This is, probably, one of my absolute favourite meals I have ever made. Not only does it look glorious (excuse self-praising) but it is absolutely delicious. A vegetarian fish and chips if you will; a real rival to that classic seaside dish using halloumi instead of fish. With my recipe there is no crispy batter, however, the outside of the halloumi gets all crispy and wonderful so you really don’t miss it. Plus, as there’s no deep fat frying involved it’s much more suited to a weeknight dinner as there’s no faffing around.
When I’m thinking of ways to treat myself in the middle of the week I like to try and make my life as easy as possible. I prefer to make things where everything is cooked together, or use the same tools. For example I would always try to steam any vegetables over potatoes or pasta that I’m cooking, or if I’m roasting something I try to put everything in the oven. That’s what this meal is all about; grabbing a few bits and bobs from around the kitchen and lifting a meal into something delicious. So, instead of going for a standard fillet of fish, I tried the Lemon and Cracked Black Pepper Lightly Dusted Cod from the Birds Eye ‘Inspirations’ range and works so well with sticky balsamic roasted veggies.
Sometimes I make something for the first time and I wonder why it’s taken me so long to get round to it. Iced tea is one of my favourite drinks, especially lemon iced tea, but other than a passion fruit and jasmine version I concocted a few years ago I’ve not made my own since. I wanted to make some to take on a recent picnic as I thought it would be nice and refreshing in the late summer sun. Considering this only uses three ingredients, I used the very best ones I could: all organic and the tea I used had the wonderfully, British, charming name ‘Georgian Old Gentleman’.
When it’s hot in the day but slightly cooler in the evenings, sometimes a salad doesn’t quite cut it; I’m after something with a little warmth and zing for those colder evenings. This Harissa Lamb with Tabbouleh came about for two reasons: firstly I had some harissa paste leftover from a previous chicken version and secondly I had two lamb steaks which were crying out for some Middle Eastern flavours. Also, this recipe is part of an upcoming post where I look at eating organic on a budget so it worked out really well to use up some lovely veg and herbs I had in the kitchen. Also, if you make double the amount of tabbouleh it’s great for lunch the next day, particularly with some toasted pitta bread and hummus.
When it’s a weekday and you come back from work to cook dinner, I’m assuming it’s not just me, you actually just want to relax. The cooking should be straightforward, ideally with minimal washing up and the food should be tasty, filling and balanced. I’ve been adding more and more recipes to my weeknight repertoire that are just that; minimum fuss, maximum flavour and ideally ready in under 30 minutes. This recipe for lamb, lentils and flatbreads was another midweek success and is also part of an upcoming post about eating organic on a budget.
How many times do you think about what to make for dinner and end up with a seemingly impossible list of requirements for that one meal? It needs to be filling, but without being too full of fat, tasty without being too salty or sugary, balanced and preferably something interesting. Welcome to every weekend of my life! Planning meals is something I can’t live without (see post here if you want some top tips) and I usually do it on a leisurely Sunday morning when I have time to look through my blog, magazines and books for inspiration. More often than not I end up fulfilling all the requirements that I want my dinner to be, but it takes time to work it out. So give my Harissa Chicken with Quinoa, Avocado and Mango Salad a go; I’ve done all the hard work for you.
Wholesome food always makes you feel good; it’s made from humble ingredients and is full of good things like beans, vegetables and whole grains. I normally eat slow cooked, what I would describe as wholesome, meals in the autumn and winter but this easy white bean stew with purple sprouting broccoli is the perfect dish for this time of year. It’s quick and easy to make, is full of seasonal vegetables and is absolutely delicious. Using seasonal veg not only makes the best of what’s around but means it’s super cheap to cook up too, feeding four people for around £4.50 (most of what I used was organic too!).
Lemon drizzle has got to be up there with my most loved cakes. If there was a line up of carrot, lemon and chocolate caramel cake I’d be hard pushed to decide which to have, and, let’s be honest probably try to find a way to get a slice of each. You may have been following my bergamot adventures and it would have been silly not to bake a bergamot lemon drizzle cake as it combines two of my favourite things in one: tea (bergamot from Earl Grey) and, well, cake.
You will need:
- 250g butter, softened
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 250g self raising flour
- Zest from one bergamot lemon
- Juice from two bergamot lemons
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 180C. I always use an independent thermometer in my oven, it’s such a liar.
I’ll be honest, salads don’t tend to excite me very much. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the freshness a few leaves bring on the side of something else but as a standalone dish, it’s not really for me. However, things have changed and I’ve started to make, what I would call, more ‘bulky’ salads. This particular combination of beetroot, lentil and bergamot lemon is so colourful and combined with a bit of goat’s cheese is equally good warm or cold.
You will need (for two large salads):
I am very familiar with the flavour of bergamot, being an avid Earl Grey fan, but I had never seen or tasted the bergamot lemon itself. A mystical fruit that I thought was confined to tea makers and lucky Mediterranean gardens. Then I found I could order some beautiful organic ones along with my veg box; it would be rude not to. My first thought when I got them was to add a slice to some hot water, just to smell and taste them. But then I remembered I had some gin, and, you know, why not? Hello bergamot gin and tonic.