Saturday, 28 July 2012

Pea, mint and goats' cheese bruschettas

Continuing an Italian theme started by Bresaola salad earlier this week I present you with a recipe for incredibly tasty bruschettas. I was inspired to make these by one of my friends - thank you Scott, I hope you're reading this!
These beauties are perfect if you want to impress your guests (or yourself) - they look and taste like you spent hours slaving in the kitchen. So many great flavours working together as well! Sweetness of the peas with a bit of spiciness coming from chili flakes, fruity olive oil with creamy goats' cheese... ah, it doesn't get better than this.

To make 8 small bruschettas you'll need:

half a long ciabatta bread
1 cup of peas (fresh would be best, but I used frozen and they work really well)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
chilli flakes
a few fresh mint leaves
4-5 tbsp goats' cheese
1 tomato, sliced into 8 pieces
a handful of pine nuts

Preheat the oven to about 200 C. Boil peas in a big pot. Once they are done, drain and set aside.

Pierce the garlic clove and drop into a small bowl filled with olive oil. Add about 1/4 tsp of chili flakes (or more if you like things spicy), stir with a spoon and set aside so the oil infuses with garlic and chili flavours.

Place the peas in a food processor, add a glug of olive oil, 1/4 tsp chili flakes, squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper and mint leaves - blitz quickly (you want it to stay a bit chunky) and set aside.

Place pine nuts in a small pan and toast lightly. It takes seconds once the pan is hot, so don't leave the kitchen because you'll come back to sorry looking black yuckiness. I speak from experience here people! And no, there won't be any pictures of the blackened mess :)

Now slice the ciabatta bread into 8 slices, place on a baking tray and brush with the infused oil.

Grill for 1-2 minutes until golden brown.

Assemble! Place ciabatta slices on a plate, spoon some smashed peas all over, add a slice of tomato and a teaspoon of goats' cheese. Sprinkle with pine nuts, drizzle some olive oil on top and there you go. Food porn in all its glory!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Banana bread

Is your kitchen home to a few overripe bananas?
Do you like cake? (duh)
Do you claim baking is hard?

If the answer to at least two of these questions is yes than you should definitely make banana bread. It's simple, keeps for a few days (although so delicious it won't last that long, trust me), can be eaten for breakfast, dinner, lunch, you name it. I guess what I'm trying to say is give it a try!

I've tried a few recipes for banana bread but Sophie Dahl's wins every time (I just reduced the amount of sugar as a) bananas are quite sweet anyway and b) I was using chocolate). I was also inspired by Jen of Jen Loves Kev to add chocolate chips to the batter - score!

To make it you'll need:

75 g soft butter
4 ripe bananas (the riper the better, though of course they can't be black!)
150 g soft brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda or baking powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
170g plain flour
a pinch of salt
a good handful of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180 C/160 C fan. Mash bananas with a fork in a big bowl.

Add sugar, egg, vanilla extract and butter. Fold everything in with a spatula, until mixed thoroughly.

Add bicarbonate of soda, pinch of salt and flour, mix again and add chocolate chips.

Line a bread tin with baking parchment and pour the dough in.

Pop into the oven for 1hr, remove from the tin and cool. Eat with a bit of butter if you're feeling a bit naughty!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Bresaola salad

Italian cuisine represents everything I love in cooking: taking simple ingredients and transforming them into delicious dishes. As I watched the antics of Two Greedy Italians on TV a while ago one dish in particular grabbed my attention (well ok, if you must know ALL dishes grabbed my attention and I was a drooling mess, wishing that I could pack my bags, ditch my job and move to Italy asap. Then I remembered it's a bit too disorganised for my liking - no offense Italians!) I digress. Again! The dish that grabbed me was a bresaola salad and I put it on my mental 'to cook' list immediately.

I have to admit I never heard of bresaola before; if you haven't either then you need to know that it's a type of air dried, salted beef aged for two to three months. Quite similar to parma ham, it's dark red and rich in flavour - a little goes a long way. I have to say, the moment I tucked into this salad (it was on a Friday evening, after a long week at work) I was absolutely blown away: the flavours compliment each other beautifully, there's some crunch from the croutons (ok, not the healthiest of things, but so delicious!), fresh lettuce, crunchy radishes, salty beef and olives and to top it off an amazing garlic infused oil. If this sounds like it might be up your street (I can't imagine anyone who would turn their nose up on this beauty) then get yourself some bresaola and let's start.

The recipe can be found here (I made some small adaptations)

To make enough for two people you'll need:

For the salad:
2 gem lettuces, leaves separated and torn into smaller pieces
a handful of rocket
a handful of lamb's lettuce
5-6 radishes, sliced thinly
10-12 olives (I used green), sliced in half
2 eggs, hard boiled and cut into slices
about 6-8 slices of bresaola, torn into smaller pieces
freshly shaved parmesan, to dress the salad

For the dressing:
2-3 tbsps olive oil
1 clove of garlic, whole
1 - 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

For the croutons

3-4 slices ciabatta bread, cut into cubes
1-2 tsps olive oil

Start off by making a dressing. Put olive oil into a small jar (I have one dedicated to dressings), pierce garlic clove with a knife and gently crush it with the blade, then add to the jar. Add white wine vinegar, a pinch of salt, close the lid, shake and leave aside.

Now make the croutons - simply fry cubed ciabatta in a small frying pan with a bit of olive oil until nice and golden. Set aside on some kitchen towel to drain excess oil.

Now arrange gem lettuce leaves, lamb's lettuce and rocket on your plates, scatter radishes, olives and bresaola. Pour over some of the dressing and toss well.

Top with slices of egg and shavings of parmesan.

Finally add the croutons, drizzle a tiny bit more dressing, add a sprinkling of pepper and tuck in! Prepare for a large number of oohs and aaahs in between mouthfuls; yes, it's that good!

Sunday, 22 July 2012


Wow, what a lovely weekend we just had - gorgeous weather, a walk with friends and some yummy food!

the usual kitchen scene

yours truly

London Guildhall

delicious pork sandwich at Southbank food market

dark chocolate Magnum

mhmmm, chips!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Mini turkey pitas

There's something about mini foods I love. Mini burgers, mini cheesecakes, mini cupcakes - cute, right? Plus you feel you can get away with stuffing your face because they are tiny. See, what's not to like?
The idea for these mini pitas popped into my head when I was making my moroccan meatballs and had a few meatballs left. Flattened a bit, they became mini burgers! And since they were a bit exotic, I decided to pair them up with pita breads and houmous. Brilliant. They are super tasty, healthy and ridiculously easy to make. They'll make perfect party food - you could just serve all the ingredients in little trays or bowls and let everyone assemble their own pitas. And call it a Pit(a) Stop. My gosh, aren't I funny today.

Anyway, get the oven hot and embrace all things mini!

To make enough pitas for two (quite hungry) people you'll need:

6-8 mini pita breads
6-8 turkey meatballs, flattened into mini burgers (see recipe here: moroccan meatballs)
a few tablespoons of houmous
a few tablespoons of sour cream or creme fraiche
a handful of green salad leaves (I used my beloved lamb's lettuce)
1 pepper
2 small tomatoes
a small piece of cucumber

half of butternut squash

olive oil
salt, pepper and paprika

Start off by getting the oven hot (about 180-200 C). Peel and chop butternut squash into smallish pieces, then arrange on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Pop the whole pepper on the tray as well and brush both veggies with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and paprika (or chilli powder if you like a bit of heat). Roast for about 30 minutes until butternut squash is soft.

While the veggies are roasting, chop tomatoes and cucumber into small pieces and cut the pita breads in half (not all the way through - you want to create mini pockets). 

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large pan and fry your mini turkey burgers on medium heat until nicely browned and cooked through. 

Take the veggies out of the oven, set butternut squash aside and pop the pepper into a plastic bag. Seal the bag and wait for a few minutes. This is a little trick that will help you peel the skin off the pepper. Once the skin is off, get rid of the seeds and slice the pepper into long strips.

Warm pita breads in the oven for a few minutes, then start assembling them. Spread a little bit of houmous inside, add the burger, then pepper, tomato and cucumber. Add salad, season with salt and pepper and plop a blob of creme fraiche or sour cream on top. 

Serve with butternut squash and more salad. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Wednesday wishes

Right, I'm sorry for the lack of recipes; after a weekend trip to Ilfracombe all I can think about is how to a) go back there again and b) lose the so called fudge and ice cream indulgence pounds I gained.

Alas, fear not! I will be posting a recipe on Friday! In the meantime though, I wanted to share some recent finds.

First up, these cool egg muffins, perfect for breakfast - and.... carb free!

Now, let's talk about this chicken - it looks amazingly succulent and juicy. The recipe uses brown sugar and garlic - I'm sold!

These are brilliant - mini home made oatmeal bars!

 And this salad - my mouth just watered!


I'll be making these cute coasters as soon as I find the right pen!

 I'm a sucker for printables - these recipe cards are the bomb!

I have no idea what to call these (spouts?) but they are brilliant!

What are you pinning this week?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...