Tuesday 3 January 2017

Chorizo Oven Risotto

Serves 4
This is a very versatile dish, you can swap the chorizo for other meat (bacon works well!) and swap the peppers for cherry tomatoes or other veg. Baking in the oven still creates a lovely creamy risotto that doesn't require stirring for ages - perfect for a quick and easy family dinner.

150g chorizo, sliced
1 large onion, diced
Tablespoon butter
300g risotto/shortgrain/arborio rice
10 cherry tomatoes halved or 1 red pepper diced (or both)
700ml stock
50g grated parmesan
Start by preheating the oven to 200c. On the hob in an over&hob proof casserole dish, fry the chorizo on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the butter and onion and cook until the onion is soft. Add the risotto rice and tomatoes/pepper and stir through. Add the hot stock, stir and add a lid to the dish. Pop into the oven for around 20 minutes. Stir through the parmesan, ladle into bowls and serve.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Garlic Chicken & Roast Ratatouille

Well, it has been a long time since I have blogged! I am swamped with college work and life in general. I have a few posts I want to share, some new recipes plus a post about my wonderful visit to the Michelin starred restaurant in Edinburgh!

This was a throw-together quick meal after a full day at college. Luckily all my children like it!
I served this with rice, but potatoes would go as well.

Serves 4
8 chicken thighs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped into chunks
1 courgette, sliced chunky
Olive oil
Mixed herbs
Salt & pepper
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Rice to serve.

Preheat the oven to 190 c. Mix the melted butter & garlic. Throw all the chopped veg into a roasting tin, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Nestle the chicken thighs in the veg, then baste the chicken with the garlic butter. Sprinkle over the mixed herbs & season. Pop into the oven for around 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from oven & add the tinned tomatoes to the veg.Cook for another 10 minutes.

Monday 5 May 2014

Am I a Morrisons Mum?

I was chuffed recently to be asked to try Morrisons this May Day weekend, by the BritMums team. I set off, armed with my vouchers ready to do our bank holiday weekend shop. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I managed to get for £80 - but was unable to photograph it as my camera phoned seemed to be broken - catastrophe! Turns out I had it on a wrong setting, but not until after my shop & first meal had been demolished. I came home with 8 bags of shopping - wowee! I got a great variety of fruit & veg, including pineapples (which was part of their 3 fruit/veg for £1.50 deal), avocados, celeriac (my fave vegetable! search for recipes in the search bar of the blog) amongst many others. Another 2 bags contained our meat, the best bargain was 2 packs of mince for £3.50. My kids all love a plate of mince & tatties!

The first meal I prepared was after a nice long walk we had along the clifftops near our home. Friends of ours have recently got a new dog, so we had a lovely afternoon playing in the park & a long walk home. Everyone was tired, so the kids lounged in front of the TV while I put a quick tea together - pizza pinwheels, sweet potato wedges & sweetcorn. This fed 3 children, including a strapping teenager, at a cost of around £3 for the meal.

Pizza Pinwheels (prices are for Morrisons stores) £1 per person

1 sheet ready to use puff pastry £1
Half a jar of chunky veg pizza topping 50p (Morrisons own, £1 per jar, the other half can be used for another meal)
Grated cheese 40p  (less than half a pack, £1 for the Market Place grated cheese pack)
1 large sweet potato 40p
1 tin sweetcorn & peppers 49p (Morrisons own)

Preheat the oven to 200c. Peel & chop the sweet potato into wedges, toss in olive oil & arrange on a baking tray. Pop into the oven for 25 minutes. Next, roll out the puff pastry and spread half a jar of  pizza sauce over the pastry. Sprinkle all over with cheese. Carefully, roll the pastry up, like a swiss roll! Cut carefully into 1 inch thick slices, and place onto a lightly oiled baking tray. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove & allow to cool slightly. These are yummy warm or cold. Serve with the sweetcorn & sweet potato wedges.

We finished this off with some cooling Limeade floats! 50p for a 2 litre bottle of limeade, and 80p for a large tub of vanilla ice cream = a lot of floats. The kids enjoyed these very much.

So far, I am very impressed with my Morrisons shop. More recipes to come in the next few days with more of the lovely ingredients I was able to buy.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Eating Out - Wagamama

This was the first time I'd eaten at Wagamama, and really enjoyed it. I quite enjoy Japanese food anyway, so this was a nice treat. I'd had the gyoza recommended to me by my sister, and the friend I ate lunch with recommended the tropical juice - both were lovely!

                                                                Chicken teriyaki donburi
                                                             Steamed chicken gyoza
Freshly made tropical juice

 I would definitely eat there again, and I think I would try the chicken katsu curry next time.

Friday 18 April 2014

Smokey Bacon Spaghetti

This is one of my favourite budget meals. If you use value versions of the ingredients, you can make this meal for a few pound - bargain! I paid 33p per tin of tomatoes, 30p for the dried spaghetti, £1.50 for the smoked bacon and I already had smoked paprika in my cupboard. You can buy paprika quite cheaply though, and it will last for quite few meals. The smoked paprika is a must, it gives this dish a lovely taste.

Serves 4

400g dried spaghetti
150g smoked bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
Oil for frying
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Parmesan (optional)

In a large frying pan, heat the oil to a medium heat & fry the bacon until starting to crisp. Add the onion & garlic & cook until soft. Stir in the paprika and continue to cook for another minute. Tip in the tomatoes and stir through. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, until teh sauce thickens. Cook the spaghetti per the pack instructions. Once the spaghetti is cooked, add the sauce & coat the pasta. Serve sprinkled with parmesan, if you like, and garlic bread.

Easy Chicken Biriyani

I like one-pot meals - easy and keeps the washing up to a minimum! This is one the kids enjoy, but you can use a hotter curry powder if you like it spicier. Curry paste can also be used in place of powder, just whatever you have at hand. Allow one or two chicken thighs per person, depending on appetite.

Serves 4

7 chicken thighs (1 or 2 per person)
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons of curry powder (I used mild, so the kids could enjoy)
1 tablespoon oil
1.5 mugs of easy cook rice
3 mugs of chicken stock
1 mug of frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 200c. In a large hob/oven proof dish, heat up the oil to a medium heat. Fry the chicken in batches, to colour & crisp the skin. Remove & set aside. Fry the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder & cook for another minutes. Add the rice, and stir to coat in the curry/oil. Pour in the stock, stir & allow to come to a simmer. Add the chicken back on top and then place in the oven for 30 minutes. Add the peas, stir and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Serve in warm bowls.

Monday 3 March 2014

BBQ Brisket

This is a really easy meal to make in the slow cooker. I have been trying to use my slow cooker more often, as it renders cheap cuts of meat really tender and soft while retaining all the flavour. I served it in wraps, with cheese sprinkled on. It would also be great in crusty rolls with crisp salad leaves. A side order of onion rings & coleslaw would make this a perfect dinner.

1kg beef brisket (roughly)
1 large onion, sliced
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tbsp tomato puree
300ml passata
150 ml stock
2 tablespoons orange juice
100ml cider vinegar
1 tbsp demerera sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 whole cloves (remember to remove these before shredding the beef)
Salt & pepper

Place the brisket on top of the onions in the slow cooker. Mix the other ingredients & pour over the beef. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the beef, shred with two forks, then mix the shredded meat back into the sauce. Serve in wraps/pitta/crusty rolls/

Thursday 10 October 2013

Halloween Recipes & Ideas

I thought I'd share some fun food and decoration ideas from Halloween parties I have held in the past. All of these were cheap & easy to do, and quite effective. The kids all had a great time!

Boil up some hard boiled eggs. Crack the shells, but do not remove. Place a a bowl with water & red food colouring overnight in the fridge. This is what they will look like when you finally remove the shell!
Bats cut out of black paper. Very effective! Bend the wings slightly, where they join the body, to create shadows on the wall/

This is just orange tissue paper and black paper for the eyes & mouth, tacked to the window.

Cadburys white choc finger biscuits, scratch knuckles halfway down & paint the tips with red gel colouring.
Little meringues with icing pen faces.

Coffee and mason jars, PVA glue & tissue paper! So easy. I then drew faces on with a marker pen. I popped glow sticks into the ghosts and battery-operated tea lights into the pumpkins.

Bandaged fingers .... sausages wrapped in pastry strips, ketchup for blood, bit of onion for teh finger nail.

Monday 7 October 2013

Scottish Stovies

This is actually my husbands recipe, he is the "stovies maker" in our house. I think most Scottish kids grow up eating stovies ... it's so cheap & easy. Traditionally, you bunged all your left overs from your roast dinner (beef and potatoes) in a pot with some onions & stock and simmer it all down in a pot on the stove (hence the name). Some areas use sausages, mince or Lorne, some add other veg (carrots, peas etc) but the stovies I grew up with were made from corned beef. We serve ours with oatcakes to scoop it up with.

Serves 4
5 medium potatoes, peeled & sliced 1cm think
2 onions, sliced
1 tin of corned beef (replace with leftover mince/cooked sausages/roast beef trimmings if you prefer)
Dripping/lard (or oil) for frying
1 beef stock cubes

Heat the dripping in a large saucepan. Gently fry the onions until completely softened but not coloured. Add the potatoes to the pan, cover with water to halfway up your potato/onion mix & crumble in the stock cube. Mix, and allow to bubble away until the stock is almost all absorbed. This will take about 30 minutes. Add the crumbled corned beef & stir through - then allow the mixture to thicken up by letting it simmer/bubble for another few minutes. Serve with oatcakes.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Cheesey bacon potato bake

This recipe came about on one of those days where you need to go shopping, but haven't been yet! I am quite busy with college these days, and it's hard fitting it all in. This was surprisingly tasty, and went down a treat with husband & kids alike. It really does need some veg on the side, as it is quite rich on its own. If you are feeling decadent, you can add a swish of white wine to the cream & garlic mix!

Serves 4

4 large baking potatoes (or equivalent in small potatoes) cut into half cm thick slices
4 rashers of bacon, diced
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
2 garlic cloves, crushed
300 ml double cream
250g grated cheese
Steamed veg, to serve

Heat the oven to 180c. Mix the crushed garlic with the cream and set aside. Fry the bacon on onion over a medium/low heat, until the bacon is cooked & the onion soft. Layer the potato slices in a large oven proof dish, and add the bacon/onion. Pour over the cream mixture, then scatter the grated cheese on top. Pop in the oven for 45 minutes, then serve with steamed vegetables.