Tag Archives: dinner

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 😀

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In Bruges

27 Jun

What else could I entitle this post? Have you seen the film!?

This is in the film right?

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You should see the film.

But we saw him in real life!!! :3 He was very cute and very lovely, of course. A nice man took us to see him on a boat 😛

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Cos’ canals are quite prolific in those parts.

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But here’s an interesting fact for you: there’s only 5 boat owners in the whole of Bruges, and they are only allowed 4 boats each! I’d say that was a good rule – preventing canal blockage and all that…

So basically, we went to Bruges and it was delightful 🙂

We ate a lot of food, but of course we ate that before we took pictures of it… For your imagination they included waffles with butter and sugar; steak tartare! (of all things!); rabbit cooked in beer sauce (yum! plus, rabbit is on like, EVERY menu around! Why are we English so anti-rabbit-eating?); banana split (not particularly Belgian but hey – bananas and ice cream are nice partners); raspberry beer and dark chocolate covered oranges… The eating was good.

Here are the non-food-related pictures that I’d like to share with you anyhow 🙂

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Stunning buildings wherever you look. The city is steeped in history and this is obvious from the inscriptions on a lot of the buildings – many of which were built in the 1600s!

They have 21 museums! If I recall correctly… Something like 16 public and 5 private?

We went to the Salvador Dali one. It was disturbing, to say the least. Does anyone else think it’s odd that the work he’s most famous for isn’t his insane rudey works? Because if you saw a collection of what he’s done you’d be like ‘Woah, like 10% of his stuff isn’t creepy and erotic, but that minority percentage is the stuff I’ve always liked him for!’ Well, you might not. Personally I’m a slight bit prudish and the likes of this were a bit much for me.

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Sorry guys, I didn’t even know whether to include that one, haha. But it’s art right? And children were allowed in so…

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Give me a spindly-legged elephant any day. They had miniature ones of these for sale and I SO would have loved one if they weren’t 63 euros :/

Cos’ the city is kind of expensive! But the produce they have available just oozes quality.

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This is soap! Mmhmm 🙂

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And of course the range of chocolate and other confectionery was fairly mind-blowing. I wish we got more pictures of that…

Another interesting discovery was that apparently, it is always Christmas in Bruges. Honestly, I really wish that we’d got pictures of the shop completely decked out in wreaths, full of toy soldiers and snow globes, but all I have to offer you in terms of proof is this:

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You don’t have to tell me this is awful and tasteless, haha. Blame the love. He found it ‘funny’.

We both found this funny:

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Sand-wishes :’) how cute! Cannibal toast!

I will leave you on that note. Goodbye! 🙂

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 🙂

 

Steak with Red Wine Sauce

7 Feb

You know when you want something to look as incredible as it tastes so others believe you of it’s wondrousness? Well this is one of those times, but unfortunately my photography skills have let me down here.

I don’t know if I’m right in saying that most people get cravings for things like chocolate, chips, fast food… but I don’t tend to get those. That’s definitely not to say I don’t get cravings! But mine tend to be for things like eggs, baked beans, tomatoes, red wine and a nice, big, juicy steak… I like to think it’s my body telling me what it needs 😛

I have recently eaten this, but I am salivating at the thought of it nevertheless. And yeah, I’d say this was special enough for a Valentines dinner!

Serves 2.

  • olive oil
  • 3-4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • about 5 white mushroom, sliced
  • good splash of sherryvinegar (about 3 tbsp)
  • even better splash of red wine (200ml)
  • 300ml hot beef stock
  • 2 sirloin steaks
  • gnocchi and little gem lettuce, to serve
  1. First, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the mushrooms and shallots. Fry on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, until golden and caramelized. Pour in the vinegar, then simmer until almost evaporated, then do the same with the wine. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce by 2/3. 
  2. Rub the steaks with olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat another frying pan until very hot, then put the steaks on it. For a rare steak, cook for 3 minutes each side, 4 minutes for medium and 5-6 minutes for well done. While it is cooking you could be boiling the gnocchi and chopping the lettuce! Put it aaaaall together on a plate for the most flavoursome, enjoyable dinner EVARR!

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Puy Lentil Bolognese

20 Jan

For an unashamed omnivore, I post so many vegetarian recipes!

I think it’s because there is so much more variety of flavours and textures to be found in vegetarian produce – it’s exciting!

This is a new MEGA-FAVOURITE! I may even prefer it to regular bolognese sauce.

Most of the recipes that I looked at before I made this took quite a long time to cook (using dried lentils), and none of them used puy!!! Being a very passionate puy lover and impatient to eat that night, I had to put this right. It is so right!! 🙂

Serves 2-4 – (Really, it serves 4, but the love and I ate all of it. It is so right!! 😛 It’s so healthy too, it really is just something that had to be done)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • pinch of celery salt
  • 250g ready to eat puy lentils (I used Merchant Gourmet with porcini and thyme, but I will include porcini and thyme in the ingredients list assuming you can’t find this)
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • small handful of dried porcini mushrooms, crumbled into 100ml boiling water
  • Spaghetti and freshly grated parmesan, to serve
  1. Heat some olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and and the onion. Soften for about 5 minutes, then add the carrots, garlic and celery salt. Cook for a further 10 minutes until everything is softened (though I like my carrots to retain a little bit of bite). Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, tomato purée, herbs, porcini mushrooms and their soaking water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture has reduced to an unctuous saucy texture (10-15 minutes). 
  2. Now season with pepper and dish up with spaghetti and grated parmesan! It’s that easy! 😀

 

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Pink ‘Scrambled Eggs’

18 Jan

I am going to start by promising you that this meal tastes 1000% better than it looks! All of the flavours and textures work so well together, it really doesn’t matter that it is a very-failed frittata. I had the idea for this flavour combination, and immediately set to it, using the same method for frittata I always use (which always works!!), but clearly I need to work out a new method for this meal to look as beautiful as it tastes. I don’t care though – I’m too busy being femininely thrilled by the pinkness of the whole ordeal to be disappointed by any other aspect of it’s appearance 🙂

You may not be convinced, but would you consider the fact that it may just not photograph well? Up close and personal it is actually expertly crafted and presented?

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Serves 4

  • 500g new potatoes, thickly sliced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 200g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 vacuum-packed beetroot, ready to eat, roughly diced
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • large handful of dill, chopped
  1. First, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, and cook the potatoes until tender (about 10 minutes). 
  2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Season well, then add the feta, beetroot, spring onions and dill. Mix well.
  3. When the potatoes are done, drain then from the water with a sieve, then rinse under cold water to cool them down. Add to the egg mixture and stir in well to incorporate.
  4. Add enough oil to cover a large non-stick frying pan in a thin layer. Place over a medium-low heat, then add the egg mixture. *(see below!)
  5. Using a spatula, lift parts of the mixture as they start to cook and scramble the ingredients until the eggs are set to your liking (5-10 minutes). You are now ready to serve up!

*(Now, usually at this stage in the frittata-making process, I would shake the pan a little to encourage setting and even distribution of ingredients. Then I would poke round the sides with a spatula until I was able to lift underneath the obediently-setting frittata. This doesn’t work for me here, so I become impatient and, well, see step 5. I believe a method that would work would be to cook the frittata for about 10 minutes, and then put a plate on top of it, inverting the frittata onto it. Slide it back into the pan and cook for 5 minutes more to finish the underside).

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Roast Veg Biryani

15 Jan

I’ve been a poorly panda lately, which has meant a lot of lazily put together meals – invariably pasta.

Good, but not worth posting about.

This is also pretty easily assembled, but there is something very special about it. Despite the majority of ingredients being fairly humble, the addition of saffron and Madras curry paste lift it to another level, and it is one of my favourite things to eat.

The original recipe was one I found in a BBC Good Food magazine (as are many meals that peak my interest – honestly they should sponsor me!), but due to a series of rubbish shops where I somehow forget a third of the ingredients I need for whatever I want to make, this turned out to be a new version! I love it, perhaps even a little bit more 🙂 I use the same method as they suggest however, because it is faultless. The best way to cook rice.

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Serves 2

  • 200-250g cauliflower (about 1/2 small cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets)
  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1-2 tbsp Madras curry paste
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • pinch of saffron strands
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 130g uncooked basmati rice
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • handful of frozen peas
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • handful of cashew nuts (salted if you like!) and raita, to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°c. Pour some vegetable or sunflower oil into a roasting tin and put in the oven to heat up. Add all of the vegetables except the peas and tomatoes (yes I know tomatoes are a fruit, grr), and stir to coat with the oil. Season and put back in the oven for 15 minutes, or until starting to brown.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the stock with the curry paste, chilli flakes, saffron and mustard seeds.
  3. Remove the tin from the oven and lower the temperature to 190°c. Add the rice, peas and tomatoes to the tin, then pour over the stock mixture. Cover with foil, then bake for 30 minutes until the rice is cooked and all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice, check the seasoning and scatter over the cashew nuts. You may also want to add some chopped coriander. Serve with raita 🙂

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Raita and cashews not pictured here as the ones I took with them in were rubbish!

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