Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

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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A tapas mash up

In memory of my holiday in Ibiza and because I’m struggling to return to normality after such a fabulous holiday, I made tapas.  Which is ironic, because we never got to eat tapas when we were there!  Also, it wasn’t entirely authentic Spanish – there was some Italian thrown in there too – but the idea of small plates – that remained.

We had paprikan pork, patatas bravas with chorizo, paprikan squid and potatoes, asparagus and proscuitto frittata, and stuffed roasted peppers.  After all that, we were stuffed!

Making a tapas meal was a bit stressful because it’s essentially making 5 dishes instead of one, but I do like a challenge.  It’s good if you’re having an informal dinner party too, although we weren’t.  It was just me and hubby.

You could replace the pork with chicken in the paprikan pork, and you could turn the frittata into a tortilla by adding pre-cooked, cubed potatoes.  But as 2 dishes already had potatoes, I made it a frittata.  The roasted peppers are very simple, and were so delicious.  They would be great as a starter to a more formal dinner party.

The recipes came from these pages:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/461640/patatas-bravas-with-chorizo

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1272642/mini-prosciutto-and-asparagus-frittatas

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1088656/paprika-pork

And these books:

For the squid and potatoes – Cook in boots http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cook-Boots-Ravinder-Bhogal/dp/0007291175/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316968103&sr=8-1

For the stuffed peppers – Italy’s 500 best ever recipes http://www.amazon.co.uk/Italys-500-Best-ever-Recipes-Photographs/dp/1780190433/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316968188&sr=1-3

Of course – I adapted them!  So here’s what I made.

Paprikan pork

Serves 2 as a tapas dish

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 100g pork fillet
  • 100g mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche
  • salt & pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion until softened.  Then add the pork and mushrooms and fry until browned on all sides.
  2. Add the paprika, stir well to combine, then pour in the stock.  Bring to a simmer, and turn the heat down low and allow to slowly reduce.
  3. When you have quite a thick dark sauce (after about 25 minutes), add the creme fraiche, salt & pepper, and mix well.
  4. Tip into a bowl and put in a warmed oven to keep warm.
  5. Eat with hunks of ciabatta or baguette.

Patatas bravas with chorizo

Serves 4 as tapas

  • 500g new or salad potatoes halved or quartered into even sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 red chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper
  • 50g chorizo, finely sliced
  1. Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes, or until cooked.  Drain and set aside
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan or high sided frying pan, and saute the onion with the garlic and chilli until browned.
  3. Then add the paprika and cayenne pepper.  Mix well and cook for another 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with the spatula.
  5. Bring to a simmer, then turn down low and allow to reduce slowly, for about 30 minutes.
  6. When the sauce is nearly ready, heat a pan and add the chorizo.  Allow it to gently release it’s juices.
  7. Then add the potato to the chorizo and fry until both turn a bit crispy.
  8. Tip into a bowl and top with the tomato sauce.
  9. Keep warm until ready to serve – eat with hunks of bread and olives.

Stuffed roasted peppers

Serves 2 as a starter or tapas

  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 king prawns, deshelled
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  1. Heat the oven to 22o degrees celsius.
  2. Halve the peppers, keeping the stalks but removing the pith and seeds.  Wash and pat dry.
  3. Place them skin side down on a baking tray.
  4. Put the slivers of garlic in each of the halves of peppers
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & peppers
  6. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until softened.
  7. Remove from the oven and add a prawn to each pepper topped with a dollop of pesto.
  8. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, until the prawns are cooked.
  9. Keep warm until ready to serve

Asparagus and proscuitto frittata

Serves 4 as a tapas or starter

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 8 asparagaus spears (about)
  • 3 slices of proscuitto ham
  • 6 eggs, beaten together with some salt & pepper
  • 30g parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Snap the ends off the asparagus.  Cut of the tips and set aside.  Finely chop the stalks.
  2. Preheat the grill on a high setting.
  3. Heat the oil in a flat wide frying pan.  Saute the onion and chopped asparaugs stalks for about 10 minutes on a medium heat until browned.
  4. Tear the ham into pieces and drop into the pan.  Stir through and make sure it’s spread evenly over the pan.
  5. Pour in the beaten egg, lifting the pan to ensure the egg covers the whole pan.
  6. Drop the asparagus heads into the egg, all over the pan.
  7. Then sprinkle over the parmesan cheese.
  8. Cook the frittata until browned underneath, and then transfer to the grill to cook the top until browned and crispy in patches.
  9. Cut into 8ths or quarters and serve.

Paprikan squid and potatoes

Serves 2 as  tapas

  • 1 large baking potato, cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • 1 whole head of garlic, skin on
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 squid, tentacles removed, cleaned and cut into rings (if you buy frozen from the Chinese supermarket, they come pre-cleaned and de-tentacled – you just defrost and chop).
  • 1 lemon, zested and juice of
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper
  1. Par boil the potatoes for about 6 minutes, or until starting to soften.  Drain.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan.  When the butter is foaming add the garlic bulb and bay leaves, followed by the potaotes.  Fry on a medium heat until the potatoes are cooked and are looking browned.
  3. When the potatoes are nearly done, heat a griddle pan until smoking, brush the squid with oil, season with salt and pepper and toss in the griddle pan.  Cook for about a minute until cooked and chargrilled in patches – but not for longer or it’ll go rubbery.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the oil with a slotted spoon and place in a warmed bowl.  Top with the squid. Remove the garlic and bay leaves from the oil.  Add the zest and lemon juice, paprika and parsley to the oil, and season well.  Fry for a minute or two and then tip over the potatoes and squid and serve.
  5. Enjoy!
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Easy peasy tapas: chorizo and chickpeas

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m off on holiday to Ibiza soon. I’m pretty excited – we’ve had this booked since March – so it’s been a long time coming! Normally I’m a last minute kinda gal, but when it’s a holiday for 6, some planning is required! I so need some sun, sea, cocktails and fun. My last fling before winter sets in 😦

Anyway, in anticipation of my holiday, my thoughts turned to Spanish food – tapas and paella. I’ve always been a bit put off making tapas because it seemed a bit fiddly and hard work for just two people. But I’m thinking I should maybe do it for friends sometime. I’ve also realised my tapas recipe book is pretty much useless. It may be traditionally correct, but I’m never going to go to the lengths it suggests to make some tapas!

So, in search of something quick and nutritious to eat (hubby has decided he had to have pizza, and I can’t eat real pizza!), so I thought I’d make myself some chorizo and chickpea tapas. It was simple, quick and delicious. Warming and cold banishing – which was good as I have a horrid cold!

The recipe I ended up using is a slight variation on the traditional Spanish one, but I’m sure no Spanish cooks will be horrified! The one I used can be found here http://www.cookeryclub.co.uk/recipe/708/chorizo-and-chickpea-fry-tapas-recipe

I think, possibly the only ingredients I used that they didn’t, was some paprika and potatoes- because as you know – paprika, cinnamon and turmeric improve heart health and I never miss out on an opportunity to add them now I know that! The potatoes were just for some carbs, as I don’t eat bread. And at 300 calories per serving, it’s a good diet dinner too.

Chorizo & Chickpea Tapas or Garbanzos y Chorizo

Serves 2 (or possibly 4-6 with other tapas)

  • 4-5 salad potatoes, cut into chunks and boiled until cooked
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 pepper (red or green), finely sliced
  • 100g chorizo sausage
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt & pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the onion and pepper and fry gently until softened.
  2. Add the chorizo and fry until it releases its juices and starts to go crispy.
  3. Tumble in the chickpeas, potatoes and the garlic, stir well to combine in the juices.
  4. Dissolve the saffron in the water and pour over the mixture.
  5. Add the paprika, salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Stir well and serve with some country bread or baguette
  7. Enjoy the hearty goodness 🙂
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Quick midweek meals: courgette and goats cheese tortilla

I was after something quick, healthy and nutritious for a dinner after I’d been at the gym.  I am always starving after the gym (unsurprisingly really!) and I hate waiting for food when I just want to wolf it down! 

I found this recipe on the woman and home website previously and thought it was worth trying.  It’s got lots of good protein and healthy carbs to replenish me after the gym without all the bloating.  You can get the original here http://www.womanandhome.com/articles/food/recipes/473349/courgette-and-goats-cheese-tortilla.html

I, of course, adapted it.  Plus, I think unless its part of a picnic or something, it won’t serve 6.  We ate the lot between the two of us!  So I’d say 2-3 people as a main dinner without sides.  Or perhaps 4-6 as a lunch option with salad.  According to the recipe I made this was 594 calories if it’s 2 servings.  If you spread it to 3 then of course, it’s less!

It’s great though because you can have it done in about 30 minutes and it’s very simple to do.  It’s also hubby approved.  I’m not sure about children – it would depend if they like courgettes and goats cheese!   It’s also vege so it’s a great option as a vege starter for a dinner party or for vege friends or if you’re just cutting down your meat. 

Courgette and goats cheese tortilla

Serves 2-6 depending on how hungry you are!

  • 200g new potatoes, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large courgette, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • 75g soft goats cheese
  • 5 pieces of marinaded bell pepper, sliced
  • 6 eggs (I used medium, you may want 4 if using large eggs)
  • salt & pepper
  1. Place you sliced potatoes in boiling water and boil until just cooked.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large flat bottomed frying pan (preferably non stick), on a medium heat, fry the onion and garlic until softened. 
  3. Then add in the courgette and fry for a further couple of minutes until the courgette starts to cook.  Then add the potatoes, mixing well to combine. 
  4. Spread the mix out across the pan, sprinkle over the pepper slices followed by the cheese, crumbled.
  5. Crack all the eggs in a bowl, add the salt and pepper and beat to combine. 
  6. Pour over the mix in the pan and turn up the heat.
  7. Preheat the grill.  When the tortilla is cooked on the underside and the sides are looking crispy, place under the grill to cook the top.
  8. When its cooked all the way through, remove from the grill, divide into quarters (or whatever size you like) and serve!
  9. Enjoy!
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Sunny salads: Beetroot, goats cheese and chorizo salad

The sunshine just makes me want to eat salads.  And I had these beetroots in my fridge, delivered by the vege company and I didn’t know what to do with them.  So I found a recipe for beetroot salad.  But I added to it as I went along to make it a bit more substantial.  The beetroots I have are yellow and not red so that saved with the hassle of trying not to dye everything red or purple!  But apart from that, they taste the same.

It was delicious – simple, and delicious.  I’m not a huge beetroot fan, but this was nice!  The original recipe is here

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2608/beetroot-goats-cheese-and-tarragon-salad

But to be honest, I didn’t stick to this much.  I just used it for inspiration, and I boiled the beetroots according to this recipe.  But you could still make this salad with ready cooked beetroots – just get the vacuum packed ones from the supermarket and ignore the boiling bit of the recipe.

This recipe is very healthy, quite low in calories and beetroot is a superfood – full of lots of lovely antioxidants, so great after a night out!  If you’re vege, of course, leave out the chorizo.

Beetroot, goats cheese and chorizo salad

Serves 2

  • 2 beetroots, washed with stalks removed
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar (I used red, not sure what the difference would be)
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 small goats cheese, or about 200g – I used a soft one, but hard is fine too.
  • 10 large green olives
  • 2 handfuls of rocket
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 slices chorizo or other continental cured ham
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  1. Boil the beetroots in plenty of salted water, and add the vinegar to the water, for about 40 minutes or until they’re tender.  Drain and allow to cool.
  2. Peel the beetroots, halve and slice finely.  Arrange in the centre of plates.
  3. Add the tomato to the beetroot and drizzle over half the oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle over some rocket and parsley, followed by some olives.
  5. Then add slices of cheese (or crumble it, if hard) and chorizo to the top.  Drizzle over the remaining oil & vinegar.
  6. Serve and eat immediately in the lovely spring sunshine
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Winter greens inspiration: quick chorizo and bean stew

I’d bought some savoy cabbage (because it was 39p in Aldi!) but had no idea what to do with it. So I found a recipe on the BBC good food website for a chorizo and bean stew with kale. Now, I know cabbage isn’t kale, but it’s near enough!

The original recipe is here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/13306/kale-chorizo-and-bean-stew

It’s another super quick recipe great for mid-week dinners that’s cheap and tasty and low in calories. In fact, it was so low in calories I thought I could add a bit more chorizo without worrying about it. I made baked potatoes to go with it as I really wasn’t sure what should accompany it. But baked potatoes went well. It did slow down the time to cook the potatoes, but it was probably worth it, considering I did do them in the microwave first before shoving them in the oven to finish them off.

Quick chorizo and bean stew

Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp oil (I used olive)
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 50-70g chorizo (I used 70g). If you can get uncooked its better, but cooked is fine, diagonally sliced
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • salt & pepper
  • 100g savoy cabbage, kale or other winter greens, sliced into 1inch strips
  • 1 tin cannelini beans, drained
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and cook until the onion starts to brown.
  2. Add the chorizo and fry until the chorizo starts to release its oils, or about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Next add the stock, seasoning and herbs.
  4. Then add the kale or winter greens and the beans and simmer until the cabbage is softened, about 6-7 minutes.
  5. Serve with potatoes or rice or something and enjoy with a nice glass of wine to take the edge of another wintery day at the office 🙂
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Fridge use-up Paella

Today it was a case of figuring out what to do with what was in my fridge, so I made Paella.  I had peppers, prawns, chorizo, sweetcorn – it all made sense and we hadn’t eaten Paella in a while and I was feeling like rice but not Indian.

I used to be terrified of Paella.  It all seemed so complicated.  Like risotto.  Risotto isn’t complicated either.  It’s just chefs making it sound complicated and scaring you.  If you don’t do this, or you must do that.  Don’t listen to them, you can do it, it’s just rice.   And to be honest, I’m never sure what ‘al dente’ tastes like.  You kind of get that taste where it sticks in your teeth – which sounds like it should be ‘al dente’ which if that’s the case then to be honest I’m not a fan.  But I will tell you how I like my rice – it’s when it goes clear.  You watch as the opaqueness shrinks to a tiny blob in the middle and when that’s gone, it’s done (well for me anyway).  If you want it sticking in your teeth maybe you want to take it out when it’s got the tiny opaque blob in the middle left.

You can make Paella with just about any kind of meat.  I’ve not really come across a beef one, but I’m sure it’s been done.  But chicken (diced, legs), pork, sausages, chorizo, any kind of seafood or fish – you can shove it all in.  Which makes it great for fridge use ups.  Plus to be honest you can put most vegetables in.  Peppers are nice as are peas, and onions are a staple; but tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, sweetcorn, artichokes, corgettes, olives – they’ll all go in too.  The Spanish aren’t particularly vegetarian friendly, I’m not sure what you’d put in to make up any protein content – tofu doesn’t really seem to cut it!  Vege sausages maybe.

This is a recipe I’ve developed over a few years.  The original one came off the side of a carton of Paella rice but it’s not the same recipe anymore.  I use less meat and rice than the packet suggests as I always found there was too much.  As it was even with reduced amounts, there were leftovers tonight.  As a rule of thumb, in general when cooking, I tend to do about 100g of meat per person and about 75g of complex carb such as rice, pasta, potatoes.  This recipe uses 100g rice per person – but as I just said, I ended up with leftovers.

Use-up Paella

Serves 4

2 tbsp oil (I used chilli oil this time to give it a bit of a kick)

400g of assorted meat – this time I used chorizo and prawns, but you could include diced chicken or squid rings just as easily and include them all – the more the merrier.

1 large spanish onion (aka white mild ones, or any old white onion will do)

3 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 peppers of different colours (for interest only), finely chopped

Any other vegetables you’d like to throw in (I put in a few leftover artichoke hearts that were in a jar this time)

400g Paella rice

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, heated (check against Paella rice packet as amounts can vary)

1 tsp paprika

a good pinch of saffron (if you’ve got it, if not don’t worry)

salt & pepper

100g frozen peas defrosted

100g tinned sweetcorn, drained

handful of chopped fresh parsley

lemon slices

  1. If using meat such as chorizo or chicken, heat the oil in a large heavy pan (I use my wok normally – I use my wok for everything! but a large saucepan or high sided frying pan is good too) and fry the chorizo until it’s juices run and it turns golden.  If using chicken or pork or fish fry until browned on all sides.  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon (before I got one of these I was so worried about recipes that included them – if you don’t have one fish them out with a normal spoon and try to drain off as much oil as possible or use tongs/chopsticks)
  2. Return the pan to the heat with the chorizo-spiced oil in it and add the onion and gently soften on a low heat.  Then add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the other raw vegetables such as the peppers, carrots, mushrooms, etc.  Fry for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  4. Add the Paella rice to the pan and stir fry for a few minutes until the grains turn opaque.
  5. Dissolve the saffron (if using) in a small amount of hot water.  Add the stock to the pan along with the saffron water and the paprika.  Add salt and pepper.  If you wanted here, you could be a bit risotto-ish and add a glass of white wine first, let it bubble for a bit and reduce before adding the stock and saffron.
  6. Bring the pan up to boiling, then cover and simmer until the rice is cooked and the water is absorbed.  It wants to be moist.  Not runny and not dry, but a bit of moistness.  Add extra water to the pan during the process if it needs it.  It normally takes about 20 minutes.
  7. About 5 minutes before its finished add any seafood, peas, sweetcorn and any pre-cooked veges.
  8. Just before serving stir through the parsley.
  9. Pile onto plates and enjoy with a slice of lemon!
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