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Tag Archives: salad

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 – 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 – Greek-Style Quinoa Salad

Hello! I had planned on some daily blogging over the holidays but I have been spending ALL DAY decorating and nipping out to buy more DIY supplies. As well as completely revamping our guest bedroom (with the help of my parents!) we have bought new blinds, rugs, lamps and added a splash of colour to our bedroom too…all will be revealed shortly!

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Today’s recipe is definitely in the healthy category with super-trendy quinoa as the main ingredient. I have had this a lot in bought salads and in restaurants but never actually cooked with it myself. I decided to experiment with some flavours that I knew worked together and used a traditional Greek salad as inspiration for this dish. I served mine with chicken breast but it would work equally well on its own.

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The below amounts made a huge bowlful which kept us going for about 4 meals (2 lunches and 2 dinners) so I would say it serves 8 as a side dish.

Ingredients

One punnet of cherry tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

A pinch of dried oregano

250g of quinoa

Half a jar of green olives, halved

Half a jar of black olives, halved

A small tin of sweetcorn, drained

Half a cucumber, roughly cubed

Fresh lemon

A drizzle of pomegranate molasses

One block of feta cheese, cubed

How to make it

  • Begin by preheating the oven to Gas Mark 3 or 160°C for roasting your cherry tomatoes – of course you can have them raw in the salad but I like the sweetness and texture that roasting them brings

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  • I simply slice the tomatoes in half, lay them on a tray or roasting dish, drizzle over olive oil, salt, pepper and some dried oregano then pop them in the oven for about half an hour before leaving to cool

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  • Now for the quinoa! Begin by pouring it into a sieve and rinsing thoroughly

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  • Next, place the quinoa in a large pan, top with cold water and bring it the boil before simmering for about 20 minutes or until the grain has sort of ‘split’ and softened then drain well

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  • It’s now time to mix everything together. In a large serving bowl, add the green and black olives, sweetcorn, cucumber, quinoa and roasted tomatoes

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  • Squeeze over half a lemon and drizzle over some pomegranate molasses and season well

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  • Finish off by mixing through the feta cheese and serve

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We enjoyed ours with chicken breast and it was also delicious for lunch the next day!

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I now have a big bag of leftover quinoa to experiment with so please let me know any good recipes to try – I have been reading about ‘quinoa berry breakfast bowls’ which may be next on my list! x

Restaurant Review – The Moonraker, Bradford on Avon

Kind of a new restaurant review today…

We ate at the Milking Parlour back in October and it has recently been renamed as The Moonraker. We loved the tasting menu we ate there last time so were looking forward to revisiting this place which has recently gone through a rebrand.

I’m not sure what I was expecting but it was lovely to see that there was very little change in the welcoming dining room and bar and they hadn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken! I was also glad to see there was still a strong emphasis on using lots of local ingredients and produce grown within the grounds.

We ordered my favourite red (a Chilean merlot) and waited for our first course. As we were sampling the taster menu, we didn’t get an actual menu to peruse which I didn’t mind because a) we aren’t fussy and will eat pretty much anything and b) it kept an element of surprise to the evening!

Our first course was soup served with toasted bread in a cup and saucer. The soup itself was a rich beef broth with beef tongue, winter vegetables and girolle mushrooms. I know some people may balk at the idea of tongue but it was delicious and full of flavour.

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A slight moan about these next two courses as they were exactly the same as the ones we ate on our last visit. I would hope that a taster menu would change at least monthly so whilst they were both absolutely delicious (the beetroot salad was my favourite course!) it was a tad disappointing not to try something new.

Anyway, next up we had an incredible salad of lightly pickled beetroot, whipped goats cheese and micro greens served with peanuts, walnuts and a glaze. The crunch of the nuts really added to this salad and I could have eaten two or three plates of this!

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We had hay-smoked salmon after that served with an apple and celeriac remoulade and leaves. We both love smoked salmon and this went down well with the rich fish complimenting the creamy remoulade.

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For our main course, we had another interesting meat choice in the form of venison. This was made into a chilli and served with gnocchi. I’m a bit love/hate with gnocchi – I don’t mind it as an accompaniment but find a whole bowl of it a bit chewy and dense. Luckily, there was a good amount of venison served with the pasta. The chilli was quite spicy for me but full of flavour.

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Finally, for pudding we had a wafer-thin crisp filled with caramel and topped with a chocolate crème brulee. This was incredible, rich but incredible! I’m not too sure what the little amaretto biscuit on the side added to the dish but I loved it.

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Up to this point, I couldn’t fault the service but as per our first visit, we found that we struggled to get a waiter’s attention to pay. I was too tired to wait around so marched up and paid at the bar instead – my only real complaint, especially as this was the second time it had happened.

We found another deal on Amazon for this meal which I would recommend as it means you get a real bargain for some excellent quality food.

Recipe – Bacon, Broad Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche

You know the drill by now…fake it so you don’t have to make it! I am a big fan of these ready-made quiche bases. Yes, they are cheating slightly but if you fancy a delicious midweek pastry treat, you may not always have time to mix, rest and roll out pastry from scratch.

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Seeing as the base takes little to no effort, I always think you need to make a real effort with the filling in terms of flavour. This one has salty, crispy bacon, sweet broad beans and rich tomatoes…a perfect melody of flavours and textures.

Ingredients

3-4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

About 75g of frozen broad beans

5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

150ml of crème fraîche

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of milk

A handful of fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

1 ready-made pastry case

A handful of grated Parmesan cheese

How to make it

  • Begin by preheating the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4
  • In a large pan, gently fry the bacon until it has started to go crispy
  • Pour some boiling water over the broad beans and drain
  • In a jug, whisk together the crème fraîche, eggs, milk, parsley and season well
  • Take your pastry case and layer the broad beans and tomatoes along the base

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  • Then layer on the bacon

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  • Carefully pour over the egg mixture ensuring it is evenly spread around the fillings

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  • Sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes

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  • Allow to cool slightly then whilst till warm – we had ours with a Caesar salad

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Another delicious and easy mid-week meal x

Restaurant Review – Taplow House Hotel

It feels like I haven’t done a good restaurant review for ages! I think that’s probably because we keep eating at places I have already reviewed or just places that don’t lend themselves to a good blog post.

Anyway, today I wanted to share the amazing meal Ian and I enjoyed at Taplow House Hotel when we stayed there recently. We had a three course meal included in our hotel stay which I always like as it means you don’t have to have that argument about who will be the designated driver!

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We started with a good bottle of Merlot while we perused the menu. There were 4 or 5 options for starter, main and dessert which were a nice variety of meat, fish and veggie dishes. The dining room was beautifully decorated but I have to say there wasn’t much atmosphere…maybe that was simply because it was a Wednesday evening though.

I am going to get my other niggle out the way now because I really couldn’t find fault with the food. The night we ate at the Taplow House Hotel, there was a large party in the other room which meant the service in the restaurant suffered a bit. We actually had to wait for almost an hour for our starters which normally would really annoy me but because we were ‘on holiday’ I didn’t mind too much as we were enjoying our wine and conversation.

Onto our (much anticipated!) starters…

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I had a dish of lightly whipped goats cheese which came with salt baked and pickled beetroot, green apple, sesame seed sponge, blackberries and leaves. The pairing of goats cheese and beetroot is a favourite of mine and this was one of those perfectly balanced dishes with a lovely variety of flavours and textures.

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Ian had the grilled mackerel (which were smoked in-house) which came with avocado, celeriac remoulade, mouli, pickled mustard seeds and shiso cress. Again, this was a well-balanced dish with the rich fish matched well against the accompaniments.

I think you can usually judge how good a restaurant is after you’ve had the starters and I have to say we were both really impressed with what we had had so far.

For my main, I really fancied fish so ordered the fillet of cod. This was a huge portion (not complaining!) and it just flaked away perfectly. It was served with artichokes, cockles, mini turnips, squid ink gnocchi and a smoked herring roe butter sauce. Whilst it did look a bit messy on the plate, this dish was incredible! The rich sauce brought everything together and I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful.

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Ian opted for the lamb which again looked a bit messy on the plate but more than delivered on taste. There was a braised neck of lamb fillet and loin as well as sweetbreads served with pearl barley, charred baby leeks, celeriac and a lovely rosemary gravy.

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Onto pudding now and I had the white chocolate cheesecake which turned out to be a delightful deconstructed version and one of my favourite dishes of the night. The filling part of the cheesecake part was one of the balls sat atop the biscuit crumbs, the other being a rich vanilla ice cream. Surrounding the rest of the plate was a combination of chocolate ganache, shards of milk chocolate, hazelnuts, cocoa nib sherbet and cocoa marshmallows. It was truly delicious and every mouthful was different.

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Ian doesn’t have as much of a sweet tooth as I do so opted for the cheeseboard which had a nice variety of local cheeses, crackers and a chutney.

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If this hotel was nearby, I would be back to this restaurant in a flash. Although the atmosphere and service left a bit to be desired, I absolutely loved the food here and that would be enough to tempt me back. x

Recipe – Roasted Salmon, Pea and Leek Quiche

I made this dish for dinner last weekend and I have to admit that it was absolutely delicious; so much so that I am going out to repurchase the ingredients so I can enjoy it again soon!

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This is a real cheat’s quiche as I didn’t do my usual trick of buying ready-made pastry, but instead bought a ready-made pastry case. I still don’t have a problem with this though as a good quiche is all about the filling in my opinion and this salmon one is a good ‘un.

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Now, let’s talk fish. Ordinary smoked salmon would work fine here but if you can get yourself a roasted salmon fillet then I think the flavour and texture will be that little bit better. I bought a kiln roasted salmon fillet that had a dill flavour to it and it was delicious!

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Ingredients

A knob of butter

1 leek

75g of peas

150ml of crème fraîche

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of milk

Salt and pepper

1 ready-made pastry case

1 roasted salmon fillet

A handful of grated Parmesan cheese

How to make it

  • Begin by preheating the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4
  • In a large pan, melt the butter and gently fry the leek until softened

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  • Add the peas and stir for another few minutes before removing from the heat
  • In a jug, whisk together the crème fraîche, eggs, milk and season well
  • Take your pastry case and layer the leeks and peas along the base

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  • Flake over the salmon fillet

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  • Carefully pour over the egg mixture ensuring it is evenly spread around the fillings

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  • Sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes

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  • Remove when golden brown and the filling has set

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  • Allow to cool slightly then serve – we had ours with a spinach and artichoke side salad and it was fabulous!

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