This Sunday Supper we are talking about what we are thankful for. For me this could be a very long post because there are so many things in my life that I am grateful for. But I decided to dedicate this post to my very special father-in-law and mother-in-law both for whom I owe so much to. They have blessed my life in so many ways, of course first of all by raising such an incredible man whom I fell in love with and am blessed to be spending my life with. I am also very thankful they have so welcomed me into their family. I know not everyone gets on with their in-laws and so I am thankful I have a family I married into that I get on so well with.
But while all those things are very special and I am grateful for I want to talk about something more specific. You see I always dreamed that one day I would be able to show case my cooking abilities in a way that I would also provide an income for my family. But fear has always prevented me from doing anything about it. When I moved to the UK I was in the middle of a career crisis. I was doing freelance video editing work but I wasn’t happy with it and the constant hunt for new clients was getting me down. I knew I wanted to do something different but not sure what. Chris mentioned to me that I should open a restaurant, and since Mexican food isn’t commonly found here he thought that would be a good thing to serve. Now I was 7 months pregnant when he suggested this and while it sounded so exciting I couldn’t see how it would work. But time went on and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I eventually came to the idea of starting off small in a market stall. I have an incredibly supportive husband and he has been so helpful in setting this up but I think he would agree with me when I say this would NOT be possible without my in-laws. They have and continue to do so much for me and my business. From watching my daughter when we are busy, to running to a store that is 30 minutes away to pick up something I forgot the night before an event. They are even allowing us to borrow their large vehicle until I can afford to buy one for my business. My business is slowly growing and I am really starting to see that there is a future in store for it even if the growth is slow. My dream is coming true and all I can say is thank you John and Sue for your unwavering support and love. I am beyond blessed to call you mum and dad.
Okay now to wipe the tears from my eyes and talk about food. I decided to feature this fun recipe because it is a perfect quick recipe for Thanksgiving. On my stall I serve tortilla chips with my meals as well as a way to sample my salsas. I am always left with crumbs at the bottom of the bag that I can’t use and sometimes portions will go stale before I can serve it. I hate waste and so I was trying to come up with an idea to use it. One thing that I do is crush up the chips until it is as small as breadcrumbs. I then use it as a substitute in any dish that calls for breadcrumbs, like breaded chicken or in meatballs. But one night while I was laying in bed I thought, “could it be used as a base for stuffing?” I did some research and found I was not alone with my idea. So I decided to give this recipe from Gluten Free Easily. I tweaked it a little to fit our taste and added mushrooms. Any of your favourite stuffing ingredients could be added. This recipe is so easy that it could easily be whipped up if you discovered a guest was gluten-intolerant and didn’t have much time to prepare. Even if you don’t need to eat gluten-free this is such a tasty stuffing I dare you to not eat seconds.
Gluten-Free Corn “Bread” Stuffing
400g (14 oz) Tortilla Chips
1 medium onion, finely chopped
960mL (4 c.) vegetable stock
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
*Additional ingredients if desired, like sausage, mushrooms, chestnuts
recipe adapted from Gluten Free Easily
Today’s Sunday Supper theme is all about Tailgating. I don’t live in a football loving family, not real football or American football. But I have very fond memories of American football from my college years. For a year of college I lived in a house with 5 guys I went to school with and they were big American football fans. Because of my upbringing of moving around so much I can easily adapt to my surroundings and that includes enjoying things other do. During that year I became American football mad. I watched it every weekend, followed teams and players and enjoyed every minute of it. Once I was out of that environment I didn’t keep up with it but I still have very fond memories of that time. So I wanted to share a warm and hearty dip that if I could go back I would have loved to shared with my roommates, Pizza Dip.
My husband and I were so impressed with this dip we skipped our dinner plans and just ate this, it really did taste like pizza with every bite. Next time I think I am going to turn this into a reduced carb pizza night for us and serve it with courgette sticks and cauliflower chips.
28g (1 oz) pepperoni slices
85g (3 oz) chorizo
165g (1 c.) finely chopped onion
75g (1/2 c.) finely chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
400g (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
40g (1/4 c.) grated Parmesan
114g (4 oz) mozzarella, diced
Recipe from Food Network
So now that summer has finally come to the UK it seems my garden, which has stalled slightly with our rubbish Spring and suddenly hit overdrive. While we are starting to finally reap the benefits of our garden our thoughts now draw on ways to preserve our harvest to ensure that we utilize every bit of our home grown goodness. Ever since I started my business California Taco I have been elbow deep in canning every week. And while I feel I have mastered the technique and I have tons of ideas to share on that front I decided that to throw in a blog canning recipe in the middle of an already busy work canning week was unrealistic. So I instead wanted to share with you a simple way to preserve herbs. I have been using this trick for a long time as I not only find it a great way to preserve my herbs which grow too fast for me to keep up with, but it is also a easy way to spice up a recipe without a lot of work. For example I add my lemon and mint butter to peas to spice up what can be a dull side dish. And the paprika, oregano and garlic butter is my standard for buttering corn on the cob to throw on the grill. Another simple meal I do is I cook fish in individual parcels and add a tsp of my chilli butter for amazing flavour without any fuss.
They are simple to make and can be kept for ages in the fridge or even in the freezer. There are hundreds of different kinds of flavoured butter combinations. These are just a selection of some of my favourites.
What are your favourite flavour butter combinations?
Lemon and Mint Butter
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
zest of one small lemon
small handfull of spearmint, chopped
113g (1/2 c.) butter
Can you believe that there was once a time when I didn’t like bacon? Now there is a sensible reason why I went off liking it, I once worked in a kitchen where every Sunday I had to cook 20-30 lbs of bacon for Sunday Breakfast and after a while just the smell of bacon made me feel sick. So for almost 15 years I couldn’t stand to even have it cooking in my house.
My poor husband.
But I gave bacon a try again for the first time last year and my eyes were opened back up to the taste I have been missing all these years. Although I will say I prefer English bacon over American streaky bacon which has a much higher fat content. But I am finally back on the dark side and loving it.
Sunday Supper started with a mission to encourage people to come back to the family dinner table at least once a week. But that is not what we are all about, there is so much more. So this year we started a Weekday mission where every day of the week someone posts a simple week day meal recipe.
On the surface it might seem like I have it all together when it comes to meals and planning but trust me I don’t. There are some weeks I am so busy that I get to the end of the day and have no idea what is for dinner. So I too need inspiration for quick, simple meals for the craziness of the week.
This week I am so excited to share with you what is now a new family week day meal favourite. I created last week and for the first time in years we have actually repeated a meal 3 times a little over a week. It is so simple to throw together and the flavours in this dish work incredibly together.
Shrimp with Garlic, Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese
750g (1 1/2 lbs) shrimp (or prawns), peeled and deveined
1 tsp fine salt
1 tsp paprika
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved*
1/4 cup white wine
(6 oz) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
chopped fresh basil
*I have done this twice now, ones with regular tomatoes quartered and it does work best with cherry tomatoes