Sunday, 18 August 2019

Chicken, broccoli and sweetcorn fritters

Chicken, broccoli and sweetcorn fritters
500g chicken breast (chopped into small bite sized pieces)
100g sweetcorn (drained)
Handful of cooked broccoli florets (chopped)
1/4 cup of plain flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic (minced)
Salt & Pepper
Vegetable oil
1 egg (beaten)

In a large bowl mix together the chicken, flour, Parmesan, garlic, broccoli, sweetcorn and the egg.  Season with a couple of pinches of salt and a good few grinds of freshly ground black pepper.

Add enough oil to a large frying pan (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) and heat over a medium flame.  Using a tablespoon, spoon the mixture into the pan, you should have enough to make 6 fritters, flatten the mixture down to make a patty, shape and fry for several minutes each side until crispy and cooked through, remove from the pan and place onto some kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil.  

I served these fritters with some peri peri fries and habanero mayonnaise but literally you can serve them with whatever you fancy, a good green salad would go equally well.  By the same token, you can mix the recipe up and add a variety of different veg.  By chopping the broccoli up it’s a great way to hide it from those kids who aren’t too keen on eating veg!  This recipe was so quick to put together, ideal when you are a bit short on time, hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Black Bean Nachos

Black Bean Nachos
  • 1 pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 197g tin of sweetcorn, drained
  • 400g black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 400ml passata
  • Large handful of fresh coriander, leaves and stalks roughly chopped separately
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • Bag of tortilla chips
  • Grated cheese
  • Chopped jalapeño peppers 
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large flame-proof oven dish, add the onion and peppers and fry for 10 minutes until softened then add the garlic and fry for several minutes, stirring every so often.  Add the coriander stalks and spices, mix thoroughly and cook for a further minute or so then add the passata, seasoning, stock, sweetcorn and the black beans, stir and bring to a simmer.  Place the pan into a preheated oven (180 degrees) and bake for around 30 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.

To serve, place the tortilla chips onto two plates, top with 2 thirds of the cheese, add the beans, the remaining cheese and scatter over the jalapeño peppers, place the plates into the oven for several minutes until the cheese has melted.

This dish is perfect with sour cream, homemade guacamole and Pico de gallo.  This is a fantastic vegetarian dish and one that you can increase or decrease the heat as suits your tastebuds, you won’t be disappointed and you certainly won’t miss the fact there is no meat!  Yet again another simple yet really tasty meal, enjoy!

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Sausage and home made baked bean casserole

  • 400g home made baked beans (view baked been recipe)
  • 8 pork sausages (each one cut into 4 slices)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into small bite size pieces
  • 1 pint vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp English mustard
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • Few grinds of freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and cook the sausages until browned all over.  Add the carrots and onions and cook for a further 10 minutes until softened.  Add the stock, mustard, parsley, pepper and a pinch of salt, stir everything through and bring to the boil.  Add the homemade baked beans to the sausage mixture, stir, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.  Once cooked through, divide the casserole between 4 bowls, sprinkle over some extra parsley and enjoy.

Whilst it is summer, on days like this, comfort food is called for!  You can use store bought baked beans however home made baked beans make this dish a bit more special.  Likewise use whichever sausages you prefer, there are a good variety of flavours out there so mix it up a bit, give some extra flavour to the dish.  I served this with some mashed potato and it went down a treat.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Crispy breaded chicken & sweetcorn salad with jalapeño and garlic ranch dressing

Crispy breaded chicken & sweetcorn salad with jalapeño and garlic ranch dressing

  • 1-2 Tbsp roughly chopped pickled jalapeno 
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp roughly chopped red onion
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 355ml mayonnaise 
  • 237ml of buttermilk
  • 1118ml of sour cream
  • Small handful of coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 sliced chicken breasts
  • Golden breadcrumbs
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Handful of plain flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salad leaves
  • Chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado sliced
  • Large handful of corn kernels 

In a food processor add the roughly chopped pickled jalapenos, garlic cloves, chopped onion and lime juice. Add the mayonnaise, buttermilk, sour cream, coriander,  garlic, and sugar, pour into a container and place into the fridge.

Place the breadcrumbs, beaten egg and flour into separate bowls.  Dip the sliced chicken into the egg then the flour and lastly the breadcrumbs until all pieces are well coated.

Pour enough vegetable oil into a large frying pan to cover the base by about half inch deep, heat and then add the coated chicken strips, cook for around 20 minutes or so until cooked through and crispy.  Remove from the pan and place onto some kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil.

Plate up your salad, top with the avocado, corn and tomatoes, add the chicken strips and drizzle over the ranch dressing.

This is an amazing salad, perfect for summer.  You can dry fry the sweetcorn to add some charred edges to it, also with the dressing you can increase the heat by adding some fresh chopped jalapeño pepper, adjust it however suits your tastes.  The dressing can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Homemade baked beans with chorizo

Homemade baked beans with chorizo
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Garamond masala
  • Large pinch of oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 X 400g tins berlotti beans
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp balsamic glaze
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 150g sliced chorizo
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • Few grinds of black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes.  Add the oregano and spices and cook for a couple of minutes, add the chorizo and cook for 5 minutes, (this will release the oils which will add to the flavour of the dish) stir in the beans. 

Add the tomatoes to the pan along with the  balsamic glaze, stock and a few grinds of black pepper, bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes (or up to an hour if you have the time).  Just before serving stir through the chopped parsley.

Have to say we loved this dish, we recently made it for a family BBQ and it went down really well.  I used a spicy chorizo which brought a good touch of heat to the dish but you can use milder, it will still taste great.  Whilst I reference 150g of chorizo, basically put in as much or as little as you like.  The dish can be cooked for a shorter period of time but if you can allow an hour the flavours will really develop.  Another quick and easy recipe which is perfect for that BBQ with family and friends

Homemade baked beans with chorizo

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Pastrami & Poached Egg Pide

Pastrami & Poached Egg Pide
  • 8 slices of pastrami (cut into bite size pieces)
  • Large handful of grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 poached eggs
  • 4 cornichons, sliced thinly lengthways
  • Small handful of rocket leaves
  • Turkish pepper flakes
  • Rapeseed vinaigrette 
  • White wine vinegar
  • Melted knob of butter
  • Portion of pide dough (enough for two pide)

Make up a portion of pide dough as per my previous pide recipe and form into two boat shapes. 

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.  Place your prepared dough onto a baking sheet, scatter the cheese over each pide then top with the chopped pastrami and cook in the oven for around 7 minutes.  In a pan of boiling water add a good couple of splashes of white wine vinegar and drop in two eggs and leave for 3 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Once the pide are cooked, remove from the oven, top each with a poached egg, cornichon slices, rocket and a sprinkle of Turkish pepper flakes and lastly a drizzle of the vinaigrette then get stuck in.

This recipe will not disappoint, another one to add to my list of favourite dishes!  The toppings for these pide are endless, what would you fancy?

Monday, 27 May 2019

Chicken Chow Mein

Chicken Chow Mein
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • Half a red pepper thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 nests of medium egg noodles
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 bag of bean sprouts
  • 3 spring onions, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Few grinds of black pepper
Firstly, you need to marinade the chicken for at least an hour.  Place the chicken into a bowl, add 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce, light soy sauce and cornflour, mix well, ensuring the chicken gets a good coating then place in the fridge.

Cook the noodles according to pack instructions and then run under cold water to prevent them sticking together.

Heat the oil in a wok until hot, add the chicken and fry until cooked through, remove from the wok and set aside.  Add the garlic, sliced peppers and spring onions and cook for a couple of minutes, mixing as you go.  Add the noodles, chicken and bean sprouts, stir in the remaining dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, oyster sauce and the sugar and pepper, stir through and serve.

I recently made this dish with the young people at Dormans Youth Club where I teach, it was such a hit I decided to make it myself at home.  This seriously is a contender to rival any chow mein that you get from your local takeaway, you won't be disappointed.  Whilst chow mein is a noodle dish as opposed to a stir fry I did add some sliced peppers, which to be honest was just to add some colour to the dish!  I don't usually make dishes like this simply because I had never made anything that was on a par with food from the Chinese, but this changed my mind, try it yourself and let me know what you think.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Chicken and Artichoke Pide

Chicken & artichoke pide
This Turkish recipe is easier than you may think to make.  With the pide dough you make a boat shaped base which you can fill with a variety of fillings.  For this recipe I am using chicken and artichokes.

For the dough, you will need:-
  • 7g sachet of fast action yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 100 ml cold water
  • 300g 00 grade pasta flour

For the filling you will need:-
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • Jar of artichoke hearts, drained
  • Handful of sliced black olives
  • 1 pepper thinly sliced
  • Turkish chilli flakes
  • 200g grated cheddar cheese
  • Small amount of melted butter
  • Rocket leaves

Put the yeast and sugar into a small bowl, add two tablespoons of warm water, stir and leave to one side.  Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the salt.  Make a well in the centre, pour in the olive oil and yeast mixture.  Combine the mixture with your hands, gradually pouring in the cold water.  Continue to mix until the dough sticks together, if needed add a couple more tablespoons of cold water.  Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a floured surface for 5 or so minutes until the dough is stretchy.  Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave for 30 minutes until it has risen slightly.

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees.  Place in a pizza stone to heat or alternatively if you don't have a pizza stone, line a baking tray with baking paper.

Whilst there is enough dough to make 8 pide, this recipe will make 4, the remaining dough can be frozen or alternatively if making 8 increase the filling ingredients accordingly.

Cut the dough into 8 equal portions.  Using your hands, form 4 pieces into an oval shape.  Dust each side with flour and roll out into a long thin boat shape.  Prick the dough all over with a fork and place on the baking sheet or heated pizza stone.  Place you cheese, chicken, artichokes, pepper and olives onto each pide, leaving a small gap around the edge.  Fold the edges in on themselves and using a fork, crimp around the border.  Bake the pide boats for around 10 minutes until slightly golden.

Plate up, sprinkle over some Turkish chilli flakes and top with a small amount of rocket.  Brush the pastry with the melted butter and enjoy.  I drizzled over some rapeseed vinaigrette  and got stuck in!  

This is a light and tasty dish, you could have with a side salad for lunch or a light dinner.  We both really enjoyed this and can't wait to try something different with the remaining pide dough, watch this space!  What toppings would you try?

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Sardines on toast

Sardines on toast
Another quick and easy recipe.  I was sent these sardines to review with my shopping from Ocado and after a quick ponder I decided on sardines on toast.  To make this tasty lunchtime dish you need the following:-

  • 2 tins of sardines (drained)
  • Handful of rocket leaves
  • Couple of slices of toasted bread
  • 4 eggs
  • Splash of white wine vinegar

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a good splash of white wine vinegar and then drop in the eggs.  There is no need to swirl the water around as the eggs should naturally bind together, I would however suggest cracking each egg into a small ramekin dish as this makes it quicker and easier to drop in to the water, as timing is of the essence. Cook the eggs for 3 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Butter your toasted bread, add some rocket leaves, place on the sardines and then top each slice with a couple of poached eggs and get stuck in!  

For anyone who has never had sardines, they do contain bones but they are so small they are ok to eat.  The sardines I used were in a chilli and garlic oil which gave a subtle hint of flavour to the dish, they were also quite a decent size so you could slice them in half rather than use two tins.  

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Quick and Easy Canapes

Egg & Bacon Vol au Vents

Egg & Bacon Vol au Vents, Caprese skewers, Tuna and Cucumber Wedges

Here are some really easy canapé ideas that can be put together in next to know time, they look great and they taste fab!  The amount of ingredients used will depend on how many canapes you are looking to make so you will need to adjust accordingly.

For the vol au vents I used 3 hard boiled eggs mashed together with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, don't overdo the mayo, you don't want the mixture to be too loose, season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  I had two packs of ready made vol au vent cases (24 cases) which you then spoon or pipe the egg mixture into.  I grilled two rashers of bacon which I then cut into thin strips and placed a couple of slices into each vol au vent and then topped with some cress.  Not only do these look really good but they are so tasty.

Caprese skewers, Tuna and Cucumber Wedges

The caprese skewers are so easy, I used a bag of mini mozzarella pearls, there were 12 in the pack. Drain them from the liquid and pat dry.  You will also need 12 cherry tomatoes, 12 basil leaves and 12 cocktail sticks.  Place a folded basil leaf on top of the cherry tomato, top with the mozzarella pearl and skewer with the cocktail stick, it really is that quick!  I had a bottle of balsamic glaze which I also put out so people could drizzle over themselves but the skewers tasted amazing as they were, the flavours of each component just go so well together.

Lastly for the tuna and cucumber wedges I mixed together one drained can of tuna with half a finely chopped red onion, freshly ground black pepper and a few tablespoons of mayo.  Again, don't overdo the mayo, you don't want the mix to be sloppy it needs to hold together to sit on the cucumber.  I cut a cucumber into 12 thick slices and then topped each slip with a spoon of the tuna mix.  If you like a bit of heat you can add a few drops of tobacco to the mix just to spice it up a bit.

I made these recently for an afternoon tea and they went down really well, great flavours from all of them and again, so quick to put together, give them a try and let me know what you think.