Tag Archives: cooking

Tasty Turkey Nachos

20 Jul

Today I’m going to tell you about the tastiest meal I’ve eaten in a long time. Hence the title. Thought I’d treat you to a bit of alliteration there…

Maybe it was just what I needed at the time or something, but every bite of these nachos tasted SO good!!!

But first, let me brag just a little bit about how lucky I am at the moment 🙂

1.) Surprise holiday!

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2.) Tapir tickling at Dudley zoo ><

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Not the most flattering picture, but guys, I’m tickling a damn tapir named Tallulah what more do you want!?

Actually, you might want a picture of this ADORABLE baby orang-utan licking the floor…

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Truly did feel like I was the only being (human or otherwise) without a child to call my own that day… But I digress 😉

So now I’ve got that out of my system, check these out! So simple, but soooooo tasty 🙂

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Notes:

The love ate them with wraps… Cos’ he likes to add bread to just about everything.

If you can’t find chilli-flavoured tortilla chips, just add some sliced chilli or dried chilli flakes to taste! 🙂

These would also be awesome with slow-cooked shredded beef… mmm… or chicken, or pork, or no meat at all! Ya know, whatever!

Serves 2.

  • 100g chilli tortilla chips
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 200g turkey thigh mince
  • 70-80g strong cheddar
  • 2 tbsp sliced pickled jalapeño peppers
  • guacamole, sour cream and tomato salsa, to serve
  1. Heat the oven to 200ºc. While waiting for it to reach temperature, heat a little oil in a non-stick pan and add the red onion, cooking for a few minutes until beginning to soften. Next, add the turkey mince and stir it around the pan, breaking it up while it fries until you have small nubbly bits of cooked turkey.
  2. Take an ovenproof dish (I used 2 mini ones) and layer with tortilla chips. Next comes the turkey, red onions spring onions and jalapeños. Finally, sprinkle over a generous handful of cheese and bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
  3. Serve with your choice of guacamole, sour cream, tomato salsa and/or extra jalapeños. Enjoy!

I’ll leave you with this, because I love otters ❤

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Naaw.

Salad Nicoise

12 Jul

*Clears throat*

“Cauliflowers fluffy and cabbages green,

Strawberries sweeter than any I’ve seen,

Beetroot purple and onions white,

All grow steadily day and night!

The apples are ripe and the plums are red,

The broad beans are sleeping in their blankety bed…

(whisper)

The broad beans are sleeping in the blankety bed

Yeah!”

So this is a popular harvest song, but seriously, today was the day I found out that broad beans actually DO sleep in blankety beds!!! It is so beautiful you guys – if you have never podded your own beans and peas, you need to put it on your bucket list. Even if you haven’t grown them yourself – doesn’t matter! I didn’t, but it made me feel so joyful somehow, revealing the perfect little innocent bundles of goodness all tucked up nicely in their natural cushiony houses… *sigh*…

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Moving on then before my insanity becomes a popular topic of conversation.

I know I’ve all but abandoned my poor little bloglet… It’s not that I don’t love it, I do!

Lets just put it down to a confidence thing, okay? As in, *pah, who wants to know that?* or *this is so not Smitten Kitchen* or whatever.

But! This is one mouth-puckeringly intense salad that I would seriously recommend anyone to try!

I’m proud of it, mmkay? That doesn’t happen very often 🙂

Just one note before you read on: the instructions I have given that relate to timing only apply if you want to eat this salad warm. It will be equally delicious cold and far less stressful, as you can cook the different components whenever you’re ready.

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Serves 2.

  • new potatoes (about 12-18 dependent on size and halved if large)
  • 2 large eggs
  • handful of peas and broad beans, fresh and in their pods if possible
  • 1 can of tuna in spring water, drained
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 5 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped
  • handful black olives (about 50g), finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • handful basil leaves, torn
  1. Start by boiling the potatoes in salted water until tender – about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Simply combine the anchovies, olives, garlic, lemon, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.
  3. About 7 minutes before the potatoes are ready, put the eggs in a pan of boiling water and cook until the potatoes are done. Immediately rinse under cold water to prevent the yolk from going grey, although this shouldn’t be an issue after 7 minutes – you should have delectably oozy, soft-boiled eggs. Mmm… Obviously boil for longer if your heart so desires.
  4. 2 minutes after you’ve put the eggs on, put the beans (freshly podded or no) into boiling water. 1 minute after that, add the peas to the same pan. Again, cook until the potatoes are done, then drain. This is multi-tasking at it’s best 🙂 well… at least I think it is… You want the beans and peas to be tender whilst retaining a bit of bite, so use your common sense here.
  5. Now it is just a matter of assemblage. I layered mine like so: potatoes; tuna; beans and peas; tomatoes; dressing; basil; egg. Whatever floats your boat though – naturally I massacred mine within seconds to make sure there was a coating of that luscious dressing over each and every morsel 🙂

I really hope you enjoy this as much as I did!!!

Oh, oh! And I also served the dressing like this:

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With halloumi, wheat berries, courgette and tomato 🙂 so it’s versatile too! Right on 😀

Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Nuoc Cham

18 Jun

Negligence is becoming my middle name.

I am honestly starting to believe that my list of things to do would make anyone stop in their tracks and blink, dazedly. Even the person who is convinced they are the worst procrastinator in the world! I’m worse than that!!! I’m sure if I wrote it all out, it would cover miles of land… I’m picturing one of those enormous scrolls in cartoons that start out looking normal and average-sized, but with a shake of the wrist that unravels the lot… it is clearly formidable to the point of unrealistic goal-setting.

My excuses to avoid getting on with important things recently:

  • My birthday! 😀

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  • The love’s birthday, and his mom’s

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  • Dog-sitting

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Me and this bundle of beautiful have totally bonded. I want one of her.

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He, on the other hand, is like a little old man. Adorable though.

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And hilarious.

  • The BBC Good Food Show/Gardener’s World!

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(Haha :D)

  • Symphony Hall

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  • Misc.

Especially the last one. Gosh how that takes up my time!

Included in the ‘misc’ category is Pinterest. Damn you Pinterest I never thought I’d get drawn in! I am weak when it comes to websites laden with beautiful images and ideas… Pinterest is where I found this incredible recipe 🙂

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Which is actually one of those things I would happily have gotten round to earlier, only I couldn’t find black sesame seeds in any of my local shops 😦 and they make the finished dish look so pretty! Don’t you think? Luckily The Good Food Show was just around the corner and of course it didn’t let me down 😀 Thanks BBC Good Food! (Hire me!) ((Jokes, so not qualified)). You could of course buy some online.

Still, I made it a couple of days ago and I guess it taught me a lesson about striking while the iron is hot when another blogger I follow wrote about the same recipe this morning!!! Now that’s a bit frustrating when I had it all planned.

Oh, what’s that? Your now desperate to follow me on both Tumblr AND Pinterest!? Awesome! Don’t be shy, there’s links to both on the right hand side of my WordPress 😛 just in case you can’t find them I’ve totally helped you out by adding the links above too 😀

Anyhow, here’s my version:

Serves 2.

  • 1 package of firm tofu
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs (panko would be best)
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • oil for frying

For the Nuoc Cham:

  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2-3 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 fiery chillies (Thai if you can find them), de-seeded (if preferred) and thinly sliced

To Serve:

  • Chopped mixed vegetables (I used spring onions, carrot, sweet red pepper and mushrooms)
  • Noodles or rice
  1. First you need to drain your tofu in whichever way you like to do so. I place mine between 2 chopping boards in the sink and balance something heavy on the top. I would recommend you do this at least an hour before you plan to start cooking.
  2. At least half an hour before planning to eat, make the nuoc cham so the flavours have enough time to become well acquainted. Simply whisk all of the ingredients together and taste. It should be salty (but not too salty), full of interesting flavours, and with subtly ensuing heat from the chillies. The finer you chop the garlic and the chillies, the stronger tasting these aspects of the finished sauce will be.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tsp water. In a larger bowl, mix the sesame seeds and bread crumbs with the salt.
  4. Slice the (now much firmer) tofu. I like mine to be in chunky cubes – you decide how you like yours and adjust cooking times accordingly. One at a time, dip each piece of tofu into the egg. Scrape off any excess, then roll it around in the bread crumb mixture. Put to one side while you finish the others.
  5. Heat some oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and fry the tofu pieces for about 2 minutes on each side (if following my lead with chunky cubes). Serve with the nuoc cham, veggies and carbs of your choosing 🙂

The nuoc cham is, I think, meant to be used as a dipping sauce, but – tell me if it’s just me – I don’t have the patience for this at dinner time. At dinner time, I’m hungry and I want a bowl full of food. So I used it as a pouring sauce 🙂 make sure you distribute it evenly though if you do it this way, to avoid pungency overload on top and blandness on the bottom.

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Unless there is tofu on the bottom – this stuff is not bland in the slightest! I just mean bland in comparison to the mouth-puckeringness of the sauce 🙂 The tofu is amazingly crisp, then meltingly moreish. It is perfect and I will make it again many, many times.

And I’m just realising that I should have put a disclaimer at the start of this post: Loads of pictures! Looooong post!

Thanks for reading 😀

Bye!

Early Summer Soup with Honey Beer Bread

6 Jun

This is the first time in a while I’ve made something that has given me a sense of achievement.

I’ve done lots of cake baking for birthdays, thank you gifts and other various occasions… and they’ve been pretty successful, but A.) they weren’t my recipes and B.) I have been slacking once again at meal times! So I’ve been guilt-tripping over that one a bit…

Here I have made a beautiful, light, full of goodness vegetable soup which is easy peasy lemon squeezy. And you might even want a squeeze of lemon in it actually…

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Here is the recipe:

Serves 4 (with honey beer bread)

  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • 100g green beans
  • 100g asparagus tips
  • 1 tin artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over a medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring, until softened.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and vegetable stock, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 25 minutes.
  3. When the soup has been cooking for 15-20 minutes, put a pan of water on to boil and cook the green beans and asparagus for about 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the veg and add to the soup mixture with the chopped artichoke hearts and thyme. Cook for a minute or so then serve with bread.

It is just the perfect thing for a warm, breezy day like today when you are in the mood to celebrate the good, seasonal produce 🙂

I also chucked in a few slices of courgette as we had a little to use up in the fridge. It was good! Play around with the veggies, they like it.

Now for the accompaniment!

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Oh my God.

It is the quickest, easiest, most beautiful bread I have ever made in my life, and if you were worrying about being hungry after a vegetable soup, don’t be – this bread will help you out.

It is quick because there is no need to knead (heh..) and no need to let it rise either. All you do is mix up the ingredients in a special and magical order, put it in a tin and bake! The outside becomes all biscuity thanks to the butter that is poured all over it…

Oh God.

There I go again saying His name in vain. But this bread!!! My mouth is watering and I just ate some!

Recipe uses cups as I was inspired byyyy filingawaycupcakes who I assume is from overseas 🙂

And I am too lazy to convert…

Makes 1 loaf.

  • 5 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 cups beer (I used Oxford Gold organic beer)
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c and fetch out a loaf tin. Pour 2 tbsp of the butter on to the bottom of the tin, then brush it all around the sides until it is nicely greased.
  2. In a (not small, not enormous) mixing bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and give them a whirl so they all have chance to meet each other. Next, add the honey and beer, and give it a good old stir with as big old spoon. Use your hands if any of the dry stuff is stubbornly refusing to mix with the wet stuff.
  3. Place the dough into your loaf tin, and pour the remaining butter over the top. I LOVE THIS PART!!! Then bake it for approx. 50 minutes, but check on it before you take it out just to make sure it’s done.

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Ermagherd! (Which I understand is a popular phrase right now?).

It has just occurred to me that this may not be the best bread to give to children. Simply because having read this post back… you know, I can’t 100% say I haven’t been affected by the beer.

I SO hope you make this!

Bye 😀

xxxxxxx

Goat’s Cheese and Roasted Pepper Tart with Walnut Pastry

26 May

I happened across the idea for a goat’s cheese, walnut and roasted pepper sandwich. Tried it, loved it, wanted it in a tart!

NOT a confident pastry chef, I am always apprehensive when attempting to make pastry from scratch, but the recipe I used for this shortcrust is just amazing. It made pastry easy! And delicious of course. I know you can just buy the stuff but it bothers me so much when I can’t get something right it makes me even more stubborn to keep trying. It’s a recipe from a ‘Basics’ book I borrowed from the library, and is interwoven with the recipe for the filling which is mine.

This serves 4 and makes enough pastry to line a 23cm flan tin.

For the Pastry:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten, plus extra for brushing

For the Filling:

  • 150ml log soft, rindless goat’s cheese
  • 70g roasted peppers from a jar, drained
  • 50g walnut halves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150ml milk
  1. Put the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it in until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg and about 1-2 tbsp water to form a soft dough. Knead briefly, then wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. For the filling, beat the eggs with the milk. Roughly crumble the walnuts and goat’s cheese and add this to the egg mixture. Roughly chop the peppers and add most of these, along with any seasoning you might like.
  3. Heat the oven to 200ºc. Knead the pastry again and roll it out to the required size. This pastry doesn’t shrink so there is no need to chill it! Brush the base and sides with beaten egg.
  4. Put the flan tin on a baking sheet and bake blind for 5 minutes (do not use baking paper or baking beans as this would stick to the egg wash). Add the filling and bake for 15 minutes more. Now turn the heat down to 180°c and continue cooking for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly set.

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Serve with salad! 🙂

Umbrian Lentils with Homemade Sausages

17 May

I loved making these. And eating them!

It is an Antonio Carluccio recipe from his book Simple Cooking, changed slightly to suit my tastes.

The method for making sausages from scratch is so clever! I will be trying it again with different flavour combinations, and the puy lentils are so full of flavour – I had the leftovers for lunch the following day and it felt like such a treat. Also, this is a bit cliche but usually I cannot stand celery, but here it just seems to merge with the other flavours so well that all it does it heighten those flavours… I’m glad I took the plunge and threw the celery in or I may never have known that I could abide it in super-delicious circumstances!

A special meal 🙂

Serves 4.

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed
  • 50g sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 25og puy lentils
  • 450ml chicken stock
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Sausages:

  • 500g minced pork
  • 50ml red wine
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 scant tsp dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. For the lentils, fry the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in a good glug of olive oil for a few minutes in a large pan. Then add the lentils, stock and celery. Cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Cover and keep warm over a low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the sausage ingredients together well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Take a handful of mince and roll it into a sausage shape, about 8cm long and 3cm wide. Wrap tightly in a piece of foil, closing by turning in the ends as you would a sweet.
  3. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Poach the sausages in the water until they pop up to the surface (2-3 minutes). Leave to cool a little, then remove the foil. Poaching the sausages should ensure that they hold together. GENIUS! 😀
  4. Moisten the sausages with a little olive oil, then fry or grill until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the sausages to the warm lentils and allow to cook gently together for 5 minutes.

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We had ours with boiled potatoes and pencil leeks. Mmm! But crusty bread would also be a lovely addition 🙂

 

Grapefruit and Pistachio Crusted Salmon

28 Mar

Just the best thing I have eaten in such a long time!

You know when you don’t really like a food but you want to enjoy it in some shape or form? Well for me, that food is grapefruit. It is too tart for my taste, and am I the only person who finds it impossible to eat with a spoon!? However, I did once see (what I found to be) an AMAZING grapefruit-specific spoon! I found it so cute that I considering buying it despite the fact that I would never use it on account of disliking grapefruit. It wasn’t cheap either, so… luckily my common sense overrode (overrode?) my ability to impulse buy on this occasion

Oh look! I found a picture: it is a spoon with serrated edges! Testament to the fact that yes, you do have to hack them to pieces with a normal spoon to get any flesh off of the fruit and into your mouth.

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Plus! A breakfast food!? Come on how is that meant to keep you going for longer than 5 minutes?

But I digress, because this recipe uses grapefruit juice and it is flipping beautiful.

I didn’t really know what to expect with the combination of flavours used for the topping, but I’m so glad I gave it a go because it is the brightest, most vibrant tasting dish and everything works together so harmoniously. I will make this again and again and again!

Full credit by the way, goes to Aggie over at Aggie’s Kitchen who must be profoundly genius to have come up with this. I altered literally nothing, but I did accidentally pick up lightly smoked salmon rather than regular unsmoked – a very happy mistake it turned out! It is the first recipe I’ve tried from her site but I am now subscribed via e-mail and have written down a little note to myself to stalk the blog ferociously until I have tried everything that appeals. Probably 99.9% of it. So I hope she doesn’t mind a bit of ferocious stalking for a while.

Serves 2.

  • 2 salmon fillets (lightly smoked if liked)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey/agave
  • juice from 1/4 grapefruit
  • 1/4 cup pistachios (approx 30g)
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Before I go on to share the recipe, I’d like to suggest the side I served with ours! I boiled some new potatoes and set them aside. Then I heated a little oil in a pan and tossed in some leftover okra we had (but use green beans they taste very similar and of course they’ll be much easier to find!), a sprinkle of salt and the cooked potatoes. I tossed them around until the okra was cooked but retained some bite, and the potatoes were lightly charred. SO flavoursome!

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°c and lightly grease a suitable baking sheet/tray for the salmon to sit on while you make the topping.
  2. In a food processor, tip in all of the remaining ingredients. Whizz a few times. This may take a while depending on the power of your processor because the pistachios don’t break up immediately. You may even like to roughly chop them beforehand, although I shouldn’t think it would make too much difference.
  3. Spoon the mixture on top of the salmon and smooth it out evenly. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the fish flakes easily.

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Such a simple recipe, but it sings. Honestly it does! 🙂