How to make dinner fast is the big challenge for most of us during the week. With the best will in the world I never seem to have  the time to cook ahead and often find myself opening the fridge and scratching my head when everyone’s already starving (especially me!!). August sometimes climbs into his high chair and waves spoons at me while I go from fridge to cupboard trying to come up with the answer – I think he finds it all quite amusing… Dan has taken to the old “what’s for dinner?” and  “when’s it ready?” x 100 followed by vomiting noises when I pull anything green out of the fridge (then of course he wolfs it all when the time comes) .  In short it can be a bit high pressured round at ours at dinnertime.

As I’ve mentioned previously, having a stash of precooked rice in the fridge regularly saves the day and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Last night we had that crazy, everyone starving /no one thinking straight thing going on so I just pulled out some random bits from the back of the fridge hoping that seeing on the kitchen table would provide inspiration. Out came broccoli, eggs, goat’s cheese, a pepper, some leftover rice from a stir fry Paul had made the day before, a piece of chorizo and a bag of greens. Mmm.. When you’ve got eggs and everyone’s starving it’s really got to be an omelette so I started by slicing the pepper into strips for  a filling. I threw them on a hottish pan with some olive oil then started thinking about the rice – fried with an onion and some chorizo (a little bit of this stuff gives a lot of flavour so it’s a great standby). I decided to steam the broccoli and toss it  with the rice to give it the benefit of the chorizo hit too. The  goat’s cheese went into the omelette with the pepper and to round it all off I made a salad with the greens, throwing in slices of  a perfectly ripe avocado from the fruit bowl. I dressed this with balsamic vinegar and a tiny bit of salt. Start to finish took 15 minutes. Sounds good? Well, just follow these steps……….

An omelette with red pepper and Goats’ Cheese (for 2)

You’ll need:

4 Eggs (or 5 if you’re really starving)

Olive Oil

1 Red Pepper

100gr soft goat’s cheese (Chevre is what I used)

Salt and Pepper

Fried Rice with chorizo and brocolli (for 2)

You’ll need:

200gr cooked short grain brown rice

1 medium onion

A piece of chorizo about 10 cm long

A head of broccoli (about 400gr)

A handful pumpkin seeds

A simple green salad of rocket and avocado

60-70gr rocket

An avocado (if you don’t have one don’t worry)

Balsamic vinegar

A little salt

Right, get the pepper in the pan as I described above first then chop the onion and put it on another pan with some olive oil. As the pepper and onion start cooking break the broccoli into bite sized florets and put it on to steam. While the broccoli is doing, chop up the chorizo into smallish chunks and add it to the onions and cook for a further 5 -6 minutes. When it’s ready (this should take 2-3 mins), take off the broccoli and set aside for a moment. Wash the rocket and set that aside. Add the rice to the onions and chorizo. Mix well and continue to toss every minute or so adding in the broccoli after 3 minutes. To fully heat the rice will take about 5 minutes of tossing which gives you enough time to make the omelette. Remove the peppers which by now will be nice and tender. Beat the eggs with a generous pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Heat a little oil in the pan (I’d use the same one I fried the peppers in). Add the eggs and move them around until  they start to set then add the goat’s cheese and pepper. When the cheese has softened, fold the omelette and turn off the heat. Toast a handful of pumpkin seeds on a dry pan then mix them through the rice. Chop or slice the avocado into the rocket, dress with balsamic vinegar and a little salt. That’s it, dinner’s made!!!!

So you may have noticed that this week’s garlic is a bit different. Well, it’s the fresh or wet kind and it’s pretty much the same as the regular stuff except it’s that bit sweeter and quite a bit milder. Follow this link  http://wp.me/p7YZu-7x for a lovely aioli recipe that you can eat with roast veg and spuds aswell as one of fresh garlic bhajis with green chilli and coriander, while this one http://wp.me/p7YZu-8m will bring you to a really nice (and very fast) pasta recipe. Yay for links – I’m new to them so am very pleased with myself at the moment. Stop smirking!! Anyways, I’ll have some fresh ideas on this kind of garlic in weeks to come but these will get you started.

Have a great and hopefully very sunny weekend,

Sarah

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It’s officially spring but as we all know that isn’t the actual case yet. This week’s recipe is for a warming stew perfect for these chilly evenings………

Sweet Potato Stew

You’ll need:

1 medium onion chopped

Olive oil

2 fat cloves garlic

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoons cumin seeds

680gr Pasata (a full jar). If you don’t have this a tin of chopped tomatoes would also do fine Read the rest of this entry »

I know I dropped the ball on the whole healthy eating thing for the new year by proposing roast chicken with lots of trimmings for dinner last week but it was snowing. This week I’m making up for it with …….. ginger. Fantastic for digestion (pregnant ladies take note), ginger is also great for colds and flus and is reckoned to have properties which fight headaches and period pains. We often drink ginger tea in our house especially over the winter months and it’s so easy to make. Slice about an inch of ginger and simmer it in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Serve with honey and lemon juice.  It’s also fantastic in juices and carrot and ginger is a classic. Take 3 or 4 carrots and juice with a small piece of ginger – juice and drink immediately. You can throw an apple or orange in there if you’d like some more sweetness.

Ginger is  the basis of a great dipping sauce that is just fab with veggies like broccoli, green beans, courgette, peppers, sweet potato or butternut squash. Add  tahini, a paste made from crushed sesame seeds which you can get in your health food shop or any Middle Eastern shop which gives it a beautiful nutty flavour, with soy sauce and honey. Completely addictive it’ll definitely give you a reason to eat plenty of veggies. I’m not really one for special kitchen gadgets or tools but I can’t recommend getting a proper ginger grater highly enough if you like these kind asian flavours. It’ll separate all the stringiness from the ginger pulp. I got mine in Muji and we use it just about every week.

Ginger and Soy Dipping sauce

2 Tablespoons Light Tahini

2 Tablespoons Soy or Tamari

1 Teaspoon Honey

2 Teaspoons grated Ginger

4 Tablespoons hot water

Fancy something a little special? This week’s sweet potato is great in tempura. I combined it with broccoli and served it with that yummy dipping sauce. The proportions below will make enough for 4 people as a starter or a lunch for 2 very hungry people. The trick with tempura is to get the batter as light as possible. For this I use self-raising flour and sparkling water. Don’t make it too ahead of time as the air leaches out and you lose the lightness.

Tempura of Sweet Potato and Broccoli

The  Batter:

200gr Self-raising Flour

1 1/4 cups sparkling water

A pinch fine salt

The veg:

200gr Sweet Potato

200gr Broccoli

and…..

Vegetable oil

First of all prepare the dipping sauce as described above then get on with the veg. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into slices about 1 cm thick. Break the broccoli into bite-size florets and set aside. Whisk the flour, salt and sparkling water together. Heat about 3 cm of vegetable oil in the pan when you can get a drop of the tempura batter to sizzle it’s hot enough and you’re ready to go.

When you’re ready to cook, coat each piece of veg in batter and drop into the oil. This is a messy business and if you’re confident with chopsticks I find a large set is the way to go. If not just rinse you’re hands as needed. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or things will start to stick together. Last night I filled the pan 3 times to get through all the veg. This of course means that someone has to stand over the pan while other people get to tuck in as tempura is best eaten immediately. You can of course munch while you keep an eye on the pan or use 2 pans if you want to completely relax over your dinner. Generally it’ll take about 2 minutes on each side to get the tempura golden and that’s just the way you want it. Enjoy!!

This weeks’ oranges are the Moro Blood variety which are only for a couple of months each year and are especially popular. If you’d like to get a box to keep in good supply  just let us know and we’ll drop them with your bag next week. Like the other ones they cost 15E per 6.5k.

Have a great weekend,

Sarah

Broccoli and Kiwi

October 9, 2009

While all fruit and vegetables are good for you; in recent years research has shown that some varieties are especially worth including in your diet,  mainly because they have lots of antioxidants; which help to protect against all kinds of cancers, heart disease and other bad stuff. These are  the “superfoods”  I’m sure you’ve all heard about and  include Broccoli, Blueberries, Oranges, Beans, Oats, Pumpkin, Soy, Salmon, Tea, Tomatoes, Walnuts, Yogurt and…… Dark Chocolate! (further proof that God is indeed a woman).Unfortunately, when it comes to the chocolate we only need a little to get all the benefits but at least it means that wolfing a full bar of Green and Blacks on a Friday evening on the sofa isn’t all bad……….. When it comes to the veggies however, as much and as often as possible is the rule and that’s the reason Broccoli is almost always in our bags every week. Vitamins A, B1,B2 B3, B6 and C (just one cup gives you your recommended daily dose), Folic Acid, Iron (which is absorbed easily by the body due to the Vitamin C content), Beta-carotene (an antioxidant that protects against certain cancers), Magnesium, Potassium (both great for nerve function) and Zinc (keeps your immune system in shape) all mean that it’s essential.

Broccoli is so easy to include in your diet  because you can cook it so many ways. It’s fantastic straight up with nothing more than a dressing of  Olive Oil and a tiny pinch of Sea Salt or you can put it with Asian flavors like Ginger and chili in a simple stir-fry or it works really well with Mediterranean flavors like Garlic, Parmesan and Anchovies. Try steaming or boiling florets and serving them with a dipping sauce like Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise) or Bagna Cruda (Garlic and Anchovy Sauce) for a really simple starter or snack. As a side dish it’s fantastic sauteed with Bread crumbs or Pinenuts. If you’re after a maincourse,  Pasta is a great way to go and it’s a dish that takes about 15 minutes to put together…….

Pasta with Broccoli, Garlic and Pinenuts (for two)

You’ll need:

400gr Broccoli

4 Cloves Garlic

Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Pinenuts

Parmesan

There are two ways to approach this. If your Broccoli is spanking fresh as it is today you can break it up into bitesized florets, steam it and then add it to the dish. If, however, your Broccoli comes from the back of the fridge, seems a little past it’s bestby date you can  chop it up quite small and throw it on the pan after the Garlic has had about 2 minutes, and cook it down for about 10 minutes adding a drop of water until it starts almost falling apart and you get a slightly different but very tasty version of the dish below.

Begin by steaming the florets of Broccoli. While they are steaming you can boil water for Pasta then get the pasta cooking (any shape bar Spaghetti will do) To make your sauce, roughly chop the Garlic and gently sauté them in a generous dash of Olive Oil over a medium heat. As they start to soften (do not let them burn and if they do you’re better off starting again as they’ll make everything horribly bitter) throw in the Broccoli and toss over a medium heat adding more Olive Oil if necessary. After a couple of minutes add the Pine nuts and continue tossing for another minute or two before seasoning  with Salt and freshlyground Pepper. By this stage your Pasta should be about done. Drain it and add it to the Broccoli and mix everything together adding freshly ground Parmesan Cheese. Serve Immediately.

Variations:There are loads, this is a dish I cook and vary a lot. Try frying some Chili or a couple of pounded Anchovies with the Garlic at the beginning, adding some Lemon Juice at the end, using Feta or Goat’s Cheese instead of the Parmesan, throwing in few Sundried Tomatoes sliced into strips or Black Olive  towards the end.

If you fancy something more Asian in flavor, as I mentioned above Broccoli works really well. Try this recipe instead……

Sautéed  Broccoli with Garlic and Chilli and Sesame Seeds

Wash and break your Broccoli into large bitesized florets. Gently steam for a couple of minutes until al dente (i.e. cooked but still very firm). Heat some Vegetable Oil on a wok or pan and throw in  2 or 3 cloves of chopped Garlic and some red Chilli (the quantity is up to you). Allow the Garlic to soften but don’t let it change colour as it will burn in a very quickly after that, then throw in the Broccoli. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat and add a splash of toasted Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce and some toasted Sesame Seeds (to toast your Sesame Seeds simply throw 2 Tablespoons on a dry pan and roast over a medium heat until they start to change colour and pop). Serve immediately.

New Season Oranges haven’t quite kicked in yet (we’re getting some but not enough) so we’ve included Kiwis in all our selections with fruit this week. These guys have even more Vitamin C than Oranges so are great for this time of year when the change in temperature means we’re all more susceptible to catching colds and flus.If you fancy using them to make a quick desert this fool recipe couldn’t be easier….

Kiwi Mess with Creme Fraiche and Ginger Nut Biscuits

You’ll need:

4 Kiwis

100gr Creme Fraiche

4 Ginger Nut Biscuits

3-4 teaspoons syrup from a jar of stem Ginger – this is a lovely touch but not essential so if you don’t have it just use some icing sugar.

Peel and cut the fruit into chunks. Stir the syrup or icing sugar into the Creme Fraiche and set aside. Roughly crush the biscuits – rolling pin or bottom of a bottle will work for this. Toss everything together and decant into some nice bowls or old-fashioned low champagne glasses (charity shops always good for this kind of thing). Yum!!

By the way, if you’re wondering what to do with this week’s Butternut there’s a fab soup with Thyme and Parmesan on this blog- perfect for a rainy day (Urghhhhhhhhh!)

Spinach

April 6, 2009

Hi everyone,

This week our bags have lovely Spinach which is a great fast food. After a thorough wash (it can be very gritty), you destem the leaves then pack them in a pot and steam them in the water left clinging to the leaves. Cooking will take about 2-3 minutes then you can serve it straight up with a knob of Butter or a drizzle of Olive Oil. For a really delicious sidedish sauté a few chopped cloves of Garlic in Butter then throw on the Spinach, mix everything together well and serve. For a maincourse add some cream and Parmesan and you’ve got a very quick pasta sauce. This week’s recipe is a pasta dish but without the cream as I’m sure that we’d all like to hit the beach at some stage this year…………..

spinach

spinach

Pasta with Spinach, Garlic and Black Olives (for 3-4 people)

You’ll need:

250-300gr Spinach (about what you have in your bag this week)
5 Cloves Garlic
Butter
Olive oil
Handful of stoned Black Olives roughly chopped
Pasta (whatever you like)
Parmesan Cheese

First of all stick on the kettle for the pasta (this dish is fast) Wash and destem your spinach then roughly shred it. Stem the leaves as described above then wring out any water with your hands as soon as it cools down.
While the Spinach is cooling stick on the pasta.
Chop the Garlic then gently sauté it in a large knob of Butter and some Olive Oil. When the Garlic has softened (don’t let it change colour as it’ll start to burn very quickly after that) add the Spinach and toss well to make sure it all gets coated in Butter and Garlic. When the pasta is cooked drain it and mix into the pasta adding some more Butter and Olive Oil aswell as a couple of tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan and the Olives.
Season with Salt and Pepper and serve immediately.

Spinach is, of course, fab in all kinds of salads and sambos.Try it with sundried Tomatoes, toasted Pinenuts and Goat’s Cheese or with Walnuts and Feta. Dress with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar and serve with a simple Omelette or some fish.

Hope you enjoy these recipes,
Have a great week,
Sarah