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Strawberries & Cream Victoria Sandwich

14 Jul

IMG_20130714_150517[1]Strawberries are in season at the moment and along with the brilliant weather we seem to be experiencing here in the UK (even Wild West Wales is hot and dry, amazingly) they are in abundance and for once not about £4 for a punnet of tasteless watery stawbs.

Tesco got on the Wimbledon bandwagon and were selling punnets of British strawberries with ‘free’ pots of double cream.

Cream is such a treat (I once knew someone who ate a whole pot for their dinner, with nothing else out of guilt) and a perfect combination is with freshly whipped cream, in a classic Victoria sponge eaten outside with a glass of homemade (I need to get my mums recipe for this up!) elderflower cordial. How sophisticated eh!

 

 

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The cake was made from the River Cottage’s recipe
Ingredients:
175g self raising flour
pinch of salt
175g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
175g caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 med pot of double cream
punnet of strawberries, washed
2 X 20cm sandwich tins

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Beat the butter to a cream, then add the sugar and beat until very light and creamy (this is the secret to a great sponge!)
2. Add the eggs, a little at a time in conjunction with a spoon or two of the flour to prevent curdling, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla extract if using.
3. Sift in the rest of the flour and carefully fold it in. Divide the mixture evenly between the two sandwich tins and bake for around 25mins or until springy when gently pushed.
4. When cooked, leave in the tins for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. When the cake is cooled, whip the cream until stiff, slice the strawberries and spread the cream over one layer, and top with thinly sliced strawberries. Top with the other layer and arrange strawberry halves on top. Dust with icing sugar!IMG_20130714_150431[1]

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Zesty prawn linguine

10 Jul

One of my favourite pasta dishes is this combination of prawns, basil, zingy lemon, red chillies, the freshness of rocket, sweet cherry tomatoes and spring onion combined with linguine.

It’s super healthy yet light and satisfying (and takes no time at all). We had this when I took a visit up to Newcastle (furthest North I’ve ever gone, couldn’t get over the fact that there was a Greggs in the airport. Brilliant) to see my friend Jane. This is her boyfriend Andy’s recipe, which can be found on his impressive food blog – http://grubblog.wordpress.com/

Eat when in need of some comfort food or when on a health binge – possibly one of the few recipes that satisfies both.

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Strawberry Cream Tea – one of those things that everyone loves

17 Jun

I finally arrived home in West Wales after over two weeks of dashing (and even flying, seriously) over the country from Exeter, Bristol and Cardiff to London and Newcastle. I’m not going to lie, it mostly involved partying, eating tasty meals, socilaising and lying in bed all morning with friends laughing about the previous nights escapades (tough life, I know.)

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I was very much looking forward to coming back home for a few days and what I was greeted home with was amazing. Mums are great. They bake fresh scones and serve great tea, although my Dad is bound to comment if I don’t include that he was the one who came up with the idea of using deliciously sweet in season strawberries; instead of jam to go with the clotted cream on the scones (it was a great change – definitely recommend it!)

My Mum has a wonderful baking book by Jane Asher, which is where she got the scone recipe from. After trying many others, this is her fave and I wholeheartedly agree.

Serve on a lovely table with some flowers, tea in proper tea cups and saucers, you can’t go wrong.

I’m looking forward to Welsh Cakes and Bara Brith next time (hint hint) 😀

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The last (French) supper

16 Jun

As the title states, I had a lot of stuff to use before I headed back to the not so glorious weather as the Cote d’Azur, but wonderful United Kingdom. Massively misjudging how much stuff I had to take back meant I had to leave the collection of herbs and spices that we had collected. I am probably a bit more frugal than most and I really didn’t want to leave them but paying 10 Euros per kg of excess baggage meant sacrifices had to be made (unfortunately.)

I had some frozen spinach to use, as well as puff pastry, a lemon and feta. I brainstormed and tarts were formed. Yummy and giving me less guilt about wasting food! Perfect hot or cold, for lunch or dinner or even a picnic. And ready in about 20 minutes!

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Spinach & feta tart

Serves 2 or more depending on how big you like your portions

Half a pack of puff pastry, rolled into a rectangle

About 100grams spinach, thawed if frozen

1/2 a pack of feta cheese

Squeeze of lemon juice

Few grates of lemon rind

Pinch of chilli flakes

Garlic clove,  crushed

A little olive oil

Pinch of nutmeg if you have any goes quite nicely!

Method

1. In a bowl, combine the thawed and drained spinach, crumbled feta, lemon juice and rind, garlic with salt and pepper, nutmeg and a glug of olive oil.

2. Arrange your mixture on the rolled out pastry, leaving a pastry border of about an inch or more for those who love their pastry.

3. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 C for around 20 minutes.

Tomato thyme and feta tart IMG_20130615_075622

Serves the same amount

Half a pack of puff pastry, rolled into a rectangle (or however you like to be honest.. Go wild.)

The other half of the pack of feta

2tsp dried or fresh thyme

Any tomatoes you have, thinly sliced, enough to cover the pastry

Method:

1. Crumble the cheese evenly over the pastry, arrange the tomato slices over the cheese so that there is no gaps between them. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle over the thyme and season with pepper (feta is salty enough! ). Bake for around 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 190 C.

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Posh egg ‘McMuffin’ with emmental, beetroot, honey mustard and rocket

18 May

My take on Mc Donalds famous ‘McMuffin’
I LOVE MC DONALDS BREAKFASTS – actually better than their lunchy/dinnery/midnight snack or what ever you want to call it burger/wrap menu…

Basically looked in the fridge, saw what needed to be eaten (emmental… beetroot… rocket…) and with a dollop of honey and chilli mustard, perfect quick and cheap brunch treat. I keep my muffins in the freezer so they don’t go all stale and also because I hate buying a packet and feeling guilty about wasting food so I eat a muffin a day (or two) which is just annoying! First world problems hey, shameless. Image

Serves one,
Ingredients:
1 wholemeal (trying to be healthy!) muffin, sliced
slice of beetroot
handful of rocket
a few slices of emmental (it’s not very strong so for flavour purposes have a chunky slice –  going to try it with good old British cheddar next time, think it will be better!)
1 large egg
half a teaspoon mustard
splash of olive oil
rock salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:
1. Heat a frying pan with a splash of oil and fry your egg
2. Spread the mustard on one half of the muffin, and arrange your cheese slices on the other side, pop under the grill until melted/toasted.
3. Add your beetroot slice to the mustard-covered muffin, then the egg, rocket, salt and pepper and finally Imagepop on the cheese muffin hat and eat!!

‘Homemade’ Pappardelle with smoked salmon, basil, cream cheese and lemon

9 May

With the attempt of getting rid of all my store cupboard essential before I move back to the UK I now only have wholemeal penne (due to my health binge a few weeks ago) or lasagne sheets as my pasta choices. I was craving a creamy pasta the other day, and with wholemeal pasta it’s just not the same. My white wine, cream cheese, lemon and basil sauce with smoked salmon just goes with linguine, tagliatelle or other pastas such as pappardelle. I don’t know why this is and I may sound like a massive fussy food snob and I am cringing slightly whilst writing this however it just doesn’t have that luxury feel about it when using other pastas (oh dear Phoebe what have you become…)

So. I went about making ‘home made’ parpadelle. Bit of a student invention but definitely worth keeping in mind – use lasagne sheets! Half cook them, take them out of your saucepan of boiling water onto a chopping board and use a sharp knife to slice them into three lengthways, pop them back to finish cooking (make sure they are not stuck together when you put them back in) – et voila, perfect parpadelle without the silly Tesco Finest/Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference etc etc prices you find it for in the supermarket.

Serves 1 – Image
70g lasagne sheets
60g cream cheese (low fat or full fat)
However much smoked salmon you’d like, cut into strips
A bunch of basil leaves
A few squuezes of lemon juic
1 shallot, chopped
1 tbsp white wine
Olive oil

Method:
1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add a splash of olive oil and add your lasagne sheets. In a frying pan, heat up 1tbsp olive oil and when hot, add your shallots to soften for a few minutes on a medium heat.
2. After about 5 minutes, scoop your lasagne sheets out of the saucepan and transform them into parpadelle. Pop back into the saucepan.
3. Add your white wine to the shallots and let it evaporate slightly. Turn the heat to its lowest setting and add a few squeezes of lemon juice.
4. After your pasta is cooked, drain and add to the saucepan, now add your cream cheese and smoked salmon, thouroughly coating the pasta. Add your basil leaves and a few twists of black pepper.

Enjoy that it’s a lot more luxurious tasting than it actually costs…

p.s I am doing a student marketing campaign to encourage people to sign up to volunteer for various music festivals in the summer, if you could click on this link below you would be doing me a massive favour!
http://www.phansta.com/1140/27/view.html

Feta, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, olive, rocket and lentil salad (so healthy a cake must be eaten afterwards)

6 May

I’ve been eating so many salads recently as the weather has finally become what I like to call ‘beach hot’ (a temperature gauged on if it’s hot enough to go to the beach to sunbathe… thought it was quite good no!?) here in Nice, which is not a bad thing I suppose!

Perfectly balanced with the sweet beetroot salty olives and feta, earthy lentils, fresh rocket and a sharp wholegrain mustard,  olive oil and balsamic dressing (phew what a description). You can alter the quantities as much as you fancy, I’ve just given a rough idea as to how I assembled mine.

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Wholesome and filling enough for a satisfying dinner or a healthy lunch. Super quick to put together, no expensive or obscure ingredients to hunt down, no excuses not to make it. Many people on ‘health’ binges often eat plates and plates of salads, often loaded with creamy dressings, cheeses and bacon, which to be frank is just not going to make much difference, may as well just tuck into that carbonara.

Serves 1:
A tablespoon of crumbled feta
1 small beetroot
2.5 tablespoons cooked brown lentils (or whatever type you have, just not mushy red lentils!)
A few cherry tomatoes
A few handfuls of rocket
3/4 black olives, chopped

Method:
Wash all salady bits and dry well, chop up your olives and beetroot, half your cherry tomatoes, crumble your feta, make your dressing by using 2 tbsp good olive oil combined with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1tsp wholegrain mustard and assemble. Voila.

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p.s I am doing a student marketing campaign to encourage people to sign up to volunteer for various music festivals in the summer, if you could click on this link below you would be doing me a massive favour!
http://www.phansta.com/1140/27/view.html