Thursday, 29 January 2015

PEPPERED LAMB STEAKS WITH PESTO & GOAT'S CHEESE

Arabella is a goat's cheese fanatic - she loves the stuff and could literally eat an entire pack in one go. I love goat's cheese but she takes the love to a whole new level!! Therefore I thought I needed to increase my goat's cheese recipe repertoire! We regularly cook roasted tomato and goat's cheese tarts or smoked salmon and goat's cheese risotto (recipe to follow soon) or salmon wraps with goat's cheese and palma ham but now it was time to include some meat.

This recipe is super easy and quick - you could make the pesto yourself however I just bought fresh pesto from the supermarket.

Ingredients for 2 people:

2 lamb steaks
2 tbsp of fresh pesto
75g of Capricorn English goat's cheese
Black pepper
Salad to serve (you could use couscous or quinoa but like always I am saving my calories for chocolate)!


Turn the grill on to a high heat and pepper the lamb steaks on one side.


Grill the steaks for 5 minutes on each side until they are nicely browned but still a little pink in the middle (I cut into them and checked them a couple of times).


Cut the goat's cheese so you have 2 big chunky slices and place a slice on the peppered side of each steak.


Put them back under the grill for a couple of minutes until they have melted and browned slightly.


Finally serve with a big dollop of pesto and tuck in.


I cannot believe I have not cooked this before as it is so easy and delicious - it is literally Arabella and my ideal recipe. We both cleaned our plates in a matter of minutes and have already discussed cooking it again next week. 

Guess what Arabella had for pudding?? More goat's cheese…..like mother like daughter…..a cheese obsessive!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

STUPENDOUS AFTERNOON TEA AT SCOFF & BANTER, COVENT GARDEN

Arabella decided she wanted to go and see Cleopatra's Needle today - pretty random but considering I love sight seeing, I wasn't going to say no. Obviously I had to combine it with a meal and so decided to book for Arabella and I to go for a Mathilda themed afternoon tea at Scoff and Banter. I am currently obsessed with afternoon tea (my sweet tooth is out of control)!

We sat down and I ordered an earl grey and Arabella a strawberry milkshake. Then her favourite part of the tea - she was presented with a copy of Mathilda….I know what we will be reading tonight!





Then it was time for the food!!



We started with the savouries - the sandwiches - cheese, ham and mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise and cucumber and cream cheese.



Arabella's favourite were the cream cheese and cucumber whereas I loved the ham and mayonnaise. The cheese and egg mayonnaise were nice, but a bit plain.

Then we moved onto the scones.



I really enjoyed the scones. Unfortunately I don't think they had been freshly baked there and then, but they were still delicious (so good I had two)!

Finally we moved onto the final tier - the cakes!





I adored the trifle - it was more like a cheesecake than a trifle. Arabella loved the lemon cake - she even had mine. She loved the chocolate fountain with the marshmallows and fruit whereas I loved the raspberry slice. We both enjoyed the brownies. The biggest disappointment were the cupcakes though - they were revolting - I went to Hummingbird yesterday and these were no way as good as theirs - in fact they were so rubbish we didn't even eat them….not sure what went wrong there.

The tea was so filling - being the piglet that I am, I was wondering whether they refilled the sandwiches or scones - however there was no need!! We were fit to burst.

It was a good ish tea (£29.50 for adults and £13.75 for kids) but not the best I have ever had (not a patch on Brown's or the Berkeley) but we enjoyed it as an alternative for lunch. However Arabella has informed me next time we are in the area we will definitely be going to her favourite Shake Shack - she can't resist their cheesy chips and in fairness, nor can I.

Stupendous Afternoon Tea at Scoff & Banter

20 Mercer Street
London
WC2H 9HD
Tel: 020 7845 8607
Email: coventgarden@scoffandbanter.com

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Sunday, 18 January 2015

FRENCH PEAS

Pascal and I cooked our first roast of 2015 today and it was a good one - chorizo and rosemary stuffed roast pork - we are both a bit fussy when it comes to "stuffing"! I hate fruit stuffing such as apricot and Pascal can't handle anything too rich so this was perfect as we are both huge chorizo and leek fans. We wanted something light as a side to compliment the pork and this green veg recipe from Fay Ripley's cookbook was the perfect accompaniment - simple but not boring!

Ingredients for 3 people:

40g butter
1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped
250g frozen peas
1/3 iceberg lettuce, roughly shredded
50ml vegetable stock
10g fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (optional) - I actually didn't bother!



Like always prepare the ingredients first - make the stock, weigh out the peas and chop the leek and lettuce.



Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.



Add the leek and cook for 2-3 minutes.



Throw in the peas and stock.



Add the lettuce.



Season and then put a lid on the saucepan and cook for 10 minutes until the leeks are soft and the lettuce is limp.



Serve with chopped parsley stirred through if you like and enjoy.




This was a delicious way to serve green veg and would go with both meat or fish - it is also super easy and quick. Plus it is pretty healthy so you have calories spare for chocolate!!!

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CHORIZO & ROSEMARY STUFFED ROAST PORK

I had the most incredible meal last night at Kurobuta in Chelsea - I was so busy tucking in that I completely forgot to take photos - at least it has given me an excellent reason to go back as soon as possible! Their "Japanese junk food" was out of this world.

Today being Sunday was roast day and Pascal and I had decided to cook this pork recipe from Olive magazine - you were meant to use a boned pork belly but they didn't sell this in my supermarket so I had to alter the recipe….thankfully it worked!

Ingredients for 3 people:

1kg boneless shoulder of pork roasting joint (mine was from Sainsburys)
1 leek, chopped
Olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp rosemary needles, chopped
75g chorizo, chopped
Sea Salt



I love recipes with so few ingredients!

One thing to remember when roasting pork is to take the meat out of the fridge a couple of hours before if you can (or even just 30 minutes if that is all you can manage). You want the skin to be dry for the crackling, I helped this along by also patting excess moisture out with kitchen roll.

Start by preheating the oven according to the packet instructions. We preheated ours to 220 C / 200 C fan / gas mark 8.

Prepare the ingredients for the stuffing. Chop the leeks, chorizo and rosemary.


Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and then add the leeks and cook over a low heat for around 3 minutes until they soften. I burnt mine a little as the heat was too high!!



Then add the rosemary and fennel and cook for a minute.



Finally add the chorizo and continue to cook for a further few minutes.




Take off the heat and leave to cool.

Score the pork and rub with olive oil and then rub in sea salt. It always scares me how much salt I use with roast pork but you do need a LOT for good crackling so don't be shy and cover the skin. I assure you, you need more than you think!



Then make a hole and stuff the pork with the chorizo and leek stuffing and tie with string if necessary. Without a doubt some of the stuffing will fall out but don't worry about it. 



Put the pork in a roasting tin and put in the oven for 25 minutes.



After 25 minutes, turn the oven down to 180 C / 160 C fan / gas mark 4. We then cooked our pork for a further 55 minutes however it will depend on the exact size of your joint and the packet instructions.



Rest for 15 minutes.



Finally serve and enjoy. We served it with French peas (recipe to follow).




As roasts go, this was super easy - not too many ingredients, not complicated and not too time consuming. Perfect for a lazy Sunday. The fennel seeds add a great twist to the flavour and it looks impressive too - fantastic for a family lunch or perfect for impressing pals at a dinner party.

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

PORK WITH THYME, MUSTARD & LENTILS

Tonight I wanted to cook something new, quick and easy, not too many calories and without having to buy lots of new ingredients….plus something that we would all really like….it wasn't easy to choose a recipe to be honest!!

I found this Waitrose recipe card that I had picked up at Christmas time and it seemed to fit the bill….I was pleased that it only took 40 minutes to make, was around 400 calories a portion and I could use up some of the red lentils which I bought when I cooked the vegetarian lasagne last month. A win win situation all round!

Ingredients for 4 people:

100g red split lentils
1-2 tbsp olive oil
6 sprigs of thyme
4 trimmed pork medallions or escalopes (I could only buy pork steaks)
2 echalion shallots, finely sliced
3 large tomatoes, diced (I used cherry tomatoes as I had them in the fridge)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
400ml of chicken or vegetable stock (I used beef as that is what I had in the cupboard)
2 x 230g tenderstem broccoli, ends trimmed


Rinse the lentils with cold water and set aside. At the same time slice the shallots, cut the tomatoes and pull the leaves from the thyme stalks.


Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan and cook the pork for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden brown. Pork steaks will take longer than pork medallions as they are thicker so you may need to adjust the timings. Once they are browned, set aside and cover to keep warm.



In the same pan, add another tablespoon of oil if necessary (I didn't) and then gently fry the shallots for a couple of minutes.


Add the tomatoes and fry for another 2 minutes.


Then add the thyme leaves, 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, the lentils and stock and simmer for 10 minutes.



I realised at this point my frying pan was too small so had to pour the mixture into a bigger one. Not very cool when I was doing the washing up!


Finally add the pork to the pan and simmer for a further 8-10 minutes until the pork is cooked though and there is no pink meat. 


While this was cooking I also boiled the broccoli which took 3-4 minutes.



Finally serve together and enjoy.


The picture certainly does not do the dish justice. It was surprisingly good - we all adored the lentil mixture….apparently red lentils are Arabella's new favourite things. Next time I would probably do it with fish such as a sea bass to make it even more healthy or you could use chicken or even tofu as my darling sister suggested!

I was proud of this dish - it ticked all the boxes of being low in calories, healthy, quick and easy, not too many ingredients and we all thought it was delicious too - I will definitely be doing it again!