Cheese, spinach and chilli omelette

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 Serves 2.

  • 4 large eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 sliced tomato, or a few halved baby tomatoes
  • 4-5 slices of bell pepper
  • 1 hot chilli, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced and boiled for 5 minutes
  • broken up slices of red leicester
  • 1/2 tin kidney beans

14980966167_21a92627dc_kUsing a blender, mix the eggs, milk and spinach together. Heat some oil in a pan and pour in the mixture into it, turn the heat down low
and lay the other ingredients into the egg mix, leaving the cheese and tomatoes until last.

After 10 minutes remove the pan from the hob and place it under the grill, on a medium heat, for a further 4-6 minutes to cook the top side. Make sure to keep an eye on it as it may not take so long, the times are based on my perpetually useless cooker and the omelette being about an inch thick.

 

Brown sugar tart

Brown Sugar Tart
1 pastry case (either you can make your own with shortcrust pastry or buy 2 of the sweet ones from the supermarket, which work out cheaper)
1 large (400g) tin of evaporated milk
350g of dark muscovado sugar

Mix the evaporated milk and the sugar together until it’s all well blended. Pour the mixture into the pastry case(s) and put it in the oven for 10 minutes at 220C. Leave it to cool and put it in the fridge.

Almond milk and egg white pancakes

Topped with yoghurt, dried apricots, and walnuts
Ingredients:
500ml almond milk
250g plain, self-raising, or wholemeal flour
3 egg whites
1-2 tsp vanilla essence
Butter or vegetable oil for frying
Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl, mix the almond milk, egg whites and vanilla essence together and mix into the flour. (A tip for easily separating egg whites: Crack the egg onto a plate or into a bowl, use a plastic pop bottle, squeeze a bit of air out of it, and suck up the yolk. It will be sucked into the bottle without breaking it, or taking any or much egg white with it). Or just shove it all in a mixer or food processor if you have one, that’s what I do and it’s way easier. 
Fry it in the oil or butter like it’s a pancake because that’s exactly what it is.
I only made this recipe yesterday, and in fact only tried almond milk yesterday. I’ve been having them with walnuts, dried apricots and natural yoghurt. I don’t know how well it would work with savoury toppings given the sweetness of the almond milk and vanilla but if anyone tries it, let me know how that goes!

Sweet apple and chamomile tea

This is one of my recent favourites, initially just thrown together with what I had to hand when I felt like having a sweet drink which wasn’t just ribena or apple juice. It’s made up in a large batch and kept in the fridge, though it can be made in smaller amounts or had hot.

Ingredients
4 litres water
8 chamomile teabags
3 Schwartz mulled wine spice bags (though any type of mulling spices works)
200ml Ribena or other blackcurrant cordial
1 litre of apple juice
1 dessert spoon of honey
1 dessert spoon of vanilla extract.

Chuck it all in a big pot and bring it up to near the boil. Turn the heat down and leave it to simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. It can be brewed for longer for a stronger taste of chamomile or spices but that about works for me.

Leave it to cool, bottle it up, and stick it in the fridge.

Sausage, bacon and onion casserole

2-3 large potatoes, thinly sliced
2 large onions, chopped however you want them
1 packet of bacon, chopped into bits
8 sausages
2-4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
Vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to 180C
Layer the bottom of the casserole dish with the potato slices.
Fry the onion, garlic and bacon until the bacon’s cooked and the onion’s softed a bit.
Fry the sausages until they’re browned on the outside.
Put the onion, garlic and bacon mix over the top of the potato layer and then lay the sausages on top.
Fill the dish with vegetable stock until it’s covering the onion, garlic and bacon layer.

Cover the dish and place it in the oven. Leave it cooking for 60-90 minutes. How long it takes will depend on how good your oven is (if it’s like mine, it’ll be 90 minutes), the kind of dish and how thinly you’ve sliced the potato. The ultimate goal is for the potato to be cooked. Stab it with a fork after 60 minutes to check and shove it back in the oven for a further 30 minutes if it’s not quite there yet.

Over the next few days you can add in different vegetables, tomatoes etc, like you can with any other casserole or stew.

Recipe taken from my personal cookbook which you can find here

Summery mixed fruit yoghurt drink.

Mixed fruit yoghurt drink.
Adjust quantities as needed to make desired amount.

Glass of fruit drink
with strawberry slices to
decorate.

1 pomegranate
300g strawberries

3 bananas
1 mango, peeled and cut into pieces
100ml water
750ml natural yoghurt
750ml semi-skimmed or whole milk

Fruit drink, and leftover mix to freeze
and use in future.

Blend the strawberries, pomegranate and 100ml water
Run through a sieve to remove remnants of pips

Put back into the blender with the banana and mango and blend until smooth.

Pour in the yoghurt and milk and blend a little longer until completely mixed together.

If it’s not sweet enough, add some honey or sugar and mix a little more.

Serve cold, with ice if desired.

Spicy chicken stuffed pita breads

Spicy Chicken Stuffed Pita Breads
Serves 2 (Warning: can be quite spicy depending on chillies!)


1 diced chilli
2 cloves of garlic diced or crushed
2tsp cajun spice mix
2tsp paprika
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 chicken breasts, diced into 1cm cubes
4 pita breads
Salad of your choosing (if any)
Onion and Garlic Dip (Optional)
Salsa (Optional)

Mix it all up in a bowl and rub it in a little bit, if it seems a bit dry, add some more soy sauce. Leave it for 1 hour (or overnight if you want to prepare before hand)

To oven cook it, preheat to 200C. Place the chicken in an ovenproof dish so it’s all laid out flat, rather than piled up. Cover the dish and cook it for 30-35 minutes. This method keeps it more tender.

Or you can fry it in a pan until it’s cooked through.

Toast the pita bread and stuff it with the salad of your choosing, the chicken, some salsa, and onion and garlic dip (or whatever topping you feel you’d like with it, if any. This is just my favourite!)

Enjoy the noms!

Marmite gravy recipe

This is heavily based on the gravy my Mum used to make when I was younger. It’s an absolute favourite of mine and always has been.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons of oil (vegetable, sunflower, olive.. Whichever)
1 tablespoon of plain flour
1-2 teaspoons of marmite or marmite XO (depending on taste)
400ml boiling water
Optional quarter to half teaspoon of black pepper.

Mix the oil, plain flour and marmite into a paste. Place in a saucepan and add the water to the paste gradually, either mix together fully before putting on the hob or mix it in over a medium heat (it doesn’t really matter which). Once it’s all mixed in and starts to bubble, turn the heat down.

Leave it to simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly.

If the gravy tastes too weak, simply stir in a little more marmite.
If it’s too runny, mix some water and flour to form a runny mixture, pour it in a spoonful at a time until it starts to thicken, let it simmer for a further few minutes. Or you can leave it to simmer until it’s thickened up itself.
Sometimes the gravy can go a bit lumpy, if this happens then take a whisk, sieve or handheld blender to it.

I like to make mine quite peppery, normally using a quarter of a teaspoon of black pepper, or half a teaspoon with steak.

You can also add a beef or chicken stock cube for a bit of a meaty flavour. When I make I roast I like to use the dripping instead of oil, or if I’m frying sausages etc I’ll keep them warm in the oven and use the oil they were cooked in.

For onion gravy, lightly fry some onions before hand and add them to the saucepan after you’ve mixed it all together, allowing them to simmer in the gravy.

I love having this with just some bread, mashed potato or chips. It’s a nice thick gravy with a lot of flavour to it. 

This is quite a large batch I made up. The more you make, the longer you’ll have to leave it on the hob. It can take anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes to thicken in larger amounts.

Hot apple cider

Mulled wine is quite a common thing in Winter, and particularly Christmas time, but there’s some alternatives for a warming drink. One, which is probably my favourite, is mulled apple juice or ‘hot apple cider’ as it’s often called (particularly in the states).

When the frost is starting to set in or the snow falls, it’s always nice to come in from the cold and warm up with a hot drink!

Ingredients:1 litre of apple juice – I use the concentrate stuff, but that’s because I’m cheap. Any apple juice will work. You can also use still cider if you want a bit of added merriment – sweet/medium ciders work well.1 bramley apple, cut into quarters. Stab it a bit with a knife to get the extra flavour out.Half a lemonHalf a lime1-2  Schwartz ‘Mulled spice’ bags, or a similar concoction of spices (there’s recipes all over the place for them)

Pour the juice into a saucepan, put in the Bramley apple pieces and mulled spice bags. Squeeze the lemon and lime into the mixture a bit to get some juice out and then place the halves into the pan.
Heat it up until it’s bubbling, place a lid on the saucepan and then leave it to simmer on a low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Voila! Delicious hot drink.

If you have some winter Pimms available, it goes incredibly well with this. Just add a shot to your mug of apple juice after the simmering. Someone I know found they really enjoy it with a bit of blackcurrent cordial mixed in (“although just a bit, not much”).

As well as being a hot drink, it’s also quite refreshing as a summer one too. Simply cook it up as above, leave it to cool, and place it in the fridge. Once it’s cooled down, serve.

If you want to use the Schwartz spice bags in summer, be sure to stock up in the winter – They’re hard to find for the rest of the year. Keep them in an airtight container.

Nachos!

Nacho recipe
Serves: 2
Cheese sauce
4 Plastic cheese slices (that American burger cheese stuff that no one really likes but most people use)
Half a cup of milk
1 tablespoon of plain flour
1 tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil spread (I use vitalite, but whatever works for you)

Other stuff
1 pack of Tesco Everyday Value tortilla chips (you can use any, really, but I find these to be the tastiest of the lot)
Onion and Garlic dip (some people use soured cream but I personally find this stuff more flavoursome)
Salsa
Pickled gherkins, sliced
Pickled chillies, sliced (if you like a bit of heat to it)
Sombrero (Optional)*

For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a pan and slowly add the flour. Bit by bit, pour the milk in and mix it with the floury butter mixture. Mix in the cheese slices and a little salt, if you like putting salt in things, and keep stirring until it’s all mixed in and Nacho Cheese sauce-looking. Once all the ingredients are smooth and well combined, you’ve got it!

The rest of it, which mostly consists of shoving stuff on a plate:
Pour however many of the tortilla chips you want on a plate, pour some cheese sauce over them. On top of the cheese, using a teaspoon, put blobs of salsa and onion and garlic dip here and there (however much you think you might like) and then sprinkle the gherkin and chilli slices over the top.

Congratulations, you now have nachos!

If it’s all a bit too complicated or you want the whole process to go a bit quicker, you can skip the cheese sauce. Instead you would tear up the cheese slices, lay the pieces over the tortilla chips and put them under the grill until the cheese has melted. Then you proceed to throw all the other stuff on top of it as you do above.

It also goes brilliantly with chilli layered under the cheese sauce – tried and tested.

*Sombrero is not to be eaten but instead to be worn during the eating experience. This item can be difficult to source and many prefer to leave it out. I have been told that wearing a sombrero while eating nachos improves the experience and if you have one it comes highly recommended.