24 March 2013

This Week's Meals #5

Monday: Nigel Slater's Hot Chicken Cakes. On their own these are not substantial enough for Mr A, so I'm going to shape them like little patties and have them in whole wheat burger buns.

Tuesday: Dinner at Mum's

Wednesday: Prawn and Chorizo Gumbo

Thursday: Sausages and Cauliflower Mash 

Friday: Nigella's Spaghetti Puttanesca

Saturday: Middle Eastern Lamb Koftes with yoghurt, salad and pittas (or may even make my own hummus!)

Sunday: Turkey Roulade - I'm going to make this up as I go along but it will be turkey breasts stuffed with sage and onion stuffing, wrapped in bacon

We probably won't get through all 6 meals, as its Easter weekend I'm hoping we'll be out and about. If that happens the meals will just roll over to next week, because I'm good at that!

With baby on the way I've been thinking about how much we currently spend on food and what we can save. We try to be 'careful' but don't really budget. I'll always make sure I plan meals ahead, cook from what we already have and only shop for what we need but I still think we spend too much for just 2 people. What would you say is a reasonable budget for 2 people for a week?

Meal Planning Monday
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Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Soooo easy and so delicious!!! I never really craved anything sweet until I got pregnant so I've been looking for healthier alternatives for things that might curb my cravings. This ice cream from Detoxinista  fits the bill perfectly! Check out her other recipe's too, so many amazing healthy alternatives that don't make you feel like your missing out.

We had this with fresh raspberries....

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Turkish Pasta Bake - 'Firinda Makarna'

'Firinda Makarna' is translated as 'pasta in the oven' and is a really easy, tasty alternative to a usual pasta bake

1 packet of pasta - you can find 'makarna' in Turkish / Greeks and looks just like spaghetti just thicker. If you can't get your hands on makarna I'm sure this would work with any sort of pasta
500g beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
Dried mint
Parsley - handful, finely chopped
salt and pepper

For Cheese sauce topping:
1 pint milk (I used half full fat, half semi skimmed)
1 packet of halloumi cheese, grated
1 cup grated cheddar
1 egg
1 tsp mustard powder (optional)
3 tbsp plain flour/sauce flour

  • Preheat oven to 200C.
  • Get the pasta cooking according to packet instructions, I break them in half
  • Whilst the pasta is cooking fry the onion until soft and add the mince, salt and pepper and sprinkle of dried mint. Once fried well throw in the parsley and stir.
  • Drain pasta and create layers, starting with the pasta and then the mince mixture. You should get about two layers of each.
  • To make the cheese sauce,, pour milk into a saucepan and before the heat goes on whisk in the egg. Put the heat on low and keep whisking gently. As the milk warms up - before boiling add the halloumi and half of the cheddar in handfuls at a time and keep whisking, don't allow to boil too much. Turn the heat up to medium and add the mustard powder and flour spoonful at a time, whisking in between. Keep stirring well with a whisk until the sauce is very thick and paste like.
  • Once its very, thick take off the heat and pour all over the pasta and smooth over on top. Sprinkle with a bit of cheddar and put in the oven until browned on top, about 30-45 minutes
  • Once its out allow to cool a bit then cut into squares.

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17 March 2013

This Week's Meals #4

I know what you're thinking, what is that ravioli still doing on the menu!? No, we're not eating it for the third week running but I was either too lazy to cook that night or it wasn't what I fancied (or both). But I'm definitely making it tomorrow!

Monday:  Caprese Ravioli with Roasted Tomato Pesto Sauce from 'Proud Italian Cook'

Tuesday: Dinner at mums

Wednesday: Malvani Prawn Curry from 'Enjoy Indian Food' with brown rice

Thursday: Meeting my friend Dea for dinner after work

Friday: Come Dine with Me number 3 at my friend Helen's!

Saturday: Szechaun Hot and Sour Soup from Allrecipes

Source: Allrecipes

Sunday: Turkish Pasta Bake, 'Fırında Makarna.' Recipe and photo's to follow!

Meal Planning Monday
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14 March 2013

Dolma: Turkish Stuffed Peppers, Artichokes, Onions and Cabbage Leaves

This was the first meal on our plan this week. Dolma literally means "to stuff" in Turkish. The most common version of dolma is stuffed vine leaves.

A few weekends ago my mum came round with some artichokes that someone had sent her from Cyprus so I decided to make dolma with them and other veg we had. Artichokes are notoriously difficult to prep and also start to go brown if you don't rub them with lemon juice after you've prepared them. My mum is a bit of an expert at preparing artichokes, I never really appreciate how good a cook she was until I got in to cooking myself. Anyway, I found this helpful guide on how to prepare artichokes for stuffing.

The stuffing:
250g beef mince*
Handful chopped parsley
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped or grated
2 tbsp uncooked rice
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato or pepper paste
Juice of 1 lemon
1tsp cumin
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together. *For a vegetarian version just leave out the mince and add more rice, or use cous cous or bulgar wheat.

Preparing vegetables for stuffing;
Peppers - just cut the tops off and remove flesh and seeds
Cabbage leaves - add leaves to boiling water until soft, about 3-4 minutes
Artichokes - once prepared the artichokes need to be cooked in boiling water for a few minutes before stuffing
Onion - cook in boiling water until layers come away easily without breaking

Once the vegetables are prepared all you need to do is fill them with the stuffing mixture and place them in a pot. I then made up 250ml of vegetable stock, to which I added 1 more tablespoon of pepper paste (could use tomato paste too) and poured this around the stuffed vegetables. Make sure the stock doesn't go over the top of peppers or artichokes, so full just half way. Cover and cook for approx. 30-40 minutes.

Once cooked, the dolma goes really well with plain yoghurt, tzatziki or hummus (or salad, or home made chips!)

Hope you try this recipe, would love to hear from you if you do!!
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10 March 2013

This Week's Meals #3

Meal Planning Monday

I didn't get to make some of the meals from last week's plan, so the Caprese Ravioli is back on the menu this week, can't wait to try them!

Monday:  Turkish stuffed artichokes, peppers, onions and cabbage leaves from me! Made these on Sunday ready for eating after work on Monday. Recipe and post to follow later in the week.

Tuesday: At mums for dinner

Wednesday:  Faux Prawn and Chorizo Paella from  Eat, Drink Paleo

Thursday:  Caprese Ravioli with Roasted Tomato Pesto Sauce from 'Proud Italian Cook'

Friday: Szechaun Hot and Sour Soup from Allrecipes

Source: Allrecipes

Saturday: Chickpea Base Pizza's from Not Just Apples

Sunday: Cajun Chicken Kebabs with Spiced Yoghurt Dips and pitta from Lavender and Lovage 

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"Fire and Spice" Class at Morgan's Kitchen

I loved this class! Last week me and my sister went on a 'Fire and Spice' class with Morgan's Kitchen in Camden. It was about using different spices and chillies. The class started off with a quick talk of all the different types of chillies and what to look out for when buying chillies. We then got to cook with different chillies and spice blends and made 'Piri Piri Prawns' and 'Chinese Chilli Chicken'. Haven't made either before and they were really tasty. I'll post recipes for both soon.

To be honest I don't think I learnt anything I couldn't teach myself using the internet but it was fun to do something different with my sister. We're going to try out some more cookery classes regularly. It was also fun to do something different with cooking. I'm really enjoying my blog and combining it with all the cooking I do at home. I'd love to turn it into something more, in fact I know I will one day....

Some of our purchases from the class, can't wait to try these out....

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03 March 2013

This Week's Meals #2

Monday:  Caribbean Sweet Potato Patties with Spicy Coconut and Spinach Sauce from Cook, Eat, Live Vegetarian

Tuesday:  Eating at mums. I've just started yoga classes on Tuesdays within walking distance from my mums. My mum is a typical Turkish mum and wouldn't hear of me being that close and not popping in to eat with them, which is absolutely fine by me!

Wednesday:   On Wednesday me and my sister are taking a cookery class called 'Fire and Spice' at Morgan's Kitchen in Camden. We'll learn how to use spices and chillies and make our own mixtures to take home. I'm not that great when it comes to mixing different spices so this class is right up my street. At the end of the class we get to eat our dishes, so I'll post some pictures and hopefully a recipe!

Thursday: Turkish Stuffed Artichokes and Peppers from me! Recipe and post to follow later in the week.

Friday:  Singapore Noodles from 'Dietitian UK'

Source: Dietitian UK

Saturday:  Chilli Marrakech from BBC Good Food

Source: BBC Good Food
Sunday:  Caprese Ravioli with Roasted Tomato Pesto Sauce from 'Proud Italian Cook'

Meal Planning Monday
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02 March 2013

Falafel, Salad and Pickles

This was on this week's meal plan and I found the recipe on 'Flourishing Foodie'. I've tended not to bother making my own falafel as they always turn out too dry or too crumbly, but I really fancied falafel this week! This one was a bit crumbly but I know what to try next time to avoid that, for example using dry chickpeas like the recipe suggests rather than tinned chickpeas that I used. Next time I'll also add a bit more flour (I used gram flour instead of plain) and maybe another egg and keep them in the fridge for longer to firm up a bit more.

There is nothing else I would change as the taste was absolutely perfect!

We had them with lettuce, tomato, olives, gherkins and pink pickles that our neighbour gave us. I think they're pink because she used beetroot but can't be sure because there wasn't any pickled beetroot in the jar!? I also made a tahini sauce, with tahini paste, pinch of cumin, lemon juice and water. The idea was that we choose whatever we want from the platter and stuff them into pitta's, but I skipped the pitta's to save room for more falafel. Either way, this was a perfect Friday, night in meal.
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