Prawn, veg and wild rice stir fry.

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So you’re itching for a takeaway this weekend but you either don’t want to spend that much money or maybe you just want to be healthy? When I created this for my regular slot on BBC Leicester, it had very popular interest. I was so pleased how many people loved it. This is my kind of food that I can just grab my wok, my chopsticks and Chinese bowls and cosy up on a chair and devour it with no guilt whatsoever. Not that I do when it comes to food!

Theres lots of flavour in this dish and crammed with veg. Another great thing you will like is if you cook and cool the rice the night before, you can whip this up in about 8 minutes, yes really.

This recipe can be tweaked a little to your taste, a lot of my recipes are, so if you don’t want say the chilli in it then take it out.

Hear me cooking it for Ben’s show on BBC Leicester by clicking this link.

Ingredients:

( Serves 2 )

  • 1 tbsp of raw coconut oil ( veg or sunflower if not )
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 thumbnail size amount of fresh ginger
  • 1 small carrot or half a large carrot sliced thinly ( Julienne )
  • 1/2 a red pepper sliced thinly
  • 1/2 a yellow pepper sliced thinly
  • a handful of sugar snap peas sliced thinly lengthways
  • a good handful of edamame beans (soya) frozen and defrosted
  • 2 large leaves of spring greens sliced ( or use any greens you can i.e pak choi, kale or chard)
  • 12 or more if you require of large prawns ( I used frozen cooked and then defrosted)
  • 150g of cooked wild basmati rice and cooled.
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean sauce ( widely available in Asian supermarkets ) More if you want more hotness to it.
  • a pinch of caster sugar.
  • 1 spring onion split in half and sliced thinly
  •  handful of fresh coriander chopped.

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Method:

  • Fire up your wok and add in your coconut oil, once evaporated and hot add in your peppers, after a minute add in the carrot and stir or toss around the wok.
  • Then add in your sugar snap peas and again cook for about another minute.
  • By this point pop in your garlic and ginger and allow to cook for a further minute.
  • Add in your edamame beans, then spring greens and toss around the wok.
  • Then pop in your prawns, stir and then add your sauces and sugar. Allow to cook down for a further minute.
  • Add your wild rice and cook for a couple of minutes allowing it to heat through again.
  • Finish off with your spring onions and coriander and serve into bowls.

 

NB*  If you have any left over, keep cold for the next day for lunch. Makes a great alternative to a boring sandwich.

 

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Orzo with Pumpkin, feta and bacon.

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The wind is just starting to calm down. Earlier it was howling around the outside of the house and the wind has a bitter chill to it. The weather is a little confusing somewhat at the moment as Spring is trying its best to break through. There’s even blossom on the trees already. Unless we are just left with bare branches from this storm!

Days like today need a bowl of comfort food for dinner and back in October last year I created this recipe that is perfect for today. I actually came up with it for my regular slot on BBC Radio Leicester for using up leftover Pumpkins but you could easily substitute it for Butternut squash. You will be able to knock this recipe up within 15 minutes. So stay warm and cozy away from Storm Gareth and I can guarantee you will be back for seconds.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tbsp rapeseed oil or oil of your choice
  • 150g orzo pasta
  • 1/4 medium sized pumpkin chopped into 1inch sized pieces
  • 1 large red onion or 2 small red onions diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 slices of smoked bacon sliced
  • A good sprig of fresh sage finely chopped
  • 1/4 chicken gel stock pot
  • 100 ml water roughly
  • Handful of rocket chopped
  • 50 g feta cheese crumbled
  • handful of fresh flat leaf parsley chopped

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Method:-

  • Preheat oven to 200 c fan. Place the pumpkin into a baking tray and drizzle with rapeseed oil. Cook for roughly 15 minutes or until starting to soften and sorting to brown around then edges.
  • In a saucepan in water cook the Orzo to cooking instructions ( normally 10-15 mins)
  • Then in a frying pan fry off in rapeseed oil the onion for about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, stir and cook for a further minute or two.
  • Add in your bacon and fry off until cooked and browned around the edges.
  • By this time the pumpkin will be done so add to the frying pan the pumpkin and stir. Cook for a further minute. Add in your orzo pasta.
  • Then add in your sage,  chicken stock and water, stir and cook for a further 2-3  minutes.
  • Add in your feta, stir and then add in your rocket and parsley and you are ready to serve.

Roast Autumnal salad

 

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It’s very easy to grab our favourite comfort foods at this time of year as the weather starts to change but we need to also keep eating something thats going to be good for us. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to be having soups and stews but we still require something light.

This Autumnal warm salad will boost that vitamin c needed. It is super easy and looks great and colourful. You can also put some squashes in there including using up Pumpkin if you like, which is perfect for this time of year.

Those earthy flavours just burst out into this salad pairing perfectly with the honey, fennel and goats cheese. This mixture could even go onto a puff pastry tart or a great pizza topping.

This recipe is for my regular cooking slot on BBC Radio Leicester. Ady Dayman filled in for Ben Jackson who I usually do the show with. I have to admit though, I have felt shocking over the past couple of days. I have been really ill, even as I write this so the recording isn’t usually as thorough as it normally is. I do apologise! However I could’nt let my listeners down and plodded on through as I enjoy doing the show much. More reason why I did this dish really so I could try and boost my immune system!

Click here to hear the recording.

Roast Autumnal salad of beetroot, carrots, goats cheese, honey and fennel:

 

Ingredients:

(Serves 2)

Roasted vegetables:

  • Roughly 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil.
  • A good handful of fresh beetroot 3-4 good size peeled and chopped into chunks ready for roasting.
  • 3 good size carrots peeled and sliced into chunks for roasting also.
  • 2 red onions chopped into chunks.
  •  Sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper to season.
  • 1 tbsp honey ( I used local Leicestershire honey )
  • a good sprig of lemon thyme, thyme and oregano ( If you can’t get lemon thyme, use a little lemon in there )

At the end of roasting add :

  • Handful of fennel fronds/tops chopped loosely
  • chopped chives
  •  2 handfuls of your choice of greens for the salad.  I used mizuna in mine, but you can use any peppery salad such as rocket, watercress or even Spinach.
  • 100-150 grams of goats cheese crumbled
  • Any oil and honey left in the roasting dish. Use to drizzle over the salad.

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Method 

  •  Preheat oven to 180c.
  • Par boil carrots for 5 minutes, just to soften them slightly.
  • Roast Beetroot for 10- 15 minutes in Rapeseed oil
  • Then add in your carrots and roast for a further 5-10 minutes.
  • Then pop in your Red onion and herbs. At this point add more oil if needed and coat all vegetables in honey.
  • Place back into the oven and roast for a further 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. I like to have my beetroot still having a little bite as it tastes more earthy.
  • Once out of the oven , add fennel and chives to the mixture. Sprinkle in the goats cheese.
  • Place on top of your leaves or toss together. Add any oil and honey from the roasting tin and more goats cheese if you wish.

 

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Linguine with sausage meatballs and chard

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This seasonal pasta dish will be on the table in under 20 mins. A great dish for this weekend if you have guests coming over. It has a velvety sauce that will wow your guests but it’s not too filling. It’s also great for a quick midweek meal when you have a couple of sausages left in the fridge.

It can be adapted if you can’t get the lovely seasonal chard either to spring greens or cavolo nero ( dark kale ). Maybe a friend who has an allotment or veggie patch will gladly give you some.

I think sometimes chard can be pushed aside slightly. Many people I speak to shy away from it as they aren’t sure how to use it. It sometimes can confuse people with its large leaves and stems. I personally love the veg and feel it should be showcased more. It’s beautiful colours are a delight to look at. Especially as we are in Autumn now. Mine are still growing well in the kitchen garden, some have bolted as I want them to go to seed but the others are fine.

I may even grow some more over the coming months.

Listen here where you can hear me cooking this super simple, quick and inexpensive recipe for Ben Jackson on BBC Radio Leicester.

 

Linguine with sausage meatballs and chard:

 

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Ingredients:

(Serves 2)

Sausage Meatballs:

  • 3-4 pork sausages ( Meat taken out of the skins )
  • A small handful of fennel fronds/tops chopped
  • A sprig of sage chopped ( 4 leaves )
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Pasta:

  • 200g, linguine ( I used dry )
  • Good glug of Rapeseed oil ( I use cold pressed )
  • 1 medium sized red onion diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic chopped, use 2 if very small
  • 4-5 chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • A good pinch of chilli flakes or you can use fresh.
  • 2 large handfuls chard chopped roughly, stalks a little smaller. If you can’t get chard, use spring greens or cavolo nero.
  • 1/4 gel pot of chicken stock
  • 2 ladles hot water from the pasta
  • Slug double cream
  • fresh parmesan grated

 

 

Method: 

  • Cook linguine to packet instructions
  • Mix together the sausage meat, herbs and seasoning and create small meatballs. This will make roughly 16 small sized ones.
  • Whilst that is cooking, fry of the onion in rapeseed oil on a medium heat for a minute, then add in the mushrooms. You may need to add a little more rapeseed oil.
  • After a couple of minutes bring your mixture to the sides of the frying pan.
  • Add in your meatballs into the middle and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring as you go.
  • After a couple of minutes, add in the garlic and toss all together.

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  • When the meatballs are starting to brown slightly, pop in the chard.
  • As it cooks down, add in your chilli flakes and chicken stock.
  • Add in the water from the pasta and reduce down for a minute or two.

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  • Drain off your pasta, keep some water if you feel you need to add a little more.
  • Add a slug of double cream and a little grated parmesan

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  • Add your pasta to the sauce using tongs or a spaghetti spoon so you don’t add too much at once. Fold the velvety sauce through the pasta.
  • Serve into large pasta bowls and add a sprinkle of grated fresh parmesan.

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Warm pearl barley salad with courgettes, leeks, herbs and chicken.

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Even though Autumn has now arrived and we saw the equinox appear on Friday, we are still in that “in-between stage” as I call it certainly food wise.

I cooked this recipe on my regular BBC Radio Leicester slot with Ben Jackson a couple of weeks ago. I came up with the recipe because we are still having lovely bouts of sunshine and like in my garden, I am still harvesting the last of the summer vegetables. I still have Courgettes, baby leeks, carrots, beans, lots of herbs and many more to list. Great for me to create even more recipes with in the next few weeks.

I feel at this time of year we are in the middle of wanting comfort food but maybe somedays you still want food that is quick to prepare, healthy and feels light when eating.

This is a great recipe also for using up leftover Roast chicken. So if you usually have chicken for a Sunday Roast, or in midweek then this is a perfect meal to come up with after. I also wanted to showcase how to use pearl barley in a different way rather that just in stews/casseroles and highlight the lovely herbs in this dish. Pearl barley is inexpensive and you don’t need to use a lot of it.

 

Click here to hear me with Ben Jackson on BBC Radio Leicester showing you just how quick and simple this meal is to prepare.

 

 

Warm pearl barley salad with courgettes, leeks and chicken. 

 

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Ingredients:

  • 75g of cooked pearl barley , I cooked mine in a little chicken stock and seasoned with cracked black pepper and sea salt once cooked.
  • 2 tbsps of rapeseed Oil.
  • 2 knobs of unsalted butter.
  • 1 1/2 – 2 Courgettes sliced to the thickness of a one pound coin.
  • 2 baby leeks or 1 small leek finely sliced.
  • 1 large spring onions or 2 small sized ones finely sliced.
  • 2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped .
  • Approximately 100g of leftover roast chicken, shredded. ( I used chicken thighs and cooked mine in rapeseed oil with garlic, lemon thyme, oregano, sage, dill and fennel. Plus seasoned. I also added a few slices of lemon.)
  • A good handful of fresh herbs such as dill, fennel fronds, fennel pollen and mint finely chopped.
  •   A few Squeezes of fresh lemon.
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to season.
  • If you want to keep this recipe vegetarian then simply leave out the chicken and chicken stock.

 

Method:

  • Fry off your courgettes for a couple of minutes in rapeseed oil.
  •  Add in your garlic and stir. Then pop in your leeks and cook for a further minute. Again stirring or tossing around the pan allowing your garlic not to stick or burn.
  • Add the white parts of your spring onion, stir and then add in your butter. Cook for a further minute.
  • By now the courgettes will be cooked and glossy with the butter. Season with cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt .
  • Add to this mixture your green part of the spring onions and take off the heat.
  • Sprinkle in your fresh herbs but save some dill and fennel fronds for serving.
  • Pour your mixture into a bowl, add to this then your shredded chicken and pearl barley, Squeeze a little fresh lemon into the mix and give it a good stir.
  • Serve into large bowls, add the remaining dill and fennel on top and a little extra squeeze of lemon ( if you like it extra zingy ).
  • You can serve this on its own or with some toasted bread ( a batard type ).  Use the same frying pan to lightly toast your bread if you do and it will give it wonderful flavour.

 

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