I thought I’d share with you another recipe from my column that I did a couple of months back. This dish has been in my life for a long time and I always make these for many different occasions. I even make them for just a snack, they are that moorish!
So, I think the earliest memory of me having a version of this dish, must have been when I was only about 4 years old. But back then, they would wrap it all up in a large lettuce leaf. It is quite a retro dish for these days but I have come up with a version that I feel never dates or fails.
The sauce is something I have been having for years with these, noodle soups and Chinese dumplings so I thought I’d share that with you too. When you drizzle that sauce on top, it will give it a real kick.
I love serving these little cups when entertaining, they always look great served up on trays for people and they always seem to get an “ooh” when they come round. You can also use this recipe for a starter one night, a light Lunch or even on a Chinese banquet as my “Chinese nights” always seem to end up as!
They are very quick to prepare and they don’t break the bank to buy the ingredients either.
Lately I’ve being seeing a lot of Pork mince reduced so if you aren’t sure what to do with it, buy it and fear no longer.
Chinese pork lettuce cups:
– 1 tbsp of Rapeseed oil or you can use, sunflower or groundnut oil
- Pork mince 35og will make about 12 cups
- Half a green chilli chopped finely
- 4 Spring onions, half of pork mix, half for garnishing
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice blend ( I use Spice Kitchen )
- 1 tbsp of Light soy sauce ( Mine is from Wang Fung Hong in Leicester )
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- small grating of fresh Ginger (about a small thumbnail amount)
- 2 Little Gem lettuces
- For the garnish: Thinly sliced cucumber
Thinly sliced Spring onion
Thinly sliced carrot (julienned)
Handful of fresh chopped coriander
Red chilli chopped finely
- 2 tbsp of Sriracha sauce ( Mine is from Wang Fung Hong)
- 1 tbsp of malt vinegar
- 1 tbsp Tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- sprinkle of chilli flakes ( put more if you want it hotter )
- sprinkle of caster sugar
N.B If you find the sauce is too tangy, sometimes I add 1/2 tbsp Oyster sauce to this also.
- In a wok or a frying pan start to fry off the spring onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for only a minute.
- Add your pork mince and stir for a couple of minutes breaking up all clumps of the meat.
- As your pork mince is starting to turn brown, add in your Chinese five spice and again, stir for a couple of minutes
- Add in your soy sauce, stir and when your Pork is cooked, turn your heat down just to keep warm.
* Assemble your Pork mince into the lettuce cups, garnish and serve with your sauce.
I wasn’t going to post this as I did this about a year ago now, but a friend of mine changed my mind.
I had been talking about this to my friend which I though most people did this I.E marinating cheese but he said he hadn’t ever tried it. He looked very interested in it and started asking me what the process was and how long it took. He knows that Feta isn’t my favourite cheese also which made him even more interested. When I did this to the Feta Oh my! I will always do this with it and experiment with other cheeses too. In fact I may have to do it again this weekend as its great to have in your fridge when friends come round unannounced or even for nibbles.
It gives a really nice unique flavour to it and also turns a “basic, no frills” cheese into a speciality one. When you do this to feta, you also get a fantastic oil to work with, so do not get rid of it. It works fabulously tossed through pasta or rice and drizzled over bread to make Bruschetta’s, its just heavenly. Not to forget, a ready made salad dressing in itself.
This would be a great present for a foodie lover, possibly for Christmas, a Birthday or even to turn up to an al fresco party of some kind. Just imagine, you have an old Jar left over from something, spend 90p roughly on a block of Feta, use up some herbs and oil, stick a bow on it and what a great gift that will surely bring a smile to a friends face.
– An Empty Jar, approximately one that had 300g/300ml product in, sterilised
– A block of Feta or Greek style salad cheese approximatley 200g
– Olive oil or Rapeseed oil to fill the Jar
– Handful of “Sun-blushed” Tomatoes
– Selection of fresh herbs such as Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano and Lemon Thyme just pulled not chopped
– 3-4 Garlic cloves bashed
– Small handful of Black peppercorns
– Few slithers of chopped red chillies or chilli flakes
* Its very simple: You put all ingredients into the jar and let it sit in the fridge for about a week for all the flavours to infuse and you are done!
I normally like to keep my work recipes separate to the ones I do on here, but occasionally, I just have to share some with my readers and this recipe is one of them.
The weather today here in the Uk is a scorcher so I felt I had to share this with you for a perfect easy, quick dinner that won’t have you sweating over the oven!
These are a great favourite in our house especially at this time of year and throughout Summer. I tend to cook these as a great Sunday alternative and of course when the Sun is out, the BBQ can be lit. We don’t tend to buy Lamb that often because of price, but if your budget takes you a bit further, it’s a great treat to have. I always freeze some down so that they are there when money doesn’t stretch that far.
Ive added a spice of Ras el hanout which is a spice blend from North Africa. It is widely available now and gives it that extra flavour such as Garam masala does in Indian Cuisine. It is a great Blend that can be used in many recipes, of which, I do!
Once all wrapped up, these are so Juicy and fresh tasting with all that salad packed in and of course with the little added bonuses of Lemon, Yoghurt and pickled chilli peppers, It’s a match made in Heaven.
Once you’ve had these, you’ll be making a lot more I assure you.
Lamb Kofta Wraps:
(Makes approximately 14 Koftas)
- 500g Lamb Mince
- 2 Tbsp Rapeseed Oil
- 1 medium Onion diced finely
- 1 tsp Ras el hanout ( I use Spice Kitchen for all my dry spices, they are fantastic)
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin,
- 1 tsp Ground Coriander,
- Half of a small Green Chilli chopped finely
- 2 cloves of Garlic Chopped Finely
- 1/2 Tsp Chilli Powder
- 1 Level Tbsp Tomato Puree
- Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper for seasoning
- Small handful of Fresh coriander chopped finely
- A selection of Salad leaves such as Watercress, Rocket, Mizuna (to give a peppery) taste
- White Cabbage Sliced fine (to add crunch) You could use Iceberg if you can’t get it.
- Salad Cress
- Red onion sliced through the whole onion very finely
- Cucumber sliced fine
- Fresh Mint leaves
- Fresh Coriander Leaves
- Soft Tortilla Wraps , If you want to have a go at making your own Flatbreads, I have my recipe click here
- Plain Greek Yoghurt
- Lemon to spritz over
- Pickled Chillis ,if required, to add extra hotness and authenticity (Can be bought in most world sections of supermarkets)
- Fry off your Chopped Onion and add your dry spices (Ras el hanout, Cumin, coriander and Chilli powder). Cook for a minute, stirring and allowing not to burn.
- Add your Garlic and fresh chilli and cook for another minute or two or until onions have started to colour and your Garlic isn’t burning.
- Add some salt and pepper to season and pop this mixture into a bowl to cool.
- In a separate Bowl place your Lamb mince, tomato Puree and a little more Salt and Pepper. Pop into this bowl, all your onion and herb mixture.
- Mix all ingredients together with your hands and add your Chopped Coriander.
- Take a small handful of your Kofta mix and start to form a ball in your hands, then slowly shape more into an oval shape. Do this repeatedly with all your mixture.
- * N.B If you do too many you can freeze them at this stage.
- Fry off your Kofta’s in a little oil as with lamb you wont need too much. Turning so that each side is cooked well.
* Warm your Tortillas to packet instructions and then assemble your Wrap. Add a little salad, then meat, then salad. Spritz Lemon, add chilli if you wish and drizzle with Yoghurt and you’re ready to go!
Between Saturday 13th and Sunday 21st of June this year it is National Picnic week. A great opportunity for families and friends to get outdoors and involve food and drink.
I personally love picnics, I don’t do enough of them but am determined to have more this year, as I love being outdoors and love the countryside. I feel it’s a great way for children to experiment more with food and also learn things such as the wildlife around them from being outdoors.
Picnics are a great frugal way of spending time together with your loved ones and getting people involved with food. Now it doesn’t have to be all about “beige food” either, be as colourful as you can with food on picnics, use up your leftovers to create rice, pasta and noodle salads. Look in your fridge and come up with what you can. Don’t feel you have to go and buy a load of food in, thats the beauty of it, creating what you can on a budget, and thats exactly what I did here for this weeks Food Friday with Ben Jackson on my regular slot on BBC Radio Leicester. (Listen here)
I took a look at what I had that was on its last legs, of which were my lovely British vine tomatoes and an Aubergine I bought the day before for 10p!
I decided to do a lovely Summer tart, It is super easy to do, will cost you less to nothing but has some great punchy flavours.
Even if Picnics aren’t your thing, you may have some friends over for some “Al fresco” dining which I can assure you, this will impress them immensely!
One thing to also state is the versatility of this, you can change the vegetables to something such as Peppers or courgettes. Or as Ben suggested, crumble some feta on top.
I know one thing, I will be making many different versions of this including a courgette one, when mine come to harvest and look out for some more Picnic recipes for you to try soon.
(One Block of 500g Puff Pastry will make 2 Tarts)
– Some Plain flour for sprinkling
– Half block of 5oog Puff Pastry
– One medium sized Red Onion sliced
– 2-3 large tomatoes sliced into wedges
– A Few thin slices of Aubergine
– 2 cloves of Garlic finely chopped
– A selection of fresh herbs, I used Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary
– Sea salt and Cracked Black pepper to season
– Drizzle of Chilli oil over the top if you wish or You could use Rapeseed or Olive oil
* Preheat Oven to 200-220c
* Roll out your Pastry on a floured surface with a Rolling pin to just under a Pound coin’s thickness.
* Score slightly with a knife a couple of cm’s in around the Edge of the Pastry to allow to puff up at the sides.
* Prick with a fork a good few times so that the Pastry won’t rise to high.
* Place your Red onion slices on, then your Tomatoes, Season with salt and pepper and pop in the Oven for 10 minutes.
* After 10 minutes, place your Aubergine slices in between the slices of tomato, add your Garlic, herbs and drizzle your oil over and place back into the Oven for a further 10 minutes or when the tart is Golden brown with no “Soggy bottom”
Often when it comes around for myself to do Food Friday again for BBC Leicester, which is about every month now. I love to look at what I have already in my Fridge and Cupboards as I want to show people how it is great to tackle a few ingredients and see what you can come up with. I like to show how we can be more frugal by using up things we have and creating something that is quick, easy and has that wow factor. Other times I have to admit, there maybe a certain recipe I want to cover may it be a particular event or season in the Calendar year. I have the skills of being a Chef so I obviously want to share that knowledge with our Listeners.
I had to laugh at Ben’s reaction to when I told him what I had decided to cook. His response was, “Apparently we are doing something spectacular with a cauliflower!” Which I do believe our little humble cauliflower over the last couple of years has lost its pizzaz. I personally LOVE cauliflower (Has to be British over personal choice mind you). It is so versatile and I hope to share many other recipes, however it is going out of season, but still widely available. I won’t tell you what you can do with it as you will just have to listen Here at Ben and Myself chatting about this fantastic Vegetable.
One thing I need to add is that since I did this recipe for BBC Radio Leicester, I actually feel that they should have been called Patties rather than Fritters as with a Fritter it is more likely to be covered with a Batter, which these are not.
Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Kale Fritters:
Makes about 20 fritters
– 1 Whole Cauliflower broke into its florets
– 3 handfuls of Curly Kale chopped
– 1 1/2 sweet potato chopped into 1/3’s if large
– 1 medium onion diced finely
– 3 cloves of Garlic
– 1 tsp of Cumin seeds or ground if have it ( I use Spice Kitchen for all my spices )
– 1 tsp of Ground Coriander
– 1/2 tsp of Turmeric
– 1 tsp of mustard seeds
– 1/2 tsp of chilli powder (hot)
– 1/2 large green chilli diced finely
– 1 Lime
– Small handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
– Plain flour to coat fritters
– Rapeseed oil
– Salt and pepper to season
* Boil the Sweet potato until soft, take out of pan and dry onto some kitchen paper.
* Boil the cauliflower until soft.
* Fry off the onions and all spices, leave to one side to cool.
* When the Cauliflower is soft, take out with a slotted spoon, pop onto kitchen paper to dry. Leave water to keep boiling for the Kale to go in.
* Cook the Kale for a couple of minutes and once again, dry off with kitchen paper and chop down.
* Into a Bowl mash with a potato masher all the veg and add the onions and spices. Add Salt and Pepper to season.
* Add the chopped parsley, mix all together and start to make a ball in your hands with mixture, pat into a fritter/Patty shape, dust with plain flour and fry off in a hot pan with rapeseed oil in.
* Fry for a few minutes each side and serve in a bowl with salads, chutneys and wedges of Lime.