courgetti salad

Courgetti Salad

This simple healthy courgetti salad flavoured with lemon juice and baharat spice mix makes  a perfect bbq side dish or side salad for an easy weeknight meal.

courgetti salad

This month The Recipe Redux challenged us to ‘get your fruits and veggies in shape‘.   After all, this time of year really is the best for enjoying freshly picked fruits and vegetables.  There’s so much in season at the moment and everything tastes so much better than in the middle of winter.

You don’t even need to put in a lot of effort to enjoy all the fresh produce.  This courgetti salad for example, uses spiralized raw courgette (zucchini) and it’s so quick to make that it really is worth getting the spiralizer out of the cupboard for.  But even if you don’t have a spiralizer, a simple vegetable peeler would make a perfectly acceptable substitute.

courgetti salad

This salad is a seasonal mix of courgette and spring onion, tossed with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing but with the addition of Barts baharat spice mix, which is what really gives this salad its lovely spiced flavour.

Baharat is a peppery spice mix from the Middle East that combines paprika, coriander, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cloves and nutmeg.   It’s great to add a little bit of heat to a salad dressing, lovely in a stew and delicious as a rub for foods that are going to be cooked on the barbecue.   Or in my case, inside on the griddle pan.   I’m using baharat a lot at the moment although this is just my first recent blog post to feature it.

This recipe represents quite a success in my own little world.  Mr SearchingforSpice does not like courgettes.  Even if I hide a few cooked ones in a  pasta sauce he will pick them out and refuse to eat them.   More for me!  He’s rather good at picking out vegetable pieces he thinks he doesn’t like.  Well, I fully expected him to not even try this courgetti salad but he not only tried a little, he ate rather a lot.  I just wonder how soon I can get away with making it again.   I may even be able to remake this lemon and courgette spaghetti one day!

courgetti salad

Courgetti Salad

Yield: Serves 4

A simple spiralized courgette salad with a lemon and baharat dressing.

Ingredients

  • 1 large courgette
  • 2 spring onions, sliced lengthwise and then into pieces about 5cm long
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp baharat seasoning
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

Instructions

  1. Spiralize the courgette or if you don't have a spiralizer you could slice it into thin strips using a vegetable peeler.
  2. Put the courgetti and spring onion in a bowl
  3. In a small bowl or jar mix together the remaining ingredients for the dresssing. Mix well or shake.
  4. Pour the dressing over the courgetti and toss together.
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I am linking to Fiesta Friday hosted this week by Jhuls at The Not So Creative Cook and Colleen at Faith,Hope, Love & Luck. I am also linking to No Croutons Required hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen and on alternate months by Tinned Tomatoes, linking to Eat Your Greens hosted by A Seasonal Veg Table and on alternate months by The Veg Hog. I am also joining in with Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum and Cook Blog Share at Snap Happy Bakes.

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courgetti salad

 

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gooseberry ice cream

Homemade Gooseberry Ice Cream

There’s nothing better than freshly picked berries and ice cream in summer so why not combine the two with this recipe for tangy homemade gooseberry ice cream?

Gooseberry ice cream

I love summer and I love all the fresh fruit and vegetables that are around right now.  One of my favourite activities to do with the children is to go and pick our own fresh fruit and vegetables at Garsons Pick Your Own Farm, which is where I picked these gooseberries.

If you’re not familiar with gooseberries they are tart green berries about the same size as grapes. You can sometimes eat the very ripe ones uncooked and without sweetening them but usually they are too sharp and need to be cooked and sweetened before they can be eaten.

Freshly picked gooseberries

I grew up on a farm and we used to pick them in some of the hedgerows so we always had a lot of gooseberry pies and crumbles at this time of year.  I’ve made a few crumbles myself and last year I made a delicious gooseberry cobbler.   This year however, I fancied trying something a little different.  I fancied gooseberry ice cream.

I was initially thinking along the lines of a gooseberry crumble cake and I still want to make that but I need to go and pick more gooseberries first!  I was then given the idea of making ice cream. Now I love my ice cream maker in summer but it was still sitting in the cupboard since last year. I just had to get it out, especially as I keep coming across so many tempting ice cream and frozen yoghurt recipes online.

I have had my ice cream maker for a few years now and seems to be out of stock but as far as I can see it is exactly the same as this Andrew James Ice Cream Maker , which is currently the number 1 bestseller on Amazon.   It only costs £27.99 at the moment so there really is no reason not to treat yourself!

Gooseberry ice cream freshly churned in ice cream maker

I haven’t used exact quantities in the recipe as the amount of sugar needed for the gooseberries does very much depend on how tart they are and also on how sweet you like your ice cream to be.   I love tart fruits to keep their sharpness but I know that not everyone feels like that!  Add some sugar or another sweetner to the gooseberries as they are cooking and then when they are almost ready taste them and add a little more if necessary.   Once the gooseberries have been mixed into the cream then you might also need to add extra sugar.   I add icing sugar at this stage as it dissolves more easily.

You can see from the pictures that there is still some texture in the gooseberry ice cream from the fruit.   I love to get lumpy fruity pieces in my ice cream but if you want it to be smoother then you could puree the gooseberries after stewing them.   You could even then pass the mixture through a sieve to remove pulpy bits and seeds.

gooseberry ice cream

I went for a plain gooseberry ice cream this time but you could also add some spices to the gooseberries as they are stewing to get a more complex flavour.  How about gooseberry cardamom ice cream?  That’s a recipe for next time!

I found that this gooseberry ice cream kept well in the freezer and didn’t go too hard.  It was possible to scoop it as soon as it came out of the freezer without having to wait for it to soften a little first.

If you’re looking for more homemade ice cream recipes then do take a look at my other ice cream recipes:  vanilla ice cream and affogato, kiwi fruit ice cream, cardamom and pistachio ice cream and raspberry and white chocolate ice cream.

I have to say I am also very happy with my new quick release ice cream scoops and Ravenhead sundae dishes which you can see in the picture below:

Gooseberry ice cream

Gooseberry Ice Cream

Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 300g chilled stewed and sweetened gooseberries
  • 300ml double cream
  • Icing sugar or sweetener (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix the gooseberries and cream together in a mixing jug.
  2. Taste and mix in a little icing sugar or an alternative sweetener if the mixture is not quite sweet enough.
  3. Follow your ice-cream maker's instructions. Pour the gooseberry mixture into the ice cream maker and let it stir it for about 15 minutes when it should be fairly stiff. Transfer to a freezer container and place in the freezer. Or eat straightaway.

Notes

I haven't given instructions for stewing the gooseberries as they can vary a lot in sweetness. I added 150g or sugar to 800g of gooseberries but it is a matter of taste. Keep tasting and adding extra sugar until they are right.

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Do you make your own ice cream?  If so then please leave a comment and inspire me with your favourite flavour combinations.

I am linking to Tasty Tuesday at Honest Mum, Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too and Cook Blog Share hosted this week by Sneaky Veg.

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Homemade gooseberry ice cream
Steves leaves Thai salad

July’s Foodie Review

Like most food lovers I can’t resist trying new products.  For me, there are only a few things more enjoyable than going to a farm shop, trying a few samples and deciding what to take home with me.  If only I could do that more often!

I occasionally wish I was as good at shoe shopping as I am at food shopping.   But only occasionally!

Hot Garlic Pickle from The Garlic Farm

This month we have been eating Hot Garlic Pickle from The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight.  I was given a jar as a present at the end of March but I didn’t open it immediately.  I had quite a few jars in the fridge and I thought I’d wait until we’d finished some of the other jars before adding a newly opened one.

Hot garlic pickle - The Garlic Farm #Review

However, we were eating homemade burgers for dinner one day and sometimes something catches your eye and you decide now is the time to try it.   That was the case here.  It was suddenly the perfect time to try this pickle.  It’s packed with garlic and also chillies, cumin, black onion seeds and ginger to give it an Indian flavour.  It’s a little bit like a really garlicy lime pickle but without the lime, if you can imagine that.  If you love garlic and you love Indian food then you will be hooked!   It was a great accompaniment to the burgers.  It would also be lovely on popadoms and I’d like to try it as a marinade too – If I’ve got enough left!

hot garlic pickle The Garlic Farm 1

A 285g jar costs £3.95 and is available online from The Garlic Farm or from many farm shops such as my local one at Garsons.

Steves Leaves

I’ve also been eating a lot of salads.   After all, it is summer and they’re great for making in advance and then putting in packed lunches or picnics.  At lunchtime I often have leftovers from the night before or toast if I’m at home.  Recently I’ve been trying some salads by Steves Leaves. Steve’s Leaves use baby salad leaves grown outdoors in the UK.  They are currently the only salad brand that is certified as Fair to Nature by Conservation Grade.   I was sent a Thai salad and a Ploughman’s Salad to try.

Steves Leaves Thai and Ploughman's salads

Both salads contain a mixture of mild young leaves as well as a few toppings.   The Thai salad contains dried mango chunks and coconut flakes.  I wouldn’t have thought to add these to a salad I made myself but they were really tasty and there was  a yummy dressing too.  I really enjoyed the salads but wished there was more of the mango and coconut in the Thai salad and a little more cheese and croutons in the ploughmans.  Overall though, both salads are tasty but you do need something else alongside to make them satisfying enough for a meal.  They kept well though.   I ate the ploughmans a day after its useby date and everything was still very fresh with no soggy leaves at all.

Steves Leaves Thai Salad

Steves Leaves are available from Waitrose and Ocado.  These salad bowls cost £ 2.39.  These is currently a 25% discount.

Yumboxes

As the weather is just starting to improve we are eating a lot more picnics and the whole family now has Yumboxes.  I love these lunchboxes as they have little individual compartments so you can easily pack a selection of different things without having to individually wrap everything.  I first got one for Little Miss Spice.  She loved it and so I got one for Master Spice.  Then I grew envious and got one for myself and in the end we all had one.

yumboxes

In the past I would have just made myself a sandwich and maybe a piece of fruit.  Now I have four compartments I like to fill them and I’m finding I’m much more likely to eat extra vegetables than I was before.  I also feel I’m setting a better example to the children by eating in the same way they do.  Because of the way the lid seals when the lunchbox is closed you can even pack wet foods like yoghurts or stewed fruit without them leaking into the adjacent compartments.  The only issue is that some foods like crackers can be difficult to fit into the compartments without breaking them and my children are quite likely to refuse broken food!

Yumboxes

Yumboxes are available online from Amazon at £19.95 – £25.95 and directly from Yumbox at £24.95.

The Collective Yoghurt

Another new product I’ve discovered in the past month has been The Collective Yoghurts.  I love yoghurt and eat a lot of natural yoghurt as I can flavour it myself by adding my choice of fruit and nuts.   However, every now and again I love to try new flavours and flavours I probably wouldn’t make myself.  I was given a free sample of Russian Fudge yoghurt in my Ocado shop and I was so impressed I decided to try more flavours so went and bought the vanilla one and the passion fruit one.

The Collective Passion Fruit YoghurtThese rich and creamy yoghurts come in small or large pots with a layer of compote on top and underneath so you can mix it in yourself.  This means you can mix it as much or as little as you want and I loved being able to see the swirls of flavour running through the yoghurt.  I’m now a big fan of these yoghurts and will be trying more flavours each time I shop!

The Collective Yoghurts

The Collective Yoghurts are available from all large supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose.  The 450g pots cost £2 but many supermarkets are currently offering a 50p discount. They also come in 150g pots.

I’ll be publishing another Foodie Review next month so come back to see what else I’ve discovered that’s worth trying.

Disclosure:  I was sent samples of the Steves Leaves but all other products are ones I have chosen to review as I am genuinely impressed by them.   All views are my own. The prices given are correct at the time of publishing but are subject to change.

Garlic and Herb Butter Quick Bread

Garlic and Herb Butter Quick Bread

This garlic and herb butter quick bread is more than a match for a traditional garlic bread.  With a soft pillowy centre and a buttery garlic crust, it might not be the healthiest quick bread but it is one of the best!

Garlic and Herb Butter Quick Bread

I was lucky enough to discover this butter quick bread on my Secret Recipe Club assignment this month.   I was assigned Cookin’ Mimi written by Micha.  Micha has been blogging since 2008 and cooking since she was a little girl.   She even had a recipe published when she was 4 years old.   Right, I’d better get little Miss Spice up to speed!

There is something for eveyone on Cookin’ Mimi.   You’ll find recipes for main meals, desserts, breads, drinks and even dressings.    Most recipes are the type of family friendly recipes that people love to eat.   You can just tell she loves to make people happy with her cooking.

As I looked through her site I was initially interested in the slow cooker recipes.  I haven’t used my slow cooker enough recently but it’s so good to have a meal just ready in the evening when you need it.  The recipe I almost made but haven’t yet is Slow Cooker Pizza.  It’s like a slow cooker pasta bake with pizza flavours.  I might not have made it yet but I do hope to make it soon!  And I challenge you not to want to make it too!

Garlic and Herb Butter Quick Bread

I was also intrigued by the Grape Ice Cream.  I don’t have the right ingredients here but it has made me want to make ice cream again.   And there will be an ice cream recipe posted soon!

But, back to this garlic and herb butter quick bread.   On Micha’s blog you’ll find the recipe named Garlic and Herb Butter Dip Biscuits.  Well, I had to rename it we wouldn’t call these biscuits in the UK. I considered calling them scones but they are much lighter than scones with a softer texture.   As soon as I tasted them I knew quick bread was the most appropriate name.   I’ve converted the measurements into metric, reduced the salt a little and also added some herbs to the bread mixture but otherwise the recipe is the same.

If you like garlic then I promise you the smell of this quick bread is amazing as it bakes.   It wafts out of the oven and fills the kitchen making you really really hungry.   I couldn’t wait for it to be ready and once it was ready it was a struggle to leave it to cool.

Garlic and Herb Butter Quick Bread

We ate the quick bread as a side with a beef salad one day and some chicken and salad the next day but it would be just perfect alongside some soup on a cooler day.   It would go really well with this simple tomato soup or this sausage and bean stew.

However you serve it or if you even just have it as a snack I promise you you’ll absolutely love this garlic and herb butter quick bread.   In fact, you’ll love it so much you’ll be struggling to stop yourself making it again and again and again!

Garlic and Herb Butter Quick Bread

Garlic and Herb Butter Quick Bread

Yield: Serves 9 as a side

Buttery garlic and herb quick bread. A great alternative to traditional garlic bread.

Ingredients

  • 110g unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 320g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 415ml buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Grease a 20cm baking tin. A metal tin would be best to stop the quick bread from sticking but I had to use a glass pyrex dish.
  2. Put the butter in a bowl and melt in the microwave. Mix in the garlic and 1 teaspoon of dried parsley.
  3. Pour the butter into the baking dish.
  4. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and the other teaspoon of dried parsley in a mixing bowl.
  5. Stir in the buttermilk to get a thick batter.
  6. Put the batter in the baking dish and pat it down and into the sides of the dish.
  7. Use a knife and score the bread so it makes 9 pieces.
  8. Bake the bread in a preheated oven at 220C for about 20-25 minutes. The bread will have risen and be golden when it's ready.
  9. Let it cool a little in the dish then turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. It's delicious warm or cold.
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I am also linking this to my own #CookOnceEatTwice challenge, to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum and to #CookBlogShare at Hijacked by Twins.

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Garlic and herb butter quick bread
Vegan carrot cake

Vegan Carrot Cake

This yummy vegan carrot cake is delicious, full of spices, sultanas and grated carrot and so moist you’ll definitely want another slice.

Vegan carrot cake

When our local Clandestine Cake Club challenged us to make a vegan cake recently it wasn’t a hard decision to make a vegan carrot cake.  You see, my huband is not the biggest fan of carrot cakes but I love carrot cake.   This means if I’m making a cake to eat at home, I feel I should take his tastes into account.  At least some of the time.  However, if I’m taking  a cake to cake club, I can make whatever I like and still get to enjoy it!  I love cake club for this.

Bring on fruity spiced cakes!   For my first cake club I made an apple, cinnamon and caramel cake.   I still hanker after a slice whenever I’m reminded of it!   Give me that or carrot cake or possibly courgette cake (although that’s still on my to-make list!) any day over chocolate cake or a plain madeira cake.  Not that I’d say no to any cake in reality though.

Did I mention that this carrot cake is vegan?  I’m not vegan and this is my first vegan cake.  I have to admit that I was a little worried about whether it would turn out ok or whether I’d be thinking there was something missing.  I needn’t have worried.  I’d choose to make this carrot cake recipe again whether I needed to make it a vegan carrot cake or not.

Vegan Carrot Cake

The recipe is slightly adapted from a vegan carrot cake recipe on the Vegan Society website.  After all, that seemed a good place to start looking, although I know many vegan bloggers with amazing cakes on their sites and I could have gone there for inspiration too.

Maybe I cheated a little by making a carrot cake for a vegan challenge as lots of carrot cake recipes use oil anyway instead of butter.   I used rapeseed oil for this cake but I think it would be nice to experiment with coconut oil another time.

The recipe I used didn’t seem to contain any replacement for eggs but as I love chia seeds so much at the moment I added a spoonful.  I’ve been reading recently about how you can grind them to a powder or mix them with golden syrup and I do want to experiment more with these ideas but just adding them as they were worked here.   In the lemon and raspberry muffins and the chocolate chia ones I made recently the chia seeds still had quite a crunch but in this vegan carrot cake they were barely noticeable if you didn’t know  they were in there.  I’m not sure if it was the extra baking time that made them loose more of their crunch or the fact that carrot cake has a lot of texture anyway so they just stood out less.

I was also interested in experimenting with aquafaba, the drained liquid from a tin of chickpeas, which can be used as an egg replacement as well.   However, I thought I should test it out on my family first rather than adding it to a cake I was going to offer to other people.

I’d love to experiment more with vegan cakes so please let me know in the comments about your favourite vegan cakes and what replacements you use for eggs and butter.

Vegan carrot cake (2)

Vegan Carrot Cake

Yield: 12-16 slices

A moist and warmly spiced vegan carrot cake

Ingredients

  • 225g grated carrot
  • 170g sultanas or raisins
  • 280g self-raising flour (you can use a mixture of white and wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 170g sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200 ml vegetable oil
  • 200 ml water
  • Dash of vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A little vegan margarine for greasing the cake tin
  • For the Icing
  • 170g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 85g vegan margarine

Instructions

  1. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
  2. Put the first 9 ingredients in a large bowl and stir together.
  3. Add in all the other ingredients and then stir them together till there are no dry bits.
  4. Put the mixture in the cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 190C for 60-70 minutes.
  5. Let the cake cool for a short while in the tin then transfer it to a wire rack.
  6. To make the icing, mash all the ingredients together with a fork then spread it onto the cake once it is completely cooled.
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I am linking to Honest Mum’s #TastyTuesdays, hosted this week by Le Coin de Mel and to #CookBlogShare hosted this week by Snap Happy Bakes and to #RecipeoftheWeek hosted by A Mummy Too. I am also linking to Love Cake hosted by JibberjabberUK.  The theme is Garden Party and of course this cake contains carrots.

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Vegan Carrot Cake
Spiced Turkey Mince Pittas #CookOnceEatTwice

Cook Once Eat Twice July 2016 and June Round up

Welcome to this month’s #CookOnceEatTwice and the June round up.  Once again there were some lovely entries and I really am tempted by quite a few this month!

The first entry was this beautiful No-Knead Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia by Angela at Only Crumbs Remain.   I love how this method seems to produce perfect bread but with much less hands on time than traditional breadmaking.

No Knead Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia #CookOnceEatTwice

Then Elaine at Foodbod made this delicious Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad that evolved into slightly different salads each day and finally ended up as a dip.  Wonderful!

foodbod - everything becomes a dip

Next was Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen with this vibrant Pointed Red Ramiro Pepper and Black Bean Chilli Bowl.  I will definitely have to look out for some ramiro peppers soon!

ramiro chilli

Then Kate at The Veg Space contributed this tasty Broad Bean, Fennel and Baby Carrot Pilaf.  It’s one of those unplanned meals that turned out to be so tasty it needed to be remembered!

broad bean fennel baby carrot pilaf

I find there’s something incredibly morish about little pastries and these Welsh Rarebit Pastries by Martin at The Why Chef would definitely go down well at a party.

Welsh-Rarebit-Pastries-Banner

My own Chocolate Chia Seed Muffins were next.  They’re really easy to make and homemade muffins are so much healthier than bought ones.

chocolate chip and chia seed muffins

Then there was another sweet entry.  Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie made this delicious Gluten Free Peach and Cherry Crumble.  I am a big fan of crumble and I know this would be really popular with my children too!

Gluten free peach and cherry crumble

I love Middle Eastern flavours and Shaheen at Allotment 2 Kitchen then made this tasty Middle Eastern Sweet Potato Kibbeh.  Kibbeh is new to me but I love falafels and this sounds like a really tempting alternative!

kibbeh

You can never have enough comforting stew recipes and this Apricot and Pumpkin Tagine by Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe would be really warming on a cool winter’s or summers day.

pumpkin and apricot tangine (6)

Our final entry was a beautiful homemade Orange Curd by Angela at Only Crumbs Remain.  I would love some on a warm buttery scone right now!

orange curd

Last month there were so many entries that I couldn’t pick just one to make.  Yes, that’s right, I’ve made two of last month’s entries.   The first one was these gorgeous Spiced Turkey Mince Pittas by Martin, The Why Chef.   They were amazing and definitely a recipe to make again!

Spiced Turkey Mince Pittas #CookOnceEatTwice

I was also so tempted that I also made the Baked Aubergine and Pepper Pasta Sauce made by Monika at Everyday Healthy Recipes.   It has a lovely smoked paprika flavour and I can only apologise that my picture looks nowhere near as beautiful as Monika’s original one.  I can promise you that it tastes great though.

smoked paprika aubergine pasta

Thank you to everyone who joined in.   Please come back soon and link up your recipes for July and also to see which of this month’s entries I’ve recreated.

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 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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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!  I am also linking to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum and #CookBlogShare hosted this week by Sneaky Veg.

Meat Free MondaysEat Your GreensTasty TuesdaysCook Blog Share

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