Tasty lunchtime chickpea & steak salad.

 

I really enjoyed making this salad. It’s simple, delicious and very satisfying as well as being good for you too. We’ve been thinking of new recipes, new ways of using veg and getting as much goodness into us as possible. This looks like a big list of ingredients but you can always adapt it to suit you. You can change the seasonings you what you have in your cupboard and use more spinach instead of rocket, I just like the peppery taste the rocket gives but it’s not essential.

1 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 generous handful spinach, roughly chopped
1 handful rocket
1 tbsp feta, cubed
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 small red chilli, deseeded
1/2 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp piri-piri seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
450g steak, I used a cheaper cut and cooked it to medium
5 tsp left over tomato sauce (or you can add a couple tbsp of tomato purée)
2 tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper, to season

Firstly put a large pan or a griddle pan on the highest heat meanwhile season your steak with the paprika, piri-piri, cayenne, salt pepper and a tsp olive oil, rubbing it in all over. Cook the steak until medium or to how you prefer ( I cooked my steak to medium as I got a cheaper cut ) and rest on a plate.
In another large pan heat the remaining olive oil under a medium heat. Add the red onion and fry for a minute then add the chilli for another 1-2 minutes. Once the onion has softened add the chickpeas and tomato sauce and stir. Once heated through add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted and take off the heat.
On a large serving plate place a handful of rocket and spoon on the chickpeas. Thinly slice your steak and place that on top of the chickpeas. Crumble the feta on top followed by the sour cream mixed with the garlic. Add an additional sprinkle of paprika over the salad and serve.

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Super quick peach & limoncello tarts

This was just a very quick, last minute dessert. Yes I know it’s cheating using pre made pastry but sometimes you don’t have time to do everything yourself and still want a nice dessert to enjoy at the end of a meal or as a treat through the day.

Makes enough for 4-5 small tart cases

Ingredients

1 packet of sweet shortcrust pastry ( savoury would be ok too )
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
300ml milk
3 tbsp of sugar
2 tbsp flour or cornstarch
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped
2 tbsp limoncello
Zest of 1 small lemon
1 or 2 tinned peaches

Method

Preheat your oven to 200 degreesC. Scald the milk in a saucepan. In a separate bowl mix the egg, yolks, sugar and flour until smooth. Add a little hot milk, whisking constantly then add the egg mixture into the remaining milk. Whisk constantly on a medium heat until it thickens ( around 5 minutes ). Take off he heat, add limoncello, vanilla and zest. Mix and place in a separate bowl or container to cool placing cling film directly onto the surface to avoid a skin forming.

Roll your pastry out to about 1cm thick ( if your using ready rolled, fold it in half and roll it out again as it will be too thin ). Cut the pastry to size to fit into your tart cases, leaving a little hanging over the edges and crimp the sides into the mould. Prick the bases with a fork and place baking parchment in each case followed by baking beans.

Bake the tarts in the oven for around 10-15 minutes and leave to cool. Add your cooled pastry cream mixture into the cases and top with little pieces of peach. Chill until ready to serve.

 

  

Fritto Misto

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Crispy calamari with crunchy, salty anchovies, carrot and courgette. This is one of my favourite dishes to order in a restaurant especially in the summer with a crisp, cold glass of prosecco.
For people who say squid tastes like rubber bands, they simply have not had it cooked properly. If it is cooked too long, especially fried it will get tough. You only need a few minutes to create this beauty.
For me there is nothing better than biting in to a crispy, salty piece of calamari with a squeeze of lemon. My favourite is the little tentacle pieces they are absolutely delicious!
I have tried dipping the calamari in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs but I have to say I do prefer dusting them in flour with plenty salt and pepper. It is so easy and delicious and because they are slightly wet after the cleaning process, when dunked into the flour it clumps slightly around the succulent little pieces resulting in the best crunch and crispiness.
I also love the anchovies, normally when you order Fritto misto it comes with calamari and prawns but we wanted a feast for lunch and anchovies are so cheap and packed with flavour. The carrot and courgette are also brilliant in this dish. I could eat a big plate of these thin and crispy carrot and courgette chips just on their own. What’s not to like?

We made this just for the two of us ( yes I know what you are thinking ) and we have to admit it was very, very filling. I was full up half way through but continued stuffing my face because it was so good and couldn’t bare it going to waste. So a sensible person would say, this serves four…

1/2kg calamari, cleaned and membrane removed
1/2kg fresh anchovies, cleaned, gutted and heads removed
1 carrot, peeled and cut into think strips
1 courgette, cut into thin strips.
Flour, to completely cover all of above, 500g
Sunflower oil, 1 litre
1 lemon
Parsley, handful
Salt and pepper
Brown paper for draining & baking paper

Firstly put the oil in a large pot under a medium heat and pre heat the oven on the lowest setting. Get three bowls ready and divide the flour among them and add plenty salt and pepper.
Cut the calamari into lovely little rings and place into one bowl. After peeling the carrot and cutting it with a sharp knife along with the courgette into very thin strips place them into another bowl and finally place the prepared anchovies into the third bowl.
Make sure you have plates ready, lined with brown paper to drain the fritto misto. Also have a tray ready in the oven lined with baking paper to keep the first batch warm as the rest is cooking.
Make sure the calamari, anchovies and veg are all completely covered in flour in their bowls. Test the oil with a small piece of bread and if it sizzles and floats then it is ready.
Now start frying, in small batches and starting with the veg. It only takes a few minutes. When you see them turning crispy and slightly golden, remove them onto the brown paper to drain. Continue the process then with the anchovies and finally the calamari. Place the batches into the oven as you go to keep them warm. Serve on a large serving plate with wedges of lemon and a sprinkling of parsley. Oh and a nice cold bottle of prosecco. Enjoy!