Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

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Phew this Summer has been hot, hot, hot so far. And for me that means super easy dinners that can be prepared early in the day before the heat builds. Also, as a family we are wanting cool meals in the evening. Especially meals that don’t leave a lot of washing up! Because everyone is just too hot and tired. So I created this recipe for Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad. Not only does it taste good, the bulk of washing up is done earlier in the day.

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Since receiving a jar of Garlic Mayonnaise from Kentish Oils I wanted to use it almost as a sauce for a pasta dish. While sunny, daily temperatures are in excess of 30C  I decided on a cold pasta dish. Although the mayonnaise has garlic in it, it is not an overwhelming, raw, hot garlic flavour. Also it blends beautifully with the lemon chicken and crunchy vegetables in this dish.

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Because the chicken is baked in lemon juice it has a juicy, light lemon flavour. Also, when serving this dish I added very thinly sliced lemons. They are tangy to eat and add an extra punch to this cool, Summer meal. Likewise, an additional teaspoon of the garlic mayonnaise on top of the plated salad gives a tasty finishing touch.

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Recipe: Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad serves 6

450g/1lb – Four Chicken Breasts skin and bone removed

3-4 Whole Lemons – washed and dried

2 Sweetcorn Cobs – approximately 275g/10oz or the equivalent tinned sweetcorn – drained

450g/1lb Pasta – I use rigatoni

8 Spring Onions (scallions)

2 Red Bell Peppers

2 Sticks of Celery

125g/4.5oz – approximately 5 tablespoons of Garlic Mayonnaise (plus extra to garnish) – I use Kentish Oils alternatively use the equivalent amount of mayonnaise and add one clove of minced/crushed garlic

Sea salt I use Maldon and freshly ground black pepper to season

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 325F, gas mark 3.

Preparing the chicken

  • First of all, place the chicken breasts in an ovenproof dish. Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and the juice from two whole lemons.
  • Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes.

Cooking the pasta and preparing the vegetables

  • While the chicken is cooking place a large pan of water on a high heat. As soon as the water is boiling add 1 teaspoon of sea salt and then add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
  • Chop the spring onions, red peppers and celery to about the same size and place in a large bowl. If using tinned sweetcorn add it to the bowl.
  • Stand a sweetcorn cob on one end and carefully cut down between the husk and the corn. Turn the cob and repeat until all of the corn is removed. Repeat for the second cob.
  • 3 minutes before the pasta has finished cooking add the fresh sweetcorn to the pan.
  • Once cooked drain the pasta and sweetcorn.
FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Preparing the vegetables and pasta.

Assembling the salad

  • After 45 minutes check that the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Cut through the thickest part of the biggest chicken breast, there should not be any pink colour, this shows the chicken is cooked. If there is even a hint of pink return the chicken to the oven for a further 10 minutes and check again.
  • As soon as the chicken is cooked remove from the oven and place the chicken breasts on a plate for 10 minutes to rest.
  • Cut the chicken into slices.
  • Add the cooked pasta and sweetcorn to the bowl and the add the garlic mayonnaise. Mix using a large spoon.
  • Now add the sliced chicken to the bowl and mix again.
  • Taste and check for seasoning, adjust if needed.
FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Assembling the Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

The finished Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad.

Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate until ready to eat. This dish tastes best when it is fridge cold.

Serve the salad with very thin slices of lemon, extra wedges of lemon to squeeze over and a drizzle of garlic mayonnaise.

Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Keep any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container and eat within two days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad you may also like these:

Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad 

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad

Chicken Pasta Pesto Salad

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Chicken Pasta Pesto Salad

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo 

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

The versatility of pasta is why it is one of my favourite staples to have in the kitchen. Since all I need are a few crunchy vegetables and this yummy garlic mayonnaise I am set now for the heatwave! Because we all need a stash of easy, light, quick recipes for when we are busy and especially when the weather is hot. Now is not the time for slow cooked casseroles! I say cool, quick and easy saves the day.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Kentish Oils sent me the Garlic Mayonnaise to try. All opinions and views are my own and this is NOT a sponsored post.

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Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

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Wow the summer of 2018 has proved to be a scorcher so far. And I have to say I’m loving it! Flinging open the windows and doors and basking in the fresh, warm air. I was born in the Winter, yet I love the Summer sunshine. Because of the heat I have adjusted the way I go about my day. I’ve always been more of a morning person, however the hike in temperatures has got me organised. So I make dinner as early in the day as I can. And this Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart is super easy to make, ready to be eaten at room temperature later in the day.

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

Artisan Wigmore Cheese, an award winner:

Wigmore Cheese, the dominant flavour at the heart of this tart is a semi soft, unpasteurised, ewes milk cheese. A handmade, washed curd cheese, with a flavour and texture similar to Camembert and Brie. Yet it has a flavour all of its own, slightly saltier with less of a nasal hit than a fully ripe Brie. Baked in this quiche style tart it’s flavour permeates throughout, balanced beautifully with sweet, softened red bell peppers.

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

Perhaps unusually, I’ve added a subtle hint of anise flavour to the tart with the addition of fennel seeds. Resulting in a Mediterranean taste to this all butter pastry tart. While you may be tempted to buy the pastry, I strongly suggest you try my recipe. It is absolutely foolproof and is consistently good. Since the recipe makes double the amount needed it’s a bonus to freeze half, knowing next time you make this tart all that’s needed is for it to be defrosted overnight in the fridge!

Recipe: Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart serves 6

450g/1lb Butter Shortcrust Pastry – half the quantity of my Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry

200g/7oz Wigmore Semi Soft Cheese available from Village Maid Cheese if you are not in the U.K. a great substitute would be Camembert or Brie style cheeses with a soft, edible rind.

3 Red Bell Peppers (400g/14oz sliced de-seeded red pepper)

1tbsp Rapeseed/Canola Oil – I use Kentish Oils

8 Large Free Range Eggs – I use Clarence Court 

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/2tsp Lightly Ground Fennel Seeds

Method: Making the tart crust:

Note – You will need a 25cm x 5cm (10in x 2in) preferably loose bottom round tart tin for this recipe.

  • First of all if making the pastry from scratch chill it in the fridge for 2 hours before using. Especially during this super warm weather. Otherwise defrost ready made pastry in the fridge overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6.
  • Lightly flour the worktop and roll out the pastry so that it is slightly bigger than the width and sides of the tart tin.
  • Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the tin.
  • Most importantly do not stretch the pastry. Ease it gently into the tin taking care to press it into the crease between the base and sides.
  • Trim any excess pastry and then dock the base with a fork.
  • Place baking parchment directly on to the pastry and fill with baking beans.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Creating the all butter tart crust.
  • Place the tart tin on to a baking sheet and put into the centre of the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and parchment paper, return the tart back to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Once baked, remove and set to one side.
  • Reduce the oven heat to 190C/170C fan, 325F, gas mark 3.

Filling the tart:

  • While the tart case is baking prepare the filling.
  • Remove the seeds and green part from the peppers. Slice lengthways to produce long strips.
  • Pour the oil into a pan over a medium heat. Add the peppers and sauté for 10-15 minutes until slightly softened and reduced in size.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Sautéing the red peppers.
  • Cut up the cheese into bite size chunks. It helps if the cheese is fridge cold before cutting.
  • Into a jug add all 8 eggs, black pepper and fennel seeds. Whisk with a fork to combine.
  • Cover the base of the tart with sautéed peppers.
  • Next add the chunks of cheese, spread evenly around.
  • Finally pour over the seasoned, whisked eggs.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Filling the Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart ready for baking.

Baking the tart:

  • Place the tart into the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • The tart is baked when the top is set and there is no jiggle in the centre.
  • As soon as the Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart is baked remove from the oven and set to one side.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
  • If serving as soon as baked allow the tart to settle for 10 minutes before slicing.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

I love serving this tart when it is warm. At the moment this means room temperature! However if making during a cooler time of the year simply reheat in a medium oven for 10 minutes to lightly warm through.

Store any leftover tart in an airtight container or wrapped in cling film and refrigerate. Eat within 3 days.

Due to the moisture content of the peppers I would advise against freezing.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart you may also like these:

Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart 

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks 

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks

Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

Making pastry and baking during this unusually hot summer may seem like the last thing anyone would want to do. Yet, by mid morning dinner is made. I quite often make my Tangy Lemon Potato Salad at the same time, as it’s absolutely delicious, fridge cold, served alongside with a salad. Also when using the tasty Wigmore Cheese, this recipe only uses half a wheel, leaving plenty for you to enjoy with apples, crackers and a cold glass of wine on a Summer’s evening.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

Village Maid Cheese sent me the Wigmore Cheese to try. All opinions and content are my own and I was not paid to write this post. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

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In case you missed my previous post Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes I’ll mention again that I love tomatoes. Especially locally grown, British tomatoes that are ripened on the vine and left on the worktop, not in the fridge. Sweet and savoury bursts of Summer on my tongue. Here I have baked them into a layered quiche with fresh basil and two types of cheese. So I am thrilled to bring you my Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche.

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

I was inspired by the classic caprese salad of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fragrant basil to make this savoury tart. Since each element compliments the others so well as a salad the same can be said of this quiche. Also, layering the separate ingredients within an all butter pastry tart creates a delicious dish. Perfect for lunch, dinner, picnics, packed lunches and buffets. And that is how delicious this quiche is!

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

Choosing Local Produce

Because using local, seasonal produce is important to me, as a home cook and Food Blogger, I was delighted when I was offered a box of Sophie Jane cherry tomatoes. Locally grown by Eric Wall a local, specialist grower. The tomatoes I received are ripened on the vine and are grown without the use of pesticides. Most importantly they taste incredible. In fact just like a tomato should taste. Eaten warmed by the sun, after being left on the windowsill, they are sweet with a deeper savoury flavour. Also they weren’t very acidic as some tomatoes can be, especially tinned ones.

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

While British Tomato Fortnight has finished I firmly believe that we should all be eating flavoursome British tomatoes for as long as they are available. Because they taste so good. It really is as simple as that. I have been popping these ruby beauties into my mouth like sweeties. Eating them alongside crackers and cheese and I plan to make more recipes to share with you. All in aid of celebrating the humble tomato.

Recipe: Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche:

You will need a 20cm x 5cm (8” x 2”) tart tin, ideally with a loose bottom, to make this recipe.

A quick note – I successfully doubled all of the quantities and made this quiche in a deeper, wider dish. Baking times need to be adjusted, aside from the initial blind baking. The larger quiche turned out perfectly and would be ideal for feeding a crowd, or a buffet.

500g/1lb 2oz Shortcrust Pastry – I use my recipe for Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry freezing the leftovers

225g/8oz Mozzarella Cheese – drained and with excess water squeezed out

50g/2oz Vintage or Very Mature/Sharp Cheddar – I use Wyke Farms

6 Large Free Range Eggs

225g/8oz Fresh Cherry Tomatoes

12-14 Fresh Basil Leaves – alternatively out of season use 1/2 tsp dried Thyme

1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Pinch of Sea Salt Flakes – I use Maldon

Method: Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan, 425F, gas mark 7

Making And Baking The Shortcrust Pastry Tart Case

  • First of all make the pastry, wrap in cling film and chill for one hour.
  • Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge, unwrap and roll out on a lightly floured surface, so that it will fit the tart tin. See photo top left below.
  • Fold the pastry over the rolling pin, making it easier to transfer.
  • Lower the pastry into the tin, making sure that you don’t stretch it as you do.
  • Press the pastry into the tin so that it fits securely.
  • Run your rolling pin over the tart tin, this will give a clean edge to the pastry.
  • Place the tart tin on to a baking sheet and dock the base with a fork.
  • Now scrunch up some baking parchment and line the pastry tart with it.
  • Next fill with baking beans.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Making the pastry shell for the quiche.
  • Place in the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Carefully lift out the baking parchment and baking beans.
  • Return the tart to the oven for 5 minutes further baking.

Layering The Quiche Ingredients

  • Remove the tart and reduce the oven temperature to 190C/170C fan, 375F, gas mark 5.
  • Line the tart base with basil leaves.
  • Place torn chunks of mozzarella directly on to the basil.
  • Sprinkle over finely grated cheddar and then top with cherry tomatoes.
  • Reserve one egg, whisk the other five adding the black pepper. Pour the eggs into the tart.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Creating layers within the Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
  • Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out small shapes to edge the tart. I used a oak leaf cutter which gives the edge of the quiche a frilly finish.
  • Whisk the remaining egg and brush the underside of each cutout. Stick the pastry cutouts to the edge of the pastry case. You can create a single layer or add extra cutouts to create a layered effect.
  • Brush the pastry edge with egg so that it turns golden when baked.
  • Finally sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the top.

Baking The Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Before and after baking the Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
  • Carefully place the filled quiche into the centre of the oven – remember to check that the heat has been reduced.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes. The quiche is baked when it is a golden colour and there is no wobble in the centre.
  • As soon as the quiche is baked remove from the oven. Place on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before removing from the tin. Take care as the tomatoes will be very hot and juicy.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

The beauty of this quiche is that it can be served warm, at room temperature or cold, straight from the fridge!

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

Because this quiche does not contain meat it is also suitable for vegetarians. Since I have made this twice it really holds it’s shape well when cold and would be perfect for taking on picnics. Most of all, when you bake this quiche make sure you share it. Especially as it is so pretty and absolutely yummy!

Make up to 2 days ahead, cool completely, double wrap in cling film and refrigerate. Due to the moisture content of the tomatoes I would not recommend freezing, unlike my Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche which freezes well. Although the pastry case can be made in advance and frozen.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche you may also like these:

Quiche Lorraine 

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Quiche Lorraine, smoked bacon and cheddar cheese savoury tart.

Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

Iced Bakewell Tart

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Iced Bakewell Tart

During this Summer, which I am hoping will be long and warm, I’m looking forward to creating recipes to share with you. Especially focusing on seasonal, local produce and products. Whether you live here, in Australia, Europe or the United States, I do feel that it’s important to support our local farmers. While some of you may get to visit farmers markets, if like me, it’s difficult for you to get out, take a look online. Since spending a little time researching I’ve found the equivalent of farmers markets online and they deliver! Most of all, if you remember one thing from this post – please keep your tomatoes out of the fridge, it kills their flavour!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing you feast.

Also a huge thank you to everyone who follows me on social media and shares their creations with me.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli

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Winter, the season where stews and casseroles become feasts that fill us with warmth and comfort. Chilli certainly is a giant, teddy bear hug in a bowl. Spiced meat, peppers and beans, cooked gently and slowly, providing a warm, filling dish. Here, the emphasis has been to keep the recipe low fat and healthy. Let me share my Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli.

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli

A healthy twist on a classic recipe

While traditionally Chilli-Con-Carne is made with beef mince, substituting turkey mince would have been the obvious choice. Yet, I wanted, indeed needed a Chilli with texture, such as this Chunky Chilli. Since turkey breast is a naturally low fat meat, using breast steaks provided the ‘bite’ required. Cooked low and slow this dish is as easy to make as it is delicious to eat.

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli

Since the meat is seared separately, removed while the onion is sautéed and then added back into the dish, this recipe could easily be made in a slow cooker. Either cooked on the hob or in a slow cooker there are no difficult processes involved in making this Chilli. Simplicity in the kitchen is always welcome during a busy week.

Recipe: Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli serves 4-6

500g/1lb 2oz Turkey Breast Steak

2 tbsp Ground Cumin

1 tbsp Raspeseed Oil (Canola oil) – I use Borderfields

2 Large Onions

4 Bell Peppers

2 x 400g Tins Chopped Tomatoes

2 x 400g Tins Red Kidney Beans rinsed and drained, or 500g cooked red kidney beans

3 tbsp Tomato Purée

1/2 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1 tsp Chili Flakes – adjust according to taste

2 Cloves Garlic – crushed

1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

3 tsp Corn Flour (corn starch) – I use Doves Farm

Method:

You will need a large heavy bottomed pan for this recipe. A Dutch oven (cast iron casserole dish) is ideal. While the recipe calls for simmering on a hob, alternatively the assembled dish can be left in the oven on a low heat.

Making the Chilli

  • First of all cut up the turkey breast into bite size chunks. Toss the chunks in the ground cumin so they are all coated in spice.
  • Place a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heated hob. Add half the oil and then when hot place the turkey chunks, spaced evenly apart, into the pan. Brown the meat, turning to ensure each piece is seared in the hot pan. As soon as the meat is seared on all sides remove from the pan on to a clean plate.
  • While the meat is searing prepare the onions. Peel and cut into medium dice (approximately 1.5cm/0.5”).
  • With the meat removed from the pan turn the heat down to low. Tip in the diced onions and add the salt. Sauté on a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Prepare the peppers while the onions are cooking. Wash, de-seed and cut into large dice – 2.5cm/1” pieces.
  • As soon as the onions have started to soften add the seared turkey chunks and the mixed peppers into the pan.

 

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Preparing the Chilli.
  • Add the crushed garlic, chili flakes and black pepper to the pan.
  • Next pour in both tins of chopped tomatoes. Rinse the tins with cold tap water, keeping any tomato juice and fill three quarters full, add this to the pan.
  • Tip in the drained and rinsed kidney beans and add the tomato purée.
  • Stir all of the ingredients together, adding more water if needed. The meat and peppers should be just covered with liquid.
  • Bring to a simmer on the lowest heat, uncovered on the hob for 1.5 – 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Slow cooking the Chilli.

Adding the finishing touches to the recipe

  • The liquid should be reduced by half. Place a lid on the pan if it reduces too quickly.
  • Mix the corn flour with 2-3 tablespoons of cold water.
  • Pour the corn flour slurry into the Chilli and stir immediately.
  • Gently simmer for a further 10 minutes. Stir frequently while the liquid thickens.
FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli

To serve ladle the thickened, spicy Chilli into warmed bowls. Fresh, homemade bread such as my Seeded Cob Loaf, baked tortilla chips or rice all make tasty accompaniments. Also adding a sprinkle of fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley, provides the finished dish with a fresh, herb hit.

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli you may also like these:

Winter Warming Vegetable Soup

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Winter Warming Vegetable Soup

Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Chilli can be enjoyed in the summer as well as in winter. Yet when the weather is cold I find warming food really does add an extra layer of comfort. Also this is a very versatile meal. While I have specified amounts in the recipe, adding extra tomatoes, beans or peppers will allow this dish to stretch to feed more people. Since feasting with friends can only improve on how good food tastes.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

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As soon as Winter hits, there is one thing I crave. Soup. It’s warming, almost insulating properties feel like a hug on the inside. Whether it be a smooth, blitzed soup or a chunky textured version, it is my food of choice, seeing me through the short, wind blown days of our coldest season. Today I share with you my Warming Winter Vegetable Soup.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

While, if needed to ease sore throats, this soup can be blitzed, the soft, gently cooked vegetables are easily swallowed. Although I prefer to use fresh vegetables, using frozen vegetables is a good way to bulk out this dish. Especially adding any that will work with the slightly sweet, spicy flavour.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Seasonal Winter Vegetable Flavours

Winter root vegetables have a natural sweetness, more so after the first frosts. While deep green, leafy brassica’s, rich in iron, provide a more meaty, sometimes slightly bitter taste. And in this Warming Winter Vegetable soup, the flavours come together and perfectly compliment each other. Finishing with the warmth from the chili.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Since this soup is a comforting and warming, adding freshly sliced mild red chili and spring onions to the top provides a burst of freshness. Almost a zesty burst hits the tongue when warming and cold hits. Not only does the addition of fresh parsley look good, it also provides extra Vitamin C!

Recipe: Winter Warming Vegetable Soup serves 6-8

1tbsp Olive Oil

1 Large Onion

3 Celery Sticks washed and trimmed

1/2tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

2 Leeks trimmed and washed

1 Large Potato

2-3 Large Carrots

100g/4oz Green Beans trimmed (frozen is fine)

1/2 Savoy Cabbage – Kale, sprout tops, other cabbage (except red or white) can be used

Small Swede/Turnip

2tbsp Pearl Barley

4tbsp Lentils – I used orange

2 Garlic Cloves

1tbsp Tomato Puree

Fresh Thyme – approx 1tsp chopped

Vegetable Stock Cube – I use Knorr

Pinch Chili Flakes – depending on preference

1tsp Black Pepper – to taste

Cold Water

Fresh Mild Red Chili and Spring Onions finely sliced to top

Fresh Parsley

Preparing The Vegetables And Cooking The Soup

A large, heavy bottomed pan is needed for this recipe.

  • First of all, place the pan on the hob and add the oil.
  • All of the vegetables in this recipe should be cut into small dice, starting with the onions and leeks.
  • Turn the heat to medium, allow the oil to warm, add the chopped leeks and onion. Also add 1/4tsp salt, sauté until softened but not browned.
  • Next add the carrots and celery, again cook until softened.
  • Now add the garlic and fresh thyme. Pour over enough water to cover the vegetables.
  • Cut the cabbage into thin strips and chop the beans into thirds, then add these to the pan. Also prepare both the potato and swede and add to the soup.
  • Finally add the lentils and pearl barley, top the pan up with water so the vegetables are just covered. Crumble in a stock cube and add a good grinding of black pepper. And also add chili flakes to your preference.
  • Bring the soup up to a simmer, place a lid on the pan.
  • Simmer until the root vegetables are tender – approximately 30 minutes.
FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup topped with fresh chilli, parsley and spring onion.

Serve in warmed bowls with freshly sliced mild chili’s, spring onion and sprigs of parsley. Also serve thick slices of warm, crusty bread such as Seeded Cob Loaf to create a hearty meal.

To store, cool the soup completely. Spoon into sealable containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Alternatively, place in the freezer and eat within one month.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Warming Winter Vegetable Soup you may also like these:

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

Carrot Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Carrot Soup

Since this soup is so easily made, making a big pot of it and then stashing it in the freezer gives me real satisfaction. Knowing that a warm, tasty meal is only moments away relaxes me. And, as there is always fresh, homemade bread in the kitchen, I can ensure a hearty meal for all.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

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I love easy, quick to make, healthy meal recipes. How about you? Pasta is quick to cook, versatile, economical and tasty, ticking all of these boxes. With so many varieties of pasta, there’s also an endless number of different sauce possibilities to suit any diet. I cannot imagine my kitchen without it! My culinary creativity would be far less fun and frankly, boring! So, thank you Italy, you may have invaded Britain, however it’s time to let things go, as you have given us pasta. More specifically the fusilli bronze die pasta used in this Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

So, next time you think of tossing a jar of pesto into pasta for dinner, think again. As this dish only takes 30 minutes to make, barely more than the time it takes to cook pasta. Not only do you get a balanced healthy meal, it is filling, like all proper meals should be. Tender, bite sized pieces of succulent chicken breast, fresh baby spinach wilted into the tomato and cream cheese sauce that wraps itself around the fusilli pasta.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Feasting Food

If you are cutting down on carbs you may wish to skip this paragraph. Which is, to serve this tasty bowl of goodness with a chunk of baguette, or any of my homemade focaccia bread  recipes. While this dish not swimming in sauce, there is always some pooled on your plate or bowl. And this is where the bread is important. To dunk with! Using the bread to absorb every last drop of the luscious, creamy sauce. Also, keeping with the low fat theme, why not leave the bread unbuttered. As well as reducing calories, the bread is more absorbent without butter.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Eating should be an enjoyable experience. Indeed it should be a feast. It should feed more than our tummies, it should feed our soul. Giving thanks before eating is a custom here at home. Yet stopping for a moment to look and smell the food in front of you is also important. Too much food is literally shoved down throats while watching television. I wonder too if the taste and texture, even has time to register with the brain. Eating with family and friends, sitting at a table, not only slows down the rate at which we eat, it can also regulate how much we eat. Resulting in an altogether, more pleasurable experience. My opinion is that all food tastes better when it is shared.

In addition, if you live on your own and cook for yourself, as I did for many years, being mindful while eating is still beneficial. Taking time to really enjoy the experience of eating, really is one of life’s simplest pleasures.

Time to make this delicious dish.

Recipe: Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta serves 4-6 people

500g Diced Chicken Breast skin off and cut into bite size pieces – I use Graig Farm

1tbsp Olive Oil – I use Filippo Berio

1 Large Leek – washed and cut into small dice

2 x 400g Chopped Tin Tomatoes plus 1 tin of pasta cooking water. Alternatively use the same weight of chopped, fresh tomatoes and approximately 400mls of pasta cooking water.

200g Washed Baby Spinach – use frozen if out of season

1tbsp Fresh Thyme finely chopped – plus additional Thyme for garnishing the finished dish

140g Philadelphia Cream Cheese – use the full fat version

1tsp Sea Salt  – I use Maldon

Good Grinding of Fresh Black Pepper to taste

450g Fusilli Pasta – bronze die pasta has rougher edges and so absorbs more sauce

Method: Making the Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

  • First of all, place a heavy bottomed pan on to the hob over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and allow to heat.
  • At the same time place a large pan of water on a high heat, ready to cook the pasta. When the water is boiling add a teaspoon of sea salt and then the pasta and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Into the other pan add the chopped chicken breast and cook until lightly browned.
  • Remove the cooked chicken to a plate and then add the chopped leek to the pan.
  • Saute the leek until it is softened and then add the cooked chicken back to the pan.
  • Immediately add the 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and use a wooden spatula to scrape the base of the pan clean. Follow by adding the chopped fresh thyme.
  • Now tip the baby spinach into the pan. Don’t worry if it is piled high it will wilt down.
FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
  • Remove a can full/2-3 ladles (approximately 400ml) of hot pasta water and pour on to the spinach. Take extra care as it will be hot.
  • Drain the pasta and tip on to the spinach. Allow the spinach to wilt down, it will release it’s water and make the sauce thinner.
  • Next add the cream cheese to the pan and stir so that it melts into the sauce.
  • Most importantly, taste the sauce. Add a good grinding of fresh black pepper to taste. Additional salt shouldn’t be needed, but do check and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  • Sprinkle over fresh Thyme and the dish is ready to be served.
FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Time to eat

Serve this delicious Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta in bowls.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Not only is this recipe perfect for making ahead, it’s also easy to transport. Which makes it an easy dish to gift to a new family, friend who is unwell, or anyone who really needs a break from cooking. Resulting in a great meal that is as perfect to share outside the home, as well as with family and friends around the dinner table.

To freeze leftovers, cool completely and then spoon the cold pasta into freezer bags, or freezer proof containers, removing as much air as possible. Label, including the date and freeze for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer, place on a plate or bowl and defrost in the fridge overnight. Reheat until piping hot, serve as previously suggested and enjoy!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta then you may also like these:

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Lemon garlic vegetable orzo.
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad

Roasted summer vegetable orzo pasta salad served in a white bowl and garnished with fresh, flat leaf parsley.
Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad.

Pasta is one of the most important ingredients in my kitchen. A go-to staple when I need to whip up something super tasty, super quick. Another bonus it that after cooking and cooling, it can usually be frozen, such as this Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta, Chicken Four Cheese Lasagne and Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake all can be. Serving with bread and salad enables this dish to feed more people, ideal when last minute dinner guests appear (a necessity when a house full of teenagers and their friends lose track of time!). Although cooking pasta from scratch takes barely more than 10 minutes and even though there are countless ready made sauces to available to buy, homemade pasta dishes can be just as quick and easy. And here at home, easy meals are a busy household’s must.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. See my Disclosure Policy for full details.

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Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

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Some ingredients, when cooked together, simply bring out the best in each other. As is the case with this Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart. Also, the leek’s subtle onion flavour is enhanced by the crumbled Stilton cheese, in an egg and cream custard base. The nutty pastry crust provides the perfect crunchy texture and flavour. A delightful balance, that is a treat to our tastebuds.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

A marriage of flavours

While the chopped walnuts give the pastry a rustic, wholemeal look, it is, in fact light and crumbly. Adding additional flavour to the finished bake. Likewise, the crumbled Stilton cheese mellows on baking. Providing a salty contrast to the mild egg custard. Surprisingly, the mild onion flavour of the leeks doesn’t get lost in this tart. Rather, it brings everything together and sings on the tastebuds, above the other flavours.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart a feast for the eyes.

Slices of leek are sautéed gently, before placing in the tart. This not only ensures they are soft in the baked tart, but also concentrates the flavour. While baking, the rings separate and rise up through the tart. Also ensuring that each bite has tasty fresh, green leek in it.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart crunchy and creamy.

 

This tart is perfect for a light lunch, with salad, or as a main meal with a hot, buttered jacket potato. Also, it makes perfect picnic or buffet food, as it can be served at room temperature. The added nutmeg is barely noticeable, yet enhances all of the tart’s flavours. Leave it out and the finished bake tastes as though it is missing something. I encourage you to include it, freshly grated, if possible!

Recipe: Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart serves 4-6

For the pastry

200g/7oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Walnuts – finely chopped

1/8tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1/8tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

125g/4.5oz Cold Unsalted Butter

60mls Cold Tap Water

For the filling

100g/4oz Stilton Cheese

1 Large Leek

4 Large Free Range Eggs – plus 1 extra for the egg wash

3tbsp Double Cream

1/4tsp Nutmeg

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method:

A loose bottom tart tin that is approximately 25cm wide x 5cm deep or 10″ x 2″ is needed for this recipe.

Making The Walnut Pastry Crust

  • First of all, in a large bowl add the flour, chopped walnuts, salt, pepper and diced, cold butter. Then using your hands, or a pastry cutter, rub/cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs with pea sized chunks of butter present.
  • Now make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the cold tap water 10mls at a time. Using your hand, fingers bent and shaped like a claw, mix the dough after each addition. Work quickly to avoid the dough warming up and becoming oily. You may not need the full amount of water specified. Stop adding water once the dough comes together to form a rough ball. Set the bowl to one side.
  • Wipe the worktop with a clean, damp cloth. Then place the cling film (approximately the size of a large baking sheet) directly on to the damp surface. It will ‘stick’ and not move around.
  • Finally, tip the walnut pastry dough on to the cling film. Knead the dough lightly into a disc shape. Avoid working the pastry for too long as this will result in a hard, tough, crust.

Chilling the pastry

  • Wrap the pastry disc in the cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until it is chilled. Making pastry the night before use allows it to chill thoroughly before rolling out.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

    Making the Walnut Pastry Crust.
  • 10 minutes before rolling out the pastry, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F.
  • If you wish, lightly butter your tart tin, I never do. Place the tart tin on to a baking tray and put to one side.

Rolling out the pastry

  • Place the chilled pastry on to a clean worktop and roll out evenly, until it is a slightly larger circle than the combined width and depth of the tin. Approximately 30cm/11″ in width.
  • Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the tart tin. Allow the pastry to settle into the tin. DO NOT stretch it as it will only shrink while baking.
  • Ensure the tin is fully lined and then trim away any excess pastry.
  • Dock the base of the pastry tart with a fork and then line with baking parchment. Fill the lined tart with baking beans, or ceramic balls and place into the top of the oven.
  • Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift out the baking parchment and beans.
  • Return the tart to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Layering the leeks and Stilton

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Preparing the Leek and Stilton filling.
  • While the pastry is baking, prepare the leek. Strip the outer 2 layers, cut off the root end and top, then rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  • Cut the leek into whole rings, approximately 1cm deep and the gently sauté in a dry pan over a medium/low heat for 10 minutes, or until slightly softened.
  • Remove the pastry shell from the oven when baked.
  • Carefully transfer the whole leek rings to the tart shell. Add any odd pieces of leek around the whole rings in the tart.
  • Cut the rind away from the Stilton. Now, using a fork, break up the Stilton, on a board, into crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the leek  in the tart shell.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F.
FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Preparing the egg custard and decorating the tart.

Making and adding the egg custard

  • Crack 4 eggs into a large jug. Add the double cream, nutmeg and pepper. Whisk together using a fork, until the mixture is uniform.
  • Pour the egg custard carefully into the pastry tart.
  • Carefully, as the tart is still warm, run a piece of butter around the top perimeter of the tin. This will stop any pastry decorations sticking.
  • Gather together the pastry offcuts. Roll to the thickness of a one pound coin.
  • Use a 1 inch/2.5cm approx. cutter to cut out about 25-30 circles. These will be placed around the edge of the tart.
  • Break an egg into a small bowl, add 1tsp of cream or milk and whisk together. This is the egg wash.
  • Take the first cutout and with a pastry brush, dipped in egg wash, brush both sides of the circle. Place the circle on to the edge of the tart. The centre of the circle should be in contact with the edge of the tart. Continue, using the same egg wash method and placing the 2nd circle so that just overlaps the first disc.
  • Keep going until the whole perimeter of the tart case is covered. I used 22 pastry discs. The number you need will depend on the size of your tart, how much the discs overlap and other variables.
  • Finally, when the decorations are in place, pour any leftover egg wash into the tart. As long as there is room.

Baking The Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

  • Place the tart carefully into the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The tart is baked when there is no wobble in the centre, the filling has set and the egg custard is golden.
  • When fully baked remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the loose bottom tart tin.
FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Golden Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

This tart is delicious served warm for lunch or dinner, Also is is very tasty eaten cold or at room temperature, making it ideal for summer picnics and buffets.

It will keep for up to 3 days, stored in a container or, wrapped in cling film and kept in the fridge.

Leek Stilton Tart

If you have enjoyed this recipe For Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart you may also like these:

Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

Smoked bacon asparagus quiche.
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts
Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine
Quiche Lorraine

Homemade quiche and tarts taste a million times better than most shop bought varieties available. Seasoning, ingredients and indeed the pastry can all be tailored to our own personal tastes. While I haven’t taken on the challenge of Filo Pastry yet, shortcrust is incredibly easy, see Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.

Whether served with a jacket potato and salad for a substantial meal, or grabbing a slice to eat whilst on the go, tarts and quiches are easy to make. They are also very satisfying to eat.

Do you have a favourite flavour combination for quiches and tarts?

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun.

Sammie xx

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Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza

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Over the past couple of days Summer has asserted itself with a vengeance. Temperatures above 30C, blisteringly hot sunshine and clear blue skies. I love Summer and sunshine, but even this has been a little too hot for me. Cooking becomes a chore, rather than its usual relaxing pleasure. So you can imagine how relieved I was to be able to prepare a meal in under 10 minutes. Grabbing a packet of  Wright’s Baking cheddar and sun dried tomato bread mix, I came up with this easy Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza.

FF Sun Dried Tomato Base Pizza
Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza a delicious twist on a regular pizza base.

Also I have a recipe for Sun Dried Tomato Bread, which I’m sure would work just as well. However, I needed an easy, quick prep meal. So thank you Wright’s Baking for yet again coming to my rescue.

FF Sun Dried Tomato Base Pizza
Delicious Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza served with crunchy homemade coleslaw.

Pizza – So Much More Than The Toppings

The beauty of using the sun dried tomato bread mix, is that while it is mixing, in the stand mixer, I can make my Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw. I always keep lemons in the kitchen and I love the way they not only thin the mayonnaise, but also remove the acrid taste from the onions in this coleslaw, which is, in my opinion one of the best accompaniments to homemade pizza.

What’s great about making your own pizza, is that you can top it with whatever you like. I had an antipasto meat selection in the fridge that went beautifully with the delicious sun dried tomato base. In fact as well as lemons I generally have mozerella and at least one packet of cured meat in the fridge. Pizza makes a quick, delicious and nutritious meal, providing it is served with a healthy pile of salad of coleslaw!

FF Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza what would you top yours with?

It’s All About The Base

I have to mention just how completely delicious the base of this Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza is. The crust doesn’t turn jaw breakingly hard, but remains slightly soft with a delicious salty parmesan and herb tomato flavour all of its own. I wouldn’t recommend overloading this pizza with topping as the base is just as delicious, if not more so, than what you top it with.

Make this Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza with toppings that will work with the tasty bread base. In fact this pizza would be wonderful with a little sauce, mozerella and some basil leaves. The sun dried tomato bread base really is that good.

Recipe: Makes 2 Large Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza  – makes 20 slices

1 Packet Cheddar and Sun Dried Tomato Bread Mix by Wright’s Baking  – alternatively use my Sun Dried Tomato Bread  recipe – although I would recommend adding 1/2tsp of dried oregano to the flour

4tbsp Tomato Purée

2tbsp Olive Oil plus a little extra for greasing the baking trays – I use Filippo Berio

400g Block of Mozzerella

Selection of cured meats for topping

2 handfuls fresh basil leaves

Method:

Making The Pizza Dough

  • Make the Cheddar and Sun Dried Tomato Bread Mix according to the instructions on the packet.
  • TIP – while the bread is mixing make the coleslaw or salad!
  • Grease 2 large baking trays with a little olive oil.
  • Turn the kneaded bread dough on to one baking tray and divide in half.
FF Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
Divide the sun dried tomato bread dough in half.
  • Place one half of the bread dough on each of the oiled baking trays.
  • Rub your hands in a little oil and then gently pat the dough until it is flat and fills the baking sheet. Do the same for the other half of the dough.

Adding The Pizza Toppings

  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of tomato purée to the top of each pizza base.
  • Using your hand smoosh the tomato purée and olive oil together so that they cover the pizza base – yes smoosh is a technical term in the Feasting kitchen!
FF Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
  • Slice or tear the mozerella and lay on top of the pizza base.
  • Add thin slices of cured meat and scatter a handful of basil leaves over each pizza.
FF Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
  • Cover both pizza’s with cling film, or do as I did on such a hot day, pop them into an unheated oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes. This will give them time to rise.
  • Turn the oven heat to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F.

    Baking The Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
  • Remove the cling film and place the pizza’s in the oven, if they are not already in there.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes. The pizzas are cooked when the base is firm underneath. I use a large palette knife to slide under the pizza and lift it. If it’s not quite firm pop it back into the oven for another 5 minutes.
  • Once baked remove from the oven.
FF Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
Baked Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza with melting cheese and crisp prosciutto ham.

To serve, remove the pizza from the tray – I slide it on to a board – and cut into slices or triangles.

Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza is ideal for feeding a crowd, as part of a buffet, or served with homemade coleslaw for an easy meal.

I really do recommend trying the Wright’s Baking range of bread mixes. Having a couple in the cupboard, even though I make almost all of our bread from scratch, is really handy on hot, busy days!

If you enjoyed this Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza you may also like these recipes:

Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza

FF Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza

Better Than Take Out Pizza

FF Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
Better Than Take Out Pizza for when you have a little more time.

Asparagus Prosciutto Ham Tart

Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pizza
Asparagus Prosciutto Ham Tart easily made with puff pastry.

 

We all need a few quick prep. meals that we can draw on when we either don’t have the time, energy or both to create a nutritious and tasty meal. All of my pizza recipes contain less fat that delivery pizzas. That said, sometimes that really is the only option!

While in a perfect world I would have a freezer full of homemade pasta bakes, casseroles and the like, sometimes it’s nice to have a treat. Homemade pizza always feels like a treat simply because it takes so little effort to make and our children are always ready to help.

As the weather cools and we rediscover the urge to cook and bake again, enjoy it. Have fun in your kitchens creating your own very special feasts.

Since #NationalPizzaWeek is from 5th – 11th January, it simply shows how versatile pizza is. Summer or Winter, any day is a good day to make, bake and share pizza!

Sammie xx

Wright’s Baking sent me the parmesan and sun dried tomato bread mix to try. All opinions, views, content and recipes are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

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Easter is only a few days away and with it come various traditions. Most importantly for me and many others is attending church to celebrate Jesus our risen Saviour. While others take part in organised Easter egg hunts up and down the country. Another Easter tradition is eating lamb for the main meal. My Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder is such an easy and delicious meal it should be eaten all year round!

FF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

And by that I really mean whenever good, British lamb is in season. Graig Farm is where I buy our lamb from and I can honestly say it really is the best lamb I have ever eaten. Either as Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb or this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder.

So this recipe is ideal for putting in the oven first thing to slowly roast while  you go to church, or take part in an egg hunt. And minimal preparation ensures the delicious aroma of roast lamb as soon as you walk through the front door.

FF Roast Lamb Dinner
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

Cooking For A Crowd

While a whole shoulder of lamb will feed six people generously, if you are cooking for more people, do as I did. And roasting  two shoulders guarantees plenty of meat for dinner and leftovers. Since I was cooking one Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder it would take no more effort or energy to cook two and I wanted plenty of leftovers for another recipe I had in mind.

So, whenever you are feeding a crowd, this is the perfect roast for feasting on. And after slow roasting for 5 hours, you have beautiful, melt in the mouth meat. In fact I pulled our lamb apart using two forks, much like you would for pulled pork. Since the lamb comes clean away from the bone and is so moist. Serve with golden, crunchy roast potatoes or this Leek Colcannon.

GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder so tender it can be pulled apart using forks.

Recipe: One Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder will serve 6 adults

  • Each shoulder of lamb weighs  2.2kg from Graig Farm 
  • One onion, peeled and halved per shoulder.
  • Sprigs of rosemary.
  • Sea salt (I use Maldon)and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Optional –  peeled garlic cloves.

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F

Preparing The Lamb For Roasting

  • First of all, place the shoulder of lamb into a roasting tin that just fits.
  • Using a sharp knife make slashes through the skin into the shoulder of lamb.
  • Push small sprigs of rosemary (and garlic, if liked) into the holes.
  • Sprinkle over with sea salt and pepper.
  • Place the onion halves under the lamb.
GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Two whole lamb shoulders fitted perfectly in my roasting tin.
  • Finally, cover the roasting tin tightly with aluminium foil. Make a folded pleat down the length of the foil and then crimp tightly to the tin. The pleat allows you to pull the foil away from the lamb, so that they don’t touch, it also gives room for steam to circulate as the lamb is slow cooking.
GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
The pleat in the foil allows for expansion.

Slow Roasting The Lamb Shoulder

  • Place the lamb into the centre of the preheated oven and cook for 5 hours.
  • NOTE: All ovens vary, the cooking time is a guide only,
  • The meat does not need to be basted. Because the natural fat and juices within the lamb baste it as it slow cooks.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed, remove the lamb from the oven.
  • Remove the foil and check the lamb is cooked by pulling at some of the meat with a fork. If it comes away easily the lamb is cooked.
  • If the lamb is not fork tender, cover again with foil and place back into the oven, checking half hourly until cooked.
  • Once cooked, if you like crispy lamb skin increase the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6 and place the lamb back into the oven, leaving the foil off. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until you have golden, crispy skin.
FF Roasted Lamb
Two Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulders
  • As soon as it is cooked remove the lamb from the oven.
  • Take the lamb out of the pan and place on a board, or platter, cover in foil to rest for 30-40 minutes. Enough time to finish the roast potatoes in the oven!
  • To serve, pull the lamb apart into chunks, using 2 forks.
  • Because this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder tastes so mouth-wateringly good, you’ll be back for seconds – so maybe roasting two shoulders of lamb wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all 😉.

Whatever you do this Easter, I’d encourage you to take a moment to think about why we celebrate it – see Important Stuff.

If you have enjoyed this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder you may also like these recipes:

Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

GF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb
Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

Slow Roasted Cider Pork

FF Slow Roasted Cider Pork
Slow Roasted Cider Pork

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken 

FF Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken
Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken

Because I find cooking a roast dinner fairly easy, I often make it when we have friends for dinner. While a few extra roast potatoes make any meal go further, it is ideal for last minute guest invites. Yet I know that some people really struggle with the timing.

Do you have a favourite roast? Or do you struggle to cook a certain roast and you’d like help with it?

Sammie xx

Graig Farm provided the lamb for this post. All opinions, views, recipe and content are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Steak Leek and Ale Pie

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Hi, this Steak Leek and Ale Pie has a golden pastry crust, under which are chunks of melting steak and leek sitting in a thick ale gravy. Homemade pie has to be at the top of my comfort food list. While the light, fresh salads of summer have now passed. As soon as Autumn arrives, with it’s blustery gales I want proper, nourishing, hearty food.

And I want, I need, this Steak Leek and Ale Pie.

Steak Leek And Ale Pie
Steak Leek And Ale Pie

Take a look at that golden crust. It is so inviting, willing you to cut in and discover the melting chunks of steak and leek beneath, sitting in a pool of thick gravy made with the ale. While I know making pastry completely freaks some people out, it really is worth having a go. Also, you can find a recipe for the pastry here.

As soon as you have a little time, maybe at the weekend, I really encourage you to make your own pastry. While it really isn’t as difficult as some believe, the rewards are very gratifying. Yet, if you cannot bring yourself to make your own pastry, then good quality, shop bought shortcrust or puff pastry will also work very well.

Steak Leek And Ale Pie
Steak Leek And Ale Pie

Celebrating British Leeks

Although I made this Steak Leek and Ale Pie for a mid-week meal, it will be replacing the occaisional roast on a Sunday too. Because, it really is that good.

Likewise, I have to mention the Leek Colcannon a fantastic dish of creamy mashed potatoes, steamed cabbage and sauteed leeks that I made to serve alongside this pie. Amazing!

And, if you are wondering why leeks feature in both dishes, November heralds the start of the British leek growing season. So keen to use seasonal produce, I came up with these two recipes for the British Leek Growers Association.

Recipe : Makes one Steak Leek and Ale Pie, serves 6

450g/1lb Shortcrust Pastry – to make your own you will need 350g/12oz Plain White Flour, 75g/3oz Butter and 75g/3oz Vegetable shortening – I use Trex

1kg/2lb Good Quality Beef Steak – I used rump, chuck or braising steak would work well

2 Tbsp Butter

3 Leeks

500ml/1 pint Light Ale

2 Bay Leaves

1 tsp Fresh Thyme – halve if using dried

1 Clove of Garlic

2 Tbsp Tomato Puree

1/4 tsp Nutmeg – I always use freshly grated

1 Beef Stock Cube – or I used 1 Knorr beef stockpot

2 Tbsp Flour plus extra for rolling out pastry

Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Medium Egg whisked with a little water for the egg wash

Method : Please read through before starting

Making The Pastry

For instructions on how to make the shortcrust pastry please see here.

If making your own pastry, make, cover in cling film and place in the fridge to chill.

Preparing The Steak

First of all, cut the steak into generous, one inch/2.5cm chunks.

Cut the steak into good sized chunks - 1.5"

Mix 2 tablespoons of flour with 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.

Toss the steak in seasoned flour.

Toss the steak in the seasoned flour.

Place 2 tablespoons of butter into a large pan and melt over a high heat.

Brown the steak in batches.

Brown the steak in batches in a hot pan.

Place the browned steak onto a plate and set to one side.

Place the browned steak in a bowl and set to one side.

 

Making The Slow Cooked Pie Filling

First of all, prepare all 3 leeks by cutting off the tough, dark green tops and root. Starting at the top of the leek cut almost through and down two thirds. Wash the leeks under cold, running water to remove any dirt trapped between the leaves. Shake off any excess water.

Tip : I wash the leeks and leave them to drain upside down, before prepping other meat or vegetables.

Take one, large washed leek and finely dice it.

Take one large leek.

Finely dice the leek.

Add the diced leek to the same pan used for browning the steak.

Saute for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat until softened.

Add the diced leek to the pan used for browning the steak. Sauté for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat.

Pour in the ale and use a wooden spoon to scrape the crusty, tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Pour in the Ale and then, using a wooden spoon scrape all the crusty, tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Strip the thyme from its stalk and mince the garlic.

Strip the time from its stalk and mince the garlic.

Add the steak, herbs and garlic back to the pan. Then add an additional 500ml of water.

Add the steak, herbs and garlic back to the pan. Add an additional 500ml of water.

Slice the remains two leeks into one inch/2.5cm chunks and add to the pan.

Slice the other 2 leeks into 1" chunks and add to the pan.

Now add the tomato purée, stock cube and nutmeg.

Now add the tomato purée, stock cube and nutmeg.

Finally, bring everything up to a simmer and leave to cook on a medium/low heat, uncovered for 2-3 hours, stirring occaisionally.

At the end of the cooking time the beef should be meltingly tender and the ale gravy reduced by half. Check the sauce for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Assembling The Pie

First of all, remove the steak and leeks from the pan, using a slotted spoon. Place into a pie dish.

Remove the steak and leeks, using a slotted spoon and place into a pie dish.

Increase the heat under the pan and boil the ale gravy until it is reduced by half.

Reduce the ale gravy in the pan by half.

Pour the thickened gravy over the pie piffling.

Pour the thickened gravy over the pie filling.

Brush the egg wash around the rim of the pie dish, as this enableS the pastry to stick to the dish.

Roll out the pastry into a circle that is one inch/2.5cm wider than the top of the pie dish. Trim the pastry so that it has a neat edge.

Roll out the pastry so that it is 1" wider that the top of the pie dish. Trim the pastry so it has a neat edge.

Place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp.

To crimp I simply pinch between my forefinger and thumb all around the pastry edge.

Make 3 slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape.

Brush the pastry with egg wash.

Cut out decorations from the leftover pastry and add place on the pie.

Finally, brush the pie crust again with egg wash.

 

Steak Leek and Ale Pie brush the pastry with egg wash and cut out decorations from the leftover pastry. Place on the pie and brush with egg wash.

Baking The Steak Leek And Ale Pie

Place the Steak Leek and Ale Pie on a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven, 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F. Bake for approximately 1 hour. The pie is baked when the pastry is golden brown and little bubbles of hot gravy or steam are bursting through the slits in the pie.

Steak Leek And Ale Pie
Steak Leek And Ale Pie

As soon as the pie is baked remove from the oven. Serve immediately.

Steak Leek And Ale Pie
Steak Leek And Ale Pie

While the leek in this pie lends a delicate onion flavour, it perfectly compliments the steak and ale. And, this Steak Leek and Ale Pie was thoroughly enjoyed by all in our house, including my very good friend and chief taste tester, who lives 2 doors away!

Also it would make perfect sense to double the quantities and make two pies. Since an uncooked pie will freeze beautifully, ensure it is absolutely cool before double wrapping in cling film and freezing for up to 2 months. So, why not pass the second pie onto a busy family, new mum, or friends. Because, the gift of a meal, even if there is no ‘special’ reason shows that you care.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Steak Leek And Ale Pie you may also like these:

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While I enjoy coming up with new recipes and seeing successful results, nothing beats sharing the food I make with others. Seeing the smile on my neighbours face as I pass a slice of cake over the fence fills my heart with joy. Since I know not everyone enjoys baking, it’s rare to find someone who refuses a slice of something tasty. Sharing builds friendships and breaks down boundaries. Also, it can make someone feel thought about and special. And so I will continue to share. Since it brings happiness to both parties.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie x

While I was gifted with most of the ingredients for this recipe, all content and opinions are my own. I did not receive payment for this post. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written consent of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

Steak Leek And Ale Pie sized for Pinterest with descriptive graphics.

 

 

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