20 April 2014

Rocket and Mozzarella Farfalle Salad


I made this salad for lunch on Wednesday. 

I am good to myself sometimes.

You see I had to treat myself because Wednesday was housework and catching up online day. By lunchtime I really needed a treat!

It was so good, but so simple. Bow pasta, rocket, peas, spring onion, sweetcorn and mozzarella in a mouth watering honey mustard dressing.  It was perfect for using up that half ball of mozzarella and some leftover sweetcorn in the fridge. 

There was no one around to marvel at my wondrous salad, so I'm sharing it with you my vicarious readers. I hope you enjoy it.

Are you craving salads now Spring is here or are you like me swinging between salads because Spring is here and soups and stews because it is still blooming chilly at times? I have the heating on right now. My fingers were going a bit numb while I was typing, so I had to give in and turn it on.

UPDATE: It warmed up since I started writing this morning. We had a glorious sunny Easter Sunday in St Andrews. Here are a few photos of our day.

Now back to the salad.........

print recipe

Rocket and Mozzarella Pasta Salad
A fresh Spring salad with a honey mustard dressing.
  • a good handful rocket leaves
  • 50g farfalle (bow) pasta
  • 25g frozen peas
  • 25g sweetcorn (frozen or fresh)
  • 50 - 75g fresh mozzarella (half a ball)
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp wholegrain mustard
  • ½ tsp honey
  • a good grinding of black pepper
1. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Pour in the frozen peas and frozen sweetcorn, if using, a minute before the end of cooking time. Rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. This stops it going claggy.2. Place the rocket in a bowl and top with spring onions.3. Pour in the pasta,peas and sweetcorn, then tear the mozzarella into chunks and add.4 Whisk up the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad.5.Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Serves 1

I am linking my salad up to a few challenges:

1. No Croutons Required
2. Extra Veg - Hosted by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours & Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food
3. Four Seasons Food (Spring) - Hosted by Delicieux and Eat Your Veg
4. Pasta Please (Olive Oil) - Hosted this month by Slice of Me
5. No Waste Food Challenge - Hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary and Jibber Jabber UK

17 April 2014

Hearty Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

National Vegetarian Week runs from the 19 -25 May 2014 and in honour of the event Betta Living are hosting a vegetarian recipe competition.

Betta Living want to show that vegetarian food is more than just tofu, nut roasts and quorn dishes. They are offering the winner £750 worth of gift vouchers and there is also one runner up prize of £250 worth of vouchers to be won.

I will be on the judging panel, so get your thinking caps on, your knives out and your entries in.

To get the ball rolling I've made the most gorgeous Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew. I served it up with rice, toasted pitta bread, creme fraiche and mango chutney, but it would also be great with mashed potatoes and some green vegetables or spooned over a baked potato with a dollop of soured cream.

My chickpea and sweet potato stew was mildly spiced as my mother-in-law and little boy aren't overly fond of very spicy food, but feel free to increase the amount of chilli and spices when you make it yourself.

The stew was really delicious and very filling. It will be appearing on our dinner table on a regular basis. It's so easy to throw it all in, leave it to cook and develop all that mouthwatering flavour. It's one of those dishes that is even better the next day.

I made a huge potful as there was 6 of us, but you can keep leftovers in the fridge for a few days or freeze them.

Check out my fellow judges Becky and her Super Speedy Pot Luck Quiche and Cass with her Colourful Quick and Easy Vegetable Risotto.

print recipe

Hearty Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew
A spiced stew of chickpeas, sweet potato, baby potatoes, carrots and parsnips. A filling family meal that everyone will love.
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 - 3 tsp chilli powder
  • 15 small baby potatoes, halved
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into chunks
  • 4 - 6 medium carrots carrots, sliced fairly thickly
  • 2 large parsnips, sliced fairly thickly
  • 3 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large glass white wine
  • 1 vegetable stock pot with 500ml boiling water
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • a large handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1. Saute the onion, garlic and fresh ginger in the olive oil in a large pot until the onion is soft and translucent.2. Add the dried spices and gently cook with the onions for a couple of minutes, than add all the vegetables and mix well.3. Add the chickpeas and pour in the wine, then add the stock and tomato puree. 4. Cover and leave to cook gently for 40 - 50 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and the stew has thickened. If need be you can add more stock and cook a little longer.5. Season the stew with salt and pepper. Add the fresh coriander just before you serve.6. Enjoy! notes: You can use stock cubes instead of a vegetable stock pot. I would add 3 or 4 for flavour. Any leftover stew can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen into portions.
Total time:
Yield: Serves 8 - 10

Here are a few of the best veggie and vegan recipes I have found on the web this week:

1. Spicy Cauliflower-Cashew Bites with Wild Garlic Sauce and American ‘Buffalo’ Sauce - Food to Glow
2. Artichoke, Kale, and Ricotta Pie with Eggs and Parmesan - Kalyn's Kitchen
3. Za’atar Roasted Carrots and Green Beans - The Lemon Bowl

4. Spaghetti alla Puttaneca  - Amuse Your Bouche
5. Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Olive Quesadillas - Green Gourmet Giraffe
6. Chickpeas, Mango and Spinach in a Tomato Coconut Gravy - Lisa's Kitchen

I hope you are inspired to try some new vegetarian dishes. I look forward to seeing your entries. I will publish the winning entries at the end of May.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest foodie challenges, competitions and giveaways visit The Food Blog Diary.

Disclosure: I am being paid to host and judge this competition. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

16 April 2014

The Breakfast Blues

I'm just not good at having breakfast in the morning!

I make sure I get up early enough to make Cooper a big bowl of porridge during the week and sometimes treat him to a cooked veggie breakfast at the weekend, but I just can't face food that early in the morning.

Water yes, food no!

It's not that I don't like breakfast, my favourites are:
  • beans on toast
  • crunchy nut cornflakes
  • a cooked veggie breakfast 
  • tattie scones and beans
  • poached egg on toast
  • mushrooms on toast
  • greek yoghurt, fruit and honey
I just can't face it first thing in the morning.

I know! It's good for you. It sets you up for the day. People who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat later in the day. Hmmmmm! There may be something in that one.

Raspberry, Carrot & Basil Smoothie
What I have started to do is make a smoothie in my vitamix to take with me to drink at work.

My favourite this week has been a blueberry, apple and orange juice with added Baobab powder for extra nutrients and lots of ice to turn it into a more juice like texture.  I've had that one twice. Once I have poured two drinks for me, I add a banana, some greek yoghurt and milk, whizz it up again and pour that into a sealed cup for Cooper to take with him.

Juicing is big at my work just now, well at least in my department. My friend Louise started juicing about a month ago. She brings juice into work too and feels great on it. Her favourite juice has tomatoes and chilli in it. I'll have to ask her for the recipe. Then there is my friend Genna who writes over at Blethering Boys. She has really gone for it and is doing a full juice detox. She has lost weight, looks great and is bubbling over with energy, so I think for the moment I shall stick with my juices and let go of the no-breakfast guilt.

Jordan's have asked the nation about their morning rituals and what they for breakfast. It makes a rather interesting read.

What is a weekday morning like in your house?

Does everyone eat breakfast?

While we are talking breakfasts. I have to tell you about one of my eBay Collections

In support of breakfasts everywhere I have created a board called The Breakfast Bunch were you will find lots of fun breakfast gadgets and kitchen fripperies. 

I had such fun creating my 12 collections for eBay, I do hope you go over, have a look and follow any that catch your eye.  

I even have a board called Food Styling Props that I created especially to tempt food bloggers.

Disclosure: This is a paid post for Jordans. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.


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