Roasted Butternut Squash Pecan and Feta Salad

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

This roasted butternut squash salad is the perfect choice for a tasty meatless meal.  It’s a really simple recipe to make and the quantities can easily be increased to feed a crowd!

Roasted Butternut Squash Pecan and Feta Salad

I’ve been on holiday this month so things have been rather hectic and  I have to admit that I was quite last minute about checking the theme for #TheRecipeRedux this month.   As this month is the group’s birthday month the theme was to celebrate another Reduxer.

What a challenge!   There are so many fantastic cooks and recipe developers in this group and I was really spoilt for choice.   After looking at some of my favourite sites I chose The Foodie Physician which is written by Sonali, a busy emergency room physician, recipe developer and mum.  I have to admit that I am in awe of how she manages to fit so much in!

I love her site as it’s full of the type of healthy recipes that I also like to make.   There are delicious spicy recipes, vegetarian and meat recipes, salads and desserts too.  I was  (and still am) very tempted by her Super Fast Peach Frozen Yoghurt, Greek Chicken Meatballs and Sweet Potato and Kale Quesadillas.

Roasted Butternut Squash Pecan and Feta Salad

In the end though, I chose a salad that would be filling enough to eat as a main meal but that contained some of my favourite mix of ingredients.  You can’t beat the combination of roasted vegetables with nuts and cheese along with a great dressing and so I went for Sonali’s  Butternut Squash Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette.

I changed it a little bit.   I thought I had maple syrup in the cupboard but it turned out there was none left so I ended up making an agave nectar dressing instead.  I swapped the dijon mustard for a stronger English mustard and used white wine instead of cider vinegar.   The dressing may not have been the same but it was similar in lot of ways – sweet, sharp and hot.

Roasted Butternut Squash Pecan and Feta Salad

I also completely forgot to add the dried cranberries which I’d bought specially to make this salad!  Never mind, they’ll make a good snack for the children and will possibly make it into some baking instead soon.  I didn’t feel the salad was missing anything without them but of course, dried fruit in a salad can be a love it or hate it thing anyway.   I’d certainly make this roasted butternut squash salad again, with or without the cranberries!

If you haven’t discovered The Foodie Physician yet then do take a look at her blog as there are some great recipes that are both healthy and delicious.

Roasted Butternut Squash Pecan and Feta Salad

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 80g pecan nuts
  • 150g bag of salad leaves
  • 100g feta cheese crumbled
  • For the Dressing
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • ½ tsp mustard

Instructions

  1. Put the butternut squash on a baking tray with the dried thyme, salt and black pepper and toss with the olive oil. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 180C.
  2. Put the pecans in the oven for about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix together all the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust any of the ingredients to your taste.
  4. Serve the salad by putting the leaves on each plate, topping with the butternut squash, pecans and feta and then drizzle over the dressing.
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I am also linking this roasted butternut squash salad to Meat Free Mondays hosted by Tinned Tomatoes and to Eat Your Greens hosted by The Veg Hog and on alternate months by Allotment 2 Kitchen as there is green salad underneath all the butternut squash!

Meat Free MondaysEat Your Greens

Chocolate chia seed muffins

Chocolate Chia Seed Muffins

I really wasn’t intending to make muffins again quite so soon after the last ones.   However, sometimes you don’t get a choice about what recipe to make and sometimes what you make turns out to be so tasty it really needs to be shared.   That’s the case with these chocolate chia seed muffins.

Chocolate chia seed muffins

Master Spice and I got back home after a morning at the local soft play and I made the mistake of asking him what he wanted for lunch.   Now, you should never ask a 2 year old what they want for lunch and I will remember that next time.

Not a sandwich, not jacket potato, not chicken, not scrambled egg but…

Pink cake.   I tried to change his mind but he became even more specific.   Pink birthday cake.

Now, luckily being only just 2 his standards are not quite as high as they may become and these little chocolate chia seed muffins in pink cases managed to satisfy him, me, Little Miss Spice and Mr Searching for Spice.

We had only just finished eating the Lemon Raspberry and Chia Seed Muffins that I’d made the week before and I loved those muffins so much that I wanted to try and achieve the same texture but with completely different flavours so this recipe is an adaptation of that recipe.

I was keen to use chia seeds again and although chocolate and chia seed muffins might not be a typical muffin combination they really do go well together.  Just like in the other muffins, the chia seeds give the muffins a delicious crunch while still having that lovely soft muffin texture.

chocolate chia seed muffins

I used milk chocolate in these as the chocolate pieces were actually a leftover Easter egg that I’d being hiding in the cupboard since Easter.  My children go a little bit too crazy over chocolate and don’t want to eat anything else around Easter time and so as a good mother (or bad depending on your point of view!) I end up squirreling it away so they can’t find it.   I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that and this is a great way to use it up so they can still enjoy it.

You may be thinking that these muffins look a little yellow.   This is because in a vain attempt to make cakes that were actually pink I put a small amount of red food colouring in the mixture.  I didn’t have any pink and thought maybe  a little red would end up being pink.  I was wrong and I suspect if I’d put more in  they’d have turned orange so maybe we had a lucky escape!   I doubt this affected the flavour in any way and I haven’t included it in the ingredients but just in case you’re wondering why your muffins are a different shade to mine,  that will be it.

Chocolate chia seed muffins

And in case you’re concerned about whether poor Master Spice was given any savoury food for his lunch on the day when we made these, yes he was.  However, I cannot confirm whether he ate it all.  After all, by that point he knew we were going to make cake!

If I had to choose between the two chia seed muffins I’ve made so far, I’d have to choose the Lemon and Raspberry ones but my lovely husband would definitely choose these ones. According to him, they are perfect!

As homemade muffins are a great snack to have on hand to give to the children when they are peckish and keep well for about 3 days, I am linking these chocolate chia seed muffins to my own food blogging event,  #CookOnceEatTwice.  Do come and join in with any recipes that are perfect for more than one meal.

Chocolate chia seed muffins

Chocolate Chia Seed Muffins

Ingredients

  • 190g plain flour
  • 150g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 80ml vegetable oil (I used light olive oil)
  • 120ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 70g chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Instructions

  1. Put the flour, sugar, salt, chia seeds and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Put the oil, milk, egg and vanilla extract into a mixing jug and whisk together with a fork.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together to just combine. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases and fill each case about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if they are ready. Mine were ready after 15 minutes.
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As muffins are perfect picnic food I am linking these to the #FoodYearLinkup at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen for National Picnic Week which is 11-19 June.  As I used leftover Easter egg in them I am linking to Utterly Scrummy Food for Families for the No Waste Food Challenge run by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.  These are also my #RecipeoftheWeek hosted by A Mummy Too and I’m linking to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum as well as Cook Blog Share hosted by Hijacked by Twins. Finally I am linking to #BakeoftheWeek over on Casa Costello and Maison Cupcake.

Cook Once Eat TwiceNo waste food challengeFood-Year-Linkup-June-2016-2Recipe of the weekTasty TuesdaysCook Blog ShareBake of the Week

Lemon Raspberry and Chia Seed Muffins

Lemon and Raspberry Chia Seed Muffins

If you like lemon and poppy seeds you’ll love these lemon and raspberry chia seed muffins.   They are so morish you’ll find it hard to just eat one!  The chia seeds give them a gorgeous crunchy texture and the lemon and raspberry are a classic combination.

Lemon Raspberry and Chia Seed Muffins

I normally opt for something savoury for my Secret Recipe Club choice but this month I’ve gone for something sweet and I’m so pleased I did.

I have to thank Renee at Renee’s Kitchen Adventures for the recipe as I was assigned her blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  Like me, Renee is a stay at home mum and she loves to cook healthy and delicious meals for her family.    I also love to cook healthy recipes and Renee’s blog is full of tasty choices.

Lemon Raspberry and Chia Seed Muffins

These chia seed muffins were actually the second recipe I made.  As I love spices and I love jerk chicken,  I tried her grilled jerk chicken thighs first. I marinated them well and was really looking forward to eating them.  Unfortunately, as I was cooking them, Master Spice decided he was not going to sleep peacefully.   By the time he went to sleep a couple of hours later we’d given in and eaten them without taking any pictures!   Although there is sadly no evidence to show you, they were incredibly good.

My next choice was these lemon and raspberry chia seed muffins.  Chia seeds are very popular at the moment and often claimed to be a superfood.   They’re a source of fibre, omega 3 fatty acids and minerals such as iron and calcium.   They can be quite expensive but the price is definitely coming down and they are getting easier to find in the supermarket.   I bought a big bag recently and love to scatter them on my breakfast cereal or in yoghurt but until now I hadn’t done any baking with them.  I was just waiting to find the right recipe to try!

Lemon Raspberry and Chia Seed Muffins

This was certainly the right recipe.  The muffins have a beautifully soft texture but with the crunch of chia seeds.  The whole raspberries give a burst of fruitiness every time you bite into one and the lemon goes perfectly with the raspberries.   The recipe makes 12 smallish muffins and they were a big hit with everyone in our household.

These muffins are very easy to make.   I love the fact that with muffins you don’t need to get a whisk or stand mixer out so of course there’s less washing up.   You just stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones and then spoon the mixture into the muffin cases. This means they are a perfect recipe for making with young children.  Little Miss Spice and Master Spice both helped although they were almost too keen and it was a challenge to stop them from over-mixing the ingredients!

I’m trying to get them to help in the kitchen more and more these days – they are both keen and it is difficult to let them make  a mess but it does seem to be encouraging them to at least try new foods.

If you wanted to adapt these muffins I’m sure other berries such as blackberries or blueberries would also be lovely and maybe even cherries.   Do let me know if you try them and please take a look below at the other Secret Recipe Club entries for this month.

Lemon Raspberry and Chia Seed Muffins

Lemon and Raspberry Chia Seed Muffins

Yield: Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 190g plain flour
  • 150g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 80ml vegetable oil (I used light olive oil)
  • 120ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tbsp lemon juice)
  • 170g fresh raspberries
  • 1 tbsp plain flour

Instructions

  1. Put the flour, sugar, salt, chia seeds, lemon zest and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Put the oil, milk, egg, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon juice into a mixing jug and whisk together (I just used a fork)
  3. Put the raspberries and the extra tablespoon of flour in a bowl and stir to coat the raspberries in the flour.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together to just combine. Fold in the raspberries.
  5. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases and fill each case about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if they are ready. Mine were ready after 17 minutes.
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I am linking these to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum, Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too and Cook Blog Share, hosted this week by Snap Happy Bakes.  I am also linking to Bake of the Week hosted by Casa Costello and to Tea Time Treats hosted by Lavender and Lovage this month and on alternate months by The Hedgecombers.

Tasty TuesdaysRecipe of the weekCook Blog ShareTea Time TreatsBake of the Week

hungarian beef goulash #CookOnceEatTwice

Cook Once Eat Twice June 2016 and May Round Up

Welcome to June’s #CookOnceEatTwice and to the May round up.

Thank you to everyone who joined in with #CookOnceEatTwice in May.   We’ve had 19 fantastic entries so hopefully you’ll find lots of inspiration if you’re hoping to save time in the kitchen by preparing enough for more than one meal at a time.   At the end of this post you’ll also find out which recipe I’ve made from last month’s entries as well as the linky for June.

The first entry was these gorgeous homemade Porcini and Polenta Sausages by The Veg Space. They look like a great comfort meal!

porcini and polenta sausages

Next was Easy Peasy Foodie with a delightful Slow Cooked Chilli Beef dish.  I love the use of stewing steak rather than mince and my mince-hating husband would definitely like it!

Slow-Cooked-Beef-Chilli-15

I love making soups and especially veggie packed ones like this Roasted Sweet Potato and Vegetable Soup by From Plate to Pen.

SweetPotatoVegSoup

Then our first sweet entry was this beautiful strawberry No-bake Cheesecake by Hijacked with Twins.  Cheesecake is always a crowd-pleaser and this one is perfect for summer!

no bake cheesecake

Next were these perfectly cooked Chorizo Scotch Eggs from the Why Chef.  They have all the flavours of chorizo in them and beautifully runny yolks.

chorizo-scotch-eggs-7

Then Food Bod made a gorgeous spice mix which she turned into a Chickpea and Kale Curry.   It was perfect to eat for three days and the leftovers also made 2 further meals as well!  How fantastic is that!

food bod

Next up were these Caribbean Spiced Turkey Mince Pittas from The Why Chef.  Packed with vegetables and lean turkey mince, they make a really healthy meal option.

Turkey-Mince-Pittas-6-2

The next entry was this tasty White Bean Hummus with Homemade Pesto by Maison Cupcake – a great way of using dried beans and it keeps so much better than shop-bought hummus.

Butterbean-Hummus-Focaccia-4

Then Fix Me a Little Lunch contributed this delicious Chicken, Asparagus and Roasted Garlic Pizza.  I just love roasted garlic and this looks so morish!

chicken-pizza-slices

Then Feeding Boys shared this lovely Caramelised Onion and Rosemary Malted Loaf. Homemade bread is always such a treat and it’s definitely made me want to get my breadmaker out again!

bread-words

My own entry was next.   This harissa-marinated lamb salad is full of flavour and you can prepare it in advance too!

Lamb Salad

Then The Why Chef was back with these yummy Haddock Fish Bites.  I love fish and these sound beautiful.

haddock-fish-bites-4

I was so tempted by the next entry – these gorgeous Croque Madame Muffins with Asparagus by Only Crumbs Remain.  So delightfully cheesy looking but with the lovely salad alongside to balance the richness out!

2 Croque Madame w asparagus

Next was Roast Chicken and A Country Walk with some Potato and Goats Cheese Patties.  You can make them with leftover mashed potato but I think they’d be worth just making the mashed potato for!

Goats cheese and potato patties

I can never resist a good curry and love the flavours in this Feel-Good Fish Curry by Family Friends Food.

feel good fish curry

Then Only Crumbs Remain shared the only other sweet entry this month: this beautiful Homemade Lemon Curd.  I’m sure it wouldn’t last long and is so much nicer than bought lemon curd.

lemon curd

Allotment 2 Kitchen shared this lovely Miso Minestrone Soup.  I have never had miso in this type of chunky vegetable soup but it sounds like a wonderful combination of flavours.

Miso3

I almost always make enough pasta to last for two meals and this beautiful Baked Aubergine and Pepper Pasta Sauce with Smoked Paprika from Everyday Healthy Recipes would even please those who don’t like aubergines.  I love aubergines and the addition of the smoked paprika must give this a  a lovely almost Spanish flavour.

aubergine pasta

Finally The Gluten Free Alchemist shared this glorious Goose Egg Frittata with Spiralized Roasted Veg.  I really would love to get my hands on some goose eggs soon to have a go at it!

goose egg frittata

Now, as usual I also picked one of my favourite recipes from last month to make for my family. This time I picked Easy Peasy Foodie’s Hungarian Beef Goulash.  It was just as delicious as it sounded and even my pickiest eater, Little Miss Spice was happy to eat the pieces of beef from it without me having to take the sauce off!   That is definitely a success.

hungarian beef goulash #CookOnceEatTwice

If you haven’t discovered Eb’s blog then please take a look as it is full of amazing family friendly recipes and I honestly don’t think I’ve seen anything I wouldn’t want to eat!

Cook Once Eat Twice

Please come and link up your recipes for June and here’s a reminder of the rules:

  • Include a link in your post to Searching for Spice and include the badge.  Add your link to the linky.
  • Tweet @Corinthecook using the hashtag #CookOnceEatTwice and I will retweet all that I see.
  • Include the source of any recipe if applicable and use your own photos.
  • I will pin all entries onto the Cook Once Eat Twice Pinterest board.  I also stumble and yum the entries.
  • It’s acceptable to link up old posts but please update them with the link and the badge so they fit the rules of the challenge.
  • Feel free to link up to other blogging events as well, as long as it is within their rules.
  • Please take the time to visit some of the other links that catch your eye.
  • The closing date is the 28th of the month and the roundup will be posted soon afterwards.
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I am linking this to Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

brilliant blog posts

mini frittatas filled with mushrooms, asparagus and goats cheese

Mini Frittatas

These mini frittatas are filled with lightly spiced mushrooms, asparagus and goats cheese.  The lack of crust and the healthy filling makes these small bites an ideal choice for a picnic, buffet, light meal or just a snack.

Mini frittatas filled with mushrooms, asparagus and goats cheese

I created these mini frittatas for this month’s Recipe Redux.   The aim of The Recipe Redux is to create healthy recipes that are still delicious.  This month the theme was Small Plates for Sunny Days.

Well, before saying any more I have to admit that when I began making this recipe I had a completely different outcome in mind and these mini frittatas are actually the result of a baking disaster.

I planned to make little filo pastry cups but I put them in the oven and picked up my phone to set the timer and got completely distracted by something on it.  Until I smelled something burning.  Maybe it’s time I actually learnt to use the timer that’s on the oven.  Please tell me I’m not the only one to have ever done that.

mini frittatas filled with mushrooms, asparagus and goats cheese

Well, that recipe may get made again once I’ve got some more filo but as I’d left it quite near the deadline  this month I had to find an alternative.  Quickly.

I considered making a healthier version of these Chorizo Cheese Straws as they make perfect picnic food but in the end these mini frittatas totally saved me, which is what frittatas often do.

Have you ever looked in the fridge without knowing what to make for dinner and seen a box of eggs and a few vegetables and ended up with a frittata?   A frittata is a great way of adding extra vegetables to your meal too as you can fill the frittata with vegetables as well as serving a salad alongside.

I served these as part of a light dinner.   We had three each plus lots of salad but they would also make ideal picnic food as they’re easy to eat with your fingers and not too messy.  They would also go down well as part of a buffet menu.

mini frittatas filled with mushrooms, asparagus and goats cheese

Mini Crustless Quiches

Yield: Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 500g mushrooms, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 6-8 spears of asparagus, boiled for about a minute
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 100ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)
  • 80g goats cheese, crumbled
  • A few mint leaves, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Gently cook the mushrooms and garlic in a little oil. Lots of water will come out. Cook them until it evaporates and they have reduced in size. Stir in the spices. Cook for another couple of minutes.
  2. Grease a twelve hole muffin tin. Put a spoonful of mushrooms in the bottom of each hole then divide the goats cheese between the quiches and top each one with a couple of pieces of asparagus. Add a few chopped herbs if using.
  3. Beat the eggs and milk together then pour into each compartment of the tin.
  4. Bake in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes.
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I am linking these to Treat Petite hosted by The Baking Explorer and on alternate months by Cakeyboi. As asparagus is in season at the moment I am linking to Simple and in Season, hosted by Feeding Boys. I am also linking to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum, Cook Blog Share hosted this week by Snap Happy Bakes and Eat Your Greens, hosted by Allotment 2 Kitchen and The Veg Hog, although as this is a vegetarian challenge a vegetarian goats cheese would have to be used.

Treat Petitsimple and in seasonTasty TuesdaysCook Blog ShareEat Your Greens

Lamb Salad

Harissa-Marinated Lamb Salad

This tasty easy lamb salad is a perfect weeknight meal.  Made with roasted vegetables, spicy couscous and tender harissa-marinated lamb, it can be prepared fully or partly in advance and is equally tasty the next day.

Lamb Salad

First lets talk about marinades. A marinade can be complex with lots of herbs and spices or it can be as simple as opening a jar.   This marinade is almost the later.  Don’t even think of making this salad if you haven’t marinated your lamb.    It may be tempting to take a short cut but I promise you the marinade really ups the flavour in the lamb and this one is so easy it won’t take more than a minute or two the day before.  Or you could make it in the morning before going out to work.

Just a little bit of forward planning is all this salad needs.   Of course, you could roast the vegetables in advance too and even make the couscous the day before, although I have to admit I do prefer the vegetables to be freshly roasted.

You could say I’ve taken a few short cuts with this salad.   I could have made up a marinade myself rather than using harissa and lemon juice, but harissa and lemon juice makes an incredible marinade for lamb so why not?   I could also have used my own blend of spices in the ras el hanout couscous but again, the ras el hanout spice blend saves so much time and works perfectly in this lamb salad.  For midweek meals you have to make life easy for yourself!Lamb Salad

As you can see, I used lots of yoghurt (I love it but you could use less!) and although it isn’t mixed into the salad, it is the equivalent of a dressing.  I used fresh mint in the yoghurt, although coriander would also have been lovely.  You could even stir some chopped fresh mint through the couscous or sprinkle some more over the top.   I actually had some sprigs of mint in the fridge that had dried out so I just crumbled them up between my fingers and sprinkled the dried leaves over the lamb salad.

We thought  this made a really tasty filling salad and you could even cook the lamb on the barbecue in summer.

I am entering this recipe in the #LoveLambChallenge to create a tasty easy lamb recipe perfect for midweek eating.  For more inspiring lamb recipes then follow @TastyEasyLamb on Twitter or Facebook.

You might also be interested in my Tasty Easy Lamb Stir Fry, Mint and Lamb Meatballs or Lamb and Spinach Curry.

Lamb Salad

Lamb Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp harissa
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 4 lamb steaks
  • 1 aubergine, cut in half
  • 2 courgettes, cut in half
  • 2 sweet potatoes, quartered
  • 2-3 tbsp rape seed oil
  • 300g uncooked couscous
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 400ml stock (I used chicken stock)
  • 500ml natural yoghurt
  • 5 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • A few sprigs of dry mint (optional)

Instructions

  1. Rub the harissa and lemon juice into the lamb steaks and put them in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours.
  2. Put the vegetables on a baking tray and drizzle with the oil
  3. Roast in the oven at 180C for 25-30 minutes. Cut into smaller pieces after they have cooked.
  4. Put the couscous in a bowl and stir in the ras el hanout. Pour in the hot stock and cover for 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork.
  5. Mix the fresh mint into the yoghurt.
  6. Brush a griddle pan lightly with oil. Cook the lamb steaks for about 3 minutes on each side. Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly.
  7. Assemble the salad by putting a couple of spoonfuls of couscous on each plate, followed by some vegetables and lamb. Put a few dollops of yoghurt on each plate. Crumble some of the dry mint leaves in your hands and sprinkle over the plates.
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I am linking this to my own blogging event, #CookOnceEatTwice, to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum, to #CookBlogShare hosted by Sneaky Veg and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

Cook Once Eat TwiceTasty TuesdaysCook Blog ShareRecipe of the week

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans

Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad

This simple-looking Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad is sweet and salty, sharp and hot all at the same time.  It may not look like the best salad you’re going to eat this month but I promise it’ll surprise you and you’ll be making it again before you know it!Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans

You can prepare most of this salad in a matter of minutes, chop some lettuce, dice some cooked beetroot, crumble some goats cheese on top and whisk up the dressing.  The only thing you need to take care with is the hot candied pecans as they can easily burn.    I’ve used candied pecans before in a salad and I really cannot say how addictive they are.   Normally I am a fan of making more than you need and saving some for another day.  However, with these nuts, that’s a dangerous strategy, requiring more resistance than I have at my disposal!

I would love to say I created this recipe all by myself but in fact it is thanks to Jessie Weaver and her memories of a little place in Nashville that I came across it at all.  I was lucky enough to be paired with Jessie this month for Secret Recipe Club.

If you don’t know, the Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers who are randomly assigned to another blog each month with the challenge of recreating and blogging one of the recipes on the blog.   It’s a great way of getting to know new blogs and bloggers and pushing yourself to try things you wouldn’t have done otherwise.   It’s one of my favourite monthly events and I always look forward to ‘reveal days’ and discovering what someone has made from my blog.   Quite often it’s a recipe I’ve completely forgotten about and so it’s lovely to be reminded of a forgotten favourite.

Jessie ate this beetroot and goats cheese salad on her first wedding anniversary so it’s probably less likely than some to be one of those forgotten ones, and  of course all the nicer to be reminded of it!

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans

On her blog Jessie has a fantastic mix of posts covering recipes, everyday life, child-related topics and what she’s reading.  She has three young children with another on the way so she’s a very busy lady.  I only have 2 children and used to love reading but I think it’s now at least a year since I read anything other than a recipe book!

I was very tempted by quite a few recipes on Jessie’s blog.  I absolutely loved the sound of her recent Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread.  It looked so beautiful and moist but we’ve been eating far too much cake recently so I decided it was better to stick to savoury.  I liked the sound of the Worcestershire sauce and mayonnaise dressing in this Turkey Pecan Salad and I also have to say I was tempted by her slow cooker Beef and Tomato Stew as I could have made enough for a couple of meals.

In the end it was the beetroot and goats cheese salad that won, partly because of the pecans I must admit!  However, I also loved the sound of the beetroot and goats cheese along with the mustard vinaigrette.  As you can probably see in the picture,  I didn’t mix the mustard into the dressing well enough and you can see little dots of yellow on the salad.  For a mustard fan that wasn’t a problem but of course it’s easily avoided.   I was just too eager to get on and eat my lunch!

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans

Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad

Yield: Serves 1

Ingredients

  • Handful of pecans
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Roughly chopped or shredded lettuce
  • 1 cooked beetroot, diced
  • 25g goats cheese (the hard crumbly type)
  • For the Dressing
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing or put them in a little pot with a lid and shake well.
  2. Make the candied pecans by roasting them in a dry pan. Keep tossing them so they don't burn. When they are beginning to look toasted, sprinkle on the sugar and cayenne pepper. The sugar will soon form a caramel. Stir the nuts in it and then take them out of the pan to cool.
  3. Put the lettuce on a plate. Top with the beetroot, goats cheese and pecans. Drizzle the dressing over the top. Serve immediately.
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I am linking to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum, Cook Blog Share at Hijacked by Twins and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

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Cook Once Eat Twice

Cook Once Eat Twice April 2016 Round Up

Welcome to the April round up for #CookOnceEatTwice.   I’m sorry it’s a little late this month but I am hoping to get back on track next month.   Yet again there are some great ideas for meals that you can eat more than once and I’ve also chosen one of the entries from last month to make at home myself.   You’ll have to scroll down to the bottom to find out which one!

 

My entry was first, a pulled pork soup, which also features in a Schwartz ebook, Blogger’s Flavour Favourites.

Schwartz Pulled Pork Soup

The next entry by The Gluten Free Alchemist was a tasty looking Spiralized Oriental Courgette Noodle Soup.  It really does look like a bowlful of health!

spiralized vegetable soup

The next entry is real comfort food, an easy potato and seafood chowder pie by From Plate to Pen.

seafood pie

This was followed by The Gluten Free Alchemist with another soup, this time Roasted Vegetable Soup with Gluten Free Croutons and Crispy Fried Parsley.  This warming soup is actually made from the roasted vegetables that formed the base of the Spiralized Soup above.

second soup

I love the combination of pastry and curry so would definitely enjoy these Chicken Katsu Empanadas by The Why Chef.  Don’t they have a beautiful glaze too!

chicken-katsu-empanadas-1-702x1024

Next was another individual pie, this time these scrumptious Vegetarian Chicken and Leek Pies by Only Crumbs Remain.

2 Chicken and Leek pie x640

They were followed by The Veg Space with these Cider and Barley Stuffed Tomatoes.  The crunchy topping sounds amazing!

cider barley stuffed tomatoes

Then there was Easy Peasy Foodie with one of her amazing one pot meals, this flavour-packed Hungarian Beef Goulash.

Hungarian-Beef-Goulash-16

As you know, I love curries and this Vegan Japanese Katsu Curry Sauce by Allotment 2 Kitchen sounds full of delicious heat and spice.

Katsu1

I am a huge meatball fan so would love to try these Moroccan Meatballs with Baked Eggs by The Why Chef.  Lamb and Moroccan spices are perfect together!

moroccan-meatballs-5-4-575x1024

The meatballs were followed by another tempting spicy recipe, this Sea Bass and Prawn Moilee by Pebble Soup.  I hadn’t heard of a moilee before but I am always happy to learn about new curries!

Sea Bass and Prawn Moilee

Next were some more meatballs, this time from Hijacked By Twins.   These Meatballs Carnival Style are simple but delicious!

Meatballs carnival style

The final entry this month was Only Crumbs Remain with this gorgeous No-Knead Bread. Definitely something to try if you’re put off making your own bread by the time taken to knead it.

3 No-Knead Bread

Finally it’s time to reveal which entry from last month’s #CookOnceEatTwice I decided to have a go at myself.   Well, if you’ve been reading my blog you may have noticed that I’ve been making my own soft cheese and so I could not resist having a go at making De Tout Coeur Limousin’s Twaróg (Polish farmer’s cheese) & celery leaf frittata.  Twaróg is quite similar to ricotta but I especially loved the garlic flavour in this version.   It is very easy to make and so morish.

Twarog & celery leaf frittata

So all that remains is for me to decide which of this month’s entries to make over the next couple of weeks!  The link up for May is already open so please do come and join in again. I look forward to reading all your entries.

Cook Once Eat Twice May 2016

Welcome to May’s #CookOnceEatTwice!   Things have been a little hectic here recently so the April round up is going to be a little late but will hopefully be up in a day or two.

In the meantime please feel free to starting linking up any recipes for May that are perfect for more than one meal.

Cook Once Eat Twice

Here’s a reminder of the rules:

  • Include a link in your post to Searching for Spice and include the badge.  Add your link to the linky.
  • Tweet @Corinthecook using the hashtag #CookOnceEatTwice and I will retweet.
  • Include the source of any recipe if applicable and use your own photos.
  • I will pin all entries onto the Cook Once Eat Twice Pinterest board.
  • It’s acceptable to link up old posts but please update them with the link and the badge so they fit the rules of the challenge.
  • Feel free to link up to other blogging events as well, as long as it is within their rules.
  • Please take the time to visit some of the other links that catch your eye.
  • The closing date is the 28th of the month and the roundup will be posted soon afterwards.
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Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup with Curried Chickpea Croutons

Potato and Roasted Garlic Soup

Topped with crunchy curried chickpeas this potato and roasted garlic soup is creamy and comforting but still with a hint of spice.   And it has a secret ingredient…

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup with Curried Chickpea Croutons

In a recent post I tempted everyone with a delicious pea and homemade ricotta tart.  I suspect that not a lot of people will end up making their own ricotta, which of course is a shame, but it’s even more of a shame as it means they won’t be able to make this whey soup either.   Yes, the secret ingredient is the whey that was leftover after making the ricotta.

I had about 800ml of leftover whey and it seemed a shame to just pour it down the sink.   After a short browse online I discovered there are a lot of  uses for leftover whey.   Add it to soups and stews in place of stock or in baked goods such as bread, pastries and biscuits.  Apparently it’s good for your skin too so you could even add it to the bath, although that’s not on my list of things to do with whey!

The leftover whey may look a funny greenish colour but it’s full of vitamins, minerals and protein as well as being low in fat.  It’s perfect for roasted vegetable soups as it helps give the soup that creamy texture without you actually needing to add any cream.   I kept this potato and roasted garlic soup very simple.   It’s mainly potatoes and garlic, which of course go well together.  To make it a bit more interesting I roasted some chickpeas with some curry spices to make crunchy chickpea croutons.   These were the ideal topping and complemented the creamy potato and garlic soup perfectly.  Of course, you could just make roasted chickpeas for a tasty snack or even salad topping.

If you’re thinking that making homemade cheese is complicated and time consuming then think again.   Nothing could be easier than making a soft cheese like ricotta.

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup with Curried Chickpea Croutons

Before anyone argues, I will say that I am not a cheesemaking expert.  I’ve only just discovered how to make ricotta at home and if you’re a purist then you may argue that what I’ve made is not actually ricotta.  The meaning of ricotta is ‘twice cooked’ because ricotta is traditionally made from the whey that is leftover after making another cheese.   This ricotta is made from whole milk and it’s not twice cooked.  Even so, it tastes like ricotta and that’s good enough for me.

My cheesemaking kit (The Big Cheese Making Kit) called it ricotta too.  To make the ricotta you need milk, citric acid, salt, a saucepan, a cheesecloth and a sieve.   I used citric acid as it came in the kit but you could use white wine vinegar or lemon juice as an alternative.  Basically you heat the milk with the citric acid and salt then leave it to stand.   At this point the curds and whey will separate and then you strain the curds off.  I may go into this in more detail one day soon, but in the meantime, if you fancy having a go at home then take a look at this easy ricotta recipe from The Kitchn.

You can leave the ricotta plain or flavour it with herbs, spices or even peas as I did in the tart I mentioned above.  Over the next few weeks I’m hoping to do some more experimenting and I promise I’ll be making some more recipes using homemade soft cheese, as well as some equally delicious recipes using the whey that’s leftover.

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup with Curried Chickpea Croutons

Potato and Roasted Garlic Soup with Curried Chickpea Croutons

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 Medium- sized potatoes (approx 400g), cubed
  • 800ml whey
  • Black pepper
  • For the Garnish
  • 50g chickpeas
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • A few sprays of oil

Instructions

  1. Mix the chickpeas, curry powder and oil together.
  2. Cut the garlic bulb in half and coat in a little oil.
  3. Put the chickpeas and the garlic on a baking tray and roast in the oven at 200C for about 20 minutes until the garlic is soft and the chickpeas are crispy.
  4. Cook the onion gently in a saucepan in a little oil until it is soft but not browned.
  5. Add the potatoes and the whey and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Blend the soup either using a stick blender or transfer it to a blender, in batches if necessary.
  7. Season the soup with the black pepper and serve it topped with the croutons.
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I am linking this to the No Waste Food Challenge at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary and Credit Crunch Munch, hosted by From Plate to Pen and organised by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All .  I am also linking to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum, Cook Blog Share hosted this week by Snap Happy Bakes and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

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