Sweet Potato, Red Pepper & Lentil Curry
Sweet Potato, Red Pepper & Lentil Curry
Moroccan Chicken Tagine.
Moroccan food and the flavours of North Africa are amongst my favourite cuisines and a regular dinner in our house is a chicken tagine.
Morocco is a fairly diverse country …
Every other week I roast a chicken either for a meal or to keep the family going in lunches and sandwiches.
Nothing goes to waste, right down to the carcass which is either used immediately to make stock or it goes into the freezer to be used later.
Occasionally, there’s enough leftover meat for a meal and when that happens one of my favourite ‘go to’ recipes is this easy chicken biryani. If you’re really well organised you can use the homemade stock from the carcass and add to the biryani!
This is a much simpler version than some of the elaborate Indian and Persian recipes for biryani which is very often served as a special dish at celebrations. Being simple doesn’t mean it’s less tasty and the addition of the roasted cauliflower adds an extra layer of delicious flavour and also packs in some extra health giving goodness. Traditionally chilli is not part of a biryani and the flavours in this recipe are not overly hot. For an extra kick, feel free to add some fresh chilli.
There’s very little prep involved and don’t forget if you’re short of time, get the veg prepped the night before to save time later.
This is the kind of dish I like for a quick mid week meal although I would also be happy to serve this up as part of a more special or elaborate meal. Elevate it to another level by sprinkling with toasted almonds and serving with mango or hot banana chutney and a raita.
Busy family lifestyles need quick options for healthy and quick meals and this smoked mackerel hotpot is one of my go to dishes. It’s definitely a dinner in a dash – it doesn’t take long to cook and that’s a bonus after a long day at work, particularly if there’s the added energy draining task of taking and collecting kids from after school school activities.
A pack of the smoked mackerel fillets from the supermarket is ideal for this recipe although it’s a versatile dish and can be made with other types of smoked fish, including tinned fish. Varying the vegetables also adds to the versatility and if you’re trying to get the kids to pack in the 5 a day fruit and veg for a healthier diet, it works well with celery, courgettes, spring onions, peas and green beans.
I normally use pre made gnocchi as it cooks so quickly, normally 2-3 minutes, and, as a standby by for last minute meals I usually keep a pack of the long life gnocchi in the store cupboard. It makes a nice change from pasta or potatoes and with its quick cooking time, what’s not to like.
The cheese and breadcrumb topping is optional but I think it gives a nice texture to the dish and contrasts well with the soft gnocchi and creamy sauce.
The Ultimate Fast Food –
Blue cod in the galley kitchen. Another tale from our recent trip to New Zealand.
Kitchens have a certain magnetism for me and wherever I go it’s a given that I’ll end up in the kitchen. Even on holiday, I can’t drag myself away from the pull of a sharp knife and a stove. Holiday cooking, particularly if it’s in another country, has the added interest of new ingredients and local fresh food. Our current trip to New Zealand is taking in some sailing and that is giving me the opportunity to cook in the galley kitchen of the yacht, SV Defiant.
It’s much smaller than I’m used to at home and with space at a premium, our host Lisa has organised it perfectly and that makes it a very cook friendly space. Everything you need to cook a meal is included – a two ring gas burner, an oven and a microwave.
There’s a fantastic range of kitchen utensils, pots and pans, including extremely sharp knives – essential for dealing with the fresh fish we’re catching. Lisa has a tremendously well stocked larder of dry and tinned ingredients; along with a treasure trove of herbs and spices, and it’s the first port of call when a fresh fish lands in the kitchen. I love that kind of cooking – rather than having a recipe in mind, looking at the main ingredients and building the dish with what’s in store.
We’ve eaten really well and with limited space; one pot dishes have made the cooking more manageable and of course there’s the added bonus of fewer dishes to be washed.
New Zealand has a fantastic coast line for fishing and is blessed with a natural bounty of great fish. Kia Morna – Food of the ocean – is plentiful here.
Blue cod are endemic to New Zealand and we found them in plentiful supply although restrictions are in place to control the numbers caught and all had to be over 33cm. Our catch of four was within the legal limits in the Marlborough sounds. Restrictions are also in place regarding the transportation of filleted blue cod in this area and it’s not unusual for fisheries officers to board pleasure boats to check the size of the catch. Filleting blue cod in advance of cooking means the officers are unable to tell if the whole fish was of legal size.
This recipe came from the ingredients we had in stock in the board pantry and the freshly caught blue cod provided by our eager hunter gatherers.
The hunter gatherers go off in search of fish.
I’ve also added this recipe to the #recipeoftheweek link up at Emily Leary’s, A Mummy Too blog.
VEGAN HAGGIS ROULADE with VEGAN WHISKY CREAM SAUCE
One wonders what Robert Burns would have thought of vegetarian haggis – If he were around today I’m not sure he would pen another 8 verses of the ‘Address to a Haggis, but he would have surely delivered some worthy light hearted ditty in honour of this much in demand 21st century dish. It’s become so popular that well know Scottish haggis producer – MacSween’s say it accounts for one in four of all haggis sales.
I invited my friend Janice Clyne, to come up with a vegan recipe for Burn’s night and she created this delicious feast that both vegans and non vegans will not only hearty and satifying but packed full of flavour. Janice is a Glasgow based Food Scientist, health educator, plant based blogger and an outstanding advocate for real food. Her blog, Nourished by Nature is well worth a look and is full of healthy vegan recipes. Janice used vegetarian haggis from Simon Howie for her recipe.
This is a fantastic vegan dish to celebrate Burns Night! Wrapping the haggis filling in puff pastry makes for a rather delicious and impressive main course! The filling has plenty of texture and flavour with the addition of pine nuts, mushrooms, spinach, herbs and balsamic vinegar.
Pre- scoring the pastry makes this a doddle to cut and serve and all the prep can be done in advance, leaving you free to enjoy the evening with a wee dram or two!
This is fantastic served with potatoes and a big pile of steamed spring greens or the more traditional bashed neeps! We serve this with a delicious whisky cream sauce!
Ingredients – serves 6
1 pack of shop bought puff pastry
1 pack of Vegetarian haggis (450g)1 250g pack of mushrooms, chestnut, or any mixture you like1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 250g pack of mushrooms, chestnut, or any mixture you likefew tablespoons fresh herbs, thyme, sage or rosemary, or a teaspoon dried herbs
½ cup (50g) pine nuts
good few handfuls of spinach, washed and chopped
1 or 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar½ cup (50g) pine nuts
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
soya or other plant based milk for brushing the pastry
1. First take your puff pastry out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature.
2. Cook the haggis. The easiest way is to unwrap it, cut it into slices and cook in the microwave for 5 minutes. Alternatively you can cook it in a pan of boiling water or in the oven following the instructions on the pack.
3. Wipe and chop the mushrooms into small pieces or slices, add them to a large pan with 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil with the herbs and cook for 5 to 10 minutes with a pinch of sea salt. Add a few handfuls of washed spinach and stir until it wilts down. Drain off any liquid then add a teaspoon or two of balsamic vinegar. Add the pine nuts, mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning. Mix with the cooked haggis and leave to cool.
4. Unroll the puff pastry onto a non stick baking tray. I always buy the kind which is already rolled into a sheet. Jus Roll do a good one, it comes in a green cardboard box. If you buy the small square one then you will have to roll it out into a rectangle shape about 14 by 10 inches. Keep the greaseproof paper the pastry is wrapped in underneath the pastry sheet, it makes it easier to fold.
5. With the long side facing you, layer your filling in the middle of the pastry sheet. Shape it with your hands into a long fat sausage shape.
6. Lightly brush all the edges with some soya milk.
7. Fold both the long edges of the pastry to cover the filling and press down firmly to seal the edges. Fold the edges in and pinch them together. You should now have a long sausage shaped pastry with a fold along the middle. Carefully flip the pastry roll over so that the join is on the bottom. It’s much easier to do this if you keep the greaseproof paper underneath. Just use the paper to carefully roll the pastry over, then remove the paper.
8. Cut slices into the top of the roulade and brush with soya milk. I cut mine into 10 slices but you could make it 12 if you have smaller appetites or more people to feed!
9. Bake in a hot oven at 220 or 200 or a fan oven for around 30 to 35 minutes until nicely browned and crisp!
10. Slice and serve with potatoes and greens and whisky cream sauce!
This is a delicious dairy free sauce, it’s a fairly thin pouring sauce which is perfect served in a gravy boat at the table! Feel free to add more whisky! We made this with an Islay malt whisky which imparted a lovely peaty, smoky flavour!
Ingredients Serves 4 to 6
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 glug rapeseed oil
250 ml carton of Alpro Soya Cream or Oatly Cream
1 teaspoon dried herbs
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoons malt whisky
Sea salt and pepper
1 or 2 teaspoons maple syrup
1. Heat the oil in a small pan, add the crushed garlic and cook on a medium heat for a few minutes.
2. Add the herbs, a pinch of salt, the soya cream, mustard, whisky, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.
3. Cook over a gentle heat for five minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking.
4. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more whisky/mustard/maple syrup to get a flavour to your liking.
Salmon with Miso Broth and Noodles
Cooking for one is something I enjoy doing as it gives me the chance to experiment with a few ingredients or even some leftovers. It also helps use up any small leftovers that might otherwise go to waste.
This salmon with miso broth and noodles is the result of one such cook up. One tiny piece of salmon from the freezer and a few bits of leftover vegetables. This is an updated recipe from the original post when I first made this dish. I’ve added in a few extra ingredients – rice wine, garlic and fresh ginger.
Miso soup has become a real favourite of mine – it was a real saviour for me on a sailing trip in New Zealand. It’s the perfect antidote for a queasy stomach on a cold windy day with rough seas. It’s since become a store cupboard staple and is a perfect partner for the salmon.
I used udon noodles as that’s what I had in the cupboard but the dish will work well with any noodles. The recipe gives quantities for one although it can be easily scaled up. If you’re not keen on miso then chicken stock or vegetable stock will also work well.
I like to pan fry the salmon with the ginger, garlic and spring onion before adding to the broth but you make this a one pan dish by adding all the ingredients to the miso.
For further information on using up leftovers see the Zero Waste Scotland website
I’ve added this recipe to the Recipe of the Week link on Emily Leary’s blog, A Mummy Too.
Turkey leftovers are well loved in our house and with Christmas dinner over for another year, it’s time to make sure that all the meat is used up. Leftovers are one the things I love about Christmas food and there is something quite satisfying about stripping down the carcass and gathering any other little jewels that survived the festivities.
One of my favourite ways to use up some of the turkey is to make a biryani. I’m not particularly keen on adding cooked meat to a curry but but I do like adding it to rice dishes. And, of course, don’t forget to boil up the carcass to make some comforting turkey broth.
I’ve listed the spices needed for the recipe but you could easily adapt by using curry powder or curry paste. Just go with what you’ve got available rather than buying extra.
I Like to serve this with some spicy chutney and a raita.
Food waste is such a huge problem all year round and during the festive period 50,375 tonnes of food and drink is expected to be binned in Scotland alone. We’re all being enouraged to shop smart and save money simply by avoiding food waste.
Further information with recipes and tips on preventing food waste can be found at Love Food Hate Waste Scotland
Let’s prevent over £90 million worth of food waste this Christmas
Food waste will be huge problem this Christmas and now is the time to start thinking ahead and have some ideas for using up the Christmas leftovers.
Collectively, people living in Scotland could save more than £90 million¹ by not wasting food this festive season. That’s a saving of £38 for every household in Scotland.
With 50,375² tonnes of food and drink expected to be binned in December, Scots are being encouraged to shop smart and save money simply by avoiding food waste.
According to figures from Zero Waste Scotland the equivalent of over 700,000 wheelie bins full of food is expected to be thrown away this month.
In December alone Scots are expected to throw away over 3.5 million mince pies, more than 240,000 Christmas puddings, and the equivalent of over 100,000 turkeys³. Using these items up – or not over-buying them in the first place – represents a potential saving of over £3 million.
Action to tackle household food waste has already seen the amount generated drop by 6% (between 2009 and 2014), resulting in a saving to household budgets of £92 million.
Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said: “At Christmas it can be tempting to buy – and therefore waste – more food. But with a little preparation people can save money and be kinder to the environment. In Scotland we are working towards a 33% reduction in food waste by 2025. That’s the most ambitious target in Europe, and everyone in Scotland has an important part to play in helping the country achieve that goal.”
Ylva Haglund, Food Waste Campaigns Manager at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “With all the food most of us buy in the run up to Christmas, this can be a difficult time of year to avoid throwing food out. But taking a little bit of time to check your fridge and cupboards and make use of what you already have can save you a lot of money.
“The average household could save £460 a year by putting food to better use – simply by thinking ahead when shopping for meals, freezing extra portions and following recipes to use up any ingredients instead of just buying more.
For inspiration on cutting down food and drink waste this Christmas and saving money, see the top tips below:
· Keep your festive leftovers aside to make some quick and easy recipes – great for a head start on Boxing Day dinner.
· To use up any uneaten Christmas meal staples, curries, stews and soups are tasty and hassle-free to make. And who doesn’t love a classic turkey sandwich with leftover cranberry sauce? Easy recipes using leftovers can be found on the Zero Waste Scotland website
· To use up your Christmas pudding, create a really easy and delicious dessert of Christmas pudding ice cream. Just mix custard and whipped cream together then stir in the crumbled Christmas pudding, perhaps adding a little leftover rum, whisky or Baileys, and then freeze.
· Believe it or not, mince pies work really well as a base for another cake. Add in chocolate, orange or nuts, or use in trifle.
Freezing and storing
· Freezing the food you have left from your Christmas feast could save you cash. Freeze as soon as you can – within two days – and eat within three months if possible.
· You can freeze just about anything. Cream (whip it a little beforehand) and cheeses like Stilton freeze really well, just put them in an airtight bag or container and store in the freezer.
· If you have leftover salad or lettuce leaves put a piece of kitchen roll in the bottom of a pot, add the leaves and then seal. This will keep them fresh for much longer than leaving them in the bag.
New Year’s resolutions – how to cut down on food waste next year
· Only attempt a big food shop if you’ve prepared a shopping list to avoid buying food you won’t use.
· Remember to check your cupboards first before you go shopping, as you may already have a lot of the ingredients you need.
· By washing, chopping, bagging and freezing your veg in advance you can save a lot of time, and they will retain the same nutritional value as if you prepared them from fresh.
Anyone wishing to find out more about food waste, including easy and tasty recipes, should visit the Love Food Hate Waste website at Zero Waste Scotland is also encouraging Scots to share their own festive recipes on Twitter and Facebook.