Hey all, hope you're all wrapped up warm. In a moment I'll share with you some recipes for some food I've been enjoying during the cold weather. First here's a photo I took today-
After a mad dash round the local charity shops and pretty decent pawn shop that had loads of awesome things, then an impulse buy at cafe for some cakes, followed by another impulse buy for some flowers at the Shell garage near my house....I finally began work on the test shoot. Sadly by the time I'd got myself organised I only had about an hour of usable light. I wanted to go for a fresh, spring feel with a touch of vintage. Imagine yourself in a tea room with well dressed women and the smell of freshly baked sponge cake in the air. If possible I will try and shoot the rest of the cakes this weekend.
So now to something more appropriate for the icy weather...
I've been cooking lots of warm comfort food, big on indulgence but fairly cheap and dead easy to make. Twice in the last few weeks I've cooked a kedgeree with smoked mackerel. Its such an simple dish and you don't need many ingredients- just rice, eggs, smoked fish and a few key spices and a bit of veg. Whats more, you can mix it up a bit and change flavours here and there depending on what you fancy.
1 Knob of butter
1 tbs Vegetable oil
Smoked fish- I used mackerel, the value range is fine- just remove any bones and take of the skin.
1 courgette, 2 carrots, frozen peas, 1 green pepper (you don't have to use any of these but I like to have a lot of veg in my meals)
1 large onion sliced
350g Rice long grain, throughly washes in cold water
700ml of chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp coriander (best to use fresh but I didn't)
3 tbs of low fat greek yogurt
In a large saucepan melt the butter with the oil, then add the onions and cook till soft for about 10 minutes on a low heat. Add whatever vegetables you are using towards the end of this time depending on how your like them. Add all the spices. Then stir in the rice and add the stock and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add the torn smoked fish and allow to cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile soft boil the eggs in boiling water for 6 minutes, take them out and run under a cold tap for about a minute to stop them from over cooking. Its personal taste, but I like my eggs with the yolk still a little gooey inside. Peel and cut into quaters.
Gently stir in the yogurt and if you are using fresh coriander add this now. Add the eggs and dish up. Serve with a wedge or two of lemon and if you like, sprinkle some smoked paprika over the eggs as a final touch. And there you go, really easy and seriously good.
I've been loving bacon, cream and leeks as well. Well you need an extra layer of fat during the colder months.
Here's another real easy meal that rocked my world last week. It will serve 4 with a salad, but Mark and I ate it all up pretty quick without any help.
Quick Leek and Bacon Tart
Pack of ready made puff pastry
3 or 4 small leeks
6 rashers of Smoked Back Bacon or lardons whatever you have to hand,
Tub of creme fraiche (you can get the low fat kind if you must)
1 Yellow pepper sliced and de seeded
Fresh or dried Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pre heat your oven to 200c
Roll out your pastry onto a work surface dusted with flour, I used the baking sheet as a guide for the size I wanted. With a sharp knife mark the pastry 11/2 to 2inches all the way round the edges, careful not to cut through the pastry. Put to one side.
In a large frying pan, add a little oil then add the strips of bacon. Cook for a few minutes then add the leeks and allow to cook for about 10 minutes on a low heat. Add the pepper towards the end so it retains its shape. Season with salt and pepper. Add the creme fraiche and the thyme and stir through. Pile the mixture onto the pastry, keeping it with the square you marked out with a knife earlier. Brush the borders with milk or egg yolk and place in the oven. Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is nice and golden. Cut into four, eat one slice each then go back for more!
Ok one more and that's your lot... this is a good un.
Pack of Fresh Gnocchi
1 Pack of diced Pancetta
Tin of Chopped tomatoes
1 Courgette thinly sliced
1 Small onion
1 Orange Pepper
1 Small Leek
Double cream- add depending on taste
Handful of break crumbs (those packet you get in Japanese stores very handy for this)
Grated Parmesan or similar- I used the cheaper Grana Padano
Salt and Pepper to taste
Soften the onion and leeks in a large frying pan then add the pancetta and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the courgettes and peppers and cook till just starting to go soft and add the herbs together with the tomatoes and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile cook the Gnocchi according to the pack instructions. Drain the Gnocchi and tip into the frying pan, season and mix through. Pour over the cream and gently mix together. Put everything in a heat proof dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese. You could add a few pieces of torn mozzarella here, but in the interest of money I left it as is. Put under hot grill and cook till the bread crumbs are nice and golden. Some crusty bread would be good here to mop up the left over sauce.
There you have it enjoy..