Tag Archives: Parmesan

Courgetti with Walnut Watercress Pesto

Courgetti with Walnut Watercress Pesto is an amazingly light and summery lunch that can be prepared in minutes, especially if you make the pesto the night before!   With such an array of superfood ingredients to boost health and wellness, this is definitely one of our favourite summer lunches.

Watercress certainly is a powerhouse food, packed with many natural phytonutrients and a host of vitamins and minerals.  It boasts rich levels of calcium, iron,  vitamin C and K, as well as B vitamins, beta-carotene and magnesium, zinc, potassium and manganese amongst others. A full nutritional analysis here.

courgetti pesto

The addition of Walnuts further enhances the nutritional value of this dish.  Walnuts and walnut oil are rich in antioxidants, they contain protein, omega 3 fats, vitamins B6 and E, potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc, amongst others, all of which are great beauty foods too!  One of walnut’s most valuable properties is in fighting inflammation which is so important for many health concerns.

walnuts

Walnut Watercress Pesto

Pesto Ingredients

1 85g bag of Watercress
2  garlic cloves, crushed
70g Walnuts
40g Parmesan cheese, grated
130ml (approx) extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper

Blitz the Watercress, garlic, walnuts and Parmesan cheese in a blender until you have a finely chopped consistency.  Watch out for the walnuts, too much blending at this stage will turn them into walnut butter!

Keep blitzing whilst adding the olive oil slowly until you have a gloriously green sauce.  Add as much or as little oil as it takes to reach this stage.  Don’t overdo it though!  Season to taste.

Spiralise 1 very large Courgette (Zucchini) for 2 people.

Walnut Watercress Pesto Courgetti Courgette Zucchini

Cook some frozen peas in boiling water for around 3 minutes, take off the boil and add the spiralised Courgette, leave to stand for 2-3 minutes to soften, more if you like it softer.  Drain both well and add your Walnut Watercress Pesto to the vegetables and serve immediately.

pesto

As always, nutritious, delicious, homemade.

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Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins

With the Bake-Off back this week, I thought I’d get in the baking mood again, haven’t done any for a while, it just doesn’t appeal to have the oven for too long on in the very hot weather.  And with my quest to bake with less or no sugar, these Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins fit the bill exactly with no added sugar.

lentil muffins 3

These muffins contain 3 different cheeses and Lentils which belong to the same legume family as beans which means they share similar nutritional benefits being rich source of lean protein and fibre.

Lentils also have  a good mineral profile with generous amounts of iron, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium.

Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Baking Time:  25 minutes
Makes:  12 large or 24 mini muffins

Ingredients

50g red lentils, cooked
300ml skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
150g Ricotta
2 medium sized eggs
50g tomato purée/paste
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
30g Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
225g wholemeal self-raising flour
70g white self-raising flour
50g Cheddar cheese, grated

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 180C, 160C fan, Gas 4.

In a large bowl whisk together the milk, Ricotta, eggs and tomato paste, once completely blended add the cooked red lentils, chopped red onion, Parmesan and parsley and stir in well.

Sift both white and wholemeal (include the husks after sifting) flours into the bowl and stir until combined.  Don’t over stir or the muffins will be heavy.

Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin, I split the batter into a few full size muffins and some mini, bite-sized muffins for little fingers.  Sprinkle grated Cheddar cheese onto the muffins in the tin.

Bake for around 25 minutes until golden brown, do the cocktail stick test to make sure they are cooked through.

Serve warm or cold.  These muffins are moist and soft and are great halved and slathered with butter or tomato chilli chutney.

lentil muffins 2

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Weekend Breakfast Egg Muffins

Weekends are the time we get to sit together and enjoy breakfast, I probably should call it brunch as it’s all a bit later and more relaxed.  Eggs always feature in one form or another, these Breakfast Egg Muffins are light and full of vegetables and cheeses.  This recipe is enough to fill 6 muffin tin holes, I added a very generous pinch of Cayenne Pepper  to the last two (whilst still in the bowl) for a delicious kick!  

egg muffins2

Weekend Breakfast Egg Muffins 

Ingredients

50g chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
2″ leek (white part), finely diced
50g courgette, finely diced
2-3 cherry tomatoes, diced
3 large organic eggs
70g Ricotta cheese
20g Cheddar (or similar) cheese, finely grated
1 generous tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Black Pepper
Parsley
*Cayenne Pepper (optional!)

egg muffin ingredients

Method

Fry the mushrooms, onion and leek in a little olive oil on a medium heat for around 3-4 minutes to soften, add the courgettes and cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Lightly whisk the eggs, then add the Ricotta, Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, combine well.

Season with black pepper and parsley to taste, add Cayenne if using.

Combine the egg, cheese mixture with the vegetables and stir well.

Grease a 6 hole muffin tin with butter or you can line with muffin cases if you wish.  Spoon the mixture into the cases up to the rim and bake at 160C, gas 4 for around 20 minutes or until set.  Delicious hot or cold.

egg muffins

*For the numerous health benefits of Cayenne Pepper see my post here.

 

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Pea Pesto

I really enjoy pasta with pesto, red being my absolute favourite with sun-dried tomatoes or red peppers.  The little girl isn’t all that keen so I’ve been experimenting with other ingredients other than basil for a green pesto.   Kale Pesto is on my list to try too but the milder taste of peas (hopefully) will suit her palate more for now and we love peas!  As you can gather I am trying to get the little girl to enjoy our family meals, sometimes she will tuck right into a plate and other times I get an “urh, yuck”  when she does the tongue tip taste test!

Pea Pesto makes a lovely light, fresh weekend lunch when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen.  It is very mild in taste and the addition of crème fraîche gives it a lovely creamy texture,  I used the 50% less fat variety.  

Pea Pesto

Serves 2

Ingredients

250g peas, cooked
10g Pine nuts
35g Parmesan cheese, grated
50g  crème fraîche 
Pasta of your choice

Pea Pesto Collage

Method

 Roughly blitz the pine nuts in a blender, add the cooked (cooled slightly) peas and grated Parmesan cheese and blend further until you have a soft paste consistency.   Stir in the crème fraîche and run through hot pasta.  Serve with a sprinkling of parsley.  The photo shows the Pea Pesto up until this point, I like to add black pepper and chilli flakes to mine.

Quick Nutritional Info:

Peas:  a very reasonable source of protein. Contains vitamin A, B1, B3,  B6,  Folic Acid, C, K, Manganese, Phosphorus and Copper.  Very good source of Dietary fibre.
Pine Nuts:  Very good source of Iron, Manganese, Choline, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, vitamin K and Folic Acid.  Omega 3 & 6 oils (much higher in 6).

 

pea pesto
 
 
 Fast lunch or supper, Easy Peasy too!
 
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New Year Nibbles

I do love making my own nibbles/canapes for parties and family gatherings wherever I can but this year for our New Year Nibbles I am taking a few shortcuts (if it’s good enough for Delia) along with some homemade goodies.  I shall be buying all the pastry ready made and ready to roll out and I will be keeping a few M&S nibbles as backup in the fridge as we are having a small party to say ta-ta to 2013 and I know how fast the buffet table disappears!

A few of our favourites are:

Parmesan Crisps – simply grated Parmesan in little piles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for a few minutes.

Mini Quiche, these are great and so easy to make, this recipe comes out several times a year for picnics and the like,  Gruyère makes these so tasty:

mini quiche

Ingredients

375g ready rolled shortcrust pastry
90g back bacon, chopped into small squares
5 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 whole organic egg
1 organic egg yolk
3 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
50g Gruyère cheese, grated
Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 190°C/170°C/Gas 5.

1.  Cut 12 rounds of pastry to line a 12 hole tin, I use a glass that makes the
perfect size round for my tin, around 7.5cm.  Refrigerate while you make
the filling.
2.  Dry fry the bacon until lightly golden.  Drain on a paper towel and let cool.
3.  Combine the crème fraîche, semi-skimmed milk, whole egg and egg yolk in
a bowl, season to taste.
4.  Divide the bacon and grated Gruyère between the pastry cases, then
spoon the crème fraîche, egg mixture carefully and evenly over.
5.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and the filling has risen.  Leave to
cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin.

Stilton Puffs a la Nigel Slater – I saw these recently on one of his programmes and wanted to bust out the ready rolled puff pastry immediately!

Spicy Chickpeas – drain and rinse 2 400g tins of chickpeas, place on baking trays and roll in olive oil, sprinkle with spices of your choice, we like chilli powder, black pepper, garlic salt and a touch of cumin.  Bake in your oven with other canapes for around 15 minutes.

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Blini’s – these I do enjoy making but you can also buy ready-made.  Light, sugar-free little pancakes (also brilliant for the toddler girl who wolfs them down topping free), can be made ahead, the recipe I usually use  from the Good Food Channel makes around 3o, using half a tablespoon of batter for each blini.  Top with cream cheese or  crème fraîche with a little finely chopped smoked salmon  mixed in plus a touch on top and a twist of black pepper to finish.  Delicious!

canapes

 However you are seeing the New Year in,

 I’d like to wish you all a very

Happy New Year

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and Simply.Food

Courgette, Cheesy, Vegetarian Bites

These little Courgette, cheesy, vegetarian bites were inspired by a recipe in my River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook who in turn were inspired by someone else but using Aubergines instead of Courgettes.  I’ve slightly adapted it by adding some ground almonds to replace some of the breadcrumbs and sometimes I add a finely chopped onion.  They make very delicious, nutritious little snacks or finger food but they aren’t just for toddlers!!  I love them, but I warn you, they are very moreish.  I make a pile, usually doubling up the recipe below, then freeze some of the uncooked mixture so there are usually some to hand, just defrost before baking.  

Courgette2ND

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/gas 4.  Oil a baking tray or use baking parchment paper to line.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Makes: 15-18

Ingredients

500g courgettes, grated (I prefer grated to diced in this recipe)
1 small red or white onion, finely chopped (if using)
Zest of half a lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
2-3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan
70g mozzarella diced
30g breadcrumbs (around 1 slice of bread with crust)
20g ground almonds
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to season

Method

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the courgettes (if using the onion fry this first in a separate small pan) for around 15 minutes until soft – grated courgettes will give off some liquid, drain this off halfway through frying.  Let the Courgettes cool, then combine with the rest of the prepared ingredients until you have a nice sticky mixture.  Season with sea salt and  black pepper to your own taste.

CourgettbitesND

Roll mixture into small balls, place these on your oiled baking tray (I use a spray oil) and bake for around 15 minutes until lightly golden brown.

courgettebiteND Collage

Courgette, Cheesy, vegetarian bites can be served hot or cold, they are great for the little ones lunchboxes too.   I love them either way, I am not fussy!  They are very quick to put together especially if you use a food processor to grate the Courgettes and  buy the ready grated Parmesan, other cheeses can be added and Gruyere is another favourite here.    

CourgettefinalND

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Butternut Squash Goat’s Cheese Lasagne

Butternut Squash Goat’s Cheese Lasagne – Butternut Squash is a favourite of ours, we use it in a lot of dishes and it has been a great weaning vegetable for Toddler ND, it has a sweet, soft taste and is easily steamed or roasted.   Lasagne is one of our weekly meals and with Mr ND being a veggie, the Butternut Squash makes a pleasant change from using a meat alternative and using Goat’s cheese and Parmesan in place of our usual Cheddar gives the Lasagne totally different twist.

I am using ready made pasta but I do have a pasta maker, which I have never used, it’s on my to-do list, right at the top.  I would love to make my own next time.

This meal is very filling, serves 6 generously but will stretch to 8 served with a fresh salad or a side of vegetables.  Keeps well in the fridge overnight to heat up the next day.

 

Picture 445

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bnsqlasagne Collage

Entering this recipe to Foodies100 Ultimate Pasta Challenge

 and  Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays

 

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