We’d just got back from a long weekend and there wasn’t much to eat in the house. I fancied something warming, so I made this – enough for 2:
- 3 medium sized onions (finely sliced)
- 3 fairly large potatoes (peeled and sliced (2-3cm)
- 100g grated cheddar
- 800ml vegetable stock
- Black pepper
- 15g butter
- Grated nutmeg
Take 1/4 of the potatoes and make a layer at the base of an ovenproof dish. Cover with 1/3rd of the onions and then 1/3rd of the cheese. Grate over a little black pepper.
Repeat the above (potatoes, onions, cheese etc), twice; and then add the final layer of potatoes.
Dot the final layer of potatoes with butter and lightly dust with pepper and nutmeg.
Gently add the stock at the edge of the dish.
Cover (either with the lid or aluminium foil) and cook at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 2 hours. Then turn up the heat to 200C (Gas mark 6), uncover and cook for a further 15-20 minutes to crispen the top layer of potatoes.
Serve with a salad (if liked). I used baby leaf salad with cherry tomatoes and spring onions, with a honey and mustard dressing.
Jambalaya is a fairly quick one-pot Cajun rice dish. This version is based on a recipe from the Hairy Bikers. Enough for 3:
- Chicken thighs (boned and cut into smallish chunks
- 40g cooking chorizo (thinly sliced)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
- 2 celery sticks (sliced 1cm thick)
- 1 green pepper (cored, deseeded and cut into rough 2cm chunks)
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic (crushed/finely chopped)
- 1 heaped tsp paprika
- A dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano (chopped)
- 1 bay leaf
- 90g brown rice
- 200ml chicken stock
- 1 courgette (cut into chunks), so other equivalent green vegetable(s)
- 40g peeled uncooked king prawns (defrosted)
- 2 spring onions (sliced)
- Lemon juice & black pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Fry the chicken over a medium heat until it starts to brown. Add the chorizo and stir-fry for another minute. Remove the chicken and chorizo from the pan.
Stir in the onion, celery and green pepper, and cook very gently for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes, cut into quarters and remove the seeds (save the liquid from the tomatoes by rubbing the seeds though a sieve, and reserve together with any other accumulated tomato liquid on the chopping board). Roughly chop the tomatoes flesh.
Stir the garlic, paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf into the onion, celery and green pepper mixture. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the reserved liquid and cook over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened.
Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan, stir in the rice, and cook gently for 1 minute. Pour over the stock and cook for about 20 minutes (stir occasionally, and if the rice is drying out add more water or stock) until the rice is just cooked.
Stir in the prawns and spring onions and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked. Serve.
I had half an avocado left over from the night before (stone left in, flesh rubbed with lemon juice, covered with clingfilm and stored in the fridge). So here’s a very easy, tasty snack – serves 1.
- 1/2 a ripe avocado (stone and skin removed, and thinly sliced)
- 2 slices wholemeal toast
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- a dusting of cayenne pepper
Divide the slices of avocado between the two slices of (hot) toast. Press the avocado into the toast. Squeeze lemon juice over the avocado and dust with cayenne pepper.
Enough for 3:
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 aubergine (chopped into largish chunks)
- 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
- 2 celery sticks (thinly sliced)
- 1/2 a large red pepper (thinly sliced)
- 1 tbsp capers (rinsed)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed or finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 750g ripe tomatoes (cored, deseeded and sliced (save the liquid from the tomatoes by rubbing the seeds though a sieve))
- Black pepper
- 1/4 of a lemon
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- A handful of basil leaves
Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large heavy pan. Fry the aubergine chunks in hot oil until they begin to colour. Turn down the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the onion, celery, pepper, capers, garlic and raisins, and cook gently until the mixture is soft.
Spread the mixture over a large baking tray and scatter the tomatoes over the top. Mix together the tomato liquid, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar, and pour this mixture over the vegetables.
Cook in the oven at 140C (Gas mark 1) for about a hour or until the tomatoes begin to fall apart (I cooked mine (in the top of the oven) with slow roasted lamb, increasing the oven temperature to 140C for the final hour). mix in the basil leaves before serving.
I made this with butternut squash which had previously been roasted and a red pepper which had been ‘charred’ (see below). Both processes greatly enhance the flavour of the soup.
Enough for 3:
- 1 large red pepper
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
- 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
- 1/2 of a large butternut squash (previously roasted (as one piece)) and cut into small chunks
- 150ml passata
- 500ml water
- 1 tsp vegi stock powder
- 2 tbsp double cream
- Season with black pepper and lemon juice
Char the red pepper by blackening the skin all over using a gas ring (on high) or a blowtorch. Rub off the skin in a bowl of cold water, and slice.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for five minutes. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the red pepper, the butternut squash, the passata and the water, and stir in the vegi stock powder. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes.
Take off the heat and blend (using an electric blender or a liquidiser). Stir in the double cream and heat until just boiling.
Season and serve.
This is based on a recipe in ‘Muffins scones and breads’ in the Austrailan Women’s Weekly cookbook series. There is enough for 6 as an accompaniment to soup or salad. It’s fairly quick to make as it requires only one rising.
- 1&1/2 tsp dried yeast
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 220ml warm (blood heat) water
- 150g strong plain flour
- 150g wholemeal flour
- 35g Italian hard cheese (this is the ‘cheap version‘ of parmesan), finely grated
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion (finely sliced)
- Sea salt
Mix the yeast and sugar with 100ml of the warm water. Cover, and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes until it starts to ferment.
Meanwhile sift the flours together into a large mixing bowl. When the yeast is ready, warm the flour briefly in the microwave (say, 20 seconds on high).
Mix the cheese and herbs into the flour, add the yeast mixture and 2 tbsp of the olive oil, and a further 100g of the water. Mix to a soft, but manageable, dough. If too dry add further water (if too wet, knead in some more flour). Knead for about 5 minutes.
Roll out the dough and place it so that it covers a baking tray (I used one 30cm square). Cover and leave in a warm place to rise (until it has doubled in depth).
Heat the oven to 220C (gas mark 8). Spread the onion slices over the top, and sprinkle with sea salt and the remaining olive oil.
Bake for about 25 minutes. Pleace on a wire rack to cool.
I was feeling hungry, so stale bread, left-over soured cream and a glut of chillies (due to the sunny weather), resulted in this snack recipe. Chilli rarebit is usually made with chilli jam or chutney, but raw chillies seem perfectly OK. Enough for 2 people:
- 4 small red chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
- 100g mature cheddar (finely grated)
- 2 tbsp soured cream
- 6 small (or 4 large) slices of wholemeal bread (toasted)
- Black pepper
Mash the chilli, cheese and cream together with a fork. Spread the mixture evenly over the slices of toast.
Grill until the cheese starts to brown. Dust with black pepper and serve.