Category Archives: Herbs

Moussaka

The inspiration for this recipe came from the veg box again, having received three aubergines this week.  When I thought what I could do with aubergines my mind went back to growing up and my mum making delicious moussaka!

I did a quick search and the first recipe online that I found was from Rick Stein, who I love, so all in all a quick recipe search!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/moussaka_70308

The day started early in the supermarket trying to get lamb mince.  I don’t think it is so common in Spain but as in all good supermarkets, they have quite an extensive butcher counter we were able to get some minced for us.  A few eyebrows were raised when we said we wanted to mince that nice piece of leg that they had but anyway we achieved our goal!

The recipe does take a couple of hours so make sure you set enough time aside.

I started by browning the onion and garlic, before adding the lamb mince and frying for 3-4 mins.  I then added the wine, tinned tomatoes, half a teaspoon of cinnamon (I didn’t have a stick) and about 1 tablespoon of dried oregano (I didn’t have it fresh!).  I then left it to simmer for about 40 mins.

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I then started on the aubergine base, by cutting my aubergines lengthways into thin(ish) strips.  I used 2 rather than 3 in the end as it seemed like a fair amount already.  I think this was a wise choice also considering how full my dish got at the end!

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I fried the aubergine strips in batches adding a bit of salt and pepper as I went and then layered them at the bottom of the dish.

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The final step was to make the béchamel sauce.  I melted the butter, added the flour and then slowly added the milk, stirring constantly.  Then I let it simmer for 10 mins before adding the cheese and then beating in the eggs.  It made for a rich and thick béchamel.

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I layered the meat sauce on the aubergines, followed by the béchamel sauce.  Fairly straightforward but clearly my dish wasn’t big enough as I couldn’t fit all the sauce in and you can see it was pretty full!  The problem I have though is that in my very small kitchen, I have a very small oven so bigger dishes are not an option right now.  But in other exciting news, the renovation of our new place is reaching the final stages so possibly my next post will be from a normal size oven but still in a relatively small kitchen 🙂

Size issues aside, the recipe is great.  Yes, it does take a bit of time but it’s not complicated and the taste of the moussaka is rich and filling!

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Filed under Casserole, Cheese, Food, Herbs, Recipes, Slow cooking, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Assorted tapas

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This blog post is one I’ve been meaning to do for a while, using a few recipes from a great book I won at work!  With a few colleagues we had a really nice picnic in the park and all brought different dishes.  There was a prize for the most creative/colourful dish and my spicy couscous recipe won!!!

I had some free time today, so randomly selected 3 recipes as well as using some leftovers from a dish I cooked last night 🙂  I prepared them pretty much all at the same time but I will try and put some separation in here so it’s easier to follow and to group the many pictures in this veritable feast!

Broad beans with cheese and prawns

To start this recipe off I boiled 6 large shell-on prawns for 8 minutes and in the meantime chopped half a block of edam cheese (the recipe said gruyere but I went with edam) and boiled the broad beans (whole pods with the edges trimmed and then chopped into large pieces) with some dried thyme in the water for 7 minutes.

Once they were both done I let them cool before peeling and deheading the prawns and adding to a bowl with the cheese.

I then added a bit more thyme to a bowl and mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper.  I then poured this sauce over the prawn, bean and cheese mixture and served.

 

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Aubergine and pepper dip

Luckily I got an array of aubergines in my organic veg box this week so this recipe was perfect to make some headway into them!

I pricked two aubergines with a fork, along with a red pepper, drizzled in olive and oil and baked in the oven for 45 minutes.  You will see the picture below also shows roasting garlic which is for the next recipe!

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Once they were cooked, I let them cool a little and then peeled the aubergines and chopped the flesh into large pieces.  I removed the seeds from the pepper and also cut this into large strips before cooking in some oil with the aubergine for 5 minutes.

I then added them to a blender along with 1 tablespoon of coriander, half the juice and rind of a lemon, half a teaspoon of paprika and some salt and pepper and mixed to a puree.  I served the puree on bread but I do think this dip would be better with tortilla chips or something similar.

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Potato wedges with roasted garlic dip

For the final dish here (although I did start this first as the potatoes took the longest to cook!), I halved potatoes and then cut the halves into three.  I drizzled over some olive oil, some salt and also one crushed clove of garlic.  Then I put them on a baking tray and cooked for 1 hr 15 mins.

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While the potatoes were cooking, I used the cloves of garlic I had roasted from before (1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves, drizzled with olive oil on 200 degrees for 25 mins) now they were cool.  I removed the skin and mashed until relatively smooth.  I added them in a bowl with 1 pot of natural yoghurt and 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and seasoned with salt and paprika.  Then I covered the bowl with clingfilm and put in the fridge to chill while the potatoes continued cooking.

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I did reduce most of the ingredients with the intention of being able to serve 2 but we have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow so I would say all of the above would serve 3-4 people.

I enjoyed making all the recipes and was certainly good to make some headway into my tapas cooking experience.  I guess I’m still a bit of a whole dish kind of person so it’s good to extend my repertoire a little further!

And as for the favourite dish… it was probably the potato wedges with the roasted garlic dip!  Really tasty, quite easy to prepare, really enjoyed the crunch of the potatoes with the freshness of the dip!  All were good though and definitely will be repeated.

A big thanks to my work colleagues for letting me win and to Noa for choosing this great prize 🙂

Finally, I wanted to make a brief mention of the fourth dish as although it wasn’t from the book, it did accompany this tapas lunch as well as making a tasty dinner last night!  It was vegetable and salmon bake; another recipe from the BBC.  Really creamy and tasty and a definite recommendation!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/vegetableandsalmonch_84182

The one lonely picture from today (it wasn’t intended to be a blog post but was too delicious not to mention!):

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Filed under Cheese, Fish, Food, Food blogging, Healthy, Herbs, Recipes, Salad, Spanish, Starter, Tapas, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Kohlrabi, leek and courgette soup

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I’ve had 3 kohlrabis in various vegetable boxes now.  I’m still learning about them and so far have definitely found them much better in soups.  I tried this recipe today and really enjoyed it so thought it was the best one to share.

I used half a courgette, one leek, one onion, one kohlrabi for the vegetables, chopping them into fairly big pieces.  This probably makes enough for four people.

I started by melting some butter in a large saucepan, adding the chopped leek and frying gently for 5 minutes.  I then added the rest of the vegetables along with 750ml of chicken stock and some chopped parsley and simmered for about 25 minutes.  I blended it until it was quite smooth and served straight into bowls before adding some freshly ground black pepper, a spoon of double cream and topping with some more parsley.

Another tasty dish and fast to make, just a shame it is 25 degrees outside so we are not really in soup season!  I think if the kohlrabis keep coming, I will have to advance the repetoire!

 

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Filed under Food, Herbs, Recipes, Soup, Starter, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Beef stroganoff

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Another week brings another veggie box delivery and this week I had a fair amount of courgette and onion.  I also had frozen some nice cuts of beef and given that I usually have a good supply of cream and creme fraiche in the fridge, this dish came to mind.

I did a quick search and loosely based it on this recipe from Rick Stein:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/beefstroganoffwithma_71568

After a lot of Italian and Chinese cooking, it was good to make a recipe from a different place; Russia 🙂

I didn’t have mushrooms or sour cream but substituted the mushrooms with courgette and the sour cream with a mix of creme fraiche (about 2 tablespoons) and double cream (about 100ml).

I started by gently frying the courgette and onion in melted butter with half a teaspoon of chilli powder (didn’t have paprika either!) for about 5 minutes.  I removed them from the pan before adding the strips of beef and cooked for one minute.  At this point, different from Rick’s recipe, I added the onion and courgettes back in and added the cream/creme fraiche mixture and simmered for just over a minute before adding the lemon juice and fresh parsley and serving with rice (not matchstick potatoes!).

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It is a really simple dish, quite versatile as you can see by the amount of ingredients I changed and really, really tasty!  Another happy Saturday night meal and giving some comfort before watching England lose in the World Cup! 😦

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Filed under Beef, Food, Herbs, Recipes, Rice, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Pork with spinach and cabbage towers with a mushroom cream sauce

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I’ve been away for most of Easter at my in-laws being cooked for 🙂  We brought back some leftover pork (escalopes and sausage) from the farm and with some of the last veggie box contents still left in the fridge, it seemed a good chance to create something from these ingredients and get back in the kitchen!

First I boiled some green cabbage and steamed the spinach over the top.  Meanwhile I cooked some mushrooms and chopped onion in butter for about 3 minutes before adding some chopped garlic and cooking for a further 2 minutes.  I took some of the water from the cabbage and mixed with a chicken stock cube in a small bowl.  I added a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche, freshly ground black pepper and oregano and stirred.  Then I added it to the mushroom and onions and cooked on a high heat for about 3 minutes to thicken.

Once the cabbage had softened (after about 10 minutes boiling) I added slowly to a ring on plate to start creating the tower.  I put the cabbage first and topped it with the spinach

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I heated the leftover pork in the microwave for a couple of minutes and added to the plates with the stacked cabbage and spinach.

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I poured the mushroom, onion, garlic and cream sauce into a serving jug to serve separately at the table.  As the pork was breaded, I wanted to use the sauce slowly and as needed with the dish so as not to end up with soggy escalopes.

The end result was good!  I guess a cheat’s recipe with my mother-in-law doing half of the work already preparing the meat (although I do have to add that most likely, I helped make this sausage a while ago on the farm!) but the veggie stacks looked and tasted good and the sauce added something extra to the dish.  All in all, pretty fast and a nice looking dish.  A good example of clean food as well with the pork coming directly from the farm, the veggies from the organic vegetable box with just a bit of cream to balance the dish 🙂

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Filed under Food, Food blogging, Healthy, Herbs, Pork, Recipes, Sausage, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Spinach, spinach and more spinach!

Following the veg box delivery last week, I had a lot of spinach in my fridge so this weekend has been dominated by recipes including this green vegetable!!!

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It started Saturday morning with Eggs and Spinach en cocotte.  I had done a cocotte before:

https://creationsfromlacuineta.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/oeufs-en-cocotte-eggs-in-pots/

They are really tasty, a real treat for a weekend breakfast so a good way to use the spinach.  Again it was really tasty and you can find the recipe I used here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/eggsandspinachencoco_88059

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Next up was Saturday dinner 🙂  I really fancied a curry, so I did this Chicken and Spinach Balti recipe:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/chickenandspinachbal_86977

Really nice flavours from the yoghurt marinade and the spinach gave it something extra for sure.  I usually don’t have spinach in my curries and I’ve eaten a lot of curries over the course of my life so quite a turning point!

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And now this brings us to Sunday night!  As I’m writing this, I’ve been cooking a Ghanaian Beef and Spinach Stew for about 2 hours by now!

http://www.girlcooksworld.com/2011/03/shoko-ghanaian-beef-and-spinach-stew.html

It comes from a really nice blog which features gluten free recipes.  I didn’t have all the ingredients (serrano peppers for example) but I have suitable substitutes and also was able to add a couple of my organic carrots and some leeks.  You can see what it looks like below!  I just need to add the spinach and it will soon be ready to eat!

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For anyone who has not yet had enough of spinach while reading this post, you can find all the health benefits of spinach here:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-spinach

I should definitely be feeling stronger and ready to tackle Monday!!!

Thanks to the BBC for providing a lot of inspiration this weekend!

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Filed under Beef, Casserole, Food, Food blogging, French, Healthy, Herbs, Indian, Recipes, Rice, Slow cooking, Stew, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Chickpea curry

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I’ve been ill for a few weeks now, with this week being particularly bad, so this recipe is an illness busting one!  I hope!  No meat or dairy which should be avoided with a cold and also containing chilli and turmeric which are good spices to help fight cold like symptoms.  I’ve been eating a lot of spicy food these days!

You can see the full chickpea curry recipe in the link below although I supplemented it with mushrooms, used dried ginger powder instead of root ginger and added some fresh coriander (which appears in the picture on the recipe below but not in the ingredients ;-)):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/chickpeacurry_2213

It’s a really simple, fast, straightforward recipe but with a lot of taste!  I’m someone who is reluctant to cook vegetarian food but with the chickpeas in this, it had a good texture so I didn’t miss the meat too much (I did think “ah, this would be great with some chorizo in also” but it is much healthier without it and cheaper too!).

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All in all, I think it took me only 15 mins to cook (mainly because of the rice cooking time) and is a really easy dish to cook when your fridge may be looking sparse!  If you have a jar of chickpeas in your store cupboard then you are pretty much there!

The jury is still out on whether it got rid of the illness though… 😦

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Filed under curry, Food, Healthy, Herbs, Indian, Recipes, Rice, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian