Friday, May 25, 2012

Grilled Fish Tacos

After making my Fiery Roasted Red Pepper Salsa the other day I couldn't resist making another favourite – Grilled Fish Tacos. They are so light and refreshing and perfect for a sunny day. They are also great for serving to friends as you can just put everything on the table and let everyone help themselves. Even my 2 year old loves them as he can just pick at what he likes and it's fun to assemble the tacos - I just miss out the spicy salsa for him!! This recipe serves 4 but is easily doubled so serve with some ice cold beer or a nice chilled white wine and you have the perfect Friday night meal to enjoy in the garden!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fiery Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

Since this month's Sweet Heat challenge is Mexican food I couldn't resist making and sharing with you my favourite spicy salsa. And to really mark the occasion and change things up a bit I decided it was finally time to give the good old habanero (Scotch Bonnet) a go to really amp up the heat level! With or without the scotch bonnet this really is a fantastic salsa for those of you that like some heat but if you prefer a less intense heat then use Serrano, Jalapenos or whatever you can gets your hands on to add some spice – and if you don't like spicy food simply miss the chillies out all together and you will still have a delicious, roasted pepper and tomato salsa.

Thanks to a recipe by Thomasina Miers I now roast my tomatoes and garlic in a dry frying pan until they get nice and charred which adds a further dimension to this flavour combination. If you like you could also char them on the barbecue or if you are short of time you can miss that step out but I do recommend giving it a go.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lemon Spaghetti

There are 3 things that I always have in my house.....Spaghetti, Parmesan and Lemons. For some reason lemons are my thing that I always seem to buy when I don't need them then end up with an entire bowlful, so this dish is the perfect way to use them up. It's also an ideal meal for warmer days when you still want something satisfying to eat but with all the light and fresh flavours of the season. Even better it takes no time to make so it really is the perfect mid-week meal to enjoy whilst sitting outside basking in the sun as it cools in the evening. This is real happy, sunshine food!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Favourite Fruit Smoothie

In the warmer months I can never resist making this delicious smoothie for a quick and healthy breakfast or snack. It takes no time at all to make and is a huge hit with everyone in the family and of course is super healthy – I love it! By using frozen berries (which you can buy year round) you get a wonderfully thick almost sorbet like smoothie that is icy cold and really refreshing as well as completely satisfying. You just can't go wrong with this!

Serves 2-3 happily {easily doubled}

2 cups frozen mixed berries* (such as strawberries; raspberries; blackberries & blueberries)
1 cup frozen or fresh mango, cubes
1 banana
½ cup fruit juice
½ cup plain natural yogurt

Simply put all of the ingredients into a blender and whizz up until smooth and everything is well mixed, then pour into glasses and enjoy. That easy!

*If you have fresh fruit by all means use that, just add some ice to the blender when you add all of the other ingredients.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Huevos Rancheros

On Sunday morning hubby got up bright and early (by which I mean 6.30am!) to go and play golf, so it was just Wee One and I relaxing and enjoying the sun streaming through the windows. Generally I'm not a breakfast person....during the week I have a quick bowl of cereal, bircher or grab a slice of toast but things change on the weekend which is when I really enjoy breakfast. Normally on a Sunday we always have a brunch but since it was just the 2 of us (and Wee One had already had his usual feast of cereal, yogurt and a ton of fruit!) it didn't seem right but then I remembered a recipe I had seen in Thomasina Miers book Mexican Food Made Simple for what she calls “The Great Mexican Breakfast”. It looked amazing and the only reason I hadn't made it before was because of Mr. Vanilla's fussiness for tomatoes and the fact that there can't be any “chunks” whatsoever! It was the perfect time to make it.....a little self-indulgence and a yummy breakfast for myself while he was enjoying himself on the golf course. This isn't a breakfast for when you are in a rush as it takes 30 minutes for the sauce to cook and reduce but it is so worth it...(and lets be honest, how long does it take to cook some bacon or sausages?!) All I can say when I ate it was “Wow!” and then wanted to rewind time and eat it all over again! The crisp and golden tortilla with the spicy tomato sauce, and perfectly fried egg with the runny yolk was the ultimate combination and is quite possibly my new favourite breakfast! Actually it is my new favourite breakfast and therefore I thought the perfect recipe to post just in time for mother's day because if your mum (or yourself!) likes spicy Mexican food then this is the ultimate breakfast to treat her won't be disappointed and neither will she. And of course so that I could share this recipe with you, I had to have it again on Monday so I could snap a quick pic before devouring it's a tough job!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cookbook Review ~ My Father's Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow

Not content with being an Oscar winning actress, mother, wife to one of the world's most successful rock stars and founder of Paltrow has now also added cookbook author to her resume. My Father's Daughter (or Notes from my Kitchen Table which is what she called the UK version) was published in April 2011 and is Paltrow's first cookbook.

I have to admit due to completely preconceived ideas I wasn't sure what this book was going to be like. I thought it was going to be all healthy food (not that there's anything wrong with that!) based around her following various macrobiotic diets in the past......I couldn't have been more wrong. There are recipes of all kinds throughout this book, both healthy and perhaps not so(!), but they are recipes for every occasion and include plenty of vegetarian and vegan recipes along with recipes that you can make-ahead, or quick recipes when you are in a hurry and of course lots of recipes for sharing with family and friends. She doesn't eat red meat so there are no recipes using beef or pork but instead she focuses on chicken, duck, turkey and plenty of fish. If you are a big fan of red meat though you could definitely substitute it in some of the recipes. The chapters are divided into the standard Soups; Salads; Pastas; Main Courses and so on, so it's easy enough to find what you are looking for.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Classic Comforting Lasagne

When you are cooking for a crowd you can't beat a Classic Lasagne, layered with a rich and delicious ragu, velvety smooth bechamel sauce, tender pasta and of course plenty of oozing melted cheese. It might take a bit of time to make but the great thing about this dish is that you can easily make it ahead of time then just bake it when you are ready to. It also freezes well which is another bonus and if that's not enough, Lasagne is a fantastic family meal that is guaranteed to be a hit with even fussy eaters (trust me, I have a 2 year old!). There is a reason Lasagne is a classic recipe that people turn to over and over and it is definitely making more appearances in our house to keep everyone happy and satisfied!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sweet Heat # 8

It's the 1st of the month today so that can only mean one's time to announce a new Sweet Heat Challenge!

This month the lovely Emma from Souperior is hosting Sweet Heat and has a fantastic theme for you where of course there is no denying that chillies take center stage! So head on over to her site and see what spicy treats she has in store for you and while you are there check out her fabulous collection of home grown chillies....I'm more than a little jealous!
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