Friday, 21 March 2014

Something For the Weekend

So usually I don't bother much with cocktails - they're great to drink and I'm a sucker for vodka slush in summer, but generally speaking they always seem like a bit too much effort to make.

However, during a recent flick through of one of my old Sainsbury's magazines I discovered an appealingly simple recipe for a 'Raspberry Sparkle' cocktail which, I decided, must be made. As per usual, I'm unable to just leave a recipe alone, so here's my version...

Ingredients (serves 1):
- 25ml raspberry vodka (or normal)
- 50g fresh raspberries
- juice of 1/4 lime
- ½ tbsp honey
- soda water
- sprig of rosemary, to serve (optional)

The thing with this recipe is that, as well as being easy, it's incredibly adaptable. For example, I love the flavour combination of blackberries and thyme, which would be a great Autumnal alternative. Also: I'm currently in possession of raspberry vodka, but it's so easy to make your own with ANY flavour, and the internet is full of recipes telling you how. So there is absolutely no excuse!

1. Grab a stick blender a blitz the raspberries, then use the back of the spoon to push it all through a sieve (I love raspberry seeds, but I don't want a drink full of them). If you don't have a stick blender, then with a little extra work just use the sieve and spoon - you'll get the same end result, it'll just take a little longer.
2. Mix your raspberry purée with the vodka, honey and lime juice.
3. Pour the mixture into a glass, add ice cubes (and a couple of frozen raspberries if you happen to have some), then top up with more soda water. Garnish with the rosemary and an extra raspberry or two if you don't have any frozen ones. 
4. Repeat as needed and get gloriously drunk in our new-found sun.

Monday, 10 March 2014

A Vegetable Feast

Like a veritable feast, but with more vegetables. ALL OF THE VEG.

I haven't been cooking as much recently: there, I said it. Things have been too stressful and busy (which is why there hasn't been much blogging - there hasn't been anything to blog...), BUT last week I decided enough was enough and that I needed something super healthy and delicious to make up for it all. So I made this: baked, stuffed aubergine with cous cous, feta and all things lovely.

Ingredients (serves 1):
- half an aubergine
- 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
- 100g cous cous
- 200ml veg stock
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled
- handful of fresh coriander, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste

1. First, preheat the oven to 220°C. Place the aubergine into a baking dish with the onion, garlic and tomatoes, then drizzle with olive oil and a good amount of salt and pepper. Put this into the oven for 40 minutes, taking it out half way through to flip the aubergine and stir the rest of the veg.
2. Put the cous cous into a pan with the hot stock and heat gently for about five minutes, until the grains have expanded and the liquid has been absorbed.
3. Scoop the middle out of the roasted aubergine and add it to the cous cous, along with the onion, tomatoes and garlic (the cloves will be soft enough to just squash now). Stir in the spring onions, feta and coriander, then place the mixture back into the aubergine skin and bake for a further 15-20 minutes.

NB: There will be cous cous mixture left over but this is a good thing - my extras were eaten by our house mouse (aka Rebecca) but it would be great to put in the fridge and have for lunch the next day.
4. Sprinkle with an extra bit of coriander to make it look pretty, then serve with something delicious like sweet potato fries. Yum.