Monday, 30 August 2010

Just a quick one...

No recipe in this post but I want to tell you all about a revelation I've had! :D

So I'm becoming more health conscious about the things I eat. Not because I want to diet to lose weight etc. but because I want to take care of the body I have as it's the only one I'm gonna get!!

This doesn't just mean eating more veg etc. which is obviously very good for you! But now I'm thinking about where the meat that I'm eating has come from so I'm going to make a conscious effort to go to the local butchers rather than the supermarkets. At least then I can know whether the animal has had a decent life and not feel guilty if it's been bred in poor conditions just so I can buy it at a cheaper price.

Also if you're looking to eat healthier think about how much oil you're putting in your food and cut it down! One easy way I've found of doing this is by buying this magical spray called Fry Light.

It's pretty magical stuff! I've found that if I'm cooking normal stuff I only need to use a couple of sprays in the bottom of the pan and it works great!! It's great for roasting too and in general you just use a lot less oil!

I'm so please with it that I'm going to buy a special oil spray that I can refill so I can continue to use just a tiny bit of oil rather than not really paying attention to how much I'm putting in! :D

Hmm...Time for Italian again?

I think so!!! So here's my basic recipe for a quick and easy bolognese sauce!! Don't feel like there are any limitations with this recipe though! If you want to try something with it go ahead! It's pretty much just some simple foundations for you to go and build a meal from :)

Bolognese Sauce

250g lean beef mince (or whatever meat you prefer)
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1/2tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2tsp dried basil
1 beef stock cube
1 tbsp tomato puree
salt and black pepper

1. Dry fry the mince in a pan until it is thoroughly cooked. (There should be enough fat in the meat, if it's beef mince, so that you don't need to add any extra oil. If you're using a leaner meat, i.e. chicken or turkey, add a small amount of oil before you cook)
2. Chop the onion and garlic. Add the onion to the pan and fry until it is soft then add the garlic and fry for a further minute.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, beef stock cube and a splash of water (if needed) and leave this to simmer for about 10mins.
4. Season to taste and serve however you want to!

Add in a carrot, some celery or some peppers for added flavour! Or add in any other veg you like! Pretty much anything works :) And if you've got a fussy eater to feed then you can grate pretty much any vegetable into this sauce and they won't have a clue it's there! ;)

Friday, 27 August 2010

Why are you still obsessing about soup you silly woman?!...

Because it's AWESOME that's why! :D

Seriously though you can pack so much good stuff into soup, stuff that you wouldn't normally eat, and it still tastes absolutely yummy!! I even got Dunc (the bf) to eat the following recipe which is a miracle in itself!!! And he had seconds!! (For those of you that don't know Dunc doesn't eat veg. Unless it's carrots or potatoes. Won't even look at any other veg!)
So on with the recipe!

Minestrone Soup Stew!

2 chicken breasts
4 rashers bacon
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 large leek
2 carrots
3 sticks of celery
1 large potato
1 pint chicken stock
tomato puree
dried basil

1. Chop the chicken and bacon into bitesize pieces. Fry these in 1tbsp of oil in a large pan until the chicken is cooked and the bacon is crispy.
2. Chop the onion, leek and garlic. Then add these to the chicken and fry until the onion and leek are soft.
3. Grate the the celery and chop the carrots and potato.
4. Add these to the pan and pour in the chicken stock (add more water if you think it needs it).
5. Add 1tbsp of tomato puree and 2tsps of basil.
6. Leave this to simmer for as long as you can (it tastes better the longer you leave it!) but if you can't wait give it at least 20mins-half an hour.

If you want to bulk out this stew even more then just throw in a couple of handfuls of pasta before you leave it to simmer!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Even moar soup?!?!...

Leek and Potato Soup

2/3 large potatoes
1 clove of garlic
2 leeks
Dried mixed herbs
2 chicken stock cubes
salt and black pepper
50ml single cream

1. Fry the chopped leeks in a knob of butter until they have softened.
2. Add the chopped garlic and fry for a couple of minutes.
3. Add 2 tsps of mixed herbs.
4. Add the stock cubes and a pint of hot water.
5. Put in the chopped potatoes and bring this to the boil. Simmer for about 20mins.
6. Blend roughly using a hand blender. Have it as smooth as you like but I like to leave so it's still quite lumpy.
7. Season to taste and stir in the single cream.
8. Serve immediately with some fresh bread.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

More soup...?!

Oh yes!! I'm having a bit of a soup phase! But it's really one of the most simple and easy things to make!

Onion Soup

Onions! (whichever variety you like best! Red, white, leeks, shallots, literally anything from the onion family. And use the equivalent of about 2/3 large onions per person)
1/2 pint beef stock per person
Salt and black pepper
Dried mixed herbs

1. Chop the onions and fry them in 1 tbsp of oil until they are golden. (For an even yummier soup add a small knob of butter and leave them to cook on a low heat for about 40mins, if you have the time!)
2. Pour in the beef stock and stir.
3. Season with salf and pepper and add 1 tsp of the mixed herbs.
4. Leave to simmer for about 10-20mins
5. Eat!

Rather than serving this with bread (as is traditional with soup) try having some cheese on toast with it!!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Soup soup glorious soup!

Tomato Soup (serves 2-3)

1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
1 large potato
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 pint chicken stock
1 tsp dried basil
2 red peppers (optional)

1. Roughly chop the onion and garlic then fry until the onions are soft.
2. Add the chopped peppers (if you want to add them) and fry for 2mins.
3. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and add the tomato puree and basil.
4. Chop the potato and add this to the mixture along with the chicken stock.
5. Simmer this for about 20mins until the potato is cooked.
6. Blend the soup using a handheld blender/food processor.
7. Add some chopped fresh basil just before serving (optional)

Friday, 20 August 2010

Homemade chips and the best jacket potatoes EVER!

So how many times have you bought oven chips and cooked them just as the packaging says yet they end up burnt, undercooked or both of these! (I don't know how it happens but it's happened to me a few times!) These homemade chips also taste way better!

Homemade Chips

1 baking potato per person
Olive/vegetable oil
Dried mixed herbs
Black pepper

1. Wash the potatoes and then chop them into wedges, leaving the skin on.
2. Place them on a baking tray with about 1tbsp of oil for every 2 potatoes. Make sure each wedge is evenly coated in oil. (I normally find 2 potatoes worth of wedges fits on to one baking tray nicely).
3. Season the wedges with salt and pepper. (I put a little more salt on as this makes them nice and crispy!) Then sprinkle 1tsp of dried mixed herbs over and make sure each wedge is covered evenly.
4. Bake in a preheated oven (200°C) for 30 mins. (Turning them over halfway through.)

Best Jacket Potatoes Ever!

1 jacket potato per person
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Whatever filling you want!

1. Wash the potatoes and dry them as best as possible.
2. Prick the skin with a fork.
3. Drizzle a small amount of oil over the potato then season with plenty of salt and pepper.
4. Rub this in to the skin of the potato making sure it is evenly coated.
5. Bake in a preheated oven (190°C) for an hour.
6. Add your filling and eat!

Spaghetti Carbonara

Now I don't know about you but whenever I go to an Italian restaurant with my friends it's guaranteed that at least one of them will order this! Little do they know it's dead simple and quick to make at home! (Though if like me you're a student and don't have much money you won't be making this that often but it's a great meal to make if you want to impress!)

Spaghetti Carbonara

250g Spaghetti (though it works well with whatever pasta you want, I tend to use fusilli rather than spaghetti)
Cooking oil (whatever one you have in the cupboard! Or butter if you're feeling rich!)
6 rashers of bacon
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
150ml single cream (usually the smallest carton in the shop thankfully!)
2 eggs
50g of parmesan (the first recipe I used for this said only 25g but I like mine extra cheesy! It all depends on how cheesy you like things to be)
Black pepper

1. Put a full kettle on to boil and make sure you have a large pan ready to cook the pasta in. (Pasta cooks better when you give it more room, don't ask me why!)
2. While the kettle is boiling chop up the bacon into small squares and finely chop the onion.
3. Fry these together, using the cooking oil/butter, until the bacon is crisp. (If you do want to use butter then I suggest adding a small amount of cooking oil anyway otherwise the butter will burn)
4. When the kettle has boiled pour it into the large pan you got out earlier, add a generous amount of salt and once this is boiling again put the pasta in to cook.
5. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat it gently. Then add the single cream and the parmesan and mix until it looks like a sauce! Add lots of pepper to this and stir that in. (Carbonara is traditionally a peppery sauce so I always add a little more than I think I need)
6. Once the pasta has cooked drain it and mix the bacon and onion into it.
7. Now you have to work quickly! While the pasta and bacon are still piping hot stir in the sauce until all the pasta is coated in it.
8. All you need to do now is put it on plates, put on some more parmesan if you want and eat!

Do not cook the sauce! If you do you will scramble the egg and you won't have a nice smooth creamy sauce!
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