Rocket pesto, butternut squash, goats cheese

Big news: I'm in possession of a brand new, shiny Canon Eos 77 DSLR camera (that I have no idea how to use). This marks the end of an era of phone photography so to celebrate, I'm giving the trusty iPhone one last job having created this rocket pesto, butternut squash and goats cheese dish.
This recipe is the result of discovering a big bag of rocket that needed using up asap and there was no better way than to turn it into a delicious pesto. 
The quantities aren't exact but the recipe is flexible with no need to measure anything. 

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Ingredients (feeds 2)
For the pesto:
2 large handfuls of rocket
1 handful of cashews
100ml of rapeseed or good quality olive oil
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic
A pinch of sea salt

For the salad
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
Rapeseed oil
Sea salt and black pepper to season
A pack of purple sprouting broccoli
Liberal amounts of goats cheese to sprinkle on top

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Drizzle the butternut squash cubes with some rapeseed oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Roast until fully cooked (30 minutes approximately).
To make the pesto, put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until roughly combined. Don't overprocess it since it should be a chunky consistency not a puree. 
Blanch or steam the broccoli.
To assemble, put the butternut squash and broccoli on a plate. Top with chunks of goats cheese and drizzle over some rocket pesto.

Noodle Bowls

On cold evenings (or days), nothing beats a warming bowl of noodles.
This quick to prepare dish is the ideal combination of warming spices, protein and those all-important carbs, because who doesn't crave carbs in winter? A sprinkling of sesame seeds, coriander (or parsley if you aren't fond) alongside sliced spring onions adds further flavour. 
I've featured 3 combinations but none take longer than 15 minutes from the time you start chopping to when you get to eat it.

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For the Noodle Broth:
300ml of vegetable stock
1 star anise (optional)
1 teaspoon of soy sauce or tamari
3 slices of ginger
60g of noodles, cooked according to packet instructions

For the topping:
1 spring onion, finely sliced
a few coriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds

Tofu Noodle Bowl
100g firm tofu, cubed
40g broccoli
1 small carrot, shredded

Salmon Noodle Bowl
1 salmon fillet, cubed
40g broccoli
a handful of spinach

Chicken and Mushroom Noodle Bowl
1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
50g asparagus
3-5 mushrooms, sliced

Put the stock, ginger, star anise and soy sauce into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
If you are using chicken or fish, add these next, bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the vegetables and tofu (if using), pop a lid on the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Finally, add the noodles, cook for another minute and it is ready to serve.
Top with coriander, sesame seeds and sliced spring onion.

Chorizo, butter beans & kale

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Weekday nights are usually an unfussy affair in my household. Lengthy recipes are replaced with quick and easy suppers that use few ingredients, after all, spending a long time in the kitchen following a busy day isn't always enticing. Sometimes, I just want to throw a few ingredients in a pan and be done with it 10 minutes later.
This combination of chorizo, butter beans and kale is one such recipe.

Ingredients (for 1 generous portion, multiply as required)
80g of a good quality spicy chorizo
2 shallots or 1 small onion, sliced
a tin of butter beans
1 clove of garlic, crushed
juice of half a lemon
1 bowl of chopped kale
freshly ground black pepper to season

Peel and slice the chorizo.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chorizo and onion and let it cook for 5 minutes until the onion softens and the chorizo goes slightly crispy. There is no need to add oil to the pan since the chorizo will release some fat. Season well with freshly ground black pepper.
Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes.
Squeeze over the lemon juice, add the garlic and stir well to combine.
Stir in the kale, season again with freshly ground black pepper and cook for another minute until the kale wilts slightly.
It's ready to serve.

Trout, greens, cashew mayo and cucumber

As recipes go, this trout, greens and cashew mayo combo was the one that got the most "wow this tastes amazing" comments during this food show season.
It's a simple, yet impressive, dinner that can be thrown together in 10 minutes so it was almost too good not to share.
The trout can be swapped for almost any other firm fish but do make sure it's a responsibly sourced one.

Trout with cashew mayo.JPG

Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 trout fillets
greens & peas of your choice (a mix of spinach and kale is ideal)
organic butter to cook
1 lemon

For the cashew mayo: 
1 cup of cashews, soaked in water overnight or for at least 2 hours
1 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
100ml of water

For the cucumber:
1/2 cucumber, halved lengthways then sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1" piece of ginger, peeled and grated
a pinch of sea salt

To make the cashew mayo, drain the cashews, put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water if required to reach the desired consistency. The end result should be thick and creamy, just like mayo.
For the cucumber, put all of the ingredients in a bowl apart from the ginger. Take the grated ginger and squeeze the juice onto the cucumber. Stir together until well combined.
To cook the fish, heat a pan on a medium heat, melt a knob of butter and cook the trout fillets skin side down for 3 minutes. Turn them over for another 2 minutes and set aside.
Add the greens and peas to the same pan, cook for a minute, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and season well with sea salt and black pepper.
To serve, divide the greens between two plates, place the fish on top, add a good dollop of the cashew mayo and finish with crunchy cucumber pieces scattered over the fish.

Mexican-ish eggs


Another Monday calls for another meat free recipe, this time, in the form of these tasty Mexican style eggs.
These are a staple brunch option in my household but work very well for dinner too.
Whilst we are on the topic of staples, this is the kind of dish that can be thrown together from those last few ingredients from the back of the cupboard. Just keep some chopped tomato or passata in there and the rest can easily be adjusted.

Ingredients for 2
4 eggs
1 can of good quality chopped tomato
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 a teaspoon each of smoked paprika, cumin seeds and ground coriander
85g of feta cheese
a handful of parsley leaves to serve
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and cook until softened (5-10 minutes). Add the spices (cumin, smoked paprika and coriander) and crushed garlic and cook for a further minute.
Pour in the chopped tomato, stir well, season with a good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.
Preheat a grill to the highest setting.
Make 4 wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each hole. Cook for a couple more minutes.
Crumble the feta over the egg and tomato mix and put it under a grill until the cheese is starting to colour (approximately 2-3 minutes).
To serve, divide the eggs and sauce between two plates and sprinkle some parsley over the top.