Attempting to make it as a writer

Archive for the ‘spinach’ Category

Warm Chicken Salad



Autumn, particularly early on is a difficult time.  Just too hot for the full roast but too cold for another Sunday barbecue so what do you serve?   Having planned according to the weather forecast I was doing a roast dinner.  The day turned out to be far too hot and we ended up have an extra four people so this went down very well.

Chicken 1 – 2 for roasting
Oranges – halved
Onions – unpeeled but halved
Cranberries (I had some in the freezer.  Pomegranate seeds would work as well but I would add right at the end as decoration) – defrosted
bag of mixed Spinach, Watercress and Rocket




Stuff the chickens with the Oranges, onions and cranberries. I used four oranges so put two halves in then the onions and then finished with the other two oranges.




I did use pepper and salt over the skin before cooking.





Roast these according to your normal cooking process, removing them when they are brown and crispy on top.



In to a bowl carve the chicken, or pick it to bits keeping the legs and wings separate.    


Add the salad to the chicken bowl and mix well with hands.  The heat of the chicken allows the salad to begin to wilt.


Taking out the oranges, squeeze any remaining juice from them into the roasting dish.  Let any cranberries fall into the dish.


Pour some of the juices over making sure all the cranberries are used.   (This is when I would add the pomegranates if using).


Arrange on serving platter and then add the reserved legs and wings on top.

Serve with buttery minted new potatoes and a warm bean salad.



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

Tiggy 

See the last of the Swanwick trilogy at 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

Caramelised Onion and Tomato Tart



Some times you have a glut of something left in the fridge and nothing seems to use these particular ingredients so they sit around waiting to go off.   That is when I try to create something and regular dishes find themselves having added ingredients.

We had a surplus of tomatoes and onions having been given a whole load of each.    I was not going to waste them. In this instance I had made my own pastry but bought would work just as well.

Ingredients 
Pastry
Onions lots and lots sliced thinly
butter (butter is best for caramelising but you could use oil if necessary)
brown sugar – I use muscavado and probably not as much
Spinach – I always have this in the fridge and it lines the dish giving it a rich colour but you don’t have to use it.
Tomatoes – lots again sliced 
Mozerella cheese –  roughly  torn into small chunks 




Melt the butter and fry the onions very gently, stirring often so they don’t burn.



when they are really soft add the brown sugar and stir in well.


initially it will liquify but keep stirring to coat the onions really well and continue on a really gentle heat. 



When the sugar has all evaporated and the onions are almost golden in colour take it from the heat and allow to cool slightly.   We are now ready to put it all together.



Roll out your pastry and line your dish


you can build your layers however you want; I like spinach on the base, onions in the middle with the tomatoes spread over the top.  This could be repeated if you had enough of the fillings.


It was after the tomato layer I threw in some salt and a good helping of pepper but that is a matter of choice



a good covering of mozzerella cheese and the tart is ready for the oven.

A hot oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melting, bubbling and turning golden.  The smell of fresh tomatoes wafts through the house and the children miraculously appear demanding food.


This makes a great lunch dish or if you have to take a dish to some buffet event, you don’t have to eat it hot.   

Enjoy and let me know if you have any recipes for using up extra.

Tiggy 


Check out my other blog at Tiggy Hayes


Chorizo Pasta



My children are all passionate about pasta, but sometimes it is great to have a change from bolognaise.   This is a bit of a cheat but it is quick, easy and incredibly popular.

Ingredients
Tiny amount of olive oil
Onion chopped
Peppars chopped
Chorizo sliced into large bite sized chunks
Jar of pasta /tomato sauce
Pasta
Cheese – parmesan or a good mature cheddar



You need the smallest amount of oil just to get the onions starting to sweat.




Add in the chopped peppar and let them begin to cook stirring for only about 5 minutes.


Add the chorizo to the pan and cook till the chorizo is browning, turning occaisionally.







Then add the jar of sauce.  As I am feeding lots of hungry boys I used two small jars of different tomato sauces and rinsed them with a small amount of water. 

Bring to the boil whilst cooking the pasta. I start to let the sauce really thicken before serving.



In this case I used a fresh spinach ravioli so layered them on the plate but normally I use a dried pasta and mix it in to the chorizo pan before serving.

Serve with cheese, fresh bread or garlic ciabatta and a green salad.

This is fantastic as you can add peas, sweetcorn, mushrooms, even extra tinned tomatoes into the dish or as I often do spinach leaves as you bring it to table.   This is a great way of getting the children to eat some vegetables without serving any.

It is a really popular meal on our table and so easy to add to if you have an unexpected guest, just add an extra jar of sauce or a tin of tomatoes and you have enough to go round.



Enjoy, let me know how the children like this one.


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!

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

Cauliflower Cheese

Sometimes I like to serve something healthy and nearly vegetarian. 
Totally vegetarian dishes in a house full of growing athletic boys creates a feeling of  scarcity and hard done by.
I find bacon lardons or pancetta a fabulous addition to many dishes which otherwise could be vegetarian.  If you do not eat meat please leave out.
My husband and I had served cauliflower cheese as a side dish at our wedding because we both really like it and we had both chosen it on our first meal date.  Seventeen years later and he still loves my version of this simple dish adapted to allow it to be the star of the show. 
Ingredients
Bacon lardons / pancetta
Cauliflower /Broccoli  broken into spears
Spinach – I had a bag of baby spinach leaves in the fridge.
Tomatoes – I used small Vine cherry tomatoes and sliced them
Butter  / Milk  /  Flour
Mature tasting cheese – I used cheddar – grated
Bread – 2 slices  crumbed – a good use of crusts if you have some that will not be used
Firstly fry your bacon lardons using a tiny bit of butter if required until crispy.
Add butter, milk, flour and half the cheese to make a cheese sauce with the bacon in it.
Meanwhile  boil some water and put cauliflower in for a few minutes until just beginning to  soften.  Remove, leave to drain then add the broccoli spears to the water for a couple of minutes only.   Both these vegetables need some crunch left in them.  
Lay the spinach in the bottom or the dish.
Add cauliflower and broccoli to the dish and cover with the cheese sauce.
Top the dish with the sliced tomatoes.
I crumb my bread slices and then add the grated cheese to the mixed crumbs – this mixes them really well together.  Sprinkle liberally over the tomatoes.
Cook on high in the oven till the cheese sauce is bubbling and the breadcrumbs have turned golden brown. 
Serve with fresh crusty bread or in this instant I served garlic bread. 
It goes down a treat and if in the unlikely event there is any left over makes a great lunch dish the following day.
Everyone will have their own method of making this dish from pre-cooking the vegetables to how to create the perfect cheese sauce.  How do you serve yours?   As a main dish or as a side, do you add broccoli or spinach or do you keep it true to the name?   We think the garlic bread compliments the meal really well but what would you like to serve with alongside the dish?
If you enjoyed this meal, check out my mumerings and comments on life by reading Tiggy Hayes.

Tag Cloud