Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Quick, easy, healthy pie: Pork and potato pie

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I bet you didn’t think that pies could be either quick, simple or healthy.  This one doesn’t use pastry so that does help on all those fronts.  This one uses cubed pork in a tomatoey sauce topped with sliced potatoes.  Great for dinner during the week.  Just throw together and shove in the oven.

I did have a recipe for this, but I can’t seem to find it now.  I was sure it was a reader recipe on BBC good food, but maybe I was wrong. However, it’s really simple so I should be able to do it from memory.

 

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Pork and potato pie

Serves 2

  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 250g boneless pork, cubed
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 pepper chopped into squares, or carrots chopped and/or celery, or mushrooms sliced (whatever you have)
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 200ml beef or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp worcester sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to about 190 degrees celsius
  2. Boil the potatoes until cooked but still firm in boiling water (about 10 minutes).  Drain and rinse under cold water
  3. Meanwhile heat the oil in a pan.
  4. Toss the pork in the flour and shake off the excess.
  5. Fry the pork in the oil until browned on all sides.
  6. Add the onion and garlic, turning down the heat and cook until the onion is softented.
  7. Add the rosemary and whatever vege you’re using and cook for a further couple of minutes.
  8. Add in the tomatoes and stock, and bring to the boil.
  9. Then simmer until you have a good saucey consistency.
  10. Add in the worcester sauce and then salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Tip the pork sauce into a baking dish and layer the potatoes on top
  12. Cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are golden (or you can do under the grill, it’s quicker.  Until they’re browned, but I think the oven makes them taste nicer)
  13. Serve and enjoy 🙂

 

 

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Show-off brunch: Aubergine and potato middle eastern inspired brunch

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This is a faffy brunch.  It takes a while, there’s lots of different bits to the recipe that are done separately and brought together at the end, and it involves poached eggs, which are the ultimate in egg faffiness.

However, I have made it time and again because it is utterly delicious and a fantastic way to impress people (even if that person is just you).  And also brilliant for hangovers (not so great to make it if you’re feeling really ill though…possibly one for that moment when you feel ok, and you realise you’re still drunk!).  Even thinking about it now is making my mouth water.  It’s that tasty.  So it’s worth the faffiness.  But not one for when you’re in a hurry.  I like to make it when I have an aubergine or two lurking in the fridge.

It’s by Yotam Ottolenghi – the king of faffy cooking, and to be fair, I think I have made this as he says, at least once, but mostly, I adapt it, and it’s still just as good.  I do still follow the recipe because it’s so faffy, it’s hard to remember it all, but I think have now mostly remembered it.  You can find it here:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/31/brunch-recipes-eggs-yotam-ottolenghiI

I have to say, I have never been able to find tahini in the shops, so just make my own with sesame seeds.  Which adds to the faffiness.  But a great job to give someone that’s hanging about annoying you in the kitchen.  If you want to make tahini, here’s a recipe:  http://homecooking.about.com/od/condimentrecipes/r/blcon110.htm

And here’s my adapted version:

Middle-eastern inspired Aubergine and potato brunch

Serves 2

  • 1 aubergine cut into 2cm ish cubes (if that’s possible with something round)
  • 2 medium potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tomatoes (depending on size), diced
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp siracha sauce (or use any tomato chilli sauce, not sweet chilli though)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • A lot of oil
  • 40g tahini paste (I make 1/2 the recipe above, which usually works out well)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 4 eggs (I also do a couple of slices of bacon and 1 egg per person at times)
  • 1 tsp sumac (optional)
  1. Place the aubergine in a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave to drain in the sink for about 30 minutes
  2. Whilst the aubergine is draining, boil the sliced potatoes for about 5-7 minutes, or until half cooked.  Then drain and refresh under cold water so they stay crunchy
  3. Next mix together the tomato, spring onion, and half the coriander in a small bowl.  Combine with the siracha sauce and white wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside
  4. Mix the tahini paste with the garlic, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of water with some salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  5. Tip the aubergine onto a plate with kitchen towel and dry off.
  6. Pour enough oil (should be sunflower, vegetable, groundnut etc) into a high sided pan to come up about an inch.  Heat on a high flame until bubbles form around a spoon end in the middle of the pan.
  7. Tip in the aubergine and fry until golden brown on all sides.  Then tip out onto fresh kitchen towel using a slotted spoon.
  8. Pour most of the oil, away (I normally save in a jar for later), leaving about 2 tsp in the pan.
  9. Fry the potatoes in the pan until browned and blistered on both sides, takes about 10 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, boil the water and make the poached eggs (and grill bacon if using)
  11. Split the potatoes between two plates.  Sprinkle over 1/4 of the tahini mix on the potatoes on each plate.  Next take the aubergine and place on top of the potatoes and sprinkle over the remaining tahini mix.
  12. Next take the tomato mix and place on top of the aubergines and potatoes.  Sprinkle over the reserved coriander
  13. Finally top with the eggs and bacon if using.
  14. And enjoy the fruits of your labour and faffing about.  Feel the hangover recede.
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Pie attempts: Cheese and onion pie

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I decided to brave it and try a pie again. Not making pastry from scratch – that came out the freezer – baby steps! But actually making a pie and trying to not either have it come out burnt or soggy, or even both.

Turns out one of Mr J’s favourite foods is cheese and onion pie. You think you know someone, and then they go and tell you a thing like that after 11 years – you wonder why they’ve been hanging onto that piece of information for so long! And here I was thinking profiteroles or steak or a cheeseboard were his favourite things!

I found a recipe for cheese and onion pie that didn’t seem too difficult. And thought I’d try it. Then I spoke to my mother in law who told me to blind bake it first and wash it in egg glaze. And to use a metallic cake tin (as I don’t have a pie dish). This proved good advice but did turn the recipe from something that seemed simple to something that wasn’t.

This is not for those of you who are allergic to cooking or not confident about what you’re doing. It’s also not good for small kitchens (I managed to get pastry all over mine, and cover every surface in things, and it’s a good size these days!) Buy it in Greggs instead. It is, however, perfect for the confident vegetarian. Or those adept at pies. Or the foolish (like me).

The original recipe is here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9650/deepdish-cheese-onion-and-potato-pie

And here is my version including my mother in law’s advice (which I definitely recommend if you’re avoiding burning and sogginess).

Cheese and onion pie

Serves 6-8

  • 1 packet ready made shortcrust pastry (defrost if frozen first)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • bunch of spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 200g strong cheddar, grated
  • 200g creme fraiche
  • grated nutmeg
  • paprika
  • salt & pepper
  1. Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius
  2. Grease and flour a large cake sponge tin or pie dish (about 20-23cm)
  3. Flour a dry clean surface. Roll out your pastry until quite thin (but not so it’s breaking).
  4. Place 2/3 of it in the tin, so that there’s enough overhang (but not too much) and gently push into the edges of the tin. Blind bake (I scrunch up greaseproof paper and then smooth out and place on top of the pastry (including overhang) and then fill with rice – you can still cook toasted rice) for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven. Remove the rice and paper and egg wash the pastry. Cover the overhang pastry with greaseproof paper again (but not the rest) and bake for a further 5 minutes. It should be pale but firm and crispy.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minute.
  7. Add a layer of sliced potatoes to the bottom of the pie, followed by a sprinkling of onions & spring onions and cheese. Shake over a bit of nutmeg and paprika and some salt & pepper. Repeat with another layer, this time putting half the creme fraiche on the top. Then another layer of potatoes, onions, cheese until it’s used up (it will come above the pastry). Gently push the layers down a bit. Then dollop on the remaining creme fraiche.
  8. Roll out the remaining pastry a bit thinner than the bottom pastry until it will cover the pie. Brush the underneath pastry overhang with egg then place the pastry on top, washing all over with egg and pressing it hard to the bottom overhang pastry.
  9. Make 2 small slits in the top of the pastry to allow air to come out.
  10. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then turn down the oven to 170 degrees celsius and cook for a further 30 minutes.
  11. Remove. Allow to cool for 1o minutes then serve with a nice green salad.
  12. Enjoy!

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Chorizo and feta tortilla

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This one is an entirely made up MrsJacksonCooks recipe! Based on the basic tortilla recipe, with my own things thrown in it. This is great for leftover antipasti and marinaded veges. It’s also very simple to do, and quick so it’s perfect for midweek meals.

My mum brought me back some chorizo from Spain, which was the starting point for this recipe, and also the desire to make something quickly. Uncooked chorizo is best, but cooked chorizo is fine, just cook it for less time.

Chorizo and feta tortilla

Serves 3-4

  • 3-4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 70g chorizo, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large red chillis, sliced
  • 1 red pepper sliced, or 4-5 marinaded pepper pieces sliced
  • handful of olives, drained and halved
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • salt & pepper
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley or basil
  1. Boil the potatoes until cooked, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside til needed.
  2. Meanwhile preheat the grill on high.
  3. Then heat a large frying pan on a medium heat. Add the chorizo and fry until it starts to release it’s juices. Then add the onion and fry until softened and starting to brown.
  4. Then add the garlic and chilli and fry for another couple of minutes.
  5. Next add the peppers and olives, stirring them through well.
  6. Beat the eggs together with some salt, pepper and the feta cheese. Then stir in the parsley
  7. Add the potatoes stirring well to coat in the chorizo juices.
  8. Spread it all out so it’s evenly spaced around the pan, then pour over the egg mix, ensuring even distribution. Tip the pan to allow it to move around the pan to even it out.
  9. Cook on a medium heat until it’s done underneath. Then pop under the grilled until cooked and golden on top.
  10. Serve immediately with a green salad
  11. Enjoy 🙂
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Easy sunday lunch for a weekday: spiced roast beef

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I surprised myself at how easy and quick this was. And as it says in the title – so quick – I did it Monday evening for tea (although that is a bit of a cheat as I’d started it the day before). It’s not a 30 minutes or less meal (although maybe by Jamie Oliver’s standards!) but it can certainly be done in an hour. If you get it in the oven for 6.30pm, you can be eating for 7.30pm if you’re serving 6 people or less. Not ideal with young kids, but for older ones and grownups, its very acceptable! And it was delicious. Probably one of my favourite roast beef recipes. So tender, perfectly cooked for me – brown on the outside and a bit pink in the middle.

And actually, ‘getting it in the oven’ takes 5 minutes max – or the amount of time it takes to peel some shallots. Plus about 5 minutes the day before. So there is some planning involved, but not loads, and if you can’t wait for the next day, providing you give the meat about an hour, it’ll be ok. But it’s nicer left overnight to infuse with the spices.

I didn’t do yorkshire puddings, mostly because I forgot, but to be honest, there was enough and we didn’t need them. And without the yorkshire puddings its a very healthy meal, especially if you use a lean cut of beef like silverside or topside. And the leftovers have made some very nice chinese style beef salad for lunch today.

This recipe is actually a combination of three – two from BBC good food, and one from my Italian cookbook. So really it’s my recipe as I put them all together!

Fast spiced roast beef with roasted baby potatoes, shallots and corgettes

Serves 2-4 with leftovers (or 6 without)

  • 1 kg boneless rolled beef roasting joint (I used silverside)
  • 1/2 tbsp each of coriander seeds, black peppercorns, allspice berries and juniper berries, plus 1/2 tsp coase salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5oog baby or salad potatoes, left whole with skins on (or about 4-5 potatoes per person)
  • 20 shallots, peeled and left whole (or about 4 shallots per person)
  • salt & pepper

For the corgettes (serves 6 as a side)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 kg courgettes, finely sliced
  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes, finely sliced
  • 175ml warm water
  • salt & pepper
  1. The day before, take the joint out of the fridge. Grind the spices and salt in a pestle and mortar or mini food processor until roughly ground.
  2. Smear 1 tbsp of olive oil all over the beef and then cover with the spice mix, rubbing it into the meat. Place on a plate and cover with clingfilm and return it to the fridge to marinade over night.
  3. On the day, pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
  4. Put the potatoes and shallots in a roasting tray and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle over salt & pepper to taste and stir well. Make a space in the middle of the pan and place the beef joint in it. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes plus 10 minutes per 450g for rare beef and 15minutes per 450g for medium. For a 1kg joint I roasted it for 55minutes for a medium finish. And it was perfect.
  5. About 10 minutes before the roast is done, heat the remaining oil in a pan and fry the onion on a low heat until translucent but not browned. Then add in the garlic and courgettes and fry for a further few minutes until the courgettes start to soften.
  6. Then add in the sun-dried tomatoes, water and salt & pepper to taste. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the water is evaporated and the courgettes are cooked through.
  7. When the beef is cooked, remove from the oven and place on a plate or carving board and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Place the potatoes and shallots in a serving dish and keep warm.
  8. Add a tbsp of plain flour to the pan juices and whisk hard to combine. Heat gently on the stove for a couple of minutes. Then gradually add some hot water until you have a thin-ish liquid. Bring to the boil and reduce until you have gravy consistency. If it needs more flavour or colour, crumble in a beef stock cube (and maybe add a bit more water). Pour into a serving jug.
  9. Carve the beef and serve with the potatoes, shallots, courgette mixture and lashings of gravy
  10. Enjoy 🙂

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Making amends: Sweet potato and roasted pepper frittata

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I apologise. I’ve deserted you. I’ve not been myself…it’s not you, it’s my work. They had me pulling crazy hours, pulling my hair out and come friday I was a wreck, sat under my desk gibbering nonsense. They eventually sent me home at 3pm! So, of course, I went shopping! And bought myself some lovely hats which came in handy as it decided to snow on Saturday!

But because of all of this, I’ve not been blogging. I’ve barely been eating and certainly haven’t been cooking. I did go to the Marble Beer House on Thomas St though in the NQ which is a newish edition to the NQ. And the first time I’ve been. I was so stressed though, I forgot photos…next time maybe. Do go try their cheeseboard though and if you’re a beer drinker there’s plenty of choice. And if you’re not – I recommend the fruit beers. Don’t taste like beer at all! The chocolate one looked interesting too, but I didn’t try it, so can’t say.

Have no fear though, for valentine’s we’re going to Thomas Restaurant (on the very same Thomas St), which is a place I love, so I shall be eating, snapping pics and blogging for your delictation – the things I do for you!

I am back, and it’s business as usual. And as a peace offering, I present, the sweet potato and roasted pepper Spanish tortilla. It started out as the amalgamation of two different recipes and ended up really just being my own. Who says I don’t innovate?! Us practical cooks can do it too!

This is a lovely, delicious easy peasy recipe to do, and quick enough that it works for a midweek meal. It is meant to serve four, but it was so delicious it ended up being two generous helpings plus lunch for hubby the next day. Which is a great thing about any tortilla – you can eat it hot or cold. Tortillas are Spanish and Fritattas are Italian, but essentially they’re the same thing – omlettes with potatoes or pasta or other carby things thrown in. Ie a meal in an omelette. No bread required (although I do love an omlette sandwich myself…but there’s a time and a place). I apologise, my lack of blogging is making me verbose.

I’ve no idea on the calories, but as it’s February, we don’t have to worry about them any more and can go back to scoffing chocolate (and blame it on Valentines day – no partner necessary for that!). It is vegetarian though, so is a perfect meatless Monday option (which seems to be some American thing – probably to try and address their obesity problem). But really you can be vege any day of the week – there’s no requirement to keep to Monday’s only. I do like to try and have at least 2 vege only days a week. To much meat, especially red meat, isn’t good for you (but neither is an absence of it – everything in moderation as my mother says).

Anyway, enough waffling from me. Here’s the recipe. My original inspiration came from the BBC good food website I think, but there isn’t really a recipe to link to as it’s my own.

Sweet potato and roasted pepper tortilla/fritatta

Serves 2-4 (depending on how greedy you are)

  • 1 large red pepper (other colours will also work – maybe not green), I used Romero but it doesn’t matter really
  • 300g sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced in rounds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 eggs
  • 100g feta cheese
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • salt & pepper
  • 30g (ish) cheddar or red leicester cheese, grated
  1. Heat the grill on a high heat. Place the pepper (whole with stalk) under the grill and grill until charred on all sides. The blacker it is, the better.
  2. When it’s done, remove from the grill and place in a plastic bag (and seal) and leave to cool. Leave the grill on.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the potatoes on a medium heat until cooked and browned in patches. This takes about 10 minutes.
  4. Then add the onions and garlic and fry for a few minutes.
  5. Take the pepper out the bag, and peel off the skin. Remove the stalk and seed and cut into thin strips.
  6. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl then add the pepper strips, feta, herbs, salt & pepper to the eggs.
  7. Pour it all over the potato mix and swirl about to cover the whole pan.
  8. When its mostly cooked underneath, sprinkle the cheddar over the top and place under the grill for a few minutes until it’s brown and crispy in patches and the egg is cooked.
  9. Serve immediately with a side salad or on it’s own. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and is delicious cold.
  10. Enjoy 🙂
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Healthy comfort food: Root vegetable dhal

Continuing with the health kick but in need of some comfort as I had a bit of a cold, I thought I’d do something with lentils.  And as you know, I love dhal and I had left over veges from my Christmas vege box that I didn’t know  what to do with, so this seemed like the perfect answer.

My original inspiration came from here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1364/spicy-root-and-lentil-casserole

But to me, this isn’t a casserole, it’s dhal, and I ate it with chappatis.  I kept it more or less the same as the recipe, but substituted the parsnips for swede as that’s what I had and it turned out very well.  And I added a tin of tomatoes and some tomato puree and reduced the amount of stock used.  Also, the recipe makes way more than 4 portions.  I’d say at least 6.  So it’s great for freezing for another day when you dont’ want to cook.

I checked the calories for 6 servings on my recipe and it comes to 292 calories, so this is a very tasty, very filling ,very healthy, very comforting meal – absolutely perfect for January!  It’s also high in vitamins A &C – so great for boosting your immune system, high in calcium and iron as well.  Very low in fat and high in fibre.  Bonus!

Root vegetable dhal

Serves 6

  • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2inch piece root ginger, grated
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped or 1 tsp chilli powder (leave out if you don’t want too spicy)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp curry paste (I used pataks jalfrezi paste as that’s what I had – or substitute for madras hot curry powder)
  • 700g potatoes, peeled and small cubed
  • 4  carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 swede, peeled and chopped into small cubes
  • 100g red lentils
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt & pepper
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok on high.
  2. Add the onions and garlic, frying until the onion starts to brown.
  3. Then add the chilli and garlic and fry for a further minute.
  4. Add the dried spices, mixing well to combine for another minute or until they start to smell fragrant.
  5. Then add the curry paste, breaking it up with the spoon or spatula.
  6. Add the veges and turn the heat down to medium.  Stir well to coat with the spice mix and fry for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  7. Then add the lentils, mixing in well with the spices.
  8. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with the spatula, if they aren’t already.  Then add the tomato puree and the stock.
  9. Mix well, turn up the heat until it starts to boil.
  10. Then turn down the heat to a low simmer and leave to simmer, stiring occasionally to prevent sticking, for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are mushy and the vegetables are cooked through.  Add extra water if it starts to get too dry.
  11. Add the salt, pepper and coriander to taste and bubble of any additional water until you have quite a thick sauce.
  12. Serve with naans or chapattis and enjoy!
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Healthy and tasty: Sea bass with crushed potatoes and sauce vierge

This is one of those – looks fancy, tastes delicious but is actually very quick, simple, and low in calories. So pretty much perfect for January. It would also be good for a dinner party main if you wanted something fancy but light and didnt want to cook ahead.

I had no idea what sauce vierge was – so I sort of combined two sauce vierge recipes as they were quite different, based on what I had in the cupboards. Turns out, I did well, as since then I found this explanation on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauce_viergehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauce_vierge/a which basically says its a sauce with olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes and basil. I put all of them in mine. And I think once you have that base you can add a whole variety of other things.

To reduce calories and fat further I used low fat spread in the potatoes instead of butter, I used a little bit of oil with the fish instead of butter again and I added water to my sauce instead of extra oil to thin it out.

The original recipe is here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3684/grilled-sea-bass-crushed-jersey-royals-and-sauce-v/a and in searching for more about sauce vierge, I actually came across a very similar Jamie Oliver recipe. This one may actually be just about do-able in 30 minutes! Probably more realistically 40 though.

I also substituted different herbs for what I had. I used dill in the sauce and rosemary in the potatoes. It worked very well, but Im sure tarragon and chives are equally good. All those herbs and great flavours (lemons, fish) make for an extremely tasty dish that doesnt feel at all like youre on a diet but is great for both detoxes and losing weight.

If you want to know – theres 402 calories per serving in my recipe – and thats a complete meal. Which is great for dinner. The calorie counter grades it an A in terms of nutrition (the only thing higher is A+) and is high in selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. So its packed with antioxidants, seratonin boosters and things to help ward off infections. What could be better?! And you definitely feel pleasantly full after, so no temptation to snack (put that quality street box out of eyesight!).

Sea bass with crushed potatoes and sauce vierge

Serves 2

  • 6-8 new, baby or other small potatoes (although if you have big ones, it doesnt matter, just cut them up smaller), halved or quartered if larger
  • 1 bunch of asparagus – woody ends snapped off
  • 1/2 tbsp low fat spread
  • 1 tbsp rosemary leaves, choppped
  • 5 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes or 2-3 larger tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • handful of chopped fresh dill
  • handful of chopped fresh basil
  • salt pepper
  • 2 sea bass fillets, skin on, pin boned.
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Boil the potatoes (skin on) until cooked – about 15-20 minutes.
  3. When the potatoes are nearly done, drop the asparagus into the water as well, to blanche. Remove when cooked and refresh under cold water.
  4. Meanwhile, put 1 tbsp of the olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes and shallots in a pan and set over a low heat, stirring occasionally until you have a nice thickish sauce. This will take about 15 minutes.
  5. When the sauce is reduced, add some water if its too thick and add the herbs and seasoning into the sauce. Stir well, adding more water as necessary until you have a dropping consistency sauce.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a pan, on medium. Dry the sea bass with kitchen towel and season. Place skin down in the pan. Fry for 3-4 of minutes skin side down until nice and crispy, then put in the oven for a further 3-4 minutes. When its done, turn off the oven and turn the sea bass over so its skin side up. Leave in the oven until ready to serve.
  7. Drain the potatoes and lightly crush them with a fork and the margarine. Add some seasoning and the rosemary, crush a little more until you have what looks like very bad mashed potato.
  8. Place the potatoes in the centre of the plate making them flat-ish. Place the fish on top and the asparagus to the side. Drizzle over the sauce. And serve, perhaps with a lovely glass of crisp white wine – as you’ve been very good with your calories!
  9. Enjoy all the wonderful flavours 🙂
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Aloo Gobi Anda: Potato, cauliflower and egg curry

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I ordered veges from my local farm delivery company for Christmas, to make things that bit easier for me. And they put a cauliflower in the box. As you know, I’m not a fan of cauliflower so it’s been languishing in the box for the past couple of weeks whilst I thought about what to do with it.

And then I found this recipe http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1436/cauliflower-egg-and-potato-curry

It said that even cauliflower haters would be convinced, so I thought I’d put it to the test and see. I love egg curry, so that’s a good start. And it’s a vege curry, which is always handy for the January detox. Eggs are wonderful. I absolutely love them and probably eat far too many of them! But they’re a great source of protein and energy whilst still being low in calories and high in good fats. And now I get them from a lovely lady that has a farm – they’re even better than ever!

The one downside to this recipe is the coconut milk. It’s very high in fats and calories – but it you use reduced fat and as you’re only having 1/4 of a can, it shouldn’t be too bad. For the curry paste I used a Pataks Jalfrezi one. I don’t think it really matters what one you use, although you’ll get a slightly different flavour depending on the paste. I was wondering about making my own but since I had an open jar in the fridge, I figured I may as well use it.

Aloo Gobi Anda

Serves 4

2 tbsp sunflower (or vegetable) oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

a piece of root ginger, peeled and grated

1 small red chilli, finely chopped (de seed if you don’t want it too spicy)

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 tbsp curry paste

1 medium cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 can reduced fat coconut milk

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved

2 tbsp toasted chopped almonds

handful of chopped fresh coriander

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok on a high heat. Add the onion and fry until it starts to brown. Then add the garlic, ginger and chilli along with 1/2 tsp of salt. Fry for a further couple of minutes.
  2. Then add the potato. Fry for a few minutes until the potato starts to soften. Then add the curry paste. Stir well to mix and coat the potatoes.
  3. Then add the cauliflower. Fry for a few minutes, mixing well to coat in the mixture.
  4. Then add the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover.
  5. Simmer until the sauce is nice and thick and the potato and cauliflower are cooked through.
  6. Stir through the almonds and coriander.
  7. Serve with the egg halves piled on top and some naan or plain rice.
  8. Enjoy!
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A post Christmas hangover brunch: mexican breakfast skillet

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This is super easy to make, which is good when you’re trying to do it when hungover. And it’s full of veges and a bit of chilli – to replace the vitamins and flush out the toxins. Trust me by the time you’ve eaten this, you’ll feel much, much better!

Plus, you can use up Christmas leftovers as well, if you have them, or not. It doesn’t really matter. This is about reinventing the British classic of a fry up. Not that I’m opposed to a fry up, but sometimes you want something a bit different. Well this is it.

The original recipe came from here http://cookingtipoftheday.blogspot.com/2011/09/recipe-mexican-chorizo-and-eggs.html

But of course, I changed it. And without having eaten the original, I can’t tell you if mine’s as good or better, but I like to think so. And being British, I believe you’ve gotta have some bacon and sausages in it! You can fry the eggs in the same pan if you want but I found it easier to do them in another pan whilst I was finishing off the potato mix.

Mexican breakfast skillet

Serves 4

  • 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
  • 50g chorizo, finely chopped
  • 4 rashers bacon (of your choice), cut into lardons
  • 8 chipolata or cocktail sausages, or 4 normal ones
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 peppers, finely chopped
  • handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large green chillis, cut thickly on diagonal (remove seeds if you don’t want too spicy)
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper (or use 1 if you don’t want too spicy)
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 2 normal sized tomatoes)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander (optional)
  1. Preheat the grill. Grill the sausages on all sides until browned and cooked.
  2. Put the potato cubes in cold water to remove some of the starch. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan (don’t add oil). Add the chorizo and bacon and fry over a medium heat until they start to release their oils, then turn the heat up so that they start to crisp.
  4. Then add the potatoes, onion and peppers. Fry for a few minutes, stiring well to coat in the bacon and chorizo oils.
  5. Then add the mushrooms, chillis and cayenne pepper and fry for a further few minutes until the potatoes start to go crispy and the mushrooms start to release their oils. If you need more oil, add slowly. You want enough to fry everything in but not so much its swiming in it. It depends how much fat is in your meats.
  6. Reduce the heat to a medium and cover the pan. Use tin foil if you don’t have a lid. Cook until the potatoes are cooked through.
  7. Take the lid off and add the tomatoes, stiring them in so they get all mushy.
  8. In another pan, fry the eggs in the olive oil until crispy underneath and cooked on top. Check for seasoning in potatoes (it shouldn’t need any as the bacon & chorizo will have a lot of salt anyway)
  9. Stir the coriander into the potato mix. If using large sausages, cut up into pieces and add to the potato mix.
  10. Serve the potato mix onto plates top with sausages, then top with the fried egg.
  11. Enjoy with some fresh orange and coffee and feel your hangover subside 🙂
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