mint in the form of this rustic ham terrine, served with a pea puree, mint and griddled new potatoes.  This was a hearty little starter and I was glad we opted to share them!

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For my main, I went for another veggie option in the form of courgette arancini. Arancini, for those of you who are yet to discover this Italian delight, are little deep fried balls of risotto and one of those things I have to order when I see it on a menu! These ones were courgette arancini, with a cheesy, rich filling and served with marinated mozzarella, griddled vegetables and courgette and radish ribbons. The combination of these ingredients were spot on and I have my own take on these rice balls coming soon!

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Ian went for the lamb served two ways but I have to admit I was enjoying my own dinner so much (and trying to pick apart the recipe so I could cook it myself at home!) that I don’t think I even tried any!

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Ordering two veggie courses left me with some room for pudding and I could not resist the sticky toffee pudding, served with honeycomb and clotted cream ice-cream. This was a lovely end to the evening and no doubt we will be back soon x

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