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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









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





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!

BBQ Side Salads



With this sudden onset of wonderfully sunny weather the planned roast was ditched in favour of a BBQ and I guess like me, many of you will have done the same.

I am not a great lover of BBQs because even though it seems a great idea at the time: the men of the house all stood round the barbie cooking up some grub.  In reality there is a lot of behind the scenes preparation that still has to go on.

Here I have just done some very basic side dishes that will be eaten by the children as well as the adults.   As it was just family we bought in some meat rather than marinade my own and kept it simple.

Pasta Salad – this is one my son loves and will make up for himself as just a snack.
Ingredients
Pasta Shapes – tricolour ones add colour to this dish or simple as I have done
Curry Powder
Mayonaise
Paprika – it is more for decoration than taste
Parsley

Cook the pasta according to packet, taking of the heat before it is fully cooked – then rinse it and leave it in cold water to cool (the water stops it from sticking together).
Meanwhile mix a good sprinkling of curry powder with a generous helping of mayonaise.  (I do this in my final serving dish so it is all coated as well and you don’t lose any)
Add the pasta and mix well.
Decorate with the paprika (just a sprinkling)  and parsley.



Potato Salad – another very popular dish among the children
Ingredients
Potatoes  –  I like to use new or salad ones but old can work just as well
Onions – again it is what you have, salad ones are great but red or normal work
Salad cream
Garnish with chopped mint / parsley / chives

Boil the potatoes until soft and then drain them and stand in cold water.
Chop the onions finely .
Cut the potatoes roughly and sprinkle over the onions in the serving dish.
Add a good dollop of salad cream and mix well with a knife to chop the potatoes a little more.
Sprinkle with your garnish


Tomato Salad  – there are many different versions of this available but here is mine
Ingredients
Tomatoes – again any variety  if you are entertaining the coloured mixed ones look great
Onions – red or normal
Oil / Vinegar Dressing – I used a simple french dressing I had made for a previous BBQ
Mint chopped to garnish

Cut the tomatoes, chop onions finely (I don’t use a whole onion here but may use two small salad onions).
Mix
As you take to table add the dressing.
Add the garnish 


Garlic Mushrooms –  my son had added mushrooms into the shopping basket in the hopes of a barbie.
Ingredients

Mushrooms
Butter
Garlic – powder/ granules  works best with this recipe
Mayonaise
Garnish

Melt the butter in a pan, add a spinkling of Garlic
Add the mushrooms and cook until soggy.
Take off heat and drain (water comes out of them when cooked )
Leave to cool
Just before serving mix mayonaise with garlic, add the mushrooms and mix well.
Add the garnish.

There are so many variations on these dishes.  I change the curry powder for garlic.  You could add tomatoes, peas, sweetcorn to the pasta.   See what this inspires you to try and let me know. Please add your comments and let me know what works for you.

Take a look at my other blog –  Tiggy Hayes

Happy eating –  enjoy this sunny weather

Tiggy 









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