Archive for category Main Meal

Quinoa Salad with Broad Beans

Time off work resulting in clearing out kitchen cupboards and finding some long-lost quinoa paired with a glut of broad beans concluded in this salad. I love quinoa, you know when you love something but completely forget to make it? That’s what happened to my long-lost quinoa, found behind 4 kinds of lentils and 3 kinds of rice, no mention will be made of how many bean varieties! I’m one of those shoppers that has to try everything! I have grown to love broad beans, growing up I hated them, they were invariably overcooked, grey and tough. Its only in the last couple of years since my Mother in law has started growing them that I’ve learned to appreciate them. When you look at them they are one of nature’s marvels, with that fuzzy, cosy pod protecting each bean. It was also a revelation when I thought to peel off the skin of each bean revealing a much brighter more tender green bean! The things you learn when you grow up!

This salad is quick to make and healthy too, quinoa is gluten-free and a good source of calcium and fibre. It’s great as a main dish, going well with grilled fish or meat. This is enough for 2 servings but if made in larger quantities it would also be a good make ahead take to work lunch, maybe add some feta – yum!

I used broad beans but edamame would make a great substitute.

As broad beans are in season I am linking this up with Simple and in Season over at Ren’s blog Fabulicous Food

Quinoa Salad with Broad beans

  • 200 gram dried quinoa
  • 100 gram broad beans
  • 2 spring onions (scallions) thinly sliced
  • few cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
  • handful of spinach leaves, washed
  • lime zest to taste

For the dressing

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. rice mirin
  1. Cook the quinoa according to pack instructions. When cooked drain and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile pod the broad beans and blanch in boiling water for a minute. Remove from the boiling water, drain and cover with ice-cold water to avoid further cooking. Slip each broad bean from its skin (I know this is tiresome but broad beans are so much nicer without that tough skin). Place the broad beans into a medium-sized bowl, large enough to fit the rest of the salad ingredients.
  3. Thinly slice the spring onions, chop the cherry tomatoes in half and place both in the bowl with the broad beans.
  4. When the quinoa is around room temperature or just a little warmer add to the bowl with the broad beans, onion and tomatoes.
  5. To make the dressing whisk all the ingredients together and immediately pour over the quinoa. Stir to combine.
  6. Add the spinach leaves and zest a lime directly over the salad, just a couple of scrapes with the zester will be enough. Give another quick mix.
  7. Best served at room temperature.

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Panzanella (with scallops and mozzarella)

Panzanella is such a classic summer dish, making use of all the lovely tomatoes that the summer heat brings.  I believe it was once considered a peasants dish, using up stale bread but its a trendy dish now and there are dozens of variations. While its true that tomatoes here in the UK sadly don’t compare with those in Tuscany, where Panzanella originates, if you choose the ripest tomatoes you can find and use them at room temperature you can make a delicious Panzanella here too. I love it and think I could eat it most days during the summer. My husband is not a fan of cucumbers, so this Panzanella does not include them, although they are easily added in if you prefer.

Having just enjoyed a week in the sun I am still in holiday mode and this shows in the meals I want to prepare at the moment, it may not be very summery here but nonetheless  its summer on our plates! I included scallops and mozzarella pearls in our latest Panzanella and it was delicious! It’s rare that I am organised enough to have good tomatoes and stale bread in the house without planning so I often lightly toast the bread which works just fine.

  • 4 slices of sourdough bread or any sturdy country type bread
  • 4 large tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthways
  • Few sprigs of fresh basil, leaves removed from stems
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more to cook the scallops
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Mozzarella pearls, my pot weighed 125 grams, if you can’t find pearls a ball of mozzarella torn into pieces would be fine
  • Scallops, about 8 large scallops (or if sadly like the day I wanted them they only have small ones in a pack that will also be fine)
  1. Cut the tomatoes into large chunks, the onions into rings and place into a large bowl.
  2. Lightly toast the sourdough bread.
  3. Rub each piece of bread lightly,  on both sides with the cut pieces of garlic. Cut each piece of bread into large cubes and put in the bowl with the onions and tomatoes.
  4. Roughly cut up the basil leaves and add to the bowl.
  5. Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste and pour over the ingredients in the bowl. Mix together well and leave to sit for a while allowing the bread to soak up the dressing and the flavours to combine.
  6. Brush each scallop with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Heat a griddle or frying pan and place the scallops in the hot pan, cook for about a minute on each side.
  8. Add the mozzarella  to the salad. Mix ingredients again and serve.
  9. Place the scallops onto the prepared Panzanella and enjoy.

Lovely tomatoes on holiday

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Chermoula is one of my favourite marinades, it’s a blend of coriander (cilantro), garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and spices. A very popular seasoning for grilled meat or fish in Morocco, it’s incredibly flavourful and zingy. Your taste buds will get such a blast! I use it most weeks through the summer as a marinade for white fish. It couldn’t be easier to make, all of the ingredients go into a food processor and get blitzed together to form a slack paste which can be spread onto chicken or fish.

There are many versions of Chermoula, some with onions, some containing harissa or smoked paprika but this I think is the simplest version and I love it! It is so easy to make and use. I usually make it at the weekend and store it in a Tupperware to make a fast dinner during the week. The Chermoulah can also be used as a marinade but I usually just spread it on just before the end of the cooking time to save a little time.

With recent issues about blogging others recipes I must declare that I do not know the origination of this! I have a folder full of recipes torn from magazines, many are years old and its impossible to know where they came from. I have adapted the original recipe but can not give credit to the recipe creator.  I will just have to hope you believe me when I say I have no wish to cause offense to anyone when posting a recipe!


  • A large bunch of Coriander, rinsed and chopped roughly in half
  • Approximately 2 tbsp Flat leaf Parsley, rinsed
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled, chopped in halves
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (this is quite a hot version, do use less chilli powder for less heat)
  • 1tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp ground Cumin
  • 1/4 cup, 60 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  1. Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until blended, stopping to scrape the sides of the processor a couple of times to incorporate all of the ingredients.
  2. To use, pan fry or grill your fish, firm fish portions are best to avoid breaking up. When the fish is almost cooked spread on the Chermoulah and finish cooking.

I am linking this up with a blog hop called Herbs on Saturday held by Karen at her lovely blog Lavender and Lovage.

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Vegetarian Sausage Casserole

vegetarian sausage casserole

A really quick post today! This is a really easy one pan meal to make.  I look after 3 children and its rare to find a meal that all 3 of them like. This is one meal that mercifully they all like and there is no fuss when it’s served. When feeding children who doesn’t feel relief when that happens! I’ve never liked “real” sausages, not even as a kid! As I don’t eat sausages I’m not very good at cooking them so I prefer to use the soy based ones but Quorn are fine too, in fact the kids seem to prefer the Quorn sausages as they are less peppery.  I see no reason that this couldn’t be made with real sausages if you prefer. The vegetarian sausages are good though, especially if you want a lower fat meal for the whole family.This is a fast meal that can be made ahead,  I usually make it at lunch time to serve for dinner after school, it also freezes well.

Vegetarian Sausage Casserole

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 6-8 vegetarian sausages each cut into 2 or 3 pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 350 ml passata 250-300 ml vegetable stock (I like a low salt version for kids)
  • 1/4 tsp  of dried thyme
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan.
  2. Add onion and carrot to the pan, cook until the onions have softened and are just starting to brown at the edges.
  3. Add the vegetarian sausages, stir until the sausages are starting to brown.
  4. Add the garlic, stir then add the passata.
  5. Add the stock, thyme and pepper.
  6. Simmer, stirring regularly until the carrots are cooked through.
  7. Serve hot with rice or cous cous and vegetables.

I’m linking this up with Family Friendly Fridays at Fabulicious Food

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