I saw this recipe on Pinch of Yum site and immediately wanted to try it. The suggestion was that it’s a breakfast/bruch casserole dish, but I think it’s great at any time of day on its own with some nice crispy salad or as a side dish perhaps. I’ve slightly adapted this to match my taste, but you can check out the original recipe here. It’s a lovely site, by the way, if you haven’t heard about it.
POTATO AND SPINACH BAKE
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 any preferred good quality sausages
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 handfuls of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
2 large eggs
1/3 cup of milk
1 cup of grated raw potatoes
1/2 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper to taste
- Heat up the oven to 200C. Grease the medium oven proof dish and set aside.
- Heat up the flying pan over medium heat with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add the chopped onions and sauté it until it becomes soft and translucent.
- Take the sausages, peel off their outer skin by gently cutting the skin in the middle and peeling it off with your fingers. Then crumble the sausage meat in rough chunks over the onion. Then add chilli powder and onion powder. Mix well and continue cooking until it brown and fully cooked. Transfer this mixture to the prepared oven dish, distribute evenly on the bottom.
- Add the rest of the olive oil to the frying pan, add the garlic and gently cook t for a few minutes, do not allow it to burn. Add the spinach and stir until whilted for a few more minutes. Then scatter over the sausage mixture.
- In a mixing bowl, using fork, mix together the eggs, milk, mozzarella cheese, raw potatoes, salt and pepper. Pour over the sausage and spinach mixture.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown or until it springs back when touched.
It’s very straight forward here. I was desperate for something sweet with my tea, but didn’t want to spend too much time making it. I had a banana to use up, with cravings for chocolate and some crunch. These muffins ticked all the boxes.
CHOCOLATE MUFFINS WITH PEANUT BUTTER CENTER
(Original recipe is from My Happy Food)
1 large banana
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
approx 70 g peanut butter (I used crunchy one)
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Beat the butter with sugar, add the eggs one by one. Then add mashed banana.
- In a separate bowl/jug mix together flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and pinch of salt. Add the mixture to the wet ingredients and mix it until smooth.
- Line the muffin tray with the muffin cases. Spread 1 tablespoon of chocolate mix in each muffin case, then put a teaspoon of peanut butter, finishing with another tablespoon of chocolate mix.
- Bake it for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
I love this kind of dish. It can be made well in advance and with a basic selection of spices from you cupboard i.e. cumin, cinnamon, chilli, coriander, you can transform other plainer ingredients like rice and aubergines into an exotic, budget-friendly dish. This is most definitely a real crowd pleaser. Also by using lamb mince instead of cuts of lamb, the whole process even easier.
SPICED LAMB AND AUBERGINE PILAF
(Original recipe by Sophie Wright)
2–3 medium aubergines, cut into 2cm pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
500g lamb mince
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
75g chopped dried apricots (raisins or dates also work really well)
200g chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
250g white rice (I like basmati but any will do)
600ml lamb or chicken stock
75g toasted pine nuts, flaked almonds (optional)
10–15 fresh mint leaves, shredded (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4. Place the prepared aubergine onto a baking tray (you may need two), drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, turning once halfway through. Ensure the aubergine pieces on the outsides of the tray don’t burn.
- While the aubergine is cooking, place a large casserole dish on the stove and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic, season and cook for around 10 minutes on a low heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Now add the lamb, increase the heat and seal for 5 minutes. You want the lamb mince to have a little colour. Now add the spices, the cooked aubergine, the sultanas and the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Cook for 8–10 minutes to allow the spices to properly cook out. Season again.
- Now add the rice. Coat it well in all the spices and pan juices before adding the stock. Put on the lid and bring to the boil, then transfer the casserole dish to the oven and cook for 35–40 minutes. Check it once whilst cooking – if it looks like it needs a little more stock, now is a good time to add it.
- You may want to add some toasted nuts and freshly shredded mint before taking the dish to the table. You can have this with griddled flatbreads and some Greek yoghurt. However, we had it simply with fresh cucumber, radishes and yoghurt salad on the side.
I call it ‘table jam’ because of the little amount of sugar it has in it. The downside is that it won’t last too long, but you can feel less guilty consuming this on top of your granola, yogurt, toast, etc.
This chunky apple jam recipe has a hint of spice that reminds me of festive season. Leave the spices out if you prefer a pure apple jam! Depending on the sweetness of the apples used, the amount of sugar may be adjusted to taste. Also, orange peel and juice are optional, but I love this citrus addition.
TABLE APPLE JAM
1kg peeled, cored, and chopped apples
juice and peel of 1 orange (alternatively use juice of 1/2 lemon)
100 ml water
250 g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
In a large pan over a medium heat, combine the apples, water, orange juice, peel and zest and spice. Cook and stir for 40-50 minutes until the apples have reduced and became partly mushy, but still with some chunks. Add more water if during cooking apple mixture start to dry out to avoid burning.
When you reach the desired consistency, take the jam off the heat, let it cool and pour into the jam jars. Keep it refrigerated.
Forget traditional roast, here is another alternative for your Sunday lunch,- Roasted Rosemary Chicken with Walnuts, Grapes and Rice. The flavours are rather subtle but yet sophisticated and very comforting at the same time. Grapes and nuts – couldn’t be better match, only if you add chicken and rice to it!
Original recipe came from a site called Good Eggs and asked for brown rice, however, I didn’t have it, used basmati one instead, the result was just as good, plenty of walnuts adds enough nutty flavour to the dish.
Highly recommend for dinner parties, as it is incredibly easy to prepare and perfect to please almost everyone (except those with the nut allergies).
ROASTED ROSEMARY CHICKEN WITH WALNUTS, GRAPES AND RICE
1 pack of chicken thighs
1 bunch of red grapes
a few sprigs of rosemary
1, 1/2 cups of Basmati rice
a big handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 220C, with a big cast iron skillet inside. Salt and pepper the chicken. When the oven is hot, remove the skillet and add a glug of olive oil to it. Then add the grapes and chicken – taking care to not crowd the pan too much with ingredients. Give the pan a little shake to distribute the olive oil on the grapes, tuck a few sprigs of rosemary between the grapes and chicken and place skillet inside the oven.
- While the chicken cooks, make a batch of rice, according the package instruction, depends on which rice you choose to cook.
- After about 35-40 minutes, the chicken should be done – check to see if the juices run clear and the flesh is white but still juicy. Remove chicken and grapes from the pan with tongs or a slotted spoon, taking pains to leave the drippings in the skillet.
- Dress the rice with a few table spoons of the chicken drippings, along with a handful of coarsely chopped walnuts and the grapes. After the chicken has rested for a few minutes, plate together and serve!
What sort of thing do you think about when walking through a beautiful rolling wilderness with its vibrant moss carpet, rolling green hills, burnt colour trails and different hues of purple? Call me crazy, but a recent walk we took through the New Forest brought only one thing to my mind – my Dad’s Aubergine Rolls. I think the same colour pallet gave me a hint, or I was just hungry…
AUBERGINE ROLLS WITH COTTAGE CHEESE STUFFING
2 aubergines, sliced length ways
400 cottage cheese
3 cloves garlic, crushed
150g walnuts, finely chopped
salt/pepper to taste
olive oil for frying
handful of basil leaves
1. Cut the aubergines length ways, brush it with olive oil on both sides and fry on a pan until cooked through and pale golden. Set aside on a paper tower to absorb excess of the oil.
2. In a bowl mix together cottage cheese, crushed garlic, finely chopped walnuts, salt and pepper.
3. Take an aubergine slice, place the scoop of the cottage filling closer to one side and carefully roll up. Continue the same process with the rest of the aubergines and filling. Place the rolls on a plate, decorate with the basil leaves.