The Crazy Kitchen: March 2012

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Thursday 29 March 2012

Purple Sprouting Broccoli & Asparagus Salad


I wrote in an earlier post that I'd won a large veggie box in a competition, and it included two vegetables that I don't usually buy - in fact one of them I'd never even tried before. As I had no idea what to do with it I turned to twitter for advice.

I had lots of suggestions of how to cook the Purple Sprouting Broccoli including stir-frying, blanching and tossing in flavoured oil, in a quiche, with a cheesy pasta...the list was endless. One suggestion stuck with me, possibly because there was a visual to tempt me too, from Laura at How To Cook Good Food. The recipe was for a salad with lemon and garlic dressing - it looked so simple yet sounded so tasty.

This is my version of the salad, which I served warm with my Cauliflower and Potato Gratin and leftovers of my Butternut Squash & Courgette Lasagne.

For the dressing I mixed together the zest & juice of a lemon, a teaspoon of Dijon Mustard, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Black Pepper and some slices of garlic that had been marinated in oil and chilli from my local Farm Shop.

I tossed asparagus and slices of red pepper in a small amount of olive oil and fried them on a griddle pan for a few minutes, whilst I quickly blanched the purple sprouting broccoli in boiling water. Once the broccoli was blanched I quickly fried in the hot griddle pan to remove some of the excess water. 

The peppers, asparagus and broccoli was added to a large bowl with some large stuffed olives (also from the Farm Shop) and tossed in the marinade and served immediately with a few shavings of Parmesan on top.

Myself, the husband and Sam all really enjoyed this salad and I'm definitely going to be making it again - thank you Laura for the recipe.


Cauliflower & Potato Gratin


I recently won a large veggie box from Riverford Organics in a competition hosted by Utterly Scrummy. Yesterday the box arrived full of lovely fresh organic veggies including potatoes, carrots, onions, butternut squash, tomatoes, peppers, celery, cabbage, asparagus, cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli.

Making a cauliflower cheese was one of the obvious things to make with the cauliflower as the kids love it so I decided to combine it with some of the potatoes and make a gratin.

I boiled the potatoes until soft and steamed the cauliflower over them until softened but still with a bite. Meanwhile I made a white sauce using butter, flour and milk, adding some ground black pepper and grated cheese. I had a chunk of Carrot & Onion bread left which I whizzed up to make breadcrumbs. The cauliflower and potato was arranged in a large baking dish and the cheese sauce poured over. I topped with more grated cheese and the breadcrumbs and baked in a 160 degree (C) oven until browned and warmed through.


Later I will be attempting to make something yummy with my purple sprouting broccoli and asparagus.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Cheesy Topped Carrot and Onion Bread


Today I made another slow cooked Turkey Goulash, which was the same as the one I previously made except I replaced the Butternut Squash with potatoes. Instead of rice I thought it would be nice to make some bread to go with it too. In the fridge I had 4 small carrots and a lonely looking red onion which I thought I could incorporate into the bread to see how it turned out.

I used the basic bread recipe that I always use in my breadmaker with the addition of the carrot and onion, along with some dried rosemary.

1 1/3 cups of water
1 tbsp oil
3 1/3 cups of bread flour (I used a mix of white & wholemeal) 
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried yeast

I added to this :

4 small carrots, peeled & grated
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp dried rosemary

I added it all to the breadmaker and set it to the 'dough' setting.
The mixture was quite moist due to the carrot & onion so I added some more flour whilst it was mixing.
Once it was done I turned the dough out onto a floured surface and shaped into 2 rounds.
I placed the dough onto floured baking sheets & left to rise for 30 minutes
I grated cheese on top of each loaf and baked in a 180 degree (C) oven for around 25-30 minutes


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Tuesday 27 March 2012

Butternut Squash & Courgette Lasagne


Last night I watched an episode of Barefoot Contessa where she made a Portobello mushroom lasagne so I thought I would have a go as it looked delicious. Only problem was that I had neither Portobello mushrooms nor lasagne but I didn't let that stop me.

I looked through the fridge, cupboards and freezer and decided instead to saute thinly sliced courgettes with olive oil, garlic, black pepper and chilli flakes and did the same with some butternut squash.

Whilst they were cooking I made a white sauce with butter, flour and milk, although I decided to use a wholemeal flour because I couldn't be bothered to get the stool out to reach the plain flour from the top shelf to give it a nuttier taste, and then added a few broken walnuts for good measure. I then found a few bricks of spinach at the bottom of the freezer and decided to add them to the sauce too (I remembered that The Boy and Me had added some into her lasagne recently)

I then layered everything up, overcoming the lack of lasagne sheets with some spaghetti, finishing off with a layer of grated cheese.

It was baked in a 170 degree (C) oven for around 40 minutes. 


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Sunday 25 March 2012

Quorn and Butternut Squash Curry

After a weekend of partying and wine drinking I needed to make an easy dinner tonight, that also 'hit the spot'. I popped some baking spuds in the oven before looking in the fridge/freezer to see what we had to go with them. I spotted some Quorn mince and instead of making the usual bolognaise or chilli I quite fancied a curry so after throwing a few ingredients together we enjoyed a lovely curry over the oven baked potatoes.


Quorn and Butternut Squash Curry

tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small or 1/2 large Butternut Squash, peeled & diced
curry powder (quantity will depend on how spicy you want it and the intensity of your powder)
300g Quorn Mince
500ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter (don't tell the husband as he hates it!)
handful of frozen peas
2 tbsp natural Greek yoghurt

  • Fry the onion in the oil for 2 minutes
  • Add the squash and fry for a further 2 minutes
  • Add the mushrooms, curry powder, Quorn and stock, stir and replace lid and cook for 15-20 minutes minutes, until the squash is softened
  • Keep an eye on it and add more stock (or water) if it starts to dry out
  • When the squash is cooked all the way through stir in the peanut butter and the peas and cook for a further minute
  • Stir in the yoghurt just before removing from the heat and serving

A Turkey Is Not Just For Christmas

It's been a bit like Christmas this last week in The Crazy Kitchen household but not because we've been singing non-stop 'Last Christmas', pulling crackers or cracking open the Quality Street. Last week we ate a large amount of turkey, a meat quite often only eaten at Christmas, in a bid to show you that Turkey is most definitely not just for Christmas.

Turkey is a healthy, all-year-round alternative to meat and can be used in a variety of recipes. By replacing your usual beef mince with turkey mince in a bolognaise can reduce the saturated fat by up to 50%.*

Most good Supermarkets stock various turkey cuts throughout the year, although I was disappointed at the very small range in our local Tesco Extra store.

This week we've enjoyed a Turkey breast joint cooked for just over 2 hours in it's own juices in the slow cooker, Sweet and Sour turkey with rice using breast steaks, spagetti bolognaise using turkey mince and Goulash using diced turkey thigh.


British Turkey are hosting a competition to find the nations best food blogger, and all you have to do is create a dish that can be served at any time of the year using British Turkey and Peppadew peppers. I have decided to share a recipe for my own version of Goulash, a traditional Hungarian dish typically containing Beef, Pork or Lamb.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash & Turkey Goulash with Sweet Red Peppers

600g Diced Turkey Thigh
50g Plain Flour
1 Onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
680g Butternut squash, peeled & diced (approx 500g of flesh)
2 tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 Can of Chopped Tomatoes
2 tbsp Tomato Puree
325 ml Chicken Stock
200g (1 jar, drained) Whole Sweet Piquante Peppadew Peppers

  • Toss the turkey in the flour to coat & tip into a pre-heated slow cooker
  • Add the onion, garlic, squash, paprika, tomatoes, tomato puree and stock - give a good stir
  • Cook on high for 4-5 hours adding the peppers with an hour of cooking time remaining

Serve with boiled rice


*information taken from British Turkey website.

I received a jar of Peppadew peppers and was reimbursed for the cost of the turkey products used for the purpose of this post.

This is my entry into the BritMums Lean On Turkey competition sponsored by

Sunday 18 March 2012

My Sam's Mother's Day Chocolate Cake

My eleven year old son has shocked me this week.

Not only has he proved himself to be a poetic genius with his Mother's Day poem, he is also turning into a little budding chef in the kitchen. Thursday night he fancied 'something nice' but after rummaging through the fridge and cupboards and finding nothing that took his fancy he suggested mixing cocoa powder into an Alpro Rich & Creamy cherry dessert, resulting in a lovely chocolate & cherry pudding which he poured over crushed digestive biscuit and banana. On Friday night he made his first chocolate cake, with little help, which was accompanied by a chocolate custard - instant custard mixed with cocoa powder at his suggestion.

He decided that he wanted to make another cake for Mother's Day so I bought him a few extra ingredients when I went shopping and today (along with helping to get is football team into a Cup Final) he made his lucky Mum this :


My Sam's Mother's Day Chocolate Cake

250g Butter, softened
250g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
250g Self Raising Flour
4 tbsp Cocoa Powder

To Decorate
Tub of Chocolate Philadelphia
Pack of Love Heart sweets

  • Cream the Butter & Sugar
  • Add the eggs, one at a time
  • Take 4tbsp of flour out & replace with 4 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • Add the flour & cocoa powder to the cake mix, mix well
  • Spoon into 2 lined & greased baking tins
  • Bake in a 160 degree (C) oven for 20-25 minutes (until light & spongy)
  • Sandwich the 2 layers together with chocolate Philadelphia and sliced strawberries and decorate the top with chocolate philadelphia, strawberries & love hearts.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Quorn Burritos


We all know that we're supposed to eat healthier, cut down on bad fats and have a balanced diet, but sometimes when we lead busy lives it's easier said than done. Using Quorn instead of meat in recipes is a great way to cut down on fat and calories, yet still being able to enjoy favourite dishes.

I usually buy lean minced beef for one of our favourite Saturday night dishes, Burritos, but even though it's lean it still has a lot more calories and fat than Quorn mince, as well as not having as much fibre.

Comparison between Quorn mince and my usual lean beef mince (per 100g)

Quorn Beef
Calories 105 193
Fat 2 10.8
Saturated Fat 0.5 4.3
Fibre 5.5 0.5

This week I replaced the lean beef mince with minced Quorn, and I don't actually think the family noticed! If they did they never mentioned it and cleared their plates as usual.

Spicy Quorn Burritos

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
300g Quorn mince
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli powder - adjust to suit your taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
can of chopped tomatoes
can of red kidney beans
1 tbsp tomato puree

  • Fry the onion in the oil until softened in a large, lidded pan
  • Add the Quorn mince and spices and fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes
  • Add the kidney beans and tomato puree, cover and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with flour tortillas, grated cheese, salad, rice, natural yoghurt and nachos


Quorn have lots of products in their range that can be used to replace meat or chicken in your own recipes, as well as a large range of ready prepared meals and snacks

Photobucket Photobucket  Photobucket

To find out more about the health benefits of eating Quorn and to see their great selection of recipes head over to their website :

This is a sponsored post although the recipe is my own.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Dairy Free Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream

On Monday I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by Alpro, where we were introduced to some of their new products which included some new nutty drinks.

I was given a carton of the Hazelnut Drink and the Almond Milk to take home, and today I decided to make some ice cream/frozen dessert using the Hazelnut variety. I've got an ice cream machine which makes life easier but if you don't you can freeze in a large container and stir around every 30 minutes or so to break up the ice crystals and prevent it freezing into a lump.

Dairy Free Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream

4 tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 tbsp (approx) boiling water
4 tbsp Honey
500ml Alpro Hazelnut Drink

  • Beat the cocoa powder with the boiling water to make a paste, stir in the honey and allow to cool
  • Stir the Hazelnut drink into the cocoa mix, a little at a time until all combined
  • Churn in an ice cream maker until desired consistency is reached
  • Place in a freezable container in the freezer until firmed up

This dessert doesn't freeze completely solid and is quite 'icy' due to the water content in the Hazelnut milk, however it passed the test with my 9 & 11 year old taste testers so it must be good.


Sunday 4 March 2012

Double Chocolate & Lime Cheesecake

I have had the pleasure of being chosen to be part of the Appliances British Ovens Rainbow Cookbook, where, along with six fellow bloggers*, I will be posting a recipe relating to a colour of the rainbow. My colour in this wonderful task is green, with my chosen ingredient being limes.

Double Chocolate and Lime Cheesecake

250g Chocolate Bourbon Biscuits
50g Butter, melted
450ml Double Cream
100g Good Quality Dark Chocolate - I used 72% 
300g Full Fat Cream Cheese (Philadelphia)
Juice & grated Zest of 4 limes
50g Icing Sugar - if you have a sweet tooth you may want to double this

To Decorate
Plain chocolate, melted
Lime zest

  • Crush the biscuits to a fine crumb and stir in the melted butter.
  • Press the biscuit mix into the base of a loose bottomed or springform cake pan
  • Refrigerate until set
  • Warm 150ml of the cream in a pan over a low heat until almost boiling.
  • Remove cream from the heat and stir in the broken chocolate, whisk until smooth and glossy
  • Pour over the biscuit base and return to the fridge until set.
  • Beat the cream cheese with the zest, juice and icing sugar
  • Whisk the remaining cream until it forms soft peaks
  • Fold the cream into the cream cheese mix until well combined
  • Pour into the cake pan over the chocolate and return to the fridge until set.
  • Decorate with melted chocolate** and lime zest

**To pipe the lines of chocolate on the cake it's easy to make a small cone, I found a good tutorial online with instructions how to make one.


*The other bloggers forming the rainbow of recipes are :

Red -  Home Baked
Yellow - Pebble Soup
Orange -  We Grow Our Own
Purple -  Nelly's Cupcakes

This is a sponsored post although the recipe is my own.

Friday 2 March 2012

Cooking With Your Toddler - Chocolate Peanut Butter Flapjacks

Peanut butter is one of the staple foods in our household and we all love it...well all but the husband...but he does eat it from time to time unknowingly! I use it in cookies, sandwiches and even in curry, and this week myself and Jack are adding it to Flapjacks.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Flapjacks :

100g butter
100g demerara sugar
200g Golden Syrup
150g Crunchy Peanut Butter
250g Jumbo Oats
200g Quick Cook Oats

100g milk chocolate chips
50g smooth peanut butter

  • Melt the butter, sugar, syrup & peanut butter over a low heat
    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
  • Stir in the Oats
    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
  • Mix well
    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
  • Press into a large greased baking tin - mine was a 9" x 13" - tip: put a sandwich bag over your hand & press down, that way it doesn't stick

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
  • Bake in a 180 degree (C) oven for 15-25 minutes, until golden brown
  • Melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for around 1 minute - stirring every 20 seconds until just melted, stir until smooth
  • Spread chocolate over the warm flapjack and allow to cool completely & the chocolate topping firms up
  • Cut into squares or bars

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Chocolate Peanut Butter Flapjacks

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