Monday, 27 July 2015

Hot smoked salmon, fennel and pea pasta

I often buy ready cooked hot smoked salmon when I am out shopping as its a good fridge standby for a healthy quick meal with salad, its also popular with MR LF too. Most supermarkets and even some fishmongers normally stock a packed version alongside the smoked mackerel.

This dish hardly needs a recipe as its so easy and can be whipped up in minutes, from store cupboard and freezer basics, the dish is enhanced by using fresh from the garden fennel fronds, but if you don't have them dried dill or fennel will work almost as well.

What you need
  • Pasta - macaroni or farfelle work well, gluten free if you like
  • 1 pack of hot smoked salmon - skin removed and flaked
  • Frozen petit pois or peas
  • Dill or fennel - fronds, freshly chopped or use dried herbs
  • Creme fraiche
What you do
  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack, for the last 3 minutes add the frozen peas and bring back to the boil to finish cooking the pasta and the peas
  • Drain the pasta  and peas using a colander, return back to pan which now contains very little water and toss with 3 tbsp of creme fraiche and the flaked salmon.
  • Strewn with the fresh dill or fennel fronds, and lightly toss
  • Serve with a little freshly ground black pepper.
Delicious and so simple supper can be on the table in 15 minutes or less

This post is being linked up to "Pasta Please" created by Tinned Tomatoes and hosted this month by Slice of Me.

                                            pasta please

And Recipe of The Week over at A Mummy Too

                                                                  Link up your recipe of the week

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Tomato, courgette and sweet potato soup

Fresh, healthy homemade soup. What's not to like.....

I have probably said before that I am not a great fan of ready made soups and particularly those that come in packets and cans both for health and economy reasons, I tend to make most of the soup we eat from fresh vegetables and this recipe is no exception. Finding myself in the situation were I had a couple of courgettes and some tomatoes that were ageing fast, I thought I would combine them with butternut squash or sweet potato to make a wholesome soup, yet still summery.

A tasty easy recipe which would be a great way later in the season to use up glut tomatoes and courgettes if you have them, it looks like the recipe would freeze well but I haven't tried it.

What you need 
  • A little vegetable oil
  • Fresh or tinned tomatoes (don't worry about skins and pips as we are blending later)
  • Onion
  • Courgettes - topped tailed and sliced into half moons
  • Butternut squash or sweet potato - peeled, de-seeded(if squash) and chopped into small chunks
  • Vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
What you do 
  • Firstly prepare your vegetables
  • Gently fry in the oil the onion until softened but not coloured
  • Then add the courgette and butter nut / sweet potato to the pan
  • Again cook until starting to softened
  • Now add the tomatoes and stock to the pan
  • Simmer until all the vegetables are soft
  • Allow to cool slightly then blitz with a stick blender or in a liquidiser to desired consistency
  • Bring back to a simmer and then taste and season
  • Serve piping hot with crusty bread

We are linking up to Recipe of the Week over on A Mummy Too

                                                              Link up your recipe of the week

Meat Free Mondays over on Tinned Tomatoes


Extra Veg hosted in turn by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy

No croutons required hosted this month at Lisa's Kitchen


Friday, 10 July 2015

Aquafaba chocolate mousse aka chickpea juice chocolate mousse

Recently I made some chickpea brownies (please see earlier post) and I had recently spotted a group on facebook for something called Aquafaba (!!!), intrigued I joined the group and discovered aquafaba is actually the liquid from tins of  beans / legumes (pretty much any bean and chickpeas). Wow I thought a way of using something that you chuck down the sink, I hate waste so I thought I would give this vegan egg substitute a try, little realising that I would actively start searching out recipes which used tinned beans / chickpeas just so I could experiment with the canning liquid.

My first success is with a delightfully tasty chocolate mousse, which has no earthy after taste what so ever and has pronounced delicious by all who try it, vegan or not. This recipe would also be great for people who have egg allergies too. The mousse is light and fluffy and keeps for a few days in the fridge.

What you need
  • Juice from a tin of chickpeas
  • 100g dark chocolate - melted ( good quality at least 70% )
  • 1 tsp vanilla or coffee extract
  • Cocoa nibs for decoration
What you do 
  • Whisk up the chickpea juice in a stand mixer bowl until the soft peak stage
  • Add the melted chocolate and vanilla extract
  • Whisk again, don't panic as you will loose volume
  • Pour into ramekins
  • Place in fridge for 3 -4 hours
  • Sprinkle with cocoa nibs
  • Serve to admiring friends and family.

A perfect recipe for inclusion in Credit Crunch munch , created and co -hosted by Fab food 4 all and Fuss Free Flavours

                            Credit Crunch Munch

Monday, 6 July 2015

Chickpea brownies, a healthy gluten free treat

Ever the one to try something different I have in the past made brownies with beetroot, avocado, dates and many other ingredients, this recipe is no different but the featured ingredient being chickpeas. Yes, folks chickpeas which make these brownies lovely and fudgey and deliciously gluten free. You can't detect the chickpeas at all in the bake, these brownies keep well for a few days in an airtight tin but I assure you they won't last that long !

The added bonus is you also get the must have ingredient of the moment - aquafaba or the humble juice from the bean can, which can be whipped up in many different delights and is a useful vegan egg substitute. More of this in the next post.

What you need
  • 1 can of chickpeas - drained and rinsed, save the bean juice
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder - I used Green and Blacks
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp coffee extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pack of dark chocolate chips
What you do
  • Pre heat oven to 180c
  • Oil spray and line square approx 9"by 9" cake tin
  • Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 25 - 30mins until cooked thoroughly, test with a cocktail stick
  • Cool in the tin and cut into pieces after 20 minutes or so
  • Serve alone or with creme fraiche or Greek yogurt

We are linking up to Bake of the Week over on Casa Costello

                                                            Casa Costello

And Recipe of the Week over on A Mummy Too

                                                                 Link up your recipe of the week

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Obeo - the fuss free way to deal with food waste

If you have been reading this blog for a while you may have noticed that we are passionate about supporting the local environment and as such we compost and recycle as much of our household waste as possible.

We have a three bay New Zealand bin system in the garden which produces general compost for use around the garden as a soil improver,we are also provided by our local authority a "brown " wheelie bin for compostable garden waste which is collected fortnightly and taken to a local composting site for bulk recycling.

Obeo is an Irish Company which came up with the idea of marketing a strong durable resealable brown bag which can be used to collect and store kitchen food wastes suitable for inclusion in municipal composting schemes.

We were sent a sample pack of 5 bags for us to review and trial in our kitchen, we have just recycled the last bag, so that 5 pack lasted a 2 person household just shy of a month, not bad in my humble opinion.

I am pleased to report that the bags delivered as promised and didn't leak, only on one occasion did I have an issue with the base of the bag becoming slightly moist and mouldy and I think that might have been due to the weather conditions at the time, as it was very hot and humid.

As we aren't encouraged locally to include actual cooked food waste in our municipal compost stream, our bags were used for fruit and vegetable peelings, teabags, coffee grounds, etc. Normally these would go directly onto the compost heap so we did try composting the bags also, obviously we are only a month later but the bags on the heap are still intact and look like they will take some time to break down. Ever one to try all avenues I have also placed a couple of bags in our brown waste wheelie bin too.

For everyone who hates trailing out the compost bin / wheelie bin and detests the dreaded bin juice the bags are ideal as they will sit quite neatly on your counter top for a few days whilst you fill them with no noticeably smell or leaky juices. No smell yucky kitchen caddy to handle either, just straight in the brown bin.

I also noticed on facebook that Obeo is being stocked now by Booths, fabulous local supermarket chain in the North West of England, so today whilst in store I actively sort them out and there they were on the shelf for sale, at £2.99 for 5 bags. Not sure whether its all Booths stores or just selected I think the price may put some people off , but if more people buy then I am sure the price will come down further.

Lucky reader if you fancy trying out Obeo for yourself, we have two months supply to give away free, just by entering our rafflecopter widget below.

Normal rules apply, UK and Ireland enterants only please

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Nadia Southwood of Flap O Jacks

This month's featured foodie is Nadia from Flap O Jacks, the round flapjack company from Preston, made with love and delicious natural ingredients, I have been lucky enough to sample there lovely flapjacks on several occasions and they are amazing, you can see a blog post here.

What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication?

I adore everything about Lorraine Pascale,I have all her cookery books, she makes everything so simple and understated.

What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you?

I only need two words to sum up Lancashire Food ‘wholesome and delicious’

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be?
I have a curiosity for forensics and pathology, so if I wasn’t doing what I do now I’d be a Forensic Scientist.

Which piece of kit could you not do without?
The piece of kit I couldn't do without would have to be our lovely big oven.

Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
My ultimate dinner guest would be the actor, Ray Winstone. Do you seriously need to ask me why!

What advice would you give to your younger self?
The advice I would give my younger self would be have the courage and confidence to be whatever you want to be, don’t follow the crowd, don’t join the rat race, just do whatever makes you happy.

Describe your style in three words
The three words I’d use to describe myself would be witty, motivated and thoughtful.

What was your latest foodie gadget purchase?
My latest foodies gadget purchase was a Nutribullet drinks maker, obviously this was for personal use and nothing to do with flapjacks!

What is your greatest achievement to date?

My greatest achievement to date (besides my two beautiful children) would be having the confidence to become self employed and turning Flap O Jacks into a thriving business and more recently being nominated for the EVA awards (Enterprise Vision Awards).

What is the worst mistake you have made?
The worst mistake I have made is not trusting my gut instinct. Always trust your first gut instincts. If you genuinely feel in your heart that something is wrong, it usually is.

Tell us a secret about yourself? May be something we wouldn’t expect!
I have a cleaning obsession, I’m probably verging on the borders of OCD but I love the smell of Detol in the house.


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