Feta and Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad

I had a lovely delivery of Garofalo pasta a few days ago including this Orzo - a type I find impossible to buy here in North Cornwall. I decided to use it in a summer pasta salad including feta, roasted red peppers, courgettes and red onion, but you could quite easily substitute for other vegetables - tomatoes, cucumber etc. It takes all of 10 minutes to put together (and that includes pasta cooking time) so perfect for a hastily arranged summer BBQ!


FETA AND SUMMER VEGETABLE ORZO SALAD

| Serves: 2  | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes |


Ingredients:

  • 1 Red Onion, sliced
  • 2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 250g Orzo
  • 1 Courgette, halved and sliced
  • 2 roasted Red Peppers from a jar, chopped
  • 150g Feta, crumbled
  • Small handful of Mint and Parsley, chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Squeeze of Lemon Juice (optional)

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Put the sliced onion in a bowl with the red wine vinegar and oil and marinate while you cook the pasta.
  • Step 2: While the pasta is cooking quickly fry the courgette to cook through then set aside.
  • Step 3: Drain the pasta and combine with all the other ingredients and season.
  • Step 4: Keep in fridge until needed and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil just before serving.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 28th July 2011 |


Sticky Maple Pecan Bars

MaplePecanBar

Only one word for these...WOW! They were gobbled down at a charity bake sale (hence why no pictures of the cut bars) in aid of the ACF Action Against Hunger East Africa Appeal. In fact they were that WOW that 3 people have already asked me for the recipe. 

Unfortunately I can't claim the recipe as my own though. It actually came from an amazing book I was sent to review last week (very timely!) by Octopus Publishing called Cox Cookies and Cake.

If you are not a London dweller you may not be aware of Patrick Cox and Eric Lanlard (although Eric in particular has been on many a TV show). They own a shop of the same name in Soho where they sell gorgeous cupcakes, cookies and bars (such as this) to celebrities such as Elton John and David Furnish (who provide the foreword to the book) and stars such a Liz Hurley who has hailed their creations 'the coolest cakes on earth'. They also sell to ordinary folk like you and I so don't let their famous clients worry you! If, like me though you live far far away from 'the mainland' as one of my Uni friends used to say, then this book allows you to create and bake their recipes from the comfort of your own home.

On first glance through the book I have to say my first reaction was 'there is no way mine will look as good as that'...probably not! But, in fact the 75 recipes contained in the book are extremely easy to follow and left me drooling - Irish Cream and Chocolate Cupcakes, Pistachio and Praline Cupcakes, Key Lime Cupcake's, Stem Ginger Cupcakes, Raspberry Sponge Fingers...and these Maple Pecan Bars are just a taster of the kind of delights you will find.

These bars are sweet but so moreish and probably more of an adult treat than child's. They suggest serving them with a big dollop of creme fraiche, which would cut their sweetness perfectly...but I just enjoyed them as they are.

STICKY MAPLE PECAN BARS

| Serves: 12 bars | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Total Time: 35 Minutes |


Ingredients: 

  • For the Filling:
  • 175g Pecan Nuts, chopped
  • 100ml Pure Maple Syrup
  • 200g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBSP Whipping Cream
  • 150g Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • For shortcrust base:
  • 100g Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 75 Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 175g Plain Flour

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Preheat oven to 200c/180 fan and butter a 23cm x 23cm baking tin.
  • Step 2:Toast the pecan nuts in the oven for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.
  • Step 3: To make base - in a free standing mixer (or by hand) beat together butter, sugar and egg yolk until blended. Add flour and mix until soft dough formed. Press dough into tin and bake for 18 minutes until golden. Leave to cool.
  • Step 4: To make filling - in a saucepan combine all ingredients except nuts and vanilla extract. Bring to the boil, stirring until butter melts. Boil for 30 seconds, remove from heat and stir in nuts and extract. Pour filling over base and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Step 5: Allow to cool completely then chill for 1 hour before cutting into bars.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 26th July 2011 |


Action Against Hunger - East Africa Appeal


East Africa Appeal

It's very sad don't you think that the News of the World phone hacking scandal, however awful, is eclipsing the horror of famine. This suffering is happening right now, today, in Somalia and we MUST do something to help. Quite frankly bugger the Murdochs, Rebecca Brooks, Andy Coulson and David Cameron - this is what we should be focusing on.

As a food blogger I have pledged my support to Action Against Hunger (ACF International) who are appealing for aid and donations to help ease the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding before our very eyes.

‘Action Against Hunger is the only humanitarian organisation present in Wajid where they are supporting nearly 100,000 people already thanks to the dedication of national staff and the generosity of supporters. As a result of nearly 20 years in the area, they are in a position to scale up nutrition programmes in order to treat more children suffering from life-threating malnutrition in Wajid and the Somali capital, Mogadishu. They are distributing emergency food rations and water for the most vulnerable families. They will also be reinforcing the life-saving programmes in Ethiopia and Kenya and accelerating the set-up of relief programmes in Djibouti.’

The image at the bottom of this post is of boxes of Plumpy nut being unloaded at a project in Wajid, Somalia. Plumpynut is a food paste used to feed malnourished children; it looks and tastes quite like peanut butter and contains lots of fat as well as lots of sugar, protein and micronutrients. The ingredients are peanut paste, vegetable oil, powdered milk, powdered sugar, vitamins, and minerals, combined in a foil pouch. It tastes slightly sweeter than peanut butter and each 92g pack provides 500 kcal or 2.1 MJ. Plumpynut has revolutionised the treatment of malnutrition as the food paste is ready-to-eat and can be distributed to families at home. This means that families with malnourished children no longer have to stay at therapeutic feeding centres in order for their child to be fed. Now malnourished children with no further complications can be treated at home, or indeed in the case of Kenya –in a shelter at the refugee camp. 

Present in the region for many years, Action Against Hunger teams on the ground in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti are working round the clock to save the lives of malnourished children and provide families with urgent access to food and water. They are sending cargo planes carrying relief supplies such as high-energy biscuits to prevent children falling into life-threatening severe acute malnutrition and  implementing programmes aimed at treating moderate malnutrition. They are implementing food security and livelihood activities aimed at improving access to food for 70,000 people in the Wajid area as well as improving access to water for 7,500 people and livestock. However, the scale of this food crisis is enormous and additional funding is urgently needed to prevent the situation from deteriorating. 

Find more info on their website here

How YOU can help
  • Donate now here
  • Post a cheque to FREEPOST Action Against Hunger, 161-163 Greenwich High Road, London, SE10 8JA
  • Organise your own fundraising event to raise money such as a raffle, a dinner, a pub quiz or a talent show
  • Ask your local supermarket if you can fundraise there by packing peoples bags and asking for donations
  • Do something crazy and get sponsored for it!

Plumpynut

Ginger Pig Meatballs with Garofalo Spaghetti

Ginger Pig Meatballs

A few months ago I received a couple of new cookbooks to review from Octopus Publishing (my bookshelf is now severely groaning under the strain of them all). One of the books was Annabel Langbeins Free Range Cook - which I love, the other was The Ginger Pig Meat Book 'a meat manual for the inquisitive domestic cook'. This is where I found the recipe for these delicious meatballs.


The Ginger Pig, if you didn't know are butchers and farmers of rare breeds reared on the North York moors and have shops throughout London including Borough Market. In the book Tim Wilson, farmer and proprietor of The Ginger Pig has teamed up with Fran Wardle, respected cook and bestselling author, to recommend the best breeds to look for, the right cuts to choose for every style of cooking and to tell you what to ask your butcher in order to buy the very best quality meat. The book is full of inspiring and delicious recipes too, such as Smoked Pork Hock and Parsley Pasta, Asian Beef Curry, Roast Duck with Cherries, Hungarian Pork Goulash and many many more, including these tender meatballs bathed in a rich tomato sauce.

I served the meatballs with another new discovery of mine, garofalo pasta. I hadn't heard of the garofalo brand until recently but I was lucky enough to receive a couple of packets of their pasta in the legendary Cybermummy goody bag. Already popular in their native Italy, they are now beginning to make their mark on the UK market - well we do like our pasta don't we! I just hope that my local Supermarket starts stocking it soon.


MEATBALLS AND SPAGHETTI

| Serves: 6 | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour | Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pint of Passata
  • 1kg Lean Minced Beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • Sea Salt and Pepper
  • Leave from a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 200ml White Wine (I used Vermouth)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c/160f. Place the beef, onion, garlic, seasoning, parsley, egg and mix well with your hands. Divide the meat into walnut sized balls.
  • Step 2: Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the meatballs in batches, turning until golden all over. Place browned meatballs into a large casserole. Once they are all cooked, pour in the wine, scraping the base with a wooden spoon to dislodge all the meat essences.
  • Step 3: Stir in the passata and pour over the meatballs.
  • Step 4: Cover the casserole and bake for 45 minutes. Serve with pasta.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 19th July 2011 |


Courgette and Goats Cheese Quiche

Courgette and Goats Cheese Quiche

Its been wet and windy here in Cornwall over the weekend but despite the unseasonal weather my Mother in Laws allotment (just a few yards down the road from us...handily) is still producing bountifully. This week courgettes are the order of the day.

I hadn't made quiche in quite a while so I thought I would pair the courgettes with some soft goats cheese that had been sitting in my fridge for far too long, as well as some spring onions and rosemary (also from the allotment) and the usual eggs and cream in a shortcrust pastry case.

It turned out rather tasty and will be providing my lunch for the next few days. If you have some cherry tomatoes feel free to add them (halved) on top of the quiche before baking.


COURGETTE AND GOATS CHEESE QUICHE

| Serves: 6  | Prep Time:  | Cook Time:   | Total Time:   |


Ingredients: 

  • For the pastry case:
  • 225g Plain Flour
  • 100g Butter
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 3-4 TBSP water
  • Filling:
  • 1 courgette, sliced
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • Sprig of Rosemary, needles only
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml Double Cream
  • 100g Soft Goats Cheese
  • Pinch Nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Make the pastry by pulsing the flour, salt and butter in a food processor until breadcrumbs form. Add the water a TBSP at a time until the pastry comes together. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Step 2: Preheat the oven to 190c. Roll out pastry on a floured surface and line a 20cm flan tin. Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. Take out of  the oven, remove baking beans and paper and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
  • Step 3: Turn down the oven to 170c. Fry the courgettes, spring onions and rosemary in a little oil for 5 minutes until softened and then spoon into pastry case.
  • Step 4: Whisk the eggs, cream and nutmeg together in a bowl and season. Pour into pastry case. 
  • Step 5: Crumble the goats cheese on top and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden.
  • Step 6: Serve with a green salad.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 17th July 2011 |


Little Dish Proper Bolognese

Proper Bolognese


I received a lovely email the other week from the people at Little Dish – they wanted to send me a copy of the Little Dish favourites cookbook! Who was I to say no. The book dropped onto my doorstep just a few days later.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never really bought a child specific cookbook before (barring the Annabel Karmel Baby Foods book bought as a nervous first time mum). I made lots of homemade fruit and vegetable puree’s for my babies (I even wrote a few posts about weaning and first foods) but from a very early age they were eating what hubby and I were, albeit in pureed and mashed form until their teeth came through. I didn’t see the point in faffing with separate meals and as long as I was careful with the amount of salt I used there was no reason to cook and eat differently.

I opened the book with a bit of scepticism but was pleased to discover the book was full of ‘proper’ family meals, meals that could actually feed a family of 4 or 5 (i.e. not weeny portions) as well as the obligatory chapter on puree’s and mashes for weaning.

I plucked to try the ‘Proper Bolognese’ first and I’m pleased to report it was a resounding success. It fed 2 adults and 2 toddlers with enough leftovers to make a Bolognese pasta bake (again to feed the 4 of us) the next day. I do admit to adding a pinch of sea salt, which wasn’t included in the original recipe, as well as a pinch of sugar to counteract the acidity of the chopped tomatoes but other than that, unusually for me I kept to the recipe.

I’d certainly recommend the book to parents who aren’t confident in the kitchen as the recipes are easy to follow and can be enjoyed by the whole family, not just the kids.


LITTLE DISH PROPER BOLOGNESE


| Serves:  4 | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 3 Hours | Total Time: 3 Hours + |


Ingredients: 

  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 1 TBSP Dried Mixed Herbs
  • 500g Lean Minced Beef
  • 100g Mushrooms, sliced
  • 240ml Whole Milk
  • 240ml White Wine
  • 2 x 400g Tins of Chopped Tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Heat oil in a large pan and add garlic, onion, carrot, mixed herbs and saute until softened.
  • Step 2: Add the minced beef and cook for 5 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add mushrooms and stir well.
  • Step 3: Add the milk, bring to boil then turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes until milk evaporates and only clear fat remains. Add the wine and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  • Step 4; Add the tomatoes, bring back to boil, then reduce heat to very low and simmer just barely for 3 hours. Season to taste.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 14th July 2011 |


Prawn and Cashew Nut Noodles

Prawn and Cashew Noodles


A super quick and tasty supper perfect for a Monday night.....only 4 more days until the weekend! Feel free to add more veggies if you wish - it's very versatile in that respect, corn, spinach and mushrooms would work well.

PRAWN AND CASHEW NUT NOODLES

| Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Total Time: 25 Minutes |


Ingredients: 

  • 1 TBSP Sesame Oil
  • 1 Birds Eye Chili, chopped
  • 1 small Onion, chopped
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 150g Sugar Snap Peas
  • Handful of toasted Cashew Nuts
  • 2 TBSP Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 3 TBSP Ketchap Manis
  • 1 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 250g Cooked King Prawns
  • 300g Cooked Egg Noodles
  • Handful of Coriander, chopped
  • Seasoning

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Fry the chilli and onion in the oil until softened.
  • Step 2: Add the pepper and sugar snap peas and fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Step 3: Add all the other ingredients along with 50 ml of tap water, cook down until sauce thickens slightly then serve.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 11th July 2011 |


Saucy Sausage Pasta

Saucy Sausage Pasta


A hearty sausage pasta dish.


SAUCY SAUSAGE PASTA


| Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |


Ingredients: 


  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 TSP chilli powder
  • 1 courgette, halved and sliced
  • 6 sausages, each one cut into 5-6 pieces
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 TSP sugar
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100g grated cheddar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 300g Penne Pasta

Instructions:


  • Step 1: Gently fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the chilli flakes and courgette and continue to cook for  few minutes.
  • Step 2: When the courgette is starting to colour, turn up the heat and add the sausages. Fry until the sausages are almost cooked through.
  • Step 3: Add the tomatoes, sugar and cream and simmer for 15-20 minutes, meanwhile cook the pasta and drain. Stir through the grated cheddar through the sauce and let it melt in before tossing with the cooked pasta.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 6th July 2011 |


Bruschetta with Tracklements Roasted Cherry Tomato Relish

Bruschetta

I was sent a jar of the new Tracklements Roasted Cherry Tomato Relish to sample last week. Wanting to make the most of this lovely weather I decided to make some bruschetta to serve up as pre-BBQ nibbles.

I kept it simple and made two different toppings for the bruschetta, both using the Tracklements relish. One was parma ham, tomato relish and basil the other topping was tomato relish, goats cheese and basil. Before I grilled the ciabatta slices I rubbed them with a cut clove of garlic to enhance the flavour and then drizzled the bruschetta with extra virgin olive oil just before serving.

The Tracklements relish has a lovely sweetness and is very well seasoned. As well as the bruschetta I also used it as an accompaniment to BBQ meat, which worked well. At £2.85 a jar it seems reasonable considering the quality of the product and I will be seeking out other products in the Tracklements range soon - I love the sound of the Quince Cheese and Fruity Brown Ketchup!

BRUSCHETTA
By Beth Sachs, 4th July 2011

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Ciabatta loaf, sliced
  • 1 Garlic clove, cut
  • 6 slices Parma ham
  • Goats Cheese
  • Jar of Tomato Relish
  • Basil leaves
Method:

  • Step 1: Preheat grill. Run the bread with the garlic clove and grill for a few minutes each side
  • Step 2: Assemble toppings as you wish (see photo above)
  • Step 3: Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and serve.

bottlegreen Summer Giveaway.

bottlegreen
My Cybermummy Sponsors bottlegreen have just launched 2 limited edition seasonal flavours of cordial - Apple and Thyme and Red Cherry and Vanilla. They are available exclusively at Waitrose and the innovative new flavours are part of a new alternating seasonal range! 

bottlegreen's new flavours are initially only set to be around for the summer season. However bottlegreen fans can help keep their favourite flavour alive by voting for their favourite on the bottlegreen website here.

bottlegreen have kindly given 6 bottles (3 of each flavour) of these limited edition cordials to giveaway to one lucky Jam and Clotted Cream reader. To enter all you have to do is:
1. Tell me which flavour you would prefer to serve at your summer BBQ?
2. Answers can be left in the comments section of this post, on the Jam and Clotted Cream Facebook page or on Twitter (start tweet bottlegreen @jamandcream)
3. For an extra entry please tweet the giveaway on Twitter or share on facebook (use the handy widget at the bottom of this post) - just let me know you have done so in the comments section.
4. Competition open to UK residents only.
5. Competition closes on Friday 8th July at 5pm.
6. Winner will be drawn on Saturday 9th July
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