Category Archives: Cooking

Food on Friday ~ Main Courses

A sirloin, medium-rare, is not only an entrée, it is a philosophy.

I supposed I could have called this post Entrées, but for me that conjures up an image of something served in a high-end restaurant, preferably in Florence, or some other magical city.  In that kind of place, choosing the correct wine is just as important as making an inspired choice of food.

However, if you’re lucky enough to find a really good restaurant, them you can probably rely on the sommelier to give you some appropriate advice.  For wines to drink with a sirloin steak try a cabernet or merlot, unless you’re in Italy, in which case you want a really good Tuscan red or maybe a quality Barolo ~ the King of Wines.  (But beware, a great Barolo can be hideously expensive.)

If you want to know how to cook the perfect sirloin steak, look no further than this link.

Our first entrée this week is by Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb, and she has the BEST ultra tender instant pot pork tenderloin, with a balsamic glaze.  This cut of pork is an excellent source of Protien and lots of vitamins and minerals, and it isn’t at all fatty.  You know what?  I love a good pork tenderloin.

Instant Pot Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Next, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest, there’s this delicious looking honey butter blackened scallops with herby polenta.  I think scallops are fabulous, and I love the way Tieghan cooks them here ~ I’m still willing to be convinced as far as polenta is concerned.

Honey Butter Blackened Scallops with Herby Polenta

Another shellfish recipe, this time from Sheryl Julian via Simply Recipes ~ spring scampi with peas and mint, served on a bed of pasta.  Looks great for a midweek dinner, or if you have guests at a weekend.  This is a pretty easy dish, and would be fabulous if you have a lemon tree and mint in your own garden.

Spring Scampi with Peas and Mint

Broccoli is really good for you, if you want to be healthier, then eat more broccoli.  Chungah at Damn Delicious offers us this easy sheet pan recipe for beef and broccoli.  Allegedly this is the easiest beef and broccoli dish of your life; Chungah says it doesn’t get any easier or quicker than this.

Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli

Your collection this week is from Great British Chefs, who offer us some great beef sirloin recipes; including this fantastic roast sirloin of beef with mushrooms, brandy, and roasted potatoes from Marcus Wareing.  Admittedly this dish takes two-and-a-half-hours, but doesn’t it looks fabulous.  Allegedly, it was King Henry VIII who named this cut of beef Sir Loin.

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As an accompliment to your entrée Heather Christo has this utterly brilliant spring cobb salad, which looks absolutely fabulous.

Spring Cobb Salad

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Barolo, the Italian King of Wines

a guide to the wines of Barolo

Food on Friday ~ Broccoli and Cauliflower

If you want to live a healthy life, eat more broccoli.

Both broccoli and cauliflower are very good for your health, being nutritious, full of fibre, low in calories, and packed with vitamins and minerals.  However, broccoli is better for you as it has much more vitamins B, K and C, as well as containing vitamin A which isn’t in cauliflower at all. Broccoli also contains a lot of sulforophane, which is said to have anti-cancer properties.

The main thing with cooking any vegetable is not to boil them to death, because boiling will leach out up to 90% of the good stuff you’re eating the vegetables for in the first place.  Anyhow, boiled broccoli and boiled cauliflower are tasteless, and more akin to bad prison / school food than anything you’d want to have at home.

There are some great recipes for these two cruciferous vegetables;

First for this week we have broccoli pesto pasta with whipped ricotta from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  This is a 30 minute dish that you can also take to work the following day ~ perfect for Meatless Mondays.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Whipped Ricotta

From Joy Wilson at Joy the Baker, there’s a cool recipe for roasted cauliflower and plantain tacos.  I firmly believe that roasting cauliflower florets is the best way to cook this vegetable.  However, I’m not certain about making tortillas from scratch.

Roasted Cauliflower and Plantain Tacos

In Diane’s Kitchen there’s a recipe for chicken stir-fry and ramen noodles, which includes lots of nutritious broccoli.  This easy dish should only take you 30 minutes to prepare.

Chicken Stir-Fry and Ramen Noodles

From the Good Houskeeping test kitchen I found this kale and roasted cauliflower salad.  Now that the weather is warming up a little, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about salads again ~ and you don’t get much healthier than this.

Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Well now, this is different from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats broccoli cheddar tots ~ part of her Side Dish Sunday.  I guess you can call these very healthy nibbles / appetisers ~ and very interesting.

Broccoli Cheddar Tots

Your collection this week comes from Olive Magazine with their 32 best ever broccoli recipes, including this broccoli and crispy chilli beef stir fry.  I just love stir-fry it’s such a quick way to cook food, sealing in all the flavours and all of the goodness.

Broccoli and Crispy Chilli Beef Stir-Fry

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

there are dozens of cool ways to cook a cauliflower

click the link to check some out

Food on Friday ~ Cooking in Foil

Cooking is fun, eating is fine, clearing up afterwards is a drag.

If, like me, you like cooking but don’t like clearing up afterwards, then cooking in foil packets is one way to cut down on the mess.  And, don’t believe the urban myth that aluminium foil is bad for your health ~ you can wrap food in it, and you can cook in it, and it won’t hurt you one little bit.

You can use foil packets to cook on the grill, in a fire-pit, in the oven, (and I’ve even baked potatoes wrapped in foil in the engine bay of a sports car).  Using a packet like this helps to seal in the flavours, and keeps your food moist and tender.

Add your herbs, spices, and other seasonings to the foil packet, but it’s also a good idea to use a flavouring that will add moisture to the meat, fish, or vegetables you’re cooking ~ for example; lemon, orange, honey, butter, olive oil…..

Chungah Rhee at Damn Delicious has a fantastic recipe for Asian salmon cooked in foil ~ and trust me, this is a brilliant way to cook salmon.  This dish uses fresh ginger and lots or garlic, as well as honey ~ all on the superfoods list.

Asian Salmon Cooked in Foil

Another salmon dish from from Chungah, and we have this seriously easy and seriously good recipe for lemon dill salmon in foil.  Really this great looking dish is a 30 minute effort, tops.  And, I’m pretty certain anyone can make a great job of cooking this damn delicious dish.

Lemon Dill Salmon in Foil

For a mid-week dinner or a weekend lunch here’s a recipe for a hearty potato dish you can prepare ahead ~ sausage, potato, and green bean foil packets.  If you have an oven in the lunch room you could cook these packets at work, or you could cook them ahead and eat them cold, or whatever…  And, you could swap bacon for the sausage…

Sausage Potato and Green Bean Foil Packets

From San Diego’s Averie Sunshine archive I have chosen this foil pack lime cilantro salmon.   This is so easy to make, and it will be ready to eat in 10 minutes ~ you heard me right, just 10 minutes to produce this wonderful tasty, and very healthy dish.

Foil Pack Lime Cilantro Salmon

I know how much you like recipe collections, so from Wide Open Eats here are 20 foil packet recipes making dinner a breeze ~ how cool is that?  Anything that makes mid-week dinners easier is a good idea.  Included in this collection is a great recipe for lemon chicken and asparagus from Creme de la Crumb.

Lemon Chicken and Asparagus

From Taste of Home we have a collection of 30 Wrap-and-Cook Foil Packet Recipes, including this delicious-looking crab and shrimp stuffed sole.  If you can get a decent Dover Sole this would make a fabulous dish ~ even for your high-end dinner party for two.

Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Sole

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Thai salmon in foil

Food on Friday ~ Spicy

food for the body is not enough ~ there should also be food for the soul

Everyone’s definition of what constitutes spicy food is different.  Some people think a dash of black pepper is sufficient, whereas others like the red hot chili peppers, (and that’s a very overrated band).

Personally I prefer a little subtlety in my spice palette.

First up this week we have a dish with good old-fashioned mustard from Diane’s Kitchen.  I think you should be able to make this Honey Mustard Chicken in about a half-hour, maybe serve it with a baked potato.

Honey Mustard Chicken

Next we have a vegan recipe from Cookie + kate, and this Spicy Black Bean Soup with a Cuban twist should be in your bowl in about 45 minutes.  Obviously this would be great to take to work the following day, and Kate says it freezes well in Mason jars ~ hmmmm, I’d never freeze a glass jar.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has this brilliant recipe for Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowls ~ ginger is the Queen of Spices, it’s good for just about whatever ails you, as well as providing a great pick-me-up.

Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowls

Half Baked Harvest is a site for some really pretty dishes, and this 30 Minute Vietnamese Beef and Crispy Rice Bowl is no exception.  I really like the look of this recipe and it’s on my list to try in the very near future ~ I like 30 minute recipes.

30 Minute Vietnamese Beef and Crispy Rice Bowl

Next to last for this week, from Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français, there’s this Chilli and Ginger Glazed Salmon ~ what’s not to like about this dish?

Chilli and Ginger Glazed Salmon

This week’s collection is from Olive Magazine, with their 25 Best Ever Hot and Spicy Recipes.  I’ve chosen to feature this Sri Lankan Veggie Curry partly because it’s vegetarian, but mostly because I love Sri Lankan food ~ it’s far, far better than Thai.

Sri Lankan Veggie Curry

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jack collier

jackcollier@talktalk.net

 

Chinese 5 Spice Beef and Ginger Stir Fry

from Vacation Food

Food on Friday ~ Menu Planning

For some people meal planning is like a chess puzzle.

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Planning what we are going to eat for a whole week is a pretty easy thing to do, but it does mean sitting down and writing a list or two.  It might also mean looking at some recipes, and then checking what one has in the larder, refrigerator, freezer, and garden.  That leads to making a shopping list ~ (and one should never go into a supermarket without a shopping list) ~ and a menu list for the week.

Get one thing straight, a recipe, a menu list, and a shopping list aren’t rules ~ these things are just guidelines to help us get organised without wasting lots and lots of time.

So, before I post some recipe collections, let me feature something about menu planning.  From Hali Bey Ramdene at The Kitchn I can give you The Beginners Guide to Meal Planning: What to Know, How to Succeed, and What to Skip.  Remember, when you plan your meals to allow enough quantity so that you have leftovers for another day, or to take to work for lunch.  Also, when you plan your meals try to follow some healthy eating guidelines.

The Beginners Guide to Meal Planning

Some more on the basics of meal planning and we have Common Meal-Planning Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid from Greatist, and The Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning from the Wellness Mama.

Winter Meal Plan

My own preferred menus lean towards Mediterranean food, and Heidi at Foodie Crush has a great post of 50 Favorite Mediterranean Diet Recipes, which also includes a Mediterranean diet plan and this recipe for Mediterranean Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Olive Tapenade.  I love the fresh herbs in this dish.

Mediterranean Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Olive Tapenade

It’s the heart of the apple season here, and I really do prefer eating organic foods in season.  But what to do with apples?  Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest found this post by Katherine Power at Clique Brands ~ 4 apple recipes she’s looking forward to baking this month.  I particularly like the look to this Honeycrisp Apple Pandowdy, (what a great name).

Honeycrisp Apple Pandowdy

Last up this week, from Alanna Taylor Tobin at The Bojon Gourmet we have Savoring Winter with 40 Vibrant Citrus Recipes. This is all so colourful, but I especially like the look of these gluten-free black sesame kumquat financiers, (except I’d call them tea-cakes).

Savoring Winter with 40 Vibrant Citrus Recipes

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you can buy packet sauces, they make meal planning easy

Healthier Food and Drink

The more you eat, the less flavour.  The less you eat, the more flavour.

There are literally thousands of diets out there, from the 5:2 diet, the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet, the Sushi diet, and even the simple calorie controlled diet.  These diets can get quite complicated and the professional aficionados would love us to buy their books explaining the benefits of these diets and giving us lots of recipes that we’re probably never going to cook.  As it happens I try to follow the tenants of a Mediterranean diet, simply because I like Mediterranean food.  Conversely I would never follow a Sushi diet because I hate sushi and I firmly believe that raw fish is inherently unhealthy, to the point of being dangerous.

honey salmon in foil

There is one basic truth about losing weight ~ eat less.  The average female office worker only needs about 2,000 calories a day, and the average male about 2,500.  A weight loss diet probably means a woman eating 1,500 calories a day, and a man about 2,000.  There are a myriad of calorie calculators on the internet.

However, after some study of diets, nutrition, and health, I can give you some basic guidelines about what you should include and avoid in all those calories.

  • Drink 3 pints of fresh clean water every day.
  • Eating a little every couple of hours avoids and cures adrenal fatigue.
  • Wild foods are good ~ especially healthy grains such as wild rice.  Eat organic food whenever you can.
  • Try not to eat processed and canned foods.
  • Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is vital to our health.  Apples, Banana, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, Grapes, Leeks, Pears, Potato (especially potato skins), Spinach, & etc..  Avoid too much citrus fruit, it messes with the acid balance of our gut.
  • Adding herbs and spices adds important phytochemicals to our food.  Fresh parsley, basil, and rosemary are especially good.
  • Eat grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, lamb, wild salmon, net caught ocean fish, shrimp, crab, and lobster.  Avoid too much pork, (and if you eat pork make damn certain it’s properly cooked).  Avoid farmed fish, (especially tilapia which is cheap whitefish), cheap chicken, bacon, and turkey.  Eat shellfish at your peril.
  • Don’t drink a lot of fresh milk, don’t put cream or half-and-half in your coffee, and don’t eat a lot of yogurt or cheese.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements; B4, B12, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, (and if you are a menstruating woman take Iron supplements).
  • Do not ever eat anything made with modern wheat; bread, cake, cookies, pasta, tortillas…..
  • Avoid too much; complex carbohydrates, caffeine, sugar, and salt.
  • Don’t drink too much coffee or ordinary tea, try green tea instead.
  • Don’t drink diet sodas, or use artificial sweeteners.  In fact really cut down on drinking any soda at all.
  • Really, really avoid too much alcohol.  One bottle of red wine a week is a good limit, (or if you can’t live with that, two bottles a week).  Do not regularly get buzzed, and regularly would be once a month.

You may think that’s all too damn difficult, and probably expensive.  Well, it takes effort to follow any guidelines,  and good organic food carries a price premium, but really, how much is a healthier and longer life worth to you?

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

cauliflower is a surprisingly versatile vegetable

 

Food on Friday ~ Easy Lunches

Time is an illusion ~ lunchtime doubly so…..

So many people either grab something from the deli, or supermarket, or just eat out at lunchtime.  Actually, at weekends there’s no reason even a working person should do that.  It’s perfectly possible to prepare and cook a great lunch in about 30 minutes at home, and that way you know exactly what you’re eating without having to puzzle over just what’s in your lunch burrito.  And, if you make lunch, (or supper), at home, then you’re going to have some great leftovers to take to work the following day.

From Dianes Kitchen there’s this wonderful-looking crab meat Frittata.  Now, while I like both frittata and crab this is a combination I’ve never thought of.  I agree with Diane, this dish would be great at breakfast, lunch, or supper ~ or for something to take to work the following day.

Crab Meat Fritatta

Chungah at Damn Delicious has a recipe for creamy red pepper shells, I think this dish would make a wonderful lunch along with a glass of Italian or Californian red wine, and maybe a hunk of crusty bread.  I think I could whip this together in 30 minutes, and it’s another dish to take to work the following day.

Creamy Red Pepper Shells

Well then, Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb invites us to try this dish of Southwest Stuffed Poblano Peppers, which she assures us are the BEST healthy stuffed peppers you’ll ever eat.  If you don’t want your peppers too hot, then choose green and not red.  As well as ground beef and rice you could use a host of similar Southern and Californian ingredients to make you stuffed peppers luncheon.  I guess you could make this dish in 30 ~ 45 minutes.

Southwest Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Here’s an awesomely artistic dish from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; Spicy Turkey Taco Salad with Baja Dressing.  This is big, green, nutritious, filling, and healthy.  OK, so this may be a 40 minute recipe, but there are so many cheats and shortcuts into making this that I think preparing this dish just takes as long as you want to take.

Spicy Turkey Taco Salad with Baja Dressing

I am very well aware that you American guys like your mac and cheese, so just for you here’s a recipe.  Found for us by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes this dish, by Aaron Hutcherson, combines two classic American comfort foods into Chili Mac and Cheese.

Chili Mac and Cheese

This week’s collection is brought to us by Good Housekeeping who have no less than 70 Healthy Lunch Ideas That Will Actually Keep You Full Until Dinner ~ wow!  From this collection I’ve chosen to feature a Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad ~ even I like to be healthy sometimes.  Anyhow you can make this dish in 25 minutes, and as well as being a good lunch or supper, it will make a good side for any of the other dishes featured in this weeks Food on Friday.

Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Marmaduke isn’t a big fan of Mac and Cheese

and then again, neither am I

Food on Friday ~ New Year’s

What the New Year brings to our tables will depend on what we bring to the New Year.

Next Year I will have a new focus for each week’s food on Friday ~ concentrating on recipes, foods, and dishes to enhance our wellbeing, health, and happiness.  I have no doubt whatsoever that the great cooks I have featured thus far in this series of blog posts will be more than up to the challenge of our creating a healthier lifestyle, while still retaining each of their unique signature styles.

But, for this last Food on Friday of 2018, I want to show you some recipes and dishes which will be great to offer your guests at whatever New Year’s get-together or wild party you are hosting.

No part would be complete without a great cheese board, so from San Diego cook Averie Sunshine we have ideas on just how to make the best cheese board.  I really like that Averie uses prosciutto on her cheese boards!  Me, I like to have a soft blue cheese, or maybe just a good old English Stilton.  There are as many wines to drink with cheese as there are cheeses, but with Stilton it should be a good warm port.

The Very Best Cheese Board

Should you want to drink beer at New Year, then what about having these spinach and artichoke stuffed soft pretzels to go with your brew?  From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  Of course, what we English call beer and the fizzy pop the rest of the world drinks are two very different ales.

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Soft Pretzels

So, if you live by the sea, then you should serve a dish that reflects that.  I guess none of you live on the Chesapeake, but from Dianes Kitchen I offer you this Chesapeake Crab Strata.  Serve it like slices of pizza.  Here in the North East of England we get some really great crab from the cold North Sea.  Some say you should drink a Pinot Grigo with crab, but I would always prefer a cold Verdicchio.

Chesapeake Crab Strata

After my recent trip to Albuquerque I said that I would never eat meatloaf again ~ but brought to us by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipies here’s an idea for bbq meatloaf bites.  Now I know that the chef, Nick Evans, intended these to be part of a meal for kids ~ but after a few drinks all men are just kids anyhow.  As far as I’m concerned you can drink whatever the fuck hell you like with meatloaf….. personally I would choose a red Cotes du Rhone Villages.

BBQ Meatloaf Bites

From Chungah at Damn Delicious there’s this new recipe collection; 15 best quick and easy New Year’s Eve appetisers…..  My favourite dish here is this really clean-looking dish of lemon garlic shrimp kabobs ~ try these with a really cold vodka martini.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Kabobs

And finanally for 2018, from Country Living Magazine, we have a collection of 40 unbelievably easy New Year’s Eve appetisers.   From this collection I like the look of these smoked salmon and cream cheese cucumber bites.  Just how easy is that?  If you want to show some real class, then you drink single malt whisky with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Cucumber Bites

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

not many are man enough to drink Laphroaig

Food on Friday ~ Recipe Collections

I’m inspired by collections of recipes from around the world…..

From time to time the cooks / chefs whose blogs I follow and feature in Food on Friday, post recipe collections, and I think that’s so cool.  Usually these compendia of dishes have a theme, and that’s cool too.

Sometimes we get collections of other interesting cooking and kitchen related tips and ideas ~ and it’s worth remembering these when gift-giving time comes along.  Dependiong upon when you read this ~ there are only 60 more days until Christmas.

From Chungah at Damn Delicious we have a collection of her 15 best fall soups.  Chungah says these warming, delicious, and easy soups can be made on the stove top or crockpot.  They all look good to come home to on a old autumnal evening, but I especially like the look of this recipe for Greek lemon chicken soup ~ maybe because I’m not long returned from the Greek Island of Crete.

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Some say avocados are very good for you.  And that there are lots of delicious avocado recipes to choose from.  All I know is that San Diego girl Averie Sunshine contributed to this Community Table collection; 6 creative, delicious ways to use avocados.  One of my favourite of Averie’s avocado recipes is for chicken avocado lack bean salad.  Doesn’t that look fabulous?

Chicken Avocado Black Bean Salad

With Thanksgiving coming up for all you Americans I make no apologies for including friendsgiving 2018 with anthropologie, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  This is packed with tips on how to lay a perfect Thangsgiving Table, including recipes and drinks.  We don’t have Thanksgiving in England, whci is a bit of a shame…..   (If you didn’t know, Anthropologie is a store.)

Friendsgiving 2018 with Anthropologie

From Expert Home Tips, these 24 cooking hacks you NEED to have in your life aren’t strictly recipe realated, but there are some damn cood idea’s here.  And you know what?  I really like #1 which is about juicing a lemon without a juicer.

Juice a Lemon Without Fancy Equipment

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Food on Friday ~ Pot Luck

You can’t get to work on time, but you’re first in line for a pot luck

Usually I like to have some kind of a theme to the recipes I feature in Food on Friday, but today you’re going to get dishes just because I like the look of them.  I hope that’s OK will all of you.

All of these recipes will be great for your office’s Halloween Pot Luck lunch.

First for this week, from San Diego girl Averie Sunshine we have this quick, easy, and delicious 15-minute spicy korean skillet chicken.  Now, here in my part of England we get hardly any Korean food, but I do so like cooking with a good, heavy skillet.  If you don’t have one, then get one.

15 Minute Spicy Korean Skillet Chicken

I promise you that there’s no overriding theme to this week’s Food on Friday, but our second dish is also Korean based.  From Chungah at Demn Delicious there’s these delicious-looking Korean chicken kabobs.  What a fabulous dish for parties or barbecues.

Korean Chicken Kabobs

Just to prove that I don’t have a Korean theme running this week, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have this great looking slow cooker herbed chicken and rice pilaf.  This is just the right time of year for us all to pull the slow cooker out of the cupboard.  Fabulous!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Pilaf

Well then, perhaps there’s a chicken theme going this week, because next up, from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats I’m featuring this dish of yogurt and lemon marinated grilled chicken.  Doesn’t it look fabulous?

Yogurt and Lemon Marinated Grilled Chicken

Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has another great looking dish for warming barbecues or parties on a cold autumn night, these bourbon maple glazed chicken wings.  How classic!

Bourbon Maple Glazed Chicken Wings

Last for this week, and we’re back to an Asian themed dish from Heather Christo; asian chicken zoodle soup.  How pretty!  How healthy! How Delicious!  How quick and easy!  Zoodle?  What a silly name for an ingredient!  I love it!

Asian Chicken Zoodle Soup

It turns out that there was an accidental theme this week ~ great looking recipes for chicken.

There have been previous posts all about poultry, for example Healthy Chicken.

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jack collier

jackcolier7@talktalk.net

 

sauteed chicken with sage butter

 

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