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.
Part biscuit and part flapjack, these Chocolate Rolled Oat Biscuits are a doddle to make. All mixed in one bowl and baked in one dish; minimum fuss and washing up, maximum baking satisfaction. I like that these biscuits aren’t too sweet and the generous amount of oats used means they are really filling. I’m not sure if they are technically a flapjack or a biscuit though; the lack of honey or golden syrup isn’t very flapjack-y but then the oaty flavour is so familiar it’s hard to believe it’s not a flapjack! I am sticking with calling them a biscuit on account of the crunch.
I do like a tin of food. There’s something very humble about tinned fruit and vegetables particularly; and I am not one to overlook anything that comes in a can. My favourite canned good of all is the artichoke. That’s how this recipe for Chicken, Olive and Artichoke Stew with Risotto came about. Artichokes are very expensive, covered in oil (normally sunflower rather than nice olive oil) and quite small if you buy them chilled or in a jar; but in a can they can be half the price, bigger and once drained you get more for your money. So I wanted to make something comforting, filling and delicious and make the most of the wonderful artichoke.
I bought some smoked chicken from a local farm shop. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with it but it sounded too tasty not to try it. I planned to serve it with some cheese and chutneys but somehow I never got round to it. I certainly wasn’t going to waste it and I thought, rather than serving it alongside something else, why not make it the star of the dish? Smoked chicken fried rice sounded like just the thing for a simple, no hassle budget meal in a flash. Turns out it’s even better than it sounds.
I made this stew on New Year’s Day. I can’t think of many things as warming and comforting as a big bowl of slow cooked food. My beef stew with horseradish dumplings was made up of almost everything I had leftover in my fridge and cupboards; happily simmered away with some beef shin. A delicious, make-the-most-of-everything, homely stew for four people. Trust me on the ingredients; one or two may sound a little out of place but they really add to the dish.
You will need (for four):
I love cheesecake. This recipe for mini cheesecake mess is a great way of using up almost anything sweet you’ve got hanging around and, if I do say so myself, look pretty cute too. A lovely little sweet treat for lunch or after dinner. Have you ever tried to make cheesecake (or cream cheese icing) with low fat soft cheese? It never seems to work for me and just ends up all runny and no good at all. I thought I’d give it a try with some Laughing Cow Extra Light to see if that would work, and use up some leftover festive food in the cupboards, and I was so pleased with how they turned out!
Hang on, a sausage roll that doesn’t have any sausage in it? Correct. I absolutely love a proper sausage roll; when the juices run out of it and caramelise under the flaky pastry. To pack a picnic with a couple of sausage rolls and a flask of tea is to pack a fine picnic as far as I’m concerned. So what’s with this vegetarian creation? My reasons are threefold: firstly, at this time of year I need pastry; secondly, I love spinach and particularly spanakopita and thirdly I wondered what a vegetable ‘sausage’ roll would be like.
I am a fan of beetroot; I’ve tried many different recipes with them in the past but sometimes when the vegetable box keeps bringing me beetroot I am stuck for what to do. I have made chocolate and beetroot cake in the past and I fancied trying something sweet with my latest accumulation, hence, Beetroot and Poppy Seed Cupcakes. Something a little different and somewhat stripy for the lunchbox.
You will need (for 12 cupcakes):
- 200g self raising flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 150ml sunflower oil
- 200g raw beetroot, peeled and grated
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 25g softened butter
- 200g full fat cream cheese
- 300g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 180C. Squeeze as much water out of the grated beetroot as you can (your hands will turn a fabulous pink colour).
I absolutely love blood oranges for several reasons: firstly they are just so pretty it’s hard not to like them, secondly as they are in season in January they are a welcome citrusy start to the year and thirdly I love squeezing a big bowl full to make my own pink juice. I wanted to make something to show off blood oranges at their best and I’ve fancied my hand at a tart au citron for a while. So I thought a sort of blood orange tart (or tart au blood orange) topped with caramelised blood oranges would be pretty tasty.
I had a grand vision. A toad in the hole to rival all others; one that brought together two of my favourite parts of a Sunday roast in one delicious meal. Pigs in blankets meet Yorkshire puddings sounds pretty amazing to me and so sausage and bacon Toad in the Hole was born. One slight issue with the version that I made was that it was almost a total failure. However, I decided to post this anyway (I think these posts are just as useful as those that are successful) so that if you try it for yourself you can use my ideas at the end to have more success than I did.