Archive for January, 2008

Grilled Polenta with roasted vegetables

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Grilled polenta and roasted vegetables

I have only cooked polenta a handful of times so I thought I’d give it another whirl. It is relatively simple to make as you just add four times the amount of boiling water to polenta and cook over a high heat until firm, about five minutes. You will need to add a good amount of flavouring like olive oil, butter, salt and pepper and Parmesan as polenta is quite bland. Once the polenta is very thick spoon out onto an oiled tray and leave to set. Once it has set, cut into long pieces and fry in a dry grill pan until it has dark grill lines on it. Then serve with whatever you like, but roasted vegetables is what you see it with most often. A healthy meal, made in minutes.

Spiced roast sweet potato salad with feta and olives

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

Spiced roast sweet potato and feta salad

I am enjoying making recipes out the new Bill Granger cook book. One of the most successful recipes I tried this week was a recipe for roasted pumpkin with cumin and cayenne pepper but unfortunately there seemed to be a pumpkin/squash drought and so I plumped for sweet potato instead.The combination of the soft luscious sweet potato, the salty cheese and olives and the sharp shallot dressing was to die for. This is a really quick and simple recipe that I will definitely be doing again.

Serves 2


  • 1 packet of washed salad leaves
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • couple of handfuls of kalamata olives, pitted


  • 1 tblsp red wine vinegar
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot finely sliced

Cut the sweet potato into roughly 2 inch cubes and place in a bowl. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, a good slug of olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix to coat all of the sweet potato. Tip the sweet potato out onto a roasting tray or tin and spread out. Bake at 220 degrees centigrade for about 30 minutes or until slightly golden on the outside and nice and soft in the middle.To make the dressing simply whisk together all the ingredients. Assemble the salad on a plate and drizzle over the dressing. Enjoy!

Banana cake and lycra-clad sportsmen

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Banana and chocolate bread

This weekend we went to see a track cycling event at the Manchester Velodrome. I’m not generally a big fan of cycling but when given the opportunity of seeing large numbers of finely tuned, musclebound men in close fitting sportswear, I thought to myself there are worse ways to spend a Saturday night. It doesn’t tend to matter whether you are into sports or not as live sporting events are always quite exciting. This was no exception and what better way to keep up your energy up while watching hugely fit athletes pounding round and round a track than Banana and chocolate loaf.

This was another recipe out of my new book and it went down a treat, possibly making a record and only lasting about three hours between four hungry people.


  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  •  4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g good quality dark or milk chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Beat together all the ingredients apart from the flour and baking powder. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and combine gently with a cutting and folding motion, making sure not to overmix. Pour the batter into a greased loaf tin (about 19 cm x 11cm) and bake for an hour and fifteen minutes, or until a skewer comes out of the center of the bread cleanly. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. This doesn’t hang around so hide it away if you want some for yourself.

Revolution 19 at Manchester Velodrome

New Baby

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Smoked salmon with potato cakes

I don’t mean an actual baby but a new addition to my family of cook books. I got a book voucher for Christmas so what else would I buy? After much deliberation I decided on Bills Food by Bill Granger which is full of yummy looking, simple and light and mostly healthy recipes.

One of the long list of new years resolutions I made was to stop going out for lunch so much at the weekend and making something tasty at home instead. Potato cakes (much like a Rosti) with smoked salmon and mustard dressing was the recipe I plumped for as it seemed light, quick to make and relatively cheap.

It turned out nicely but I think it could do with a bit of tinkering. I made the potato cakes a little too thick and I liked the mustard dressing but I think a dressing made with creme fraiche, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper would be just as nice, if not better. You could also oven bake the potato cakes so you use less oil.

Ingredients :

3 large potatoes

2 tblsp chopped fresh chives

60g butter melted

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

60ml olive oil

8 slices smoked salmon

For the mustard dressing:

2tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tblsp white wine vinegar

60ml canola oil

Grate the potato coarsely and squeeze out the excess liquid. Put the potato in a bowl and season, then add the chopped chives and melted butter. Heat the oil in a pan to a medium to high heat. Drop a tablespoon of mixture into the pan and flatten out a bit and cook until golden on both sides. Take out of the pan and drain on kitchen paper then place in a warm oven while you cook the rest. Make the dressing by combining the salt, sugar and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved then drizzle in the oil and whisk to combine. Serve the potato cakes topped with the salmon and drizzled with the dressing.

Serves 4