Moroccan Parcels




My friend Andrew, made a Moroccan Filo Pie for Christmas dinner with his family. It was essentially a recipe for a vegetable nut roast with Moroccan flavourings.

I got a text from Andrew on Christmas Day to say they had made enough to feed 5000 and so I got lucky! His mum had an eureka moment and used up the left-over nut roast, by making pasties.

These were so yummy that I had mostly eaten mine by the time I thought to take a photo and Graham's pasty was long gone!

Moroccan Parcels

10 shallots
1 butternut squash
2 red peppers
1 medium aubergine
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5cm piece of ginger
400g can chickpeas, drained
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
125g peeled almonds, toasted
125g shelled pistachios
75g butter, melted
salt & pepper
1 pack of shortcrust pastry


Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180c/350f. Line baking trays with parchment.

Cut the shallots into wedges, deseed and dice the squash, cut the red peppers into strips and dice the aubergine. Mix together with the olive oil, spices and garlic, toss well, then place in the oven in a roasting tin for 20 mins.

Peel and finely dice the ginger and mix in a bowl with the chickpeas, chopped coriander, toasted almonds and pistachios. Stir this mixture into the roasted vegetables, season with salt & pepper.

Cut shortcrust pastry into squares, spoon a little filling onto one side and fold over into a triangle, seal with a little water or milk. Pierce a couple of slits in top, as air vents. Then brush the triangle with a little milk or beaten egg. Place the triangles onto baking trays and cook for about 30 minutes, until golden.

These would be gorgeous served hot with all the Christmas trimmings, but are equally delicious cold with some hot mango chutney.

Thanks Andrew and Andrew's mum!

What a great recipe for my 100th post!
18

Chocolate Milk with Pear & Ginger




I served this luxurious hot chocolate drink on Christmas morning. I felt it was a bit early to start on the fizz, but wanted to hand out something a little special that would perk us all up at such an early hour.

Chocolate works so well with pear. It almost tastes like a dessert and the ginger gives it a wonderful warmth. I used dark chocolate for this. So much nicer than cocoa for that real chocolate hit.

None of us drink coffee or tea, so this was a great choice and we'll definitely be having it again.

If you do need that caffeine hit, you could add a little coffee to this recipe.


Chocolate Milk with Pear & Ginger

Ingredients

200ml semi-skimmed milk (or coconut milk)
40g bar 70% dark chocolate
1 ripe pear
1/2 piece of crystallised stem ginger (I used, 1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger)


Method

  1. Break the chocolate into a small pan, add the milk and heat gently until the chocolate has melted.
  2. Peel and core the pear, then cut into quarters.
  3. Add the pear, chocolate milk and ginger to a blender. Whizz until smooth.
  4. You can drink this warm or cold.

Serves 2





Look at that. A lovely, velvet smooth hot chocolate drink, that tastes luxurious!

While we were enjoying our chocolate drinks, we were opening presents. Christmas music was playing in the background and my cat was having a great time playing with the wrapping paper.

What is it with cats and wrapping paper?





I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and will try my wintry chocolate drink soon.


9

White Chocolate Truffles with Peppermint


Winter wonderland on a plate!

These gorgeous little snowballs got the thumbs up from everyone. They didn't last 5 minutes!

They are so soft to bite into, through the powdery, white icing sugar. It's lovely when you discover a little bite of mint in among the sweet white chocolate!

I used Bassett's Mint Creams for these truffles.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

White Chocolate Truffles with Peppermint

Ingredients

125ml double cream (1 small pot)
150g white chocolate (1 large bar), broken into pieces
25g strong hard white peppermints (5 mint fondant creams)

Method

  1. Melt the cream and chocolate gently for 4-5 mins until the chocolate has melted. Leave to cool.
  2. Whisk the cream mixture until thick and then put in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
  3. Put the mints into a plastic bag and crush, using a rolling pin. Scatter pieces into the cream mixture. If the mixture is firm enough, roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls in some icing sugar. If a little soft, chill in fridge or freezer for a while before rolling.
  4. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
  5. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Makes 20 truffles


13

Blueberry, Maple Syrup and Oat Smoothie


I dipped into the Innocent Smoothie Recipe Book again. I have made this one 3 times, so far!

Blueberry, Maple Syrup and Oat Smoothie

Ingredients

1/2 an apple or 25ml fresh apple juice
a punnet of blueberries
2 dessertspoons of maple syrup
250ml of bio-yoghurt
a small handful of oats
pecan nuts to serve


Method

  1. Cut the apple into wedges and put them through the juicer. 
  2. Add the apple juice, blueberries and the maple syrup to the bender and whizz until smooth. 
  3. Add the yoghurt and oats and pulse twice. 
  4. Serve sprinkled with chopped pecan nuts.

One generous serving

Well I think there is enough for two, but maybe that's because I added a banana to the smoothie.


Innocent call this one a thickie, a breakfast thickie and indeed it is! The longer it sits, the thicker it becomes, probably because of the oats swelling up. It will last you right through until lunchtime!

I am buying lots of blueberries just now while they are half price and popping the whole punnets in the freezer. I was hoping to have a nice little stockpile for over the winter, but I just keep using them up. Blueberries are so delicious!
26

Red Pepper Hummus





























I switched over channels on TV, just in time to catch the lovely Nigella Lawson, making some scrumptious red pepper hummus for a party. It took her just a few minutes, so I thought that is the recipe for me and it seems it may just be the one for Charlotte over at the Great Big Vegetable Challenge. Charlotte has issued a challenge for some quick vegetable recipes in her Q for Quick Veg Quest!


Red Pepper Hummus

1 jar red peppers, drained
2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp soft cheese
2 cloves garlic
1/2 red chilli, deseeded
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
freshly ground black pepper


Whizz up all the ingredients and top with some reserved chickpeas and sprinkle with paprika.

Serve with fingers of carrot, cucumber, red pepper and tortilla chips

Makes lots!

Takes about 5 minutes!

I didn't take down the ingredients at the time, so the measurements may be different from Nigella's, but boy, is it good! Graham and his friend Paul have scoffed most of it already. Graham with tortilla chips and Paul with Chicken, so there, it is versatile too!
15

Vanilla Bean Smoothie

I really need to perk myself up during the winter, so I have decided that my juicer needs a bit more action!

























Yoghurt, Vanilla Bean & Honey Smoothie

4 large apples
2 tsp honey
8 tbsp bio-yoghurt
1/2 vanilla pod


Cut the apple into wedges and put through a juicer. Put the apple juice, honey and yoghurt into a blender. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the blender and pulse twice. Don't overblend, as this makes the yoghurt thin down.

I like to grate some nutmeg over the top of the smoothie, but this is optional.

Serves 2

This recipe is from the Innocent Smoothie Recipe Book. I borrowed a copy from the library yesterday. There are so many yummy recipes to help top up your daily portions of fruit and veg.

I am looking forward to trying:

Chocolate Milk with Pear & Ginger
Mango & Basil
Strawberry, Meringue & Creme Fraiche (this one sounds really sinful!)
Ginger Beer & Mango
Blueberry, Maple Syrup & Oats (a breakfast smoothie)
Pineapple, Blueberry & Ginger


Fruit Heaven!

Disclosure Statement: I did not receive this book from the publisher to review, this is my own copy. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
11

Middle Eastern Stew


This Middle Eastern Stew of Chickpeas, Potatoes and Carrots is from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey.

A good friend of mine, very kindly, gave me a copy as a gift. It has been great bedtime reading so far, but it was time to try out some of the recipes and time to stop drooling over them.


Middle Eastern Stew

3/4 cup dried chickpeas, picked over, washed and drained (I used 1 can of chickpeas)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp finely chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 lb potatoes, cut into chunks
(I used 3 medium potatoes)
1 medium carrot, cut into slices (I used 2 medium carrots)
4 canned plum tomatoes + 1 cup liquid from the can
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
(I used coriander for more flavour)

Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water to cover by about 3 inches.

In a medium pot, bring the chickpeas and 2 1/2 cups of water to the boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the chickpeas are very tender.

Heat the oil in a medium pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir and fry until the onions are brown around the edges. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Put in the potatoes, carrot, chickpeas with their cooking liquid, tomatoes, tomato liquid, salt, thyme and 1/2 cup of water. If the tomatoes are very tart, add the sugar to taste. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook gently for 45 minutes. Sprinkle parsley over the top before serving. Serve hot.

Serves 4 - 6

I left it to the last minute to decide I was going to make this recipe. I didn't have time to soak the chickpeas, so I used a can of chickpeas instead. Therefor, I didn't have cooking liquid, so I just added a little extra water. It worked fine.

This was a lovely stew, I liked the fact that the carrots and potatoes were in large chunks and the chickpeas held their shape. I only cooked the stew for about 50 minutes and this worked because I used canned chickpeas. I think I would like to add a little turmeric and chilli powder next time, to spice it up a little, but I will definitely make it again!
14

Vegetable Soup to Warm the Old Cockles



This is a great winter soup, I make it thick, so it is more like a vegetable stew. It's is lovely with a chunk of crusty, buttered bread!

Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

I onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
3 potatoes, chopped
2 leeks, sliced,
1 turnip, chopped
2 pints vegetable stock
fresh herbs
salt and pepper


Method

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until softened. 
  2. Add the chopped vegetables and cook on low for 10 minutes, stir frequently. 
  3. Add the vegetable stock and leave to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes. 
  4. Add fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6

And it does warm the cockles of your heart! Especially if you sprinkle too much cayenne pepper on top!
10

Hot Mango Chutney

 

I'm busy jarring up more preserves! This time it is a Hot Mango Chutney. This chutney, like most, is supposed to improve with age, but I have tasted it and it is absolutely gorgeous! It isn't too hot, but that could be adjusted easily.




Hot Mango Chutney

Ingredients

2 large mangoes, peeled stoned and chopped into chunks
2cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 small red or green chillies, seeded and chopped, leave the seeds in for more heat
175g/6oz onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
450g/1 lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
600ml/1 pint white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
225g/8oz demerara sugar
225g/8oz granulated sugar



Method

Put all the ingredients except the sugars in a preserving pan or a large heavy-based saucepan. bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until the fruit is beginning to soften.

Add the sugars and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until thick.

Cool the chutney slightly, then spoon into jars, cover and seal.

Makes 3lbs
(I managed to fill 4 jars, as you can see from the photo!)




I got this recipe from Good Housekeeping: Preserves by Joanna Farrow.

This has been the one preserve book that I keep going back to and I had a huge pile of them from the library!

I bought a cheap book on preserving, but honestly, I wish I had paid that bit extra and bought this one. The even more annoying thing is that it is now 1/2 price on Amazon! But I am not going to give in buy it, I shall just copy down the recipes I want and keep my pennies for Christmas!
16

Fake Mini Cheesecakes


This is more of a serving suggestion than a recipe!

I went downstairs, to have a break, I was catching up on my mail and there was Graham making himself a snack of hovis bicuits with soft cheese. I had an eureka moment, although, I will be the first to admit, not much of one! I thought, my summer fruit jam would be lovely on top of those digestive biscuits and cream cheese. Voila, instant mini cheesecakes!

I only managed two!
14

Summer Fruit Jam



This is such a quick and easy jam to make and it can be made out of season too. Just substitute the fresh fruit with frozen. It has a fabulous flavour either way! The fruit I used this time was frozen. The fresh berries are past their best now.

Summer Fruit Jam

Ingredients

400g sugar
400g summer fruit (a mixture of berries)
juice and rind of 1 lemon


Method


  1. Place the sugar in a heatproof bowl and pop in a moderate oven for 10 minutes to heat up. 
  2. Put a saucer in the freezer to test the jam. 
  3. Place the fruit in a saucepan with the lemon juice and rind and heat up. Simmer for 3 minutes and crush most of the fruit with a potato masher. Add the warm sugar, stir to dissolve and bring to the boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes over a high heat, stirring regularly. 
  4. To test, put a spoonful on your cold plate, leave to sit for a few seonds and then push finger through the jam, if it wrinkles , it's ready. 
  5. Remove from heat and pour into sterilised jam jars. The jam will set as it cools.

Makes 2 x 400g jars of jam



Don't do what I did and have the bright idea of popping the sugar in the microwave, until you smell something burning and realise that your plastic bowl has started turning to goop on the base! Hmmmm!
16

Mum's Fruit Loaf





























A few of you mentioned comfort food when we were talking about Autumn. Well, this is the ultimate comfort food for me, my mum's fruit loaf! It is a double whammy, first you have the smell of spices drifting around the house and then out comes a gorgeous cake filled with fruit and tasting of cinnamon and ginger. Mmmmm!

Mum's Fruit Loaf

1/2 block of butter
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup sultanas
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 150c, 300f, Gas Mark 2.

Add the butter, water, sultanas, sugar and spice to a pan and bring to the boil. Set aside to cool.

Once cool add the flour, baking soda and egg and mix well.

Pour into a prepared loaf tin (I buy greaseproof inserts for mine) and bake in the centre of the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Insert a skewer, if it comes out clean, it is ready.





























The first bite is the best. Still warm and smothered with butter!

My mum has made this loaf for as long as I can remember. She has the recipe scribbled into the margin of a cookbook, under the title: Australian Fruit Loaf. Her favourite cook books are filled with newspaper and magazine cuttings and with notes and recipes scribbled in with a pencil. I am not bold enough to write on the pages of a cookbook. I don't know if this is a healthy respect for books or if I am just not brave enough to put my thoughts into them!

Wendy over at A Wee Bit of Cooking made my mum's loaf for a cake stall at the Highland Games in June, but I am sure she won't mind if I share it again!

ps Wendy, I had some of your Membrillo Paste on oatcakes with cheese last night and it was gorgeous! I especially liked it with white stilton with apricots, it worked really well!
23

Pumpkin Fondue


Hallowe'en is nearly upon us again. I decided to try and make something other than pumpkin soup with my pumpkin this year, so here goes!


Pumpkin Fondue

Ingredients

1 large pumpkin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
250g Emmenthal cheese, grated
250g Gruyere cheese, grated
200ml cider (or white wine)
1 tbsp cornflour, mixed to a paste with a little water
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Method


Slice a lid of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Cut out the flesh until you are left with a 2cm wall.

Brush the inside of the pumpkin with olive oil and bake in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a pan and cook the leeks and garlic for a few minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms and dill and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the grated cheese, cider (or wine) and the cornflour paste. Season with salt and pepper and some grated nutmeg. Heat gently, stirring constantly until the cheese has melted into a smooth sauce.

Pour the fondue into the baked pumpkin. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

Get dunking!

This is real oozy stuff! It tastes great and the roasted pumpkin imparts a lot of flavour, but is definitely party fodder. You couldn't eat too much of this on your own, it is very rich! Graham gave it his best shot though!
















Happy Hallowe'en!
30

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge and Cardboard Box Love


I dipped into Nigella Express again for this one! Great for a chocolate fix and good to share (if you can bear to)!

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

350g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), chopped
1 x 397g can condensed milk
30g butter
pinch salt
150g pistachios


1 Put the chopped chocolate, condensed milk, butter and salt in a heavy-based pan on a low heat, and stir to melt.
2 Put the nuts in a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin, until broken up into both big and little pieces.
3 Add the nuts to the melted chocolate and condensed milk and stir well to mix.
4 Pour and spatch this mixture into a foil tray 23cm square, smoothing the top.
5 let the fudge cool, and refrigerate until set. You can then cut it into small pieces.
6 Once cut, it can be kept in the freezer - no need to thaw just eat straight away.

Makes 64 pieces (approx.)

I just put the fudge in the fridge, but Nigella says it will turn more grainy if you put it in the freezer!

And now to my cat, Beaker!

There is much excitement in this house if a parcel arrives and it is packaged in a cardboard box. Beaker waits, (I use this term loosely) while you unpack the box, so that he can get in it! I think it must be a comfort thing! He was a rescue cat and they had a cardboard box in his pen, when we got him.


Unfortunately this box was a little small for him, but he will try to squeeze himself in anyway, failing that he will just put his front paws in! Bless!
25

Pear and Ginger Muffins


These muffins are dedicated to Joanna at Joanna's Food, who is debating which type of bakeware to buy! She is replacing her whole set! I personally rub my hands in glee at the thought of all that kitchenware shopping! Just don't let me see the bill!

Anyway back to my original point! These moist muffins were baked in my new Jamie Oliver Advanced Silicone Muffin Moulds by Tefal. I was a bit nervous, using them the first time, but they were great. It isn't just hype, this whole silicone debate, the muffins popped out of the moulds very easily! So I would wholeheartedly recommend silicone muffin trays Joanna! I bought mine at Lakeland.

So on with the recipe! I got this recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson.

Pear and Ginger Muffins

Ingredients

250g/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g/1 cup caster sugar
75g/1/2 cup light brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp sour cream
125ml/1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
2 eggs
2 medium pears (roughly 300g), peeled, cored and chopped into small chunks


Method


1 Preheat the oven to 200c/Gas mark 7, If you are not using a silicone tray, line your 12 bun muffin tray with muffin cases.
2 Measure into a bowl the flour, baking powder, caster sugar, brown sugar and ground ginger.
3 In a large jug, whisk together the sour cream, oil honey and eggs and then fold into the dry ingredients.
4 Lastly, mix in the diced pear and divide the batter evenly between the muffin cases.
5 Sprinkle each one with 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove to a cooling rack.

Best eaten still a little warm.

Makes 12

I ladled out the ingredients using my cup measures, hope that helps!






Nigella suggests that when they are cold, these muffins are delicious eaten with a hard sharp cheddar, crumbly Caerphilly or a pungent blue cheese. I think that is a jolly good idea!

There were lots of great recipes in this book, all beautifully illustrated by the most gorgeous full-page photographs. I will be writing down a lot of recipes from this book, before I return it to the library!
29

Apple and Red Onion Chutney



A friend from work, Margaret, gave me a wonderful gift! A bag of windfall apples from her garden. So, I decided to make some Apple and Red Onion Chutney as my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is hosted this week by Pille at Nami-Nami.

I adapted this recipe from one I found in a Good Housekeeping book on Preserves by Joanna Farrow. It is my first trip into chutneys, so I decided to go for a Simple Apple Chutney. I replaced the white onions with red onions and added 1/2 teaspoon of toasted crushed cumin seeds.

 

I had a little browse around for information on onions and apparently they belong to the lily family of plants. That was news to me! I just had to use red onions, they are just so  pretty!

 

 

Apple and Red Onion Chutney

Ingredients

700g (1 1/2 lbs) 6 cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
700g (1 1.2 lbs) 6 medium red onions, skinned and chopped
225g (8 oz) 2 cups seedless raisins (or sultanas)
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
350g (12 oz) 1 1/2 cups demerara sugar
300ml (1/2 pint) 1 1/4 cups malt vinegar
1/2 tsp toasted, crushed, cumin seeds


Method


Put the apples, onions, sultanas, lemon rind and juice, sugar, vinegar and cumin in a preserving pan or large heavy-based saucepan.

Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and pulpy, with no excess liquid. You should be able to draw your spoon across the base of the pan and leave a channel behind!

 

Spoon the chutney into clean, dry warmed jars and seal with a plastic coated metal lid. ( I put my jars through a dishwasher cycle to sterilise them, although apparently, you don't need to be as careful with chutney, because of the protection the vinegar gives it. But, just as well to be safe as sorry, I say!)

Makes 4 lb (fills 4 x 1 lb (545g) jam jars, with a spoonful left over to take a photo of!)

 

This chutney will last for up to one year stored in a cold, dark cupboard. Once opened, refrigerate and use within 3 -4 weeks.

I decided to make my own labels, there is just not enough room to write everything on the small labels I bought with the jam jars!

Hope this is good! It certainly looks and smells tasty. That is the only trouble with chutney, isn't it, the long 6 week wait until it matures. I am really an instant kinda gal, very impatient!



34

Mini Muffin Pizzas


quick pizza recipe


Graham took pity on me, feeling poorly and ventured into the kitchen to make these lovely, little mini pizzas.


First he fried some onions and mushrooms in a little olive oil. Then he split the muffins in half and toasted each side. Next, Graham spread the muffin bases with tomato puree, topped them with the mushrooms and onions and covered them in mozzerella, before popping them back under the grill, until the cheese was melted and golden.


I have added a picture of the muffins for anyone horrified at the thought of a sweet muffin made into pizza! The white muffins we have here are not quite the same as the puffy, sponge delicacies filled with blueberries or chocolate chips found elsewhere in the world, they are more like the consistency of a dense scone.

Thank you Graham, they were just what I needed, they definitely hit the spot!
18

Bring on the Chilli!

Deb did a great post called Harvest Time in Key West with Chilies, with lots of interesting chilli pepper information and some great photos.

For example, did you know that, the more you eat chilli in food, the more immune you become to the heat and so you have to keep adding more peppers, to enjoy that same powerful kick?


I decided it was time for me to brave my jalapeno plant and harvest some of the fruit!

I am afraid I didn't try anything very adventurous!



















I made chilli and served it on flour tortillas with sour cream and salad leaves.

Now, don't get me wrong, it was delicious! I have found that adding some dark chocolate makes a real impact on the taste of the chilli. It adds such a depth of flavour and tones down the flavour of tomatoes! So I was happy with our meal and Graham really enjoyed it.

And, I found a great recipe for Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers with Goat's Cheese over at Lisa's Kitchen. How good do they sound?

That will take care of some of my peppers, but I need some help! What shall I do with the rest of the crop? All good vegetarian ideas will be gratefully accepted!

p.s.

I passed my Open University short course! (short course, those 4 months, felt like at least 4 years!) What I want to know is how does anyone manage to work full time and study? If they have a family too, then I am flabbergasted and award a gold star :)
17

Carrot & Coriander Soup


I returned to my old favourite, carrot and coriander soup.

I have made it the same way for years, but this time, I decided to add a couple extra ingredients. Ginger and chilli powder. It really deepened the flavour.



Carrot & Coriander Soup

1 red onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 tbsp hot water or stock
8 large carrots, diced
3 pints vegetable stock
1 large bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp cream or yoghurt (optional)


Fry the onion, garlic and ginger, until the onion has softened. Add the chilli powder and 2 tbsp hot water, to stop the chilli powder from sticking to the pan. Add the chopped carrots and cook for 10 minutes. Add the stock and cook for a further 30 minutes. Add the coriander and stir in well. Whizz the soup, season and add the cream.

Enjoy!

I can't say how many portions this makes, as Graham always goes back for more, but it does last us for 2 or 3 days. I usually put this one in the fridge to use up instead of freezing it, because I have added cream to it.
14

BBQ Bananas with Demerara Sugar and Whipped Cream



BBQ Bananas with Demerara Sugar and Whipped Cream
The sun is out, so out came the BBQ, which has been in hibernation for about 4 months, because it has rained so much this summer.

I wanted to share our dessert with you.

This is a veritable feast of a dessert! You just put bananas onto the BBQ, skins on and leave them until they go black and start to split. This can also be achieved in the microwave (if you live in Scotland). Just open them up and use the skin to hold your dessert. Sprinkle with brown sugar, which turns into toffee sludge as it melts and serve with cream. You can add some rum to it if you like, my dad likes rum in his!

Tonight we started with Vegetarian Caesar Salad from Lisa's Kitchen, We followed this with veggie sausages on finger rolls with mustard and relish. Graham basted the sausages with Jerked Honey Rum Glaze. Yes, Graham cooked!

A spot of manly firing up the barbeque and chargrilling some food and he is happy. Very tasty it was too!

Thanks for the glaze recipe Ruth!

























14

Spicy Orange Soup

(the colour not the fruit)

I was looking around the supermarket shelves, when I spotted a basket of butternut squash! I instantly thought of soup and so here is my butternut squash, sweet potato and carrot soup.

I was feeling very zen after my yoga class, so I added my Buddha to the photo!

























1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 onion, finely sliced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 pints vegetable stock
1 medium butternut squash, cut into chunks
1 large sweet potato, cut into chunks
4 large carrots, sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Cook the onion, garlic and ginger in the olive oil until softened and then add the spices. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots, squash and potato. Cover with stock and boil until the vegetables are tender.

Whizz the soup for a creamy finish.

Top with a dollop of yogurt.

Doesn't that squash look glorious! Such a gorgeous colour!

I put way too much chili powder in our soup! So we had to add the yogurt! I think 1/2 a teaspoon is about right! I used at least double that! Graham loved it and had to go back for more! He loved the chili blast! It didn't linger though. It was pow and then gone! I don't know if this is because I used chili powder instead of fresh chillies! I shall have to ask my friend Lisa, she is bound to know, she knows more about chillies than you can shake a stick at!
34

Chickpea Curry



This is the curry I so enjoyed at my Yoga Night Out, a few posts back! The recipe is curtesy of fellow yogite Craig. It is absolutely amazing! So full of flavour.

Craig's Chickpea Curry

2 medium onions
1.5 cm cube of ginger (peeled)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1/2 large red chili (roughly chopped)
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 can of chickpeas
3 tomatoes from a tin (chopped)
1/2 tsp. brown sugar (optional)
pinch of salt
3 tbsp. sunflower oil
1/2 lemon
3 tbsp. coriander leaves (chopped)
black pepper to taste



1. Peel the onions, cut in half and then slice.
2. Heat a small pan and dry roast the coriander seeds.
3. Roughly crush in a mortar and pestle.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the cumin seeds taking care not to burn them.
5. Heat a large heavy bottomed pan on a medium - high setting and add the oil.
6. When the oil is hot add all the spices and allow to sizzle for 1 min.
7. Add the onions and fry for 1 -2 mins while stirring occasionally so they don't stick.
8. Turn down the heat to low and continue to cook for 10 -15 mins. Sprinkle on the sugar if desired.
9. Thinly slice the ginger and then cut the slices into quarters. .Then add to the onions with the chili and garlic. Cook for a further 2 mins then turn the heat up to medium-high again.
10. Add the chickpeas and cook for 5 mins before adding the chopped tomatoes.
11. Add a splash or two of water to loosen off the mix. It should not be too dry.
12. Turn down the heat a bit and simmer for 10 mins. You can mash a bit of the chickpeas up with a spoon as the mushed chickpeas give a creamy texture to the curry.
13. Add the lemon juice and chopped coriander. Simmer for 1 min.
14. Serve it up with a naan bread.

My curry was a little different in taste and colour from Craig's, because I just couldn't bear to leave those last 2 tomatoes in the can! I am not always good at following recipes, I tend to throw more of something or other in!

It was really, really good! We had it with rice and I followed Craig's example and served it with quartered flour tortillas. It was a very good idea, they were so much lighter than naan bread and I wasn't too worried about the calories! Naan bread, calories, need I say more!

Gold star to Craig!
23

Lemon, Courgette and Mascarpone Tripoline



I have been thinking about this flavour combination for a while now.

I was just sure it would be great!

Lemon and Courgette Tripoline

Ingredients

1 courgette (zucchini), cut into batons
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
3 tbsp mascarpone
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp parmesan, freshly grated
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste


Method

Fry the courgette and garlic in olive oil, pour in 3 tbsp lemon juice and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove a third of the courgette to top the dish with.
Mix the mascarpone with the remaining lemon juice and parmesan. Stir through the pasta adding the courgettes.

Season to taste.

Serve topped with the remaining courgette batons.

It was good. I loved the lemon kick! But it did need some black pepper and parmesan to even out the flavour.

This wasn't Graham's favourite dish. He is never sure of anything new. So I will eat it this way if I am on my own and maybe tweak it for Graham by adding some chilli, extra parmesan and less lemon juice. 










 





I had some mascarpone left, so I mixed it with sugar and lemon juice and served it with strawberries. Now this got 10 out of 10 and a is there any more, please!
21

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt


I ordered a copy of The Perfect Scoop from the library. But, I think I'll have to buy a copy! It is excellent! David Lebovitz, sure does know his ice cream and sorbet and frozen yogurt and granita and sherbet and toppings.......!



Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

1/2 cups / 360g plain whole-milk yogurt
3/4 cup / 150g sugar
3 cups / 340g blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon kirsch (optional)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


In a blender or food processor, blend together the yogurt, sugar and blueberries. Press the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds. Stir in the kirsch and lemon juice and chill for 1 hour.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

Oh boy, this was good! It really brought out the flavour of the blueberries. It had a good tang and wasn't too sweet, as some frozen yogurts can be!

There were just about enough blueberries left to make the frozen yogurt, after I had finished popping them like sweeties! I didn't bother to strain the mixture, because I actually like the seeds. I like seeds in raspberry jam too, they give a little bite!



I wish blueberry season would last forever!


And I have to tell you, now I have bought American cup measuring spoons, I just don't want to go back to metric! It is so much easier to measure with cups, than dragging out the scales, everytime I make something!
20

A Skinny Fritatta


I have gone for something simple tonight! Eggs it is. Well, 4 to be precise! Enough for the 2 of us tonight and some lunch tomorrow.

 

I stir fried red onion, red pepper and courgette in a little oil. I added 4 eggs, whisked up with 1 tablespoon of pesto and some freshly ground salt and pepper and poured it over the veg. I let it cook until set and then cut it into slices, served with salad leaves drizzled with a mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. Mmmh! Oh and me being me, I sliced some mozzarella on top, for some melting gooeyness!

If I am honest, I should have let the dish cool down before serving it. I never really like quiche hot, so I should have remembered that. I still enjoyed it, but I will remember for next time! Graham wasn't estatic, as he is not an eggy person. He did finish his serving, but declined it for lunch tomorrow.



Oh well, maybe just one egg for me next time! And maybe I should go skinny and leave out the mozzarella and egg yolks next time. I do have a wedding coming up!
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