Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad

Vegan Pesto Pasta SaladI’ve recently started a new job and Sam has been working loads so cooking excellent food and blogging about it has kind of been on the backburner this week! As lunch times are either just before or just after work I wanted to make something quick and healthy that could stay in the fridge. So I made my pesto pasta salad. I always make this for buffets or family parties because it is just so simple yet the taste and texture are awesome. These quantities are for a massive batch that you can shove in a bowl, leave in the fridge, and grab yourself a plate in a rush but if you want to make smaller portions, go ahead!

You will need: 200g Fusili, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 5 tablespoons of green pesto (I love pesto!), 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds, a good handful of walnuts, 100g pitted queen olives and 25g chopped nuts.

Pop your pasta in a pan and cook (I cook mine for 12 minutes). When it is done to your liking, drain in a colander and leave to cool. Take a large salad bowl and pour the cool pasta in. First of all add your pesto and give it a really good stir with a wooden spoon. Slice your olives and add them along with the rest of the ingredients. Season to your liking (I used aromat, black pepper, and some basil) and make sure everything is mixed together.Vegan Pesto Pata Salad

And that’s it. A really gorgeous healthy meal that takes no time to cook and is a bit different from an egg mayo sarnie. It’s also vegan (hurrah!) but if you fancy you could put some chunks of mozzarella or feta in. In fact, I am tucking into a plate myself now.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Banana, Fruit and Nut Squares

   banana fruit nut squaresWell I thought my chocolate fudge traybake was a success so I decided to do another! I had some bananas in that were past their best (I like them when they are green!) so I decided to make a banana based cake. I must admit it was a bit of a throw everything in and hope for the best recipe, but it tastes great! Instead of just banana bread, these tasty squares are packed with raisins, nuts, maple syrup and bananas – awesome!

You will need: maple syrup, 150g sugar, 100g butter, 100g self raising flour, 25g plain flour, 3 overripe bananas, 40g chopped nuts, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons milk, 50g raisins.

First of all preheat your oven to 190 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, then pour a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup onto the greased baking tray (it makes the top of the squares lovely and gooey). 20140314_143136Mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork, till it forms a sort of puree. Cream your butter and sugar together in a mixer and add the eggs, banana and milk. Sift in the flour, add 3 tablespoons maple syrup, and mix it all together. Then add your raisins and nuts, mix together, and then pour the mixture into the baking tray. 20140314_143301Bake for 25 minutes, turn out on a wire rack and chop into squares.

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p style=”text-align:center;”>This is a really lovely bake, with a light, moist texture and loads of great flavours. And it has fruit in so you could even say it was healthy (I’m not convinced either!) Eat a slice as an afternoon snack with a big cup of tea, or drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy for pudding!banana fruit nut squares

Love, Mrs Gardom

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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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Chocolate Fudge Traybake

chocolate fudge traybakeI was watching Mary Berry Cooks the other night and she made a chocolate traybake – I thought I’d have a go at my own, I’ve used elements of her recipe (Thanks Mary!) but added my own twist. Instead of the usual cakey texture, this chocolate traybake has a really chewy, sticky fudge texture, with a crunchy top – which I love.

You will need:60g hot chocolate (it’s a sweeter flavour than cocoa and fudge should be sweet), 3 eggs, 150ml milk, 1 tsp baking powder, 100g margarine, 275g sugar, 175g self raising flour, 120ml boiling water, 50g white chocolate buttons.chocolate fudge traybakePut the cocoa powder and the boiling water into your mixer and whisk it together. Then add in the butter and sugar and mix. Add the eggs and milk and whisk and then add the baking powder and flour. Crush up the white chocolate with a rolling pin into little pieces, add them to the mix and make sure everything is combined.

Heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking  tray with baking parchment. The cake mixture should be really runny and gloopy so you are able to pour it into the baking tray.chocolate fudge traybake

Place into the oven and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and leave your cake in the oven for another 20 minutes. Take the cake out and check it is cooked (pop a knife in the middle- if it comes out clean you’re good). Turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

chocolate fudge traybakeI served this with a homemade chocolate sauce as a dessert – my Swiss Grandma’s recipe, and I will post that soon! If you want to make a really posh dessert, you could use cookie cutters to cut the tray bake into round shapes and smother with homemade chocolate sauce. This is a lovely gooey, tasty treat, perfect for having friends over or a slice yourself.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Creamy Mushroom and White Wine Pie with Oven Baked Mash

DSCF1584I made pie for the first time a couple of months ago and since then I’ve been experimenting with different veggie fillings – I think this is the best. Oh, and it’s National Pie Week – which is definitely a reason to celebrate! My mum came up to see us for a couple of days so I wanted to make something really lovely for tea, she has cooked for me for my whole childhood after all, so it’s a bit of a trickier recipe but definitely worth a try if you want to impress!

For the Pie

You will need: 125ml dry white wine, 200g white mushrooms, 1 flat mushroom, 10g dried porcini mushrooms, (Soaked in enough water to cover them), 2 garlic cloves,  3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon aromat seasoning, 1 large onion, 500ml vegetable stock, 150g plain flour,  5 tablespoons of water, 150ml single cream, black pepper, 75g margarine/butter (+ some for brushing on the top).

To make the pastry rub the butter and flour in a mixing bowl until it forms a breadcrumby texture, then add the water and mix with a spoon. Press the pastry into a ball, adding more water if you need, cover the ball in cling film and pop in the fridge for half an hour.

DSCF1572Dice your onion and crush the garlic cloves and put in a large frying pan with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Once the onions are brown, add the stock and the white wine to the pan, turn the heat on high until it starts to bubble and then put a lid on and turn the heat to medium. Chop your mushrooms into quarters, and your flat mushroom into chunks. Add to the pan and stir. Add the porcini  mushrooms, along with the liquid they have been soaking in. Now leave to simmer for twenty five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cream.

Put your oven onto 190 degrees. Take your pastry out of the fridge – chop a third off and keep to one side. Roll out the remaining pastry thinly on a floured surface so it is large enough to line your pie dish. Put the pastry in the dish and blind bake for 10 minutes. In your saucepan, the mushrooms should be soft and the sauce should be nice and thick, season with a little pepper and a teaspoon of aromat, if the sauce is runny still, higher the heat and cook for another five minutes.

Mushroom PieRoll out the remaining third of pastry until it will cover the top of the pie. Pour the mushrooms and the sauce into the pastry, then place the pastry lid on top of the pie. Pinch the edges shut and brush the top of the pie with some melted butter (instead of melting butter in a pan, I place a few little lumps on top and the hot pie filling will melt it for you). Put the pie in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

For the Mash

You will need: 5 potatoes, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon cream.

DSCF1579Peel the potatoes and boil them for 15 minutes then drain in a colander. I also served this with some sliced carrots, but I’m sure you know how to do that! Put the potatoes back in the pan, add the butter and cream, and mash everything together until it is really smooth. Put the mash into a casserole dish and pop in the oven when you put the pie in.

pie and mashThere we go, a lovely, lovely pie, perfect for a family meal or a special occasion (Easter’s coming up folks!). The flavours are really rich and earthy, it’s a great dish if you are entertaining people who aren’t used to veggie food.

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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It’s Scouse Day!!! Blind Scouse Recipe

 

DSCF1485So today is International Scouse Day – if you are unaware of the delights of Liverpudlian cuisine, Scouse is a thick chunky stew served with crusty bread and it dates back to 1706, and is traditionally a dish eaten by sailors (according to Wikipedia, anyway). My Grandad makes the best Scouse in the world. That’s just a fact. I remember eating it as a little kid in my Grandparent’s dining room – awesome. Blind Scouse is the term for Scouse without meat (don’t worry though this one doesn’t involve boiled animal bones) – it is Scouse day and we shall eat Scouse! Here’s how…

You will need: 1 large onion, 3 large carrots, 4 large potatoes, 200g lentils/ pearl barley broth mix, 700ml water, 1 vegetable stock cube, salt.

Soak your pearl barley mix in hot wtaer for as long as possible (most people say overnight but I’m never that organised, an hour or two will be fine). Chop up your carrots, onion and potato and pop in a large pan. Add your water and then put your stock cube in the pan and crush it with a spoon. Then add you barley mix. Have a good stir, pop a lid on the pan and leave for an hour. DSCF1472Give another good stir, add a bit of salt and pepper, and a splash more water and leave for half an hour. Season to taste (I think it should be really salty) and serve with crusty bread and loads of butter.  2014-02-28 18.38.49This is the ultimate homely, wholesome, tasty tea. A proper English classic. I love my city, and the fact it has it’s own dish is awesome. If you’re a Liverpool local or have never heard of the stuff, give it a try!

Love, Mrs Gardom

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