Category Archives: Mediterranean

Panzanella

Damn, your bread’s gone stale. How do you redeem this? What a waste of money, I mean does the bread manufacturing company think you can eat 12 slices in 3 days? Really?  I’m a big bread fan, but not, surprisingly, of sandwiches. I like fresh loaves with hummus, or in this salad. Stale bread which has absorbed the juices of the tomatoes and the vinegar of the dressing. Mmmm.

It’s a really good recipe because you can do it with whatever you want. You can do it posh and add capers, yellow pepper and fresh basil, or you can do it to it’s bare minimum-tomatoes, onions, bread and a dressing. This was lovely, I nearly ate the whole thing, I’ve been seriously craving salt and the capers and vinegar-absorbed bread really hit the spot.

Ingredients
-4-5 Salad Tomatoes

-150g stale bread (If you don’t have stale bread, put your bread in a microwave for 1-2 minutes)

-1 yellow pepper

-1 dessert spoon of capers

-1 clove of garlic

-1 red onion

-60 ml red wine vinegar (but you can use whatever you have to hand)

-120 ml extra virgin olive oil

-handful of fresh basil leaves

Method

-Chop up your onion into crescents, and put in your salad bowl with minced garlic and the red wine vinegar whilst you chop your other ingredients.

-Chop your tomatoes, pepper and fresh  basil leaves and add to the bowl with the capers.

-Tear your bread into bitesize pieces and add to the salad bowl, followed by the olive oil. Using your hands mix the salad reallllly well, making sure the vinegar and oil have spread throughout the ingredients. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top and preferably wait half an hour before serving.

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Filed under Italian, Mediterranean, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian

Spicy Salsa Roast Chicken (with chorizo)

This is medium on the thrifty scale. I think if you remove the chorizo then you have a very affordable, healthy and filling chicken dish. I’m only really putting it up because my mum asked me to, I told her to start making this for my dad when I go back to university because it’s easy to make.  I was about to start explaining it when she said “as long as you put it on your site then you don’t need to explain it”. I wasn’t gonna put it on, but decided I might as well. Also, the internet was cut off for one reason or another and I got bored so I started taking photos.

Ingredients (serves 2)

-2 chicken breast fillets

-1 onion

-1 clove of garlic

-1 big tomato

-2 tsp hot chilli sauce

-1 tsp paprika

-1 tsp of cayenne pepper

-1 tsp basil

-50g Chorizo sausage (optional)

Method

-I think a food processor/blender is required here as you want to make a paste for the chicken to sit in.  So roughly chop the onion, garlic and tomato, then stick them and all the other ingredients minus the chicken in a food processor and blend until you have a paste like consistency.

-I chose to leave the chicken in the marinade for the afternoon before I cooked it, it can be left to marinade in the sauce for up to 24hrs, but this is not necessary. If you want to do the former, put the marinade and chicken into a zip and seal bag and leave it in the fridge.

-After it has marinaded, or if you’re cooking it immediately, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8/220 c.

– Put the chicken in a small baking dish. If you’re using chorizo, chop it up into medallions, and stuff it in the chicken. There is usually an open slit in the fillet which makes it easy for the chorizo to sit in. Put the dish in the oven, it should take an hour/ hour and a half.

– However, after about every 20 minutes take the dish out, and, with a spoon, pour the juices over the chicken (baste it). This will prevent the chicken from drying out and allow the chorizo flavours be absorbed by the chicken.

-It is done when the tomato paste has a browned a bit and looks like the photo!

 

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Filed under Meat, Mediterranean

Chicken and Chorizo Stoo

Even though I no longer eat chicken or chorizo, which I don’t regret, I made a breakthrough in cooking this chicken. A vegetarian must really be into food to get excited about the way chicken was cooked. Don’t you hate it when you fry chicken in a pan, and it just seems a bit tough? A bit chewy? And it’s not cos it’s overcooked, but probably cos it’s dry has only absorbed oil. Well, I have solved this problem. And it came through in this lovely(hopefully) Spanish chicken and chorizo stew. Whilst cooking the chicken, I added a glug of red wine, and instead of frying and drying out, it slowly froiled (fry and boiled) in the liquid. When testing to see if the chicken was cooked I did not need to cut through a piece to see if was white all the way through, the piece just fell apart revealing its moist interior. Success. I guess if you don’t have wine, don’t worry, maybe a splash of chicken stock and boiling water. But red wine gave it that Spanish smell.

Ingredients

-2 fillets of chicken

-chorizo sausage (how much you want)

-1 onion

-1 garlic

-1 can of sweet corn

-1 can of butter beans

-2  cans of chopped tomatoes

-2 tbsp red wine

-3 tsp of paprika

-3 tsp cayenne pepper

-1 dessert spoon hot chilli sauce

-2 tsp of basil

Method

-Chop onion and garlic and fry in olive oil in a large saucepan. Add some salt so they don’t stick to the surface.

-Once they are starting to brown, add the chicken and stir, after 1 minute add 1 tbsp or a generous glug of red wine and cover the pan. Leave for about 5 minutes and stir the chicken again. Check the chicken after another 3-4 minutes, if it’s falling apart like in the description, and you can see no pink, then it’s ready.

-Add the remaining ingredients, including another glug of wine, and stir. Once it is boiling turn to a low heat and leave to simmer for an hour or so.

-Serve with bread. Nice.

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Filed under Meat, Mediterranean, Pulses

Black-Eyed Bean Hummus

Don’t even get me started on hummus/houmous. Give me bread and houmous and I would be so content. The other day we bought some posh spinach hummus and it was green, similarly we also bought a beetroot one which was pink. This got me thinking about how versatile it is, and after a bit of research I discovered you can make other types of hummus which don’t use chickpeas. So I ventured into my store cupboard and found black-eyed beans. I also have so much hummus in my fridge(Tesco’s own for those who like it chunky, or the kosher one who like it smooth), so I thought I should use something that wasn’t made from chickpeas.  I’d originally wanted cannellini beans so I could have an Italian themed dinner, but I used the last of them in my Store Cupboard Soup recipe. Black-Eyed Beans seem to have stemmed from a lot of places, according to Wikipedia, it seems they are widely grown in Asian countries, but is more commercially grown across the US, so this American style hummus.

Anyway, on Friday we had bought some tahini, so I decided to take the plunge and make my own dip.Water also proved to be important. I learnt the hard way, because I was like “WHY OH WHY ISN’T IT PUREEING!?! IT NEEDS TO BE MORE LIQUIDY BUT MORE OLIVE OIL WILL RUIN THE FLAVOUR”, and then, like a guardian angel, I saw a bottle of water and poured a bit in and hey presto it turned to a lovely consistency. All you really need to buy for this recipe is the pulse of your choice and tahini, all the other things should be available in your cupboard. I think you have to have a food processor for this job, but I bet a potato masher could work!

Ingredients

1 x 400g can of black-eyed beans, or any type of bean that takes your fancy!

-1/4 cup of Tahini

-1 tbsp lemon juice

-2 cloves of garlic minced (I added 3 and it was a bit too pungent)

-A handful of fresh basil finely chopped (I put mine in a food processor), or half a 1 tbsp of dried basil if that wont do

-2 tsp of salt

-4 tbsp oil

-2 tbsp water

Method

-Drain the beans in a sieve and rinse.

-Put all the ingredients except the oil in a food blender, and whizz. You will have to keep on turning it off and stirring it with a wooden spoon in order to move the mixture around.

-Once it has become a bit more maleable add the oil and whizz some more, turning it off to stir and whizzing some more.

– Add the water, but it really depends how much you would like. If you like your hummus like a cream, then you might want to add a bit more so everything is completely processed, but I like mine more chunky so I didn’t add as much.

-So there you have it, hummus is so easy, I can tell I’m gonna get too into this (in my head, all I hear is EDAMAME BEAN HUMMUS!!)

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Filed under Mediterranean, Pulses, Quick, Snacks and Starters, Vegan, Vegetarian

Greek Pie

I  have a lot of Greek restaurants near me, and some Turkish ones too, which always make these feta and spinach triangles (spanakopita) which are so nice. With a bit of research I realised it is not impossible to make a spanakopita pie, which is what I did here. It was so nice, the only problem is that I would say it wasn’t THAT thrifty. The ways to make it cheaper are by buying “salad cheese” instead of feta, which basically tastes like feta but is made out of cow’s milk instead of sheep’s, and not purchasing the pine nuts.  To be honest, this was absolutely amazing, and it was ridiculously easy, so I would definitely recommend making it.

Ingredients

A knob of melted butter/margarine/oil

-4-5 sheets Filo pastry (just buy a whole pack, and separate 4 sheets from the pile)

-300g Feta/Salad cheese

-3 massive handfuls of spinach

-2 cloves of garlic

-3 eggs

-A handful  of pine nuts

-Lots of dried herbs(basil, thyme, oregano)

-Salt and pepper

Method

-Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200 c/400 f

-Put the spinach in a saucepan and cook on a medium heat, crush the garlic into it with a garlic press, and continue to stir until all the spinach has wilted. Wilted is when it looks wet and has shrunk in size.

-Crumble the feta into a mixing bowl, add the eggs, spinach, pine nuts, some teaspoons of herbs and s + p  and mix thoroughly until it is combined really well. Make sure there is no orange floating about from the egg yolk.

-Put this aside and start with your filo papers. Prepare a pie dish by greasing the sides with the butter or oil, if you don’t have a pie dish, just make do with any deep dish pan the you have. In this case it might be necessary to use more sheets to make sure all the dish is covered.

-Place one sheet of the filo pastry, being very delicate, in a pie dish. Using a brush if you can, spread some of the oil or melted butter over the sheet. Just a bit will do.Try to push the pastry into the dish so that no air is left under the surface and it has completely filled the dish. Add another sheet, doing the same thing with the butter. Do this until you have used all 4 sheets. If using a circular dish, try to make sure all the edges are covered.  BE DELICATE.

-Now pour the feta and spinach mixture into the pie dish, and it should spread easily into all areas of the pie base. Now wrap the edges of the filo over the mixture so that it ressembles some sort of crust, like in the photo.

-Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes, or until the mixture feels springy and golden and the crust is brown.

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Filed under Bread, Pastries and Pizza, Cheese, Mediterranean, Vegetarian

Renovated vegetables

When I go on a food shop (in term time) I head straight towards the fresh fruit and veg. I think people tend to think I’m extravagant cos I by a lot of stuff fresh, but you just have to be prudent. Check what’s in season, don’t be buying strawberries and aubergines in winter. And check what’s in the basics range, you can get a bag of 4 peppers for about £1.50. Also, try to get stuff that’s easily grown in Britain because it will cost less to ship, and thus will cost less to you. In the spring, look out for cheap cucumber, asparagus and courgettes, and in the fruit section: rhubarb. Most British vegetables are grown all year round due to the climate, so look out for broccoli, onions, beetroot, carrots and parsnips. I may be stating the obvious, but it makes a difference. This roasted vegetable dish is an example of me reacting to the sudden boost in the climate. There has obviously been a massive increase in broccoli produce, we got buy one get one free in Tesco’s, and then the local shop gave my mum a bunch for free.

Roasted vegetables are probably one of my all time favourite dishes. It goes well as a side, or I tend to have it as a big salad with some lettuce, spinach and cheese, feta will work on a budget, but preferably fresh goat’s cheese (I love being on holiday). When you roast vegetables the flavour changes dramatically. I don’t really like the acidity of fresh green and yellow peppers but when I roast them I love them. My sister is a bit of raw foodist, so sometimes she likes to avoid cooking so as to preserve the goodness, but I like cooking the hell out of these things cos they taste so good. I cooked about 3 peppers today. Because of our sudden influx of broccoli I decided to fling in some florets (a bit apprehensively) this time, which was a bit of a risk. My sister also introduced me to the roasting of beans, so we threw in some left-over butter beans (which are only about 50p a tin). The broccoli re-affirmed my love of roasted vegetables, they tasted really different and I recommend you try this if you’re a broccoli fan. The roasted beans are lovely cos they’re crispy on the outside and still soft on the inside. I’m also a fan of roasted mini-sweet corn and green beans too.

Roasting, it is worth noting, is for the patient. But if you’re just sitting in your room working, you might as well stick them in an hour or so before you eat and then they’re done when you’ve finish. First you need to chop your vegetables, and douse them in olive oil in a baking tray as above (olive oil is healthier and adds a nice taste). Add some green herbage (dried or fresh) and salt and pepper and make sure all the vegetables are covered. Then stick them in the oven. My house inherited a ray-burn oven, so it takes half an hour to heat up, so these veggies took an hour and a half overall. In a normal oven pre-heated to about 220c degrees it should take an hour. Half way through give take them out and stir. It might take less than an hour; just make sure they vegetables are crisping and brown.

Sorry, but if this doesn’t turn out great, you’ve done something wrong.

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Filed under Mediterranean, Vegetarian

Nice Baked Salmon with Patatas Bravas

I like Spanish food, and this what I am doing with my leftover Salmon fillet and chopped tomatoes.

Ingredients

-Salmon Fillet

-A knob of butter

-Mixed herbs

-Paprika

-Sugar (any kind)

-a tin or less of Chopped tomatoes

-Potatoes

Method

-I got my timing a bit confused here, I think I over-cooked the salmon, but this is how it goes. Chop up your potatoes into chunks and par-boil (place in boiling water) for 5 minutes.

-While they boil place your salmon fillet on some foil which is about 20 cm long, then put the butter on top of the fillet with a sprinkling of herbs. Wrap up the fillet by bringing the two width ends of the foil to the top and scrunch. Place this in the oven on a baking tray for half an hour at 180c (conversion chart for other temperatures is here).

-Now dedicate your time to the potatoes. Drain them, then fry in about 2 glugs of olive oil until they sound like they are frying well, but make sure they’re on a low heat as they need to cook on inside, not just the outside.

-While these gently fry remember to stir them. Now, empty your tomatoes into a saucepan, turn onto a medium heat and add 2 tsp of Paprika, 2 tsp of mixed herbs and 2 tsp of sugar. Once hot give a taste, use your instincts, you might need a bit more sugar depending on how much chopped tomatoes you had. You might just need a bit of salt. Keep this simmering until it has reduced to a thick texture, i.e when you stir it you can see the bottom of the pan, then turn off the heat.

-Keep an eye on your potatoes,  they take about 10-15 minutes to soften. Give them a bite to test, if they are brown on the outside and soft on the inside, place on a pan and put on the bottom shelf of the oven until the salmon has had its time.

-To know whether the Salmon is done, unwrap it and it should be a white pinkish colour when you cut through. Mine was overdone this time, so maybe DON’T place on 200c.

-Quickly re-heat the tomato sauce, add a bit of water if necessary. Whilst it’s heating up, serve the salmon, it should come easily away from its skin, potatoes and put the tomato sauce on top.

-I served with some chopped carrots, brocolli and cauliflower cos it was 50p for a little bag. So basically, this meal only really cost around £2.50!!

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Filed under Fish, Mediterranean