Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year, Everyone!

@Love_Food_UK and this blog is one month old and you’re helping make this the best job in the world! Thank you! We really appreciate your comments, tweets, retweets, favourites, likes and following our new food blog so we’ve wishing you the very happiest New Years Eve – here’s to each and everyone of you having a wonderfully, joyous and eating happy 2014!

2014 will see us bringing you fab fat-free recipes, scrumptious surprises, our own pre-nommed (Dawn: Is there such a word?!? Andrew: There is now!!!) eateries and lots of tips plus news we think you’ll be interested in. Contact us if you have a foodie question, if you’re looking for something special yet simple to cook at home and follow this blog for daily email recipes plus cooking tips – straight to your very own inbox! Nothing could be more simpler to receive gorgeous food ideas to help make your money go further. So, if you’re looking for a January detox or a special Valentine’s Day treat, simply press ‘Follow’ on this blog (www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com) – we’ll do the rest!

Happy, healthy eating and fabulous foodie New Years wishes to you!!!

From the Cooking Duo,

Dawn and Andrew

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Saucy Sausage Casserole

DSCI1075A very easy to make casserole dish which is a simple and nourishing meal that’ll go down a treat whether as a family mid-week dinner or a singleton’s meal to freeze for evenings when too busy to cook.

Ingredients

Serves between 4-6 depending on the number of sausages used

4-6 sausages of your choice (allow 1 sausage per person)

1 onion, peeled, sliced and chopped

1 tin 400g can of red kidney beans (washed)

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 red pepper (de-cored, sliced and chopped: if you haven’t red, use what you have in the fridge)

2 tbsps of tomato puree

300ml of vegetable stock

3 carrots, peeled and thinly chopped

115g of lentils (any kind, rinsed with cold water before adding to the dish)

1 tbsp of mixed herbs

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180 °C electric.
  • Put the sausages in a deep, large non-stick frying pan and cook for 10-15 minutes until they start to go brown all over. Set aside in a large casserole pot, preferably one with a lid.

Dawn: Any kind of sausage can be used including low fat or meat-free sausages which taste just as good and are an excellent source of protein. The meat-free options are often lower in fat so being aware of this is worthwhile and they absorb the accompanying flavours very well, too. 

Andrew: No splash of olive oil in the frying pan before browning the sausages, Dawn?

Dawn: No, Andrew. It’s really not necessary as either meat sausages will release their own juices and stop them from sticking to the pan or a meat-free alternative will need a splash of warm water added, that’s all. 

  • Put the chopped onion in the frying pan, adding a little warm water if required, to prevent the onion sticking to the frying pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until soft.
  • Add the tomatoes, carrots, red kidney beans, lentils, chopped pepper, vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Add the herbs along with the tomato puree at this stage and stir well so all the ingredients are combined.
  • Transfer these ingredients to the casserole pot, cover and place in the centre of the oven. Cook for approximately 90 minutes. Season with salt and pepper at this stage as the natural flavours of the ingredients will have cooked through at this point and adding later, helps you secure the dish’s true flavours.
  • Serve with either dried rice which is cooked as per the cooking instructions or alternatively, with new potatoes or our Gorgeous Garlic Potatoes at http://wp.me/s3lk3r-321 and fresh vegetables or a green salad.

Dawn: Today, there’s a myriad of varying flavours available when buying sausages and each will bring a different taste to this casserole. Here, I’ve baked the sausages and another healthy method of cooking them is to grill them on a rack so any surplus fat is discarded in the grill pan below. It’s also worth bearing in mind that sausages are still a relatively inexpensive meat to buy and offer a good staple to making lots of varying meals with. 

Andrew: We’ll be dreaming up more healthy food recipes throughout the coming months so to make sure you have them straight into your inbox, simply click follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – and the Twitter account over at @Love_Food_UK

Perfect Paella

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Paella! Wonderful for a family meal, or in larger quantities for a party. The perfect dish for a New Years Eve gathering!

Andrew: I have two paella pans, one for four people and a larger one that serves six.

Dawn: I’ll be there at 8  then! Perfect paella? Is that possible?

Andrew: Listen to the waiters in my favourite Spanish restaurant and they all say their paella is the best! Spain is made up of a number of regions, all fiercely proud of their culinary traditions.

Dawn: So they argue, do they?

Andrew: Fiercely! Do you remember the episode of Fawlty Towers when Manuel and Terry are fighting in the kitchen, and Manuel complains about Terry’s ‘Stinking Cockney Eel Pie’? A bit like that!

Ingredients

Serves 6

Splash of olive oil for cooking

1 small red or white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed

1 of each – red and yellow pepper, halved, deseeded and cut into strips

2 chicken breasts, cubed

300g raw prawns (if they come unpeeled, leave them like that)

2 small chorizo sausages, skin removed and chopped into approx 1cm slices

2 ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 tsp pimenton (Spanish paprika – if you can’t find this, use ground paprika)

Pinch of saffron threads

500g paella rice or long grain rice

1 medium sized glasses (125ml) dry white wine

A handful of frozen peas

Jug of warm water or chicken stock

Salt and pepper to season

Lemon wedges

Dawn: That is a mightily long list of ingredients. 

Andrew: It is, and it is vital that all the preparation is done beforehand. It is a simple dish to prepare but it requires patience and a little care. 

Method

  • In a paella pan, or the widest frying pan you have, add a drizzle of olive oil over a low heat and cook the onion for 5 minutes until it becomes translucent.
  • Add the garlic and then the peppers and cook for another 5 minutes so they soften.
  • Add the cubed chicken and keep it moving so it is coloured and sealed.
  • Next, add the prawns so they turn from grey to pink.
  • Immediately after the prawns have changed colour, add the chorizo to the pan. This will release the colour into the dish.
  • Now put the tomatoes into the pan , and the pimenton. This adds a smoky flavour.
  • The saffron threads can be added at this point, too.

Dawn: It is worth pointing out here that you can buy very good prepared paella spices.

Andrew: I had some with my first paella pan. Saffron is very expensive and it is so easy to be wasteful of it.

Dawn: Saffron can be more expensive than gold! What alternative spice can people use, Andrew?

Andrew: Tricky! Turmeric will give you the correct colour, but will change the flavour. I have seen suggestions of a little yellow food colouring. Powdered saffron is available too. The flavour it provides though is quite unique!

  • At this point, add the rice to the pan and stir to ensure it is mixed with the ingredients and has a good coating of the oil and colours from the chorizo.
  • Pour in the wine, and turn the heat down to a low simmer.
  • The rice should take 20-25 minutes to cook. Keep gradually topping up the liquid with the warm water/chicken stock so the pan doesn’t dry out, but equally so it doesn’t ‘drown’ in liquid.
  • 5 minutes before the rice is finished, add the frozen peas.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Hang the lemon wedges from the pan and allow your guests to dive in!

Dawn: Fabulous! I can’t wait to try it. I have some vegetarian friends. What options would they have?

Andrew: Any vegetables that keep their shape would be great: broad beans, green beans, courgettes. Chick peas would be a tasty addition, too. 

Dawn: Chick peas are an excellent source of protein, too. And what about seafood as an alternative, Andrew? Clams, mussels, scallops and squid?

Andrew: Absolutely, Dawn. Valencian paella features snails! For heavens sake don’t use your garden snails, please!

Dawn: I will leave that one! Great for New Year though!!!

For more tasty, delicious meals and perfect puds, follow us over at @Love_Food_UK.