Tag Archives: spinach

Sweltering Summers Day Lunch

27 Jun

Salmon with Asparagus and Spinach

In years gone by, the asparagus season would have been long over by now. I am sure that British Asparagus will be running out soon, but I am enjoying it while I am around. I prepared this dish with the assistance of my friend Matt, who conveniently is a chef, and his wife Helen.

This happened to be my birthday lunch, and as I was anticipating a delicious restaurant dinner with my husband, I wanted an easy, quick and healthy lunch.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 fillet of salmon per person
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus per person
  • 1 bag of spinach (will serve 2/3)
  • chopped garlic
  • butter
  • pesto or lemon and mayo to serve

METHOD

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.While it is heating up, place the salmon fillets in a ovenproof dish. You want to poach them, so fill the dish with some water (or white wine if you are feeling extravagant), to about 1 cm depth and cover with foil.Trim the ends from the asparagus, place in a ovenproof dish, drizzle with oil, adding a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. Leave uncovered.Both dishes will take 8/10 minutes. The trick with salmon is not to overcook it, or it becomes dry. You want the fish to still be slightly pink in the middle. Check after 8 minutes, and if it’s not quite there stick it back in the oven. My advice is to use a timer for those last couple of minutes, as its so easy to be distracted and overcook the fish by accident.

While the fish and asparagus are cooking, grab a jar of good quality mayo, decant some into a dish and mix in the zest of a lemon. Alternatively, put some fresh pesto out to serve on the fish. Melt 50/50 butter and oil (about 1 tbsp) in a pan then add garlic on a gently heat for 1/2 minutes until it starts to soften. Add fresh spinach and allow it to wilt (keep turning). Turn heat off once wilted. If I serve this with lemon mayo, I cut the zested lemon into wedges to serve on the side.

Lay the table and pour yourself a glass of chilled rose (or whatever tipple takes your fancy). By now the fish should be done, so all you need to do, is serve, then relax and enjoy.

Frittata, Sausages and Spinach (The spendthrift’s challenge, Day 1)

18 May

Day one of the challenge, and I have already had my resolve tested by an almost too good to turn down 15% off voucher from Ocado. I resisted and turned off the computer, only to receive a text from Sarah (yes, Sarah’s Lime and Ginger Cheesecake Sarah) trying to lead me astray with a report of £2 a bottle off one of our favourite bottles of wine. I returned to the ‘loosely drafted’ rules and noticed that there was  no mention of alcohol being included in the budget (trust a lawyer to try to find a loophole). However in the spirit of good housewifery, I will observe the spirit of the challenge and only use supplies from existing stocks.  

BREAKFAST  

A cinch. Cereal, bananas and toast for the children, fruit, yoghurt and muesli for me.  

LUNCH  

A fridge raid at 11.30 in the run up to lunch yielded the following ‘bounty’  

  • 6 or 7 slightly greying cooked jersey royals from Fridays lunch
  • 2 handfuls of grated cheddar
  • 2 little gem lettuces with a week old sell by date
  • a ‘dollop’ of preserved lemon mayo left over from Fridays lunch
  • a slightly limp looking cucumber

Not exactly a mouth-watering or inspiring collection. Yet this sorry list was wondrously transformed into a delicious lunch in less than 15 minutes, with some butter, herbs, and some delicious ‘Happy Eggs’ (yes there really is a brand called happy eggs, and I really do buy them).  

Method  

  1. Slice potatoes. Place in medium non-stick frying pan with a dessert spoon of oil and butter (the oil allows the butter to cook at a higher temperature without burning).
  2. Add 1 teaspoon chopped garlic and chives, and cook until the potatoes are golden brown.
  3. Whisk 4 ‘Happy Eggs’ with a tablespoon or two of yoghurt/cream/milk and add to the pan. Jostle and jiggle the mixture around then add the cheese and leave on a low heat for about 5 minutes, until the edges start to come away and the centre is still a little wobbly.
  4. Add a handful of grated cheese, then place under a hot grill for 5 mins. Keep a close eye to make sure it doesn’t burn.

While the top of the frittata was browning, I rinsed and chopped the lettuce (for me) and dotted the leftover mayo on to dress the leaves. For the children I chopped the cucumber into batons.  

For Mummyinahurry

 

Frittata Finale

 

For the children

 

 Once cooked, gently cajole the frittata onto a plate to serve. This was declared as ‘delicious’ by my almost 4 year old, and saved a few sad leftovers from the landfill. If it wasn’t for my undying attachment to my dishwasher and tumbledryer, I could almost feel like an advert for eco-mum!  

TEA BREAK 

The Cake. Mmmmm

 

I have been craving cake for the past week, and as we had guests after school, I took that as a perfect opportunity to make Nigella’s Never Fail Victoria Sponge, to have after the school run with a cup of tea. Annabel and I made the cake after lunch, and for the filling used up some apricot jam that had been skulking in the back of the cupboard since my hubby declared that he ‘doesnt really like apricot jam’  . That was about a year ago, but at least 5 years of me regularly buying it for him!!  

DINNER  

The starting point was a pack of defrosted Free Range Lincolnshire Sausages from the freezer (bought half price when on offer – yet more thrift in action). Although Mr Mummyinhurry is working late again, David had a school friend for tea, so I had an extra mouth to feed. For the children, I pan-fried the sausages, then served with mash, broccoli and (blush) tinned spaghetti. 2  out of 3 clean plates after dinner. A good result.    

After my mid-afternoon carb fest with the cake, I wanted something a bit lighter and healthier than mash to complement the sausages. I settled on a side dish of wilted spinach, butter beans and tomatoes. Easy, delicious and light.  

Sausages, Wilted Spinach with Beans and Tomatoes

 

INGREDIENTS 

1 bag spinach  

250g mini plum tomatoes  

400g tin butter beans  

chopped garlic and olive oil  

METHOD  

Place a little oil in a wok style pan with some chopped garlic and sweat it off for a minute.  

  1. Add spinach until it wilts
  2. Add chopped mini plum tomatoes
  3. Add a can of drained butter beans
  4. When all is warmed through, strain, season with salt and pepper then add a drizzle of olive oil
  5. Serve

As the sausages were already cooked, once the salad was made, dinner was served.  I had the children in bed and the kitchen tidied by 7.30pm, leaving me time to catch up with a neighbour over a glass of fizz (her treat of course!!)

Haddock with a herb and parmesan crust

12 May

This dish is one that satisfies both fussy children and demanding adults, and is a perfect way to engage the children in a little activity on a cold or rainy afternoon.

My inspiration for this recipe comes from Donna Hay, who sets the standard when it comes to the preparation of fresh, flavourful meals that are simple to prepare, and don’t leave you spending hours in the kitchen. And thanks to the fantastic offer at the fish counter at Sainsburys today, which allowed me to buy a very large (over 500g) haddock fillet for £2.58, this is a great choice if you are keeping an eye on the family food budget too.

First of all a few words about the buying of the fish. Sadly I don’t have a local fishmonger, as he has gone out of business. I have, however, been making use of the fish counter in the supermarket which has been the best alternative I can find at the moment.

Take a close look at the choices on offer. Often (as I did today) you can save yourself quite a bit of money just by choosing an alternative cut and asking the ‘fishmonger’ (?) to do the work for you. Today I had the following choice. Skinless haddock loin, boned, £14.99 a kilo. Haddock fillet £4.99 a kilo (it was on special). So, I chose the latter, and asked the friendly assistant to skin and pin-bone it for me, which he did without a second glance. Result, I saved £5 on the total spend, and bought myself strawberries and chocolate for dessert.

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 2 BIG PEOPLE AND 2 LITTLE PEOPLE)

All this fish for only £2.58!

500g approx haddock, or any firm white fish

200g fresh breadcrumbs

70g Parmesan, grated

10g chopped fresh parsley

1 or 2 dessert spoons chopped chives (to taste)

zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

2 dessert spoons plain flour, lightly seasoned with a sprinkle of salt and pepper

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp sunflower oil

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees (180 for a fan oven)

Herb and Parmesan breadcrumb mixture

Mix the breadcrumbs, herbs, lemon zest and parmesan together. Set aside half the mixture into a freezer bag and pop it in the freezer for another day.

With the remaining mixture, add the oil and mix so that the breadcrumbs are thoroughly coated.

Set up a conveyor belt type operation with 3 bowls in a row. The first with the

The conveyer belt

seasoned flour, the second with the egg and the last with the breadcrumbs.

Chop the fish into desired sizes. I used the thin end for the children’s chunks and fingers, and left two large fillets for me and Mr Mummyinahurry.

Fish fingers and fillets

Get the children to dip the pieces, first in the flour (dusting off any large clumps), then into the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixture, pushing the mixture gently onto the fillets. Follow the same process for the larger fillets.

Kids at work

Place on a baking tray. and cook for 15 minutes, turning once. (This cooking time holds good for the adult portions, in case you are cooking them separately)

Serve

The finished product

I often cook the childrens serving first, reserving the adult portions for a later evening meal. This a a great dish if your other half is working late, as you can leave theirs in the fridge, uncooked and covered in cling film ready for a late supper.

I tend to serve this with one of my favourtie sides, fresh spinach with garlic. A bit more salt and pepper to season the adult portions, some lemon wedges on the side (from the lemon I zested) and a dollop of good quality mayonnaise. Yum!

Feeding time for mummyinahurry

TIPS

The Breadcrumbs

I make these myself. Shop bought are generally overly dry and extortinately priced They are so quick and easy to make, and you can freeze them in small portions. If you are watching the pennies, then just pick up a fresh baked loaf at the supermarket when its reduced to clear, let it dry out a little for a day or two, then tear into chunks and blitz in the processor or liquidizer until you have breadcrumbs. If you dont have stale bread, cut the bread into thick slices and place in a low oven for about 15 minutes to dry it out.

Fresh spinach with garlic

This is sooo easy and sooo good. Rinse spinach. Heat frying pan and on a low heat soften 1 dessertspoon of chopped garlic (I used the ready chopped frozen variety). This will take a minute or two. Turn up heat, add spinach, and turn regularly for a minute or two, until it is wilted. Strain. Add a little butter, and salt and pepper. Serve.

All in all, the activity time of this with the children was about 10 minutes. It was a bit more mess than if I had done it alone, but they loved it, and they ate all their dinner too. For the adult meal, while the fish is cooking, lay the table, and pour a glass of wine. Relax for 10 minutes. Take fish out and leave to rest for 5 minute. Plates can go in oven to warm while you make the spinach. Thats it. And having made an extra serving of breadcrumbs ready for the freezer, you can make some more soon, in even less time.