Tag Archives: quick

Chicken, Leek and Rosemary Tagliatelli

A quick and simple supper recipe today!  This Chicken, Leek and Rosemary Tagliatelli recipe uses a white wine reduction to make a super simple sauce that is super luxurious!  Sometimes you need to give yourself a little indulgent treat but this is a little bit lighter than my usual cream based sauces.

Chicken, Leek and Rosemary Tagliatelli

The freshness of the leeks and the depth of the rosemary pair beautifully with the bacon and chicken to make a perfect Friday supper for two!

Chicken, Leek and Rosemary Tagliatelli

Serves 2

1 large chicken breast, sliced
125g bacon lardons
1 medium leek, rinsed and sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
200ml white wine
tagliatelle to serve

  • Prep your water for pasta, mine usually takes 4-5mins but check the packet for cooking instructions and proceed accordingly.
  • Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan and add the bacon lardons cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the sliced chicken breast and cook until just turning all white.
  • Add the leek and cook until just softening.
  • Add the rosemary and the wine and simmer on a medium heat until the wine is reduced to a thick sauce coating the bottom of the pan and the leek is completely soft and the chicken cooked through.
  • Serve over tagliatelle!

Chicken, Leek and Rosemary Tagliatelli

Leave a comment

Filed under Easy, Mains

Tortilla Pizza/Flammekueche

Sometimes you need pizza… sometimes you need pizza 5 minutes ago!  Sometimes you’re just craving a little something, a light meal, a pick me up.  These Tortilla Pizzas can be thrown together in next to no time with whatever ingredients you have lying around.  I would say the only things you definitely need are going to be tortillas and cheese, the rest is pretty variable!

Tortilla Pizza

I tend to go for a flammekueche rather than a pizza.  I like the creme fraiche base rather than the tomato but as I say, this is a very versatile recipe!  And quick too, which is it’s real selling point for me!  15 minutes and you can have a freshly cooked pizza!

Tortilla Pizza

A pizza stone does help here as you can get the underside crispier but if you don’t have one it’s no biggie, the edges will still get nice and cripsy!

Tortilla Pizza

Serves 1:

1 tortilla
2 tbsp creme fraiche or passatta
Toppings: Whatever you like!
I went for 2 mushrooms, sliced, 2 slices parma ham, shredded, 1/4 onion, sliced

Grated cheese to finish

– Turn on the grill.
– Take a tortilla, spread it with creme fraiche or passatta.
– Add your chosen toppings.
– Scatter with grated cheese.
– Grill for 5-10 minutes until all of your toppings are cooked and the cheese is golden and bubbly!
– Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Easy, Mains

Garlicy Smoked Salmon, Prawn and Pea Pasta

Much though I try to like smoked salmon on its own, I just can’t get over the texture.  I love the taste though!  My solution is to work it into cooked dishes as much as possible so I can enjoy the flavour without the gag inducing texture!  This quick weeknight salmon and prawn dish works a treat and it’s so simple to throw together while the pasta is cooking.

Garlicy Smoked Salmon, Prawn and Pea Pasta

It’s a looker too, the peas give it a nice bit of pizzaz and the spirals of the prawns and spaghetti please me!  For a dish that takes about 10 minutes to cook you can’t go wrong!

Garlicy Smoked Salmon, Prawn and Pea Pasta

Serves 2

200g spaghetti (or linguine, tagliatelle etc, go nuts!)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (or use the pureed stuff in a tube!)
200g smoked salmon
1/2 cup frozen peas
150g king prawns (cooked)
150ml creme fraiche
1/2 tsp chopped parsley (dried or fresh)

– Get the water boiling, salted and the pasta in.  Most pastas take 10 minutes but check your packet for instructions.
– Heat a splash of olive oil in a small saucepan.
– Add the garlic and smoked salmon and cook until the salmon is all flaked and has turned pale and opaque.
– Add the frozen peas and cook for a few minutes until defrosted and bright green.
– Add the prawns.
– Add the creme fraiche and parsley and cook until heated through and just bubbling.
– Add salt and pepper to taste, I find the salmon doesn’t usually need any additional salt but a dash of freshly ground black pepper does wonders!
– Your pasta should be done by now so drain it off and divide between your bowls.
– Top with sauce et voila, Dinner!

1 Comment

Filed under Easy, Mains

Mushroom, Asparagus and Spinach Bruschetta / Frittata

 

 

 

As a busy single gal with a job, a home, a garden and puppy to tend to these days my cooking choices are dictated mostly by time.  I am a big fan of batch cooking, my freezer is worth its weight in gold, and if I can make a dish do double duty and provide me with not one but two meals I am all over that!  This is a perfect example of multipurpose cooking.  I had a light supper for 2 and breakfast for 4 days out of this one quick session in the kitchen.  If that’s not efficient I don’t know what is!

Crispy crunchy bruschetta!

 

I started with the bruschetta.  I had visited York’s Food Festival on Sunday and grabbed a Haxby Bakehouse baguette.  After having some with roast chicken and salad on Sunday night, and another hunk for Monday lunch’s sandwich I was still left with about half a baguette day old baguette.  Perfect for bruschetta!  Once you’re done these will also keep well for an extra few days so don’t worry if you don’t want to eat them all at once, they’ll keep!

For the Bruschetta:

– Heat your oven to Gas 6 / 200C.
– Slice a baguette about 1/2″ thick.
– Place on a baking tray and spray both sides lightly with olive oil.
(- Cut open a clove of garlic and rub over the surface of the bread. )
– Place in the oven and bake for ~15-20 minutes.  The longer they’re in the crunchier they get!  It’s up to you how dark and crispy you want them to be.  You can stop when they’re just lightly browning and more toast like or keep going until they’re totally crisp and a deep, even brown!
– Keep warm if desired or allow to cool and then they can be boxed up to keep for a few days.
– TURN DOWN THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO GAS 4 /180C *

20140623-234439-85479674.jpg

 

Now for the Topping!  Basically, I grabbed what I had on hand, which was mushrooms, asparagus and spinach, but the possibilities are just about endless!

~6 largish closed cup or chestnut mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus
1 large handful spinach
75g cream cheese
1 tbsp creme fraiche

– Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan.
– Thinly slice the mushrooms.
– Sautee the mushrooms.
– Snap the woody stems off the asparagus and slice into bite-sized bits.
– Add the asparagus and stir while cooking for about 3 minutes.
– Add the spinach to the top of the pan and leave to wilt over a low heat giving a little poke to mix it if necessary.
– REMOVE HALF OF THE MIXTURE TO YOUR SKILLET.  *
– Add the cream cheese and creme  fraiche to the remaining mixture, stir until melted and well mixed.
– Add a sprinkle of salt and a good grind of pepper to taste.

*See below.

20140623-234440-85480910.jpg

 

Carefully spoon on top of your bruschetta and plate up.  A little shaving of parmesan is a delight too! (And spot the cheeky little cheese on toasts added to the plate, I had 2 spare bruschetta and some Monterey Jack in front of me, add a quick blow torch et voila! Cheesy Toasts!)  I suggest a nice chardonnay and a sunny evening to enjoy these but they would be just as good by the fire on a winter’s evening too I’m sure!

20140623-234441-85481686.jpg

 

Now, what were we doing with our mysterious other half of the veggie mixture? Well, this is where the Frittata comes in! Or you can call it an omelette or a crustless quiche or whatever you fancy, I kinda just like saying Frittata in a kinda Hakuna Matata fashion!

* For the Fritatta:

– While you are cooking your veggies in your first frying pan heat a little splash of oil in a cast iron skillet.  Make sure the oil has coated the pan nicely this will stop it sticking.  (Skillet seems like such an Americanism but it just feels right for this kind of pan, you know?)
– In a jug or bowl beat 4 eggs, a splash of milk (~50-75ml), a pinch of salt and a grind of fresh black pepper.
– Add the veggies to the pan and pour over the egg mix.
– Top with slices of cheese, I went with Monterey Jack but any cheddary cheese would work.
– Place in your preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes until set through.  It will puff up beautifully!
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will sadly deflate but no matter!).
– Slice into 4 and place in a box in the fridge ready to grab a slice for breakfast each day.  You can eat this hot or cold, if you would like a hot breakfast simply heat in the microwave for 1 minute.

20140623-234440-85480463.jpg

 

So there you go, supper for 2 and breakfast for the next few days in one quick dash around the kitchen.  The fritatta can bake while you are eating your bruschetta, just remember to go back and get it out of the oven or bad things will happen!

20140623-234442-85482047.jpg

 

1 Comment

Filed under Breakfasts, Easy, Mains, Starters

Quick Chicken Skewer Wraps

Oops! I’ll admit that I totally forgot to prep a post for today! I spent the weekend over in Manchester visiting my sister and went to the Cake and Bake Show on Sunday, which has thrown me off my usual schedule somewhat! It’s nice to get away and do something different though isn’t it?

20130228-204358.jpg
This recipe for quick chicken skewers should stand anyone in good stead for a speedy last minute dinner. Ideally you want to leave the skewers to marinate for as long as possible. If that’s a few hours, great, if you only have a few minutes that’ll do just fine. Flexibility is the objective here. I like to make these when I’m after a meal that’s light yet packed with flavour. The fact that they’re so quick to make is another point in their favour and, even better, any leftovers are just as good cold for lunch the next day. Any variation from my usual ham sandwich is always welcome!

20130228-204427.jpg
Serves 4

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried coriander
1 tbsp lime juice
tortilla wraps, salad and natural yogurt to serve

– Slice the chicken thighs into 3 long strips each.
– Thread the strips of chicken onto bamboo or metal skewers.
– Place in a dish and scatter over the chilli flakes and coriander then sprinkle over the lime juice.
– Turn to coat evenly.
– Leave to marinate for as long as you can spare.
– Heat a grill then cook for about 5 minutes, turn then cook for about another 3 minutes.
– Serve in tortilla wraps with plenty of fresh salad and drizzle with yogurt. If I’ve the time I like to chop a little red onion and fresh garlic into my yogurt and leave it to marinate for as long as the chicken gets. It adds another layer of flavour with almost no effort on my part, which is always good!

20130228-204443.jpg

2 Comments

Filed under Easy, Low Fat, Mains

Mushrooms In Garlic Butter

Making up a large part of my mother’s collection of, I would guess, over a hundred cook books is the St Michael range.  She has almost every volume, in fact, she may actually have every volume but I’ve never asked.  If you need a cook book for any type of cookery, this range will have the title just for you.  They are retro in the extreme.  I love just browsing through the pictures to have a giggle, one of the things I love is that there is always a photo. I never trust a cookbook I can’t see pictures in!  They also happen to contain basically fool proof recipes.  I’ve never met one that didn’t work.  The Last Minute Christmas Cake recipe came from one, the family Chilli Con Carne recipe did too.  They are basically culinary gold!

Possibly the most useful one is the Microwave Cooking volume.  You wouldn’t think that a book on microwave cooking witten in 1983 would be anything other than horrendous.  Microwave cooking, for goodness sake!  Nowadays the microwave seems to be the province of ready meals and reheating leftovers.  You might, god forbid, boil your water in it (if you do I want you to go away now, I’m afraid we may not be able to remain friends after all).  It doesn’t exactly speak of haute cuisine.  All the things that these days are “bad” are the essence of the microwave: fast, convenient, easy, fuss free.  If you’re a “real cook” cooking “good” food then you should be standing there in the kitchen, pots and pans steaming, wooden spoon in hand.  Bunging your ingredients in on high for 4 1/2 minutes is, at best, cheating, surely! Not so, I say!  The microwave may have a bit of a bad rep. but it can produce some culinary gold!  We make a mean steamed pudding in ours and my Chicken Liver Pate is another, or this recipe for Mushrooms in Garlic Butter.  Ready in 10 minutes and utterly delicious!

Serves 4

450g button mushrooms (whole if small, cut into quarters if especially large)
1 tsp herbes de provence
2 cloves garlic, crushed or very finely diced
1 tbsp lemon juice
100g butter
1 tbsp double cream

– Place the mushrooms, herbes, garlic and lemon juice in a heatproof bowl. 
– Cover with a plate or clingfilm and cook in the microwave on high for 6 minutes. 
– Uncover and drain off any excess liquid. 
– Stir in the butter, chopped into pieces, and cream and season to taste.  (Mushrooms need a reasonable amount of salt and I think a good dash of pepper works wonders too.)
– Cook uncovered for 2 1/2 minutes. 
– Take out and give a good stir. 
– Serve in ramekins (or rice bowls like I did here) with some nice crusty bread.

2 Comments

Filed under Easy, Starters

Cheesecake Bars

When I lived in Tokyo I would usually pick up breakfast on my way to uni.  If there is one thing I miss the most about Japan it is the convenience stores, or conbini, they were just brilliant!  You want a kitkat, a bottle of mikan juice and a bowl of hot macaroni cheese at 3am?  Done!  Japanese food was just amazing in all ways, even the rubbish, but I digress.  Every morning for a good few months I would stop off at a particular store on my trip to uni and I would buy myself a carton of cafe latte and a cheesecake bar.  It was just a simple stick of baked cheesecake.  No biscuit, no flavouring, just cheesecake plain and simple. 

For Christmas I got a silicone baking mould that forms 12 bars.  I had asked for a 9 hole mini loaf tray but such a creature does not exist it would seem and the closest “Mother Christmas” could come was a 12 hole bar tray from France.  The first thing I thought of when I saw this tray was, “Well that’d make funny shaped loaves.”, the second thing I thought was, “But I could make cheesecake bars!”  And so last night, when I was in serious need of some baking therapy having just watched Doctor Who, I did. 

This cheesecake recipe is the simplest thing in the world only 5 ingredients!  I think I first saw this recipe in a supermarket magazine as a project for kids but it is now one of my emergency recipes as it takes so few ingredients.  I like to make it after dinner because then you can just leave it and forget about it while it cools in the oven overnight and it’s not taking any time away from other things.  Also you get to breakfast on cheesecake and what’s better than that?

Makes 12 bars.  If you don’t have a fancy mould like mine then you could probably just use a brownie or square cake tin and cut it up. 

2 large eggs
400g soft cheese
125g caster sugar
4 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tsp vanilla extract
the seeds from half a vanilla pod

Step 1: Assemble your ingredients.

[I changed my mind about the orange half way through and decided to keep it pure with the vanilla but you can easily substitute the vanillas for the zest and 3tbsp of juice from an orange, lemon or lime.  We keep our vanilla pods in the sugar jar, as you can just see, it gives a light hint of flavour to the sugar and stores the vanilla well.]

– Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease your mould, tin or tray with melted butter. 
– In a medium sized mixing bowl beat the eggs. 
– Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. 

It will look like this but keep beating...

...and it will look like this!

– Add the sugar, vanillas and creme fraiche and beat until well combined. 
– Pour into your chosen mould and  bake for 30 minutes. 
– Turn off the oven and leave overnight or until completely cool. 
– Turn out, and slice if necessary, and serve!

3 Comments

Filed under Easy, Teatime Treats

Apple Pancakes

I first had these on holiday as a child and I still love them to bits.  I have such a sense memory of the first bite with soft pancake, crisp apple and sweet icing sugar dust.  I didn’t appreciate it then but because of the natural sweetness of the apple and the dusting of icing sugar these are so much better for you than smearing pancakes with jam or butter.  It’s still something of a nursery tea dish for me, best enjoyed on a crisp Saturday afternoon, or a Thursday like today, I’m not that picky!  The basic batter is for drop scones or scotch pancakes and you can add other things such as dried fruits like sultanas or even chocolate chips!  The crispness and sweetness of the apple is always a winner for me though! 

Makes 6-8 saucer sized pancakes, 12 smaller drop scones. 

150ml milk
1 egg
2 tbsp caster sugar
100g self raising flour
1 apple, cored and sliced

First measure out your ingredients into a jug. I measure the milk, add the egg then add the sugar and weigh the flour. As you see pinpoint accuracy is unnecessary!

 – Beat everything together with a whisk or fork until smooth. 
– Heat a frying pan on a medium low heat and grease lightly with a little oil or butter. 

Pour the batter onto the hot pan. How big is up to you! Place an apple slice in the centre.

When bubbles have risen to the surface and the first ones have burst flip the pancake over with a spatula or palatte knife.

Leave the pancake to cook for a minute or two on this side then put on a plate covered with a teatowel to keep them warm. Repeat until you have used all of the mixture.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and eat!

2 Comments

Filed under Easy, Teatime Treats

Frothy Milk

I love me some frothy milk.  I like it for my hot chocolate, for my latte, for… well, nope, just those things really.  But frothy milk makes them so much better than ordinary milk!  I used to have an Aerolatte, which was great, love that thing, however it currently resides in a box somewhere in the garage with the rest of my kitchen.  I also have a fancy coffee maker with a steam wand out there too.  However, currently I have neither of these things.  I have been frothy milk-less! 

However, salvation has arrived!  Here is a simple how to for making frothy milk with a jam jar and a microwave.  Sorted! 

(My mother has asked that I point out that Friday is kitchen cleaning day and it has been a hell of a week so any mess you see is the result of bad timing for me to do a quick photo shoot before doing my chores!  I would like to point out the irony of the fancy coffee maker sitting in the back of the shots.  Hasn’t been used in years, I think the instructions were written in Martian!)

Half fill a clean jam jar with milk. Put the lid on.

Shake the jar for about 30 seconds.

The bubbly milk should have doubled in volume.

Remove the lid and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute (depends how hot you want your milk).

Remove from the microwave.

 (I have to put in here that your milk will probably be a bit more bubbly than mine, mine had to sit for a bit here as there was a fight over the work surface while mum made a bacon sandwich!)

Put your coffee or hot chocolate in the mug. If making hot chocolate I like to mix the powder with a bit of milk first then give it 30 seconds in the microwave.

Pour the milk into the mug holding back the foam with a spoon.

Spoon the foam on to the top. Enjoy!

6 Comments

Filed under Drinks, Easy, Uncategorized

Falafel Burgers

My kitchen karma has disappeared!  Tonight I made falafel burgers and pita bread for dinner.  Now the falafel burgers just aren’t that great I am afraid to say, at least in my opinion, but the pitas… well, I’m not sure they were pitas.  They were closer to really flat bread buns! 

I had seen the recipe for Falafel Burgers over at Good Food a while ago and thought they sounded great.  Not only were they low-calorie but it was a way of getting more pulses in my diet and all of the comments said how surprisingly tasty they were.  I followed the recipe exactly and I have to say I was not impressed.  They were essentially bland and squishy dollops of meh.  I ended up piling mine up with salad to try and get some flavour.  If you happen to be a fan of chick peas then I suggest doubling the amount of harissa paste and putting in at least 2 good pinches of salt.  I’m willing to accept that may be I just didn’t like them but I had such high hopes for this recipe that I find myself very disappointed. 

As for the pita, I must not have knocked down the dough well enough as they came out all puffy and fat.  More like someone had sat on a bread bun than a pita!  I had made up the dough then got distracted and it sat for 30 minutes and rose quite well.  I knocked it down and carried on as usual but obviously that was a mistake.  We had to cut the pockets into them, nothing had formed like normal.  They were delicious, really lovely and soft and you could, as you see above, cram so much more than you would normally be able to inside of them but not really pita.  I may, however have inadvertently come up with a lovely flatbread recipe!

Falafel Burger Recipe

Makes 6 small, 4 large

400g tin chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
handful parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp harissa paste (or chilli powder) *
2 tbsp plain flour
pinch salt*

– Dry off the chick peas with kitchen paper. 
– Put everything in a food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste and everything is well mixed. 
– Divide the mixture and shape it into patties with your hands. 
– Fry for 3 minutes each side, or use a health grill. 
– Serve with pita, salad, salsa and yogurt. 

* Double these. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Easy, Mains