I bought Jamie’s Dinners in the hope of adding more variety to my selection of weekday dinners. I didn’t really work as such but I suspect that’s because i just didn’t use the book enough to make any of the recipes a habit. I picked it up today to find something light for supper and the picture of the Chorizo and Tomato Omelette looked appetising. We usually make a 2 person omelette in our pan so I adjusted quantities for 2. Next time I’d chop the tomatoes up a little but otherwise I’d keep things much as they were, you do need to deseed the tomato as it would be too wet if you didn’t. I used dried herbs as I didn’t have fresh. This omelette is delicious and we’ll definitely be making it again.
- Olive oil
- 1 small whole Spanish-style chorizo sausage, or other spicy, sliceable sausage, thickly sliced
- 1 ripe tomato, seeded and sliced
- 2 small sprigs fresh marjoram or parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped (optional)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 a fresh red chili, seeded and thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
- Heat some olive oil in a small nonstick pan. Add the chorizo slices and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato and herbs.
- Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, add the chili, and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour into the pan and mix the eggs around a little, then throw in the onion. Cook until eggs are set, lifting up the edges of the omelette to let the uncooked egg flow underneath.
I’d rather liked the picture of these chilli pies in the The Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies cookbook, when it mentioned they are good hot or cold I wondered whether they might be suitable for packed lunches.
The chilli is easy to make and you could use any chilli recipe. The addition of a little polenta was a good idea to absorb some of the sauce. Instructions were nice and straightforward. I made the chilli and pastry one day and rolled out the pastry and made the pies the next. The pastry was a bit fiddly and a tendency to tear so I was a bit mean with the filling and had quite a bit left. I suspect practice would make it much easier to handle. I was pleased with how my little pie bundles looked before they went into the oven.
I will definitely be making these again, and would probably increase the quantity of pastry until I get better at handling it. They were delicious both hot and cold and I think they stay together well enough to be put into a lunch box.
- 500g lean minced beef
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 100ml red wine
- 300ml of beef stock
- 40g pickled green Jalapeños, sliced
- 2 tbsp quick cook polenta
- 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
For the pastry
- 100g plain flour
- 200g quick cook polenta
- 150g cold butter, cut into cubes
- 75ml just boiled water
- 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 egg beaten.
- Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan and fry the onion for 5 minutes, adding the garlic for the final minute. add the mince to the pan, breaking up any big chunks with a wooden spoon. Fry over a medium heat for 5 mins stirring regularly.
- Sprinkle with Paprika and cook for a further minute.
- Tip the tomatoes, red wine, stock and Jalapeños to the pan, stir well, season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for 25minutes, add 2 tablespoons of polenta and stir until the mix thickens. Remove from the heat and add the chopped coriander. Leave to cool.
- To make the pastry, put the flour and polenta in a large bowl, rub in the butter until the mix resembles breadcrumbs
- Add the just boiled water and mix with a wooden spoon until the mix comes together, leave to cool for a few minutes then wrap the mix in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.
- Remove from the fridge and knead in the Parmesan
- Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees c.
- Divide the dough into 8 balls, then on a well floured worktop roll each ball out into a 16cm round.
- Divide the filling between the 8 discs, leaving a 2cm gap around the edge of each disc.
- Now brush the exposed edge of the discs with the beaten egg and carefully bring the edges up to cover the filling, pinch together to make a small parcel.
- Brush the completed parcels with beaten egg.
- Place the pies on some baking paper and cook in the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Aidan wasn’t so keen on the carrot and courgette salad so I thought I’d add a new salad for supper. I hadn’t been able to do any salads with nuts for lunch and Aidan loves broccoli so I decided to do the broccoli. feta, tomato and hazelnut salad from the Avoca Cafe Cookbook The Avoca book says it’s their most popular salad in the cafes. I was surprised before making it but even with a couple of other salads we ate a lot of this between 4 of us for supper. I’ve put the quantities from the Avoca book below but next time I’d do a bit less dressing and put in the rest of the pack of feta.
I made this salad again a couple of days later to use the rest of the feta and the one head of broccoli left in the fridge, I think this is destined to make a regular appearance on our table.
- 110 g/4 oz. hazelnuts, shelled, with brown husk attached
- 400 g/14 oz. (or one large head broccoli) broccoli florets (bite-sized)
- 110 g/4 oz. good-quality feta cheese, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 225 g/8 oz. cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
- 200 ml/7 fl. oz French Dressing
- Preheat the oven 180 degrees C, gas mark 4.
- Toast the hazel nuts in the oven spread out on a baking sheet, for about 5-10 minutes. Be careful to check them at the end because they can burn very quickly. Once they are done, tip them into a clean tea towel and rub them vigourously to take off the skins (this step is entirely optional if you don’t mind the skins, but toasting the hazelnuts gives a creamier flavor than when added raw). Let the hazelnuts cool,
- Optional just barely blanch broccoli (I did this by pouring boiling water over broccoli, draining immediately and rinsing with cold water)
- Gently toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl until everything is coated with the dressing, season with pepper and serve.
- This salad keeps very well covered in the fridge for about three days, and is an excellent idea for a picnic
Tomato and Mozarella salad is another very simple salad to make up. You must get the best flavoured tomatoes you can for this.
- 200g Tomatoes, I used baby plum tomatoes here
- pack mozarella, I used a pack of mini mozarella balls above
- 4 sundried tomatoes (optional)
- Olive oil
- basil (optional)
- Slice large tomatoes and cut out the woody stem end
- Slice mozarella
- Arrange on plate
- Drizzle with olive oil and toss
- Slice sundried tomatoes and sprinkle on top
- Sprinkle torn up basil leaves on top
I needed to make a nice lunch for vegetarian guests where one has a nut allergy (but no problem with seeds) so decided to make some salads and soup from the Avoca Cafe Cookbook. I made the roasted carrot and roasted pepper soup I blogged a little while back, Carrot salad, tomato and mozarella, a bean salad and baked brown rolls.
The carrot salad was very simple to make (especially using the magimix processor). I made a variation by adding courgette but kept everything else the same. The courgette made it look pretty (looks better than in the picture).
- 4 coarsely grated carrots
- 2 coarsely grated courgettes
- French dressing
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Toast sesame seeds in dry frying pan
- Mix carrots and courgettes, add all but a tsp sesame seeds
- Add dressing and toss
- Top with remaining sesame seeds
This soup is so simple to make and another delicious soup from Avoca, quantities below serve 6. Roasting the peppers brings out their natural sweetness which gives this soup its extra depth of flavour. If I had fresh tomatoes I’d be tempted to roast them as well.
- 1 onion – peeled & chopped
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled & finely chopped
- 750ml veg or chicken stock
- 400g tomatoes (canned or fresh)
- Sprig thyme
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- 2 red peppers, roasted and roughly chopped
- 1tsp lime (or lemon) juice
- If peppers are not yet roasted, turn oven up to 200C, deseed peppers and put peppers in to oven to roast
- Saute the onion in the olive oil for about 10 mins, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min.
- Then add the stock, tomatoes, thyme, tomato puree, cinnamon and simmer for 20 mins.
- Stir in the roasted peppers and then puree the soup in a blender.
- Reheat gently, add the juice to taste and check seasoning.
We’re heading into London to watch the Paralympics equestrian events this afternoon so I decided to make up some food to take rather than have to queue for fast food. I got this recipe from Sarah on the Omlet chicken forum. It’s a bit retro, I remember hollowed out loaf sandwiches when I was a child but haven’t come across them in years.
- 1 loaf (I used Waitrose stone baked boule)
- 1-2 tbsps olive oil
- pack salami
- pack mozarella sliced
- 1/2 jar roasted peppers in oil
- 1/2 jar sun dried peppers
- Cut a lid off the loaf and hollow out so there is about 1-2 cms bread remaining (put hollowed out bread aside to make breadcrumbs for the freezer)
- Brush lid and inside of loaf with olive oil
- Line base with Salami
- Add layers of mozarella, peppers, sundried tomatoes and salami, finishing with a layer of salami
- Put lid back on and wrap tightly in tin foil
- Refrigerate overnight
- Cut into wedges and rewrap in tin foil
Thought I’d give the Nigella Express cookbook another go and wanted something very easy for lunch. Basically this is a cheese toastie with quick coleslaw – I think it’s a bit of a cheat to fill two pages of a cookbook with this (unless it was a cookbook for beginners) when the recipe could be condensed into:
Make a cheese and tomato toastie and quick coleslaw
– use Chinese leaf instead of white cabbage and mix a little mango chutney into the mayo for your coleslaw.
– mix a little worcestershire sauce into some mayo and use in sandwiches instead of butter
I was going to follow her instructions for the cheese toastie as I do have a griddle pan but decided weighing it all down and removing it all to check when it’s cooked was too much of a faff so I used my toasted sandwich maker instead. The conclusion from our teen who is very fond of mango chutney was that it was too overwhelming in the slaw and he actually left his (my boys almost never leave food so he really wasn’t keen). Jon and I quite liked it but concluded 1 teaspoon of mango chutney rather than a tablespoon would be better. And what’s not to love about a cheese toastie 🙂
Nigella’s Sandwich Slaw
- 1 red apple, cored and julienned or coarsely grated
- 1 carrot, julienned or coarsely greated
- 100 g Chinese leaf, finely shredded
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp mango chutney
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Toss together the vegetables & fruit.
- Mix caraway seeds with mango chutney, lemon, mayo and salt, and pour this over the veggies.
- Mix carefully, then serve.
I don’t need to look up a recipe to make a Greek salad but I thought it would be useful to post one up so I can direct my boys to it when I want them to make up a Greek salad for dinner.
These quantities make enough for 6 people (or 4 with leftovers for lunch the next day) and it takes about 10 minutes to make. We had this salad together with with a piece of pitta and humus each and some grilled halloumi cheese for dinner tonight.
- 1 cucumber
- 8 medium tomatoes
- 2 medium red onions
- 200g feta cheese
- handful pitted black olives
- 3 generous slugs of olive oil
- Slice or chunk cucumber and put in large salad bowl
- cut tomatoes in half, cut out the core then cut each half into 3 pieces and put into salad bowl with cucumber
- Peel red onions, cut in half then cut each half into thin slices and put into salad bowl
- Put three good slugs of olive oil over salad and toss
- Cut up feta cheese into cubes and put on top
- Cut or tear olives in half and put on top
- Toss salad gently to mix a bit more