Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Grilled Halloumi with Quinoa & Beetroot Salad (& my struggle with blogging)




Before I jump to the recipe for this delicious salad there is something I need to address with regards to my blogging...

It's hard to believe it but I started blogging 5 years ago. My reason for starting this blog was simple....I loved to cook and this was the easiest way for me to share my often-requested recipes with family and friends. To this day I still love cooking, I am a total food-oholic! I get excited about shopping for food, finding new ingredients, getting reacquainted with recipes and ingredients from my past and exploring new cuisines throughout the world from the comfort of my own kitchen.You are far more likely to find me reading a cookbook or food magazine than any other book and with a library of 1000 cookbooks (and growing) I'm never short of something to read! Of course the books and magazines just feed my enthusiasm for cooking by offering endless new ideas and inspiration and so it was only a matter of time before I started reviewing cookbooks and really putting them to the test to see if they were worth a place on my overloaded, sagging shelves! I love reviewing cookbooks and so I do plan to do a lot more of that on this blog but without doubt my favourite thing to do still is come up with my own ideas and recipes and share them with you. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays August 25th ~ 31st


Wow, another week has flown by and I'm having a hard time remembering where it went! After Mum & Dad flew back home I tried to keep Ben and I as busy as possible so we had trips to the beach, parks and visiting our family here. All of which were fantastic and definitely distracted us from how quiet the house was. Thankfully we are lucky enough to still be enjoying a beautiful Summer, unlike poor Mum & Dad (and everyone else in Scotland I think!) who returned to jumpers and the fire on! Scott was also away most of last week so once he was home we made the most of our weekend and spent the majority of it on the boat which was the perfect way to spend our Saturday and Sunday.....Chilled out, relaxing, enjoying the sun, a spot of fishing and I even went swimming in the lake for the first time ever! Quiet an achievement for me since I don't like cold water at all!

There was a slight variation to last week's meal plan after a trip to the supermarket on Friday where I spotted the most wonderful looking fresh tuna on sale so I of course just had to buy it! After a quick think of how to serve it I decided on a Tuna Niçoise Salad which has become a new favourite of mine. I improvised a little to use up some extra things in the fridge and it turned out to be the 'Ultimate Tuna Niçoise' which was absolutely delicious! Since we had that on Friday the Quesadillas were moved to Sunday night (perfect quick meal after a day on the ocean) so no burgers last week meaning we'll be having them this week most likely, especially if we go out on the boat. If the weather doesn't cooperate this weekend (as the forecast is predicting at this point!) then I might go for something a little more Autumnal and take inspiration from one of the cookbooks I am currently reviewing.

So onto this week's meal plan and I am once again making the most of what we have in the fridge. My plan is to clear the fridge up completely so that come next Monday (and scarily the start of September!) I can start afresh and do the giant shop that is needing to be done (once I have room!). I'm also excited this week to finally be enjoying the few but very delicious tomatoes we have growing in the garden which I will use in Tuesday's pasta dish. Monday is a new recipe that I am promising to have on the blog later on in the week. This is such a delicious quick and easy meal and perfect for Meat Free Mondays. Wednesday and I'm using up the leftover Tomato Sauce from last weeks Arrabiata which I popped in the freezer. I'm adding to it some beautifully spiced Chorizo but you could easily miss that out for another fantastic vegetarian meal. Thursday and I am assuming we will have some leftovers needing eaten and then Friday I'm excited to try a new recipe from a cookbook that I am reviewing. The weekend is always iffy as it really depends on the weather and what we get up to, especially this weekend as it's a long weekend here in Canada, but for now I'm happy with the idea of Burgers. If it changes then c'est la vie!

So there you have it! Have a great week everyone with family, friends and of course, lots of good food! x

 Monday August 25th - 31st

                                  Monday  -       Grilled Halloumi with Quinoa & Beetroot Salad (new recipe!)
                                  Tuesday -        Niçoise Pasta (using tomatoes from the garden)
                                  Wednesday -   Spicy Tomato & Chorizo Risotto
                                  Thursday -       Leftovers 
                                  Friday -           Fig Pizza (from The Macaroni's in the Basement)
                                  Saturday -       Burgers or Porcetta (from above-mentioned book)
                                  Sunday -         Dinner with family


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays August 18th ~ 24th


Well after a longer than normal absence from blogging I'm finally back! It's been a busy month but a fantastic one as I have had my parents and aunt over to stay and therefore have been making the most of Summer and family and generally just having a great time! As always the time flew by but within the 4 weeks we had a great 2 weeks in Whistler where we went for daily bike rides, hikes, many trips up the mountains, to the lakes and of course enjoyed many delicious lunches out and about! Lucky for me this included going to Araxi for my Birthday treat from Scott where I had (again!) one of the best things I have ever eaten - Steamed Asian Buns with Duck Confit served with a Cucumber Salad.... Delicious doesn't even come close to describing how unbelievably good it was so you are just going to have to take my word when I say it is definitely in my Top 5 best things I have EVER eaten!!

As well as our 2 weeks in Whistler we also managed to fit in a couple of trips on the boat and a weekend camping so really it was a great time that I will always remember. As always for me food featured heavily and during our time we feasted on many, many wonderful meals including our Best Ever Ribs, Curries, lots of pasta dishes (ideal holiday meals!), Steaks, Burgers and even a deliciously fragrant but light Thai Chicken Soup which was ideal after a long days hiking as it was quick and easy but also nourishing and very satisfying. Holidays for me always have to include delicious meals, they just have to be simple and straightforward but still packed with flavour and all of our meals were just that!

The downside to the last 4 weeks was that after returning from Whistler my laptop finally decided to pack it in and crashed in spectacular style and wiped everything. Of course it is my own fault as it has been acting up for a while and rather than backing things up I kept thinking - I'll do it next week..... so no back up this year. Stupid I know but it is what it is. I think I have most photographs but I have lost a few blogging things such as book reviews I was working on but also my recipe for 'Scott's Best Ever Ribs'. I'm just hoping I can remember what I changed from the original recipe but we may need to do a couple of tests to make absolutely sure it is just right!! I'm really disappointed about the book reviews that I have lost but I'll get there with getting them back and I have lots of  other book reviews coming up which I am super excited about testing.

So what's on the menu this week?! We started it off well with Chicken wrapped in Prosciutto which I served with a fresh Tomato Sauce, Caesar Salad and plenty of French Bread. Tuesday was all about leftovers and with enough steak leftover from the weekend Ben & I were treated to Steak Baguettes which we both devoured. On to Wednesday and Ben was desperate for Pasta ("tubes") with tomato sauce (his all time favourite!) so I made a tame version of my Arrabiata for a quick and easy mid-week meal which we love (with extra chillies on the side for me!). I am very excited about tonight's meal as I am debuting my brand new bread maker so we will hopefully enjoy some delicious homemade bread with a big bowl of Courgette, Potato & Cheddar Soup, thanks to our good friends who gave us one of their amazing giant courgettes/zucchinis fresh from their garden. Tomorrow night once again is all about clearing out the fridge as we have so many little bits of this and that so I am making Quesadilla's - pizza style! It's the first time I have done it (that I can remember anyway!) but I don't anticipate any disasters, just a quick and easy delicious Friday night meal. Saturday and we are heading to friends for a BBQ and Sunday I imagine will be spent on the boat so I'm thinking perhaps Burgers when we get home as they are quick and easy to prepare and cook, not to mention a firm favourite in our house!

So there you have it! Have a great week everyone with family, friends and of course, lots of good food! x

 Monday August 18th - 24th

                                  Monday  -       Chicken wrapped in Prosciutto with Fresh Tomato Sauce; Caesar                                                                Salad & French Bread
                                  Tuesday -       Steak Baguettes
                                  Wednesday -  Penne Arrabiata
                                  Thursday -      Courgette, Potato & Cheddar Soup with Homemade Bread
                                  Friday -          Pizza Quesadillas (experiment!)
                                  Saturday -      BBQ at friends
                                  Sunday -        Burgers
                                                               

Monday, July 21, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays July 21st ~ 27th


Well after a fantastic weekend camping we are now home and back to the daily grind! Unfortunately the sun seems to be taking a bit of a holiday as well as it has clouded over and cooled down, but after the extreme temperatures of last week the cooler temps aren't too bad!

I'm so excited this week as Mum & Dad are coming to visit - yay! We have been on countdown for so long and finally it's just 1 more sleep until we get to see them. That means this week's Meal Plan is taking their arrival into account and I have also had a quick look at the weather forecast as well to make sure I'm not cooking for hours when it's 35C out! Tonight it's just Ben and I so I'm going for a quick and easy Mac & Cheese which he has been asking for for a while. Tomorrow and it's my all time favourite pasta dish - a super simple Fresh Tomato Sauce served with Penne Pasta. You never know how you are going to feel after travelling and being stuck on a plane for hours so I'll have this made up and ready to go but I'll also have lots of Antipasto as well in case Mum and Dad just feel like snacking. Either way I will be delighted as I absolutely love both dishes! Wednesday and with rain being on the forecast and all of the ingredients in the house already I thought a Thai Red Curry would be perfect. Unfortunately the chillies in the garden aren't quite ready but I always have plenty of fiery red chillies stashed in the fridge which I'll serve on the side so that Ben can enjoy it as well! Thursday is my Birthday(!) and my ideal evening is to hopefully sit out in the garden with a glass of Prosecco, a big sharing plate of antipasto and a super thin pizza cooked on the barbecue! Perfect! Now I can control the food but not the weather so here's hoping it cooperates so that we can relax outside. Friday and although I have a few ideas I'm not entirely sure so for now that's still to be decided but Saturday is all organised as we are having a big Birthday meal here. Not only is it my Birthday this week but it's my Mother-in-laws on Saturday and my Brother-in-laws on Sunday! (Busy week for my husband!) so every year we always get together to have a big family meal and this year we are hosting. I am keeping things really simple and everyone is helping out by making a dish or a starter/appetizer. The star of the show will be a delicious Spiral Ham that just needs warmed up and covered with a delicious sticky, sweet glaze. My Sister-in-law is making some Schwarties (delicious potato dish that Scott's family introduced me to and I now love, but Dauphinoise Potatoes would be just as good if you prefer). I'm going to make a big bowl of coleslaw and then will just serve a nice big green salad with my standard viniagrette and a lovely tomato salad as well. Finally on Sunday Scott is making his Best Ever finger-licking Smoked Ribs (recipe to hopefully appear on my blog this week!) to end the week on a high note!

So there you have it! I'm so looking forward to this week. Have a great week everyone with family, friends and of course, lots of good food! x

 Monday July 21st - July 27th

                                  Monday  -       Macaroni & Cheese; Green Salad
                                  Tuesday -       Penne Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
                                  Wednesday -  Thai Red Curry with Chicken & Bamboo Shoots; Jasmine Rice
                                  Thursday -      Antipasto and BBQ'd Pizza
                                  Friday -          TBD
                                  Saturday -      Spiral Ham; Schwarties; Coleslaw, Tomato Salad & Green Salad
                                  Sunday -        Scott's Best Ever Smoked Ribs (recipe coming very soon!); 
                                                               Coleslaw & Salad

Monday, July 14, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays July 14th ~ 20th


Well I'm not going to lie, this is going to be a quick post because it is scorching here and I literally am melting sitting here at my laptop (just as well I can type really quickly!). The only thing cooling me slightly is the fan I have switched on but even then it's not really cutting it! Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining, I love Summer but 35C/ 95F is more than I can handle! Thankfully it's going to cool down a little after Wednesday and back to a more manageable temperature.

You'd think since it is SOOOO hot that I would have gone for something incredibly easy for dinner tonight, say for example a refreshing salad where I can just grab everything out of my nice cold fridge and throw it together...nope. Apparently I am a complete glutton for punishment but to be honest I came up with most of this week's meal plan last week when it wasn't quite so hot and I went shopping yesterday (where of course the supermarket was nice and air conditioned so you forget how hot it is outside!). So tonight on the menu is Turkey Meatball Korma....I'm hoping it's good and that the theory of eating hot food when you are hot actually cools you done works! Last week I was given a beautiful big courgette/zucchini from my friend's garden. I used some of it on our pizza on Saturday but I still have a lot left so I am making Zucchini & Feta Fritters tomorrow. Wednesday thankfully is a leftovers night so just some quick reheating necessary. Thursday and Ben specifically chose Chicken Strips for dinner which is fine by me as I'll serve them with a nice crisp green salad and perhaps for a treat some homemade aioli or other indulgent accompaniment .... Friday and we're away camping! Yay - I am so excited to go. Of course by the time we get there and set up we want something quick and easy and our first night go-to always seems to be some nice sausages in rolls with perhaps some sauteed onions to top them. Saturday is undecided but I'm hoping perhaps for a nice fresh crab which we enjoy very simply with lots of lemon, some spicy garlic butter and a green salad. What more could you ask for when you are camping?! As for Sunday I have no idea but I am guessing it will be something we can quickly put on the barbecue!

So there you have it! Have a great week everyone with family, friends and of course, lots of good food! x

 Monday July 14th - July 20th

                                  Monday  -      Turkey Meatball Korma
                                  Tuesday -       Courgette & Feta Fritters with Green Salad
                                  Wednesday -  Leftovers
                                  Thursday -      Chicken Strips & Crisp Green Salad Lemon Spaghetti
                                  Friday -          Sausage Rolls (not the puff pastry kind!) with Sauteed Onions
                                  Saturday -      Steamed Crab with Garlic Butter & Lemon; Green Salad
                                  Sunday -        Spaghetti with Crab

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