Quesadillas

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I often make these at the weekend instead of a toasted cheese sandwich.

Using corn tortillas makes these gluten free and the fillings vary depending on what’s in the fridge.

I use a sandwich press or a large non stick frying pan to cook the quesadillas, a sandwich press is easier but the frying pan works well too, just flip the quesadilla when the bottom tortilla has crisped up.

This recipe is is for the quesadilla in the picture. Other filling ideas are, drained black beans, chopped avocado, spinach, jalapeño, leftover fajita chicken or beef. As a family we all have favourite fillings and the boys  make their own!

Ingredients

2 corn tortillas

2 Roma tomatoes,  deseeded and diced

handful of cooked chicken, diced

small bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks roughly chopped

40g Cheddar, finely grated

1/4 red onion, peeled and finely sliced

1/4 teaspoon Cajun spice rub, recipe in the blog

 Method

With one tortilla as a base top with your ingredients.

Top with the second tortilla and place on the sandwich press.

Bring the lid down to sit just above the top tortilla and toast until golden brown and the cheese has melted.

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Basil Pesto

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The quickest meal in a family of five often involves pasta for 4 and a Gluten Free option for one.

I always have jars of pesto in the fridge  not just for pasta, spooned into a baked potato, smeared on to fish and chicken, used as a dip and there’s alway potato gnocchi!

Possibly the best reason for making this is it’s fridge life……. A year lurking, hopefully labelled, and it will still be good to go!

Leftover pasta? Great for school lunch boxes cold or hot or, stir through some drained, tinned beans, butter beans  work well, and you have another meal happening!

Makes 3 x 375g jars. One jar covers 500g dry pasta which serves 4-6 depending on appetite!

Ingredients

180g basil leaves

500mls olive oil, plus extra for sealing

200g pine nuts

8 cloves garlic, crushed

250g Parmesan, finely grated

salt and pepper

Method

Process the basil, oil, nuts, garlic, Parmesan and seasoning.

I process till it is still a little lumpy, but  process it to the way you like!

Check the seasoning, I add quite a bit of freshly ground pepper, not so much salt as the cheese adds salt.

Spoon into clean jars and pour some oil over the top to seal.

Put a tight fitting lid on, label and stick at the back of the fridge.

 

 

 

 

Bean Burgers

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Over the years we have tried a lot of variations with this recipe but I think this is the best.

Full of hidden green vegies, gluten free, dairy free and still full of flavour these are often chosen by the boys when we have a vegetarian meal.

The vegetable of choice is always edamame in their shells, these are found in your local Asian food stores freezer and they are yummy, as ever, eaten with your fingers makes them taste so much better according to the boys!

Makes 12-14 burgers.

Ingredients

2 x 400g tins of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

6 spring onions, topped and tailed, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

1 piece of lemongrass, white part only, sliced

150g fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

150g fresh baby spinach

1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons salt

freshly ground pepper

80g besan/chickpea flour

150g fresh gluten free breadcrumbs

oil to fry in

Method

Process the spring onions, garlic, lemongrass and chilli.

Add the beans, fresh coriander and spinach, process to a paste, scraping down the sides as needed.

Add the ground coriander, ground cumin, besan and salt and pepper, process again.

Tip the mixture into a large bowl and add the breadcrumbs, mix well.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, once heated fry the burgers until brown and crispy on the outside.

Set aside on kitchen towel to absorb the oil.

Serve with rolls or pittas, salad, edamame and yogurt dressing.

 

 

 

Prawn Poppers

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Possibly the yummiest way to cook a prawn! I use really large prawns for this and they need to be raw, cooked prawns would go too rubbery. I also tend to buy the prawns in the shell as they tend to be a bit cheaper and it takes no time to peel them.

The boys love them, possibly because they are served on a stick! We have these sometimes on a Friday night when we are doing the home made fast food challenge, gluten free and dairy free these beat the fish and chip shop by miles!

Ingredients

12 large prawns, peeled and deveined

200g cornflour

2 egg whites

salt and pepper to taste

oil to fry in

Method

Put your oil on to heat.

In a large bowl place the egg whites.

On a flat plate spread the cornflour and season with salt and pepper.

Take each peeled and deveined prawn and stick a wooden skewer up through the middle of the body coming out at the head end.

Once the oil is hot, around 180 degrees Centigrade prepare the prawns.

Whisk the egg whites until forming stiff peaks.

Dip each prawn in the egg white, turning the skewer as you go.

Now dip into the cornflour, again, turning as you go.

Immediately place into the hot oil and allow around 1min to cook turning half way, ensure that the prawn is fully cooked.

Serve with some dill mayonnaise, recipe on the blog.

Rice with Caramelised Onion

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This is continued on from my Caramelised Onion recipe. I like to think that is saves on washing up! If you use my onion recipe you need around 2 heaped tablespoons of the onions in the pan you cooked them in, there is no need for more butter. Warm the onions in the pan, add the spices and continue with the recipe from there.

Inspired from Middle Eastern recipes this goes beautifully with most Middle Eastern dishes as it has a lovely subtle flavour.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

2 onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced

50g butter

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

380g basmati rice

750mls water

small bunch of parsley, leaves removed and chopped.

Method.

Heat the butter in a heavy based pan with a well fitting lid over medium heat.

Add the onion and cook until soft and  golden brown.

Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, stir well.

Once fragrant add the rice and stir to cover in butter, turn up to high.

Add the water, stir and cover.

Once boiling, turn the heat down to low, do not remove the lid.

Cook for 15mins, turn off the heat and leave to rest for 5 mins without removing the lid.

After 5 mins, stir rice gently, mix in the parsley and serve.

 

Fudge Block

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OK, not the healthiest of treats but oh, so delicious!

Unfortunately, they don’t last long so I use the quantities below which are actually double the original recipe but with hungry boys in the house it’s sometimes to use the more is less mantra!

If you really want a sugar hit, melt 250g milk chocolate and pour this over the cooled fudge block.

Makes 48 fingers.

Ingredients

200g butter

200g caster sugar

450g crushed digestive biscuits

60mls golden syrup

2 x 395g tins of condensed milk

Method

Line a 22x30cm roasting tin with baking parchment.

Weigh the biscuits into a large plastic bag.

Seal the bag and smash the biscuits with a rolling pin, young boys/men are very good at this!

In a large pan warm the butter, sugar, syrup and condensed milk. Stir constantly.

Bring this mixture up to bubbling and stir continuously for 10-15 mins until caramelised.

Add the crushed biscuits and mix well.

Spoon mixture into the prepared tin, smooth out with a palette knife or the back of a spoon.

Set aside to cool.

Once cool cut into fingers.

 

 

 

Caramelised Onions

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One of the most versatile jars of pre prepared food you can have in the fridge. A brilliant cheat’s ingredient when you don’t have long to get dinner on the table.

When a recipe calls for onion I often pop a dollop of this in the pan, excellent base for French Onion Soup,  also great as a tart or quiche ingredient or risotto, the list could go on!

This recipe is for 1kg of onions as that’s all I had in the cupboard today but if you are making this do consider upping your quantities, it’s so handy!

Ingredients

1kg brown onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced

80g butter

Method

In a large pan melt the butter over a medium heat?

Add the onions, stir well and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened.

Turn the heat down to low and continue cooking the onions, stirring occasionally and scraping any goo off the base of the pan as you go.

The onions are ready when they are a little darker than golden brown and completely soft, this stage can take an hour.

I remove most of the onion to a jar and keep in the fridge, what’s left is used for dinner, see my Rice with Caramelised Onion recipe, published after this.

Feeding a hungry family!