Posts Tagged ‘mushroom’

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…


Read Full Post »

I have a shameful confession. 

I’d rather spend 3 days on a beef bourguignon, than 3 minutes on an omelette.  Not because I dislike them (I LOVE them!); I’m just absolutely awful at making them.  I get my mum to make them for me.  When I watch Saturday Kitchen and they have the omelette race, I can’t help but think “surely that’s not edible; it’s all gooey and raw!”.  But after extensive (youtube) research, it appears that the professional chefs are, in fact, correct in their methods.

Tonight, faced with a tub of mushrooms that had to be eaten, I decided to be brave and attempt a mushroom omelette.  A cheesy one, for extra decadence (it may clog my arteries, but it’s bloody worth it).  I done some last minute preparation (by watching this video) and felt ready to take the plunge.

It started off well.  I had far too many mushrooms (250g), but I intended to use half and freeze half, once sautéed (I read that this would be ok; I guess I wont be finding out any time soon!).  I have a serious obsession with mushrooms and couldn’t bear to remove any from the pan.  So they ALL stayed.

I should have taken my “extra mushroom” situation into consideration, when I decided to plop only 2 beaten eggs into the pan.  Maybe a 3rd egg would have made it look more like the fluffy omelette I had envisioned.

Things were looking surprisingly ok, until it was time to turn it over (should I have just folded it in half at this point?).  I was silly and tried to use a plate as a stepping stone in turning it over in one piece.

When it went back into the pan, everything fell apart.  There wasn’t enough egg to keep the mushies in their place.  I added my cheese (about 30g grated mature cheddar) to one half and put the broken half of the mixture on top, in an attempt to bind it together and make it look “omelettey”.  It worked better than I thought.

Granted, it doesn’t look like the most appetising dish in the world.  But if, like me, you are a mushroom fiend… you’d have loved this!  It was very tasty indeed.  Finished off with a nice cup of tea, of course (milk & no sugar if we ever meet 😉 )

So what did I learn from this eggy escapade?  I learned that if you melt cheese over something, it will always taste good! 🙂

I posted about this crappy omelette, as an appeal to basic cooks everywhere (as this is surely supposed to be a basic dish?).  Can someone tell me how to make a proper omelette?

Read Full Post »

Lately I’ve been indulging in what can only be described as a heart attack on a plate: chicken, stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon.  It’s utterly delicious and deserves to be enjoyed on occasion.  However, my love affair with mushrooms is getting more intense by the day.  I think my brain is being tricked into thinking mushrooms are meat; I have an almost carnivorous desire for them!

I looked for a mushroom stuffed chicken recipe on allrecipes.com and ended up taking hints and tips from the many “tweakers” comments on the recipes.  This is my take on it all (and it was scrumptious):  Chicken stuffed with mushroom, onion & garlic, coated in a breadcrumb and parmesan cheese crust.  Served with some mashed neeps and broccoli & cauliflower.

Ingredients (Served 2 although there’s probably enough mixture for 3 here)

2 chicken breasts

500g closed cup mushrooms, chopped finely

1 onion, chopped finely

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 egg, beaten

100g breadcrumbs (I used these)

 50g grated parmesan


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

Fry the mushrooms, onion and garlic in some oil, for 5-10 mins.  Set aside.

Slit a pocket in each of the chicken breasts, trying to have the same thickness at the top and bottom.

Fill the chicken with the mushroom stuffing; you can pinch them shut with cocktail sticks if you like.  I tried this and it didn’t work AT ALL.

Mix the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan together in a bowl.

Brush the chicken all over with the beaten egg, then plonk it into the breadcrumb mix and coat thoroughly.

Place on an oven tray (I lined mines with tin foil).

Bake for 40-45 mins, or until the juices run clear when a knife is pushed through the thickest part.

Serve with a side of your choice; I recommend the mashed neeps and broccoli & cauliflower, twas lovely!

Enjoy 🙂


Read Full Post »

I use the term “pie” in the way you would with a “shepherds pie” or a “cottage pie”, but the real description of this would be: chicken, bacon & mushroom pie with a cheesy carrot & swede mash topping!

This was a throw together meal I made the other day and it was delicious!  Very flavoursome and I would do it again in a minute!  The only thing I might do differently next time, would be to add a couple of potatoes to my mash, to give it a bit more consistency.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

5 carrots, cubed

half a swede, cubed

3 potatoes, cubed (for next time!)

20g butter

50g cheese (I used mature cheddar)

2 chicken breasts, diced

184g bacon (I used smoked), diced

200g closed cup mushrooms, chopped

1 medium onion,  diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

350ml chicken stock

1-2 bay leaves (I used 2, but will try 1 next time)

splash of worcester sauce


Boil your carrots, swede and potatoes in a large pot.

Fry the chicken and bacon, until browned.

Add the mushrooms, onions & garlic to the pan.

Add your stock, bay leaves, salt & pepper and a splash of worcestershire sauce.

Let it simmer for 30 mins.  Preheat oven to 190 degrees.

Mash your carrots, swede & potatoes together, adding butter and your cheese.

Remove the bay leaves, then pour your chicken mixture into a ovenproof dish, then top with your mash.  Score a fork across the top of the mash to neaten and flatten out.

Bake in the oven for 30 mins, or until golden.

And thats it!  Delicious, flavoursome comfort food!  I had some for lunch the next day at work and it was just as good, if not better!

Here is a photo of the chicken mixture:

 One for my collection!

Read Full Post »

Today was a loooong day at work.  Infact, my eyes are half closing with sleepiness; which I’ll succumb to once I’ve shared my comforting midweek meal with you. 

Everyone has their food vices; for some it’s chocolate, for others, it’s cheese… the possibilities are endless.  For me, it’s potatoes.  I LOVE potatoes and get stupidly excited about trying out different methods (I was unnaturally overjoyed with my dauphinoise on Saturday night).  However, when it’s been a dull day and I want something quick, easy and soothing, nothing beats plain, buttery mash.  Mmmmmm.

In keeping with my comforting theme, I wanted something rich and creamy to accompany it.  Something quick, easy and uncomplicated; containing ingredients that I had to hand.  I opted for chicken breast with a cheese, onion and mushroom sauce to marry my mash.  This would also be sublime with sauteed leeks or spring onion.

This fed me and my mum 🙂

I rubbed a little olive oil and seasoned my chicken breasts, popping them into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes (check that it’s cooked through, by making sure the juices run clear when inserting a knife into the fleshiest part – or you could be clever and use a meat thermometer!)

2 chicken breasts

1 medium onion

button mushrooms

80g mild cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp mustard powder

3 tbsp butter

4 tbsp flour

300ml milk

In a separate pan, cook the onion and mushrooms for about 10 minutes.

Melt butter in a pan, then stir in flour, mustard powder, then milk.  Keep stirring , let it come to the boil, then simmer until it has a thick consistency.  Add cheese and stir until it all melts together into a wonderful gooey sauciness.  Pour in the mushrooms and onions and spread over your chicken breast.

Serve with some buttery, fluffy mash.  I also had a side of marrowfat peas.


It’s almost worth having a crap day for.  Enjoy!

Read Full Post »