Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Date Night: Katsu Curry and Gourmet Popcorn

As much as I love cooking from scratch, I also like to cheat every now and again. The blue dragon katsu meal kit catches my eye every time I go to the shops, I swear the stuff is addictive. So I thought it would be perfect for me and my boyfriend to make. As I've said before my boyfriend eats meat so we made two separately, I had sweet potato (the kit suggests aubergine, sweet potato and butternut squash) and he had chicken. It was fun to make and tasted as good as I remember so I would definitely recommend it (especially as it only takes 20 minutes).

I think it would be quite easy to recreate from scratch as well so I'll probably try that next. I also saw (the godess that is) Gizzie Erskine make a low fat version on Cook Yourself Thin, so I might adapt a veggie version from that!

Of course date night wouldn't be complete without popcorn and a movie. I picked this Zaramama gourmet popcorn from Wisley gardens, which was a mixture of different kernels. The child inside me hoped that it would pop all colourful like the kernels, of course that didn't happen, but it still tasted pretty good.

And we watched Haggard in honor of Ryan Dunn. CKY, Haggard and Jackass were such a massive part of my child/teenage hood, so it's so sad to hear that Dunn died in such a horrific way. RIP man.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Lemon Drizzle Gingerbread

I had a terrible cold last week, which left me craving lemon and ginger and as my cold got better that craving was naturally replaced with cake. So that's how this recipe popped in to my head. It was also down to the fact that Miss Annie Holland tweeted me saying 'I have a new aim in life....to make it onto Hef's Kitchen!'. It was probably sarcastic, nonetheless this post is dedicated to her. You can draw your own parallels as to why (hahaha).

Here's a picture of Annie and our other house mate Colin (RIP)

To make the Lemon Drizzle Gingerbread you need:

180g butter
150g dark brown sugar
2 large tbsp golden syrup (by large I mean it doesn't matter if it's dripping all over the shop)
1 large tbsp treacle
The rind and half the juice of 1 lemon
2 large eggs beaten
220g self raising flour
100g whole meal flour
1 tbsp of ground ginger
1 tsp all spice (optional)


120g icing sugar
1 lemon
Start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees and buttering a bread tin. Put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and treacle in to a pan and cook on a low heat, mixing until the sugar has melted. Add the whole rind and half of the juice the lemon (reserve the other half of the juice of the syrup). Add the flours (sifted), eggs, and spices and mix well until you have a smooth batter. Pour in to the bread tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes.

When the bread is ready, remove from the oven and pop the tin on to a wire rack to cool. Make the sugar syrup by putting the juice from 1 and 1/2 lemons and the icing sugar in a small pan and heating on a low heat until the sugar has melted. Keep stirring it and don't let it boil. Prick holes in the top of the ginger bread with a skewer or fork and pour the hot sugar syrup on top. Let the ginger bread cool fully (if you can wait) turn out and enjoy!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Filo Pizza Pockets

My vegan friend Emma came round again this week with promise of earning cool points and going to summer solstice (sun rise at stone henge) but as we're poor we stayed in and cooked up another vegan feast. This time we made filo pockets filled with pizza sauce and vegan cheese. This is the first time I've tried vegan cheese and I almost pussied out after I smelt it (touching it put me off a bit too, it is seriously weird!) But in the end I decided to man up and use it instead of the real stuff and it was pretty tasty. It just melted into the sauce giving a nice pizzay flavour.

Serves 2

You'll need:

1 small red onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic
250g cherry tomatoes chopped
Fresh basil, rosemary and thyme (you can buy a mixed pack from Asda)
200 ml vegetable stock
8 sheets of vegan filo pastry
80g grated vegan cheese (we used mozzarella style cheezly)

Start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees. Make the tomato sauce by heating olive oil in a pan, then softening the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Once softened add the tomatoes and stock and leave to simmer on a medium heat for around 10 minutes until the mixture has reduced. Use two sheets per pocket laid on top of each other, put a dollop of the tomato sauce on then top with the cheese and repeat 4 times. You can add any other pizza toppings you like, emma wanted mushrooms (SICK) but I really, really dislike them.

Pop them in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the filo pastry is nice and thick and serve with some salad.

(Even Ruby liked the cheezly and she's a bit of a cheese connoisseur)

Friday, 17 June 2011

My Nan's Piccalilli Recipe

Ever since I can remember my nan's made piccalilli, but up until a few years ago (like with lots of other things) I thought I didn't like it. I've wanted to try and make it since it's become a standard part of my roast dinner, and I've finally got the recipe off my nan (see below). I went to see my nan the other day, and she gave me some tips. One of the things she said was to make it my own as it never comes out the same twice, so this is how I made it.

I used:

1 cauliflower

2 courgettes

1 bag of shallots (200gish)



1 1/4 pint malt vinegar

1 tbsp mustard powder

1 tbsp turmeric

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp corn flour

You have to start the day before to salt the vegetables. So chop up your veg into small pieces and place in a large bowl cover with water and salt and mix well, place a bowl over the veg so that it is kept under the water. leave over night.

The next day rinse the vegetables, then pop in a large pan. Cover the veg with the vinegar and simmer for around 10 minutes. In a separate bowl mix the mustard powder, turmeric, sugar and flour then add to the vinegar. Mix well until it becomes a custardy texture. Pop into clean sterilised jars (I put mine in the microwave for a minute, our relationship has moved on since we first got it). Then leave to cool, and cut out circles of baking paper to pop on the top so the lids don't go rusty. And there you have it, some lovely homemade pickle!

WARNING: This stuff seems to stain the sides! My mum isn't very happy because not only are our sides yellow, but I also threw and sponge at her and it burnt through her top!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Getting To Grips With Polenta

The first time I had polenta was when a chef that was working with my uncle made an amazing goats cheese polenta cake. Since then I've tried to make polenta myself but it usually fails! There was the time I tried to re-create the polenta cake at Christmas and it fell apart and the time I forced Simone to eat griddled polenta that tasted of nothing. So this week I decided to try some new things that might finally work!

Polenta Pizza Topped with Caramelised Onion, Leek, Pepper and Blue Cheese

I'm not going to lie, this recipe is a bit weird, but you can top it with anything you like and make it your own so it's worth a try. I adapted it from a old cook book my nan got from a charity shop.

Serves 2

Olive oil
1 red onion chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
50 ml water
1 leek chopped
50g self raising flour
100g polenta
1 egg
200ml milk
1 tbsp mixed herbs (I use the herb and roasted garlic grinder from Asda)
pinch of salt
1/2 red pepper
50-100g vegetarian blue cheese

Start by making the caramelised onions, fry the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes and then add the sugar to caramelise. Then add the balsamic vinegar, water and leek and let it reduce. While it's reducing make the polenta batter by mixing the flour, polenta, salt and herbs then adding the egg and milk and whisking until smooth. Heat some oil in a large pan and add the polenta batter, spread around the pan to make the pizza base and cook for a few minutes until the polenta is set.

Then flip the base over (use a plate to slide it on to otherwise it might go horribly wrong!) then top with the onion and leek mixture, red pepper and crumbled blue cheese. Pop it under a hot grill until the cheese has melted and serve.

Spicy Griddled Polenta with Sweet Potato Wedges and Guacamole

The last time I made griddled polenta it was really bland. I thought it would benefit from some spice and extra flavour, so this recipe uses spicy cheese and sweet corn. I used the Avacado Lime Salsa from the Apres Mojo recpie in the Terre a Terre cook book again because it was so easy and tasty.

Serves 4

200g polenta
800ml water
100g chili cheese (I used vegetarian chili gouda, but something like mexicana would be good)
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 large can of sweet corn
pinch of salt

2 large sweet potatoes chopped in to wedges
spicy seasoning (I used chili and garlic salt)
olive oil

Start by boiling the water and stirring in the polenta, cook on a low heat for around 10 minutes stirring occasionally (be careful it can be explosive). Then add the cheese, sweet chili sauce, salt and sweet corn to the polenta and mix in well. Cover a rectangular tin with cling film and pour the polenta in, packing it tight. Cover the top with cling film, put a heavy weight like a book on top to flatten it and put in the fridge for an hour to set. Then heat the oven to 200 degrees and make guacamole (if making) and the sweet potato wedges by spraying with oil and covering with seasoning. Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes. When the polenta is ready spray the griddle pan with oil and griddled the polenta until it has nice char marks. Serve it up with the guacamole and wedges and enjoy!

Strawberry Polenta Cakes

This was my favourite out of all the recipes I tried, probably because it's cake. It had a really nice texture as well as being light a fluffy. The strawberry and lemon flavour is perfect for summer and can be found here on the BBC Good Food website.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Mexican Feast

Refried Bean Quesadillas with Nachos, Homemade Guacamole and Chili and Garlic Corn

My boyfriend and I have completely different tastes in food which makes hard to know what to cook for both of us. The main issue is that he doesn't like vegetables and I do, and I don't like meat and he does. Most of the time we have two separate meals (meat and veggie version) which mostly consist of lasagna, spaghetti bolognese and toad in the hole. And while I love all these meals, it's nice to have a bit of a change so I decided to try this.

So first I wanted to make some guacamole and decided to use the Avacado Lime Salsa from the Apres Mojo recpie in the Terre a Terre cook book because my boyfriend liked it so much when we went there. It's the first time I made it myself, and if I have time I will definitely do it again because it tastes so much better than shop brought!

So after you've made your guac, (if you are making it) make your refried beans. You can also buy these but I made them from scratch just because it's cheaper. Traditional recipes usually use bacon fat, but as I'm obviously not using that I added some chipotle paste to give them a smoky taste as well as a kick.

1 can pinto beans drained
Olive oil
1/4 tsp chipotle paste
10g cheddar cheese

Heat up some oil in a pan, add the beans and soften for a few minutes on a low heat while stirring. Once heated use a potato masher to mash beans, adding more oil as you go to create a smoother consistency. Add the cheese and mix in well. Remove from the heat and let them cool then put in an airtight container in the fridge until you need to use them.

So on to the Quesadillas and Corn:

Serves 4

4 ears of corn
80g butter
1/2 tsp finely chopped chili
1 crushed garlic clove
Olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp paprika
4 flour tortillas
Refried beans
40g cheddar cheese
(any other vegetables/ingredients you want to put in!)
Tortilla chips and more cheese for the nachos

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Start by boiling the corn for 5 minutes, once ready remove from the water and leave to cool. While the corn is cooling make a tomato sauce type thing by sweating the onion and pepper in some oil for around 5 minutes, then adding the tomato and paprika and leaving on a low heat to reduce right down. While it's reducing make up the chili and garlic butter by mixing the ingredients together and then cover the cobs with it and wrap them in tin foil. Heat your griddle pan on the highest heat then pop the corn on and turn (with an implement!) for around 2 minutes. Then pop them in the oven to keep them warm while you make your quesadillas.

Spread half your tortilla with refried beans, then top with the tomato sauce mixture and cheese, (and anything else you want, in my boyfriends case we use cooked mexican chicken strips) fold in half and cook on a medium heat on the griddle until it has nice grill marks and the cheese has melted. Repeat this for all 4, and make the nachos how ever you like, (in the oven, under the grill, in the microwave ect) plate it all up and enjoy!

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More