Smoked Salmon, Vegetables and a Minty Yoghurt Dip

It must have been one of the hottest days of the year (so far) whilst our grand-daughter was staying with us.  After spending the morning on the beach we managed to persuade her to get some shade by sitting under our huge sun-umbrella whilst I rustled up some lunch.  Swimming and building sand castles makes for hungry people.

Our lunch looked so decadent, but as I had a packet of smoked salmon in the fridge, and loads of vegetables and ‘bits’ it didn’t take long to put together.

I love making a dip using loads of freshly chopped mint, natural yoghurt, lemon juice and honey.

Surrounded by baby corn, black olives, sweet red pepper strips, thinly sliced carrot, avocado, babybel cheese, baby plum tomatoes and some green salad leaves – even without the salmon it was lunch fit for a king.

Grand-daughter loved most of it – rice cakes spread with avocado and salmon (with a squeeze of lemon juice) went down really well;  for me the baby corn dipped in the minty dressing were my downfall whilst my husband loved it all.  There wasn’t much left for the birds (which were hovering very close by).

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

 

 

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Pea and Broccoli Risotto

I was never a fan of Risotto until my husband took me for a surprise holiday on an Italian cruise ship.   The food was amazing and every evening we were offered a Risotto as a second course.  By the end of the holiday I was a convert and begged one of the chefs to give me some tips on how they cooked it.

‘Use the very best stock – homemade if possible and add it gradually’  was drummed into me.  Always use the finest ingredients and “take your time”, “don’t rush it”.

My grand-daughter was coming to stay with us on the Isle of Wight and when I asked her if there was anything special she wanted to do – apart from being on the beach all day, she wanted to shuck those Pea ‘thingies’ so I decided to make her one of our favourite risottos.

Needless-to-say, she had three helpings!

INGREDIENTS: to serve 4

400g Arborio or  Carnaroli rice
Glug of olive oil
2 Knobs of butter
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
90ml white wine
Approximately 1.25L good quality chicken or vegetable stock
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
150g fresh peas (frozen work just as well)
150g Tenderstem Broccoli, cut into small pieces
Grated Parmesan to serve

METHOD:

Add the peas and broccoli to a pan of boiling water and simmer for a couple of minutes until just tender.   Drain into a colander and put to one side.

Heat the stock.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan and add the onions.  Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes (do not allow to brown).   Add the garlic and continue cooking gently for another two minutes.

Add the rice and stir thoroughly for a minute, making sure the rice is completely coated in the butter/oil mixture.  Cook for a minute or two until the rice becomes translucent.

Add the wine over a medium to high heat and stir continuously until it has been absorbed by the rice.  Lower the heat to medium and add the stock, a little at a time, allowing it to be almost absorbed before adding more, stirring all the time.  The rice will be cooked in about 15 to 18 minutes and should be lovely and creamy with a little ‘bite’ left in it.  Adjust the amount of stock to get the right consistency, adding more hot water if necessary.

Add the peas and broccoli and stir through until heated, adding the lemon zest, juice, black pepper and salt as well as a further knob of butter.  Taste and add more seasoning if required.

Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan.

Delicious Pea and Broccoli Risotto

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Spicy Chicken and Lentils with Baby Tomatoes

I am often to be found cooking quite large amounts so that I can stock up my freezer with ‘ready’ meals for my husband whilst I am away.  Knowing how much he loves spicy food I decided to play around with a pack of chicken thighs which my butcher was selling.  I like using chicken thighs in the slow cooker as the meat falls apart with tenderness and stays beautifully moist.

I have had to guess at the amount of spice I added as I was a bit slap-dash when adding them – a bit here, a bit there, but I would imagine the following is a close reckoning of what I used.  I added green lentils for a bit of body, coconut milk for a lovely creamy texture and baby tomatoes at the end so that the tomatoes retained their sweetness whilst being surrounded by the spicy chicken mix.

My husband announced it was a winner!   It made two bowlfuls and six individual ‘large’ portions for the freezer.

INGREDIENTS: to serve 6 – 8

12 chicken thighs
Small glug of olive oil (or oil of choice)
2 large onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6cm piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot paprika
Good pinch of salt
2 tablespoons mango chutney
1 x 400g carton chopped tomatoes
1 cup green lentils
½ cup sultanas
1 pint+ chicken stock
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
500g baby tomatoes
2 heaped teaspoons cornflour or arrowroot (if necessary)

METHOD:

Heat a small glug of olive oil in a fry pan and brown the chicken thighs on each side – four at a time.   Place in the bottom of a large slow cooker.

Add onions, garlic and ginger to the pan and fry for 4 to 5 minutes until soft.   Add all the spices and stir to combine.  Fry for one minute.

Add the sultanas, tin of tomatoes, lentils, chicken stock and mango chutney and stir continuously until simmering.   Pour over the chicken in the slow cooker.  The liquid should almost reach the top of the chicken.   Add more stock if necessary.

Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours.

Add the tin of coconut milk and stir through.   If the chicken needs thickening at this stage, add some cornflour or arrowroot mixed with a little water and stir into the mix.   Add the whole baby tomatoes and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Serve in bowls and enjoy.

Spicy Chicken and Lentils with Baby Tomatoes

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Spicy Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potato and Tenderstem Broccoli with a Minty Yoghurt Dressing

I love a meal where I can put just one dish of food in the middle of the table and we can help ourselves.

This (and slight variations) is a firm favourite in our home as it is very quick, easy and versatile.  I keep a jar of homemade fajita seasoning in my cupboard which I like to use for this recipe.  Recipe here.

INGREDIENTS: to serve two

2 Sweet Potato
200g Tenderstem Broccoli
2 chicken breast fillets
Dessertspoon Buckwheat flour
2 teaspoons+ fajita spice (or spice of choice)
Avocado oil or oil of choice
A few tablespoons of natural live yoghurt
Juice of half a lemon
Handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

Peel and chop the sweet potato into 2.5cm cubes. Toss in a glug of avocado oil and spread on a baking sheet, or see below.   Bake at 400°F gas 6 for thirty to forty minutes turning over half-way through cooking.

Meanwhile, cut the long stems of Broccoli in two and splice any thick stems. Toss in a small amount of avocado oil.

Cut the chicken breasts into 2.5cm cubes and toss in the Buckwheat flour mixed with the fajita seasoning.   Spread out on a baking tray.

10 to 15 minutes before the sweet potato is cooked, add the Broccoli to the sweet potato tray (if room, or another tray if not). Place in the oven along with the chicken pieces and cook until the chicken is just cooked through and still moist and tender.

Mix the mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper together to serve with the chicken and vegetables.

Spicy Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potato and Tenderstem Broccoli with a Minty Yoghurt dressing

 

** This recipe is perfect for using the Pyramid Pan Mats which I posted about earlier in the year.  I now have a small collection of the mats and it is so easy to cook on them without having to turn the food over.

Food cooks beautifully, without sticking and the mats wash out easily in hot soapy water.

 

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Lemon Tarts with Blueberries, Strawberries and/or Raspberries

The original recipe by Eleanor Ozich was for Lemony Creme Tarts with Fresh Figs but whilst I love fresh figs, I didn’t have any available and the grandchildren were coming the next day so I decided to adapt the recipe to use what I had in the fridge and what I know would catch their eye.

The result was delicious and I will most definitely be making the little cases and lemony creme again, and will try with fresh figs.  I think almost any fresh fruit would go well with these lovely little tarts.

I was a little concerned that my filling wasn’t thickening enough so I added a couple of gelatin sheets (softened) at the end and the creme set beautifully.  This was probably me being too impatient, but I was in a hurry and wanted them to set firmly.

INGREDIENTS:

For the cases:
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup gluten-free oats
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
A pinch of sea salt

Filling:
450ml coconut cream
Zest and juice of 1 ½ lemons
3 tablespoons honey

To decorate:
Fresh blueberries, strawberries or raspberries

METHOD:

Lightly oil a bun tin (12 hole) or a muffin tin (9 hole) if you want larger tarts.

Place all the case ingredients (except for the coconut oil) in a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like large breadcrumbs.  Add the melted coconut oil and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together.

Place a tablespoon of the ‘crumb’ into each hole in the bun tin and mould the mixture to form a case.

I find using fingers the best tool as the warmth helps bond the mixture together.   Pop the tray into the fridge to ‘set’ the cases.

 

Put the cream, zest and honey in a saucepan and gently heat to melt, stirring continuously. Allow to simmer very gently for about three minutes before removing from heat and adding the lemon juice, still stirring all the time as the mixture will start to thicken as it cools.   If you are concerned it is not setting sufficiently, soften a sheet or two of gelatin in hot water and add to the warm creme making sure it is fully incorporated and dissolved.

Once the filling has cooled sufficiently and has thickened, spoon into the cold tart cases and return to the fridge to set – at least two hours or overnight.

Decorate with fresh fruit and serve.   Keep stored in the fridge.

Delicious Lemony Tarts with Fresh Fruit

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Roast Chicken Breast with Bombay Potatoes

This is an ideal dish to prepare in advance, keep in the fridge and just pop in the oven half an hour before you want to eat.  It is also a very easy recipe to increase the ingredients to serve more people.

INGREDIENTS: to serve two

Large handful potatoes
2 onions, chopped
1 heaped teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 lemon
Bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 red pepper
4cm fresh ginger root
2 chicken breasts
Olive oil or oil of choice

METHOD:

Peel and chop the potatoes into 2.5cm cubes. Simmer in a saucepan for a few minutes and then drain and allow to steam dry.

Place the turmeric and cumin into a large bowl.   Finely grate in the lemon zest and add the roughly chopped coriander.  De-seed the red pepper and roughly chop.   Peel and slice the ginger root into match sticks.   Add all of these to the bowl.    Cut three slices from the lemon and reserve;  squeeze the remaining juice into the bowl and mix well.

 

Shake the potatoes (to slightly roughen) and add them to the bowl along with the chopped onions and chicken breasts.   Add a good glug of oil, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss well.

Remove the chicken breasts.  Spread the potato mix in a single layer in a baking tray (approximately 15cm x 20cm).  Top with the lemon slices and then the chicken.  Drizzle with oil.

 

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes at 400°F, Gas 6 until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is rather nice served with bowl of cold probiotic yoghurt as a side.

Slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver‘s superb recipe.

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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Homemade Sweet Potato Rosti served with Asparagus

I’ve always loved Rosti and there are loads of different ways to make it.  I remember years ago being advised to par-boil the potatoes first, before grating, as this gives a much nicer Rosti and to this day I have always done so.

I decided to make Rosti using a combination of sweet potato and ordinary white potato and the result was absolutely delicious.  I still par-boiled the white potato but not the sweet potato (this cooks much quicker) and it worked well.

INGREDIENTS:  makes 6 Rosti

1 medium sweet potato
1 white potato
1 large white onion
Handful of grated cheddar cheese
Handful of chopped fresh coriander
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

Cut the white potato into large chunks and simmer in a saucepan for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and leave to cool slightly.

Grate the potatoes and onion in a food processor (or by hand).   Add in the cheese, coriander and seasoning and pulse until just mixed.

Shape into patties – I used a large pastry cutter, filled and tamped down and the cutter just lifted off to leave evenly sized patties.

Heat a glug of olive or avocado oil in a fry pan and gently sauté the Rosti for ten to fifteen minutes, turning over half-way through.   Devotees of Rosti swear by using butter for cooking them.

 

Serve with steamed asparagus, bacon lardons and roasted baby tomatoes for a sumptuous meal.

Sweet Potato Rosti with Steamed Asparagus, Bacon Lardons and Roasted Baby Tomatoes

These Rosti keep well in the freezer before cooking.  As they are quite thick, it is preferable to thaw them before frying.

NB:  All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.

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