Sunday, 4 March 2018

February 2018 Monthly Eatings

February quickly flew past and we are hopping into March. I don't think I ate as much in February compared to previous months, but I managed to check out a few restaurants in Dudley, Birmingham and Shrewsbury.

Harvester - Dudley






Cappadocia Restaurant - Turkish





Arothai Restaurant 





200 Degrees Birmingham



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Saturday, 20 January 2018

Fabulous Falafel

I've been trying to eat more vegetarian dishes in my weekly diet, trying to up my usual once a week meat free meal to twice a week. With so many bloggers having a meat free January or participating in veganuary there has been a number of inspiring recipes on social media which I'll be sharing in the coming weeks. 
After flicking through my new cookbooks that I brought in the January sale, I found this incredibly easy recipe for falafels from The Greedy Girl Diet. Falafels, a popular middle Eastern dish are perfect for a light lunch or dinner. What's better, this recipe is low in calories and fat, so you can treat yourself to an extra falafel. This recipe is lightly spice, full of flavour and easy to make. I served the falafel with a beetroot dip as I had beetroot use and of course, pitta bread.




245 calories, 4g fat per serving
Serves 4
1x 400g can chick peas, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
zest of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon very finely chopped fresh coriander 
vegetable oil spray
4 warmed wholemeal pitta breads

For the dressing 
150g low-fat Greek yogurt
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
100g chopped rocket.

Method 
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Put the chick peas, salt, spiced, garlic, lemon zest, bicarbonate of soda and chopped coriander into a food processor and lightly blend to a coarse puree. 
Wet your hands to stop the mixture sticking to them and shape the mixture into 16 patties. Spray a baking tray with oil, arrange your falafels on top and lightly spray them all over a find midst of oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning once.

While the falafels are cooking, make the dressing by beating together the yogurt with the crushed garlic and rocket in a bowl. If necessary, you may need to thin the mixture with a couple of tablespoons warm water to a coating consistency. Serve the falafels inside the warmed pitta breads and top with yogurt dressing. 

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Saturday, 9 December 2017

November monthly eatings 2017

Where has the year gone, we are only a few weeks away from Christmas and I can't wait to share some of the Christmas baking I have been up to. But before that, I enjoyed a few meals in November, I hadn't planned to eat out much at all having just returned from Jamaica, but when meals out call ......

Verso Lounge, Stafford

Cedar Lebanese restaurant, Birmingham


Halfpenny Farm, Oldbury

Miller and Carter, Wolverhampton




The Shire Horse, Stafford


Frankies and Bennys 




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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Meatballs in a sweet, sour & spicy tomato sauce.

I fancied a change from the usual meatballs with pasta which is one of my go to mid-week meals. The thing is with my relationship with mince, I usually make the same fare with mince: meatballs, in-authentic spag bol  and chilli con carne. This is despite having a cookbook dedicated to mince. This is meatballs, but not as you know it. Seasoned with intense Middle Eastern spice and a lovely combination of beef and mince meatballs. I was a bit hesitant and apprehensive what the sour flavours would be like, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you think of sweet and sour of a well-known takeaway dish, but more sour and with a little more heat. I decided on serving this with bulgar wheat, hummus and za'tar roasted vegetables.





For the meatballs 
250g minced lamb
250g minced beef
1 large onion, peeled and grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated or finely chopped
30g breadcrumbs
1 tsp smoky paprika
1/2 tsp chili flakes or cayenne pepper
1 tsp harissa paste
1/2 tsp salt
a pinch of white pepper
a pinch of ground cinnamon



For the sauce
2tbsp olive oil
the rest of the head of garlic, peeled and chopped (about 30g)
5 tbsp tomato puree (about 80g)
1 tsp harrisa paste
1 tsp smoky paprika
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp demerara sugar
2 strips of lemon (use a peeler)
100ml lemon juice
750ml water
2 large pears, cut in thick wedges, seeds removed but skin on.

Method
Heat your oven to 200C/180C/Gas Mark 6
Mix all the meatballs ingredients together in a large bowl and form into twelve balls of roughly 50g each. Place on a lightly oiled baking tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, put the olive oil, chopped garlic and salt in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring all the while, until a strong garlicky smell emerges and the garlic begins to stick to the pan (it should not colour). Add the tomato puree, harissa, spices, bay leaves, sugar and lemon skin and mix well. Keep stirring and cooking until everything begins to stick to the bottom of the pan again (about 4-5 minutes), then stir in the lemon juice and bring to the boil.
By now your meatballs should be just about ready to jump into the sauce. Tip them in along with all the juices that have come out of them - there's tons of flavours there. Bring the sauce to the boil again, then reduce the heat to a minimum, cover and leave to cook slowly for an hour. If you using pears, add them now. Cook for 15 minutes on a low heat without the lid in order to reduce the liquid slightly - when it's ready, the sauce should resemble a thick soup.
Serve with white rice

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Orange, Date & Chili Salad

I was in my local Poundland tossing in bits and bobs in my basket, when I discovered a healthy collection of cookery books. I was spoilt for choice, a cook book on Tuscan cuisine, Spanish cuisine, utilising your own vegetables in your garden and a Chocolate baking book. Having become easily distracted by a cookery book focusing on one of my favourite cuisines: Middle Eastern Food, I decided on purchasing entitled "200 easy tanginess & more". Rich hearty tagines, light refreshing fish dishes and sweet and savoury salad combinations. I strongly recommend that you take a trip to Poundland and treat yourself to an absolute bargain and a gem of a cookery book. 

This cookery book focused on 200-Moroccan-style recipes including tanginess, salads and snacks. The first recipe I tried was incredibly simple: Orange, Date & Chili Salad. Sweet, yet the chili adds a quick and I served this as part of a Middle Eastern Feast which included a hearty tagine and Middle Eastern spiced vegetables and pitta bread. If you can manage to get your hands on a pomegranate, sprinkle the seeds of half a pomegranate over salad, it adds a crunch. 



Orange, Date & Chili Salad
Ingredients
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
3-4 ripe sweet oranges
150g ready to eat soft pitted dates, finely sliced
2-3 tbsp orange blossom water
1 red chili, deseeded and finely sliced
finely sliced rind of 1/2 preserved lemon. 
handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)

Method
Remove the peel and pith from the oranges with a sharp knife. Place the oranges on a plate to catch the juice and thinly slice into circles or half moons, removing any seeds. Place the oranges and juice in a shallow bowl. 
Scatter over the dates, then pour over the orange blossom water. Cover and leave to stand for 15 minutes to let the flavours mingle and date soften. 
Sprinkle over the chili and preserved lemon and toss together. If you are using pomegranate seeds scatter over. 


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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Spiced Roast Cauliflower with Almonds & Tahini Dressing

This dish is quite unusual. I usually eat cauliflower boiled or in a well-loved cauliflower cheese. Never have I roasted cauliflower before but it was a welcoming change. Crispy and yet crunchy, this makes a wonderful side dish.


Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tsp baharat spice mix
1 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
25g blanched almonds, toasted to garnish
3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander, to garnish.

Tahini dressing
20g tahini
4 tbsp Greek-style natural yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of sea salt
pinch of pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Put the cauliflower in a large roasting tin. Sprinkle over the baharat mix, salt and oil and mix well. Roast for 25-35 minutes or until lightly charred but still with some bite.
Meanwhile, for the dressing, mix the tahini, yogurt and lemon juice together in a bowl then season with the salt and pepper.
Transfer the cauliflower to a serving plate, dot with the tahini dressing and scatter over the almonds and coriander.
Serve immediately.

Cooks tip: If you can't find baharat spice mix, use an equal mixture of ground coriander, ground cumin and ground cinnamon instead.


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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Monthly Eatings

A bumper double month of my September and October restaurants. I forgot to do a round up of my September's restaurants as I was on holiday, but I had a fabulous time eating around Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Beyond.

First up in September was the home of the carvery, Toby Carvery



Turtle Bay - The Caribbean food chain offering traditional and invented recipes.






Banks Bistro - offering a seasonal British menu.






Patisserie Valerie



Arabica Bar & Kitchen







Shamrock restaurant




Miller and Carter







xxx



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