Chicken Pittas with Spicy Rice


Chicken Pittas with Spicy Rice (1)

Due to a busy weekend and general laziness, this is actually the recipe I cooked on Friday night. However, I’m sure it works just as well on a Tuesday 🙂

When I asked hubby what he would like to eat on Friday, I was given this very specific request “Chicken Pittas with Spicy Rice please”. I have never made such a recipe before, however on delving further realised that this is what he eats whenever we visit a particular popular Portuguese chicken restaurant. I am sure you know the one I’m talking about.

I’d never tried the spicy rice at this restaurant before, and so tried to make it as close as possible to the description I was given by hubby. In the end, it wasn’t spicy in any way whatsoever (but it was delicious) – you could pimp it up with some chilli powder if you wanted to.

This is a great recipe to try when you want a healthier (and cheaper) version of this particular restaurant’s menu!

This will serve up to 4, and will take no more than 30 minutes to make.

Chicken Pittas with Spicy Rice (2)

Chicken Pittas with Spicy Rice

For the pittas:

4 pittas

1 tbsp olive oil

250g diced chicken breast

1 tbsp smoked paprika

100g halloumi

Lettuce, to serve

For the spicy rice:

500g cooked white rice

3 tbsps tomato puree

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp olive oil

3 spring onions

1 red pepper

1. For the spicy rice, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the sliced spring onions and chopped red peppers and soften for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato puree, cook for a further minute then add the rice and enough water to loosen it – 200ml should do. Stir in the smoked paprika and cook until heated through – around 7-9 minutes (stir often so that the bottom doesn’t catch).

2. For the chicken pittas, sprinkle the smoked paprika over the chicken along with some salt and pepper. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat, then add the olive oil. When hot, add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until cooked through.

3. To serve, slice the pittas and stuff with chicken, finely sliced halloumi and salad. Serve with the rice on the side. Amazing!

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Slow Roast Mutton


Beetroot and Tomato Soup

It was Mother’s Day on Sunday, and to celebrate my parents invited me, my siblings, the partners and the grandchildren around for a 3 course meal. There were 12 of us in total, and it was great for us all to be there together.

My parents are great cooks, and the food was delicious, so below is a guest post from my mum and dad! Enjoy.

Slow Roast Mutton

“We decided to invite all our family round for a Saturday lunch on the 14th of March. After mulling the recipe books we plumped for mutton and there were no regrets at all. One hour at Hartshorn’s butchers in Oswestry (that story’s for another day) resulted in a 10.5lb leg – we put the oven on at 08:30 and blasted it at 200 degrees (centigrade) for 30 mins and then dropped the temperature to 140 degrees. Potatoes, onion and garlic were placed under the meat at the time the temperature was dropped and it was cooked in the oven  at this low temperature for 7 hours.

Whilst the meat was cooking we popped down to the Stonehouse brewery (to have this gem on your doorstep is to die for) and had a couple of pints of Cambrian Gold – we met all of the children (and grandchildren there too).

Our starter was Hugh F-W’s bloody tomato soup (with beetroot) together with Spanish ham, rocket, parmesan and balsamic vinegar (shot of vodka in the soup optional) …….all twelve wolfed this down.

The main was complemented with purple sprouted broccoli and Alex’s homemade apple and mint jelly!!

Desert (sorry no photo) was Alex’s tiramisu which was sublime…….

We had a Tanners malbec with the main and Prosecco throughout…..”

Roast Potatoes

Carrot, Beetroot and Watercress Salad


Carrot, Beetroot and Watercress Salad (1)

March is a month of contrasts, isn’t it? Particularly here in the UK, some days there can be balmy, mild sunshine which shows off the multi-coloured budding flowers and the blossom on the trees. Other days, like today, there can be a miserable, leaden grey sky and a howling icy wind which destroys the buds and blows the blossom away. I, like most people I’m sure, prefer one of these types of day significantly more than the other.

There was one of these rare sunny days recently. It reminded me that in a few short months, my sister and her fiance are getting married. They’re getting married abroad, which means a beach holiday (and the bikini which goes with it), and it was as such a notification that perhaps the time is here to wean ourselves off stodgy winter warmers, and towards lighter, more bikini body friendly meals.

This particular salad is a happy medium. It is served warm, so is nice when the weather is as miserable as it is today (I resembled a drowned rat when I got home), and is packed full of healthy veggies.

It’ll take approximately an hour in total to make, but it’s very low maintenance and the majority of this time is spent sitting on the sofa, drying off next to the fire. This will serve 3-4.

Carrot, Beetroot and Watercress Salad (2)

Carrot, Beetroot and Watercress Salad

500g baby carrots

6 raw beetroot

2 tbsps olive oil

1 tbsp runny honey

2 tbsps lemon juice

250g ready to eat lentils

100g watercress

75g goats cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Trim the ends of the carrots and place in a large baking dish. Cut the top and tail off each beetroot and slice them into wedges (no need to peel). Add these to the dish along with half of the olive oil. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until soft.

3. To make the dressing, mix the remaining olive oil with the honey and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Towards the end of the cooking time, heat your lentils – either on the hob or in the microwave. Place in a large bowl and mix with the watercress and cooked carrots and beetroot.

5. To serve, share out the salad between bowls and top with a few blobs of goats cheese and a drizzle of dressing. Enjoy!

Pan Fried Salmon with Noodle Broth


Pan Fried Salmon with Noodle Broth (1)

I have unfortunately not been well the last few days – hence my absence from the blog – but I am feeling much better today and was ready for something nourishing and delicious to get rid of the last vestiges of my illness.

This is something I always crave when I’m not quite feeling right. The salmon is obviously wonderfully healthy, packed full of protein and healthy oils. The broth contains garlic, ginger, coriander and lemongrass – they also contain lovely, healthy things (I swear by ginger when I’m not well; I’ll chop fresh ginger and have it in a cup of boiling water – try it, it will cure anything). Mix this with noodles and coconut milk and you have a hug in a bowl.

Helpfully, the meal is also ready in 15 minutes, so perfect when you are tired.

This will serve 2, with extra broth left over.

Pan Fried Salmon with Noodle Broth (2)

Pan Fried Salmon with Noodle Broth

2 salmon fillets

2 tbsps olive oil

1 thumb sized piece ginger

2 cloves garlic

1 stick lemongrass

2 tsps tamarind paste

1 small bunch fresh coriander

400ml coconut milk

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp palm sugar

300g straight to wok style or pre-cooked noodles, any type will do

200g sugarsnap peas

Spring onions and peanuts, to serve

1. Start by finely chopping the ginger and garlic, and adding it to a large pan over a medium heat with half of the olive oil.

2. When it starts to sizzle, bruise the lemongrass with a knife and add this to the pan, along with the sliced coriander stalks and tamarind paste. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes, then add the coconut milk and the same amount again of water. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and palm sugar.

3. Bring the broth to a simmer then add the sugarsnap peas and noodles. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, while you cook the salmon.

4. To cook the salmon, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and add the salmon, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, until the skin is crisp, then flip over and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

5. Stir the chopped coriander leaves into the broth. To serve, ladle the broth into bowls and top with the salmon. Sprinkle over some chopped spring onion and peanuts. Enjoy!

Chicken, Spinach and Paneer Naan Pizzas


Chicken, Spinach and Paneer Naan Pizzas (3)

I got this idea when I was recently making tostados. I love pizza, I love tostados, I love any dough-based dish with cheesy toppings which you can eat with your hands. So, why don’t people make Indian style pizzas? (Feel free to educate me if I’m wrong!)

This is a classic quick weeknight dish. If you have people coming round on a weeknight and don’t have time for something seriously fancy, try making these! Your guests will be impressed that you’ve managed to whip up something so exciting so quickly.

I used shop bought naans – make your own if you have time, it’ll be much tastier and I’ll do this next time I make them.

You could easily make this veggie by leaving off the chicken, and why not have a play around with the toppings? I think lamb and red pepper would work beautifully too, or beef and okra.

This was one of those experiments which goes unexpectedly well, and I implore you to try it!

This will make enough for 2-3, and takes no more than 30 minutes to make.

Chicken, Spinach and Paneer Naan Pizzas (1)

Chicken, Spinach and Paneer Naan Pizzas

2 large plain naan breads

200g fresh spinach

100g cooked, shredded chicken breast

150g paneer

2 tbsps olive oil

1 small piece ginger

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsps garam masala

150g tomato puree

1 tsp sugar

Yoghurt and a small bunch fresh coriander, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.

2. Wilt the spinach in a saucepan with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. When it is all wilted, take off the heat and leave to one side while you make the sauce.

3. Finely chop the ginger and garlic, then add to another saucepan with the remaining olive oil. Sizzle for 2 minutes, then add the cumin, coriander and garam masala. Cook for 1 more minute then add the tomato puree and 100ml water. Stir well, then add the sugar and a little salt. Remove from the heat.

4. Spread the tomato sauce over the top of each naan bread. Squeeze the spinach to remove any excess water, then dot it over the naans. Sprinkle over the chicken. Chop the paneer and add this too.

5. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the naans are crisp and the paneer is golden. Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander and with the yoghurt on the side for dipping.

Chicken, Spinach and Paneer Naan Pizzas (2)

Fennel, Leek and Mushroom Penne


Fennel, Leek and Mushroom Penne (2)

Leeks are one of my favourite vegetables. I love their fresh, slightly fragrant flavour. At this time of the year, in the UK as we approach Spring, they will start to go out of season soon. So, along with my Anglesey Eggs last night, I wanted to produde a few recipes which would celebrate this wonderful, underrated vegetable which somehow manages to cheer up the winter months.

Shortly, as Spring arrives, we’ll start getting lots of new exciting vegetables. But in the meantime, why not make the most of what we have.

This is a moreish, creamy pasta dish which I’m sure you’ll love. It’s completely vegetarian, ready in 20 minutes and warming on a cold, biting day (it’s supposed to warm up by Saturday apparently, but for now the Winter seems to be clinging on…).

This will serve 5-6.

Fennel, Leek and Mushroom Penne (3)

Fennel, Leek and Mushroom Penne

500g fresh penne (or dried equivalent)

10g butter

1 onion

3 medium leeks

1 fennel bulb

200g button mushrooms

200ml half fat creme fraiche

1 tsp dried oregano

1. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water until al dente. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, slice the onion, leeks and fennel. Add to a large saute pan with the butter and cook for 10 minutes until softened. Halve the mushrooms and add these – cook for a further 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the creme fraiche and 200ml water. Add the oregano, bring to a simmer then season with salt and pepper.

4. Mix the sauce with the pasta and leave to sit for 2 minutes. Enjoy!

Fennel, Leek and Mushroom Penne (1)

Find this recipe on the Pasta, Please! link up hosted by Family-Friends-Food and Tinned Tomatoes!

Anglesey Eggs


Anglesey Eggs (2)

With it being St David’s Day yesterday, I thought it only right to share a Welsh recipe today. This particular recipe is one my Nain (Nain is Welsh for grandmother for those who don’t know) used to make often.

My Nain, who lived on Anglesey, was a fantastic cook; we used to love visiting for the delicate scones, fruity bara brith and melt in the mouth Welsh cakes.

This recipe was a speciality and we used to eat it with crispy skinned baked potatoes. I didn’t have time for baked potatoes today, so we had it with crusty bread rolls instead to mop up the cheesy sauce.

Anyway, my Nain gave this recipe to my mum, who also used to make it often throughout our childhood. When I was desparate for a comforting, nostalgic meal one day I asked her for the recipe – and now I’m sharing it with you. It is tasty, cheap and easy, and I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has.

I just googled ‘Anglesey Eggs’ to see if it is a well-known dish, and it seems others do know of it. The recipes I found had potato in them though – that’s not how our family make it!

This will serve 3-4 and takes around 40 minutes to make.

Anglesey Eggs (1)

Anglesey Eggs

3 medium leeks

6 eggs

30g butter

20g plain flour

1 pint milk

80g cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1. Preheat the grill to high.

2. Slice the leeks and add them to a frying pan with 10g of the butter. Saute over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes until soft.

3. Meanwhile, hard boil your eggs in boiling water for 6 minutes. Once they’re done, run them under the cold tap for a couple of minutes, then gently peel them.

4. For the sauce, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan then stir in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Gradually whisk in the milk, then put it back on the heat and cook, whisking all the time, until thick. Stir in most of the grated cheese, and some salt and pepper.

5. Transfer the leeks to an oven proof dish. Lay the eggs on top (keep them whole), then pour over the cheese sauce. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and the smoked paprika, then put under the grill for 5 minutes or so until golden and boiling. Iechyd Da!

Anglesey Eggs (3)

One Pot Sausage, Mushroom and Mozzarella Pasta


One Pot Sausage, Mushroom and Mozzarella Pasta (2)

What could be better, on a weeknight after a long day at work, than a meal which essentially cooks itself? After some brief browning of sausage meat, all the effort this meal involves is throwing it (or placing gently, whichever suits) all in a pan, putting a lid on and returning 15 minutes later for a comforting, oozy pasta dish.

Today, the weather has been the sort that makes me crave pasta. Although it was a comparatively warm start, it was raining buckets and I arrived at work sodden after my miserable 25 minute walk. By the time I left work, the weather couldn’t have been more different (but not in a good way) – it was clear and bright but with an icy, biting wind. Brrr!

So this meal was just what was needed – easy, tasty and like a nice warm hug.

You could easily make this dish vegetarian by swapping the sausages for porcini mushrooms, and using veg stock rather than chicken stock. You should also play around with the type of pasta you use; I went for caserecce which hubby described as “short bits of spaghetti making out”. It sucked the juice up nicely, which was the main thing. Use whatever type you like – be creative – use a shape you’d never heard of before!

This will serve 6 and takes 30 minutes to make.

One Pot Sausage, Mushroom and Mozzarella Pasta (1)

One Pot Sausage Pasta Bake

1 tbsp olive oil

4 good quality sausages

1 onion

250g chestnut mushrooms

2 garlic cloves

1 small glass red wine

2 x 400g tins whole plum/cherry tomatoes

600ml chicken stock

400g dried pasta

20g grated parmesan

150g mozzarella

1 handful basil leaves

1. Remove the casings from the sausage meat and put the meat in a large casserole dish with the olive oil. Cook over a medium heat until starting to brown, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat.

2. Add the chopped onion and sliced mushrooms, cook for a further 2 minutes then add the sliced garlic. Tip in the wine and allow to boil down for 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomatoes (and juice) and stock. Being to the boil, then add the pasta. Turn the heat down to low, put a lid on and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the pasta is just cooked.

4. Turn the heat off, stir through the grated parmesan and torn basil leaves, then tear up the mozzarella and dot over the top of the dish. Put the lid back on for 3-4 minutes until the mozzarella has melted. Enjoy!

One Pot Sausage, Mushroom and Mozzarella Pasta (3)

Smoky Pork and Black Bean Tacos


Smoky Pork and Black Bean Tacos (3)

I’m revisiting an old favourite tonight; beautiful, smoky tacos are just the treat we need on a hump day in a miserable, cold week in February.

I first published this recipe as my Sumptious Smoky Tacos, but firstly, I fancied them again tonight, and secondly, I thought it was about time the recipe got a little makeover.

These tacos have always been extremely popular, and when you taste them, you’ll see why. They have deep, smoky flavours associated with slow cooking but are ready in less than half an hour – what’s not to love?

You can serve the tacos with any mix of sides you like – pile them up! But I served mine with avocado and lettuce (for a bit of health) and soured cream and cheese (because I like them!).

If anyone has the knack of eating tacos with your hands, please let me know! I feel a bit ridiculous eating them with a knife and fork!

This will make enough for 8 tacos and takes 30 minutes max to make.

Smoky Pork and Black Bean Tacos (1)

Smoky Pork and Black Bean Tacos

1 tbsp olive oil

1 red onion

500g lean pork mince

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsps smoked paprika

380g tin black beans

500g passata

Small bunch chopped coriander

To serve:

1 avocado, peeled and sliced

1 iceburg lettuce, chopped

50g cheddar cheese, grated

50ml soured cream

8 taco shells

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the chopped red onion. Sizzle for 2 minutes, then add the pork. Cook until browned, then stir in the cumin, ground coriander and smoked paprika.

2. Stir in the passata and drained black beans, put a lid on your pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Stir in your chopped coriander and season to taste.

4. To serve, arrange the avocado, lettuce, cheese, soured cream and pork on the table with the taco shells and let everyone help themselves!

Smoky Pork and Black Bean Tacos (2)

Greek Sharer with Courgette Fritters


Greek Sharer with Courgette Fritters (2)

What could be better, after a tiring Tuesday, than a meal you can basically put on a platter and eat? (Sure, with this meal there is a small amount of cooking – but this is so easy it barely counts). I love this sort of meal – see my Swedish Smorgasbord or my Greek Salad. They are perfect for Tuesday nights – not only are they seriously easy, but they are fun – sharing is fun, so lighten what could otherwise be a dreary night of the week.

You may notice some similarities between this and my Greek Salad. That is because they are both inspired by our honeymoon in Greece last year. When we were on Kos, we did a bus trip of the whole island. As part of this trip, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant high up a cliff which overlooked a tiny, beautiful cove. It was so peaceful. The friendly waiters brought us a 3 course lunch – bread and olives, then courgette fritters and tzatziki, followed by chicken skewered kebabs. It was a wonderful lunch, with a cool breeze coming off the ocean and the warm sun beating down on us. This is the sort of memory you need in the middle of February.

So, it is no surprise that today, when we woke again to frost and I can hear the rain beating against the window now, that we would want a meal to remind us of that delicious lunch on that beautiful island.

The fritters are the star of the show here – mix and match the additional bits as much as you like. I would advise you make the tzatziki too; they work so well together – but other than this, change the type of bread if you like, make your own hummus if you have the time, add some meat…whatever you like!

This’ll serve 4, and takes 15 minutes.

Greek Sharer with Courgette Fritters (1)

Greek Sharer with Courgette Fritters

2 courgettes

4 tbsps plain flour

10g grated parmesan

2 tbsp olive oil

300ml Greek yoghurt

1/2 cucumber

2 cloves garlic

4 pitta

250g hummus

A handful of green and black olives

10g feta, chopped

1. Put the pitta in the oven at 130 degrees to warm through for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, grate the courgette. Squeeze the grated courgette to get rid of the excess water (it’s good to do this in a tea towel), then put in a large bowl with the parmesan and flour. Mix well.

3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Split the mixture into 6, then roll each bit and squash like a burger. Pop into the frying pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the pan and leave to rest on a piece of kitchen paper.

4. For the tzatziki, grate the cucumber and chop the garlic. Mix with the yoghurt and season with salt.

5. To serve, chop the pitta and add to your serving dish/board with the hummus, olives, feta, tzatziki and courgette fritters. Let everyone dig in!

Greek Sharer with Courgette Fritters (3)