Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Winter fruit salad (4 colours)

This makes a lovely change from all the stodgy desserts we usually eat over Christmas. I halved the amount of syrup from the original recipe as we all thought it made far too much.


Ingredients
Caster sugar - 90 g
Water - 500 ml
Vanilla bean - quarter, split in half lengthwise
Dried figs - 4, quartered
Dried apricots - 10, halved
Pears - 3
Granny smith apple - 1
Lemon - 1
Pomegranate - jewels from half (pith and skin discarded)

Methods 
1) First make the syrup. Place the sugar, water, vanilla bean and four 5cm long strips of lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then add the figs and apricots. Leave to cool completely.
2) Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a bowl. Peel and core the apple and pears and slice thinly. Immediately after slicing toss them in the lemon juice and then place them in a large serving bowl. Pour over the cooled syrup and then sprinkle over the pomegranate jewels.
3) Refrigerate for at least an hour and then remove the vanilla bean (which can be dried and reused) and lemon zest before serving. Serves 4-6.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Cranberry pancakes (1 colour)

I used our blueberry pancake recipe today, but replaced the blueberries with 45 g of cranberries for a Christmassy breakfast. Delicious.


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Reindeer noses (1 colour)


Ingredients
Cooking chocolate - 80 g (I used plain, but I'm sure milk would be good too)
Single cream - 2 tbsp
Butter - 30 g
Icing sugar - 155 g
Glace cherries - about 10 (depending on how many noses you make), halved
Dessicated coconut - about 60 g

Methods 
1) Melt the chocolate, butter and cream together in a bowl over a pan of hot water. When melted, stir well and then sieve in the icing sugar. Cool the bowl in the fridge for at least an hour.
2) Take a teaspoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Gently press half a cherry into the ball and then roll in the coconut. Repeat until all the mixture is used up and then return to the fridge. These can be warmed to room temperature before serving, but we found that they were just as good straight from the fridge.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Pear, cranberry & white chocolate pastry (2 colours)

My version of this looked rather messy as for some reason the white chocolate didn't melt enough to become runny. I don't think I overcooked it so am not sure what went wrong.


I might try adding some ground cinnamon or cloves to the filling next time, but it's delicious without.

Ingredients
Puff pastry - 500 g
Dried cranberries - 35 g
Pear halves - 2 * 400 g tins, drained and sliced
White chocolate - 150 g, chopped into small pieces
Egg - 1, beaten with 1 tbsp of water

Methods 
1) Halve the puff pastry and roll out into 2 large squares. Cut off the corners and save the pastry trimmings for decorating. Place one square on a greased baking tray.
2) Mix together the cranberries, pears and 100 g of the chocolate and spoon over the pastry on the baking tray, leaving an inch at each edge.
3) Mix the egg and water together and brush the edges of the pastry. Top with the remaining square and brush all over with the egg and water. Press down the edges with a fork and then make several 2 inch slits, 2 inches apart through the top of the pastry. Decorate with the extra pastry (we made it into some holly leaves).
4) Bake at 190°C for about half an hour until the pastry is golden brown. Leave to cool and then melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Drizzle over the pastry to decorate. Serves 8.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Christmas recipes 2012

I've updated my list of Christmas recipes and separated it into those I've made (and blogged) and those I'd like to make...

RECIPES TO TRY

Canapes:
Canape crackers
Smoked aubergine and yoghurt vol-au-vents
Smoked garlic and mozzarella canapes
Sweet potato puffs with coconut dipping sauce
Tomato and feta pesto bites

Salads:
Christmas bulgur with vegetables
Christmas slaw 
Citrus and pomegranate salad with chilli-honey dressing
Clementine, feta and leaf salad
Feta and pomegranate

Main dishes:
Carrot and cashew crisp with hot lentil salad
Christmas cob
Christmas pies
Christmas pilau
Pine nut and carrot roast
Pumpkin, cranberry and red onin tagine
Leek and cranberry caerphilly strudel
Salmon with cranberry and almond crust 
Wild rice, cranberry and hazelnut stuffing

Cakes & biscuits:
Gingerbread cookies
Gingerbread house
Minty chocolate cookies
Pear and mincemeat crumble cake
Snow-topped cupcakes
Stollen wreath

Desserts:
Apple and pecan strudel
Apple, mincemeat and nut strudel
Lime and cranberry bread and butter pudding
Limoncello syllabub
Little iced Christmas puds
Meringue roulade
Roasted plum strudel
Tropical Christmas pudding

Vanilla-coconut panna cotta with pomegranate jelly

Sweets:
Candied walnuts
Chocolate Christmas trees
Peppermint oreo cookie balls
Sparkling cranberries
Sugar plums

Drinks:
Mulled wine
Poinsettia
Santa shot

RECIPES I'VE TRIED

Main dishes:
Aubergine and goat's cheese parcels with cranberry sauce
Christmas cous cous 

Cakes & biscuits:
Fruit and nut Yule slice
Ginger biscuits
Snowy clementine cakes
White chocolate cranberry pear pastry 

Desserts:
Winter fruit salad

Sweets:
Reindeer noses

Drinks:
Mulled wine

Friday, 30 November 2012

Mackerel fillets with tomato sauce (2 colours)


Ingredients
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Red onion - 1, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Cherry tomatoes - 250 g, halved
Passata - 500 g
Chilli flakes - pinch
Mackerel fillets - 4

Methods 
1) Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan and when hot add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes until softened. Add the cherry tomatoes, passata and chilli flakes, cover with a lid and simmer.
2) Meanwhile, heat the rest of the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the fish fillets as per the instructions on the packet (probably around 15-25 minutes depending on whether they are frozen).
3) Place each fillet on a plate and pour over the tomato sauce. Serves 4.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Butter bean, sundried tomato and pesto soup (1 colour)


Ingredients
Vegetable stock - 900 ml
Cooked butter beans - 800 g
Sundried tomato puree -  80 g
Green pesto - 5 tbsp

Methods
1) Place the beans and stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
2) Reduce the heat and stir in the tomato puree and pesto. Simmer for 5 minutes and then blend in batches until smooth. Serves 4.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Tropical coconut smoothie (2 colours)


Ingredients
Bananas - 2 small
Apples - 2 small, cored and chopped
Lime juice - 1 tbsp
Orange juice - 2 tbsp
Pineapple - 2 rings
Coconut milk - 400 g tin

Methods
1)  Place all the ingredients in a blender or smoothie maker and blend until smooth. Serves 2.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Pea & garlic soup (2 colours)

I strained this soup through a sieve, but a lot of the peas were left behind so I'd recommend adding at least half back into the soup. The rest of the peas can be eaten as a side dish.


Ingredients
Butter - 25 g
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Frozen peas - 900 g
Vegetable stock - 1.2 litres

Methods
1) Heat the butter in a large saucepan. When melted, fry the garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the peas and stir well.
2) Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with a lid on for a few minutes until the peas are cooked. Blend in batches. The recipe said to blend until smooth, but mine never went smooth so I strained it through a sieve.
3) Reheat until hot and season as required.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Samosa stuffed baked potatoes (3 colours)

I adapted this recipe from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen. These really taste like samosas and there's no fiddling around with pastry either.


Ingredients
Baking potatoes - 3 medium-sized
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Onion - 1, chopped
Carrot - 1, chopped
Garlic - 1 clove, finely chopped
Green chilli - 1, finely chopped
Ginger - 1 inch piece, grated
Ground cumin - 1 tsp
Ground coriander - 1 tsp
Cayenne pepper - 0.5 tsp
Turmeric - 0.5 tsp
Sea salt - 0.5 tsp
Frozen peas - 80 g, rinsed with warm water for a minute
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Butter or margarine for mashing

Methods
1)  Bake the potatoes in the oven for an hour at 200°C. Remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Half the potatoes and scoop out the insides, leaving half a centimetre of potato in the skin. Mash the potato in a bowl with a little butter or margarine.
2) Meanwhile, heat half of the olive oil in a frying pan and when hot add the cumin seeds. Cook for a minute and then add the onion and carrot. Cook for a few minutes until the onion has softened.
3) Add the garlic, chilli, ginger, spices and salt to the pan, stir well and cook for a minute. Add a little water and then the mashed potato. Cook for a few minutes and then add the peas to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the peas are warm and then stir in the lemon juice.
4) Brush the potato skins with the remaining olive oil and then stuff with the samosa filling. Bake at 200°C for 20 - 30 minutes until golden. Serves 2-3.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sausage and tomato pasta (2 colours)


Ingredients
Vegetarian sausages - 6, cut into 2cm pieces
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Tomato puree - 1 tbsp
Cherry tomatoes - handful, quartered
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g tin
Chilli flakes - pinch
Penne pasta - 200 g

Methods
1) Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the sausages. Cook for a few minutes until browned and then add the onion and garlic.
2) Cook until the onion has softened and then add the tomato puree, cherry tomatoes, chopped tomatoes and chilli flakes. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, heat the pasta in a pan of boiling water. Drain and add to the frying pan. Stir well and serve. Serves 2.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tuna melt pizza baguettes (3 colours)

This was a really easy alternative to pizza and packed with lots of healthy fish and vegetables too.

Ingredients
Part-baked baguettes - 2 large, halved lengthways
Green pepper - 1, chopped
Yellow pepper - 1, chopped
Celery - 1 stick, chopped 
Sweetcorn - 198 g can, trained
Tuna - 2 cans, drained
Cheddar - cheese - half a pack, grated
Tomato puree - 4 tbsp

Methods
1) Cook the baguettes, face up, on a baking tray at 190°C for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the peppers, celery, sweetcorn, tuna and cheese in a bowl.
2) Spread a tablespoon of tomato puree on each bagutte and then top with the tuna mixture. Bake for a further 12-15 minutes and serve hot. Serves 2-4.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Bean and lentil enchiladas (3 colours)


Ingredients
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, chopped
Carrot - 1 large, peeled & grated
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g tin
Cooked green lentils - 200 g
Cooked black beans - 200 g
Flour tortillas - 4
Cheddar cheese - 50 g, grated
Plain yoghurt - 250 g

Methods
1) Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until softened. Add the chilli powder, stir well and then cook for 1 minute.
2) Add the chopped tomatoes and pulses to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
3) Spread a spoonful of the mixture over the base of an ovenproof dish. Fill each tortilla with some of the mixture, roll up and place in the dish. Repeat for all the other tortillas and then spoon over any remaining mixture.
4) Mix together the yoghurt and cheese and spoon over the tortillas. Heat under the grill for a few minutes before serving. Serves 2-3.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Gooseberry ice cream (1 colour)

The advantage of making your own ice cream is that you can try flavours that aren't available in the shops. Neither of us had ever had gooseberry ice cream before and we were very pleased with both the flavour and with how creamy it was. It also makes a change from gooseberry pie/crumble, which is how we usually use up the gooseberries that we grow.

Ingredients
Gooseberries - 500 g
Caster sugar - 75 g
Water - 60 ml
Double cream - 150 ml
Clotted cream - 120 ml

Methods
1) Heat the gooseberries with the sugar and water in a saucepan for 10-15 minutes until soft. Blend to a puree and then strain with a sieve into a freezable container and leave to cool. Put the container in the fridge to cool further.
2) Whisk the double cream until thick, but so that it still falls from a spoon. Fold the cream into the gooseberry puree and freeze for 2 hours.
3) Remove from the freezer and stir well with a fork. Return to the freezer for another 2 hours. Stir in the clotted cream and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. Serves 6.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Navajo flatbreads (0 colours)

These are quite filling and perfect for dipping into soups and stews. They can be eaten hot or cold. We preferred them warm and heated them in the microwave for 30 seconds before serving.


Ingredients
Strong white bread flour - 600 g
Baking powder - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 6 tbsp
Warm water - 250 ml
Flour for dusting

Methods
1) Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir well. Make a well and pour in the olive oil and 150ml of the water.
2) Using a fork, gradually combine the liquid with the dry ingredients. Add more water if necessary, until the dough forms a dough that can be used to clean the sides of the bowl.
3) Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place it back in the mixing bowl with a damp tea towel on top of the bowl. Leave in a warm place for a couple of hours.
4) Divide the dough into 10 pieces and shape into flatbreads less than 1cm thick by flattening them between the palms of your hands and stretching them between your fingers. Heat a non-stick frying pan (with no oil) and cook for 5 to 10 minutes on each side until golden. Makes 10.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Aubergine parmigiana (3 colours)


Ingredients
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Aubergines - 3, washed and sliced
Onion - 1, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Dried oregano - 1 heaped tsp
Plum tomatoes - 2* 400 g tins, chopped
Basil - 30 g, torn
Parmesan, grated - 100 g
Dried breadcrumbs -  40 g
Mozzarella - 80 g, torn into pieces

Methods
1) Place the aubergine slices on non-stick baking sheets and brush them with half of the olive oil. Bake at 190°C for 15 minutes until soft.
2) Meanwhile, heat the rest of the olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onions until softened. Add the garlic and oregano and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the basil.
3) Pour some of the tomato sauce into an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle over some parmesan and then add a layer of aubergine slices. Repeat until all the aubergines have been used up. End with a layer of sauce.
4) Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan, followed by the breadcrumbs and then top with the mozzarella. Bake at 190°C for 30 minutes. Serves 4.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Mexican stuffed pasta shells (1 colour)



Ingredients
Conchiglioni (jumbo pasta shells) -  25
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Quorn mince - 300 g
Taco seasoning - 2 tsp
Low fat cream cheese - 115 g
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g tin
Salsa - 225 g jar
Cheddar cheese - 100 g, grated

Methods
1) Add the pasta shells to a pan of boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes until al dente (don't let them get too soft or they'll break when you try to fill them). Drain and set aside for a couple of minutes until the shells are cool enough to handle.
2) Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the quorn mince. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle over the taco seasoning and then add the cream cheese to the pan. When the cream cheese has melted stir well to combine the quorn and cheese and then set aside.
3) Pour the chopped tomatoes into a large oven-proof dish. Fill each shell with the quorn and cheese mix and then place them, open-side up, in the dish until you've used up all the shells. Pour over the salsa and then cover with foil.
4) Bake at 175°C for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle over the cheddar cheese. Bake for another 15 minutes. Serves 4.

Taco seasoning (0 colours)


Ingredients
Black pepper - 0.5 tsp
Chilli flakes -  0.25 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Dried oregano - 0.25 tsp
Garlic granules - 0.25 tsp
Ground cumin - 1.5 tsp
Onion granules - 0.25 tsp
Paprika - 0.5 tsp
Sea salt - 1 tsp

Methods
1) Mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl and then store in an airtight container.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Jam and coconut sponge pudding (1 colour)

I used homemade blackberry jam for this, but my Mum always used to use raspberry. Both are delicious.


Ingredients
Jam - 3 level tablespoons
Block margarine - 115 g
Caster sugar - 115 g
Egg - 1 large
Self-raising flour - 115 g
Salt - pinch
Dessicated coconut - 60 g
Milk - 3 to 4 tbsp

Methods
1) Grease a 1.5 pint pudding basin and spoon the jam into the bottom.
2) Cream together the margarine and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the egg and fold in the flour, salt, coconut and milk, adding more milk if necessary until the mixture has a soft, dropping consistency.
3) Spoon the mixture over the jam and level the top with the back of a spoon. Cover the pudding basin with foil (tied with string) and steam over a large pan of boiling water for 90 minutes.
4) Turn out on to a warmed serving plate and serve hot or cold with custard or ice cream. Serves 4-6.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Puy lentil and roasted vegetable salad (2 colours)


Ingredients
Olive oil - 0.5 tbsp
Cherry tomatoes - 200 g, halved
Yellow pepper - 1, chopped
Puy lentils - 250 g pack
Feta cheese - 100 g, chopped

Methods
1) Place the tomato and pepper pieces in a roasting tin and drizzle over the olive oil. Roast at 200°C for 20 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, heat the lentils as per the instructions on the packet.
3) Mix together the lentils with the vegetables (including the oil/juice) and cheese and serve warm. Serves 4 as a side dish.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Baked feta with tomatoes (2 colours)

This makes a lovely lunch, served with crusty bread.


Ingredients
Olive oil - 0.5 tbsp
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Chilli flakes - large pinch
Dried oregano - 1 tsp
Plum tomatoes - 2 x 400 g tins
Feta cheese - 2 x 200 g packs

Methods
1)  Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
2) Add the chilli flakes, oregano and plum tomatoes and stir. Simmer for 30 minutes until thickened.
3) Break the feta into large pieces and place in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the sauce and bake at 200°C for 20 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Golden beetroot salad (3 colours)

We got some golden beetroots in our veg box from Abel and Cole this week. They were easy to cook and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients
Mixed leaves - 2 large handfuls
Red onion - 1 small, chopped
Golden beetroot - 3 medium-sized
Pomegranate - one half, jewels removed and skin and pith discarded
Feta cheese for sprinkling (optional)

Methods
1) Boil the beetroots in a pan of water for 45 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then slip off the skins. Chop into 1 cm pieces.
2) Arrange the salad leaves on two plates. Top with the red onion and beetroot pieces. Sprinkle over the pomegranate jewels and a little feta cheese if desired. Serves 2.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Butternut squash and ginger soup (2 colours)


Ingredients
Butternut squash - 1 large, cut in half and seeds removed
Olive oil for brushing
Butter - 50 g
Carrots - 3, peeled and chopped
Celery - 3 sticks, sliced
Onions - 2, chopped
Ginger root - 2.5 inches, peeled and grated
Vegetable stock - 1litre

Methods
1) Place the squash halves, cut-side up, on a baking tray and brush with the olive oil. Roast at 190°C for 1 hour to 90 minutes until soft. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Mash the flesh.
2) Meanwhile heat the butter in a large pan. When melted, add the carrots, celery, onions and ginger. Cook on low with the lid on for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Add the squash and stock to the pan and stir well. Cook for another 15 minutes and then blend, in batches if necessary. Serves 4-6.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Sweet potato and chickpea burgers (2 colours)


Ingredients
Sweet potatoes - 500 g, peeled and chopped
Cooked chickpeas - 350 g, drained
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Chilli pepper - 1, finely chopped
Ground coriander - 0.5 tbsp
Ground cumin -  0.5 tbsp
Paprika - pinch
Plain flour - 2 tbsp

Methods
1) Boil the sweet potato for 10--15 minutes until soft. Drain well, mash and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in a small pan. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and chilli pepper and cook for another couple of minutes.
3) Mash the chickpeas in a large bowl and stir in the onion mixture. Add the sweet potatoes and spices and combine.
4) Line and grease a baking sheet with the remaining olive oil. With your hands form the mixture into around 10 burgers and place them on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes. Carefully turn them over and then bake for another 15 minutes. Serves 3 to 4.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Strawberry ice cream (1 colour)


This is really easy to make, has the real taste of strawberries (I don't like shop-bought strawberry ice cream) and because of the cream it doesn't freeze solid so can be served straight from the freezer.

Ingredients
Strawberries - 600 g (weight after hulling), hulled
Double cream - 600 ml
Caster sugar - 280 g

Methods
1) Blend the strawberries in a blender until they form a puree (still with some small bits in).
2) Stir in the cream and sugar and whisk for a couple of minutes until thoroughly combined.
3) Pour into a freezerproof container and freeze overnight.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Blackberry jam (2 colours)


Ingredients
Blackberries - 750 g
Granulated sugar - 900 g
Pectin - 13 g sachet
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Butter - knob

Methods
1) Place the blackberries, sugar and pectin in a jam pan and stir. Set aside for 10 minutes.
2) Add the lemon juice to the pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally (do not boil).
3) When the sugar and pectin have melted add the butter to the pan and then bring to the boil.
4) When the jam begins a rolling boil (frothy, rising in the pan and unable to be stirred down) begin timing.
5) After exactly 4 minutes remove from the heat and pour into sterilised jars. It's best to pour it into the jars immediately as I found it began to set in the pan after only a few minutes. Makes enough for 4 to 5 jars.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Rhubarb and strawberry pie (2 colours)

I've wanted to try this pie for a long time. It was well worth the wait. I love the combination of flavours and the house smelled absolutely lovely for several hours after it had finished cooking.


Ingredients
Shortcrust pastry - 600 g
Rhubarb - 250 g, cut into 1 inch pieces
Strawberries - 250 g, hulled and halved
Caster sugar - 300 g
Fine semolina - 2 tbsp
Plain flour - 1 tbsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Vanilla essence - a few drops

Methods
1) Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and set aside for 15 minutes.
2) Divide the pastry into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out the larger piece and fit it to a ten inch pie dish. Add the fruit mixture (including any juices) and level with the back of a spoon.
3) Roll out the rest of the pastry and fit as a pie lid. Cut four slits in the centre of the pie to allow steam to escape. Bake at 190°C for 1 hour. Serves 8.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Homemade lemonade (1 colour)


Ingredients
Unwaxed lemons - 4, washed
Golden caster sugar - 175 g
Water - 1 litre
Ice cubes to serve

Methods
1) Cut each lemon into 8 pieces and remove the pips. Place in a blender (I used a smoothie maker) with half the sugar and water.
2) Blend for a couple of minutes and then strain into a jug.
3) Tip the pulp back into the blender with the rest of the water and sugar and repeat. Discard the pulp and serve with ice. Serves 6-8.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Sausage and bean stew (3 colours)


Ingredients
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Vegetarian sausages - 6
Onion - 1, chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, finely chopped
Red pepper - 1, sliced
Baked beans - 400 g tin
Tomato puree - 0.5 tbsp
Paprika - 1 tsp

Methods
1) Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the sausages until brown all over. Cut into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
2) Add the onion to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.
3) Add the cooked sausage, baked beans, tomato puree and paprika and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with baked potatoes or crusty bread. Serves 3.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Porotos granados (4 colours)


Ingredients
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 2, chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, finely chopped
Butternut squash - half, peeled and chopped into cubes
Tomato - 1 large, chopped
Frozen sweetcorn - 400 g
Chilli pepper - 1, finely chopped
Ground cumin - 1 tsp 
Paprika - 2 tsp
Vegetable stock - 450 ml
Haricot beans - 400 g tin

Methods
1) Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions and garlic. Cook for five minutes, then add the squash, tomato, sweetcorn, chilli pepper, cumin and paprika. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
2) Add half of the vegetable stock and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
3) Add the beans and the rest of the stock and cook for 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft. Serves 4.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Tuna melt potato wedges (1 colour)


Ingredients
Frozen potato wedges - 500 g
Tinned tuna - 198 g can, drained
Onion - 1 small, chopped
Cheddar cheese - 100 g, grated
Mayonnaise - 0.5 tbsp

Methods
1) Cook the potato wedges on a baking tray in the oven as per the instructions on the packet. Meanwhile, mix the tuna, onion, cheese and mayonnaise together in a bowl.
2) Tip the potato wedges into a large heatproof serving dish and spoon over the tuna mixture. Cook in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes. Serves 3.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Blueberry sauce (2 colours)



As a change from the endless blueberry cakes, puddings and pancakes I decided to make a healthy main meal that included blueberries. Looking on the web for ideas I found that lots of people recommended blueberries with salmon. I admit I thought it sounded odd (as did Ian and he will eat pretty much anything), but since I love the combination of tuna and peaches I decided that this was definitely worth trying. Boy was it worth trying. Overnight it has become my favourite way of eating salmon. It's also great for finishing up those slightly mushy blueberries if you've left them in the fridge for too long.

Ingredients
Cornflour - 1 tbsp
Lemon juice - 1.5 tbsp
Balsamic vinegar - 2 tbsp
Blueberries - 150 g
Thyme - 1 tsp
Water - 50 ml

Methods
1) Mix the cornflour and lemon juice together in a small pan. Add the other ingredients and then simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly. Serves 4.


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Double chocolate cake (0 colours)

I've made quite a few different chocolate cakes in the past, but this is by far the tastiest and has a lovely consistency too. I kept it in the fridge because the chocolate topping would melt in our warm kitchen, but the cake tastes equally good warm or cold.


Ingredients
Golden caster sugar - 175 g
Butter - 175 g
Eggs - 3
Self-raising flour -140 g
Baking powder - 0.5 tsp
Ground almonds - 85 g
Milk - 100 ml
Cocoa powder - 4 tbsp
Chocolate chips - 50 g
6-8 pieces (total) of white and milk/dark chocolate for decorating

Methods
1) Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Cream the sugar and butter together in a large bowl.
2) Whisk in the eggs, flour, baking powder, ground almonds, milk and cocoa powder until smooth.
3) Stir in the choclate chips then pour into the loaf tin and cook at 160°C for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin.
4) When the surface of the cake has cooled melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Drizzle over the cake with a spoon. Repeat with the milk or dark chocolate and then cool the cake in the fridge. Serves 8-10.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Macaroni chilli & cheese (4 colours)



Ingredients
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, chopped
Red pepper - 1 large, chopped
Yellow pepper - 1 large, chopped
Garlic - 4 cloves, finely chopped
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Ground cumin - 0.5 tbsp
Dried oregano - 0.5 tsp
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g tin
Cooked kidney beans - 350 g
Courgettes - 2, chopped
Tomato puree - 1 tbsp
Macaroni - 250 g
Cheddar cheese - 125 g, grated

Methods
1) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and peppers to the pan and simmer for a few minute until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
2) Add the chilli powder, cumin, oregano and tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3) Add the kidney beans, courgettes and tomato puree to the pan and simmer for another 30 minutes.
4) Meanwhile, cook the macaroni until al dente. Drain and then add to the pan containing the chilli. Stir and then pour into a large baking dish.
5) Cook in the oven at 200°C for 15 minutes. Top with the cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Serves 6.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Stuffed pasta shells (1 colour)


 
Ingredients
Conchiglioni (jumbo pasta shells) -  20 to 25
Ricotta cheese - 1 tub
Egg - 1
Chives - handful, chopped
Mozzarella - 1 ball, grated
Bolognese sauce - 1 large jar
Red chilli flakes - pinch (optional)

Methods
1) Add the pasta shells to a pan of boiling water and cook for a few minutes until al dente (in other words don't let them get too soft or they'll break when you try to fill them). Drain and set aside for a couple of minutes until the shells are cool enough to handle.
2) Mix the ricotta and egg together in a bowl. Add the chives and mozzarella and mix well.
3) Pour one quarter of the sauce into a large baking dish and spread with the back of a spoon. Fill the shells with the cheese mixture and place in the baking dish.

Pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the shells and sprinkle over the chilli flakes. Cover with foil and bake at 180°C for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes. Serves 3.


Rhubarb crumble (1 colour)

This is the actually the first time I've made a crumble from scratch - previously I've cheated by buying ready-mixed crumble topping. This one was much tastier, even if it was a little less crumbly and more gooey than I'd intended.


Ingredients
Rhubarb - 500 g, chopped into 3 inch pieces
Golden caster sugar - 100 g
Ground ginger - pinch
Self-raising flour - 140 g
Butter - 85 g, cold
Soft brown sugar - 50 g
Demerara - for sprinkling

Methods
1) Combine the rhubarb and golden caster sugar in a saucepan. Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pinch of ginger.
2) Meanwhile, rub the flour and butter together to make crumbs. Add the soft brown sugar and stir.
3) Pour the rhubarb into a baking dish and cover with the crumble topping. Sprinkle over a little demerara and cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 180°C. Serves 4-6.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Baked felafel (1 colour)


Ingredients
Dried chickpeas - 150 g, soaked overnight and boiled for 90 minutes
Onion - 1 chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Wholemeal bread - 2 slices, crusts removed and broken into crumbs
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 0.5 tbsp
Ground cumin - 0.75 tbsp
Flour - 4 tbsp


Methods
1) Drain the chickpeas and mash them in a large bowl until they form a paste. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Put the bowl in the fridge for a couple of hours.
2) Form the batter into 8-10 balls - I made them flat so that they would cook easier.
3)  Line a baking tray with foil and grease lightly. Place the felafel on the tray and cook at 190°C for 10 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 10 minutes. Serves 4.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Blueberry and lime drizzle cake (2 colours)


Ingredients
Butter - 225 g, softened
Golden caster sugar - 225 g
Eggs - 4
Limes - 2, juice & grated zest
Self raising flour - 250 g
Ground almonds - 25 g
Blueberries - 200 g

For the syrup:
Lime juice - 8 tbsp
Lime - 1, grated zest
Golden caster sugar - 140 g

Methods
1) Line an 8 inch square cake tin with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2) Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour towards the end to prevent curdling. Beat in the zest of two limes, then fold in the flour and ground almonds. Stir in the juice of the two limes.
3) Add three quarters of the blueberries to the bowl, stir gently and turn into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface, then scatter the remaining fruit on top - it will sink as the cake rises (I must remember to do this with my blueberry cake because the fruit usually sinks to the bottom).
4) Bake for about 1 hour (cover with foil if beginning to brown too much), or until a skewer comes out clean.
5) Meanwhile make the syrup - add the lime juice, zest and sugar to a small saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick all over with a skewer then pour over the syrup. Leave to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin. Cut into squares when cool. Serves 16.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Blueberry, lemon and coconut pudding (2 colours)

Blueberries are really cheap in one of our local supermarkets at the moment so I've been trying out lots of blueberry recipes. This one's really easy to make and is deliciously light and spongy - very different to the fruit crumbles we usually make.


Ingredients
Caster sugar - 50 g
Butter - 50 g
Egg - 1
Lemon - 1  
Self-raising flour - 50 g
Dessicated coconut - 50 g + 1 tbsp
Crème fraîche - 50 g
Blueberries - 180 g


Methods
1) Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl and when creamy beat in the egg.
2) Grate the lemon zest and stir into the bowl with the flour, coconut and crème fraîche.
3) Put most of the blueberries in a baking dish and squeeze over the juice from half the lemon. Pour the cake mixture on top and spread evenly. Scatter with the remaining blueberries and the tbsp of coconut. Bake for 35-40 mins until golden, risen and the sponge is cooked. Serves 4.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Mixed bean fajitas with lime (4 colours)

Ingredients
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Red onion - 1, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Red pepper - 1, chopped
Yellow pepper - 1, chopped
Mixed beans - 400g can, drained
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g can
Chilli powder - 0.5 tsp
Ground cumin - 0.5 tsp
Ground coriander - 0.5 tsp
Lime - 1
Tortillas - 6
Sour cream, cheese and salsa to serve

Methods
1) Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic and peppers. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the beans, tomatoes and spices and stir.  Simmer for a further 10 minutes.
2) Grate the zest of the lime and stir in the zest and juice. Serve wrapped in the tortillas with cheese, sour cream and salsa. Serves 3.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Blueberry, lemon and coconut traybake (2 colours)


Ingredients
Butter - 300 g
Caster sugar  - 400 g
Lemon - grated zest of 1
Eggs - 6
Self-raising flour - 250 g
Blueberries - 300 g
Lemon curd - 200 g
Dessicated coconut - 200 g

Methods
1) Beat together 250g of the butter with 250g of the sugar and the lemon zest.
2) In a separate bowl beat four of the eggs, then gradually beat into the butter and sugar mixture, adding a spoonful of flour if it begins to curdle. Fold in the flour and a third of the blueberries, then spoon into a 20 x 30 cm cake tin lined with greaseproof paper. My cake overflowed a little during the last five minutes so if your tin is shallow like mine make sure that the greaseproof paper reaches a little higher than the sides of the tin.
3) Flatten the surface with a spatula, sprinkle over another third of the blueberries, and bake for 20 minutes at 180°C until the surface is set.
4) Melt the rest of the butter in a small pan. Stir in the coconut and remaining sugar and eggs. Warm the lemon curd gently for a few mins in a small pan until it is runny and pourable (this was so easy I'll be doing it for my lemon drizzle cake in future).
5) Remove the cake from the oven. Scatter over the remaining blueberries and then drizzle over the lemon curd. Top with the coconut mixture and bake for a further 20-25 mins until the coconut is golden. Leave to cool and then cut into squares. Makes about 15 squares.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Broad bean salad (4 colours)

We had some broad beans in our veg box from Abel & Cole this week. I've never cooked broad beans before. One website suggested that I peel them after cooking (leaving only the bright green beans without their skins). Does anybody actually do this or do you eat them with the skins on as we did?


Ingredients
Broad beans - 2 handfuls
Celery - 2 sticks, sliced
Tomatoes - 2 large, chopped
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Lemon juice from half a lemon
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped

Methods
1) Remove the beans from their pods and discard the pods. Heat the beans in a pan of salted water and simmer for 5 minutes. Rinse in a colander with cold water for 30 seconds.
2) Combine the celery, tomatoes and broad beans.
2) Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Pour over the vegetables. Serves 2.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

American blueberry pancakes (1 colour)

Ingredients
Self-raising flour - 200 g
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Salt - pinch
Milk - 300 ml
Egg - 1
Knob of butter
Blueberries - 100 g
Butter for frying
Maple syrup for serving

Methods
1) Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2) Beat the egg in another bowl and add the milk.
3) Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Slowly add the liquid and whisk until smooth. Melt the butter and pour into the bowl. Stir and then leave to stand for 10 minutes. Gently mix in half the blueberries.
4) Heat a very small amount of butter in a frying pan and then add three small ladles of batter to the pan, being careful not to let the pancakes run into each other. Cook on a low heat until the pancake starts to bubble and then turn over. Cook until golden on both sides. Serve with the rest of the blueberries and maple syrup. Makes 6 pancakes (feeds 3 people).

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Coconut lime ice cream (1 colour)

This ice is really refreshing and I'll definitely be making some more very soon.


Ingredients
Caster sugar - 115 g
Water -150 ml
Coconut milk - 400 ml tin
Limes - 2

Methods
1) Heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan until boiling, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
2) When cool put the saucepan in the fridge. Grate the rind of the limes.
3) Our ice cream had a few lumps of coconut milk so I'd recommend pouring the contents of the coconut milk tin into a bowl and stirring until it reaches a creamy consistency.
4) Add the grated rind, coconut milk and the juice of the limes to the saucepan and stir. Pour into a freezerproof container and freeze overnight. Take it out of the freezer 45 - 60 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Raspberry ripple ice cream (1 colour)

As is usual with the ice creams I've made this turned rock solid when fully frozen so you need to take it out of the freezer at least 45 minutes before serving.


Ingredients
Water - 450 ml
Caster sugar- 250 g
Lemon - 1
Marscapone - 500 g tub
Raspberries - 500 g

Methods
1) Add the water and 225 g of caster sugar in a saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves.
2) Finely grate the lemon rind and juice the lemon and add both to the pan. Bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes without stirring. Leave to cool.
3) When the lemon syrup has cooled, beat the marscapone in a large mixing bowl, slowly adding the syrup until all the syrup has been used and you have a smooth mixture. Pour into a freezable container and freeze for 2 hours.
4) Remove from the freezer and beat with a fork. Freeze for a further 2 hours and beat again.
5) Add the raspberries and sugar to a bowl. Mash the raspberries slightly and mix them with the sugar. Stir into the ice cream with a metal spoon until you have a ripple effect. Freeze overnight.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

White bean and sweetcorn chilli (5 colours)

  
Ingredients
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Carrot - 1 large, chopped
Red pepper - 1, chopped
Courgette - 1, chopped
Cooked cannellini beans - 450 g
Sweetcorn - 2 * 198 g tins, drained
Plum tomatoes - 2 * 400 g tins
Mild chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Dried oregano - 1 tbsp

Methods

1) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, red pepper & courgette. Cook for 10 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
2) Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook on a medium heat for 30 minutes. Serves 6.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Apple traybake (1 colour)


Ingredients
Bramley apple - 450 g
Juice of half a lemon
Butter - 225 g, softened
Golden caster sugar - 280 g
Eggs - 4
Vanilla extract - 1 dessert spoon
Self-raising flour - 350 g
Baking powder - 1 dessert spoon
Demerara sugar

Methods
1) Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Place in a bowl and cover with the lemon juice.
2) Mix together the butter, caster sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a rectangular baking tin (~25 by 20 cm).
3) Spread half the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Arrange half the apples over the top and then repeat the layers. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar. Bake for 45-50 mins until golden and springy to the touch. Leave to cool for a few minutes then remove from the tin and cut into squares. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

American pancakes (0 colours)

We've decided that every Sunday we're going to have pancakes for breakfast. Like many other English people we tend to only have pancakes on pancake day and each year we say 'we must have pancakes more often' and we never do. Americans eat pancakes regularly and with the huge potential for different toppings / fillings I feel that we are missing out.

This morning I made American style pancakes and we both thought they were delicious. We had the first two with cherry pie filling and the second two with maple syrup.

Ingredients
Plain flour - 135 g
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 0.5 tsp
Caster sugar - 2 tbsp
Semi-skimmed milk - 130 ml
Egg - 1 large
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Knob butter for frying
Maple syrup or other toppings

Methods
1) Sieve the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2) Beat the egg in another bowl and add the milk. Whisk for a minute or two and then add the olive oil. Whisk again for another minute.
3) Add the liquid mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix together with a fork. Unlike when making British pancakes all the lumps disappeared very easily. Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
4) Heat a small amount of butter in a frying pan and then add a ladle full of the batter to the pan. The pancakes are supposed to be smaller than British ones so I managed to fit two in our frying pan although that meant they came out more oval than round. Cook on a low-medium heat until the pancake starts to bubble and then turn over. Cook until golden on both sides. Makes 5 pancakes.

I've made a long list of toppings that I want to try over the next few weeks. The following are the ones I'm most looking forward to:

  • Bananas, rum and brown sugar
  • Fried apples with cinnamon and vanilla ice cream
  • Warm strawberries with sugar
  • Goats cheese and jam (google tells me this is common in Norway)
  • Lemon curd and butter
  • Plum sauce
  • Sausage and maple syrup (this one might be awful, but we're both intrigued enough to try it)
  • Bananas, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and crushed nuts

Monday, 30 January 2012

Tomato and red pepper soup (2 colours)


Ingredients
Tomatoes - 8 large, halved
Red peppers - 2, seeds removed and quartered
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Balsamic vinegar - 1 tbsp
Red chilli (optional) - 1, finely chopped
Potato - 1 medium, chopped
Tomato puree - 1 tbsp
Vegetable stock - 700 ml

Methods
1) Place the tomatoes and red peppers in a roasting tin. Sprinkle over the garlic and drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast at 180°C for 1 hour.
2) After half an hour heat a small amount of oil in a large saucepan and fry the chilli for a couple of minutes. Add the potato, tomato puree and vegetable stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the potato is cooked.
3) Pour the contents of the roasting tin (including all the juices) into the saucepan and stir well. Blend until smooth. Serves 4.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Pumpkin and pear soup (3 colours)


Ingredients
Pears - 2, peeled and core removed
Eating pumpkin - 1, halved and with the seeds removed
Olive oil
Butter - 30 g
Onions - 3, chopped
Garlic Cloves - 3, finely chopped
Vegetable stock - 900 ml
Ground Cinnamon - pinch

Methods
1) Place the pumpkin halves cut-side up with the pears in a roasting tin. Spray or drizzle the pumpkin with a little oil. Bake at 200°C for 25 minutes and then remove the pears. Return the pumpkin halves to the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes until tender.
2) Allow the pumpkin to cool a little and then scoop out the flesh. Chop the pears coarsely.
2) Heat the butter in a large pan. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin, pears, cinnamon and stock. Cook on low for 30 minutes and then blend until smooth. Serves 4.