Delicious Spinach Dip…

jade.sammons : 14th January 2017 11:15 AM : Sides

Spinach dip is something that didn’t sound too appealing to me on first hearing about it one summer while I was in Canada.

Spinach isn’t the most exciting of vegetables, and hearing it had been put into a dip made me think it would be a bright green, gooey substance that was effectively slime the you used to see D-list celebrities get ‘gunged’ with on Saturday morning TV in the late 90s.

…sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Well cast aside any images of some wannabe pop-starlette being smothered with slime by the presenters of Live & Kicking (remember that show? I was a prize winner on it once!), and imagine a creamy, delicious dip that is perfect for dunking crackers, veggies, or nearly anything you can think of that makes a good dip-ee!

Don’t like spinach? Neither do I, really!
But I would happily eat this dip everyday, because not only is it delicious, and it barely tastes like spinach at all, but it is so easy to make.

I feel a bit silly calling this a recipe, as it’s basically a ‘throw-everything-in-a-bowl-and-give-it-a-stir’ type of recipe…but those are sometimes the best recipes…right?

So go on, next time you’re entertaining, throw this together, encourage people to get over their spinach-obias, and give it a try…you won’t regret it!

Enjoy

J
xoxo

Delicious Spinach Dip

Ingredients

  • 450ml sour cream  (I usually get a 300ml and a 150ml carton)
  • 250ml mayonnaise   (one of the small jars)
  • 275g frozen spinach
  • 1 can (around 225g) of water chestnuts
  • 1 packet of leek and potato soup mix (around 60g)

Notes:
I’ve used Tesco’s frozen spinach – it comes in little frozen cubes, which I weigh before I defrost them – getting the exact weight is difficult, so anywhere between 250g and 300g would be fine.
Water chestnuts can be difficult to find, but I’ve found this can in both Sainsbury’s and Tesco
I’ve only been able to find a leek and potato soup mix at sainsbury’s – I haven’t seen a Tesco alternative, and I haven’t looked anywhere else, but you need some sort of dry leek-based soup mix.

 

Method

  • Defrost the spinach completely and squeeze out as much of the water as you can
  • Using scissors, snip the spinach into small pieces, into a large mixing bowl
  • Pour in the sour cream and mayonnaise into the bowl
  • Drain the can of water chestnuts, and again, using scissors, snip them into small pieces, straight into the bowl – I tend to use around half of the tin, but you can use more if you prefer
  • Sprinkle in 2/3 of the soup mix
  • Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly, combining all the sour cream and mayonnaise with the other ingredients
  • Add in the remaining soup mix to your own personal taste, and mix together
  • Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for at least four hours, and ideally overnight
  • Serve with crackers, breadsticks, veggie sticks, or anything else that might be tasty!

 

Original recipe can be found here
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Perfectly Fluffy Boiled Rice…

jade.sammons : 19th November 2015 12:15 PM : Cooks, Sides

I am a pasta lover

Why I’m opening with that on a post all about rice might be a bit strange – but its the truth. I love pasta.

Spaghetti, linguine, fusilli, penne, or my absolute favourite, bow tie pasta – any of them are great.

But sometimes its good to switch things up and have a change.

And that where this recipe comes in!

You may have read my Chicken and Broccoli Rice Bake recipe recently, but that recipe cooks the rice within the dish with the chicken and vegetables.

This method of cooking produces perfectly fluffy boiled rice, something which I have always struggled to cook, which is possibly one of the reasons I rely so much on pasta.

I’ve used this very simple method a number of times now, and always been very impressed and proud of my results – I’ve always ended up with perfectly Fluffy Boiled Rice, and it’s wonderful!

It’s the absolute perfect accompaniment to a delicious curry, with naan breads…yummy!

So if you’re tired of stodgy and thick rice, give this method a try, it might just be what you’re looking for!

Fluffy Boiled Rice Recipe

Ingredients

  • Rice
    I use white rice, but I’m sure it would work with brown too
    Ideally use a cup measurement for it – I usually use 1 1/2 cups of dry white rice, which creates four portions (Matthew and I usually eat some for dinner, and then have leftovers for lunch the next day!)
  • Water
    Use double the cup measurement of water, than you used for the rice
    For example, when I use 1 1/2 cups rice, I use 3 cups of water

 

Method

  • Spray the bottom of of a medium sized pan lightly with cooking oil spray – I find this really helps to make the pan easier to clean afterwards!
  • Place the water in the pan and bring to the boil
  • When boiling, add in the rice, stir and place the lid on the pan, leaving a small opening to avoid it boiling over
  • Bring the water and rice to a boil, then turn down the heat to a medium-low
  • Let the pan continue to cook – important: do not take off the pan lid
    The lid is tilted leaving a small opening so there should be no need to lift the lid off
  • Keep cooking the rice, until holes begin to appear in the surface of the rice
  • Wait for multiple steam holes to appear in the surface of the rice – this is around 15-20minutes cooking time
  • Turn off the heat, and place the lid completely on top of the pan
  • Leave the pan to stand for 5 minutes
  • Take off the lid, and fluff up the rice using a fork
    It should be light and fluffy!
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Herby BBQ Potatoes…

jade.sammons : 22nd June 2015 8:37 PM : Cooks, Sides

It’s officially summer!

Woohoo!

And now Matthew and I have our wonderful new house, with our very own back garden, we have really been enjoying spending time outdoors and enjoying some of the glorious weather we’ve had so far!

As you saw in my Green Fingers post, we’ve planted a vegetable garden, and its coming on so well in the wonderful sunshine – we can’t wait until the first produce is ready to eat!

But in the meantime, we’ve also been enjoying lots of meals on the BBQ…that free BBQ we picked up around this time last year, when an neighbour had put it on the kerb for whoever wanted to pick it up…we did! and boy are we glad – its become a staple cooking device, especially at our new house!

But instead of just sticking with burgers and hotdogs, we’ve tried to venture out of our comfort zone a bit and try cooking different dishes on the BBQ.

We’ve already had BBQ caramel bananas (recipe available to post if anyone wants it?), along with regularly enjoying grilled asparagus and courgettes, but these herby potatoes were a last-minute creation on Saturday evening, when I had a craving for a potato-based dish, loosely based upon some potatoes I’d tried at an event recently.

Take note of my top tip in the recipe – otherwise you’ll end up with charcoal-like potatoes like we did (although they were still edible and tasty!)…but at least I know for next time!

Enjoy

J
xoxo

Ingredients

Method

  • Wash and cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes / quarters, and place in a bowl
  • Create a foil basket, double thickness, with raised edges, and pinched corners – or use a disposable foil roasting pan!
  • In a small bowl mix together the olive oil and herb flavouring
  • Pour the oil/herb mix onto the potatoes and mix well
  • Pour the potatoes onto the foil basket
  • Place the basket onto the BBQ
  • Let the potatoes cook, with the lid down for about 5minutes
  • Top Tip
    To avoid charcoal potatoes(!!) using tongs, move the potatoes around every five minutes to avoid one side staying on the hot foil for too long
  • Cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes total
  • Take foil basket off BBQ and leave to rest for a few minutes on a baking tray
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Corn on the Cob…

jade.sammons : 3rd June 2015 10:02 PM : Cooks, Sides

As summer is on its way, that brings one of the most delicious treats possible here in Canada…sweetcorn!

I love sweetcorn

I would willingly incorporate it into nearly every meal, and have been known to eat it straight out of the tin!

But there is also a strange difference between here in Canada and the UK in their use of the delicious and sweet kernels.

Back home, we would happily enjoy a tuna/sweetcorn sandwich, or topping on a baked potato, or include it in tasty fresh salads.

Whereas over here in Canada, it is regularly served on the cob, and rarely anyway else.

It is possible to get it in the tin, or frozen, but when summer comes around, you can’t get away from the delicious fresh corn cobs.

And its cheap too!

Most supermarkets have offers on where you can get multiple ‘cobs’ for a couple of dollars, and although it always gets stuck in my teeth, I just can’t resist stocking up!

Now I’ve previously struggled to know hows best to cook it to make it a just-tender, but still crisp corn cob, which holds its sweetness but isn’t raw…

…and I found the perfect method!

Take a look, try it out, and let me know how you like your corn!

Enjoy

J
xoxo

 

Ingredients

  • corn cobs
  • water
  • salt and/or butter if desired

Method

  • bring a large pot of water to the boil on the hob
  • remove all husks/stringy-bits from the corn
  • wait until its at a rolling, bubbling boil
  • gently place the corn cobs into the boiling water
  • the water will stop bubbling for a while, but leave it be
  • let the water boil for around 5 minutes
  • turn the heat off and leave for a further 2 minutes
  • serve with a sprinkle of salt, or a tablespoon of butter
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Quick and Easy Focaccia…

jade.sammons : 30th January 2015 10:44 AM : Cooks, Sides

As I’ve mentioned before, there is nothing better than pasta!

Matthew and I love it, and its many variations, but sometimes it feels like you always have the same ‘side’ dish with it…boring slices of garlic bread…or if you’re lucky, garlic bread with cheese!

Now don’t get me wrong, garlic bread is delicious, and Matthew and I really like the ‘Texas Toast’ kind you get over here which you simply put in the toaster and it pops-up, all crisp and ready to eat.

But sometimes you need something a little different.

Whether its with spaghetti and meatballs, lasagne, or my creamy mushroom pasta sauce (which I actually made over the weekend and added sugar snap peas and peppers to, and it was wonderful!) this quick and easy Focaccia goes with it all.

It looks like a lot of ingredients and a long, tedious method…but there’s very little measuring, no need to leave the dough to rise, and it cooks in just 15minutes!

It really is super quick, and super-super easy…even my wonderful novice-chef colleague Jenanne would be able to make it!

Enjoy

J
xoxo

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking power (don’t make the mistake I did once and use baking soda…it turns out beyond awful!)
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 additional tbsp olive oil
  • Flavourings – anything you like, but I use
    • Garlic
    • Dried herbs
    • Grated parmesan
  • Pizza pan
  • Cooking spray

 

Method

  • Heat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit / 200 degrees celsius
  • Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl
  • Stir in the 6 tbsp olive oil and any flavourings you like (I add the minced garlic and dried herbs here)
  • Add the water and mix, to make a dough
  • Using a food mixer, or your hands, knead the dough gently for a couple of minutes – don’t over knead it, otherwise it becomes really thick and heavy
  • Spray the pizza pan with cooking spray
  • Place the dough in the centre of the pizza pan and begin to pull the dough out to cover the pan
  • If any holes appear, try to work it back together
  • Work the dough so it covers as much of the pizza pan as possible
  • Using your fingertips, prod the dough to create little dents all across it – they should look like little craters, but not break through the dough leaving holes
  • Drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil over the dough and rub it around so it covers the top relatively evenly
  • Add any additional flavours you like, thesis where I add the parmesan cheese to create a tasty golden brown crust, but you could add anything!
  • Bake for around 15minutes, or until the top and edges are golden brown
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