Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Smoked Haddock and Leek risotto

I'd been meaning to cook Smoked Haddock chowder when I got the fish at the supermarket, but it just didn't seem like a chowder kind of day - too much of a wintery dish I think.  So I googled a smoked haddock risotto recipe and up popped this one from BBC Good Food.

My version is slightly sloppier than theirs - never a good thing really, but I'll hold my hands up to adding too much stock, an easy mistake to make... It's actually only my second risotto I've made, although it's something I will order if eating out.  My Mum can't abide the texture of risotto, it's one of her food hates, which meant it wasn't something I cooked.

If I'm having a rice based dish I would rather have paella, mostly because it reminds me of my Grandparents out in Tenerife, but also because it's colourful.  My risotto here looks.... well, green.

I wasn't sure if I would like this risotto, I'm more of a prawn and pea risotto, or mushroom risotto kinda gal.  It was delicious though, gooey, moorish, comforting but without being heavy.   I used vegetable stock rather than chicken, because I wanted more of a fresh veggie flavour to come through, I did add a wee bit much cheese to serve... But I like cheese....

Do you have a favourite risotto?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Taste Sensations - Brie with Balsamic Strawberries

The other day I brightened up my boring commute with another random twitter conversation.  This time on random taste combinations, I'd tweeted about having a banana and some coronation chicken sandwich filler for breakfast - but not at the same time, and so started a conversation on strange things people do eat at the same time.

We had:

  • marmalade and cheese
  • cheese and mango chutney
  • banana, cheese and beans
  • blue cheese and banana
  • peanut butter and marmite
  • dairylea and jam
We also came to the conclusion that all sandwiches taste better with crisps in - but you didn't need me to tell you that, right.

One of the taste combinations that came up was brie with strawberries and balsamic vinegar.  My ears immediately pricked up for that one, and I was inspired to dash to the supermarket that night and pick some up to try it for myself...  I thought I had some actual balsamic vinegar, but I actually have balsamic dressing - but I went with it anyway...

I cut the tops off the strawberries and lay them to rest in their balsamic bath, while I cut the ciabatta and toasted it with the delicious brie on top.  I was impatiently peering through my oven door to see if it had melted enough to come out, as soon as it had I whipped it out and got my strawberries on top...

The verdict - I can see why Phil likes it, and I enjoyed the sharp, sweet tangyness of the strawberries against the smooth, creamy, gooey brie, but I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to have it again!!

What are your strange taste sensations?  I'd like to be inspired to try some more - although I draw the line and banana, cheese and beans, that's just a tad too strange for my tastebuds!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Spicy Potato Curry

Coconut Milk
125 ml vegetable stock
Cumin seeds
Ground coriander
Chilli flakes

I put some oil on to heat up and added the cumin seeds.  After chopping the ginger, garlic and onions I threw them in to cook off once the cumin seeds started sizzling, after they'd cooked for a few minutes I added the potatoes and the rest of the spices.

I let the potatoes brown for a bit then added the veg stock and then the coconut milk and left it to simmer for 15 minutes.

The result was..... spicy.....very spicy....

I had to add plain yoghurt just to eat it!!  Very tasty though!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Stuffed Aubergines

I love aubergines, but find them to be a 'marmite' type vegetable - I know so many people that don't like them at all!

I used this Good Food recipe for mine, but left out the olives (flatmate doesn't like them) and added some mixed herbs.

They were absolutely delicious, I can't wait to cook them again.  The filling is so nice, for all the "aubergine is slimy" people - this is the recipe to try.

Bravo Good Food!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Meal Planning Monday

Last week was a nightmare of being everywhere and having no real plan.  This week is going to be more ordered.

I hope.

Monday - Golden roasted vegetable rice
Tuesday - Prawn stir fry
Wednesday - out with JuJu and Katie - liquid tea....
Thursday - Italian Style Stuffed Aubergines
Friday - BBQ food
Saturday - chicken parmigiana
Sunday - Smoked Haddock Chowder

I've just done an online shop to get everything apart from Saturday's food, and a few storecupboard bits that I'm missing.  I do enjoy going to the supermarket, but when I'm as busy as I have been the past few weeks I'm just not getting time to go food shopping for when I'm at the flat.  That's the trouble between dividing my time between two homes, and worse still on weeks where I'm dogsitting so at three places in one week...

What are you cooking this week?

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Strawberry Buns

I'm not really a fan of cupcakes.  I find them to be "fur coat, no knickers" in the sense too much of a big deal is made about the decoration, and the cake (or bun as it should be known) is neglected.  I've never made cupcakes, although in years gone by I have made buns, sometimes decorating them, but generally not.  We were brought up on buns with sultanas in, so they were always sweet enough.

I recently bought some piping bags and nozzles, and then was given some as a housewarming present, so I was itching to try them out.

My first attempt at piping using a nozzle was a disaster - the piping bag exploded from having too much of my Viennese Finger mixture in... my second attempt - red icing wasn't successful really either...  I've learnt that melting the butter then trying to combine that with the icing sugar just won't work, it leaves the mixture too runny.  I tried putting the icing into the fridge to set for five minutes but it was still as runny.  Last time I made this error I kept adding more and more icing sugar - that didn't work either!

I ended up just letting the runny icing come through the piping bag onto the buns, and then adding my strawberries to the fully covered tops.

I think they still looked good!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Recent eats

I didn't feel like blogging last night, I just watched hours of the news coverage of the riots.  I attempted to make some Viennese fingers, but they were a massive fail - the dough burst through the piping bag!

I was awake till after 3am this morning so I'm shattered today, I should have done a meal planning monday, but I can't even remember what I'm meant to be eating this week now.

Here's a few pics of what I ate last week.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Domino's Review

I got an email a couple of weeks ago asking if I'd be interested in reviewing a Domino's pizza.  Being pretty poor, and a pizza fan I took up the offer.

I was promptly sent my voucher and decided to use it as a Friday night treat for me and Rich - having gone and done a work out at the gym straight from work I didn't feel too guilty for pizza for tea, and for the 2 large glasses of wine I had with it....

We went up to my local Domino's in Headingley, this is the first time I've actually gone to collect a pizza from Domino's, I've always done online ordering and had them delivered in the past.

I didn't need to look at the pizza menu I always go for Pepperoni Passion, but Rich stumped me by asking what base I wanted - I never usually bother changing bases and just have the classic one.  We asked to have the thin and crispy base, which appeared to cause some confusion over what that particular base meant...we ordered from an assistant who'd only just started, and was rather....erm....excitable.  Not sure I would do a little dance behind the counter...  I was also mortified that after I ordered a large, 10 slice pizza he then looked at Rich and asked what he wanted!  I know I'm a big lass, but I couldn't eat a ten slice pizza to myself... Well, OK, I probably could, but still - he could have asked if we required anything else, not assume we were a pair of greedy gerties... (To clarify, we were sharing the large pizza!).

We didn't have long to wait before our pizza was ready, and picked up some beers and vino on the way home.  I was famished by the time we got back and quickly tucked into some pizza.

I don't know if it was the different base, or the fact we collected it, so got the pizza "fresh", but I found it to be much tastier than when I've ordered online.  Previously I've found Domino's to be a bit greasy, but this one definitely wasn't.  One of my pizza pet hates is for the slice to be floppy and limp (a la pizza express) but this one was just as I like, nice and crispy, with the topping not falling all over my face and top as I try and eat it... not that I ever do that of course, that's never happened to me before....

I'll certainly go and collect a pizza from Domino's over order them, and I'll be opting for a thin and crispy base. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Budget Salmon Fishcakes

In my quest to cut back, and be more of a spendthrift, I'm seeking out budget recipes.  Fishcakes are a favourite of mine but can work out to be quite expensive, particularly if using haddock.  I decided to give tinned fish a go, and opted for salmon.  I'm not sure if I fancy tinned tuna fishcakes...

If anyone has any recommendations of tasty, cheap meals I'd be grateful!

1 tin of salmon
1 large baking potato
chopped chives
1 egg

I baked the potato in the microwave (sin - but time efficient) and then mixed some salmon in a large bowl with the chives and the egg.  When the potato had cooked I mashed it and added it to the fish mixture.

I thought I had some breadcrumbs but don't, so I spooned the mixture onto a baking tray in two large helpings and then baked in the oven at 200 for 20 minutes.

I served it with some homemade potato salad and some salad leaves and tomatoes.

My verdict - not as nice as my usual thai fishcakes, or even the smoked cod fishcakes I made a few weeks ago.  I probably used too much potato, so would suggest maybe using two baking potatoes rather than one, or even better some leftover mash - who has leftover mash though??

They were a quick, tasty and cheap meal which is what I was wanting, so I'm happy with how they went.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Butterscotch Loaf Cake

Following on from sandwiching a cake with my Askey's Butterscotch Treat Sauce I couldn't resist making a cake with it.  I decided to substitute it for golden syrup and do a loaf cake.

150g SR flour
150g butter
1/3 bottle of Askeys butterscotch treat sauce
1 tsp mixed spice
pinch salt

I melted the butter in a small pan on the hob with the butterscotch treat sauce, while that was melted I sieved all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

When the butter was all melted I set it aside to cool a bit, then when cooled down I combined with the dry ingredients.

I stirred it all together and then poured into a greased, lined baking tin and into the oven, 150 degrees for 45 mins.

I was worried it might be a little bit much butter, but it tasted lovely.  The mixed spice just gave it a hint of a kick, and took off some of the sweetness of the butterscotch sauce.

An excellent alternative to golden syrup!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Meal Planning Monday

It's that time of the week again...  I still don't feel in a proper routine after moving to the new flat, even though I've been here a full month.  I'd planned to do food shopping on a Saturday morning at Leeds Market, but it just hasn't happened.

Last week then...

Monday -  Pizza Express (I had an American pizza)
Wednesday - Carvery with the inlaws
Thursday - "Budget" Salmon fishcakes, corn on the cob, potato salad shop bought fishcakes
Friday - Whatever the P-Units feed me herb crusted haddock, sweet potato wedges
Saturday - CAKE - it's Clandestine Cake Club - and also borscht
Sunday - I'll be at the rugby with Rich, who knows what we'll eat! fish & chips

Not a great week foodwise, I only actually cooked from scratch on one night - not good enough is it.

I'm going to try and do better this week, but I haven't started well, with a food fail.

Right, week commencing 1st August....

Monday - Disgusting green pepper stir fry :(
Tuesday - "Budget" salmon fish cakes
Wednesday - Bangers & mash with Rich
Thursday - Prawn linguine
Saturday - Parents 30th wedding anniversary meal out 
Sunday - whatever I can find in parents freezer

Check Mrs M's blog for her meal plan and all the other ones for this week!