Monday, 26 December 2011

Stripey jellies

Not being a fan of either cold custard or cream I've never been a trifle person. At Christmas I have often been offered jelly as an alternative to trifle and the jellies at my father's house were always the best. Rather than sticking with a single colour my father would make stripey jellies in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

This year we found some lovely vegetarian jelly crystals made by weight watchers so I decided to have a go at making stripey jellies. Unfortunately they don't seem to make a green jelly, but I managed three colours with blackcurrant, strawberry & raspberry and orange jelly:

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Mulled wine (2 colours)

Water - 850 ml
Granulated sugar - 115 g
Cinnamon - 1 stick
Whole cloves - 8
Oranges - 2 (unpeeled), quartered
Red wine - 1 bottle
Orange slices

1) Place the water, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves and oranges in a large pan and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes.
2) Leave to cool and then strain into a container. The syrup will keep in the fridge for a week.
3) Heat in a large pan with the bottle of red wine and orange slices.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Feta, pomegranate and leaf salad (2 colours)

This is a really quick and easy salad to make at this busy time of year.

Mixed leaves - 2 large handfuls
Feta - 1/3 pack
Pomegranate arils (seeds) from half a pomegranate

1) Arrange the leaves on two plates. Crumble over the feta and sprinkle the pomegranate arils on top. Serves 2.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Rudolph the red-nosed potato

I saw a picture of something similar on the internet last year and decided that we simply had to make reindeers out of baked potatoes. The feet are celery, eyes are peas, antlers are pasta and noses are cherry tomatoes.

As Ian put it "who says you shouldn't play with your food?!"

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Cranberry and citrus sorbet (2 colours)

This lovely seasonal sorbet, being quite strong in flavour is best in small quantities, say served with some fruit or biscuits. For the recipe, see Cannelle et Vanille.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Coconut macaroons (0 colours)

Eggs - 2
Dessicated coconut - 225 g
Caster sugar - 140 g
Glace cherries - 6, halved

1) Beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the coconut and sugar and stir well. Set aside for 20 minutes.
2) Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Wash your hands in cold water and form the coconut mixture into 12 pyramids. Place these on the baking sheet. Keeping your hands cold and slightly damp helps to stop the mixture sticking more to your fingers than the cakes.
3) Place a glace cherry half on top of each macaroon and bake for 25 minutes or until golden (keep an eye on them after 20 minutes). Makes 12.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Black forest trifle (1 colour)

It's December, our tree is up and half the Christmas cards are in the post. There are so many Christmassy recipes that I want to try that I couldn't possibly cook (and eat) them all in the traditional festive period so I shall start early...

I've never been a fan of cream or cold custard so this is the only trifle I've ever liked.

Chocolate swiss roll (not the kind coated in chocolate) - 1, sliced
Tinned black cherries - 400 g tin, stones removed
Chocolate angel delight - 1 pack
Milk - 300 ml

1) Arrange the swiss roll slices on the bottom of a trifle or similar dish.

2) Pour over the juice/syrup from the tin of cherries and then arrange the cherries on top.
3) Make the angel delight with the milk as per the instructions on the packet and then pour over the cherries. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Salmon en creute (1 colour)

Using ready-made pastry from the frozen section of the supermarket made this a really easy, but impressive-looking and tasty dinner.

Puff pastry - 250g
Salmon fillets - 3 or 4
Herbs of choice
Cream cheese - 175 g
Tomatoes - 2, sliced
Egg yolk - 1

1) Roll out the pastry into a rectangle. Place the salmon fillets in a row in the centre of the pastry. Mix the cream cheese with any herbs of your choice and then spread on top of the salmon. Top with the tomato slices.
2) Lift the flaps of the pastry over the fish but don't completely cover it. Use the excess from the ends to make strips about an inch thick and place these over the top (see photo).
3) Press the edges with your fingers and then brush the pastry with the egg yolk. Bake at 200°C for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 4.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Tortilla, pinto bean and sweetcorn soup (3 colours)

This soup was supposed to have a tin of mild chillis added at the same point as the sweetcorn, but I wasn't able to find one in the shops. It has a lovely flavour even without the chillis.

Dried pinto beans - 200g, cooked as per the instructions on the packet
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onions - 2, finely chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Red chilli pepper - 2, finely chopped
Ground cumin - 1 tbsp
Dried oregano - 1 tbsp
Lime juice - 1 tbsp
Chopped tomatoes - 2 400 g cans
Vegetable stock - 1.5 litres
Frozen sweetcorn - 500 ml (measured in a jug)
Flour tortillas - 3

1) Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cook until softened.
2) Add the garlic, chilli, cumin, oregano and lime juice and cook for another minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and then transfer to a blender.
3) Add the pinto beans to the blender with the tomato mixture and blend until smooth. Pour into a slow cooker, add the stock and cook on high for 4 hours.
4) Add the sweetcorn to the slow cooker, stir and cook for another 30 minutes.
5) A few minutes before serving heat the oven to 180°C. Slice the tortillas into 1 inch strips. Place on a baking tray and brush with oil. Bake for a couple of minutes until golden (keep an eye on them as you can see from the photo that we overcooked ours!), turn over and repeat. Serve the soup with the tortilla strips on top. Serves 6.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Chocolate and raisin fudge (1 colour)

I first made this fudge at school and have made it every couple of years since. It's perfect for this time of year.

Cooking chocolate - 115 g
Butter - 55 g
Evaporated milk - 4 tbs
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Golden syrup - 1 tbsp
Icing sugar - 455 g
Raisins - 55 g

1) Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Add the evaporated milk, vanilla essence and golden syrup and stir well.
2) Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl and pour in the melted mixture. Add the raisins and knead well.
3) Press into a 7 inch square greased tin and leave to cool.
4) When set, cut into squares and remove from the tin.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Yellow split pea soup (2 colours)

This is a really warming thick soup - great for the cold weather.

There seems to be a debate on the internet as to whether split peas need soaking. I gave up trying to work out which were the more reliable sources and soaked them overnight anyway. I used about 275 g dried peas which gave 500 g soaked peas.

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Carrots - 2 large, peeled and chopped
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Celery - 2 sticks, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Vegetable stock - 1 litre
Yellow split peas - 500 g
Bay leaf

1) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrots, onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
2) Add the stock, bay leaf and split peas to the pan, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring regularly (I found the split peas started to stick to the bottom of the pan by the end of the 2 hours, so keep an eye on them).
3) Remove the bay leaf, blend the soup until smooth and serve hot. Serves 4.

Black bean and walnut brownies (0 colours)

My favourite beans are black beans so when I heard that you could use them to make brownies I decided I had to have a go. The original recipe called for chocolate chips, but I replaced them with walnuts. I might try half and half next time.

Cooked black beans - 400 g
Eggs - 3
Vegetable oil - 3 tbsp
Cocoa powder - 20 g
Salt - pinch
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Caster sugar - 150 g
Chopped walnuts - 85g

1) Preheat the oven to 175°C and grease a 20cm square baking tin.
2) Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract and sugar in a blender. Blend until smooth, stir in two thirds of the chopped walnuts and then pour into the tin. Sprinkle over the remaining walnuts.
3) Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Celery, tomato and apple soup (2 colours)

Butter - 50 g
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Bramley apple - 1 large, core removed and quartered (not peeled)
Tomatoes - 430 g, quartered
Celery - 2 large sticks, chopped into 2 inch pieces
Ground ginger - pinch
Ground nutmeg - pinch
Vegetable stock - 570 ml

1) Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the apple, tomatoes, celery, ginger and nutmeg to the pan and stir well.
2) Place two layers of greaseproof paper over the contents of the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
3) Remove the paper, add the stock and stir and then transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth and serve hot. Serves 4.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Beetroot soup (3 colours)

We've got quite a big beetroot harvest this year so I'm back into beetroot recipes again. This is the fourth beetroot soup I've made and certainly the best so far. The recipe by Delia Smith calls for draining the liquid and discarding the vegetables, but I couldn't bear to waste them all. We did try some of the drained liquid and it was indeed delicious eaten cold as suggested, but then we blended in the vegetables and served it hot.

Raw peeled beetroots - 700 g, chopped
Spring onions - 10, chopped
Garlic - 1 clove, finely chopped
Bay leaf - 1
Parsley - handful, chopped
Water - 1.5 litres
Cucumber - 1, peeled and chopped
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Red wine vinegar - 1 tbsp

1) Place the beetroots, spring onions, garlic, bay leaf and parsley in a large pan with the water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 70 minutes.
2) Add the cucumber to the pan and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and red wine vinegar.
3) Either strain and serve cold or pour all the liquid and veggies into a blender (remove the bay leaf first), blend and serve hot. Serves 4-6.

Chocolate courgette cake with chocolate ganache (1 colour)

This cake is really tasty and you'd never know there were courgettes in there. It's extremely crumbly, but as long as you have a fork (or preferably a spoon) to eat it with it's no problem.

Self-raising flour - 350 g
Cocoa powder - 50 g
Mixed spice - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 175 ml
Golden caster sugar - 300 g
Eggs - 3
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
Courgettes - 500 ml (about 2 medium-sized courgettes, measured by volume in a measuring jug), grated
Hazelnuts - 140 g, toasted in a frying pan (being careful not to burn) and then roughly chopped

For the ganache:
Dark chocolate - 200 g, chopped
Double cream - 100 ml

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, mixed spice and salt. In another bowl, combine the olive oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and courgette.
2) Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry and mix until just combined, then fold in the chopped hazelnuts. Line a 9 inch round cake tin with greaseproof paper, then pour in the mixture.
3) Bake at 180°C for about 80-90 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
4) To make the ganache place the chocolate in a mixing bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until it's melted. I wasn't convinced that the cream would melt the chocolate and certainly it was difficult so when I make it again I'll probably heat the chocolate to at least soften it before adding the cream.
5) Leave to cool slightly and then spread the ganache over the cake so it's covered and starts to drip down the sides. Serves 6-8.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Marrow stuffed with tuna and lentils (3 colours)

Marrow - 1, ends trimmed and sliced into 4cm slices
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, chopped
Celery - 1 stick, chopped
Garlic - 1 clove, finely chopped
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g tin
Green lentils - 200 g tin, drained
Tuna - 200 g can, drained
Breadcrumbs - handful
Cheddar cheese - 125 g, grated

1) Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and celery and fry until soft. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and lentils and cook for 10 - 15 minutes until thickened.
2) Drain the tuna and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the tomato lentil mixture and mix well.
3) Scoop out the centre of each marrow slice and place in a baking dish. Spoon the mixture into the hollowed-out centres and spread any remaining mixture between the marrow rings.
4) Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 190°C for 30 minutes. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and top with the cheese. Bake for a further 15 minutes. Serves 2-3, depending on the length of the marrow.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Onion squash stuffed with butterbeans and vegetables (4 colours)

We found these adorable onion squashes at the market and just had to get them:

The recipe makes enough filling to stuff a pumpkin and was too much for two onion squashes, but was very good reheated the next day. Similarly, the cheese sauce wouldn't all fit inside the squash, but we served the remaining sauce on the side.

Squash - 2 small or 1 large
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Onions - 2, chopped
Carrots - 2, sliced
Celery - 1 stick, sliced
Red pepper - 1, deseeded and chopped
Plum tomatoes - 3, chopped
Butterbeans - 400g can, drained
Dried breadcrumbs - quantity depends on size of squash

For the cheese sauce:
Butter - 30 g
Flour - 30 g
Milk - 250 ml
Cheese - 100 g

1) Prepare the squashes by cutting off a lid and scooping out the seeds and pith. If the squash aren't balanced slice a small section from the base so that they stand upright.
2) Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onion and cook until softened. Add the carrots, celery, pepper and tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes.
3) Add the butterbeans and stir well.
4) Make the cheese sauce: heat the butter in a small pan and when melted stir in the flour. Slowly add the milk, stirring. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly or until the sauce thickens. Add the cheese and stir.

5) Assemble the squash by first filling with the butterbean and vegetable mixture, remembering to leave some room in the top. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and pour the cheese sauce on top. Place the lids on and bake for 1 hour at 170°C. Serves 2.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Blackberry and coconut traybake (1 colour)

Another delicious blackberry cake recipe...

Self-raising flour - 250 g
Rolled oats - 25 g
Soft brown sugar - 200 g
Cold butter - 200 g, cut into pieces
Dessicated coconut - 75 g
Eggs - 2, beaten
Blackberries - 350 g

1) Put the flour, oats and sugar in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until only very small pieces remain (my butter was a bit too warm so I ended up with a gooey mess, but the cake was delicious anyway). Add the coconut and stir well.
2) Fill a cup with some of the mixture and set aside.
3) Add the eggs to the bowl and stir. Pour the mixture into a lined baking tin (around 30 x 20 cm). Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon, then scatter over the blackberries.
4) Scatter over the reserved mixture and bake for 1 hour at 160°C until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold. Makes 16-20 squares.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Highlanders with blackberries (1 colour)

Ian made these delicious shortcakes this week. They're delicious with blackberries which is just as well given how many we have in the fridge at the moment.

Butter - 100 g
Caster sugar - 50 g
Plain flour - 100 g
Rice flour - 50 g
Demerara sugar to coat
Blackberries to serve

1) Cream the butter and caster sugar together in a large bowl. Sieve in the plain and rice flour and mix. Knead well with your hands.
2) Roll into a thick sausage and roll in the demerara sugar.

3) Cut into 15 slices and bake on a greased baking tray for 15 minutes at 190°C until golden brown.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Apple, blackberry and almond cake (2 colours)

This cake has a lovely combination of flavours. If you prefer it to taste less of almonds then exclude the almond essence.

Soft brown sugar - 175 g
Soft margarine - 125 g
Plain flour - 175 g
Eggs - 2
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Ground almonds - 60 g
Almond essence - 0.5 tsp
Bramley apples - 2 large
Blackberries - 125 g
Flaked almonds - 60 g

1) Cream the sugar and butter together in a large mixing bowl. Sieve 50 g of the flour into the bowl, add the eggs and mix. Beat in the ground almonds and almond essence.
2) Add the rest of the flour and the baking powder and mix well. Pour two thirds of the cake mixture into a greased and lined 8 inch round tin.
3) Peel, core and slice the apples and layer the slices over the cake mixture.
4) Mix the blackberries with the remaining cake mixture and pour on top of the apples. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and bake for 30 minutes at 190°C. Turn the oven down to 180°C and cook for a further 30 minutes. Be careful handling it while it's hot because it's very soft and breaks easily. Serves 8.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Tuna balls (1 colour)

Serve this alternative to meatballs on top of spaghetti with a jar of pasta sauce.

Tuna - 185 g can in sunflower oil, drained with the oil set aside
Pine nuts - 1 tbsp
Half a lemon - grated rind of
Parsley - small handful
Dried breadcrumbs - 25 g
Egg - 1, beaten

1) Flake the tuna into a mixing bowl. Add the pine nuts, lemon rind, parsley and breadcrumbs and stir well.
2) Add half the egg and mix together with your hands, adding more egg if necessary to get the mixture to stick together. Form into 6-8 balls.
3) Fry in the sunflower oil for a few minutes, turning regularly until golden brown. Serves 2.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Blackberry ice cream (1 colour)

A couple of days ago we went for a walk along the river Exe, North of Exeter. We were pleased to find some more ripe blackberries and so today we made blackberry ice cream. It's a really simple recipe with only four ingredients.

Fresh blackberries - 500 g, washed
Water - 2 tbsp
Caster sugar - 75 g
Whipping cream - 300 ml

1) Put the blackberries, water and caster sugar in a saucepan and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes. Be careful not to put them on too high a temperature or they'll boil over quite quickly.
2) Strain the blackberry juice over a pyrex bowl using a sieve. The juice goes through very quickly, but it takes a few minutes to press the rest of the pulp through the sieve with a wooden spoon. Discard the seeds.
3) When the blackberry syrup has cooled put the bowl in the fridge and whip the cream in a separate bowl until it's soft, but still falls off the whisk. Combine with the blackberry syrup and stir well.
4) Pour into a freezable container (with a lid) and freeze for 2 hours. Remove from the freezer and mash with a fork to break up the ice crystals. Return to the freezer and repeat after another 2 hours. The ice cream should take a further couple of hours to set completely. Defrost for 15 minutes to allow it to soften before serving. Makes 900 ml.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Roasted root vegetable and goat's cheese hash (3 colours)

Olive oil for roasting
Carrots - 4 large, peeled and chopped into large pieces
Parsnips - 3, peeled and chopped into large pieces
Beetroot - 3 small, cut into wedges
Garlic - 1 clove, finely chopped
Pine nuts - 1 tbsp
Butter for frying
New potatoes - 700 g
Goat's cheese - 250 g

1) Roast the carrots, parsnips and beetroot with the garlic sprinkled on top at 200°C for 40 minutes or until cooked.
2) Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in their skins. Drain and slice.
3) Heat a frying pan and toast the pine nuts, being careful not to burn them. Tip the pine nuts into a large bowl and return the frying pan to the heat. Add the butter.
4) Fry the potato slices in batches until golden brown.
5) When the root vegetables are cooked add them to the bowl with the pine nuts and stir well. Crumble three quarters of the goat's cheese over the top and stir.

6) Tip the root vegetables into an ovenproof dish and top with the potato slices. Crumble over the remaining goat's cheese and cook for 15 minutes at 200°C. Serves 6.

Yoghurt and lemon buns (1 colour)

These were referred to as biscuits in the recipe book, but they're so large and fluffy we both agreed they were definitely buns. They have a lovely flavour, but are a little plain so I may ice them with either plain or lemon icing next time.

Plain flour - 250 g
Granulated sugar - 2 tbsp
Baking powder - 1 tbsp
Bicarbonate of soda - 0.5 tsp
Salt - 0.5 tsp
Grated lemon zest - 2 tsp
Butter - 76 g
Plain yoghurt - 250 ml

1) Sieve the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a mixing bowl. Addd the lemon zest and stir.
2) Add the butter and mix until it forms coarse crumbs. Add the yoghurt all at once and stir to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
3) Form the dough into a ball and knead on a floured surface for a minute. Pat into a 1 inch thick round.
4) At this point the recipe stated to use a 2 inch cutter and to cut rounds from the dough. We tried this, but the dough was too sticky so we just tore pieces off and made them into bun shapes. Place on a greased baking sheet.
5) Bake at 220°C for 12 to 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they cook very quickly. Cool on a cooling rack. Makes 12-14 buns.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Tomato and aubergine sauce (4 colours)

This makes a large quantity (2 litres) of sauce which can be stored in the fridge or frozen.

Aubergines - 2 large, chopped
Red onions - 2, chopped
Garlic - 8 cloves, finely chopped
Vegetable stock - 300 ml
Dried chilli flakes - 0.5 tsp
Ground coriander - 1 tbsp
Ground cumin - 1 tbsp
Paprika - 2 tsp
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Chopped tomatoes - 4 400 g tins
Fresh herbs - finely chopped

1) Combine the aubergines, onions, garlic, stock, spices and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes and then uncover and simmer for around 20 until the aubergine pieces are soft and the stock has been absorbed.

2) Add the tomatoes, stir well and cook for a further 20 minutes until thickened.
3) Blend the sauce in batches and mix in fresh herbs of your choice. Use over pasta or to make soup (recipe coming soon).

Blackberry and apple jam (2 colours)

We've been keeping an eye out for brambles in our local area this year with the aim of picking and cooking lots of blackberries. We picked our first this week - not far from our house and upon weighing them realised we had enough to make a mixed fruit jam. This jam is really easy to make and the house smelled incredible while it was cooking.

Bramley apples - 2 large, chopped
Water - 0.25 pint
Fresh blackberries - 450 g
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 600 g
Butter - knob

1) Put the apple pieces and water into a jam pan or large saucepan and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the apple is soft.
2) Add the blackberries and lemon juice and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes until the blackberries have softened.

3) Add the sugar and stir well until dissolved. Stir in the butter. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 15 - 25 minutes until the jam has reached setting point - we didn't really know how to tell, but when the excess liquid had gone we turned the hob off and the jam turned out fine. Leave to cool down a little for 15 minutes.
4) Spoon into sterlised jars (place them upside down on a baking tray in the oven at 140°C for 15 minutes and fill while hot), cover with wax paper discs and their lids and leave to cool. Makes 1 kg.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Peach salsa (3 colours)

This summer salsa is great served over tuna steaks.

Frozen peach slices - 400 g pack, defrosted
Tomatoes - 3 large, chopped
Red pepper - 1, chopped
Chilli pepper - 1, finely chopped
Spring onions - 4, thinly sliced
Lime juice - 2 tbsp
Pure orange juice - 1 tbsp

1) Combine all ingredients in a bowl and leave for a couple of hours with a plate on top to warm to room temperature. Serves 6.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Dishes I want to cook

Over the last couple of weeks I've been compiling a list of dishes that I want to cook. I'm sure I've missed lots of obvious ones so feel free to leave a comment if you can think of any.

Butterbean and cherry tomato tagine (2 colours)

This is really simple to make and very tasty.

Dried butterbeans - 115 g, cooked as per the instructions on the packet or a 400g tin of butterbeans, drained
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, finely chopped
Root ginger - 20 g, finely chopped or grated
Cherry tomatoes - 1 pack
Cinnamon - 1 tsp
Paprika - 1 tsp
Parsley - 1 handful
Cous cous for two

1) Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan and when hot add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring regularly for 5-10 minutes until cooked, but not brown.
2) Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir well. Cook until the tomatoes become soft and then add the butterbeans.
4) When the butterbeans are hot an the tomatoes have just started to break up add the cinnamon and paprika and stir well. Cook the cous cous and serve the tagine with the parsley sprinkled over the top. Serves 2.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Potatoes with creamy corn topping (3 colours)

Potatoes - 4 large, very thinly sliced
Red onion - 1, sliced
Chopped tomatoes - 2 400g tins
Parsley - 1 handful
Evaporated milk - 150 ml
Sweetcorn - 540 g
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Mozzarella - 125 g

1) Place the sweetcorn and evaporated milk in a blender and blend to combine.
2) Heat the oil in a frying pan and when hot add the sweetcorn mixture. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until thickened.
3) Meanwhile, clean the blender bowl and add the tomatoes with their juices and parsley. Blend until the parsley has been chopped fine. Add the mozzarella to the frying pan and stir well.
4) Spread the potato slices over the base of a slow cooker.

5) Add the onion on top and then cover with the tomatoes and parsley.

6) When the mozzarella has melted pour the sweetcorn topping on top of the tomatoes. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

Apple scone (1 colour)

Continuing along the theme of family recipes, this one comes from the Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook. Although the book is rather outdated it contains the recipes for two of my favourite cakes - apple scone and ginger cake. When I was growing up we used to have apple scone every year at harvest-time.

Baking apple - 1 medium
Self-raising flour - 225 g
Baking powder - 1 level tsp
Salt - 0.5 tsp
Castor sugar - 57 g
Butter - 57 g
Milk - 0.25 pints or less

For the glaze:
Demerara sugar - 20 g
Milk - for brushing

1) Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter.
2) Peel, core and chop the apple finely. Add the castor sugar and apple to the bowl and mix well.
3) Add the milk, a little at a time, while mixing to form a soft dough. The dough shouldn't be sticky so don't add all the milk if you don't need to (I didn't).
4) Place the dough on a floured surface and roll into a circle about 1 cm thick. Transfer carefully to a greased baking sheet. Score into 8 triangles. Brush with the milk and sprinkle over the demerara.
5) Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes until golden brown. Cut into triangles and serve hot or cold with butter. Serves 8.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Aubergine quesadillas with spicy salsa (4 colours)

I love vegetarian mexican food and anything with aubergine in always grabs my attention. In the past I've made enchiladas, fajitas and burritos, but I'd never had quesadillas before.

Aubergine - 1 large, chopped
Green pepper - 1, chopped
Yellow pepper - 1, chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, finely chopped
Thyme - 1 tbsp fresh chopped or 1 tsp dried
Basil - 1 tbsp fresh chopped or 1 tsp dried
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Flour tortillas - 4 large
Cheese - handful, grated

For the salsa:
Olive oil - 1 tsp
Garlic - 4 cloves, finely chopped
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g tin
Tomato puree - 1 tbsp
Cayenne pepper - to taste

1) Place the aubergine and pepper pieces on a baking tray and sprinkle over the garlic and herbs. Drizzle with the olive oil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the aubergine is golden brown, turning occasionally.
2) Meanwhile, heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a small pan and add the garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes and then add the chopped tomatoes, cayenne pepper and tomato puree. Stir well and simmer until the quesadillas are ready.
3) When the vegetables are cooked place two of the tortillas on a baking sheet and grill on a medium heat until crisp (keep an eye on them or they will burn!) Remove from the heat and turn them over. Spoon half the vegetables on to each and sprinkle over the cheese. Place the remaining tortillas on top and grill until crisp. Cut into quarters and serve with the hot salsa. Serves 2.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Sausage pie (3 colours)

I've eaten sausage pie for as long as I can remember - I think the recipe originally came from my father's mother. These days I use vegetarian sausages, but I grew up with it containing skinless pork sausages or sometimes sausage meat. The crispy bits of mashed potato that form around the edges of the dish are always fought over!

Potatoes - 5 large, peeled and quartered.
Vegetarian sausages - 1 pack, chopped into 1 cm pieces
Mixed herbs - 1 tsp
Baking apple - 1 large, peeled and chopped
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Tomatoes - 2 large, sliced

1) Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes until cooked.
2) Meanwhile, put a layer of sausage pieces in the base of a large pyrex dish and sprinkle over the herbs. Top with a layer of apple, followed by a layer of onion. Arrange the tomato slices on top.
3) Mash the potatoes with a little margarine and then spread on top of the tomatoes. Cover with a lid and bake at 220°C for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serves 2-3.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Spinach, radish and roasted cherry tomato salad (3 colours)

Cherry tomatoes - 1 handful
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Garlic cloves - 3, finely chopped
Dried herbs - I used thyme, basil and oregano
Spinach - 2 handfuls
Radishes - handful, sliced thinly
Hazelnuts - small handful, chopped

1) Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray and drizzle over the olive oil. Sprinkle with the crushed garlic and dried herbs and roast at 160°C for 20 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, arrange the spinach leaves in a serving bowl and layer the radishes on top. Sprinkle over the hazelnuts.

3) When the tomatoes are cooked spoon them on top of the salad and drizzle over the liquid from the baking tray. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Tuna and sweetcorn burgers (2 colours)

These are much more like burgers than fishcakes so they go well in bread rolls with lots of lettuce and salsa or ketchup.

White bread - 45 g, torn into pieces
Sweetcorn - 100 g (about half a can, drained)
Tuna - 185 g can, drained
Spring onions - 2, finely chopped
Cheese - 25g, grated
Egg - 1, beaten
Olive oil - 1 tbsp

1) Use a food processor to break the bread into crumbs and transfer to a mixing bowl.
2) Blend or mash the sweetcorn and add to the bowl with the tuna, spring onions and cheese. Mix well.
3) Add the egg bit by bit until you can form the mixture into burgers without them falling apart (I used about half). Shape into two burgers.
4) Fry in the oil for about 5 minutes on each side until hot. Serves 2.