Roasted butternut squash and puy lentil salad

Roasted butternut squash © dan and tuesday

Roasted butternut squash © dan and tuesday

Wow, has it been more than a year since we’ve done anything on this blog?

A quick update since September 2010: we left Cardiff, UK to move to The Hague, Netherlands; bought a house and we’re having a baby this month! Plus, in July this year, I (Tuesday) started eating meat again! Maybe it was the pregnancy or maybe because I just want to re-discover (meat) flavours. I am now a carnivore after being an ovo-lacto vegetarian for nearly 12 years and pescetarian (vegetable and seafood diet) in the last 4 years. This means that we will be sharing more meat-based recipes that we like in this blog.

But not this recipe. Our first blog post this year is a vegetarian recipe. This warm salad recipe is from the Good Food magazine and is high in fibre, iron, protein, folic acid and vitamin C. It’s also low-fat, counts as your 5 of 5-a-day (it’s a British thing, click on the link to find out more), and also very easy to make. Win-win!

Roasted butternut squash and Puy lentil salad © dan and tuesday

Roasted butternut squash and Puy lentil salad © dan and tuesday

You need:

  • butternut squash, regular size of about 1 kg, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • garlic clove, crushed (I love garlic and I probably put in about 6 cloves but you can only put 1 or 2, if you don’t fancy it)
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp of water
  • 2 x 400g tin of Puy lentils, drained and washed in water
  • small red onion, sliced
  • 100g of baby spinach
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • toasted pumpkin seed (what we always have in our cupboard is pumpkin seed, sesame seed and sunflower seed toasted in tamari or soy sauce. It’s great topping for salad, soup or pasta dishes)
  • crumbly cheese like feta or Cheshire or whatever cheese you have leftover

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C.
  2. In a roasting tin, toss the butternut squash, garlic, and thyme in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Roast for about 30 mins until it’s they are tender and slightly charred.
  3. Make the dressing by combining balsamic vinegar, wholegrain mustard, water and the rest of the extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Assemble salad by combining Puy lentils, baby spinach, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Put the dressing and toss.
  5. Top with roasted butternut squash, crumbly cheese, and toasted seeds.
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Moroccan fish tagine

Moroccan fish tagine © dan & tuesday

Moroccan fish tagine © dan & tuesday

This is another recipe from our favourite recipe book, Hamlyn Cookery School. If you want easy to follow recipes, get yourself a copy here.

We used monkfish for this dish but you can also use seabass or cod or any other firm fish. Serve your tagine with couscous and a slice of lemon.

You need:

  • 750g skinned, firm white fish (try seabass, cod, or monkfish) – cut into large chunks, about 2 inches (5 cm) square, then season
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 5 pcs of cardamom pods
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, slice thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 40g sultanas
  • 25g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 150 ml fish stock
  • finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp juice
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley

Cooking tools:

  • mortar and pestle
  • Dutch oven or ovenproof casserole dish
  • Preheated oven at 160˚C
mixing spices © dan and tuesy

mixing spices © dan & tuesday

What to do:

  1. Using a pestle and mortar to crush the cardamom pods and cumin and coriander seeds. Take out the cardamom husks, leaving the seeds.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a shallow frying pan and gently fry the onions until golden. Then add the garlic and spices and cook for another 2 mins.
  3. Add fish to the pan. Turn gently, making sure that they are coated with oil.
  4. Transfer the fish and onions to an ovenproof casserole dish. Scatter the sultanas and pine nuts.

    tagine on Dutch oven © dan and tuesday

    tagine on Dutch oven © dan & tuesday

  5. Add the stock, lemon rind, lemon juice to the frying pan and bring to the boil. Then pour the mixture around the fish, cover with a lid, and bake in the oven for 40 mins.

Dan ~ Best thing about this recipe, aside from the undeniable awesomeness of its flavour, is the way it looks. You’re really just throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot, but it looks like “proper” food without too much effort on the presentation front. There’s quite a bit of preparation (or maybe I’m just slow at crushing spices and things like that), but it’s well worth it, and very impressive for your guests…

tagine on couscous © dan & tuesday

tagine on couscous © dan & tuesday

Smoked trout on pappardelle pasta

Smoked trout in parpadelle

Smoked trout in pappardelle pasta

This recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food book. I wouldn’t describe it as “fast”, but probably because I was making it for the first time and it takes me a while to make something fiddly like a sauce. Next time will be quicker. I tried getting into the Ramsay style of cooking, but I had nobody to shout and swear at, so I don’t think it worked. Cooked this for guests, and it went down very well. They could tell by the mess in the kitchen (Tuesy: yes, he messed up my kitchen!) that I’d made an effort.

You need:

  • 6 medium vine plum tomatoes
  • 85g of sun-dried tomatoes in oil (about 15 pcs)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 banana shallots (or 4 regular ones), roughly choppped
  • 175ml olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 500g fresh pappardelle (or you can use tagliatelle)
  • 600g skinless smoked trout fillets, flaked into large chunks
  • grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper
chopped banana shallots

chopped banana shallots

What to do:

  1. Skin tomatoes – this is easy Tuesday did this for the roasted tomato soup recipe. Chop the tomatoes in half and take out the seeds. I found it a bit tricky to squeeze out the seeds, so I left a lot of them in there. Don’t tell Tuesy. I don’t think anyone noticed.

    skinning vine-riped tomatoes

    skinning vine-riped tomatoes

  2. Put the tomatoes, garlic, shallots, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor until you have a smooth sauce. Season to your taste.

    ingredients on food processor

    ingredients on food processor

  3. Pour the sauce into a pan and warm on a medium heat. Be careful not to boil it too quickly.
  4. Cook the pasta until al dente then toss with the tomato sauce and flaked trout (don’t flake that trout too much – it looks and tastes great with big chunks of fish in it. Serve with parmesan. Lots of parmesan. And probably some fresh black pepper.

Soup: Roasted tomato

roasted tomato soup

roasted tomato soup © kirsten

It hasn’t really dropped below 10˚C but I might as well recognise that it is already winter– especially if this means we get winter out of the way now and we have spring to look forward to 🙂

Winter means time to open the recipe book for nice warming soups. I looked at my Delia’s Vegetarian Collection book which has some really good and easy to follow recipes. I have to warn you, thought, that some of the recipes in that book are quite high in fat so choose well.

ripe tomatoes © kirsten

ripe tomatoes © kirsten

I chose this soup because I love the taste of roasted tomatoes. I am lucky I live just a minute walk from Cardiff Market which has a history of trading since the 1800s! Two kilos of medium-sized ripe tomatoes are only a little over £1 – bargain! Buy from your local market, if you can.

(An aside – this reminds me of the Sundays when my Nanay (mother) used to take me to the palengke. We would walk the Pulilan bridge to go to the market. Our first stop was a vegetable stall where we were suki (favourite customer) so we got our veggies at a special discounted rate. If my Nanay planned to buy meat for that week, she usually asks the veggie vendor to look after me as I hated (still do!) going to the butcher.)

Right on to the recipe. Dan said it’s the best home-made soup he has ever tasted but maybe he is a bit biased 😉

You will need:

  • 700 g medium red tomatoes
  • 20 g/bunch of basil leaves
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 big clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 110 g potato
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

For olive croutons:

  • 4 medium slices of ciabatta bread, cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp olive tapenade or paste

Kitchen items:

  • roasting tray
  • mortar and pestle

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C (on my fan oven, I had it on 150˚C)
  2. Skin the tomatoes – you do this by pouring boiling water on the tomatoes and leaving it for 1 minute. After that it’s easy to skin the tomatoes.

    roasting tomatoes © kirsten

    roasting tomatoes © kirsten

  3. Half the tomatoes, put them on the roasting tray (cut side uppermost) and then generously season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each tomatoes with olive oil, the chopped garlic, and then top each one with basil leaves. Coat the basil leaves with oil first!

    roasting tomatoes with basil & garlic © kirsten

    roasting tomatoes with basil & garlic © kirsten

  4. Roast the tomatoes for 50 – 60 minutes or until the edges of the tomatoes are blackened. This gives the tomatoes a smoky flavour. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3206/3036891255_b09d67a07d.jpg

    roasted tomatoes © kirsten

    roasted tomatoes © kirsten

  5. Peel and chop the potato into little cubes then put it in a saucepan with some salt, 425 ml boiling water, tomato purée and simmer for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
  6. Ok the croutons– you can buy ready made croutons but this is so yummy that it’s worth giving it a go. In a bowl, place the bread cubes, olive oil, and olive tapenade/paste. Toss them so that the bread cubes get a good coating. Put the bread cubes in a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 8 minutes – make sure you don’t forget to check on them as they burn easily. Leave to cool when done.

    olive croutons © kirsten

    olive croutons © kirsten

  7. When done, remove tomatoes and scrape everything to a food processor (juices and all the crusty bits!) and also add everything in the potato saucepan. Whiz lightly so it’s not so uniformly puréed.
  8. For the basil purée, use the rest of the basil and put them into a mortar. Put about 1/4 tsp of salt and then bash them with the pestle until the leaves collapse and turn into a purée. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and stir.
  9. Gently heat the soup in medium heat before serving. Garnish each bowl with croutons and a swirl of basil purée.

I also made parmesan and parsnip bread but I think that will be on the next post! But here’s the yummy preview!

parmesan and parsnip bread © kirsten

parmesan and parsnip bread © kirsten

Warm goats cheese salad with asparagus

I got this recipe from a course at Cordon Vert and this is one of the very few recipes that I still use with only minor tweaking because Sarah Kearns’ recipe is already perfect!

You will need:

  • 200 g thin asparagus
  • 40 g walnut halves
  • 1 pc medium orange (rind and juice)
  • 1 tsp rock salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 125 g goat cheese log with rind
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, toasted
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small cos lettuce
  • 100 g wild rocket

What to do-

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C.
  2. On a baking tray, place the asparagus, walnuts, orange rind, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Roast until the asparagus starts to char in places – about 15 minutes.
  3. Mix and then grind Sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds- don’t forget to toast them before grinding! I just use mortar and pestle for this. Mix the spices with honey.
  4. Slice the goats cheese log into 5 circles (you can keep the rind). Place the slices on a tin foil. Drizzle honey mixture over the cheese. Leave to marinate for 1/2 hour and then grill goat cheese until bubbling.
  5. Mix orange juice, tamari, sesame oil and groundnut oil together for the dressing.
  6. In a salad bowl, place the cos leaves and rocket. Put the roasted asparagus and walnuts on top. Add grilled goat cheese to the salad then drizzle dressing.
  7. Enjoy 🙂

Watercress pesto

Here’s something you can do with a bag of watercress salad. I really can’t remember the measurement. You just have to check for consistency and taste as you whizz everything.

You need:
100 g (or more) watercress
4 tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
50g freshly grated parmesan
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or more depending on the consistency)
a little squeeze of lemon
salt & pepper to taste

What you do:
All you need to do is get a decent food processor and whizz everything!

I recently bought a magimix compact which is just the right size for my small flat. It’s more pricey than some food processors but it’s worth it!

Spiced Tuna Steak


This weekend, since Tuesy needed cheering up I thought I’d be extra-organised and prepare a couple of seafood dishes. Since she doesn’t eat meat but will happily indulge in piscicide, tuna is an excellent middle ground between veggie and carnivore. I’ll save the other recipe, which I think was even better, for another day. I need to pace myself…

Get yourself some big, thick tuna steaks. As much as you can eat/afford. You’re going to marinade them. To make the marinade, mix the following:
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated fresh root ginger. You might want a bit more if you’re a ginger fan.
1 peeled, crushed garlic clove
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder. Again, if you like at spicy, double this. It’s quite safe.
Salt and pepper as desired.

Mix this lot up, and smear it all over your tuna steaks, which you’ve already patted dry with kitchen roll, right? Leave this to marinate for a couple of hours.
(A quick aside. I’m listening to the US Open tennis semi-final. Andy Murray might be about to beat Nadal. Please, please, please…)
OK, here’s the master-stroke. You’re going to make some raita. This is easy, and it’s delicious. You need about 150g greek yoghurt (standard-sized tub), which you mix with some chopped mint and about 50g of chopped cucumber. Chop it fine. Mix this up and it will be a great taste to dollop on your spicy tuna and offset its kick.

Grab your favourite frying pan or griddle. Heat a little oil. Heat it a lot. Cook the tuna steaks for a couple of minutes and then turn and cook for a little more. I like mine scorched on the outside and still pink in the middle. Tuesy likes hers well done. The choice is yours, but the marinade will blacken it a little if you fry it for a long time. That’s still delicious, though.
Serve your tuna with the raita and a green salad. I made it this time with boiled potatoes and broccoli because we were really hungry, but the salad really prioritises the fleshy goodness of your steak. If you cooked it, bask in the appreciation. If it was served to you, feel lucky.
(Murray might be throwing the match away in the time it took me to write this. Dammit. But there’s still a chance…)

Bean Fajitas

This is a delicious dish whether you’re a vegetarian or not. Obviously, you can put chicken or beef into fajitas if you prefer, but since the best bits are the spicy tomato, guacamole and sour cream, you may as well save that meaty goodness for something where you can really taste it. But I have to be honest, although this stuff is delicious, it really doesn’t photograph well, which is why I don’t have a mouth-watering image of the finished product to tempt you with. the above picture is not a full body shot, just a detail, but it gives you an idea. Just go with it and remember that even ugly messy food needs love sometimes.
Heat 2 tbsp sunflower oil in a big pan. Fry a sliced, medium sized onion for 5 mins. While that’s going on you can chop two garlic cloves, or crush them. You will need:
Half tsp hot chilli powder (I also like to throw in some freshly chopped chillis to make it extra spicy. It’s your call, though. This time, I also chucked in some red peppers that needed eating)
1tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
Add these to the onion with the garlic and fry for a couple more minutes. Then add:
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g can chopped tomatoes
Quarter pint of hot vegetable stock
Lots of beans. These should ideally consist of 220g tin of red kidney beans, 300g tin of borlotti beans, 300g tin flageolet beans. All these should be drained and rinsed. Actually, it’s just as good if you use red kidney beans and make up the rest with chickpeas. Still delicious.
Season all this with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, you can either:
b) Open a tub of shop-bought guacamole and spend the next 15 minutes getting in some quality time with your brand new Nintendo Wii.
You should also warm up a bunch of flour tortillas in the oven or microwave. Then, when the beans and sauce are ready, spread some down the middle of each tortilla, then dollop on some sour cream and guacamole according to your taste. Fold at one side and then fold in two other sides to form a fajita-shaped parcel. If yours are anything like mine, your fajita filling will dribble out all over the place and mess up your shirt, so take care. Grated cheddar cheese will also make your fajitas extra tasty if you can stand any more deliciousness. Serve with cold lager, preferably in a bottle with a slice of lime jammed down its neck.

Chickpea curry with quorn

I have cooked this recipe so many times before but never for Dan. He asked me to blog the recipe so he can give it a go. I told him to watch me cook it and try to remember it instead 🙂

But because he asked really nicely last night, here goes:

I used:
medium onion, sliced
2-4 garlic cloves (I like mine garlic-y), chopped
chilli flakes
a tin of chickpeas, drained
a tin of chopped tomatoes
capsicum or peppers
quorn “chicken” style fillets, cubed
2 tbsp of curry paste
coriander, roughly chopped


What I did:

  1. Most of the time, I dry fry my onion with just a bit of salt. I was told that this caramelizes the onion. When the onion is a bit cooked, I add olive oil, a pinch or two of chili flakes, and the garlic.
  2. Add the curry paste. I use Patak’s curry paste. It’s good stuff.
  3. Add the quorn pieces and cook it for about 3-5 mins or just until it’s brown.
  4. Mix the chickpeas and cook for about 2 mins.
  5. Add the capsicum/peppers. I like to add mushrooms, too, but Dan does not like mushrooms. I know, it’s weird.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes. If it’s still too dry, add some water.
  7. Season with salt, pepper and coriander.

Sweet chilli egg noodle salad

The recipe I have here is based on what I had (left over) in my fridge but really you can make this egg noodle salad with anything you fancy eating 🙂

Ingredients (all estimation)

  • 2 blocks of dried egg noodles
  • cooked and peeled prawns
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 spring onions
  • carrots
  • pak choi
  • garlic
  • oyster sauce
  • vegetable oil
  • sweet chilli sauce


What to do:

  1. Put noodles in a big bowl and then cover with boiled water. Cook for about 7 – 10 minutes. Drain it and wash with cold water so it will stop cooking.
  2. Steam the pak choi or cook it with garlic and a bit of oyster sauce.
  3. Add all the veggies in the noodles.
  4. Lastly, mix the sweet chilli sauce.