Three Cheese Macaroni Bake with Chorizo & Bacon

On 6th April 2016, This was Dinner

Can you tell I had a bit of a ‘use it all up’ moment by the name of the recipe? Well I did and it turns out it was a great dinner too.

Get set…

  • Finely slice some leeks
  • Cut some brie into pieces
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Cut some cooking chorizo into bite sized pieces
  • Tear up some basil
  • Get streaky bacon, macaroni, frozen peas, soft cheese, English mustard, oil & seasoning ready
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)

Throw it together…

Heat a frying pan and cook the strips of bacon. Remove and set aside. Cook the chorizo until it releases it’s oil and remove and set aside.

Heat some oil in the pan and cook the leeks until softened. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni until al dente. Drain and refresh reserving a little of the cooking water.

Add the peas to the leeks and cook for a couple more minutes.

Snip the bacon into bits and then mix everything together along with the soft cheese and the brie. Add some of the pasta water if required. Season well and then bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheddar and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Dish it up…

Sprinkle with basil and serve.

TWD_Pasta_BakeTWD_PastaBake2

As you can see, there was a side of chicken wings too!

Chicken & Bacon Crispy Pancakes

On 29th February 2016, This was Dinner

I had the day off today, and such a productive day it was. A nice walk with the dog boss, a reorganisation of my wardrobe, a good sort of all my food magazines and a man came and cleaned my oven so it looks like new!

Now I suppose I can’t complain as I haven’t had one in a lot of quite a few years. When I decided to research whether you could still buy the Findus Crispy Pancake (a staple of my youth) I found this recent shocking piece of information. Yes, the demise of the crispy pancake is not only imminent, it has probably already happened.

So if there are any disappointed crispy pancake lovers out there, this recipe is for you, but you might need a little longer than 15 minutes along side your oven chips!

I actually cooked the filling on Sunday then made them on Monday. The mixture needs chilling time so I would suggest this unless you have all day.

Get set…

  • Finely chop an onion
  • Finely chop some chestnut mushrooms
  • Chop some parskey
  • Whizz up a couple of slices of bread (without the crusts) for breadcrumbs
  • Sift 100g plain flour into a bowl
  • Measure out 550ml milk
  • Beat an egg and get 2 others ready
  • Get smoked bacon lardons, chicken breasts, flour, oil & seasoning ready
  • When ready preheat the oven to 180°c (fan)

Throw it together…

Poach the chicken breasts in boiling water for about 17 minutes or until cooked. Remove and set aside.

Heat a pan and cook the bacon lardons until starting to crisp. Remove and set aside.

Add a little oil to the pan if required and cook the onion for five minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for around 10 more minutes until the mushrooms are done.

Stir in a couple of tablespoons of flour and cook for a minute then add 400ml of the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil to thicken a little, a couple of minutes should do. Season.

Chop the chicken into small pieces and add to the pan along with the bacon lardons and parsley. Mix well then leave to cool. When cool, transfer to a dish, cover and chill.

Make the pancakes by adding some salt to the sifted flour and then make a well and crack in both of the eggs. Mix together then slowly add the remaining 150ml milk and whisk to a thin batter.

Heat a frying pan and add just under a ladleful to the pan. Swirl around quickly to cover the surface. When the bottom is golden, flip and cook the other side. Make three more, you should just have enough.

Brush egg around the edges of the pancakes then pop the chicken mixture in the middle. Fold over and press together.

Pop on a baking tray and brush with more egg, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and back for about 20 minutes.

Dish it up…

Well I would have served them with baked beans but Mr S wasn’t bothered so I didn’t open a tin just for me. They are very filling so I’m glad I didn’t bother with chips.

TWD_2902_Crispy_Pancakes

You can find the BBC Good Food recipe here.

I really enjoyed these but I’m not sure I would bother again. Two things to mention. I thought there was far too much filling for the pancakes (but then I didn’t measure anything other than stated and my chicken breasts were HUGE) and my edges would not stick.

Prawn, Pea & Bacon Risotto

On 3rd August 2015, This was Dinner

It’s a while since we had a risotto and knowing I had some prawns, peas and bacon in the freezer, this was the obvious.

Preparing:

  • Prepare some vegetable stock
  • Finely chop a shallot
  • Get wine, prawns, peas, streaky bacon, risotto rice, butter, oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Heat the oil in a pan and add the shallot. Cook until softened.

Add the risotto rice and stir well, ensuring it is all coated in the oil.

Add a splash of wine and cook to reduce.

Add a ladle of stock and allow to cook until all absorbs.

Repeat until the risotto is almost cooked.

Cook the bacon to your liking in a separate pan.

Add the prawns and peas to the pan with the last ladle of stock and allow to cook.

Finish by adding a little butter to the risotto and stir to melt.

Serve the bacon on top of the risotto.

TWD_0308_Risotto

Pasta Carbonara

On 1st to 7th July, This was Dinner

Well it’s hard to believe we are officially into the second half of the year! And what a start to the second half of the year it was. So very, very hot. It’s not often I would say this but I did NOT want to leave my office and it’s hard working air conditioning.

The train was hot, the bus was hotter. The area I live in is in the middle of some horrendous road works so there has been a lot of walking involved but today I just did not have the energy so instead I sat melting on the bus.

In terms of media, there are two things guaranteed:

  1. It will be quoted as being hotter than Tenerife/The Bahamas/The Algarve/The South of France*
  2. There will be a photo of young girls in bikinis on Bournemouth/Torquay/ Blackpool* beach (usually eating an ice cream)

* delete as appropriate

Any more?

We had shop bought fish cakes with the cheap curry sauce on Wednesday.

On Thursday we had this carbonara.

Preparing:

  • Finely chop a shallot
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Get eggs, bacon lardons, pasta, oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Get the pasta cooking in boiling, salted water.

Heat some oil in a pan and add the bacon. Cook the bacon until starting to crisp. Don’t stir a lot, this is the key to crispy bacon. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the shallot to the pan and cook until softened.

Mix the parmesan (save a little) with the eggs and some seasoning.

Drain the pasta and add to the shallot along with the bacon and the egg mixture. Stir well and this will cook the egg. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan.

TWD_0207_Carbonara

I’ve read a debate about the cream v.no cream in a carbonara and this is the first time I’ve made it without. Nice, but I’ll use cream next time.

We went away for the (long) weekend. I did cook chicken goujons and also made a Sunday dinner which, considering I was using someone else’s facilities, I was very proud of. The rest of the weekend consisted of takeaways and ended with a burger. Cooked at home but prepared by a butcher.

Liver, Bacon & Onions

On 24th June 2015, This was Dinner

I made this meal and it really took me back to the gravy my Nan used to make when I was little. My poor Grandad probably liked the gravy too but there I would be, sat with my slice of bread to dip in his ‘leftovers’!

Preparing:

  • Cut up some pieces of smoked streaky bacon
  • Slice an onion
  • Slice some live into small strips
  • Prepare some beef stock
  • Get tomato ketchup, red wine vinegar, plain flour, oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Heat a little oil in a pan and cook the bacon until starting to crisp. Remove and set aside.

Cook the onion in the pan until softened. Remove and set aside with the bacon.

Add a little oil to the pan if necessary. Add the strips of liver and cook for a couple of minutes to colour all round. Add the plain flour to the pan and stir well, cook for another minute.

Add a splash of red wine vinegar and a good squirt of ketchup. Stir well then pour in the stock and bring to the boil.

Reduce to a simmer then season well and add the onion and bacon.

Cook for about 10 minutes and serve with whatever you fancy. Mash would be good but I had some croquettes in the freezer. Oh and to explain why I told the story above? I mopped up the gorgeous gravy with a bit of bread!

TWD_2406_Liver_OnionsOn Thursday we made a quick, improvised turkey curry using powdered curry sauce that you add water to. Cook some turkey steaks then add to the sauce with some frozen peas.

Serve with chips.

Bubble & Squeak with Buttered Toast

On 3rd June 2015, This was Dinner

I bought the March edition of Delicious magazine after I saw their tweet that there was a section inspired by best-loved children’s books, more importantly, from my favourite books – Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series.

The recipe was for Pop Cakes which I remember fondly, I might make them, but with something else inside. Go and take a look at all other recipes:

Cold Apple Pie from Edith Nesbit’s ‘The Railway Children’

Mrs Beaver’s Sticky Marmalade Roll from CS Lewis’s ‘The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe’

Butterbeer from JK Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter…’

and this one which will definitely go on my to do list – Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake from the wonderful Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’

and last but not least, Bubble & Squeak recipe from Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows. Although it kind of defeats the object that this is in a ‘Magical Bakes’ section and I cheated and bought the bread.

Preparing:

  • Cut some potatoes into cubes
  • Shred some savoy cabbage leaves
  • Finely slice an onion
  • Cut some slices of sourdough
  • Get bacon lardons, butter, nutmeg oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Par boil the potatoes until almost done. Drain and pop to one side. If you can, pop the cabbage in another colander and as you drain the potatoes, pour the water over the cabbage.

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the bacon until starting to crisp. Remove and set aside.

Cook the onion until softened. Add the potatoes to the pan and cook until the potatoes start to colour and crisp. Don’t over stir. Add the cabbage and pop the bacon back in. Season well and add a grate of nutmeg. Stir and leave whilst you toast your bread.

TWD_0306_Hash

Sesame Turkey Meatballs & Some Other Good Stuff

On 17th April to 1st May, This was Dinner

Normal service will be resumed shortly.
      Normal service will be resumed shortly.

As I mentioned before, I messed up with the camera, the result was that some of my photographs ended up completely blurred with no way of saving them. These meatballs are the last photo I got before I realised my mistake which came from changing the settings back incorrectly after taking some photos of Walter.

I’ve added some details of a few of the meals we had that were worth a mention. Here’s the Sesame Turkey Meatballs from the Smitten Kitchen cook book my sister bought me for Christmas.

Preparing:

  • Whizz up some fresh breadcrumbs
  • Finely chop some garlic cloves
  • Toast some sesame seeds
  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc (fan)
  • Get minced turkey, an egg, ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli flakes, cayenne pepper, oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Mix all of the ingredients together and form into balls. Chill for about 20 minutes.

Heat some oil in a pan and brown the meatballs.

Transfer to a baking tray and cook for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven.

I served ours with baked, smashed sweet potatoes and a dollop of sour cream and cranberry sauce.

TWD_1704_Turkey_MeatballsWe had a visit from the in-laws on Saturday so enjoyed an afternoon with three crazy dogs.

On the 20th I made a Lemon and goats cheese pasta which I have made before and can be found here. I’ve used the original photo to tempt you.

pastaOn the 21st I made Bacon & Sausage Baked Mushrooms:

Like breakfast in a mushroom minus the eggs. An egg would have gone nice on top of this to be honest but I didn’t have a spare.

Get the largest mushrooms you can.

Preparing:

  • Take the stalks off some large mushrooms (I did 4)
  • Finely chop the stalks
  • Remove the casings from some sausages, pulling into small pieces (I had 6).
  • Chop a large tomato
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Pick some thyme leaves
  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc (fan)
  • Get oil, butter, bacon lardons and seasoning ready

Making:

Grease a baking tray and place the mushrooms top side down. Add a little butter to each mushroom and sprinkle with the thyme leaves and the chopped stalks. Season.

Divide the sausage meat between the mushrooms then add the bacon lardons and the mushrooms. Season again then cook for about 15 minutes. Take out and add the cheese, cooking for another 5 minutes.

The original recipe can be found on the Delicious Magazine website.

This West Indian Chicken with Sauce Chien was very good on the 22nd April:

So chicken with dog sauce then? It appears to come from the idiom ‘avoir du chien’ which in French is the equivalent of saying someone is a fox – as in – Derek’s GF is a fox (no – I would NEVER use that term either!).

I was very organised and remembered to marinate it last night.

Preparing:

  • Finely chop a scotch bonnet chilli
  • Zest & juice a couple of limes
  • Roughly chop a couple of shallots
  • Slice some spring onions
  • Roughly chop some ginger
  • Chop some parsley
  • Get ground cumin, ground allspice, garlic, rice wine vinegar, sugar & seasoning ready

Making:

Pop the ginger, shallots, garlic, zest and juice of the limes, parsley, half of the chilli and spring onions in a processor. Add the rice wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar and blend well. Add a little boiling water and some seasoning, give it another whizz up.

Rub the spices and the remaining chilli over the chicken then cover with half of the sauce.

When they have had their marinating time, heat the oven to 180ºc (fan) then cook the chicken for about an hour or until cooked through.

Serve with rice and more of the dog sauce.

The BBC Good Food recipe can be found here.

On Thursday night we had hot dogs. Mustard, ketchup, cheese, leftover dog sauce and variations thereof, along with lovely sweet sticky onions made using the largest onion I have EVER seen.

We had this Thai Style Mince on the 24th which is another firm favourite that has been sidelined since I started the blog. Again, my original photo.

TWD_Thai_MinceI did a large pie version of some Trinidadian Aloo Pies (or spicy meat and tatty pie) from a great book called Dirty Food which was very tasty and fed us for a couple of days.

We had Chicken, Corn & Slaw on the 26th April:

We went on a lovely walk today. The forecast had been for it to be pretty grotty after a lovely week but the weather was gorgeous. I hope this is a sign of the summer. Sunshine makes everything better doesn’t it? I think it caught everyone by surprise as there was no smell of barbecue in the air.

And what could make it better? A dish that screams of summer days. The girl on the chicken stall misheard me and gave me two kilo of chicken wings instead of one. I didn’t bother correcting her as they were only £3.80 and Mr S would polish them off, no problem.

Preparing:

  • Prep some chicken wings
  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc (fan)
  • Finely slice a red onion
  • Finely slice some white cabbage
  • Grate a couple of carrots
  • Zest & juice a lemon
  • Get corn on the cobs, natural yoghurt, clear honey, soy sauce, peanut butter, sesame seeds, paprika, butter, oil & seasoning ready.

Making:

Pop the wings on a baking tray. Season then drizzle with oil and cook for about 15 minutes,

Mix honey, soy sauce, peanut butter, sesame seeds and a little salt. If it’s a little too thick, add a bit of water.

Put the onion, cabbage and carrot in a bowl and mix in the yoghurt, lemon zest and juice and some seasoning.

Take the chicken out of the oven and pour the peanut butter sauce over. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until cooked though.

Cook the corn in a pan of boiling water until done. I bought a boil in the bag pack that took eight minutes.

Serve the wings with a good serving of the slaw and the corn with a little (or a lot) butter and a sprinkle of paprika.

On Monday night we had the remainder of the pie from Saturday with some beans and the leftover slaw.

The last thing I didn’t get a photo of was Middle Eastern Eggs with Merguez & Pistachios:

Preparing:

  • Chop a red onion
  • Halve some cherry tomatoes
  • Chop some parsley
  • Shell & roughly chop some pistschios
  • Get merguez sausages, harissa paste, eggs, paprika, natural yoghurt, sugar, oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the sausages until almost done. Remove from the pan.

Add a little more oil if required and cook the onion until softened. Stir some harissa through then add the tomatoes and a splash of water. Pop a pinch of sugar in and season well.

Cook until the tomatoes have cooked down into a nice thick sauce and add back the sausages along with a little more water if needed.

Create little wells in the pan and crack in the eggs. Cook until the yolks are set (or however you like your eggs).

Add a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of paprika to serve. We had some lovely crusty bread with ours.

The original BBC Good Food recipe can be found here.

On Wednesday we had a favourite staple of ours – the quesadilla – with serrano ham, cheese, spring onion and jalapeños.

Thursday we stopped off at the shop for burgers as we forgot to get anything out of the freezer and on Friday I just couldn’t be bothered so we had shop bought pie and oven chips.

As I said, normal service will kind of be resumed, ‘tomorrow’.