Simple Supper 4

I’ve developed a series – wahey!  Simple Suppers.  But please don’t feel restricted – these ideas could also serve as lunch or brunch too.

Simple Supper

Simple Supper 2

Simple Supper 3

I goat’s cheese, if you didn’t already know!  And it goes very well with caramelised onions, like so.

P1060961Goat’s Cheese & Caramelised Onion Tortilla (for 1)

3 medium onions, peeled and sliced

1 tbsp oil

1 tortilla wrap

salt & fresh black pepper

1 slice goat’s cheese, chopped/crumbled

salad to serve

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low-medium heat, add the sliced onions and cover the pan with a lid.  Allow the onions to soften, keeping covered with the lid to prevent the onions caramelising(burning!) too early – they need to be soft first.  Once softened, remove the lid, add a little salt and fresh black pepper, increase the heat to medium and stir the onions until they have caramelised.  So they will be browned/starting to look a little crispy.  Set the onions aside in a bowl.

With the heat turned off:  Place the tortilla in the hot pan, place the onions on top of the tortilla and sprinkle the goat’s cheese over the onions.  Cover the pan with the lid again and turn the heat to ‘low’ to allow the tortilla and goat’s cheese to heat.  Once the goat’s cheese is warm, fold the tortilla in half and slide onto a plate to serve with the salad.  Enjoy!
P1060960There’s wonderful melty goat’s cheese poking out of the tortilla, and you can just see dark, caramelised onions which are slightly sweet and very good for you  🙂

This makes for a hot, tasty, satisfying and quick meal with a good dose of vitamins and minerals all round.  The large amount of onions makes it a big fat tortilla to slice into.

What is your favourite simple supper?

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Another Salad

With a sweet edge.

Cored and sliced juicy pear.

P1060939Mixed with walnut pieces and some crumbled Stilton. P1060940‘Dumped’ on a bed of greens – spinach or lamb’s lettuce, rocket would be too strong for this salad combination.  Not pictured – sorry!  But sweet and savoury, crunchy and most enjoyable.  Very flavoursome.

Why aren’t there more lovely salad mixes for eating out…?

Grilled

My passionate love affair with Goat’s Cheese continues  🙂

Heat the grill to high.  Prepare one bright, cheery salad base:

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Take a slice of goat’s cheese, thickness of slice as desired. Place on a piece of tin foil, which is placed on top of the grill-pan rack.  Pop under the grill – it will take approx 2 minutes to grill to a toasted, golden colour:

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It will be bubbling, and golden, and smell wonderfully toasted. Take care lifting the cheese slice – the middle may slide out of the crust where it has become so melty and good! Arrange on top of the salad, and drizzle over a little sweet chilli dipping sauce.  Enjoy!

P1070111P1070113 P1070118This is an official ‘lick the screen’ moment…  I don’t know what made me prepare this for lunch.  I just fancied it.  Sweet, savoury, salty, slightly tangy, spicy and earthy.  All on one plate, all balancing beautifully with the freshness of the vegetables.  Melty, soft cheese which is gooey in the middle, and the lovely toasted crust.

The rocket shown in the picture was a little too much flavour – next time I would use spinach or lamb’s lettuce.  Really, I only wanted the wonderful flavour of the goat’s cheese and sauce, with no other flavours to interfere.

Restaurant food @ Chez Pam’s  🙂

Have you fallen for goat’s cheese?

Christmas Salad

Oh dear….long time no blog  😦

It’s frightening that work can obliterate the creative spirit in me – it saps energy, enthusiasm and the desire to make things.  It’s insidious – just creeps up, slowly, slowly, and bam!  It seems the only time I feel remotely creative is when I’m on leave.  I’m now determined each year to have a week of leave in December – I love the Christmas season, I love making things at this time of year; and I love the cosiness of being at home, reflecting on the Christian meaning of Christmas, indulging in Christmas traditions.  Time off work during this season is a tradition to keep for me.

I’ve also not had a card-reader for my camera/laptop for a while.  I recently taught an aunt how to save photos to a Memory Card on her mobile phone, and then transfer those photos to her PC.  She did it!  You are never, ever too old to learn new things.  I don’t mean that in any derogatory sense – I love helping people to learn, helping people to have the confidence to do new things, to achieve things.  It’s great!

Anyway, I gave her my card-reader so she could continue her new practice, and ordered a new one for me.  Lo and behold a few days ago my Beloved declared ‘You don’t need a card-reader, you can insert the Memory Card straight into your laptop’.  Thanks for telling me one year into this laptop…  I know – I should read instructions.  I don’t.  But I’m delighted this is possible on my laptop – makes things SO much easier!

P1060840Today I wanted a big salad.  A hot Christmas Salad.  This does not contain traditional Christmas foods.  But the bright colours make me think it is festive.  The bold orange, dark green and bright green with dots of white are beautiful.  Bright lights for a cold winter day.

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Does anyone use a Butternut Squash(BNS) within a few days of purchase?  Is it just me who keeps it on the side for weeks…?  I thought it would be great roasted for a salad.  And I am now converted to ‘not peeling a BNS’ before roasting it.  It’s a total nuisance to peel and chop.  But this way is easy.  I’ve seen others say it can be roasted in this way – I didn’t really believe them, I thought it would take forever to roast, I thought it would be tough and chewy.  Wrong on both counts.

P1060844Nip off the stalk at the top. Slice the BNS into four – mind your fingers!  Scrape/slice out the seeds.  Place on a roasting tray, sprinkle with salt and fresh black pepper, splodge with some oil and rub the oil over the flesh(don’t worry about the skin).  Roast in the oven – 180*C(fan) for 45 minutes.  The flesh needs to be tender to a knife.  Done!  So easy!

For the salad base I used spinach, avocado and walnuts.  A drizzle of balsamic.  Some chopped goat cheese – I used Gevrik.  Then chunks of hot BNS over the top.  Enjoy!

P1060847This was sweet and savoury, with the freshness of avocado, the earthiness of the walnuts, sweetness from the BNS, and tanginess from the Balsamic.  Satisfying. Tasty.  Hot and cold together.  The BNS is surprisingly fibrous – not really noticeable when it’s liquidised into soup – but certainly not tough.  Soft and yumptious  🙂

Is Salad in winter right..?

Toasted Sandwich…

…in a salad.

I adore a toasted sandwich with Stilton, apple and walnuts.  The flavours are diverse but melt together so well.  Sweetness, nuttiness, saltiness and earthiness.  A mind-blowing flavour combination.

This sandwich was introduced to me many years ago by a local Christian Coffee/Bookshop called Mustard Seed.  I think it was one of their specials or something like that.  I’ve never forgotten it.  And it’s rare to see it on any menus – perhaps because of the combination?  Perhaps because of the Stilton?

A sweet apple is crucial to me, partly to obtain the sweet/savoury balance.  But also perhaps because I just don’t like sour fruit.

Salad base – as you will.

With said toppings – Stilton, sliced apple and walnuts.

A sliver of salty cheese, a bite of earthy walnut, a crunch of sweet apple.  Mmm Mmm…

Sandwich on salad.

My Big Fat Greek

…Salad!  Well, sort of.  I love feta cheese – it’s a salty, tangy cheese with a robust flavour, a little goes a long way.  And the saltiness and tanginess is handled well by fresh, unadulterated salad vegetables.  Like so!

Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mix of sheep and goat’s milk.  And Wikipedia tells me it is a brined curd cheese, with protected designation of origin legislation applied to it in the EU since 2002.

Rinse, dry and chop your chosen veggies, and place them into a tub or bowl.  I added my usual seeds and dried fruit because I’m enjoying them so much at the moment – I know, not truly Greek.  Omit if you wish.

I also added some green and black olives(photo not blog-worthy – blurry) and some chopped sun-dried tomatoes.  The oil from the sun-dried tomatoes soaks down into the salad, and it’s wonderful.  The olives and sun-dried tomatoes both stand up well to the good flavour of the feta, and altogether they provide an explosion of flavour for the tastebuds, with the freshness of the salad vegetables in the background.

Top with thin slices of feta.

That tub is a pleasure to dive into at lunch-time…tasty…satisfying…transports to another realm just for a little while.  Food is so powerful!

Do you have a favourite cheese?

Me and My Camera

I have a week off work – wonderful!  And the weather is looking good.

Me and my little point-and-shoot just weren’t getting on over this home-made Potato Salad  😦

Or may be it was just the blandness of the colours of the ingredients that were the problem?

Even so, that would not stop me from enjoying this dish – I love the stuff!  I’ve never been keen on supermarket-bought potato salad.  The tiny cubes of potato are unappealing, their skins have been removed, and there is always an abundance of vinegar mixed in.  Bleh.

Bring on home-made, fresh Potato Salad made with Jersey Royal new potatoes – oh yum!  The taste is divine.  Wherever possible, boil the potatoes with sprigs of fresh mint added(of course, if my pot of mint hadn’t died over winter then I wouldn’t have to buy it).  The mint gives a delicate flavour, and enhances the wonderful taste of the new potatoes.

Potato Salad

225g new potatoes, skins on, boiled in lightly salted water until tender

Sprigs of fresh mint – add to the cooking pot of potatoes

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

2 Tbsp mayonnaise of choice

Fresh black pepper

Drain and cool the cooked potatoes, remove the soggy mint leaves, and(if not already done) slice into thick chunks and place in a mixing bowl.  Sprinkle over the finely diced onion, then add the mayonnaise and stir gently but thoroughly to make sure the potatoes are coated.  Add black pepper to taste, mix once more.

Refrigerate at least for one hour, and enjoy!

Well now…we have to discuss ingredients.  New potatoes must be used – other potatoes are not firm enough and will go mashy/mushy, which is no good.  New potatoes can withstand the stirring to coat with the mayonnaise.  They are more waxy, with a robust texture compared to others.

The best added flavour for Potato Salad is chives!  But I had none, so onion will do.  Either of them impart the savoury, oniony flavour – but don’t overdo the onion if you use it unless you really love plenty of raw onion to munch on.  It should be a subtle contribution to the dish.  This is also why it should be finely diced, to make it blend into the mayonnaise ‘sauce’.  No lumps.  If using chives, snip and add as many as you wish.  I don’t think they can be overdone.  And they add a splash of colour.

Regarding mayonnaise – I’m afraid Hellman’s have me hooked on their mayo.  I’ve tried to like other brands, or fresh-made but I just can’t get into them.  I love the flavour of their mayo.  If you think I’m a murderer because of this – so be it.  Choose whichever mayo you will, and enjoy it.

This is probably, and usually, served as a side-dish with other salad components – e.g. cold meats, green salad, pickles.  I’m very happy to eat a tub of this, solo, for lunch.

And finally – the last picture looks totally manky!  But don’t be put off – the flavour is wonderful.  Pure pleasure.  Try it out.

Are there any variations on the traditional recipe for this salad?