Saturday, 12 April 2014

Time to Salsa

Like most students, I absolutely love fajitas, and have done for a very long time (as you can probably guess from how dated that post looks, wtf). They're quick, easy and incredibly tasty, and always feel like a treat.

That doesn't mean they have to be quick though. Don't get me wrong - they're great any way - but if you find yourself with a little extra time, it's super easy to do a couple of little extra things that make all the difference. In particular: the SALSA. It's super easy to make, and adds an extra element of luxury and impressiveness when you serve everything up. 


Ingredients:
- 100g tomatoes
- ½ a chilli
- 5 spring onions
- 1 clove garlic
- juice of ½ lime
- handful fresh coriander
- salt and pepper, to taste

1. If you're lucky enough to have a food processor, throw everything in and blitz (though not until it's a purée - aim for general salsa consistency!). If you don't, that's completely fine, you just need to chop everything finely then mix together in a bowl. 
2. That's it. Serve with fajitas or anything else you fancy, and enjoy!



Friday, 4 April 2014

Stuff My Mushrooms.

 

It's seven o' clock as I write and it's still light outside. Which is lovely. 
This time of year always makes me want to go wandering round National Trust properties and do lots of studying. It's sort of lucky that I have a dissertation and a whole bunch of exam revision to do really... (I also got to go to a National Trust place this weekend - Ightham Mote, it was lovely-pictures below.) 


These lighter evenings make it an awful lot easier to take food photos - living in a flat in halls with awful neon lighting doesn't make for particularly appetising ones. But, tonight I was in the kitchen making dinner, the light looked lovely and I just had to get some photos. 

 Basically, I love mushrooms. (Bryony doesn't! Which means that if we're out and she has food with mushrooms in I always get to eat her mushrooms, so I'm not really complaining...) These are my rice stuffed mushrooms. I've blogged stuffed mushrooms before, but these ones are different. Possibly better.... 

But you'll just have to make both recipes and try them out for yourselves... 

 
Rice stuffed mushrooms (to serve two as a main or four as a side):

150g long grain rice 
2 white onions 
6 spring onions 
2 cloves of garlic 
2 tsp mixed Italian herbs 
1 stock cube 
4 flat cap mushrooms 
A liberal handful of grated cheddar cheese 
A knob of butter and a dash of olive oil 
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cook the rice (You place in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for about fifteen minutes until the rice is tender. Don't stir it too much or the starch from the rice is released and it goes all gooey. Drain the rice in a colander, and rinse it through with hot water.) 
2. While the rice is cooking, finely chop the onions. Heat a knob of butter and dash of olive oil in a large saucepan, and add the onion. Fry gently. 
3. Slice the spring onions and add to the pan, along with the dried herbs and a crushed stock cube. Stir in thoroughly. 
4. Crush the garlic (using a knife, or a special garlic crusher if you have one) and add to the pan. 
5. Cut the stems out of your mushrooms, chop these and add to the pan as well. 
6. By now your rice should be cooked. Add it to the onion/garlic/spring onion pan, season with salt and pepper and stir through thoroughly. Turn off the heat. 
7. Place your mushrooms in a reasonably high sided dish or roasting tray, and add a generous spoonful of the rice mixture to each mushroom. If there's any left in the pan after you've run out of room in your mushrooms just stuff it into the gaps between them in the tray, burying the mushrooms. Top with the cheese. 
8. Place the mushroom/rice tray into the oven and cook for about twenty to thirty minutes until the cheese is melted and golden. 
9. Take the tray out and serve the mushrooms. I ate mine with parsnips, but I think this would go really well with cheesy leeks, or even as a side to go with a quiche or a tart.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Something For the Weekend

So usually I don't bother much with cocktails - they're great to drink and I'm a sucker for vodka slush in summer, but generally speaking they always seem like a bit too much effort to make.

However, during a recent flick through of one of my old Sainsbury's magazines I discovered an appealingly simple recipe for a 'Raspberry Sparkle' cocktail which, I decided, must be made. As per usual, I'm unable to just leave a recipe alone, so here's my version...



Ingredients (serves 1):
- 25ml raspberry vodka (or normal)
- 50g fresh raspberries
- juice of 1/4 lime
- ½ tbsp honey
- soda water
- sprig of rosemary, to serve (optional)



The thing with this recipe is that, as well as being easy, it's incredibly adaptable. For example, I love the flavour combination of blackberries and thyme, which would be a great Autumnal alternative. Also: I'm currently in possession of raspberry vodka, but it's so easy to make your own with ANY flavour, and the internet is full of recipes telling you how. So there is absolutely no excuse!


Method:
1. Grab a stick blender a blitz the raspberries, then use the back of the spoon to push it all through a sieve (I love raspberry seeds, but I don't want a drink full of them). If you don't have a stick blender, then with a little extra work just use the sieve and spoon - you'll get the same end result, it'll just take a little longer.
2. Mix your raspberry purée with the vodka, honey and lime juice.
3. Pour the mixture into a glass, add ice cubes (and a couple of frozen raspberries if you happen to have some), then top up with more soda water. Garnish with the rosemary and an extra raspberry or two if you don't have any frozen ones. 
4. Repeat as needed and get gloriously drunk in our new-found sun.
 


Monday, 10 March 2014

A Vegetable Feast

Like a veritable feast, but with more vegetables. ALL OF THE VEG.

I haven't been cooking as much recently: there, I said it. Things have been too stressful and busy (which is why there hasn't been much blogging - there hasn't been anything to blog...), BUT last week I decided enough was enough and that I needed something super healthy and delicious to make up for it all. So I made this: baked, stuffed aubergine with cous cous, feta and all things lovely.


Ingredients (serves 1):
- half an aubergine
- 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
- 100g cous cous
- 200ml veg stock
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled
- handful of fresh coriander, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste

Method:
1. First, preheat the oven to 220°C. Place the aubergine into a baking dish with the onion, garlic and tomatoes, then drizzle with olive oil and a good amount of salt and pepper. Put this into the oven for 40 minutes, taking it out half way through to flip the aubergine and stir the rest of the veg.
2. Put the cous cous into a pan with the hot stock and heat gently for about five minutes, until the grains have expanded and the liquid has been absorbed.
3. Scoop the middle out of the roasted aubergine and add it to the cous cous, along with the onion, tomatoes and garlic (the cloves will be soft enough to just squash now). Stir in the spring onions, feta and coriander, then place the mixture back into the aubergine skin and bake for a further 15-20 minutes.

 
NB: There will be cous cous mixture left over but this is a good thing - my extras were eaten by our house mouse (aka Rebecca) but it would be great to put in the fridge and have for lunch the next day.
4. Sprinkle with an extra bit of coriander to make it look pretty, then serve with something delicious like sweet potato fries. Yum.