Tag Archives: hot

Indian Spiced Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

17 Dec

This is like a spicy pickled red cabbage that is served hot.  The cabbage isn’t overcooked so it keeps its crunchy texture and beautiful deep magenta colour. It is  lovely served as a side dish with any curry but specifically, in my opinion, with a dhal.

Dhals are soft, soupy lentil dishes. My idea of comfort food heaven. Best eaten scooped up in a piece of soft Indian bread or even just with a spoon. The crunchiness of this cabbage is the perfect accompaniment to the smooth, creamy dhal. The contrast of textures and flavours is gorgeous, it just works. Continue reading

Roasted Tomato, Saffron and Mozzarella Risotto Layer Cake

20 Aug

I roasted off another batch of my favourite slow roasted tomatoes yesterday and wanted to use them in something lovely for dinner. I found a recipe for a grilled vegetable saffron risotto cake that fit the bill perfectly.

In the original version they layer it with grilled aubergine, courgette and roasted peppers which I will definitely try next time. But I had all these sweet roasted tomatoes hanging about and I was hungry, so I just used them. I also added some of my sundried tomatoes for extra tomato intensity.

Roasted Tomato, Saffron & Mozzarella Risotto Layer Cake

Serves 4-6, vegetarian, gluten-free. Adapted from  Jane Baxter, The Guardian

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 big pinch saffron
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 big pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 20 slow roasted tomato halves, see recipe here
  • 2 or 3 tbsp finely chopped sundried tomatoes plus 8 strips for layers
  • 300 gr risotto rice (I used brown rice, it takes longer to cook and more stock)
  • salt & black pepper
  • a splash of white wine/vermouth
  • 1 – 1 1/2 litres veg stock
  • a bunch fresh basil leaves, 1/2 finely shredded 1/2 left whole
  • 125 gr ball mozzarella, sliced in 5mm thick ovals
  • a handful of finely grated Manchego/Parmesan
  • rocket, olive oil & balsamic vinegar to serve

Put the veg stock in small pan, over a medium-low heat to heat up while you are cooking.

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and cook the onion and saffron with a pinch of salt for 5 -6 minutes until softened. Then add the fennel seeds, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a further 2 minutes. Now add 12 of the roasted tomato halves and any roasting juices, the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and the rice. Cook at a fast simmer, stirring for about 2 minutes, season generously with salt & pepper & splash in the wine.

Add the hot stock to the rice a ladleful at a time over a medium heat, adding the next ladleful when the previous one has all been absorbed. Continue like this until most of the stock is used up (1 litre for risotto rice – 1 1/2 for brown rice), taste the rice and see if it is cooked. It should still have a bit of bite to it. Season again, add in the finely shredded basil, stir and taste. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. I didn’t leave it to cool very long, I was hungry.

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line the base of a terrine or loaf tin with baking parchment and oil/butter the sides. Take 1/3 of the cooled rice and press it into the bottom of the mould evenly. Top with 4 of the remaining roasted tomatoes in a line along the centre of the rice then top those with a half of the mozzarella slices, the a line of sun-dried tomato strips, then with a line of basil leaves. Sprinkle over half the grated cheese.

Top with another 1/3 rice, press down evenly and add toppings as before. Then finish off with the final layer of rice and press down evenly. Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown on top.

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the cake and turn it out onto a serving plate. Use a serrated bread knife to cut into generous slices and serve with a rocket salad dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and black pepper.

This is equally good served hot or cold and would be perfect for a summer picnic or buffet table.

 I’m having this cold for my lunch now, have a great weekend!

 Happy Birthday Dad,

Love You xxx

Chargrilled Broccoli and Beans with Chilli, Garlic and Sweet Soy Rice Noodles

10 Jul

I know broccoli isn’t usually the most exciting of vegetables. I know it can be a bit bland and boring. Time to rethink that. With this treatment it transforms into a shining star.

Seriously, we can’t get enough of it. The Washer Up, my toughest critic, has claimed it his favourite thing. To quote “This is the best thing you’ve ever made”. You can’t argue with that can you?

My best friend Tara bought me the Ottolenghi cookbook for my birthday. I am steadily working my way through it and every recipe that I have tried has been a definite winner. It’s all about the flavour and colour which is the kind of food I love. It has a definite Middle Eastern theme, but not solely. There are recipes from all over the world.

What I noticed, while flicking through, was that a lot of the food is cooked on a griddle pan. It adds to the flavour and appearance of a dish, giving a certain smokiness and the attractive black stripes that make such a difference to the overall impression.

I didn’t own griddle pan. I do now. Get ready for chargrilled everything.

It is chargrilling the broccoli and then drenching it in a garlic & chilli infused olive oil that makes this dish so special. You can serve it on its own, as a side dish with anything, or make it the star on top of some sweet soy rice noodles. Either way it’s delicious. You need to try this. 

Chargrilled Broccoli & Beans with Garlic, Chilli & Sweet Soy Rice Noodles

serves 2 -3, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook

  • 1 large head broccoli
  • a handful of french beans
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 75 ml olive oil
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 mild red chillies, thinly sliced (or 1 hot red chilli)
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • 250 gr fat (XL) rice noodles (or any noodles)
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) or use soy sauce plus 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (vegetarian)
  • 1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • a handful of cashew nuts or flaked almonds, toasted

Separate the broccoli into florets with small stems still attached. Trim off  the stalk ends of the beans. Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water for exactly 2 minutes (no more). Then quickly transfer it, with a slotted spoon, to a large bowl of iced water, to stop the cooking. Now do the same with the beans.

Drain the broccoli & beans in a colander and then spread them out on a clean tea towel and leave to dry completely.

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, drain and rinse under the cold tap to stop them sticking together. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the dried veg with 3 tbsp olive oil and season generously with salt & black pepper. Place a ridged griddle pan over a high heat and leave it for 5 minutes to heat up. Grill the veg in batches so it’s not too crowded. Leave them for a minute on one side then turn them over so they get nice char marks on all sides. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and continue to griddle the rest.

Meanwhile put the 75 ml olive oil in a small saucepan with the sliced garlic & chillies. Cook them over a medium heat until the garlic just starts to turn golden brown. Don’t let it burn. Remove from the heat and pour the hot oil over the bowl of hot broccoli & beans and toss together well. Check seasoning.

Heat up a wok, or large frying pan, over a medium high heat, add in the cooked noodles, kecap manis (or soy sauce & honey), sesame oil and oyster sauce. Heat through the noodles and then throw in the veg. Toss everything together well and serve in deep bowls.

Squeeze over some lemon/lime juice and sprinkle with the toasted nuts and chopped coriander.

You are going to love this. Broccoli has never tasted so good, honestly. If you don’t own a grill pan go out and buy one now.

It’s just a bit of a bitch to clean….. Apparently.

Things that made me smile today…..

Dragonflies…

Butterflies….

And bugs…

Hasta Luego!!

Rainy Day Cabbage, Potato and Leek Soup

11 Mar

I hasn’t stopped raining here for five days and it’s not supposed to be stopping any time soon. I am not going to complain though as I wake up this morning to the news about the earthquake and terrible Tsunami after effects in Japan and the Pacific. My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected and anyone with family or friends out there.

I’m definitely not going out in this weather which means cooking something with what I have in the fridge. I found this recipe on The Red Spoon. It may not sound very glamorous but it really is delicious, a perfect rainy day soup to warm you from the inside out.  And I had all the ingredients in my fridge, bonus!!

The cabbage gives a real background flavour punch to the soup and the fried cabbage topping gives it extra texture. The creme fraiche swirl is scented with lemon zest and lifts all the other flavours to a different level. It is home comfort happiness in a bowl.

Cabbage, Potato & Leek Soup Recipe

serves 3 – 4, vegetarian/ vegan without the creme fraiche. Adapted from a The Red Spoon recipe

  • 1/2 head cabbage, core removed & chopped
  • 3 tbsp creme fraiche, sour cream or greek yoghurt
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter (or olive oil for vegan)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, just white & light green parts, rinsed & sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 big potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece of parmesan rind (optional) I used Manchego rind with the black bit cut off
  • 1 & 1/4 litres veg stock
  • salt & black pepper
  • parsley, chopped for garnish

In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp butter & 1 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat. Add the cabbage, a large pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper and cook until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the creme fraiche, lemon zest & juice together in a  small bowl, cover and put in the fridge.

When the cabbage is cooked, separate out 3 or 4 tablespoons into a bowl for garnish. Add the other tbsp butter to the pan with the cabbage, then add the leeks & garlic and cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes until the leeks have softened. Then stir in the potatoes, parmesan rind (if using) and the bay leaf. Add in the veg stock and season well with salt & pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Remove from the heat and take out the bay leaf & parmesan rind. Blend carefully with a stick blender until smooth. Add more stock if you want to thin out the consistency (I didn’t need to), taste for seasoning and reheat to serve.

Serve the soup piping hot in warmed bowls garnished with a spoonful of the reserved cabbage, a swirl of the lemon creme fraiche, some chopped parsley and an extra grinding of black pepper.

This is feel good food, to lift the spirits and make you forget about the rain. This one’s for you Mum, enjoy!!

I’ve got to take the dog out in this….!

Mexican Squash and Red Bean Chilli with lemon, coriander and sour cream

10 Mar

This is an easy vegetarian version of a Mexican chilli that is really versatile. This recipe makes a lot for two people so I always have leftovers. You can serve it on its own in a bowl with sour cream, grated cheese and fresh coriander on top (above). Or use it as a stuffing for tacos, just put some soft tortillas in the oven or under the grill to warm, pile the squash and bean chilli on one side of the tortilla, use the same toppings and fold it in half.

Or put the chilli in an ovenproof gratin dish top with nachos, and grated cheese and bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes until it is warmed through and the cheese is bubbling. Top with guacamole and sour cream. Or use it as a stuffing for peppers. Just remove the top, seeds and membrane from a bell pepper and spoon in the chilli filling right up to the top. Top with grated cheese, oregano and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 25 minutes. Or halve a long green pepper lengthways, take out the seeds etc and pile the chilli in both halves like I did with this rice dish.

My favourite is just to serve it in a bowl with a spoon and a wedge of lemon or lime in front of the TV. This is Friday night comfort food at it’s best…

Butternut Squash & Red Bean Chilli Recipe

serves 4, vegetarian, vegan without the toppings

  • 1/2 butternut squash, about 750 gr, peeled if you like and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 or 2 chillis, deseeded and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes 400 gr
  • 200-400 gr cooked kidney/red beans, rinsed
  • about 500 ml veg stock
  • a big handful of coriander leaves and stalks, chopped plus leaves for garnish
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • sour cream
  • grated cheese (I used Manchego)

Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium heat, add in the onions & chillis and cook for few minutes until the onions have softened and are translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute, being careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in the red & green peppers, chilli powder, cayenne, cumin, oregano, coriander stalks, salt & pepper. Next add in the tomatoes, the squash cubes and the veg stock, it should just cover the squash. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add in the rinsed beans, stir and cook for another 15 – 20 minutes until your squash is tender. Check for seasoning, add more salt if necessary and stir in the chopped coriander leaves. When ready to serve squeeze over some fresh lemon or lime juice and serve in warmed bowls topped with grated cheese, sour cream, and extra coriander leaves.

Sit back, relax and enjoy………..

New Year’s Day Brunch: Eggs Tex Mex with chilli cheese sauce

1 Jan

This is a Tex Mex twist on Eggs Florentine, my favourite brunch dish, which is a toasted english muffin topped with wilted spinach, two eggs and a hollandaise sauce. In this recipe the hollandaise is replaced by an amazing chilli cheese sauce I made last night as a dip for nachos. Hot cheese & chilli- it doesn’t get better than that. Forget those scary, bright orange, chemical cheese dips you can buy, this is made with real cheese and real chilli and it’s really addictive….

Chilli Cheese Dip/Sauce

adapted from a recipe by The Homesick Texan

makes a big soup bowl full, vegetarian

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (you should use Jalapenos adjust quantities to suit your taste)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 cup milk (I used goat’s milk)
  • about 300 gr grated cheese (I used a cured Manchego. Monterey Jack, Cheddar & Red Leicester would be good or a mix)
  • a small handful of chopped coriander
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 150 ml sour cream or creme fraiche
  • the juice of half a lime
  • salt & balck pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium low heat, add the onions & chillis and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk the cornflour into the milk and then whisk it into the onions. Cook for a few minutes until it thickens, whisking all the time. Then stir in the coriander & tomatoes.

Turn the heat down to low and slowly add the cheese a heaped tablespoon at a time, stirring to melt the cheese before adding the next spoonful. When all the cheese has been added & melted in, add the sour cream, season with salt & pepper and stir in the lime juice.

Pour it into a bowl and serve with nachos, tortilla chips or raw veggie crudites for dipping.Try to resist eating straight from the bowl with a spoon!

 If you have any left you will definitely find loads of uses for it. In fact you will be designing  dishes especially for it. When I woke up this morning I already knew what we were having for brunch today. I think I must have been dreaming about it, it really is that good….

 Eggs Tex Mex Recipe

serves 2, vegetarian

  • 2 english muffins, sliced in half through the middle
  • 1 bag fresh spinach (about 25ogr) picked and washed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • a knob of butter & 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • some chilli cheese sauce (see recipe above) about 200 ml maybe more!

Melt the butter and a splash of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add the garlic, cook for 1 minute then add the spinach, season with salt, pepper & nutmeg and put the lid on. Meanwhile reheat (if cold) the cheese sauce over a low heat in a small pan stirring occasionally. Toast/grill the muffins. In a large frying pan heat 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat then carefully crack in the eggs (1 in each corner) and cover with a lid. Stir the spinach, when it has wilted, remove from the heat and replace the lid to keep warm. Cook the eggs until just set, about 3 minutes.

Butter the muffins halves, top with the wilted spinach and the 2 eggs then pour over the chilli cheese sauce…

Garnish with coriander or parsley leaves and devour greedily…..

Hot Chocolate Melting Centre Puddings

20 Oct

Okay this is the easiest most delicious dessert you will ever make. Your friends will adore you and moan with pleasure when they eat it. The top is cooked and underneath is a molten chocolate pool of heaven. Honestly it is the best reaction I have ever had from a dessert and it’ sooo easy….

Hot Chocolate Melting Centre Puddings Recipe

Serves 4 Vegetarian

  • 130gr plain chocolate 70%
  • 125gr butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • a few drops of almond extract (optional)
  • 175 gr sugar
  • 40 gr plain flour

Chop the chocolate and butter and put it in a bowl over a saucepan with 5 cm simmering water in the bottom. (Don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Whisk occassionally until melted.

Meanwhile in large bowl whisk the eggs with the almond extract (If using) then whisk in the sugar and flour until just blended. Then whisk in the melted chocolate gradually.

Grease four small ramekins with butter then add a little  flour to cover the butter & shake out the excess. Pour the chocolate mixture into the ramekins. You can keep them in a cool place now until you need to cook them.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and cook them for 10 – 12 minutes until the tops are firm & slightly cracking.

Serve immediately with a scoop of  chocolate chip ice cream on top that will ooze into the hot chocolate centre when you break into the pudding. This really is the best…

As you can see I didn’t have time to take a photo I was somewhat distracted and too slow! This is the best I could do, you will have to try it for yourself………

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