Tag Archives: Polenta

10 of my favourite online recipes

I have recipes everywhere. In cookbooks, scribbled on pieces of paper, cut out from magazines and bookmarked online and then there’s the ones that just exist in my head. I subscribe to a ton of food blogs through Google Reader which I look over while I down my morning coffee. My favourite food blogs currently have to be:

Joy The Baker – the mother of all baking food blogs
The Pioneer Woman Cooks – delicious cowgirl food
The Pink Whisk – previous runner-up of Great British Bake Off, step my step recipes and techniques
Food Stories – makes food you really want to eat. Also has a separate sandwich rating blog
Domestic Diva M.D – super entertaining with recipes too
A Cozy Kitchen – awesome food photography and recipes

I’ve just been dribbling over the home pages of these whilst retrieving the links for you. Anyway, I find that subscribing to blogs is a great way of coming across yummy new recipes which you won’t find on websites like BBC food although they are great go to’s for recipes as well. Thanks to satellite television, I can also watch recipes being made at almost any hour of the day. And with the invention of Pinterest I can also be constantly looking at pictures of food. Frankly, it’s enough to make you fat.

Another great online tool is Delicious which is where I keep all my bookmarked recipes. You can tag links as you like and since they’re all stored on the web, you can access your bookmarks anywhere from any device. I have almost 500 recipe links saved and unlike a chef’s cookbook, all of the recipes are things I know I’ve seen and liked. Here are 10 of my favourite recipes which are available online and that I’ve previously bookmarked, cooked, eaten and LOVED then cooked, eaten and LOVED again!

1. Nigella’s Mexican Lasagne

A recent addition that’s already been made and enjoyed a few times! Absolutely scrumptious and innovative recipe which uses flour tortillas to create a Mexican lasagne. I adapt the recipe my adding beef mince before the canned tomatoes but the unadulterated recipe is great for vegetarians.

2. Joy The Baker’s Polenta

I’d never ever heard of adding milk to polenta until I’d seen this and now I always make it this way. Plus I love using American cup measures – so much easier.

3. Heston’s Ultimate Mashed Potato

There aren’t many Heston Blumenthal recipes you can make on a regular basis but here is one! I think I’ve mentioned this recipe at least twice on my blog already but it… is… goooooood! I don’t have a thermometer or a potato ricer (family take note, Christmas is coming :-)) but I can still make this easily. The amount of butter required is a little alarming, but one taste and you know it’s worth it.

4. Ottolenghi’s Vegetable Paella

Another vegetarian recipe which I’ve made meaty by adding fried chorizo in at the end! Great served with some olive bread and a platter of Manchego and Serrano ham.

5. BBC Good Food Chicken Cacciatore

A really quick and inexpensive midweek recipe of chicken in a tomato and mascarpone sauce. The simple sauce is tasty over pasta too.

6. Delia’s Dhal Curry

Super cheap, healthy and vegetarian (I haven’t added meat to this one!) recipe for a dhal curry. Mr B. even liked it despite the lack of meat which means it must be a good recipe. You can add a Nann bread on the side if you want to.

7. Antony Worrall-Thomspon Goat’s Cheese and Roasted Vegetable Terrine 

Unlike Antony I don’t thieve the cheese from my local Tesco to make this! A really nice make-ahead recipe which works well as a dinner-party starter. Looks pretty impressive when served as well.

8. Nigella’s Mustard Pork Chops 

Really easy and cheap midweek meal. I use honey mustard instead of wholegrain as I found that a bit too strong in taste. Goes really well with the gnocchi that Nigella recommends as well as some buttery spinach… which I recommend!

9. Joy The Baker’s Pull Apart Cinnamon Bread

I mean, just look at it! You’re in trouble of eating your laptop screen aren’t you? I’ve made it. It was amazing. When I went to bookmark it on a social media site, I saw that 2 million others had done so before me!

10. Lorraine Pascale’s Honeycomb

Simples. Tasty. Versatile. The recipe works every time.

Happy bookmarking and cooking.

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Polenta Aplenty

Despite what Mr. B. says, it’s good to have a meat-free day once in a while! Going meat free once a week not only makes your food shop a bit cheaper; it’s also environmentally friendly! Sir Paul McCartney runs a ‘Meat Free Monday’ campaign promoting how cutting meat once a week helps reduce green house gas emissions; you can read more about it online here. So next time you indulge with a carb loaded meal, just think of how you are helping the planet!

Here’s a meat free dish you can make on a Monday, or any day you choose! Polenta is an Italian cornmeal dish, which is becoming more and more popular in the UK. I like to buy finely ground cornmeal to make polenta as it takes hardly anytime to cook. On its own, cooked cornmeal is nothing special, but add a little fat to it along with some cheese, and it’s instantly yummy. I tried a recipe for creamy polenta from Joy the Baker’s blog recently – it works so well that I’m not looking back. I’ve also adapted it by adding extra cheese such as Taleggio. Serve it with roasted vegetables or with tomatoey beans like Joy does. If you are having a meat day polenta also goes well with grilled chicken, a pork chop or some sausages.

Just two more pointers – 1. Polenta is super filling; your stomach might let you down ½ way through your meal. If it does, you can spread out the polenta and chill it. You can then cut slices and griddle them in some oil up to 2 days later. These griddled slices go great with creamy mushrooms or some salad. Oh and 2. A little polenta goes a long way; it’s very purse friendly stuff. I always end up cooking too much though, ending up with Polenta Aplenty!

Roasted Vegetables with Cheesy Polenta
Serves 2

You can use any vegetables you like depending on what you have in and what you prefer, as long as they roast well. Here’s what I used, but you could try butternut squash, sweet potatoes, fennel and red onion.

Ingredients
For the roasted vegetables:
– 2 courgettes, diced
– 1 large aubergine, diced
– 6 garlic cloves, skin on
– 2 red/yellow peppers, cored and diced
– 4 -6 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
– Salt and pepper
– 1 tsp thyme
– 1 tsp rosemary

For the creamy cheesy polenta:
– 75g fine ground polenta/cornmeal
– 360ml cold water
– 240ml whole milk
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 30g grated Parmesan cheese
– 20g Taleggio (optional)

Method
1. Mix your chopped vegetables in the oil and herbs until they are well coated. Season to taste and roast in a 180°/Gas Mark 4 oven for 45 minutes, or until soft and golden.

2. Ten minutes before your vegetables are ready, you can start your polenta. Cook according to Joy’s method here. I have halved the quantities (except the cheese!) to serve 2 people and also converted them to metric, so mix the polenta with 160ml of the water and then heat up the rest of the water and the milk. If you are using Taleggio as well, just mix this in towards the end with the Parmesan. Break it up into small pieces so it melts quickly. You know the polenta is ready when it starts coming together and thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon.

3. Plate up your polenta, take your vegetables out of the oven and pop the garlic cloves out of their skin before serving on top of the polenta. If you’re feeling frivolous, you can drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil!

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