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Showing posts from February, 2010

Cheese, Bacon and Onion Lasagne

Now I'm on Maternity Leave, we are making a concerted effort to cut our weekly food bill - it was topping £100, which is far too much (I think nappies play a big part in that though!). This lasagne is just the ticket for helping to cut costs. A simple tomato, basil and bacon sauce takes the place of the traditional ragu with no compromise on flavour. This could easily be adapted for vegetarians too, just omit the bacon and instead use some sliced mushrooms and chopped fresh spinach.



CHEESE, BACON AND ONION LASAGNE| Serves:  6 | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour |
Ingredients:  2 Onions, thinly slicedOlive OilDried Oregano250g Smoked Back Bacon, chopped2x400g tins of chopped tomatoes in juiceHandful of basil leaves250g Fresh Egg LasagneFor the cheese sauce:50g Butter50g Plain Flour600ml (1 pint milk)Pinch of Nutmeg50g Grated Cheddar50g Grated Parmesan Instructions: Step 1: Preheat oven to 190c/170c fan/Gas 5.Step 2: Fry the onions in the oil for about 1…

Spicy Sausage and Bean Casserole

Tastes like you've spent hours cooking, but in reality it takes about 40 minutes - my kind of nosh then! I've used pork and chorizo sausages in this but something like a Toulouse sausage would also work.
SPICY SAUSAGE AND BEAN CASSEROLE| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes | Total Time: 35 Minutes |
Ingredients: 2 TBSP Olive Oil6 spicy sausages6 slices streaky bacon, chopped2 leeks, trimmed and sliced thinly1 garlic clove, sliced1 x 400g tin Haricot Beans, drained and rinsedGlass of white wine200ml stock - I used chickenHandful of chopped parsley

Instructions: Step 1: Brown the sausages in the oil and once browned remove from the pan, slice and set aside. Add the bacon and fry for 5 minutes then add in the leeks and garlic and cook until soft.Step 2: Add the sausages back into the pan and then tip in the beans, wine, stock and simmer for 15 minutes.Step 3: When you are ready to serve, sprinkle in the parsley. I served this dish with some crusty bread.
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Lemon and Bergamot Scented Yogurt Cake

I'd never used Bergamots before (they look like a cross between an orange and a lemon and have a slightly bitter taste), so when Natoora sent me some in my recent box, I was intrigued. After a bit of research (I found out the distinctive aroma of the bergamot is most commonly known for its use in Earl Grey Tea) I came up with this recipe, which also incorporated the greek yogurt I was sent by Total. The ground almonds and greek yogurt helped keep the cake lovely and moist.
It turned out to be a beautifully delicate cake, with a subtle citrus scent - perfect drizzled with some warm honey and served with a dollop of greek yogurt. LEMON AND BERGAMOT SCENTED YOGURT CAKE | Serves: 10 slices | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 50 Minutes |
Ingredients: 200g Self Raising Flour100g Ground Almonds1 tsp Baking Powder150g Caster Sugar2 Eggs, beaten250g Greek Yogurt150ml Sunflower OilZest of 1 LemonZest of half a Bergamot
Instructions: Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180c/160 …

First Stage Weaning

Rory will soon be ready for weaning onto solid food (time has really flown!) so I thought I'd let you all follow me in the trials and tribulations of weaning a baby in a series of baby related posts. Before I start I must make it clear that I'm not a healthcare professional so a lot of what I will be writing will be based on my personal experience of weaning my daughter (who is almost 3). However, I do think that by charting my progress with Rory, and throwing in a few recipes along the way, it might help people who feel a bit daunted by the whole thing, or for those who don't really know where to start. I will of course refer to current government guidance on weaning but for anyone who isn't 100% sure if their baby is ready for weaning, and especially if the baby is still under 6 months of age, I urge you to seek advice from your Health Visitor or GP before you start introducing food to your little one.

The latest Department of Health guidelines were published in 2003,…

Valentines Choc-Orange Truffles

Condensed milk is the secret ingredient in these super quick and easy Valentines truffles. All you have to do is bung the ingredients in the microwave and let the mixture set! The recipe is meant to yield 24 truffles but between hubby and I eating the mixture straight from the bowl, I only managed to get 16. I suppose you could use the mixture as body paint too - if the mood takes you...
CHOC ORANGE TRUFFLES| Serves: Makes 20  | Prep Time: 15 Minutes plus chilling | Cook Time: | Total Time: 15 Minutes plus chilling |
Ingredients:
200g 70% Chocolate300g Carnation Condensed Milk, squeezy bottle useful here3tbsp Whipping cream2tbsp Orange Liqueur or freshly squeezed juicefinely grated zest of a large SicilianOrange2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
Ingredients:
Step 1: Put the chocolate, condensed milk and cream in a large bowl. Place in the microwave and heat on high for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chocolate has melted. The mixture will thicken quite a lot – this is normal. Mix in the oran…

Oven Baked Mushroom and Taleggio Risotto

A seriously good risotto for the cold winter nights we are experiencing at the moment. This risotto is oven baked (meaning a lot less arm ache) and I also decided to finish it off under the grill with some Taleggio - which worked really well. Taleggio, if you aren't too familiar is a semi-soft, washed-rind cheese from the Valtaleggio region in northern Italy, near Lombardy. It's fairly mild in flavor (many call it the Italian version of Brie) and it has a moist to oozy texture. Basically it's yummy!!

OVEN BAKED MUSHROOM AND TALEGGIO RISOTTO
By Beth Sachs, 10th Februrary 2010

Ingredients: to serve 4 Knob of Butter20g Dried Porcini Mushrooms1 Onion, chopped250g Chestnut Mushrooms, sliced100g Closed Cup Mushrooms, sliced2 TBSP Fresh Thyme LeavesNutmeg, pinch of250g Arborio Rice200ml Chicken Stock1/2 Glass White WineHandful of Grated Parmesan200g Taleggio Cheese, sliced thinly Instructions: Step 1: Soak Porcini Mushrooms in 900ml boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve mushr…

Goats Cheese and Thyme Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This chicken dish is the perfect thing for a romantic meal with your loved one and forms part of my ValentinesMenu this year.  I served the chicken with buttered noodles and broccoli but you could quite easily serve it with some potatoes, or even vegetable rice, whatever tickles your fancy really. 
STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS| Serves: 2  | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 45 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes |
Ingredients:
2 Skinless Boneless ChickenBreasts100g CrottinGoatsCheese2 TSP Fresh Thyme Leaves plus 2 extra sprigs6 rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon250g VineTomatoes, thinly sliced2 tbsp Olive OilTo serve, Buttered Noodles and Broccoli
Instructions:
Step 1: Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Split the chicken breasts almost in half from one long side and open them out like a book. Bat them out a little with a rolling pin to flatten them. Put half the goat's cheese on each piece of chicken and sprinkle with the thyme leaves, season with salt and pepper. Fold the chicken over to e…

Sicilian Orange Cake

Natoora sent me a bag of SicilianOranges to use for my Valentinesmea, but I had one leftover so set about making an Orange Cake. The result was amazing - wonderful texture, and it could quite easily be served as pudding with a dollop of Creme Fraiche.



SICILIAN ORANGE CAKE| Serves: 10 slices | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes |
Ingredients:
250g Butter4 Eggs250g Caster Sugar250g Self Raising FlourZest of 1 Sicilian OrangeZest of 1 Amalfi Lemon90ml Freshly squeezed Orange Juice2 TSP Lemon Juice
Instructions:
Step 1: Preheat oven to 170c/325f/Gas 3. Butter a 20cm springform cake tin.Step 2: Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat and remove from the heat before it goes completely to liquid.Step 3: In a processor or mixer, mix together the eggs and sugar, then add in all the other ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.Step 4: Pour into tin and bake for 40 minutes.Step 5: Take out of the oven and cover the top with buttered foil, …

Smoked Mackerel, Leek and Radicchio Pasta Bake

It sounds a bit of a weird combination - but it worked!

Natoora snuck some RadicchioTrevisanoTarvido into my recent ValentinesBox and I have to admit I was a bit stumped to begin with. However, after a little bit of research, and a look in the fridge, I came up with this combo. The slightly bitter taste of the radicchio complimented the salty mackerel and sweet leeks perfectly.


SMOKED MACKEREL, LEEK AND RADICCHIO PASTA BAKE| Serves:  2 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes |
Ingredients: 
2 medium Leeks, sliced1 head of RadicchioTrevisanoTarvido, root cut off and sliced200g Smoked Mackerel, choppedAmalfiLemon, Zest of300ml Creme FraicheHandful of Grated ParmesanHandful of Breadcrumbs200g Pasta
Instructions:
Step 1: Cook pasta according to instructions and set aside for later.Step 2: Sweat the leeks in a knob of butter for 10 minutes then add the radicchio and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add in the creme fraiche, lemon zest and mackerel.Step 3: Mix in the…