Chicken & Mushroom pasta. 

Sometimes all you want is soul food, food thats comforts you and eases you into whatever you’re doing. Chicken is my least favourite bird, however combine chicken, mushroom, panchetta and goats cheese and you have something that simply tantalizes those tastebuds. This recipe is easy and just as spicy as you want it to be (note I like my food VERY spicy!). 

You will need: 

  • Diced chicken breast. 
  • A selection of mushrooms (button and the bigger ones) chopped. 
  • Chopped panchetta. 
  • A chopped chilli. 
  • Chopped onion. 
  • Chopped spinach. 
  • A hunk of goats cheese. 
  • A hunk (loaded spoonful) of cream cheese. 
  • Black pepper and cayenne (again depends on taste) 
  • A chopped clove of garlic. 

Method: 

Once you’ve resisted the urge to do an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression (after all the talk of chopping). Saute your chopped onion with some olive oil, the garlic and the chilli and add alittle water to the pot along with the stock so as to not burn the pan. The onions should be vaguely sauteed by now so add the diced chicken, mushroom and the goats cheese. Let the chicken and mushroom simmer adding water as and when needed. After about say 10 minutes add the cream cheese and panchetta, let it simmer further but be careful not to let the pan burn. I gave it roughly another five- ten minutes and added the chopped spinach, black pepper and cayenne. By now you should have something that smells delicious, serve with pasta and a glass of whatever takes your fancy- enjoy!  

Shaziya Niamh 

 

Roasted tomato, basil and quinoa risotto. 

  

Colder days are on here and I for one am very happy! Don’t get me wrong I love summer and the endless days and longer nights that come with it, but theres something comforting about Autumn. Cooler climes mean comfort food and as you may have gathered I love abit of comfort food. 

This recipe stemmed from a craving for roasted tomato soup, a new lust for basil and a need for something healthy. As always I researched and had a vague idea of what I wanted to make before I made it. Personally I like it simple with just a handful of spinach mixed in but you could add alittle something extra if you wanted. 

You will need: 

  • A jar/ carton of passata. 
  • 5/ 6/ 10 vine tomatoes (pending on how much you want to make) 
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic (depends on taste I like my food REALLY garlicy!) 
  • A handful of basil. 
  • One- two cups of quinoa. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil. 
  • A vegetable or chicken stock cube. 
  • A chopped white onion. 

Method. 

Drizzle a roasting tray with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, add the chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil  roast in the oven on a high heat for about twenty minutes or until they look roasted. In a pot simmer your chopped onions with alittle olive oil (you could also use the one cal spray) add chilli if desired and once golden brown add you stock cube and alittle water. Pour the passata into a bowl and add the roasted tomato and garlic using a blender blitz until smooth, add the mix to the onions and simmer. You could have this as a roasted tomato soup, but if you fancy something with a bit more substance add the quinoa. Add alittle more water and cook until the quinoa goes translucent. 

Enjoy with a glass of wine or warming cup of tea! 

Happy Saturday. 

Shaziya Niamh xo

Seriously epic chocolate cake…. 

  
Sometimes all you want is a massive piece of chocolate cake. For me that time is right now, as I write this all I want a HUGE piece of cake. I figure instead of having a piece (I will be running to the shops for cake later) I should write about it. 

As I’ve said before I’m still trying to get out of my cooking comfort zones! This cake was made for a dinner party with my housemates and myself a few weeks back. For our mains my housemate made the most delicious Thai Green curry ever! 

However, back to the cake, never have I been so scared of baking something! This recipe is flourless, involves egg separating and egg whites that turn to peaks. Usually when I cook its an event, I put on some loud music or have Father Ted on in the background, pour myself a large glass of wine and or have a cup of tea (usually both!). 

This time round I baked in silence as I needed to concentrate, unusually for me I also stuck pretty closely to the recipe. Next time I make this I will probably make slight changes but it worked well and my housemates, colleagues and family loved it! 

I chose this recipe Seriously Rich Chocolate cake from BBC Good Food. The only slight changes I made were: 

  • As I couldn’t find orange liquer I juiced half an orange and added a large splash of Amaretto. 
  • I also added some orange zest. 
  • My peaks weren’t hard enough as I misread the recipe this meant the cake took about an hour to cook. 
  • Be sure to use over 70% dark chocolate as this will make the cake rich and utterly delicious. 
  • Serve with creme fraiche, cream or anything cream like. 

Let me know if you do make this. 

Happy Tuesday! 

Shaziya Niamh xo 

The salad post 

  

Over the last year my tastebuds have changed dramatically- gone are the days of pizza three times a week and in are juices and salads. This is mainly to do with having a dairy allergy- it has forced me to be healthier and more conscious about to eat which can only be a wake up call in the long term. 

A few weeks back, after a week of sheer indulgence I woke up to quite a severe nosebleed, well three in fact (my bathroom looked like a horror film) and if anythings going to make you not want have cheese or cream ever again that’ll be it! 

Anyhow, I am a huge fan of salad with my dinner (or straight from the bowl) and this one is delicious and so simple to make. 

You will need: 

  • A chopped cucumber. 
  • Pitted black olives. 
  • A bag of spinach. 
  • Roasted red peppers. 
  • Sea salt 
  • Juice of half a lemon. 

Method. 

Wash your spinach and add to the bowl with the chopped cucumber, add the chopped peppers and black olives. Pour in the lemon juice and alittle olive oil, add the sea salt, some black pepper and alittle garlic (if you intend on warding off vampires!). Shake it up and serve! 

Happy Wednesday! 

Shaziya NIamh xo 

Lemon Cheesecake Brownies. 

The other week I was asked to make a lemon drizzle cake by some friends. Now I don’t think I’ve ever tried mak a lemon drizzle let alone made one. Thus I considered it a challenge I was more than ready for. A plain old lemon drizzle sounded kind of boring to me so I thought I’d tweak it to suit my needs and cravings for cream cheese! Hence lemon cheesecake brownies were born. 

 
Ingredients (plus, minus as you want): 

  • About a cup of butter. 
  • Half a cup of brown sugar. 
  • Two cups of spelt flour. 
  • The juice of a lemon. 
  • The rind of a lemon. 
  • A small tub of greek yoghurt. 
  • Two eggs. 
  • A teaspoon vanilla extract. 
  • A teaspoon of baking powder. 
  • A teaspoon of baking soda. 
  • A couple of digestive biscuits crushed. 
  • A tub of cream cheese. 
  • Half a cup of brown sugar. 

You need to: 

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a tin with butter and baking paper. Cream the butter and brown sugar, add the eggs, baking soda and powder and mix. In another bowl mix the lemon juice, rind and yoghurt. Add some of the lemon yoghurt mix to the butter and eggs along with the vanilla extract and mix. Sieve in the flour and mix. Add more flour if required then add the rest of the yoghurt mix. In another bowl cream the cream cheese and brown sugar. Pour part of the brownie mix into the tin and smooth, add some of the cream cheese and use a knife to mix. Try and keep the cream cheese from the end of the tin, pour the rest of the brownie and cream cheese mix on top and continue to marble. Sprinkle the digestives on top and cook for about twenty minutes or until the tops a golden brown. 

You will hopefully have something that looks like this on the inside…. 

  
Happy baking! 

Shaziya xo 

Spring salmon and quinoa…

  

As the weather gets warmer and the nights darker later. I find myself craving lighter foods, foods that fill but don’t make me look or feel like I’ve eaten ALL the food! 

This dish is simple and if like me you live on your own (with flatmates) the type of thing you can make a big batch of to freeze for simple dinners and lunches through the week. 

You will need…… 

  • A cup (or two) of quinoa depending on how much you intend to make. 
  • A chopped red onion. 
  • Alittle garlic. 
  • A grated carrot. 
  • About a cup of vegetable stock. 
  • A cup of salmon (I used smoked) 
  • Chilli and black pepper (again depends on your taste. I use alot of chilli in ALL my food!)
  • Juice of half a lemon. 

Method: 

Cook the quinoa as per instructions. In another pot saute the red onion in alittle olive oil add the veg stock and garlic along with the chillie and black pepper. Simmer for a couple of minutes and add the quinoa, stir and add the grated carrot with the salmon and lemon juice, allow to simmer for a few minutes and serve preferably with a salad or drink of choice (in this case it was white wine this time) and enjoy! 

Please let me know if you’ve tried making any of the things I’ve posted so far as that would be awesome! 

Happy eating! 

Shaziya Niamh xo 

Spicy carrot and courgette soup 

 

I love this soup because its simple, filling, versatile and  light with the illusion of being heavy! I tend to make a big batch of this and freeze it for lunches and those times when I just don’t feel like cooking. This soup is also really healthy and doesn’t give me the urge to have a chunk of bread with it! 

You will need…. 

  • Two tins of chopped tomatoes. 
  • A grated courgette (or two depending on how much your making) 
  • A chopped white onion. 
  • 2 grated carrots. 
  • A chopped birds eye chilli. 
  • A cup of veg stock. 
  • A cup of pitted black olives.  

Method: 

Blend a tin of the chopped tomatoes and put to the side. Add a teaspoon of olive oil (or coconut depending on whats in your cupboard) to a pan with the chopped onion, sauté and once brown add the veg stock along with garlic and black pepper. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes before adding both the blended (you could use passata instead) and unblended tomatoes with the chilli. Add some cayenne pepper too (depending on how spicy you want it to be). Stir and let the mix simmer for about five minutes. Add the grated courgette and carrot and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes but keeping checking the soup. Add the olives and serve with a sprinkle or tabasco and siracha (I use both!). I tend to make this soup so spicy it makes me cry which is not what you necessarily want! It also works as a pasta sauce with goats cheese and prawns. 

Happy eating! 

Shaziya xo