Caribbean Beef Patties for Caribbean Food Week

Caribbean Beef Patties for Caribbean Food Week 2016

It’s time to celebrate Caribbean Food Week 2016 and what better way than to make some make some delicious Caribbean inspired recipes like my Caribbean beef patties, marinated chicken legs or spicy skinny curly fries.

caribbean pasties 1 (2)

In the UK Caribbean Food Week runs from 22nd to 29 August and so what better time is there to cook up some spicy Caribbean recipes?  And if you’re in or near London then why not head down to Brixton for the Caribbean Food Week Festival at Windrush Square on 26th-27th August? There’ll be loads of amazing Caribbean street food as well as live cookery demonstrations, music and other entertainment.

I won’t be able to get to the festival but  I’ve been lucky enough to receive a hamper full of lovely Caribbean products  from Grace Foods in order to create my own tasty street food party at home.

Caribbean Food Week Hamper 2016

I’ve created three easy recipes that would work just as well served from a street food stall as they would if you prepared them for a simple meal at home.

The first recipe is for Caribbean beef patties.   These are simply minced beef and potato pasties but with the addition of some hot pepper sauce in the filling.   You can make them as hot as you like and a little extra hot sauce on the side when you serve them just gives them an extra kick!

I have to admit that I allowed Little Miss Spice and Master Spice to help make the pasties and so they are a little rough around the edges and in the chaos of cooking with the children I forgot to glaze them.   Even so, they tasted great and make great street food! The recipe is at the end of this post.

Caribbean beef patties

The next  dish was the Jerk marinated chicken drumsticks.    They are so simple to prepare and cook that you don’t need a recipe.  I just marinated the chicken legs overnight in a couple of tablespoons of Dunn’s River Jamaican Jerk Seasoning.   The next day I baked them in the oven till they were cooked through (about 35 minutes).    If you can cook them on the barbecue they’d be fabulous too!

I must warn you though, these chicken legs were very very hot.   I think the marinade is almost completely made up of chilli peppers.  The little bits of charred marinade on the skin of the chicken are only for those who really can take the heat!

Jerk marinated chicken drumsticks - Caribbean Food Week 2016

If you want a slightly less fiery chicken dish then use the marinade a little more sparingly and mix it with some yoghurt.   You could also scrape the excess marinade off the drumsticks before cooking them.

The final dish was almost as simple as the chicken drumsticks and was a clear favourite with both Little Miss Spice and Master Spice.   It was these spicy skinny fries made from sweet potato and normal potato.

Skinny spicy fries

I got my spiraliser out to make the  fries  and so they are long and curly like spaghetti.   I then added a heaped teaspoon of Dunn’s River Hot and Spicy Jerk Chicken Mix and tossed it with the fries before deep frying them.

So if you’ve got an unused spiraliser  hidden in a cupboard, this really should be the recipe to make you get it out.  I know it’s not the healthiest spiralised recipe but they really are so so worth it! I don’t very often deep fry anything but these spicy skinny fries are certainly going to get made again.   And again.

skinny spicy fries

Caribbean Beef Patties

Yield: Makes 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1-2 tsp hot pepper sauce (Use more for really hot patties!)
  • For the shortcrust pastry
  • 450g plain flour (I used a mix of 100g wholemeal and 350g white flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200g butter, diced

Instructions

  1. Cook the onion gently in a little oil until softened. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a minute.
  2. Add the mince and cook, breaking it up until it is browned on the outside.
  3. Add the turmeric, the potatoes, the tomato puree and 200ml of water.
  4. Simmer for 15-20 minutes till the potatoes are cooked through and the sauce has reduced.
  5. Stir in the hot sauce. Add a little at a time and keep tasting so you get the level of heat just right.
  6. Leave to cool.
  7. Make the pastry. Mix the salt into the flour then either rub the butter into the flour using your finger tips or use a food processor. Stop as soon as it is rubbed in and the mixture is like breadcrumbs.
  8. Add a couple of tablespoons of cold water and knead the mixture together to form a dough. Add a little extra water if it is too dry.
  9. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put in the fridge for half an hour.
  10. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each one out into a circle. Put a tablespoon of the mince mixture on one side and fold the other side over to form a parcel. Press the 2 sides together.
  11. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 200C.

Notes

I had quite a bit of leftover mince so you could easily make more patties by increasing the quantities of pastry. For a more attractive finish, brush the uncooked patties with a little beaten egg or milk before baking them.

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To find out more and join in with Caribbean Food Week 2016 then take a look at Caribbeanfoodweek on Facebook or Twitter @Caribbeanfoodwk #CFW2016

We ate these Caribbean beef patties the next day too so I am going to share them with my own #CookOnceEatTwice event as well as linking to the #TheFoodCalendar at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen, #CookBlogShare at Sneaky Veg and Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

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Caribbean Beef Patties
Banana fudge ice cream

Banana Fudge Ice Cream

This creamy homemade banana fudge ice cream is so good you’ll want to keep the recipe!

banana fudge ice cream

Last summer I made the best banana fudge ice cream ever.   It was simply a banana ice cream studded with little pieces of chocolate covered fudge.   It was so easy to make I could make it for guests and only needed to spend a few minutes getting it started in the ice cream maker and then 20 minutes later it was ready to eat.  I made it more than once too.

Of course I wanted to make it again this summer.   I definitely wanted to eat it again and so I did what any food blogger does when wanting to remake a favourite recipe.   I searched my blog for the recipe.

I knew I’d made it a couple of times so I was confident it would be there.   It wasn’t.   I wondered if maybe I’d noted the recipe down in my drafts folder but it wasn’t there either.  What could I do?  Well, I knew I had to make that ice cream again.   That banana fudge ice cream was so delicious that it could not just disappear like that!

I had to try to remember the recipe.   Well, luckily I knew the main ingredients were bananas, cream and chocolate covered fudge bars.  The quantities?   Well,  I tend to be quite flexible with quantities anyway.

Banana fudge ice cream

The important thing is to keep tasting the mixture as you’re blending the ingredients together.   If it tastes amazing  before it’s frozen, it should taste good when frozen too.  In fact, it’s hard to give exact quantities as the bananas can vary in sweetness.   For ice cream you can get away with using slightly overripe bananas and of course, the riper they are, the sweeter they’ll make the ice cream.   I still needed a little bit of icing sugar to get the right level of sweetness but you may find you’ll need more or less depending on taste.

You could easily adapt this recipe.   I’ve called it banana fudge ice cream as one of the main ingredients is chopped up fudge bars (I used Cadburys Fudge) but  you could make a completely different ice cream just by using a different chocolate or candy bar.   Personally I quite fancy adding a crumbled up chocolate Flake another time!

I used my ice cream maker to make this ice cream as it’s so easy to use but if you haven’t got an ice cream maker then don’t let that stop you, although I haven’t tried them, you can read here about 6 ways to make ice cream that don’t involve going out and buying a machine!

Banana fudge ice cream

Doesn’t it look tasty in these  Ravenhead sundae dishes?

Banana Fudge Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas (they weighed 210g after being peeled)
  • 300ml double cream
  • 110ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)
  • 60g icing sugar (feel free to use more or less depending on how sweet you want the ice cream to be)
  • 100g chocolate covered fudge, chopped
  • Extra sticks of fudge to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mash the bananas thoroughly with a fork until you have a puree.
  2. Add the cream, milk and icing sugar and mix together with the fork.
  3. Turn the ice cream maker on and pour the banana cream mixture into it.
  4. After about 10 minutes when the ice cream is beginning to set, add the chunks of fudge and let the ice cream maker continue beating for another 5 minutes.
  5. Scoop the ice cream into a container and put in the freezer until you're ready to eat it.
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If you’re looking for more easy ice cream maker recipes then do take a look at my recipes for gooseberry ice cream,  raspberry and white chocolate ice cream or  even kiwi fruit ice cream.

I am linking this to #CookBlogShare hosted this week for the first time by Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie.  I am also linking to #RecipeoftheWeek at A Mummy Too and Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

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Banana Fudge Ice Cream
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.

No Croutons RequiredEat Your GreensTasty TuesdaysCook Blog Share

courgetti salad

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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.

Tasty TuesdaysRecipe of the weekCook Blog Share

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Homemade gooseberry ice cream
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.

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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

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 .

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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.

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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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