Melty Aubergine Bakes

2014-03-11 19.43.27You know when you are planning a meal and you realise you don’t have one ingredient? It always happens to me so I’ve learned to improvise. I’d already sliced an aubergine (but had no eggs) so I created these  – thick slices of aubergine underneath a tomato and onion layer, then covered with cheese and breadcrumbs. It’s dead quick and easy and doesn’t need many ingredients, have ago!

You will need: 1 large aubergine, 1 small onion, 2 big tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, mixed herbs, salt, pepper, 25g cheese, 1 tablespoon cream cheese, 1 slice of breads worth of breadcrumbs, olive oil, 2 tablespoons tomato puree, balsamic vinegar and rocket to serve.

Dice your onion and pop in a big frying pan with a teaspoon of olive oil, finely chop your garlic cloves and add these. Cook for 5 minutes, chop the tomatoes into chunks and add these and the tomato puree to the pan. Add a big crack of black pepper, a pinch of salt, your cream cheese and some mixed herbs and then take the pan off the heat when the cheese has melted in.

20140311_190041Grate your cheese and mix it in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and a bit of pepper. Turn your oven on to 200 degrees. Chop your aubergine into 4 thick slices and place on a baking tray. Divide the tomato mixture between the slices and then sprinkle a big handful of cheese and breadcrumbs on top. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes.20140311_190545While that’s cooking, put your rocket on the plate and drizzle with a little balsamic and some good quality olive oil. When the aubergines are cooked put them on your salad and serve. Voila!

This dish seems really posh but it’s actually dead simple and doesn’t take more than 20 minutes. 1 slice of aubergine would be great for a starter and like always, add more cheese, or tomato if you like. It’s really healthy, cheap and delicious – what’s not to love?!

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Warm Mediterranean Salad

DSCF1518This is a really quick, healthy lunch that tastes amazing. It was my cousin’s wedding on Saturday (congrats Jenny and Nicola!) so we spent Sunday in bed nursing hangovers and eating pizza (even food bloggers need junky days occasionally!). So it was time for a healthy lunch – this salad is full of flavour and a nice detox lunch!

You will need: a handful of black olives, mixed salad, 100g feta cheese, 1 small courgette, 125g cherry tomatoes, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons mixed herbs, 1 teaspoon chilli flakes

DSCF1512Chop up courgettes into bitesized chunks, half the black olives and the tomatoes. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the mixed herbs and chilli flakes and cook for 5 minutes. Toss the courgettes in the oil and heat for 3 minutes, add the tomatoes and olives and cook for another 5 minutes, add the feta, keep tossing everything in the pan and once the feta has started to melt turn off the heat. Place your salad leaves onto the plate and pour your warm veggies onto it. Drizzle the leftover olive oil onto the salad for a bit of extra flavour – crumble a little extra feta on top.DSCF1516

A lovely healthy lunch – packed with Mediterranean tastes and veggie goodness in less than 20 minutes. The sun is shining, summer’s on the way and this is the perfect dish to get you in the mood!

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Crunchy Sunflower Crackers

DSCF1445I haven’t made crackers before – but we eat cheese and crackers for lunch all the time. On Bake Off this year they made crackers and it didn’t look too tricky so I thought I’d have a bash myself. I didn’t have any semolina in (which normally dries out crackers) so I used plain flour instead. I think they turned out quite well – crumbly and crunchy, with a nice olive oil flavour. Have a go yourself!

You will need: 200g plain flour, 70ml olive oil, 150ml water, 20g sunflower seeds, pinch mixed herbs and salt.

First of all put the plain flour and olive oil in a mixer, use a dough hook attachment and mix everything. Slowly add the water by tablespoon and keep mixing. Add the salt, mixed herbs and half the sunflower seeds.  Squeeze the dough together into a ball and knead for 5 minutes. The dough is quite tough so you have to really work those biceps! DSCF1416Leave for five minutes, and turn your oven onto the highest heat. Cut the dough into thirds, roll each third out as thinly as possible. Some people use pasta makers – which seems a good idea (they’re a bit pricey so I used a rolling pin). Sprinkle the leftover sunflower seeds onto the rolled out dough, flip it and roll again. Use a small cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. DSCF1439Cover a baking tray with baking parchment and place the crackers on the sheet then brush them with a little olive oil. Place the crackers into the oven and bake for 3 minutes. Flip them over and put them in for another 3 minutes. Take the crackers out and place them on a wire rack to cool down. DSCF1448Eat with some lovely cheese and a chunk of butter or if you are vegan, try them with some tasty houmous. Or just have them as a nice healthy snack.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Grandma’s Lentil Soup

2014-02-20 17.17.56My Grandad is a butcher, so vegetarian cooking isn’t the most established tradition at my grandparents house but my Grandma makes the best veggie lentil soup whenever I’m there. It’s completely vegan, it’s full of goodness and has barely any fat. The slow cooking on a low heat really brings out the flavours and this is a lovely lunch.

You will need: 2 pints vegetable stock (my Grandma swears by organic stock cubes but it’s up to you), 1 cup of lentils, 1 large carrots, 1 large onion, 1 large potato, salt, pepper and mixed herbs.

2014-02-20 17.19.07Pour the stock into a large saucepan on a low heat. Peel your veggies, dice the onion and potato and slice your carrots. Add the carrots, lentils and onion to the pan. Cook on a low heat for an hour. Add the diced potato after an hour and leave to cook for another half hour. Season with slat, pepper and a big pinch of mixed herbs and serve.

2014-02-20 17.19.38This is a dead simple recipe, you just need a bit of time to let it cook. I’ve made this for my friends, my in laws, and obviously Sam and they all love it. It is a proper old fashioned soup, almost like a broth – absolutely full of flavour and so healthy.

Love, Mrs Gardom

 

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Broccoli and Cashew Soup

20140211_151220There is a tiny vegetarian cafe in my hometown and they made the best soup. I tried their broccoli and cashew (which seemed like an odd combination) and loved it so decided to make my own. This is one of those recipes that I make all the time for lunch – really healthy and full of flavour.

You will need: a whole broccoli, one large potato, one and a half pints of vegetable stock, one onion, three garlic cloves, oil and 100g roasted cashew nuts.

Dice the onion and the garlic and fry in some vegetable oil for about 5 minutes. Add the stock. Peel your potatoes and chop into small chunks and add to the pan. Chop your broccoli into chunks and add that as well. 20140211_135243Bring everything to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cashew nuts and cook for another 10 minutes. Blitz the soup in a blender until it is a thick consistency. I think the flavour from the stock is enough but if you want to add salt and pepper feel free (if you are using salted cashew nuts I wouldn’t recommend adding more salt). Let the soup cook for another 5 minutes and serve with some chunky bread.20140211_145909

This is a great soup, dead simple to make and very good for you. The cashew nuts add a really interesting flavour and it makes a nice filling lunch. It’s also completely vegan.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Mum’s Mushroom Soup

20140206_172106My Mum makes the absolute best mushroom soup – it’s from a really old cookbook, with a fallen off spine and splashes on the page. This is the recipe – creamy, tasty and fab!

You will need 1oz butter, 1 onion, 1 garlic clove, 2 tbsp flour, 1 1/4 pint vegetable stock, 6oz mushrooms, 2 egg yolks and 2fl oz milk.

Melt the butter in a pan, dice your onions, crush the garlic and cook them in the butter.

20140206_162830Cook the onions and garlic til soft and stir in the flour. Cook for a minute and add the stock, stir til it has all blended in and then bring to the boil. Slice all your mushrooms and add to the pan.

20140206_164047Take the pan off the heat and blend the soup with a hand blender. Separate your eggs and add the egg yolks to the soup, add the milk and stir everything together. Season your soup with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. 20140206_164830

There we go, this is a really lovely recipe – nice and comforting. Serve with crusty bread and lots of butter

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Lazy Sunday Casserole

20140119_160112Sundays when me and Sam both have the day off are some of the best times. Yesterday we had bagels for breakfast, Sam went out and bought the paper, we stuck our favourite records on while I painted and Sam read The Observer. Before embarking on my art marathon, I decided to make a nice big healthy tea, which I could pop in the oven and leave to cook. This dish is perfect for a Sunday tea, with the lovely smells of cooking casserole wafting out of the oven while you listen to Led Zeppelin and paint.

You will need: half a yellow pepper, 1 red pepper, half a cauliflower, olive oil, 100g chickpeas (soaked), 1 tin green lentils, 2 tin tomatoes, 2 large carrots, 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, coriander, tumeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, 500ml vegetable stock.

Pop your oven onto 120 degrees. Half your garlic cloves, dice the onion and fry in a little olive oil until soft. Chop all your veggies into big chunks. 20140119_115119Put your tin of tomatoes and 400ml stock into the casserole dish and season with 2 teaspoons of cumin (I love cumin!), 2 teaspoons coriander, 1 teaspoon tumeric, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add your lentils, chickpeas and vegetables to the casserole and stir everything together. Then just put your dish in the oven and leave to cook for about 2 hours. 20140119_124130After two hours add another tin of tomatoes, 100ml stock and a bit more seasoning if you wish and give it a good stir. Pop back into the oven and cook for another two hours.20140119_155900Serve in big bowls with some nice crusty bread – bliss. Because it had been cooked for so long, the gorgeous spices will have infused and the vegetables are nice and soft without being mushy. This is such a nice dish, you could even serve it with roast potatoes as a main. It’s also vegan and so very healthy!

Enjoy, Love Mrs Gardom

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