Roast squash, sage, chestnut and pancetta risotto

Introduced to me by my housemate, this really is a winner!

If you’re a bit unsure of butternut squash, I feel this could be a great way to warm to it. Colourful and full of flavour, there’s something to enjoy in every bite. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe which you can find here, although you also need a basic risotto recipe (not listed fully in the method or ingredients list).

Half way through making the risotto, the butternut squash needs to come out of the oven to have further ingredients adding to it, which is a little tricky on your own with a pan of risotto to stop from potentially burning! So I have to admit, I needed an extra pair of hands to allow for 100% risotto attention! We also removed the skin from the butternut squash after that initial 30 minutes too – the recipe doesn’t state this but it just felt like the right thing to do!

Next time I cook this (and there will be a next time as it’s too tasty not to!) I will try roasting the butternut squash seeds for 5 minutes before adding them to the sage and chestnuts, I just felt they were too soft after only 10 minutes in the oven.

We also fried streaky bacon separately as there were vegetarians among us! So (although it made for slightly more washing up) it is a very versatile recipe to please all. And I’d definitely recommend the serving suggestion of mascarpone cheese – it really brings it all together.

When your ‘tell it how it is’ brother says he’d eat this at a restaurant, you know you’re onto a winner! And with very little meat in the recipe, it’s all the more astonishing!

Chicken & Chorizo Paella

Something to see you through to pay day.

So i’m really glad I kept this one up my sleeve this month. It’s made a good four portions and tastes really authentic!

This is from Save with Jamie and I admit I made it slightly cheaper still by missing out the prawns. Don’t get me wrong, I can imagine it would be amazing with them, but I felt I could go without. It also suggests serving with lemon wedges but I keep a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge, which does the job nicely when drizzled over the finished paella.

So pop you’re music on and get chopping! (As that’s probably the most difficult part of this meal). I chopped everything in advance, and always have the remaining ingredients to hand for the moment I need them (plus it looks pretty on the work top when you have lots of colourful ingredients!). The cooking takes a fair bit of stirring, however I can imagine it’s easier in a proper paella pan. In order to keep the rice cooking for long enough I did have to add splashes of water as the recipe suggests.

To be honest I feel I should have made something more complex with it being the weekend. As this is actually perfect for a weekday meal, it only took me an hour and by the time I was finished I only had one pot and a chopping board to wash up!

Warm Smoked Trout Salad, new potatoes, beets & soft-boiled eggs

Ok so I may have forgotten to get smoked trout… but for those who don’t like the strong flavour that comes with smoked fish, I can assure you it still tastes wonderful with pan fried trout!

Another newbie from Jamie’s Superfood Family Classics book. So, so simple! And utilises pans brilliantly with cooking your potatoes, green beans, asparagus and soft boiled egg all in the same pan!

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Admittedly I was very dubious about slicing into the soft boiled egg – it felt extremely wobbly! But to my surprise it was perfectly cooked. Obviously you can cook it for longer if you prefer. But the oozy yolk was lovely!

I can safely say, since cooking from Jamie’s books I have a new found love for yoghurt. It’s such a perfect, healthy replacement for mayonnaise! I actually cringe to think how many jars of mayo I used to get through. Now it’s safe to say I eat more ‘savoury’ yoghurt than ever before!

And for all those who are looking for new lunch ideas – make yourself a little extra and pack it ready for tomorrow. Monday will be just a tad easier when you have a meal as tasty as this to look forward to come midday!

 

Hot & Sour Rhubarb and Crispy Pork with Noodles. Take #2

Well that’s a lie – I’ve made this several times since!

Looking back at one of my first blog posts I remembered this dish that didn’t quite go to plan the first time round. But it is one of those that goes to show you shouldn’t discount a recipe too quickly!

You can find this Jamie recipe here and don’t be put off by the fact it serves 6 either – I have reduced the portion size down to two and it works just fine! Plus – what a great meal to whip up left overs from for your lunch the next day?! (just remember to save some sauce – I often forget!)

So after a few attempts, the pork is lovely and crispy, and the sauce is thicker and bursting with flavour! I think perhaps it was cooked in too much sauce before so it never crisped up how it should.

This IS now one of my favourites… maybe I’ve grown to love it through gaining confidence in cooking it? Who knows… but it’s definitely staying on my menu!

Chicken Lollipop Dippers

What’s not to love about this fun titled dish!

My wonderful friends, family and work colleagues bought me lot’s of lovely cook books for my birthday! One of those books being Jamie Oliver’s most recent ‘Superfood Family Classics’. Flicking through it, this really caught my eye – and must be great for getting kids excited about food (not that I have that challenge)!

It’s super easy – a one pan wonder. I always find chicken doesn’t cook as fast as Jamie makes out, but it may be due to not bashing the chicken breast enough. However, as you cut into it you can soon tell if it needs popping back in the pan for an additional couple of minutes.

I think my favourite part of this meal is the yoghurt & sun dried tomato sauce – it lifts the dish and marries all those fresh flavours together a treat!

With two of your five a day in there too, there really is no going wrong with this quick and tasty dish.

Super-speedy Steamed Salmon

Ready in 30minutes – perfect!

This super quick one pan Jamie Oliver dish is ideal for those nights you need something sharpish and still want the flavour and goodness of a healthy meal!

Just follow the simple instructions and you’ll have a stress free time cooking something you can’t wait to tuck in to. If you are doubling this up for 4 people, you’ll need to use 2 pans as a couple of portions fit perfectly in each. We were lucky enough to get a whole side of salmon for £10! So there was more than enough to go round.

The veg ends up quite sticky at the bottom of the pan so you’ve got to be careful not to let it catch. It would have probably been perfect if the fillets of salmon we used weren’t quite so big and therefore would have cooked a tad quicker.

Although it’s not my favourite couscous meal, it’s a great way to cook salmon (and the rest of the meal at the same time), it just flakes apart like it should! It would be easy for everything to end up as a pinky yellow blur but with a spoonful of yoghurt and a sprinkling of basil, it breaks it all up and brings that green freshness which makes every meal look even more enticing!

Charred Avo & Eggs

Super quick and super healthy.

We often treat ourselves to a nice breakfast either Saturday or Sunday, but usually struggle to find something new that we’ll all like. Plus it usually ends up being brunch anyway!

So we came across this brilliant Jamie Oliver dish that takes only 25minutes to cook! And he is true to his word – it really does only take 25minutes.

All it takes is a bit of chopping and peeling and you’re pretty much there. We actually used a whole avocado as we felt it would go to waste if we left half of it. I feel like it’s the first time i’ve cooked avocado like this, and I was surprised how it stayed together. I was expecting a bit of a mush to be honest! The ribbons of sweet potato is a great idea, and they cook so quickly. We used mint, parsley and coriander to garnish with which we thought really brought everything together. As for the cottage cheese – it’s great to find a new recipe to use it in!

Definitely going to make this again. Makes a nice change from the Mexican breakfast we often have, and takes a fraction of the time!