Courgette fries

This blog post is exactly what it says on the tin. One of my birthday presents was a chipper and what was the first thing I used it for? Potato you ask, no, obviously it was courgette.

Whilst I used a chipper this could easily be made just by manually slicing the vegetables.

I chipped two courgettes, rolled them in milk and then placed them in a bag and shook them with the following ingredients:
– two heaped teaspoons of flour
– salt
– two tablespoons of breadcrumbs
– smoked paprika
– freshly ground pepper
– garlic powder
– onion powder

Once they were fully coated I carefully lined them up on a baking tray baked them at 150degrees in my fan oven for about 20-25mins.

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This meal looks a bit beige but it didn’t taste it.

If any one has any tips for courgette fries I would love to hear them.

Jessica x x x

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Calling all carrot eaters

Well…..I did my weekly tesco online shop the other day during lunch at work and ordered the usual things, fruit, veg, meat, fish and of course potatoes.

I knew I had some carrots in the fridge already so I thought I’d just buy a couple, two to be precise.

So you can imagine my shock when I arrived home tonight to the tesco delivery man pulling up to my house with not one, but two bags of carrots. Yes that’s right, two bags!

So here’s just a girl standing in front of the internet asking it to “please give me some carrot food ideas!” Before you ask, I don’t like carrot cake or carrot and coriander soup (coriander is the devil).

Day 1 of carrot gate and I made my famous carrot salsa:

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Ingredients
2 carrots
1 red onion
1 stick celery
2 cloves garlic (I only used one but it was HUGE)
4 tomatoes
5 small gerkins
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

FYI this does yield much more than shown in the photo, I may have artfully put some in a fancy bowl.

Basically grate the carrot, finely chop everything else, season to taste and furiously mix in a bowl.

Ta daaaaa. Well tasty.

PLEASE give me some ideas!

Jessica x x x

Freezer food

With my old job towards the end I was arriving late and leaving early. With my new job I arrive early and leave late. Sometimes very late, other times just late enough to make me too tired to go and cook a meal from scratch.

So for the last couple of months I haven’t been eating as well as I used to. I decided I had to do something about this. Last weekend I did an online shop and bought loads! I even got some of those metal takeaway containers for ease and lack of appropriate Tupperware. I think the boyfriend was a bit confused when he took in the shopping!

I made:
– beef and ale stew with lentils (3 portions)
– Mexican bean stew (3 portions)
– fake cassoulet (5 portions)
– lasagna with leek sheets (4 portions)

Here’s a few shots pre-cooking. Unfortunately I got stressed/tired and forgot to take any more:

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Fake cassoulet

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Beef and ale stew with lentils (lentils not included in the photo)

I was going to make chilli as well but realised I already have masses in the freezer from when I continuously make too much.

We had to do a bit of a re-jig in the freezer to make sure it all fit but afterwards it felt awesome to know that I can have good homemade food when I want and with very little effort. I can either defrost them ready for cooking or just bung them in the oven frozen on a low heat.

They’ve already come in really handy. The boyfriend had a leek lasagna when I went out for drinks and food with the girls (and I know he is eyeing up the other single portion) and last night we ordered a takeaway using justeat, then half an hour later received an email saying that our order had been cancelled as the takeaway was closed. I was so annoyed as I was looking forward to tasty fuss free food so we just put a Mexican bean stew in the oven and made some homemade chips in the oven. Although it wasn’t the Chinese I was craving I didn’t feel bloated afterwards and saved us a bit of money!

Let me know if you want to see any of the recipes for the meals above, I’ll cook the meal again and make sure to take more photos/notes.

What’s your favourite food to cook for the freezer, I’m already getting ideas together for my next big cook.

Jessica x x x

What a winter warmer

I love it when the weather gets colder and you can just scoff comfort food without feeling guilty or too stodgy. This meal was perfect and satisfied that empty cold hole in my stomach after trudging through cold drizzly rain from the bus to get home.

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The photo isn’t amazing (but when are mine?). It was really tasty though and at the end of the day that’s what matters.

Ingredients (serves 2)
4 good quality sausages. I used pork and apple for the sweetness
3/4 of a red cabbage
1 onion
Few mushrooms
Handful of spinach
Tablespoon of red jam (I used raspberry)
Splash of red wine vinegar
Drizzle of oil
Vegetable stock and water

Method
1. Drizzle some oil into a large pan and fry the sausages until they’re browned on the outside. Don’t bother making sure they’re cooked all the way through, they’ll be cooking for a while.
If the pan dries up at all pour some hot water in to de-glaze the pan and get the juices up.

2. Meanwhile dice up the cabbage, onions and mushrooms. Throw into the pan with the sausages and stir.

3. Add the red wine vinegar and jam and stir to combine. You want the sausages and cabbage to be coated in a nice sticky substance. Leave for a few minutes.

4. Pour in the water and vegetable stock (I’d say about a mug’s worth) and leave to simmer. Go away and wash up or watch TV with a glass of wine. Check on it every so often and add more stock if the pan is looking too dry.  I left mine for about 20mins but I was REALLY hungry. To be honest it probably could’ve done with more time simmering but my hunger took over.

5. When you can take no more, stir in a handful of spinach and serve.

And there you go, a perfect wintery meal which doesn’t take that much time or effort but will satisfy that hole!

What’s your favourite wintery treat?

Jessica x x x

Cauliflower Chinese rice

I’ve made this a few times now and it’s definitely a hit in my kitchen. It’s inspired from a dish in the book “favourite mince recipes” here, which I have made various changes to.

I did originally used to make it with rice but I’ve recently decided rice isn’t my favourite thing and I’ve started replacing it with different carbs/replacements. Cauliflower works great in this dish as it absorbs the flavours much more efficiently than rice.

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Ingredients- serves 2
150g-ish turkey mince
Half a carrot
1tablespoon oil
1 onion
1cup peas
1 cauliflower
2 eggs
2 sprinkles of crispy fried onions
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
Splash of sesame oil

Method
1. Grate the cauliflower and place to one side

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(Just in case you needed to be told how to grate something)

2. Fry the mince, onion and carrot in the oil. Once cooked remove any excess oil from the pan.

3. Meanwhile mix the tomato sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce together. Feel free to alter the amounts of each ingredient to suit your taste buds.

4. Add the cauliflower and frozen peas to the pan and stir to absorb the flavours. This needs about 2 mins max.

5. Add the sauce mixture and stir to combine. It takes a little while to properly mix the sauce in. I usually do this while frying my eggs (below).

6. Fry the eggs and serve on top of the cauliflower mixture. Sprinkle with the crispy fried onions and serve immediately.

Best served with some spring rolls you can just bung in the oven to cook while you’re cooking the main event.

I think this is a fabulous quick, tasty mid week meal which looks like you’ve put more effort in that you really have.

Let me know if you make anything similar with cauliflower rice.

Jessica x x x

My next week in meals

It’s that time of week where I’m ordering my online food shop. I’ve been doing this for a few years and I do love how easy it is! Recently I started making meal plans for the week.

I know a lot of people praise them for making you save money and cut waste but for me personally that’s never been the problem. For me I just get too used to making the same meals again and again so by having to sit down and think of 7 main meals it’s making me be more exciting with the meal choices.

So here they are:
Monday: chicken, chorizo and spicy bean stew
Tuesday: cauliflower rice Chinese style with fried egg (catchy name I know)
Wednesday: cauliflower (base) pizza
Thursday: courgetti with a tomato and mince sauce
Friday: lasagna made with leek sheets
Saturday: my famous chilli
Sunday: roast chicken with all the trimmings (well what I like anyway).

So that’s it really; I already know that early next week will consist of leftover chicken. I’m thinking chicken and mustard potato cakes and a chicken stew.

If anyone wants me to do a post on any of the meals just give me a shout out.

What are you planning to eat this week?

Jessica x x x

Last night’s tea- sausage and courgette one pot

As much as I love cooking with mince every so often I crave something a bit different with a more punchy flavour. That’s when I turn to sausages. I know you can buy sausage meat by itself but I prefer to buy sausages as they come in such a good variety of flavours.

In this recipe I used one of my favourite types – Lincolnshire sausages. Again its carb free using courgette and carrot noodles and because the boyfriend is currently suffering from the dreaded man flu I thought I’d spice it up with some of my very spicy dried chillies.

Here’s a pic:

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And here’s the recipe:

Ingredients (serves 2)
4 sausages
400g can of cherry tomatoes in juice
1 onion
2 courgettes
1 carrot
2 small dried chilli’s
3 chestnut mushrooms
teaspoon of garlic and oil purée
sprinkle of thyme
Parmesan to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
1. Spiralize the courgette and carrots like this.

2. Cut up the sausages into rough chunks (I used scissors for ease) and fry with the garlic puree.

3. Once browned add the roughly sliced onions, mushrooms and chopped chillies and keep stirring.

4. Pour in the can of tomatoes, half fill the can with water and add to the sauce with the thyme. Season to taste.

5. Add in the spiralized carrot and allow to soak in the flavour. Wait for the sauce to simmer and reduce until the sauce thickens.

6. Finally add in the courgette noodles and warm through. These don’t take long to cook so add them right at the end when you can’t bear to wait anymore for food.

7. Plate up and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Et voila

I usually use regular tinned chopped tomatoes but used these for a bit of added luxury. The tomatoes do pop and release flavour while you’re eating it which is fabulous. It was definitely a punchy spicy meal which hopefully has pushed all of those man flu organisms far far away.

What do you like to cook to fend off a cold?

Jessica x x x

Last night’s tea- carb free Chinese noodles

I love noodles and I love Chinese flavours however at the moment I’m trying to eat more fruit and vegetables.

I saw this dressing and thought it might work well in a noodle type dish. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not exactly fond of following instructions (or coriander) so I just used that as a guide for the flavours.

My boyfriend bought me a spiralizer last Christmas (following a not so subtle hint of “buy me that”) and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Courgette noodles are ridiculously easy and basically have the same texture as normal noodles.  So…using the sprializer and a few simple ingredients I made this last night:

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So what is it?

Ingredients (serves 2)
2 medium courgettes
1 medium carrot
Approx 170g turkey mince
3 chestnut mushrooms
2 garlic cloves minced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 small dried chillies (mine were about a cm long)
Teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 sprinkles of crispy onions
Lime wedges (to serve)
Grind of salt
*

Method
1. Spiralize the courgettes and carrots. I used the smallest setting on mine. I was going to microwave the carrots as they can be a bit too raw for my taste when put in dishes right at the end but they turned out to be very wispy after spiralizing so I didn’t bother. Sprinkle your “noodles” with salt and place in a colander to try and extract some of the excess water from the courgettes.

2. Fry the mince, finely chopped chilli and half the garlic with a teaspoon of the sesame oil. Half way through add the mushrooms. Once cooked, remove any excess water or fat which has seeped out.

3. While the mince is cooking make the sauce. Mix together the honey, remaining sesame oil and garlic, sesame seeds, vinegar, soy sauce and onion powder.

4. Tip the noodles into the wok and give them a stir to soak up the flavours and leave to cook for a minute.

5. Add the sauce and stir. Leave to simmer for about 1-2 mins, really untill you’re happy with the consistency.

6. Plate up and serve with a wedge of lime, a grind of rock salt and some crispy onions (I buy a pot from the local Chinese supermarket and they last for ages and are great as a final addition to meals).

Et voila

The boyfriend was very happy and was very annoyed when there weren’t any seconds (to be fair there usually is with my meals), then demanded I make it again. I’ll take that as a good sign!

*I would have included onions in this dish but unfortunately we had ran out. When doing this again I would add them finely diced with the mushrooms.

I hope you like this as much as we did!

Jessica x x x