Tag Archives: Mediterranean

This is a selection of tasty recipes influenced by the tastes of the Mediterranean. Here you will find light and fresh recipes.  

Chorizo & Egg on Sourdough

Incredibly simple I almost feel cheeky to call this Chorizo & Egg on Sourdough a recipe! But it is delicious everyone needs it in their life! 

      

Could breakfast get more simple?

Well obviously yes it could if you fancy cereal or just toast. But as far as a cooked breakfast goes this Chorizo & Egg on Sourdough couldn’t get much easier. As I said, I feel a bit cheeky calling this a recipe because it is so simple. But I hadn’t thought of this specific combination until I went to a local restaurant recently. 

We went to a restaurant called Nonna’s with friends and had their tapas menu. We ate a lot of delicious things, but it was their Griddled Chorizo & Fried Eggs on Toast that really stuck out for me. Such a simple combination that I have had before in slightly different ways, but never like this. 

Good eggs make a difference!

Believe it or not, I have only started eating egg yolks in the last year. I’d eat the whites before but not the yolks. A large part of me starting to eat egg yolks is paying more attention to the eggs I buy. I have always bought free range eggs, but I’ve started buying golden yolk eggs. The more well known brand is Clarence Court which have the most orange yolks of any shop bought eggs I’ve ever seen. This gives the yolk such a rich and creamy flavour that has definitely converted me! 

Although Clarence Court eggs are fantastic, they are over double the price of a standard pack of free range eggs. I tend to only buy them when they are on offer. That is because supermarkets are now offering their own golden yolk eggs that are a good alternative at a much more reasonable price. I frequently see them in Lidl and Aldi so don’t feel like you have to spend the big price tags for a delicious egg. 

Which bread to use?

I like to use sourdough for this recipe. It’s got a lovely flavour and looks a little bit more special. I have a Lidl just down the road from me and I am very happy that their bakery offers a great selection of freshly baked bread. Their sourdough boule is one of my frequent purchases!

If you don’t want to use sourdough, I would recommend another round loaf. Even though you are toasting it, you do still want it to have a good crust. For something like this I wouldn’t recommend a sliced loaf of bread. 

Finishing touches and tweaks

What makes this recipe so tasty are the small finishing touches. The olive oil on the toasted sourdough with a pinch of salt and pepper is delicious, don’t forget it! And the seasoning again over the egg at the end really does make a difference. 

If I was making this recipe not to be photographed, I would fry my eggs in the oil released from the chorizo. This would add even more delicious flavour to the eggs. I didn’t do this because the oil would colour the egg white which would have looked a little odd in the photos! If you use the chorizo oil there is no need to add more oil to fry your eggs. 

Another thing I did different for the photos that I wouldn’t do usually is I trimmed the egg. The only reason I did this was so you could actually see the toast and the chorizo underneath. I initially laid the egg as it was on top and it completely hid the chorizo! Not ideal for photography purposes but perfectly fine usually. 

This recipe isn’t set in stone, it is meant to be tweaked. Your slice of bread might be bigger or smaller than mine so you may need more or less chorizo. 

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5 from 3 votes
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Chorizo & Egg on Sourdough

Incredibly simple I almost feel cheeky to call this Chorizo & Egg on Sourdough a recipe! But it is delicious everyone needs it in their life! 

Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword Chorizo, Eggs, Toast
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 576 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sourdough
  • 140 g chorizo
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • ½ tsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cut your slices of sourdough. Cut two lengths of chorizo to fit on your bread. Cut each length in half and remove the skin

  2. In a frying pan over a medium heat, cook the chorizo for a couple of minutes on each side until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside

  3. Toast the bread while you fry the eggs

  4. If you do not want to fry the egg in the chorizo oil, remove it from the pan and add up to 2 teaspoons of sunflower oil. Fry the egg over a medium heat until it is to your liking

  5. When the bread is toasted, drizzle it with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt

  6. Assemble by placing the chorizo on top of the toast and topping with the egg. Sprinkle the egg with a pinch of salt and pepper and serve

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Chorizo & Egg on Sourdough
Amount Per Serving
Calories 576 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 225mg75%
Sodium 1255mg55%
Potassium 421mg12%
Carbohydrates 38g13%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 238IU5%
Calcium 58mg6%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough

Think of this Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough as a whole lot of deliciousness piled on posh toast. It is so simple to make incredibly tasty! 

                              

Grilled peaches are delicious! 

If you haven’t tried grilling your peaches you haven’t lived! I’ve been seeing them all over social media at the moment. And seeing as it is peach season I had to make a recipe!

When choosing peaches for grilling, you want to pick ones that are firmer than you would typically eat. These hold their shape well whilst being grilled. It also means you can usually grill them as soon as you’ve bought them and you don’t have to wait a few days for them to ripen fully! 

Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough

Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough – Elevated posh toast 

This Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough is essentially posh toast. You could also think of it as an open toasted sandwich. However you want to think of it, it is delicious. I’m really into sourdough bread at the moment. It’s such a delicious bread and really lends itself to being toasted. If you don’t want to you use sourdough, you could use any thick crusty bread. 

Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough  

Shake up your lunch! 

I did some quick googling and the the top four most popular lunch choices here in the UK are sandwiches. And pretty basic sandwiches at that! People also seem to get stuck in a rut of what they have for their lunches. This Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough is just what you need to shake up your lunch. 

Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough

This would make the perfect weekend lunch but it is also easy to take with you midweek. You can grill the peaches at home and then assemble at work. I am assuming that most workplaces at least have a toaster! 

Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough 
Make these for a starter or canapé

These Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough can easily be made as a starter or canapé. You could cut the slices of bread from a large sourdough loaf in half for a smaller portion. Alternatively you could use a smaller sourdough baguette. 

Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough

5 from 6 votes
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Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough

Course Appetizer, Lunch
Cuisine Mediterranean, International
Keyword Proscuitto, Goat's Cheese, Grilled Peaches, Sourdough, Toast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 310 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 3 peaches
  • tsp oil vegetable or sunflower
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 8 slices Prosciutto
  • 75 g soft goat's cheese

Instructions

  1. Stone the peaches and cut each into 8 slices. Brush each side of the peach slices with oil

  2. Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat. When hot, lay the peaches on one of the cut sides. Leave to grill for 2-3 minutes before turning over to the other side

  3. Finish by grilling the peaches on the skin side for one minute

  4. Cut the sourdough into thick slices and toast

  5. Spread each slice of toasted sourdough with goat's cheese before topping with the prosciutto and grilled peaches

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is given as a guide only. 

Nutrition Facts
Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto on Sourdough
Amount Per Serving
Calories 310 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 11mg4%
Sodium 434mg19%
Potassium 327mg9%
Carbohydrates 47g16%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 365IU7%
Vitamin C 7.4mg9%
Calcium 35mg4%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
You may also like my Fig, Prosciutto & Rocket Salad

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Spanish Baked Chorizo & Beans

My Spanish Baked Chorizo & Beans is a take of a tasty dish I had in Spain. A rich tomato sauce with creamy beans and spiced chorizo perfect as a starter or for lunch. 

I had a very similar dish to this on a recent holiday to Fuerteventura. My parents have a villa out there so it is a lovely place to go to get some sun and sample the local food (and drink). Whenever we go there, we always try to visit one particular restaurant that cooks steak perfectly and has the most amazing garlic sauce I have eaten. 

On our last visit, Dad and I had a baked chorizo and bean dish for our starter. I am a bit unsure of beans which I know sounds silly, but beans and pulses aren’t really my thing; although I am getting better. But any dish with chorizo in was worth a try in my opinion. This dish was so tasty I knew I wanted to try and recreate it when I got home, beans and all!

I took the flavours I remembered tasting and created my Spanish Baked Chorizo & Beans. I bought the chorizo and smoked paprika out there, but you can obviously get delicious Spanish ingredients over here. You can also choose whether to use standard or spicier chorizo. Personally I always buy the spicier chorizo but feel free to whichever suits your taste. The original recipe had large diced onion in it, but if you follow my blog frequently you’ll know I’m not a fan, but please add this if you like it. 

As well as bringing chorizo and spices back with me, I also brought back more of these cute clay pots. They are sold all over Spain and are inexpensive. You don’t have to look like a crazy person with your suitcase filled with anything other than clothes though as I am sure you can buy these back home if you have a look around. 

This Spanish Baked Chorizo & Beans is so simple to make. I believe that anyone could make this no matter their cooking ability. It is as easy as chopping some ingredients, stirring them together in a bowl and then pouring them into an oven dish. What makes it even better is that it looks like was more effort than this!

I served this dish how I had it in Fuerteventura which was with toasted garlic bread. I made this by toasting slices of baguette before adding a mix of butter, garlic and chopped parsley. We then dipped this into the delicious baked chorizo. It is great as a starter or as a lunch dish. 

Serves 4 

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin of butter beans, drained
¼ tsp smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp mixed herbs
260g chorizo ring, de-skinned and sliced
1 onion, large diced (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan assisted, 190ºC non fan)
  2. Remove the skin from the chorizo and slice it into roughly 0.5cm thick and add to a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients 
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together and then either pour into one large oven proof dish or four individual dishes

  1. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and serve with some toasted baguette 
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Chorizo & Cheese Pinwheels

Crisp flaky puff pastry filled with spiced chorizo and salty cheese. My Chorizo & Cheese Pinwheels are so addictive you’ll find it hard to eat just one!
I love pinwheels, they are so incredibly easy, quick and most importantly delicious. They are also very easily adapted to go with lots of great flavours. You may have already seen my Nutella Pinwheels and Cheese & Marmite Pinwheels which are so tasty. 

I wanted to make a meaty pinwheel to add to my collection and chorizo slices came to mind. I love chorizo in any form, but chorizo slices really lend themselves to being used in a pinwheel. I didn’t completely cover the pastry with chorizo slices as it is naturally quite high in fat so I wanted to show some restraint. If you want to be indulgent you can add more chorizo. 

You can use any cheddar you like, but I personally like to use extra mature cheddar because it has a delicious saltiness. Reduced fat cheese doesn’t work so well however as it doesn’t tend to melt as well. Plus there are times to go all out and this is one of those times. 

I would recommend lining your baking tray instead of just spraying the tray directly with oil. This is because they tend to stick slightly to the tray which means you may break the pastry slightly when you take them off the tray.

These Chorizo & Cheese Pinwheels will keep in a airtight container for 3-4 days. You can reheat them in the oven if you would like but they are really tasty cold. They are an easily portable snack or great for a picnic. 

Makes 24

375g puff pastry, ready rolled
100g chorizo slices
100g cheddar cheese, grated
Splash of milk or egg

  1. Unroll the pastry and using a rolling pin, roll until it is 2-3mm thick keeping it on the baking paper it comes with 
  2. Using the chorizo slices, make two lines along the longest side of the pastry
  3. Scatter the whole of the pastry with the grated cheese 

  1. Starting from the long end closest to you, tuck the pastry over as tight as you can. Then using the baking paper roll the rest of the pastry up to create a long roll

  1. Leave to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes 
  2. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (fan assisted, 210ºC non fan) and line two baking trays with a silicon mat or baking paper
  3. Take the pastry out of the fridge and slice into rounds around 1cm in thickness
  4. Place the pinwheels on the oiled baking trays and brush with the milk or egg 

  1. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown

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Only Crumbs Remain

Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole

If you’re looking for comforting and rustic, my Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole is for you.  Easy to make and full of flavour this is a great Winter warmer. 

Using your slow cooker 

I love using my slow cooker, especially during the Winter. You can make so many delicious and comforting dishes with minimum effort. This is a good thing when the weather is miserable and all you want to do is snuggle up on the sofa with a blanket; and a bowl of Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole of course!

My inspiration for this Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole came loosely from a sausage cassoulet. I say loosely because I took the general idea of it and then made it my way. This recipe is very easy to tweak and make it how you would like also. 
 

Removing the casings from the sausages

I chose to remove the casing from the sausages because I wanted to cut the sausages up for a start. This is to make the sausages go further and to also remove the necessity of using a knife. This really is lazy comfort food so who wants to be using more cutlery than needed?! I also removed the casing because I wanted the sausages to absorb as much flavour of the dish as possible so I thought I’d remove any barriers to prevent this. 

Why baked beans you ask?

Well why on earth not. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that my Dad used to add baked beans when he made cottage pie and it was oddly tasty. I wanted to add a bean to this recipe but I am not adventurous when it comes to beans. I am broadening my horizons and in the last year or so I have become a fan of black beans. Steady on, you may say but I will get there! My lack of confidence in beans was only half of the reason I used baked beans. I wanted their tomato sauce to enhance my casserole too. 

Other flavour enhancing ingredients to add

Another ingredient which enhances the casserole is red wine. Mr Curly and I aren’t big drinkers so I used a small bottle of red wine. If you do enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner and have a bottle open, add a medium sized glass to the casserole. Alternatively if you would rather not add wine at all, just add water instead. 

You can also add whatever vegetables you like. Parsnips or swede would add a sweetness which would work well. You could also add some mushrooms to add to the heartiness. Feel free to add whichever herbs you would like, or even use dried herbs if you don’t have fresh herbs. 

What do you serve this with?

I like to serve this with some nice crusty bread which is very tasty dipped into the sauce. If you would prefer something a bit more substantial like Mr Curly, you could serve this Hearty Slow Cooker Casserole with pasta or even mashed potato. 

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Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole

If you're looking for comforting and rustic, my Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole is for you.  Easy to make and full of flavour this is a great Winter warmer. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean, British
Keyword Slow Cooker, Crock pot, Sausage Casserole
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 724 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 6-8 good quality sausages de-skinned
  • 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery sliced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 gloves of garlic diced
  • 187 ml red wine small bottle
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • ½ tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250 ml chicken stock
  • 420 g tin baked beans
  • Spray oil
  • 2 tbsp cornflour mixed with water optional

Instructions

  1. Remove the casing from the sausages. I find the best way to do this is to gently cut a slit into the sausage and then peel the casing away from the meat 

  2. Split each sausage into three pieces and roll them between your hands to round the edges

  3. Brown the sausages in your slow cooker on the hob, if it allows. Or brown them in a pan and add them to the slow cooker

  4. Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the baked beans and stir to mix 

  5. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 

  6. With an hour to go, add the baked beans and stir through. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary stalk 

  7. If you would like the stew to be a little thicker, mix the cornflour and water together and add to the slow cooker. Stir through and let cook for a few more minutes before serving

Recipe Notes

I have used a 3.5L slow cooker for this recipe. 

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Hearty Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 724
% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 1029mg45%
Potassium 314mg9%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 5155IU103%
Vitamin C 6.2mg8%
Calcium 28mg3%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Herby Turkey Burgers

Herby Turkey Burgers that are so tasty you won’t believe they are only 200 calories! Don’t panic – these burgers may be low in calories but they are definitely not lacking in flavour.  It’s that time of year when people are brought back to reality with a bump after Christmas. The overindulging has to come to and end and you have to deal with the choices you made. Ok so maybe this is just me! 

January is the time of year that most people try to eat a bit more healthily. This isn’t just to loose weight, but I think a lot of people tend to eat more than usual over the festive period so when it comes to January, people crave healthier food. 

Healthy food doesn’t just mean salads. I made these Herby Turkey Burgers as a healthier version of my Beef Burgers, but didn’t realise just how healthy they would be. If I told you these burgers without the bun were only 200 calories would you believe me? If you use turkey breast mince that has 2% fat then these burgers come in at just 200 calories. Even if you use turkey thigh mince which has 7% fat, these still work out at just under 240 calories. I think thigh meat has more flavour and the extra fat helps keep the burgers moist. 

Turkey can be a little bit bland which is why I think you need to pack it with flavour. Herbs and garlic go really well with turkey and help bring out its flavour. I have used fresh herbs in this recipe, but if you don’t have any just substitute them with a teaspoon of the equivalent in dried herbs. 

If you are trying to reduce the carbs you eat, you can easily enjoy this burger without the bun. But if you do fancy a bun, I recommend toasting it slightly as it really does make a difference – there’s a reason why if you order a burger in a restaurant the bun will be lightly toasted!

I can be a bit of a pain when I come up with a new recipe because ask Mr Curly for feedback. The majority of the sweet treats I make I ask other people whether they think I’ve got it right or I need to make some tweaks. But when it comes to savoury dishes it is a bit harder and I usually rely on Mr Curly. I made these and jokingly said to him I wanted his review in at least ten works – ‘nice’ and ‘tasty’ don’t give me much to go off! 

His response was “I don’t really know how to rate them apart from they’re really tasty and I’d happily have them again. Better than your beef burgers maybe.” Well that might not mean much to you, but I know how much he loves the beef burgers I make so I knew that these Herby Turkey Burgers were a winner. 

Serves 4

450g turkey mince 
70g cream crackers (8 crackers), broken up
1 egg
1 tsp garlic, chopped
½ tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
½ tbsp fresh thyme
½ tsp dried sage
1 tsp sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
Spray oil 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC
  2. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly – I find the best way to do this is with your hands 

  1. Divide the mix into four equal balls and shape them into burger patties
  2. Spray a baking tray with oil and place the burgers on it

  1. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning half way; until they are browned and crisp on each side 

  1. If you are going to serve the burger in a roll, just before the burgers are ready to come out of the oven, toast the buns

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Feta Stuffed Peppers

2016-01-10 13.24.36

Delicious, tasty and super easy these Feta Stuffed Peppers make an excellent light lunch or starter.

I found this recipe in my friend’s Weight Watchers recipe book which is always a good sign that it is going to be healthy! I really love the flavour of peppers when they are roasted as it brings out their sweetness so thought I would give this recipe a try. They did mention added chilli flakes, but I didn’t fancy this so I left them out but feel free to add them if you want a bit of a kick!

I didn’t have any fresh basil so I sprinkled on some frozen basil. I don’t seem to be very good at keeping plants alive so don’t tend to buy the little herb plants you see in the shop and I find that the fresh cut basil doesn’t last very long. So instead I bought a pot of frozen basil which is always there when I need it. Obviously fresh basil will be the most flavoursome and the frozen basil won’t be ideal for everything but it worked well in this recipe.

2016-01-10 13.29.08

Each pepper (two halves) is less than 250 calories so it makes a perfect light lunch or you could use half a pepper as a starter.

2 red peppers, halved and de-seeded
16 cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
100g feta cheese, crumbled
Fresh basil
Spray oil
Pepper

  1. Spray a baking tray with oil. Put the four pepper halves on the tray and divide the ingredients between them

2016-01-10 12.38.36

  1. Spray again with oil and put in the oven for 40-45 minutes
  2. Serve with a green salad

Fig, Prosciutto & Rocket Salad

This Fig, Prosciutto & Rocket Salad is definitely not a boring salad! The delicious sweet figs are complimented by the peppery rocket and salty ham. 

I am obsessed with figs. Not only are they delicious but they are really pretty too. I spend all year waiting for them to come into season and then eat as many of them as possible. I am always shocked by how many people have never seen them let alone tried them. My mother in law had only tried them dried in fig rolls before and two of my friends at work had no idea what it was when I brought them into work!

I am making it my little mission to make as many people aware of figs as possible so I insisted that my friends tried them. You should have seen their faces, you would have thought I was asking them to try something really weird! They both thought the figs were alright which is a much better reaction than I thought I was going to get!

This is a great recipe to try if you haven’t eaten figs before because it is so easy and includes familiar ingredients too. Most people may associate figs with sweet dishes, like my Honey, Fig and Mascarpone Cupcakes. However figs go really well as part of a savoury dish and add a great sweetness. This salad makes a lovely starter or light lunch and is healthy too which is another advantage!

This Fig, Prosciutto & Rocket Salad is really simple and quick to make. I first made this just for myself thinking it wouldn’t be Mr Curly’s kind of thing. He had a little bit to give it a try and really liked it so ended up eating half of it! In the week since I made it, he has kept asking when I am going to make it again because he loved it.I decided to use Prosciutto, but feel free to use Parma or Serano ham instead – just use whichever cured ham you fancy. With the dressing, you can either use balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar glaze. This recipe is definitely not set in stone, the quantities below are just a guide so if you want more of one ingredient, go for it.

I feel slightly cheeky referring to this Fig, Prosciutto and Rocket Salad as a recipe when really it is just assembling ingredients together. But when you have ingredients this tasty, you really don’t need to do much with them. This is one of my favourite dishes to eat, you really must try it! 

 

5 from 2 votes
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Fig, Prosciutto & Rocket Salad

This Fig, Prosciutto & Rocket Salad is definitely not a boring salad! The delicious sweet figs are complimented by the peppery rocket and salty ham. 

Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword Salad, Fig, Proscuitto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 145 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 60 g rocket (1 bag)
  • 6 figs
  • 8 slices Prosciutto
  • 20 g Parmesan
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar glaze

Instructions

  1. Rinse the rocket if it hasn't already been washed and scatter over your serving plate or bowl
  2. Cut the figs into quarters or sixths depending on how big they are and add them to the rocket
  3. Drape slices of Prosciutto over the plate
  4. Grate the Parmesan over the salad with a vegetable peeler so you get curls of cheese
  5. Drizzle the salad with balsamic vinegar/balsamic glaze

Nutrition Facts
Fig, Prosciutto & Rocket Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 145 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 190mg8%
Potassium 261mg7%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 500IU10%
Vitamin C 3.7mg4%
Calcium 109mg11%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Rosemary & Salt Fougasse

2015-05-04 13.10.46

Freshly baked bread that doesn’t only taste amazing, but looks impressive too!

I wanted to  bake some bread but to Rien’s disgust, I didn’t want to make a normal loaf or rolls (He pouted and moaned throughout the whole process because he wouldn’t be able to make a sandwich with it). I remembered a type of bread I had seen on one of Lorraine Pascale’s programmes called fougasse and thought it had looked great so decided that would be perfect.

I have only made quite basic loaves or rolls before so I was keen to expand my skills and make a shaped loaf. Although this type of bread doesn’t require a great deal of skill, it does look impressive once baked.

Rien managed to get over the fact it wasn’t a loaf by the time the fougasse came out of the oven and couldn’t wait to try some. We let it cool slightly and then tucked in – it was delicious! The crust was only slightly crisp with the great flavour of rosemary and sea salt. The bread went perfectly with some meat and cheese which I think is a lovely weekend lunch. Its safe to say Rien wasn’t disappointed and said he would look forward to me making it again.

I love the flavours of rosemary and salt, especially with bread. The recipe I used had tomatoes and onions but I decided to go with rosemary and salt as I tend to have these most of the time, but feel free to add any toppings you like. For example I’ve seen fougasse recipes with chorizo which sounds delicious and I will be trying that soon! I got the recipe for the dough from Good Food http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/335608/red-onion-cherry-tomato-and-rosemary-fougasse. I look forward to adding new flavours to the dough now I know how easy it is! Feel free to try your own flavours, I’d love to hear how you get on.

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For the dough
500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
350ml hand-hot water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped rosemary

  1. Mix the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and chopped rosemary together. Add the water and oil and mix to form a soft dough

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  1. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. I tend to start it in my mixer with a dough hook and then finish it by kneading my hand. When pressed, the dough should spring back when it has been kneaded enough

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  1. Put back in the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or cling film sprayed with oil. Leave to rise for 1 hour
  2. Heat the oven to 240°C (220°C fan). Divide the dough into two and shape into long rectangles approximately 25cm long
  3. Place on a floured baking sheet and brush lightly with water. Cut one diagonal slash through the dough and then three slashes either side to give the dough leaf like markings. Open out the slashes slightly

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For the topping
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp rosemary leaves
1 tsp sea salt

  1. Scatter the salt over the bread. Dip the rosemary leaves in the oil to help the stick to the bread but also to stop them burning

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  1. Leave to rise for 15 mins, then bake for 15-20 mins until risen and golden brown

Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts)

All-butter puff pastry filled with deliciously rich egg custard flavoured with vanilla is my idea of heaven – I love these Pasteis de Nata!2015-03-21 15.01.03

I don’t like custard. Well I didn’t until I tried one of these! Rien’s Aunt made these at Christmas and I was reluctant to try one as I’ve never had custard and liked it before. I am incredibly glad I tried one, they were absolutely amazing. The pastry is flaky and buttery which goes perfectly with the creamy, thick egg custard.

I knew I wanted to make these for my Mum because she likes English egg custard tarts so these are perfect for her. I decided to make them for her birthday so I had a few months to wait before I made them! Since then, I have seen Patesis de Nata everywhere! They were featured in April’s issue of Good Food and were the cover recipe on Delicious. So by waiting and making these now I am right on trend!

Although both Good Food and Delicious featured a recipe, I knew I was going to use the recipe Rien’s Aunt, Carol, had given to me because I knew they were delicious. She found the recipe from the Guardian which was featured as Lucian Freud’s favourite breakfast dish. The recipe can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/25/lucian-freud-custard-tarts-breakfast-champions.

This recipe featured a couple of firsts for me; all-butter puff pastry and vanilla pods. The all-butter puff pastry was a little bit harder to work with than usual puff pastry because it started to almost melt whilst working with it due to the high butter content. So try to handle it as little and quickly as possible. The vanilla pod added a fantastic flavour which couldn’t have been replaced with vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and I was excited to finally use it.

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I went into making these having no idea what I was doing and only having a fairly brief recipe to guide me. A couple of times I had a few doubts and wondered whether they would turn out right. The main stage when I was a little worried was when I was pouring the custard into the pastry. On some of the tarts, the custard began seeping out so I thought these would not turn out very well. When I took them out of the oven though, I couldn’t even tell which had been the problem tarts!

One tip I would advise is when pouring, use a jug! When I was pouring the warmed cream into the egg yolks I thought it would be fine to pour from the pan – it wasn’t. If you’re anything like me, it will be far easier, and quicker, to use a jug whenever you’re pouring.

When the finished tarts first came out of the oven, they did look good but I remember thinking they didn’t look as good as Carol’s. I left them to cool and when I came back to them, the custard had settled and almost sunk down a little bit and I was very happy to see they did now look like Carol’s! So don’t panic if yours look slightly different when they first come out of the oven, they should settle and look amazing!

My Mum said these reminded her of when we were on holiday in Portugal and had Pasteis de Nata and that these were just as delicious. A couple of weeks before I made these, I went to Nandos with a friend and had one of their Pasteis de Nata. I am very pleased to say that these are far better than the ones in Nandos – don’t take my word for it, try them yourself!

If you manage to control yourself and not eat all twelve at once, store the in an airtight box. Heat them for approximately 20 seconds before you want to eat them, it definitely makes a difference and they will be as delicious as when they were warm from the oven.

rien

Makes 12
320g pre-rolled all-butter pastry
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
200ml single cream
250ml whole milk
½ vanilla pod
Spray oil for greasing
Icing sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray and put in the freezer
  2. Take the pre-rolled pastry straight from the fridge and dust with icing sugar. Roll along the longest side into a tight log and cut into 12 sections

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  1. Dust each section with icing sugar and roll flat until it is roughly 11cm across. Push each round into the muffin tray, it doesn’t have to be flat around the edges as they are meant to have folds in the pastry. Put the tray in the fridge

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  1. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until creamy. Mix the cornflour with a splash of milk and then whisk into the egg yolks. This looks exactly like something we used to play with as a child, its a liquid until touched and then it turns solid. You’ll know what I mean when you get to this stage!
  2. Heat the cream and milk together in a pan along with half a vanilla pod with the seeds scraped out, until almost boiling

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  1. Remove from the heat and fish out the vanilla pod, then whisk slowly into the yolks
  2. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently for three minutes, stirring continuously
  3. Pour into the pastry cases and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and dark spots appear on the custard

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  1. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin. Best eaten warm
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