Thursday, 3 April 2014

Recent Meals #2

Simon has been having a lot of fun photographing our recent meals with his new camera, so here are some more recipes we'd like to share. Three new discoveries and two old favourites!

Falafel with Tahini Sauce & Pita Bread
Source: Just a Taste
Who Cooked It: I prepared most of it, and Simon fried the falafel right at the end. 
What We Changed: Nothing major: we used chilli flakes rather than powder, sunflower oil rather than canola, and bottled lemon juice rather than fresh. 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? Relatively easy, if you have a large enough food processor. I made the mistake of trying to mix everything together in our small food processor and ended up having to move it all to the larger one, which took up extra time. You do have to let the mixture chill for a while, so don't forget to factor that into preparation time!
Verdict: We really liked this, and it's a relatively quick, cheap and easy meal. We'll definitely be making this again. 

Sweet Potato Risotto with Bacon
Source: How Sweet Eats
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: I actually prepare the sweet potato according to the instructions in The Pioneer Woman's Butternut Squash Risotto. So instead of roasting then puréeing the sweet potato, I cube it and fry it. I used more sweet potatoes and shallots, substituted grana padano for parmesan, and just used two slices of bacon.
What We Omitted: Brown butter, sage and rosemary (although I used lots of parsley to make up for it!)
How Easy Is It? Risotto takes a while to make, so this isn't a quick meal, but it isn't that complicated. However you decide to prepare the sweet potatoes, I don't think you can get this recipe wrong as you'll know when the rice is ready when it stops being crunchy ;)
Verdict: This is one of our favourite comfort meals and we probably make it at least once a month. You can skip the bacon, just use stock rather than wine, or substitute other root vegetables or herbs. It's versatile. But not the prettiest thing to photograph, we've discovered. 

Crispy Zucchini Grilled Cheese with Dijon Horseradish Aioli & Garlicky Avocado Grilled Cheese with Tomato Pesto
This is actually two recipes, so I'll share their details separately.

Source: How Sweet Eats for the Zucchini Grilled Cheese
Who Cooked It: Both of us
What We Changed: We used white bread, unseasoned breadcrumbs, bottled lemon juice and we happened to have chilli wholegrain mustard so we used that.
What We Omitted: Garlic powder
How Easy Is It? We made a few silly mistakes--initially forgot the flour in the zucchini coating, tried to heat up the aioli as I'm not meant to be eating raw eggs--and since we were making two recipes at once, I can imagine it's easy to make such mistakes when you're multi-tasking in a small kitchen. Make sure you have plenty of space, and plenty of mixing bowls! And do not try to heat up the aioli. The oil will separate from the rest of the sauce.
Verdict: In spite of our mistakes, this was really tasty. Next time we have a grilled cheese night we'll probably just stick to one type of sandwich and make double portions as we really have limited space in our kitchen (one and a half counters). 

Source: Foodie Crush for the Avocado Grilled Cheese
Who Cooked It: Both of us
What We Changed: We finely chopped shallots and garlic instead of using powder, used unsalted butter, white bread, and happened to have chilli red pesto on hand. Also, I've never seen provolone cheese in any Scottish supermarket, so we used a combination of mozzarella and brie (because we had the latter leftover from another meal). 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? This is a lot easier than the previous recipe; the only thing you need to prepare is the butter mixture. Tip: room-temperature butter is not soft in cold, Scottish kitchens but if you put some in a bowl and leave it on the radiator, it'll soften enough to spread.
Verdict: This was really good as well, and we can't actually decide which recipe we prefer. We recommend both!

Pescado a la Veracruzana (Mexican Fish Veracruz-Style)
Source: Whats4Eats
Who Cooked It: Simon
What We Changed: Substituted tinned tomatoes for fresh and added some fresh coriander that we had in the fridge. 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? This isn't a super quick recipe, but most of the ingredients tend to be ones we have in our kitchen, so it's easy in terms of our usual cooking. 
Verdict: This is another favourite recipe that we come back to often as we love the combination of strong flavours. We make this with river cobbler fillets, which you can get ridiculously cheap at fish counters in most supermarkets (usually around £1 a fillet). 

Indian-Spiced Squash Soup
Source: A Couple of Cooks
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: We added more shallots, some garlic and cut down on the quantity of squash and stock as we were just making this for the two of us. We kept the spices the same, of course ;)
What We Omitted:We skipped the quinoa topping, although it does look good!
How Easy Is It? As far as soups go, this is pretty easy, but make sure you leave plenty of time to cook the squash and puree it. Mine took longer to cook than I expected. 
Verdict: We really liked it, and Simon was surprised that it was so spicy despite not having any chillies in it. Squash is always so cheap, and the combination of squash and coconut milk doesn't make this soup too sweet, especially with all the spices. We ate this with naan bread, which worked perfectly. 

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