Tag Archives: Cheese

Chicken Caesar Sandwich

It’s been a long time since I last blogged!  Following the birth of my twins, I’ve been waiting for the right moment to return and last night I finally felt inclined to take some pictures of the food knowing I had a bit of free time this morning to write about it!  I thought this recipe would link in well with my previous post of Chicken Caesar Salad and would give me the chance to test an alternative caesar dressing.

This one didn’t use mustard but lemon juice and worcester sauce instead (full ingredients at the bottom of the post) and overall I’m not really sure which one I prefer.  Both have their merits.  This one was more runny for sure so made the eating a bit messier.  But taste wise, both are good!

I started by cooking the chicken breast on 180 C for 20 mins and then prepared the caesar sauce in the meantime.  I mixed all the sauce ingredients together well and added half to some chopped lettuce leaves.  Then I toasted the ciabatta for a couple of minutes, placed the cooked chicken on top, then the dressed lettuce, ham and added some more caesar sauce and Parmesan shavings.




In terms of overall recipe I would say I preferred the Caesar salad as it is easier to eat (a knife and fork help!) but this was a tasty alternative and a great, fast homemade snack albeit not the healthiest!  Life with twins has definitely led to repeating more of the same meals over and over so this made a welcome change last night 🙂

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

1 chicken breast

2 pieces of cooked ham/parma ham torn into small pieces

Mixed lettuce leaves

2 ciabattas

6 tablespoons of mayonnaise

6 tablespoons of lemon juice

Sprinkling of worcester sauce

Salt and pepper

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Filed under Chicken, Food, Ham, Sandwich

Quiche with ham, leek, mushroom and cheese

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In my recent quest to do relatively simple recipes that are favourite dishes but I’ve never made myself before, I decided upon quiche.  The timing worked quite well as we bought a replacement motor for our blender so this saved me some mixing of the pastry.

I found inspiration in one of my favourite cooking books; Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo.  She has a nice recipe for Quiche Lorraine which this was intended to be until I found I had no lardons or bacon in the fridge!  This item is a usual staple in our fridge so an indicator of time to go shopping!

I started the recipe by mixing 90g of butter with 1 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt in the blender until it was quite creamy.

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Then I added in 180g of plain flour followed by 2 eggs yolks and 2 tablespoons of ice cold water.

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I blended this mixture some more until the dough came together.  I then took it out of the blender and rolled into a ball with my hands, wrapped in cling film and put in the fridge for about 1.5 hours (you can do this from 1 hour – overnight though).

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Then, upon the discovery of the lack of lardons/bacon, I chopped some cheddar cheese and tore up the remaining piece of ham I had in the fridge.

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I also softened a leek with a few mushrooms to supplement the ingredients.

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I took the dough from the fridge and placed between two pieces of baking paper and rolled out as close to the size of the baking tray as I could (25cm).

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For the remainder of the filling, I beat 4 eggs with 2 egg yolks, adding about 100ml of creme fraiche and 200ml of double cream and mixed together with a teaspoon of salt and a little bit of ground pepper.

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I then lined the baking tin as best I could and used the remaining 2 egg whites to coat the pastry.  If I’d rolled the pastry for longer I suspect I could have filled the sides a little bit better (it is also quite a high baking tin!) but I was getting quite tired and my hope was that the filling would cover the sides well….

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I then added my improvised ingredients before pouring the egg and cream mixture over the top and putting in the oven for 35 mins on 180 degrees.
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Having just eaten a sample I can say the taste is good; nice and simple!  I like the combinations of ingredients and the thing I’m most pleased with is the pastry.  I hardly ever make it, it’s something that always scares me a little but it turned out well cooked and thin 🙂

I think if I would change one thing it would be to add more herbs or maybe some more black pepper to give it a bit more flavour.  Otherwise more cheese!  Everything tastes better with more cheese!!!

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Filed under Cheese, Eggs, Ham, Quiche, Simple, Vegetables

Mini pizzas

I haven’t blogged for a while and was keen to get one out there before the year end!  So this one is a recipe/recipes that I have used a lot over recent months.  Partly because they are so quick, partly because they are relatively healthy, as you control the ingredients, and mainly because I have never been disappointed whatever combination of ingredients I have decided upon!

The main ingredient in this dish is the Buitoni mini pizza bases.  You get 8 in a pack so good for 4 people (2 pizzas each) or a good party size if you halve them after cooking.

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From there I’ve used a base topping of either creme fraiche or tinned tomatoes.  The creme fraiche topping was inspired by a trip to France earlier in the year and I have to say it is my favourite.

I usually spread some herbs on the main sauce (basil, oregano, pesto, parsley, etc).  Well some combination of these, not all!

Then on top of that I’ve added chicken or chorizo as my meat of choice (I always pre-cook the chicken to be on the safe side).  And then some vegetables from mushrooms, onions, peppers, courgette (which I usually pre-cook if I’m doing it with chicken although it’s not really necessary).

From then I might add cherry tomatoes before the cheese (I usually choose between feta or cheddar or parmesan).

I bake them in the oven for 10 mins on 220 and enjoy a great dish afterwards.  Recently we made them with our niece so they are child friendly and can be quite a good interactive cooking dish with kids.  Also I made a few for our house warming so great party food also.  I’ve tested them on various guests that came to visit and no disappointment yet even amongst foodies.  Alternatively I have a couple with salad for my dinner.  They are an easy thing to make quickly from whatever you have in the fridge so definitely my recommendation from 2014, even if they are not the most advanced dish!  Sometimes the most simple are the best 🙂

Here you have a picture of one of my favourites:

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Happy New Year to anyone reading!!!

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Filed under Cheese, Chicken, French, Healthy, Italian, Pizza

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

Ravioli con chorizo piccante (spicy chorizo and ricotta stuffed ravioli)

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It was my birthday recently and one of the great presents I received was Gino D’Acampo’s Pasta recipe book.  I already have a pasta machine so it seemed another good opportunity to put it to good use and make a different type of pasta to what I’ve featured on this blog before.  I do remember making ravioli many years ago and thinking it was pretty fiddly.  This time was no exception and even trying the trick of making giant ravioli didn’t save me too much time!

Anyway the end result was good so it can be a once in a while, Sunday afternoon thing!

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I started by making the pasta; mixing 2 cups of 00 flour with two eggs and drizzling over a little bit of olive oil and some salt.  I mixed it together until it became crumbly and then rolled it into a ball and started kneading for about 5 minutes (if it is too crumbly add a teaspoon of water).  I wrapped it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge for 20 mins.

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In the meantime, I started making the filling; finely chopping 100g of chorizo and frying in a bit of oil with a teaspoon of chilli flakes (use a fresh chilli if you have it) for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  I let the chorizo cool in a bowl and then added 250g of ricotta and 1 tablespoon of dried parsley (again if you have it fresh, use it! – I could only see it mixed with garlic yesterday in the supermarket so had to go without).  Mix well and transfer to the fridge for 10 mins, after covering in clingfilm.

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Back to the pasta task!  I split the dough ball into three and started flattening with my hands before moving to the pasta machine and running it through all the settings until I reached the thinnest one.  Make sure you keep the sheets well floured during this process to prevent sticking.  The pasta sheets were so long I had to halve them again so in the end I had 6 fairly long sheets.

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I let them dry a little and then placed them on a floured surface.  I added a teaspoon of the mixture about 4cm apart on one sheet and brushed the space between the fillings with some beaten egg.  Then I placed another sheet on the top and pressed in the gaps of the fillings with my fingers and cut them using a pizza cutter (I didn’t have a special pasta cutter so no pretty edges on my ravioli 😦 )  Now if you don’t want giant ravioli, I would suggest folding each sheet over rather than using two.  Up to you!

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I then put them in some fast boiling, salted water for 3 minutes before trying to arrange them on the plate.  Sprinkle over a bit of salt and pepper and drizzle over some olive oil.  From these ingredients I made 16 (giant!) raviolis so I have enough for two dinners, for two people.  I have floured the 8 that I did not cook and covered them and put them in the fridge for tomorrow.  Hopefully they will keep well!

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The taste was very good!  Nice and spicy with the cheese as a contrast.  I couldn’t find ricotta in the supermarket here, so I used queso fresco which somewhere on the internet told me it was a suitable substitute (closer to cottage cheese I would say).  I think ricotta has a slightly stronger taste so would be better if you are able to get that easily!  It was time consuming but enjoyable to make and I’m looking forward to cooking another pasta dish from the book!  Especially as the intro to the book spends a long time saying pasta is in fact a very healthy carbohydrate!!!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of 00 flour
  • 3 eggs (2 for the pasta, one for brushing the made pasta)
  • 100g of chorizo
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 250g of ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes

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Filed under Cheese, Food, Food blogging, Herbs, Italian, Pasta, Recipes, Uncategorized

Chicken Caesar salad

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Having just come back from a trip home and watching a friend eat a very tasty looking caesar salad, I thought it was time to make this dish.  Also a trip home results in a lot of eating, so I wanted to feature a salad as my next recipe in an attempt of correcting this.  Unfortunately due to the amount of mayonnaise in this dish, I think I achieved the opposite but it was delicious anyway!

The recipe is loosely based on this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/classicchickencaesar_86187

However, as I don’t particularly like anchovies or croutons I omitted these.  I’m also going through a phase of not liking garlic so much so I omitted this also as I thought raw garlic might be overpowering for me.

I started by cooking one chicken breast in the oven for 25 minutes on 180 degrees.  While the chicken was cooking, I mixed the parmesan with the white wine vinegar although I did this in a bowl rather than a blender to save on the washing up (no issues with the results of this technique!)!  I added the mayonnaise, mustard and salt and mixed some more.

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I added the lettuce mix directly into the sauce and continued to mix.  I used a bagged salad of a few varieties of lettuce and carrot.

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I put the salad mixture on plates and added a few strips of cured ham.

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Once the chicken was cooked, I sliced it and added on top of the salad mix.  I used one chicken breast between two people.

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Finally I grated some more parmesan over the top along with some freshly ground black pepper.

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The taste was great as expected mainly due to the amount of mayonnaise in the recipe!  However, I suspect the calorie content is still much lower than you would find in a restaurant caesar salad so not so bad.  I will just have to keep it for the end of very healthy week as a weekend treat!

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Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Food, Italian, Recipes, Salad, Uncategorized