Wednesday 21 July 2021

Sweet and sour chicken


Sweet and sour chicken
Sweet and sour chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts, cubed
  • Garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder)
  • Cornflour
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 100g sugar
  • 125ml vinegar
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 65ml orange juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.  Line a baking tray with baking paper or foil (trust me, you will be glad you did otherwise washing up becomes a real chore!).  Place your chicken pieces onto a plate and sprinkle with garlic salt (to taste) and the amchoor powder and set aside.  Heat your oil in a large frying pan (about 1” deep), keep at a medium heat whilst you roll your chicken pieces in the cornflour (shake off any excess) and then fry for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned all over, once cooked remove from the pan and leave to one side.

Mix together the sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, ketchup, soy sauce and orange juice, season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper in a saucepan.  Heat this on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Lay the chicken out on the baking tray and pour over the sauce.  Bake this in the oven for an hour (turning every 20 minutes) until browned and crispy and serve, it’s as simple as that.

I served this with some rice and an assortment of Chinese appetisers which went down really well.  Trust me, once you have made this dish you will never buy store bought or takeaway again, it is so good.  Whilst the sauce contains chilli sauce it isn’t actually that hot, the orange juice evens out any heat.  The amchoor powder is readily available at most  ethnic supermarkets, that said I haven’t tried the recipe without so I can’t say exactly what flavour it brings to this dish so you may be ok without if you can get hold of it.

Mark’s top tip - To change this up and turn it into chilli chicken chop up some fresh chillies and scatter over the chicken after you have poured on the sauce, that will give a real kick to the dish.

Saturday 3 July 2021

Eat them to defeat them Carbonara


Eat them to defeat them carbonara
Eat them to defeat them Carbonara

  • Handful of tender stem broccoli
  • Fusilli pasta 350g (varies on how hungry you are)
  • 200g cubed pancetta
  • Handful of chopped Chorizo
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Large handful of sweetcorn
  • Large handful of peas
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the trimmed broccoli and simmer for 3 minutes, remove the broccoli and set aside to cool down.  Once cooled, chop into small pieces.  Leave the water in the pan as we will use this to cook the pasta in.

Bring your saucepan of water back to the boil and cook your pasta according to packet instructions, add the peas and sweetcorn (frozen is best).  Whilst the pasta is cooking place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the pancetta and chorizo, they will release their own oils so no need to add oil to the pan.  Lower the heat and continue to fry until crispy.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain (reserve some of the liquid) and then add the pasta to the frying pan, stir well to ensure the pasta soaks up the oils from the pancetta and chorizo.  Remove the pan from the heat, add about 3/4 cup of the reserved water and the egg yolks and stir to create a creamy sauce.  Stir in the broccoli , season with pepper and then sprinkle over the grated Parmesan and serve!

This is a great recipe to include a variety of veggies in and certainly inline with the schools, the kids are definitely eating them to defeat them with this recipe.  If you want to keep to a vegetarian dish omit the meats and add more veggies to the mix, the more the merrier.

The kids both loved this dish and it got two thumbs up from them both, hope you enjoy as much as they did.