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Archive for the ‘cheese’ Category

Stuffed Avocado



Avocados are such a strange ingredient – I often buy them when they are on offer and they sit in the fridge never actually getting used.   That is exactly how this dish was created.  We were looking for something to use up what I had in the cupboard and initially I threw this together.  Although we have now had it a few times, having bought the ingredients or saved them on purpose.

So what did I have in my fridge:

2 Avocados
oil
1/2 a large aubergine chopped to bite sized chunks
chilli  chopped finely 
onions chopped finely
garlic chopped finely
red pepper chopped in to slices
cheese





Fry the onions and as they soften add the garlic and chilli



Add in the aubergines and maybe a touch more oil followed by the peppers.  Allow all the vegetables to cook through particularly the aubergines.




Mean while  cut the avocados in half and take out the stone.  Place on a baking tray.



When the stirred vegetables are ready, fill the avocados with the mix and sprinkle liberally with cheese.  I used cheddar but stilton would go well with its strong taste.  Feta or even parmisan would both be good. 



Cook for about 20 minutes in a hot oven – if you cook straight from the preparation you could grill these but I prefer the Avocados to be piping hot all the way through.   

Bring to the table and serve.  We eat this as a complete meal; two half avocados each with a watercress salad.  You could serve just one as a starter or even as an accompaniment to cold meats and pickle.


Try it with your cupboard ingredients and see how it turns out like.

Enjoy 

Tiggy 

see what I have been up to on my other blog Tiggy Hayes









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Minestrone Soup


Weekend lunches are always a bit hit and miss.  As the children grow they have different activities.  A formal lunchtime is no longer an option, so I try to create lunches which can be eaten as they and their extra friends pass through the house.

Soups are warming, welcoming and they can be as hearty and cleverly filled with vegetables without the children realising.   Minestrone is a particular favourite.  It takes a little more preparation but is definitely worth the extra effort.  The earlier you prepare it in the day the better the flavours blend and the richer the soup tastes.

Ingredients 
oil
onions finely chopped 
bacon small lardons
leeks finely chopped 
carrots finely chopped
other vegetables you wish to use up – chop finely
splash of sherry
tinned tomatoes 
chicken stock
spaghetti  chopped into tiny pieces
grated parmesan or cheddar to garnish





Heat the oil and add the onions and begin to soften




Add the bacon lardons and let them start to cook.


Add the other vegetables depending on how long they need cooking carrots should be early on with green beans if you are using followed by softer vegetables like leeks.

Keep stirring occasionally to stop it sticking.


Add a splash of Sherry or sometimes I use Masala if I have no Sherry.  Stir well.



Stir in the tinned tomatoes and then add the chicken stock. bring to the boil.  Allow it to boil well for a few minutes.



Keeping it boiling add the broken up pasta, allowing it to continue cooking for long enough to cook the pasta “al dente”.  Add extra water if required.



Keep cooking this for as long as required on a low heat, remembering to stir occaisionally.

When the time comes serve with the grated cheese and with warm crusty bread of your choice. warming, popular and great to stretch for unexpected guests.




Enjoy and let me have your soup recipes to try out.

Tiggy 

take a look at my complex and busy life in my other blog Tiggy Hayes




Beetroot and Fennel Gratin


Sometimes especially with side dishes I am a little more adventurous and cook separate sides for us and the children.    We had this to accompany our fish but it would go equally well with cold meats or could stand alone as a vegetarian alternative.

In a bid to try and be a bit more diet conscious I tried to do away with the heavy cheese sauce which I know works  but used low fat yoghurt and a dash of cheap mayonnaise.  This worked surprisingly well adding an extra dimension to the dish.

Beetroot – top and tailed.
Fennel
Spinach
Low fat Yoghurt
Mayonnaise
Cheese 

Bake the beetroot in a hot oven until you can prod with a knife and it comes out easily.  About 40 minutes for the three medium sized ones I used.
Peel them while they are still warm. Then slice them roughly.

Cover the base of your serving dish with lots of spinach.


Add in your fennel.   I don’t pre-cook this as I love the crunchy texture but if you wish to pre-boil this before adding it will work the same.

 Layer the beetroot slices on top of the dish  then I mixed low fat yoghurt with a dollop of mayonnaise and dotted it over the vegetables. (Cheese sauce is a good substitute)


Cover in a good sprinkling of grated cheese.   I used cheddar but low fat varieties are available. 


Bake in the oven until it is golden brown on top, then serve as a truly delicious accompaniment. 


This is a great combination of vegetables that seem to be in abundance late summer and a change to the normal plain vegetables that I serve up for my pernickety children.

Enjoy and let me know other combinations that work together.

Tiggy

check out what I have been up to at my blog Tiggy Hayes

Tomato Pasta



This is such a great dish for the family.   It uses up all the old veg that didn’t quite make it into something else.  It is packed with vegetables including the ones no-one likes and the children love it.  How better to sneak some good wholesome food onto their table.

Ingredients 

Oil – just a dash
Onions 
Vegetables chopped to smallish sizes – celery, leek, carrot, pieces of squash, courgettes, whatever you have in the fridge.  Not too much of anyone thing
Tinned Tomatoes –  the plum ones are good for this (2 tins at least for  people)
Dash of Red Wine Vinegar 
Generous spoonful of Brown Sugar


Heat the oil and begin by gently frying the onions and veg such as celery or leek.





Add the other vegetables, toss together




Throw in the tomatoes, they can stay whole for the moment.



Add the red vine vinegar, you only need a little. Then sprinkle liberally with the brown sugar.  This gives a slightly sharp tang then sweetens it which makes it appealing to the children.






Bring it to the boil and leave to simmer so that all the vegetables are cooked through.    If you are adding spinach, kale or other green leaves that do not need much cooking add them at the end just before you puree the mix.
When the root vegetable are softened, but still remain firm add the green veg and then liquidise.  This should be fairly roughly done so there are a few bits of crunch left in the sauce.   I blitz quickly once and then leave.

Serve immediately with fresh or dried pasta and plenty of hard grated cheese.   A chunky fresh bread also goes well with this.  

This is so difficult to replicate as the ingredients change each time; sometimes I add a few fresh herbs or even dried.   The delight is seeing them polish of the plates no matter what is in the pot and they think it is just tomato sauce.   I have added ginger and garlic as well to give it a little more umph.  I should rename it “Mothers Prayer Answered” with all the disguised goodness in there.  It is quick and so easy.

Enjoy 

Tiggy

Find out what I am up to in my other blog  Dawn Chorus

Baked Jackets


This is a very popular way of serving Jacket Potatoes.  It does need a bit of pre-planning but if you prepare this earlier in the day it becomes a fabulous food to have following a cold damp bonfire party maybe after a bowl of steaming soup.

Ingredients

Large Baking Potatoes – 1 per person
Onion chopped
Bacon Lardons
Mixed Herbs
Dash of Olive Oil
Dash of milk
butter
Cheese grated – I use cheddar

Prick the potatoes and bake in a hot oven  for a good hour.





Towards the end of Baking, heat the oil in a small pan and fry the onions adding the bacon lardons.  




Add mixed herbs and cook well until the bacon is beginning to crisp.










Remove the potatoes from oven and  while still hot cut in half and empty shells into a large mixing bowl.








Add the butter and milk to mash the potatoes.



Then mix the bacon into the mashed potato.   Add half the grated cheese.






Return the potato mix back to the empty shells and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.






These can then be left until about 20 minutes before you are ready to eat when they need to go into a pre-heated cooker.  

Take out and serve piping hot with baked beans, salad or other vegetables.   They are very filling and very popular.


I have done this with mackerel fillets, leeks and feta cheese but there are so many combinations you could come up with.  Let me know which one goes down best in your household.


Tiggy

Find out what I am up to in my other blog  https://tiggyhayes.wordpress.com/



Sweet Potato Mash


One of the reasons I don’t follow recipes and particularly the ones with exacting measurements is that there is always a quarter of this left or a sprinkling of that.   What do you do with these tiny non useful amounts of weird and wonderful ingredients?  Normally they hog up valuable space in my fridge until they are well and truly past their sell by / eat by date and crawling out the fridge without help.

Sometimes I find I have enough to throw together something different and make it a fridge meal.    Having found some wonderful fresh vegetables in my organic Riverford box and a fridge full of odd bits I would never have used  I decided to put them together hoping to keep some for lunches over a few days.  It was a little more popular than I anticipated and lunch will be somewhat drab for the rest of the week.

Ingredients
Sweet Potatoes 
Fennel  (half left over from another dish)
Ginger chopped small
Onion ( I had a quarter left over from a BBQ and chucked it in)
Chilli  (having chopped a large chilli up for a curry – I decided it would be too spicy for the children hence a ready chopped half chilli in fridge)
Spinach an ever versatile and useful vegetable that I sneak into lots of dishes 
Butter
Soured Cream – left over from Fajitas
Cheese  –  this was pre-grated Red Leicester –  not used when we went on a picnic, but you could use any cheese
Parsely – from my herb garden to finish it off



Boil the sweet potatoes with the fennel, ginger and onion till soft enough to mash.




Drain then mash adding a touch of butter.  I also threw in a large dollop of soured cream at this point.

Add the chilli and some cheese then mix well.



In a baking dish lay the spinach in a deep layer on the bottom and cover with more dollops of the soured cream.

Add the potato mix on top and finish off with the rest of the cheese.

Cook in hot oven for about 20 minutes until the top is bubbling and golden.   

Serve.

You could use this as a main dish maybe add a beaten egg to the mash or serve with boiled or poached egg on top.  I served it as a side dish to accompany a piece of chicken – delicious.  

Try it out,  I would not expect you to have the same ingredients in your fridge as I found in mine so try out other combinations and let me know how you get on.  Leave out what you don’t have or like but be adventurous and mix the flavours together.  Share your attempts with me.

Happy food

Tiggy

Check out my ramblings from my other blog Tiggy Hayes.  This week we went out to dine but I am still passionate about my food!

Potato Pie




This came about after I had spent a couple of weeks in and out of hospital so had loads of potatoes left over that the rest of the family didn’t need having lived off pasta and takeaways.

Ingredients
Potatoes mashed with butter and milk
Bacon lardons  optional
Onion finely chopped
Mixed herbs
Marmite
Cheese – cheddar
Spinach


I boiled up the potatoes until they were very soft then mashed them really well with loads of butter and quite a lot of milk.  


In the meantime I had fried the bacon lardons and onions in a touch of butter then added the mixed herbs.


I then added a good teaspoon of marmite to the potato mix.  It needs to colour it but not overpower the potato.  Nobody should be able to realise what was added especially marmite haters such as my husband.  Mix in really well, this just adds a wonderful depth to the taste. 

I added the bacon mix at this point and mixed it all well.


Then add plenty of grated cheese –  I always use cheddar as I have plenty but you could use red Leicester which would give great colour, or a vegetarian alternative.


Then arrange in a baking dish.

A good layer of spinach makes this a meal in itself.  Add the potato mix as a complete layer.  If you have a small deep dish you could do spinach, potato, spinach, potato.  Then top it with another good covering of grated cheese.



This is now ready to pop into a hot oven 30 minutes before you are ready to serve.

A great filling warming dish, you could serve another vegetable or a salad with it.  I served with a bowl of baked beans that I had added a teaspoon of curry powder to.  I made enough for five but one child didn’t eat with us that night.  It all disappeared.

Enjoy and let me know how you try yours.

Tiggy

Follow my other blog at Tiggy Hayes

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