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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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.

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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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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

Black quinoa and chicken salad with green beans and green peppers

Black Quinoa and Chicken Salad

This black quinoa and chicken salad is full of healthy green vegetables, herbs and a fresh lemon dressing that makes it just what you need for a quick and easy meal.  As a bonus it keeps well in the fridge and so is perfect for giving you leftovers for lunch the next day too

Black quinoa and Chicken salad with green beans and green peppers

I created this quinoa and chicken salad for this month’s Recipe Redux.   The theme was easy recipes with 7 or fewer ingredients.   The type of meal you can make when you really don’t want to try out anything complicated or do too much thinking.   Except to make sure there are no more than 7 ingredients!

The Recipe Redux is a group of bloggers(many of them dietitians) who complete a healthy recipe challenge each month.  I love taking part as it keeps me on track and encourages me to focus on  healthy recipes and try new things.

It was actually just in January this year for my Recipe Redux challenge that I tried black quinoa for the first time when I made kabocha squash stuffed with black quinoa and discovered how much I like the taste and crunchy texture of black quinoa.  I was keen to use it again here as I think it goes really well with the green vegetables and chicken.

I kept the dressing simple – just lemon juice, fresh parsley and black pepper.  I love lemon juice on a salad and because of the fresh herbs there was enough flavour to make the salad zesty and light.

We ate this as a warm salad when it was first made and then kept it overnight in the fridge and it was just as nice slightly chilled when I ate it the next day for lunch, which of course means that it’s perfect for my #CookOnceEatTwice challenge as well.

Black Quinoa and Chicken Salad with green beans and green peppers

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I am also linking to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum, Cook Blog Share, hosted this week by Snap Happy Bakes, Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too and Saucy Saturdays hosted by Dini, Jennifer, Swayam and Christine.

Cook Once Eat TwiceTasty TuesdaysCook Blog ShareRecipe of the week

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Tuscan lemon chicken

Tuscan Lemon Chicken

This Tuscan lemon chicken recipe is so easy to make and certainly doesn’t lack taste.   It doesn’t have many ingredients and it doesn’t take much effort but it is definitely a dish worth having up your sleeve whenever you need an easy chicken recipe.   It’s perfect as an everyday meal but delicious enough to serve to guests too.

Tuscan lemon chicken

The recipe is all thanks to Kate at A Spoonful of Thyme who was my Secret Recipe Club assignment for March.   Kate has been cooking for many years, inspired by her family and friends and loves cooking for and entertaining them.  Like the chicken recipe I chose, many of her recipes are simple but still really delicious such as Five Spiced Glazed Salmon, Spicy Chipotle Turkey Chilli and many more.  I loved the fact that she has such a range of recipes on her blog and as I love spicy food, there was certainly no shortage of recipes to inspire me.

I am currently training for a half marathon so finding time to go running as well as cook, eat, blog and all the other things I want to do in the evenings is hard work.  I really appreciate simple recipes that don’t need too much attention as they are cooking.   This Tuscan lemon chicken is exactly that.   As long as you make a really tasty lemony garlic marinade and give the chicken enough time to marinate then you can’t really go wrong.

Tuscan lemon chicken

If you are really organised you could made the marinade the day before and then the flavours would have even more time to sink into the meat.   It may be no surprise to you that I was not that organised but I did make it a few hours in advance and I couldn’t complain.

I used chicken thighs with the skin on.  The skin keeps the meat underneath really moist and I’ve recently discovered I do actually like crispy chicken skin.   In the original recipe the chicken was cooked outside on the barbecue but as there was no chance of that here in February  I baked the thighs in the oven instead.   The chicken skin still went delightfully crispy and the meat underneath the skin was really tender and moist so I’d definitely cook the chicken like that again.   Although I’d omitted the lemon zest from the original recipe, the chicken was still deliciously lemony and with the lemon squeezed over the top there was plenty of lemon for me.

Tuscan lemon chicken

The recipe is slightly adapted from A Spoonful of Thyme.

Tuscan Lemon Chicken

Yield: Serves 4

Baked chicken thighs flavoured with lemon, garlic and rosemary.

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken thighs (or a mixture of legs and thighs)
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • For the Marinade
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary (or use about 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary)
  • Pinch of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Coat the chicken in the marinade and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  2. Spray a little oil on a baking tray and place the chicken and the lemon quarters on the tray.
  3. Bake in the oven at 200C for 30-40 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through and the skin crisp. If you think your oven will burn the outside of the chicken then cover it in some foil and take it off halfway through the cooking time.
  4. Let the chicken rest for five minutes after taking it out of the oven.

Notes

For a stronger lemon flavour grate some of the lemon zest and add it to the marinade.

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

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bircher muesli

Bircher Muesli

Bircher Muesli with blueberries and banana

For years I’ve avoided bircher muesli.  Why anyone would want to mix juice, milk and oats was beyond me.   I don’t like milk and the only thing worse than milk would be the idea of juice and milk together.  As a child I would eat an orange for breakfast and then wash out my bowl before getting my cereal.  I couldn’t stand even the slightest trace of acidity ruining my breakfast.

I’ll admit that my breakfasts are pretty boring normally.  I love breakfast but I’m  happy to just eat toast, porridge or muesli.  Ordinary muesli with just a splash of milk to stop it from being uncomfortably dry.

So there I was happily eating my favourite three breakfasts when I checked the Recipe Redux theme for February: Break out of Breakfast Boredom.  But I’m not bored I said.   Unfortunately no one was listening and any amount of excuses could not change what I read on that screen.

I considered making overnight oats (without juice) and warming them up the next day so I could feel I was still eating porridge but in the end I decided to face my fears and have a go at a more traditional bircher muesli.   After all, if it was as unpleasant as I suspected, I could simply make another recipe.   No one would be any the wiser.   And maybe I could l persuade my children to eat it.

One evening I reluctantly mixed the oats, apple juice, lemon juice and milk together and went to bed wondering if I might even forget to eat them.  The next morning I grated an apple (which I am not keen on raw either!)and added vanilla yoghurt, honey and cinnamon.  I topped it with sliced banana and blueberries and sat down ready to tolerate my breakfast.

Of course, if I’d only tolerated it you wouldn’t be reading this as I’d have made something else the next day.  I found it creamy and tangy.  The apple juice was subtle and went really well.   I polished off a whole bowlful.   I offered it to my children but they refused to try it.   Did I mind?   Not at all.   More for me the next day.

The recipe was very slightly adapted from My Little Gourmet.

Bircher Muesli

Bircher Muesli

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 75g porridge oats
  • 210ml milk
  • 30ml apple juice
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 apple, grated (I peeled it first)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp low-fat vanilla yoghurt
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 2 handfuls of blueberries

Instructions

  1. Put the oats, milk, apple juice and lemon juice into a bowl and stir together. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.
  2. In the morning add the grated apple, honey, yoghurt and cinnamon. Stir and divide between 2 bowls.
  3. Top eat bowl with a sliced banana and a handful of blueberries.

Notes

After step 2 the muesli can be kept for another day in the fridge if you are just making it for one person.

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I am linking up with #CookBlogShare hosted this week by Sneaky Veg , to Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too and Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum.

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Spinach and Ricotta Aubergine Stacks

Spinach and Ricotta Aubergine Stacks

Spinach and Ricotta Aubergine Stacks

I love the combination of spinach and ricotta.   I also love my new slow cooker.  I’m really enjoying experimenting with it and making things a little different from the stews and bbq pork recipes I’ve been slow cooking for the last few years.  These slow cooked spinach and ricotta aubergine stacks are my most recent invention.

Sometimes it takes a new piece of equipment to make you push yourself out of your comfort zone and that is exactly what has happened here.  In the past I would have just put some vegetables in the slow cooker with the herbs or spices I wanted rather than taking the risk of being a bit more adventurous.   Well, here’s my first ever stack of slow cooked vegetables!

I was worried that the layers wouldn’t cook properly as there wasn’t a lot of liquid in the bottom of the slow cooker but they were fine.   The aubergine was soft and the ricotta and spinach layer was just right.

I’m afraid I didn’t think a lot about presentation when I was making these.   I was just experimenting and not necessarily thinking of posting the result.  For a slightly more elegant look you could top these aubergine stacks with a few fresh basil leaves and a little grated parmesan.  Enjoy!

Spinach and Ricotta Aubergine Stacks in the Slow Cooker

Spinach and Ricotta Aubergine Stacks

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine, cut into slices
  • 200g ricotta
  • 200g frozen spinach, defrosted and the water squeezed out
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 500ml passata
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Instructions

  1. Mix the ricotta and spinach together with the nutmeg and a little salt and black pepper.
  2. Put a slice of aubergine on the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with some of the spinach and ricotta. Put another slice of aubergine on top. Repeat with another layer of spinach and ricotta then another slice of aubergine.
  3. Make another stack.
  4. Mix the herbs, garlic and a little more salt and pepper into the passata. Pour over the aubergine stacks.
  5. Cook in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours
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I am linking this to the Slow Cooked Challenge hosted by Baking Queen and Farmersgirl Kitchen, to Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Honest Mum, Cook Blog Share hosted by Hijacked by Twins and Recipe of the Week, hosted by A Mummy Too.

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Sour Turkey Meatball Soup

Sour Turkey Meatball Soup: Ciorba de Perisoare

Sour Turkey Meatball Soup

Welcome to this month’s Secret Recipe Club post.  This month I was lucky enough to be assigned to Culinary Adventures with Camilla.   As Camilla is group B’s lovely host I knew I would have lots of lovely recipes to choose from and I really wasn’t disappointed.  I love cooking from scratch, discovering new flavours and trying dishes from different cultures and so does Camilla. Her blog is filled with delicious and creative recipes and there really is something for everyone

I soon chose to make ciorba de perisoare which is a Romanian sour turkey meatball soup.   I had never made a sour soup before but as soon as I read it, it reminded me of the sour soups I had eaten in Poland years ago.   Now, this sour soup sounded completely different from the Polish soup I remembered but the idea of making a sour soup had got to me.   I really wanted to make a sour soup.  I knew it might not look pretty but I was confident it was going to taste great.

I was right.  A sour meatball soup was definitely something new for us to eat at home and I really enjoyed it.  I was frugal with the vinegar, adding only 2 tbsp rather than 4 but it was still enough to give that sour soup taste.   If I’d just been cooking for myself I would have been a little more generous with it.

I made this in January and it was a perfect meal to make when you want something tasty but that makes you feel healthy as well.   This soup is perfect for that.  It’s packed with vegetables and minced turkey is a very healthy meat too.   I used minced thigh rather than breast as thigh meat generally makes moister tastier meatballs or burgers.

I’d never put uncooked rice in a meatball before and I was a little worried that the grains would not cook through or that the meatballs would fall apart but i was worrying for nothing.   There were a few grains of rice in the soup but the meaballs held together perfectly.

So all that remains now is for me to investigate a few more sour soups.  And a of course  a few more of Camilla’s recipes.  I love the sound of the recently published Carrot Pate Canapes and the Za’atar Roasted Rock Cod is an ideal easy fish dish for days when you don’t want to spend too long preparing dinner.

Sour Turkey Meatball Soup

Sour Turkey Meatball Soup

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

    For the Meatballs
  • 400g minced turkey (I used thigh meat)
  • 1/2 small onions, diced
  • 3 tbsp basmati rice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • For the Soup
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 ltr chicken or turkey stock
  • Large handful of kale
  • Handul of parsley, chopped
  • 2-4 tbsp vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and mix together with your hands before forming into meatballs.
  2. Heat a little oil in a large pan. Cook the onion, celery and carrot gently until softened.
  3. Stir in the paprika and add the chicken stock.
  4. Bring to the boil, stir in the kale and then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Add the meatballs and continue to simmer for 40 minutes.
  6. Stir in most of the parsley and the vinegar to taste then serve topped with the remaining parsley.
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I am linking this to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum, Cook Blog Share, hosted by Snap Happy Bakes and Hijacked by Twins and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

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Green herb sauce

Sea Bass with a Simple Green Herb Salsa

Sea Bass with Simple Green Herb Sauce

Sometimes the simplest ways of eating fish are the best.   It may be a clichee used to excuse a lack of imagination.  But not always.  Sometimes it’s really true.   This simple green herb salsa served with sea bass is one of the times when simple really is the best and not just a popular catchphrase.

To make the simplest things taste great it really helps to have the best quality ingredients.   In this case fresh herbs and garlic, good vinegar and of course a tasty extra virgin olive oil.  I had been sent some Italian Antichi Frantoi Francescani extra virgin olive oil and I wanted to use it in a recipe where a good olive oil would make all the difference.

Once I’d made up the green herb salsa with the oil I had a fiery, garlic and herb paste that was a perfect match for the fish but it could be so versatile.   I think it would also be great with halloumi or chicken, drizzled or dotted on a salad, or even used as a marinade.  The Antichi Frantoi Francescani olive oil has a strong green olive taste and would also be lovely for dipping bread in.   You could imagine you were on holiday in Italy even if you weren’t.

Simple Green Herb Sauce

Sea Bass with a Simple Green Herb Salsa

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Large handful of coriander
  • Small handful of parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 green chilli pepper
  • 2 tbsp white wine vineger
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 2 fillets of sea bass (or another white fish)

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients except the fish into a food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Taste. Add a little extra oil, vinegar or seasoning if necessary.
  3. Cook the fish and serve the salsa with it.
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I am linking this to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum and Cook Blog Share at Hijacked by Twins.

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