Pork and Pancetta Stuffing

Pork Pancetta Stuffing Balls
Pork Pancetta Stuffing Balls

It’s that time of year when the Turkey needs stuffing! This year I’ve gone for a  Butterfly Turkey Crown, which I’ll spread the stuffing over before I fold back together and roast. I’ve plumped for this slightly smoky Pork and Pancetta stuffing which should keep the breast moist and flavourful.

If you don’t have a bird to stuff just roll it into balls and cook  for 20 mins or so until they are cooked though and browned.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1/3 lb (150 g) mild pancetta, cut into fine dice
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 8 oz (227 g) white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lb (454 g) pork sausage meat
  • 3 cups (750 ml) bread cubes, without the crust
  • Zest of 1 unwaxed Lemon
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Method

1.In a large saucepan, soften the onions and pancetta in the oil. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, then leave to cool.

2. Add the sausage meat, cooled onion mixture, breadcrumbs and lemon zest along with the herbs and seasoning to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Use to stuff the bird of your choice or roll into balls and cook separately and serve……..

Coquito

Coquito - Feliz Navidad
Coquito – Feliz Navidad

This is the Puerto Rican version of an “Egg-Nog”, made with coconut cream, condensed milk, Christmas spices and of course a liberal helping of rum! This recipe is egg free.
It’s served well chilled in cups with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg over the top, however for something more sofisticated pour into martini glasses, garnished with a short stick of cinnamon and dusted with some grated nutmeg, Feliz Navidad!

10 servings – Gluten free*

Ingredients

2 cans coconut cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 – 2 cups rum
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

Method

1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz for a minute or so until frothy.
2. Refrigerate until well chilled.

Serve and enjoy responsibly….

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

Paul Hollywood’s Pain De Campagne

Pain De Champagne
Pain De Campagne
image: alittlethoughtforfood.com

I’ve been watching last year Oregano grow like mad this year and needed to cut it back before it went to seed. I was wondering what to do with leaves rather than just dump them in the compost when I remembered this recipe in Paul Hollywood’s Bread
book, that Kimbob’s bought me for Valentine’s

Makes: 1 loaf

Tip: I use dried yeast when making wholemeal bread as the re-activation in warm water gives the heavier wholemeal flour a helping hand to rise. Feel free to use easy bake dried yeast or fresh if you want. You don’t need to activate the Easy Bake yeast just add it to the flour and stir in.

Ingredients

  • 400 g strong bread flour
  • 100 g rye flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dried yeast (or 7g easy bake dried yeast\20g fresh yeast)
  • 50 g butter, diced and softened to room temperature
  • 1 large bunch of oregano, de-stalked and finely chopped
  • 300 ml water

Method

  1. Activate the dried yeast by whisking the sugar into 160 ml of the water until dissolved, then add the yeast and whisk again. Leave in a warm place for 10 – 15 mins or until 2cms of froth covers the surface, whisk again and use (Not required for Easy Bake yeast)
  2. Add the flour, salt and chopped herbs into a bowl and mix thoroughly
  3. Add the butter and rub completely into the flour mix
  4. Slowly add the yeast and water and mix in with your hands until all the flour from the side of the bowl, has been incorporated.
  5. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 6 minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl and leave to rise for 2 to 2.5 hours until doubled in size.
  6. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Return the dough to the floured surface and shape into a ball, then slightly flatten with your hands and dust with some rye flour. Using a sharp knife, mark out  the traditional square shape on top of the dough, pop onto a baking tray and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 8. Bake for 30 minutes until until the bread is risen, the crust is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with butter, or as the base for a slice or two of Mature Cheddar Cheese on toast or dunked in a bowl of my Bacon and Lentil or  Minestrone Soup

 

 

 

Pepper, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Pepper Chickpea and Spinach Curry
Pepper, Chickpea and Spinach Curry
Image: http://www.alittlethoughtforfood.com

I fancied cooking something vegetarian for a change, this tasty one pot dish is quick and easy to prepare and is substantial enough to fill a hole in anyones appetite. It’s only about 170 kCals per portion too.

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Red Chilli
  • 2.5 cms Root Ginger, peeled
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 mixed peppers, diced
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 400g tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 400g tin of  Chickpeas, drained
  • 1 bag of Spinach, (200 – 250gms)

Method

  1. Whizz the Garlic, Chilli and Ginger in a blender until it forms a paste, (you can substitute paste versions of these instead and use as directed on the tubes\jar)
  2. Heat the paste and olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan, until it becomes fragrant and starts to sizzle (be careful not to burn the paste or it will become bitter)
  3. Add the onion and peppers and fry for a few minutes, util the onions start to become translucent)
  4. Add the spices and tomato puree and cook for a few moments
  5. Add the Chickpeas, and Chopped Tomatoes plus a splash of water and simmer for 10 mins.
  6.  Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes until it’s wilted, then stir through the curry.

Serve with some plain boiled rice and a Naan or Chapati and enjoy this healthy delight…..

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

 

 

 

Basic Wholemeal Bread

Basic Wholemeal Bread
Basic Wholemeal Bread
Image: http://www.alittlethoughtforfood.com
#alittlethoughtforfood

“Once you’ve grasped the recipe for wholemeal bread you’ll never stop making it” was something I heard a long time ago and it’s true. This easy recipe make two small 450g loaves or a single 900g one. As it doesn’t contain any of the flour ‘improvers’ and preservatives that you find in commercially bought loaves, it won’t last as long, so I normally make two small ones and wrap one tightly and pop it in the fridge to keep for a day or two.

 

Tip: I use dried yeast when making wholemeal bread as the re-activation in warm water gives the heavier wholemeal flour a helping hand to rise. Feel free to use easy bake dried yeast or fresh if you want. You don’t need to activate the Easy Bake yeast just add it to the flour and stir in.

Ingredients:

  • 450g strong plain wholemeal flour
  • 225g strong plain white flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp dried yeast (or 7g easy bake dried yeast\20g fresh yeast)
  • 25g butter, cubed
  • About 450 ml warm water (2 parts cold to one part boiling), the true amount depends on the day and the flour

Method

  1. Activate the dried yeast by whisking the sugar into 160ml of the water until dissolved, then add the yeast and whisk again. Leave in a warm place for 10 – 15 mins or until 2cms of froth covers the surface, whisk again and use (Not required for Easy Bake yeast)
  2. Sift the white flour into a large bowl
  3. Add the wholemeal flour and salt and stir.
  4. Rub the butter into the flour mixture and make a well in the middle.
  5. Mix the activated yeast liquid and enough of the remaining water into the flour to make a soft dough.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  7. Shape into a round an place in a clean large and lightly oiled bowl, pop into a large plastic bag or loosely cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
  8. Oil two 900g loaf tins.
  9. Once the dough as risen (You can tell if it’s fully risen as the dough won’t pop back when you press your finger lightly into it), knock it back on a lightly floured surface, divide into two (if you want two loaves), roughly shape into rectangles and pop in the tins.
  10. Cover and leave to rise again, for about ½ hour or until doubled in size.
  11. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F
  12. Dust the loaves with a sprinkling of wholemeal flour and cook for 15 mins then reduce the temperature to 200°C\420°F and cook for another 15 to 20 mins until the bread is risen, the crust is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom
  13. Turn out and cool completely on a wire rack

Slice and enjoy with butter, jam or anything you fancy………

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
image: alittlethoughtforfood.com

This creamy, hearty yet healthy soup, tantalised the tastebuds of my colleagues when I bought a batch to work for my lunch. at around 200 kcals per portion (without an added dash of cream) it makes a tasty and filling lunch.

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium brown onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 kg Butternut Squash, peeled, de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2.5 cm root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and sliced thinly
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, dry roasted
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the onion, ginger and chilli. Cook on a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the onions are soft.
  3. Add the Butternut squash , ground spices, cumin seeds and garlic  and cook for a further 5 minutes until the aromas are released.
  4. Turn up the heat, then add the stock plus a good grind of black pepper and bring to the boil.
  5. Turn down to a simmer and allow to bubble slowly for 30 to 35 mins or until the squash is cooked (press against the side of the pan with the back of a spoon, it should be soft).
  6. Blend to a fine consistency with a stick blender, you might need to add some more hot water if the soup is too thick.
  7. Season to taste, then top with a swirl of single or soured cream (optional).

Serve with a hunk of home made bread like my Irish Soda Bread and enjoy…

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

North African Style Chickpea Soup

North African Chickpea Soup
North African Chickpea Soup with Sundried Tomato and Olive Bread
image: A Little Thought for Food

Carrying on with the health kick I made a soup that definitely hits the mark on all counts, a tasty filling and healthy soup that weighs in at a lowly 150kcal (approx) per portion! Try it and you won’t be disappointed.

It’s worth taking the time to skin the baby broad beans, as the soup looks and tastes nicer without the white sheaf that surrounds each green bean

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp Harissa
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 400g can chopped plum tomatoes
  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 100g frozen baby broad beans, skinned
  • zest and juice ½ lemon

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the onion, celery and the carrot. Cook on a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the onions are soft.
  3. Add the cumin,  garlic, harissa and tomato puree and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes until the aromas are released.
  4. Turn up the heat, then add the stock, tomatoes and chickpeas, plus a good grind of black pepper.
  5. Simmer for 8 mins.
  6. Then throw in the broad beans and add the lemon juice,
  7. Cook for a further 2 mins.
  8. Season to taste, then top with a sprinkling of lemon zest.

Serve with a hunk of home made bread like my Sun dried Tomato and Olive or Roasted Fennel and Olive and enjoy…

*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently

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