When your wrap game is on form!
If you only have 20 minutes spare then you can do a lot worse than this. You can find the recipe in ‘Love your Lunch Box’ by James Ramsden – designed to keep lunchtime exciting without eating into your evenings to prepare it. And when you’re cooking for one, you can have lunch and dinner with singular effort!
This is really so simple, there’s not much to say! Only tip would be to add more yoghurt & mango sauce than you expect, as it soon gets lost underneath all of the fillings. Just don’t get too excited loading them up as it can turn messy! Looking forward to lunch already… and dinner…
Letting me love prawns again.
I’ve never been a massive fan of prawns, especially those little frozen ones found in prawn cocktails that are often wet, squishy and drown in sauce!.. Ok, so perhaps it’s actually those traditional prawn cocktails that have spoilt them for me.
But these meaty king prawns marinated in harissa paste and lemon zest, with the slightly charred flavour from the griddle pan, are gorgeous. The simplicity of this recipe surprised me, as it looks so special on the plate. Plus the different textures and mix of hot, cold and warm elements makes it a joy to eat.
It’s from the Sirocco Persian cook book from Sabrina Ghayour, where on every page you will find bright and vibrant recipes to catch your eye.
You can easily whip this up in half an hour, with very few ingredients. A quick tip (that may seem obvious) is when adding the ingredients together for the dressing, use your tablespoon measure for the oil first, as then the honey slips straight out of it afterwards rather than getting stuck (literally felt my life change when I figured that out).
I enjoyed this as a main meal (twice!) but I reckon it would turn a few heads as a starter if you have any dinner parties lined up. Or if you are planning on treating that special someone in a couple of weeks time.
I think it’s rare that people get genuinely excited by a salad. But so far the two I have made from this book (apple, pomegranate, red onion and sumac) have been simple, versatile and full of new flavours!
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!
Ok so it might not be summer… but everyone has a bag of frozen peas in the freezer no matter what time of year!
Super easy, green and healthy, this soup will pick you up on these ever increasingly cold days. And with the recipe making enough for 6, you can freeze some to save for another day. This is from Mary Berry’s Cook Now Eat Later – a really handy book to have around this time of year if you’re hosting parties and need to be super organised!
Plus when cooking for one and waiting for pay day, recipes like this really see you through! It’s also been a nice change to include more vegetarian meals in my diet recently. Although i’m sure I’ll make up for that once the festive season really kicks in!
Create the wow factor!
Or at least that’s what I try to do. Each year it has to be bigger and better than the previous… so it probably helps that I have acquired more serving vessels!
This year I added a couple of new dishes to the pile – an apple, sumac, red onion & pomegranate salad, some mustard & parmesan cheese straws, and some peppadew & chèvre crostini. Courtesy of some lovely new books I was given for my birthday.
Apple, Sumac, Red Onion & Pomegranate Salad
If you want to start thinking festive then this salad will definitely look the part! With gorgeous reds from the pomegranate and sumac you will draw the eye in a heartbeat. And it tastes delicious. By adding the lemon juice it preserves the apple so you can happily have the leftovers the next day too… if you have any! Dead easy to prepare with just a matter of chopping and mixing. Yet to all your guests it really does look special. You can find this recipe in Sirocco – Fabulous flavours from the East by Sabrina Ghayour.
Mustard & Parmesan Cheese Straws
Again, so simple! I made 40 of these… and they were polished off in one evening! The mustard really does give the pastry a great dark colour, which, when you watch them rise and turn in the oven is so satisfying. The only issue you can face with these is the pastry becoming too warm and stretchy. Although you make them so quickly it’s not a big problem. They were a particular favourite for dipping in the camembert! You can find these, and the following recipe in Mary Berry’s Cook Now Eat Later.
Peppadew & Chèvre Crostini
Mixing goats cheese with double cream is divine! It’s so smooth and creamy you’ll want to eat spoonfuls of the stuff… but try to resist as these little crostini are a wonderful addition to the table. I would advise to be generous with the goats cheese so that it doesn’t dry out under the grill. And they are even nice cold – a somewhat sophisticated mini pizza!
Plate these up with the gourmet sausage rolls and the smoked salmon, horseradish and cress toasts from last year… with all your lovely cheese and crackers, decorated with grapes and other berries, and you’ll be on to a winner. A night to remember… depending on how much wine you have!
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!
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!
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!