What’s Cooking? March

What's Cooking? March edition

Hello my lovelies!

It’s that time again- my third instalment of What’s Cooking? is here! If you haven’t seen these posts on my blog before, this is a monthly feature where I share with you what new and exciting recipes I’ve been putting together in my little kitchen. I’ve also had the opportunity to do some baking (yay!) and I’ll share with you what I made and my thoughts on the recipe.


Healthy Fish and Chips – Tesco Real Food

Okay, so my first recipe I made this week was very simple but still very tasty. I love looking at any supermarket website for food inspiration as they usually have a section for recipes that can then be filtered into categories eg. cheap, healthy, big family. Tesco have some great ideas and, although some of the ‘healthy’ ones are a bit questionable (just because chicken pieces and potato wedges are low in calories, doesn’t exactly make it ‘healthy’!) this one is obviously a great, balanced meal that’s a healthy dupe for classic fish and chips.

I am obsessed with sweet potato wedges/chips, and make them as a side for a few dishes as they’re so versatile and damn tasty! I use coconut oil to bake them in the oven so they are nice and crispy and don’t shrivel up too much. I bought fresh cod fillets from the fish counter at Sainsbury’s, and almost had a heart attack when I saw the price label- £11 for 4 portions! Next time, I’ll definitely be buying pre-packed fish, but as I’m a raw fish novice I just didn’t know what to look for! The beauty is, you can add as many or as few breadcrumbs to the topping as you like- I personally found the recipe made way too many. I love fish just on its own with a flavoured butter or sauce, so you could really adapt this dish any way you like!

Tip: If you want to jazz up your peas (and stop them rolling off your fork), roughly mash them up with some mint sauce and chilli flakes a la Nando’s macho peas!

My rating: 4/5

Moroccan-style chicken stew – BBC Good Food

BBC Good Food is another great website for finding recipes- and you can save them in a binder (or Pin them, like I do!) to go back to later. This isn’t a new recipe for me- more of an old favourite, and one of the few successful dishes I’ve been making since we first moved in. It is such an easy and satisfying dish, and you can add or replace any elements really. For example, George doesn’t like apricots in savoury dishes (I love them- boo) so I take these out (or only put a couple in for me to have), and we always have a good handful each of raw spinach with this dish.

This tastes great cold for lunch the next day too, as there’s plenty of flavour and moisture left over from the chicken stock and harissa paste. It’s so easy to make as you only need one pan to cook all the ingredients, adding one after the other, and the beauty is that you can add more cous cous to soak up the chicken stock if you want it to be more solid and less like a stew (this is what I usually do).

Tip: Either add slightly less chicken stock, or more cous cous if you want a result like the picture above. I don’t think the term ‘stew’ is very accurate to describe the dish as it’s photographed, but it is quite runny if you follow the recipe exactly. It’s fine if you have time to let it simmer for a while, as adding the cous cous to the pan will soak up more liquid, but if you’re short on time and just want to stir in already-cooked cous cous (I pour boiling water over mine in a separate jug, then add it in once fluffy) then add a little bit less stock (or add it gradually until you’re happy with the consistency).

My rating: 5/5

Courgette and Ricotta herb pasta – Tesco Real Food

This dish is an absolute beauty and perfect for spring/summer because the flavours are just so fresh and… well, just delicious! I’m so glad I stumbled across this perfect recipe on the Tesco Real Food site again, because me and George both loved it, and it always makes me happy when George really likes a dish I make. This was definitely one of those, and would be another lunchtime winner too!

I’ve recently developed a massive appreciation of fresh herbs, and using fresh basil and fresh mint on this is just NOM. Fresh basil? It’s just the absolute best. You should go buy some now and just put it on everything- tear that bad boy up and sprinkle it over a dish and you’ll look like an absolute culinary genius. Fresh mint is also an amazing addition to this, but don’t add too much or it overpowers the sexy basil and you realise you’ve made a huge mistake- just a couple of torn up leaves mixed into each portion make it perfectly fresh.

Tips:
– Don’t worry about going out and buying a griddle pan just so you can get those fancy charred stripes on the courgettes- I don’t have one so I just preheated the oven to around 200 degrees (180 if yours is a fan oven), spread the courgette slices on a foil-covered baking tray spritzed with some Fry Light cooking spray, gave them a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper and roasted them for around 20 minutes. Yummy!
– I added a hard-boiled egg for some protein, as we’ve been going to the gym a lot recently and I don’t like to have any meals without adding some protein in some way. I just sliced my egg up and ate it along with the rest of the dish, and it went with it really well.

My rating: 5/5

Courgette and lemon ricotta pasta

As a little side note to this post, I’d just like to apologise for the fact that I never take my own photos of my food. I do take photos of it, but it rarely looks presentable enough to use in a blog post! I like recipes that are fast and can be in my belly straight away, so I don’t have time to faff about presenting it properly, photographing it in good light, etc. This was an exception to the rule, because I was so proud of my presentation here I had to take a picture! I promise I’ll try to take better photographs now the evenings are lighter so you can see how the recipes actually look when cooked by, y’know, a normal person.

Lemon Drizzle loaf

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake – ‘Love Tanya’ by Tanya Burr [image source]

Ingredients:
3 Eggs
170g Self Raising Flour
170g Caster Sugar
170g Butter
1 tsp Baking Powder
110g Icing Sugar
2 Lemons

Method:
1 – Mix the eggs, flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and the zest of 2 lemons.
2 – Grease a tin and pour mixture in. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees (gas mark 4) for 30 – 45 minutes.
(Cooking time depends on the size of the tin and your oven)
3 – Slide a knife into the centre – if it comes out clean, it is ready to come out of the oven.
4 – Mix together the icing sugar and juice of the lemons to make the drizzle.
5 – Whilst your cake is still hot, poke it all over with a skewer then pour over the drizzle.

Last, but certainly not least, I did some baking for Mother’s Day the other weekend and had such a great time! I haven’t baked in so long, and I love it when you get the timings just right so you can wash everything up and get everything back to normal just in time for the cake to come out of the oven. I felt like an absolute genius when I managed to do this- it may be a bit sad but it’s a very satisfying feeling! I bought Love Tanya by Tanya Burr a few weeks ago, and I was eager to try out one of the recipes from it- it’s such a great idea to separate the book from others on the market right now. I made the Lemon Drizzle Loaf for my family to have on Mother’s Day when we all got together, and it went down a treat! I also brought the leftovers into work the next day, and the guys in the office confirmed its tastiness, mostly with grunts of approval between bites.

I did have a slight moment of baking retardation (is that a word? Spellcheck says so) because I wanted to add some raspberry jam to the mix after having an adorable little lemon and raspberry sponge in Costa the other week- the flavours go together so well! I added a line of jam in the middle of the mixture, but in hindsight this was obviously a bad idea, and it all sunk to the bottom meaning half my cake stuck to the tin… However, being the pro that I am, I managed to salvage the situation by smushing (definitely not a word) the gooey raspberry part back onto the cake, then covering it with the runny lemon drizzle icing. It looked a tad misshapen, but definitely saved it because it tasted amazing. I’m not one to blow my own trumpet, but this was some seriously good baking on my part. Next time? I’d use fresh raspberries in the mix, or swirl the jam into the mixture more so it’s less likely to sink.

Tip: Ovens vary quite a lot, so when baking anything thick like a loaf cake, it can take a lot longer than stated in the recipe. I think my cake was in the oven for almost an hour, even though it browned on top after only half the cooking time and I kept having to check it! It was quite dark on top when it was finally ready to take out, but didn’t taste burnt at all, so just be patient and keep an eye on it.

So there you have it- another month of recipes to try! Don’t forget to look back at my previous What’s Cooking? posts here and here for more recipe inspiration, and please let me know if you try any of them!

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Emma x

  • Mmmmmm this all looks DELISH!

    • Emma

      Thanks Sophie! They were all pretty tasty I have to say :)