Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Witches Hair with Bugs {Spaghetti with Prawns}

Try not to be too grossed out by the name (or look!) of this dish as it is the perfect Halloween dish to get you in the mood for trick or treating or to quickly gobble down after! There is something about black spaghetti that just screams Halloween and so I just can't resist making it to mark the occasion. I love this dish as it takes no time to make – literally just as long as it takes for the pasta to cook – it tastes fantastic and has the perfect Halloween look to keep the children happy! Of course when Halloween has past this is still a fantastic meal which can be enjoyed minus the black spaghetti and with whole wheat or regular white spaghetti instead. We eat this dish a lot as it is the perfect quick and easy mid-week meal!

{Serves 4 easily doubled for a crowd}

400g black (squid ink) spaghetti
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped (de-seed for a milder child friendly dish)
1lb prawns, cleaned*
Juice of ½ lemon
Sprinkling of fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted, boiling water for the time instructed on the packet. While the spaghetti is cooking heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan and gently cook the garlic and chilli until softened but not coloured. Add the prawns and toss well and cook until warmed through (or if using raw prawns until they have cooked properly). Squeeze over the lemon juice then take off the heat.

Drain the spaghetti reserving a tablespoon of the cooking water then add the spaghetti to the garlicky prawns. Add the reserved pasta water then mix well. Finish with the final tablespoon of olive oil to give a real 'glossy' look to the pasta then if using scatter over the parsley. Serve at once.

*For this particular dish I used small prawns since I thought they better resembled bugs(!) however ordinarily when I make this I use normal sized prawns. You can use either cooked or raw prawns for this dish, just make sure they have their shells off and have been cleaned. If you do use raw prawns they will require about 4 minutes to cook whereas the cooked prawns literally just need to be heated through.

**If you like you can miss out the prawns and have a super simple pasta supper of Garlic & Chilli Spaghetti – one of my favourites! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Orange Jelly Pumpkins

A great treat for Halloween for the kids as it's super easy to make and a lot easier to carve than a pumpkin! Perfect for a party these 'pumpkins' will have vanished before you can say Boo!

Makes 3-4 'pumpkins' (depending on how big the oranges are)

3-4 oranges
1 packet of orange jelly/ jello

Cut the top off the oranges then scoop out the orange flesh as best as you can and set aside in a bowl. Squeeze as much juice out of the orange flesh as possible then pop into a measuring jug.

Make the jelly up according to the instructions by dissolving it in boiling water, then instead of using cold water to finish it use the same amount of the freshly squeezed juice (topping up with water if needed to the correct amount). Let the jelly set in the fridge.

While the jelly is setting and chilling carve the oranges to make faces like a pumpkin. Once the jelly has set mix it up a bit then fill the oranges with it (it's easiest to pop the oranges into a cupcake/muffin tin to keep them steady). Keep cold until ready to serve.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cookbook Challenge ~ Week 2

Well I lasted 7 days (a full week!)....but then I failed! Thanksgiving proved to be too much and on Thanksgiving Monday following a day of cooking a huge feast I couldn't resist a quiet day of enjoying left-overs, so that was that. I don't feel too guilty though – as I said on last week's update, it really is proving to be far too much food for the 3 (ok so more like 2 ½!) of us and I am definitely trying to eliminate waste!! Unfortunately though the hiatus continued on Tuesday as I wasn't feeling well and definitely not up to cooking so another fail.... I got straight back to it on Wednesday though and made up for it by trying 3 new recipes (ok so they were all super simple but still a recipe is a recipe!!) Here's how the rest of Week 2 panned out......

Day 8:  Thanksgiving Monday – nadda!

Day 9:  Not feeling well – nothing again! : (

Day 10:  Fudgy Brownies (EYTF) A definite thumbs up and at only 86 calories per piece you can't complain, however they are tiny little squares which might make you be tempted to have more than 1! Super easy to make and perfect if you are watching your calories.

Prawns with Maryam Zaira Sauce (Nigella Express) Another thumbs up and not just because it's delicious, but because it's super quick and easy to make. The perfect starter, this is a Moroccan inspired version of the classic UK style Prawn Cocktail.

Mozzarella with Crazy Gremolata {NE} I eat Mozzarella any way I can so I was delighted to find something a little different. Even more so when I saw that this 'crazy gremolata' included olives and chillies – 2 of my favourite ingredients. Before I even made this I knew I couldn't go wrong and I was right – completely delicious, quick and easy!

Day 11:  Granola {MFM} This is just 1 recipe for Granola that I bookmarked from several of the chosen books for this challenge but I couldn't resist this version because it just seemed to have a little bit of everything in it! It also makes a lot of granola which was another bonus. It was easy to make, more so just a question of measuring out the ingredients and stirring them up before letting the oven take over for 25 minutes. A delicious Granola which I enjoy scattered over some yogurt. I don't think it will last long in our house!

Minestrone in Minutes {NE} From the moment I saw this recipe I knew I had to try since it promised me a delicious minestrone in minutes using only 4 ingredients....how could I not try it. It really did take no time at all to make – the hardest part was waiting 10 minutes before eating it! I don't ever buy bought pasta/tomato sauces so I would probably change the one I bought but if you have a favourite bought tomato sauce then you will love this soup. I couldn't resist by finishing mine off with a sprinkling of some chilli, parsley and for completely unnecessary indulgence and greed, a little grating of cheese. It was delicious!! I will definitely make this again when I need something filling and hearty in a hurry!

Split Pea Dhal and Cauliflower Curry {MFM} Since it was National Curry Week (in the UK anyway!) at the time of making this I felt I had to make a curry (any excuse!), but I loved the idea of making a vegetarian curry, especially since I had cauliflower left over in my fridge. I was delayed a day making it because I had to let the yellow split-peas soak over night but that wasn't a big deal. Both recipes serve 4 but there was again there was a lot more than 4 servings for us. Both the dishes were good – a was a little worried about the Dhal but by the time I added some salt and finished it was the onion topping it was really delicious. The curry as it was wasn't great and I ended up adding some curry paste to it towards the end to give it more flavour. By the time I did that it was great, it was just a touch bland before hand. We both enjoyed the meal but I'm not sure if I will make those particular recipes again as I have lots of other vegetable curry recipes that I prefer (such as Jamie Oliver's Curry Rogan Josh).

Day 12:  Eggs Italian Style {EYTF} Another success from Eat Yourself Thin Faster. This was a great breakfast which was quick and easy to make, tasted fantastic, kept me full for ages and was only 186 calories! I will definitely make this again and again as something a little different!

Day 13:  Day off

Day 14: Sweet Potato Gratin {EYTF It was a miserable rainy day so it was the perfect day for a Roast Beef Dinner, so I made this Sweet Potato Gratin as a side dish. It was really easy to make and although there seemed to be little lumps through it (which I assumed was flour) you didn't taste it. That being said I would make it slightly differently next time to make sure that didn't happen again. Really delicious and the perfect side dish! 


So there you have it! Since the initial challenge (which was to make 1 dish a day) has failed a little, the targets I will use are to reach 31 recipes by October 31st. Here's how I am doing so far.....

Target no. of dishes = 31
Dishes made so far = 18 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cauliflower & Gruyere Soup {And Challenge Update}

This soup, courtesy of Ross Dobson and his book Kitchen Seasons, is rich, indulgent and utterly delicious – so good, that I thought it would be rude not to share it with you and I would hate to be considered rude! If you really want to get an idea of what this soup is like then think fondue meets cauliflower and cheese and you will get an idea of how amazing it is. The end result is a smooth, silky soup that is perfect for a cold night snuggled up by the fire. All you need to go with it is some nice crusty bread.

Serves 4-6 (book says 4, I got 6 easily)

2 tbsp butter
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small cauliflower (about 1kg), cut into small pieces
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
250ml double/ whipping cream
200g gruyere cheese, grated (plus a little extra for serving)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
sprinkling of fresh parsley, chopped

Heat the butter in a large pan until melted and bubbling. Add the onion and celery and cook for roughly 5 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to the boil then leave to gently boil for roughly 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is really soft and breaking up.

Leave to cool slightly then puree in a blender in batches until silky smooth. Return the soup to the heat and add the cream and cheese, then cook over a low heat, stirring, until the cheese has melted completely. Season with a little salt and pepper then taste and adjust as necessary. Serve hot in bowls sprinkled with some extra cheese and the parsley and enjoy with some crusty bread.


Week 1 of the Cookbook Challenge

As I reminder and to those of you that perhaps missed the original post, on October 1st I challenged myself to a full month of cooking using 10 cookbooks, with a minimum of 1 recipe per day (see here for the full challenge). Here is a quick recap of how my first week went....

Well I managed the first week without too many problems but to be honest this challenge is definitely a lot harder than I thought! I knew it wasn't going to be easy – the planning and scouring the books for recipes I wanted to try was and still is extremely time consuming and a little overwhelming to be honest, but the biggest obstacle I'm finding is that it's just too much food!! There are always left-overs which is great but slowly the fridge is getting more and more filled with Tupperware containers and we just can't keep up! Since part of the challenge was to keep it low in cost I'm going to have to cut back a little.... That being said I am still enjoying it – trying lots of new recipes and reading and re-reading a variety of cookbooks. Out of the 9 recipes I made in week 1, I haven't had any major disasters! Perhaps a couple of recipes that I might not make again, or if I do will have to adjust but really that's not bad going. My favourite recipes of the 9 are both soup recipes and both from the book Kitchen Seasons by Ross Dobson. I have also really enjoyed the recipes from The Meat Free Mondays Cookbook and will be cooking a third time from that book tonight. Here's hoping week 2 is another successful week!

The Tested Recipes:

Day 1:   Strawberry& Banana Smoothie {The Meat Free Mondays Cookbook} ( big thumbs up –   have already made again)

Lentil, Chickpea, Cheddar & Onion Burgers with Winter Coleslaw {The Meat Free Mondays Cookbook}( thumbs up – would make again)

Day 2:   Violet Morning Smoothie {Eat Yourself Thin Faster} ( thumbs up – will make again)

Day 3:   Quinoa & Roasted Tomato Salad {MFM}( as it is it's a miss, but it can definitely be adapted to make it tasty so I might do that. It tasted better on the second day so I haven't ruled it out completely!)

Cauliflower & Gruyere Soup {Kitchen Seasons} (good but even better the next day! It is rich and calorie laden so this is one I would keep for a special occasion. Think fondue meets soup! (See above for recipe.)

Day 4:    Raspberry-Oat Muffins {Pretty Delicious} (easy to make, good taste but bottoms stuck to the wrapper and texture was pretty chewy one cooled. I'm undecided if I will try them again.)

Day 5:    Carrot & Lentil Soup {Kitchen Seasons} ( fantastic! Tasted like the lentil soup my mum used to make and I could probably have eaten the entire pot! Loved it and will be making it all winter long!!)

Day 6:    Orange-Glazed Chicken Stir-Fry on Brown Rice {Pretty Delicious} (really good and will definitely make again. Has quite a kick to it so miss out/cut down the amount of cayenne pepper if you don't want it spicy.)

Day 7:    Breakfast Burrito {Eat Yourself Thin Faster} ( A perfect start to the day and a slightly healthier option as well! I loved adding the chopped chillies to the scrambled eggs for a bit of a kick but it did mean I had to make a 2nd spice-free version for Wee One! I also added more turkey sausage than the recipe called for as ½ a sausage seemed ridiculous!! Anyway it was delicious and both hubby and I really enjoyed it! I will definitely make these again.)


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie

This is the first recipe I tried on my October Cookbook Challenge and it was so good I had to share it with you. As with most smoothie recipes this takes no time at all to make so is perfect for a fast, delicious and nutritious breakfast. It is so creamy I'm also going to try freezing it for ice lollies/ popsicles which I just know everyone in the family will love.

Serves 3-4

225g/ 8oz strawberries, trimmed and cut in half
1 banana, roughly chopped
140g/ 5oz natural yogurt
1 ¼ cups/ 300ml milk
1 tbsp honey or to taste

Simply put all of the ingredients into a blended and blitz until it is smooth, creamy and delicious! Perfect for breakfast or a morning snack and great for when you are in a rush and need something to go.

*This recipe is part of my October Cookbook Challenge and was taken from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cookbook Challenge Oct. 2012 ~ 31 Days; 10 Books & 1 Challenge!

The Challenge – To cook at least one meal a day from a cookbook of choice for the month of October. The recipes must be followed exactly so as to properly test them and the budget must be no more (and hopefully less!) than an ordinary month.


That's right folks, for the month of October I am challenging myself to cook at least one meal a day using a cookbook! Now while that might not sound like a challenge for a lot of you, for someone who owns over 1000 cookbooks and rarely cooks from them, this is a challenge for me! Inspired by the bloggers challenge 'Random Recipes' hosted by Dom over at the lovely Belleau Kitchen, I have stepped things up a few notches so that I am not making one recipe a month from a random book, but rather one a day!

With that said however, this challenge isn't quite so random as I have picked out 9 books of choice (fairly randomly and without looking through them) in order to help with meal planning and shopping. The final book for the challenge - book number 10, was picked by you - the readers (through facebook). For those of you that missed it I selected 5 books from my 'library' and the one with the most votes was the lucky book to join the challenge, which turned out to be the Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten. The other 9 books were fairly randomly picked - I tried to do a real mix and choose books that I thought might be fairly familiar to people..... so here they are the 10 books I will be cooking from in October.....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...