Cheese, glorious cheese! – 5 delicious cheese recipes

Recipes celebrating the wonder of cheese!

Inside out cheeseburgers
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When you put the cheese INSIDE the burger, rather than on the top, something magical happens. Use a small piece of Camembert or Brie in the centre of your meat patty and then barbecue or grill so that the cheese inside goes all melty and gooey. Yum!

Three cheese individual lasagnesFile_005
Use mozzarella, Parmesan and ricotta to make these adorable mini lasagne cups. You use wanton wrappers so the lasagnes cook quickly in the oven and these pocket sized treats can be taken with you for a delicious lunch!

Gruyere, zucchini and pea tart
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The base of this tart is fresh and light – cream cheese with plenty of peas. Then top it with strips of zucchini and nutty Gruyere to create a lovely light vegetarian tart.

Chorizo carbonara
Chorizo courgetti carbonara (8)
Parmesan is one of my favourite cheeses so I always love a good carbonara. This twist on the classic uses chorizo instead of bacon from a smoky Spanish twist and you can use either pasta or spiralized zucchini… or a combination!

Pan-fried gnocchi with halloumi, roasted peppers and rocket
Gnocchi and halloumi salad (1)
This warm salad can be made in one pot with only four ingredients. And one of those ingredients is halloumi. What could be better?!

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Cheese recipes 2

Save freezer space with this handy tip!

Batch-cooking and keeping leftovers in your freezer is brilliant. It’s an economical way to cook and it means you always have tasty meals in your freezer.

However, if you have a tiny freezer like me, it can get full really quickly. Using Tupperware boxes takes up a LOT of space, especially for single servings.

So here is my handy, space-saving tip. Take a mug and line it with a freezer bag. If you can, roll down the top. Then, spoon your meal into the bag. Once it is cool, transfer the mug and bag in to the freezer. After a few hours, slip the bag out of the mug and it will be frozen in a cylinder which doesn’t take up much room at all!

You can then defrost and re-heat whenever you like. Just don’t forget to label the bag, or else you’ll end up playing freezer roulette (like the time I defrosted white wine for a risotto only to discover too late that it was egg whites….).

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The best roasted garlic and the best ways to use it!

The best roasted garlic and the best ways to use it!

It is really easy to roast garlic and really worth it, because you yield amazing results with very little effort. I roasted mine this time because I had a lot of bulbs in the cupboard that needed to be used, but it is worth buying extra and roasting it just so you can have some roasted garlic always on hand!

I’d recommend roasting a large batch and then freezing it. Then you can just take out a few cloves whenever you need it.

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Cut the top off your garlic bulbs and peel away any excess paper. Place them on a sheet of tin foil.
3. Drizzle a little olive oil over each bulb and a tiny sprinkle of salt.
4. Wrap the tinfoil around the buld and bake in the oven for at least 45 minutes until completely soft.
5. Take out of the oven. Once cool, remove each clove from the skin.
6. You can use the roasted garlic right away or freeze it. To do this, wait until the cloves are cool, gently squeeze them from their skins then place in a single layer in a freezer bag. You can then freeze this and just take out cloves when you need them. They defrost very quickly!

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Uses for mashed roasted cloves

Spread the paste on toast as it is. You get a garlic hit but it isn’t as strong as raw garlic. This paste is also great for making garlic bread and as a base on bruschetta.

Mix with butter to make garlic butter. Smother on a bread roll to bring dunking in your tomato soup to a whole new level.

Up your nachos game by mixing roasted garlic with soured cream. This is an amazing accompaniment for any of your Mexican favourites, or with my smoky chocolate chilli.

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Mix it with mayonnaise to make awesome sandwiches.

Spread it over chicken breasts before baking.

Add a layer when you’re making lasagne. It would be delicious added to these individual lasagnes underneath the cheese layer.

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Make a delicious roasted garlic and tomato sauce. Stir in the paste with roasted tinned tomatoes for a pasta sauce that is really cheap to make but tastes so luxurious!

Inside out burgers are one of my all-time favourites. You put a piece of cheese like Brie or Camembert INSIDE the burger patty so that when it cooks you get a gooey cheesy centre. What if you put a small clove of roasted garlic inside the cheese inside the burger? Mind. Blown.

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If you have any more ideas, tweet me or comment below! What are your favourite uses for roasted garlic?

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Simple and delicious slow cooker recipes – take a rest and use your crock pot!

Simple and delicious slow cooker recipes

You can’t beat a slow cooker! Throw everything in the pot, leave it for a few hours, enjoy the delicious smells and then your meal is ready. I love experimenting with mine and I’d like to share a few of my recent favourites.

There are a few tips that work for all recipes. One is to make sure that everything is at least at room temperature before you put it in the pot. If it is straight from the fridge it will take longer to warm up and cook through. I always sear meat before putting it in for flavour and don’t forget to season well! Try to avoid taking the lid off during the cooking time, as it will really reduce the temperature and slow down your cooking time.

It’s worth investing in a decent slow cooker, like this Kitchen Aid one. I’ve had cheaper ones in the past and they just don’t work as well.

White chilli
Chilli con carne is a real favourite of mine, but this version uses chicken and so is much lighter and healthier. You add avocado to make the sauce feel creamy and luxurious. If you want to make your own baked nachos to go with it, there’s a really simple method here.
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Pulled Asian lamb with egg-fried cauliflower rice
I love this recipe! Slow cook the lamb in a marinade of soy sauce and lemon, with plenty of garlic and ginger. It falls apart after a few hours of slow cooking and is so delicious. You can serve it with normal rice or for a healthier (or gluten-free alternative) try egg-fried cauliflower rice.
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Roast beef in onion and red wine gravy
This recipe allows you to make an amazing roast beef dinner with a much cheaper cut of beef. Slow cooking in red wine means you don’t need the traditional roasting joint, but can choose a cut for braising. The other bonus is that the meat cooks in the red wine, making the gravy for you. One less pan to wash up!
Slow cooker roast beef and sweet potatoes (12)

Pulled pork fajitas with tomato-lime salsa
It’s the second “pulled” recipe in this list, but who doesn’t love pulled pork? This is a really easy, tasty recipe for it using ingredients you will have in your store cupboard.
Serve it with soft, warm tortillas and a zingy salsa for some really fantastic fajitas.
Pulled pork fajitas (11)

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Delicious meat free recipes – easy vegetarian meals

Delicious meat free recipes

Here are some delicious recipes to help you on your way to eating less meat!

One pot gnocchi and halloumi with rocket and red pepper
This warm salad only has four ingredients and takes less than 20 minutes to cook. The halloumi adds so much flavour and is complemented brilliantly by the sweet roasted red peppers and the peppery rocket. A real winner for a week night dinner that will also wow if you have guests pop over.
Gnocchi and halloumi salad (1)

Zucchini, Gruyere and pea tart
This simple puff pastry tart is elegant yet easy. I use ready-made pastry for the base, then layer a smooth cream cheese filling with gorgeous vegetables and Gruyere cheese. If you’re watching your weight, just use low fat cream cheese.
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Smokey vegetable and black bean enchiladas
You can still have amazing Mexican food if you’re going meat free! The onion, pepper, tomatoes and carrots mean you get lots of lovely vegetables and the black beans provide plenty of fibre. It’s all wrapped up in a smokey, spicy sauce and (of course) topped with cheese!Vegetable enchiladas (8)

Stuffed zucchini rolls
These rolls are surprisingly filling. Use a vegetable peeler to make long strips of zucchini then roll up around cooked rice and ricotta. Then you bake them with a tasty tomato sauce. They’re great as a starter or sharing platter, but it also makes a fabulous main course for two people.
Courgette rolls (6)

Tortilla pizza
If you want a quick, simple snack that is meat free, try these tortilla pizzas. They are much lighter than regular pizzas but no less delicious.  Plus the final bonus is you can choose your own toppings!
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Asian ribbon and rice noodle salad
For this salad, a vegetable peeler is your best friend! Use it to make long slices of cucumber and zucchini, then mix with leeks and rice noodles and a delicious Asian dressing. It makes such a healthy light lunch!
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What to do if your food is too spicy (and a recipe for Moroccan stew)

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It’s Sunday, which meant there was time to slow cook this afternoon. I really fancied making this Moroccan lentil and carrot stew by the wonderful Inspiralized people, which needed three hours of cooking time.

So I started it off. Then after about 2 and a half hours, I tasted it. OH NO! The recipe called for a tablespoon of harissa. I’d added a tablespoon of harissa*. But the result was crazy, crazy hot. I dipped the edge of a teaspoon and tasted the tiniest bit of the sauce, and my mouth was on fire. TOO. MUCH. SPICE.

*In all honesty, I was probably over generous with the harissa. I always forget how spicy it really is. It looks so innocuous in its little tube, and it tricks me every time.

This could have been the end of my stew. But I don’t give up so easily! If you have made your food too spicy, here are a few tips and tricks to calm your food down again.

1. Acid
Adding acid to your food can chill it out a lot. The recipe I was using called for lemon juice at the end, which really helped. Lime juice works well, or you could think about adding a the acid splash of some vinegar to help to neutralise that heat. Just think carefully about which vinegar – for example, do you want something as strongly flavoured as balsamic?

2. Sugar
Adding something sweet can also help. A small amount of sugar will start to tame the spice. In this instance, I used the sweetness of that sophisticated ingredient… tomato ketchup! Alright, it may not exactly be gourmet, but the sugar hit from ketchup does a great job of neutralising the bitterness of tomatoes in pasta sauce, and it worked well here to make my stew less fiery.

3. Dairy
This didn’t really work for me in my Moroccan-inspired stew, but adding some dairy can be a brilliant way to counteract spice. You know, soured cream with Mexican food, yoghurt (or a yoghurt-based sauce like raita) with a hot curry… cuisines that are famous for their spiciness often have a dairy-based counterpart. You can add it to the meal (like coconut milk in a Thai curry) or have it on the side, but a little bit of dairy will go a long way.
You probably know this as well, but drinking milk will be much better for you than drinking water if you are eating something that is painfully hot. And if, as once happened to me, someone tricks you into eating a whole bird’s eye chilli, then you may just have to resort to smearing butter all over your tongue.

4. Bulk it up!
Another trick is to change the ratio of spicy ingredients to non-spicy ingredients.  You could do this by doubling up the recipe, so re-adding everything you already added EXCEPT for the chilli. Or add a few extra ingredients. Carrots, potatoes and other vegetables are really good for absorbing the heat. I added a small carton of Frito (which is basically a really popular Spanish version of passata) to bulk out the stew with a non-spicy ingredient.

Using one or a combination of these tips with help to rescue you if your food is too spicy. Think of them as your own personal fire fighting service!

In the end, the lemon juice, ketchup and passata saved my stew, and I had a delicious supper that was tingly and warm, but didn’t result in the need for skin grafts in my mouth.

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If you would like to make my modified version of the stew, here is the recipe. If you’d like to make the original (and just be less of an idiot with the harissa than I was) then follow this link.

Moroccan lentil and carrot stew

Ingredients (makes six servings – perfect for the freezer)
– Three medium carrots
– 1 onion, diced
– 2 sticks of celery, diced
– 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
– pinch of ground cinnamon
– 200ml weak vegetable stock
– 400g dried lentils
– 400g can chopped tomatoes in their juice
– 200ml cartoon of passata or frito (if you like, just use two cans of chopped tomatoes)
– squeeze of tomato ketchup (to taste)
– 1 tablespoon (careful now) of harissa
– 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
– juice of one lime

Method
1. Peel your carrots and chop each one into three large pieces. Put in a food processor and pulse until in little pieces like rice. (Or just dice it reallllly finely)
2. In a large pan, heat a little oil, then combine the carrot, onions, celery, garlic, cumin, coriander, tumeric and cinnamon. Stir, then add the stock, lentils, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and harissa. You could also add the frito/passata now. I added it later, but only to moderate the spice. You could wait and see if you actually need it later on, as this will depend on your tolerance for heat.
3. Put a lid on the pan and simmer for 3 hours, until the vegetables are soft and the lentils have absorbed the water. Keep checking that there is liquid in the pan, it shouldn’t be dry. This is a stew after all!
4. Taste it! Modify with any of the above techniques if necessary.
5. Stir in the lime juice, and serve. Any left over can be put into separate portions and frozen.

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