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BBQ, Dinner, Food, Healthy, Uncategorized

Vegetarian at the BBQ – Halloumi Squash skewers with Tamarind Marinade

I am not a vegetarian. I think some of the posts on here say that loud and clear. However I am a firm believed that everyone is welcome at my family BBQs as long as everyone accepts one another. As such when my mother’s annual summer soiree started to approach I realized that if my veggie friends and extended family were to have anything more than some frozen veggie bangers and green salad, I was going to need to roll up my sleeves. So where as a few years ago I was winner of the “rib off” between my older brother and I, and my dragons breath chicken wings- recipes to come, this year : meat free but far from boring.

 

So here I give you : Halloumi Squash skewers with Tamarind Marinade

  • 1/3 cup of tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup  soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2-3 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 limes: zest and juice
  • 2 red chilli, deseeded, chopped
  • 1 tblsp light brown soft sugar
  • Handful of mint and coriander, finely chopped

Basics of building

  •  butternut squash – 750g flesh cubed – not too small or they will fall apart when you try to skewer them
  • 300g halloumi , cut into cubes

Boil a large pan of salted water, add the cubes squash, cook till tender for about 15 mins- not too soft (see warning in  instructions)

Drain and set aside

Assemble the marinade in a big big bowl – whisking the tamarind with 1/4cup boiling water to is dissolves and gets loose. Add everything else and keep whisking till smoothed and nothing is distinctly scraping against the bottom of the bowl

Add your cubes- butternut and halloumi. Give it all a good mix and allow to marinade for at least an hour – I left mine for 4 hrs.

Once marinated thread halloumi and squash onto to skewers, alternating. If using wooden skewers you will have wanted to soak these in water for a while. Stops them burning.

Drizzle with some of marinade and strew with the herbs that you can strain out

Skewers go directly on to the BBQ and cook for 3-4 mins on each side till  lightly charred, brushing with the marinade as they cook.

Serve immediately. Tasty. Very tasty.

Breakfast, cake, Dinner, Food, Serves 2, super filling, Uncategorized

Bank holiday Best Eats: Brunches, Dinners and Bakes

So the spring bank holiday is coming to an end. Its dark outside. We are debating on if that was a bat or a bird we sort darting past the window… and i have to say it is one of the best dinner bank holidays that I can remember in a long time…. so heres a bit of a brag.

Roasted Harissa and Garlic Chicken in Pittas

It started with a Friday night: with a quick roasted small chicken dressed in Harissa paste, garlic, coriander and olive oil. Served in pitta breads with dips and some salad. Proper finger (licking) food that was really a bit of mucking about with the mortar and pestle, smothering the flesh and then letting it rock out in the oven while we (I) do the post work shake off and feet up and perhaps a bit of the ol’ red leg rum… Roast chicken doesn’t have to stay tucked away for a Sunday…

Saturday morning….

Continue reading “Bank holiday Best Eats: Brunches, Dinners and Bakes”

Breakfast, Dinner, Serves 2, super filling, Uncategorized, Under 30 min

Middle Eastern eggs with merguez and Pistachios – Brilliant Brunch

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Found as I was flicking through one of my numerous cooking magazines- an April edition from a few years back- and He and I spy something that we both think “now that would make a good Saturday brunch.”

If he and I are both off on a weekend day breakfast normally rolls over into being some sort of brunch and its becoming as somewhat reliable tradition.

I confess that I did not actually use the sausages named in the title -merguez- which are a lamb and beef sausage from north Africa. I am sure I could have found some if I had looked harder – but what I found were some nice Aberdeen Angus beef sausages reduced down – have I mentioned He is Scottish?- and I cannot resist a good yellow label if I know I have a recipe it will work in.

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What you will need

Drizzle of olive oil / rape seed oil

1 red onion – chopped

6 merguez sausages (I ended up using Aberdeen angus and black pepper chipolatas.)

15 cherry tomatoes halved

Pinch of sugar (any sugar)

3 tsp harissa paste

2 eggs

2 wholemeal pitta breads

Pinch of paprika (apparently optional – I think not so optional-

2 tbsp. Greek yogurt

Few sprigs of parsley

Heat drizzle in heavy bottom small frying pan – cast iron if you have it. Something sturdy if you don’t

Add onion and cook for a few mins until soft, push them to one side. Add sausages and fry for 5-20 mins rolling them around in the pan till they get golden.

Add tomatoes, sugar, harissa, season well and add a splash of water – cook for 5-10 mins stirring now and again

The tomatoes will cook down into a nice chunky sauce

Push sauces to one side and create two large holes in the sauce so you can crack your eggs in. cook for 4-5 mins until whites are set and yolks are still runny – toast the pittas at this stage.

Sprinkle paprika on to eggs- just a pinch, dollop on the yogurt and sprinkle with pistachios and parsley

Serve with the pittas cut in half and on the side

Listen to something that makes you feel like you’re in the sun. Enjoy. This really was a treat for my taste buds. And His. And She came home and thought the house smelt delicious… WINNER

Wash up.

Chop board

Knife

Measuring spoons.

1 frying pan

Whatever you serve it in if you don’t eat it straight from your pan when you bring it to your table.

Nom nom nom

Dinner, Healthy, Lunchbox Revamp, super filling, Uncategorized, Under 15mins

Chicken Bomb Bang Salad For when you want a Healthy KICK

Renamed by She, the room-mate. This is a a step away of the same old (boring) chicken Salad and dressing.

It utilizes a spiralizer, one of the kitchen gadgets du jour.

I’m not going to pretend that courgetti replaces spaghetti in a good old fashioned  spag bol. But I am going to say that it is useful in making this Bang Bang Chicken “da bomb”

 

This served 4, (2 hungry after work dinners and 2 work lunch boxes that got a few “ooo that looks good)

What you need

The Basic Bones of your Salad

  • Courgette x2
  • Large Carrot x2
  • Spring onion – a  Bunch
  • Mangetout -130g
  • cooked chicken breasts x2 (you can poach/ grill these from raw but you gotta let them chill out, or even use left over roast chicken)

Dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons of nut butter- peanut or cashew – low fat is fine
  • 3 table spoons low salt soy sauce
  • 3 table spoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 table spoons sesame oil
  • 1 table spoon water
  • Juice and zest of a lime

To serve

  • Coriander leaves
  • Smashed nuts- peanuts or cashews-handful – I use a mezzaluna, but you can use a smashing (rolling) pin while they’re in a baggy – or a mortar and pestle. You don’t want them too fine. They are for texture
  • Chili optional (not an option in my flat- required)

 

 

Spiralize the long thick veg -carrot and courgette. Diagonal splice the spring onions and mangetout, mix up in a bowl. Shred the chicken with some forks. – again mix into your veggies.

 

In a smaller bowl- or jug- mush up the soy into the nut butter – so it becomes “looser”

Add in the rest of the dressing ingredients, whisk away till it’s a “dressing consistency” – I add some chopped chili at this point depending on those around the table

Pour dressing into the salad bowl and mix it all up.

 

Serve on to a plate (bowl) and sprinkle with the “to serve items”

– you can dish this out on a big serving platter but it’s safer in my flat to serve into bowls for each person –

Dinner, Italian food Lola style, Serves 2, super filling, Uncategorized, Under 15mins

Carbolara Imitation Carbonara

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Something tasty made with store cupboard standards. Doesn’t break the bank, but it does stop the tummy rumbles- on the table in under 15 minutes and the smile on His face when he knows it’s a Carbolara night – well that’s a bonus. It’s Carbolara because its not quiet carbonara…

 

  • Cup of pasta – I’m not going to tell you what shape. Whatever you have going.
  • Cooking bacon – ’bout half a pack, more if you want it.
    Less if your an idiot
  • olive oil – drizzle.
  • 1 egg
  • cup of Grated cheddar- something with a bit of flavor is always best
  • garlic- teaspoon of the crushed frozen ready to cook with stuff
  • Rosemary- teaspoon of dried if its what you got, Fresh is better, His preference is when I use the Rosemary and Olive shaker

prep everything before you get started. Because it starts slow with the boiling of the water but once you get frying things can move quickly. Your on the table in no more than 15 mins. My record is 9…

Get pan of water on the go and start cooking the pasta according to the pack.

Slice up the bacon – as you can see I prefer it chunky and get it sizzling in a good hot frying pan. When its getting golden and crispy add in the garlic and seasoning, give it a min or two while you give it a good stir. and then get it off the heat. Else the next steps going to leave you with scrambled eggs in your pasta….

Meanwhile whisk up an egg into the grated cheese with a fork. By now your pasta should be nearing being cooked. Take out about half a cup of the pasta water.Whisk into cheesy eggness till a bit smooth

Now this is the quick bit-

Drain the pasta, drop into the fry pan with the bacon bits, pour in the cheesy
mix and mix mix mix.
The heat of the pan and pasta will cook out the egg and make it into a creamy tasty sauce- promise. You just need to have done it quick but have gotten your pan off the heat.

Serve in to a bowl with some salad leafs and wolf down. Job done. Food coma in progress.

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Washing up : Chopping board (you can avoid this if you use scissors to cut up your bacon and do it straight into the pan.) kitchen scissors/knife, frying pan, saucepan, cheese grater, two bowls, two forks

Satisfaction – serious carb coma ensues. This is not a light lunch. Well maybe it could be if you serve it between more people. But no matter how much I cook in the hope that i have some for the next days lunch box there’s never enough left… but there is always seconds in His bowl.

Twists in the tale- add mushrooms if you got some in your fridge, cooked chicken if you fancy, olives if your inclined( i am not)

Breakfast, Food, Serves 2, Uncategorized, Under 15mins

Sunshine Eggs

Good Morning Bank Holiday Weekend (in the UK) Today is not the day for cereal or limp toast. Put away your quick fix get out the door smoothie. Today is the day for brunch. Something fantastic and filling served a little later (because you’ve gotten up a little later).Something that will bring you some joy.

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I cannot guarantee the weather outside for bank holiday Britain I can put some sunshine on your plate. And if you can fry an egg… you can make these. Continue reading “Sunshine Eggs”

cake, Uncategorized

Coffee cake for Mummas birthday 

I know I’ve gone quite quiet… been practicing ideas so nothing ready for show and tell. Although a few diamond finds of cook  books in charity shops promise some exciting trials to come. 

But I did make a cake for my mum’s birthday. It’s not perfect but I’m very proud. It’s coffee cake and it’s very very tasty… And and she was very happy with it

cake, Uncategorized

My first bake off entry

For years I have baked. It all started with my mum. Whose amazing creations wowed me and are still vivid in my memory. I hoard the printed photos from mine and my brothers childhood birthdays. I assisted with my ‘aunty’ with items for her catering company (her chocolate roulade never to be surpassed)

I took food Tec at school for GCSE. I have fed my friends feasts of cakes and cookies. I’m not fantastic. I have no place in front of Mrs Berry or Mr Hollywood. But I’m up for a friendly competion… which is exactly what my workplace proposed. Theme being Easter. Here is my completed offering. It did not win. But I’m still proud of it.