Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

I love tomatoes. Big beefsteak tomatoes, tiny cherry tomatoes and regular slicing tomatoes, I absolutely could not be without them in my kitchen. As well as popping sweet, vine ripened cherry tomatoes in my mouth while pottering around my kitchen, tomatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients. Here, in these Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes their flavour is intensified by roasting slowly and enhanced with the addition of basil. Simple yet mouth wateringly good!

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Since British tomatoes are just coming into season, I want to use them as much as possible in my recipes. While I have successfully grown tomatoes of our own, blight has been a problem over the last few years, so I have stopped. Instead relying on our local farm shop and Waitrose, who stock British tomatoes for a good part of the year. Also I should add a quick thank you to all of the farmers who grow tomatoes and mange to extend the season using poly tunnels.

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

While tomatoes roast in the oven their flavour intensifies. As the heat starts to dehydrate them, so the flavours become less diluted. Given nothing more than a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil, the resulting flavour is both sweet and savoury. As well as being a fantastic side dish to fish and chicken, I also enjoy  spreading warm tomatoes on to fresh bread and eating just as it is.

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

One thing I should mention is that I have used cold pressed Rapeseed oil. Made locally by Kentish Oils, it is golden yellow in colour and has a soft, slightly nutty flavour. It really compliments the tomato and basil flavours, rather than competing with them. Perfect for roasting and dressing the tomatoes.

Recipe: Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Amounts given per 450g/1lb Fresh Tomatoes

1 tbsp Cold Pressed Rapeseed/Canola Oil plus extra for drizzling after roasting – I use Kentish Oils 

1/2tsp Sea Salt Flakes – I prefer Maldon

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Small Handful Fresh Basil Leaves – approximately 10 leaves

Method: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4

You will need a large baking tray for this recipe.

  • First of all wash and dry the tomatoes.
  • Cut large tomatoes in half and leaver smaller ones on the vine.
  • Place the tomatoes on to a baking tray and drizzle over the oil.
  • Sprinkle over with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Place in the centre of the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Preparing the tomatoes for roasting.
  • As soon as the tomatoes are cooked remove from the oven.
FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Slow Roasted Tomatoes ready to be topped with fresh Basil.
  • Using a fish slice or slotted spoon carefully transfer the roasted tomatoes to a serving plate.
  • Roughly chop the basil leaves and scatter over the tomatoes.
  • Finally drizzle a little oil over the tomatoes and leave until warm, not hot, before serving.
FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Because hot tomatoes will burn your mouth, it is best to leave these to cool until just warm before eating. Doing so ensures that you get the maximum flavour that these beauties have to offer. Also these tomatoes taste delicious when cold.

Any leftover tomatoes can be kept in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes you may also like these:

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread 

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones

FF Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones

While I happily use tinned tomatoes in my pasta dishes, such as this Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake, I plan to actively create more recipes with fresh tomatoes this Summer. Since we tend to eat lighter meals during the warmer months I am looking forward to the challenge. Especially as I am aware that this blog most definitely needs more savoury recipes!

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

Sammie xx

Kentish Oils sent me a small bottle of cold pressed Rapeseed oil to try. All opinions and content are my own, for which I have not received any payment.

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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Perfectly Mashed Potatoes

Thank you for stopping by to read this post and find out how to make Perfectly Mashed Potatoes. If you are curious as to why I should post such an easy recipe here’s my answer. Because everyone has to learn the basics. Including me. Since I wasn’t born with the knowledge of how to cook a roast, boil an egg or mash potatoes. I learnt, mostly, from watching my Grandma, whilst I was growing up.

FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Perfectly Mashed Potatoes no fancy equipment needed!

Always an inquisitive child, I literally hung around her apron strings and learnt how to cook, bake, make preserves, prove bread and much more. My earliest memory is standing on a stall, shucking peas that my Grandad had freshly picked from the garden.

So a love of cooking, indeed, more being in the kitchen and making something, was present from a very early age. At home, I recall asking if I could peel some potatoes. I was given a bowl, full of cold water, to wash off the dirt, potatoes didn’t come pre-washed in the 1970’s and a small vegetable peeler. While a whole hour had passed and I still hadn’t finished! That didn’t matter, I was learning.

FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Perfectly Mashed Potatoes creamy and delicious.

Especially in today’s world of convenience food and £1 packets of ready mashed potatoes available from the supermarket, learning how to cook basic recipes, isn’t always taught at home, in the way that I learned. So yes a recipe for Perfectly Mashed Potatoes, is here, because who doesn’t love mash???

Usually kitchens will have a potato masher utensil in them, if not they can be picked up, fairly cheaply, from any shop that sells kitchenware. I will not be using a potato ricer, hand whisk, kitchen stand mixer or any other contraption to make these Perfectly Mashed Potatoes, simply a potato masher. Because it is what most people have to hand and in my opinion, produces the best mashed potatoes!

So the only equipment you will need to make your mash is:

  • A sharp knife
  • Saucepan
  • Colinder
  • Potato Masher
  • Optional – vegetable peeler

Most kitchens will be equipped with this equipment, if not, each item can be bought inexpensively as mentioned above.

Recipe: Perfectly Mashed Potatoes serves 6-8 adults

2.5kg/5lbs Potatoes suitable for mashing – I used Albert Bartlett Elfe Potatoes – these have a particularly creamy texture and buttery taste, Rooster potatoes are also good for mashing. Any potato that is described as floury, suitable for mash can be used. However for the best mash I’ve tried I do recommend Elfe potatoes.

75g/3oz Butter

100mls/4fl ozs Whole Milk

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg – freshly grated is even better.

Method: Half fill a large saucepan with cold water

  • Using a vegetable peeler or small paring knife peel the potatoes.
  • Cut them into 5cm/2″ chunks as you go and immediately place in the pan of cold water.
  • NOTE: If peeled potatoes are left out of water they will start to turn brown.
  • Once all of the potatoes have been peeled and cut up, top up the pan with cold water, so that the potatoes are just covered.
FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
The potatoes are prepared and ready for cooking.
  • Turn the heat onto high on the hob and bring the potatoes up to a boil.
  • As soon as they are boiling turn the heat down and let the potatoes simmer for 15 minutes.
  • To test if the potatoes are cooked, insert a sharp knife into a couple of chunks, there shouldn’t be any resistance and the potato chunk may well break in half.
  • Once cooked drain the potatoes in a colinder and allow to steam dry for 5 minutes.
FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Allowing the potatoes to steam dry makes better mash!
  • Empty any water from the saucepan the potatoes were cooked in.
  • Add the butter and milk to the pan and heat until the butter is melted.
  • I add 1/2tsp of sea salt, a good grinding of black pepper and the ground nutmeg to the milk/butter at this stage.
  • Take the pan off of the heat and add the cooked potatoes.
FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Time to get mashing!
  • The next step is simply to plunge in with the potato masher and keep mashing until all the potatoes have broken down and you have smooth, creamy, Perfectly Mashed Potatoes.
  • I quite often get the children to mash our potatoes and yes, it does require a bit of elbow grease and effort (which with my back I’m not able to apply).
  • The potatoes are so beautifully soft and creamy, that they break down easily.
  • Serve the potatoes straight away onto dinner plates, or for special occasions, pile into a serving bowl, dot with a little extra butter and a light sprinkle of nutmeg.

Yes it really is that simple!

FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Utterly delicious Perfectly Mashed Potatoes every single time.

Perfectly Mashed Potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to so many meals, made well they are delicious just on their own, perhaps with a little grated, sharp cheddar to top!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Perfectly Mashed Potatoes, here are some other potato recipes you also may like:

Leek Colcannon

FF Leek Colcannon
Sautéed leeks and savoy cabbage mixed with mashed potatoes.

Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

FF Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges
Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

Tangy Lemon Potato Salad

FF Tangy Lemon Potato Salad
Tangy Lemon Potato Salad

Were you taught to cook at home, or are you just learning?

Thank you for all of you lovely comments, I get such a thrill knowing you have baked and enjoyed one of my recipes, please keep them coming.

Also it is great seeing all the pictures of your makes and bakes on Twitter and Instagram. Please keep them coming, tag me in and I’ll be sure to give you a shoutout or retweet.

Are there any other basic recipes that you would like to see on Feasting is Fun? Let me know and if I can, I will post them for you.

I always try to remember that everyone has to start at the beginning. Most of all the fun is in the journey and we are all here to support each other as we learn.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

The Albert Bartlett Elfe potatoes were won in a competition. All opinions and views are my own, as is the content of this post. Please see my Disclosure Policy

 

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Lime Couscous

Today I have the easiest, most delicious and versatile side dish for you, my Lime Couscous.

MD Lime Couscous
Lime Couscous the perfect side dish to compliment your main dish.

Since this is full of fresh lime flavour and so easy to make, it will soon become part of your repertoire.

MD Lims Couscous
Lime Couscous fresh parsley and lime slices give this dish the finishing touch.

For those of you who have not yet tried couscous, let me explain what it is. Couscous are tiny pieces of dried pasta and unless labelled otherwise it is NOT gluten free.

Due to it being so small it doesn’t even need cooking. Rather, it simply needs rehydrating with hot liquid.

How easy is that ??!!

MD Lime Couscous
Lime Couscous pairs beautifully with this Morrocan Lamb Stew.

I developed this recipe for Lime Couscous to specifically partner my Morrocan Lamb Stew. It is absolutely delicious with the stew. Balancing the fruity, spicey sauce, with its own tangy, citrus flavour.

Because couscous can be served at room temperature it is absolutely perfect for buffets and barbecues. It’s fresh lime flavour pairs really well with fish, chicken, lamb kebabs – really the possibilities are endless. I cannot wait to try it with my Chunky Chilli.

Recipe: Lime Couscous serves 6 people.

300g/11oz Dried Couscous – allow 50g/2oz per person

2 Limes

1 Vegetable Stock Cube – I use Knorr’s

Boiling Water

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method – Making Lime Couscous 

Note – Do not stir the Couscous at any point.

First of all, weigh out the couscous into a large, heatproof bowl.

Dissolve the stock cube in a jug of boiling water, approx 450mls/1 pint.

Squeeze the juice of one and a half limes and add this to the couscous.

Pour the stock over the couscous and top up with boiling water so that the liquid comes 2.5cm/1″ above the top of the couscous.

Cover the bowl with cling film, or I used a plate and leave for 15 minutes.

After this time the couscous will have absorbed all of the hot liquid.

MD Lime Couscous
The couscous has absorbed all of the stock and lime juice.

Remove the cling film/ plate.

Using a fork, fluff up the couscous, like you would with rice,

MD Lime Couscous
Fluff the couscous with a fork.

Taste the Lime Couscous and check for seasoning, add as necessary.

Finally, roughly chop a large handful of parsley leaves. Add these to the couscous and transfer to a serving dish.

Add a final touch by popping a few slices of lime to the couscous and a final sprinkle of parsley leaves on the top.

MD Lime Couscous
Lime Couscous – what will you serve it with?

It really is that simple to make this dish!

Since Spring is now here and the promise of warmer days beckoning, this Lime Couscous is the perfect dish to serve, as it can sit at room temperature, not taking up fridge or oven space.

Also, although it is perfectly fine eaten hot, I much prefer it slightly warm.

However you serve this Lime Couscous, it will be enjoyed and feasted on, simply because it tastes so delicious.

If you have enjoyed this Lime Couscous, here are some other recipes that you might like to try:

Leek Colcannon

GF Leek Colcannon
Leek Colcannon

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

MD Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

MD Garlic Herb Potato Wedges
Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

I absolutely love to see what you are cooking, baking and making. Please pop a photo on Twitter/Instagram and tag me in, I’ll be sure to give you a shout out or re-tweet!

Whatever you are making in your kitchen, make a little extra and invite someone round for dinner. Food always tastes better when it’s shared!

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

 

 

 

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Leek Colcannon

Hello, how are you? It’s wet and dreary outside, so I have the perfect, cold weather side dish for you today, Leek Colcannon.

Leek Colcannon a delicious side dish www.feastingisfun.com
Leek Colcannon a delicious side dish www.feastingisfun.com

Dreamy, ultra creamy, mashed potatoes, mixed with gorgeously green, savoy cabbage and sauteed leeks.

Mashed potato vamped up to the max!

This Leek Colcannon is the perfect side dish for all your Autumn/Winter favorites – sausages, homemade pie, chops, roast chicken. Really there are endless possibilities to what you could pair this dish with.

Leek Colcannon the perfect twist for bangers and mash www.feastingisfun.com
Leek Colcannon the perfect twist for bangers and mash www.feastingisfun.com

Did you know that the beginning of November heralds the start of the British leek growing season? Nope neither did I!!

I absolutely love leeks, with their delicate onion flavour and that is exactly what makes them perfect in this dish.

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made using mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale. While I challenged myself to come up with some recipes to celebrate the British leek, I knew it’s delicate flavour would perfectly compliment the traditional Colcannon dish.

Also using seasonal fruit and vegetables in my cooking is important to me and savoy cabbage is in season now, so my choice of brassica was decided.

Nutmeg also pairs beautifully with leeks and so I knew I had to incorporate that into the dish – thus the Leek Colcannon idea was born. Whoops there I go, having ideas again – fortunately this one turned out to be absolutely delicious.

Recipe : Serves 6 generous portions of Leek Colcannon

1.75kg/4lb Pre-peeled weight Desiree Red or other Mashing Potatoes

50g/2oz Butter plus 1Tbsp extra

300ml/10fl Double Cream or whole milk

1/4tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg –

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Savoy Cabbage – mine was medium sized

1 Leek – usual sized (use 2 if they are very small)

Method : Important please read through the whole method before starting.

Peel and dice the potatoes into 1″/2.5cm chunks and place in a large pan, cover with water. If you wish to add salt to the water that’s fine, I left the seasoning to the end.

Bring the potatoes to the boil and the simmer until a fork easily pierces the potato chunks – it’s worth checking a couple.

Drain the potatoes and place back into the saucepan. Allow to steam dry for a couple of minutes.

Add the butter, 250mls of the cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Nutmeg is the secret to delicious tasting mashed potatoes www.feastingisfun.com
Nutmeg is the secret to delicious tasting mashed potatoes www.feastingisfun.com
Mash the potatoes, cream and butter until completely smooth.
Mash the potatoes, cream and butter until completely smooth.

Add the rest of the cream if needed – the potatoes should be creamy, not dry. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

Whilst the potatoes are cooking you can prepare the cabbage and leeks.

Look how gorgeously green this beautiful Savoy cabbage is.
Look how gorgeously green this beautiful Savoy cabbage is.
Remove 5 leaves from the cabbage and stack them.
Remove 5 leaves from the cabbage and stack them.
Slice the leaves in half and then finely shred each half.
Slice the leaves in half and then finely shred each half.

Continue peeling off the leaves, stacking and shredding. I used almost all of the savoy cabbage. I left the very few inner, yellow leaves. If you have a large cabbage cut in half and use one half.

Place the shredded cabbage into a large saucepan, pour over an inch of boiling water from the kettle, clamp on the lid and cook on a high heat for no longer than 5 minutes.

Drain the cooked cabbage.
Drain the cooked cabbage.

Place the cabbage back into its pan and allow to steam dry for a couple of minutes.

Next, the leek. Trim the tough dark green top from the leek and also the root end. Make a slit cutting almost through from the top of the leek to two thirds down.

Wash the leek under running cold water ensuring any dirt, trapped between the leaves is washed away.

Shake the leek over the sink to remove any excess water.

Tip : I wash my leeks, shake them and leave them upside down on the draining board to drain, before prepping other vegetables.

Cut the washed leek in half.
Cut the washed leek in half.
Finely shred the leek.
Finely shred the leek.

Place a tablespoon of butter into a shallow pan and gently saute the leeks until tender, over a medium heat.

Sauté the shredded leek for 5 minutes until tender and cooked.
Sauté the shredded leek for 5 minutes until tender and cooked.
Add the cabbage and leek to the mashed potato.
Add the cabbage and leek to the mashed potato.
Stir all the ingredients together until well combined.
Stir all the ingredients together until well combined.
Leek Colcannon decant into a heatproof dish, dot a little extra butter on top and finish with a light sprinkle of nutmeg. www.feastingisfun.com
Leek Colcannon decant into a heatproof dish, dot a little extra butter on top and finish with a light sprinkle of nutmeg. www.feastingisfun.com

Ooh this Leek Colcannon was absolutely scrumptious. It was served with steak, leek and ale pie alongside steamed carrots. Fortunately there was enough left over to make bubble and squeak patties for lunch the next day!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Leek Colcannon you may also like these:

Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart 

FF Leek Colcannon
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

Homemade Cauliflower Cheese 

FF Leek Colcannon
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese

Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad 

FF Leek Colcannon
Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad

I do hope that I’ve inspired you to try this delightful dish. Although I used double cream – well we were celebrating the start of the British leek growing season – milk is a perfectly fine substitute. Switching up the greens to Kale or Spring Greens through the growing season will be fine, just make sure they are cooked until just tender – I haven’t found a fan of overcooked, soggy cabbage yet!

Please let me know if you try this recipe? I really enjoy reading your comments.

Sammie x

The British Leek Association provided me with some of the ingredients for this recipe. All content and opinions are my own. I did not receive payment for creating this recipe. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Tangy Lemon Potato Salad

When the sun is shining and the temperature gauge keeps going up, cool, refreshing food is what we need. My Tangy Lemon Potato Salad is cool, refreshing with a hint of crunch. Also this is the perfect side dish to, well, just about anything! We’re having this with fish tonight.

Tangy Lemon Potato Salad - a delish side dish!
Tangy Lemon Potato Salad – a delish side dish!

 

While my Tangy Lemon Potato Salad does have mayonnaise in the sauce, you can use a light/lower fat mayo feel free. The mayonnaise is thinned down with the juice of a whole lemon. It’s this juice that permeates the warm potatoes, that once chilled, take on a tongue tingling tang, whilst at the same time stopping the mayonnaise from becoming gloopy.

Tongue tingling Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.
Tongue tingling Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.

 

If you’re organised (quite often I’m not) cooking the potatoes and getting this salad made first thing in the morning, or even the night before, not only allows all the flavours to merge together, but you are also guaranteed a cold salad. A wonderful contrast to hot fish/quiche and also perfect as part of a cold meal/picnic/buffet.

Wafer thin slices of lemon add extra texture to this Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.
Wafer thin slices of lemon add extra texture to this Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.

I can guarantee that once you have made this Tangy Lemon Potato Salad you will want to keep making it.

Recipe : Tangy Lemon Potato Salad, serves 6 as a side dish.

1kg/2.2lb Baby New Potatoes I like Charlotte as they are available all year roundfrom most supermarkets including Waitrose and Sainsbury’s

Juice of 1 Whole Lemon

1 Lemon – for slicing

4 Heaped Tablespoons Mayonnaise

1/2tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon, halve the quantity if using free flowing

1/2tsp Ground Black Pepper

2 Celery Sticks

3 Spring Onions

2 tbsp Chives

Method :

Scrub the potatoes to remove any dirt. Cut any larger potatoes in half so that all the potatoes are roughly the same size.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil.
Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil.

Simmer the potatoes until just tender, drain, return to the pan and leave with the lid on, to finish steaming for 20-30mins.

In a bowl add the juice of one lemon, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

Stir until thoroughly combined.
Stir until thoroughly combined.

Drain the potatoes and leave to steam dry in a colander for 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes to the bowl.
Add the potatoes to the bowl.

Chop the spring onions and celery into small dice.

Add the chopped celery and spring onions to the bowl.
Add the chopped celery and spring onions to the bowl.
Give everything a gentle mix.
Give everything a gentle mix.
Snip the fresh chives over the top of your Tangy Potato Salad.
Snip the fresh chives over the top of your Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.

 

If you like you can serve the Tangy Lemon Potato Salad as it is. I prefer to jazz it up with a few, very finely sliced Lemon halves. They are perfectly edible (although if you just want to use them for garnish that’s fine) and taste delicious. Also the sliced lemon let’s people know that there is lemon juice in the potato salad.

Tongue tingling Tangy Lemon Potato Salad.
Plus the finely sliced lemons make this Tangy Lemon Potato Salad look so pretty!

Make this Tangy Lemon Potato Salad up to a day ahead. Store in a bowl wrapped in cling film and keep refrigerated. Eat within 3 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Tangy Lemon Potato Salad then you may also like these:

Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

FF Tangy Lemon Potato Salad
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw

FF Tangy Lemon Potato Salad
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw

Lime Couscous

FF Tangy Lemon Potato Salad
Lime Couscous

Lemons give a fresh, zesty, citrus burst to any dish they are used in, whether sweet or savoury. A particular favourite of ours, here at home is Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken followed by Lemon Ripple Ice Cream for dessert. Sharing a feast around the table as a family is an important part of our lives.

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.

 

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Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Hi, have I got the easiest, tastiest, make ahead side dish for you?? Oh yes I have! Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo. And this dish does not disappoint as it is delicious.

Soooo delicious - Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo - the perfect Pasta side dish.
Soooo delicious – Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – the perfect Pasta side dish.

While I’ve said this is a side dish (and vegetarian), it also makes a fabulous light lunch. Simply adding a few shavings of Parmesan would add extra oomph for lunch, served alongside some crusty, crunchy bread.

I’m getting hungry!!!!

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo - perfect served at room temp!
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – perfect served at room temp!

While I’ve used red onion, peas, sweetcorn and red bell pepper in this dish – but feel free to switch up the veggies (celery is good) with whatever you have on hand. All I would say is the Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo is best served at room temp, or even warmed – BUT NOT COLD! Because no matter how much lemon/oil you add, when served fridge cold the Orzo clumps together and not in a good way! So there you go, an easy recipe that doesn’t take up any room in your fridge, or require any last minute fiddling. Yay!! We like easy!

Sooo easy, sooo delish - what's not to love - Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo
Sooo easy, sooo delish – what’s not to love – Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

 

Recipe : Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo serves 6-8 as a side dish.

500g/1lb Packet Dried Orzo – available from most supermarkets I buy mine from Waitrose 

Juice of 1 Large Lemon

1 x Small Red Onion

150ml/5fl oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 x Garlic Cloves – crushed

200g/7oz Frozen Peas

Medium Can Sweetcorn

Fresh Basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method : Making the Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

First of all put a large pan of water on to heat up for the Orzo.

Place the lemon juice and finely diced red onion into a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix together. Also leaving the onion in the lemon juice will remove the acrid taste!

As soon as the water in the pan is boiling add salt and then the Orzo. Cook according to the packet instructions – taking care not to overcook or the Orzo will simply clump together!!

While the Orzo is cooking gently heat the Olive Oil and garlic together, for approximately 2 minutes on a medium heat. This allows the garlic to infuse the oil. And also the garlic is lightly cooked. Pour the garlicky oil over the onions and lemon juice.

Lemon Garlic Onions and Oil - add salt and pepper.
Lemon Garlic Onions and Oil – add salt and pepper.

 

Drain the Orzo as soon as it is cooked and pour straight into the bowl. Using a large slotted spoon immediately toss the Orzo in the oil/lemon juice – this will stop the Orzo from sticking together.

Place the frozen peas (I used petit pois) in the bowl and mix in with the hot Orzo.

Add the sweetcorn (drained) and the diced, red, bell pepper. Mix together and taste for seasoning – add salt/freshly ground pepper as necessary.

Take a handful of Basil leaves, roughly chop and sprinkle over.

Cover with cling film and serve at room temp.

Voila!!! 10 minute side dish - Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo - delish xx
Voila!!! 10 minute side dish – Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – delish xx

 

This side goes fabulously with fish – Salmon especially, Chicken and Pork. It makes a fab alternative to roast potatoes and hot veggies for a Summer roast and completely seals the deal as part of a buffet. With very little effort. Gotta love that?!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo you may also like these:

Tangy Lemon Potato Salad

FF Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo
Tangy Lemon Potato Salad

Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw

FF Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw

Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad 

FF Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo
Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad

Enjoy feasting on this scrumptious dish and may we have many sunny days ahead to spend with friends and family, having fun round the BBQ!

Also, making sure there are hidden ‘Super-Soakers’ primed for action if it gets too hot – or boring!!!!

What do you look forward to now the days are longer and the sunshine is out??

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw

Hello everyone.  A big shout out to all the Mums and Dads on half-term duty.  I’ve created a deliciously Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw, that all my children love. It’s a really good way of getting fresh veg onto the dinner plate and goodness into us all.  Not only that but this Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw tastes seriously good!

Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw - easy on the eye, tasty on the tongue!
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw – easy on the eye, tasty on the tongue!

Some may argue – ‘Why should I make my own Coleslaw, when it’s easily available and isn’t expensive?’  Which, if you think about it, it a fair point.  I do, on occasion, buy Coleslaw from the shops aaaand each time I do I regret it!  The Coleslaw is either really gloopy and absolutely smothered in a creamy sauce, or else it seems to contain only cabbage and onion, the latter having a strongly, oniony, overbearing taste.  I don’t like shop bought Coleslaw!  There I’ve said it!!!

Homemade Coleslaw really is better than anything you can buy.
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw really is better than anything you can buy.

Now I like onion in my Coleslaw, but I don’t like it to have a nasal clearing, strong, over powering taste.  I’ve sorted this problem.  Firstly I use red onions, which are generally sweeter than white onions, then I slice them thinly and soak them in lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt.  The lemon juice draws out all the acridness from the onions, leaving them sweet and crunchy!

Pretty red onions add a super sweetness to this Coleslaw!
Pretty red onions add a super sweetness to this Coleslaw!

I make a great big bowl of this Coleslaw which we eat alongside fish and potato wedges, fabulous with homemade pizza, great with burgers, or in place of salad with any meal.  Let’s get on with the –

Recipe :  Serves 6 as a main side dish.

1/2  Medium White Cabbage

1  Medium Red Onion

3  Medium Carrots (or 2 large)

1  Lemon

Approx 5 Heaped Tablespoons of Mayonnaise (I use full fat mayo)

Method :

First take the lemon, cut in half a squeeze it into a large bowl – feel free to use your favourite citrus juicer!!!

Watch out for any pips!!!
Watch out for any pips!!!

Now cut the red onion in half and slice as thinly as possible into half moons. Break up the onion and add to the lemon juice in the bowl. Sprinkle over the sea salt and mix the onion half moons, breaking them apart as you go, into the lemon juice.

Set aside for 10 minutes whilst you prep the cabbage.
Set aside for 10 minutes whilst you prep the cabbage.

Take half a medium white cabbage and remove the tough core.  Cut the cabbage into 3 sections and finely shred them with a sharp knife.L

Shredded, Crunchy, White Cabbage.
Shredded, Crunchy, White Cabbage.

In the bowl with the onions and lemon juice add 4-5 heaped tablespoons of your favourite mayonnaise.  Mix thoroughly so that the lemon juice becomes incorporated into the Mayo. Add 1/2tsp of freshly ground black pepper.

The onions should now be in a thickish, lump free sauce.
The onions should now be in a thickish, lump free sauce.

The lemon juice thins out the mayo so the resulting sauce is smooth and creamy, but not gloopy, thick and claggy like mayonnaise only Coleslaw sauces.  Put the shredded cabbage on top of the onions and sauce in the bowl.

All we need now are the carrots!!!!
All we need now are the carrots!!!!

Trim off the tops and bottoms of the carrots, peel and then grate in the coarse side of a box grater.

This is gonna be grate!!!!!!!
This is gonna be grate!!!!!!!

Place the grated carrot in the bowl.

"Hi there - you've been Tango-ed!!!"
“Hi there – you’ve been Tango-ed!!!”

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and you have yourself some top notch, Crunchy, Homemade Coleslaw.

I'm not a side dish - I'm the main attraction!!!
I’m not a side dish – I’m the main attraction!!!

If not using straight away, cover in cling film and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  This coleslaw is at it’s best the day you make it, but will keep for a day in an airtight container.

Put me on a jacket potato and dive in!!!!
Put me on a jacket potato and dive in!!!!

Again this is a fantastically portable dish, that makes it great for feasting with family, friends, work colleagues, in fact ANYONE.  This Coleslaw is ideal for buffets (it’s easy to double/triple/quadruple the quantities. It is so easy, inexpensive, cheaper and way more delicious than the shop bought alternative.  Try this recipe once – feel free to adjust the lemon/mayo ratio – and I bet you’ll think twice before buying shop bought Coleslaw again!

 

Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw - another batch made - we eat this ALL the time!
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw – another batch made – we eat this ALL the time!
Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw
Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw equally as good made with red cabbage.

Oh and please let me know how you get on, I love to read your comments.

This Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw is the ideal accompaniment to:

Better Than Takeout Pizza

Better Than Takeout Pizza
Better Than Takeout Pizza – crispy edges, chewy dough, gooey melted cheese. Once you’ve made this you’ll never want to order a pizza again! www.feastingisfun.com

Ciabatta Based Pizza

Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza
Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza.

Until next time happy feasting, sharing and having fun!

Sammie x

 

 

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Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Bread is something that I really enjoy making. Flour, yeast, salt and water, combined and worked, create a bread with real taste. Add in a few extra flavours and the possibilities are endless. Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread is an incredibly easy, yet packed with flavour bread. Perfect for making at home.

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread.

This week in our house is all about birthdays. Our Lil Man will be 12 this week, it’s also my Sister’s birthday in the same week. Definitely time for Feasting, Celebrating and Fun! Covert baking operations during the day – ready for surprises on their special days. Ooh I love a celebration – well that is as long as I’m not the center of attention!

Fortunately, shyness is not something our son could ever be accused of having. His enthusiasm and passion for life is infectious and wonderful to see. He waits all year for his birthday and the night before, without fail, he reaches ‘ready to explode’ status!Christmas is the same for him, times a gazillion!I adore his passion & zest for life, even if at times it can be exhausting and overwhelming.

So, to make life a bit easier on myself today, I grabbed a previously, made and frozen Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne  from the freezer last night and left it to defrost in the fridge overnight. Yes, I confess to feeling a tiny little bit smug.
Since I have a bread maker that makes my life (in the world of bread baking), so much easier, I decided to whip up a couple of these GARLIC ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD.  Also, as this is such a reliable and easy recipe, I decided to share it with you.

Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.
Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.

GARLIC ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD: makes 2 loaves.

You will need 2 x lightly oiled 8×8″ square tins ( with at least 2″ depth), or – 1 larger oiled baking tray (2″ deep) to bake one large focaccia.

Recipe: Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread 

1lb Strong Plain White Flour – I use Shipton Mill

300ml Warm (hand hot) Water

1 x 7g Sachet, Easy Blend Yeast

2 tbs Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling over bread, oiling baking tins & cling film)

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper for top of the bread

2 tbs Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped

8 Garlic Bulbs (4 for bread mixture, 4 for topping the bread).

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

When using a bread maker or stand mixer:

Place the warm water into the pan or bowl of the device you are using, making sure the dough hook is attached to the stand mixer.

Sprinkle over the sachet of dried, activated yeast and swish about with clean fingers to mix.

Next place the flour on top of the liquid mixture. Add the oil and salt.

Now add 1 tbs of the finely chopped Rosemary and salt.

Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!
Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!

Add in four minced bulbs of garlic. I’m a very big fan of my garlic press (no peeling or chopping), but you may chop, process, squish with the back of your knife. Please don’t write in with other methods for finely mincing garlic, just be happy that you’re innovative.

Now mix & prove (if using a bread maker). With a stand mixer, attach the dough hook & mix for 8-10 minutes, until the dough has a silky, stretchy, elasticity about it.

If kneading by hand, bring all the ingredients together and work (knead) the dough until you can feel the change, when the dough again stretches easily and feels silky to touch – a good way to check that the dough has been worked enough is that it should be hard to tear.

Shape the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl, then turn the ball over, so the top has an oily layer & cover tightly with cling film. Place in a warm draught free place until doubled in size (about an hour).

Prepare the baking tins (or large tin if only using one) by placing some oil in the tin (approx 1tsp for a smaller tin).  Then using your fingers or a piece of kitchen towel completely cover the inside of the tin with a light slick if oil. When doing this by hand, your nails also benefit from a cuticle treatment.
Talking of fingers, if you have long nails it’s probably easier to apply the oil with the kitchen cloth. It also probably means you look after your hands and nails may not need a quick, olive oil cuticle treatment. Just saying, I NEED the treatment.

If using a bread machine switch on to knead cycle to knock the dough back for a minute. With the dough in the bowl, remove the cling film & gently punch down (enjoy the soft enveloping feeling!)the dough to knock out the air bubbles and gently knead by hand for 2 minutes.

Half the focaccia dough.
Half the focaccia dough.

Divide the dough in two (or leave whole if making a larger Focaccia) using a sharp knife or a dough cutter.
Place half the dough into each tin (or all into one tin).

NOW is the absolutely BEST thing about making this type of bread. If you loved making mud pies when you where younger, or maybe still do, you’re going to LOVE this next bit.
Using your the heel of your hand, gradually press the dough out until it reaches the edges of the tin and is roughly the same thickness across the tin.

Check out my dimples!!!!
Check out my dimples!!!!

Next using your fingers, have great fun making lots & lots & lots of dimples in the dough – to give it the classic focaccia look.
Can you tell how much I really love that part? So much fun!
Drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt flakes, the rest of the finely minced Rosemary, a grinding of pepper and the rest of the garlic. Split over 2 tins if making 2 Focaccia loves.

Lightly oil some cling film:
TOP TIP: Using a clean wet cloth wipe some of your work surface so that it is damp. When laying your cling film over the top it will lay flat and not attempt to attach itself to itself, you, or random kitchen objects. You can then easily spread a light coating of oil over the cling using your hands, or a pastry brush.
I know there’s oil in the dough, the tin has been oiled, you’ve just drizzled oil on top of the focaccia – JUST TRUST ME!

Most of the time you could get away with not oiling the cling, but and it’s happened to me, it WON’T EVER STICK if you oil the cling!

The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect - so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!
The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect – so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!

Cover the top of the tin with the oiled cling (so it’s airtight) and leave in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size. Alternatively,  place the dough in the fridge. While it will take longer to rise, the bread will develop a lovely flavour, due to the slow prove. It’s your dough, so, do whatever you fancy.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP – I have successfully risen the dough slowly in the fridge, completely forgotten about it, so it quadruples in size. Knock it back by recreating the dimpled effect, as before, left to rise and it’s turned out fine.
Bake the focaccia in a preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until a golden colour and still quite soft. The base should sound hollow when rapped with a knuckle.

Once baked, remove from the oven, take a deep breath, the smell is intoxicating. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, run round the outside with a palette knife until you can feel the loaf easing from the tin. Turn the bread out and place on to a cooling rack. Repeat with second tin.

Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?
Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?

The Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread will be marshmallowy soft & is fine to serve warm as is. Or cool, wrap in foil and freeze for up to one month.
If you prefer a slight crust to your focaccia, 10 mins before serving, place the bread directly on to the rack of a preheated oven (as for baking the dough) for 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how crusty you like it.
Because this bread is thinner than a loaf, you can cut or tear the bread whilst still warm.

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread baked as a whole.

This bread goes with any dish you would normally serve garlic bread with. It also goes fantastically well with soup. Spicy vegetable, leek and potato are especially good with this bread. It is ideal for dunking!
One Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread is plenty for our family of five, so I wrap in foil and freeze the other one.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread you may also like these:

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

Easy Crusty Baguettes

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Easy Crusty Baguettes.

Garlic Cheese Bombs

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Cheese Bombs

I really hope you give this recipe a try. You can vary the herbs. I’ve used Thyme, Oregano and SHOCK/HORROR dried mixed herbs. Ooh I’m such a rebel! But seriously, it works better with the woodier herbs (rather than parsley/fennel) mentioned. Since I find that soft herbs are better mixed with butter and oil, then slathered into a baguette/ciabatta (part bake baguettes work well for this!).
Until next time, I hope you have fun giving this recipe a go and enjoy feasting with whoever you share it with.

See you soon. Sammie xx

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