31 May 2008

Kittie Won the Challenge

Kittie's entry to No Croutons Required squeaked in at the last minute, but proved to be so popular, that it won!



















Kittie from Kitties in the Kitchen made us a droolworthy Hot (Sauce!) Potato, Pear & Blue Stilton Salad. Gorgeous ingredients, I think you will agree? She was especially brave when making her Hot Sauce and added a little more than 4 cups of scotch bonnets. I am thinking this sauce would pack a punch! Lisa would be proud!


Here's your prize-winning badge for your blog Kittie, hope you like it!

If you would like to enter the June No Crouton's Required challenge, then head over to Lisa's blog tomorrow for details.

29 May 2008

Potato Salad with a Rhubarb & Balsamic Dressing

My friends have very kindly provided me with lots of rhubarb, the yummy stuff that it is. So far I have made a crumble, a tart and jam, but I still have loads left. I am quite happy to eat it constantly, but I needed a new idea. I was thinking about how I could use it in a salad when I came up with the idea of combining it with balsamic vinegar. Boy, was that a good idea!
















Potato Salad with a Rhubarb & Balsamic Dressing

4 medium potatoes, cut in quarters
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped rhubarb
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper


Boil the potatoes until just tender.

Cook the rhubarb with the sugar until starting to break up. Add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and warm through. Season with salt & pepper.

Drain the potatoes and mix gently with the dressing while still warm. Scatter the onion through the potato salad.

Eat slowly and savour!

Serves 2, if you can bear to share it :)

28 May 2008

Curried Vegetable Pasties


This is a hmmm-what's-in-the-fridge kind of recipe.

Curried Vegetable Pasties

Pastry

1 packet ready-made shortcrust pastry or 1 quantity of homemade
1 egg, beaten

Filling

a splash of olive oil
½ onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
small piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 baby potatoes, cut into quarters
6 baby corn, cut into quarters
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
water as required
salt & pepper

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger, cook gently until the onion is translucent. Add the potatoes and carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Add the baby corn and cook for another few minutes. Add the spices and a little water. Cook the vegetables on a medium heat, until they are tender, adding water as required, a little at a time. The mixture should not be too moist. Season with salt & pepper.



Heat the oven to 190c /375f /Gas Mark 5.

Roll out the pastry until it is fairly thin. Cut circles out of the pastry, using a saucer or small bowl as a template. Put some filling on one side of the pastry, brush round the edge with egg and fold over, crimping the edges to seal.


Brush the pasties with a little beaten egg and place on a baking tray. Cook for 20 minutes or until the pasties are golden brown.

Makes 4 – 6 depending on the size of the pasties.


Although the pasties are really good while still warm, they are great cold for lunch and fabulous as picnic food.

I served this batch of pasties with some of the Hot Mango Chutney I made back in November. My mouth is watering just thinking about it :P


Whoops! I forgot the mushrooms! I added mushrooms too.

26 May 2008

Penne with Griddled Vegetables

I thought it was about time that I submitted an entry to Ruth's weekly Presto Pasta Nights.
Ruth always posts a great roundup of pasta dishes for us to enjoy, every Friday.

Who needs a cookbook?

Well, maybe for a spot of bedtime reading :)



















I decide to re-visit my Griddled Vegetable Salad for this pasta dish. I didn't make a single change, it was so good the first time around. I used the same basil dressing too and it coated the pasta beautifully. I served this salad warm, to maximise the flavours, but I think it would make a good cold pasta salad too.

21 May 2008

No Croutons Required - May Roundup

Well, here we are at the end of May already and time for this month’s No Croutons Required roundup.

This month saw our first salad only challenge and our theme was cheese. Be it blue, crumbly, creamy, pongy, smoky, gooey or chewy. From vegetarian to vegan.

I love cheese, maybe a bit too much, if my waistline is anything to go by!

So without further ado, here are the fabulous entries we received. Vote for your favourite, in the voting panel.


The first entry is from my good friend Val over at More Than Burnt Toast. Val made us a mouth-watering Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Ricotta & Feta. She made her pasta salad lovely and summery by adding cherry tomatoes and cucumber and finished it off to perfection with a gorgeous herby dressing.

(BC, Canada)



Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe, the winner of our first ever challenge, has presented us with a Beetroot and Apple Salad with Crimson Dressing. Does that dressing intrigue you, it intrigued me? And boy does it sound tasty :)

(Melbourne, Australia)



Our third entry is from (the man with the camera glued to his hand), the super-talented Davimack over at Wish I Were Baking. David made us what he calls a Random Feta Salad.Quorn or tofu, cucumber, green onions, tomatoes, kohlrabi and capers, all dressed lovingly and served in warm pitta bread.

(Glasgow, Scotland)



Lucy from Nourish Me has brought to our table Organic Leaves Dressed with Goat’s Cheese. Lucy took her inspiration from her Nana, who loved her garden. Lucy used fresh produce and an extremely delicious sounding, organic goats cheese.

(Melbourne, Australia)



For my salad, I griddled some aubergine, courgette, yellow pepper and artichokes. Well, I thought it was as good an excuse as any to buy a griddle pan! I put into in the supermarket trolley surreptitiously and Graham didn’t even offer up a sarky comment. He must have realised that some tasty food would follow this purchase, clever boy! So here it is Griddled Vegetable & Mozzarella Salad. (not included in vote)

(Dundee, Scotland)



Giz from the Equal Opportunity Kitchen has offered up a Simple Salad with Feta. It looks really delicious, but the less said about the tv reality show featured in the post, the better! Really, enough said!(Toronto, Canada)



Our next, rather ingenious salad was made by Ricki over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs. Ricki prefers a vegan diet, so she made us some Swiss Uncheese and put it in her Swiss ‘Cheese’ in a Mosaic Salad. I have to say that I have never been inclined to try vegan cheese. I just had the feeling it would be a tasteless piece of sweaty rubber. Well, boy was I wrong! This uncheese is made with cashew nuts, lemon juice, tahini, mustard and coriander. Some of my favourite ingredients! You just have to go over to Ricki’s blog and have a look at the recipe.

(Toronto, Canada)



Could this be lucky seven? Mansi has made us a Mexican Salad, which packs a punch in the flavour stakes. Two types of beans, corn kernels (I am guessing this is sweetcorn to us), rice, bell pepper and cheddar, all bound up in a delicious sauce made of guacamole, sour cream and salsa. If you love Mexican food, I am sure you will love this!

(California, US)



Next up we have a Spiced Eggplant and Lentil Salad with Feta from Frances over at Crunchy Green Things. I really love the flavours of this salad and if that wasn’t enough, the post is full of interesting feta facts! I found out that Graham loves Danish feta, while I love Greek. I didn’t realise that before.

(Australia)



Terri from Faking It Gluten Free Style made a Quinoa and Goat Cheese Salad. As a recent recruit to the Quinoa Lovers Society, I will be adding this salad to my recipe folder. Terri’s son wasn’t such a great fan of the quinoa, but he too, loved the salad!

(Italy)



Kevin over at Closet Cooking is really getting into wholegrains just now, so when he came across some farro, he decided to make this gorgeous Roasted Asparagus and Red Pepper Farro. Lovely presentation Kevin! I will have to give this grain a go.

(Toronto, Canada)



One of my favourite cheeses is up next, the gorgeous halloumi cheese. Lynn has whipped us up a Greek Salad with Halloumi Fingers. This salad was inspired by memories of salads eaten during a happy holiday to Greece, …”with the sound of the waves of the Aegean sea gently washing up on a shore only meters away from your table”. Oh I want to go to Greece for a holiday!

(Glasgow, Scotland)



Next up is from my co-host Lisa from Lisa’s Kitchen. Lisa has made us a Fried Saganaki with Halloumi on Greek Salad with Kalamata Olives. This is Lisa’s first try of Halloumi cheese and I am pleased to announce that it is now one of her favourite cheese snacks. I can go along with that, I also love Halloumi and this looks like a great salad. (not included in vote)

(London, Canada)



Now we travel to Peru for more of a dressing than a salad. But hey, once it is on the salad, then it becomes one of the salad ingredients, doesn’t it? So although this is stretching the challenge a bit, it is a great recipe, so I am going to allow it. Gretchen made us the greenest of dressings, Parmesan & Parsley Dressing with Salad. You can visit Gretchen over at Canela & Comino.

(Lima, Peru)



Maybelle’s Mom from Feeding Maybelle has gone all seasonal and made us a Grilled Halloumi & Asparagus Salad. I would say that it’s well worth trying this salad, while asparagus is at it’s best.

(Ohio, US)



Haalo over at Cook Almost Anything has made us a colourful Roasted Baby Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad with a gorgeous garlicky dressing. Now who wouldn’t love to be served that up as a starter or a main course?

(Melbourne, Australia)



Jen over at Real Good Taste has joined us for the first time and made us a Warm Pasta with Spinach, Goats Cheese & Carmelised Onions. Jen used soy protein in her salad, but suggested, it might be good with a smoked tofu.

(Washington, US)



We visit Brooklyn next for a Farmer’s Market Salad with Spiced Goat’s Cheese Rounds from Mimi over at Mimi on the Move. The goat’s cheese rounds are coated in spices and seeds, which is a lovely idea and one I am going to try. Mimi even went to the trouble of roasting some baby potatoes for the salad. Nice!

(Brooklyn, US)



Becke over at Columbus Foodie has also hit on Halloumi cheese for her salad. It is definitely the fromage du jour! Becke has made us a Grilled Halloumi, Arugula, Mango and Avocado Salad. How inspired to team up halloumi, avocado and mango! I think that is such a good combination.

(Columbus, US)



Our last entry is from Kittie over at Kitties in the Kitchen. Kittie got her entry in at the last minute. The poor girl is moving house just now, so life is hectic, but she still managed to put together this gorgeous Hot (Sauce!) Potato, Pear & Blue Stilton Salad.

(Brighton, UK)



I think you will all agree, that this is a handsome roundup, very handsome indeed! Be sure to vote for your favourite. The winning salad with be announced at the end of the month. Good luck all :)




Winner: Kittie from Kitties in the Kitchen with her Hot (Sauce!) Potato, Pear & Blue Stilton Salad.

Well done Kittie!

18 May 2008

Chocolate & Pecan Cookies with a Surprise Inside

No, I haven't gone mad and put beetroot or aubergine in my cookies! Although, hey, that may be something to try, well the beetroot anyway! These actually have a rolo in the middle. Hence, a lovely gooey centre. Mmmmmmm.


These gorgeous, chewy cookies are the brainchild of Fruittart.

I wish now, that I had broken a cookie in half for you to see the oozing centre, but luckily Fruittart had the foresight to do this, so you can always have a look at her cookies.

These cookies were lush and it was fun molding the cookie dough around the rolo. Very theraputic! I will definitely be making them again soon :)

13 May 2008

Griddled Vegetable & Mozzarella Salad






























Here is my favourite salad of the moment, well since I got my new griddle pan.


Griddled Vegetable and Mozzarella Salad

1 aubergine, sliced
1 courgette, sliced
2 red or orange peppers, sliced
5 artichoke hearts in oil, drained and chopped in half
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

1 ball of fresh mozzarella


Basil Dressing

1 handful fresh basil
1 red chilli
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
black pepper


Toss all the vegetables with the olive oil and season. Heat a griddle pan until very hot and cook the vegetables in batches until slighty charred.

Whizz up all the dressing ingredients and season.

Place the vegetables on a plate, add the sliced mozzarella and drizzle over some dressing.

Serve with crusty bread.

Serves 4

08 May 2008

Tomato & Broccoli Quiche with a Layer of Pea Puree




Tomato & Broccoli Quiche with a Layer of Pea Puree

Pastry

280g/10oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
140g/5oz cold butter, cut into pieces
8 tbsp very cold water


Pea Puree

300g frozen peas
3 tbsp olive oil
handful of fresh mint, chopped


Vegetables

½ broccoli cut into florets
10 baby plum tomatoes
1 red onion, thinly sliced
½ tbsp olive oil


Custard

2 eggs
284ml double cream
1 cup grated cheddar
salt & pepper to season


Tip the flour & butter into a bowl, then rub together with your fingertips until completely mixed and crumbly. Add 8 tbsp cold water, then bring everything together with your hands until just combined. Roll into a ball and use straight away or chill for up to 2 days.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a round about 5cm larger than a 25cm tin. Use your rolling pin to lift it up, then drape over the tart case so there is an overhang of pastry on the sides. Using a small ball of pastry scraps, push the pastry into the corners of the tin. Chill in fridge or freezer for 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 200c / fan 180c/gm6. While the pastry is chilling make the filling.

Cook the peas in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water to refresh. Whizz up the peas with the olive oil and mint. Set this mixture aside.



















Cook the broccoli in boiling water for a few minutes, drain and rinse under cold water. Dry fry the tomatoes in a hot pan, moving around until they start to brown a little and split. Gently fry the onion in olive oil, until soft. Set aside.

Take the pastry out of the fridge or freezer. Prick the base lightly with a fork. Cover with a layer of greaseproof paper, fill with ceramic beans or rice and bake blind for 20 minutes, remove the paper and beans and bake for another 5 – 10 minutes until golden brown.



















While the pastry is baking whip up the custard. Beat the eggs in a bowl and gradually add the cream. Stir in the onions and add 3/4 cup of grated cheddar, then season with salt and pepper.

When the case is ready, spread the pea puree over the base, top with the vegetables and then pour over the egg mixture. Scatter over the remaining cheese. Bake the quiche for 20 – 25 minutes until set and golden brown. Don’t worry if the filling is a little wobbly, it will set as it cools. Leave the quiche to cool in the tin. Once cool, trim the edges of the pastry and remove from the tin.






Making the quiche was quite a long process but extraordinarily satisfying! The only thing I would do different next time, would be to cut the quantity of pea puree in half. So it is just a hidden extra as you bite into your quiche and not a main player, if you know what I mean? I may use the fillings again with ready-made shortcrust pastry, if I don't have as much time. It was a good filling and just the right amount. I served this quiche with some of my beetroot salad, which was lovely and tart. A great contrast with the creamy quiche.

A Vegetarian Feast in a Quiche!

I am stealing that quote from Judith over at Shortcut to Mushrooms. Judith is hosting a Vegetarian Feast Foodblogging Challenge and the challenge is to make something flat and savoury with a crust. So I am putting forward my quiche as my entry. If you would like to join in, you still have time. Judith's deadline is the 31st May. And on the subject of deadlines, please have entries in for No Croutons Required by the 20th May. The details are here.

05 May 2008

Beetroot Salad




































I just love beetroot and I thought it would look really pretty in a salad, so I made this dish that is similar to a coleslaw in style.


5 fresh beetroot, peeled and grated
5 spring onions, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 small white cabbage, shredded (purple cabbage would look stunning!)


Dressing

3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vingegar
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the salad dressing and combine with the vegetables. Voila!

Serves loads of people, honest!


















I enjoyed this salad and the sharpness of the dressing was a lovely contrast to the creamy quiche I served it with (quiche to follow). However, make sure everyone has some. Delicious, but the honk of garlic was something else!

04 May 2008

Lemon Cheesecake with a Blueberry & Raspberry Topping















Lemon Cheesecake with a Blueberry & Raspberry Topping

Base
12 ginger biscuits
100g butter, melted
1 tsp clear honey

Filling
600ml double cream, lightly whipped
500g mascarpone
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp icing sugar

Fruit Topping
200g caster sugar
400g mixed frozen raspberries and Blueberries
Juice 1/2 lemon


Place the fruit, lemon juice and caster sugar in a pan and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for a few minutes until starting to thicken. Set aside to cool.

Crush the biscuits in a bag with a rolling pin, sometimes you need a double layer of bag, so that it doesn't burst and make a right mess. Tip the biscuit crumbs into a mixing bowl and stir in the melted butter and honey. Press the mixture over the base of a loose-bottomed tin (about 20cm) and leave to set in the fridge while you make the filling.

Beat the cream and mascarpone in a bowl until smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest and icing sugar to the cheese, being sure not to mix it too much as it could split.

Smooth the mixture over the base, cool in the until needed.

Remove the chessecake, carefully from the tin and spoon over the fruit topping.

We really enjoyed this cheesecake. My American friends will be shaking their heads and tutting because it isn't baked. But honestly, this kind of cheesecake has it's own merits. It is creamy and tart and so easy to make. I think you just have to approach it from a different viewpoint and don't expect the texture of a baked cheesecake. Go on, give it a go!

01 May 2008

No Croutons Required - May


It is time for me to host No Croutons Required.

But first, I suspect you would like to find out who won the Mushroom Challenge in April.

The winner was Suganya over at Tasty Palettes. Suganya won the challenge with her Baked Portobello.














Doesn't it look mouthwatering?

If you missed the mushroom challenge, you can catch up with the roundup here.
-----------------------------
On with the challenge!

To celebrate the end of Winter, we are asking for a salad.

Our theme this month is cheese, be it blue, crumbly, creamy, pongy, smoky, gooey or chewy. From vegetarian to vegan.


The Rules

1. Post about your Cheese Salad.

2. Mention "No Croutons Required" in your post and link back to Tinned Tomatoes. You are free to use the "No Croutons Required" logo in your post.

3. Email me a link to your post at nocroutonsrequired@googlemail.com and include your name, the name of your blog, your location and the name of your dish, with any anecdotes.

4. Entries must be in by 20 May 2008.

The roundup of entries will then be posted and readers will be able to vote for their favorite salad in the poll.

The winning salad will be announced at the end of the month and the winner will receive this super duper badge to display on their blog.

5. Good luck :)

Book Meme

This Meme was started by that smart cookie - Yvonne - It Had Better Be Good.

She has tagged the entire blogosphere with her book meme. A little bit interesting, don't you think! As we nose about in other people's lives, well their books to be exact!

The rules are simple:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and acknowledge who tagged you


I have two books at the side of my bed, which I am lying across just now!

Al Capone Does My Shirts
Gennifer Choldenko


Page 123. Sentence 6, 7 & 8

Every Monday I see Scout and them warming up on my way to the boat. I walk by without even looking.

On Alcatraz there's nothing to do, no one to do it with and nothing to look forward to either.

My next is:

Giorgio Locatelli
Made in Italy - Food & Stories

Page 123, fifth sentence:

They are very beautiful: dark brown with a white stripe or 'belt'(cinta); and are very agile because they were bred to live in the wild, and if they run at you, you have to move fast, because they really are quite scary.

So, what do you think he was talking about?

I'm not giving you the next three sentences.

It is too much fun to see what you come up with :P

I can't wait to read the posts :)

I now have to tag 5 people. So I am going to go for the five, I think, will also have a book beside their bed right now!

Julia at A Slice of Cherry Pie, who started up a book club for us over at her forum.

Lisa at Lisa's Kitchen who was curled up yesterday, reading a book.

Wendy at A Wee Bit of Cooking, who I know loves a good read.

Tadmack over at I Wish I Were Baking, who is a writer herself, but always, always has a big pile of books to read!

And lastly, Peter over at Kalofagas - Greek Food & Beyond. I am very interested to find out what he is reading, with a kind of nervous, fascination!