Archive for ‘Light Meals’

May 24, 2011

End of the Larder … Green Soup


People are telling me off with increasing frequency for my lack of writing here at Good Bite In. I’m wondering, can a post on tonight’s dinner suffice? It’s an end of the larder meal. The kind you make when you have an odd mix of food left in the fridge that doesn’t really go together. The kind you wouldn’t boast about, you  wouldn’t serve up at a dinner party, you wouldn’t normally write about but the kind that somehow ends up damn fine and delicious.

Green Soup. Yes, you can tell by the photograph it’s very green. How do you make this? Firstly, it helps if you have a little bit of a cold, as on a balmy evening like tonight that’s probably the only reason you’d want to eat soup. Secondly, it helps if the only things left in your fridge and freezer are green. It’s not much of a recipe really. Whack everything green you have in a pot, in this case celery, peas, spring onions, spinach, watercress, soy beans, brussel sprouts, a vegetable stock cube (green too!) and Bob’s your uncle.  Okay I did add two non-green items – potato and onion – but being that they were the last in the larder, a couple more days and they would have been green too. Then, simmer and blitz. Serve with last few slices of homemade Sourdough if you’re lucky.

sarahx.

PS: The homemade Sourdough is a recent development … more on this soon!

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February 16, 2011

Picnicing in Oxford: Sausage Rolls by the River Thames


On Saturday night we had a party to go to in Oxford and seeing the weather was unusually sunny we decided to make a bit more of an adventure out of it. So early Saturday morning we headed out of London for Oxford and for a 10 mile walk along the Thames Path. The Thames Path actually runs the whole length of the River Thames, 184 miles in total. If you fancy walking a bit of it yourself, details can be found here. We started in Oxford City Centre and headed north.

The Thames Path ... headed North from Oxford

The walk was beautiful. Though being that it was the first day of sunshine after a lot of rain we got very muddy! Luckily we had a picnic to make us forget our muddiness…

Time for a break

Delicious Sausage Rolls, but the quick and easy kind made with sausages rolled up in home-made salt and pepper shortcrust pastry. They were certainly very hearty and good fuel for the return mileage back to Oxford.

Past Sail Boats, Ruins and a rather old houseboat

The party that night was great fun and was actually the real reason I’d made the sausage rolls. We’d all been asked to bring some nibbles along so I’d cut a whole bunch of the sausage rolls up into much smaller bite size sausage rolls (before baking) … I forgot to take a photo of those though, oops!

On the Sunday, after a hearty breakfast in Oxford we headed back to London. Lucky me, I got a pre-Valentines surprise from M on the way home!

sarahx.

A surprise on the way home!


Recipe: Quick Sausage Rolls with Salt and Pepper Pastry Recipe

Ingredients

Salt and Pepper Shortcrust Pastry (see below for recipe or else you could always buy plain shortcrust ready made)

Sausages

Egg, beaten

Sesame Seeds

Method

– Roll out shortcrust pastry and trim to long rectangle shape.

– Lay sausages end to end along the middle of your pastry rectangle (lengthwise). Gently bring one side of pastry around and over the sausages so they are completely covered, and tuck under.

– Brush remaining pastry ‘flap’ with the egg. and then roll the sausage roll towards it.

– With the join sitting on the bottom, squeeze together to allow it to be closed.

– Using a sharp knife, slice into desired size.

– Place on greased tray and brush tops with egg. Sprinkly with sesame seeds.

– Bake 180 degrees Celsius, about 40minutes, though the time will depend on the size you’ve cut your sausage rolls to.

– Can be eaten cold or hot.

Note: You can use Puff Pastry for these if you like but I like using Shortcrust as it makes them a bit more sturdy and they also stay nice a bit longer without going soggy like puff.

Very simple to make

Perfect Salt and Pepper Shortcrust Pastry Recipe (1 kg)

Ingredients

500g Plain Flour (and some extra for rolling out)

200g butter cut into cubes

Sea Salt

Pepper

2 Eggs

Dash of Milk

A couple of tablespoons of cheese, I used cream cheese but only because I didn’t have any cheddar.

Method

– Before you start, remember that pastry works best when kept cold so all stages should be done with minimum amount of handling.

– In a food processor place flour, butter, salt and pepper. If you are using a hard cheese, grate it and add it now. Blitz on the pulse setting until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

– Add eggs and the soft cheese if that’s what you’re using. Add a small dash of milk and pulse for a few secconds until the mixture starts to form a dough.

– Check the consistency. If it’s too dry and crumbly add a little more milk, but you want to do this gradually as the worst thing is a claggy pastry. If you add too much, just add a little flour.

– When you’re happy with the texture bring it into two separate balls. Flatten them a little and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let them rest in fridge for at least an hour.When it comes to rolling it out just dust your surface lightly with flour, but if you’ve got the right texture it shouldn’t really stick. Remember it’s best to work with pastry while it’s cold, so if youre going to be a while you can always just take small amounts of pastry out of the fridge at a time. It’ll stick less when it’s cold too.

Note: You can make the pastry the day before if you like. It also freezes well. I often separate it into several smaller balls and wrap them all separately and freeze them. That way they are easily to hand when I need some pastry and you’re not making them from scratch each time.

October 30, 2010

Heaven on Toast: Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese & Capers on Sourdough


Heaven on Toast this certainly must be …

Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese & Capers on Sourdough

… and when I’m in the mood for decadence at the breakfast table this is what does it for me. A thick slice of Gail’s Potato and Rosemary Sourdough (after a tip off from friend O), lightly toasted and topped with a thick smear of cream cheese. A couple of lightly placed layers of Smoked Salmon, a sprinkling of salt packed capers and a squeeze of lemon.

Just a squeeze of lemon

It was my birthday breakfast after all …

S.

October 29, 2010

Good Bite In My Lunchbox: Red Rice Salad with Orange & Apricot


Ever since spotting this California inspired red rice salad on Eat.Live.Travel.Write I’ve had a hankering for a wild rice salad. Maybe it’s because it looked so fresh and summery and I’m feeling the need for an antidote to autumn. It came to mind this morning when I was making lunchboxes for M and me but the only ingredient I had was the red rice. I ended up creating my own version … a Red Rice Salad with Orange & Apricot. I’ll  have to go back to Eat.Live.Travel.Write’s version another time.

So here’s what went in our lunchboxes today.

Red Rice Salad with Apricot and Orange

So what do you need?

125g sachet Camargue Rice (Red Rice), boiled but so it retains a little bite

1 Orange (you’ll use juice and rind)

3 Spring Onions, finely chopped

6 Dried Apricots, sliced in strips

Rocket (2 cups or so – up to you)

Lemon Juice (Just a splash)

Handful Shelled Pistachios (Toasted lightly in oven with a little salt)

Salt

So how do you put it together?

In a bowl combine drained and cooled rice, spring onions, apricots, rocket and pistachios.

You have two options for the orange  rind in this salad – you can either grate the rind or else … using a peeler take 4 or 5 strips of rind from the orange. Tidy the strip up into a rectangle with knife and then cut in very thin strips. Add these to your salad.

Now you can cut the orange in half and squeeze all the juice out. Use this and the splash of lemon juice to dress the salad. Season well.

Nutty and Zesty!

Hope you enjoy this good bite in our lunchbox from today … it was delicious!

S.

October 14, 2010

Good Bite in my Lunchbox: Beetroot, Green Beans, Feta and Toasted Pistachios


M and I both take a packed lunch to work whenever we can and generally take turns to prepare them. But day in day out packed lunches can easily slip into being monotonous. So a couple of times a week we try to mix it up a little. Not with anything that takes a ridiculous amount of time to prepare,  just something different from normal. So today I’m starting recording these with what I’m calling Good Bite in my Lunchbox. First up is today’s lunch, a salad of Beetroot, Green Beans, Feta and Toasted Pistachios.

 

Salad of Beetroot, Green Beans, Feta and Toasted Pistachios

 

So what do you need:

Trimmed green beans, lightly steamed so they retain their colour and crunch, then rinsed under water until cold. (I love them raw too – but that’s up to you)

Cooked and peeled beetroot (use pre-cooked packaged beetroot if you like, just not the vinegar kind … or if you have any left over roast beetroot use this)

Greek Feta

Pistachio nuts, shelled and toasted lightly in a 170 degree Celsius oven with a little sea salt (You can buy them pre-shelled and most Asian supermarkets)

Handful fresh mint leaves

Splash lemon juice

Splash Olive Oil (Optional)

Honey – about half tspn per person

Salt and Pepper (nuts and feta are both salty so you won’t need much)

Note on quantities: Now I am loath to dictate exactly how much you should put of this or that as I believe you should make it according to how you like it balanced – and also how much you want to make. If you have a glut of beans, put loads in … likewise with beetroot. Just be careful not to go overboard on the feta and pistachios – both are very salty and you don’t want to make the salad too rich.

So how do you do it:

In a cup, whisk together the lemon juice, honey and oil. Place beans in the bowl / lunchbox and give a light with dressing. Add a touch of salt and pepper. Lightly toss to mix through. You do this now as once you start adding the beetroot it will transfer colour to everything. Layer on quartered segments of beetroot, crumbled greek feta,  pistachio nuts and mint leaves. Lid on – ready to go.

 


Good Bite in my Lunchbox Number 1

 

Looking forward to lunch now!

S.

NB: If a salad isn’t quite enough for your lunchbox, this would go well with some ryebread / ryecrackers or sourdough on the side … or even a piece of grilled chicken. Also if you don’t have pistachios then walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds would all make good substitutes.

October 12, 2010

Good Bite In 15 Minutes: Haddock and Minty Pea Salad


I mentioned before that things have been a bit hectic and sparing time to cook hasn’t been easy.  It’s periods like this that I usually resort to those easy to whip up dishes … the kind I think we all have to fall back on when need be. This is one of mine that I usually make summertime but yesterday when London decided to have a last ditch effort at pre-winter sunshine it seemed the perfect thing to whip up.

 

Haddock and Minty Pea Salad

 

It really is dead simple:

You need:

1 tray and 1 bowl

A couple of fillets of white fish eg. Haddock (I usually use a fillet per person)

1 red onion

2 cups peas (feel free to use fresh or frozen)

A handful of mint to taste

A few splashes of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of lemon grass minced (Optional but give it a bit of something extra)

Salt and Pepper

Then:

– Place fish on a tray lined with foil for easy cleaning. Drizzle with a little lemon juice and a touch of salt and pepper. Place under a medium grill. Depending on your grill it should take about 10 minutes to cook, while it cooks you can prepare the salad.

– Steam your peas but only so much as they soften but still remain their colour.

– Meanwhile, slice the onion into as fine rings as you can.

– Place peas and onions in bowl. Tear up mint into pieces and add them in. Add lemongrass and lemon juice. Toss together.

– Fish should be ready by now. If you’re not sure if it’s done check that the flesh lightly flakes off when prodded with a fork.

– Either serve fish whole with salad on the side or else flake the fish up and stir through the salad. It’s nice both ways.

S.

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