Falafels on lavash with Pomegranate, Lemon Olive and Parsley Salad

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Emily is obsessed with making lists and quizzes at the moment.  What is your favourite colour? What’s your favourite shape? What is your favourite food?

She gets annoyed I can’t say one favourite food.

But Falafels would definitely be up there. This is a sunshine food and I hope we get some more sunshine soon!

Assembly

  1. Spread hummus over a falafel, scatter over freshly grated carrot.
  2. Add the falafels , scatter with the pomegranate granita
  3. Drizzle over some plain yogurt

Falafels

Enough for 4 people

I make these with a mix of bulgar wheat and chick peas
It makes them light and crumbly as I don’t like a chewy falafel
They are baked not fried

300g of tinned chick peas
100g of bulgar wheat soaked
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp of fresh or dried parsley
1 pinch of salt

  1. Mix together the ingredients form into small balls
  2. Brush with sunflower oil refrigerated for 30 minutes
  3. Place under a hot grill for 15 minutes

Hummus

1 300g tin of chick peas
½ garlic clove
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp of tahini
6 tbsp of olive oil or rapeseed oil

Blend together all the ingredients in the food processor.

Pomegranate Olive and Parsley Salad

Seeds from 1 pomegranate
¼ preserved lemon finely chopped
1 handful black olives finely slice
1 handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
1 stick of celery finely chopped
½ red onion finely chopped
1 fresh tomato roughly chopped
Juice and zest of a lemon

Mix together all the ingredients

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Salmon with Brown Rice, Quinoa and Asian Salsa

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Tonight’s dinner is a picture of health

This salsa was adapted from something by Paul Rankin, it’s an amazing rainbow of green  red and pink from the picked ginger something you usually only have with sushi

I’ve always served the salsa with salmon . I used to use noodles, but this brown rice mixed with black, red and white quinoa (which they sell in Asda) is amazing. It’s worth making lots of extra as it’s great to have in the fridge for summer.

If you don’t make the salsa, I think kimchi or even regular guacamole would work well

Salmon with Brown Rice, Quinoa and Asian Salsa

Serves 2

Brown Rice with Red , Black and White Quinoa

  • 100g of brown rice
  • 100 of red, black and white quinoa

Cook the brown rice ( 40 minute simmer for rice) and quinoa (10 minutes) separately according to instructions.

Drain , mix and then chill

Asian Salsa

  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes diced
  • 2 tbsp of picked ginger
  • 2 inches of cucumber diced
  • 1 red chili finely chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • small bunch of coriander roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce

Mix together the salsa ingredients and leave for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Salmon

2 salmon fillets sprinkled with dried chili pepper

  1. Grill for 15 minutes under a hot grill.
  2. Allow to rest for 5 minutes
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Pasta with Garden Greens,​ Garlic , Anchovies and Chili

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This used to be one of our go to evening meals especially when we had a veg-box. This year the greens in the garden have gone a bit crazy purple sprouting broccoli and kale grown from seed. It is lovely sending the girls out to pick some, although I think they are more fond of trying to feed it to the guinea pigs.

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You can use any green leaves, kale works really well, but even the cabbage patch caterpillar-eaten purple sprouting leaves worked brilliantly and finely chopped you can’t see the holes!

Pasta with Garden Greens, Garlic, Anchovies, and Chili

Serves 2

  • 100g of dried spaghetti
  • 5 large handfuls of greens ( kale, rocket, purple sprouting leaves, chard or spring greens) finely chopped –  I use the food processor
  • 1 tin of anchovies
  • 1 tsp of chili flakes
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  1. Cook the spaghetti according to directions
  2. Pour the tin of anchovies, oil and all into a hot frying pan
  3. Add the garlic, chili and then the greens
  4. Cook until the greens are well cooked
  5. Mix in the spaghetti and add the zest and juice of the lemon
  6. Serve immediately or leave as this is really lovely cold with maybe a little extra virgin olive oil poured over.
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BBQ Pork Belly and Coleslaw

 

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You have to make the most of an English summer because blink and you miss it.

A quick trip to the Farmer’s market yesterday yielded an enormous lump of pork belly with the ribs in.  We did get a gas BBQ last year, vital when you are trying to BBQ quickly for two little kids in the evening.  Nick is still a charcoal BBQ-er at heart (still slightly annoyed I won’t let him open a BBQ restaurant) and for a low and slow cook you need the indirect heat, you can only get from a proper BBQ,  I’ve written before about

I’ve written before about how you master indirect heat  but essentially it’s like a slow cook in the oven. Lid on,  hands off and if you are “looking it’s not cooking” . This BBQ cooked all afternoon and into the evening with a few sausages popped on for the kid’s tea , eaten a few hours before our dinner.

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 Recipe

  1. A dry rub on the pork belly – this time a jerk seasoning.
  2. Cooked on indirect heat for 6-8 hours
  3. Served with homemade coleslaw ( shredded white cabbage, carrot and red onion mixed with mayo, dijon mustard and lemon juice)
  4. Serve by slicing between the rib bones

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Brown Rice and Greens

Rice and Greens

This sounds like a really dull healthy dish. And though it is healthy but it’s definitely not dull. It packs a mean punch.

I make it to use up things in the vegetable/salad draw, or when there really isn’t much in the fridge as you can use a lot of freezer ingredients. I prefer to use brown rice as I like the nutty taste I think it tastes like it has been fried.

Brown Rice and Greens

Makes enough for two

100g of brown rice
100g of meat – chicken thighs , prawns , pork all work well
2 handfuls of greens – chard , spinach , kale -very finely chopped
2 handfuls  of fresh or frozen –  green beans ,sugar snap peas, mange tout or peas
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 large red chilli, finely chopped
1 thumb of ginger
1 tbsp of coriander ( either fresh leaves or coriander seeds)
1 egg
6  tbsp of soy sauce
Splash of sunflower oil

  1. Cook the brown rice and allow to cool.
  2. Finely chop ( or food process)  together the greens , garlic , onions , chilli, ginger and coriander
  3. Mix together with the meat.
  4. Fry the meat , greens and spices in a splash of oil for 5 minutes until the meat us cooked.
  5. Add the beans/peas and brown rice.
  6. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes. Make an well in the middle and add the egg.
  7. Stir well to cook the egg and keep staring for a few more minutes adding the soy sauce, before serving.
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Kimchi Pancakes with Inkyung’s Kitchen

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I wrote a few weeks ago about the lovely Inkyung,  a Mum at Em’s school who gave me some of her home-made kimchi.

It was delicious and thankfully Inkyung is now teaching everyone how to make amazing Korean food from her lovely home –  Inkyung’s Kitchen or your home in Nottingham

This Thursday evening, clutching  a 1 litre jar , a group of Mum’s from school gathered to make kimchi.  In Korea they can often take a whole day to make kimchi but we  had a few hours and a some wine.

Inkyung had prepared some of the elements, a stock and rice glue in advance for us a stock and rice glue so we have the restful parts of massaging cabbage with salt , some leisurely chopping and mixing.

While everything was resting, Inkyung cooked up a few batches of kimchi pancakes which were so stunning that although you are really supposed to wait a few weeks before eating the kimchi. I just couldn’t wait to share the pancakes with Nick. I checked and you can use the kimchi straight away.

I fried up a few batches of the kimchi pancakes,  which we ate with fresh kimchi & dipped in a little soy sauce. It’s interesting how the taste change in the kimchi when it’s cooked the heat from the chilli mellows.

You can add prawns , or minced pork or chicken but honestly they are delicious just plain. I want to eat them for breakfast.

Inkyung runs classes from her home or for groups or parties she will come to homes locally in Nottingham you can book via her Facebook page – Inkyung’s Kitchen

Kimchi Pancakes

Make 8 pancakes

  • 5 heaped tbsp of kimchi , roughly chopped
  • 2 heaped tbsp of plain flour or rice flour
  1. Mix the flour with the kimchi
  2. Depending on the liquid in your kimchi you may need a little more flour or a little water You are looking for a texture of soggy cornflakes
  3. Ladle 1 heaped tbsp into a hot pan with a little oil until browning at the edges, then turn.
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Kofta Kebabs

Lamb Koftas

A kebab on a Saturday night is traditional. But if I am having it at home I go all out , homemade lamb koftas , freshly made flatbreads , kebab salad and mint-yoghurt.

Lamb Koftas

Makes 8 koftlas

500g of lamb mince
1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
1 cloves of garlic
½ small red onion
½ tsp of coriander seeds

1. Process together the mince with the other ingredients.
2. Shape around wooden skewers and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. To cook grill for 8 minutes on a high grill setting turning half way through.

Flatbreads

Makes 4 large flatbreads

400g of strong plain flour
300ml warm water
1/2 tsp of yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp of olive oil

  1. Mix together the flour , yeast and salt
  2. Stir in the warm water and olive oil and form a dough
  3. Knead for 5 minutes place in a floured bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for one hour.
  4. Divide into 4 pieces and roll out
  5. Heat a frying pan on a high heat brush the pan with oil
  6. Cook the flatbread on one side until bubbles appear
  7. Turn over a cook for another two minutes.

Kebab Salad

Finely sliced white cabbage, red onion ,  grated carrot, finely chopped tomato, coriander , and preserved lemon.

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Five Spice Beef

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It’s pretty cold seems like although the daffodils and crocuses are out winter has returned and I want something hearty but not stodgy.

Stir Fried beef unless you choose an expensive cut and cook it very quickly can be chewy. I much prefer this slow cook version and you end up with a delicious smelling house

You could add mushrooms, aubergine or even some pumpkin/sweet potato if you want to bulk out the meat.

I love it served with stick rice, or rice noodles and some steamed greens, here  pruple sprouting brocollis is just coming into season

Slow Cooked Five Spice Beef

Serves 4

500g of beef joint (Leg or shin) something suitable for stewing chopped into ½ inch cubes
1 medium onion finely chopped
1tsp five spice powder
1tsp red chilli flakes
1 clove of garlic
1tsp of honey
1 tbsp of cornflour
4 tbsp of soy or oyster sauce

If you like some extra spice 10 Sezchuan Peppercorns crused ad a little hot and numbing.

Pressure Cooker 

  1. Place all the ingredients in the pressure cooker , except the cornflour
  2. Bring to HIGH and cook for 45 minutes
  3. Once cooked release the pressure and stir in the cornflour and warm through.

Slow Cooker 

OR place all the ingredients in a slow-cooker for 6 hours on low.

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Gusto, West Bridgford

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I’ve been settled with my other half for more than ten years now. Back when we got together meeting someone was still based around mates introducing you or getting sufficiently tipsy in a pub/club that talking to a total stranger didn’t bring you out in a panic attack.  Now it’s all online dating which means keeping up your social media presence and updating app profiles. Frankly I’d rather just put up with his annoying habits than have to face the horror of having to Instagram, my lack of thigh gap or my sagging bum!

Blogging has evolved too in the  couple of years I’ve been off the scene. Even when I started I didn’t really mean to write a blog , I was just trying to store recipes. Food blogs happened and I sort of surfed  the wave, until my kids forced me to take a break.

I thought blogging had kind of died, just about everyone was instagramming their avocado toast now and anyone you had to multi-channel it with You Tube videos and tweets.

But I had an invite to review a restaurant and since bloggers are invited in packs by PR companies, it seemed a nice chance to check out what’s changed in the blogging world.

The restaurant, Gusto, is also only 10 minutes walk from my house, near the entrance to the kids playground I spend more than half my life in. So over the last few months I have been watching the million pound revamp.

Looks like the money was well spent, the interior is beautiful lots of light, glass and shine without feeling cold. The ceiling covered in olive branches wrapped with fairy lights, they have added a  covered heated patio and  preserved the 30ft monkey tree on the open patio, complemented by the whole olive tree inside.

I arrived a little delayed by Storm Doris and a little windswept. Quickly cheered when the Best Waiter in the World Ever said,   “What can I get you, a large glass of wine?”

The lovely Malbec,  a great choice from a substantial wine list, was perfect for reading the menu and chatting with some other food bloggers, all lovely , suitably obsessed with food and better equipped than me with digital SLR.  It never stops being weird seeing people photograph their food. I know hypocritical aren’t I.

Gusto is an Italian Chain with restaurants in the North and Midlands, the menu featured  pasta, risotto,  pizza as well as  meaty and fishy mains. I think everyone could find something to eat.

The Best Waiter in the World had stiff competition despite the restaurant being packed the staff were all friendly , efficient and definitely knew their stuff. Training for opening has gone well and service was amazing.

For my starter I had smoked salmon with celeriac remoulade and  tomato -caper dressing. Plenty of smoked salmon and a lovely treat not to lose 90% of my smoked salmon to the kids, the remoulade was a bit creamy needed more of a acid, maybe more dressing

My main course was a pork fillet  ‘saltimbocca’ wrapped in Tuscan Ham with a masala gravy. Saltimbocca means dances on your tongue and is usually made with veal. But this was nice the pork was perfectly cooked,  sticky gravy and creamy mash shame there were really any nice seasonal veg on the menu would have gone for a bit of kale.  The vegetables on the menu were all a bit messed around with battered courgette, a waste of currently rationed courgettes)  or creamed spinach.

After two courses I  was pretty full, but I did manage some delicious lemon sorbet , a great way to end a lovely meal.

As I was leaving I was taking a picture of the monkey tree,  wrapped in is fairy lights and I got talking to some guys who were on a date. They were about to eat dinner after a few drinks at the bar. This gave me another reason to stay with my other half,   sure I could have romantic dates at beautiful restaurants like Gusto, but imagine having to eat at 9.30pm!

As for the blogging world, it seems not too much has changed, you are still supposed to take photos of the food, which I managed not to do.  So I guess I will have to drag the family in for a visit , certainly plenty of families were enjoying a Sunday lunch as we walked past on our way to the playground again!

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Kale, Potato and Chicken Curry

Kale , Potato and Chicken Curry

I’ve been ill for a few weeks now. Disgusting cold/sinus making all food taste like cotton wool and headaches that make me feel permanently hungover. To try to self-medicate , when I can face eating my food has been getting spicier and spicier. This is one of those foods that feels like it is doing you good but tastes amazing. I’ve added chicken but it’s fine without, you could add some paneer instead or keep it vegan without.

Don’t let the kale put you off. I really only like kale if it is very well cooked with some strong flavours otherwise it just feel like eating irony-leaves .It’s delicious fried with anchovies, chilli and garlic but definitely my favourite way to eat it is in curry.

In texture, the kale is very similar to proper indian (saag) spinach, which is a lot thicker than the standard european spinach leaves. If I don’t have kale,  frozen spinach is something I use a lot,  keeping forever in the freezer and emptied in golf ball sized lumps into the pan.

I make this in the pressure cooker because it is ready very quickly but tastes like it has been simmering for ages.

Potato, Kale and Chicken Curry

Serves 4 with some rice or flatbreads.

  • 4 tbsp of oil
  • 1 tbsp of mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp of cumin seeds , roughly ground
  • 1 tbsp of coriander seeds, roughly ground
  • 1 tbsp of garam masala
  • 1 tbsp of paprika
  • 1 tbsp of tumeric
  • 3 green chilli,  left whole
  • 2 cloves of garlic,  finely chopped
  • 1 thumb of ginger grated
  • a large bunch of kale very finely chopped ( I put it in the food processor) or frozen spinach leaves
  • 400g of maris piper potatoes , don’t bother peeling and roughly chopped into 1.5 cm sized pieces
  • 1 large onion , finely chopped
  • 1 (500g) tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 300g of chicken thighs ( 4 thighs) ,  roughly chopped
  1. Fry all the spices , add the onions, garlic,  potatoes and kale and a tin of tomatoes
  2. I cook this in the pressure cooker on high for 20 minutes, but in a regular pan , it would need 40 minutes on a gentle simmer with the lid on and a cup of water added.
  3. Once the curry sauce is cooked add the chicken and cook for a further 15 minutes with the lid off , add a little water if it seems to be sticking.
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