Thursday 30 March 2017

Lime & Chilli Chicken Burger with Greek Yogurt Guacamole

Lime & Chilli chicken burger with Greek yogurt guacamole

  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Olive oil
  • Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tbsp Greek natural yoghurt
  • 2 burger buns
  • Lettuce and tomato slices to serve

In a small blender blitz 1 tbsp olive oil, half the lime juice, coriander and garlic with all the lime zest, chilli and ginger, then season.  Pour this over the chicken and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.  Mash the remaining garlic, coriander and lime juice with the avocado, add the yoghurt and season, then mix thoroughly.
Heat a griddle pan until very hot, wipe any excess marinade off of the chicken and cook for around 5 minutes each side or until cooked through (cut into the chicken to check for any pinkness!).  Toast your burger buns and fill with the guacamole, lettuce and tomato, topping off with the chicken breast. 

This really is so quick and easy to prepare which belies how tasty this is!  Perfect with a good old portion of chips, just what you need after a hard day at work!  If it’s a bit carb heavy you can omit the burger buns and use lettuce to wrap around the chicken, guacamole and tomato (notice I didn’t say omit the chips lol).  Enjoy!     

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Lazeez Lebanese Tapas

Beirut beef burger and fries

I was a bit undecided as to what to have for lunch so headed to Boxpark Croydon for a mooch around to see what took my fancy. 
I had decided to go back to Greek on the Street and get the chicken takeaway box however it was pretty manic in there so I headed off to check out what else was on offer.  Having done a circuit within Boxpark I decided to try out Lazeez who specialize in Lebanese tapas.  
There seemed to be a good choice on offer, a variety of wraps, salads, tapas, soup and the Beirut burger which comes with fries.  Whilst it all sounded very nice I opted for the Beirut beef burger and fries.  Before ordering, the staff member informed me it came with cheese. He said you could get cheese with the chicken option as well, but generally it’s just with the beef option, as it goes better. He asked about what salads I wanted in the burger, by my puzzled look he then said did I want the usual and sauces to which I said yes, it just seemed easier! 

I waited around 15 minutes for my order which when you consider they make it fresh to order is not that long, that said, a few people who placed orders after me got theirs ahead of me!  The guy behind the counter went to hand me an open tub of fries and my burger; given I had ordered takeaway I would have expected the food to be bagged up. I had to ask for a bag at which point the staff member put a lid on the pot of fries and placed them along with the burger into a bag.  
By the time I got back to the office to eat I was starving and looking forward to getting stuck in to my lunch.  This is pretty much where my eager anticipation ended!  There was a decent amount of fries within the tub, however upon opening the burger wrapper I couldn’t help but feel this didn’t quite look like the burger advertised in the restaurant.  On taking the top bun off to inspect the contents I wasn’t quite expecting to see the charred excuse for a burger not to mention no cheese either.  I took one bite of the burger; there is a big difference between chargrilled and carbon,  this kind of reminded me of the burger that gets left on the BBQ and sits there for the duration, neither appetizing in taste or in appearance! 
  I had just paid £8 for this, which to be frank on the basis of what I received I don’t think is good value for money so I decided to take it back as it clearly was inedible.  On returning they did offer to make me another one which I declined as I couldn’t wait a further 15 minutes, they also pointed out that the burger is chargrilled, however I pointed out there is a difference between chargrilled and charcoal which is what the burger resembled!  
I’m not entirely sure if this is the norm or I just got unlucky, I hope it was the latter, if not the promise of “meat cooked over a charcoal grill and sprinkled with herbs to give it natural taste and flavour” is clearly not a true representation of what is actually on offer.           

Just incase anyone feels I am being slightly unfair, I have attached a couple of photographs.  I do hope this is a one off but I can only go by my own experience, sorry if it’s not a true reflection of the usual standard but at the end of the day each burger, wrap or salad should be as good as advertised.  Would I go back? Not in a hurry! Here is my burger and the advert....can you spot the difference?

Beirut Burger from Lazeez

Sunday 19 March 2017

Exotic Mango Coconut Cheesecake

Exotic Mango Coconut Cheesecake

  • 140 g Sweet Coconut Biscuit Crumbs
  • 50 g Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 5 Leaves Gelatine
  • 100 ml Coconut Milk
  • 280 g Philadelphia Light
  • 90 g Caster Sugar
  • 275 ml Whipping Cream, Whipped Until Thick
  • Finely grated zest of 1 Lime
  • Fruit from half a mango, cubed
  • 50 ml Of Mango Puree

I'm more of a savoury kind of guy, however I have my moments and will make desserts and boy am i glad I made this one. Whilst its a cheesecake, it was light and fluffy, and kind of mousse like. Perfect for a dinner party, and not to heavy after a starter and main course. will definitely be making this one again. 
To make the base:
Combine together the biscuit crumbs and melted butter and press into the base of an 20 cm loose-bottomed cake tin and chill whilst preparing the filling.
To make the filling:
Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water until softened, then drain well. Meanwhile heat the coconut milk until warm. Add the softened gelatine and stir until melted. Mix together the Philadelphia and sugar until smooth. Gradually whisk the gelatine coconut milk into the Philadelphia mixture and then fold in the whipped cream and lime zest. Spoon the mixture over the biscuit base and smooth the surface. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.
To decorate:
Just before serving, decorate with the mango cubes and mango puree.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Tuna fishcakes

 Tuna fishcakes
  • 300g potatoes
  • 160g tin of tuna
  • Olive oil
  • Small handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp plain flour plus extra for dusting
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Firstly peel the potatoes and cut into small chunks.  Cook in boiling salted water for around 10-15 minutes or until you can push a skewer through with no resistance.  Drain the potatoes and leave to steam dry in the pan.  

Once you have let the potatoes steam dry for a few minutes, mash them up in the pan, spreading them evenly around as you want the mash to cool.  Once cooled, add the drained tuna, egg, tbsp flour, chopped parsley, good pinch of salt and a good few grinds of black pepper.  Zest the lemon into the pan and then mash and mix everything well until it is all combined.  Dust a large plate with a little flour, divide the potato mixture into 4 and then lightly shape and pat into circles.  Put the fishcakes onto a clean plate dusted with flour and pop into the fridge for around an hour in order that they firm up.

Heat a couple of tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add the fishcakes and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until crisp.  

I served these fishcakes with a nice side salad, topped with mayonnaise and a few splashes of Kankun Habanero Sauce, coupled with a rapeseed vinaigrette dressing and boy did these go down well, filling and tasty and a def must make again!  These can be made with salmon but I personally prefer tuna.

Recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver

Saturday 11 March 2017

Carrot, chilli and red lentil soup

Carrot, chilli and red lentil soup
Well all I can say is this soup is especially perfect this time of year, warming and filling, just what you need!
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 long red chilli, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 750g carrots, cut into rough chunks
  • 100g dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Small handful of chopped coriander
  • Sour cream

Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a lid over a medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli, then cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes until slightly softened.  Add the curry powder and tomato purée, then cook for 1 minute more or until fragrant.

Add the carrots and lentils.  Stir, then add the tomatoes, stock and 1 litre of water.  Season and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45-60 minutes until the carrots are tender.  Cool slightly, then blend using a stick blender until smooth.  Stir in the lemon juice and bowl up, adding a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of coriander to each bowl.

Whilst the recipe calls for mild curry powder I only had hot, however this was perfect as we love a bit of a kick as you know!  I made this as a starter for a recent dinner party, the main being my Nice n Spicy Beef Curry - I therefore served some sliced naan bread with the soup instead of bread or rolls.  

This is such a tasty soup and soooo easy to make, it went down well and I will definitely be making it again soon once I have gotten through the portions I froze!  This recipes serves 6 with decent sized portions.

Recipe courtesy of Delicious magazine.

Sunday 5 March 2017

Nice n Spicy Beef Curry

Nice n Spicy Beef Curry
  • 1kg braising steak, cut into cubes
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Garamond masala
  • 2 tbsp natural full fat yoghurt
  • Couple of glugs of olive oil
  • 2 large onions finely chopped
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
  • A knob of fresh ginger, grated to make a tbsp
  • 2 good squirts of tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 X 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml beef stock
  • Small handful of coriander, leaves separated, stalks finely chopped
  • 5 cardamom pods - bashed lightly so they just split
  • A small handful of dried curry leaves
  • 4 fresh green finger chillies - cut in half

To make the spice mix
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp madras curry powder

Up the beef cubes into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with the farm masala, add the yoghurt and a good glug of olive oil.  Season with a little more salt and a good amount of black pepper.  Give it a good mix so the beef is coated, cover with cling film and leave to marinate for at least an hour.

In a dry frying pan over a high heat, toast the cumin, coriander, fennel and fenugreek seeds, keeping the, moving so they don't burn.  Just a couple of minutes will do - until they start to smell nice.  Now put them into a spice grinder or use a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder.  Stir in the turmeric and curry powder, mix well and set aside.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large cast-iron casserole dish.  Add the onions, garlic, ginger and a little seasoning.  Give it a good stir and then cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft, giving it a stir a couple of times.  Add the sugar, spice mix and tomato purée, stir for a minute before adding the tomatoes,,stock, chopped coriander stalks, cardamom pods, curry leaves and chillies.  Throw in the beef, give it a good stir, then cover the pan with a lid.  Place the dish into a pre-heated oven, (160 degrees) and cook for 4 hours, stirring every hour.

This recipe was recommended to me by my friend Joanne and boy am I glad she did!  This curry is packed full of flavour and has just the right amount of kick (obviously add more chillies if you like it really spicy).  I served this with some coriander rice and the usual dips and poppadoms, perfect for a Saturday night with friends, the recipe serves 4 with good sized portions.  

Recipe by Gordon Ramsay