Tag Archives: Food

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

Seared salmon with leek mash and mustard hollandaise sauce

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Today is a holiday and to celebrate that and reaching 2000 hits on my blog (!!!), I wanted to make something I’d not done before.  I was searching by the ingredients I had in the fridge and found this recipe which is on the BBC website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/searedsalmonwithleek_88794

So I’d definitely made mash before (!) and salmon so the unknown piece in this recipe was the hollandaise sauce.  It turned out to be not that complicated despite not really having the full list of ingredients (at least not quite enough butter!).  The BBC recipe suggests that the ingredients listed make enough sauce for 1 person.  Now, I’m not sure if people exist that would eat that much hollandaise sauce but my recommendation is that it makes easily enough for 2-3 people 🙂

Despite cooking quite frequently, new sauces do still seem like a step into the unknown so it was good to have done this one and seen that it is fairly straightforward.  The end result was that it tasted great, especially in the combination with the mash and salmon but perhaps with that much butter, anything would!  Now just to perfect my sauce spreading on the plate…

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Filed under Fish, Food, French, Recipes, Uncategorized

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

Chicken and Jerusalem artichoke pie (the, I love you, pie!)

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When I started this blog the first picture I used was that of me and 4 mini pies I had made.  Creations from la cuineta will soon undertake some changes with a house move planned so the time seemed right to bring out a pie once more!

I don’t want to jinx the move and we don’t have the keys yet but if all goes to plan, I will still be cooking from a small kitchen but a better designed one!  Also for that reason, you will see a picture of the very small oven which can lay claim to many of the recipes on here (it’s time it got some credit!).  Apologies for it’s dirty state but as I’m hoping to get a brand new oven, I’m feeling quite lazy to clean it!

The recipe I found was able to utilise the artichokes that I had in my veg box delivery:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/chickenandjerusalema_85607

I started with the arduous task of extracting the hearts of the artichokes.  This is really not a favourite task of mine but I think I’m improving at it…

I still used this video here to help me:

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I was also able to utilise one of the giant onions I got in my veg box meaning we now have a little bit more space in the fridge!!!

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Once I’d got the hearts of the artichokes out, I put them in a bowl of water with lemon juice to keep them from oxidating while I chopped the onions, the chicken and could prepare the wine and the chicken stock.

I melted the butter and added the onions and garlic and gently fried for a couple of minutes before adding the chopped artichokes, orange zest and wine.  Once the wine had evaporated slightly I sprinkled over the flour and then gently added the chicken stock to make the sauce.

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I actually found the sauce to be quite thick before before putting a lid on it and cooking for the proposed 10-15 mins, so I reduced this time slightly and then added the cream for the final few minutes on the hob.  See what you think, when you have it all mixed together.

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Once the sauce was done, I moved on to the constructing of the pie.  I had cheated a little and bought ready made puff pastry but after the artichokes, this was a welcome respite 🙂  They make so much mess for what you get out of them and I guess there is some significance of whenever I mention using artichokes to most people they say they just take them from a jar.

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For my left over pastry pieces I decided to write a nice message.  That was easier for me than trying to make a flower and was probably more appreciated too! 🙂

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The height the puff pastry got to in the little over was quite impressive!

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All in all, it came out really well!  I do still love pies!!!  The pastry was nicely crispy and the orange zest made for a different kind of pie.  We both went back for seconds so a good sign that it was a tasty dish.

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I’m hoping to squeeze in another couple of blogs from my existing kitchen but we will see how the next couple of months go and the demands on my time.  I have to say that designing my own kitchen is very exciting and something I will be able to spend many more hours doing!

 

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Filed under Chicken, English, Food, Food blogging, Pie, Pies, Recipes, Uncategorized

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