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 .

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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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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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Kabocha Squash stuffed with black quinoa

Kabocha Squash Stuffed with Black Quinoa

Kabocha Squash stuffed with black quinoa

Welcome to this month’s Recipe Redux post.   As the new year kicked off we were challenged to create a recipe using an ingredient we’d never tried before.   Well, to begin with this seemed like a difficult challenge as I have a whole cupboard full of different grains and pulses which I don’t use nearly as often as I should, but I couldn’t use any of them as I had at least used all of them once.

I have however been hearing a lot about black quinoa recently and even though my cupboard doesn’t need another half used bag of grain, I decided that this one would be worth it.   After all, quinoa is apparently a supergrain: gluten-free, high in b vitamins, fibre and minerals, as well as being a complete protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids.

One of the lovely thing about quinoa is its texture and the slight crunchiness as you eat it.   If you haven’t tried black quinoa then the difference is that it’s even more crunchy than white quinoa.   And of course it looks great.   Colourful food is always that little bit more enticing than white food.

I decided to make aroasted kabocha squash black quinoa salad and use it to stuff a .   I have to admit that the kabocha squash had been in the bottom of my fridge for a few weeks and really needed to be eaten up.  The great thing about squashes is that they last really well but even so, this one was ready to be eaten.

The bright orange flesh of the squash contrasted beautifully with the black quinoa salad dotted with pine nuts, cucumber, tomato and fresh mint leaves.   It made a delicious vegan meal, although I did have to cut the squash in half to serve as a whole half for one person would have been just too much of a good thing.

Kabocha Squash stuffed with black quinoa

Kabocha Squash Stuffed with Black Quinoa

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 kabocha squash
  • 200g black quinoa
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 10cm piece of cucumber, diced
  • Handful of mint leaves, chopped
  • 50g pine nuts
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Slice the kabocha squash in half, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft
  2. Boil the quinoa for 20 minutes then drain.
  3. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden. Set aside to cool.
  4. Mix together all the ingredients except the squash. Add a little extra lemon juice or olive oil if necessary.
  5. Scoop the salad into the squash halves and serve.
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I am linking this to Extra Veg, hosted by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy, the #FoodYearLinkUp at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

ExtraVeg-Badge-225x300Food-Year-Linkup-January-2016Recipe of the week

 

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wild rice and pea salad

Spiced Wild Rice and Pea Salad

Spiced Wild Rice and Pea Salad

January is definitely the time to eat healthily but some salads just don’t suit cold wintery weather.   The good news is that there are plenty of salads which are just right at any time of year and this spiced wild rice and pea salad is one of them.

The beauty of this salad is that it is so versatile.   You can serve it as a main meal or it can just be a side.   It keeps well in the fridge so you can make a big batch and then eat it up over the next few days.  Like many people, I need to try and save time in the kitchen and this is a perfect #CookOnceEatTwice meal.  If you’re looking for more ideas for meals that are great eaten as leftovers then do take a look at my #CookOnceEatTwice posts.

The most important thing is that it is healthy and healthy is exactly what I’m looking for right now.  I adapted it from A Salad for All Seasons by Harry Eastwood and it’s an easy salad to adapt.    You could use any long grain rice or a grain such as spelt would be lovely too.  Diced peppers could replace the carrot and sunflower or pumpkin seeds could be used in place of the pine nuts.

I always think a few spices and fresh herbs do so much to add flavour to a dish and although you could use dried herbs instead, the fresh parsley goes really well.  Coriander would also be lovely.

Although I didn’t consciously realise it when I made this spiced wild rice and pea salad, it’s also a vegan salad and although I am not following Veganuary like some food bloggers this month, it’s always healthy to eat more plant based meals.

spiced wild rice and pea salad

Spiced Wild Rice and Pea Salad

Serving Size: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 250g rice (I used Red Camargue and Wild Rice)
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 250g frozen peas
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice with the cardamom pods and bay leaves.
  2. Put the pine nuts in a dry frying pan and toast them gently until they are golden. Set them aside.
  3. Put a little oil in the frying pan, cook the carrots gently for about 5 minutes then stir in the ground spices
  4. Add the peas to the rice a couple of minutes before the rice has finished cooking then drain the rice and put it in the pan with the carrots. Stir the carrot and spices into the rice
  5. Chop the parsley and finely dice the red onion. Stir them into the rice too.
  6. Squeeze over the lemon juice and add a little extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top when serving.
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This is my #CookOnceEatTwice post. I am also linking to  the #FoodYearLinkup at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen, Cooking With Herbs hosted by Lavender and Lovage and No Croutons Required hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen and on alternate months by Tinned Tomatoes.

Cook Once Eat TwiceFood-Year-Linkup-January-2016No Croutons RequiredCooking-with-Herbs

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