Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Quesadillas - a quick and easy dinner

So we’re back after a month or so away. It took a while to get everything unpacked and also to get used to cooking in a new kitchen. What with all the stress involved with moving, Erika and I lost our appetites and our desire to try new things in the kitchen but I can safely say that the appetite has returned! This was confirmed today by spending much of the afternoon scoffing chinese food, hot chocolate and a deliciously sweet honeycomb and chocolate mousse at the Thames Festival.

After all that munching only a light dinner was required and quesadillas fitted the bill. They’re really tasty and take just three minutes each to make. Firstly, get your fillings ready in advance (I chose red onion, diced cooked chicken, sweetcorn and some red jalapeños; Erika had mushrooms, chicken and sweetcorn), grate some mature cheddar cheese then heat a little oil in a large frying pan. Spread a tortilla with some tomato purée, place it purée up in the pan then add your toppings as well as plenty of cheese. Top with another tortilla, then cook for around a minute, turn, then cook for a couple of minutes on the other side, giving it a good squeeze with a spatula to compress everything.

Slice into 6 then enjoy. We had ours with a simple salad.

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Bubble & squeak with a simple Greek-style salad

Erika and I wanted to watch the tennis last night so didn’t spend too much time either thinking about or making dinner. In the end we ran into the kitchen at the start of the third set and were back not too many minutes later, just as it started to get interesting.

Whilst I made some bubble and squeak with leftover cabbage and mash from Sunday night, Erika prepared a simple salad of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, feta and croutons which she dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and oregano. We had the bubble and squeak and salad alongside a hard boiled egg, some sliced mature cheddar and plenty of crackers and rice cakes.

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Oven-baked jacket potato with cheese and beans

I love jacket potatoes – they’re the ultimate comfort food for me. But they have to be done properly, in a preheated 180-190C oven for a minimum of 90 minutes so that soft, fluffy flesh is encased in a thick, crispy skin that gives the most satisfying crunch when you cut through it. (The Lurpak advert is a particular favourite of mine!). Jacket potato has to be the absolute nicest thing you can make with absolutely no effort (but admittedly a fair bit of patience).

No matter how many wonderful fillings I try (cottage cheese, ratatouille, chilli, coleslaw…) I always come back to the favourite – good old grated cheddar cheese and Heinz baked beans.

And that leads me to my question – what do you add first, the cheese or the beans? I’ve always insisted that the cheese goes first, but if ever I buy a (usually pretty disappointing) jacket potato for lunch it’s always done the other way. My argument is that the cheese should melt against the flesh of the potato, rather than just into the beans, but (as you can see from the photo) Rob disagrees – I’d love to hear your views!

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Tagliatelle with brocolli, asparagus and a smoked cheddar sauce

Another dish based around one particular ingredient tonight. This time: smoked cheddar, another farmers’ market purchase. It’s a very simple dish that takes about 15 minutes, but does require your undivided attention whilst making the sauce. If the phone rings whilst making this – don’t answer it!

Tagliatelle with Broccoli, Asparagus & Smoked Cheddar
Serves 2 (generously)

150g Tagliatelli
a medium-sized head of broccoli, floretted
a small bunch of asparagus, woody ends snapped off and the rest cut into thirds
For the sauce
1tbsp butter
1tbsp plain flour
1/2 pint milk
60g smoked cheddar, grated
salt & pepper

Firstly, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Once completely melted, remove from the heat, add the flour and stir vigorously until completely combined. Return to the heat and cook for a minute, stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t stick. Add the milk, increase the heat then stir continuously until the sauce comes to the boil. Once boiled, simmer for 2 minutes to thicken, then stir in the cheese and season to taste. Leave to cool. (See what I mean about undividived attention?)

Whilst the sauce is simmering, cook the tagliatelle in boiling water according to the instructions on the packet. When the pasta is 4 minutes away from being done, add the broccoli to another pan of boiling, salted water and cook for 3 minutes, then add the asparagus and cook for a further minute (our asparagus was very thin, thicker spears will need longer).

Drain the vegetables and return to the pan, then drain the pasta and add to the pan with the vegetables. Add the sauce (you might not need all of it) and mix well. Serve and enjoy.

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