Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Sweet Potato and Mixed Bean Enchiladas

OK I'm finally getting round to sharing these amaaazing enchiladas with you. It's only taken, oh, about 5 days. But hey, back off, they're totally worth the wait! And this week is National Vegetarian Week, so at least it's topical now.
I wish I could take the credit for the awesomness of these, but I actually got the recipe from Kevin over at Closet Cooking (click the link for the full original recipe and quantities)

You basically gently cook the onion and garlic in a frying pan. Then add the beans, spices, and some water and leave to simmer.

The only tweak I had to make here was leaving out the chipotle chillies, as I couldn't get hold of any. So instead I added 2tsp smoked paprika to replace that smoky flavour. I have to say, these were pretty spicy, but nothing that a good old dollop of creme fraiche didn't fix.

You'll also need to make some sweet potato mash. I did this just by microwaving two sweet potatoes for about 8 minutes, scooping out the flesh, then adding seasoning and fresh coriander.

Now assemble your enchiladas. Lay some of the spicy bean mixture onto a tortilla. Spread some of the mash on top, then roll it all up.

Place the four filled tortillas in a baking dish, and top with a simple tomato sauce and some grated cheddar.

(Kevin didn't use tomato sauce in his recipe, instead he served it with salsa. If you want to make a sauce like mine, gently fry one chopped garlic clove in some olive oil for one minute. Tip in one tin of chopped tomatoes, season, add a touch of balsamic vinegar for sweetness, and simmer for approx 10 minutes until thickened)

Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Serve with salad, creme fraiche and some homemade guacamole. This will serve 4...unless you're feeling really greedy. A friend and I actually got through 3 between us, but we were ridiculously full afterwards! Enchilada Excess.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Well Let's Dance

Entirely un-food-related, but just thought I'd explain why I am in no mood to cook today. Too much gin and dancing last night for a joint birthday celebration of me and this beautiful lady, my boss Emma.

There were lots more of us there, but the girls wouldn't thank me for showing you the photos!

Stay tuned for some epic enchiladas that I made on Friday, I'll tell you all about them when I am more able to focus! FYI the leftovers just about saved me today.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Sam's Kitchen (not mine,unfortunately)

Today I went for lunch at a new cafe in Bath that I've been dying to visit. I walk past most days, and it's pretty much always busy. Now seeing as it's only been open a couple of months, you know they must be doing something right. It seems word is spreading and I couldn't wait to have a nose in Sam's Kitchen for myself..

The concept itself makes a refreshing change to all the Starbucks-inspired cafes that seem to be popping up everywhere. The interior is rustic and charming, based around a large farmhouse-style pine table for communal use, plus a few extra tables, an inviting leather sofa, an equally welcoming bookcase, and various deli items for sale such as homemade jams and chutneys. Oh, and there's a piano. Of course!

When you enter, you are greeted by a tiered counter groaning under the weight of all manner of goodies. We arrived at 11 to the sight of pastries, brownies, florentines, meringues and even homemade lemonade. What's a girl to choose? We started proceedings with a light rosewater and toasted pinenut meringue, a peppermint tea for my friend and an espresso for myself.

The most impressive thing, for me, is that everything is made in the small kitchen behind the counter. So, whilst innocently sipping my espresso, the smells of what they were cooking for lunch kept temptingly wafting over to our table. The counter was changed, and the daily specials were unveiled..

I decided to go for a slice of Leek, Mustard and Westcombe Cheddar Tart, still warm from the oven. I had a choice of sides, and opted for a butternut squash, rocket and pumpkin seed salad. The salad was delicious, with a generous portion of roasted squash, and the tart had a wonderfully strong savoury flavour with the just the right mustardy kick.

As recommended by the very sweet waitress, I also had an apple, ginger and mint juice, made fresh to order.

Now really, that's a lovely looking lunch. I will definitely be hanging out in Sam's Kitchen again, and I'm sure it's going to very popular....although I hope not too popular, or I'll be struggling to find a table!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Porridge with Cinnamon Baked Peaches

This is not what breakfast in the middle of May should look like. However, today it's grey, cold and rainy outside. So all I wanted to do when I woke up this morning was bake something warm and spicy, make a pot of tea, and curl back up under a blanket with Wonderboy. So that's what we did!
Simply halve and stone some fresh peaches. Lay onto a baking tray cut side up. Sprinkle over approx 1/2tsp ground cinnamon, and dot each peach half with a bit of butter. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 200'C for 15-20 minutes.

We had ours with porridge, but they would also be great just with some natural yoghurt.
Now let's hope I can bring you some sunnier food for the rest of the week..

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Green Vegetable and Pesto Fritatta

I've been a bad, bad blogger. I really do wish I had some exciting reason to give you for my neglect, but actually I've just had one of those weeks where my general attitude to things has been "meh". You know the kind.

Anyway let's lighten the mood. Check out this very spring-like fritatta (if you're lame like me, you'll enjoy saying "fritatta" aloud. Go on, you'll like it).

This pretty much came about as result of me wanting to use up the rather sad looking veg at the bottom of my fridge. It could just as appropriately be named "anything-goes fritatta". Anyway this combination included spring onion, mange tout, green pepper, spinach leaves and tinned artichoke hearts.

Roughly chop 1 small garlic clove. Heat some olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion, pepper, mange tout and garlic and gently soften for 3-4 minutes. Add the spinach and artichoke to the pan.

Beat together 3 eggs with a approx 100ml milk and some salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the vegetables, then dot 1/2 tsp pesto all over the top. Sprinkle over some cheddar (or any hard cheese, really. Parmesan or hard goats cheese would also work well.)

Cook for 3-4 minutes until the edges are starting to set, then put under a hot grill for about 5 minutes more.

Serve scattered with fresh basil. Really this will serve two with some side dishes, or you can do as I did and eat it straight out of the pan.....

...with some wine. I told you, it's been one of those weeks. Don't judge me. x

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A Single Man

This was my Sunday evening...

...highly recommend A Single Man by the way. Especially if you like to watch beautiful men kissing. In great suits.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Mexican Chicken Stew with Cheddar Cornbread

As most of you are probably aware, today is Cinco de Mayo-a day that celebrates Mexico's victory over France in a 19th century battle. So the blogosphere is packed full of Mexican-inspired recipes, and I just couldn't help jumping on the bandwagon. Obviously I'm not in the slightest bit hispanic, but I do love a little theme to inspire my mid-week cooking.

It also gave me the perfect excuse to make cornbread, something which I've always wanted to attempt. It makes a great accompaniment to all sorts of soups, stews and chillies, and in particular this Mexican Chicken Stew.

Here's a basic cornbread recipe that I came up with after trawling through various recipes, all claiming to be "the ultimate cornbread". Some used buttermilk (which I didn't have) or cream (which I didn't have). You could also add some jalapeno chillies to make this a real mexican experience, but I had to rein in the spice to make it suitable for Wonderboy.

Here's what I came up with....

(Measurements are in american cups, which makes for super easy baking)

1 cup plain flour

1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal-they are essentially the same thing, although cornmeal is slightly more finely ground. Polenta is generally easier to get hold of.

1tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sweetcorn kernels-I used tinned

1 cup grated mature cheddar

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup of buttermilk or soured milk (made by squeezing 1tbsp fresh lemon juice into 1 cup of semi-skimmed milk, and leaving for 5 minutes)

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup honey

1. Pre-heat oven to 200'C.

2. Butter and flour a 9"x 9" baking pan.

3. Sift into a bowl the flour, polenta, baking powder and salt.

4. Add the sweetcorn and grated cheddar to the bowl.

5. In a seperate jug, combine the eggs, milk, melted butter and honey.

6. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, then mix with your hand very briefly until the flour is moistened. Try not to mix for more than 10 seconds, and don't freak out if the batter is still lumpy. Over-mixing means the finished cornbread will be much denser. Big no-no.

7. Now pour the mixture into the pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy.

Serve with the chicken stew. And please, please, have a batch of margheritas or some tequila to hand. I didn't...and I regretted it.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Does it count as dinner if you just eat a massive plate of these? Well that's what happened in my kitchen tonight. And I highly recommend it. I accompanied them with mayonnaise and ebay-scouring, but this is definitely optional.

To re-create this, simply cut a medium-sized sweet potato into fries. Lay onto a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil. Season. Sprinkle over 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp curry powder if you have it. Cook in an oven pre-heated to 220'C for about 40 minutes, turning halfway through.


Sunday, 1 May 2011

A Veggie Brunch

I'm not a vegetarian, but who needs bacon when you've got a bagel topped with garlic mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and perfectly scrambled egg?


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