Monthly Archives: August 2012

The stir fry salad

This evening I got in and unloaded the shopping into the fridge. Monday nights meal was to be a stir fry, a fairly standard but tasty monday night dish in my house, including noodles, stir fry salad, prawns and ginger & teriyaki sauce. The temperature according to my car was 25C the idea of hot food did not appeal and by 7pm I wasn’t wanting to BBQ either. So I created a summer salad using my stir fry salad box I had bought earlier.

Meal for two
2 eggs
Stir fry salad I had: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Asparagus with Ginger & Garlic
Rapeseed oil
4 tiger prawns
4 poppadoms

I made my eggs hard boiled, with the maximum time being 10mins. You could poach them, or soft boil them if you prefer a runny middle.
The poppadoms went under the grill once this was hot enough, this only takes a min or so. The poppadoms create your plate for your salad.
Once the poppadoms were done and taken out of the oven, I fired up the wok with a splash of rapeseed oil. I find this oil doesn’t spoil my stir frys.
I added the tiger prawns in first, which had been beheaded, de-veined and peeled. After 30 seconds the stir fry mix went in, I cooked this for about 4 mins, keeping the veg crunchy yet cooked. The key was to make sure the prawns weren’t over done and they weren’t.

The upside to this dish wasn’t just speed, the calorie count wasn’t bad either, according to my nutracheck diary approx 350kcal. If the weather keeps up then you could maybe try this one evening, it’s easily adaptable too.


The Spread Eagle Pub – Abingdon

This comfy pub was a great suggestion made by my Abingdon friends for our fortnightly catch up. Usually we dine out in Oxford so it was nice for us to break from the norm, and drive only a short distance over to Abingdon and a new dining venue.

There was ample parking and a good-sized sunny garden. With plenty of seats and two lanes of Aunt Sally, which were being used through the night, creating a good buzz.

When we arrived we were directed through to our table, the evening started off quiet as many punters were enjoying the sunshine, but the restaurant area quickly filled up so we were glad to have arrived before the rush.

The menu is vast there are pages of options to go through, while this can sometimes be overbearing and off-putting, the selections were broken down into food styles, which made the browsing experience better. Nearly everything with meat had a veggie alternative of quorn and red pepper being a substitute, which although I didn’t chose this it was certainly pleasing to see the versatility.

The speciality at the pub was ‘Black Rock’, which I had doubted would offer anything but meat. However I found a great prawn option which appealed, so I opted for this.

Prawns 3 ways, 30 prawns: One skewer marinated in lime and Tequila. One in sweet Jack Daniels sauce and the other plain.  The dish came with two sides, another choice! I had the chips and roasted vegetables. The heat from the ‘rock’ was noticeable on arrival. The advisory was – DO NOT TOUCH.


My other half had the 3 meat mixed grill option: chicken, beef and pork. His advisory was also DO NOT TOUCH and cook the chicken thoroughly, it’s safe to say he survived!


These meals were filling, delicious and fun. Our friends had food that was not on the black rock menu, but they thoroughly enjoyed it. The prices were reasonable, especially considering the portion sizes. Our meal for two including drinks was £42

The atmosphere of the pub was buzzing, all the tables were full by 7.30pm, we had arrived at 7pm and didn’t leave until 10pm, there was no pressure to hurry or pay the bill, but equally we didn’t feel that we’d been abandoned.

For my friends who live locally, they’ve said that this is their favourite pub in Abingdon and I can see why. While I live in Oxford, with a multiple variety of restaurants, this pub has character and great food to offer. Many Oxford pubs do good pub food but the Spread Eagles’ ‘Black rock’ and the vast choice of menu gave the place an edge. 

The travel time by car, was 10-15mins, the traffic is certainly not like it is at 8am when I head to work. Parking was free and on site. A return on a hot summers night would certainly be recommended to take the opportunity of the garden. And perhaps a chance to play Aunt Sally!

You can find the Spread Eagle online or drive out from Oxford to Northcourt Road, Abingdon.

Roast tomato and feta quiche

Roasted tomato and feta cheese tart
Serves 8-10 portions ideal for lunches!

300g cherry tomatoes – cut in half
Drizzle olive oil
Feta cheese 100g
2 eggs
284ml pot double cream
Handful basil leaves, shredded, plus a few small ones left whole for scattering.

For the Pastry
280g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
140g cold butter , cut into pieces

Depending on how busy your lifestyle is you can approach this quiche making in two ways:

Option one – Make time for yourself on Sunday to create the quiche in one go then enjoy it when you like!

Option Two – You can start this on the Saturday evening, complete it on the Sunday and then enjoy it for the whole working week.

To start make your pastry: Tip the flour and butter into a bowl, then rub together with your fingertips until completely mixed and crumbly. Add 8 tbsp cold water, then bring everything together with your hands until just combined.

(Option one) Roll into a ball and use straight away or (Option two) chill for up to 2 days.
The pastry can also be frozen for up to a month.

When you are ready to start the quiche creation, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a circle, about 5cm larger than a 25cm tin. Carefully lift your pastry it up, then drape over the tart case so there is an overhang of pastry on the sides, push the pastry into the corners of the tin. Chill in the fridge or freezer for 20 mins.

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

In a small roasting tin, drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the tomatoes in a low shelf of the oven.

Lightly prick the base of the tart with a fork, line the tart case with a large circle of greaseproof paper or foil, then fill with baking beans or rice. Blind-bake the tart for 20 mins, remove the paper and beans, then continue to cook for 5-10 mins until biscuit brown.

While the tart is cooking, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Gradually add the cream, then stir in the basil and season.

When you remove the tart case from the oven, take out the tomatoes, too. This will have given your tomatoes approximately 30mins in the oven

When the case is ready, sprinkle half the cheese over the base, scatter over the tomatoes, pour over the cream mix, then finally scatter over the rest of the cheese.

Bake for 20-25 mins until set and golden brown. Leave to cool in the case, trim the edges of the pastry, then remove from the tin. Scatter over the remaining basil and serve in slices.

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