Sausage and feta meatballs

Sausage and feta meatballs

I feel like at the moment a lot of recipes I post are quick ones for people who are busy or don’t want to spend ages in the kitchen. What can I say, I’m really busy at the moment (both in my day job but also getting some pretty great opportunities on this blog) and yet I still want to eat balanced meals with D.

Anyway, I sent D and I both to work with these meatballs and cous cous salads for lunch and they were perfect. I think its safe to say we were both full until tea time (its all about those slow release carbs.

Anyway, this is a perfect lunch or teatime idea as it takes about 5 minutes to cobble together the meatball mix and shape and about 15-20 minutes in the oven. Good for when you’re desperate for some sofa time!

For 12 meatballs you will need:

4 pork and oregano sausages or similar

2 sliced spring onions

1/4 egg (optional, if you you have it left from some other cooking)

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

80g crumbled feta

Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Remove the sausages from the skin and add to a large bowl. Crumble over some feta and add the onion, egg, and seasonings. Use your hands to smush together the ingredients. Shape the meat filling into the meatballs about 3cm in diameter. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the sausages have browned.

If you’re cooking this to have in a salad allow to cool. If its to go into a sauce add it at this point. Serve with the sides of your choice. For us it was dukkah spiced cous cous. Just remember, fast food doesn’t always have to mean you compromise on flavour or nutritional value.

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Thai style beef salad

Thai style beef salad

If there is ever such a thing as leftover steak in your house (a rare predicament in mine, but we bought 5 minute steaks yesterday) this recipe is perfect for you. It is a lighter way to enjoy steak and its great for warmer days or if you’re watching what you eat a bit more. While this is not strictly a Thai recipe, there are a lot of elements of Thai cooking in this. A perfect Summer meal. (Plus I am feeling not a small amount of pride that D has started eating

For a salad to serves 2 you will need:

2 minute steaks

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

The juice of one lime

8-10 cherry tomatoes

1 large handful coriander

2 spring onions

1 large handful spinach

100g rice noodles

1 teaspoon cornflour

1 teaspoon soy sauce

 

Prepare the marinade; mix the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, chilli and oil. Slice the spring onion and shred the coriander and add to the liquid.

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Slice the steak into strips. Put the frying pan onto a high heat and add a little oil. Add the steak and the flour and fry for about 1 minute. Put the steak strips in the marinade and allow to cool.

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Half your tomatoes. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the pack. Then rinse the noodles with cold water. Toss the noodles, tomatoes and spinach in the salad.

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If you like you can toast the sesame seeds, but we were too hungry and I sort of forgot to do it. (I had that Monday feeling…)

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Harissa roast chicken with pecorino topped salad

Harissa roast chicken with pecorino topped salad

Cooking a whole chicken is way more economical that buying lots of packs of chicken portions and generally you can get more from it that you think; especially if you consider making chicken stock from the bones. That said, having the same roast chicken recipe and serving it the same way could potentially get a bit dull so its nice to have variations on a theme. The harissa coating on this chicken adds just this, the crispy, salty, spicy coating is delicious and when served with a salad is lovely on a warm day.

For the roast chicken you will need

A whole chicken (free range costs a bit more, but its way more ethical and tastes better)

Harissa paste (make your own if you wish, but I used shop bought)

Olive oil

Runny honey

1 lemon

Salt crystals and black pepper

2 garlic cloves

For the salad you will need

2 large handfuls spinach

2 large handfuls of vine tomatoes

1 large red pepper

Olive oil

Pecorino

Salt and pepper

(We also had garlic bread with this but I only heated it up, next time I will make my own).

Preheat your oven to 190°C. While the oven is preheating sort out your chicken – remove any string, cut away the excess skin at the top and bottom, remove any giblets. Half your lemon and shove this into the chicken’s rear end. Crush your garlic and add to the chicken’s bum (I feel very eloquent writing this). Squirt some honey up there then add the remaining lemon half and garlic. Spoon over your harissa paste (I used about 1 tablespoon of it), drizzle over a small amount of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon’s worth) and rub this mixture all over your chicken. Sprinkle some salt crystals all over the chicken and add a sprinkling of pepper. Put this in the oven and roast the chicken for 20 minutes per lb of chicken plus an additional 20 minutes (I use a converter to convert metric to imperial for this). Before the last 20 minutes of cooking liberally spoon over any juice to add to the decliousness and make the chicken all shiny and crispy.

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The salad is simple, half the tomatoes, and cut up the pepper and toss them together in a bowl. Drizzle some olive oil over the salad and season with salt and pepper. Use a grater to shave pecorino over the salad and serve.

DSC_0625When you take the chicken out of the oven leave it for 15-20 minutes before carving to retain the juiciness of the meat. During this time you can heat up any sides (like I said above we had this with garlic bread, but pasta salad or cous cous would work equally well).

DSC_0626The leftovers for this work beautifully in salads, with cold in sandwiches, or in any curries or risottos you wish to make.

King prawn, chick pea and tomato salad

 

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This salad is a pretty decent all rounder in my opinion. It has a wonderful combination of flavours and textures, is high in protein and is really filling. Plus the chick peas and bulgar wheat are both cheap ingredients that bulk the salad up meaning that is can be shared among a larger crowd. Perfect for lazy Saturday lunches or a weeknight dinner with your friends.

To make this salad you will need:

About 10 large uncooked  king prawns (or 1 pack of fresh or 1/2 pack frozen)

200g bulgar wheat

Chicken stock

2 large handfuls cherry tomatoes

1 can chick peas (drained)

Sea salt

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Garlic

1 large handful fresh coriander (cilantro)

1 red chilli

 

Cook the bulgar wheat following the instructions on the pack (but using your chicken stock). Butterfly your prawns for even cooking. Slice your chilli and peel and rush your garlic and fry or grill alongside the prawns. Slice your tomatoes or if they are smaller halve them. Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl with your drained can of chick peas. Add your salt, olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Chop our fresh coriander and use this to top your salad.

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I took a leftover portion of this to work for m lunch and Miss S looked at it with much interest as she loves seafood in general.

Fig and goats cheese salad with honey and mustard dressing

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As you know I do blog a lot of naughty treats on here but in actual fact I eat salad or soup for my lunch every day. I find it fills me up better than most things and the health benefits in getting all different fruits and vegetables are enormous. Your skin and digestive system will especially thank you for all the vitamins, minerals and fibre.

In addition, about this time last year I blogged a fig and parma ham salad that was very well received so I thought it was high time a fig recipe reappeared on here.

To make this you will need:

4 figs cut into quarters or sixths depending on size

2 spring onions, sliced

2 big handfuls curly or living lettuce

1/2 pack soft goats cheese

6 radishes, sliced

1/3 cucumber cut into chunks

For the honey and mustard dressing

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

1 teaspoon runny honey

1 teaspoon cider vinegar (you can use white wine vinegar but I had cider vinegar in)

Just less than a tablespoon olive oil

 

Now salad making isn’t too strenuous at all. Arrange your salad ingredients over your lettuce and top with your figs and crumble over the goats cheese. To make your dressing whisk together the honey, mustard and olive oil. Once this has formed a nice emulsion whisk in the cider vinegar. Taste the dressing. If it is too harsh tasting add a little more olive oil. Drizzle over your salad and toss so that your ingredients are more or less mixed evenly through.

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Serve as an accompaniment to grilled meat or fish or with bread as a vegetarian salad.

 

Wood pigeon salad

Sometimes I start to think I am becoming a parody of myself. I usually buy several types of meat at once and freeze what I won’t eat that day. This is both a blessing and a curse. I buy things on a whim a lot of the time and then work my meals around it. This coupled with my habit of going to M&S at closing time and checking out the yellow stickered meat means I end up with a freezer filled with various game and other assorted meats. Which is exciting and I don’t end up with chicken 6 nights a week like I did as a student; but it does make for challenging cooking when I don’t really want to think about what to cook.

I did, however, enjoy making this salad. The gamey taste of the pigeon goes incredible well with the chilli sauce while the figs add a beautiful colour and sweet flavour. I was intending on making this with pomegranite – but I couldn’t find a whole one and I begrudge paying £2 for a small pack when I could get 6 figs for that! You can I could mix and match the lettuce base. I used one of those bags with different leaves and grated beetroot in (I know I said previously that I dislike the stuff but I could barely taste it). If you can’t get wood pigeon (or don’t fancy it) you could try this with another type of game, or lamb steak. If you can get wood pigeon, try it. It is stupidly quick and easy to cook.

To make this salad you will need:

1 pack of 4 pigeon breasts

1 large bag of lettuce

2 celery stems

3 figs

1/3 of a cucumber

A splash of balsamic vinegar

Chilli sauce (your favourite kind – although I don’t recommend sweet chilli in this)

Serves 2-3

Wash your lettuce (if needed), chop your celery and cucumber. Quarter your figs. Place in your salad bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Fry or griddle your pigeon breasts for 2 and a half minutes on each side. Leave to rest for a couple of minutes and then slice and top your salad. Add your chilli sauce and toss your salad.

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Figs are so pretty
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With the yellow chilli sauce
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The finished item

Pigeon is a rich tasting meat that is low in cholesterol. I hope you try this interesting weeknight tea.

Venison steak salad

So last Thursday I went for a day out to the Yorkshire Show in Harrogate (picture heavy post to come) and I picket up some Venison minute steaks. At the Yorkshire show they were heavily promoting eating game with game cookery demonstrations. I know some people are squeamish about eating venison and certain other types of game but it is a good idea to embrace the idea of it. All venison are free range, they are often killed for meat in order to control their numbers and they live a better life out in the open when compared with some animals farmed for meat. Venison is also a very lean and tasty red meat. However, I am aware that some people’s opinions will not be changed so the meat can be substituted for normal beef steak.

To contrast with the flavour of the meat I used salad items with a bit of peppery bite to them. To make this salad I mixed a fiery “Foragers Salad” (reduced in M&S) with watercress. (Basically just mix watercress or rocket with the salad leaves of your choice). To this I added radishes and tomatoes slow roasted in basil and olive oil. I fried the minute steak for just under a minute and let it rest for a few minutes (the meat tastes way juicier this way). Finally I dressed the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sliced the venison. After taking this picture J tossed the salad to ensure everything was mixed more evenly.

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For those of you with sharp eyes, you may have noticed that there are flowers dotted in this salad. In my opinion they make everything look prettier and don’t taste too floral. However, I do appreciate that some of you will sympathise with J for having an annoying girlfriend that forces him to eat flowers!

I hope you carnivores enjoy this meat based salad. It’s definitely a lighter way to enjoy meat in the summer.