Friday, April 18, 2008

Moroccan Magic

Another recipe now from February's Delicious magazine - in this case from a selection of pulse/grain recipes from Bill Granger. I had this on the table less that 20 mins after arriving home last week and it offers a great alternative to the ubiquitous midweek pasta. I had somehow up to now missed out on Bill Granger but after this dinner The Doc went and bought me two of his books 'Holiday' and 'Every Day', so expect a lot of his recipes in the weeks to come!

Harissa Chicken with Bulgur Wheat, Pine Nut and Parsley Pilaf
6 chicken breasts
3 tbsp harissa
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
40g pine nuts
375g bulgur wheat
600ml chicken stock - hot
80g sultanas
  • Put a few slashes in the chicken and place in a bowl to mariande with the harissa and half the olive oil
  • Warm the rest of the oil and cook the onion until soft
  • Add the ginger, allspice, cinnamon and pine nuts and cook on a medium heat for 10 mins (I like to add 1-2 tbsp water to stop the dried spices sticking to the pan and burning
  • Add bulghur wheat to the onion mix and cook for about a minute
  • Remove from the heat and add the stock and sultanas, cover and set aside for 10 minutes until all the stock has been absorbed
  • Meanwhile heat a frying pan and cook chicken until golden
  • Stir parsley into bulgur and season

Sunday, April 6, 2008


We were heading over to a friend's house for Grand Prix today and I knew there would be lots of chocolate/crisps etc. provided. I'm trying to be healthy so I wanted to bring something that would be tasty and stop me grazing but not leave me eyeing up the junk food. You think flapjacks are healthy and then you see that they have 250g butter AND 250g sugar!!! So I browsed the net for some slightly heathier options. I combined advice from a few different sites and kinda made it up as I went along, replacing the butter with sunflower oil, cutting down on the sugar and adding dried apricots to keep them moist. You can add any combination of nuts, seeds and fruits that take your fancy. The tartness of the blueberries contrast well with the sweet apricots in this version.

100ml sunflower oil
30g brown sugar

150g golden syrup

250g porridge oats
50g pumpkin seeds
50g sunflower seeds
50g dried blueberries
75g dried apricots, chopped
  • Melt together the oil, sugar and butter
  • Stir in the remaining ingrediants
  • Pour into greased tin
  • Bake @ 180° for 15 mins
  • Cool before slicing up
I made mine in a flexible silicone mould which made them really easy to get out when it came time for slicing them up.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Squish Squash

Among the pile of newspapers, magazines and books beside my bed I unearthed an unread copy of February's Delicious magazine. While browsing through I came across this recipe for an unconventional 'risotto' made with pearl barley. We are making a concerted effort in this house to broaden our carbs from the usual pasta, spuds and white rice so I thought I'd give this a try. And the result? This is definitely a keeper, the barley retains a nutty bite which contrasts well with the sweetness of the squash - although I did alter the proportions slightly to increase the squash to barley ratio.

Pearl barley risotto with roasted squash, red peppers and rocket (adapted from the Feb 08 edition of Delicious)
serves 2
350g peeled butternut squash, cubed

1 red pepper, cut into chunks

olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

175g pearl barley

750ml hot vegtable stock

flat-leaf parsley

2 handfuls rocket

  • Preheat oven to 180°
  • Coat squash and peppers in oil and season, roast for about 35 mins
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil and add onion, garlic and thyme leaves and cook till soft
  • Add barley and cook for 1 min
  • Add one ladleful of stock, stir and simmer until absorbed
  • Continue adding the stock one ladelful at a time until it is all absorbed (this should take about 40 mins) and there is still a 'bite' to the barley (I then needed an extra 100ml of water to cook the barley to the texture I wanted)
  • Stir in the parsley, squash and peppers
  • Serve topped with rocket and Parmesan

Now this left me with half a butternut squash so I used the foodblogsearch (see below) to find myself a soup recipe. I found this lovely one for 'Roasted butternut squash with smoked paprika' from glutenfreegirl and just made a half portion. If you read her instructions she advises straining it through a mesh sieve. Boring though it may be this really is needed as the initial blended mixture has a texture like baby food. I only strained half of mine before I got bored - this was enough for a pourable soup but if I was making it for guests I would strain the whole lot. It's a lovely soup, the smoked paprika adds some depth and takes the edge off the sweetness of the squash.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Food Blog Search

Food blog search has been around for a while but I only came across it at the weekend. Its a nifty little tool that does exactly what it says. You can add it directly into your own blog, to your Google homepage, to your Google toolbar or if, like me, you use Firefox as your browser add it directly to the search toolbar. If your blog is not on the list (and mine wasn't) you can just drop them an email and they'll add it in a day or two. For more details click here.

Tune in later for the soup.