Thursday, 31 January 2013

Schnitzel with Chips and Courgette

It has been a horrendous week.  I've probably had only one and a half nights' worth of sleep and my flatmate is not in much better shape!  So, we decided we needed some fuel in the form of oil.  However, it's possible to soak up some of the oil on a kitchen towel and use a good oil such as grapeseed to cook.

4 small chicken fillets, flattened
5 medium-sized potatoes
Half a courgette
1 medium egg
Salt & pepper
Pinch of saffron
Splash of milk
Cup of vegetable oil

Put oil into 2 frying pans and heat
Cut potatoes into thin chips of equal size
Shallow fry the chips for approx 20 mins until golden.  Leave to fry for first 5-7 mins until sealed.
Beat the egg, add salt, pepper and saffron and stir in a little milk
Dip fillets into egg mixture.  Coat the chicken fillets well with the breadcrumb mix.  Repeat the process again to ensure a good covering.
Fry fillets in the pan on a high heat for 10 mins then turn and reduce heat until brown and cooked through.
Meanwhile, cut courgette into thin slices and fry in a separate pan, adding a little margarine or butter and black pepper.
When cooked, drain oil on a sheet of kitchen towel and serve.

Serves 3.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Lamb casserole

Feeling in need of some comfort food to banish our troubles before the start of a new week, a nice, hearty casserole was the order of the day after a long Winter's walk along the canal.  Can't beat this meal with a nice plate of creamy mashed potato.  You can even add some Yorkshire puds if the mood takes you.

1 large onion, sliced
2 red peppers, cubed
1lb/450g cubed stewing lamb
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tblspn olive oil
1 clove garlic or dried garlic powder
Mixed spices:
Salt & black pepper
1 tspn paprika
Mixed herbs
150 ml water

Pre-heat oven to 190 deg C/375 deg F/Gas Mark 5
Prepare vegetables
Place all ingredients into a casserole dish
Cover and place in oven for approx one and a half hours, or until lamb is tender.
Serve with mashed potatoes and green veg.

Serves 4.

Courgette & Cheddar Frittata

You know when you have eggs which need eating and you don't know what to do with them?  Also, I have been marking coursework all week and I want to indulge in some fried food. Bless my flatmate who doesn't object!  Basically I asked 'would you like courgette'? and then said what I was going to do with it to make it less healthy.  That said, it's very tasty and goes very well with rosemary sauce.

2 medium courgettes (grated)
Breadcrumbs from 1 piece of toast
Approx 70g grated cheese
2 eggs
Half teaspoon turmeric
Salt & pepper
2 tblspnsVegetable oil

Heat oil on a high heat
Mix ingredients together
Scoop mixture up into balls and press flat into hot pan
Cook until golden brown on both sides.

Green Bean and Mince Pilau

My friend has submitted her PhD today.  That means 10 days of 2 hours of sleep!  So I invited her over for dinner and have promised her some comfort food which is tasty and goes well with red wine.  Don't be afraid of the lengthy method - it is quite simple.

1 can green beans
1 medium/large onion, chopped finely
400g lamb mince
2.5 cups of Basmati rice
1 potato, thinly sliced
1.5 tablespoons tomato puree
1 chopped tomato
1 tspn salt/pepper
1 tspn turmeric
Vegetable oil

Shallow fry green beans and put aside
Fry onion until golden in a large frying pan
In a deep pan boil some water with a little salt and vegetable oil
Add 2.5 cups of rice to boiling water. Cook for approx 10 mins until rice is al dente
Rinse rice and set aside
Add lamb mince to the onion and reduce heat
Add spices and seasoning
Add chopped tomato to mince until lightly fried.  In a mug, mix tomato puree with a little boiling water to make a sauce then add salt and pepper.
Add fried green beans to mince mixture then add tomato puree sauce.
Reduce heat and simmer until boiled down
Turn off heat.  Add al dente rice to mixture.
Add vegetable oil to a separate non-stick, deep pan, heat and add potato
Layer thin potato slices all over base of pan and cook for 3-4 mins on high heat
Reduce heat to no 4 (electric)
Add lamb and rice mixture on top of potato
Put on low heat until rice is cooked (approx 30-40 mins).
When cooked, turn upside down onto a plate, so that the browned potato slices are facing upwards and serve.
If desired, serve with pickled vegetables and a little Greek yoghurt.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Herb & almond omellete

Cooking is best on impulse.  It's a great way to clear your mind of the day's problems by using your brain cells on matching flavours and ingredients together.  So, one very cold night when we needed the heat of the oven, we decided to go for a dried herb and almond omelette.  It worked quite well and we made some small dishes for lunch the following day.

Dried herb ( parsley, dill and coriander): 200 g
Almond( flaked):30 g
Egg: 4 large
Baking powder:1 tea spoon
Salt and pepper: 1 tea spoon
Veg oil:1 table spoon

Put the herbs in some cold water for 1-2 minutes and then drain it. Add the herbs and almonds with salt and pepper, add the eggs to the mixture and finally add the baking powder. In an oven proof pan add the oil and fill it with the herb mixture. Put int in a pre- heated oven (200 degrees C) for about 30 minutes until golden on the top, serve it with some yogurt and naan bread.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Avocado Salmon with Creamy Pasta

Tonight, something quick and easy was the order of the day after a long day at work.  Avocado goes really well with salmon (take my word for it)! - so we decided to get creative and this is what we came up with.  Make sure you have an oven glove in the house - we got a bit over-excited about this one and one of us got burnt on the grill pan!

2 fresh salmon fillets
1 medium avocado
Juice of half a lemon
150 pasta
1 pint chicken or vegetable stock
25g butter
Approx 50g grated cheddar cheese

Pre-heat grill on a medium heat
Boil the pasta in the stock for 10-12 mins.  Add a little olive oil to pan.
Meanwhile, put salmon until grill and cook for4- 5 mins
Peel, stone and mash avocado flesh in a bowl.
Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and mash or blend until smooth
then remove salmon fillets and spread mashed avocado on top.
Replace salmon under grill for a further 8-10 mins.
When pasta is cooked and stock almost boiled away, stir in grated cheddar, a little knob of butter and ground black pepper.  Mix until creamy consistency.
Serve pasta on a plate with salmon fillets on top and garnish with a little mixed salad.

Egg-free butter-free choc biscuits


180g all-purpose flour
180g sugar
30g Cocoa powder
25g ground almond
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup almond milk


Mix all dry ingredients slowly.  Add oil and mix again.  Finally, add almond milk until a soft dough forms.  It will not be as hard as a usual biscuit dough simply because it does not contain any butter.  Not to worry, trust me - it will taste really good!  Use a pint glass to cut the dough into circle shapes and put onto a tray in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees C for around 20 minutes.  Enjoy while it is warm with a nice Espresso or a well-brewed Iranian tea!

Broad bean surprise (Baghali Ghatogh)

It's a cold Winter's day.  It seems like it will rain all day and I fancy a warm meal to eat with a chunky piece of bread!  Such days call out for pulses.  This is a traditional, northern Iranian dish which my aunt perfected and which she taught me last time she was in Nottingham.  It's quite simple, and doesn't need many ingredients... and here's the recipe.

2 cups broad beans (fresh or dried)
2 tablespoons Dill (fresh or dried)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves
2 medium eggs
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt & pepper


Chop the garlic finely and fry in a pan.  Add the broad beans and fry for 5-7 minutes then add the chopped parsley, turmeric, pepper and dill.  Fry for a few minutes. Add the water and reduce down by half.  Add eggs without stirring and allow to cook before mixing in.