Monday, 28 July 2008

Bacon, Spinach & Parmesan Herb Tortellini bake

Makes 4 squares

1 pack Garlic and herb tortellini (I used Sainsburys)
200 ml half fat creme fraiche
3 rashers bacon
8 cubes frozen spinach, defrosted and water squeezed out
1 egg
3 tbsp parmesan

1) Boil the tortellinis as per instructions and drain off, fry the bacon until crispy, drain on paper

2) Place the spinach in a baking dish and smooth out, season lightly with black pepper, pour over the tortellinis, cut the bacon into chunks and sprinkle over

3) Beat the egg and add to the creme fraiche, mix well and season, spoon over the tortellinis, grate over the parmesan and bake for about 22-25 minutes until puffy and golden

Easy work night supper

Pearl Barley 'Risotto' with Chorizo and Petit Pois

Makes 3 good sized bowls

Takes 1 hour +

1 small onion, diced
115g chorizo sausage, diced into 1/2 cm chunks
200g pearl barley
1 vegetable kallo boulion cube dissolved in 1100ml boiling water
1 tsp dried rosemary
Pinch of sea salt
Black pepper to taste

1) Heat a large lidded pan with a couple of sprays of oil to medium hot, add the onion and fry for 3-4 minutes until starting to brown, add the chorizo and fry for about 4 minutes so that it releases its lovelyness, add the pearl barley and mix well

2) Add a glug of the stock and mix well, then add about 1/5 the stock and cover, simmer until almost absorbed and repeat for about 35 minutes

3) Add the dried rosemary, petit pois and any remaining stock, cover and simmer until nearly all absorbed, like a risotto and serve immediately

Really tasty :-)

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

What to Eat / Drink in Mexico?

In less than six weeks from now I am finally going on a girly holiday of a lifetime to Mexico, staying in the Riviera Maya region!!

Does anyone have any recomendations of what to eat / drink or do there? I will of course post back with a write up when I return!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Holiday Food Memories

Whilst daydreaming driving into the office this morning (as usual!) I started thinking about old holidays and what we had eaten, before I became ever so slightly obsessed with food and recalled the time me and a girlfriend, aged 16 went on holiday to Devon armed with £50 for the week, staying in a B&B arranged through my friends Dad....

Oh my we ate some erm interesting combinations! In particular a favourite was Heinz tinned cold spaghetti bolognese, in buttered rolls! I think that was lunch about 3 days running. As my room was not sun facing and therefore the coolest, the butter stayed in my wardrobe, for the week!

Nearly every morning we missed the B&B breakfast (you had to order the night before your choices but we always forgot!) and so we went across the park to a slightly hippy place that had ying and yang signs up and beaded curtains and ate just cooked pale crumpets and jam for about 99p, bargain!

There was a small Somerfield nearby which became our staple food supplier for the week and even better they didnt ask for ID when purchasing a cheap bottle of Carolans aka Fake Baileys which we drank slightly warm out of 99p mugs from the local woolies!

We even managed a few lunches in a cafe on the seafront, mainly because there was a cute waiter serving! If I recall correctly we always had a tuna jacket potato..

For £50 each we did pretty well that week, especially as we managed two evening meals out at a Chinese and an Indian restaurant. I think now (ten years on) £50 would probably last just one night!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Sunday Night Tortilla Pizzas

After a lovely picnic out with mr anneskitchen yesterday we had some odds and ends that needed using up and made one of our sunday night staples - tortilla pizzas!

My 'pizza' ended up being a 'healthy living' seeded tortilla, smothered in tomato puree (always seem to have one of these lurking in the vegetable draw!) then topped with some blue cheese leftover from last weeks mushrooms, a handful of mini mozzarela balls that were left from a pasta salad, some grated cheese, a couple of slices leftover picnic ham shredded, a couple of sliced cherry tomatoes, some thinly sliced red onion and then drizzled with some garlic olive oil that was a gift from Italy and baked in a hot oven for about 8 mins till crispy. When it came out I topped my 'pizza' with some leftover watercress from thursdays salad, drizzled with a little good olive oil. And it was absolutely delicious! best toppings so far :)

Mr anneskitchen had sliced leftover cocktail sausages, ham, mozzarela, grated cheese and tomato so he was happy! no green stuff for him ;-)

Hope everyone else had a great weekend!

Friday, 11 July 2008

Bacon and blue cheese potato salad

Serves two

75g approx watercress (2/3 of a bag!)
two persons quantity of Anya or new potatoes, halved (about two handfuls!)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 rashers smoked bacon diced or pack of bacon bits
small wedge danish blue cheese crumbled

1) Boil the potatoes in water, when they are almost cooked heat a small pan and fry the bacon bits until crispy and reserve

2) Place the watercress around the sides in a large mixing / salad bowl, drain the potatoes and steam of any excess water, place in middle of the bowl and add the bacon bits, blue cheese mix well and add the olive oil as needed, season and serve immediately

Stuffed Mushrooms with Blue Cheese

I made this for one of my girlies birthday on weds and they were so yummy I made myself them again last night!!

Serves two

2 large flat mushrooms
1 inch chunk danish blue cheese (or similar)
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp approx chilli infused olive oil
1 tbsp approx extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried parsley
Black pepper
1 fat clove garlic

First pre-heat grill to medium-hot

1) Carefully remove the stalks and place the mushrooms on a baking tray

2) Finely chop the garlic and stalks and toss with the breadcrumbs, parsley and black pepper to taste. Crumble the blue cheese up and place on the mushrooms evenly and cover with the breadcrumb mix, drizzle over a little of each oil and grill for about 14 mins until crispy on top

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Beef and Spinach Stew

I am so sure I posted this months back but can't see it now!

Slow cooked beef and spinach stew

Serves: 4+
Prep: 10 mins
Cooking: 10 mins hob and 3 hours oven or can be adapted for slow cooker
Difficulty Low to medium


900g lean beef steak
300g fresh spinach
2 medium starchy potatoes cubed
1 pint* beef stock (Kallo cubes suitable)
75g pearl barley
100ml beer or lager
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried coriander
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 green pepper, cut into chunks
4 shallots (or 1 onion) diced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/3 tsp garlic salt
1/3 tsp mixed ground peppers

Instructions for oven method:

1 - Pre heat oven to 170o elec, 150o fan. Place a large casserole dish in oven to warm through
5 - In a large frying pan, heat the oil to medium heat
6 - Add beef, shallots / onion and pepper, cook on medium for about 5-6 minutes till beef is browned, add beer and seasoning and simmer for 5 mins
7 - In the meatime rinse spinach and place in wide heavy pan and cook on medium-high till wilted down, should take no longer than 3-4 minutes
8 - Place pearl barley in a bowl with lots of water and microwave for 4 minutes, drain and put two one side (you can skip this stage if you soak overnight)
9 - Make your stock or if using fresh warm through
10 - Remove casserole dish from the oven
11 - Add beef mixture, pearl barley and spinach, mix well, pour on stock and mix thoroughly, add lid and place on middle shelf in oven
12 - Set timer for one hour
13 - Wash and roughly peel potatoes, chop into 2cm cubes, add to casserole mix, stir well, replace lid and set timer for one hour (in a slow oven you may need to par-cook the potatoes but I have a fan oven and doesnt require this)
14 - 1 hour later remove lid and stir, return lidless to oven
15 - 1 hour later mark check tenderness of beef by removing a small piece and slicing, if texture smooth then it is ready, if not return and check reguarly until happy with texture.
16 - Serve with fresh bread or tortilla wraps to mop up juices.

Instructions for slow cooker method:

1) If possible place the pearl barley in water and leave to soak overnight

2) Pre-heat slow cooker to low, make up stock if required, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan, fry the onions and meat until browned, add the spinach, green pepper, pearl barley, potatoes and the spices and the beer and bring up to the boil, add enough stock to cover and allow for the pearl barley to absorb its fair share and transfer to the slow cooker, cook on low for 8-9 hours.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Salmon and bulghur wheat with peppers

This was a bit of economy healthy kitchen cupboard cooking for dinner last night as I had some small fillets of salmon in the freezer that needed using up - I wouldnt use top quality fish for this dish!

Serves 2

Didnt measure anything so is approx amounts:

Handful of salmon, skinned and cut into 1cm chunks
apx 200g bulghur wheat
1 tsp mediteranean seasoning
1/4 tsp marigold powder
cupful of frozen peas
1 small red onion, diced
2 handfuls frozen peppers
1/2 a lime (optional)

1) Place the bulghar wheat and seasoning in a bowl and cover with boiling water to about just under 1cm over top of the bulghar wheat and cover

2) Heat a wok or similar pan until hot, spray with oil and add the onion and fry for two minutes, add the peppers and peas and spray more oil if needed, don't let the veg stick to the pan, cook for about 5-6 minutes until defrosted and hot and tip onto the bulghar wheat, re-cover

3) Return the pan to the heat, spray again and add the salmon and squeeze over the lime juice and cook for 3-4 minutes, season with s&p and tip into the bulghar wheat, mix everything well and serve

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