Prawn, veg and wild rice stir fry.

IMG_0545

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.

IMG_0547

 

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.

 

IMG_0549

 

 

 

Orzo with Pumpkin, feta and bacon.

IMG_2328

 

 

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

IMG_2323

 

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.

Linguine with sausage meatballs and chard

IMG_3179

 

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:

 

IMG_3167

 

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.

IMG_3155

  • 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.

IMG_3159

  • 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

IMG_3161

  • 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.

IMG_3176

 

Barbecued provencal mussels

IMG_2939

 

There’s nothing more I like that cooking outdoors. Wherever I can do it, I will. Yesterday was in my lovely little garden which is great as I can pick whatever herbs, fruit and vegetables I want. I get really bored of typical bbq food, i.e. burgers, hot dogs, sausages etc…that a lot of us Brits do. So if you are like me and want to cook something easy but a little more adventurous then this recipe will be for you. Especially if you like seafood!

IMG_2924

The only thing I would stress is that cooking outdoors, some bbq’s, fire pits, outdoor ovens with have different strengths to how hot they are and how quick things will cook. It also will change in time to how much other ingredients you put in there along with the mussels.

IMG_2922

Ingredients:

( Serves two as a main course portion )

  • A 1kg bag of fresh Mussels ( Mine were Scottish )
  • half an onion diced finely
  • 1 small courgette diced finely
  • A good handful of tomatoes. Sliced in half. I used my own homegrown ones which were golden ones and some piccolo red ones.
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • A few slices of a funnel bulb diced finely and also a few fronds
  • A handful of parsley ripped roughly
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • A good splash of white wine. I used Sauvignon blanc. Plus a good splash for yourself!
  • 2 knobs of unsalted butter
  • Also I used a branch of bay, thyme and Rosemary to smoke underneath the embers. The smell is amazing!

 

IMG_2925

IMG_2932

Method:

  • De-beard and clean your mussels including taking off any barnacles. Rinse them under cold water.
  • Make a bag/parcel with foil and place in your Mussels plus all other vegetables and herbs. Add your wine and place the butter over everything.
  • Close up your foil parcel and place onto your bbq.
  • This will Cook for roughly 12-15 minutes ( Times may vary ) If you are cooking with just the mussels, it will take less time.
  • After half way through take off and check how far it is cooking. Stir will a spoon and place back on the bbq.
  • When everything is cooked through, take off, pour into large bowls and serve with some crusty buttered bread.

IMG_2937

IMG_2945

Chicken, red wine casserole with parmentier potatoes and local king cabbage

 

 

img_1104

 

Even with how many recipes I develop on a day to day basis, it still begins to amaze me when a dish turns out fantastically especially when you were just using the odd thing up in your cupboards and fridge.

It was last month on a Sunday and I said to my partner I was going to do a bit of a fridge/cupboard raid for dinner. I called it a chasseur at the time just because it was cooked in red wine but I’ve decided to call it a casserole as it was cooked the same way.

This recipe blew my mind with how the red wine tasted in it. The wine I use isn’t too expensive but one of which we love in our house. A South African Stellenbosch.

Earlier on in the day we had been to our local garden centre to actually look for another blueberry plant to help with pollination. We did get one. However when we first turned up, they had these huge King cabbages for sale at only 40p! As you can see by the picture below, it had these vivid green and purple tones that were just mesmerising. I knew it would taste nice and would stretch to lots of meals for us.

img_1081

This was the sort of meal that for an occasion, date night maybe or a Sunday that you are fed up of the same roast, this a great alternative and so easy to cook. It somehow feels a little extra special but still comforting and warming at its best.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts ( Or 1 per person )
  • 4-5 chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
  • a knob of unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped/sliced however you like
  • 1 large leek sliced
  • 1/2 celery stick chopped
  • 3/4 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • a sprig of thyme
  • a good handful of chervil, if you can’t get use a little parsley and tarragon
  • 250ml red wine ( I used a South African Stellenbosch )
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree, may need to use a little more
  • Chicken stock, Use a 1/4 gel pot or homemade. You need enough to create a lovely sauce. I used about 300ml of water. Add more if need be.
  • salt and cracked black pepper to season

Parmentier Potatoes:

  • 6/7 medium sized potatoes, I use marfona Peeled and chopped into squares
  • A handful of rosemary
  • 3-4 garlic cloves crushed
  • Plain flour for dusting
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
  • 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil

 

IMG_1083

Method:

  •  Preheat your oven to 190c

 

  • In a heavy bottomed casserole dish, seal off the chicken breasts in some rapeseed oil.

 

  •  Take out your chicken once starting to colour and pop aside. Then in the same pan add a little more oil and a knob of unsalted butter and fry off your onions until starting to soften.

 

  •  Add in your carrots and celery and stir. Then add all other ingredients . Pop the lid on and place in the oven for about 45 mins-hour.

 

  • In the mean time you can prepare and cook your potatoes. Blanch the potatoes in boiling water for 3-4 mins.

 

  •  Drain and sprinkle your flour over the potatoes coating them.

 

  •  Place a baking/roasting tray in the oven with a little rapeseed oil in it. Once hot pop the potatoes onto it ( it should sizzle ) with the herbs and garlic and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or when crispy, golden brown.

 

IMG_1086

 

  • Once the casserole and potatoes are done. Best way to cook this cabbage is boil your water first and then once rapidly boiling plunge into the hot water. It will only need about 4-5 minutes cooking maximum and will stay vivid green.

 

  •  Once the cabbage is cooked, serve all together and enjoy.

 

 

IMG_1095