Back To Basics: Salad

Back To Basics- SaladContrary to popular belief - I do actually try and make an effort to eat well. I can’t live solely on Chocolate Mousse Brownies, Millionaire’s Shortbread & Doughnuts. Despite the fact that I really want to!

Even though I eat far more now than I ever used to, I still have to ‘trick’ myself into eating healthy things. Take this salad for example. It’s seemingly healthy from the outside (not all that appealing to me if I’m honest) but when you look inside? There’s smokey bacon and feta cheese. These two ingredients make anything taste a bazillion times better! Helping me get my “5 a day” (something I find to be unrealistic at best) and making me feel better when I do ram a slice of Ice Cream Cake down my pie hole.

In the spirit of trying to be healthy, here is what you will need to make my “How to train a fussy eater to eat salad” salad.

(Serves 2 as a side for a main course.)

  • 2 Slices Smokey Bacon
  • 1 Whole Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Sweet Bite Pepper (mini pepper)
  • 2 Large Tomatoes or 6-7 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2-3 Spring Onions
  • 200g Feta Cheese (I use Apetina)
  • Salt & Pepper

For The Dressing

Back To Basics- SaladFirst up – the bacon.

There are tons of ways to cook bacon but I find this way to be no mess, no fuss & almost embarrassingly easy. Naturally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1. Line a baking tray with tin foil and lay on the bacon strips.

2. Place the tray onto the middle shelf in a cold oven & turn up the temperature to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

3. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes, (usually until you can just start to smell it) then turn each slice of bacon over and cook for a further 10mins or so until the fat is crispy. Yeah, non of that god awful stringy fat that a lot of people leave on – crispy. And don’t even think about cutting it off either – that’s where all the flavour is! Crispy.

4. Leave the bacon to one side to cool. When you have done, simply throw away the tin foil & put the baking tray back in the cupboard. No pots to wash either! Win.

Top Tip: When I am making a cooked breakfast on a Sunday morning, which almost always involves bacon, I cook a couple of extra slices in the same way as above. Once they are cooled, I chop them up and store in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days and then just toss them straight into this salad. Saves time & effort after a days work when, lets face it, we can’t really be bothered to to anything!

Onto the actual salad.

Back To Basics- SaladSlice the whole romaine lettuce into approx 1cm wide strips, then chop a couple of times in the opposite way to make the strips shorter. Dump it all into a large glass/serving bowl.

Slice the sweet bite pepper into small strips.

De-seed the tomatoes and slice the flesh into 1cm pieces. (If using cherry tomatoes, just quarter them & don’t bother de-seeding.)

Trim & slice the spring onions.

Top Tip: Find that you only use a few spring onions and the rest have gone bad by the time you go to use them? Simply trim and slice the whole bunch, allow to dry in the fridge for 20-30 minutes on a plate, then store in the freezer in an airtight plastic tub or plastic bottle. You can use them straight from the freezer in salads. As they’re cut so small, they defrost almost instantly!

Finally, cut the Feta cheese into cubes.

Place all the ingredients into the bowl with the lettuce & season well with salt & pepper.

Back To Basics- SaladTo make the dressing, simply add all the ingredients into a small glass or mug, mix together and pour over the salad.

Using two spoons, toss everything together in the bowl to distribute the dressing evenly.

Then serve alongside some sort of chicken or fish, or whatever you like really!

Back To Basics- SaladIt’s really not that difficult or expensive to make. And with the added bacon & feta – well, they say a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, this is probably the savoury equivalent!

Back To Basics- SaladIt’s also a great way to clear out your fridge of all those leftover vegetables you don’t have enough of to do anything with.

I Hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkThis is a recipe I have been trying to master for a long time now and I think I’ve finally cracked it! It’s so cheap to make, so easy to make & unbelievably tasty! Have I sold it to you yet? Good! Let’s get started.

Here is what you will need to make enough for approx 6-8 generously sized sandwiches.

  • 1 1/2 tbsp Paprika *
  • 1 tbsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 85g Honey
  • 2 tbsp/30ml Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp BBQ Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion
  • 1kg Boneless Pork Shoulder Joint (Fat on)

*If you can, use a good quality, smoked paprika – it will make all the difference.

Equipiment

  • Slow Cooker (mine is 3.3 litre)

Let’s start with the marinade.

In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic & thyme.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkThen add in the honey, red wine vinegar, BBQ sauce & olive oil. Give it all a good mix and set to one side.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkPeel & slice the onion in half then place at the bottom of the slow cooker, face down.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkSlice the pork joint in half and place on top of the onions. (Leave the fat on, it adds a great deal of flavour & is easily removable once cooked.) Then pour over the marinade. Try to cover as much meat as possible – it doesn’t matter if some of it falls to the bottom.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkLastly, pop the lid on and cook on low for about 6 hours or until the meat just falls apart.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkWhen it’s ready. Turn the slow cooker off and transfer the meat to a large bowl.

Remove the fat, then using 2 forks back to back – shred the meat.

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkDon’t forget about those onions! Take them out, finely dice them (be careful, they’ll be a bit slippy) and add them straight back into the meat.

Then pop the whole lot back into the slow cooker along with those gorgeous juices. Give it a good mix and you are good to go!

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkIf there is a little too much juice for your liking - simply put the slow cooker on high but leave the lid off. Cook until it’s the consistency you want (it shouldn’t take too long) and stir occasionally.

Then serve warmed in crusty cobs or mini ciabattas with a generous helping of coleslaw. (Use gluten free is you are coeliac.)

Slow Cooker Pulled PorkDidn’t I tell you it was easy? It’s the perfect addition to your summer BBQ. Spend 5 minutes preparing it in the morning then leave the slow cooker to do all the hard work for you. Genius! I guarantee your guests will fall in love with both you and the pork!

Considering how heavenly this is, it really is SO cheap! I had all the spices in my cupboards already and the meat cost me less than £3. Now that’s the kind of maths I like to do. Bargain!

In other news, have I told you about Stellar/James Martin’s new soft grip tools range? No?Stellar James Martin Soft Grip Tools

Stellar James Martin Soft Grip ToolsBefore the cynical among you ask, no they’re not paying me to say this. I genuinely love Stellar cookware and have used their stuff since I’ve ruled my own kitchen! It really is fantastic quality. But then, you wouldn’t expect anything less from products that come with a lifetime guarantee though would you?

This range is no exception. Their soft grip handles make them extremely comfortable & safe to use. Not to mention how robust they feel in the hand. Just picking them up – you know they’re not the usual cheap cack you get from the supermarkets and that they’re definitely going to last. I for one, will be using them all the time! If you want to know more, check out the Stellar site HERE.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this week’s post lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Crab Linguine

Crab LinguineYou may or may not be aware that I have been trying to train myself to enjoy the great riches of the ocean. I’m not fond of fish or crustaceans and I never have been, (if you can’t tell by the distinct lack of fish recipes on my blog!) but I can’t help feeling that I’m missing out on a great deal of fantastic food! So, as part of my ‘training programme’ I opted to try out this zingy crab linguine recipe from the awesome guys over at Sorted Food.

Here is what you will need to serve two people. (Easily doubled)

  • 200g (approx) Dried Linguine
  • 1 Red Chilli
  • 1 large Clove of Garlic
  • Handful of Fresh Parsley
  • 6 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3-4 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tin of Crab (170g) *

* It’s better to spend a little extra & use the jumbo crab chunks as opposed to the shredded crab

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil then cook the linguine as per the packet instructions.

Crab Linguine

Crab LinguineMeanwhile… make the dressing.

Finely chop the garlic and the chilli. You can leave the seeds in if you like it a bit fiery, if not – take them out.

Then chop the parsley and add this along with the garlic, chilli, olive oil and lemon juice to a small glass or jug. (Reserve a little parsley for decoration) Season with plenty of salt & pepper and stir to combine.

Crab LinguineWhen the pasta is cooked, drain the water and return it to the pan.

Drain the crab meat and stir this through the hot pasta along with the dressing.

Crab LinguineDivide between two warmed plates and sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley to finish.

Crab LinguineAnd that is literally it! It’s SO quick and easy to make and surprisingly (for me) really very tasty! It has a real ‘zing’ to it along with a little kick from the chilli, just delicious!

If you have never seen or heard of Sorted Food I highly recommend their website HERE. They have mountains of quick and easy recipes, most of which come with funny, yet informative, step by step videos on their YouTube channel HERE. I guarantee you will fall in love with these talented & fun, food loving lads!

Well, that just about wraps things up here. I hope you all enjoyed the post lovelies!

Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Tomato & Mozzarella Galette

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteAfter reorganizing all my recipes on the site, it occurred to me that I don’t have many pastry main course recipes. So this week, I made it my mission to find a new one to try. After trawling the internet for a while I turned up a little beauty called the ‘Galette.’

Not something I’d ever heard of before, but the more I read into it, the more I just needed to make one! It’s effectively a pizza with a rustic pastry crust. Sounds delicious right? You’d be correct in that assumption. And I know what you’re thinking, tomato and mozzarella? That galette is just gonna’ be swimming in juices!? Wrong. If you open the door half way, you will probably panic when you see how much liquid is there. But stick it out until the end of the cooking time and you will see that all the liquid evaporates to leave an incredible, melted golden mound of tomato and cheese. Take my word for it, it’s just beautiful.

Here is what you will need to serve 1 as a main course or 2 as a part of a main course with a side. (Recipe adapted from Hip Foodie Mom.)

For the Pastry Crust

  • 160g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 60ml Olive Oil
  • 50-100ml Cold Water
  • 1 Egg, Beaten for egg wash

For the Topping

  • 2 Balls of Fresh Mozzarella, Drained & Sliced
  • 2 Fresh Tomatoes, Sliced
  • Bunch of Fresh Basil, Roughly Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

To make the crust, put the flour, salt & olive oil in a food processor & blitz briefly until it’s all blended together.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteAdd a little cold water at a time and pulse until it comes together to form a dough.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteTip out onto a work surface and knead briefly & gently into a ball.

Tomato & Mozzarella GalettePlace in some cling film, flatten into a disc and pop into the fridge to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes. Meanwhile, you can be slicing your toppings.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

When the dough has rested, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out to a rough circle as thin as you can without tearing.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteLift the pastry onto a baking tray/sheet. Then leaving a 4cm/1 1/2″ gap around the edge, lay the mozzarella onto the pastry & sprinkle over a generous amount of chopped basil. Season with salt & pepper.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteThen lay over the slices of tomato. If you like, finish with more basil and a little more salt & pepper.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteThen roughly fold the edges up and over the toppings, lightly pinching the seams together as you go. Lastly, brush the crust all over with beaten egg.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteBake in the preheated oven for approx 45 minutes until the pastry is golden & crispy and the cheese is bubbling. Allow to sit for a few minutes before slicing and devouring like you haven’t eaten in weeks!

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteI am always happy to try any variation on the humble pizza. It doesn’t matter what that variation is. Anything with melted cheese is bound to be amazing, and this is no exception! A beautiful flaky pastry topped with delightfully seductive melted mozzarella,  temptingly sweet tomatoes & the powerful flavour of basil. Just amazing. You should totally try one of these!

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

Miss KitchenMason

Tapas Night!

Tapas Night!This week, with the inspiration of a new cookbook – me and my good friends Emma & Sarah decided to team up and put together a Spanish Tapas evening. After much deliberation, we each chose a few dishes to tackle and spent a day cooking together in the KitchenMason kitchen. With beautiful dishes such as Patatas Bravas and stuffed pickled peppers on the table, the evening was a huge & delicious success! I would highly recommend getting together with friends and giving a Tapas evening a go. Not only is it great fun, it’s unbelievably tasty too!

Here are a few of my favourites from the day…

Tapas Night!

“Eggs & Cheese”

Serves 6

(Vegetarian & Gluten Free)

  • 6 x Eggs
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Chives, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh Red Chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Put the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for a further 7 minutes. Plunge into a bowl of ice cold water (to prevent the yolks from going green) and allow to cool.

Once they’re cold, peel the shells and cut into halves.

Remove the yolks and rub them through a sieve and into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well then spoon into the halved egg whites.

Present on lettuce leaves topped with a single chive (if you’re trying to be a fancy pants like me!)

Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Tapas Night!

Pickled Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6

(Vegetarian & Gluten Free)

  • 200g Cuajada Cheese (or any fresh goat’s cheese)
  • 400g Pickled Peppers (we used pimientos del piquillo)
  • 1 tbsp fresh Dill, finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

Cut the cheese into pieces approx 1cm (or 1/2″) long.

Drain the peppers from the jar and slit the sides of each one. (Deseed if they aren’t already.)

Stuff the peppers with the cheese then lay on a serving plate. Sprinkle with the chopped dill and some salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Tapas Night!

Sun-dried Tomato & Goats Cheese Tarts

Serves 6

(Vegetarian)

  •  70g Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil (drained & 2 tbsp oil reserved)
  • 1 Courgette, finely sliced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • 250g Puff Pastry
  • Plain Flour, for dusting
  • 150g Goat’s Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat your oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C and line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or dampen slightly with water.

Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes, set to one side, then heat 1 tbsp of the reserved oil in a large frying pan. Add the courgette slices and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until golden brown on both sides.

Add the garlic into the pan, stir for about 30 secs then take the pan off the heat and allow to cool.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Then using a 9cm (3 1/2″) round cutter, cut out 12 rounds.

TOP TIP!! Never roll puff pastry into a ball and re-roll. Always stack the trimmings on top of each other and re-roll or you will loose all those lovely layers within & it won’t rise.

Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet and prick each one lightly with a fork. Leaving 1cm all the way round – split the courgette mixture between each disc then add the tomatoes. Top with some goat’s cheese, a drizzling of the remaining tomato oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for approx 10-15 minutes until golden, risen & delicious!

Tapas Night!

Cheese Puffs with Fiery Tomato Salsa

Serves 6-8

(Vegetarian)

For the Cheese Puffs

  •  70g Plain Flour, sifted
  • 50ml Olive Oil
  • 150ml Water
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 55g Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika, good quality!
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Oil for Deep Frying

For The Fiery Salsa

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • Splash of White Wine
  • 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Purée
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • Dash of Tabasco Sauce
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper

To make the salsa, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy based frying pan then add the onion. Fry until softened but not browned. Then add the garlic, cook for a further 30 seconds and throw in the wine. Allow to bubble down for 10-20 seconds or so then add the remaining ingredients to the pan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until nice and thick. Season with salt & pepper to taste and pour into a serving bowl.

To make the cheese puffs, Place the olive oil and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil then throw in the flour and vigorously beat with a wooden spoon until a lump of dough forms. Tip the dough into a glass bowl and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Tapas Night!Now, with a truck load of elbow grease, gradually beat the eggs into the dough. It will feel like the mixture is splitting each time but stick with it & it should come together. You are aiming for a ‘dropping’ consistency.

Tapas Night!

Tapas Night!Once all the eggs are used up, add in the parmesan cheese & the paprika. Season well with salt & pepper and give it a good mix. Cover & refrigerate until needed.

Tapas Night!

Fill a deep fat fryer with oil and heat to approx 180/190°C. Alternatively, fill a large saucepan with oil and heat until a cube of bread browns in approx 30 seconds.

When the oil is hot enough, carefully drop in teaspoons of the prepared mixture. Fry for 2-3 minutes – they should puff up and float to the surface.

Tapas Night!Allow to drain on kitchen paper for a minute or two and repeat until all the mixture is used up.

Serve the cheese puffs warm alongside the bowl of fiery salsa.

This one was a bit of a labour of love but totally worth it! I was intrigued by the idea of a savoury choux pastry, and now I’ve tried it?  I absolutely love it! Very tasty stuff.

There was one last little gem though, chorizo in red wine. This was, by a country mile, the star of the show! It was that good… I didn’t even get a chance to take a pic for you all! As a consolation, I’ve borrowed one from the internet and provided you lovely lot with the recipe so you can have a go yourself.

Tapas Night!

Chorizo in Red Wine

Serves 6

NEEDS 8 HOURS TO MARINATE

  • 200g Chorizo Sausage
  • 200ml Spanish Red Wine

Prick the sausage 3-4 times with a fork then place in a saucepan with the wine.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat & simmer for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a plastic tub, cover & leave to marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Reserving the wine, take the chorizo out the tub & remove the skin. (We found it easiest to use a vegetable peeler.)

Slice the sausage then place in a frying pan over a high heat. Add in the reserved wine and simmer until almost all the wine has evaporated.

Serve with cocktail sticks to spear.

 

Well, that just about covers our Spanish Tapas Evening. I hope you all enjoyed the post lovelies, until next week!

Miss KitchenMason

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with Couscous!

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousSo now we are in Spring, I think it’s about time to dust off those lighter meal ideas and start look forward to Summer! I’m kicking it all off with this gorgeous chicken and couscous dish covered in a sultry balsamic, garlic, and honey glaze. Here is what you will need to serve two hungry people.

For the Couscous

  • 90g Couscous
  • Knob of Butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 260ml Chicken Stock (Reserve 60ml for the Chicken)
  • 1 heaped tsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 4 Spring Onions, chopped
  • 15g Flaked Almonds, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

For the Chicken

  • 2 x Skinless & Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 60ml Chicken Stock (Reserved from the Couscous)
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 large Garlic Clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Honey

Tip the couscous into a large glass bowl, add in the butter and season well with salt & pepper.

Pour in 200ml of the chicken stock (reserve the remaining 60ml for the chicken later) stir briefly with a fork then cover with cling film & leave to one side whilst we get on with the chicken.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousPlace a heavy, non stick pan over a medium heat.

Meanwhile, place the chicken breasts inbetween some clingfilm & flatten to about 2cm thick with a rolling pin. Season well with salt & pepper.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with Couscous

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousAdd the butter & olive oil into the heated pan then lay in the chicken.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with Couscous

Cook for about 5-6 mins on each side until golden and cooked through.Cook for about 5-6 mins on each side until golden and cooked through.

Cook for about 5-6 mins on each side until golden and cooked through.Place on a plate and cover with foil to rest and keep warm.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousWith the pan still on the heat, add in the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, reserved chicken stock, garlic & honey and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until it reduces to a sticky glaze.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with Couscous

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousBack to the couscous. Remove the cling film and fluff  the cooked couscous up with a fork.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousTip in the parsley, spring onions, almonds and lemon zest and give it all a good mix.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousFinally, slice the chicken and serve on warmed plates with the couscous. Finish off by pouring over the hot, balsamic glaze.

Balsamic Garlic Chicken with CouscousAnd there you have it! This is definitely one I will be making again. It’s packed full of fresh, spring flavours and only clocking in at around 430 calories per portion. Not bad if you’re after that bikini bod or 6 pack for the summer! Oh, did I mention that it’s absolutely delicious by the way? No? Well it is!

Hope you enjoyed the post and I’ll see you all next week.

Miss KitchenMason

Honeyed Carrot Soup

Honeyed Carrot SoupAlthough spring is just around the corner, there’s still a definite chill in the air and I’m in need of some good old fashioned comfort food! This delicious home made soup has been a favourite of mine for a very long time. Yet for some completely bizarre reason, I’ve neglected to share it with you lovely lot! What a travesty! Today, I plan to rectify this mistake.

This recipe makes about 6 servings. (Approx 400ml each.) It also freezes very well so is worth while making a batch and saving some for those lazy days. Brucey bonus? It’s naturally gluten free!

(Recipe adapted from the BBC Good Food website.)

  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 Small Leeks, roughly sliced
  • 800g Carrots, peeled & roughly sliced
  • 2 tsp Honey
  • Pinch Chilli Flakes
  • 2 Bay Leafs
  • 1.8 – 2 litres Good Quality Vegetable Stock
  • Soured Cream to serve

Firstly, melt the butter in a very large saucepan over a medium heat and add in the leeks.

Honeyed Carrot SoupSweat for approx 4-5 minutes until softened.

Honeyed Carrot SoupNow add in the carrots, honey, chilli flakes and bay leaves.

Honeyed Carrot SoupCook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes…

Honeyed Carrot SoupThen add in the vegetable stock. (I used 4 x Knorr stock pots dissolved in boiling water.)

NOTE: If you like your soup thicker, use 1.8 litres. If you like it a little runnier, use 2 litres.

Honeyed Carrot SoupBring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Honeyed Carrot SoupVery important… Remove the bay leaves! Then all that is left to do is blitz it all up (in batches) in a food processor.

Once you’ve done that, return it all to the pan and give it a good stir. Have a taste and season with salt & pepper as needed.

Honeyed Carrot SoupAt this point you can heat it up again and serve with a big swirl of fresh sour cream. Or, like me, pour individual portions into Pour & Store Bags & freeze for a later date. Then when you do want it, simply take out the freezer the night before and allow to defrost in the fridge. If you are really pushed for time, tip the block of frozen soup into a saucepan and heat gently over a low heat. It will slowly melt and then heat up. But do keep an eye on it as the melted soup may start boiling before the block has completely melted, resulting in some spitting!

Honeyed Carrot SoupAnd there you go, a wonderful and healthy home made soup to warm your cockles! The blend of flavours is just lovely. First you get the sweetness from the carrots and honey, then a little kick from the chilli flakes… and the sour cream just brings it all together. Absolutely delightful! This has been and will remain one of my all time favourite soup flavours. Nothing in the world can replace that warm, comforting feeling you get from a good bowl of home made soup. Perfection!

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

Miss KitchenMason

Spicy Sausage Pasta

Spicy Sausage PastaIn need of a quick, easy and tasty midweek meal idea? Look no further! This super speedy dish is packed full of flavour and really simple to make. So what are you waiting for?! Here is what you will need to feed 2 hungry hippos. (Easily doubled.)

  • 200g Conchiglie Pasta *
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Hot & Spicy Sausages
  • 90ml Dry White Wine
  • 90ml Double Cream
  • 1 x Heaped tsp of Honey Mustard
  • Pinch of Chilli Flakes
  • 1/2 Bunch Fresh Basil, roughly chopped

* Any shaped pasta will do, e.g. Penne, Fusilli or Farfalle. I like the Conchiglie though, as it traps all the pieces of sausage.

First things first, get a large pan of generously salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Add in the oil then squeeze the sausage meat out of their cases and into the hot pan.

In a kind of ‘stabbing’ motion, use a wooden spatula to break up the meat and fry until nicely browning. (About 5 minutes.)

Spicy Sausage PastaThen pour in the wine and simmer for a minute or two until the sausages have almost absorbed it. (About 2 minutes.)

Spicy Sausage Pasta

Spicy Sausage PastaNow pour in the double cream, mustard, chilli flakes (if using) and season well with salt & pepper.

Spicy Sausage PastaGive it a good stir and heat through for a minute or two.

Spicy Sausage PastaWhen the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the pan along with a little of the pasta water. This starchy liquid will help to emulsify the sauce – meaning, it will bring it all together and help it to stick to the pasta as opposed to making a pool of liquid at the bottom of your bowl. Win.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the basil.

Spicy Sausage PastaServe in warmed bowls and devour!

Spicy Sausage Pasta

Spicy Sausage PastaHow awesome is that?! It took about 20 minutes to make, minimal pots to wash and two full and satisfied bellies. You can’t ask for anymore than that can you? You could try variations of this too. It would be lovely with any flavour sausage so even if you’re not a fan of the heat, skip the chilli flakes and you’ve still got yourself a seriously quick and delicious dinner. Brilliant!

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

Miss KitchenMason

Gran’s Incredible Quiche!

Gran's QuicheFor as long as I can remember, my Gran has spoilt us with delicious, home made treats. It’s amazing what this lady can do with a few, simple ingredients! By a country mile, one of her greatest & most renowned bakes has to be this quiche. Any time there is a family get together, and therefore – buffet, there are actually queues outside the door and sometimes, even fights over it. It’s that good. It doesn’t matter what anyone else makes, the quiche will be gone first. It’s a guarantee and for good reason!

As my Gran is so completely wonderful, she allowed me to invade her kitchen and commandeer the recipe for you lovely lot. Without further ado, here is what you will need to make the best quiche in the entire world!

For the Pastry

  • 110g Self Raising Flour
  • 55g Trex
  • Generous pinch of Salt
  • Cold Water

For the Filling

  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Powder (approx)
  • 200g Ham (approx)
  • 140g Strong Cheddar Cheese (approx)
  • 3 Free Range Eggs
  • 50ml Milk (approx)
  • Salt & Pepper

Equipment

Words From The Wise One…

Gran says you can use any ham you like. Whether it’s cheap, end cuts from the ‘bargain basement’ in the supermarket, wafer thin from a pack or tinned. Use whatever you have in your fridge/pantry. You could even fry & drain some thick cut bacon instead. You can also use any cheese you like. Maybe a strong cheddar or a blend of mozzarella and Red Leicester. According to Gran however, the all time greatest cheese to use for this is Grandma Singletons. Quite fitting for this recipe!

Right, let’s crack on. First things first, put the kettle on and grab a biscuit.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!It’s mandatory! You can’t go to Gran’s house and not have a cuppa and a biscuit. And only the best biscuits at Gran’s house of course. She doesn’t mess about!

So, now the prep is done, lets get started on the quiche.

Preheat your oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C. Grease and flour the base & sides of your dish.

In a large bowl, measure out the flour and the Trex and add the salt.

Using a knife, roughly cut until the Trex is smaller in size. If you have a pastry whisk – in a light, sweeping motion, whisk until ‘breadcrumbs’ are formed. Alternatively, use your forefingers and thumbs to lightly rub together until the same result is achieved.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Using a splash of cold water at a time, add into the centre of the bowl and mix with a flat knife. Continue to add a little at a time until it just comes together. Press into a ball ready to roll out.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick or until larger than the base and sides of your dish.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Carefully lift the pastry over the dish and lightly press into the edges.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Cut the excess pastry off on the outside edge of the ‘lip’. This will help prevent the pastry shrinking as much when you bake it later.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!At this point, if you’re not as quick as my Gran, pop the dish into the fridge whilst you prepare the filling ingredients. (Keeping the pastry cold will also help reduce shrinking.)

Chop up your ham into chunks and grate the cheese.

Here comes Gran’s twist on the classic. Take approx 1/2 tsp of mustard powder and spread it evenly all over the base. Trust me, I’m a granddaughter. Do it.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Now top it with all that ham…

Gran's Incredible Quiche!And the cheese…

Gran's Incredible Quiche!In a jug, beat together the 3 eggs, some salt & pepper and make up to 250ml with milk. (It should be approx 50ml but don’t worry if it’s a little more or less.)

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Pour the egg mixture evenly over the quiche and pop  into the preheated oven for approximately 30-40 minutes until a deep golden colour on top.

Gran's Incredible QuicheSo the secrets out. You now know the worlds greatest ever quiche recipe – what are you waiting for? Off your bums and into your kitchens! It’s the best thing you will ever make, I promise.

Now, my Gran’s from a ‘waste not want not’ generation. And whilst I was busy snapping pics of this beautiful quiche, she was in the kitchen using up those leftover bits of pastry. I know, those little scraps that we all just throw away right? She only went and made some custard tarts for pudding!

Gran's Incredible QuicheI love this lady. Seriously Gran, you are an absolute legend, and now everyone can experience a little taste of your awesomeness with this beautiful quiche recipe. Thank you!

So did you all enjoy the guest post/recipe? The Mr thinks it should be a regular thing and a new page should be added that’s completely dedicated to Gran’s recipes.

Gran, on the other hand, has little confidence and bucket loads of modesty! But what do you think?

Leave a comment below to convince my Gran that she is totally amazing & should have her very own page!

Until next week lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

The ‘Fridge Clearing’ Frittata!

The 'Fridge Clearing' Frittata!So you’re in a rush, you have loads of leftover bits and bobs in the fridge to use but you want something that is healthy too… my frittata recipe ticks all those boxes! It’s the perfect lunch, brunch, breakfast or snack and easily adaptable to suit any palette or fridge. Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a main meal or 3 as a light lunch.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil + extra for greasing
  • 1/2 Small Onion, diced
  • 1 Sweet Red Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, peeled & chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes, deseeded & chopped
  • 1 tsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 tsp Honey Mustard
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 20g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Chives, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

NOTE: You can substitute any of the vegetables to what you fancy/have in your fridge.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C

Lightly grease a 20cm/8″ sandwich tin and set to one side.

Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add in the oil, when hot – add  the onions and gently fry until softened.

The 'Fridge Clearing' Frittata!Add the peppers & garlic to the pan and fry for a few minutes until the peppers just start to soften.

The 'Fridge Clearing' Frittata!

The 'Fridge Clearing' Frittata!Add in the tomatoes, tomato puree, honey mustard and season well with salt & pepper. Fry for a minute or 2 then remove from the heat and tip into the prepared sandwich tin.

In a jug, beat the eggs together with HALF the parmesan, all the chives and a generous helping of salt & pepper. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and mix a little with a fork.

The 'Fridge Clearing' Frittata!Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and pop into the centre of the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until cooked through & golden brown on top. Serve with a side salad.

The 'Fridge Clearing' Frittata!There you have it folks. A super quick dish that’s dispensed of all those leftover ingredients you didn’t know what to do with. Not to mention the fact that it’s healthy delicious AND cheap! What more could you want from a meal?

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Until next time!

Miss KitchenMason