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.

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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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Quick Pasta Salad

Quick Pasta Salad

This quick pasta salad will hardly take longer to make than a sandwich.   Just add some fresh ingredients to leftover pasta plus a squeeze of lime and it’s done.  It’s perfect to eat at home or out and about as a tasty packed lunch too.

Quick pasta salad

Recently I’ve been trying to become more organised in the kitchen in order to save time when preparing meals.  It also makes it easier for me to eat healthily throughout the day and not just in the evenings.

I’ve started washing and preparing fruit and vegetables soon after I buy them so they’re ready to eat or cook with very little extra effort.   If I’ve got some clean celery and carrot sticks in the fridge I’m much more likely to eat them for a snack than I am if I’ve got to wash them first.  I’m also more likely to eat extra vegetables with my lunch if I don’t have to prepare them at the time. For a super lazy lunch I’ll just take out my boxes of cleaned vegetables, put a few things on a plate and eat, as you can see below.

Easy lunch with pre-washed vegetables

I never have much time at lunchtime to prepare lunch.  If I’m at home I’ve usually been out most of the morning  or if we’re out somewhere we’ll often be eating a packed lunch.

So when I found out that this month the theme for The Recipe Redux was healthy lunch ideas, especially packable lunches, it came at the perfect time.

I have to be honest, I do usually make sandwiches for lunch at the moment if I’m going to be out so I am in rather a lunch rut.   This wasn’t always the case.   Before Little Miss Spice was around, I would regularly prepare filling packed lunch salads to take to work instead of sandwiches every day.Quick Pasta Salad

I would often cook rice, pasta or new potatoes as I was having my breakfast.  I’d drain and cool them then add some protein such as beans, nuts, lentils, cold chicken or cheese.  Then I’d add some salad vegetables: tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, green beans etc.  Finally I’d add some dressing. Just  a little so as not to make it soggy.  I’d use things like olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sesame oil and soy sauce.   No lunch was ever exactly the same as it just depended on what I had in the fridge.  Way back in 2012 I made this seedy couscous salad using that method and this tuna and cannellini bean salad from 2011 is another quick and easy lunchtime salad.

In the years since then I’d got rather out of that habit but this month I have been trying to get back into it and so I’m sharing a super simple quick pasta salad.  The only cooking required is to cook the pasta but you can do that the night before if it’s easier for you.   It makes a great packed lunch or you can just eat it at home on a plate.   I have to say I did both.

I haven’t included any quantities in the recipe as this type of quick pasta salad is not the type where exact quantities are important.   Just add enough so it looks right to you.   I have to say, after taking the pictures I decided I needed a lot more sunflower seeds so I sprinkled on another large handful.  You could also up the protein by adding a few kidney or cannellini beans.  When I ate this the second time I crumbled in some cheese as well.

If you’re looking to liven up your lunches too then do check out some of the other Recipe Redux posts at the end of this post.

Quick Pasta Salad

Quick Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • Leftover pasta
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Yellow pepper, sliced
  • Avocado, diced
  • Sunflower seeds, roasted
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lime juice
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Serve
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I am linking this to Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too, Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum, Cook Blog Share, hosted this week by Sneaky Veg and No Croutons Required hosted by Tinned Tomatoes.

Recipe of the weekNo Croutons RequiredCook Blog ShareTasty Tuesdays

Ricotta and Pea Tart

Homemade Ricotta and Pea Tart

I chose this Homemade Ricotta and Pea Tart to make this month for my Secret Recipe Club assignment.   With a base of crisp puff pastry and topped with homemade ricotta, peas and herbs, it is a recipe that is just as good to make for guests as it is to enjoy with your family.

Ricotta and Pea Tart

This month my assignment was the blog, Well Dined, written by Sarah, a stay at home foodie wife.  As soon as I received my assignment I was excited as Sarah had my blog last month and I’d enjoyed reading her post about making my bulgogi so I was delighted to have the opportunity to make one of her recipes.

I looked at quite a lot of recipes but as so often happens it was the very first one I checked that I ended up making.   I think it was partly the fact that I really wanted to make my own ricotta but mainly that her tart looked and sounded so zesty and green.  It was full of fresh herbs, peas, lemon and ricotta.  I wanted a slice and the only way I was going to get one was to make it myself!

Of course, I was spoilt for choice by so many more recipes as well.  I absolutely love eating pastry and I have never even considered the idea of making a crustless quiche before but I was still tempted by her Quinoa and Kale Crustless Quiche.   Another great healthy weeknight meal would be her Poached Chicken with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables.  So simple but really tasty. I also like the sound of the Lamb Stew with dried plums.  It’s full of veggies as well as a lovely mix of North African spices.  It might take a bit longer to make but I’m sure the final dish would be worth it.

I have to admit now that I have had a cheesemaking kit sitting in the back of one of my cupboards for quite some time.  A whole 2 years I’m ashamed to say.   I was given it for my birthday just before Master Spice was born and with all the preoccupations of looking after a new baby and a toddler it somehow got a bit forgotten about.
Big Cheese Making Kit

Well, recently when I was tidying out my cupboards I found it again and promised myself to use it soon.  So when I saw that this recipe used homemade ricotta, I knew I could make excuses no longer!

I will write more about it in another post as I am planning to make some more cheese as well but I will just say that it was so easy it really should not have taken me two years to use.

As well as the chance to make homemade ricotta, what really caught my attention with this recipe was how green and fresh the topping looked.  By itself ricotta is a bit plain.   It needs something to give it some flavour and as soon as the peas, lemon juice and herbs were added it was absolutely delicious.   I didn’t use all of the ricotta on the tart and the leftovers made a fantastic dip for celery, cucumber and carrot sticks.   And even spread on toast for breakfast!

And what if you’re too lazy, time-pressed or, controversially, feel you have better things to do with your time than making cheese?   Well, you could just buy a tub from the supermarket.  It would just be 45p more expensive (based on Tesco prices) than the 2 pints of milk I made this with!   But seriously, don’t feel you have to make your own ricotta to make this.  Although if you want to, follow the instructions on Sarah’s blog.

Ricotta and Pea Tart

Homemade Ricotta and Pea Tart

Yield: Serves 8

A tasty ricotta and pea tart with lemon and fresh herbs.

Ingredients

  • 320g puff pastry (I used ready rolled)
  • 250g ricotta
  • 240g peas (I used defrosted but uncooked frozen peas)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Score a rectangle into the puff pastry to make a border about 2cm inside from the outside edge.
  2. Bake in the oven at 200C for 10 minutes. Push the middle of the tart down and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
  3. Put the ricotta, half the peas, half the basil, half the mint, the lemon juice and a little black pepper in the food processor. Blitz until fairly smooth.
  4. Spread the ricotta mixture onto the tart.
  5. Mix the remaining peas and herbs together. Scatter on top of the tart.
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This tart is perfect for spring so I am linking it to Cooking with Herbs at Lavender and Lovage and to Eat Your Greens, hosted this month by The Veg Hog and on alternate months by Allotment 2 Kitchen. I am also linking to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum, Meat Free Mondays at Tinned Tomatoes, Cook Blog Share, hosted this week by Snap Happy Bakes and Fiesta Friday hosted by Julie @ Hostess At Heart and Ashley @ Too Zesty .

Cooking with herbsMeat Free MondaysTasty TuesdaysEat Your GreensCook Blog Share

Giveaway: Tickets to the BBC Good Food Show

Once again I’m delighted to be hosting a giveaway to win a pair of tickets to the Summer BBC Good Food Shows in either London or Birmingham.

BBC good food show London summer 2016

These shows are a fantastic chance to try new foodies products, meet other foodies and of course see famous names in the supertheatre.   Paul Hollywood and James Martin will be at both shows.  Plus in London you can see Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley, Davina McCall and John Torode. In Birmingham there’ll be Mary Berry, the Two Greedy Italians and Tom Kerridge.

Both shows promise to be a great day out and visitors are sure to come away with lots of new ideas and foodie inspiration.

bbc good food show Birmingham summer 2016

 

The dates of the shows are:

London:   Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd May 2016 at Excel

Birmingham:  Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th June 2016 at the NEC

If you are the winner you can choose which show you would like the tickets to be for but the tickets would NOT be valid for the Saturday.

To enter, please fill in the Rafflecopter Giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

  1. Entry is open to residents of the United Kingdom only.
  2. Participants must be aged 18 years or over at the time of entering.
  3. To enter, participants must follow the directions on the Rafflecopter widget.
  4. Competition closes 23:59 on Sunday 1 May 2016. If the winner does not respond within 7 days of being contacted, another winner will be picked.
  5. One winner will be selected from the valid entries. The winner will receive the following prize: 2 tickets for entry to the BBC Good Food Show in London or Birmingham (on any day except for Saturday). The winner will be responsible for their own travel arrangements.
  6. The tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable.
  7. Searching for Spice is running the competition on behalf of the sponsor and accepts no responsibility for any failure to receive tickets.

You can find more Competitions at ThePrizeFinder 

 

Schwartz Pulled Pork Soup

Pulled Pork and Pulled Pork Soup

I may have mentioned before that I love pulled pork.   What could be better than throwing a piece of pork and a few spices in the slow cooker, waiting  a few hours and then pulling it all apart?

A few years ago I probably hadn’t even heard of pulled pork.   These days, pulled pork is one our regular meals.   Or perhaps I should say ingredients in some of our regular meals.   Just like this pulled pork soup.

Schwartz Pulled Pork Soup

This time the pork was cooked in the slow cooker with the Schwartz Slow Cookers Bbq Pork Recipe Mix.   After being pulled apart with a couple of forks, the pork was made into a soup with lot of veggies, lime, crushed chillies and coriander to really bring it alive.

If you’re looking for something easy, healthy and tasty then you can’t go wrong with this pulled pork soup. You can make enough for just one meal or make a big batch and eat it up over the coming days. If you read or take park in my #CookOnceEatTwice challenge then you’ll know I always love meals that can be served up more than once, which is why this is my contribution for April.

You can find the recipe for this soup in a new e-book available to download free from the Schwartz website.   The ebook is a compilation of 20 Food Blogger’s Flavour Favourites and the recipes all look amazing!  For more recipes ideas using herbs and spices you can follow Schwartz on Twitter and Facebook.

As I said above, I love pulled pork as it’s so versatile and with very little effort you can create so many delicious meals with it.  It’s great for cooking at the beginning of the week and then eating up over the next few days.

Pulled Pork Schwartz

As well as pulled pork soup I also put some in  bread rolls to have simple pulled pork burgers one night.

Pulled pork sandwich

The rest was made into quesadillas with jalapenos, red onions, sliced tomatoes and of course grated cheese!

Pulled Pork Quesadillas

I am linking this to my own food blogging challenge, #CookOnceEatTwice.

Cook Once Eat Twice

The pulled pork soup recipe was commissioned by Schwartz