Sunday, 26 June 2011

Tart of all tarts! (Tomato with basil and goats cheese tart)

This was my first attempt at making a tart like this one. Very simple and full of flavour. It can be had hot on a cold day or cold outside in the garden on a nice hot sunny day!

For this recipe you'll need;

  • Plain flour for dusting
  • All butter puff pastry
  • Olive oil
  • 2 red onions (or more, depending on how much you like them) sliced thinly
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • Fresh thyme
  • Parmigiano cheese (grated)
  • Goats cheese
  • Basil
  • Medium sized ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 tea spoon caster sugar (can do without)

First thing to do is to dust a clean work surface with some flour and roll out the puff pastry. Roll it out to fit on a baking try, pierce the middle with a fork and leave for about 30mins to chill.

While the pastry is being chilled, heat about 2 table spoons of olive oil in a frying pan on a low heat and add the onions, crushed garlic and the leaves of about 2 sprigs of thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste and leave the onions to cook over a low heat for about 15mins until they are soft.

Next step is to pre-heat the over on full and leave the pastry to cook for 5-10mins until it rises and starts to colour. Take the pastry out of the oven and flatten the middle with your fingers or a fork.

Sprinkle the parmigiano cheese evenly over the base of the pastry, then spread the softened onions as evenly as possible over the parmigiano cheese layer. On top of the layer of onions, crumble as much of the goats cheese as you'd like on top of the onions and add some basil leaves for flavour. Following step is to arrange the tomatoes in rows or however you like them. Season with some salt and pepper, sprinkle the caster sugar and add some more thyme leaves on top with a little drizzle of olive oil.

Turn the oven down a little and add the tart to cook for about 25-30mins, until the pastry is browned and the tomatoes have softened. You can drizzle some more olive oil over the top and add some more basil if you'd like!

You can cut this up like you would cut up and divide a pizza and serve! This can be served with a side of green salad.



Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Thai Prawn Curry

This is another one of my favourite dishes. After visiting Thailand, I was very interested in Thai food and really wanted to make it at home. Its quite easy to make and is very tasty.

For this Thai prawn curry you'll need;

  • 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 table spoon yellow curry paste (I use red sometimes if I can't find yellow)
  • 1 table spoon fish sauce
  • 1 tea spoon sugar
  • Salt (as needed)
  • 1 cup prawns (as much as you like really)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Peppers (any colour & as much as you like)
  • A little lemon juice (to taste)
  • Coriander leave to garnish

To make the curry, put half the coconut milk into a wok and bring to the boil.  Once the coconut milk is boiling, add the curry paste, stir well until it disperses, then simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar, salt and remaining coconut milk and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Now add the cherry tomatoes, peppers and prawns and simmer again for about 5 minutes until the prawns are pink and tender.

Garnish with chilli flakes and coriander leaves, and sprinkle a little lemon juice and serve with coconut rice or plain rice.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Tuna pasta salad

This is probably one of the first dishes I started off with at a very young age. With time I learned to add more and more to it. This is a really quick and easy dish to do when you don't have a lot of time and its good to keep over night and have as a packed lunch at work or for a picnic.

This tuna pasta salad can have as much or as little as you'd like in it. To start off with, I only had tuna, pasta, sweetcorn and mayonnaise in it. So for this particular recipe I added a few things. To make this you need;

  • Sweet corn
  • Peas
  • Spring onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Tuna
  • Penne pasta (or any other small pasta)

For the dressing you'll need;
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

I also added boiled eggs to decorate with.

Firstly add the pasta to boiling water with about a table spoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt.  The olive oil helps keep the pasta separate and not stick together. While the pasta is cooking, chop the tomatoes and spring onions as small as you can. Open about 2 cans of tuna into a bowl, with or without the oil is up to you. To the tuna add the sweetcorn and peas. Add as much or as little of each item as you like.


As I am cooking this for quite a few (picky) people in my family, I try to cater to everyone's needs. Some don't like tomatoes, some don't like onions, so to keep the peace, the first batch is just tuna, pasta and sweetcorn. This way everyone get to have some food!

After the picky people have been fed, I add everything in. All the tomatoes, sweetcorn, peas spring onions and tuna have been added to the cooked pasta. To dress the pasta salad, in a separate small bowl add a table spoon and half of mayonnaise, a tea spoon of mustard, juice of one lemon and about 2 table spoons of olive oil, salt and pepper (to taste). Mix all together then drizzle over the pasta salad.

As can be seen from the last picture, I've added a boiled egg on top just to decorate and because I quite like eggs!


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Grilled chicken with a tomato salsa

This is a fairly simple dish to make and quite light and healthy.
You'll need a chicken breast for this, as many as you can eat or as many as you'd like to serve.

For the chicken marinade you'll need;
  • Lemon
  • Green chillies
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Dried oregano

The next step is to cover each chicken with a freezer bag or cling film and beat the chicken flat. A good utensil to do this is a rolling pin, just to flatten the chicken out and cook evenly all over. After doing this, place all the chicken in a dish or bowl, add a little olive oil (just enough to coat the chicken but not to be wet), salt & pepper to taste, the juice of half a lemon and a tea spoon of dried oregano. Leave this to marinade for a few overs or over night.

To make the salsa you need:
  • Tomatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Coriander 
  • Green/Red chilli
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon

Chop the tomatoes, spring onions, coriander and chilli as small as you can. Dress to taste with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon.


After being left to marinade for a while, the chicken is now ready to grill. I don't have a grill pan so instead I use the toaster grill and that works just fine! There is no need to add any oil to the grill or to the chicken, just place the chicken on the hot grill and grill each side for a few minutes till each side is golden brown.

When this is done, add the salsa to the chicken either on top or on the side.

The dish is now complete and ready to be consumed!


Friday, 10 June 2011

First attempt at a 'Pelmeni'

What is 'Pelmeni'? I hear you ask....well, I myself only found out a few days ago.  Pelmeni is a Russian dish that my cousin introduced to me.  All I was told was to make it.  I had to do a bit of research but I eventually got it!
So my first attempt was pretty good if I say so myself.  The only person who could actually tell me if I had been successful is my cousin as he was the only one who had had this dish before.
Apart from the individual Pelmeni being too big and getting bigger after it was cooked, everything else was spot on!
Below are the steps I took to achieving my first Pelmeni dish!

To make the dough you need:

  • 210ml cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400g plain flour

You can use a bread maker to make the dough or a cake mixer. Alternatively you can make it by hand. To make it by hand, sift the flour onto a clean table/counter top, make a hole in the middle of the flour and add the egg and salt to the center. Gradually add the water and slowly mix everything together. Mix well and knead vigorously for about 15 minutes to get all the air out. Cover the dough with a wet cloth or cling film and leave to rest while you prepare the filling.

The original filling for this recipe consists of pork and beef, but instead, I use only lamb.
For the filling you need:

  • 1lb minced lamb
  • 1 onion (chopped as small as possible)
  • 1 clove of garlic (chopped as small as possible)
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Mix all the ingredients for the filling together and the filling is now ready.

To start filling in the dough, add some flour to a clean table/counter top and roll the dough flat out. Use a circle utensil to cut out circle shapes. You can use a cup to get a nice clean circle. In every circle, add a teaspoon of filling to the center of every dough circle, then fold the circle in half, if the dough goes a bit dry, add some water to the edges to make them stick together. After folding the circle in half, join the two ends round together. And there you have a pelmeni.
This recipe should create 30-40 individual pelmeni's. You can make as many as you can or want and freeze them or cook straight away.

To cook this, boil a generous amount of water with 1-2teaspoon of salt and drop in the pelmeni. They only need a few minutes to cook. Once the pelmeni is cooked, they will begin floating to the top. Once the pelemni is done, take out of the water and add some butter (to taste) and eat away!
Alternatively, you can add the pelmeni to some tomato sauce or make the filling out of vegetables such as diced mushrooms and spinach.