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Archive for July, 2010

Courgette Frittata

When I was food shopping the other day, I decided to pick up a 3 pack of courgettes.  I’d never tasted them before, and they seem to be in every recipe I look at right now!  Making a frittata has been on my “to do” list for some time, so it seemed like fate when I came across this little gem on BBC Good Food.  This recipe wasn’t used, but it provided the inspiration.  This one is loosely based on a recipe card I found on a Tesco checkout in Carnforth last week!!

I had all the ingredients; the plan was in place.

I didn’t, however, bank on coming home absolutely exhausted yesterday.  I’d been working from 7am, then straight to the gym for a major workout (have to burn off all those indulgences!).  I know a frittata is considered a quick meal, but I felt weak and tired; the freezer food was whispering to me.

My sister Irene was huffy… I’d lured her over to my house with the promise of frittata.  She even offered to help chop the vegetables.  She doesn’t get to cook very much, since I’m always feeding her!  But I asked her if she would like to try making the frittata and she was up for it; I’m so glad, because she did an amazing job!! 🙂

(Irene, brandishing a knife and looking manic.  Nothing new there then.)

First she chopped up all the veg, as promised (as well as some chorizo for good measure!)

Ingredients (Serves 4):

1 onion, diced

1 courgette, diced

2 yellow bell peppers, chopped

75g chorizo, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 eggs, beaten

100ml whole milk, stirred into the beaten egg.

50g mild cheddar (or whatever cheese you want)

Preheat the grill.

After frying the vegetables & chorizo in some olive oil for 5-10 mins (until they softened), she set them aside and wiped the pan clean with some kitchen towel.

She then returned the pan to a low/medium heat and poured in enough olive oil to coat the bottom and sides of the pan.

She added the vegetables to the bowl of beaten eggs and gently stirred, before pouring it into the frying pan again.

After a few minutes, we could tell the egg was beginning to set, from the way it was detaching at the sides.

She grated some cheese over the top, then placed the pan under the grill.

After about 8-10 mins, the frittata had set on the top, and the cheese had turned a gorgeous brown.

Here are some more photos of this joyous occasion (yes, I’m like a proud mother hen with my camera out):

I know for some people, making a frittata isn’t a big deal.  But I dont care; I could burst with pride, because Irene never really cooks and this was DELICIOUS.  Plus, there are a million different variations on frittata, so it’s a wonderful basic dish to make.  Whats more, there was plenty leftover here; perfect for lunch the next day!

I just hope Irene will cook with me in future 😀

What do you like to put in your frittatas?

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I’m always looking for new soups to try out; ones that are freezable so I can take tubs into work with me (keeps me away from the chippy and McD’s… nothing worse than a food hangover when you’re back at your desk!).  I had a 4 pack of peppers at home and was originally going to stuff them with couscous and roast.  But I had yet another cold and wanted some nice, warming soup.   

My friend Heather once told me about her red pepper & butternut squash soup; it sounded amazing.  Alas, there was no butternut squash to be found at home.  So I decided to make red pepper & tomato soup instead.  This is similar to a weight watchers recipe I spotted online, so good for us who like to watch our figure 😉

Ingredients:

3 red peppers (ok, plus 1 yellow one), deseeded and chopped into chunks.

2 onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tins tomatoes

1tbsp sugar (to get rid of the tangyness of the tomatoes)

1 ltr boiled water with 2 chicken stock cubes mixed in

2tbsp dried basil

2tbsp dried oregano 

First, I fried the onions in a little olive oil for 5 mins, then added the garlic. 

After another 5 mins, I stirred in the basil and oregano.

The bottom of the pan got a bit brown with the onions, but when the liquid is added later it can be scraped off and adds to the flavour of the soup.

Time to add the peppers.  Cook for a further 5 mins to soften.

Now add the tinned tomatoes, sugar and stock. 

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 mins. 

Turn off the heat, then get the hand blender out and blitz!

I season to taste at this point!

Good on it’s own, or with warm, buttery crusty bread… mmmm. 

This freezes amazingly well.  I had some for lunch yesterday at work; it was so utterly flavoursome!

Last night, I took one of the tubs out the freezer and decided to use it as a pasta sauce.  So today, for our work lunches, Irene and I have rigatoni pasta, with red pepper & tomato sauce and smoked sausage.  Roll on 12pm!

What do you like to make for work lunches?  Do share… x

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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…

😀

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