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

Quick & Healthy ‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’

Quick & Healthy 'Spaghetti & Meatballs'A big hello and Happy New Year to you my lovelies! Hope you all had a fab Christmas & New Year. Back to reality now though I’m afraid. It’s January, we’re all back to work, it’s cold and we’re skint. Not to mention fed up with all the ‘get fit’ campaigns and latest diet fads that are being rammed down our throats.

So! I’m starting as I mean to go on. This delicious meal is not only quick to make, it’s healthy, wholesome and easy on the purse strings. Now that’s the kind of maths Emma likes to do!

Here is what you will need to feed 2 people (Easily doubled)

(Recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course)

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, finely diced
  • 4 Sausages (I used Debbie & Andrew’s: Sicilian)
  • 125g Fresh Tagliatelle (or 150g Dried Tagliatelle)
  • 200g Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parmesan, to serve/optional

First up, heat a large heavy based frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add in the oil followed by the onion and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes until softened.

Quick & Healthy ‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’Squeeze the sausage meat out of their cases and roughly chop them into smaller ‘meatballs’ using a wooden spatula.

Quick & Healthy ‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’

Quick & Healthy ‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’Season with a little salt & pepper then fry until nicely browned and almost cooked through. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. (Usually about 3 mins for fresh & 10 mins for dried.)

Quick & Healthy ‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’Add in the halved cherry tomatoes and cook for 4-5 mins until they start to break down.

Quick & Healthy ‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’

Quick & Healthy ‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’Add a tablespoon or 2 of the pasta water and stir through. It should create a sauce. Season with a little more salt & pepper if  you think it needs it.

Quick & Healthy ‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’Then you can do one of two things. Either serve straight on top of the pasta, or add the cooked pasta to the pan, stir through the sauce and serve. Sprinkle over some freshly grated parmesan if you fancy it.

Quick & Healthy ‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’Clocking in at around 500 calories, I think this dish is great! It’s really tasty, it’s quick & easy to make, it’s healthy AND it’s filling. And let’s face it, that’s one of the worst things about January diets – never feeling full or satisfied. But whether you’re trying to loose weight or not, this delicious meal has it all and is definitely a new regular in my house.

I hope you all enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Until next week!

Miss Kitchenmason

Slow Cooker Veal Stroganoff

Slow Cooker Veal StroganoffOn cold winter days when we’re all busy planning for the festive season, getting the shopping done, presents wrapped and household chores sorted, what do we really want? No fuss meals that are hearty, filling & easy to make! Well my lovelies, this recipe is the answer to all your prayers. It takes about 15 minutes prep then let the slow cooker do all the hard work for you. Perfect!

Here is what you will need to serve 2 (easily doubled/tripled)

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 350g Veal, chopped *
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 150g White Mushrooms
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 340ml Beef Stock (cube is fine)
  • 2 tbsp Cornflour
  • 4 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 85ml Sour Cream
  • Handful of Fresh Parsley, chopped

*You don’t have to use veal – beef or even venison would be lovely too.

Heat a large, heavy based frying pan over a high heat then add in the oil. Season the meat with salt & a little pepper, then fry until browned all over. It should take about 5-8 minutes.

Slow Cooker Veal StroganoffWhilst the meat is browning, slice the onion and mushrooms then finely chop the garlic.

Make the beef stock (if using a cube.) Tip the cornflour into a small glass then add about 50-75ml of cold water. Stir until dissolved then mix it into the beef stock.

Now you’re ready to go! Add all the ingredients into the slow cooker – except for the sour cream and the parsley. Season with salt & pepper, give it all a good mix then cook on low for about 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Veal StroganoffAfter the 6 hours, it should look a little something like this. Also, your kitchen will smell amazing!

Slow Cooker Veal StroganoffStir through the sour cream and most of the chopped parsley (reserve some for decoration later.)

Slow Cooker Veal StroganoffIf the sauce is a little thin for your liking, simply tip the lot into a frying pan over a high heat and cook until reduced to a consistency you prefer.

Serve on warmed plates over a bed of fresh pasta with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of the remaining fresh parsley.

Slow Cooker Veal StroganoffSee, I told you it was easy! Even as an adult, I am still trying to ‘train’ myself to eat mushrooms and, to my surprise, this went down a real treat. It’s super creamy & rich and that veal literally melts in your mouth. The whole thing is just absolutely delicious!

I love slow cooker recipes. Anything that means you can quickly throw it in the pot, get on with other things and still eat fantastic tasting food at the end of the day, is a godsend in our hectic modern day lives.

I hope you all enjoyed the post my lovelies, until next week!

Miss KitchenMason

Em & Em’s Dinner Party 2013!

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!It’s that time again! Me and my good friend Emma decided to throw another dinner party for us and the fella’s. On the menu this time are some fantastic recipes and, of course, I’m going to share them with you lovely lot!

The main course we selected was adapted from This gorgeous ensemble by Raymond Blanc – pork chops with onion fried potatoes & roast carrots. And for the dessert, we made an insatiably indulgent Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake!

So, without further ado, here is what you will need for the main course – serves 4.

Main Course

‘Pork Chops with Sautéd Potato Cubes and Syrup Glazed Carrots’

  • 4 Pork Chops, (on the bone) 1″ thick
  • Sea Salt
  • Coarse/Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 40g Unsalted Butter

For the Potatoes

  • 6 Maris Piper Potatoes, medium sized
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Coarse/Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 40g Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • Half a Bunch of Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • Half a Bunch of Fresh Sage Leaves, chopped

For the Carrots

  • 5 Large Carrots, peeled & sliced at an angle
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • Handful of Fresh Sage Leaves, roughly chopped
  • Sea Salt

To Serve

  • Honey Mustard (I used Maille)

Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C Fan.

First thing’s first, get your pork chops out the fridge. Season both sides with a good helping of sea salt & coarse black pepper and press firmly into the meat. Leave to one side for about 30-60 minutes before cooking. (This helps the seasoning get into the meat.)

Place the peeled, sliced carrots in a large roasting tray along with the olive oil, golden syrup and sage leaves. Season with a generous amount of sea salt then get your hands in and give it a good mix. Place into the centre of the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes until slightly charred and cooked through. (Mix once halfway through the cooking time.)

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!Meanwhile, chop the potatoes into 1cm cubes and place in a bowl of cold water. Leave to one side. Then bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.

For the chops, heat a heavy, non stick frying pan over a medium heat and melt the butter until foaming.

Crank the heat up to medium/high and fry the chops for about 4 minutes on each side. (If you need to cook them in batches, as I did, add 10g of butter per chop to the pan each time.)

When cooked, wrap them in foil and leave to rest until serving.

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!Drain the potatoes and add to the saucepan of boiling water. Cook for about 30 seconds then drain and tip onto a baking sheet. Allow to steam for a minute or two.

Heat the olive oil in a clean, non stick frying pan and add the potatoes. (In batches if necessary, you don’t want to overcrowd the pan.) Season with a little sea salt & black pepper then cook over a medium/high heat for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Mix the shallots, garlic, parsley & sage together and add to the pan along with the butter. Fry for a further 2-3 minutes until the butter has melted and the potatoes are evenly coated.

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!Now you are ready to plate up. Serve the pork, potatoes & carrots on warmed plates with lashings of honey mustard and eat your heart out!

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!Before this meal, both Emma and I admitted that Pork Chops wouldn’t be at the top of our favourite meats list. But after this? It’s definitely climbed it’s way up the ladder! All the flavours work so incredibly well together. From the sweetness of the carrots to the crispy onion potatoes, and that beautiful buttery, meaty pork chop. Absolutely delicious!!

Dessert

‘Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake’

10 Generous Servings

* Needs to chill for at least 4 Hours *

For the Crust

  • 225g Oreos
  • 50g Honey Roast Peanuts
  • 50g Unsalted Butter

For the Filling

  • 600g Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese
  • 3 x Eggs, room temperature
  • 200g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 160g Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 80ml Double Cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 8 x Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

For the Topping

  • 100ml Sour Cream
  • 100g Golden Caster Sugar

For Decoration (Optional)

  • 75g Milk Chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 75ml Double Cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 8 x Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Special Equipment

  • 9″ Springform Tin
  • Large Roasting Tray (Bigger than the springform tin)

Grease and line the base & sides of the 9″ springform tin with baking/parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 160°C/140°C Fan.

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!In a blender, blitz the Oreos & peanuts to fine crumbs. Melt the butter, pour it into the biscuits and combine. Press the mixture, with the back of a metal spoon, into the base and slightly up the sides of the prepared tin. Refrigerate until needed.

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!Either using a stand mixer & paddle attachment or an electric hand whisk & large bowl, mix the cream cheese until smooth.

Lightly beat the eggs with a fork and add to the cream cheese in thirds. Beat well after each addition.

Add in the brown sugar, peanut butter, double cream & vanilla extract and continue to mix until smooth.

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!Chop the Peanut Butter Cups into 8ths and gently fold them into the filling. Pour the mixture into the tin and smooth over the top.

Wrap the base & sides of the tin with a double layer of foil and set into the roasting tray. Place onto the middle shelf in the oven and pour boiling water into the roasting tray so it sits 1″ up the sides of the springform tin.

Chop the Peanut Butter Cups into 8ths and gently fold them into the mix.Bake for approx 75-90 minutes until it’s firm to the touch and lightly golden on top.

Chop the Peanut Butter Cups into 8ths and gently fold them into the mix.In a bowl, mix together the sour cream and the golden caster sugar. Pour this over the top of the cheesecake and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!Remove the tin from the oven & roasting tray and place on a wire rack to cool for an hour.

Once cooled, refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set.

When (at long last!) the cheesecake has set, make a chocolate ganache by heating the double cream until hot (but not boiling.) Remove from the heat & add the chopped chocolate. Leave to stand for 2 minutes then stir until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth & shiny. Add in the vanilla extract then pour into a piping bag.

Chop the Peanut Butter Cups into 8ths and pipe ganache in lines (or whatever takes your fancy) over the cheesecake. Pile the chopped Peanut Butter Cups around the edge.

Keep refrigerated until you are ready to serve.

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!

Em & Em's Dinner Party 2013!Oh my god, I have made quite a few cheesecakes in my time but this one is right up there with the greats! It’s nowhere near as heavy as it looks and considering how many ‘peanut butter’ ingredients there are in it, it’s not overwhelming at all. Neither me nor Emma were too sure about the sour cream topping, but it works very well indeed. If gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins then I would definitely go to hell for this baby, It’s totally worth it!

Well that’s all for this edition of ‘Em & Em’s Dinner Party.’ Which just leaves me to say a massive thank you to Emma for accompanying me in the KitchenMason kitchen, yet again, to create culinary magic!

I hope you all enjoyed the post lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason