Spicy stuffed peppers 

  
Everyone seems to fill January with exercise and healthy eating – all part of clean living after overindulging at Christmas; our house is not an exception so easy healthy dinners are key this month, this is the first of many:

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 peppers
  • 1 cup cous cous
  • Half a courgette
  • Gouda cheese (I used 14 slices but you can exclude if you’re lactose intolerant and cover with breadcrumbs or would rather not eat cheese right now – Gouda was the lowest in calories I could find)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sweetcorn
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 clove garlic

Method

  • Put the cous cous in a bowl and cover with boiling water until it’s a few mm over the top. Cover with a plate and leave to one side.
  • Cut the peppers in half down the middle and de-seed. Place on a lightly oiled baking tray in the oven at 180 degrees
  • Meanwhile chop the courgette into tiny cubes and fry in the garlic and a little oil
  • Chop the tomatoes into quarters 
  • Put everything except the cheese into the cous cous and recover  
  • Take the peppers out of the oven and line the inside bottoms with some of the Gouda making sure you save some for the tops  
  • Stir the cous cous ingredients in and season with salt and pepper
  • Spoon the cous cous mix into the peppers and place the remainder of the cheese over the top    
  • Bake again for a further 10 mins

Job done.

 

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International Menu Week – kids dinner ideas


The children have requested an International Menu Week again soon. We did it once before and it was a great success, with the kids eating all except one dish (French cheeses) of the food we had prepared. The children choose the countries and look up the national dish (or even just a typical dish of that country), then pop it on the menu. It’s nice to have a change from the normal staple foods and they seem to really enjoy learning about other countries.

I get them to draw the flags, write the dishes down themselves and the language they speak in each country, sometimes I ask them to find out how to say hello in their language too, so a little bit of playing schools, which they love. Then they also help to cook the dinners where they can.

I also found something today which I might try too. A blog showing all the food holidays! Every day is a food holiday – I particularly like that my birthday is ‘eat what you want’ day!

Feeling a bit ‘bleugh’ today so today’s – mulled cider, has cheered me up a bit, just gotta find some now! Where the hell do I get that from???? There aren’t any Christmas markets yet. Looks like I’m going to Borough Market at lunchtime today!

Check out what you should be eating on your birthday!!!

Foodimentary

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Prawn, Rocket and Tomato Spaghetti

I love this meal. This takes an Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy 10 minutes to cook if you buy the quick cook Spaghetti (5 minutes) and cooked Prawns (perfect if you work and don’t have time to ‘slave’ or have forgotten about the kids dinner and need a quick fix! Oops!).

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of Cooked Prawns
  • Half a pack of mini plum tomatoes
  • 1 pack of Rocket
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 tbsp red pesto
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 good handfuls of grated Parmesan
  • Spaghetti
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  • Finely chop the Onion and fry in a little Olive Oil until soft
  • Boil a kettle and put the Spaghetti on to boil with a little salt
  • Chop the Tomatoes into halves and add to the Onion, fry for a couple of minutes
  • When the Tomatoes and Onion mixture has softened a bit, add into the pan the Pesto and juice of the Lemon
  • Add a ladle of the pasta water into the Tomato/Onion pan.
  • Drain the Spaghetti and add to the pan too, along with the Parmesan and Rocket
  • Lastly, add the Prawns to heat through and season according to your taste
  • Spinkle a bit more Parmesan over the top of you like cheese…..which I do.

10 minutes. Bish Bash Bosh.

ENJOY!

The kids have had this too, both ate it all up but moaned about the ‘leafy leaf things’ in it, picking them out with their fingers, but, once they’d tried one and realised they’re actually not bad, they ate them up. Boo picked all the Prawns out and gave them to Bear (she doesn’t like Prawns – I’ll keep trying though). They both gave it a 7 and said they’d have it again.

 

Creamy, Cheesy, Chicken, Broccoli, Leek and Pasta Bake

This was a hit with all family members! 8 and 9 from the kids. This fed 4 of us with a bit left over. I cooked this all in one pan, so if you’re planning on doing the same you’ll need quite a deep frying pan, with a lid, as you steam the veg in the same pan as the chicken so it’ll need to be covered. If you haven’t got one you’ll need to cook the leek and broccoli in the pan for longer, so add them into the pan when the onion goes in.

Ingredients

  • 6 Boneless chicken thighs (chopped into small chunks)
  • 1 leek (sliced)
  • Broccoli (my kids love Broccoli so I put lots of it in (all of it – as you buy it in a bunch at the supermarket)
  • Half an Onion (finely sliced)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 200g Cheese (grated)
  • 150ml Double Cream
  • 250ml Chicken Stock
  • Pasta (however much you want really – you know your appetite)
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  • Boil the kettle and put the water in a pan on the hob to boil with the pasta
  • Put a knob of butter in a deep frying pan and fry off the chicken so it’s sealed on all sides
  • Put the onion in with the chicken and cook until soft
  • Add the leek and broccoli and fry for a further few minutes until it softens slightly
  • Add in the chicken stock and lemon juice and cover, let simmer for about 7 minutes until the stock reduces right down, this needs to be covered to steam the veg.
  • Once it’s reduced down to half it’s size add in the cream and half the cheese and keep simmering until the sauce thickens to your taste
  • Add in the salt and pepper and stir in the pasta
  • Put into a baking dish, sprinkling over the remainder of the cheese and pop in the over at 180 for about 10 minutes or until top turns slightly brown.

Voila.

(You can actually miss out the last step, you don’t have to bake it as well if you can’t be bothered and want less washing up!)

For a little bit of added flavour a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard is nice in this sauce too.

 

 

Chorizo and Broad Bean Risotto

chorizo risotto

Mmmmmmmm…..this is possibly the yummiest thing I have ever cooked in my entire life!

I cooked enough for 2 but Beardy was out so I kept going back to get more until there was only one bean left, then I felt sorry for it and ate that too! Ummmm, I know, naughty me, but I couldn’t help it – it called to me, and it’s rude to ignore. I didn’t even feel guilty, I would have done if I’d left it there all alone with no-one to talk to though, so I figure I did the right thing.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • 1/2 – 3/4 ltr Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 White Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove of Garlic (crushed)
  • Large handful of grated Parmesan
  • Half a Chorizo Sausage (halved and sliced)
  • 1 cup frozen Broad Beans
  • 1 tbsp Double Cream
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Knob of butter

Method

  • Melt the knob of butter in a saucepan big enough to hold the whole risotto and chuck in the onion, garlic and rice and stir until the rice looks a bit translucent.
  • Pour in the Chicken stock ladle by ladle and intermittently stir vigorously until you’ve used about half of it. The rice should soak up all the stock and you should have a creamy pudding rice consistency.
  • Put in half the Parmesan and all the Chorizo and continue to add in the stock, stirring the whole time.
  • After about 10 minutes of stirring add in the remainder of the stock along with the Broad Beans and remainder of Parmesan and cover to simmer for a few minutes, checking the whole time to make sure the rice doesn’t stick. If it does, just add a bit more boiling water.
  • When the rice is done, pour in the Double Cream and allow to heat through, adding Salt and Pepper to taste (I like lots of Pepper!)
  • Sprinkle with a dusting of Parmesan, if you fancy…and I do.
  • All done.

This should take about 20-25 minutes to cook in total and although is not particularly healthy, is SUPER YUM!

Easy Peasy Thai Chicken Curry

thai red curry

This wasn’t spicy enough for Beardy, he preferred the Green one I did a couple of weeks earlier (which I’ll post when I do it again but can’t remember exactly what I put into it!), but for a self confessed curry wimp like me it was perfect! (also I did notice that when I went to the kitchen to get myself a bit more Beardy had already polished the lot off – so he obviously liked it more than he was letting on!)

Although I put this on the menu this week, when I came to do it found I’d forgotten to buy practically all the ingredients so I made this up from stuff I had in the cupboard. I was a bit apprehensive because it ended up consisting of practically all dry store cupboard ingredients (and what on earth was a thai curry going to be like without fresh coriander?!) I didn’t hold out much hope, I always use fresh ingredients when doing Thai curry, it just makes it taste…..well….fresher. So, anyway I was pleasantly surprised when this turned out to be one of my better experiments!

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts (diced)
  • 1 small pack of baby corn (chopped into little chunks)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of water chestnuts
  • 1 tin of bamboo shoots
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground galangal
  • 1 tsp chopped lemongrass
  • 2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 2 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 spring onions (sliced)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 200/400g tin of coconut milk
  • 1tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 cup Rice (I used Basmati, because it cooks quicker but ideally I would have preferred sticky rice – use half a cup per person)

This seems like a lot of ingredients, I know, but as you’re making your own paste it all gets chucked in together and whizzed up so it’s not a complicated recipe.

Method

  • Put the lime leaf, coriander, galangal, lemongrass, chili flakes, ginger, garlic, caster sugar, cashews, lime juice and fish sauce into a blender and whizz up, if it’s too gloopy and thick you can add a bit of water.
  • Put the chicken into a large frying pan (enough to hold the whole curry) and start frying the chicken in the paste you’ve just done.
  • When the chicken has sealed on all sides, pour the tomatoes and half the coconut milk (200g) in and simmer for about 10 minutes
  • Pop your rice in some boiled water and continue boil for however long the instructions say (usually about 10-12 mins for Basmati)
  • Add the natural yoghurt into the chicken. Simmer for a few minutes more before then adding in the baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and spring onions.
  • If you like your curry with extra juice you can add the remaining coconut milk here but you probably won’t need to if you don’t, it should be runny enough to soak into the rice. It’s your choice entirely!
  • Simmer for a few minutes more until all ingredients are hot and cooked through and then season to taste.
  • Drain and rinse the rice and season with salt

Serve up and Enjoy!

This serves 2 hungry curry lovers and took me an easy peasy 40 minutes to prepare and cook.

Avocado, Mango and Blue Cheese Salad

  

I feel a bit condescending explaining how to make a salad, it’s a salad, it’s not exactly difficult. I was using up stuff I had bought and forgotten about so I wasn’t really expecting a post worthy recipe, everything was telling me blue cheese and mango didn’t go but if I didn’t use it today it would probably get thrown out so I ignored the voices in head asking me what I was thinking and went ahead and did it anyway; hey! living on the edge!……. surprisingly it was super yummy! 

Instead of my usual lashings of salad cream I whipped up a dressing of natural yoghurt and Harissa. I loved the burst of zing the Harissa added; it complimented the mango perfectly.

Ingredients

  • Salad leaves
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Quarter mango
  • 1 avocado
  • blue cheese (I used blacksticks blue)
  • 2 tbsp Natural yoghurt 
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste

 

Method

There is no special method to this, I don’t think there really is to any salad, it’s all about the ingredients, it really doesn’t matter how to chop/slice them so you’ll notice that I haven’t put quantities of salad ingredients on here as you can just chop up what you need/want and chuck it in a dish. If you like tomatoes (like me) add a few more in, if you don’t love cucumber, leave it out – it’s totally up to you! One thing I will say though is crumble the cheese between your fingers so it breaks up quite small as large bits of blue cheese can sometimes be a bit much (and that’s coming from an avid cheese lover!) . 

Put the yoghurt in a separate bowl and plop the Harissa on top, give it a little stir but not too much, you want some of the yoghurt to have more Harissa in than others, then drizzle the dressing over. Obviously if you are doing this for more than one person you will need more dressing – this amount was just for me. Enjoy.

Chorizo, Prawn and Sweet Potato Risotto

prawn&chorizo risotto

Sorry about the soft hue over the picture, I think it must have been the steam but looks a bit like some sort of sultry porno food picture! …..umm…anyway….

I’ve gone a bit mad on Chorizo recently, every time I go shopping Chorizo is on my list and it always ends up in some kind of Prawny Chorizo stylie concoction. The kids both love Chorizo too so it’s a winner, although with this particular dish didn’t bother giving to them since Boo’s new found hatred of Prawns (she used to love them! I can’t help feeling it’s my fault for giving her too many Chorizo and Prawn combinations) and Bears disgust at being served up Sweet Potato – no idea where that came from?! I didn’t think this one would go down too well. So this was just for the grown ups in our house, although some would argue there actually aren’t any! 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 Chorizo sausage – halved and sliced
  • 1 cup peeled Prawns (cooked/frozen/uncooked – whatever your preference)
  • 1 Sweet Potato – chopped into small chunks
  • half an Onion – finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic – crushed
  • 1 glass rose wine
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 cup frozen Peas
  • 1 cup of Risotto rice
  • 1.5 ltr chicken stock
  • a good handful of parmesan cheese
  • knob of butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  • Heat your oven to 180 degrees
  • Plonk a knob of butter in a pan big enough to hold the risotto and fry off the chopped onion and garlic, add into the pan the rice and coat all over with the garlicy oniony mixture until the rice goes a bit see through
  • Boil a kettle and make your chicken stock, one or two ladles at a time pour into the pan, along with the glass of rose wine, and keep stirring (if you stir vigorously throughout you will release more starch so the risotto will be creamier)
  • Cut up the Sweet Potato into chunks and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Pop in the oven for about 20 mins – hopefully the time it takes for the Risotto to cook.

sweet pot

  • Meanwhile, while the rice is cooking, chop up the chorizo and put with another knob of butter in a separate frying pan, fry for a few minutes until the butter turns orange and the chorizo becomes harder in texture.
  • Keep adding and stirring that risotto rice. Add in half the parmesan cheese, paprika and salt and pepper to taste (I like to put LOADS of pepper in)
  • Add in the chorizo along with the butter it was cooked in and if you have frozen prawns, put them in now too
  • Keep stirring and tasting the rice until almost done, add the peas, and if you have fresh prawns, cooked or uncooked, this is when you would add them followed by the rest of the parmesan.

chorizo risotto

  • Take the sweet potato out of the oven and stir through the risotto.Check the prawns and rice before dishing up.
  • I grated a bit more Parmesan on top too, can never have too much Parmesan!
  • Eat. Yumski.

 

 

Top Tip! Best way to peel an Avocado…or Mango….or Kiwi….

I love all three of the above but particulary an Avocado so when I saw this video I was really excited to try it, I normally just scoop out bits with a spoon which can be a bit tedious and messy.

I was a bit apprehensive; I thought it might be like one of my many Pinterest fails – looks amazing on screen, looks rubbish in reality….so, does it really work? The video would suggest yes, it does, so I tried it.

OMG, my life has changed forever. In the space of about a month I have eaten 245 avocados, just because I like peeling them!!!! It’s amazing, really. I am off to buy more mangoes and kiwis this week so I can have a ‘peeling awkward fruit marathon’. Thank you Dave Hax whoever you are.

 

Rolling a Wrap

I tried to instil a bit of healthy eating into my children last week and gave Boo a wrap instead of sandwich for her lunch, a nice healthy alternative to bread. What a nightmare I had trying to  roll it! It flaked as I rolled and I knew Boo would struggle eating it but still gave it to her anyway, she picked it up, and as kids seem to have no concept of how to hold food properly, she picked it up like a dainty teacup and obviously it all fell apart and the filling fell all over the table and floor, she cried. I laughed. Evil Mummy. So I thought, right, enough is enough, I am not having a wrap beat me and upset my children, I will conquer this, so I looked up some videos on how to do this on YouTube and I tried again.

I did actually take a video of me doing this to see if normal people (rather than chefs) could do it as easily but Beardy found it and cracked up laughing, which then made me totally paranoid I looked a complete wally and decided against putting it on here! lol. I can tell you this though, it’s not as easy as it looks!

The two videos I followed were these below, if, like me, you suck and rolling wraps this is very useful……

Although I found both of these helpful, I also found a tip somewhere that said to heat your wrap first before rolling as it makes it more pliable, which I would definitely recommend! The only trouble with this is that the butter melts when you put it on obviously because the wrap is warm, but butter is paramount for the sticking, bit of a catch 22 really. I had also never put butter on before, but can confirm that this is definitely needed!

I found the tucking in of the ends in the first video a bit of a problem, it kept breaking on me and I think now in hindsight I may have left too much room and tried to tuck too much of the wrap in. I did this 3 times and only one of them turned out ok, could just mean more practice needed.

The other thing I tried was to copy the second video (easier) and wrap it in foil, I left one end open and twisted the other end so the filling wouldn’t fall out, kind of like a Twister from KFC (if you’ve ever had one) and as you eat you tear away the foil. This also worked pretty well but it’s a bit of a pain having to keep tearing away the foil so not ideal by any stretch, especially for kids.

In conclusion, I would say;

  • Heat the wrap, but only for 10 seconds (it does make it easier to roll).
  • Butter the middle of the wrap, not the edges to start with, just where the filling goes.
  • Roll up and butter the edges at the end of the process to stick down (i.e. after the wrap has cooled)
  • Don’t tuck in the edges (copy the second video) but trim the ends, or if you do want to tuck the edges in, don’t leave too much, about an inch at either end is ok.

Boo ate both of these well with her tiny fingers, dropping hardly any at all.  Happy Boo Boo, Happy Mummy.