Tag Archives: eat

Quorn Chilli Con Carne

No I’m not vegetarian. But I like to experiment with different ingredients and health is very important to me. It is commonly said that too much meat is bad for you, and I am personally quite happy eating vegetarian meals a lot of the time. However, I will definitely eat meat when I go home for Friday night dinner and my mum has made her roast chicken!

A quick, easy and cheap beef substitute is quorn mince. It is high in protein and fibre and low in fat. If you feel like you’ve had a bit too much meat recently, or you want to try out quorn, then here is a quick recipe for veggie chilli con carne. The only difference between this and a meaty chilli is the quorn and stock, so this recipe would work fine with beef mince as well, just leave it to cook for a bit longer.

If you haven’t eaten quorn before, or didn’t like it last time, I dare you to give this a go. Let me know what you think. Similarly, if you often cook with quorn and have any comments or tips, I’d love to hear from you. So far, the biggest thing I’ve learnt about quorn is just that it needs just a bit more spice and flavour than cooking with meat.

Quorn Chilli Con Carne

Start to finish time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
500g quorn mince
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetable/sunflower oil
1 tin kidney beans
1 vegetable stock cube
1 red pepper, sliced
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1tsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Spices:
2 tbsps cumin powder
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander powder

1. Heat the oil in the pan and add the onion and garlic. Gently fry until softened. Add the tinned tomatoes and stock cube and cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat.

2. Heat the spices in a separate pan and then add to the pot.

3. Add the quorn, coriander, sliced pepper, lemon juice and the kidney beans and cook for a further 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot with rice, a tortilla and sour cream.

The spices that I’ve used make a delicious combination for any Mexican dish, whether it’s fajitas or burrito, or anything else. I like to make extra and keep it in a jar in the spice cupboard to save time next time!

Do you like quorn? What’s your favourite way to cook it? Are you also a non-veggie who eats veggie food?

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Roasted Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Soup

This morning on my walk back from the gym I was reminded why Finsbury Park is awesome. On my route I pass a grocery stall where a friendly man sells fruit and vegetables in £1 quantity bowls. Amongst other things, I bought 4 red peppers for only £1, a bargain compared to the supermarkets.

So walking back with my heaving blue plastic bags I got the idea into my head that I wanted to make roasted red pepper soup and I’ve been excited all day planning it. Although this is a fairly simply recipe, the roasting takes some time in order to get the best flavours from the peppers and tomatoes. If you’re really rushed for time you could add them to the pot raw and boil them, but I hope I can persuade you that the roasting is worth the wait.

I have a love/hate relationship with cooked peppers, so this is quite an unusual meal for me to cook. I wouldn’t normally eat them except when my parents make peperonata (an Italian dish of sliced roasted peppers with olive oil, garlic, and sometimes olives and capers; also known as peperoni in Italy). However, over a year ago I went to a sweet little tea house with my friend Sophie and we had red pepper soup which was absolutely delicious. I have no idea what they put it in but it was scrumptious. Since then, I don’t think I’ve eaten it again and certainly never made it until now, but I was so excited to try.

The smell of peppers and tomatoes roasting in the oven is absolutely delicious. I was tapping my feet and staring into the oven for a large part of the afternoon!

Roasted Red Pepper and Cherry Tomato Soup

Start to finish time: 2.5 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients

5 red peppers
15 cherry tomatoes (on the vine is best)
2 red onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
2 tbsp tomato puree
500ml vegetable stock/500ml water and 1 stock cube
handful of basil leaves
A few parsley stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried tarragon*
1/2 tsp paprika*
75ml cream
salt & pepper

* optional

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. In a large tray, add the olive oil, garlic cloves and the peppers, whole and washed. Roast for about an hour in the middle of the oven, checking once or twice and turning the peppers.

2. Add the cherry tomatoes and bay leaves and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for another half an hour. Then, add the basil and turn the tomatoes and peppers.

3. In a large pot, heat the butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the red onion and cook on a low heat with the lid on until soft. Add everything from the oven tray into the pot, except the bay leaves and peppers. Put the lid on and let it cook slowly while you prepare the peppers. Don’t worry about all the liquid from the roasting tray, the cherry tomatoes release a lot of water in the oven which adds a beautiful flavour.

4. Pull off the pepper stalks and discard. Slice each pepper down the middle and scoop out all the seeds. Then, peel off the pepper skins. Add the soft cooked peppers to the pot and stir in. Add the stock, chopped parsley, tomato puree and dried herbs. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Turn off the heat. Blend the soup, and then pass through a sieve to get rid of any rogue pepper seeds and to smooth. Return to the pot and add the cream, salt and pepper (to taste). You should now have a rich orange coloured creamy and smooth soup which tastes absolutely divine.

Serve with your favourite bread as a starter or main. It should last a few days in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

All written content and photographs copyright Vered © 2011. All rights reserved.

‘The Summer Is Not Over!’ Salad

True to my blog name, I have eaten, and now I will talk about it. I cannot believe it is September tomorrow already. The sky is grey right now and schools starts again next week. I refuse to believe that the whole summer has gone and I didn’t even get a tan or visit Brighton!

One way I can cling on to summer on the last day of August is to have a yummy summery salad. I’ve just finished eating this and have the taste in my mouth that makes me want more. Alas, it is all gone. I’ll just have to have a banana instead.

My last day of August salad consists of some of my favourite ingredients, including goat’s cheese, and is a great way to eat a high fibre, low carbohydrate lunch. If you don’t like goat’s cheese, you could do this with cheddar or gruyère instead.

Goat’s Cheese Crostini Salad With Toasted Seeds

Start to finish time: 15 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients:
Romaine Lettuce
A handful of rocket
1 tomato
1/3 of a cucumber
1 slice of bread
3 tablespoons of mixed seeds (E.g. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, pine nuts)
Hard goat’s cheese
Salt & pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon English mustard

1. Turn on the grill to 200 degrees. Slice the goat’s cheese and place on the bread. Slice the bread into 3 rectangles. Place the crostinis on a tray and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and salt. Place under the grill for 5 minutes or until the cheese is golden.

2. Cut the lettuce, tomato and lettuce and mix in a bowl with the rocket.

3. Shake up the dressing ingredients and add to the salad. Stir it all up.

4. Toast the seed in a dry pan until golden and add to the top of the salad. Sprinkle salt and pepper, and then add the crostinis.

Enjoy! See you at the beach? Eh me neither.

Before going under the grill

Banana and Maple Syrup Pancakes

Yum, yum, yum. This recipe is so easy and so tasty. You can add any topping you like, or add blueberries into the mixture. A perfect summer treat breakfast.

What’s your favourite pancake topping?

Mozzarella and Pesto Puff Pastry Squares

I love puff pastry. It is so easy to cook with, you can do so much with it, and it’s tasty! Well, it’s not easy to actually make by yourself, but as I’ve said before, I’m not the amazing baker in the family! I’m the passionate amateur cook.

This is a really simple but tasty recipe for puff pastry squares with mozzarella and pesto. I  often make it with other toppings too, such as goat’s cheese and caramelised onion. You can serve it as a starter with a nice rocket salad, or as a part of a meal; a light lunch perhaps. Plus, it has that added bonus of being vegetarian, so a great dish to make for your veggie friends.

This has very few ingredients and takes hardly any time to cook. I recommend baking the pastry for about 10 mins before adding any heavy toppings, in order to let it puff properly! No one wants unpuffed puff!

Personally, I think it’s best served hot.

Mozzarella and Pesto Puff Pastry Squares

Start to finish time: 30 mins
Serves: up to 12 (as a starter)

Ready rolled puff pastry (if you can get the one on baking paper it’s easier)
Jar of pesto
1 big Mozzarella ball (or about 250g)
2 tomatoes on the vine
12 black olives
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or as per the instructions on the puff pastry. Cut the pastry into evenly sized squares, about 10x10cm. Spread the squares with pesto and place into the middle of the hot oven. While it’s cooking, cut the mozzarella and tomatoes into thin slices, and the olives into halves.

2. When the pastry has puffed and started to golden, take them out the oven and very quickly add the other toppings. 1 slice of tomato, a couple of slices of mozzarella and 2 olive halves to each square. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and put them back into the oven. The quicker you do this stage, the better.

3. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the pastry is perfectly puffed and golden and the cheese has melted. Serve with salad.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Any comments are very welcome, especially if you try out any of my recipes and have any feedback.

Calories don’t count on my birthday

Last week was my 24th birthday. I usually think birthdays have a compulsory anticlimactic feeling, and tend to think it was over too quickly, and I didn’t even get to eat much cake/get enough attention/lounge around in my pjs. However this year, I can truly say that my birthday was a brilliant day and I enjoyed every minute of it!

When I woke up, the first thing I thought about was what to have for breakfast; bran flakes, I thought. And then I remembered, calories don’t count on my birthday! So my usual morning calorie mathematics and bowl of bran flakes were out the window and the carb overload began!

The day went like this: onion bagels in the morning, followed by pizza and fried zucchini at lunch, and then foodie heaven for dinner.

I met my family for lunch at l’artista in Golders Green, North London. It is an Italian restaurant, and is truly Italian all the way through. The food is great and the staff are slightly crazy, loud Italians! You cannot miss it if you are in Golders Green, just follow the scent of frying garlic!

I hadn’t been to l’artista for ages, and would usually pick a new restaurant to try out for my birthday. But this year I felt like going back to our classic family-outing restaurant. When my sisters and I were growing up, we loved to go out to eat. However, my parents kept these outings to 5 times a year; once on each of our birthdays. We very rarely broke this cycle, unlike now, when I have to stop myself from eating out more than once a week! So the smell of frying garlic and pizza outside l’artista has always had very sentimental and happy memories for me.

Anyway, we sat down for lunch and gave our orders to the very Italian waiter. My half-Italian dad likes to order in Italian which always makes me very proud! Being my birthday, I can have whatever I want! So I order a Fiorentina pizza (spinach and egg), but clearly the egg yolk is the best bit so I ask to have two eggs! Because I can.

We also order a tricolore salad and some fried courgettes/zucchini to share. ‘Do you remember how we always used to come here?’ I asked my family, smiling.’Why did we always come to the same place?’ My parents thought about it for a minute. ‘Because you three all loved Italian food, and the food is good, decently priced, near home and best of all they do the birthday thing!’ Oh yes! The birthday thing! If it is your birthday all the waiters/waitresses bang on drums and other loud musical instruments and sing you happy birthday! As a child, this is a great moment of pure birthday attention!

As our lunch came to an end, my dad started to get restless about needing to get to work. He started the tapping the leg and following the waiter with your eyes dance, trying to get the bill. ‘Come on’ he muttered. My mum responded with ‘Shh, we haven’t done the birthday thing yet!’ Haha, subtle. I thought they meant they hadn’t even asked for it yet, and I thought about it and about my dad needing to get to work and I said, ‘You know what? I think I’m getting a bit old for that anyway, don’t worry about it’. And just as I finished my sentence, the lights went down, the music came on, the drums came out and the waiters started singing along to the loud ‘happy birthday’ music and clapping, and the whole room turned to look at me and started clapping! I loved it! I’m definitely not too old after all!

After lunch I went shopping and then came home in time for my surprise dinner from my boyfriend, Lewis. I believe that even Gordon Ramsey would have no criticism of this meal. It was so perfectly designed, executed, and presented, I was absolutely in FOODIE HEAVEN.

My favourite dish was home made ravioli with fresh crab and chilli prawn filling covered with courgette and tomato, and tiger prawns. It was delicious.

And then came the weekend which did not disappoint. Especially as my baker sister Danya was  in charge of my birthday cake. And boy did she impress me! She made two types of cupcakes, lemon and mocha and decorated them all beautifully and professionally. Needless to say there is NONE left!

All in all it was a great birthday.

However today is no longer my birthday, and therefore calories do count, and I’m back on the bran flakes…

Daddy or Chips?

You know those jokes that are only funny between you and your family?….and everyone else thinks you’re weird?! Well this 80s McCains advert was one of those moments for me and my two sisters. When we were kids, we used to laugh hysterically (ok, we still do) at this advert, and go around saying, ‘daddy or chips? daddy or chips?’ constantly! Don’t ask me why we found it so funny, there doesn’t need to be a reason!

Of course, Sophie, the little girl in this advert chooses chips in the end. Over her daddy!

Is it a fair choice? Well that depends entirely on the type of chip! I certainly would not opt for the microwave chip box! But there are some chips that you just can’t resist.

Here are my top 3 ways to eat chips:

1. Posh chips
Chunky, skin-on, sometimes made from sweet potato. Commonly found in gastro pubs. Must be eaten with chilli ketchup.

2. Skinny Fries
Extra salty, oily, often crispy. Commonly found in Mcdonalds, Burger King and on the continent. Must be eaten with mayo and ketchup.

3. Drunken binge chips
Either of the above and anything vaguely resembling a fried potato stick will do!

Mmm I really fancy some chips now. And here’s a little secret for you…I’m not proud of it, but as a child I used to eat chips straight from the freezer! Gross I know!

So, let me know what your favourite chips are on my poll below. Or maybe you would rather scrap the chips and just choose daddy!