Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Strawberry and Spinach Salad

Strawberries might not be the most obvious combination with spinach but they have a similar combination of sweetness, tart and fragrance as the best, ripest tomatoes.

One of my most (and least) endearing qualities is I can rarely sit still and do nothing, I am always talking or rushing around at 100 mph.  I can sit still if I'm on holiday and have a good book in my hand but it's rare and in general I'm always doing something.  I argue that it's because there's always something to do but others look on, exasperated wondering why I get up at 6am on a weekend.  So on Saturday I'd visited a friend's house, done my shopping for the week, paid my mechanic for my car service and MOT, driven half an hour to see a potential desk for my study (sadly too big), got a couple of extra bits and bobs from the market and, as usual, succumbed to a few blogging "props" which I know I will rarely use because honestly I take photos of food on white plates nearly all the time.

On the way back, I realised it was nearly lunchtime (yes, really all of this in only a few hours) and started thinking on what to eat.  I fancied some fruit and started thinking about strawberries.  Sadly my home grown ones are still mostly green but I had a punnet in the fridge.  Strawberries have a surprising affinity for good balsamic vinegar and by the time I got back home I'd paired these in my mind with deliciously green baby spinach and slightly bitter walnuts to balance the sweet and sour flavours with the fruit and dressing.

About 5 minutes later, I was sat in the sunshine in my garden stopping for, erm, at least 10 minutes tucking into this lovely salad.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Oh no, there's a vegetarian coming to my barbecue!

Barbecues, at least in the UK can be a meat filled affair.  Often filled with sadly disappointing sausages and burgers as dry as a hockey puck.  Ok, not my barbecues, even my meaty ones are better than that but once in a while, why not limit the amount of meat?

At least when you do have the unexpected vegetarian turn up, you might realise it's not all that scary and have a few ideas up your sleeve.  Maybe, you might be tempted to stray away from the usual ribs and bangers?

This is a massive amount of food and even as a meat eater, I didn't miss meat at all.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Serrano ham wrapped prawns

I had some lovely serrano ham in the fridge, prawns in the freezer and it got me to thinking of how I could marry the two to come up with a lovely tapas style dish.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Fruit Salsa and Vanilla Tortilla Chips

Fruit salsa and not in the way I made pineapple salsa either, this is as a sweet snack for serving with home made sweet tortilla chips.  Unconvinced?  Read on, this is really rather lovely.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Coffee Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream

Ice cream.  Scary and difficult to make isn't it?

NO!  IT ISN'T!  I've found this brilliant new method which takes only about 10 minutes of preparation.  No ice cream maker, no constant whisking, just make the mix and freeze.

Don't believe me?  Read on.

coffee ice cream

Melon and Black Forest Ham

The first time I had Black Forest Ham was when I was 13.  I'd been studying German for a year and went on an exchange to the Schwarzwald with 30 or so kids from two local schools.  It was chaos.  I was a studious child but felt hopelessly out of my depth being put in a home with a family whose language I barely spoke.

One thing I remember was breakfasts.  In the UK we used to have cereal or toast, nothing else.  Every day the breakfasts were a selection of cheese, meats, fruit, bread.  I loved it.  It was so different and so interesting.

I remember seeing the ham and assuming it was Parma ham (which I'd never eaten).  My friends exclaimed in disgust how their families had served them "raw bacon" for breakfast but I liked it.

So I hesitate to call this a recipe but here was today's breakfast which brought back all these memories.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Halloumi Salad

Halloumi is the lovely cheese from Cyprus which is beautiful if squeaky in a salad.  Don't be put off by it's squeakiness, it's delicious and the kind of ingredient which makes meat eaters love vegetarian food.

This is early summer on a plate.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Mixed Green Vegetable Side Dish

Green vegetables.  I love them.  This is the kind of side dish I would happily pay for in a restaurant.  You know when you order your mains and you're asked if you want a side?  You're never sure if you are being sold something with a massive profit margin or if it's something which will really complement your meal.  Well this will be something which will go fantastically with pork, fish, chicken, oh actually pretty much anything.  It is not a waste of time side dish but something lovely.  This would be great to serve up with a dish for that certain special someone, perhaps with some roasted potatoes with rosemary?

The quantities are less important than the idea.  Roughly speaking you want an even mix of each different vegetable.  Mix it up for what's seasonal.  Cabbage could be nice and would work well cooked in the buttery juices.  If I'd had some broad beans that would have been lovely.  Soy (edamame) beans even better but I think it all has to be green.

This would be on my restaurant menu.  You know, that restaurant in your head that you pretend you're young enough, energetic enough and good enough to open?  Ok, just me...

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Spinach and Feta Frittata

Frittatas are great things for using up what's in the fridge or freezer and are fantastic for picnics and packed lunches.  This amount, at least for me, is enough to serve 2 but I tend to always make a frittata this large so I have leftovers for the next day's lunch.

There is a natural affinity for spinach and feta cheese, they are lovely together and think of this as a crustless quiche, that is a gluten free quiche which also happens to be the flavourful part but with lower calories.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Strawberry Scones

Scones might seem like a faff to make for one but really they are very easy and quick.  I've put in a few suggestions to make them super light but the best idea is to eat them slightly warm.  They can be frozen as well and reheated.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Pan Poached Cod

Sometimes your body is calling out for something gentle and restorative.  Although I'm not on a diet, I am feeling that it's time for my body to chill out, to have a bit of calm for my body and soul.

This is a good basic recipe for poaching you could use for lots of different fish.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Yogurt and Berry Oat Breakfast Crisp

This dish was initially inspired by a breakfast friendly version of Cranachan (i.e. minus the whisky) but several iterations later, the only real resemblance is the oats.

Whatever the inspiration, this is a delicious layered dish of breakfast loveliness with crunchy oats and nuts, creamy yogurt and berries.  Only 1 tsp of sugar in the whole dish and a lovely way to start the day.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Melon and Apple Smoothie

Melons at this time of year can be glorious, sweet, juicy but prone to having half eaten and the half at risk of being overripe.  This is a great way to use up overripe melon.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Pork and Vegetable Fried Rice

I have no idea why I didn't live on this as a student.  This is a lovely, flexible dish, include what you have in the fridge.  I've included quantities but to be honest, I'd interpret it as a "handful" here and there.

Although it's safe if you cool rice very quickly, I never make this with reheated rice as I don't like the risk of food poisoning.  It only takes about 10 minutes to cook some rice though so there's not really an excuse.