Oriental Quinoa salad with sticky Chicken for BBC Radio Leicester

Last week saw temepratures reaching to up to 35 degrees in some parts of the UK,maybe more Im not sure, that was on the Wednesday.  I knew I was on the radio with Ben for BBC Radio Leicester on the Friday so I knew I had to do something light. I did not want to be in and out the oven when the sun is blazing through.  
   So I thought I’d share a recipe that I did last year just by chance one day for lunch. It’s a salad thats just so refreshing and crunchy when the days are hot, very simple to make and lets face it with the words sticky chicken in it, its got to be a winner.

  Its chose to use Quinoa ( pronounced Keen-wah ) as its high in protein but also is a wheat alternative, so it will fill you up but not bloat you. Don’t be afraid of cooking it, its very simple.

  This Salad is a great way of introducing different grains into your children’s diet or even your own.  You can either Pan fry the chicken like I did or even marinate the chicken with the sauces and then pop onto the BBQ.

  You can hear me doing my recipe here with Ben and by the way, If you can’t see much Chicken left on some of the pictures, well, thats Ben’s fault.


Oriental quinoa salad with sticky Chicken:




Ingredients:
(Serves 2 approximately)

Chicken:

–  1 Chicken thigh for 2 people sliced into strips
–  1-2 tbsp the oil of your choice ( I used coconut oil, Lucy Bee )
–  1-2 cloves of Garlic depending on size
–  Thumbnail amount of grated fresh Ginger
–  1/4 Red chilli (without seeds) chopped finely
–  Tbsp light soy sauce ( Mine is from Wang Fung Hong in Leicester )
–  Tbsp Oyster sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
–  Good pinch of caster sugar
–  good squeeze of lime juice
Salad:

–  A good handful of Quinoa cooked
–  Handful of sugar snap peas thinly sliced lengthways 
–  2 handfuls of bean sprouts
–  1 carrot thinly sliced ( julienned) 
–  1/4 of side of White cabbage thinly sliced
–  3 spring onions chopped
–  3-4 leaves of Pak choi sliced diagonally 
–  6 radishes round or breakfast sliced into thin rounds
–  few leaves of fresh coriander chopped
–  May need an extra spritz of lime to taste


Method:





*  Cook off Quinoa to packet instructions. Then rinse in a sieve under cold water and drain.

*  Slice chicken and fry off in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add Garlic, ginger and chilli and fry off for a couple of minutes.

*  Once Chicken is starting to brown, add your soy stir and cook for a minute or two.

*  Add your oyster sauce, stir and cook for another minute.

*  Sprinkle in your sugar, spritz of lime and let it cook on a low heat for another 3-4 minutes or until nice and brown and sticky.

* Whilst your chicken is cooking away, prepare your salad.

*  Add your cooked quinoa to the salad, add your Chicken, chopped coriander and then toss all together.

*   Taste to see if it needs extra lime or not. Then serve.






Bruschetta with Asparagus, Soft cheese and Homemade "Sun-Blushed" Tomatoes




One thing you will know about myself already is how passionate I am about Seasonal Food and I don’t care how many times I will repeat myself in saying this.  I feel very lucky to live in Britain and what amazing seasonal produce is all around us.  Of course I also try my best with this subject in my own Kitchen Garden.

  One seasonal Vegetable that I yearn for at this time of year and I am totally honest when I say I will NOT touch it grown from any other country but Britain, and that My readers is the Sexy, Slinky Asparagus. I know I am quite a frugal Queen, but I don’t mind a little splurge with this! 
  There is just something about the taste of our British Asparagus that is NOTHING compared to other countries who grow it. Ours has a lovely Sweet, yet Earthy and Nutty taste, not to mention the Lovely Vivid Green colour that it gives off. 



  This year, the British Asparagus season starts today, Thursday 23rd of April but prior to this, and this is just how passionate I am about seasonality. I decided that Myself and my fiancé would travel all the way over to the Wye Valley, Ross on Wye to be precise to get my hands on the very first few bunches that were starting to be sold.  My friend Ben Jackson called this “Mental Asparagus searching” which I like that! 

So to kick start off my Asparagus recipes, I wanted to do something very Easy, Fresh and clean cut, not to overpower the taste. This recipe just hit the nail on the head.  You may remember about 3-4 weeks ago I made my own “Sun-blushed” tomatoes, well I decided to use those in this recipe but of course made a fresh batch last week. It worked a treat! 


Bruschetta with Asparagus, Soft Cheese & Homemade “Sun-blushed” Tomatoes:




Ingredients:

–  Good Quality bread. I used Multigrain Rye bread. Sourdough would be great too.
–  Good Quality British Asparagus, Mine was from the Wye Valley
–  Homemade “Sun-blushed” Tomatoes or bought 
–  Soft Cheese or a mild Goats Cheese
–  The oil that the “Sun-blushed” tomatoes sits in
–  2 tbsp Rapeseed oil
–  Ice and cold water in a bowl



Method:

*  Take a Large Bowl and place in  some Ice cubes and cold water

*  Boil a small amount of water in a large saucepan

*  Take your Asparagus and take off the bottom, the woody stalk end with a knife. About an inch.

*  With a Veg/potato peeler, peel ever so slightly down about an inch 1/2 of the top layer of asparagus skin at the bottom. You will see this reveals a lovely bright vivid green.

*  As soon as you have done this, plunge the Asparagus into the Iced water, this will keep it that vivid green colour.

*  Slice your bread and drizzle some rapeseed oil onto the bread. place in a Frying pan to colour each side

*  Once your Water is Boiling, plunge your asparagus and cook for roughly 2-3 minutes depending on size.

*  When Bread and Asparagus is cooked, Start to assemble your dish and voila! A lovely starter, breakfast, Lunch…the List goes on! 



Sweet Potato, Kale and Bacon Hash topped with Poached Egg




Ive always loved Kale and its different varieties, have done for years.  Love all greens really, but with the curly Kale option, I find it is so easy to just throw into any dish to give you that extra green oomph for your vitamins in a day. I eat it that much, maybe I should think of putting it on my growing list for my Kitchen Garden this year? 

  Recently I threw together a dish of “odd’s and sod’s” that were in my fridge and made a sublime little supper for myself.   The recipe did of course, suprisingly involve Kale but in a rather different way…with Bacon and Egg. 
  I am always going to cook this recipe from now on as it is so quick, it uses things up and theres hardly any ingredients to it. You can tweak a few things but these ingredients work through being sweet, yet salty, all manners of different tastes.  
  
  If you are going to try this recipe, You must go and buy some Sriracha sauce first. I have been using it in my Asian cooking for years and it is my favourite Hot sauce.  I drizzle it on a lot of foods including Hot spicy noodle broths. It seems now a lot of major sauce brands are trying a version them selves. I’ll never change my brand though. 
So Here is my simple Supper, or maybe even a Brunch recipe? An easy dish for an occasion? With an optional Hot sauce.



Sweet Potato, Kale and Bacon Hash topped with Poached Egg:

Ingredients:
(For 1 approximately)

–  1 Tbsp of Rapeseed oil
–  1/2 Tbsp of Maple syrup
–  1 large Garlic Clove finely diced
–  1/2 Red Onion sliced finely
–  1 Sweet potato diced roughly
–  1-2 rashers of Bacon chopped
–  couple of small Handfuls of Curly Kale
–  1 egg for poaching
–  2 tbsp of White wine vinegar for the poaching
–  To finish, some Sriracha Hot Chilli sauce for on top if required. 
  (I buy mine from Wang Fung Hong in Leicester)

Method: 

*  Boil the Sweet potato until soft.

*  Take out the Sweet potato with a slotted spoon and place onto kitchen paper on a plate.Leaving the water in the saucepan for your Kale.

*  Fry off the Bacon in a frying pan, then after a minute or two add the onions.

*  Pop in the Kale to the saucepan to cook for about 2 minutes.

*  Add the drained Sweet potato to the frying pan mix and add the garlic.

* Pop in the maple syrup to make the sweet potato caramelise and the bacon taste wonderful.

*  Drain the Kale on kitchen paper. Add to the Hash mix.

*  Poach your egg.

*  And Serve… Adding the Sriracha sauce if you wish.