View From an Irish Back Yard


7 Day New Recipe Challenge

Well friends, I did it.  I cooked a new recipe (or sometimes two!) every day for the week of July 1 – 7, and lived to tell the tale.  It was an interesting challenge, harder than I thought in some ways and easier in others.  It’s something I wouldn’t mind repeating, but I have to say – most of the food was just OK.  Like, fine, normal, whatever meals.  No disasters, which is always a good thing, but I think I was hoping for some more cooking brilliance in my camp!  But anyway, read on and you can see for yourself how it all went.

For brevity’s sake, I’m just putting in the recipes I’d recommend – if you are interested in the others, just drop me a note.  Also, I’m not sure if anyone else took the challenge, but if you did and you want to share, please go ahead and do so in the comments section!! :)

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Curried Salmon Couscous in Little Gem Lettuce

Monday:  Curried Salmon Couscous

This zesty little salmon dish was the dark horse meal of the week and funnily enough, the one I was trying to beat for the next six days!  It was easy and so yummy, a really great mix of textures and flavours, and also a wonderful option for summertime.  The original recipe is from Ireland’s “Easy Food” magazine (I think!) but I tweaked it a bit, mainly using fresh grilled salmon.  We really loved this meal and will be having it again.

Packet Moroccan Couscous (or make your own. We used Ainsley Harriott’s)
Small handful of raisins
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup frozen or fresh sweet corn, cooked
2 medium sized salmon fillets, seasoned with salt and pepper, then grilled.  Canned salmon can also be used.
Little Gem lettuce leaves
paprika, to taste

Dressing
80 ml plain yogurt
2 Tbls olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper

Cook the couscous according to the packet’s instructions and mix in raisins, onion and corn while still warm.  Set aside to cool.  Grill your salmon fillets and cool, then flake with a fork.  Mix the ingredients for the dressing.  Spoon some couscous into each lettuce leaf, then add some salmon, then drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with paprika.  Eat immediately. Voila!  Serves 2 – 3.

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Tuesday: Linguine with Chicken, Peas, Courgettes (zucchini), Feta and Pine Nuts

This is another one I tweaked, and I think it originally came from the UK’s “Feel Good Food” Magazine, which we don’t get here anymore, so I’m not sure if it’s still in publication.  Anyway, this was a nice midweek meal, pretty easy and nothing too exotic.  The original recipe was actually vegetarian, so feel free to take out the chicken – I just had some to use up and it added a nice protein element.

14 oz. linguine
7 oz. frozen peas
1 Cup cooked chicken, roughly chopped
3 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1- 2 courgettes, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
zest and a squeeze of one lemon
5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tbls pine nuts, lightly toasted

Cook the pasta in boiling water and add peas for the final minute of cooking, then drain well.  Heat 2 Tbls olive in in a large pan, add the garlic and cook gently for a couple minutes, then add the courgettes and increase the heat to high.  Cook until soft, then stir in the lemon zest and juice.  Add the chicken and toss until warmed through.  Add the cooked pasta and the remaining olive oil.  Season and toss well.  Serve in pasta bowls with the feta and pine nuts sprinkled on top.  Serves 2 – 4.

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Dark Chocolate and Pine Nut Crostata

Dessert: Dark Chocolate and Pine Nut Crostata

This recipe came from a 2008 issue of “Bon Appetit” and I didn’t change a thing.  Oh. My. Gosh.  It was incredible.  I think I’m still dreaming about it.  I will warn you, though, the crostata crust is very delicate and fiddly, so I had a hard time with that.  But it’s so worth it – this dessert is incredible.

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Korean Beef

Wednesday: Korean Beef

This recipe is one I found on a blog – a cool Mormon lady named Elizabeth Bryant.  It’s also another one I can post a direct link to because I followed her recipe pretty faithfully.  My only addition was half a chopped red chili because I had some in the fridge, and it was a nice colour against the brown and green. :)  This was really good, and so nice to have a unique way to use ground beef!  I’ll definitely being making this again soon.  I was so hungry the night I made it, I forgot to take the picture before I dug in, ha ha!

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Thursday: Some Chicken Thigh with Mushrooms Thing

Obviously, this meal was so unremarkable I can’t even remember what recipe I used.   There was a nice couscous, I remember that.  Ah well.

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Friday: Grilled Cod with Pesto Crumb Topping

This was nice, but not as great as it sounded.  I’d like to try it again, with more seasoning, and maybe better mozzarella cheese.  If you want to try it and are in the USA, don’t worry to much about the UK measurements – just go with your instincts.  It’s easy enough. :)

2 pieces of hake or cod
salt and pepper
1 tsp lemon juice, to drizzle
1 tsp olive oil, to drizzle
2 tsp tomato pesto
30 grams breadcrumbs
60 grams grated mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 Tbls butter, melted
1 1/2 Tbls chopped fresh parsley
lemon wedges, to garnish

Preheat your grill or broiler and grease an ovenproof dish.  Season the fish with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Brush with a little olive oil and place under the grill/broiler for  7 – 10 minutes on each side, or until nearly done.  Mix the breadcrumbs, mozzarella, butter and parsley in a bowl and set aside.  Remove nearly-done fish from the grill and spread with the tomato pesto, then top with the breadcrumb mix.  Return to the grill and cook until topping is golden brown the fish is completely cooked.  Serve with lemon wedges.  Serves 2.

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Side/Starter: Watermelon Salad with Parma Ham, Rocket (Arugula) and Feta

Do you want to know the truth?  This salad is fab.  But don’t use the parma ham.  That’s my advice.  It’s expensive and it didn’t add anything – it just went sort of slimy.  :( But the rest is so so good, even though it sounds weird.  I actually made this salad several times over the week and was always sneaking the last bits out of the bowl when I did the dishes.  Really, really good.  I wish I’d taken a picture!  This is another one from Woman and Home’s “Feel Good Food” magazine.

8 Slices Parma Ham, torn into pieces (optional!)
4 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
7 oz watermelon, rind removed and cut into 1 inch square pieces (roughly)
large handful of rocket (arugula)
Fresh ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and leave for 5 minutes for the flavours to infuse.  Grind a generous dose of pepper over the top before serving.

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Crab Cake Mix

Saturday: Crab Cakes 

I morphed a couple different crab cake recipes for this one, and I got a bit stressed with the kids, so Frank helped me cook it all.  It was nice, but I’d rather wait until I find an AMAZING crab cake recipe before I post anything.  I love crab, and I want to do the poor devils justice. :)

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Dessert:  Coffee Meringues with Fresh Raspberries, Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

For the Meringues
2 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
100 grams superfine/caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 225 C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Beat the egg whites with the vanilla, espresso powder, salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Beat in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy.  Drop large tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the tray and bake for two hours or until they are crisp and firm.  Turn off the oven and leave the meringues to cool and dry out for one hour, with the oven door slightly ajar.

The rest of this recipe is of my own creation.  I’ve seen several variations of a raspberry tiramisu, so I played with those flavors and came up with the following:

Put one scoop of good-quality raspberry ripple ice cream into individual bowls.  Crumble one or two coffee meringues over the top, depending on size of meringues.  Top with fresh raspberries and drizzle with good-quality chocolate sauce.  Oh yum.

The only other thing I have to say about the meringue recipe is please use real vanilla extract.  I made the mistake of buying vanilla essence because that’s all the shop had, and it’s so nasty.  I’ve been spoiled by Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract for too long!

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Sunday:  Don’t Remember.  I actually don’t remember. 

If I DO remember, I will change this post.  I think it was some kind of pasta thing.  I’ll ask Frank. But, really, if it wasn’t that incredible, do you really care?

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Well, that’s it for now, folks.  Hope you enjoy the newly recommended eats.  It’s been fun. :)

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1 Comment so far
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Ok, so I didn’t go for 7 days… BUT your post has inspired me to make a few new recipes over the last week or so that I have not yet attempted. Seven days is WAY too much of a commitment. The best meal that came out of it was this Chicken Fiesta Salad, which Andrew and I are obsessed with. I just found it on allrecipes.com cause I wanted some chicken recipes with decent amount of veggies. So…here it is. It’s super easy and quick to make. And the corn bean topping is great on tortilla chips as a leftovers treat. SO good.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-fiesta-salad/detail.aspx

We added sour cream and avocado on top as well.

Comment by Erin




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