Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Grilled Halloumi with Quinoa & Beetroot Salad (& my struggle with blogging)

Before I jump to the recipe for this delicious salad there is something I need to address with regards to my blogging...

It's hard to believe it but I started blogging 5 years ago. My reason for starting this blog was simple....I loved to cook and this was the easiest way for me to share my often-requested recipes with family and friends. To this day I still love cooking, I am a total food-oholic! I get excited about shopping for food, finding new ingredients, getting reacquainted with recipes and ingredients from my past and exploring new cuisines throughout the world from the comfort of my own kitchen.You are far more likely to find me reading a cookbook or food magazine than any other book and with a library of 1000 cookbooks (and growing) I'm never short of something to read! Of course the books and magazines just feed my enthusiasm for cooking by offering endless new ideas and inspiration and so it was only a matter of time before I started reviewing cookbooks and really putting them to the test to see if they were worth a place on my overloaded, sagging shelves! I love reviewing cookbooks and so I do plan to do a lot more of that on this blog but without doubt my favourite thing to do still is come up with my own ideas and recipes and share them with you. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays August 25th ~ 31st

Wow, another week has flown by and I'm having a hard time remembering where it went! After Mum & Dad flew back home I tried to keep Ben and I as busy as possible so we had trips to the beach, parks and visiting our family here. All of which were fantastic and definitely distracted us from how quiet the house was. Thankfully we are lucky enough to still be enjoying a beautiful Summer, unlike poor Mum & Dad (and everyone else in Scotland I think!) who returned to jumpers and the fire on! Scott was also away most of last week so once he was home we made the most of our weekend and spent the majority of it on the boat which was the perfect way to spend our Saturday and Sunday.....Chilled out, relaxing, enjoying the sun, a spot of fishing and I even went swimming in the lake for the first time ever! Quiet an achievement for me since I don't like cold water at all!

There was a slight variation to last week's meal plan after a trip to the supermarket on Friday where I spotted the most wonderful looking fresh tuna on sale so I of course just had to buy it! After a quick think of how to serve it I decided on a Tuna Niçoise Salad which has become a new favourite of mine. I improvised a little to use up some extra things in the fridge and it turned out to be the 'Ultimate Tuna Niçoise' which was absolutely delicious! Since we had that on Friday the Quesadillas were moved to Sunday night (perfect quick meal after a day on the ocean) so no burgers last week meaning we'll be having them this week most likely, especially if we go out on the boat. If the weather doesn't cooperate this weekend (as the forecast is predicting at this point!) then I might go for something a little more Autumnal and take inspiration from one of the cookbooks I am currently reviewing.

So onto this week's meal plan and I am once again making the most of what we have in the fridge. My plan is to clear the fridge up completely so that come next Monday (and scarily the start of September!) I can start afresh and do the giant shop that is needing to be done (once I have room!). I'm also excited this week to finally be enjoying the few but very delicious tomatoes we have growing in the garden which I will use in Tuesday's pasta dish. Monday is a new recipe that I am promising to have on the blog later on in the week. This is such a delicious quick and easy meal and perfect for Meat Free Mondays. Wednesday and I'm using up the leftover Tomato Sauce from last weeks Arrabiata which I popped in the freezer. I'm adding to it some beautifully spiced Chorizo but you could easily miss that out for another fantastic vegetarian meal. Thursday and I am assuming we will have some leftovers needing eaten and then Friday I'm excited to try a new recipe from a cookbook that I am reviewing. The weekend is always iffy as it really depends on the weather and what we get up to, especially this weekend as it's a long weekend here in Canada, but for now I'm happy with the idea of Burgers. If it changes then c'est la vie!

So there you have it! Have a great week everyone with family, friends and of course, lots of good food! x

 Monday August 25th - 31st

                                  Monday  -       Grilled Halloumi with Quinoa & Beetroot Salad (new recipe!)
                                  Tuesday -        Niçoise Pasta (using tomatoes from the garden)
                                  Wednesday -   Spicy Tomato & Chorizo Risotto
                                  Thursday -       Leftovers 
                                  Friday -           Fig Pizza (from The Macaroni's in the Basement)
                                  Saturday -       Burgers or Porcetta (from above-mentioned book)
                                  Sunday -         Dinner with family

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays August 18th ~ 24th

Well after a longer than normal absence from blogging I'm finally back! It's been a busy month but a fantastic one as I have had my parents and aunt over to stay and therefore have been making the most of Summer and family and generally just having a great time! As always the time flew by but within the 4 weeks we had a great 2 weeks in Whistler where we went for daily bike rides, hikes, many trips up the mountains, to the lakes and of course enjoyed many delicious lunches out and about! Lucky for me this included going to Araxi for my Birthday treat from Scott where I had (again!) one of the best things I have ever eaten - Steamed Asian Buns with Duck Confit served with a Cucumber Salad.... Delicious doesn't even come close to describing how unbelievably good it was so you are just going to have to take my word when I say it is definitely in my Top 5 best things I have EVER eaten!!

As well as our 2 weeks in Whistler we also managed to fit in a couple of trips on the boat and a weekend camping so really it was a great time that I will always remember. As always for me food featured heavily and during our time we feasted on many, many wonderful meals including our Best Ever Ribs, Curries, lots of pasta dishes (ideal holiday meals!), Steaks, Burgers and even a deliciously fragrant but light Thai Chicken Soup which was ideal after a long days hiking as it was quick and easy but also nourishing and very satisfying. Holidays for me always have to include delicious meals, they just have to be simple and straightforward but still packed with flavour and all of our meals were just that!

The downside to the last 4 weeks was that after returning from Whistler my laptop finally decided to pack it in and crashed in spectacular style and wiped everything. Of course it is my own fault as it has been acting up for a while and rather than backing things up I kept thinking - I'll do it next week..... so no back up this year. Stupid I know but it is what it is. I think I have most photographs but I have lost a few blogging things such as book reviews I was working on but also my recipe for 'Scott's Best Ever Ribs'. I'm just hoping I can remember what I changed from the original recipe but we may need to do a couple of tests to make absolutely sure it is just right!! I'm really disappointed about the book reviews that I have lost but I'll get there with getting them back and I have lots of  other book reviews coming up which I am super excited about testing.

So what's on the menu this week?! We started it off well with Chicken wrapped in Prosciutto which I served with a fresh Tomato Sauce, Caesar Salad and plenty of French Bread. Tuesday was all about leftovers and with enough steak leftover from the weekend Ben & I were treated to Steak Baguettes which we both devoured. On to Wednesday and Ben was desperate for Pasta ("tubes") with tomato sauce (his all time favourite!) so I made a tame version of my Arrabiata for a quick and easy mid-week meal which we love (with extra chillies on the side for me!). I am very excited about tonight's meal as I am debuting my brand new bread maker so we will hopefully enjoy some delicious homemade bread with a big bowl of Courgette, Potato & Cheddar Soup, thanks to our good friends who gave us one of their amazing giant courgettes/zucchinis fresh from their garden. Tomorrow night once again is all about clearing out the fridge as we have so many little bits of this and that so I am making Quesadilla's - pizza style! It's the first time I have done it (that I can remember anyway!) but I don't anticipate any disasters, just a quick and easy delicious Friday night meal. Saturday and we are heading to friends for a BBQ and Sunday I imagine will be spent on the boat so I'm thinking perhaps Burgers when we get home as they are quick and easy to prepare and cook, not to mention a firm favourite in our house!

So there you have it! Have a great week everyone with family, friends and of course, lots of good food! x

 Monday August 18th - 24th

                                  Monday  -       Chicken wrapped in Prosciutto with Fresh Tomato Sauce; Caesar                                                                Salad & French Bread
                                  Tuesday -       Steak Baguettes
                                  Wednesday -  Penne Arrabiata
                                  Thursday -      Courgette, Potato & Cheddar Soup with Homemade Bread
                                  Friday -          Pizza Quesadillas (experiment!)
                                  Saturday -      BBQ at friends
                                  Sunday -        Burgers
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