Pea Soup with Crispy Bacon

We are currently awaiting a new fridge freezer and thus eating our way through the old one. This recipe is a really quick and easy soup for the winter months ahead, and will make short work of a bag of frozen peas! Continue reading “Pea Soup with Crispy Bacon”

Tomato, Garlic & Chilli Meatballs

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You are going to love this delicious, easy, Italian dish. It’s perfect for sharing amongst friends and a lovely summery dinner when served with salads and breads. My recipe is a mash up of one I found on BBC Good Food and how I usually make an arrabiatta sauce.

You will need:

12 meatballs
A couple garlic cloves
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
Dried herbs (oregano, basil and thyme all work well)
Pinch on sugar
Balsamic vinegar
Passata
Mozzarella
Freshly grated parmesa

Add a gulg of good quality olive oil to your frying pan and brown the meatballs. Set them aside and add just under half a carton of passata, roughly 250g, garlic and chilli flakes to the pan. Simmer for 5-10 mins. Add a pinch of sugar and a dash of balsamic, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for a further 2 mins. Pop the meatballs back in the pan along with the the oregano,  basil and thyme – just a sprinkling of each.

Transfer the meatballs and sauce to your oven proof dish, scatter with mozarella and parmesan and bake in the oven (about 190/C) for 10 – 15 mins.

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Here I served the meatballs with a really simple salad of leaves,  baby tomatoes, orange pepper and avocado and some freshly baked bread.

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A little secret… I completely cheated on the bread. Worked a treat though!
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Make sure you keep any left over sauce as it will be lovely mixed through pasta for lunch the next day!

Enjoy x

Mexican Shrimp Pitta Pockets

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An easy Mexican feast you can make at home. We enjoyed ours with red wine but frozen margaritas or mojitos would work just as well!

For the shrimp pitta pockets you’ll need:

  • 6 white or wholemeal pitta breads
  • 1 1/2 – 2 avocados
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red chilli – deseeded and chopped
  • juice of half a lime
  • 2 deseeded red tomatoes
  • handful of coriander
  • 1 packet of baby shrimps or cooked prawns
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • cucumber – thinly sliced
  • baby gem lettuce – thinly sliced
  • A sprinkling of cheese – your choice which kind!

To make:

First add the onion, garlic, chilli & tomato to a food processor with a glug of good quality olive oil. Whizz that up until it’s all quite well chopped. Add in your avocado, lime juice and chopped coriander and whizz again – not too much, make sure there are some avocado chunks left. Set aside.

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Put some olive oil in a non stick frying pan, add your mix of cumin, cayenne, paprika & chilli powder.

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Warm the spices up for 2-3 minutes in the pan then add your prawns (chopped into smaller pieces) or baby shrimp and make sure they are all completely covered in the spices. Fry for a further 2-3 minutes.

To assemble:

Cut your pitta breads in half and fill with a tablespoon of your guacamole mix, followed by some prawns, then the shredded lettuce and cucumber, then top with cheese.

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Pop your pitta pockets under the grill for about 5 minutes, careful not to burn the edges (oops!)

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As everything in your pocket is already cooked you are really just heating the pitta breads and letting the cheese go all gooey and delicious!

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Now pour yourself a well deserved glass of wine and enjoy! Served here with some tasty sweet potato wedges, sour cream and a side of corn on the cob.

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How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?

A boiled egg and soldiers. Is there a simpler breakfast pleasure?

Of course this task involves perfecting a delicious, runny, soft boiled egg. For large eggs I find 5 minutes on the dot does the trick, and the key is not to add the egg to the water until it is boiling, then start your timer.

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The rest is easy. A slice of wholemeal bread, toasted, buttered and sliced, and a cup of earl grey tea on standby. Once you’ve got everything ready, slice the top of your egg using a teaspoon and a sharp knife, make sure your soldiers are lined up and ready for battle and dip…

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Ahhh, perfection!

wpid-20150108_133647.jpgThat is today’s morning egg-spiration. How do you like yours?

Soups & Salads

In my excitement of hosting dinner on Hogmanay, I got a little over enthusiastic when shopping for supplies ended up with lots of leftover salad leaves – two huge bags of rocket & spinach salad to be precise. I just hate the idea of people not having enough food, but then I also hate waste… a vicious circle! Until now, I had never used salad leaves in soup before, so was a little apprehensive. However, after consulting some friends and of course with twitter, the consensus was that it would work out ok.

And it did, quickly and easily I should mention too…

Add some peeled new potatoes and vegetable stock (ideally I would use some of Mr F&P’s homemade stock, but in the absence of that I use Knorr stock pots) to a large pot with the salad leaves and cook until the potatoes are soft. Throw in some frozen peas, a good three handfuls or so and cook for another five minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave to cool, then liquidise.

What you end up with is a rather delicious green pea, potato, rocket & spinach soup, served with a dash of cream and some freshly chopped chives. wpid-img_20150105_160113.jpg

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If you like the look of the side dish, that’s super easy too, and is lovely and light for lunch. Just smash up half an avocado in a bowl, add some chopped cherry tomatoes, a dash of lime and some chilli flakes and serve on a couple slices of fresh, lightly toasted brown baguette bread. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and enjoy.

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Thai Green Prawn Curry

Here is an easy, healthy, thai green prawn curry recipe for the New Year.

It’s perfect for using up leftover vegetables, and you can really put in anything you want. I used up the following…

Red onion
Mushrooms
Carrots
Green beans

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Add some garlic, ginger, coriander and lime to the mix and you’re good to go.

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Fire up your wok and add all the vegetables, holding back the garlic, ginger and coriander. Stir fry the vegetables for five minutes or so, then add the garlic and ginger and half of the coriander, chopped.

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For this curry I used Sainsbury’s green thai paste and coconut milk. For two people I only needed two tablespoons of the paste, but still used the whole can of coconut milk. I find this paste quite spicy already, so I didn’t add any additional chillies.

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Add the paste to the wok and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in the coconut milk. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes.

The prawns don’t take long to cook at all, so add them to the wok just ten minutes before you are ready to dish up. If you are using chicken or any other meat, I usually brown the meat first, before adding anything else to the wok, then follow the same steps.

Next up, the rice. I cook with brown rice as it feels a little lighter and is easier to cook. The rice is easy peasy. 1-2 handfuls per person (or half a small cup) added to a pan of boiling water and a pinch of salt. Once cooked (most brown rice takes about 20-30 minutes) drain the water away and stir in the rest of the chopped coriander and squeeze in the other half of the lime.

Now dish up and enjoy! I served mine with some fresh coriander, creme fraiche and some dried chilli flakes. As it’s New Year and everyone is trying to be healthy, you could even swap the wine for some chilled water with fresh lemon slices…

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Sweet potato, red pepper & coconut soup

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This super easy soup recipe can be whipped up in about 25 minutes and you can really add whichever vegetables take your fancy. The recipe was given to me by Ruth, who has featured before on the blog – check out her amazing salads here.

Ingredients (this makes four small bowls/mugs)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 large sweet red pepper
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
Chilli flakes or one chilli, chopped and deseeded
1 cube of ginger
Fresh coriander leaves
Vegetable stock
Coconut milk
Salt & pepper to season

Fry up your onion for a couple of minutes in some good quality olive oil, once soft add garlic, chilli, ginger and coriander, along with any other vegetable like the red pepper, and fry for another minute or two. Add the chopped sweet potato to the pan and pour in enough vegetable stock to cover the ingredients in the pan. Pop the lid on and simmer for 20mins or so, until the sweet potato is soft. Take your pot off the heat and blend, I used a kendwood soup liquidiser. Taste, add in some salt and pepper as required and splash of coconut milk, or however much you like really! If your soup is really think you can loose with a dash of water or add more coconut milk.

To finish I garnished with some roughly chopped spring onions, but you could also add some freshly chopped coriander or chilli. But really all you need is your favourite winter soup bowl or mug and a some fresh out the oven crusty bread! Enjoy!
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Commuter blogging

Since changing jobs my 30 minute walk to work has been swapped with 30 minutes sitting on the bus. Not ideal as I would prefer to walk, but I’m now working in the food and drink sector which I adore, so it’s a change I am quite happily adapting to.

It’s not exactly a huge commute, however I’ve got a whole hour of extra time in my day which, as it turns out, is perfect for blogging. These posts will probably be much shorter than usual, but still full of lots of yummy food and drink ideas!

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So, on to today’s topic… delicious smoked trout (yes that’s right, trout, not salmon!) with creamy, scrambled eggs on a toasted bagel. It couldn’t be quicker or easier, but it really hits the spot on a Saturday morning.

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Smoked trout is a brilliant alternative to smoked salmon. The smoked fish flavour is not quite as intense as that of smoked salmon, so for breakfast it’s perfect. It carries all the health benefits of smoked salmon – high in Omega-3, a great source of protein and it’s low fat.

For this breakfast bagel I used RR. Spink & Sons Loch Etive smoked trout. If you are drawn in by the lovely package, you’ll be pleased to hear the contents don’t disappoint. But first things first, how to make the perfect scrambled eggs.

For two people:

Whisk 4 medium sized eggs in a bowl, add some salt and pepper and a dash of milk. If you want real luxurious eggs add a dash of cream instead of milk.

Melt a reasonable sized knob of butter in your non stick frying pan. Just as the butter has all melted add the eggs to the pan. Leave for a minute to let the bottom start to cook, then using a wooden pan or plastic spatula, move the eggs around every 20 seconds or so, allowing the eggs to cook through. I like mine a little runny so I take them off the heat just as the last bits are starting to cook.

Slice your bagel and pop it in the toaster. Lightly toast and then assemble your eggs and then your smoked trout on top. You might like to squeeze over a little bit of fresh lemon or crack some more pepper.

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Now all that’s left is to get yourself a cup of tea or coffee and tuck in.

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Posh Bangers & Mash

birdseye view bangers and mashHere’s a really quick and easy dinner, perfect for colder, autumn nights – posh bangers and mash with steamed vegetables and the all important home-made gravy. The reason they are posher than your usual bangers and mash is because I used venison sausages from Highland Game. You can pick these up in Tesco and more often than not they are on offer. They are really delicious – much meatier tasting than pork sausages, and also great for casserole dishes.

I choose to cook the sausages in the oven, mainly because I don’t like the mess from frying sausages, and grilling them is not a good choice for someone who is easily distracted when cooking!

So, for two people, slice half an onion and some cherry tomatoes and put them in an oven proof dish – this will help make your gravy later on. Lay your venison sausages on top and drizzle some good quality olive oil over the top and season with some salt and pepper. Give the dish a shake to ensure the oil is covering everything and pop the dish in the oven for about 40 minutes at about 170 degrees. Make sure you turn the sausages half way through to give them an even colour.sausages onion and tomatoes pre oven

Whilst that’s in the oven, chop up your potatoes and boil for about 20-25 minutes depending on how small you’ve chopped them. We leave the skins in on this house – they add flavour and are good for you, but if you’re after smooth mashed potatoes you’d been peel them.potatoes ready to boil

Once cooked through (you should be able to stab them with a fork easily, but you don’t want to cook them so much they crumble!) drain them and pop them back in the pot. Add a reasonable spoonful of butter (maybe two!) and start to mash. Once the potatoes and butter have melted together, swap your masher or a wooden, add a dash of milk or single cream, and stir together. Once you’ve got a consistency you are happy with, season with some salt and pepper. mashed potatoes with skinsBack to the sausages and onto the gravy.

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About 10 minutes before they are done, scoop out about 3/4 of the onions, tomatoes and some juices and pop them into a pan on the hob. Heat gently to begin with and add about 200ml of stock (I used beef stock), a glug of wine (preferably red, but white works too) and a small teaspoon of cornflower – this will help the gravy thicken. Stir this all together until smooth and leave on a fairly high heat for about 5 minutes. Keep stirring to make sure the gravy doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.gravy boiling

If you’re gravy is too thick simply add a little more stock. Once you’re happy with it, if you would like a smooth gravy all you need to do is sieve the onions and tomatoes away. A bit like the potatoes, I keep mine sort of rustic and just pour it all into the gravy jug.

Finally, whilst your gravy is bubbling away pop some vegetables in the microwave to steam. I chose broccoli stems and just added a centimetre or so of water to a shallow bowl with the broccoli and put them in the microwave on a high heat for about 5 minutes. steamed broccoli

And you are ready to plate up. The mash should be lovely and creamy and buttery, the veggies nice and crunchy and the sausages should be evenly cooked through with a yummy, rich gravy to go over them. posh bangers and mash

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