Tag Archives: Vegetarian

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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Frittata

It’s finally summer in London but as usual it’s too hot. Muggy is an understatement! We can never win, if it’s not muggy it’s raining and often when it is muggy, it does rain and then London becomes one big steam room. Meh.

Anyway, this does actually bring me nicely onto frittata – an Italian omelette that manages to be filling but not heavy and so perfect for eating in the heat with a crispy dressed salad.

The possibilities for frittata fillings are endless and they’re a great go-to when you have vegetables that need to be used up.

Red pepper, Tomato, Spinach and Goats Cheese Frittata 
Serves 2 as a main meal or up to 6 for a lunch/picnic/snack

Ingredients
– 2 tbsps olive oil
– 2 red peppers thinly sliced
– 10-12 cooked new potatoes
– Handful of cherry tomatoes
– 6 eggs
– Handful of spinach
– 8 basil leaves
– 150g tub of mild soft goats cheese
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– Rocket dressed in extra virgin olive oil to serve

Method
1. Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan (I had to resort to my wok as my frying pan is very shallow!). Add the sliced red pepper and fry on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to colour nicely.

2. While the peppers are cooking, slice the new potatoes and halve the cherry tomatoes. When the pepper has coloured, add the potatoes and cherry tomatoes to the pan.

3. Crack the 6 eggs into a bowl and whisk really well. Season well before chopping the spinach finely and adding to the eggs. Give it a final good whisk and then add the egg mixture to the pan.

4. Flex the pan around to distribute the egg and spinach evenly. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes. Put your grill on.

5. While the frittata is cooking on the hob, scatter your basil leaves onto the top, spoon out goats cheese and dollop that on top as well. Give it another season.

6. After 10 minutes, transfer your pan to the grill in order for the frittata to cook on top. Leave under the grill for 10 minutes. Take out and skewer through the center to check that it’s not overly gooey in the middle. Slice and serve!

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Hasselback Potatoes

We eat lots of jacket potatoes at home. Mainly because we are lazy and they can just be microwaved in 10 minutes and then instantly topped with something. But when we have time, an oven-baked potato is utterly scrumptious! I don’t think you can beat it. And it’s still minimal effort.

Hasselback potatoes are for when you have the energy to make a little bit of effort over your jacket! It’s actually how the Swedish bake their potatoes – each spud is sliced many times right along the length of the potato but only ¾ of the way through it until you end up with a kind of fanned potato. It’s then smothered in hot oil and topped with butter before baking to get lots of crispy edges.

I thought I’d see how it would work with a Sweet Potato as well, and the result was yum-my! So here you are – hassle-free hasselback potatoes. Spud-you-like!

Hasselback Potato with Lemon and Coriander Hummus
Serves 1

Ingredients
For the potato:
– 1 large King Edward/Baking Potato
– 50g salted butter
– 2 tbsps olive oil

For the lemon and coriander Hummus:
– 1 can of chickpeas, drained
– 30g fresh coriander
– Zest of 2 and juice of 1½ lemons
– 6 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
– 3 tbsps tahini
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 220°/Gas Mark 7. Drizzle 2 tbsps of olive oil and put 20g of the butter on a baking tray and place in the oven.

2. Place the potato on a wooden spoon before you start slicing, this will avoid you cutting through the whole potato. Now start slicing the potato right along the length of it but only cut ¾ of the way through it. Make slices about 3-5mm apart – so very thin slices!

3. Now carefully take the baking tray out of the oven and coat the potato all over in the hot butter and oil. Then place the potato slice side up, top with the remaining butter and a good pinch of sea salt and bake for 1 hour. Baste the potato every 15 minutes while it is cooking.

4. In the meantime, you can make the hummus which is also hassle free! Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and just give it a good whizz and it’s done! You might like to add the olive oil, lemon and tahini in stages until you get a hummus that tastes delicious to you! Season to taste too.

5. When the potato is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool before dolloping the hummus all over it. Dribble.

Hasselback Sweet Potato with Lemongrass Crème Fraîche
(Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty)
Serves 1

Ingredients
For the Potato: 
– 1 large, long Sweet Potato
– 50g salted butter
– 2 tbsps olive oil

For the Lemongrass Crème Fraîche
– ½ lemongrass stalk
– 200g Crème Fraîche
– Grated zest and juice of 2 limes
– 50g root ginger, peeled and grated
– ½ tsp sea salt
– Few coriander leaves

Method
1. Prepare and cook your potato in exactly the same way as above and for the Crème Fraîche topping simply chop the lemongrass finely and mix well with the rest of the ingredients. Sprinkle with a few chopped coridander leaves before serving.

Spudtastic!

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Tabouleh

I’ve seen Tabouleh on a lot of menus, but I’ve never made it. I don’t think I’ve ever tried it. I felt like I had to do something about this. I’m weird like that. So here is how I went about making it.

Tabouleh is a Middle Eastern grain salad and making it is really an assembly job. Anyone can do it. Apart from Mr B who can’t chop/use a knife. But besides him, anyone!

I served it as a starter (the main was a Middle Eastern lamb burger. Recipe online here if interested) but Tabouleh also works well as a buffet or lunch dish.

Making Tabouleh also seems to be a serious stuff. There’s a World Record for the largest that weighed in at 4,324 kg (9,532 lb 12 oz). Before that the previous record was held for a 2,559 kg (5,641 lb 6 oz) dish. My recipe here will feed just 6. I’m hoping that will be sufficient for most people!

Tabouleh
Serves 6

Ingredients
– 200g bulgur wheat
– 6 spring onions, finely chopped
– 6 tomatoes, diced
– ½ cucumber peeled, deseeded and diced
– 2 bunches of flat leaf parsley, chopped very finely
– 2 bunches of mint, chopped very finely
– 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
– Juice of a lemon
– Salt
– Freshly ground black pepper

To serve:
– Mini pitta breads, warmed through

Method
1. Put the bulgur wheat in a bowl and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave for 30 minutes.

2. Chop all of the vegetables and herbs and place in a bowl. When the bulgur wheat is ready drain it and squeeze it a little to get rid of any excess water. Add it to the vegetables.

3. Give everything a good mix before adding the olive oil and lemon juice. Taste the Tabouleh and add more oil or lemon juice depending on your preference. All that’s left to do now is to give everything a really good season and a final taste.

4. Tabouleh is served cold so just pop this in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Simples!

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Stuffed Mushrooms

Love mushrooms, love cheese, love this! These little stuffed mushrooms go well with steak or chicken and are equally delicious just on their own as a starter.

Dolcelatte cheese is used to stuff these mushrooms; it’s lovely and creamy and packs just the right amount of punch. Dolcelatte was actually made up for the British market as a sweeter tasting and milder smelling alternative to Gorgonzola. There you go, a cheesy fact for the day!

Mushrooms stuffed with Dolcelatte
Serves 2

Ingredients
– 4 Portabella mushrooms
– Olive oil
– 75g Dolcelatte
– 25g breadcrumbs
– Small handful of spinach, chopped very finely
– Extra virgin olive oil
– 20g Parmesan

To serve:
– Handful of rocket
– Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 200°/Gas Mark 6. Destalk the mushrooms and brush them lightly all over with olive oil.

2. In a bowl combine the Dolcelatte, breadcrumbs and spinach. Use a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to make a paste.

3. Stuff the mushrooms with the mixture before topping with a fine grating of Parmesan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and they’re done! Serve with some rocket and another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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Tried and Tasted: Canapé 101

As part of my life long mission to become hostess with the mostess I am throwing a couple of parties over Christmas. In collecting my canapé recipes, I thought I’d share what I’ve already tried, tasted and bookmarked along with a few tips.

Canapé Do’s
– Pass them around. You’ve made them so don’t leave them sitting in the corner!
– Use labels or tell friends what each canapé is as you’re passing them around. People get surprisingly polite once you start serving posh snackettes and don’t just throw anything into their gobs like they do usually!
– Have a mix of meaty, fishy and veggie canapés. Something bready also goes down well along with one or two dips. Carrot/celery sticks or homemade vegetable chips (parsnips, sweet potato and beetroot) make good dippers. You can also serve dips in hollowed out peppers (less washing up and looks fab!).
– Offer friends a napkin! This means less hung-over hoovering the next day.

Canapé Don’t’s
– Eat them all before your guests arrive.

I think that’s it! So here’s my pick of the web for canapé recipes (some tried and tasted, some waiting to be), along with a couple of recipes of my own.

Meaty

Chorizo, Manchego and Quince Cocktail Bites pictured above. I’ve made these for a while now, and they go down really well. Buy Delicias Dona Natalia Quince Paste from the Waitrose deli counter – it keeps it’s shape well and is of good-quality. Make plenty.

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Rare Beef and Horseradish and Mustard Crème Fraiche Sauce men love these. Meat and Yorkshire puddings, I don’t think they’ve ever wanted anything more.

Parma Ham, Mozzarella, Pesto and Fig Parcels these are really easy to make and have a great flavour. Take a slice of the ham and place a quarter of a fig, a pea size blob of pesto and a mozzarella pearl at one end. Wrap up into a little parcel and secure with a cocktail stick or a sprig of rosemary if needed. As Gordon would say DONE.

Fishy

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Blinis with Dill just take a blini or make your own and pile a square of smoked salmon, blob of cream cheese and a sprinkle of dill on top. If you’re feeling flash then whack some caviar on there too. Serve with a wedge of lemon on the side. Simples.

Prawns with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce marinate prawns in garlic infused oil for a couple of hours in the fridge before frying them and serving with some sweet chilli dipping sauce. Mix 100ml of water will 60g of sugar and 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar in a pan on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved at which point just turn up the heat and boil for a few minutes before mixing in a couple of chopped red chillies, a couple of tablespoons crushed, roasted peanuts and 30g each of thinly sliced cucumbers and shallots.

Thai Fish Cakes these Rick Stein ones are really easy to make and are full of flavour.

Baked New Potato and Smoked Salmon with Dill Cream this is from The Six Senses cookbook, details on where to purchase can be found on this previous post. Roast new potatoes in a 180 degree oven for 30 minutes and when cool, cut off the tops and then concertina a strip of smoked salmon on top and secure with a skewer. For a dill cream dip on the side, mix together 200mls of whipping cream with 5tsp lime juice, 8 dill sprigs, 2 chopped spring onions and a tsp of salt.

Dippy

Aubergine Dip when you’re making this yummy dip, make sure you pierce the aubergine well. I once opened the oven and an aubergine exploded in my face.

Hummus I remember serving hummus to my Granddad once. I explained to him what hummus was but then had to tell him what a chickpea was too! Serve with strips of pitta bread or veggie dippers.

Walnut, Watercress and Ricotta Pesto a yummy, chunky pesto which you can also use as a pasta sauce.

Veggie

Goat’s Cheese Truffles I haven’t made these yet, but a ball of goat’s cheese in various coatings sounds good to me. I’ll tweet a finished picture.

Red Onion and Brie Tartlettes these look Christmassy and taste delicious too! 

Courgette Polpette really easy to make – Hugh even roped in his young son to make these on TV so I might even delegate this task to Mr. B. Then again…

Fried Halloumi and Chilli Bites speedy and cheesy, make lots as they’re popular too.

Arancini Mafioso guests LOVE these ;-)

Peppadew Peppers – so many things you can do with these. Stuff them with cheese and/or olives!

Bready

Two ideas for homemade or bought puff pastry – Prosciutto Dijon Gruyere Puffs and/or Sun Dried Tomato and Rosemary Palmiers you can create your own flavours by following one of these basic recipes. You could try prosciutto or Parma ham with mozzarella, sundried tomatoes and feta or red and green pesto for something Christmassy.

Parmesan and Poppy Seed Lollipops another Lorraine Pascale inventive gem of a recipe! Yet to enjoy, will tweet a pic when I do!

Big Fat Salt and Pepper Breadsticks my sycophantism of all things Lorraine Pascale continues here. Who doesn’t love a breadstick?!

Whole Wheat Garlic Knots I’ve been bursting for an occasion to make these!

I hope you have an army to feed! Happy entertaining!

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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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