Healthy Couscous Salad

Healthy Couscous SaladSummer is coming and it’s always great to have some lighter meal ideas under your belt. I want a bit more from a salad than a bit of lettuce, tomato & cucumber though… I need some flavour! This gorgeous couscous salad recipe (adapted from Oh My Dish) does that by the bucket load. It’s packed full of goodness & it’s seriously tasty! I particularly love the addition of the sweet potato, it really kicks it up a notch.

Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish:

  • 150g Couscous
  • 300ml Boiling Water
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Sweet Potato, peeled & cubed
  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, finely diced
  • 1 Aubergine, sliced *
  • 4 Sundried Tomatoes, sliced + the Oil
  • 8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Handful of Rocket or chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • Juice of half a Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper

 * I ended up picking out the aubergine but, even if you don’t like it, keep trying! It’s the only way to change your tastebuds. Trust me – I was the worlds fussiest eater as a child!

In a large glass bowl, add in the couscous, a generous helping of salt & pepper and about 1 tbsp of the oil from the sundried tomatoes jar.

Pour in the boiling water, stir with a fork and cover with cling film. Leave to one side whilst we prepare the rest of the dish.

Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat then add in about 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Dump in the cubed potato and fry for a few minutes.

Then add in the diced shallot & garlic and fry for about 10-15 minutes until the potato is golden and cooked. (Soft in the middle.) Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Healthy Couscous Salad

Healthy Couscous SaladIf adding aubergine – heat a griddle pan over a medium/high heat. Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and grill on each side until nice charred lines appear.

When cooked, take out the pan and sprinkle with a little salt.

Healthy Couscous SaladBack to the couscous, which should be nice & plump by now. Remove the cling film & fluff up with a fork.

Healthy Couscous SaladNow all your ingredients are ready, add the sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and cooked sweet potato in with the couscous.

Season with a little more salt & pepper if it needs it. Squeeze over the juice from the lemon and add a good glug of olive oil.

Give it all a good stir and divide between serving plates. Top with slices of aubergine and a handful of either rocket or romaine lettuce.

Healthy Couscous SaladI absolutely love this salad. It only takes about half an hour to make, it’s tasty, satisfying & good for you too! In my opinion, it’s a perfect, bright & colourful Spring/Summer dish. Great if you want a bit of light, al fresco dining in your back garden or on the park!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

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Caramelised Onion & Rosemary Quiche

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheMe and the Mr love a good quiche. It’s proper comfort food but not like the Winter kind… more a spring/summer kind. Nothing beats it when you’re out on a picnic or enjoying an evening meal in the garden. It’s perfect for lunch, dinner, packed lunches or even the dish you take to your friend’s Summer BBQ! Always guaranteed to be a hit, it’s also a fantastic fridge clearer. You can pretty much chuck any leftovers into a quiche & it will still taste great! This particular combination was one I came across over at The Chefscapades blog and I couldn’t resist trying it out.

So here is what you will need to make 1 x 8″ quiche:

For the Pastry *

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 125g Unsalted Butter, cold & cubed
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp Cold Water
  • 1 Egg white, beaten for glaze

For the Filling

  • 2 Large Onions
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 90ml Milk
  • 90ml Double Cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 50g Gruyere Cheese, grated
  • Salt & Pepper

Essential Equipment

  • 8″ Round, Fluted, Loose Bottomed Tin
  • Food Processor

* You can, of course, buy your pastry & prepare/bake in the same way as below.

To make the pastry, dump the flour, butter & salt into a food processor & blitz until it becomes like fine breadcrumbs.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheBeat the egg with the water & gradually pour it into the food processor whilst it’s still on. Stop when the pastry starts to clump together. If necessary, add a little more water.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheTip out onto your work surface & bring together to form a ball. Cover in cling film, flatten into a disc and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

I like to roll my pastry out in-between 2 sheets of cling film because if you roll it out on lots of flour, you can upset the balance of ingredients & potentially ruin your pastry.

So, roll out your pastry into a rough circle approx 2 – 3 mm thick and big enough to cover the base & sides of your tin.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuichePeel off one layer of cling film, and using the other cling film layer to help, lift the pastry over your tin & press into the edges. (Cling film on top of course!)

Peel off the cling film, cut away the excess & prick the base all over with a fork.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuichePlace the base into the freezer to chill again for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C and place a baking tray large enough to fit your tin on into the centre.

Meanwhile, you can crack on with the onions.

Peel and slice the onions as finely as you can and melt the butter in a large, non stick frying pan over a low heat.

Add in the onions & cook, stirring often so they don’t catch on the bottom.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheAfter about 30 minutes, they should be beautifully golden and soft.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheLeave to one side to cool whilst we bake the pastry case.

Now your prepared case is sufficiently cold, scrunch up a large piece of baking paper, (not greaseproof as that will stick!) place over the pastry and cover with baking beans or rice.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuichePlace into the preheated oven on the hot baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheTake out the oven and remove the baking paper & beans. Brush all over with beaten egg white & place straight back into the oven for another 12 minutes until a light golden brown.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheLeave to cool for a few minutes whilst we make the filling.

In a jug, add in the milk, double cream, eggs, chopped rosemary & a very generous amount of salt and pepper to season.

Lay the caramelised onions over the base and spread out evenly.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuichePour over the egg mixture until it reaches the top of the pastry case. You may wish to do this after placing the tin in the oven to avoid any spillages.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheLastly, sprinkle all over with the gruyere cheese.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary QuicheWith the oven still at 190°C/Fan 170°C, bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese on top is bubbling and golden.

Caramelised Onion & Rosemary Quiche

Essentially, this is a glorified cheese & onion quiche. I tell you what though, it’s totally worth the extra effort! Me and the Mr enjoyed this with some sweet potato chips and it barely touched the sides! A definite winner in the KitchenMason household and one that I will definitely be making again/playing about with over the Summer months to come.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

Quick Onion Pasta

Caramelised Onion PastaBeing a new Mum I am in desperate need of quick, easy & filling meal ideas. As you can imagine, I have very little time on my hands anymore – juggling my new responsibilities as a parent!

This gorgeous pasta dish only takes about 30 minutes to make & is incredibly tasty. Just what I’ve been looking for! (Recipe adapted from The Silver Spoon: Pasta cookbook.)

Here is what you will need to feed 2 hungry parents. (Easily doubled)

  • 40g Butter
  • 2 Large Onions
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 200g Fusilli Pasta *
  • 15 – 20g Freshly grated Parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper

* or any dried shaped pasta of your choice

First job – peel & slice the onions as thinly as you can.

In a large, non stick frying pan – melt the butter over a low heat.

Add the onion into the pan and cook over a gentle heat for about 20 minutes until the onions have gone soft & golden brown. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat as this could make them crispy.

Quick Onion Pasta

Quick Onion PastaMeanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. When it is cooked, before draining, Reserve a little of the water for later. (About 100-200ml)

Add the thyme to the onions and season well with salt and pepper. Give it a stir.

Quick Onion PastaTip the cooked pasta into the frying pan with the onions & add the reserved water. Stir it all up and warm through for a minute. Season with more salt & pepper if you think it needs it.

Quick Onion PastaDivide between two bowls, top with a generous sprinkling of the grated parmesan cheese and devour!

Quick Onion PastaI don’t know about you but I am a huge onion fan. To me, any food that stinks is all good in my books! This really is delicious though and perfect for those of us with busy lives. Only taking about 30 minutes from start to finish to make, no excessive pot washing to do afterwards & those hearty carbohydrates keeping you fuller for longer – it answers all my prayers! A meal I am more than happy to add to my repertoire & one I think you should too 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies – until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Honey Sriracha Chicken

Honey Sriracha ChickenOne of the Mr’s favourite things is Sriracha sauce. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a hot sauce but with actual flavour. Not being a huge fan of hot sauces myself, it surprised me just how much flavour it really has!

Thanks to my blogging, the Mr tends not to get a lot of choice in what we eat so I thought I would be nice and make something I knew he would love. Also, (at the time of writing this post) I was nearly 40 weeks pregnant & hadn’t dropped yet. I heard hot & spicy foods are meant to be good!

Here is what you will need to serve 2 – easily doubled.

(Recipe adapted from Creme de la Crumb.)

For the Chicken

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, diced
  • Salt
  • 20g Corn Flour
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil

For the Sauce

  • 120ml Water
  • 1 – 2 tbsp Sriracha Sauce *
  • 2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 30g Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Runny Honey
  • 1 tbsp Corn Flour/ 2 tsp Cold Water
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds to serve, optional
  • Cooked Rice to serve, optional

* If you don’t like it too hot, just use 1 tbsp. Trust me, even 1 tbsp of this stuff packs a punch!

To make the sauce – add the water, Sriracha, soy sauce, garlic, sugar & honey to a small saucepan and bring to the boil.

Honey Sriracha ChickenDissolve the corn flour in the cold water then add it to the saucepan. Stir well and bring back to the boil.

Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce begins to thicken. Continue to cook until you reach the consistency you like, then remove from the heat and set to one side until needed.

Honey Sriracha ChickenSeason the diced chicken with salt then toss to coat well in the flour.

Place a non stick frying pan over a medium/high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil.

Fry the chicken until golden & cooked through.

Honey Sriracha ChickenPour the sauce over the chicken and cook for a further minute or 2 until heated through.

If you like, serve over cooked rice & scatter with some toasted sesame seeds.

Honey Sriracha ChickenI was genuinely surprised at how good this was! I mean, yes it was hot, but the flavour really was lovely. I will definitely be making this one again – particularly the sauce. Except maybe with only 1 tbsp of Sriracha next time… (To please the Mr I used 2 tbsp – bit too much for me!)

Not only does it taste great though, it’s really quick to make! And let’s be honest, you can never have enough meals that are fast to prepare and still seriously tasty in your repertoire.

In other news – on Friday 13th, (seriously, you couldn’t make it up) I spent the day getting this little beauty out the oven…

Tilly - Honey Sriracha ChickenI would like you all to meet my daughter – Matilda. Both myself & baby are doing well and are now at home enjoying our first few days together. I apologise for any absence over the coming weeks – as you can imagine, I will be a little busy getting to grips with becoming a Mum!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies. Until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

Pancake Day & a Judge Giveaway!

Pancakes/Crepes & a Judge Giveaway!

Ok, we’re a few weeks away from one of the best days in the foodie calendar – PANCAKE DAY! This week’s post is super exciting for 2 very good reasons. 1 – There is not just one, but TWO awesome pancake filling recipes to wet your whistle. And 2 – I have teamed up with Judge Cookware to give you lucky lovelies the chance to win every tool you will need to make the perfect pancakes on the day!

Sounds good right? RIGHT! Well let’s get cracking then. Here is what you will need to make the most epic pancakes in the world! (In my opinion obviously…)

For the Pancake Batter

(Makes approx 8 x 17cm Diameter)

  • 100g Plain Flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 250ml Semi Skimmed Milk
  • Butter (for cooking fat)

For the Bacon, Cheese & Chive Filling

(Enough for 4 Generously Filled Pancakes)

  • 150ml Double Cream
  • 90g Cream Cheese
  • 4-5 Slice of cooked Smokey Bacon, chopped
  • Fresh Chives, chopped

For the Strawberries & Cream Filling

(Enough for 4 Generously Filled Pancakes)

  • 150ml Double Cream
  • 1 tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 227g Punnet of Strawberries
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • Melted Belgian Chocolate/Icing Sugar, to serve (Optional)

 

Let’s start with the basic pancakes.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl and mix in the salt.

Make a well in the centre and crack in the egg.

PancakesMix with a whisk and gradually add in the milk. Keep mixing until all the milk has been used and there are no lumps. It should be the consistency of single cream.

PancakesPour the batter into a jug ready for cooking. (This makes it WAY easier to pour into the pan.)

Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat.

Add in a little butter and allow to melt around the pan. Pour enough batter to cover the bottom, then swill the pan round quickly to even it out.

PancakesAfter a couple of minutes, ‘shake’ the pan to loosen the pancake and lift an edge to see if it’s nice and golden.

If it is, you can either be brave and flip it – or a total wuss like me & use a spatula!

PancakesAllow to cook for another couple of minutes until the other side is nice and golden too. Then either keep warm in some foil or eat straight away with your choice of filling.

Repeat the process until all the batter is used up.

PancakesSpeaking of fillings…

Bacon, Cheese & Chive Filling

Whip the double cream in a large bowl to almost stiff peaks then beat in the cream cheese. Add a little salt for seasoning if you like.

Top Tip! Over whipped the cream so it’s gone grainy? Just add in a little milk and fold through to bring it back.

Divide between your pancakes and top with the chopped bacon & chives.

Pancakes

 

Strawberries & Cream Filling

Whip the double cream to stiff peaks in a large bowl. Then sift in the flour and gently fold through.

Top Tip! Over whipped the cream so it’s gone grainy? Just add in a little milk and fold through to bring it back.

Hull & slice the strawberries and place in a bowl. Squeeze over the lemon juice & give it a good stir.

Divide the sweetened cream between your pancakes and top with plenty of strawberries.

If you like, you could drizzle over some melted Belgian chocolate & dust with a little icing sugar for a really decadent finish.

PancakesSEE! I told you they were the most epic pancake recipes in the world! Just wait until you try them, oh my word… you won’t look back I promise.

Judge Pancake CompetitionNow, onto the equipment. I’ve gotta’ say – I’m impressed and I think you will be too!

The scales are very lightweight & really slim so take up next to no room in your precious kitchen cupboards. They’re also very accurate – exactly what you want in a set of digital scales.

The mixing bowl is also great. It’s nice and tall meaning you won’t splash your batter all over the place when using the balloon whisk. It’s lightweight too so easy on the wrists – giving you more elbow grease to work that whisk!

The glass jug does exactly what it says on the tin. With the measurements clearly visible on both sides & a comfortable handle, it’s a staple addition to any kitchen.

As for the frying pan and turner (spatula) – these two make very light work of pancake making! The non-stick coating on the pan is absolutely brilliant – not one single pancake stuck. The curved bottom shape also makes it perfect for pancakes allowing you to freely & easily move them without anything getting stuck in edges. The turner was the surprise win for me. It’s heat-resistant nylon end won’t damage the non-stick coating in the pan and it’s literally the perfect shape & size for flipping your pancakes. I will be using these two tools every Shrove Tuesday!

 

Fancy winning the whole kit just in time for the big day?

All you have to do to be in with a chance is one of the following:

 

1. Like the KitchenMason Facebook Page & Judge Cookware Facebook Page – share the photo pinned to the top of the KitchenMason timeline

2. Follow @KitchenMason & @JudgeCookware on Twitter and retweet the competition tweet on KitchenMason’s Twitter feed with the hashtag #WinJudgeKM

Not on social media? No problem!

3. Subscribe to my blog via e-mail or WordPress (on the right hand side of the page) and leave a comment on this post to say you’ve done so.

 

Competition is open to UK residents only and closes on Monday 9th Feb at 7pm.

The winner will be announced on both Facebook & Twitter shortly after.

 

Good luck everyone! Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

French Onion Soup

French Onion SoupBeing heavily pregnant & almost ready to pop – I have been advised by many people to stock up my freezer. So this is me making a start! But this intensely delicious French Onion Soup has a unique KitchenMason twist…

Traditionally made with beef stock, I opt for chicken stock as I personally think it gives a more rounded & delicate flavour. Why don’t you be the judge and give it a go yourself?

Here is what you will need to make 6 Servings. (Approx 2 litres.)

For the Soup

  • 50g Butter
  • 750g Onions (approx 850-900g before peeling & slicing)
  • 2 x Garlic Cloves
  • 45g Plain Flour
  • 187ml Bottle of White Wine
  • 2 litres Chicken Stock (Good Quality)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • Salt & Pepper

To Serve (Optional)

  • Slices of Stale Baguette
  • Cheddar Cheese, grated

Essential Equipment

  • Large lidded pot

Firstly, prep your veg. I honestly couldn’t be bothered to stand and slice all those onions – the solution? Get out your food processor with the slicing disc attachment & use that. It saves masses of time and effort.

So peel & finely slice all those onions and finely chop the garlic.

Take your large pot & place over a medium heat.

Add in the butter. When melted, tip in all the onions and give it a stir.

French Onion SoupContinue to cook for approx 25-35 minutes whilst stirring occasionally. You want to get a nice golden brown colour – try not to be impatient and give in early. Also, don’t worry too much if it catches on the bottom of the pan, it’s all adding caramelisation & flavour!

French Onion SoupOnce the onions are done, add in the garlic & flour and stir continuously for about 2 minutes.

French Onion SoupAdd in the white wine and stir for about a minute until most of it has been absorbed.

French Onion Soup-4Gradually add in the stock then bring it all to the boil.

Add in the bay leaves, thyme sprigs & a generous helping of salt & pepper. Stir it all up, pop the lid on and simmer for about 25 minutes.

French Onion SoupWhen the timer has beeped – remove the lid and fish out the bay leaves & thyme sprigs.

French Onion SoupIf saving for later, allow to cool completely before dividing into bags/tubs and freezing.

If you want to serve straight away – preheat your grill.

Slice up an old, stale baguette and grate some cheese. Divide the soup between oven proof bowls, place 1-2 slices of baguette in each bowl and cover with grated cheese.

Place under the grill until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.

French Onion SoupI absolutely adore this soup! There’s just something so much more special about the flavour when you use chicken stock instead of beef. I often find with the traditional recipe, there’s a rich ‘twang’ that I don’t enjoy but with this version? It’s just heavenly! And let’s be honest – everything is better with melted cheese 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Even at 28 years old I still have to trick myself into eating healthy foods. I’ve dramatically improved over the years but I think a part of me will always be a fussy eater. With me, half the battle was texture & ‘eating with my eyes.’ This unbelievably delicious recipe solves both those problems in one fell swoop!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Seriously, what if I told you that you could get all the above veg into a fussy eater and they wouldn’t even realise? I kid you not! The trick? A food processor. Take out the texture & you are left with a visibly appealing sauce that is jam packed full of the good stuff AND tastes fantastic!

Here is what you will need to make approx 6 generous portions/1.5kg. (Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food.)

Top Tip! With it just being me and the Mr, I used 2 portions straight away and froze the rest in freezer bags for a later date.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Sticks of Celery
  • 1 Leek
  • 2 Carrots, peeled
  • 2 Peppers, I used 1x Red 1x Yellow
  • 2 x 400g Tins of Chopped Tomatoes with Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Mushroom Ketchup, optional
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper

Essential Equipment

  • Food Processor or Stick Blender
  • Large pot/saucepan with a lid

Firstly, prep your veg.

Slice the onion, celery, leek & carrot into pieces roughly the same size. Core and slice the peppers and set to one side.

Over a medium heat, add the oil into a large lidded pot/saucepan.

Add in the onion, celery, leek & carrots and cook for about 20mins until softened. Stir occasionally so nothing catches on the bottom.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Add in the peppers and cook for a further 10mins.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Tip in the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, mushroom ketchup (if using) and garlic powder. Generously season with salt & pepper and give it a good stir.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Pop on the lid and allow to simmer for about 20mins until everything is nice and soft.

Then remove the lid and allow to reduce for 5-10mins.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Lastly, give it all a good stir and leave to cool a little before either blitzing in a food processor or with a stick blender.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!See the difference pureeing can make? If I was still as bad as I was when I was younger – there is no way in hell I would have touched this before it had been through the processor! Now it looks completely unassuming and harmless. See?! A perfectly deceitful way of sneaking veg into those fussy eaters.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!As I recommended before, unless you are cooking for a lot of people anyway – this is a great  recipe to split & store in the freezer for those days when you just can’t be bothered. Making you much less likely to reach for the takeaway menu & far more likely to inject some goodness into you!

Top Tip! If serving with pasta, when warming through the sauce, add a little of the pasta water and stir it through. This will make it lovely and smooth.

In other news, If you weren’t already aware, me and the Mr are expecting our first child in around 4-6 weeks. Yesterday, our wonderful family & friends surprised us with an amazing Baby Shower!

Baby ShowerClearly this (and the large amount of cake!) made us extremely happy! I sincerely feel very lucky & privileged to have such a wonderful bunch of people in my life. Huge thank yous all round to everyone that was involved/attended. My mini KitchenMasonite is already so spoilt and she’s not even arrived yet!

Speaking of cake – I would like to take this opportunity to give a big shout out to my Dad. Why you ask? Well, my Dad has never decorated a cake in his entire life but he’s always relished a challenge…

Baby ShowerSeriously, he’s never made a celebration cake before. EVER. How unbelievably awesome is this?! Not only did it look incredible, it tasted incredible too. The vanilla genoise sponge was beautifully soft & light and the buttercream was so smooth – absolutely divine. Move over Mr Kipling, there’s a new cake maker in town!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason