Archive | January, 2013

Quick and Healthy(ish) Pizza

24 Jan

Sometimes I want pizza, but I don’t have any frozen ones, and I just can’t be bothered to make dough. Here is the solution, it’s healthier and it only takes about 12 minutes (2 minutes assembling and 10 in the oven!). The result is a thin, crispy based pizza.

Tortilla/wrap – I had some lovely Mediterranean ones..
Pizza sauce (I’ll add a recipe for this soon, it’s always good to have some on standby in the fridge/freezer) – you could use some passata
Any extra toppings (use what you have/like)

Add a dollop of pizza sauce to your tortilla/wrap. Spread it around.
Grate cheese on top.
Add any toppings.
Cook in the oven for 10 minutes on 190°c.

Giraffe @ Spinningfields, Manchester

23 Jan


We’d eaten at Giraffe a couple of times in the past, but this was the first time we visited for brunch.

One of the things I really like about Giraffe is how welcoming they are to children. A children’s meal costs £4.95 which includes the main meal and a drink. They also provide a colouring sheet and pencils, and a little plastic giraffe! There wasn’t a children’s option on the brunch menu, but the staff offered to make one for us if we wanted (our children then decided that they just wanted something from the lunch menu, but a kind offer nonetheless).

A massive bonus is that the brunch is served until 4pm! Not quite an all-day-breakfast, but it means you can wake up late (no chance with my two ‘angels’) and still treat yourself to breakfast! The options for brunch start at £5.95 for a Deluxe Toastie and go up to £8.50 for a Full Brunch. It’s not cheap compared to other breakfast-providers in the city, but they do offer something a little different to the regular Full English.

I chose the Huevos Rancheros Mexican Breakfast – as pictured (they describe it as “free range fried or scrambled eggs, chorizo sausage, black beans, melting cheese, adobe sauce, avocado & tomato salsa on warm soft corn tortilla”). I had been craving a ‘proper’ breakfast all morning but saw this on the menu and decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did as it was delicious (I may have stolen some of the sausage from my husband’s plate though – they were good too!).


Inspired by Shakshouka

23 Jan


Inspired by a post about shakshouka I saw last week, I decided to use what I had to make my own version.

2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
About 300g mince
200g passata
Tin of butter beans
Quarter tsp dried chilli flakes
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of cayenne chilli pepper
Beef stock cube
Salt and pepper
2 eggs

In an ovenproof dish, fry the onions and the garlic until soft.
Add the mince and brown it.
Add all of the other ingredients minus the eggs.
Add a mug of water.
Stir and simmer for around 20 minutes until quite thick. Adjust the spices and seasoning to your own taste.
Break the eggs on top. Put into the oven on 190°c and cook for about 10 minutes or until the whites of the eggs are cooked.
Serve with rice or couscous.




Spicy Chickpea Snack

22 Jan


A tin of chickpeas/400g of dried chickpea soaked overnight and boiled until soft (I cook mine on high in the slow cooker for 2 hours)
2 tbsp. olive oil
Your favourite spices
Salt and pepper

Rinse your chickpeas and dry them with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel.
Add to a bowl with the olive oil and your choice of spices (cumin is good with chickpeas). You want around 1-2tsp but it depends how spicy you like your food!
Stir well.
Pour out evenly onto an oven tray.
Cook at 230°c for around 30 minutes.

Double Recipe – Cranberries

21 Jan

I had some cranberries left over in the fridge and needed to use them up, which is where the following two recipes came in. They both use the same ingredients, and one follows the other really easily!

Firstly, frosted cranberries.
Add equal parts sugar and water to a pan and heat them until the sugar has dissolved. You could also add extra flavours at this point, maybe orange or lemon – just add some juice to the water. Allow the mixture to cool a little before adding your cranberries (it might be easier to do this in batches).
Stir so that the cranberries are covered, before removing from the pan with a slotted spoon and placing onto a cooling rack. (Don’t get rid of your sugar syrup if you want to try the following recipe). Allow them to dry for 1 hour.
Spoon into a bowl/plate of sugar (whichever you like, they’ll give slightly different effects). Let them dry a little, it shouldn’t take long. They look so pretty! They can be used as cupcake decorations, on a cheesecake..
They’re also good with cheese and crackers to ‘poshen’ them up! Which leads me to the next recipe…


Cranberry jam/compote/sauce/chutney
Pour cranberries into a pan and add a little of your sugar syrup.
Allow to simmer gently, adding more syrup if it starts to look a little dry. You can help with the mushing-down process by using a potato masher to squash the berries down (be careful, they pop!) and putting the lid onto your pan. When it’s all soft, it’s done! You can add more syrup to get the consistency that you want. You can use this in porridge, rice pudding, on toast, or as a chutney on cheese and crackers – spread some brie onto your crackers, add a little of the cranberry chutney and pop a couple of frosted cranberries on top.. Mmmm!

Easy Cauliflower Cheese Soup

13 Jan

Forgot to take photos, oops! Use your imagination if you will, it’s a smooth cream-coloured soup with grated cheese on top!

1 onion
1tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cauliflower
3 medium/large potatoes
2 bay leaves
pinch of thyme
chicken stock cube
cheese of your choice, however much you like!

Chop your onion and fry in the olive oil until soft. Add crushed garlic.

Add all of the cauliflower in florets, along with the potato (peeled and in rough chunks).

Add the bay leaves, thyme and the chicken stock cube (crumbled). Pour on enough boiled water to cover everything. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes (everything should be soft).

Season and blend.

When serving, top each bowl with a layer of grated cheese.