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Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

I am a big fan of the MoneySavingExpert site (although I’m a silent lurker), and I could honestly spend HOURS on their Complete Cooking Collection .  Ok, I admit it. I already have spent hours on the cooking collection, plenty of them.

There’s a forum thread where people post recipes that cost no more than 50p for two people*.  You’d think that would be quite difficult, but nay, there are 16 pages worth of suggestions!  That’s where I found the recipe for this potato, bacon and onion bake.  You can find the original recipe here, but I have scaled up my recipe to feed 3 greedy potato fiends:

Ingredients:

4 baking potatoes, sliced thinly

8 rashers bacon, unsmoked (I cut the fat off cos I hate the texture *boak*)

2 onions, slices thinly

200ml milk, I used semi-skimmed

As you can see, I went to town with my Mandolin slicer; it’s BETTER than sliced bread, I tell ye.

I layered them in the following order: Potatoes (season with salt & pepper), onions, bacon.

I done that twice, then finished with a layer of totties:

I poured over the milk, seasoned, then baked this at 170 degrees for about an hour and 15 mins.  I would recommend the slower baking, as it really intensifies the flavour!  I covered it with foil about half way through as it was getting burnt on top (next time I’ll cover it with foil from the start, then remove for the last 15 mins or so):

So, do I serve the delicate purple sprouting broccoli?  The medley of Julienne vegetables?

Of course not.  This type of dish deserves baked beans, and plenty of them.

This is cheap, cheerful, extremely easy and utterly tasty.  There’s a time and a place for fancy food.  This is comfort food at it’s best.

You could substitute the milk for cream if you want to increase the richness, or top it with cheese to make it more indulgent.  It doesn’t need it though.  The salty bacon seeps through and flavours everything beautifully and the potatoes are deliciously moreish with a light crispiness.  I salivate in remembrance. 

Next time, I’m making enough leftovers for lunch the next day.  I’d never tire of this.

Try it :) x

*The thread was started in 2006, so 50p probably wouldn’t apply these days with the inflation.  But still great value for money!

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When I made the grande announcement that I was going to make couscous, I was met with confused stares, followed by… “what is couscous?”

I thought I was the only one ignorant to the ways of couscous, so the blank looks were fairly comforting.  Trying to answer their question, however, was a different matter.  So I did what I always do.  I Googled it.

According to Wikipedia: “Couscous is a grain dish of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat and then coating them with finely ground wheat flour.”

I simplified this explanation by saying “it’s a semolina thingy that you can use as an alternative to pasta or potatoes (got the last bit from the packet :P).  Just wait and taste it”.

It all started with a trip to Tesco to pick up some red lentils last week.  I saw the couscous next to it for 67p for 500g!!!  Most individual portions of 100g are the same price, if not more expensive!  So I figured I’d compete with the likes of Ainsley Harriott and do my own version :)

I’ve tasted couscous only once before, and that was ages ago.  So I was relying on my twinny to tell me if I’d made it correctly.  Heres what I did:

I chopped up:

250g closed cup mushrooms

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 onion

And I measured out 200g couscous (serves 4)

I put 1 veg stock cube into 250ml boiled water and kept aside till needed.

I fried the onion and mushrooms for around 5 mins, added the peppers, then fried for another 5 mins.

I then added the couscous, followed by the stock.  I added some crushed black pepper and a few tsps of sweet paprika at this point too.  I gave it a good stir then removed the pan from the heat.  The packet says to leave for 5 minutes, but I’d left it for half an hour (till my sis got here), then reheated it quickly.  I added about 50ml of water at this point, so it wasn’t too dry. 

I’d originally planned to add a smoked sausage to this and have it as a main dish.  But mum had made a “salad”, so I just put small amounts on our plates and there was plenty leftover for lunch the next day (the packet says you can’t freeze it though, only refrigerate then heat up in the microwave for a couple of minutes).

I used inverted commas to describe the salad, as I’ve yet to meet anyone else who puts waffles and piles of grated cheese on theirs.  But it was damn tasty, and the addition of the couscous made it very filling indeed!

Eat your heart out Ainsley (what a weird phrase).

What do you like to have couscous with?  I need more ideas, now that I have 300g lurking in my cupboard…

:D

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Hi All

Thats me back from Marmaris, Turkey!  I had a fabulous time, although unfortunately the food in our hotel left a lot to be desired :( (I’ll know to look at hotel reviews BEFORE I book next time!).  I was intent on trying authentic Turkish food in some nice restaurants, however, I was struck down with a gut wrenching (literally) tummy bug for the last 3 days and just couldn’t face anything too adventurous!  I did have a gorgeous mushroom sauce with a steak one night; I will endeavour to recreate it for the blog!  Plus… I took a sneaky photo of a Turkish menu, with the descriptions in them.  They will be investigated in the future!

So, what with the tummy bug and a week’s worth of alcoholic indulgences… a major detox was required!  What better way to detox than with some lovely, veggie packed soup?  Obviously I use the term “detox” loosely (soup aint the same without buttery bread!), but it’s a step in the right direction!

I got this recipe from the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book – The Cook’s Classic Companion.  This was given to me as a birthday gift from my fellow food loving buddy (thanks Stevo) and my mouth waters with each turn of the page!

The original recipe calls for chillies and tomatoes, however, I decided to omit these, in an attempt to maintain the lovely flavours of the butternut squash and sweet potato.  The soup really doesn’t miss either of these ingredients; I personally think it’s utterly moreish!  I brought some into work for my friend Jayne’s lunch today and she enjoyed it too… Sweet Mother of Lucifer oh how I love the praise!

Such a simple combination!

Ingredients (serves 4-6 dependant on greed):

1 onion, diced

2tsp ground coriander

1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced

3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1.7 litres vegetable stock (I used 3 veg stock cubes)

Directions:

Fry the onion in a little oil until soft.  Add the coriander and stir.

Add the squash and potatoes and fry for 5 mins.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 20 mins, or until the veg is soft.

Blend until smooth (I used my hand blender), then season to taste.

This soup could not be easier!  Please give it a try and let me know what you think.  Enjoy :)

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Sorry I haven’t written anything in a wee while; been busy at work + crappy computer blah blah right lets get doon to business! :)

As you know from previous posts, I like to make soup that I can freeze and take into work for lunches.  This one was very easy and ridiculously tasty.  Everyone seems to think that tomato and basil are the perfect partners.  For me, tomato and oregano is far superior. 

Heres what I done to make a flavourful batch of tomato soup (serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp sugar (to eradicate the tartness of the tomatoes)

2 onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

4 tbsp red lentils (thoroughly rinsed)

3 tbsp red pesto

1 litre stock (I used 1 veg & 2 ham stock cubes)

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp dried basil

3 tbsp dried oregano

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Fry the onions & garlic in some olive oil for 5 mins.

Add the chopped tomatoes (then sprinkle sugar over them) and red lentils.

Pour in the stock and stir.

Stir in the red pesto, basil and oregano.

Pop in the bay leaves, then season well with salt & pepper.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 45 mins.

I would take the extra five minutes to shove this through a sieve, for some smooth, glossy wonderment.

As always, tis best served with some buttery, crusty bread.  But if you’re watching your figure, you wont feel deprived just having it on it’s own.

You could easily double/treble this recipe and use some for a pasta sauce for another dish (I used one of my wee tubs to make a pasta dish with chopped smoked sausage & broccoli, it was quick and tremendous).

Enjoy! :)

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Continuing my attempt to eat healthily, I opted for a stir fry last night.  It was my first attempt at making my own marinade (I usually go for a packet/jar sauce, as a stir fry has always been a quick “mid week” meal for me), and I will never go back to pre-made sauce again!

This served 2 greedy girls plus enough for one lunch tub the next day!

Ingredients:

2 cooked chicken breasts

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 medium onion, diced

4 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp ground ginger

1 tbsp all spice

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp chilli powder

2 tbsp honey

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsalmic vinegar

2 spring onions, chopped into 3 sections lengthwise

100g mange tout

150g button mushrooms

A further 40 -60ml soy sauce (to taste)

Stir fry veg – I used Tesco Vegetable & Beansprout Stir Fry 380g

Noodles – I used 150g of Amoy Straight To Wok Medium Noodles

I mixed the chicken with the onion, soy sauce, garlic, honey, ginger, chilli powder, all spice, pepper, balsalmic vinegar and olive oil in a tub and left to marinade in the fridge for an hour.  I’m sure it would be better left overnight:

 

I heated olive oil in a wok then added the button mushrooms (if the chicken was uncooked I would have made this first).  After about 5 minutes of stirring, I added spring onions, mange tout and chicken marinade and stirred for a few minutes.  Then I added the stir fry veg and about 40ml soy sauce.  Once the veg had wilted down, I added my noodles.  I added a few more dashes of soy sauce to coat, then served up on a plate.

I thought this was quite spicy (I have a rather mild palate, many wouldn’t find this hot at all).  If your tastebuds are as sensitive as mines, I dont think the dish would miss the chilli powder.  On this occasion, I felt it was a perfect excuse to serve up with a cocktail to soothe my poor throat… I made Woo Woos:

1 shot vodka

1 shot peach schnapps

Fill with cranberry juice

Serve with lime and plenty of ice (and a colourful straw of course!)

Delicious!

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I dont know about you, but December (like most people) was a very indulgent month for me!  Alot of us resolve to eat healthily in January; to be honest… I am finding it rather difficult to adjust from mindless gluttony, to nutritious gastronomy.  I am not a fan of diets.  I love good, hearty food and if I weren’t going through a major slump at the gym right now, I would be able to enjoy my good, hearty food guilt free.  As it stands, my laziness has cost me a few culinary sacrifices… only until I feel sufficiently traumatised into getting my bum back on that rowing machine, of course!

The only way that I’m able to make sure I eat more healthily, is to plan ahead.  It was my first day back in the office today (from the festive holidays), so I wanted to have something comforting for lunch, to combat the chaos around me.  For me, the ultimate comfort food is a nice, warming soup.

(Thats right… I am at the office before sunrise… how shocking is that?!)
I have never tried making my own pea soup before, but I saw a lovely idea by Good Food, for “Pea and Pesto Soup with Fish Finger Croutons”.

To say I have adapted this recipe would be a bit of an understatement, as mines is so utterly different!  I adapted/transformed mines to be more healthy; but still felt it important to honour my influence for the soup.  So here is what I done:

Ingredients:

3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
2 medium onions (diced)
5-6 good sized potatoes (diced)
1 litre of stock
2 bay leaves
700g Frozen Peas
500ml semi skimmed milk

Fry the onions and garlic in a little olive oil.  When the onions become translucent (around 10 mins on a medium heat), chuck in the potatoes, add the stock, then the bay leaves.  Give it all a good stir.  Cover and simmer, until the potatoes are cooked through (around 20 mins works for me personally).  Next, pour in the frozen peas, bring back to the boil, then simmer for 4-5 minutes.  Add the milk and warm through, as well as more water if you feel it is too thick (I added about another 200ml of water at this point, but it’s all about preference).

Blend until the soup reaches a smooth consistency and a luscious green colour!

A few points about this soup.  I took one of my tubs into work today with me, which I really enjoyed with a slice of wholemeal bread and olive spread (hee hee that rhymed).  In an attempt to keep the soup healthy, I didn’t season it nearly as much as I normally would’ve done.  Lesson learned for me; my advice is for you to season it really well.

Also… I’m not enough of a foodie (quite yet) to be snobbish about the use of stock cubes.  I’d love to be able to leisurely make and freeze my own stock, however, until that day arrives, stock cubes will do for me!  For this occasion, I used 2 vegetable stock cubes and 1 ham.  Next time I make it, I am definately going to use a lovely joint of gammon or something.  Mmmm.

Here is my little tubs, all set for the freezer.  The big one at the top is going to be used as a pasta sauce, with breaded fish chunks and pesto… funnily enough!  

(The ultimate freezer friendly soup!  Perfect if you have a microwave in your work kitchen)

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