Bring back spring!

  • By Stacey Smith
  • 15 May, 2017

3 ways with frozen peas. 

I am writing this sat at my dining room table, layered in knits with a mug of steaming tea..its chucking it down outside! A complete contrast how Chris and I spent it yesterday, out in the warm sunshine doing up our garden, building a fence, planting plants and talking BBQ’s.

To brighten up this grey and wet Monday I thought I would bring spring back with a long overdue blog post, showcasing the delights of the frozen pea in three spring recipes.

Green Goddess Burgers, Pea and Broad Bean Spaghetti and Avocado and Pea Hummus.

Starting with the Green Goddess Burger, I first had this at a vegan cafe, packed with spinach and peas it was good, both in its taste and nutrition, but I thought I could do one better. This is my version, whether it qualifies as vegan I’m not sure, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Green Goddess Burgers Makes 4

100g baby spinach
100g frozen peas
100g rolled oats
small bunch of parsley
zest of 1 lemon
100g plain flour

For the avocado yogurt
1 ripe avocado
2-3 tablespoons of natural/greek yogurt
a squeeze of lemon juice

To serve
4 brown bread buns
feta cheese

Method

  1. Put the peas into a sieve and dunk them into boiling water for 20 seconds, shake off any excess water and pop into a food processor.
  2. Over a sink, pour boiling water over the spinach using a sieve. Squeeze out as much water from the spinach as you can and add to the food processor.
  3. Next, add the parsley, lemon zest, oats, flour and season with good pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Blitz until dough like.
  5. Shape the dough into four patties and set aside.
  6. To make the avocado yogurt, blitz the avocardo, lemon juice, yogurt until smooth and season to taste.
  7. In a non stick pan, dry fry the burgers for 2 -3 minutes on each side and/or slightly golden and crisp.
  8. To serve, spread the top and bottom of the bread buns with the avocado yogurt, add the rocket, then the burger and top with some crumbled feta and lastly the bread bun lid.

Pea and Broad Bean Spaghetti with Hazelnut Bread Crumb.

 This came about last year, after asking Chris what he would like for his teas one week he requested a spring like pasta, we were heading into summer at the time. We are a meal plan couple, as much as I love to cook, food shopping not so much! Anyway I had some frozen broad beans left over from Easter and we always, always have frozen peas..I mean who doesn’t? and this is what I came up with and its become a firm favourite. I hope it does with you too.

Ingredients
130g frozen peas
130g frozen broad beads, skinned
1 garlic clove
Juice of ½ lemon
Small bunch of parsley and mint
1 - 2 tbsp natural or greek yogurt

For the hazelnut bread crumb
30g brown bread crumbs
25g hazelnuts
Zest ½ lemon

You will also need
Wholemeal spaghetti and parmesan cheese

Method


  1. To de skin your broad beans, pop them in a bowl and cover with boiling water from a kettle, you should now be able to just pop out the beans from their white skins. Discard the skins.
  2. Pop the beans in a sieve along with the frozen peas and dunk into simmering water in a pan for 20 seconds. Add to a food processor.
  3. Roughly chop the garlic clove and add that too, along with the lemon juice, parsley and mint.
  4. Blitz to a coarse texture. 
  5. Pop the mixture into a bowl and set aside

 To make the hazelnut bread crumb

  1. Gently toast the hazelnuts for a minute or two in a dry frying pan and pop in a food processor along with a wedge of brown bread, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper and whizz to make bread crumbs.
  2. Add to a frying pan, and toast on a low heat until crunchy.
Back to the pasta 
  1. Meanwhile, put your pasta on, and cook according to the packet instructions, you want the spaghetti al dente.
  2. Whilst your pasta is cooking, put the pea and braod bean mixture in a pan to warm to warm up and mix through 1 – 2 tablespoons of yogurt.
  3. Once hot, strain your pasta and add it to the pan with the pea and broad bean mixture and stir. You want ever strand of pasta to be covered with the sauce.
  4. Divide between bowls and sprinkle with the toasted bread crumbs and a grating of Parmesan.

 

Delicious!

Pea and Avocado Hummus 

I don't think I can really call this a recipe as there isn't any cooking involved, but I thought id share it with you anyway as I think its a great hummus for spring/summer especially with those BBQs looming! ...well we can dream can't we? This would be great as a dip or spread on a bread bun for a chicken or lamb burger. 

Ingredients
1/2 ripe avocado
large handful of frozen peas
1-2 tbsp natural/greek yogurt
lemon
 
This is a versatile recipe, its basically equal parts of avocado and peas if you want to make more, add as little or as much lemon juice as you wish, add herbs or even a sprinkle of dried chili flakes for a bit of kick. 

Method

´╗┐Pop your peas in a sieve and dunk them into a pan of simmering water for 20 seconds and put them in a food processor, along with the avocado, a squeeze of lemon juice and yogurt.  
´╗┐Blitz until you are happy with the texture. Again the beauty of this recipe is you can have it as smooth or as coarse as you wish!

Enjoy however you like! 

I enjoyed it in a homemade chicken nugget wrap!
So called after my love of raspberries and rabbits...but not in the crazy kind of way I don’t actually own a rabbit. To me raspberries and rabbits are so quintessentially British.....
Please click on my picture to find out more About Me!
 

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By Stacey Smith 15 May, 2017

I am writing this sat at my dining room table, layered in knits with a mug of steaming tea..its chucking it down outside! A complete contrast how Chris and I spent it yesterday, out in the warm sunshine doing up our garden, building a fence, planting plants and talking BBQ’s.

To brighten up this grey and wet Monday I thought I would bring spring back with a long overdue blog post, showcasing the delights of the frozen pea in three spring recipes.

Green Goddess Burgers, Pea and Broad Bean Spaghetti and Avocado and Pea Hummus.

Starting with the Green Goddess Burger, I first had this at a vegan cafe, packed with spinach and peas it was good, both in its taste and nutrition, but I thought I could do one better. This is my version, whether it qualifies as vegan I’m not sure, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

By Stacey Smith 13 Apr, 2017

Its Easter again! How time flies. Chris and I hosted Easter last year with family, fizz and a 3 course spring lunch, it doesn’t seem that long ago at all. I really enjoyed doing it and I’ve defiantly inherited my mum’s flare for hosting gene! However, this year couldn’t be more different, Chris is away on a stag do and my Mum is away for work so we have postponed Easter for now. I won’t be completely alone though, my sister is coming to visit for the weekend and I can’t wait!! Lots of fun, laughter and fizz...ok maybe not that different then.  

By Stacey Smith 20 Feb, 2017

Valentines Day, the only holiday that seems to have developed a bad rep. Supermarkets bombard us with all things red to force us to be romantic for the day. This may have led to its downfall and is now recognised as a money making scheme. Like most couples I think, Chris and I acknowledge Valentines Day, we do the card and I use it as an excuse to indulge in a chocolate desert. We don’t need to be forced into being romantic as we do nice things for each other regularly, whether its Chris emptying the dish washer or taking me out on Friday night after a couple of horrid days at work. I have to admit however, I couldn’t help feel a tad disappointed when Chris presented me with a box of Weetabix instead of flowers when he walked through the door last Tuesday. I had cleaned out my vase on the off chance.

I think we tolerate Pancake Day more, god forbid you go without a pancake! Then again what about those horrid pancake mixes in those plastic bottles, isn’t that just as bad? I mean after the success of The Great British Bake off who doesn’t have flour, eggs and milk in their fridge nowadays? Also surely its cheaper buy the ingredients if you didn’t!

By Stacey Smith 05 Dec, 2016

I thought writing a food blog would be pretty straight forward. I imagined myself whipping up marvelous cakes and gooey brownies in one hand and typing up my blog with the other – done and dusted with in a day!

By Stacey Smith 03 Oct, 2016
This is my first ever success at making bread, bread that that is crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, bread that I could actually cut slices from. My previous attempts have been knarly, chewy, half baked and pretty much brick like and have since avoided making it, accepting the fact that I didn't posses the knack....until now.

I love bread, the thickly sliced, crusty chewy kind, which is why I'm in love with sourdough at the moment. It contains all these attributes with an added bonus of a sour tangyness that makes it utterly delicious as toast (my favourite way to eat bread) smothered in butter and dunked in soup or as yummy sandwich. So of course I had to have a go at making my own!

I found an extremely easy recipe for sourdough from Mr Jamie Oliver, only needing strong white bread flour and water to make the starter and then simply feeding it daily for about 6 days. The sourdoughs only drawback is that you need to allow time, and theres a few hours proving time to take into consideration also, but I found this very satisfying and rewarding and the wait is definitely worth it...its so scrummy!

With the end result turning out far better than I thought it would (I still half expected it to come out brick like), I wanted to do something different with my sourdough, so I decided to make a "modern" sandwich. 

My chosen filling contained rocket, parma ham, thinly sliced soft goats cheese, blackberries stirred though a drizzle of honey and balsamic vinegar, topped with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts...YUM!

A definite must try!  
By Stacey Smith 26 Sep, 2016

Ideally this would have been posted last week as it was National cupcake week and the recipe I’m about to share with you would have been perfect for the occasion, however I was away in Edinburgh, but I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to share something else, something I’ve been working on a few months now, something that is quite personal and very much me.

So here goes..(deep breath)

Using my own experiences and realising that life is as unpredictable as “The Great British Bake Off” together with my love of baking and some cuddly woodland creatures I have created a little childrens story. Filled with cake and even more determination that I hope will inspire your little ones to bake, but more importantly to not give up and just keep going whatever life throws at them.

I hope you enjoy!

By Stacey Smith 12 Sep, 2016
Its September and we are steadily transitioning into Autumn, my favorite time of year. To me it resonates a sense of new year, maybe even more than the real new year with just a dull wet January to look forward to. On this side of things I believe there is more reason for change and new beginnings as there is so much to look forward to. 
Bearing down the hatches and snuggling up on the sofa in front of good tv...hello! Great British Bake Off!!, new winter wardrobe..oh I do love a good knit and I must buy myself a decent winter coat this year...a mac just won't cut it!. As well as the colour of the trees, crisp Autumnal (I love that word) walks, darker evenings..I love being able to put candles on at 5pm! the air slightly smelling of smoke, toffee and spices....well I think it does, even when its not Bonfire Night...and the Trapps fam know how to throw a  cracking one!!! It also means the preparation for Christmas. 
By Stacey Smith 22 Aug, 2016

A rather impromptu blog post today after I made some strawberry and frangipane cookies this morning and because they are so scrummy I just had to share them with you.

By Stacey Smith 25 Jul, 2016

Arlo: situated on a quiet street in West Jesmond and sits snugly among other little restaurants and pretty home ware shops. it boasts a laid back atmosphere and with alpine decorations, quirky knick knacks and strings of fairy lights it creates a cosy setting to enjoy any meal whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner, they cater for all three.

Chris and I opted for dinner this time, it was Friday and as I was already meeting him after work for a drink anyway we thought we’d make a night of it. I wasn’t surprised to hear that they were very busy when I phoned to book a table, being Friday and a popular restaurant.  Over the phone I got the impression that the host on the other end was struggling to find anything for us so instead for 7pm I booked it for half 6.

When we arrived we were greeted with a friendly smile and shown to our table. The restaurant however was almost empty, surprising considering the conversation earlier, I was expecting it to be packed!

By Stacey Smith 11 Jul, 2016

Having made a couple of tarts recently, one of them being a Tart au Citron which I just ended up calling lemon tart as my attempt didn’t live up to its name. (It had a soggy bottom, the lemon filling was lopsided and I over baked it) The other this Chocolate Lime Tart based on the boiled sweet, chocolate limes..which I can't find anywhere and do they even sell them anymore?? again not quite meeting basic pastry standards. I have decided to set myself a pastry challenge. I will only bake some form of pie or tart for the next few weeks to practice my pastry skills in the hope that by the end of July I will be able to make fabulous pastry worthy to appear in BBC Good Food Magazine!

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