Thursday, 25 July 2013

Quinoa with sundried tomatoes, olives & courgette

Last weekend we had a party for my grandmother's 80th birthday. Obviously there was more food than the guests could eat so we were stuck with some leftovers. Most of it we ate the day after, but there were still lots of olives, sundried tomatoes and courgette left. So I decided to use them in a summer dish to enrich the flavour.

What you need:

I never mention how much you need of each ingredient because I don't like to cook with a strict recipe. Just use the amounts you like, maybe you want to add less olives or more quinoa, but that's totally up to you. Be creative and make it your own!

Step 1:
Whilst cooking the quinoa, cut the turkey into small pieces.
Fry the turkey pieces in a frying pan and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 2:
Cut the courgette into small cubes, the olives in small rings and the sundried tomatoes into strips.
We had leftovers of two different types of olives: one was with pesto, the other was with garlic. It's good to use flavoured olives so you won't need much to adjust the seasoning.

Step 3:
Fry the courgette and season with oregano (yum, so Italian!).
Add the olives and sundried tomatoes and give it a stir.

Step 4:
When everything is heated, add the quinoa and turkey to the courgette, olives and sundried tomatoes.
Mix thoroughly.

Step 5:
Transfer this mixture into a large baking dish.
Add as many pine nuts on top as you like ...

... and cover with grated cheese.

You probably wonder why this cheese looks so white? Well it's because we always use goat cheese since my sister and I can't tolerate cow's milk that well.

Picture of the side.

Step 6:
Pop your baking dish in the oven and grill till the cheese forms a lovely brown crust. This only takes a couple of minutes!

I didn't know what to expect from this 'leftover-dish', but oh my goodies, it was incredibly yummie!

And for all randomness ...

... as it has been boiling hot these days, my cat likes to hide away in the bushes ... She even sleeps there!


Sunday, 21 July 2013

Summer food: Baked smoked salmon & red pesto

When I'm at my student house during the school year, I always have to cook for 1 person ... Me. That sometimes makes it very hard to prepare a decent dish. I really like to eat fish instead of meat, and salmon is my absolute favourite (cooked, baked, smoked, ... as long as it's salmon). But fresh fish can be very expensive and unfortunately my poor student budget can't handle that. So that is not an option or only for special occasions.

So my alternative, in order to be able to eat fish, is smoked salmon. It is less expensive, you can also bake it like fresh salmon, it doesn't need seasoning (it is salty enough by smoking) and it has a special but great taste.
As I really like Italian food, I always like to add red pesto.

What you need:

Step 1:
Cook the pasta al dente.
Meanwhile, cut the smoked salmon into pieces, not too big, not too small (if that makes sense).

Cut the sweet peppers and the tomatoes into, rather large, cubes.

Step 2:
Bake the smoked salmon in a pan for about 5 minutes (it really doesn't need much time!). The salmon will get a kind of bleached salmon pink colour as you see on the second picture.

Smoked salmon before baking.
Smoked salmon after baking.

Step 3:
When the pasta is cooked through, remove the cooking water and immediately add the red pesto in order to prevent the pasta from sticking to each other. Stir well together.

Step 4:
Add the baked smoked salmon to the pasta.

Step 5:
Bake the sweet peppers in the same pan as in which you baked the smoked salmon.

Step 6:
Then add the baked sweet peppers and the - still raw - tomatoes to the pasta. The tomatoes just need to be warm, you don't want to bake them because they will totally fall apart and make this dish too watery.

Wait a minute until the tomatoes are heated ... aaaand then you are ready to eat!

This dish is super easy and quick to make and you can either eat it hot or cold. It only took me 30 minutes to prepare this delicious pasta because you can almost do everything while you're pasta is cooking. Enjoy!


Monday, 15 July 2013

My trip to London

Last week I went to London with my sister. We were so lucky that the weather was beautiful all week long. No rain, no cold, only bright sunny days! So we walked a lot and visited many (everything looks so much nicer when the sun is shining), no need to get back inside early.

Here are some pictures of our trip. I always tend to make a lot of pictures, I took over 400 this time (in 5 days)! No worries, won't bother you with all of them, haha!
Actually, am I the only one who makes that many pictures on holidays? It's just that I want to capture every moment to relive my holiday again, I guess.

So we went to Camden Town (love the markets and the expressive people), Covent Garden, visited some of the beautiful parks that London has (I wish we had one of those), and of course we went shopping in the biggest Primark ever in Tottenham Court Road. My sister told me he was big, bigger than the one in Oxford Street, but when we got there, I didn't know she ment that big! Oh my goodness! You don't want to know how much time we spent there, not gonna tell you anyway!
We also went to see the musical Wicked ... and it was wicked! A fantastic experience, so enjoyed it!

And now, back home, I have to start working again for school. I have to prepare for my internship which starts in august. But in the meantime, there will definitely be some time for enjoyment!


Sunday, 7 July 2013

Birthday & Biscotti

Today I turned 23, hurrah! Actually I don't feel like I'm 23 years old, I still feel like I'm 18. But that's not a bad thing, right?
My sister surprised me with a present this morning:

A little box for my jewellery, heart shaped sticky notes, pocket tissues of The Smurfs, pens in lovely colours and a Hawaiian flower leis necklace. I love all the bright colours!

Today my grandparents came to celebrate my birthday. We had this delicious buffet with something for everyone's taste and as it was very hot today, the cold food was really refreshing.

My cat also wanted some food. Poor thing!

So we gave her our empty plate to clean.

For dessert, I wanted to make biscotti. I saw this delicious recipe on Lottie's blog (Beauty and a cookbook) and really wanted to try this out! The biscotti contain lots of nuts and dried fruits, which I'm so in love with.

What you need:
- 250 g plain flour (I used wholemeal flour since we only have that one at home)
- 250 g caster sugar
- 1,5 tsp. baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 200 g dried apricots (you can use any dried fruit that you like)
- 100 g pistachios
- 50 g blanched almonds
- 25 g hazelnuts
- zest of 1 lemon

Step 1:
Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl.

Step 2:
Beat the eggs and add half the beaten eggs to the flour mixture and stir. Then add beaten egges as much as necessary to form a dough. It is possible that you don't need all three eggs (I had to use everything).

Step 3:
Add the dried fruit, nuts and lemon zest.

Step 4:
Pour the mixture into a couple of long rectangles on a baking tray. Make sure you leave enough space between them!

Step 5:
Put the baking tray in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180 C until golden brown.
Then take them out of the oven and let them rest for about 5-10 minutes. Cut with a bread knife in transverse strips and put these back in the oven for 8 minutes.

Step 6:
Take them out of the oven again and turn the strips onto their sides.
Then back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

Step 7:
And voila! Your biscotti are ready!

And now, time to pack my bags! Because tomorrow morning, I'm off to London!