Food: Aubergine pizza and parmesan courgette chips

I am on a roll this week with cooking. This time it’s pizza and chips. Yes you heard that right!

I can’t believe how much you can do with courgettes, this parmesan courgette chips recipe caught my eye and of course they’re pretty simple.

Cut your courgettes lengthways, then quarter them and drizzle with oil. Mix up about a handful of parmesan cheese with thyme, oregano and garlic powder and then sprinkle over and put in the oven.

courgette parmesan chips

For the next part of my dish I found an aubergine pizza recipe that looked so simple and a great healthy way to actually eat pizza!

The aubergines need slicing into about three quarters of a centimetre thick and then the recipe says to cover them in salt and leave to dry out on kitchen roll for 30 minutes but time is of the essence and my stomach was grumbling so I skipped that and drizzled oil over sprinkled on some salt, pepper and oregano and stuck them in the oven.

It said to roast for 25 minutes but my aubergines were done in about 15. In the meantime I made the tomato base which was just some garlic a can of tomatoes and some oregano and Italian herb seasoning, I also added a bit of cayenne pepper too obvs.

Spoon the sauce onto the aubergine and put your chosen cheese on top. The recipe calls for mozzarella mixed with parmesan but I was in the mood for halloumi so I put slices of that on top of each ‘pizza’ base.

aubergine pizza

The pizzas only need a few more minutes for the cheese to melt, and that time depends on how cooked you like your cheese. I put mine in towards the end of the courgette chips cooking time and they all came out together.

I’m always one to have mayo with my pizza and chips so to stay healthy if you really need a side dip even though the dish is quite juicy already, I’d go for a bit of Greek yoghurt mixed with some herbs or do like I did and mash up an avocado with some lime juice.

The flavours went so well together and would you believe you can eat healthy pizza and chips without any dough in site?!

Also whilst browsing the Damn Delicious blog I used for the chips, I spotted a courgette parmesan crisps recipe that I am absolutely going to try, such a great idea for a snack!

aubergine pizza anc courgette parmesan chips

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Food: Courgette, tomato and Cheshire cheese bake

I’m addicted to Pocket which I think I mentioned in my previous post, and now I’ve installed it on my computer at work which could be a slippery slope because it’s getting full of recipes that I just don’t have the time to cook!

My co-worker Charlotte, who blogs over at Girl Next Door Fashion, is an avid vegetarian and we do spend a large portion of our day talking about food and all the different recipes we’ve spotted and want to make.

I’m in no way a vegetarian because I love burgers too much but I do find that about 90% of my cooking is vegetable-based and I love collecting new recipes to try out.

You’ll always find my fridge space stocked with my main staples of courgettes, mushrooms, aubergines, halloumi and (obviously out of the fridge) sweet potatoes, that I can always throw together to make something tasty.

The recipe I found for this bake was on the Guardian newsletter that drops into my work email every morning and as soon as I saw the word courgette I was sold.

I went out to Aldi and bought the ingredients I needed: onions, Cheshire cheese, Greek yoghurt, courgettes, eggs and passata. I already had passata and an onion in my cupboard and I chucked in some mushrooms for good measure.

courgette cheese bake 1The method was so simple, and if it’s basically just a vegetarian lasagne if we’re going to be basic. The recipe says to cook and layer it up in a skillet but I don’t have one of those so it was much easier to fry off the courgettes and layer everything in a glass dish as I went along.

I’ve never had Cheshire cheese before and as much as I love cheese I’m a bit weird about flavours especially the strong ones. But I tasted a little bit and it’s quite crumbly but after it’s baked over the egg and yogurt topping it’s absolutely heavenly. 

courgette cheese bak 2

The flavours were so complementary and it was only really salt, pepper and oregano that were the seasoning but sometimes you just need to keep things simple to really enjoy the taste. I can be a bit overzealous when making one of my own concoctions and never end up tasting individual flavours just a lot of cayenne…

I’m impressed with how quick this was to make, as it only need 20 minutes in the oven. I think if I made this again I would probably just give the onions a quick fry as I prefer them softer but if you like yours a little crunchy then there’s no need.

I had a side of green beans with my serving (which I forgot to take a picture of!) and it was just the right vegetable to go with the dish. If you’re looking for something a bit different but still with ingredients you’ve used before this is a great recipe to make, and it’s so goddamn delicious!

There’s more than enough for three big portions, I’m going to freeze some because I don’t fancy eating it for three days in a row like I did with my chili…

courgette cheese bake 3Recipe

4 medium courgettes, cut lengthways in thin slices
Olive oil
500ml passata
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
200ml Greek yoghurt
1 egg
100g grated cheese (Burts Blue and Bourne’s Organic are good Cheshire options, but use any cheese you like)

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Brush the courgettes with oil, then chargrill and season lightly. Build the dish in a skillet: start with a good layer of tomato passata in the base, top with a thin layer of red onions, and add a tightly packed layer of courgettes, sprinkled with oregano, salt and pepper. Repeat, and finish with a thin layer of passata. Mix the yoghurt and egg, season, then spoon on top of the passata. Cover with cheese, sprinkle with oregano and bake for 20 minutes until golden.

 

Food: Sugar Cookie Lemon Tarts

It was my turn to bake at work last week, it feels like forever for it to get round to my turn now that so many of us are on the baking rota. This is a good thing really because it means I can eat (and silently judge) everyone’s efforts.

I always favour a lemon flavoured recipe because it’s such a simple ingredient to bake with and always produces such a great end result. I’m always a champion of lemon drizzle cake but wanted to try something a bit different.

If you’ve ever come across Pocket then you’ll know how easy it is to see a link and save it for later, and then forget that you saved it for later and never read anything. This is how I discovered the recipe for sugar cookie lemon tarts.

I vaguely remember that Lauren Conrad shared the link to the Inquiring Chef and found it really interesting because it wasn’t just a recipe but a post on millennials and what people do after doing some obligatory travelling and then returning home.

She spends some of her Saturday afternoons baking and she shared the tarts as one of those recipes.

Not one to brag *ahem* but these turned out perfectly on the first bake. Such a simple recipe to follow, I was surprised at how easy the cookie crust was and how the filling baked nicely.

The dough was straightforward to make and I would certainly recommend trying to keep it in the fridge for the full half an hour, I made two batches of this and the second time I didn’t leave it in as long and was a lot stickier when moulding into the bun tins.

The lemon filling was probably fiddly just for the pure reason that I had to separate the yolks from the white and put them in the right bowl.

Pour in the filling bang in the oven and they’re done in 12 minute on the dot. Sprinkle over some icing sugar and a squirt of whipped cream for decoration!

 sugar cookie lemon tart

All pretty:

finished lemon tart

Recipe

For the cookie crust:

115g unsalted butter, softened
100g granulated sugar
1 egg
190g plain flour
¼ tsp baking powder
Pinch salt

For the lemon filling:

2 eggs
3 egg yolks
60ml cup whipping cream
Juice from 1 large lemon
¼ cup granulated sugar

For topping
4 tblsp icing sugar
120ml whipping cream
(or alternatively squirty cream)

Method

1. To make the sugar cookie crust, in a standing mixer (or by hand) beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes oh high. Add the egg and mix on medium until fully incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt all at once and mix on medium just until no spots of flour remain, about 20 seconds (do not over mix). Wrap the dough in parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin with butter or cooking spray.

While the oven is preheating, make the lemon filling by whisking together the eggs, egg yolks, whipping cream, lemon juice, and granulated sugar until smooth.

3. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Divide the dough into quarters and divide each quarter into six even balls of dough. Press each ball of dough it into a space in the muffin tin. Using your thumbs, press the dough into the tin so that it is evenly distributed along the sides and bottom. (Don’t worry if it is a bit thinner in some places than others.) Pour the lemon filling into the centre of each sugar cookie cup, stopping just below the top of the crust.

4. Bake until the filling is set and the crust begins to turn golden, 10-12 minutes. (Do not over bake – pull the tarts out just when you see any golden colour on the crusts.) Allow these to cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

5. Before serving, dust the tops of the tarts with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Beat the whipping cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon the whipping cream on top of each tart. Serve chilled.

Food: Luck, Lust, Liquor and Burn in the Northern Quarter

I have a long list of places to visit now that I’m living in Manchester, and I ticked one of them off last weekend when I went to Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn in the Northern Quarter.

A tex-mex restaurant offering amazing tacos, burritos and the best bit Almost Famous burgers. I’ve heard of Almost Famous burgers because their restaurant burned down but luckily they’re still available here and also at a pop up restaurant in Great Northern at the Manchester Beach Club.

My friend and I arrived using trusty Google Maps, and were lucky enough to get seated straight away because a table hadn’t turned up. It was very dark in there to say the least but it created a dirty American bar atmosphere! The menu was already on the table doubling up as a table mat, there was way too much to choose from but the Almost Famous burgers were luring me and I ended up choosing the burger with BBQ pulled pork topping.

Usually burgers come with the prerequisite fries, but here we had a selection of three different kinds of fries, we decided upon the bacon bacon fries. Exactly what you would think – bacon salted fries with bacon bits and bacon mayo. Very salty indeed. My friend chose the chicken tacos which strangely came unwrapped, aesthetically pleasing but very messy!

It was probably my own fault that my burger went cold for talking so much but from what I ate it was delicious, but slightly too rare in the middle for my personal taste! The fries didn’t get eaten purely out of full stomachs.

The meal was perfectly accompanied by Coronas which was an absolute necessity, the bar downstairs also offered an array of tequila and whiskey based cocktails.

Another visit will be made in the near future probably to sample the burritos!

almostfamous coronas

Day Nineteen – A Talent of Yours

Well I have many, I think, but I can’t remember them all.

However, I have one particular talent that I’m pretty proud of: I can cook.

I bet you were expecting something amazing and out of this world, but you know what that is pretty impressive considering some of my friends lived off super noodles for a large part of university (ha ha not going to mention any names!)

I like to experiment in the kitchen, using a basic recipe and making it my own. I love it and I love food.

It’s funny most people come home from university to be pampered and looked after, I enjoy coming home and cooking for my mum, who by the way loves everything I cook (and if she doesn’t she never says, she’s good like that) from anything to curries and stir frys to fish dishes and Italian.

I am partial to cooking desserts my most spectacular dish was a white chocolate cheesecake, very fiddly but bloody gorgeous. I can do lemon meringue pie and I am a genius when it comes to making brownies, which I am doing tomorrow so I may pop a picture on for you all to drool over the fact you aren’t getting any. Ha.

For now though here is a picture of what I like to think looks like Rob Pattinson getting ready to hit Kristen Stewface on the head with his MTV Movie Award:

"Grrrr take that Stewface" - RPattz isn't that fond of her either apparently