Saturday 25 February 2017

Harissa chicken with roasted tomatoes and avocado salad

Harissa chicken with roasted tomatoes and avocado salad
I've decided to add some quick and easy recipes to the blog just to demonstrate its not always a case of having to buy loads of ingredients to make a dish.  You also don't have to be chained to the kitchen doing the prepping and cooking.  

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes on the vine (5 or 6 each)
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 black olives, sliced
  • Handful of crumbled feta cheese
  • Rocket leaves
  • Olive oil spray
In a bowl mix the yoghurt, harissa paste and lemon juice together and add the chicken breasts, make good sure both get a good coating and then place into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.  Place some tin foil onto an oven tray and put the chicken breast on one half and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven, place the tomatoes onto the tray and give a spray of olive oil, return to the oven and cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Whilst the chicken and tomatoes are in the final stages of cooking, put together your salad.  For this salad I combined rocket leaves with cucumber and red onion which I then topped with the sliced avocado, crumbled feta and olives over which I drizzled a nice rapeseed vinaigrette.  Plate up the chicken and tomatoes and get stuck in!

This is a light and tasty recipe, pretty much no carbs and fills you up, happy days.  This would be great to do on the BBQ in the summer, you can't beat a chargrilled crunch!

This recipe is adapted from a Joe Wicks recipe in Lean in 15, which I have to say contains quite a few tasty looking recipes, another one I will be doing on Sunday!

Sunday 19 February 2017

I think I have a crush!

Crush Chipotle and Garlic Mayo
I was recently sent some vegan mayo to try from the lovely people at Crush Foods.  I must admit I wasn't aware initially that it was vegan, I saw chipotle mayo and I was there! After realising it was vegan, which basically means there is no egg, I started to wonder what I was letting myself in for, I have to say, I love mayo and go through quite a lot and to my mind, how the heck can you make mayo without cracking a few eggs! 

Well V day arrived (see what I did there lol), and I received a jar of the Chipotle Egg Free Mayo and the Garlic Egg Free Mayo; first impressions, packaging looked good, quite eye catching and certainly something that would jump out at me if I saw it on the shelves of a farm shop or in Waitrose.  Now the big test, what does it taste like? Well both mayo's have a vibrant colour to them which I found very appealing, and on opening the jars you couldn't be mistaken as to what they were, they both smelled divine-  the garlic one would cure a cold on one sniff alone and the chipotle mayo you knew there was some spice in there!  Given the mayo is mainly rapeseed oil based, it is a lot runnier than your egg based variety, it's very smooth and silky and spreads like a silken sheet!  I'm not going to lie, I had a small taste of each and whilst packed with flavour I couldn't help but think this isn't mayo!  I think my initial reasoning for this was the consistency, you could definitely tell there was no egg in it, I think we are so used to just dolloping mayo onto things, this mayo, you definitely couldn't dollop, it would be more of a splat!

The above aside, I set my mind to what I could make to use both of these mayo's.  My first dish I came up with to use the garlic mayo on was a vegetarian onion bhaji burger.  This is a cheats dish as everything was pre-bought, I just assembled it but oh my god, this was so tasty and easy to put together.
Crush vegetarian onion bhaji burger
  • Mini Naans
  • Onion bhaji burgers (I purchased these from Waitrose)
  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 grated cucumber
  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt 
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • Beefsteak tomato, thickly sliced
  • Mango chutney
  • 2 tbsp Crush garlic mayo
  • Baby gem lettuce

I knocked up a cucumber mint raita, combing the mint, yoghurt and grated cucumber.  Once done, I cooked the bhaji's according to the packet instructions in the oven along with the mushrooms and grilled the mini naans (2 per person).  I spread the Crush garlic mayo on one of the naans, then I topped this with a couple of baby gem leaves and placed a mushroom on top and then the tomato and the bhaji.  I topped this with the raita and spread the mango chutney onto the second naan and placed this onto the burger.  

 Vegan  Baby Gem Wraps

For my vegan dish, I made a variation of my tostadas deluxe recipe.  I replaced the flour tortillas with baby gem lettuce and omitted the feta cheese.  I drizzled the chipotle mayo over each of the lettuce cups to complete the dish.

Well, despite my previous comment about the consistency, using both mayo's in the dishes they worked so well, packed with flavour, they really enhanced each dish and gave them that extra hit.  I may not be a vegan but I certainly wouldn't have any hesitation in using Crush egg free mayo, packed full of flavour and so many possibilities to use it with, I definitely have a crush!  Go on, give them a try, you know you want to! 

Follow Crush foods on Instagram @CrushFoods and twitter @CrushFoods

Sunday 12 February 2017

Chilli Chicken

Chilli Chicken

  • 250 grams of boneless chicken pieces, cubed
For batter:
  • ½ cup of plain flour 
  • ¼ cup of cornflour or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
  • ½ tsp of black pepper powder
For stir-frying:
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 1 cup of cubed onions
  • ½ cup of cubed capsicum (bell pepper)
  • 2-3 green chillies, slit
  • 1 tsp of crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp of grated ginger
  • 1 tsp of tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp of vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp of sliced spring onions 

Mix all the ingredients for the batter and add enough water to make a thick batter (similar to bahji batter), add the chicken and mix well so all the chicken is coated.

Heat oil for deep frying in a large frying pan or a wok, when the oil is smoking hot add the chicken pieces (you will need to do this in batches so you do not crowd the pan) and fry on a medium heat until golden brown and slightly crispy - once cooked drain and set aside.  Continue with the next batch until all of the chicken is cooked.

Remove most of the oil from the pan/wok and add the onions, ginger, garlic, and green chillies, sauté until the onions turn transparent and soft then add the soy sauce, vinegar and tomato ketchup, cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the fried chicken pieces and peppers, mix well then sprinkle some water over the top and cover the pan.  Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes, uncover, mix well then serve garnish with spring onions.

Who needs to get a takeaway when you can make this restaurant quality meal yourself in the comfort of your own home!  You can adjust the chilli quantity to suit your own needs, I do go a bit hotter but that's just my preference.  We love this dish and usually serve with egg fried rice.  Eating in can be the new eating out with this dish!

Monday 6 February 2017

Sweetcorn fritters with avocado, poached egg and mint chutney

Sweetcorn fritters with avocado, poached egg and mint chutney

It's meat free Monday, whilst I did think some nice crispy bacon would have gone nicely with this, guess what, I didn't miss it in the slightest, this dish was so tasty, meat free Monday's are becoming a regular feature in our household!

  • 200g tinned sweetcorn
  • 40g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 large free-range eggs, 1 of them lightly beaten
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped plus extra leaves to garnish
  • Grated zest 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 ripe avocado
For the chutney
  • 30g fresh mint leaves
  • 15g fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 garlic clove,minced 
  • 1 small green chilli
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime

Put all the chutney ingredients into a food processor with 2 tbsp of water and blitz until smooth, then transfer to a bowl.

Clean out the food processor and then blitz half of the sweetcorn until it forms a coarse paste.  Add this to a bowl along with the rest of the sweetcorn, flour, chilli powder, cumin, beaten egg, chopped coriander, lime zest and a good pinch of salt - mix to a batter.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan then spoon the batter into the pan to form 4 circles.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side on a low medium heat until golden.  Set aside and keep warm.

Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil, add a few splashes of white wine vinegar and then add your eggs.  It is useful to crack each egg into a small dish beforehand so you can just empty them straight into the pan.  Cook the eggs for 3 minutes and remove with a slotted spatula.

Divide the fritters between two plates then serve with a good dollop of chutney, half the sliced avocado, a poached egg and a few coriander leaves.

I served this dish with a salad and it made a really satisfying yet light meal, a big hit in our house and I will definitely be making this again.  Next time I might add some finely chopped spring onions and fresh chilli to the batter mix, give it an extra crunch and hit of flavour.  Hope you enjoy! Recipe from Delicious Magazine.

Thursday 2 February 2017

The Petey Pablo Burger

The Petey Pablo Burger

This post coincides with the 100,000 views of my blog; it's a handsome recipe from my friends at Handsome Burger and is champion, pretty much how I am feeling at the moment.
Really cannot believe that in just under 2 years I have had so many views of my little old blog, feeling a tad emo at the moment lol.

What you will need:

For 4 6oz burgers:
• 4x brioche buns

20oz of high quality, high fat content (20-25%) beef. We normally use a mixture of chuck, skirt & short rib to keep the patties really flavoursome & juicy. We also ask our butcher to put through the mincer 3 times for added softness & a nicer texture.

• Then you need some high quality Chorizo – we use Gubeen smokehouse from Cork here in Ireland as it has a fantastic flavour but any high quality chorizo should do. This is not an exact science but around 75/80g should do the trick.

• Then you need smoked paprika, chipotle chilli flakes (These are quite hard to find but I know they have them in Marks & Spencers), Thyme (fresh is preferable) & sea salt.

• Some decent cheddar or jack (4 slices). Unfortunately sliced cheddar (American – Don’t judge me) is the best cheese for burgers as the way it evenly melts over the beef patties is heavenly.

For Roquito Salsa:
• 1/5 of a Jar of Roquito or Peppadew peppers. These can be found in Tesco & are absolutely delicious.

• A handful of cherry tomatoes.
• 1/2 red onion.

• A handful of fresh coriander.

For chunky Guac:
• 2 x ripe avocadoes

• Another handful of coriander

• 1 x lime

• 1 x fresh Chilli (optional depending on how much spice you like)

1. Flatten out all the mince on to either a large flat bottomed bowl or a chopping board (for an even spread of chorizo & seasoning). Then sprinkle the chipotle chilli flakes, smoked paprika & thyme leaves over the meat until there is a nice even spread and all of the mince is covered. We use quite a lot of paprika & thyme & slightly less chipotle chilli flakes as they have quite a strong distinctive taste.
2. Take your chorizo & blend it up in a food processor until it is completely smooth almost like a paste.. Once this is nice and soft spread the chorizo over the seasoned meat evenly until it is almost completely covered.
3. Then roll the meat evenly in to 4 large meatballs (not in the shape of a burger) and place in the fridge for around 30mins to cool off & bind the meat.
4. While the patties are in the fridge finely chop the tomatoes, red onion & roquito peppers and mix together in a bowl until you have a fine salsa, with an even amount of tomatoes & roquito peppers, slightly less onions. Add a small amount of coriander then salt & pepper to taste.
5. Once this is done, we move on to the chunky guac. I just split the avocadoes in half & squeeze the inside out. Then add coriander, the juice of a lime & some lime zest, salt & pepper. If you like spicy add a fresh chilli but there is already a good amount of heat in the burger.
6. Finally make some paprika mayo, adding 1-2 teaspoons to a small amount of mayonnaise then mix it until it has the right flavour.
7. Once the patties are slightly firmer, heat some olive oil in a large pan with a lid (not needed until the end). Once it is piping add the meat balls one at a time. When you place them in to your pan, flatten them down by hand until in a patty shape (but don’t overdo it to maintain some size.) Once all 4 are flattened, season with some nice sea salt.
8. Once the burgers are sizzling the best advice I can give you is to not touch them but make sure they are not getting stuck to the pan. The more you move them the more fat & flavour you will lose.
9. Let these cook for about 4 minutes either side, it may be slightly different depending on your cooker & how well you like them cooked.
10. When the patties are turned at the half way point lightly toast the brioche buns leaving the bottom bun on slightly longer than the top. Once they look good add the paprika mayo, salsa & guac to the bottom bun.
11. When the burgers are ¾ done add the slices of cheese to the top of the burgers & add a slash of water to the pan before putting the lid on. With around 20 seconds to go add the top bun & another small splash of water.

Finally add the patties, cheese & steamed bun to the bottom half, sit back & enjoy.

Well this recipe will knock your socks off that's for sure, I def recommend adding the extra chilli if you are a bit of a heat fiend, you won't regret it.  I served up this bad boy with a portion of feta fries and they both did the job, go on, give it a go, you know you want to!

Recipe courtesy of the lovely guys at Handsome Burger