Cheeseburger Quesadillas

On 11th June 2016, This was Dinner

What an idea! The cheeseburger quesadilla. I thought these were great but Mr S was a little underwhelmed.

Get set…

  • Slice some pickled gherkins
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Get minced beef, tortillas, mustard, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat some oil in a pan and add the mince. Give it a good season and cook through. Wipe out the pan.

Spread some mustard on the bottom of a tortilla, scatter with the beef, add some gherkins and sprinkle the cheddar over. Place another tortilla on top then place in the hot pan and squash down. Carefully flip over and cook on the other side.

Repeat until you have used all of the mince.

Dish it up…

Cut into quarters and serve. A dash of ketchup wouldn’t go amiss either.

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I’ll try and convince Mr S of their greatness by adding some onion and some spice next time.

Find this and lots of other great recipes in John Whaite’s perfect plates.

Sweet, Sweet Kale

On 1st & 2nd March 2016, This was Dinner

I do adore kale, for a while it was quite hard to come buy unless it was in season but it is very fashionable now isn’t it. I bought a rather large bag of it from the market and new it would do two meals.

Tuesday’s dinner was Spaghetti with Caramelised Onion, Kale & Gorgonzola:

Get set…

  • Halve and thinly slice a red onion
  • Chop come kale
  • Crumble some gorgonzola
  • Prepare a small amount of vegetable stock
  • Chop some thyme leaves
  • Get spaghetti, sherry vinegar, caster sugar, chilli flakes, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and thyme with some seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes until softened then add the chilli flakes along with the sugar and sherry vinegar. Stir then add the stock. Cook for 10 minutes, only stirring occasionally.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions and add the kale for the last few minutes. Drain (reserving a little water) then toss together with the cheese.

Dish it up…

Serve in a bowl with the onions on top.

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Original recipe here.

I think I have actually achieved something I’ve never done before! I have used chorizo over two meals! To use up the kale I decided to make quesadillas and having bought cooking chorizo for another meal, I decided to add half of the pack to these. So Wednesday’s dinner – Chorizo, Red Onion & Kale Quesadillas:

Get set…

  • Finely slice a red onion
  • Cut a cooking chorizo into small pieces
  • Chops some kale
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Get tortillas & oil ready

Throw it together…

Heat a little oil in a pan and cook the onion until softened. Remove from the pan.

Add the chorizo to the pan and cook until starting to colour and crisp. Remove from the pan.

Add the kale to the pan and stir constantly for a couple of minutes then add a small amount of water, pop the lid on and remove from the heat. Remove the kale from the pan

Wipe out the pan and pop back on the heat.

Set out the tortillas and spread the onion over one half of each. Scatter the chorizo over then add the kale. Sprinkle with cheddar and fold over.

Pop two in a pan and cook on each side until browned and the cheese has melted.

Dish it up...

Halve each one. I like them to cool a little first. Just pop on a plate and serve.

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Before and after, or is that after and before.

This made six, I don’t like to overfill mine.

Cheese & Vegetable Pie

On 26th February 2016, This was Dinner

I have been going to make my own pastry for ages rather than just buying the stuff and this seemed like the perfect opportunity as it required a cheese one. Then, like an idiot, I forgot to put the cheese in! So instead I had to sprinkle it on as I rolled it out.

My one complaint would be that, although I used Mary Berry’s measurements, it was a bit thin. ‘Your pie dish was probably bigger!’ I hear you cry. Well if you checked out her photo in the book then you would change your mind. AND she had lots of leftover trimmings to make it look pretty!

Although this isn’t a very ‘Friday Night’ meal, there was no way I was letting all of those vegetables go to waste.

For some reason I had forgotten to buy a courgette but I had a spare aubergine and some frozen broccoli that I threw in instead.

Get set…

  • Finely chop an onion
  • Chop a couple of tomatoes
  • Slice some mushrooms
  • Peel & slice a couple of carrots
  • Chop some parsley
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Grate some smoked cheddar
  • Beat an egg
  • Sift 125g plain flour into a bowl
  • Measure out 60g butter and cut into small pieces
  • Measure out 300ml milk
  • Measure out another 30g plain flour
  • Measure out another 30g butter
  • Halve & slice an aubergine (at the last minute)
  • Get English mustard, cayenne pepper, dried marjoram, frozen broccoli, butter, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water for a few minutes then drain.

Pop the small pieces of butter into the sifted flour and rub until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Remember to stir in the cheese (half of the cheddar). Add a tablespoon of the beaten egg and a tablespoon of cold water and bind to a soft dough. I felt there wasn’t enough liquid but I stuck with it and there was. Wrap in cling film and chill.

Melt a little oil and butter in a large pan and cook the onion until softened. Add the carrots and cook for five minutes.

Add the aubergine, mushrooms and tomatoes along with the marjoram and season well. Cook for around 15 minutes. Chop the broccoli into small pieces and add in. Stir through the parsley and remove from the heat.

Melt the 30g of butter and add the 30g of flour. Stir and cook for a minute. Remove from the heat and add the milk a little at a time. Stirring constantly. Bring to a boil then simmer for a few minutes. Add all of the smoked cheese and the remaining half of the cheddar along with some mustard and seasoning.

Stir into the vegetables and let cool whilst you roll out the pastry.

Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan).

Roll out the pastry and transfer the vegetable mixture to a pie dish.

Place the pastry on top of the mixture and trim the edges the press with your thumbs. Make a few slashes with a knife in the top of the pastry then brush with egg. Use the trimmings for any decoration.

Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Dish it up…

Well you don’t need anymore vegetables so just cut yourself as much as you want and enjoy.

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I’ll definitely be making my own pastry again, I was quite chuffed with it.

Bacon, Cheese & Tomato Pasta Bake

It’s three years (and one day) since I registered for WordPress. I looked at a couple of my very early posts and thankfully it has evolved a bit since then.

And talking of anniversaries, it is 20 years since Jarvis Cocker stormed Michael Jackson’s set at the Brits. Which means it is 20 years since I went to see Pulp at the Sheffield Arena. I remember him walking out holding a copy of the Sun newspaper, of which he commanded the front page (and probably a few pages within I would imagine. The British media know how to milk a story). It’s also 20 years since Trainspotting was released. Twenty years though? Without sounding like my Nan, where does time go?

On 22nd February 2016, This was Dinner

I was so hungry today. We went and did some work at Unbloq yesterday and before we knew it, it was 3.30pm and we hadn’t eaten a sausage. (Or a slice of toast for that matter.) We ended up buying a ready roasted chicken from Morrisons and making a chicken and chorizo sandwich. The problem was this was my first bread for a while and it filled me until about 9.30pm when I was ready to eat again but by then it was too late.

I resisted the urge to get a takeaway on Monday night and made this pasta bake instead. This is originally a Bill Granger dish but I changed it up a little bit. The bacon is actually pancetta and the cheese is not just any old cheese, it’s the delicious (and a personal favourite of mine) taleggio.

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)
  • Finely chop an onion
  • Break up some taleggio
  • Quarter some cherry tomatoes
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Get pasta, milk, plain flour, butter, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Cook the pasta (I used shells) until al dente, drain and set aside.

Heat up a frying pan and add the pancetta and cook until starting to crisp. Add the onion and cook until softened.

Add the butter to the pan and melt. Add the flour to the pan and stir well. Gradually add in the milk to create a sauce. Season and add the taleggio.

Stir the pancetta mixture through the pasta, along with the tomatoes and add to a baking dish.

Pop in the oven for 10 minutes then remove and add the cheddar and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

Dish it up…

This dish doesn’t need anything else. Just tuck in.

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Steak with Onion & Blue Cheese Sauce

On 2nd January 2016, This was Dinner

Over the Christmas period there’s a lot of pastry and finger food involved and although I already had a food list prepared, we both fancied something nice and simple.

Preparing:

  • Finely chop an onion
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)
  • Get your steaks to room temperature
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Get double cream, blue cheese, butter, Worcestershire sauce, oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Pop the potatoes in the oven. Cook for an hour depending on size.

When the potatoes are almost done, make the sauce.

Heat a little oil and butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook gently until softened. Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and pour in the cream, stirring gently on a low heat. Crumble in the blue cheese and stir, season to taste and keep warm.

Heat a griddle pan. Oil the steaks and season with salt. Cook to your liking then leave to rest whilst you get the potatoes out.

Cut the potatoes and serve with butter and cheese. Pour the sauce over the steaks.

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Lasagne/Lasagna

On 2nd October 2015, This was Dinner

I went back to the gym for the first time in months today. It really is true that you don’t regret it when you are there, my waistline is telling me I regret not going. I just need to push myself to get there.

We should have been having Jamie Oliver’s Rich Grits last night but things didn’t go according to plan. I forgot to get the prawns out and I didn’t have the cheese. Not a very tasty rich grits. We had sausages, waffles and leftover chardonnay sauce.

Mr S was going to start the lasagne but got caught up with something else so we ended up eating this about 10.30 at night. This is fine if your are staying up until two in the morning but I was very tired. Not the greatest idea.

Preparing:

  • Finely chop an onion (cut a slice off first for the béchamel)
  • Finely chop a couple of garlic cloves
  • Chop some chestnut mushrooms
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Preheat the oven to 170ºc (fan)
  • Get minced beef, a can of chopped tomatoes, red wine, sun dried tomato purée, Worcestershire sauace, 300ml milk, 6 peppercorns, a bay leaf, ground nutmeg, 15g butter, 15g plain flour, lasagne sheets, oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Pop the milk in a pan and add the onion, peppercorns and bay leaf along with a pinch of nutmeg.

Gently heat and just before it starts to boil, remove from the heat and cover. Leave to infuse.

Heat  some oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and stir for a minute.

Add the beef and cook until browned, making sure you break up the pieces. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the wine to the pan and turn up the heat, let it boil a little.

Add the tin of tomatoes along with the mushrooms and a dash of worcestershire sauce. Season well and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to cook whilst you do the other stuff.

Strain the milk. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour, keep stirring for a minute until combined (don’t let it burn). Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk. Stirring continuously so it doesn’t go lumpy. Pop back on the heat and simmer, still stirring, until thickened.

Spoon a third of the bolognese into an ovenproof dish. Cover with a layer of the pasta sheets, then a layer of the béchamel. Repeat twice more then sprinkle with the cheeses. Cook for about 40-45 minutes,

I had some parsley that needed using up so threw it on just for some colour interest on the photo.

TWD_0210_LasagneThis recipe is taken from a Good Housekeeping book called Healthy Family Recipes which I picked up on the cheap a few years ago.

Cheddar, Haddock & Hake Polenta Fish Cakes

On 19th August 2015, This was Dinner

As good as these were they took a while. I’d walked the doggy first too so it was already a late start. It was gone 9.30pm when we had these, whilst watching GBBO. How cool was that lion?

Preparing:

  • Peel and chop some potatoes
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Finely slice some spring onions
  • Chop some parsley, separating stalks & leaves
  • Get a bay leaf, peppercorns, a small piece of smoked haddock, a small piece of hake, flour, egg, polenta, oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Put the potatoes in a pan along with the peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley stalks and salt. Top up with cold water and cover. Bring to the boil and cook the potatoes until tender, around 15 minutes.

Keep the water, transferring the potatoes to a colander to steam. Pop the fishes into the water and poach until it flakes (around 5 minutes). Remove and set aside.

Mash the potatoes, adding some pepper and a little more salt. Add the cheese half of the fish and mash well. Throw in the rest of the fish and the spring onions and stir through. Form the mixture into balls. Mine were just a bit bigger than golf balls.

Roll them in flour, dip them in egg then roll in polenta. Chill for at least 20 minutes but an hour would be better.

Heat about 1cm of oil in a large frying pan and then cook for a few minutes on ‘each’ side.

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The BBC Good Food recipe that inspired them is here. I made the watercress sauce to go with it but didn’t like it at all so haven’t posted the details. They were good with Sriracha though.