Sausage, Chorizo with Halloumi and Roasted Peppers

Nigella is one of my favourite cook author and I have purchased many of her cooking books! One of my favourite recipe is from her ‘Nigella Express’ book is the ‘Merguez with Halloumi and Flame -Roasted Peppers’. This is such a simple dish to make and prep so I always make sure that I have a jar of roasted peppers in my pantry and have the halloumi and chorizo in my fridge as they have a longer fridge life. I remembered when I first looked at this recipe, I couldn’t find any Merguez which is a spicy sausage so I used Chorizo instead and include a few pork sausages in the dish as well as we love our meats! πŸ™‚ I have made a few adjustments to her recipe.

Ingredients: 1 chorizo sliced up, 6 – 8 pack of sausages of your choice, 1 block of Halloumi cheese, 1 jar of Roasted Red Peppers and 2 x tbs of oil, 1 x tsp lazy garlic, 1 x tsp of mixed herbs and 1 x tsp oregano.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven the Gas Mark 7 and put all the sausages in a big roasting tin with the oil. Cook for approx. 10 minutes so that the sausages are abit browned.
  2. Cut the halloumi in to 5mm slices and lay them around the sausages, take the peppers out and put them around the cheese and sausages. You might want to cut them into smaller pieces and drizzle the oil on top of everything and sprinkle all the herbs.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes or until when the sausages is cooked. Serve with some crusty bread and salad.

Sometimes, I add some boiled potatoes in the tin and roast them with all the other ingredients. Makes the dish more filling and we have this with bread because there are a lot of juices. We normally have left overs for the next day, and it taste even better as all the flavours are absorbed.

4 Ingredients – Cheesy Biscuits

We always make sweet biscuits at home, normally ones with chocolate! I saw a post from Gemma’s blog and she made cheese biscuits with her son so I thought we can try out her recipe as I have got all the ingredients at home! Something to make on a rainy day! πŸ™‚

You only need 4 ingredients which are cold butter (115g), grated cheese (225g), plain flour (282g) and water (3-4tbsp). You put all the dry ingredients first in the food processor and add enough water until it turns into a dough. Then, wrap it with clingfilm put it in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes or so. We didn’t have the gold fish cutter so we used cutters that we had at home! Roll the dough as thinly as possible on a floured surface, ours was a bit thick! Cut them out and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until it is golden and crisp at GM4.

What was the outcome? They didn’t like it!!! Typical, they love to eat cheese in their food but not in a biscuit, their response was ‘it’s too cheesy!!’. I must admit, I am not a big fan of savory biscuits but they tasted really light and fluffy. Not sure if they were meant to be crunchy as my batch was quite soft, I think our dough was quite thick! We probably made around 25 biscuits or so which was alot to eat between me and my husband and i did not fancy having it the whole week! Luckily, I was able to give some of the cheese biscuits to my friends as their kids liked it! At least i tried so sweet biscuits next time! πŸ™‚

Oct 21 – Vegetarian Dish – Beetroot and Feta Pasta

I have been quite lazy lately with learning new vegetarian dishes and cooking the usual food for our ‘once a week veggie’ day like jacket potatoes with tuna or seafood pasta etc.

In my Good Food Magazine, August edition, I saw a recipe using beetroots, I only really eat beetroots in salads and the ones that I buy in the supermarkets are already diced or pickled. I have never used a raw beetroot before so it is a challenge!!! πŸ™‚ I wonder what our kids would think of it as it would pink pasta! πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to see what it turns out like!

Ingredients – 2 x large beetroots, peeled and chopped into chunks, 1 x tbsp olive oil, 2 x onions finely chopped, 4 x celery sticks, finely chopped, 4 x carrots, peeled and finely chopped, 1 small bunch of basil, 2 x garlic cloves finely chopped, 400g wholemeal pasta, 75g of creme fraiche and 100g feta.

Method:

  1. Boil the beetroot in a pan of salted water for 5 minutes and use a slotted spoon to take the beetroot out and leave the water aside.
  2. Put the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onions, celery and carrots and cook for 8 mins until softened. Finely chopped the basil stalks and celery tops, and add the garlic and fry for a 1 minute.
  3. Tip the pasta in the same water that you used to cook the beetroot and cook the pasta for about 20 mins. Drain and reserve 200ml of the pasta water and tip the pasta back into the pan.
  4. Meanwhile, put the beetroot with half of the vegetables, most of basil leaves and crème fraiche into a food processor. Blitz until smooth and add the reserved pasta water to make into a thick mixture.
  5. Stir this sauce through the pasta and add the remaining vegetables and season. Divide it up and crumble over some feta cheese on top and scatter with the remaining basil leaves. Enjoy!

It was nothing like I have made in the past, even Dan raised his eyebrow when he saw the dish and Gray kept asking why is it pink!! Lol! It was very delicious and felt extremely healthy to eat!! The pasta sauce is quite thick but really sweet! We had plenty for leftovers and it was more flavorsome the next day!! I would definitely be making this again!! It was just alotnof chopping required!

Sept 21 – Veg Dish – Chinese Steamed Eggs

From my childhood and still now, steamed eggs has always been a family favourite dish to eat at dinner time. My boys love it too when their ‘Por-Por’ (grandmother) makes it! I have asked my mum for the recipe! It is actually really simple but sometimes it’s still and a hit and miss when cooking it!! Even my mum sometimes messes up the cooking time!!

It basically has 3 ingredients, eggs, milk and water!! Use 3 x eggs and mix it in a measuring jug, then pour warm water approx. 100ml and top it up with milk so that the whole mixture measures up to approx. 400ml. Stir everything and pour into a metal pot for steaming, you can add a pinch of salt to it if you want. My mum’s tip is to make sure the water is boiling hot like bubbling before you pour the eggs in. Steam for 5 minutes on the maximum gas setting, I would normally steam this for 10 minutes and then switch it off and leave the lid on for awhile so that the eggs can set. The eggs should have a bit of a wobble when you take it out and looks set at the top. If it is still liquidly, then steam for another 5 minutes. Add some light soya sauce on top and serve with your other dishes and boiled rice. Also, you can add chopped up spring onions on top but i just leave it plain for the boys!

My boys love this dish as this is their favourite and can eat the whole dish between the two of them!! This is the only ‘Chinese’ dish that I can make from scratch! I know how to cook more ‘Filipino’ dishes!! Although, I am hoping to explore more Chinese cooking in the future as I have got a few cookbooks! πŸ™‚

Japanese Curry Mix

I went to an Oriental Food shop and I love browsing all the different sauces and mixes as there are so many flavors to explore. Also, I especially love looking at their snacks and sweets. I can spend alot of money as I can’t help myself!

I only had a Japanese curry dish a handful of times in the past and remembered it being a sweet taste rather than a hot Indian curry taste which is spicy!

I brought this Japanese Curry mix for Β£2.50, I didn’t realise you had to use the whole block! I thought inside would be lots of cubes like when you buy your usual chicken/veg stock. It was a thick block so I guess it would be very flavorsome.

All you need is potatoes, beef, carrots and onions and serve it with boiled rice! I accidently threw the packaging away and I can’t quite remember the exact instructions!! But, it is written on the back of the packaging and from what I can remember, it was really easy to make! Just lots of chopping initially, frying the beef first and then adding all the vegetables with some water and then adding the stock right at the end. It probably took about 30-40 mins to make. It was strange though because I thought you would add the stock first to get the deeper flavoring but it was right at the end that you would do it! I didn’t add anything else to it at all!

The curry was very delicious and the sauce was not too thick or thin. The flavour tasted really authentic so am really pleased with this brand and definitely be buying this again!

Aug 21 – Veg Dish- Gnocchi & tomato bake

It was my husband’s turn to cook for a vegetarian dish and he decided to make a gnocchi and tomato bake from BBC Good Food website. Normally, I would fry with hot oil and add mixed herbs and rosemary and some butter to it towards the end so the texture is crunchy outside and still soft inside. I think, I saw Nigella cooking using this method in one of her TV programmes in then past and have always fried the gnocchi since.

So, when he said he was going to bake it, I really did wonder how it was going to taste! Surprisingly, the dish turned out really nice and you only need a couple of ingredients and it was super easy to make! I will definitely try out more gnocchi recipes being baked as it is such a different texture from being fried. I might have a look out to see what other recipes that you can make with gnocchi and try them out!

Ingredients: 1 x tbsp olive oil, 1 x onion chopped, 1 x garlic clove crushed, 400g can chopped tomatoes, 1 x red pepper (deseeded and finely chopped), 500g gnocchi, handful of basil leaves and half a mozzarella ball, torn into chunks.

Method:

  1. Heat the grill. Heat 1 x tbsp olive oil, fry the onions and red pepper in a pan. Stir the garlic clove and fry for 1 minute. Then, add the chopped tomatoes and gnocchi and bring to a simmer.
  2. Let it bubble for 10-15 minutes until the gnocchi is soft and the sauce is thickened.
  3. Season it and add the basil leaves (torn) and transfer to ovenproof dish. Scatter the mozzarella cheese and grill for 5-6 minutes until it is bubbling and golden.

Egg Yolk Cookies

Restrictions are finally over for us in the UK, it ended on the 19th July. Yeah!! πŸ™‚ So, on the 24th July, we had our 1st family gathering, a nice BBQ! And, luckily the weather remained dry for us, it was forecasted to be thunder and heavy rain so we were all expecting to be cooped up inside the house rather than staying outside in the garden! My brother/sis in law have a nice patio with a spacious seating area in their garden. My sis in law just asked us to bring a dessert as she would be too busy cooking all the main dishes! It was really lovely meeting up with all of our family members and eating together, I really missed those occasions so hopefully, we can have some more family gatherings! πŸ™‚

I decided to make the pavlova (click on the link for the recipe as I have blogged about it previously). I included a pic of it below so you can see it aswell! Gosh, I hate separating the egg whites and the yolks, I always make a huge mess or it splits and then I have to start again! You only need 4 x egg whites and I probably used up 7 eggs! I find this process the hardest rather than actually making the pavlova!!

I didn’t want to waste all the egg yolks, at first, I was going to use them to make Portuguese custard tarts but found that I had more egg yolks than I anticipated! I looked up online to see what I can do with 6 egg yolks and found this blog and she shared her Egg Yolk Cookies recipe. Looks simple to make and I actually made the cookies with the boys! πŸ™‚

I really liked her Sweet & Savory blog because in her ingredients list – she also had the ‘grams’ next to the cup measurements so you didn’t need to covert them. I always find it troublesome when you are doing the conversions because it differs as to what the ingredients is ie wet or dry! Her instructions were simple to follow so I will definitely be making some recipes from her blog!

The cookies turned out to be a biscuit/cake texture, really yummy! I didn’t include nuts in this bake as the boys just wanted the chocolate chips! πŸ™‚ . One batch of this mixture made about 25 cookies and I also baked mine for longer around 20 minutes! Enjoy!

July 21 – Veg Dish – Vegetable Lasagna

I really like lasagnas, when I go to Italian restaurants, I always order a pasta bake or lasagnas! I don’t like making lasagnas because I find it too fiddley! You have to make two different sauces and then when it comes to assembling it, I never know which order to do it! We have found the best lasagna to buy is from Lidl, (meat version), the texture is really nice, not soggy and it has alot of beef! It’s one of our favourite dish to eat for our dinner!

My brother in law made us a veggie lasagna a couple of months ago and it was really delicious so I asked where he got the recipe from. He got it from the BBC Food’s website. I love it when it says ‘preparation time is less than 30 minutes’ as in reality, it took me over 40 minutes to prepare everything, I must be an extremely slow chopper! LOL!

I followed this recipe and the lasagna was huge!! The only difference with this set of instructions, I put the spinach right at the bottom rather than mixing it in with all the other vegetables. I found that I didn’t have enough layers as per the instructions, I am not sure whether it was because my oven dish was too big so I didn’t have enough fillings to make up the layer! I always don’t know how to do the layering and get confused with the instructions! my husband rightly said to me, why I didn’t check it out on youtube! LOL! Next time!

The veggie lasagna was delicious, power packed with all the vegetables and extremely filling and we had leftovers for the next day! Took me ages to make so maybe I would make this again if we are having friends round because it is a nice dish to share! πŸ™‚

Frozen Grapes!

In my latest edition (July) of the Good Food magazine, I came across this article about freezing soft fruits. One of the suggestion was ‘Frozen Grapes’. I have never heard of that one before, and it says ‘it makes a great snack and especially refreshing on warm days’. I thought, I would try this out and see what happens!

I put the grapes in a little plastic container and stuck it in the freezer. The next day, we all tried it and it was hard to bite into at first as it felt like ice or something. But, if you let it melt in your mouth, it is actually really tasty! The boys couldn’t get enough of them!! It was like a cold sweet in their mouth so I guess that’s one way of making them eat 1 of 5 of their fruits and vegetables! Lol! πŸ™‚

June 21 – Veg Dish – Baked Risotto

I have always fried my risotto in a pan but I have seen recipes that you can bake it in the oven and wondered how does it cook because you are meant to be stirring it all the time!

From my BBC Good Food May’s magazine issue, there was a recipe called ‘Baked tomatoes, mozzarella and basil risotto’ which I thought would be good to try out for our June’s veggie dish. I added some mushrooms and courgettes into the dish as it felt strange just having it with only tomatoes!

I was really surprised with how simple the method was as I wasn’t sure how the risotto was going to cook but it cooks in the stock and it was a bonus that it didn’t take long to cook! It was very delicious and the texture was great! The texture was soft but you have the crunchy bit from the breadcrumbs! I would definitely make this again! There was enough made for left overs for the next day!

Ingredients: 2 x tbsp olive oil, 1 x onion finely chopped, 300g arborio rice, 850ml vegetable stock, 100g cherry tomatoes halved, chopped up mushrooms and courgettes, handful of basil leaves chopped and save some to serve, 25g parmesan cheese grated, 150g ball mozzarella, torn into small chunks, and 25g Panko breadcrumbs (any will do).

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to GM6. Heat half of the oil in in a casserole dish, then cook the onions for 8 – 10 mins until golden. Add the mushrooms and courgettes and fry for a few minutes. Scatter the rice and mix well until coated and pour the hot vegetable stock and give a quick stir. Put it in the oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from the oven and stir the tomatoes, basil and half the parmesan and season everything. Flatten everything with a back of spoon and then add the mozzarella evenly into the risotto. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and remaining parmesan and drizzle the tablespoon of olive oil. Put the dish back into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. If you want a more deeper crust, then you can grill it for a few minutes. Mine, was just fine from the oven and then scatter some basil leaves on top and serve!