Spinach and Potato Bake

Love what you do, do what you love…

After a long break, I am sitting here staring at the screen thinking of something profound to say. Trying to make a come back, with a bang. However, words fail me! I don’t have an explanation for my absence. I don’t know how long I am back for or how frequently I will post a recipe for you. What I do know, is I love food and as long as I can cook, I will share it with you.

Today’s recipe is a simple, hearty winter warmer. Layers of potato, garlicky spinach, cream and cheese, a perfect matrimony of decadence and nutrition.

Ingredients:  11          Cooking time: 60 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One large bunch of spinach, finely chopped
  • Three medium potatoes, thinly sliced
  • one small onion, finely chopped
  • two to three garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Two eggs
  • 300ml of cream
  • 250 gms of grated cheddar cheese
  • 125 gms of grated parmesan cheese
  • Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • One teaspoon white pepper
  • Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Heat oil in a pan. Add onion, once translucent add garlic. Cook until aromatic.

Now add the chopped spinach, season with salt. Once wilted, drain the excess liquid (tip: you can use the liquid as stock in your gravies or pasta sauce).

In a bowl, combine eggs, cream, pepper and salt. Mix well.

Now grease a baking dish with some olive oil. Make a double layer the of the sliced potatoes, then add the spinach mixture and finish with a double layer of potatoes.

Pour the cream and egg batter and finally top it with grated cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until cooked and golden brown on the top.

I usually serve this with a side of roasted vegetables or a salad. Either way it is lip smackingly delicious.

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Chicken Roulade with Cauliflower Mash

Healthy eating begins today…

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I wonder how many of us made new years resolutions around healthy eating! Healthy eating is a way of life most of us aspire to but only a few of us sustain it. One of the problems is the ability to make flavoursome tasty food that is equally healthy, after all there is only so much steamed broccoli one can eat.

One meat that is really versatile, incredibly healthy and nutritious is…CHICKEN!  You can bake it, steam it, poach it,  roast it, cook it in a curry or toss it in a stir fry and the mighty bird keeps on giving! High in protein, chicken is definitely the food of choice for all the healthy eaters in the carnivore world.

Today’s chicken roulade recipe is packed with so much flavour that you won’t for a second feel like you are missing out on those indulgent, sinful meals. The humble potato mash is replaced with a healthy and flavourful cauliflower mash, with only quarter of the calories and tonnes of flavour this mash recipe is a keeper!

Ingredients:  8    Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2

For the chicken roulade

  • Two skinned and boned chicken breasts
  • One cup of chopped spinach (I used frozen spinach)
  • 1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese
  • Two tablespoons roasted pine nuts
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

For the cauliflower mash

  • 1/2 a cauliflower 
  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius 

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The first step is to prepare the chicken breasts. The best way is to wrap it in a plastic wrap (covering the chicken fully) and use the flat side of the mallet and flatten the meat using outward strokes from the centre of the breast to the edges.

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Once the chicken is flattened season it with a bit of salt on both sides and keep aside. 

Time to prepare the stuffing – in a pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add the minced garlic followed by spinach. I used chopped frozen spinach for its sheer convenience, you can use fresh spinach too. Cook the spinach until soft and then add the crumbled ricotta cheese and take the pan off the heat.

Add toasted pine nuts to the spinach and ricotta mix and let it cool for about 5 minutes.

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Depending on the size of your chicken breast take the filling and lay it horizontally across the flattened meat. Don’t stuff the chicken excessively as it may burst open while cooking. Now carefully roll the chicken breast and tie it up with a kitchen string.

In another pan add half a tablespoon of olive oil and sear the chicken on both sides until lightly browned.

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Then place the chicken in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

While the chicken is baking lets make the cauliflower mash. Break up the florets of the cauliflower and wash them well.

Boil the cauliflower florets for about 15 – 20 minutes until fully tender. Drain the cauliflower (don’t discard the water, you can use it as cooking stock) and mash it up, add one tablespoon of olive oil to give it that glossy look and delicious flavour. Season with salt as required, your cauliflower mash is ready to serve.

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By this stage the chicken will be cooked, remove it from the pan and let it rest for about five minutes. The delicious flavours in the pan can be converted into a jus to drizzle over the chicken. Add 1/4 cup of water and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Now add 1/4 teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves and let the liquid simmer for five minutes on high heat.

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To serve place the cauliflower mash on a plate, cut the chicken in circles and place them on top of the mash. Finally drizzle the chicken and mash with the jus and there you have it a lip smackingly delicious healthy meal for you and your family. ENJOY!

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Zucchini and Gruyère Crumble

Midweek meals don’t get easier than this…

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The combination of long hours at work and elaborate meals for dinner just don’t go together, unless of course you are eating out. 

What if I told you the next recipe uses all of five utensils from your kitchen, seven ingredients from your fridge/pantry and about 20 minutes of your time, without compromising on great flavour. This recipe just reaffirms my favourite Leonardo Da Vinci quote “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Yes its true!

Hope this recipe brightens your midweek meals, it was a hit in my house…

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Ingredients: 7     Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2
  • Two to three zucchinis sliced or chopped
  • 200 ml of cream
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of coarsely grated gruyère cheese
  • Two eggs
  • Two pods of garlic minced

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Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

In a bowl mix the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese. In another bowl add cream and minced garlic, then add the eggs and whisk into the cream. Season with salt as desired, but remember not to put too much salt as the parmesan and gruyère cheese are quite salty. 

Time to assemble the dish! Bring out two ramekin bowls and add one layer of zucchini, followed by a layer of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Save some of the breadcrumbs mix for putting on top of the final gruyère cheese layer.

Once you have successfully finished layering, pour the cream and eggs mix into the ramekin bowls. Add the coarsely grated gruyère cheese on the top, followed by the final sprinkle of breadcrumbs. This makes the dish crispy and crumbly.

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Place the ramekin bowls in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Let the crumble rest for five minutes. While the dish is resting, let’s make a simple salad to go with it. I served this beauty with a simple cherry tomato and parsley salad with an olive oil and balsamic dressing.

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Slice the cherry tomatoes into halves and finely chop the parsley, put them in a serving bowl. In another bowl mix one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of crushed pepper. Drizzle the dressing on the tomatoes and give them a good toss. Your salad is ready! You can replace the tomatoes with lettuce as well.

Serve the warm, gooey, crunchy crumble with a cool and clean side salad. Be amazed by the simplicity and flavour packed goodness of this dish…Enjoy!

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