Friday, 28 January 2011

Holy Halloumi!

So there a few ingredients that always get me excited, or that jump out at me when browsing a menu. Halloumi cheese is one of these things. If you've never tried halloumi it! You won't regret it. It's a greek cheese that holds it's texture when cooked, and has a great flavour. It's also very substantial, so is a great base for a salad...

In tonight's case, I cooked some sliced halloumi in a heated griddle pan alongside some courgette and red pepper (for approx 3-4 minutes each side). Then I served this on top of some tinned lentils, which I had heated and added a touch of dijon mustard and a squeeze of lemon juice.

I've had a hectic day of packing up my house and painting my new flat, so I needed something quick, wholesome and satisfying. Tick, tick, tick!

Mmmm halloumi, how I love thee....

Friday, 21 January 2011

You Are My Sunshine

I can't tell you how pleased I was to be out in the sunshine with Toby yesterday. It feels like it's been a long old Winter! And even though the air was still freezing, I could finally sense that Spring is just around the corner..

Of course, it helps that our local park has a great little cafe. The type that serves decent coffee and gets the newspapers in. They even had Nora Jones crooning away in the background. Oh, and on a Saturday they have a DJ and sell booze. Now that's one way to keep the parents coming back...

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms on Toast

Last night's dinner was somewhat rustic, based on my new ethos of simple, fresh, healthy food. Think Nigel Slater (with his quick, mostly veggie based meals) rather than Nigella (full fat cream, anyone?)
So I cleaned and chopped half a punnet of organic chestnut mushrooms. Then I heated a small knob of butter and 1tsp olive oil in a frying pan. Added 1 chopped garlic clove, then the mushrooms and about 1tsp chopped fresh thyme. Saute it all together for about 8 minutes, stir in 1tbsp creme fraiche, and serve on wholemeal toast.
This would also make a great brunch dish!

So after a nice light meal, I tried not to think about all the sumptous treats I had witnessed the other evening on Lorraine Pascale's new show Baking Made Easy. It really did make me want to go over to the dark side and get out my baking pinny.

In particular are the ammaaaazing looking Oreo fudge brownies...

If you'd like to give into temptation, then you can find the recipe here on the BBC website.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Roast Sea Bass with Lentils.

Used a little shortcut tonight, as I've been at work today so didn't want to spend all evening standing around in the kitchen. I tried out these packet lentils from the supermarket, and actually they were pretty good! You just simmer them in water, on the hob, for about 20 minutes.

I served a portion of lentils with a small seabass that had been prepared at the fish counter, which meant no gutting and decapitating for me to do! I simply put a wedge of lemon and a sprig of rosemary inside the fish, put onto a baking tray, drizzled with olive oil, and roasted in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes.

A simple, healthy, fuss free meal. Just the sort of food I want to eat right now.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I'm planning on using the leftover lentils as a dip to have with some crudites and pitta bread for lunch tomorrow! How frugal of me.

Sunday, 16 January 2011


Ahh hangover, my old friend, how nice to see you again. Now, just how many blueberries do you think I need to consume to cleanse the body of toxins?
And by toxins I mean whiskey.
Hope you all had a crazy weekend x

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Tapas Tuesdays!

So, if you live in Bath and fancy a bit of Tapas -and it happens to be a Tuesday - then head to The Velo Lounge on Moorland Road. They do a great deal of three tapas dishes and a glass of wine for £8.50, and it's starting to become a rather regular occurence for us!
I met a group of friends there last night, and was pleased to find that the food and the cosy, book-lined, candelit atmosphere was just as good as before. There's loads of tapas to choose from so you can't go wrong. My favourite? The slow roasted chinese five spice pork. I HAVE to try and do this at home, as the tapas sized portion was just not enough! If anyone knows a good recipe for it I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Spicy Penne with Chorizo

I had the girls round for dinner last night, so obviously wine and pasta were required, despite all reference to a healthy new year. I've been good up until now, honest. And, just so you know, we did have a huge side salad alongside the generous portion of meaty pasta!
I came up with this recipe after having a similar thing in a restaurant once, and wanting to re-enact it at home. After a few attempts I think this one's a winner!

To make 4 portions:

Prep your ingredients: finely chop 1 garlic clove and 1 large red onion. Roughly chop 1 and a half red peppers. Dice four rashers of bacon, removing the fat. Cut one vacuum-packed chorizo sausage in half, remove the papery skin, then halve lengthways and slice.

Now heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan or saute pan. Add the onion, garlic and pepper, and soften on a low heat for 5 minutes. Now add the bacon, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the chorizo and a good sprinkling of dried chilli flakes, and cook for 2 minutes more, being careful not to let the chorizo burn.
Tip in 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and add a dash of red wine, if you have a bottle open. Season, turn up the heat to bubbling, then reduce to a simmer and leave simmering for about half an hour while you cook the pasta (you'll need aout 100g of pasta per person).
Taste the sauce when you think it's ready, and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add the pasta to the sauce, stir through, and serve with parmesan.

Be sure to give this one a try. I would say it will go down well with the man in your life, but actually it was a hit with the girls too!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Final Indulgences.

Happy New Year to you all! Hope you've been enjoying some time off and are bracing yourselves for going back to reality this week. I don't know about you, but I haven't quite come out of holiday mode yet, and certainly don't think I've been ready to start the obligatory "healthy lifestyle" kick required at the dawn of a new year.
This was especially true on awakening New Year's Day with an almighty hangover, which we know can only be remedied with grease-this time in the form of a bacon sandwich. And today hasn't really counted as it's Sunday. I've had the house to myself so have been chilling out reading the Times, drinking coffee and eating cake.
Tomorrow, dear readers, it begins! New year, new week, and no more afternoon cake binges!
Just don't quote me on that...


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