It was the week before payday, and I was scanning round the kitchen for what I could make for dinner. I was lucky enough to find some minced lamb and frozen peas in the freezer.
This is may not be 100% authentic, but tasted great. It was even better the next day. A good spice cupboard can transform anything into a brilliant meal.
500 Grams Lamb mince
400ml Tin of tomatoes
250 Grams Frozen peas
1 Onion (Finely sliced)
2 Cloves of garlic (Minced)
4cm Piece of ginger (Grated)
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Cumin
1Tsp Chilli powder (optional)
1 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Gram Masala
1 Tsp Nigella (onion) seeds
1 Tbsp Oil (flavourless, like sunflower)
Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced onion, cook for about 15 minutes, stir as needed until caramelised (this adds loads of flavour)
Take onions out of the pan and set to one side. Add the Nigella seeds to the pan cook for a for 2 minutes or until you hear them popping. Take care not to let them burn. Remove from the pan and a side with the cooked onions
Add the lamb to the pan along with the other spices, and continue cooking and stirring until the lamb is browned
Add the peas, tomatoes and onion and Nigella seeds to the pan
Simmer for 15 minutes, adding some water if it’s getting too dry.
The last couple of months have been cold, wet and sh*tty. I needed something that reminded me of sunshine, so I made this. It’s relatively easy to make, and looks impressive when you bring it to the table if you’re cooking for people.
If you’re super organised you can use this recipe to use up leftover roast vegetables. I made my own pasty, but as always you can use shop bought if you’re short on time.
Alot of people aren’t fans of goat’s cheese. If you’re one of them, you can swap it for another soft cheese like brie or camembert.
For the pastry
200 Grams Plain flour
1/4 Tsp Salt
100 Grams Butter
1 Egg yolk
(Plus 1 Egg to brush the pastry with)
Sesame or onion seeds (optional)
1 Onion (cut into 8)
1 Red pepper (cut into 8)
1 Aubergine (cut into 2-3 cm cubes)
125 Grams Soft goat’s cheese
200 Grams Cherry tomatoes still on the vine
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tsp Dried oregano or thyme
Salt and pepper
Prepare the vegetables, and place them in a flat oven proof dish. Drizzle with oil and bake in an oven for 30-40 minutes until starting to chat at the edges a little. Allow to cool before using.
In a food processor, add the flour and butter and pulse until this looks like breadcrumbs (the rubbing in method if you prefer).
Add the yolk, and gradually add the cold water, mixing until the dough comes together in a ball. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes
After chilling, allow the pastry to come to room temperature. Roll the pastry out in as neat a circle as possible, place on a sheet of baking parchment, and then lay on a baking sheet
Break up the goat’s cheese and sprinkle across the centre of the pastry, leaving an edge of 3-4cm around the pastry
Top the goat’s cheese with roast vegetables (having squeezed out any liquid). Top with the vine tomatoes
Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Gently fold in the edges of the pastry and pleat the pastry to create a crust for the galette
Brush the exposed pastry with beaten egg, and sprinkle the pastry with sesame or onion seeds for some extra colour and flavour.
Bake in an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve with salad
Normal mac n cheese I think we can all agree is a thing of beauty!
I had a friend coming for lunch and was doing my usual scoot around the fridge to see what I had, and came up with this. I’ve added some vegetables to help lighten it up, as well as add flavour and texture. But if you feel that you want pure filth (and hey doesn’t sometimes), you could leave them out or substitute them for other veggies you like, sweetcorn works well in this too.
This makes a great week night dinner, and is quite happy to live in the fridge for a couple of days (if it lasts that long).
500 Gram Bag of ready made gnocchi
50 Grams Mushrooms (sliced)
1 Onion (sliced)
1 Red pepper (sliced)
1 Green pepper (sliced)
50 Grams Green beans (canned/frozen)
2 Tbsps of Chopped Parsley (optional)
1 Tbsp Oil
25 Grams Butter
25 Grams Flour
50 Grams Grated cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella, but use what you prefer or what you have in the fridge)
50 Grams Breadcrumbs (optional, I always keep a bag of breadcrumbs in the freezer, it’s a cheap, quick and easy way to add a bit of crunch to dishes)
Cook the gnocchi as per the instructions on the packet, then drain and set to one side.
Add the oil to a pan and over a medium heat cook the vegetables until softened
Put the gnocchi and vegetables in an oven proof dish, and pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees
Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour to make a smooth paste over a medium heat, stir in the milk gradually to avoid lumps.
The sauce will start to thicken as it cooks, reduce the heat and let the sauce cook out for another five minutes or until it no longer tastes of flour. Stir in half the cheese and mix until it has melted
Add the sauce to the gnocchi and vegetables, and mix until well combined. Cover with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs if your using them
Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on how brown you want the topping to be
I love to travel, and love the flavours of the Middle East. So at one of the recent supper clubs I floated the idea for this menu and everyone was on board with it.
The flavours from this part of the world range from fragrant citrus, rich meat dishes, fresh and heathly salads, and sweet spiced desserts.
The idea of a supper club is really simple. Everyone eats the same 3 courses at a communal table. It provides the chance to enjoy good food and great craic with new people in a relaxed atmosphere, (normally no more than 8 people). Sometimes it’s good to shake things up and socialise with people you wouldn’t normally meet. We greet everyone with a welcome drink, and we’re BYO. Someone asked me recently if you need to subscribe, and the answer is no. If you like the sound of one the supper clubs, then you just book you place/s.
25 April Supper Club
Middle Eastern Menu
The menu for the 25th April will be,
Starter – Haloumi, Orange, and Roast Hazelnut Salad
Main – Slow Cooked Middle Eastern Lamb, (Vegetarian Option – Baked Falafel with Yoghurt), Jewelled Rice, Tabbouleh Salad
Dessert – Persian Love Cake, (flavoured with rose water and pistachio, traditionally baked by Persian women for the men who caught their eye), Greek Yoghurt or Ice Cream
*If you’re vegan, that’s no problem. Just let us know in advance so we can make something delicious for you.
I made this sort of by accident. I meant to buy condensed milk for another dessert I was planning to make. The short story is that I was distracted in the supermarket and bought evaporated milk instead.
Rather then waste it, I remembered a recipe using evaporated milk I had seen in an old recipe book I bought in a charity shop. I still have no idea how it got its name. But I do know its delicious, incredibly tasty and very sweet. This is a pretty straight forward recipe, you could even buy a premade pastry case if you’re short on time. The filling has only two ingredients, but once baked this turns into fudgy, caramely deliciousness. We had custard with this, but ice cream would also work.
Serves 8 – 10
For the pastry
200 Grams Plain flour
100 Grams Butter
1 Tbsp Caster sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Egg yolk
3 Tbsp cold water
For the filling
280 Grams Muscavado Sugar
410 ml Tin of Evaporated milk
In a food processor add the flour, butter, salt, sugar and egg yolk and whizz until it looks like breadcrumbs. (You can use the “rubbing in” method of you prefer, but I think it’s easier and quicker to use a food processor)
Add cold water to the crumb mix until it starts to come together, and you can form a ball.
Wrap in cling film and refridgerate for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes take the pastry out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Brush a a loose base 9 inch pie tin with melted butter
Roll the pastry out as thinly as possible on a floured surface and line your pie tin with it.
Place a large square of baking parchment (larger than the inside of the pie tin) on top of the pastry and cover the base with baking beans (I keep old dried rice in a jar to use when I need to blind bake pastry) bake for 15 minutes
After 15 minutes remove from the oven, and carefully lift the baking parchment by the corners taking care not to spill the rice/baking beans on the pastry. Pierce the bottom of the pie base all over with a fork and return to the oven for another 10 minutes
Put the muscavado sugar and evaporated milk in a bowl. Mix with an electric whisk for 5-10 until with sugar and milk are no longer grainy, and becomes lighter in colour and looks frothy.
Remove the pie base from the oven. Fill the pie base with the sugar and milk mixture and return to the oven
Bake for a further 25 minutes. The filling may puff up in the oven, but don’t panic, it deflate as it cools.
I’ve loved moussaka ever since I first tasted it. But it can be very rich, so this version even though it’s still packed with protein is a little lighter.
This is based around a Jamie Oliver recipe and it’s proper comfort food. I added some roast red peppers, as I think it brings a little bit more freshness to it. There’s still enough cheese to make it still taste decadent.
The only draw back is that this is a time consuming recipe. I usually wait to make this at the weekend when I have more time, but it’s worth the time and effort, and tastes so much better than some gloopy supermarket version. This is also a great dish if you have a group of people to cook for.
4 Roasted red peppers (I used a jar of red peppers to save time)
500 Grams Potatoes
2 Tins Chopped tomatoes
2 Tins Chick peas
1 Sprig Rosemary
1 Small bunch of sage
100 Grams Green lentils, boiled until soft (or 1 can of lentils)
2 Onions, sliced
400 Grams Feta cheese
50 Grams Butter
50 Grams Plain flour
25 Grams Parmesan (or other strong, hard cheese)
Salt and Pepper
Heat your oven to 200 degrees, peel the potatoes and cut into 2cm slices. Rub the potatoes with a little olive oil, place on baking trays and bake until tender and golden brown
Peel strips into the aubergines, and then cut into 2 cm rounds before sprinkling with salt and leaving to drain a colander for an hour
Wipe off any excess moisture and the salt, and sprinkle the aubergines with a little olive oil and place on baking trays and bake in the oven until tender, just as you did with the potatoes
Add 1 Tbsp of oil to a large frying pan and add the onions and herbs to pan. Cook gently until the onions have softened (I keep the herbs on the stem so that they are easier to fish out of the sauce later.
Add the cooked/tinned lentils and chick peas to the pan along with the tinned tomatoes. Simmer over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened, check the season and add salt and pepper if necessary
When the vegetables have finished roasting and the sauce is ready, it’s time to start assembling the dish
Spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of a large oven proof dish, then top this with a layer of the cooked potatoes and crumble over some of the feta cheese. Top this with another layer of sauce and then add a layer of roasted peppers sprinkle with some of the feta cheese. Top again with the sauce and add the cooked aubergines and any left over feta
To top this you will need to make a white sauce, in a medium sized saucepan, melt your butter over a medium heat, then stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Continue to stir as you add the milk (if you find that you are getting lumps there is no shame in breaking out a whisk to beat the living daylights of the sauce to get rid of rid of them).
The sauce will start thicken as it heats, so continue stirring and reduce the heat and allow to cook for another 5 minutes or until the sauce no longer tastes “floury”. Add the grated hard cheese and mix well
Top the layers of vegetables and with the white sauce and bake at 200 degrees for 30-40 minutes of until all bubbly, brown and delicious
This recipe comes from one of my co-workers Ruth. She knows I love a good recipe and was kind enough to share this. It’s one of the things I like about food. Everyone needs to eat, and everyone has a favourite food. Many of my recipes come from people who just wanted to share something they really enjoyed.
This is a traditional Scottish recipe, and was probably developed to use up left over vegetables. I wasn’t that organised so I made this from scratch, but if you plan ahead and have left over veggies then this can be really quick to make. The name supposedly comes from the fact that cabbage and turnip can make some people a bit “windy”. Rumbledethump refers to the noises they may make. Thankfully this wasn’t my experience.
Rumbledethumps are traditionally fried, I oven baked these to make them a little healthier.
These make a great side dish or are delicious served with a fried egg.
500 Grams Potatoes (peeled and cubed)
200 Grams Turnip (peeled and cubed) – in England this is known as swede, but in NI we call it turnip)
1/2 Onion (finely sliced)
125 Grams Cabbage (finely sliced)
1 Egg yolk
50 Grams Cheddar cheese (grated)
2 Tbsps Oil
Salt and pepper
Cook the potatoes and turnip until soft, drain and mash roughly before allowing to cool
Add 1 Tbsp of oil to a pan and gently fry until soft, allow to cool
Combine all the ingredients (except the remaining oil), in a bowl. Check the seasoning, I found this recipe needed quite a lot.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Get your hands into the mixture, and make 8 equal sized patties.
Set the patties onto a greased baking sheet. Brush with the remaining oil and bake for 25-30mins