Double cheddar cheese and chive quiche with chive flowers

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Pies, tart’s and quiches are never perfect looking when I make them. I like the rustic look when I make them for the household, cliche I know but it looks homemade then.

The thing is I am not actually a great quiche lover, well I have to say, I don’t really like most shop bought ones, they have to be really good quality and then you find that the price is quite shocking for a small pastry case filled with egg. So believe it or not, when it comes to this time of year through the asparagus season and just before Wimbledon, I always fancy a quiche!
They are quite good when you think about it as you can use produce up including eggs, milk, cream. Any veg you have or when you come to the end of a packet of bacon or sliced ham and not quite sure what to do with that last slice. However for this recipe I had an abundance of beautiful chives that had flowered and I wanted to showcase how tasty eating the flowers are. What a perfect recipe to do for my regular slot on BBC radio Leicester with Ben Jackson. You can hear the recording of myself and Ben HERE
Whatever occasion you may have coming up wether it be a friend coming round for a cuppa, an alternative tea or even a picnic. A quiche can be a winner.

National picnic week falls from the 11th-19th June 2016, one of my favourite National weeks.

 

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Ingredients:

Pastry:

250g plain flour
150g Stork margarine chopped into cubes
a good pinch of sea salt
a pinch of caster sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp cold milk

Filling:

4 eggs
125ml double cream
100ml milk
a handful of chives chopped into 1.5cm length
sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
75g welsh slate cheddar grated
75g mature cheddar grated
( You can use any cheddar you like as long as they are different to each other but give a bit of a punch in flavour)

Method:

Place the flour in a heap onto your work surface and make a well. Add in your butter, pop an egg on top, add your salt and sugar and then start to mix in together with your fingertips.

 

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Once the dough starts coming together add your milk. Bring the pastry together to form a ball, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge until using.

 

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Preheat your oven to 190c. On a floured surface.Roll out your pastry to 2mm thickness. Line your chosen tin with the pastry and then with baking parchment and “Blind bake” with baking beans/lentils or rice for 15 mins.

After 15 minutes reduce take out your baking beans and then cook for a further 5 minutes.

Whisk your eggs, cream, milk and seasoning together in a jug. Add a layer of cheese, then custard mix, then chives, repeat again to fill your pastry case.

 

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Place in the oven for 30-40 mins.

 

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* Once cooked all the way through and golden on top, add your picked chive flowers, place on a cooling wrack to cool before slicing. Or as I did, place in the fridge overnight, then eat.

 

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Chinese spiced meatballs with seasonal veg and wild rice





Meatballs don’t always have to come in tomato sauce, around pasta or in a Sub Roll. Being a little more creative with your dishes by a slight change can create a dish so different and fantastic, you’ll never want to turn back. 
 You may not always associate a meatball with Chinese food, but it’s allowing your food to go a little further, using a cheaper meat alternative and to get your taste buds tingling to new flavours.
  This weekend, why not get the Children involved in making the meatballs to create a meal together. 
  I have teamed this dish by using ribbons of seasonal Courgettes and carrots, again, so easy for the children to make as you just use a potato peeler. 
  This is my take on that takeaway classic thats normally swimming in a heavy sweet and sour sauce. It’s healthier, cheaper and if you make too many Meatballs at the raw stage, just freeze down for another meal.




Chinese spiced meatballs with seasonal veg and wild rice:





Ingredients:
(Serves 4 approximately)
(Meatballs):
–    1-2 Tbsp Rapeseed oil
  • 5oog Pork Mince
  • Salt and cracked Black pepper to season
  • 1 heaped Teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice I used Spice Kitchen’s own blend
  • 1/2 a large Green chilli ( mild) diced finely or 1 small one
  •   1 clove of Garlic finely chopped d or 2 if small
  •   2x Thumbnail size amount of fresh ginger finely grated
  • 3-4 spring onions chopped as finely as you can get them
  • Small handful of chopped coriander 
(Veg mixture):
–    1-2 tbsp of Rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1-2 carrots ( depending on size )ribboned with a potato peeler
  • 1 Courgette Ribboned with a potato peeler * Don’t peel the skin away, thats the best bit!
  • 1 yellow pepper sliced lengthways 
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • Thumbnail size amount of grated fresh ginger ( Wang Fung Hong )
  •  
  • 1 -2 tbsp superior light soy sauce ( Mine was from the Chinese supermarket Wang Fung Hong in Leicester )
  • 1 tbsp Oyster sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
  •   1-2 tsp of Chilli Bean sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
  • 1-2 tsp of honey ( I used the non clear )
  • A good spritz of lime juice
  • a handful of chopped coriander to finish 
Wild basmati rice to serve.
Method:
Cook rice to packet instructions.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl for your meatballs together and form meatballs, place aside.
  • In a frying pan fry off your meatballs turning after a few minutes. They should take about 10 minutes in total approximately or when cooked through.Pop aside when done.
  • In a separate wok , start to stir fry your onions and peppers, then after a minute or two add your courgettes, tossing the vegetables around the Wok continuously. 
  • After about a minute, add the carrots, garlic and Ginger, be careful the ginger doesn’t burn. 
  • After a minute or two add your soy sauce, Chilli bean sauce, oyster, 1 tsp of honey and a small spritz of lime. Stir and taste to see what sauces you need to add more of.
  • Add in your meatballs and coat them with the sauce. They need to be fully warmed through.
  • When you are happy with the taste of your sauce, add in chopped coriander and serve on a bed of hot Wild rice.
NB: If you didn’t want to add in too much chilli bean sauce then reduce the amount, if you want more spice add in extra fresh chilli to your sauce.




Leftover Moroccan Lamb cous cous

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I want to share this recipe with you before the week is over as this week is all about promoting British Lamb week, ( 1st Sep-7th Sep 2015 ) something I feel very passionate about. I wrote this recipe for my column last month but I feel that now would be a right time to be reminded of it.

Here below is what I originally wrote:

Sometimes on a Sunday if the weather isn’t too hot then we will have a roast of some kind and if we are even more lucky it may even be lamb. Normally we go for a breast of Lamb as its cheaper however I bought this particular shoulder of lamb as it was reduced right down from £19 to £6! Bargain! An offer too good to be missed.

Because this lamb was so big for my partner and I its great for creating other dishes from it and thats what I am showing here. Sometimes the leftover recipes are the best.
So for this time of year cous cous is a lovely light alternative to have and I have included the lovely British courgettes being right in season at the minute to add a lovely texture, colour and added sweetness to the dish. Give leftovers a chance, it may even be better than the first dish was.
Leftover Moroccan lamb cous cous:

 

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Ingredients:

Cooked shoulder of lamb ( Could use shanks, breast or leg if you wanted )
1 tsp was el hangout spice ( widely available in most supermarkets or online) I use spice kitchen’s blend.
approximately 200g cous cous
1/4 tub of chicken stock gel pot
1/4 litre of boiling water
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
3 tbsp Rapeseed oil
1 tbsp mild curry powder
small handful of almonds sliced
few sprigs of fresh mint finely chopped
few sprigs of fresh coriander finely chopped
1 courgette sliced into half moons
half a small green pepper diced
half a small red pepper diced
Half a red onion finely diced
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
Thumb nail size of fresh ginger grated
1 tsp ground coriander (Spice Kitchen)
1 tsp ground cumin (Spice Kitchen)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (Spice Kitchen)
Method:

Take your cold cooked lamb and marinate with a little rapeseed oil and the ras el hanout.

In the meantime take the cous cous and cover with approximately 1/4 litre of boiling water with the chicken stock added so it just covers the cous cous and cover with foil.

Fry off your courgettes in a little rapeseed oil and after a minute or two add your peppers and cook until starting to colour and soften. Add in the garlic, ginger and chillies and cook for a further minute or two.

Stir in the ground coriander, cumin and cinnamon, add in the lamb and stir allowing the lamb to warm up. Season to taste

Stir the cous cous with a fork, add a drizzle of rapeseed oil and the cous cous should be light and fluffy. Add the curry powder a little salt and pepper if need be and pop in your chopped coriander and mint.

* Add the Lamb mixture into the bowl of cous cous, mix all through and serve.

 

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Berbere spiced salmon with warm summer garden vegetables






So last weekend was August Bank Holiday weekend, the last of the year. I was on BBC Radio Leicester for my regular cooking slot with Ben Jackson on his show on the Friday and I was determined more than ever to keep summer alive for one last time at least this year. I’d met Ben for Lunch earlier on that week and already Ben was talking about Blackberries, chutneys etc… The reaction from me was just not yet, not THIS weekend.

  As you know by now, all of my spices are from Spice Kitchen and they have sent me recently some extra Middle Eastern and African spices to develop with. One in the pack is Berbere which is an Ethiopian spice and is amazing! Lovely flavours with a slight kick of chilli as you’ll hear in the recording. 

  I used salmon as I just happened to still have more in the freezer from the Whole one I bought for only a fiver! But you could use other fish such as Loch trout, pollack, coley or even turkey or chicken. I teamed this up with a melange of colourful, garden, summer vegetables to try and keep that summer feeling alive.


  Little did I know how quickly the weather would change this week. So if you aren’t ready to bring out the casserole pot out yet, this is for you.


  Listen here to hear myself and Ben on the Radio:




Berbere spiced salmon with warm summer garden vegetables:








* Please excuse some of the pictures as I sometimes forget to take photos and just dive into the food! Including Ben.


Ingredients:

(2 people approximately)

Salmon:

–  2 salmon fillets
–  2 tsp of Berbere spice ( Ethiopian spice ) Or you could use, piri piri, cajun, jerk etc Mine is from Spice Kitchen
–  salt and cracked black pepper to season
–  a couple of slices of red chilli chopped finely
–  Few sprigs of fresh coriander
–  1 slice of lemon


For the Garden Vegetables:

–  1 tbsp Rapeseed oil
–  1 red pepper sliced lengthways
–  1 orange pepper sliced lengthways 
–  1 courgette sliced into ribbons
–  2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
–  1 small red onion sliced
–  1 Corn on the cob ( kernels taken off when cooked )
–  handful of cherry tomatoes sliced
–  a couple of slices of red chilli chopped finely
–  handful of fresh herbs: Oregano, lemon thyme and mint chopped finely
–  Salt and cracked black pepper to season
–  chopped fresh coriander to finish 

Method:

–   Marinate salmon fillets with berbere spice and season a little for at least an hour ( the longer you can the better)


–  Preheat oven to 190c

–  Pop on a pan of water to boil for your Sweetcorn and cook until tender



–  Pop salmon into foil in a ceramic/metal baking tray. Pop a little water into the foil. Place lemon, coriander and chilli on top of salmon and create a little parcel. Place into the oven for approximately 10- 12 minutes

–  Drain off your sweetcorn and pop aside to cool slightly

–  Fry of peppers in a frying pan, stir for a couple of minutes. Add your onion and cool for a further minute or two.

–  Add to your mix your Garlic and Tomatoes. Then your Courgette ribbons. Cook for a minute or two and stir.

–  Take off your sweetcorn kernels with a knife and add to your vegetable mixture. You could even grill the sweetcorn or bbq.

–  Add the fresh herbs and chilli, season to finish if needed.

–  Take out your salmon, serve vegetables on a plate, pop on salmon and juices and finish with fresh coriander.







Summer roast vegetable salad





This may seem like JUST a Roasted vegetable salad to you, but to me it screams out a whole lot more. One might say this resembles a Panzanella, a Tuscan bread salad with tomatoes, olive oil and herbs served in summer, maybe it is?

  Throughout summer I always roast off a medley of these vegetables as the produce is pretty much all  in season now and to me its just like summer in a bowl. I love the colours it gives off and the flavours are just immense. Another great thing regarding this little dish is that if you are a Kitchen gardener like myself, at some point, such as now in summer some of your homegrown vegetables will be used in it if not all. Its great for a glut of tomatoes, courgettes or peppers.

  Roasting mediterranean vegetables can be the basis of creating so many other dishes from it. Here is just a short list of examples for you:
  • Use it as a topping for Pizza or on bruschetta’s 
  •   Turn into a gratin by adding cheese on top and placing back in the oven
  •   Make quiche or tarts
  •   Add chickpeas and some Moroccan spice or Indian spices to make a curry
  •   Also adding feta cheese and olives gives a greek feel
  •   Mix through Rice
  •   By adding it to Pasta, popping on a rich cheese sauce with some dijon mustard in will make an amazing Pasta Bake.
  • I could go on…
Or simply of course this dish can be the great accompaniment for barbecued/grilled meats or fish.
  However going back to the dish alone, Ive added fennel to mine and lots of herbs which give it that extra flavour. I personally love to sit outside with a big bowl of this and of course a large glass of wine to wash it down.  As I said…Summer in a bowl.




Ingredients:
  •   2 tbsp Rapeseed oil or Olive
  •   2 Cloves of Garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 small courgette trimmed
  • 1 red pepper and yellow pepper 
  • 1 Baby fennel trimmed , cut through the middle into 4-5 pieces 
  • 2 handfuls of cherry/baby plum/piccolo tomatoes halved, I used British Vittoria ones
  • 1/2 Aubergine trimmed
  • 1-2 red onions
  • Handful of fresh herbs finely chopped: Oregano, Lemon thyme or normal thyme, Basil, parsley
( If you don’t have Lemon thyme, use normal and then grate about a 1/4 of lemon zest)
–   Sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
Croutons for the Salad
  • 2 Slices of Bread ( couple of days old) chopped into squares
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • 1 clove of garlic bashed
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season
  •   Sprig of Rosemary finely chopped
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 200c 
  • Chop all vegetables into similar size chunks, 2-3 cm
  • Place all vegetables ( not tomatoes )into an oven proof dish add the oil, garlic and season. mix through with your hands
  • Pop into the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Drizzle oil over croutons, season and coat with the rosemary. Dry fry in a pan until golden brown.
  • After 15 minutes add your most of your fresh herbs and tomatoes and pop back in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked through.
*  Toss the croutons through, add the rest of your herbs, a good drizzle of oil and serve in a large bowl.