Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One Year On

I know it's been a while but I'm still here and still cooking!  The last month has been a little hectic and I just haven't found the time to write a post.  I guess I'm writing this post to update you and give you a snapshot of my life at the moment.  At the moment I'm sitting in my living room overlooking Southampton water, a beautiful view except for the odd passing container ship.

I can't quite believe that my blog is now a year old, the time has gone so quickly and so much has happened.  I've not only graduated but in the last month I've got a job, moved to Southampton and started work.  I'm still moving around a bit, but hopefully I'll have sorted out a more permanent home by Christmas.

Now that I'm no longer in Cambridge I debated whether to change the name of my blog, but after much consideration I've decided to keep it.  For one thing 'Little Southampton Kitchen' doesn't have quite the same ring to it! For another, by keeping the same name it will always remind me of where I started.  Since I now have the luxury of an oven, a grill and more than one hob I'm going to start attempting some more adventurous recipes which I couldn't really have made before and where possible I'll suggest simplifications.

In the last month I have become a huge fan of 'Jamie's 15 Minute Meals' as they are perfect weeknight meals.  I generally get home between 7 and 8 and the last thing I want to do is spend ages cooking, so these meals are perfect as they really are super quick (if not quite manageable in 15 minutes).  They normally take between 15 minutes and half an hour to prepare (especially the first time you try a recipe), but they are simple to follow and you end up with delicious and healthy food.

My only criticism would be that the portions are a little on the small side (especially as my job is quite active and the days are long), so if you're cooking for 4 as the recipes suggest you may want to bulk up the portions with a little extra pasta if you can.  I tend to cook the full amount, which tends to make 2 good portions for our evening meal and leaves enough for a couple of smaller lunches to take to work later in the week.

I've tried quite a variety of the recipes from this book, so the photos below are just a snapshot of the meals I've prepared over the last few weeks.

Prawn Linguine
This is a great dish, seriously simple, yet delicious.  I especially love the use of saffron and cinnamon in the seasoning.

British Burgers with salad pickles "and things"

I love Jamie's burgers so much I've made them twice!  The burgers themselves are so simple to make and taste heaps better than anything you can buy pre-made in a supermarket.
The "and things" refer to the tomatoes, pickles and yoghurt dressing.  Having spent a year in Germany I am a massive fan of pickles, so any recipe that includes them is a winner with me!  As for the yoghurt and Worcestershire sauce, it makes a lovely change from the usual ketchup or mayo.
Next up is a chicken caesar salad.  This is possibly my favourite style of salad and I love making the dressing myself as it is always tastier than the ready-made sauces you can buy.  I didn't stick to the recipe on this one as I had some bits and pieces to use up but it actually worked out quite well.  I thoroughly recommend the addition of some roasted red peppers to the salad.

Chicken Caesar Salad
The final dish I've got to show you is the falafel wraps with grilled veg and salsa.  People often think that vegetarian cooking is boring or not filling enough, this recipe proves them wrong.  It's super tasty, really filling and there's no meat in sight!  While Jamie says the pickled red cabbage is optional I would highly recommend getting hold of some as it really is the perfect thing to top off this excellent dish.

Falafel Wraps, Grilled Veg and Salsa

To top it all off - pickled red cabbage!
I think this post has pretty much summed up my life at the moment.  I'll try and write another post soon but I'm not making any promises.  I really want to get back into baking, something I haven't done nearly enough of recently.  I've got a few Halloween-themed ideas but any suggestions from you guys are very welcome.  Keep an eye out for my next post, until then Tschüss!