Healthy Couscous Salad

Healthy Couscous SaladSummer is coming and it’s always great to have some lighter meal ideas under your belt. I want a bit more from a salad than a bit of lettuce, tomato & cucumber though… I need some flavour! This gorgeous couscous salad recipe (adapted from Oh My Dish) does that by the bucket load. It’s packed full of goodness & it’s seriously tasty! I particularly love the addition of the sweet potato, it really kicks it up a notch.

Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish:

  • 150g Couscous
  • 300ml Boiling Water
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Sweet Potato, peeled & cubed
  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, finely diced
  • 1 Aubergine, sliced *
  • 4 Sundried Tomatoes, sliced + the Oil
  • 8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Handful of Rocket or chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • Juice of half a Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper

 * I ended up picking out the aubergine but, even if you don’t like it, keep trying! It’s the only way to change your tastebuds. Trust me – I was the worlds fussiest eater as a child!

In a large glass bowl, add in the couscous, a generous helping of salt & pepper and about 1 tbsp of the oil from the sundried tomatoes jar.

Pour in the boiling water, stir with a fork and cover with cling film. Leave to one side whilst we prepare the rest of the dish.

Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat then add in about 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Dump in the cubed potato and fry for a few minutes.

Then add in the diced shallot & garlic and fry for about 10-15 minutes until the potato is golden and cooked. (Soft in the middle.) Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Healthy Couscous Salad

Healthy Couscous SaladIf adding aubergine – heat a griddle pan over a medium/high heat. Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and grill on each side until nice charred lines appear.

When cooked, take out the pan and sprinkle with a little salt.

Healthy Couscous SaladBack to the couscous, which should be nice & plump by now. Remove the cling film & fluff up with a fork.

Healthy Couscous SaladNow all your ingredients are ready, add the sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and cooked sweet potato in with the couscous.

Season with a little more salt & pepper if it needs it. Squeeze over the juice from the lemon and add a good glug of olive oil.

Give it all a good stir and divide between serving plates. Top with slices of aubergine and a handful of either rocket or romaine lettuce.

Healthy Couscous SaladI absolutely love this salad. It only takes about half an hour to make, it’s tasty, satisfying & good for you too! In my opinion, it’s a perfect, bright & colourful Spring/Summer dish. Great if you want a bit of light, al fresco dining in your back garden or on the park!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

Mexican Breakfast & Scanpan Giveaway!

Mexican BreakfastThis week I have been sent a new Scanpan lidded sauté pan to test out. Having loved their roasting pan so much, I was really quite excited to try it out!

On another note, the Mr absolutely loves Mexican cuisine and he found a fantastic one pot recipe from Jamie Oliver. Guess what? You need a lidded sauté pan to make it, it was meant to be!

So here is what you will need to serve 3 people:

  • 1 Small Onion, peeled & diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, peeled & diced
  • 1 Red Pepper, deseeded & diced
  • 1 Red Chilli, deseeded & diced
  • 2 Fresh Bay Leaves
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 x 400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Tortilla Wraps, to serve *
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese, to serve

*For a gluten free version either serve on it’s own or use gluten free wraps.

Once you have prepped all your veg, heat a large frying/sauté pan over a medium heat. Make sure you have a lid for it.

Add the olive oil into the pan followed by the onion, garlic, red pepper & bay leaves. Season with a healthy amount of salt & pepper and cook for about 15 minutes until soft & golden.

Mexican Breakfast

Mexican BreakfastAdd in the chopped tomatoes & bring to the boil. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.

Mexican BreakfastGive it a taste, if you think it needs it – add in some more salt & pepper.

Lay the sliced fresh tomato over the sauce. Then make 3 wells, drop an egg into each one & sprinkle with a little salt & pepper.

Mexican BreakfastPop the lid on & cook over a medium heat for about 4-5 minutes or until the eggs are cooked how you like.

Mexican Breakfast

Spoon into the tortilla wraps & get it down ya! This is a seriously delicious breakfast & so easy to make. I love that it hardly makes any pots too! Certainly makes a change from that boring bacon & egg cob. Yes, it’s a ‘cob’ where I come from! :P

Scanpan Giveaway

Right, onto the Sauté Pan. A few things to note, the first being just how fantastic the quality is! There’s a reason this retails at £149, you really do get what you pay for. For starters, it’s nice & weighty but not too heavy to pick up, just the right balance. It’s safe for use on pretty much all hobs and it’s even oven & dishwasher proof. Making it really versatile in the kitchen & easy to clean. Not got a dishwasher? It’s still insanely easy to clean. Even the really tough crusty stuff just wipes straight off!

Also, because of the multi layered base (made from ceramic titanium, aluminium & other metals) it distributes heat really evenly and quickly. So you’re not stood there for ages waiting for the pan to heat up, nor do you get any uneven cooking.

And the non stick coating really is amazing. Not only making light of the cooking & the washing up, but you can even use metal utensils on it. Yeah, seriously. They literally won’t touch it it’s that good!

Another thing I noticed whilst using it is, due to the sides being quite high, it pretty much stopped all spatter from getting out the pan. I hate having to clean the hob every time I use it, and now I don’t have to! Brilliant.

 

Want to win one of these incredible pans for yourself? To be in with a chance of winning – just do one, or all, of the following 3 things:

1. Like the KitchenMason & Scanpan UK pages on Facebook then share the photo on my timeline

2. Follow @KitchenMason & @ScanpanUK on Twitter and retweet the competition tweet on KitchenMason’s Twitter feed with the hashtag #WinScanpan

Not on social media? No problem!

3. Subscribe to my blog via e-mail or WordPress (on the right hand side of the page) and leave a comment on this post to say you’ve done so.

 

It really is that easy!

Competition is open to UK residents only and closes on Monday 18th May 7pm.

The winner will be announced on both Facebook & Twitter afterwards.

I hope you enjoyed the post, and good luck!

Miss KitchenMason

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary Quiche

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheMe and the Mr love a good quiche. It’s proper comfort food but not like the Winter kind… more a spring/summer kind. Nothing beats it when you’re out on a picnic or enjoying an evening meal in the garden. It’s perfect for lunch, dinner, packed lunches or even the dish you take to your friend’s Summer BBQ! Always guaranteed to be a hit, it’s also a fantastic fridge clearer. You can pretty much chuck any leftovers into a quiche & it will still taste great! This particular combination was one I came across over at The Chefscapades blog and I couldn’t resist trying it out.

So here is what you will need to make 1 x 8″ quiche:

For the Pastry *

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 125g Unsalted Butter, cold & cubed
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp Cold Water
  • 1 Egg white, beaten for glaze

For the Filling

  • 2 Large Onions
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 90ml Milk
  • 90ml Double Cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 50g Gruyere Cheese, grated
  • Salt & Pepper

Essential Equipment

  • 8″ Round, Fluted, Loose Bottomed Tin
  • Food Processor

* You can, of course, buy your pastry & prepare/bake in the same way as below.

To make the pastry, dump the flour, butter & salt into a food processor & blitz until it becomes like fine breadcrumbs.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheBeat the egg with the water & gradually pour it into the food processor whilst it’s still on. Stop when the pastry starts to clump together. If necessary, add a little more water.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheTip out onto your work surface & bring together to form a ball. Cover in cling film, flatten into a disc and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

I like to roll my pastry out in-between 2 sheets of cling film because if you roll it out on lots of flour, you can upset the balance of ingredients & potentially ruin your pastry.

So, roll out your pastry into a rough circle approx 2 – 3 mm thick and big enough to cover the base & sides of your tin.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuichePeel off one layer of cling film, and using the other cling film layer to help, lift the pastry over your tin & press into the edges. (Cling film on top of course!)

Peel off the cling film, cut away the excess & prick the base all over with a fork.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuichePlace the base into the freezer to chill again for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C and place a baking tray large enough to fit your tin on into the centre.

Meanwhile, you can crack on with the onions.

Peel and slice the onions as finely as you can and melt the butter in a large, non stick frying pan over a low heat.

Add in the onions & cook, stirring often so they don’t catch on the bottom.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheAfter about 30 minutes, they should be beautifully golden and soft.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheLeave to one side to cool whilst we bake the pastry case.

Now your prepared case is sufficiently cold, scrunch up a large piece of baking paper, (not greaseproof as that will stick!) place over the pastry and cover with baking beans or rice.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuichePlace into the preheated oven on the hot baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheTake out the oven and remove the baking paper & beans. Brush all over with beaten egg white & place straight back into the oven for another 12 minutes until a light golden brown.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheLeave to cool for a few minutes whilst we make the filling.

In a jug, add in the milk, double cream, eggs, chopped rosemary & a very generous amount of salt and pepper to season.

Lay the caramelised onions over the base and spread out evenly.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuichePour over the egg mixture until it reaches the top of the pastry case. You may wish to do this after placing the tin in the oven to avoid any spillages.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheLastly, sprinkle all over with the gruyere cheese.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheWith the oven still at 190°C/Fan 170°C, bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese on top is bubbling and golden.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary Quiche

Essentially, this is a glorified cheese & onion quiche. I tell you what though, it’s totally worth the extra effort! Me and the Mr enjoyed this with some sweet potato chips and it barely touched the sides! A definite winner in the KitchenMason household and one that I will definitely be making again/playing about with over the Summer months to come.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

Microwave Choc Chip Cookie

Microwave Choc Chip CookieLast Christmas I was bought possibly the greatest cook book in the history of the world. I won’t lie, it’s also likely the most dangerous cook book in the world for your waistline, but my oh my is it amazing!

Microwave Choc Chip Cookie Mug CakesIt’s this delightful Mug Cakes cook book. I have since tried quite a few recipes from it and have genuinely not been disappointed once. This particular recipe however, is not actually a cake. It’s a cookie. A single serve, deep dish, chocolate chip cookie to be precise. And it’s made in just 1 minute in your microwave. I mean seriously, I can’t possess this recipe and not try it out right? That would be a crime against baking!

So here is what you will need to make 1 deep dish chocolate chip cookie.

  • 1 tbsp (15g) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 tbsp Plain Flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 tbsp Chocolate Chips
  • A Scoop of Your Favourite Ice Cream, Optional to Serve

Essential Equipment

  • A Small Mug or Large Ramekin*

* I used a 10cm Ø x 4cm deep ramekin

Right, on with the show! No need to preheat an oven or prepare any baking sheets.

Take your ramekin or mug & add in the butter. Pop it in the microwave for 15 secs until melted. (You may need another 5-10 seconds if your butter is really cold. But take it out, swill it around then put it back in or it could explode a little bit…)

Microwave Choc Chip CookieAdd in the caster sugar, brown sugar & egg yolk and stir until smooth with a fork.

Microwave Choc Chip CookieAdd in the vanilla extract, flour & salt and mix until combined and no more flour can be seen.

Microwave Choc Chip CookieNow fold through the chocolate chips, making sure to sprinkle some over the top.

Microwave Choc Chip CookieCook in the microwave for:

600W – 1 min 10 secs

800W – 1 min

1000W – 50 secs

If you have the patience, leave to stand for 10 minutes or so.

Microwave Choc Chip CookieWhen it’s cooled slightly, top with a scoop of your favourite ice cream (I think simple vanilla works great with this) and dive into heaven!

Microwave Choc Chip CookieI can’t believe I went over 6 years of my life not owning a microwave. If I knew I could make stuff like this, I would have bought one years ago! I was genuinely surprised at how good this tasted, especially considering it was made in the microwave in 1 minute. It’s perfect for those times when you really fancy a home baked cookie but really can’t be bothered to go to the effort of making a whole batch.

I sincerely urge you to get that book if you don’t already own it. It’s packed full of crazy delicious cakes & treats that are all made in or around the 1 minute mark. Absolute genius!

*Disclaimer: I will not be held responsible for your weight gain after reading this post!

Until next time lovelies :)

Miss KitchenMason

 

Peanut Butter Rocky Road Fudge!

 

Peanut Butter Rocky Road Fudge

Being a food blogger and a new Mum doesn’t exactly go hand in hand. There are literally not enough hours in the day to achieve everything I want to achieve. On the plus side, I’m discovering loads of great recipes that take next to no time to prepare but still taste great! Allowing me to enjoy being both a Mum and a blogger. This recipe is no exception. It takes about 10 minutes to make & about 2 hours to set. So the fridge actually does most of the hard work for you. That’s the kind of cooking I like to do!

Here is what you will need to make approx 36 pieces.

(Recipe adapted from Shugary Sweets.)

  • 300g Milk Chocolate *
  • 300g Dark Chocolate *
  • 125g Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 125g Mini Marshmallows
  • 180g Peanuts **

Essential Equipment

  • 8 x 8″ Square Tin or Silicone Baking Pan

* Yes this is a lot of chocolate. No it doesn’t have to be expensive! The 30p supermarket own brand 100g bars of chocolate are just as good as the expensive brands for recipes like this.

** If you can’t find unflavoured peanuts, just buy salted & rinse them well in a sieve with cold water. Then toast them in a hot, dry frying pan to get rid of any liquid. Allow to cool before using.

Right, let’s get cracking!

If using a baking tin, lightly grease and line the base & sides with baking paper. If using a silicone pan, there’s no need to do either.

Break the milk & dark chocolate into a large glass bowl. Add in the peanut butter and heat in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Stir well in-between.

Peanut Butter Rocky Road FudgeKeep going until all the chocolate has melted & it’s nice and smooth.

Peanut Butter Rocky Road FudgeIn the base of your chosen tin, pour a third of the marshmallows and spread them out evenly.

Peanut Butter Rocky Road FudgeAdd the remaining marshmallows & all the peanuts into the melted chocolate mixture and give it a good stir.

Peanut Butter Rocky Road FudgePour the whole lot into the tin & spread out with the back of a spoon. Press it in well to make sure any gaps are filled.

Peanut Butter Rocky Road FudgePlace into the fridge to set for at least 2 hours before slicing into a 6 x 6 grid, making 36 pieces.

Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Peanut Butter Rocky Road Fudge

This is honestly WAY nicer than I was expecting. Even the Mr (who doesn’t even like fudge) said he really liked it too! I don’t know about you but I consider that a success. It’s crunchy, chewy & seriously chocolatey. Can’t really ask for much more from a rocky road fudge can you?!

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

Chocolate Oreo Tart

Oreo Chocolate TartIt’s Easter Sunday and I’ve got chocolate on the brain. (Surprise surprise!) In keeping with my recent ‘it has to be quick & easy’ theme, I found this gem of a recipe over at LRF. I already had most of the ingredients in the cupboard and thought it just looked so sexy, I had to try it!

Here is what you will need to serve 8-10.

For the Base

  • 300g Oreos
  • 100g Unsalted Butter

For the Filling

  • 200g Dark Chocolate
  • 55g Unsalted Butter
  • 190ml Double Cream

For the Decoration

  • 4 Oreos (taken from the 300g already listed)
  • Chocolate Chips

Essential Equipment

  • 4 x 14″ (10 x 35cm) Fluted Loose Bottomed Rectangular Tart Tin
  • Food Processor

Reserving 4 biscuits for decoration, tip the rest of the Oreos into a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs are formed.

Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan then pour over the the Oreos in the processor. Pulse a few times until it starts to clump together.

Chocolate Oreo TartTip the mixture into the tart tin & press firmly into the base and sides with a metal spoon.

Place into the freezer to firm up whilst we get on with the filling.

Chocolate Oreo TartFinely chop the dark chocolate & cube the butter. Place it all into a large glass bowl and set to one side.

Chocolate Oreo TartPour the cream into a small saucepan and gently bring to the boil. (Don’t continue to let it boil – turn the heat off as soon as it starts to boil.)

Pour over the chocolate and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Chocolate Oreo TartGive the mixture a good stir with a wooden spoon. It should become a bowl of silky smooth chocolate heaven!

Chocolate Oreo TartPour the mixture straight over the prepared base and smooth out with either a spoon or spatula.

Chocolate Oreo TartCut the reserved Oreos in half and press in along the top. Scatter over some chocolate chips to finish and place into the fridge to set for at least an hour before serving. (The ganache filling should become firm enough to slice.)

Chocolate Oreo TartIf it’s actually possible – there are almost too many perks to this recipe! It’s a seriously easy, no bake pudding that takes only 10 minutes to prepare. With it’s super rich and chocolatey filling, it’s not short of indulgence either! And naturally, it’s made even more awesome by containing Oreos.

I would love to try this out with white chocolate instead of dark for a ‘cookies and cream’ style dessert. I imagine it would also be just as good with milk chocolate, if quite a bit sweeter and less rich.

Anyway, I hope your bellies are full to the brim with chocolate and I will catch you all next time!

Enjoy the rest of your long, Bank Holiday weekend.

Miss KitchenMason

Lemon Drizzle Easter Cake!

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeThere are lots of things that people don’t tell you about becoming a parent. Particularly some of the dilemmas a foodie parent might face…

For example, when I was making this cake – my 6 week old daughter Tilly decided that she wanted feeding 10 minutes before it was due to come out the oven. PANIC STATIONS! I somehow, miraculously, managed to solve both problems but it was an interestingly tense situation I can tell you!

I am slowly learning that timing is everything in these early weeks. Especially if you are trying to bake or cook as well. I’ve also learnt that one handed multi tasking is something you have to adapt to…

Lemon Drizzle Easter Cake TillyLets be honest though – there was nothing that was going to get between me and that pudding!

And these tiny people are much more intelligent than they let on. I mean, Tilly already knows how to take a selfie!

Lemon Drizzle Easter Cake TillyBaby antics aside, I wanted to keep it nice and simple again with this weeks recipe. Truth be told, I don’t have time for anything other than simple at the moment! So here’s what you need to make a gorgeous lemon drizzle cake with an easy Easter decoration.

(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food.)

For the Cake

  • 225g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 225g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 4 Eggs, Room Temp
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 225g Self Raising Flour

For the Syrup

  • 85g Golden Caster Sugar
  • Juice of 2 Lemons

For the Icing & Decoration

  • 225g Icing Sugar
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 180g Cadbury’s Mini Eggs

Essential Equipment

  • 20cm (8″) Round Loose Bottomed Cake Tin

Lightly grease the base & sides of the cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C.

Either in an electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk, cream together the butter & sugar until light and fluffy.

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeCrack the eggs into a jug and beat. Then, a quarter at a time, add them to the butter mixing well inbetween each addition.

If the mixture starts to curdle, just add a tablespoon of flour into the batter and mix it through.

Add in the lemon zest & sift in the flour. Mix again until the batter is nice and smooth but try not to over mix.

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakePour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeWhilst the cake is in the oven, let’s make the syrup.

Simply weigh the sugar into a jug & squeeze over the lemon juice. Give it a good stir until the sugar has dissolved, then leave to one side until the cake has come out of the oven.

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeWhilst still warm in the tin, use a skewer to poke holes over the whole cake. Then evenly pour over the syrup and allow to cool completely before decorating.

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and add the lemon juice. Stir well with a spoon until smooth. It should be a little thick but still runny.

Now for assembly!

Remove the cake from the tin & peel off the baking paper from the bottom. Place on a wire rack set over some newspaper or a baking sheet.

If your cake has domed in the middle, you may like to level it off with a sharp knife first. Otherwise, simply pour the icing over the cake and encourage it to drizzle down the sides with a spoon.

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeTop with the Mini Eggs & marvel at your creation! (Even though it was really quite easy to make, but sshhhh, if you don’t tell I won’t!)

It will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeI absolutely love lemon drizzle cake! Not only is it a baking classic, it’s incredibly simple to make and really easy to turn into an Easter dessert. It’s also something that the kids can get involved with. And no, I don’t mean by screaming when it’s almost ready like Tilly, I mean by actually getting stuck in and baking!

What a fabulous dessert to have at the centre of your dinner table this upcoming Easter weekend.

And on that note, I will catch you all next time!

Miss KitchenMason (And Tilly! x )