Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Halloumi/Chicken couscous warm salad

A char-grilled red pepper adds a light smokey flavour to this dish, which works well with the garlic in the spinach and the tangy lemon wedges.

4 tomatoes, cut into eighths
2 handfuls of spinach
1 red pepper
1 small clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
200g couscous
Olive oil
Few leaves of basil, torn
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Sea salt and black pepper

Vegetarian:1/2 pack halloumi, sliced
Meat-eater: 1 chicken breast

Place the red pepper directly onto a flame for 20mins, turning every 5mins until the red pepper is almost completely black. (alternatively grill it until a similar effect takes place). Put the char-grilled pepper in an air-tight plastic bag leaving the skin to steam. Remove after 10mins and delicately scrape off the char-grilled skin, leaving you with a soft flesh. Slice the pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and season before setting aside.

Meanwhile marinate the tomatoes in a bowl with olive oil, basil and plenty of salt and pepper.

V: Fry the halloumi in a non-stick frying pan for a few minutes on each side until it browns.
M: Place a square of clingfilm over the top of the chicken and bash a few times until it's about 1inch thick. Remove the clingfilm, season the chicken, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and fry for about 3 minutes on each side. Cut into slices before serving.

To cook the spinach, place the garlic in a glug of olive oil while it's still cold (I find this stops it from burning). Fry the garlic lightly over a medium heat, stir in the spinach and cook for a few minutes.

When you are ready to assemble the salad, first place the couscous in a large bowl, gently pour over boiling water until it just covers the couscous, drizzle with olive oil and season. Give the bowl a gentle shake to ensure the water is evenly distributed and cover with a lid for 5mins. Use a fork to fluff the couscous before serving.

To serve the salad, distribute the couscous between two bowls, layer the tomatoes, peppers, spinach and your V or M option along with a wedge of lemon.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Tasty Tomato Breakfast

This is a really tasty breakfast. As the tomatoes reduce, the flavour becomes more intense. I usually give the vegetarian an extra egg so I can enjoy a few slices of crispy bacon without feeling too greedy.

Serves: 2

4 large tomatoes
2 spring onions, chopped
1/2 tsp brown sugar
knob of butter
sea salt and black pepper
2 free range eggs
4 slices Multigrain bread, toasted

V: 1 extra egg
M: 2 slices back bacon

For the sauce, using a knife score an X on the bottom of each tomato and place in a pan of boiled water for 2mins (this makes it easy to remove the skin). Skin the tomatoes, remove the core and chop finely.

Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the spring onions, sugar and seasoning. Cook on a medium high heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until the sauce reduces right down.

For the poached eggs, bring salted water to the boil in a small pan, then reduce to a simmer.
Using a spoon stir the water into a whirlpool and gently crack one egg into the centre from a low angle.
Cook for 2/3 minutes. Use a draining spoon to test the egg is firm but still soft before serving. Repeat for all eggs.

To serve, place the reduced tomato sauce on the toast with a poached egg on top. Delicious.

M: Fry the bacon on a medium heat, turning occassionally, until it's nice and crispy.