Sometimes you just need a quick weeknight dinner! Here’s a great idea that’s low in cost and a perfect way to sneak in a vegetarian meal. But if you’re feeling carnivorous, just add some cooked chicken or chorizo. And if you like a bit of kick, add some chopped jalapeños or even better serve some pickled jalapeños on the side! The combination of the cold, spicy crunch and the warm, cheesy rice is a perfect winter comfort food!
~2 cups of cooked rice or single package of cooked rice
~2 (bell) peppers
1 red onion
1 can of corn
1 can of taco beans
1 packet seasoning (either chilli, fajitas or tacos)
~couple of spring/green onions
~large handful grated cheese
Preheat oven to 200C. Chop peppers into a dice and toss into hot frying pan with dash of oil. Meanwhile chop red onion. When the peppers start to soften, add the onion and cook for few more minutes. Add some of the seasoning packet. Add the rice and combine. Heat through a couple of minutes. Fold through the corn and beans.
Scramble the eggs in small bowl with rest of seasoning packet. Chop the spring onion and mix through the rice. Fold the eggs through. Pour mixture into casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Read Full Post »
Last week, I needed to come up with a quick dinner that didn’t involve rice or pasta or fish & chips. My husband suggested a ‘Spanish omelette’ – to which I said “Huh?!”. We proceeded to have one of our very funny arguments/discussions that are common when you have a trans-atlantic relationship. Others have included “what is a ‘cup’ as a measuring unit?” and “why don’t you have to refrigerate squash”.
So the ‘discussion’ got me thinking on how exactly do you differentiate between an omelette, frittata and ‘Spanish omelette’? So here goes:
- A frittata is an Italian word which is a general term for cooking eggs in a skillet. Typcially a frittata is made with eggs that are whipped to create a light texture. It’s cooked slowly and is flipped as a whole or finished under the oven. The additional ingredients are often cooked first and the eggs are added in after.
- A standard omelette (according to Escoffier) consists of three eggs with seasoning of a small pinch of table-salt and a little pepper and requires 1/2 oz of butter. It is effectively “scrambled eggs enclosed in a coating of coagulated egg” (The Escoffier) and is therefore cooked on low/medium heat.
- A “Spanish Omelette” or as it is known in Spanish a “Tortilla” traditionally consists of eggs, onion and potato. I’ve read a few different methods. Some cook the onion and potato first and pour the egg right in. Some cool the onion and potato after cooking and add to the raw egg mixture to let the flavors mingle. Some put it under a grill/broil to cook the top or in an oven. And some let the bottom set and then use a plate to flip it out and then tip it back in.
So there you have it. The differences between frittata, omelette and a Spanish omelette. Also in case you’re wondering, “omelet” is the way it’s often written in the US but “omelette” is the actual French spelling. Now seeing that I studied in Spain (Sevilla) for 6-months during college, I’m a purist and believe that a Spanish omelette can only be called such if it’s potato, onion and egg. However, my husband was insisting that he grew up with Spanish omelettes being an omelette with any type of vegetable or leftover. And I had to bite my lip after strongly disagreeing when I saw Tesco selling a “Spanish Omelette” – one with potato and the other with red pepper and chorizo.
So hope you enjoyed all those little facts! After all that, I ended up making what my husband affectionately called a Spanish omelette and what I will continue to insist is a frittata for dinner last night. The method I chose was to chop into small dice – potatoes, leeks and a red (bell) pepper. I cooked the potatoes first until they were starting to soften and then tossed the leeks and pepper in. Let it all cook a few more minutes. Cracked my eggs, seasoning and a splash of milk in a bowl and whisked. Drizzled a bit more olive oil around the edges of the vegetables and poured the eggs in. On medium heat, I let the egg start to cook and gently moved it all around until I had at least a third of the egg cooked and a layer on the bottom forming. I had the grill (in the US we call it a boiler) on mark 4 and popped the ‘frittata’ into the oven. Make sure you have a pan that is oven proof though! And I just let it cook until the top was golden and it was springy to the touch. Serve with some salsa or salad!
Read Full Post »
Posted in Latin American Cuisine, tagged soup on February 20, 2012 |
Leave a Comment »
As many Brits will know, there’s been a bit of a cold spell here in the UK. As a result I’ve been on a bit of a soup binge. I’ve actually found it challenging to find new soup ideas that didn’t include cream or potato.. I have a tendency to fall back on my favourites like curried butternut squash or sweet potato or potato and leek. Whenever possible I try to make my blended soups “creamy” by adding potato or coconut milk.. Anything other than cream.. Mainly so I feel less guilty if I feel like dunking some bread in.
Although they’re not quite in season I had a lovely Asparagus and Leek Soup the other day (my soup recipes can be found here). I added one medium potato, one celery stick and homemade stock and it was creamy and full of flavor! I also tried a Bacon and Savoy Cabbage soup which wasn’t too bad. It was ever so slightly bitter.. May need to use less cabbage next time.
But for my lunch on Monday I made my version of Black Bean Soup. If you like chilli or Latin American food in general, you’ll like this. Yes it’s a black soup and may not look like your average soup, but wait until you try it! Unfortunately as with most of my soups I don’t exactly measure. Remember to taste taste and taste again! Everyone has different salt and spice tolerances.
For about 4 portions
500g Black Beans (it might say turtle beans)
2 beef stock cubes
1 medium/large onion
2 chorizo sausage links (not smoked)
1-2 bay leaves
garlic powder or salt
chipotle powder (optional)
garnish with chopped tomatoes, feta, coriander and crushed tortilla chips
Soak your beans overnight with enough water to cover it by a few inches. Strain and set them aside.
Remove the sausages from their casing. If you don’t have sausages, chopped bacon would be great too. Add a splash of oil to a medium or large pot (with lid) and let the sausages brown. Meanwhile chop your onion finely. Add it in and let it cook for a couple of minutes with the sausages. Next fold the beans in. Crumble your stock cubes in and add a good few dashes of cumin, a dash of cayenne, pinch or two of salt, bay leaves and then pour in boiling water. Fill up enough water to cover the beans. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. Keep an eye on this. Stir about every 10 minutes and top it with water if necessary. Once it’s done, use a potato masher and just gently crush it all up. Add more water or stock to get it to the soup consistency you’re happy with. Remember to TASTE it! Then top it with fresh chopped tomatoes (I find cherry or grape tomatoes are the best), freshly chopped coriander/cilantro, crumbled feta cheese and tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Read Full Post »
Sometimes Chris and I just crave red meat. And these days I’m always looking for a quick meal that’s not too sinful.. So as requested by the husband we had steak sandwiches two weeks in a row. It’s not exactly THE healthiest meal but it’s definitely fast. This can easily be changed from a steak sandwich to a warm steak salad though!
A couple of pointers that can make this sandwich that much better..
* Bread – Ciabatta makes for a great crispy and light sandwich. It also has more surface space and thus can fit more meat. Lightly toast the bread before filling it also.
* Meat – Of course the better the quality the better the taste. But don’t worry too much as meat can get very expensive. I used casserole steaks. Just be sure to slice it as thin as possible.
RECIPE FOR TWO
~1 tsp Garlic salt
Drizzle plain oil to coat
~0.5 tsp thyme
Few dashes Worcestershire sauce
Pinch cayenne pepper or chilli powder
1 large pepper
1 medium red onion
Large handful mushrooms
Ciabatta or baguette
Large handful grated cheese (cheddar is fine)
~2-3 tbsp mayonnaise
~1 tsp horseradish sauce
~1 tsp English mustard
1. Slice the steaks as thin as possible. Trim off any chewy sinew pieces. Put in a mixing bowl and add the following seasoning. Set aside to let the flavors mingle.
2. Shred the cheese. Then in a small bowl combine the mayo, horseradish and mustard. Adjust the quantities as desired. A punch of salt would be great too.
3. Slice your peppers, onions and mushrooms into about 1/2 cm thick slices. While heating a frying pan, slice the bread in half lengthways and then in half. Lightly toast at ~200C and leave the oven on. Add plain oil to your hot pan and add the peppers first. When they start to soften after a couple min, add the onions. Sprinkle some garlic salt (use plain if you need to) and black pepper. Cook until soft for another couple min. Set aside. Add a bit more oil and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle salt, pepper and pinch of thyme and cook until soft. Set aside with peppers.
4. Ensure there are no juices left in the pan and add a splash of oil. When the oil moves easily in the pan you know it’s warm. Add the steak and cook until it’s colored on each side. It’s okay if there are some red bits left because you’ll be putting it in the oven. Set aside with the veg as soon as its done.
5. Spread the mayo on the bread. Start piling on the steak with a fork as there will be a lot of juice. Then pile mushrooms, then onions and peppers. Sprinkle the cheese on and place the sandwiches (open face) onto a baking tray. Cook in the oven until the cheese is melted and eat!
It you’re going the healthy route, you could still melt the cheese by layering the meat directly onto a baking tray. Or you can skip that and layer the meat and veg onto spinach leaves and top with the a spicy horseradish dressing. Just use the above mayo mixture and add a splash of water and/or vinegar to thin it out. Hope you enjoy!
Read Full Post »
Posted in Asian Cuisine, tagged eggs on February 4, 2012 |
Leave a Comment »
This morning I made my hubby and I a goodie but an oldie – Vietnamese style fried rice and perfectly fried runny eggs. I’ve posted about fried rice before (here and here).. This dish will never get old for us. And this morning he was particularly happy with just how runny his eggs were..
It made me remember living in Vietnam in the summer of 2006.. The eggs you’d have for breakfast with fresh mini baguettes were always perfectly crispy around the edges with perfectly runny yolks. I’m not 100% certain how they get this crispy edge.. It might be because they almost deep fry it as they put quite a bit of oil in a frying pan.. Or it may be they use cast iron pans that are kept on high heats during service.. Or maybe it’s all about having the perfectly sized frying pan so the edges are up against the sides of the pan..
But in my humble kitchen in our 2-bedroom flat, my method seems to work every time.. At the moment I’m stuck with an electric stove but either way it’s key to have a hot stove but not smoking. Use a small frying pan and add a knob of butter and splash of plain oil. The butter should melt but not burn right away. Crack the eggs in and sprinkle some black pepper. Put a lid on and keep an eye on it. As soon as the tops turn white they’re done! If you don’t like your eggs too runny, I use the very technical “wobble” method. Aka gently shake the pan and let the eggs cook until they wobble a little less! We don’t add any salt because we like to drizzle a little bit of Maggi (lite almost sweet soy sauce) or regular soy sauce. Serve over fried rice, warm white rice or dip some freshly toasted buttered baguette!
Hope you have a lovely weekend!
Read Full Post »