Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Posh Burgers, Velvet Chicken and Scandi Salad - all in a box!

Do you find it difficult to decide what to cook?  And sometimes when you find a recipe you want to make, are you thwarted by not having all of the ingredients?  If the answer is yes, then you might want to order a Gousto box, especially as I have a special discount for your first order (see bottom of post).  Here is how it works:

  • You choose the recipes from the website
  • Gousto does the shopping
  • Gousto measure everything
  • Gousto deliver for free
  • You cook and enjoy

Since the last time I reviewed a Gousto Box in 2012 they've made their boxes even better. Prices have been lowered by 17%, so meals now only cost £4.00 - £5.80 including delivery (three meals £34.99). That's on average 16% better than most supermarkets according to

The boxes still deliver the same great quality, using high quality animal welfare meat from British farms and Soil Association certified organic vegetables.  Gousto also have a new website so you can easily make your menu choices on your mobile phone, you can also rate the recipes more easily.
There are two new chefs at Gousto, Remi and Alice, who are creating amazing new recipes every week.  Have a look at the menu, there are 10 new recipes every week for you to choose from.  I had three recipes, each for two people,  in my box and every single one of them was super delicious and I learned a few tricks that I will use in future cooking.
Posh Burger and Chips with Homemade Ketchup: Rosemary-rubbed chunky chips, shards of melted cheddar and a trio of delicious handmade condiments make this burger something really special. This was a straightforward recipe to make even though there were lots of different components.  Including chunks of cheese in the burgers works really well, you don't really taste cheese, it just adds a lovely creaminess to the meat.  The star of the show was the homemade ketchup which I will definitely be making again.
Crunchy Chicken Cashew Stir-Fry with Basmati Rice: This recipe uses the velveting technique.  Velveting is cooking meat in egg for an extra moist finish. It sounds challenging, but it's surprisingly simple and makes this chicken stir-fry extra special. Cashew nuts make a delicious addition to a stir-fry and they are also rich in essential minerals like magnesium, iron and zinc.

The stir-fry chicken was really simple to make and made two generous portions, I reckon you could serve it to three people without any complaints.  The velveting made for the most tender chicken I've ever stir-fried and I will certainly do that again.

Summer Mackerel with Warm Gem Salad: The use of lemon in this dish helps to give the recipe a real zing and brings out the flavour of the mackerel.  

The quality of the mackerel was excellent and the flavour combinations were reminiscent of Scandinavian food. The onions are immersed in vinegar which reduces the pungency of it's raw flavour, another thing I hadn't tried before.

If you would like to try a Gousto Box you can get £25 off your first box by using the code FARMERSGIRL which works out at approx £9.99 for three gourmet meals for two.  

I received a Gousto box to review, I was not paid for this review and all opinons are my own. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Holy Moly - Guacamole!

Sometimes you just want a simple lunch, not too much work but something delicious all the same.  Avocados are really good just now and even thought the one I used had been 'ripe and ready to use' a week ago, it was still perfect no bruising and it mashed down in a really pleasing manner. Combined with some pitta bread and salad, the simple lunch became a feast.  It would also work well as a DIY picnic, just put the guacamole in a plastic box and pack the bread and salad separately.

Perfect Picnic Guacamole
1 avocado, stone and skin removed
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1/2 a small chilli
2 tomatoes, de-seeded and finely chopped
1/2 lime
handful of coriander leaves, chopped

Place the avocado in a bowl and mash roughly with a fork.  Add the spring onion, chilli and tomatoes. Squeeze in the lime juice, add the coriander leaves and mix all the ingredients together.  Serve in a bowl or scoop into a plastic box to take on your picnic.

I'm entering the Perfect Picnic Guacamole for Tea Time Treats where the theme this month is 'Picnic food'.  Tea Time Treats is run by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Janie at Hedgecombers.  Guacamole is also appropriate for The Spice Trail where are off on a 'Beach Barbeque', guacamole is a great accompaniment to a barbeque, imagine barbequed steak or chicken in a tortilla with salad and guacamole, delicious!  The Spice Trail is the challenge run by Vanesther at Bangers and Mash and there is a prize of a copy of Nigella Summer.

Monday, 23 June 2014

A Local Tasting Tour South of Morris Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia is really easy to navigate.  When I met up with my blogging colleagues, Karen, Helen and Aoife, later in the trip, they were amused by how I knew my way around (well most of the time!). It helps that there is a hill behind you leading down to the waterfront and the streets are in a grid pattern, so you can quickly get our bearings, and Halifax is a definitely a place where walking is a good way to get around.

I walked down from Citadel Hill to the waterfront boardwalk and enjoyed seeing the ships, restaurants and the stunning view across to Dartmouth and Fort George.

Fort George

I was heading to the Halifax Seaport Market to meet with up with Emily Forrest proprietor of Local Tasting Tours  and my guide Elena Cremonese,  who was ready to take me on the SOMO (South of Morris Street) Food Tour. "Local Tasting Tours highlights the local side of Halifax cuisine, from the unique culinary style of local chefs, to the diverse dishes offered in locally owned ethnic eateries, to fresh Nova Scotia-grown produce and dishes inspired by our local bounty"  The tour includes visits to six local eateries in the area 'south of Morris Street' to taste dishes prepared especially for you by award winning chefs.

Norbert's Good Food is Halifax’s first and only farm to table eatery sell their own produce grown at their own organic farm, Selwood Green. Norbert's was the first stop on my Food Tour, it's located at the Seaport Farmers’ Market. I had a very tasty salad topped with sprouts and dressed with a simple oil, vinegar and honey dressing.

A short walk along the waterfront and we arrived at Sugah, a store full of chocolate, toffees, sweets, ice cream and Rum Cake!  All of Sugah 's products are crafted by hand in Nova Scotia using traditional methods and using fresh butter, cream sugar and nuts.  The sweets are cooked in the old-fashioned copper kettle and worked on the marble slabs.  The chocolates feature finest Belgian Chocolate and as well as some traditional flavours there are great ideas like the Kracken Krunch, blended with Nova Scotian Seaweed; The Brew Bar made with a unique combination of fruit, nuts and spices and the Fog Burner which combines chocolate with Fog Burner coffee grounds.  I brought home quite a few bars of Sugah chocolate as gifts, they really are unique flavours.

I was offered samples of the S'mores chocolate which was far too sweet for my taste, I preferred the 'Tall and Dark' Brew Bar.  The Bacon Praline was also good, but not a patch on the one made by Wee Sweetie, her praline is just packed with bacon and much more robust than the one at Sugah (I've been spoiled!).  Sugah is owned by The Uncommon Group who also run the Uncommon Grounds coffee shops in Nova Scotia.

Next I returned to The Halliburton (read about it in The Bridge, The Bison and the Four Poster Bed ) and was presented with this beautiful plate of 'Pan seared, rice paper wrapped sea scallops, ginger sesame vinaigrette', oh my goodness what a delight!  I also had a chance to speak to the chef and compliment him on  the meal I had eaten the evening before.

Just up the road from the Halliburton on Morris Street East is the Morris East who specialise in wood-fired pizzas.  My tasting dish was a slice of Peach Woodfired  topped with peaches, goat cheese, shallots,
prosciutto, maple rosemary aioli and microgreens.  I'm not a huge fan of goat cheese but it combined well with the sweet peaches and salty prosciutto. The base of the wood fired pizza was superb, it was thin and managed to be crisp underneath and soft on top, just perfect.

If you are a fan of cocktails, I would recommend you have a look at the Morris East cocktail menu, some great combinations of liquor served there.

I think the place that I warmed to most was Cafe Chianti.  Italian food is my favourite cuisine and the risotto with asparagus and spinach with a parmesan crisp on top was absolutely delicious.  But there is more to a restaurant than just delcious food and Cafe Chianti has that something special.

I was fortunate to meet the owner, Jan Wicha, who gave me a warm welcome and sat with me and Elena as we ate our risotto.  He told me how his restaurant had burned down and he thought his days as a restaurateur were over, however the continued demand from former customers persuaded him to start again. I also learned about the beautifully painted murals on the walls, some of them reclaimed from the original restaurant.  Of all the places on the food tour this is the one that I would most like to revisit as it felt very comfortable and the menus are excellent.

We finished our tour at Elements on Hollis, the restaurant in The Westin, Nova Scotian Hotel.  Chef Steve Galvin brought me this lovely plate of belly pork in a barbecue sauce, a recipe he had recently developed.  I know belly pork is very popular, but it's not my favourite cut of meat, too fatty for me.  However, once again I was proved wrong and I really enjoyed this rich and tender dish.  There will be more about Elements on Hollis in a later post as I ate there again when I returned to Halifax.

A little about my delightful guide:  Elena Cremonese is a recent graduate of Dalhousie University in Halifax and a committed foodie!  Hailing originally from Ottowa, Ontario she has travelled in Europe and Asia and, although she was relatively new to her job with Local Tasting Tours, Elena was a font of knowledge about the restaurants, the history of the SOMO area of Halifax and about food in general.  I enjoyed her company and we chatted easily about all sorts, thanks Elena for making my tour such a pleasure.

It was now time for me get back into my Jeep SUV and head across The Macdonald Bridge towards Pictou, I hope you'll join me on the next leg of my journey in Nova Scotia.

This is the third in a series of posts about my trip to Nova Scotia.  Read the other posts in my Nova Scotia adventure: 

1. The Bridge, The Bison and the Four Poster Bed 
2. The Citadel, Halifax : Sporrans, Rifles and the School Room 

You can follow me on Twitter: @FarmersgirlCook, Facebook: Farmersgirl Kitchen Instagram: FarmersgirlCook and the Pinterest Board  Atlantic Canada Eats which I share with Lavender and Lovage.  You can also follow the hashtags #AtlanticCanadaEats  #VisitNovaScotia and #ExploreCanada to see photos and posts on all of these social media sites.

Disclaimer: I was the guest of the Canadian Tourism Commission and  Nova Scotia Tourism and all my flights, car hire, accommodation and meals were included, as well as all trips, excursions and special cookery sessions with local chefs. I'd like to thank the host organisations and everyone who made this a truly memorable trip.
Photo Montage templates from The Coffee Shop   

Monday, 27 May 2013

Raw Rhubarb and Rosemary Tabbouleh for the Aero Perfect Pairing Challenge

The good people at Aero HQ set out a challenge to create some wacky and wonderful flavour pairings to celebrate the two-toned bubblicious makeover of Aero with it's delicious flavour combinations of orange or mint with bubbly milk chocolate.

To help me with the challenge I was sent a box full of cooking equipment, a flavour thesaurus and some bubbly Aero chocolate to help inspire me!  In fact, I found my inspiration in the Flavour Thesaurus where I spied an amazing combination of raw rhubarb and rosemary marinated in honey, I thought this would work well in a Tabbouleh providing the acidic element to a classic salad.

Raw Rhubarb and Rosemary Tabbouleh (Serves 4)
2 sticks young rhubarb, very finely sliced
2 tbsp runny honey
2 sprigs of rosemary, bruised
250g bulgar wheat
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp celery leaves roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of half a lemon

1. Finely slice the rhubarb, preferably on a mandoline using the finest setting.  I used the OXO Good Grips Mandoline for this.

2.  Place in a non metallic bowl and add the honey and rosemary, leave to marinate for several hours or preferably overnight.

3. Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl and cover with boiling water.

4.  When the wheat has swollen and absorbed all the water, add the rest of the ingredients and mix through. 

5. Finally add the rhubarb and marinade, cover the bowl and leave to sit for at least an hour for the flavours to mingle, season to taste.  You may wish to add a little more finely chopped rosemary if you would like a stronger rosemary taste.

If you didn't know it was rhubarb, you would be hard pushed to recognise it, the honey has softened the sharpness to a pleasant bite and a subtle flavour of rosemary permeates the Tabbouleh.

Many thanks to Sophie for the Perfect Pairing Aero Cookery Kit.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Chilli Pasta, Fennel and Walnut Salad

This month Pasta Please is being hosted by Shaheen at Allotment to Kitchen and the theme is chilli! 

Pasta Please is a blog event whose home is with Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes, but it  is often out and about with guest hosts which gives it a new lease of life.

The Chilli theme gave me another opportunity to use my Galloway Chilli Original jam.  This is a very hot chilli jam so you only need a very little to boost up your dishes.

Chilli Pasta, Fennel and Walnut Salad 
Serves 4 for a light lunch

225g good quality pasta, cooked in boiling salted water, drained and cooled in cold water, then drained again.
1 large tomato chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1/4 cucumber, diced
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
50g walnut pieces

1 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp natural yogurt
1 tsp chilli jam (or to taste)
1 tsp honey
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Mix the salad ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Mix the dressing ingredients together and season to taste.
3. Mix the dressing into the pasta and vegetables, cover the bowl and leave for flavours to mingle for about 20 minutes.

I served the salad on lettuce leaves but you can just eat it as it is or serve it with other salads.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

A Valentine Salad and Eggspress Giveaway

Valentine's gifts tend to focus on chocolate treats so it's nice to have something a little different for Valentine's Day.  This bacon and heart-shaped egg salad fills you up and also provides the freshness and crunch that I feel is so important to enjoy in the winter months and would be the prefect for a Valentine's day brunch or lunch.

I was sent this little gadget, called an Eggspress, from Just Mustard which moulds hard-boiled eggs into heart shapes, so when you cut them in half you have a pretty little heart.  Just Mustard is a gift company with lots of fun novelty gifts.

The back of the packet tells you how to create your heart shaped eggs and are easy to follow.

Although it is easy to make, mine didn't turn out quite so perfect as the ones in the illustration.  The yolk does not always sit right in the middle.  The heart shape does form, but it's not very pronounced and I think you need to use them fairly quickly as I found that the egg started to lose the point at the bottom after about half an hour.

Bacon and Egg Salad (serves 2)

8 slices of smoked streaky bacon
4 medium eggs, hard boiled and cooled
1/2 bag of mixed lettuce leaves
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
juice of half a lime
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tsp honey

1. Grill the bacon until crisp, drain on kitchen paper and cool
2. Press the eggs as per instructions and cut in half.  If you don't have an Eggspress then simply cut the eggs in half.
3. Place the celery, apple and 4 slices of crispy bacon (crumbled) into a bowl.
4. Make the dressing with juice of half a lime, oil, seasoning and honey, whisk or shake in a jar then pour over the celery, apple and bacon mixture
5. Spread the salad leaves on the plates,  divide the celery, apple and bacon mixture between them.
6. Top each plate with two bacon rashers crossed.  Place 4 egg halves evenly around the plate and place the tomato halves between them and serve with crusty bread.

It was fun to serve the heart shaped eggs with this salad and if you would like to try it yourself, I have two Eggspress egg moulds to giveaway.  UK residents only please.  Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter Widget.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 12 October 2012

Seasonal Cheese and Leek Flatbread Sandwich

Jacqueline has set us a slightly different challenge for  this month's No Croutons Required,  she says "I would like to focus on what is often served alongside soup or a salad. I am thinking of the humble sandwich.  Toasted or plain, I would like you to come up with an interesting sandwich. The only stipulation is that it must be suitable for vegetarians."

Too few people understand a really good sandwich.James Beard
My Mum probably makes the best sandwiches, she always ensures that there was plenty of filling and that the filling goest right to the edge of the sandwich, the best way to achieve this is by cutting off the crusts. But I'm not going to make that kind of sandwich because ever since the early stages of the Great British Bake Off, I've been hankering to make some flatbreads.
I used the recipe for 'Magic Bread Dough' from Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg Everyday.It's an interesting mix of strong and plain flour and something I haven't tried before.
There is plenty of dough to make several different flatbreads. For the dough for my sandwich I added some chopped rosemary.  You can cook the flatbreads on a griddle but I put them in a hot (240C) oven for about 5-10 minutes.

This one is more like a pizza.  I spread the dough with, one of my favourite sauces, Maggi Chilli and Tomato Sauce straight from the bottle.  Then sprinkled over some grated Lockerbie Cheddar Cheese.

For the sandwich filling, I adapted  Hugh F-W's  Leek and Cheese Toastie from River Cottage Veg to lower the calorie count.

Leek and Cottage Cheese Flatbread Sandwich

15g butter
2 medium leeks, trimmed and finely chopped (white and pale green part only)
A couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves only
3 tablespoons of cottage cheese
1 tsp cornflour
50g cheddar
1 large rosemary flatbread
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a frying plan and add the leeks.  Cook gently until softened. Stir in the thyme.  Mix the cornflour with some of the liquid from the cottage cheese and add to the pan, add the cottage cheese and warm through.  Take off the heat and add two-thirds of the cheese .

Pile the leek and cheese filling onto one half of the flatbread and fold over, sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and place under a hot grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts.

Serve with salad

I served my sandwich with a Carrot, Cucumber and Apple Salad with chopped Pistachio nuts

To finish off, I'd like to show you the sweet flatbread that I made, using the basic dough a few dried apricots, chopped white chocolate and ground almonds.

After it was baked, I glazed it with honey and put it back in the oven for a couple of minutes. 
I'm entering this for No Croutons Required run by Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen.
Herbs on Saturday run by Karen at Lavender and Lovage

and also for Simple and in Season, a seasonal challenge created by Ren Behan at Fabulicious Food, this month hosted by Franglais Kitchen


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Beetroot with Chorizo, Feta and Mint

This recipe has been inspired by a recipe from BBC Good Food July 2012.  However, I made some changes in the method to suit my own purposes!

Beetroot with chorizo, feta and mint (serves 2)

1 pack cooked beetroot
½ regular cooking chorizo, cubed
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
100g feta, crumbled
Handful of mint, roughly chopped
Drizzle olive oil
Salad leaves

1.       Lay the salad leaves on the place
2.        Slice the beetroot and lay out on the leaves
3.       Add the chorizo to a hot frying pan, be careful it doesn’t burn
4.       When cooked add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute
5.       Tip the chorizo and vinegar onto the beetroot
6.       Crumble the feta over the salad and sprinkle with chopped mint
7.       Drizzle a little olive oil over the salad and serve immediately

I  enjoyed this salad, with it's combination of sweet, sour, salty, earthy flavours and even more because we managed to eat it outside!  Back to rain and wind today, but for one brief day, we had a little bit of summer.

I'm entering this into Herbs on Saturday run by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and, this month, hosted by Vanesther at Bangers and Mash

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Roasted Courgette, Tomato, Feta and Basil Tart

There was a bit of joking on Twitter the other night about how we should make one recipe that covered all the blog challenges, then we could have the rest of the month off!  I haven't managed to cover quite all the blog challenges with this post but it ticked off quite a few.

My courgette/zucchini plant has sucked up all the rain and produced some huge fruits, so although I had planned to make the Pea, bean and bacon tart from the July issue of BBC Good Food, I decided to adapt it to use the courgettes, hmmm maybe I could use some tomatoes too, oh and that half block of Feta cheese, so no need for the bacon and I'll make my own pasty instead of using frozen shortcrust like in the recipe...not much of the recipe left to be honest!

Roasted Courgette Tomato, Feta and Basil Tart

1 quantity of butter shortcrust pastry blind baked in a flan case (click through to the link for full recipe)

For the roasted vegetables
2 large or three medium courgettes/zucchini
8 small tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Heat the oven to 200C, slice or dice the courgettes into even sized chunks, halve the tomatoes.  Place the vegetables in a roasting dish and coat with the oil.  Sprinkle with salt and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes until starting to blacken round the edges. Remove from oven and drain the juices into a bowl.

For the filling
100g Feta cheese, cubed
300ml double cream
4 large eggs
juices from the roasted vegetables
6-8 basil leaves
freshly ground pepper

Place the roasted vegetables into the baked tart case, top with the cubed feta and torn basil leaves.  Season with freshly ground pepper.
Beat the cream and eggs together and stir in the saved juices from the roasted vegetables. Pour over the vegetables and cheese and bake at 160C for 35 minutes until set and golden.

Roasting the veg means that the pastry doesn't go soggy and it makes a nice firm filling, very tasty indeed.

I'm entering this tart for One Ingredient, the July ingredient is 'The Tomato' and it is being hosted this month by Jacqueline at How to Cook Good Food who shares this challenge with Working London Mummy

 And..Veggie/Fruit a Month which is featuring the Zucchini for July and is being hosted this month by Cook's Joy

It is also Simple and in Season another challenge run by Jacqueline at How to Cook Good Food in patnership with Ren at Fabulicious Food

Okay, so far three challenges busted with one dish, now to the salad I served with the tart

Giant Couscous, Butternut and Walnut Salad

I've been reading about Giant Couscous, so when I saw a bag at the farm shop last week, I popped it in my basket.  Also in GoodFood July issue was this recipe which was perfect to try out the giant couscous.  This time I stuck to the recipe!

I hope the recipe will go onto the website soon and I can link back, but it is basically roasted dice of butternut squash which have been sprinkled with chilli powder (I roasted them in a separate dish but at the same time as the courgettes and tomatoes).  You cook the couscous for five minutes, then mix through the roasted squash and the oil it has been roasted in and add walnut pieces, the seeds and juice of half a pomegranate and juice of half a lemon with a handful of chopped mint.

What a lovely salad it was, the squash pieces were quite hot as I probably used more chilli than I should and used chilli flakes rather than powder!  However, as the couscous is bland if you ate it altogether, the heat was about right.  I loved the fresh juiciness of the pomegranate seeds, the green bite of the mint and earthy crunch of the walnuts.   I would definitely make this again.

And this recipe is for Bookmarked Recipes one of the challenges run by Jac at Tinned Tomatoes from an idea by Ruth from Ruth's Kitchen Experiments founder of the challenge.

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