Monday, 2 June 2014

Recent Meals #5

Lemon & Lime Pound Cake

Who Cooked It: Rachel, although Simon helped with some of the zesting
What We Changed: We used very slightly less sugar (as we ran out), Sprite instead of 7-Up (cheaper) and instead of using water in the glaze, we used even more lemon and lime juice!
What We Omitted: We tried to dry the zest, but it didn't look very appetising, so we just used fresh zest.
How Easy Is It? This was my first attempt at using a bundt pan and it turned out really well. I'd definitely recommend using an electric mixer for this recipe (it doesn't have to be a stand-mixer--I have a little hand one), but as long as you have a mixer, the correct pan and the patience to zest a lot of fruit, you're good to go!
Verdict: This cake is really, really good. I made it for our Easter service at church and although there were leftovers (more for us!) everyone seemed to love it. It feels rather heavy when you're carrying it, but it doesn't taste dense at all. Highly recommended. We just need another excuse to make it...

Asian Chicken Noodle Broth
Source: This one is from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food, but can also be found online here.
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: We used mange tout instead of snow peas, a mixture of poppy and sesame seeds, more chilli (duh) and we happened to have green bird's eye chillies on hand, and added garlic. This recipe talks about "rice sticks" (which I don't think is the same wording as the recipe in the book) but we used rice noodles.
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? Not super easy, since there's a lot of steps and you have to flip back and forth between different tasks. But it doesn't take a long time either, so if you're good at multi-tasking and want a quick recipe, this one is definitely for you.
Verdict: We eat a lot of Asian food, so this suited us perfectly. It has a great mixture of textures and flavours with all the different vegetables, nuts and seeds. If you like strong flavours, you'll like this. 

Thai Chicken Pizza
Source: How Sweet Eats at Tasty Kitchen
Who Cooked It: Both of us
What We Changed: We used more shallots and zucchini, and just cooked it on a pizza tray rather than a pizza stone.
What We Omitted: We didn't need the cornmeal with the pizza tray, and we skipped the basil. 
How Easy Is It? Pretty easy, especially if you already have cooked chicken on hand. It's basically just chopping up vegetables and sprinkling them on the pizza dough. You can even cheat and use premade dough! We make ours using this recipe, but with a hand-mixer rather than a stand-mixer, which really gives your arm a good workout. 
Verdict: We love this pizza. Whenever we have a pizza night, Simon always requests it, and no matter what we pair it with, this one always comes out as our favourite. 

Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Prosciutto Pizza
Source: Handle the Heat
Who Cooked It: Both of us
What We Changed: We substituted goat's cheese for feta as we already had some in the fridge, used more prosciutto, and added some tomatoes that needed to be used up. 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? Even easier than the other pizza, since you don't have to cook the meat beforehand. 
Verdict: This one was really good, even if the Thai pizza is still our favourite. The flavours went well together, and the tomatoes were a good addition. 

Macaroni & Cauliflower Cheese Bake
Source: This is another one from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food, which can also be found here.
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: We played around with the quantities in this recipe--a whole cauliflower, slightly less pasta, slightly more crème fraiche, slightly less cheese. 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? Pretty easy. We've found that we don't actually have a bowl large enough to sit on top of the pan we cook the pasta and cauliflower in, so we just had a separate saucepan of hot water which we cooked the sauce over. In theory, this recipe sounds like it saves space on the hob, but not for us. It's still easy to make, even if it's not as practical as it sounds. 
Verdict: This isn't as flavoursome or exciting as some recipes we've made, but it's a nice, quick recipe. And who doesn't like cauliflower and macaroni cheese? It goes well with a green salad and some garlic bread, and we always have plenty leftover for lunch the next day. 

Chicken Mole, Veg & Rice
Source: This one is from The Slow Cook Book, and you should be able to view the recipe if you click on page 250 here.
Who Cooked It: Simon
What We Changed: This is a meal we had sitting in our freezer for a while, so I can't completely remember what we changed. I know we used chicken rather than turkey, and I imagine that we used fresh chillies rather than chilli powder, and we probably added larger quantities of spices. 
What We Omitted: Nothing that I can recall
How Easy Is It? Unlike some slow cooker recipes, you need to cook this one partially on the stove before transferring it to the slow cooker, so it's not as simple as it might appear. 
Verdict: We pulled this out the freezer on an evening when we were supposed to be going out, but I was too tired. Fortunately, it reheated well, and we had some veggies in the fridge to serve with it. Previously we've served this with different salsas and it's worked well. This is a rich, flavoursome meal, even if it's not one of our favourite Mexican dishes. 

BBQ Beef Beet Burgers with Avocado Feta Cheese Smash
Source: Running to the Kitchen
Who Cooked It: Rachel, although Simon helped towards the end
What We Changed: We substituted a combination of dried rosemary, thyme and oregano for Herbes de Provence, ground up some linseed in our pestle and mortar instead of using ready-ground flaxseed, and used feta rather than goat's cheese as we already had some in the fridge.
What We Omitted: Lettuce. It seemed a waste to buy a whole lettuce just to top a couple of burgers. 
How Easy Is It? You can buy pre-grated beetroot, which will definitely make the preparation time quicker. Otherwise, this is a pretty easy recipe--mix the ingredients together, make into patties and fry the burgers. The avocado topping is super easy to prepare as well.
Verdict: We always love trying new burger recipes, and this one was a hit! We served it with onion rings (from the freezer) and extra BBQ sauce. Definitely one to make again. 

Blackened Chicken & Strawberry Salad
Source: Cherry on My Sundae
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: We reduced the quantities a little as we were just cooking this for the two of us. Next time I'll probably half the quantity of the vinaigrette that I make as we had tons left over. 
What We Omitted: Onion powder
How Easy Is It? The vinaigrette takes a while to prepare, but the rest of the recipe is super easy!
Verdict: We served this with couscous mixed with more cranberries, some raisins and extra lemon juice, and it worked really well! Even if it took a while to make the vinaigrette, it was worth the time as the whole meal was super tasty. We don't make salads very often, but I think we'll have this one again sometime. Also, if you do make extra sauce, you can totally serve the leftovers over ice-cream ;)

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