Monday, October 14, 2013

Keeping it simple

I'm quite pleased as I have managed to cook a couple of different things since my last post.  As the title suggests, none of them were very complicated but that didn't make them any less yummy.

The first recipe I'm going to tell you about was one of my go-to lunches last year.  It's quick, easy and is perfect if you want something a bit different to a sandwich.  So here goes, the recipe for Sweetcorn and avocado wraps.

This is quite a flexible recipe but here's how I normally make it (quantities are for approximately one portion)
Mash up 1/2 an avocado with a fork (I used my blender on this recipe for the first time, but I actually prefer the avocado when it's a bit lumpier).  Next, squeeze in some lime juice (a little less than half a lime), stir in a couple of teaspoons of tinned sweetcorn (add as much or as little as you fancy).  I then like to add some chilli flakes, but they're not essential.  Finely chop a spring onion and add to the avocado along with some basil (fresh or dried) - once again as much or little as you like - and you can even add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Spoon the mixture onto a wrap and top with rocket, roll up the wrap and enjoy!

If you want more filling you can also dice half a tomato and add that to the avocado or a quarter of a red onion.  This turns it into more of a guacamole and is a bit more filling.  If you don't fancy rocket then other lettuce works just as well, but I must say that the rocket and avocado combination is yummy.

Sweetcorn and avocado wrap

My next recipe is not as tried and tested, in fact it was the first time I've tried it.  This is mainly due to the fact that it's a lamb dish and in Germany it is remarkable difficult to find lamb, so I saved this for when I got back to England!

I do have a set of scales but I have also got quite used to approximating quantities based on how much is in a packet.  I cooked this for Dave and myself and it turned out very well for a first effort.

You need to heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan (all the ingredients end up going in so make sure your pan is big enough to start with!)  When the oil is hot fry 325g lamb (remember this is for two people) for 5 minutes until brown.  Chop up an onion and after you've browned the lamb add it to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until it has softened.  You then need to add the spices.  Add about 2 teaspoons of ground cumin and 2 teaspoons of ground coriander and fry for another minute (make sure you mix it well to get everything coated in the spices).  Then stir in about 90g of rice (long-grain rice is recommended, if like me you'd rather use brown rice make sure you cook it for 10 mins before you add it).  If you can't weigh out the rice add about a handful per person.  Then add 2 teaspoons of dried oregano and 1-2 tablespoons of tomato puree.  Grate the zest of 1/2 a lemon and add that along with the juice of half a lemon.  Then pour in 425ml of boiling water.  I had a measuring jug but if you don't then find a glass which you know the volume of e.g. a pint glass and use that, or just guestimate!  All you have to do now is stir well, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes (I would say nearer 25).  I also steamed some veg in the microwave to have with this and just before you serve you can stir in some fresh parsley.

I realise that this recipe uses a lot of herbs and spices, but dried herbs and spices do keep for a long time.  Alternatively share them with a friend or cook for a large group of people, as I discovered last year, that is a very quick way of using things up!

One-pot Lamb with Rice

Finally, I made a chicken caesar salad.  Normally I get the ready-made dressing but this time I decided to make my own!  Once again I made this for two people, as it's always more fun when you're not eating something on your own.

Season two chicken breasts and try them until cooked (my recipe recommends 4 mins on each side but it may take a little longer), if you're unsure just get a sharp knife and cut them in half to check.  Crush a clove of garlic (or chop finely if you don't have a crusher).  In a bowl mash an anchovy (I used a fork to shred it), add the garlic and grace in a handful of parmesan (or equivalent cheese).  Mix in 2-3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar (I put in a little more than this).  It should be the consistency of yoghurt, but if it isn't add a dash of water until it is.  Next tear up some lettuce (I used a romaine lettuce but cos is also good, or just pick your favourite).  Shred the chicken onto the lettuce, add the dressing, mix, then grate over some more parmesan and if you want you can buy some croutons to sprinkle over the top.  (You could also make your own but as I don't have an oven I couldn't really do that).

This recipe was far quicker than I was expecting it took less that half an hour to make and tasted a lot better than the stuff you can get out of a packet (in my opinion anyway).

Chicken Caesar Salad

Well done if you've made it this far!  I'm going to try and keep my posts to one recipe in future!  I hope I've encouraged someone to try making something from scratch rather than going for the ready-made supermarket stuff, it really is quick and easy, especially once you've done it once or twice and the good thing about these recipes is that you can make more than you need and have some another day.  Watch out for my next post as it will be all about making cake without an oven (or even a microwave)!

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