A Flying Queen and a ‘Hug in a Mug’

So I was having to lay low (or rather sit low) as I had a cycle accident.  I would like to point out there was no alcohol involved contrary to popular belief, might be tricky to keep the glass straight when cycling.  No, the chain came of my bike as I was cycling up a hill and was standing up.  It was a rather unceremonious flying across the cycle path with bike on top of me and everything in my basket flying.  I won’t show you a picture of the damage but suffice to say it was not pleasant (and of course a brand new pair of trousers were ruined).  A couple of days off work not being able to do a lot has driven me mad – however, my eldest daughter is delighted as her cardigan is now almost finished (other than that second sleeve and blocking it).  If you fancy having a go at this one then the pattern is here. knittingThen I chanced upon a recipe for a quick tomato soup so thought I had nothing to lose.  Normally I don’t go for speedy cooking but I must say that this really had the ‘hug in a mug’ and more importantly it really did only take 5 minutes to make.  So here goes, if you are under the weather and don’t want any effort but need to pack in those free foods then this is the baby for you.

Tomato soup ingredients

Hug in a Mug Speedy Tomato Soup – SYN FREE

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 small-ish carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs

Peel and chop onion and garlic and roughly chop everything except the canned tomatoes and mixed herbs into a food processor until finely chopped.

Throw everything into a pan with the tomatoes and mixed herbs and some seasoning and put on the hob for 5 minutes until veg is cooked through.

Blend this again (I use a stick soup blender for this part) until smooth, you may want to add a little water to get the right texture, or a little milk if you have a HEX A left.

Top this with a little fat free fromage frais and some basil (yes, that is basil but it had only just started growing).

tomato soup complete

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A Swweeeeet Potato Lunch

Eggs with sweet potato crust ingredients

I had one of those unexpected mornings on Saturday (well in my house anyway). The kids were at swimming lessons and I went to get my hair cut and when I got back the house was still empty – this is NOT NORMAL. Normally I come in to everyone talking, singing (Frozen has a lot to answer for in this house), shouting, badgering me for food and general chaos but no, silence. So I did what any sane person would do and think about lunch – or rather, lack of anything that might resemble Slimming World friendly in the house. Looking in the fridge the thing that jumped out at me was eggs. Seriously, the hens had been working overtime and there were well over a dozen in there so that was what it was going to be in one form or another.

Those who go to my Slimming World class know I have a real bugbear about conversion of food that doesn’t say what it actually is. A while ago, everyone was talking about Slimming World Quiche, now I was well up for this, I mean pastry, on a diet, as my 10 year old daughter says ‘it’s the best part of a quiche’. Obviously she doesn’t mean mine I’m sure… I then find out that this is in no way, shape or form a quiche, it is an omelette poured into a tin and put in the oven. THIS IS NOT A QUICHE, see I told you I have a bugbear about these things, IT’S AN OMELETTE baked in the oven.

On that note out came the sweet potatoes and I set to work on using this to form a crust of types (something that can hold eggs in it really) – now I don’t want to call this a quiche (as it doesn’t have pastry and it’s my bugbear) so the name, hmmmm. I settled on Eggs with a Sweet Potato Crust – I’m still not happy with that title but have made a rod for my own back with that one.

Oh, and gradually I get more tech friendly, as well as here and Pinterest I am now here on Istagram so pop over, it’s likely I will post more there and on Twitter as it’s quick and easy so if you haven’t had enough of me blathering away then come and have a look (that is if I have got the links to work…) I still haven’t got to grips with linking my pages to recipes though – need to sit down and get that sorted (advice gratefully received…)

Eggs with Sweet Potato Crust – Serves 6 with a salad – SYN FREE

  • 5 medium sweet potatoes, grated
  • 8 eggs
  • chilli flakes
  • Mixture of veg for filling, I used onion, mushrooms, courgette, red peppers
  • Mixed herbs
  • Grated cheese – HEX A – measured
  • Seasoning

Fry off whatever you are using for your filling in frylight, I fry onions gently first to release their sweetness, the add everything else until just cooked making sure it’s not too moist.

Grate potatoes with large side of grater and line a loose based cake tin with baking parchment and spray on fry light

If potatoes are a little watery put them in a tea towel and squeeze out moisture. My potatoes were quite dry.

Mix grated potatoes with chilli flakes and seasoning, throw in 1 whole egg and mix together. Press this mixture into the cake tin, I do this carefully to make sure there are no holes in the base as the eggs would leak through. Then press up the sides of the tin to the top.  Pop this in the oven for about 20 minutes until lightly coloured and drying out (see below).

Eggs with sweet potato crust 2

Place filling on top of potatoes, I like quite a dense filling so used rather a lot of veg.

Whisk together remaining eggs with a dash of milk and mixed herbs and pour over the top of the veg, making sure it can get through all the layers of vegetables.

Sprinkle with cheese and place in a 180 degree celcius oven for around 20 minutes.

Remove from tin as soon as you are able to handle (you will be grateful for the baking parchment here) and serve warm with a lovely green salad.

I also had some left for the next day and can tell you it was equally delicious cold.

Eggs with Sweet Potato Crust

A Cornish Escape

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We have just had a fantastic week in Cornwall, beaches, long walks across clifftops to pubs, cycles along the Camel trail with the kids. We come back filled with ideas of moving (this is not unusual). So the decision is we shall sell up and buy a fantastic house with land where I can grow micro salads and sell them to all the restaurants and deli’s and Mr K can run an Art Gallery, the kids can go to the beach every day after school and learn to surf – sounds perfect eh. Then thump, back to reality. After a week of lovely sleep I make the fatal error of checking my work emails on a Friday night and I haven’t slept well since. It wasn’t that there was anything particularly dramatic in the emails, it was the sheer volume of them and realizing that actually, I will have to deal with them, but for now I will try to forget (as I kept saying to myself when I’m tossing and turning all night). Apparently I really irritatingly tap my foot when I’m awake in the night. I do try lots of relaxation techniques, imagining the sinking into the mattress type stuff, and the sheep counting too but I find that I end up dressing the sheep up or trying to make them jump over the fence in a gymnastics fashion which IS NOT condusive to getting to sleep.

So to take me away from all of that Mr K made me a delicious crab risotto with the leftover spider crab we brought back with us, we got this is Port Isaac (the place where Doc Martin is filmed, see below), a lovely little village – he loves spider crab and this only cost £1 (seriously £1), apparently it’s claws were quite small so we wouldn’t get much meat out of it and as people in the UK don’t like them so the fisherman told us (too spiky or something), but they are sweet and a I love picking it over, as do the children and Mr K’s Nanny Devon just would have sat with my kids adoringly helping them pick it over too if she were still alive. I know this is similar to Singing Aida that I posted a while ago but had to share it with you as the crab is so delicate and sweet it is just so special.

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Oh, I weighed myself when I got back and whoops, those large glasses of wine had an effect as my scales says 6 ½ lbs on (nooooo). Luckily, after some real best behaviour over the next few days when I stepped on the SW scales it was only 1 ½ on which I thankfully lost, plus another pound this week – back on track!

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Spider Crab Risotto with Grey Mullet – Serves 2 – 2 syns per serving

  • 3 shallots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • small glass white wine
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 litre Shellfish stock (can use fish stock)
  • 1 spider crab, picked over and brown meat also removed and used
  • 2 fillets grey mullet
  • Samphire

Gently fry shallots and garlic until soft but not coloured

Add risotto rice and keep stirring but leave it on the heat until it is ‘singing Aida’ (what a great description)- this takes longer than you think, be brave but do not let it burn.

Add the saffron to the wine and leave for a couple of minutes to infuse then take wine and stir into rice until it has evaporated and turn down to a simmer, then start adding warm stock ladle by ladle, only adding another one when the last one has been soaked up by the rice. Mr K insists that you should only stir this clockwise (something to do with not breaking down the rice) but I have to say I have never done this, just be kind to it.

Keep doing the above for a good 20 minutes until all of the stock is used and the rice has a ‘slight bite’. If you have used all of the stock and the rice is still not cooked you can then add water.

Lightly brush fillets of fish with some olive oil, then season and place skin side down in a frying pan, when slightly crisp turn these only to slightly cook the top side without letting the fish dry out (this should only take 3-4 skin side and a further minute flesh side).

Add the samphire to a pan of water and blanch for couple of minutes until tender.

Here is a really good tip. Once the risotto is cooked turn off the heat, add the crab meat and a little more water so that when you run a spoon across the pan the risotto falls back to make a flat surface, basically so it is not too dry. Put a lid on and leave for 5 minutes – this relaxes the risotto and all of the flavours merge to make a lovely, creamy risotto.