Lentil Salad

I sometimes make a healthy-ish batch of salady things for my lunches. I like salads but need them to be quite solid and hearty otherwise I’m hungry again an hour later, which is why I like a lentil salad.

This recipe is delicious, reasonably low-calorie as long as you don’t put too much oil in, but it’s also accidentally vegan so if you ever need to come up with something for a vegan guest it’s handy to have in your back pocket (just don’t add any feta!). Sadly I have once again failed to take any pictures to show you how delicious it was though.

Ingredients

  • Courgettes (two large or three small ones)
  • 1 tin of green (or puy)  lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 4 or 5 Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red onion
  • Small handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • Lemon juice
  • Balsamic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Feta cheese (optional)

Method

  1. Chop the courgettes (you can do rounds, half-rounds, or even long slices – any way works) and red onion. Toss with olive oil and roast at around 190 for half an hour or until they are soft and starting to go a little black and crispy.
  2. Allow them to cool, then add to a bowl with the lentils and sun-dried tomatoes and basil
  3. Add a little lemon juice (approx 1-2 teaspoons) and balsamic (approx 1 tablespoon), and if you like you can add a little oil (I often use the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavour) and toss it all together

For a non-vegan version this is really good with crumbled feta mixed in too, and you can experiment with mint, coriander or parsley instead of basil for slightly different flavours. You could also roast some red pepper along with the courgettes.

Smoked Haddock Chowder

While at the library recently, as my baby girl was pulling random books off the shelves, she picked out a children’s cookbook (Professor Cook’s Dynamite Dinners) which we decided to try out.

Our first recipe was a Smoked Haddock Chowder and it was DELICIOUS! Admittedly children’s recipes are often very bland so I have added a few spices, but overall it’s a very nice recipe so I thought I would share.This one is designed to be served in a bread roll soup bowl, which is also fun, though impractical, as the bread roll is so small you can’t fit much actual soup in it. However it’s also yummy in a bowl with a crusty roll on the side! Sadly I forgot to take a picture of it though…

Ingredients

  • 6 Crusty Cob bread rolls (we only bought two and froze the excess soup)
  • 1-2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 500g potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1.2 litres of milk (I only used a litre but it wasn’t enough – definitely needs the full amount)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed (I added more garlic as I needed a bit more flavour!)
  • 300g tinned sweetcorn, drained
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into small pieces
  • 450g smoked haddock fillets (skinned)
  • Handful of parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

I also added 1 vegetable stock cube (though a fish stock cube would probably work too) and a few of pinches of paprika to taste.

Steps

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c
  2. Cut the top off the rolls and pick out the soft bread, leaving the “bowl”, brush the inside with olive oil and put into the oven for 15mins to seal the bowl.
  3. Put the chopped potatoes and onion into a large saucepan with the milk and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins.
  4. Stir in the garlic, peppers, sweetcorn, and fish fillets (whole). Simmer for another 5-10 mins until the fish flakes easily into pieces.
  5. (At this point I also added a stock cube, some paprika, and plenty of salt and pepper to taste). Add the chopped parsley at the end.
  6. Spoon into the bread bowls (or regular bowls!) and serve.

I’m not too sure how well this freezes, but have put a couple of tubs in the freezer so we will find out!

It’s also nice that it’s a soup that doesn’t take ages to cook – really quite quick as long as your potato chunks aren’t too big.

Homemade Christmas

This year, partly for environmental reasons, but also mainly because of my reduced salary while on maternity leave, I am trying to do a mostly homemade Christmas (with a few small exceptions).

In order to do a good homemade Christmas you need to plan ahead and not leave it to the last minute – there’s never any time in December! But also I’ve got more time on my hands than I used to at the moment so with that in mind I have been busy making all sorts of things!

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More crafty things

You may have noticed my blog has become utterly dominated with adoption stuff, because, you know, becoming a mum is the single biggest thing to ever happen to me. It’s fairly monotonous and dull, which is not unlike my life at the moment – very little else going on in my life so there’s less to write about.
However in my boredom I have been missing my pottery classes and so have set about doing some more knitting and sewing and crafting in the evenings to keep myself busy and less bored.

So to break up the monotony of talking about adoption and being a mum here are some of my recent crafty projects instead!

Pork Stroganoff

Felt like trying something new, and a friend had recently been talking about a mushroom stroganoff, so I had a little browse for recipes and decided to try this one out.

It was DELICIOUS.

Very simple, quick and easy, and utterly scrumptious. I prefer it with rice instead of mashed potato, and my favourite is a mixture of brown rice and wild rice, which goes really well with this.

Funnily enough I hardly ever cook with pork, (aside from bacon or sausages) as I have memories from school of eating incredibly tough and chewy overcooked pork stir-fries and stews, so never really loved it that much. However the nice thing about this recipe is that it’s quick, but cooking the pork first allows it to rest and tenderise before eating it – it was really tender and juicy! Continue reading

Cheese, Wine, and some delicious new recipes

This year a few things have happened to me in relation to food, resulting in some new experiments in the kitchen.

The first thing is that my palate appears to have suddenly matured, and I discovered that after 35 years of hating blue cheese, suddenly my tastebuds think it’s pretty much the best thing ever. Weird, but also delicious.

Secondly, my appreciation for red wine has suddenly soared, leaving me keen to try and taste lots of new and different red wines, in order to learn what I like (previously my only knowledge on the subject was that I liked Rioja, and all other red wines were a bit “meh”, But this is no longer the case! I also now have a fabulous book on wines which is helping me to learn and navigate the differences.

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Thai lime and coconut chicken

This is a dish that my sister made for me recently, which was pretty much one of the best things I’ve ever had in my mouth. Apparently it’s an old Delia Smith recipe, and I have used my sister’s variation on this, rather than the original, which has more coconut milk and the addition of peanuts, which only makes it more delicious.

It’s very quick and easy to make, however you’ll need to prep the chicken the night before for the best effect. Continue reading

Toblerone Cheesecake

Ok, so this one is NOT for those of you on a diet.

It is utterly delicious and it is so full of naughty things it’s not worth counting the calories.

The recipe comes from BBC GoodFood, although I first discovered it at a friend’s BBQ, and it was just unbelievably good. I have experimented with this recipe, and made it both in individual ramekins as well as one large one.  Continue reading

Kao Soi

Another new favourite from my travels – this one is a sort of hot and sour chicken noodle soup. It’s yellow – presumably heavy on the turmeric and very delicious!

The key ingredient I use is a cheater’s pre-mixed spice packet to make the sauce, although I’m sure google would probably be able to tell you what combination of spices would do…

The traditional version has chicken, noodles, soup, and often some fresh greens on top and crispy noodles. However I like to add all sorts of veggies so this is my somewhat altered version!

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Creamy chicken, leek and ham pie

Ok, this is a new recipe I tried from my Jamie Oliver app on my phone, so absolutely no credit due to me, and all of the credit goes to Jamie. (Get the app, it’s amazing). I made a few additions/substitutions here or there, but not many.

It was delicious and I will definitely make it again – next time I may even add pastry to the bottom too, who knows? Or possibly I might try it with shortcrust pastry instead….

Sadly I got too excited about eating it once it comes out of the oven and I therefore don’t have any pictures of it with the puff pastry top on!

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