Archive | January, 2013

Parma Wrapped Cod and Roast Veggies

30 Jan

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This is such a delicious, straight forward meal that is perfect for a midweek supper.It looks fancy but it couldn’t be any simpler. It is low calorie as well but doesn’t skimp on flavor. It is so yummy with a hunk of fresh crusty bread to mop up the juices with.

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Parma Wrapped Cod and Roast Veggies (Serves 2)

1 red pepper, cut into big chunks

1 yellow pepper, cut into big chunks

1/2 courgette, thickly sliced

1 red onion, cut into medium wedges

10-12 mini button mushrooms

a handful of cherry tomatoes

1-2tbsp rapeseed oil

1/2tsp dried basil

1/2tsp garlic salt

2 cod fillets

2-4 parma ham slices

10g breadcrumbs

10g parmesan, grated

1tbsp dried parsley

salt and pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 200ºc/375ºf.
  • Put all the vegetables in a big bowl and add the oil, basil, garlic salt and season with pepper. Give it all a mix around and then lay it out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 15mins or until softened slightly. 
  • Season the cod with salt and pepper and wrap in the parma. When the veggies are softened, make spaces on the tray and place the cod on.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper in a bowl. Scatter the breadcrumb mixture over the veggies and cod and return to the oven for 12-15mins or until the cod is cooked all the way through.
  • Serve hot with a bit of crusty bread. You can also drizzle the dish with balsamic vinegar before serving if you want.

 

 

 

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Spicy Tuna Steak with Broccoli Pasta

28 Jan

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Tuna steaks were something I have never cooked before and I was a bit skeptical as to whether I would like them or not because everyone I ever talk to about them says they aren’t like tinned tuna at all. But I shouldn’t have been worried at all! They were absolutely delicious. They were a bit different to tinned tuna in texture but they tasted exactly the same. The texture was firmer then you would expect. The only way I can describe it is that its like salmon bit slightly more firm, it is definitely not the texture of an actual steak. The dish is very easy and enjoyable to put together. The trick to doing it really well is to have everything prepped before you start and then its so simple. Its a really tasty dish that is loaded with flavor and uses only a a few basic ingredients. If you are on the fence about trying tuna steaks, I would recommend you do because you will probably love it and if not,  what’s the harm? I hope you enjoy. 🙂

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Spicy Tuna Steak with Broccoli Pasta (Serves 2)

2 tuna steaks

3/4tsp dried chilli flakes

1 1/2tbsp sweet chilli sauce

salt and pepper

1/2tbsp rapeseed oil

125g dried spaghetti

200-250g broccoli, cut into florets

8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved

2tsp sesame oil

juice of 1 lemon

3/4tsp dried parsley

  • In a wide, shallow bowl, mix together the chilli flakes, sweet chilli sauce and season with salt and pepper. Dip each side of the 2 tuna steaks in the mixture.
  • Heat the rapeseed oil in a large griddle pan or frying pan and cook the tuna steaks over a medium/high heat for 3-4mins on each side depending on how rare you like them.
  • Meanwhile, add the spaghetti to a large pot of boiling water and cook for 6mins then add the broccoli florets and cook for a further 4mins.
  • Drain and set aside until needed. When the tuna steaks are cooked, transfer them to warm plates and set aside. Add the spaghetti, broccoli, tomatoes, sesame oil, lemon juice and dried parsley to the pan you used to cook the tuna steaks.
  • Toss it all together and cook for 2-3mins until the tomatoes are warmed and everything is coated. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with the tuna steaks and enjoy!

Spicy Jambalaya

25 Jan

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This dish is normally quite fatty and unfortunately a bit unhealthy but this version has cut back on a lot of the unhealthy stuff which means you are just left with loads of flavor and a warm spice. This recipe has a fair few components but the steps are actually all quite simple. So don’t let it intermediate you because it is well worth the effort.

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Spicy Jambalaya (Serves 4-6)

100-150g chorizo, cut into thin rounds

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks

1 large onion, diced

1 1/2 peppers, diced (Any color)

6/7 button mushrooms, quartered

1tsp dried thyme

1tsp dried oregano

2 bay leaves

1/4tsp cayenne pepper

1tsp sweet paprika

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

400ml chicken stock

200g basmati/long grain rice

175g cooked, deshelled prawns

3 spring onions, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper

  • Heat a dry pan over a medium heat then add the chorizo and cook until fiery red and crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with with kitchen towel using a slotted spoon. 
  • Using the oil that came off the chorizo, cook the chicken over a medium heat in the same pan until golden and fully cooked through. Once cooked transfer to the plate with the chorizo and set aside.
  • You may need to add a drop of rapeseed/olive oil if there isn’t much left in the pan, heat over a medium heat then add the onion, peppers and mushrooms and cook until softened. Add the thyme, oregano, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, paprika and garlic. Mix it up and cook for 30secs.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, stock, chorizo, chicken and rice. Stir together and leave to cook over a low/medium heat with a lid for about 20mins or until the rice is tender, stirring and checking regularly to make sure its not sticking to the bottom or drying out.
  • Once the rice is tender, add the prawns and spring onions and cook for a further 2-3mins to warm the prawns through.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve piping hot.

The Best Homemade Pizza

24 Jan

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I have another recipe for homemade pizza on here but to be honest I think this version is fairly superior to that. The reason is that both pizza bases contain yeast but in this version it is left to rise whereas in the other recipe the dough is used straight away. Now the other recipe is still fantastic, do’t get me wrong, and it is wonderful if you don’t have the time to wait for the yeast to do its thing! But if you left the dough rise it creates a fantastically light and crisp base compared to the other recipe that creates more of a heavy,bready base but still yummy. I love pizza, it is one of my favorite foods and one of my dreams is to go to Italy and eat pizza every day but it can be unhealthy. This is where making it homemade is the best because you can pick and choose what goes on it, how big it is, how much cheese you smother it with and so on. It is really such a good compromise and not only is it better for you to make it at home but it is so much fun to make, especially for kids! This is a great one to freeze as well. What I do, because I’m only cooking for 2 people, is that I make the 2 pizzas out of this recipe and assemble them all together and then we cook one and freeze the other one so that all we have to do is pop it in the oven when we need it. Its just like having frozen pizzas that you buy in the shop but way more delicious and healthier.

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The Best Homemade Pizza (Makes 2 pizzas that feed 2 people each or 1 pizza that feeds 4-5 people)

For the Base:

250g plain flour

1 x 7g sachet fast action yeast

1/2tsp salt

1tsp caster sugar

175-200ml tepid water

1tbsp olive oil

  • Mix the flour, yeast, salt and sugar together in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
  • Pour in most of the tepid water and the olive oil and mix it all together until it starts to form a dough.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-4mins until your dough is stretchy and smooth.
  • Place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and leave in a warm place to rise for about 45mins or until doubled in size.
  • Knock the air out of it then knead again for 2-3mins. Return to the bowl and leave to rest for 10-15mins.
  • You can divide the dough into two even pieces to make two bases or just make one big one. I recommend the two just because it is easier to handle.
  • Roll and stretch the dough out to your desired size. This may be a little difficult as it likes to stretch back but keep at it and it will happen.

For the Tomato Sauce:

1 medium onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2tbsp olive oil

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

3/4tsp dried oregano

3/4tsp dried basil

3/4tsp caster sugar

salt and pepper

  • In a small/medium pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic and cook over a medium heat until the onion softens. Add all the other ingredients and season to taste.
  • Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15mins until the sauce has reduced slightly.
  • Blitz with a stick blender or full sized blender until  smooth.
  • Spread however much sauce you want onto your pizza base/s. I usually make two bases and use half the sauce on each base.

For the topping:

You can use whatever you like for this. I used grated mozzarella, onion, pineapple, mshrooms, peppers, sweetcorn and courgette. Feel free to experiment with all sorts such as different cheeses, meats e.g. pepperoni, ham, salami, different vegetables etc.

  • Just layer your chosen toppings on however you like. I scatter my cheese over the sauce in an even layer first then I  layer loads of veggies on top.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 190ºc/375ºf for 15-20mins or until the cheese has melted and the base is fully cooked and crisp around the edges.
  • Cut into slices and tuck in.

 

 

Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake

23 Jan

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This cake is the cake of all cakes. It is so damn good! It was my birthday yesterday which gave me the nearly impossible task of picking what kind of cake I wanted. After I looked through loads of recipe books, google searches and images, my mom finally put me out of my misery and said, like it was so obvious the whole time, why don’t you make an ice cream cake? It was the best idea ever, although then I had to pick the flavors and components of my ice cream cake, nearly as hard as picking the cake.

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I looked up loads of ice cream cake recipes and quite a few of them had biscuit crumb bases. This got me thinking about what biscuit I should use in my cake when I had a brain wave, I could use raw cookie dough! The rest of the cake is pretty simple but the cookie dough base, I even say it myself, is down right genius! But, unfortunately, it is not suitable for young children, pregnant women or the elderly. Very sorry, but if your determined to do this recipe, there are egg free recipes for cookie dough available online.

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This I think is the best birthday cake I have ever had, an oreo layer cake is close on its tail though. Another thing I think is just so darn cool is that you could make this cake ages in advance and keep it for ages after the birthday because it doesn’t go all horrible and dry like every other birthday cake. So there is no need to eat birthday cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner until its gone, unless you want to that is! 😀

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 Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake (7 1/2inch cake)

For the Cookie Dough Layer:

85g/ 3/4 stick butter, melted

1/2 cuplight brown sugar, preferably coarse

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1tsp vanilla extract

1/2tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

1 cup plain flour

1/2-1 cup milk chocolate chips

  • Grease and line a 7 1/2-8inch round cake tin with baking parchment.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter with the two types of sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  • Next add the baking powder, salt and flour and mix  it well. Pour in the chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  • Spoon this into the prepared tin in as even a layer as possible, then leave in the freezer to harden, 2-3hrs.

For the Ice Cream Layer:

450-500ml good quality chocolate ice cream

  • Take the ice cream out of the freezer about 30mins before you need it. When the cookie dough layer is hardened, you can start this layer.
  • Spoon all the ice cream into a bowl and mix it all about with a wooden spoon so that it becomes more spreadable and creamy.
  • Layer this over the frozen cookie dough, again making it as even as possible. Return to the freezer for 2-3hrs to let it all refreeze.

For the Cake Layer:

57g/ 1/2 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup milk

1tsp vanilla extract

1 cup plain flour

1/2tsp baking powder

2/3 cup caster sugar

1 egg white

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc/350ºf and grease and line another tin the same size as the one you were using for the other layers. (Alternatively, if you don’t have two tins the same size, you could remove the frozen layers from your original tin, transfer to a plate and leave in the freezer until the cake is cooked.)
  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter for 1-2mins until soft and creamy. Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and sugar and mix until incorporated then beat in the egg white. Continue beating for 1-2mins then pour the batter into the prepared tin.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-35mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let cool in the tin for 20-30mins then remove and let cool completely on a cooling rack. Transfer the first two layers back into the tin, if you were using the same tin.
  • When the cake is completely cooled, remove the baking parchment and lay it upside down on the ice cream layer. The cake comes out quite big so before I did this step, I sliced a thin layer off the top but this is purely up to you.
  • Once again, return to the freezer to freeze all the layers together.

For the Frosting:

80g cream cheese, room temperature (I used light)

2tsp vanilla extract

200g icing sugar

  • Add the cream cheese and vanilla to a bowl and beat with a spoon for 30secs just to make it creamy.
  • Add the icing sugar in two or three batches, mixing after each addition until you get a fairly stiff frosting. You may need to add more icing sugar.
  • Spread this all over the cake in an even layer and for the last time return to the freezer until frozen. Decorate as desired and prepare to have your mind blown!

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Sticky Ginger Salmon

21 Jan

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Salmon is one of my absolute favorite fish, it is such a versatile ingredient and oh so healthy as well! Personally, I love salmon with an Asian twist on it as I think the flavors just go together so perfectly. This recipe is absolutely bursting with fresh, zingy flavors and is also really healthy, which is always a plus. This would be an ideal dish to make if you were going to have guests because you could make it all up and have it marinating in the fridge, then just bake it when you need it. So easy.

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Sticky Ginger Salmon (Serves 2)

25g crystallized ginger, cut into very thin matchsticks

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2tbsp dark soy sauce

2tbsp runny honey

1 1/2tsp sesame oil

1/2 fresh red chilli, finely chopped

1/2 orange, zest and juice

2 salmon fillets, skin on

salt and pepper

To Serve:

2 nests of dried egg noodles

a fresh crunchy salad

  • In a dish big enough to fit the two salmon fillets, whisk together the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, chilli and orange juice and zest. 
  • Add your salmon fillets to the dish and rub them around in the marinade to get them fully coated. Leave them skin side up and let marinade for at least 30mins.
  • Preheat the oven to 200ºc/375ºf and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  • After the 30mins, take the salmon out of the marinade and let most of the marinade drip off them and back into the dish. Lay the salmon on the prepared baking tray and and bake in the oven for 20-25mins.
  • Pour the marinade into a small pot and heat over a medium heat for 2-3mins, stirring constantly until it thickens slightly.
  • Cook the noodles according to packet instructions and toss with 1-2tsp sesame oil then serve with the salmon fillets, drizzled with some marinade sauce  and a big, fresh salad.

Meaty Chilli in Tortilla Bowls

19 Jan

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Now, if your like me, and as soon as you read the name of this dish you immediately thought “I can just about manage making the chilli, let alone edible bowls as well!”. Well not to worry, these tortilla bowls couldn’t be simpler and they look just fab as well. I first saw this idea on one of the The Hairy Bikers shows and I’ve been fascinated ever since. I have based this recipe around the original that they used but have made a fair few tweaks here and there so that it suits my taste more. You don’t necessarily have to serve chilli in these, you could serve any number of things such as a fancy salad or even use it to serve finger food at a party.

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Meaty Chilli in Tortilla Bowls (Serves 4)

1 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

350-400g  lean beef mince

1tsp rapeseed/olive oil

1tsp each of cumin, coriander and chilli powder

3tbsp tomato puree

1tsp granulated sugar

200-300ml beef stock

4 white/wholemeal tortilla wraps

1tsp rapeseed/olive oil

salt and pepper

To Serve:

chopped mixed salad

salsa, guacamole or creme fraiche

grated cheddar cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc/350ºf.
  • Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wok and fry the onion, garlic and minced beef over a medium heat until all the mince is cooked. Stir in the cumin, coriander and chilli powder and cook for a further 1-2mins.
  • Add the tomato puree, granulated sugar and enough beef stock to loosen the sauce. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 18-20mins. Keep an eye on it and add more stock if it drys out too much.
  • Now for the tortilla bowls, get some tin foil and scrunch it up into a ball about the size of  your fist but it may differ depending on how big or small your tortillas are. Brush a bit of oil in the middle of each tortilla.
  • Lay one tortilla over your tin foil ball and if its big, try to pleat it so it forms a bowl shape. Bake in the oven for 5mins.
  • When its done take it out and, using an upside down glass or jar, remove it from the ball and press it down onto the glass bottom and leave to cool. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas using the same tin foil ball.
  • Taste the chilli and add more of the spices if you need to. Season with salt and pepper.
  • When you have made all the tortilla bowls, spoon your chilli into them, scatter with grated cheddar and your chosen accompaniment and serve with the chopped mixed salad.
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