Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Recipe: Sweet Chicken and Almond Noodles

This is another one of those recipes that turned out lush by mistake! Was going to make chicken with yellowbean sauce and cashew nuts, so i went to the shops, cashew nuts were all sold out, and I couldn't find yellowbean paste anywhere, so I bought some almonds instead and figured I would improvise a stir fry with the ingredients I had at home. This turned out so scrummy, almonds work sooo well in a stir fry, yummy!

Sweet Chicken and Almond Noodles (serves 3)

4 stacks blue dragon fine egg noodles
Drizzle vegetable oil

350ml chicken stock
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 generous tbsp honey
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (I used Encona West Indian hot pepper sauce)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow pepper, sliced
¼ aubergine, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5g ginger paste
10g lemongrass paste
Handful fresh coriander, chopped (plus a little extra for garnish)
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1 tsp fennel seeds
100g blanched almonds
220g cooked chicken, diced

1)      Cook the noodles according to instructions, and then refresh under cold water with vegetable oil (to avoid sticking) and set aside. Mix together the chicken stock, lemon juice, honey, soy sauce and hot sauce, and set aside.
2)      In a large work, fry the pepper, aubergine, onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander, Chinese 5 spice, and fennel seeds, on a high heat, for 3 minutes. Add the almonds and chicken, and fry for a further 2 minutes.
3)      Add the sauce mixture, and cook a medium heat for a further 6 minutes. Add the cooked noodles, and cook on a high heat, for 3 minutes, stirring often, until all the ingredients are well mixed, and the noodles have soaked up most of the sauce.
4)      Season to taste, and serve with some extra chopped coriander on top. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Recipe: Aubergine, Port Salut and Tomato Stacks

A really delightful starter recipe I have for you here- soft roasty aubergine slices with port salut and tomato- a little like a simple melanzane recipe. It may seem like I use rather a lot of olive oil, but trust me those aubergines are like little sponges, they really soak it up.

Aubergine, Port Salut and Tomato Stacks (makes 3 stacks- serves 3 as a starter)

5 tbsp olive oil
1 aubergine, sliced
Salt and pepper
25g sundried tomato paste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 x 225g port salut wedge, rind cut off, cut into 6 slices
2 tomatoes, sliced
Salad for garnish

1)Preheat oven to 180C. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Season the aubergine with salt and pepper, and fry the slices for 3 minutes each side. Set aside. Mix together the sundried tomato paste and 1 tbsp olive oil.
2) On a baking tray, layer 1 slice of aubergine, brush over some of the sundried tomato mix, top with a slice of tomato and then a slice of port salut. Repeat the process, and finish with an aubergine slice (brushed with the sundried tomato mix) on top. Repeat the process for the other two stacks.
3) Place the stacks on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Spoon a little of the sundried tomato mix around the plate for decoration, place the stacks on the plate and garnish with salad.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Recipe: Chicken, Leerdammer and Salsa Tortillas

Wow, this recipe makes me so happy. So easy to make and so delicious. Tender cooked chicken, with melty leerdammer cheese and zingy salsa, sandwiched between two toasted tortillas- with some extra salsa on the side to dip in. A very adaptable recipe too- I make another version of this on the blog with cheddar, chicken, sweet chilli sauce and coriander. As long as you have the tortillas, and some sort of cheese (when cheese melts, it acts as a sort of "glue" to stop the other ingredients from falling out), you can put whatever ingredients you want in them. This salsa recipe is THE BOMB as well, one of my most earlier recipes i designed when i was about 8 years old, usually to have with lime Doritos whilst watching a movie. This recipe is fab as a quick lunch, or just perfect food for parties- they go quick, trust me!

Me and my fella had the tortillas as a sort of main course dinner the other day, so this is just a serving suggestion- i had the tortillas with some turmeric veg rice, with the salsa and a dollop of natural yogurt.
Chicken, Leerdammer and Salsa Tortillas (serves 4 as a lunch, or 6 as a party food!)

500g passata
½ red onion, finely diced
Large handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
½ tsp lime juice
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

8 soft Mission Deli tortilla wraps
260g finely grated Leerdammer
260g diced cooked chicken

1)      Mix together all the salsa ingredients together and season to taste. Set aside.
2)      Put one tortilla wrap on a plate. Top with ¼ of the chicken and Leerdammer, and 2 tbsp of the salsa, spaced evenly, and put the other tortilla wrap on top. Press down firmly (to prevent ingredients from falling out).
3)      Heat a non-stick frying pan on a medium/high heat. Put the stuffed tortilla wrap onto the hot frying pan for 2 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat this process for the other wraps. Slice tortillas into quarters and serve with ramekins of the salsa on the side.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Recipe: Italian Leerdammer Baked Chicken

An absolutely delicious one pot (or one baking dish!) recipe, really easy and really tasty. The tomatoes and potatoes soften into the stock to make a delicious sauce, and the chicken thighs stay moist, and flavored beautifully by the sun dried tomato paste. Sun dried tomato paste is a little bit of a pricey ingredient but it really brings a dish alive, I love it. Use your favourite olives in this dish- i love to use Queen green olives, stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, but in the past I have made this with kalamata olives, or green olives stuffed with garlic or stuffed with feta. I love olives- a well stocked deli counter with numerous bowls of these purple and green gems makes me a very happy foodie. Serve this with rice or crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Italian Leerdammer Baked Chicken (serves 2 generously!)

4 or 5 chicken thighs (depending on size)
550g new potatoes, quartered
½ red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
250ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sundried tomato puree
300g ripe tomatoes, diced
125g stuffed green olives
225g grated Leerdammer

1)      Preheat oven to 180C. Put the potatoes, onion, garlic, fresh basil, chicken stock and some salt and pepper into a large ovenproof dish. Put the chicken thighs on top, mix together the olive oil and sundried tomato puree, and brush evenly over the chicken thighs.
2)      Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove, add the diced tomatoes and olive, and bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove, top with the grated Leerdammer, and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the Leerdammer has melted nicely. Garnish with fresh basil and serve! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Recipe: Simple Biscuits

Made these at work the other day- it was the weekend and we had ran out of the langues du chat biscuits we normally serve with our creme brulees so my manager asked me to whip up some biscuits. Didn't have too much time on my hands as it was a busy saturday, but shoved all this together in the hope it would turn out nice and it really did! A little bit like shortbread biscuits but a little lighter, really really nice. Us chefs use this cling film method to make lots of things- it's a good method for making lots of flavoured butters.

Simple Biscuits! (Makes about 60)

500g salted butter
300g caster sugar
600g plain flour
2 egg yolks
Optional flavourings: vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon etc.

1)      Preheat oven to 180C. Soften the butter in a microwave. Mix together the butter, sugar, flour and egg yolks, until everything is well combined. Lay cling film on a preparation surface, and turn the biscuit dough into 4 long sausage shapes.
2)      Wrap the sausages of dough in cling film tightly, and either put in the freezer for 5 minutes, or In the fridge for about an hour, until it has firmed up. Line 4 trays with greaseproof paper. Remove the cling film from the dough, and slice the sausages into thin discs.
3)      Place the discs on the grease proof paper, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove, allow to cool a little, and serve!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Recipe: Port Salut Stuffed Peppers

This is the nicest side dish recipe EVER. Sweet roasted peppers and cherry tomatoes, paired with salty olives and capers, with smooth creamy port salut cheese melted on top bringing everything together. Just really delicious, I make these all the time. This time I had them on the side of baked chicken breasts and spiced basmati rice. Vegetarians would be very happy with these as a main course too.

Port Salut Stuffed Peppers (serves 3 as a side dish or starter)

3 peppers (any colour), halved (with the stem left on) and seeded
24 cherry tomatoes, halved
50g capers
100g mixed olives
185g wedge port salut, rind cut off and diced
Drizzle olive oil
Fresh basil for garnish

1)      Preheat the oven to 180C. Parboil the pepper halves for 5 minutes, drain and set aside on a roasting tray. Stuff the peppers with the cherry tomatoes, capers, olives, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
2)      Top with the port salut and bake  in the oven for 40 minutes. Garnish with basil and serve- as a starter with salad, or as a perfect side dish. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Recipe: Swedish Meatballs with Horseradish Mash and Boursin Sauce

Whilst the Italians like to serve their meatballs with pasta and with a tomato based sauce, the Swedish take a different tact and often serve their meatballs with potatoes, in a cream based sauce. This is my take on the classic Swedish meatball- using plenty of Nordic flavourings, like dill, horseradish and caraway. Moist, delicious, and something a little bit different!

Swedish Meatballs with Horseradish Mash and Boursin Sauce (serves 3)

400g pork mince
35g breadcrumbs
½ red onion, finely chopped
¼ tsp dill
1 tbsp caraway seeds, toasted, then blitzed in a spice grinder
2 tsp horseradish
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

1.4kg potatoes, peeled and diced
50g butter
1 tbsp horseradish
Splash milk
Salt and pepper

400g boursin cuisine garlic and herb
200ml semi skimmed milk
Fresh dill for garnish

1)  Mix together all the meatballs ingredients well. Form into 12 meatballs (about 45-50g each). Preheat the oven to 200C. Bake the meatballs for 25 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, and boil the potatoes until soft enough to mash. Drain, and mash with the butter, horseradish, milk and seasoning.
3) Meanwhile, heat the boursin and milk in a saucepan for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is hot and thickened. Serve the mash with the meatballs, with the sauce poured on top, garnish with plenty of fresh dill!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Video: Mushroom and Chickpea Tagine

Hi guys, my new video is up- look I'm all Blondie and Branded!! Haha. Cooking my scrummy mushroom and chickpea tagine, 1.48 with rice, or 1.53 per portion with cous cous. Check the video out and join the channel! Go on, you know you want to! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRnNagB_KjQ

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Recipe: Lamb Stew with Dumplings

Nothing schmancy, no poshly written menu style recipe, a "does what it says on the tin" sort of dish (or not I suppose, as it's made completely from scratch!)- a really simple, warming, delicious slow cooked lamb stew, with some home-made old fashioned suet dumplings on top. I'm sure many of you will have similar dishes cooked by your mothers or grandmothers- a very homely meal. If you prefer your dumplings being golden/biscuity rather than steamed, preheat your oven to 180C, and put the casserole dish without a lid in there for the same 25 minutes you would normally steam them on the hob.

Lamb Stew with Dumplings (serves 3/4)

1 tbsp butter
1 large leek, chopped
500g lean diced lamb
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
¼ a celeriac, peeled and diced
800ml beef or lamb stock
Salt and pepper to taste

140g self-raising flour
70g beef suet
100ml water (maybe less, maybe more- use your own judgement)
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp mixed herbs
Black pepper

1) In a large casserole pot (with a lid), fry the leek, lamb and garlic in the butter for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the carrot, celeriac and stock, cover, and cook on a medium heat for 2 hours.
2) In a mixing bowl, mix the self raising flour, suet, salt, mixed herbs and black pepper. Gradually add water until you have a firm but sticky dough consistency.
3) 25 minutes prior to the stew being ready, season the stew to taste, and shape and drop the dumplings (Should make about 5 or 6 large dumplings) on top of the stew. Place the lid back on- and do not lift until the time is up! You need the steam to stay in there to cook the dumplings!!
4) Once the time is up, remove the lid, ladle the stew into bowls, giving 1 or 2 dumplings per person.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Recipe: Pork Tenderloin, with Boursin Gnocchi and Caramelised Leeks

This is a bit of a show-stopper dish, not too many ingredients but I find a good cut of pork tenderloin, seared and cooked to perfection will always impress. The pork, leeks and the creamy boursin compliment each other perfectly. I sometimes make this with home-made gnocchi, sometimes with shop-bought, depending on how much time I have on my hands. When I was at River Cottage we used to use Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's nettle gnocchi recipe (sometimes with nettles, sometimes with spinach) over and over again, and it always worked, so I continue to make it at home, if your'e looking for a fool-proof gnocchi recipe, this is it: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2007/mar/03/features.weekend1

Pork Tenderloin, with Boursin Gnocchi and Caramelised Leeks (serves 2)

35g butter
2 large leeks, sliced
Salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 x 450g pork tenderloin
Salt and pepper

200ml cider
100ml chicken stock
300g boursin cuisine garlic and herb
1 tbsp diijon mustard
300g gnocchi (pre-made or homemade!)
¼ tsp mixed herbs
Salt and pepper

1)      Preheat oven to 200C. In a saucepan, fry the leeks and seasoning in the butter for 30 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. In a large frying pan, heat up the vegetable oil, and sear the pork tenderloin (seasoned with salt and pepper) on all sides- takes about 6/ 7 minutes.
2)      Transfer the tenderloin to a tray in the oven, and roast for 18 minutes. Meanwhile, in the same frying pan, add the cider, and cook for a couple of minutes (to burn the alcohol). Add the boursin, chicken stock, mustard gnocchi and mixed herbs, and cook for about 10 minutes- or until the sauce has thickened, and the gnocchi is fully cooked.
3)      Remove the pork tenderloin from the oven, and slice into medallions. Season the gnocchi to taste, and serve with the pork and the caramelised leeks. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Recipe: Cauliflower Boursin Soup, with Crispy Chorizo Garnish

I love cauliflower- I think it's a bit of an underrated veg- here is the UK we either turn it into cauliflower cheese or serve it plain, we don't try and do anything more interesting or radical with it. But I've noticed, especially with the whole low-carb movement gathering more and more momentum, people have been doing really interesting things with it- roasting it whole, steaming it and fluffing it up into "low carb rice"- I even saw a recipe the other day for "vegan style buffalo chicken wings" using cauliflower! The flavour of cauli goes fantastically with chorizo or black pudding, and this soup is absolutely delicious. If you want to serve this to vegetarians, use vegetable stock, and Quorn now make a "fake chorizo" that's absolutely delicious!

Cauliflower Boursin Soup, with Crispy Chorizo Garnish (serves 6)

30g butter
1 large leek, sliced
500g potatoes, peeled and diced small
800ml chicken stock
400ml skimmed milk
400g boursin garlic and herb cuisine
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets.
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
240g chorizo, diced

1) In a large pan, fry the leeks and potatoes in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the stock, milk, boursin, cauliflower and parsley, and cook on a high heat for 25 minutes, stirring often.
2) Meanwhile, fry the chorizo in a frying pan until crisp. Blend the soup, season to taste, and serve with the crispy chorizo on top, and with buttered baguette if desired. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Video: Cherry Tomato and Rocket Penne

Hi guys, my new video is up! I'm all lovely and branded, cool apron ey??? Check it out and become a follower please-y! Xxx

Monday, March 2, 2015

Recipe: Marinated Pork Steaks, with Leerdammer Herb Mash

A delicious and very simple dish- Only takes 5 minutes to prepare, a little marinading time, and 25 minutes to cook- Lovely jubbly! I read recently that pork chops is one of the most popular dishes in the UK- something that the majority of us cook every week. I must admit I much prefer these pork loin steaks- no fussy bones to be dealing with, and a good bit of fat to enrich the meat. This is very nice by itself, with a dollop of Dijon mustard on the side.

Marinated Pork Steaks, with Leerdammer Herb Mash (serves 2)

4 pork loin steaks
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp fennel seeds
Salt and pepper

1kg potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tbsp butter
115g grated Leerdammer
15g fresh parsley, finely chopped
Splash of milk
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Mix together the oil, ginger, lemon, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Rub this mix into the pork loin steaks and marinate for at least 15 minutes. Preheat a grill on a high heat.
2) Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, and boil the potatoes until soft enough to mash (about 25 minutes).
3) Meanwhile, put the pork loin steaks (with any leftover marinade poured on top) under a hot grill for 7 minutes each side. Drain the potatoes, and mash with the butter, Leerdammer, parsley, and a little milk.
4) Season the mash to taste and serve with the grilled pork steaks.