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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous

I remember way back when I first discovered cous cous I experienced some pretty disastrous attempts at cooking it, which resulted in a bowl of unappetising stodge. My fail safe way of cooking it now is by volume - whatever volume you have of cous cous then just use double the volume of water, and leave it covered over to do it's thing - it's that easy. I then add whatever I want to give it flavour. 

For a really healthy and filling lunch I add lots of vegetables to the cous cous, either raw salad vegetables or roasted veg. This roasted vegetable cous cous is by far one of my favourite ways of eating it, and I vary it depending on the vegetables I have in.

Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous

Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous - serves 1/2

1/3 cup cous cous
2/3 cup boiling water
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
red onion
1 courgette
tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic granules (or clove of fresh garlic, crushed)
fresh mint leaves
juice of one lime
salt & pepper to taste
  • Add the cous cous to a bowl and pour on the boiling water
  • Give it a quick stir and then cover over and leave
  • Chop the vegetables into similar sized pieces and toss in the olive oil, balsamic and garlic granules
  • Roast in the oven for approx half an hour, or in the Actifry for 10-15 minutes, until tender
  • Toss into the cous cous with torn up mint leaves and lime juice
  • Season to taste with salt & pepper and a little more olive oil
    Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous

I love olive oil and we get through a lot of it as I use it in most dishes that I cook. Recently I was made aware of Pomora - a service that allows you to adopt an olive tree, either for yourself or give it as a gift. 

 photo pomora_zpsudrl7f6e.jpg

You receive an adoption certificate, information about your tree, updates from the farmer throughout the year, plus quarterly olive oil deliveries from your very own tree! All this for £29 per quarter (inc delivery).

The olio nuovo (the youngest, freshest oil bottled directly after harvest) tastes pretty delicious too!

Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous

I was provided with a pack of Pomoro Olio Nuovo free of charge

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

BBQ Lamb Steak Burger with Mint Dressing

A couple of weeks ago we were promised an Easter heatwave. As I type this the hailstones are battering the window and the letterbox is banging in the wind, as it always does when it's blowing a gale. Last night I got completely drenched at bootcamp and my legs were red with cold when I peeled my soggy clothes off to get in the hot shower to warm up. Last March I was driving with my roof down on an almost daily basis. This month I find myself putting the heated seats on for the morning school run. Come on sunshine, show your face and give us all the Spring that we've been waiting so patiently for.

In anticipation of the warmer weather we put the cushions out on the garden furniture and uncovered the barbecue and cleaned it up. We managed a brief sit on the chairs last weekend before we covered them again and weighted the covers down to stop them from blowing away. I was not going to be beaten though, and braved the cold to cook some lamb steaks on the barbecue in a bid to bring some sunshine into our lives once again with Lindeman's.

BBQ Lamb Steak Burger with Mint Dressing

I love the taste of meat cooked on the barbecue, and as we have a gas one it's really convenient to use, and I have been known to cook dinner on it in the pouring rain with an umbrella to avoid messing up my oven. Whilst (in my opinion) lamb steaks are best cooked on a barbecue you could also fry them on a griddle pan on your hob if you don't fancy braving the cold.

BBQ Lamb Steak Burger with Mint Dressing - serves 2

2 lamb leg steaks 

2 tbsp Lindeman's Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon 
1 tsp garlic granules (or clove of fresh garlic)
handful of fresh mint

75g Greek yogurt
fresh mint leaves

for serving
fresh bread rolls 
salad leaves
red onion slices
  • Make the marinade by adding the ingredients to a pestle and grind with the pestle
  • Place the steaks in a closeable bag and pour in the dressing
  • Seal the bag and squeeze to coat the lamb
  • Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight
  • Make the dressing by ripping the mint leaves and mixing them into the yogurt
  • Cook the lamb on a very hot bbq for a few minutes each side - my tip is to have your bbq as hot as you can and cook the steaks as quickly as you can to avoid them drying out. This way they are lovely and crispy on the outside, yet lovely and juicy on the inside
  • Serve the steaks in fresh bread rolls with salad leaves, sliced red onion and yogurt & mint dressing

Accompany the burgers with a large glass of Lindeman's Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon - a perfect pairing this Easter.

BBQ Lamb Steak Burger with Mint Dressing BBQ Lamb Steak Burger with Mint Dressing BBQ Lamb Steak Burger with Mint Dressing

I'm once again working with Lindeman's as an Ambassador - keep your eye out for future recipes, news and giveaways.

This post has been commissioned by Lindeman's

Monday, 30 March 2015

Easter Treats - Eggs, Cakes and Homemade Chocolate Crispy Cakes

Easter has come a little early in The Crazy Kitchen, and we've been sampling some chocolate treats so that we can help steer you in the right direction, when it comes to Easter cakes and chocolate.

First up was a selection of chocolates from Lindt. In my opinion you cannot go wrong with Lindt chocolate. Their gold chocolate bunnies are so cute and no Easter basket should be without one. 

Lindt Easter

There is something for everyone this Easter, from Lindor milk chocolate truffle eggs to a luxury Hazelnut egg, that smells & tastes amazing. The gold bunny storybooks are a lovely idea for an Easter gift for little ones, and have a selection of chocolate animals in a box along with a story to read. I'm loving the colours and packaging on the Taste of Spring boutique collection, and the individual easter eggs and praline box not only look great but taste delicious too. Our least favourite from the collection was the strawberries and cream white chocolate egg. Not only is white chocolate our least favourite but the strawberries and cream truffles were a bit sweet for our liking.

Lindt Easter Lindt Easter Lindt Easter Lindt Easter

If you're looking for something a little bit different then the Monty Bojangles eggs could be for you. They come in three flavours - Scrumple Nutty Truffle, Berry Bubble Truffle, and The Flutter Scotch Truffle, which was the one that we tried. I gave the egg to the kids to fight over whilst I set to work on the truffles, telling the kids that they wouldn't like them. Unfortunately for me they didn't believe me and once the egg had been inhaled they pinched some of the butterscotch and sea salt truffles too - please will someone buy me a box of these truffles for my birthday as they are so good!

monty bojangles easter monty bojangles easter

Monty Bojangles Easter egg £6.00 (200g box of Flutter Scotch truffles also available for £4.00) 

I only really thing of Greggs as making sausage rolls, but my local store showed me that they do so much more when they delivered a lovely box of Easter treats for the family to share, which included hot cross buns, Easter doughnuts, Easter Ring buns and Easter cupcakes.

Greggs Easter

I was really surprised at the price of these as they are great value, and look so cute too. I know I shouldn't have had any of these myself, after an weekend away indulging in lots of food and drink, but I couldn't resist trying the doughnut, filled with vanilla frosting and topped with milk chocolate - oh my I do love a chocolate doughnut!

Hot Cross Buns - 30p each / £1 for a pack of 4
Chick & Bunny Ring Buns - 75p each / £2.50 pack of 4
Easter doughnut - 85p each
Easter Chocolate cupcake - 85p each / £2.80 pack of 4

If you fancy making some Easter treats for yourself to keep the kids busy in the holidays (mine don't break up until Thursday so there's not much time for Easter baking here), then these Mini Egg Crispy bars are quick and easy, as well as being extremely cheap. I picked up a value box of Coco snaps for 83p and some chocolate flavour cake covering for 67p - making these just under 6p each (not including the cost of the mini eggs).

Mini Egg Crispy Cakes

Chocolate Crispy Treats - makes 28

300g milk chocolate cake covering
300g coco snaps
pack of Cadbury Mini eggs
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave until smooth
  • Stir in the coco snaps until fully combined
  • Press into a lined baking tin and pop Mini eggs onto the top
  • Refrigerate until set & then cut into squares/bars

Mini Egg Crispy Cakes

I received the Easter products mentioned free of charge for the purpose of review

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Butternut Squash & Tomato Soup

The weather recently has definitely been more spring like. Coats have been ditched and more time is being spent outdoors. Then, all of a sudden, a frost hits again and we feel that we're back in the depths of winter. What better way to warm yourself up on a chilly day than with a bowl of soup. This butternut squash and tomato soup is extremely simple to make, has few ingredients, yet tastes as good as a good quality cream of tomato, and is a lot healthier too.

The husband wasn't feeling too good so I served him a bowl with a cheese toastie, sprinkled with a few bacon flavour bread bites, from this month's Degustabox.

Butternut Squash & Tomato Soup

Butternut Squash & Tomato Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 stock cube    
400g can of chopped tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
  • Add the butternut squash to a large pan
  • Cover with water & add the stock cube
  • Bring to the boil and simmer until the squash is softened
  • Add the tomatoes and bring back to the boil
  • Remove from the heat and blend to a puree with a hand blender, adding more water if necessary
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

The soup is completely free on Weight Watchers filling & healthy plan (minus the cheese toastie and bread bites).

Butternut Squash & Tomato SoupBrioche Pasquier Bread Bites


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