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Archive for the ‘side’ 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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Oven Chips

Not everybody has a deep fat fryer in the kitchen or the luxury of a chippy in close proximity to their home.

This is an easy recipe that anyone can do.

Ingredients
Potatoes cut into large chips
Lard rather than oil
Paprika

Add the chip potatoes to a pan of water  and bring them to the boil

In the meantime melt the lard in a hot oven

When the potatoes are soft but still in shape drain them and add them to the melted lard sprinkle with paprika and put in the oven for about an hour.

Serve and enjoy.

Tiggy

Take a look at my other blog and see what I have been up to,  Tiggy Hayes 

Stir Fry Veg


How often do we have odd vegetables left over; not quite enough to feed the whole family but you don’t want to throw them out? In my house they sit there and fester and end up being thrown out and I am annoyed at the waste and that I have not used them in something. 

A curry or a stew can take any left over vegetables cut up small and added to the pot.   One of my favourite methods however is stir frying them with sweet chilli sauce at the last minute and then serving them with the main meal.

Necessary ingredients 
Oil 
Onions  chopped finely 
Ginger chopped small 
Garlic chopped small
Sweet Chilli Sauce 
Spinach and or Watercress  -This is added at the very end and not cooked

Optional ingredients 
Carrots sliced
Green beans sliced
Courgettes sliced
Red and Green peppars
Fennel, Mange Tout, Celeriac cut very small 
Bacon Lardons 
Chilli chopped small depending on how hot you like it
Button Mushrooms or larger Mushrooms cut into small chunks 

Have all your vegetables ready chopped so you can concentrate on stir frying, take you eye off it and that is the point it will burn.   I find a wok the most useful pan for this , but a frying pan will do the job just as well.

We like the freshness of this dish and the crunch of vegetables. You can pre-boil the vegetables if you want but remember you take away the texture and goodness if you do this.  I don’t pre-cook them for this recipe.




About 5 minutes before serving heat the oil then add the onions and garlic to fry gently.  


Add the remaining vegetables,  root veg first with lighter vegetables at the end.  Keep the spinach and watercress out at this time.   If you are using bacon add it early as it requires thorough cooking.  Cut up small enough it will cook very quickly.  


Keep stirring  adding the other vegetables (keeping back the watercress and spinach still) as you stir.



Just before serving add in the sweet chilli sauce and make sure all the vegetables are coated.  You do not need a lot. 

Turn the heat off and put in the Spinach and Watercress, stir gently. Cover the pan and take to the table.  The steam and heat will wilt these leaves and allow them to retain all their goodness and vibrant colour.


Serve as a side dish or as a topping for baked potatoes. 

We had it with Risotto.   My children will not eat risotto with any additions so instead I add a separate dish and serve it as a topping. They are quite happy with this – so am I.  Not only do the children eat their vegetables, I have cleared the fridge of all the odds and ends.  

I have sometimes added left over cooked vegetables at the last minute as well.

See how this goes down.  It also would be great for a student all in one pot – add some sliced new potatoes (pre-boiled if possible) and keep the bacon, then use the vegetables available.    They could add kale or  spring greens a few seconds before end if they cannot get watercress or spinach.  

Let me know any other combinations that could be added.  I have served it with bbq sauce instead of sweet chilli, as a warm side salad to burgers or sausages.

Tiggy

See how life is treating us 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

BBQ Sauce


Yet another sunny weekend – it is such a pleasure to be able to plan a BBQ and almost be guaranteed a warm barmy evening to enjoy the last rays of the sun with a cool glass of wine, a few friends and the odd child running round the garden.

Of course it is so easy these days to nip to the supermarket and buy ready prepared meat for the barbie.    However on days like this when I have a plan I prefer to buy meat from the butcher and prepare it myself.  This is such a quick and simple marinade / sauce which has wonderful results.

2 tbs Clear Honey
1 tbs Soft Brown Sugar
1 Tbs Worcester Sauce 
2 tbs Tomato Ketchup 
1 teaspoon of mustard
dash of soy sauce



Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan.  



Heat very gently stirring regularly till everything has become smooth, blended and there are no sugar granules left.

Take of the heat, allow to cool slightly then  pour over the meat.  If you have enough put some in a small jug to serve separately on the table (I sometimes do double amounts and then split it)




Leave the meat in a covered bowl or plastic bag in the fridge to marinate.



Take the meat from the fridge a little ahead of cooking and when the coals are ready lay the meat over the BBQ and pour any residual sauce over the top, cook depending on meat and bring to the table.

Serve with the reserved jug to rapturous plaudits.

I have used this with chicken, beef steaks, pork ribs, kebab meat or vegetables marinaded before being skewered.   

A very versatile quick sauce; add more honey for a really sticky marinade,  add a chopped chilli or extra mustard for hot tangy sauce.   Or add some sweet chilli sauce and a touch of coconut milk (once taken off the heat) for a more oriental flavour.

I also now use this as the basic for a smoky stir fry sauce, again adding touches depending on mood.

Give it a try and let me hear your adaptations.

Enjoy.

Tiggy


Find out what I am up to in my other blog  Tiggy Hayes

Caramelised Onion Marmalade

Not the kind you add to your breakfast toast but fabulous with sausages and any cold meats.  It will keep for a while in the fridge so bring it out at BBQ time.

This is dead easy to make and I have given the measurements I was first given which will make about 6 jam jars.  I usually don’t measure and use a few onions the rest is a bit here and there but we don’t tend to make it in big batches.


Ingredients 

butter 100g  or olive oil will work
onions lots about 2kg all sliced 
dark brown sugar 300g 
red wine vinegar 300ml
red wine 250ml
balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons
whole grain mustard 2 teaspoons 
pinch of chilli flakes (for optional kick)


I only use a little butter and melt it over a medium heat 




Lower the heat then add the sliced onions.




Allow them to soften then add about half the sugar.  Stir regularly and let the onions caramelise but not burn




Add all the other ingredients and bring it to a fast boil.



Allow the pot to simmer for up to an hour till most of the liquid has evaporated and the consistency is similar to that of marmalade.  The smell pervades the whole house and unlike pickle cooking it is enticing and reminiscent of hot dogs.

I tend to serve it still hot with sausages but it can be put into jars once cool and kept in the fridge.  I always think I have done enough but it still goes.

Enjoy

Tiggy 

See what every day life throws at me in my other blog.   Tiggy Hayes

Curly Kale


I like my vegetable side dishes but so often to entertain the pallets of young unadventurous children I end up serving boring boiled veg day in, day out.    If I take the time and effort to produce a really nice meal it is good to have some side dishes that compliment the meal.  

This is definitely a dish to keep mum about the ingredients when talking to the children; yet it all disappeared so quickly.  We were having slow roasted lamb which had been infused with garlic and rosemary wrapped in anchovy fillets and the combinations worked really well.

Ingredients 
Butter
Olive Oil
Kale (stalks removed – cabbage or greens would work as well)
Onions sliced 
Garlic – chopped finely
Anchovy fillets – chopped very finely



Heat the butter with the oil to prevent it from burning. 

Add the onions and garlic and soften 



Chop the anchovy fillets very finely; don’t worry nobody will know you have them in there.  Add to the pan.



Meanwhile blanch the kale in boiling water for a minute or so.  This keeps the colour vibrant and rich and does not lose any goodness in over boiling.



Drain and add to the onion pan –  toss quickly with all the ingredients and turn into serving dish.




Both the garlic and anchovies are invisibly infused within the soft almost caramelised onions but they give a richness of taste with no salt required.

Give this a try.  See how it goes down particularly with the lamb or a fish dish would be good.

 Enjoy and let me know what other combinations you can come up with.

Tiggy

Find out what I am up to in my other blog  Tiggy Hayes





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