Saturday, December 29, 2012

Creamed Spinach

On cold, wet and windy days like this weekend, I love to go to the supermarket and then cook for the freezer.  Today, being just after Christmas, I bought 800g of sliced smoked salmon for about £9, a real bargain:-)  This I have packaged up in greaseproof paper slices and frozen.  Luckily I love smoked salmon...

Anyway, I was also in the mood for freezing some vegetable dishes, and so one of the things I made was this creamed spinach which freezes well.

500g spinach
75g shallot, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
150g half fat creme fraiche
1 rounded tsp ground nutmeg
good grinding of black pepper

Nutrition Info (for whole 500g spinach)  
Protein: 21g
Carbohydrate: 45g
Fat: 30g
Dietary Fibre: 11g

  • Wash the spinach.  Pour boiling water over to blanch, then strain in a sieve.  Press out as much water as possible.
  • In a saucepan, saute the chopped onion in the oil over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until golden.  Add the freshly ground pepper, ground nutmeg, and stir in the creme fraiche.
  • Mix well with the spinach.
  • To serve, heat through in a saucepan.
  • Freeze in small portions, or flat freeze in cooking rings or silicone cupcases then store in freezer bags in the freezer.
You could also make this with cream, mascarpone or coconut milk instead of the creme fraiche.   If you don't want to freeze it, then yoghurt would also work well.  To freeze, you need a good proportion of fat ( the recipe...).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Smoked Trout with Beetroot and Creamy Rocket

And so, I think, starts an obsession with cooking rings...!  This was so quick and simple, yet had a delicious clean flavour and looked effective.

Nutrition Info (excluding puree)
Calories: 304
Protein: 15g
Carbohydrate: 15g
Fat: 21g
Dietary Fibre: 2.5g

Ingredients (serves 1)
Beetroot puree for decoration (
Sprig of dill
1 cooked (85g) beetroot
handful (30g) of wild rocket (rucola/arugula)
1 heaped tsp (30g) horseradish sauce
2 heaped tsp (28g) sour cream
50g smoked trout flakes

  • Pipe the beetroot puree onto a plate.
  • Position an oiled cooking ring onto the plate.  Make a first layer of sliced beetroot.
  • Mix the rocket, horseradish sauce and sour cream and press down onto the beetroot layer.
  • Top with the flaked smoked trout, garnish with dill, and serve.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mini Chocolate 'Christmas Puddings'

Made from a chocolate biscuit cake recipe, these little cakes are decorated to look like Christmas puddings.  Certainly not healthy, but easy to make and look very effective at this time of year!  There are many versions of this across the internet, I used to roll white icing on top, but prefer the white chocolate I did this year.  Chocolate biscuit cake mix is not an exact science.  Start off with smaller quantities and add more butter if too dry, and more biscuits if too oily.  While these are easy to make, you need to be very methodical so that it doesn't take too long.  In a moment of madness, I was making 3 batches of these in total to take to my two offices!

Ingredients (makes about 30)
80-100g butter
100g plain dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 large tablespoon golden syrup
250-300g digestive (plain sweetmeal) biscuits
50g dried fruit
80g white chocolate
paper truffle cases
red and green writing icing

  • Melt the butter, dark chocolate and syrup over a medium heat until smooth.  Remove from heat.
  • Meanwhile, put the biscuits into a plastic bag and crush.
  • Stir in the crushed biscuits and dried fruit and mix well.
  • Form into balls and chill in the fridge on two plates for about 30 minutes.
  • Break up the white chocolate into pieces and put in a cup.  Melt in the microwave until smooth for about one minute, checking and stirring every 20-30 seconds.
  • Take one plate of chocolate balls out of the fridge.  Put each one in a paper case and spoon a little white chocolate over each to look like custard.  Put in the fridge to set, and repeat with the other plate.
  • When the white chocolate on the first plate has set, remove from the fridge and pipe two lines of green icing on each ball to look like a sprig of holly leaves.  Put back in the fridge to set, and repeat with the second plate.
  • Remove the first plate from the fridge again and pipe 3 dots of red icing under the holly to look like berries.  Put back in the fridge and repeat with the second plate.
  • These can be eaten immediately, or stored in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.
You won't use all the white chocolate, but making more saves worry at the end!