Green and Brown

The bread I eat has always been contested by most of the people around me. I am not a fan of white bread, not the traditional nor the modern made one. But I do like bread. Whole cereal bread that is, like rye bread. I love that. And you never know, it might actually be healthy.

The bread in Scotland is… a bad modern interpretation of the concept of bread. A few factories around the UK have to feed the whole population so no wonder the bread is not let to rise properly as there is no time for quality nowadays. It is quantity that brings money to producers and, the worst part is that it is quantity that consumers want.

These being said, I prefer German rye bread, the dense moist bread or rye crisp bread. And one of my  favourite books is The Catcher in the Rye. :)

Today’s post brings you one of the best lunches I had this week. We had mushrooms in the fridge, and cheddar and brocolli. Keep on reading to see how I used these ingredients.

Broccoli with Romaine Lettuce and Mushrooms with Cheddar on Rye Bread

Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • Romaine lettuce, a head
  • 1 whole broccoli
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • juice from half a lemon
  • salt&pepper

Method:

Put the kettle on to boil some water for the broccoli. While the water is boiling, take the brocolli and cut it/break it into smaller florets, rinse it and place it in a saucepan. Pour the boiled water over the broccoli and place it over medium heat for 5 minutes. When it is done just drain it well.

To make the dressing for the salad, just take the bowl in which you want to serve the salad. Add the mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix well.

Wash the romaine lettuce and cut it or break the leaves into bite-size pieces. Place the leaves into the bowl, add the broccoli and mix until all the greens are covered with the dressing.

Mushrooms & Cheddar on Rye Bread (or any bread YOU like)

Ingredients:

  • 300g mushrooms
  • medium or mature cheddar, as much as you want
  • juice from the other half of the lemon
  • salt&pepper
  • oregano&basil
  • olive oil
  • rye bread, a few slices

Method:

Preheat a wok pan. Meanwhile wash the mushrooms, and cut them into cubes. Add a bit of olive oil to the wok and add the mushrooms immediately. Add the salt and pepper to taste and let them cook for approx. 10 minutes. When the mushrooms are done add the lemon juice, oregano and basil and mix well.

Toast the rye bread, if you want it to be crispier and place it on a plate. Add mushrooms to cover the bread and then sprinke with cheddar pieces.

It is done. As easy as this.

Serve these sandwiches with the broccoli salad.

Bon appetit!

Don Caesar Salad

Now that the warm weather is here it is time for some more salads to make us feel and look lively.

This is a lighter take on the Caesar salad. And I dedicate it to the DONs in St Andrews. There are not many but they all make me smile and I thank them for being the great people that they are. If you have no idea what I am talking about do not worry. Just enjoy the salad!

This all being said let’s get moving to the recipe!

DON Caesar Salad (serves 4 DONs)

Ingredients:

For the salad dressing:

  • Parmesan- just a bit- finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustrad
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 chopped anchovy fillets
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

For the salad

  • Ciabatta bread
  • 540 g chicken breasts or fillets
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed
  • oregano
  • olive oil
  • salt& pepper

Method:

You should start by making the croutons. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut the ciabatta into slices, place the slices on the tray and sprinkle with olive oil, oregano and pepper.  Place it in the oven until it is crispy, like bruschettas, about 20 min.

Place a wok on medium heat. Cut the chicken into cubes. Add a bit of olive oil in the wok, just before you add the chicken cubes. Sprinke with salt.

The most important part of any salad is the dressing. This is what makes the difference. So take the bowl in which you are going to make the salad. Place all the ingredients for the dressing into the bowl and mix until you obtain a homogenous paste.

I think it is tastier and more fun if you break the salad leaves by hand instead of cutting them. Just tear the leaves into bite size pieces and place them in the bowl with the dressing. Mix well until the leaves are covered up in the dressing.

Next add the chicken and mix. The croutons have to be added just before serving so that they stay crispy. Just take the ciabatta slices and break them by hand to give the salad a rustic aspect.

Bon appetit!

Fritatta-My Way (or the Highway)

Fritatta is basically a baked omelette. It is so fluffy and good, and versatile. And it is perfect for my favourite meals: Breakfast or Brunch. 

Ingredients:

6 eggs, beaten

4 tablespoons yoghurt

Chopped spring onions

Salt & Peppa’

Oregano, Basil

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, gas mark 4.

Take a baking dish and beat the eggs in it until fluffy. Mix in the yoghurt, salt, pepper,  oregano and basil . In the end sprinkle the spring onions over and toss everything in the oven.

It should be done in 30. Enjoy!

British Italian Bruschettas

So no more salads for now as they may not be useful to manu of you.

The following recipe contains meat but you can be inventive and try the vegetarian option.

Bruschettas are a super easy meal that anyone can make. I think they are particularry useful for students and a good starting point for many other delicious recipes.

I called these British because I used British  Mature Cheddar, and Italian because I used prosciutto, the Italian raw ham.

British Italian Bruschettas

Ingredients:

(There are no measurements as it is up to you how many you want to make)

Baguette (Any kind) or just any other bread

Tomatoes or any tomato sauce

British Mature Cheddar

Prosciutto Ham

Olive Oil

Oregano

Pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, gas mark 4.

Lay a baking tray with the magical baking paper.

Take the baguette/bread and cut it lenghtwise in as many pieces as you want. Sprinke it with olice oil, spread it with the tomatoes/ tomato sauce in a thick layer, grate the cheese or break it into chunks and sprinke it over the baguette.

Place the bruschettas on the tray and put them in the oven for 10-15 min. After put the prosciutto ham on the bruschettas and leave everything in the oven for 2 more minutes. You can turn the oven off, as it will be warm enough to give the prosciutto a nice texture. If you add the prosciutto in the beginning it will just dry in the oven so that is why you need to add it in the end. 

So this is it! You can go crazy with this baguette and use whatever ingredients you want!

Enjoy!

Saturday Lunch

Well I love eating healthy. For me it is not a hard thing to do. I do not force myself, I do not feel obliged to eat what I don’t like to eat. I see it like this: if I eat, might as well eat something good, nutritious, that respects my body.

So what this is an example of how one of my meals looks. I think it is tasty because I am used to eating like this and I appreciate rye bread, vegetables, spices. To those of you who eat processed food on a daily basis this meal looks bad. But we all have our own ways of seeing things.

So here are the recipes:

Guacamole (Jamie Oliver’s Recipe)

1-2 ripe avocados

1 lemon/lime

3-4 cherry tomatoes

salt& peppa’

Method:

You can do this by hand or using a food processor. Peel the avocado by hand. If the avocado is ripe the peel will come off without a peeler. Blend/crush the avocado until smooth then add the tomatoes and mix again until smooth. Now squeeze the lemon/lime, add salt and pepper and mix again. I think it tastes better with lemon but do try both and let me know what is your favourie one.

You can serve with crackers, oatcackes, rye bread, anything.

Brussel sprouts

Some people don’t like these as they sometimes taste bitter. Well brussel sprouts taste bitter if you overcook them. In which case it is your fault. Last semester, when I used to live in a university hall, one of the few times when I went to lunch I had brussel sprouts. I could see that they were overcooked as they were almost brown. No wonder people don’t enjoy brussel sprouts when they are served like this.

Method:

Wash the sprouts, remove any ill-looking leafs and cut them in half. Place them in the colander in the sink and pour hot water over them. They should be softer now. Set a wok over medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. When the pan is hot add the brussel sprouts and let covered for a few minutes. Taste them from time to time to check if they are done.

To serve:

I like adding green olives as they make a nice, tangy contrast to the mild tase of the brussel sprouts. Try adding potatoes, carrots, parsnips. Anything goes.

Serve with rye bread with guacamole and you have an entire lunch.

Enjoy!

 

Some kids hate Spinach

We all know the famous cartoons Popeye the Sailor Man and that they were invented so kids would want to eat the glorious spinach and get stronger. After all, Spinach is a Superfood.

Later on in life we learn that spinach is soo good for us: packed with nutrients, low in calories, green and available readily washed in bags. Although I do reccommend that you buy fresh spinach from the market as an alternative to the packed one. But this may be do-able in Romania, in the UK things are different. Check out some population health statistics.

Anyway, my grandma used to cook the hell out of spinach. I am sure no nutrients were left but it was good. She would boil it and chop it up and then add it in a pot with a bit of flour for thickness, milk for smoothness and garlic because it goes well with spinach. It was good though.

Then I grew up and listened to Jamie Oliver (yes, I have to mention his name in every post) saying that if cooked spinach looses its precious vitamins. Since then this is how I eat spinach:

It may not look good to you (I’m used to it), but it is good for you. You don’t have to eat it like this anyway: this mixture can be mixed with hoummous and served on oatcackes, you can mix it with ricotta as a filling for canelloni or vegetarian lasagna or whatever crosses your mind.

So, Ingredients:

Spinach, obviously. As much as you want

Garlic

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil

Lemon

Method:

Wash the spinach, place it in a colander, in the sink and pour boiling water over it. If the spinach is a bit tougher you may want to place it in a metal/glass/wooden/ceramic (NOT PLASTIC) bowl and soak it in boiling water. Once it is softer, drain it really well and place it in a food processor. (If you do not have a food processor you can use a knife and chop the spinach until it becomes a like paste.)

Add salt, pepper, oilve oil and lemon to taste and blend again. Transfer into a bowl and it is ready. You can mix it with yoghurt for a creamier composition.

Usually at home, I get a different texture than the one I get here because spinach in the Old Country is better then the one in Scotland. hihihi

All that salad

Recently I started re-eating salads. Mhhh what a lovely experience it has proven to be. I just wish I could have a farmer’s market closer, like I have at home. But no worries Tesco will always be here (I hate Tesco). And soon so will Sainsbury’s. But the truth is Aldi has a great range of SCOTTISH& BRITISH fruit and vegetables. Yep! you did not see this comming did you?!

Aldi’s British Cox’s apples are sooo delicious and sweet and perfect, while Tesco has a great range of overseas apples that break your teeth and pockets if you are really keen on eating fruits daily.

Scotland has proven a very good home for cauliflower and broccoli so I have been eating a lot of these lately…from soup to salad. Stay tuned to get inspired on how to use broccoli and cauliflower.

Romaine Lettuce has proven to be so tasty so I bought two packs and experimented.

Recipes:

Jamie Oliver, and any food lover would agree that the key to a good salad is the dressing. So what I did to enchance and enrich the flavours of my daily salads was to dress the romaine lettuce leafs with houmous (homemade recipe here), vinegar and pepper. If you are a fan of spices you can add dried basil, oregano, thyme, coriander etc.

After this step I just went with what I had in the fridge…good stuff of course.

Chicken Salad

As you may notice the ingredients added to the dressed lettuce are:

Cherry Tomatoes and Chicken.

How I cooked the chicken: I had chicken fillets, cut them in slimmer pieces, mixed them with a sauce made of passata, olive oil, pepper and dried basil, small oven safe dish and put them in the preheated oven for approx. 20 min. It’s as simple as that.

Raw Cauliflower and Carrot Batons Salad

The added ingredients to the dressed lettuce are:

Carrot batons (cut by hand, not bought)

green olives

cherry tomatoes

Raw Cauliflower may sound weird to many of you, but it is sooo good with houmous. And it is crunchy. The secret is to cut it into small bouquets. ya?

To add taste you can use some of the brine from the olives.

The Pink Salad

The addes ingredients to the dressed lettuce are:

Cooked beetroot

raw cauliflower

olives

cooked salmon

To cook the salmon, in any shape you may have bought it, the easiset thing is to cook it in the oven with some spices, for 10 min. When it is done do not forget to squeeze lots of lemon juice over it. You know what to do with the rest of the ingredients!

I hope that you will enjoy these salad ideas and experiment yourself new salads! It is easy to eat healthy, as long as you don not think too hard about what exactly is in the chicken, how was the salmon cut, how much nitrogen was used to grow the carrots or if the salad was washed with water and chloride.

However, this is not the case with most Scottish& British vegetables or meats. So I have been told. Therefore do try these recipes!