29 May 2007
Luckily I had already bought some filo pastry in anticipation, so I was able to try out Spinach and Feta Triangles or Spanakopita as they are known in Greece.
I pretty much knew what was going to be in them, but did a google search, just to make sure. Phew! I had everything I needed!
Spinach and Feta Triangles
150g spinach, rinsed and chopped
150g feta cheese, crumbled
1 box filo pastry (12 sheets)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
melted butter, for brushing
fresh nutmeg, grated
salt & pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the spinach and cook for a couple of minutes, until the spinach has started to wilt. Season with grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Whisk the egg in a bowl, add the feta cheese and then stir in the spinach mixture.
Lay down your first sheet of filo, brush sparingly with butter and layer the next sheet on top. Do this for a total of 4 sheets. Slice down the middle, length-ways. Lay a dollop of mixture to one side and fold over from corner to make a triangle. Keep folding triangles up the pastry (hope that makes sense)! Do the same with the rest of the pastry until you have used up all the mixture.
Brush with butter and place on a baking tray (you will probably need two). Put in a preheated oven at 375f, 190c, GM 5, for 20 minutes until golden.
Makes 6 triangles
I served each triangle with harissa potatoes.
I got a great recipe for harissa from Lisa's Kitchen. I made my first ever batch at the weekend.
So I am trying it out for the first time tonight, maybe not a traditional use, but I thought it would contrast well with the mild feta cheese triangles.
Graham described it as hot but without the kick at the back of your throat! Anyway it was a good dressing for potatoes!
Hope you give it a go!
28 May 2007
284ml tub whipping cream
50g/2floz caster sugar
50ml/2floz white wine
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Whip the cream and sugar together until it forms soft peaks. Stir in the wine, most of the lemon zest and the juice.
Really easy, isn't it?
Graham doesn't like alcohol, being a bit straight edge, so I split the cream mix into two and added fruit juice into his, instead of wine and it worked just as well!
Who would know that I would be a wine-lover at such a young age!
26 May 2007
To make my salad, I hard boiled eggs in boiling water for 5 mins, cooled them, then peeled them and cut them in half lengthways. The potatoes, I boiled until they started to become tender and then I sliced and fried them in a little olive oil. I cooked the asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes.
I added the asparagus, egg halves and potato slices to a bed of watercress, baby spinach and rocket leaves. I then drizzled my salad with a lemony dressing and topped with little wafers of veggie parmesan.
2 tbps olive oil, 1 tbsp freshly squezzed lemon juice, 1 tsp wholegrain mustard and lots of feshly ground black pepper. Whisk until emulsified.
The salad was really tasty and very filling, which is something you can't always say about a salad (the filling bit, not the tasty bit). I think if I made the salad again I might use baby new potatoes, just to cut down on the calories a bit. But those fried potatoes were lovely. So, what the heck!
I found some interesting nutritional information, showing just how healthy asparagus is. I gleamed the info from The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board .
Serving size ............ 5.3 ounces
Calories ................ 20
Protein ................. 3 grams
Carbohydrate .......... 3 grams
Fat ..................... 0 grams
Cholesterol ............. 0 milligrams
Sodium ................. 5 milligrams
Potassium ............. 400 milligrams
Dietary Fibre .......... 3 grams
% of USRDA
Folacin ............. 60%
Vitamin C.......... 20%
Vitamin B6 ........ 10%
Vitamin A ......... 8%
Riboflavin ......... 6%
Niacin ............. 6%
Magnesium ....... 4%
Copper ............ 4%
Calcium ........... 2%
Pantothenic Acid .. *
Iron ................ *
Vitamin E .......... *
That's a lot of folic acid ,which is supposed to help in the prevention of liver disease. The Vitamin C protects cells and helps the body absorb iron from food and Vitamin B6 is good for the immune system! Go Asparagus!
25 May 2007
This is the first dish that my mum taught me to make adn it is a favourite in our house. I've even come up with a creamy and cheesey tasting vegan version of macaroni cheese for my husband. I used giant past for my dish this time, and to be honest slightly over cooked it, but it was still very tasty.
Just a note about the cheese I used in the dish. When I buy cheddar I always buy one that is suitable for vegetarians. As to the parmesan, well it isn't suitable for veggies, but you can get several parmesan style cheeses that taste just the same, are made the same way but without animal rennet and have the same texture. I like the Twineham Grange Pasta for Cheese, it used to be called Vegetarian Parmesan, but a ruling from the Eu meant they had to change the name. Sainsburys also do a nice basic range parmesan style cheese that is suitable for veggies.
Thanks to one of my readers for pointing out that I wasn't clear in my recipe.
25g plain flour
100g mature cheddar, grated
50g veggie style Parmesan, grated
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
Heat the milk in a saucepan with the peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring to the boil and then strain off the peppercorns and the bay leaf.
In another saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Add a little milk at a time and whisk until mixture thickens, then add a little more milk and do the same until all the milk is used.
Bring the sauce to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, keep whisking. Add the grated cheddar and Parmesan and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pan of salted water according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain and return to the pan. Stir in the cheese sauce.
This is not the original recipe my mum passed on to me, I have added peppercorns and a bay leaf to the milk for extra flavour and my mum never added Parmesan! But that is just tweaking as you go along isn't it? I used Pennoni Rigati for a change instead of macaroni. It is a bit like giant penne. It held the sauce beautifully! I served the pasta with some fresh coriander and freshly grated vegetarian Parmesan .
When I make macaroni cheese with traditional macaroni, I like to finish it off in the oven after I have topped it with either mushrooms or cherry tomatoes and more grated cheddar. This gives it a crispy topping and adds a little interest!
23 May 2007
The Left Over Queen has tagged me in my first meme. So here goes!
Tagged! 7 Random Foodie Facts
1 Mushrooms, mushrooms, mushrooms! I just love them! I love them on thick crunchy toast, in a creamy risotto, all herby on pasta and garlicky on bruschetta.
2 I cannot stand marzipan, liquorice or aniseed and I just don't know why that is!
3 I remember when I was quite young I used to climb up on a chair and on to the kitchen unit. Then I could reach the cupboard that housed the Colman's French Mustard. I would then sit on the unit and eat it with a teaspoon, until my inevitable capture by mum or dad!
4 When I went to college and lived on my own for the first time, I had to start cooking for myself. My Repertoire wasn't very extensive, I can tell you! I lived off salads, pizza and sandwiches. But I did have a signature dish - Macaroni Cheese. My mum taught me how to make a good cheese sauce from a roue! My guests were impressed!
5 I love watching cookery programmes and I don't even mind if they are cooking with meat, I know they will get around to making a side dish or dessert!
6 My favourite kitchen gadget is my potato ricer. It reminds me of a toy I played with as a child. It was a barbershop of plastic people! You put plasticine(playdough) in the people and squeezed. Long gooey hair squished out and then you gave them a haircut! The potato ricer is just really a grown-up version of that!
7 My greatest pleasure is coming home after work on a hot summer's day and sitting in my garden with a good book and a glass of chilled rose! Ah bliss!
Gentle tap on the arm!
Tag you're it!
Deb at Deb's Key West Wine & Gardening ,
Beccy at Peppermint Tea ,
Lisa at Lisa's Kitchen,
Charlotte at The Great Big Vegetable Challenge
Julie at Bad Home Cooking.
I challenge you to write 7 random foodie facts about yourself on your blog. When you have completed your challenge come back and let me know and we can have a look! It should be fun! Remember to tag someone else!
I would like to take a minute at the end of this post to thank The Left Over Queen, who tagged me for this meme, for all her hard work in setting up The Foodie Blogroll. If you want to have a look, it has been added to this blog!
21 May 2007
21 - 27 May 2007 is National Vegetarian Week here in the UK. So why not celebrate by trying out some veggie recipes, even if you're not a vegetarian.
Here are some great vegetarian recipes for you to try!
Lemon and Piri- Piri Kebabs from Adventures of a Veggie Lady.
Portobellos with Fava Bean Puree from Albion Cooks.
Vegetable Patty Melts from Elizabeth's Vegetarian Kitchen.
Roasted Asparagus with Argula from Family Style Food.
Vegetable Couscous from Bad Home Cooking.
Arugula Salad Recipe with Hearts of Palm, Kalamata Olives, and Gorgonzola from Kalyn's Kitchen
Pappardelle with Tomatoes from Cumin and Coriander.
Potato and Cauliflower Curry from Magpie Eats.
Simple Dill Rice from Lisa's Kitchen.
Daikon and Potato Cakes from The Great Big Vegeatable Challenge.
Spicy Grapefuit Coleslaw from FatFree Vegan Kitchen.
Strawberry Shortcake Trifles from Confessions of a Foodie Bride.
Tiramisu from Talk of Tomatoes.
For a spot of Afternoon Tea:
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies from Besides Pizza.
Choc Chip Cookies from Green Gourmet Giraffe.
Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls from Scottish Vegan.
And if you are just looking for a Snack:
Funky Tacos from Eat'n Veg'n.
Tzatziki and Pita Chips from Food on the Food.
Baked Tofu Fries from The Flying Vegan.
So as you can see there are some great veggie recipes out there and not all on vegetarian blogs. I hope you find something to sample this week! If you need some wine ideas for you dishes, then head over to Deb's Key West Wine.
I would love to hear comments about the recipes I have listed and I am sure the authors would love to hear your comments too!
I've been craving eggs all week and I just don't know why! Maybe it's my body's way of telling me I need protein. I really do believe that when you have a craving, it's a signal of something missing in your diet. Let's just leave chocolate out of the discussion!
So here is my homage to eggs. A recipe gleamed from the pages of BBC Good Food Magazine , May 2007 issue. I bought this magazine about a month ago, what is it with magazines being sold a month before the date?
Spicy Tiffin Eggs
7 large eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
250g/9oz grated carrot
2 heaped tbsp korma curry paste
200g/8oz granary breadcrumbs
85g/3oz roasted cashews, finely chopped
Put 6 of the eggs in a pan of cold water and bring them to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then cool quickly in cold water. Carefully shell.
While the eggs are cooling, heat the oil, fry the onion for 5 mins, then add the carrot and cook for 10 mins more until soft. Stir in the curry paste and fry for a few mins more. Stir in the bread, then, when the mixture is cool, beat the remaining egg and stir in the seasoning to make a paste.
Divide the mixture into 6 and flatten with your hands (wetting them makes this a bit easier), then use to wrap around each egg - the mixture will seal well as you press it together. Roll in cashews and chill until ready to cook. The prepared eggs can be kept in the fridge overnight.
Heat the oven to 190c/fan 170c/gas 5, then bake the eggs for 15-20 mins. Cool for 5 minutes, then carefully cut half using a very sharp knife. Serve with a bowl of mango chutney and a salad to make a main meal.
Rose Farm in Somerset. It was a good combination, but Graham said he would like to try them with mango chutney. We both thought that the egg coating could be improved with more curry paste, but when we ate them again the next day for lunch, the flavours had developed and you could
really taste the curry.
So if you are making them for a picnic, make them the day before!
I really loved these! I don't have to look longingly at scotch eggs anymore!
19 May 2007
World Vegetarian Classics by Celia Brooks Brown
Another dip into my new cookbook! This time, some Greek Fassoulia. This is one of many courses served at a Greek feast.
I served it as a main course with some pitta bread and salad.
Giant Beans in Tomato Sauce (Greece)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced,
4 plump garlic cloves, chopped
2 x 400g/14oz cans of elephant beans, butter beans or other white beans, drained and rinsed
2 x 400g/14oz cans chopped Italian plum tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano or 2 tsp fresh, chopped
1 tsp dried dill weed or 2 tsp fresh, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme or a cluster of fresh thyme sprigs
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted pitta (pita) bread, to serve
Heat a wide pan over a low heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent.
Serve warm or cold with toasted pitta bread. If left overnight, the flavour improves.
I was really eager to try these beans, as I had eaten a similar dish in a cypriot home, whilst on holiday. This recipe did not let me down and brought back memories of sunny days spent in good company!
I substituted the elephant beans for cannellini beans and it worked really well!
18 May 2007
Taste Test 1
World Vegetarian Classics by Celia Brooks Brown
Following my rant about this being
"A real bible for vegetarians!"
"The best vegetarian cookbook I have every read!",
what could I do but try out some of the recipes!
Saganaki Fried Cheese
250g/9oz(1 average brick) Halloumi Cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 large lemon
handful of fresh oregano leaves
handful of black Kalamata olives in oil, drained
pared yest of 1/2 lemon, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
Slice the cheese into 5mm/1/4 inch pieces across the narrower end of the cheese. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the oil. Arrange the cheese in the pan, not touching, and fry until golden underneath. Use tongs to turn the cheese over and cook until golden.
Squeeze the lemon juice over the cheese while in the pan, removing any escaping seeds. Remove the cheese to warmed serving plates, scatter the oregano, olive, lemon zest over and season with black pepper.
I was off to a good start with this one, as I love Halloumi cheese and I had some in the fridge. I swapped the oregano for basil, which I prefer and left out the olives. I don't know what it is about olives, I just can't get a taste for them! The strange thing is that I do love olive oil, go figure!
This dish was simple and delicious! I couldn't believe the difference the lemon juice and zest made to the Halloumi. The cheese was soft and chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside, there was the tangy lemon, the bite of the pepper and an occasional drift of basil!
I'll definitely return to this dish!
16 May 2007
A real bible for vegetarians!
When I pick up a new cookbook, I usually find only a handful of recipes I am interested in (I love a good cookbook for a spot of bedtime reading)! But I have to say I am very excited about this collection! I just want to cook everything in it! Although I'll probably have to negotiate with Graham over the use of blue cheese and walnuts!
Celia Brooks Brown has trawled the world for genuine vegetarian dishes true to each area instead of adapting meat dishes. She has also made it that little bit easier by including alternatives to unusual ingredients!
Tofu Pocket Sushi form Japan, Coriander Peacakes in Coconut Curry from Mauritius, The Priest Fainted (Stuffed Aubergines) from Turkey, Fried Cheese from Cyprus and Giant Beans in Tomato Sauce from Greece to name but a few. And the photos are simply sumptuous!
Disclosure Statement: I did not receive this book free from the publisher to review, this is my own copy. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
13 May 2007
Well despite still feeling very ill with a chest infection, I decided that, yes, I would go out to celebrate a friend's birthday!
So off I went in my glad rags!
We started off in a bar for some typical pub grub. The veggie choices were not extensive, there was :
a grated cheese salad
baked potatoes with the above toppings
As you can see, not very inspired!
I decided on the macaroni cheese and it was actually very tasty. It was accompanied by fries and sweetcorn, a somewhat bizarre paring, but hey! We washed this down with some rather bland white wine! But then I do have a stinking cold, so it could have been divine!
We then toddled off down the street to a rather pretentious cocktail bar, where I enjoyed a Margarita or two and some great chat.
We finished off in a pub, with nearly all the same people that were in the cocktail bar! This is where I sampled the delight that is a cola cube cocktail. I don't know if cola cubes are of worldwide fame, but I love them! And this tasty little cocktail had one meltingly nestled right at the bottom! My dentist would not approve!
This is the recipe used in the bar last night, I think I will give it a go, just not this weekend!
1 part Spiced rum
1/2 part Blackcurrant cordial
1 part Lemonade
1 part Ice cubes
1 cola cube
Mix all the ingredients bar the cola cube in a coktail shaker(or a flask). Pour into a cocktail glass containing a cola cube.
Beware, it is only for those with a sweet tooth!
You can buy cola cubes (Kola Kubes) online from A Quarter Of . The cola pips are good too!
A good time was had by all (especially the birthday girl) and I didn't even have a sore head this morning! That macaroni cheese must have lined my stomach!
11 May 2007
I had a turnip (I should really say neep and not turnip, how very unscottish of me!) to use and thought, what will I do with it?
Turnip and Feta Soup
I red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large turnip, chopped
1/2 red chilli, deseed and finely chopped
fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 pints vegetable stock
feta cheese for garnish
salt and pepper
- Fry the onion, garlic and chilli in the olive oil until translucent.
- Add the turnip and carrot and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the stock and cook gently for a further 30 minutes.
- Blend the soup and add the coriander, salt and pepper.
- Serve topped with feta cheese.
This soup is earthy, but with a slightly sweet flavour which contrasts beautifully with the salty feta. I didn't have fresh chilli or coriander, so I used dried. I'm sure it would taste much better with fresh chilli and coriander and look prettier too, but it was very tasty!
It was just what I needed as a have a stinking cold just now!
If you want another good soup recipe, head over to The Great Big Vegetable Challenge for their Cress and Potato Soup .
09 May 2007
We didn't want to get dressed up to go to a restaurant, just something informal would do, so we decided on a cafe bar in the city centre.
The menu is quite good for vegetarians, they have salads, wraps, baked potatoes and about 50 different toppings for burgers, veggie burgers too of course! We had been there a few times and quite enjoyed it.
We deliberated over the menu for quite some time. Well if you get down to the hard facts, I deliberated for ages, Graham made up his mind really quickly!
Would I have A veggie burger with a curry topping, a spicy salsa, sweet and sour vegetables or maybe a fried egg, I did actually ponder on that choice for a while, but decided it would be too messy!
So I ordered a veggie burger with stilton cheese and Graham ordered a Veggie burger with cheddar, he made the mistake of ordering jalepenos last time. Oh Boy!
So the meal arrives, I munch on a bit of the salad and a lattice fry, Graham goes straight for the burger, opens it up to add some slald to it and oh no, a beefburger! I check mine , the same, they definitely look and smell like meat. So we called the waitress over and very pleasantly pointed out the mistake. She took the plates back to the kitchen.
Now if she had come back and apologised for the mistake all would have been well, but she actually came back and start a story about how they had a new supplier and the new 'quorn burgers' actually looked very like meat and probably smelled like it too! Well that was enough for me, we declined having something else to eat and just paid for our drinks.
How disappointing and we just won't go back. It will probably put our friends off going there too, so it was a bit of a mistake on their part, how easy would it have been to apologise and rectify the situation!
And there endeth my rant for the day!
And the moral of the story is:
I should have put my cooking apron on and dished up something quick and easy!
06 May 2007
I had a few peppers to use up in the fridge, so I decided to try this recipe by Gino D'Acampo.
Stuffed Peppers with Ricotta Cheese and Mushrooms
- Place the peppers in a baking tray and roast them in a pre-heated oven at 180C/356F/Gas 4 for approximately 20 minutes.
- Place them in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and allow the peppers to cool. This will loosen the skin, making the peppers easy to peel.
- Once cooled, peel off the skin, discard the seeds and cut the pepper in half lengthways.
- Place the pepper halves on a chopping board ready to be stuffed.
- In a frying pan, shallow-fry the mushrooms in olive oil until soft.
- Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix the ricotta with the mustard and then add in the cooked mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Place two tablespoons of the mushroom mixture on each pepper half. Gently roll and hold in place using a toothpick. Repeat until pepper halves and mix are used up.
- Once ready, put the rolled peppers on a baking tray, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and grill for approximately five minutes.
- Serve them immediately with some mixed salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
05 May 2007
When I was at primary school, I would go to a childminder after school, just once a week. We used to have a great time there! We would bake cookies (which were delicious because we made them) , we made figures out of salt dough ( boy did that stuff stink!) and my favourite, drawing and painting masterpieces which we would then pop in the post to the BBC.
In the 70's there was a great BBC tv programme called Take Hart. I used to watch it religiously. Take Hart was an art programme. The presenter Tony Hart would demonstrate painting and crafts for children. At the end of the show there would be 'The Gallery' where children's artwork would be shown, while elevator music played in the background! Well, I waited and waited for some of my work to be shown, it never was, but I still watched 'The Gallery' with mounting excitement each week!
So, you are asking, what does this have to do with chocolate? Well it all ties in with my warm memories of that time.
My mum would come to collect me from the childminder's (I would leave somewhat hesitantly) and my treat was to stop in at the local shop and buy a piece of chocolate for the walk home. My chocolate of choice at the time was an Orange Aero bar by Nestle (orange flavoured bubbly chocolate) .
Well I used to love that chocolate! They stopped making it years ago , so I was delighted to see it on the shelf of my local supermarket. It brought back all those lovely memories and it tastes just as delicious, although it has had a change of name. It is now called Orange Delight Aero!
Does anybody have any childhood food memories that they would like to share ? It doesn't have to be chocolate related!
03 May 2007
Well it's ' what's in the fridge' tonight!
Some penne pasta (there is always a bag of it in the cupboard) and a yummy mushroom sauce.
I sauteed the mushrooms in a pan with some garlic and then added some white wine. I cooked this down and then added a dollop of creme fraiche and a glug of cream. I added freshly ground black pepper and torn basil leaves.
I topped it all off with some balsamic cherry tomatoes and some fresh vegetarian parmesan.
Just what you need after a late night at work! Well it works for us anyway (so much for trying new things!).