Korean pancakes with leftover roast beef

As you can probably gather from my blog, I don’t have the sweetest tooth. In fact, I’d go as far to say I’m not really a fan of sweet things. THERE, I SAID IT!

I wanted to share with you my version of these savoury pancakes I made last night, a variation on this great recipe from the Three Little Pigs blog ❤ thank you, ladies!

This version serves 2 and takes about 20 mins from start to finish. It’s a great alternative to sweet pancakes, and possibly the best way of using leftover roast beef EVER.

What you need

For the dipping sauce

  • 1 tsp of sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 3 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 ½ tsp of rice vinegar

For the pancake mix

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of water, plus a splash extra if the mixture is too thick
  • 1 large egg (preferably free range!)
  • 100g of cooked beef, shredded or thinly sliced (reserve some for serving if desired)
  • half a courgette, spiralized or use a peeler to cut into ribbons
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • handful of coriander leaves, for serving
  • Sunflower oil for cooking

What to do

For the dipping sauce, mix all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

For the batter, combine the flour, water and egg. Add a splash more water if the mixture is too thick. The add in the remaining ingredients, mix well and season with a little salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. When hot, ladle in half of the mixture and spread around the pan so it cooks evenly.

Cook on a medium heat for about 5-6 minutes until the bottom turns golden brown. Shake the pan every minute or so to ensure it doesn’t stick. Flip the pancake and fry for a further two-three minutes on the other side, until the cooked through and the pancake is crisp.

Repeat the process one more with the second half of the mixture. Cut the pancakes any which way you like, or serve whole. Top with the coriander leaves and extra shredded beef (if reserved), drizzle on some of the dipping sauce and serve with the rest of the sauce to dunk!

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Cheshire Food Blog

Recipe: Lean, Hearty Turkey Curry with Cauliflower ‘Rice’

As part of my move towards a healthier lifestyle, I have tried to rely less on carbohydrates at meal times and focus more on lean meats, fresh veggies and lots of FLAVOUR. At first, the concept of cauliflower rice did not appeal to me in the slightest. Cauliflower isn’t the most exciting of vegetables in terms of flavour… Which is probably why it’s often teamed with cheese in the classic cauliflower cheese dish, to jazz it up a little.

However, I was blown away when I first made the so-called ‘cauli-rice’. I do have a food processor, so I must admit, to make it this way is very easy. To get to grips with it, I first read this great article by BBC Good Food which sets out all the different ways you can make it, both with and without a food processor. Below is the method I follow (with a food processor) but feel free to check out the link to see which method is best for you. I find the method below turns out great each time both in terms of taste and texture. 1 large cauliflower head can make anything up to 6 portions of ‘rice.’ It can portioned up and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen, so great to prep-ahead on a Sunday if, like me, you have more time then!

This recipe serves 2, with some leftovers for lunch or the curry can be frozen. It takes about 40 mins to prep and cook. Let me know if you give this recipe a try!

What you need:

  • half a medium-sized cauliflower
  • tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g turkey breast (or chicken), diced into 2-3cm chunks
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup organic chicken stock (I use Kallo)
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp Rapeseed oil (I use Calvia)
  • 200g steamed broccoli
  • 1 few handfuls spinach
  • fresh coriander (optional)

What to do:

To make the curry…

  1. Heat 2 tbsp Rapeseed oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the diced red onion and cook for 3 minutes, until it softens and begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic and chillies and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the spices and stir well for 2 minutes, until the fragrance is released. Add the diced turkey breast and stir well to coat well in the spices, cooking for 5 minutes or so over a medium-high heat so the meat browns.
  3. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and the chicken stock, cover and simmer for 25 minutes over a low heat. Check occasionally and stir as needed.
  4. Once the timer is up and the sauce has thickened, add the cooked broccoli and spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes until hot. Serve with the ‘cauli-rice’ below.

To make the cauliflower rice…

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C and get out a large, flat roasting tray.
  2. Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and most of the thick core. Roughly chop into large chunks.
  3. Add a few pieces of the cauliflower chunks to the food processor at a time (as not to overload). Using the pulse setting, blitz for 30 seconds or so, until the cauliflower resembles fine rice, or couscous.
  4. Toss the ‘rice’ in a drizzle of Rapeseed oil and season with a tsp of ground cumin and some freshly ground black pepper. Tip: don’t add salt, apparently that tampers with the texture!
  5. Spread the ‘cauli-rice’ out to a thin, even layer on the roasting tray, and roast in the oven at 200C for 12 minutes, mixing it up halfway through cooking.
  6. If desired, top with some chopped fresh coriander and serve with the above curry recipe.

Lean Sausage Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a dish I really, really love. It pretty much hits alllll the mid-week dinner sweet spots: nutritious, check. Quick, check. Minimal washing up, check. It’s also perfect for a weekend brunch, especially when you team it with bacon and warm baguettes like I did with my ‘Hungover Breakfast.’ But, if you’re looking for something different and healthy to rustle-up in the evenings: then this variation of the dish for you.

This is probably as good a time as any to point out how versatile this dish is too: if you don’t like mushrooms, swap them for diced peppers, or leave them out. If you’re not keen on spice, skip the cayenne pepper. If you’re veggie, lose the meat and add more of the stuff you like. If you’re feeling naughty and fancy using all pork sausages then WHY THE HELL NOT! In this version, I use half pork sausage and half chicken sausage. This isn’t because only half of me was feeling healthy that day, honestly… It’s because my boyfriend’s ‘bulking’ and I’m doing exactly the opposite – so sometimes we just have to meet halfway. Using all of either sausage, or a mix of the two doesn’t matter. It still tastes great, so do whatever you fancy.

The possibilities really are endless with this dish. I’d love to see your creations, so make sure you tag me @sophiesscran if you try this one!

This recipe serves 2 hungry people and you should have some leftover for lunch (bonus). It takes about 30 minutes to prep and cook from start to finish. Equipment-wise, all you need is a large, heavy based frying pan and a working grill.

Lean Sausage Shakshuka <3
Lean Sausage Shakshuka ❤

What you need:

  • 2 chicken breast sausages, I use these ones from the mighty Muscle Foods
  • 2 lean pork sausages
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 60-70g sliced mushrooms (about a quarter of a punnet)
  • 2 heaped tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • fresh coriander to serve (optional)

What to do:

  1. First of all fry (in a little coconut oil) or grill the sausages until just cooked through, then slice and set aside.
  2. If you’re using the same large frying pan, give it a quick wipe with some kitchen paper, then add some more coconut oil and gently fry the onion for 2-3 minutes. Then add the sliced mushrooms and stir-fry until softened.
  3. Pre-heat the grill to medium (180° C).
  4. Add the garlic to the pan and stir well, then add the spices. Stir everything really well as the spices release their aromas.
  5. Add the sliced sausage back to the pan, along with the tin of chopped tomatoes and stir. If the mixture looks a little dry add just a splash of water, and bring to a gentle simmer for 8 minutes or so while the sauce thickens.
  6. Make some space for the eggs, then crack them on top of the mixture and lightly season to taste. Transfer the pan to the grill and heat at 180° C for 3-4 minutes, checking them regularly to ensure the eggs are cooking gently. Reduce the heat slightly if needed.
  7. Remove the pan from the grill and top with finely chopped coriander, and if you like it spicier, some hot sauce on the side!

 

I was recently contacted by Adjustable Beds to see if I wanted to take part in their “Breakfast In Bed” eBook which is coming early 2016. I have submitted this recipe to be part of the eBook, as I think this is a lovely recipe to eat in bed with a brew on a lazy Saturday morning!

Keep a look out for the full eBook coming in January next year, I can’t wait!

Cheshire Food Blogger

Gizzi’s Roast Duck & Noodle Soup

Earlier this month, I received a cookbook for my birthday by a chef and award-winning food writer I have become quite a fan of over recent months. Her name is Gizzi Erskine and she is a Scottish born, cat-loving, super cool babe who looks like a 1960’s pin up model and cooks the most fantastic Asian-inspired dishes. She was also a writer for the Sunday Times Magazine, and trained at Leighs School of Food & Wine. The book is pictured below. I also go Ruby Tandoh’s CRUMB, but more on that later.

Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts by Gizzi Erskine
Not all of her cooking is Asian inspired, but a great deal of it is. The book I received is named ‘Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts,’ which seemed apt, as this is pretty much how I like to live – be good in the week and indulge a little extra at the weekends. The recipes in the book range greatly from Japanese, Thai, Malaysian and Indian influences to her stylish, modern takes on British and American classic dishes too – like Fish Pie, Fried Chicken and Sunday Roasts.

The concept of the book is simple – quick, nutritious, low calorie but full-flavours in the week and indulgent feasts at the weekend! Although it was a Friday night – we wanted something quick to put together, so after much deliberation between 3 or 4 of the possible recipes we felt like trying right away, we decided on the Roast Duck Noodle Soup and were NOT disappointed. I thought I would share the recipe with you – as it really was delicious, easy and tasted just like something from the most authentic of Japanese noodle bars!

The book says all in all the recipe takes 45 minutes to prep and cook, and it serves 2. However, as we couldn’t find duck leg that evening, we opted for a duck crown which took a little longer to cook. It also upped the portion size and gave enough leftover duck to have Saturday night crispy duck pancakes! WINNING!

What you need:

  • 1 x 250g duck leg (we substituted this for duck crown, and roasted the whole thing then just used a third of it for this recipe)
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 100g egg noodles
  • 1L chicken stock
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp star anise
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame sauce
  • 3 shitake mushrooms, quartered
  • 50g enoki mushrooms (although I couldn’t find these, so I just doubled up on the shitake)
  • 2 heads pak choi, thickly shredded
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • a few chives, thinly sliced
  •  1 red Thai bird’s-eye chilli, sliced
  • a few sprigs of fresh mint (Bradley’s not too keen on mint, and this is just a garnish, so we left it out)

What to do:

Heat the oven to 180*C/Gas 4. Season the duck with salt and pepper, lay it on a roasting tray, pop in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, until the skin is crispy and the meat is tender and almost falling off the bone.

Roast duck crown, split into two halves. We used the smaller half for this recipe.
Roast duck crown, split into two halves. We used the smaller half for this recipe.
Mix together the honey, five-spice powder and half of the soy sauce in a bowl. Heat a saucepan over a medium heat an place the duck in the hot pan . Pour over the honey mixture and cook gently until sticky and glossy. Remove the duck from the pan and shred the meat. (IF you are being ‘good’ and ‘healthy’ – this is the part where you REMOVE the skin, which harbours most of the fat). As it was Friday night, we decided not…

The duck basting in the honey/soy glaze.
The duck basting in the honey/soy glaze.
Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water with a pinch of salt until tender. Drain well.

Heat the stock, ginger, garlic and star anise in a large saucepan, add the oyster sauce, sesame oil and remaining soy sauce and stir to combine. Add salt TO TASTE (I didn’t here – as I thought it tasted divine already!) Simmer for a few minutes.

Once you add the pak choi, noodles and duck to the broth just bring it back to the boil then it's ready to serve!
Once you add the pak choi, noodles and duck to the broth just bring it back to the boil then it’s ready to serve!
Remove and discard the ginger, garlic and star anise from the broth using a slotted spoon. Add the shitake mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the pak choi, enoki mushrooms (if using), spring onions, chives, noodles and duck. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Divide between bowls and garnish with chopped chilli and mint (if using). Enjoy!

Gizzi Erskine's Roast Duck & Noodle Soup
Gizzi Erskine’s Roast Duck & Noodle Soup

 

My take on Hemsley & Hemsley Cottage Pie

On Sunday, I made this wonderful cottage pie recipe from the Hemsley sisters website. It is my birthday next week, and their book is now firmly on my wish-list, as this recipe was so damn lovely. Cottage pie is not something I make often, but with this recipe in mind I will certainly be making it again, which is making me excited for winter again already….!

I found this version a lot lighter than the usual recipes, perfect for these cold (yet sunny) Sunday’s after an afternoon of pottering about and a walk to the local pub.

Due to the contents or my fridge and larder, I had to improvise slightly, as I only had 1 cauliflower in and no courgettes. So instead of doing a full cauli mash (which uses 2 full cauliflowers), I substituted one for a sweet potato and combined the two. It worked a treat! Instead of the diced courgette, I used frozen petit pois.

Below I have provided the full, original recipe and have added my tweaks in brackets. The recipe takes about 2 hours from start to finish and serves 4. It is suitable for freezing. 

What you need:

For the Cottage Pie Filling-

  • 1 tablespoon of ghee or butter (I used butter)
  • 500g of good quality, lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion/leek finely chopped (I used onion)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium courgette, finely diced (I used petit pois instead)
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon of dried or 1½ teaspoons of fresh thyme plus some to garnish (I used dried thyme, and seasoned with fresh parsley)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried or 1½ teaspoons of fresh, roughly chopped rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A small handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 350 – 400ml of hot good quality beef, chicken or vegetable stock (I used a Kallo Organic chicken stock cube)
  • 1 large pinch sea salt
  • 1 large pinch black pepper

For the Cauliflower/Sweet Pot Mash-

  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 large cauliflowers, remove outer green leaves and roughly chop the into equal sized pieces (I only used 1 cauliflower)
  • (1 medium-large sweet potato, washed, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon of English mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of butter to blend and 2 teaspoons of chopped up butter to top the mash
  • 1 large pinch sea salt
  • 1 large pinch black pepper
  • Optional 2 teaspoons of chopped chives or 1 finely sliced spring onion (I used spring onion)
  • Optional 60g of mature cheddar cheese, grated (I used 30g Parmesan cheese)

Serve with-

Steamed buttered greens: I steamed some tenderstem broccoli and some fresh spring greens.

Hemsley & Hemsley Cottage Pie - filling in progress
Hemsley & Hemsley Cottage Pie – filling in progress

What to do:

  1. Brown the mince in half a tablespoon of butter (or ghee) and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the remaining butter and sauté the onions, celery and carrots, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and gently fry for a further minute.
  4. Return the mince to the pan and stir in the  tomato puree and red wine. Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced.
  5. Add the stock and simmer with the lid on for at least 30 minutes – we like to slow cook for up to an hour adding more stock or water if it’s starts to get dry, (which I did – slow cook for 1 hour if you can).
  6. Once cooked, stir through the petit pois and fresh parsley and taste for seasoning.
  7. Add the peas after the rest of the filling is cooked to avoid over cooking
    Add the peas after the rest of the filling is cooked to avoid over-cooking them
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C.
  9. Add the chopped sweet potato to a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 10 minutes until tender, drain and set aside to allow the steam to evaporate.
  10. In a saucepan, steam the cauliflower and whole garlic cloves with just a few tablespoons of water, lid on, for 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Use a knife to check.
  11. Remove the saucepan from the heat, drain any excess liquid and add the sweet potato, butter, grated cheese and mustard. Blend or mash until creamy and smooth. If it’s too sloppy or wet allow the mash to evaporate on a low heat. (I just used a potato masher – the consistency wasn’t completely smooth, but it was well-mashed with a little texture)
  12. Season to taste and add the spring onions or chives.
  13. Take a large oven dish or individual dishes and fill to two thirds of the beef mixture, then top with the cauliflower mash. Use a fork to criss cross over the top and dot with bits of butter.
  14. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden. Finish with a sprinkle of chives or some some fresh thyme leaves (I finished with fresh parsley, as that’s what I had in, it was lovely).
The dots of butter make all the difference :-)
The dots of butter make all the difference 🙂

Hemsley & Hemsley Cottage Pie - the finished product.

Hemsley & Hemsley Cottage Pie – the finished product.

Hope you enjoy! Love Sophie -x-


Beef Keema Curry with Steamed Basmati Rice

I wanted something different to cook with lean minced beef. As most foodsters, I have the usual dishes nailed – spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne, lasagne, so craved something new and a little bit more exciting. Inspired by a visit to Dilli, Altrincham, where a colleague of mine ordered Lamb Biryani which looked incredible – I decided to spice things up a bit and go about creating a new recipe I hadn’t tried before – Beef Keema curry.

Beef Keema Curry served with mint yogurt and steamed basmati rice
Beef Keema curry served with mint yogurt and steamed basmati rice

This recipe only takes about 40 minutes and serves 4-6 portions. You can swap out the birdseye chillies for a milder variety if you’re not that keen on spice.  I used Turmeric and Garam Masala for the spices, but you could use curry powder instead of the Garam Masala. I would say the turmeric is essential for that authentic Indian depth of flavour, and wonderful vibrant yellow colour.

For the rice – I follow Jamie Oliver’s ‘Light and Fluffy’ steamed basmati recipe. It’s brilliant and it does exactly what it says on the tin, and works every time. I have pasted it at the bottom of my keema recipe – if you are making them to serve together, start making the rice once you put the curry on to simmer. That way they will both be ready at the same time.

For the mint yogurt – I just mix one teaspoon of mint sauce with 4 tablespoons of natural yogurt, and serve with a dollop on top at the end. Simples!

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil (or you can use olive, or vegetable oil)
  • 500g pack lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 2 birdseye chillies, one of which is de-seeded (optional depending on how hot you like it!)
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 carrots, cut into small chunks
  • 200g frozen petits pois or garden peas
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 4 tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon mint sauce
  • 1 small bunch coriander, chopped
  1. First mix the mint sauce and yogurt, then set aside in the fridge until serving.
  2. Heat some of the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the mince beef, season and cook until browned. Then remove from the pan and discard the excess fat and set aside.
  3. Whiz the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies together in a food processor or chop them all finely. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan, and fry the mixture gently for 2 minutes until onions soften. Then add the chopped carrots and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  4. As the carrots begin to soften , add the browned mince and mix everything together well.
  5. Next add the garam masala and turmeric and fry for another minute, before adding the veg stock and simmering for 30 minutes with a lid on or covered with foil. Stir occasionally.
  6. Remove the lid and add the frozen peas, and cook for 5 minutes. At this point, the liquid should be mostly absorbed.
  7. Just before serving, remove from the heat and stir in the coriander.
  8. Serve with brown pitta bread, steamed basmati (recipe below) and a dollop of the mint yogurt from the fridge.

Jamie Olivers Perfect Steamed Basmati Rice (serves 4):

  • 350g white basmati rice
  • sea salt
  1. Put a large pan of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil. Rinse the rice in a colander under running water for about 1 minute, or until the water runs clear (this will stop the grains sticking together later).
  2. Add your rice to the boiling water and wait for the grains to start dancing around. From that point, boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the rice in a colander. Pour 2.5cm of water into the pan, put it back on the heat and bring it to the boil again, then turn down to a simmer.
  4. Cover the rice in the colander with foil or a lid. Place the colander on top of the pan of simmering water, and let the rice steam over it for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and if you’re ready, serve immediately. If not, leave the foil or lid on and put aside until ready to serve – it should stay warm for about 20 minutes.
Alternative serving suggestion - mix the a portion of the curry and rice together, for a biryani style dish - perfect for leftover lunch!
Alternative serving suggestion – mix the a portion of the curry and rice together, for a biryani style dish – perfect for leftover lunch!

 

Thai Chicken Noodle Broth

It’s really easy nowadays to create authentic tasting Thai curries and broths with very, very little effort. Obviously you can’t beat the real deal, and there is nothing better than a homemade curry paste to really inject your food with fresh, full and pungent flavours. But, for a mid-week dinner to rustle up after a long day a work, Thai curries are one of my super easy, quick, no-fuss dinners to whirl together in next to no time. The classic Thai red/Thai green flavours are delicious with chicken, king prawns or just veggies. I either serve them with steamed basmati rice or very thin rice noodles (the noodle version is more like a broth as opposed to a curry – the perfect warming dish for a cold, wintery night).

I like to add lots of fresh chilli, ginger, lemongrass, basil/coriander and lime juice to really give the flavours a boost, without too much effort.

Thai Chicken Noodle Broth
Thai Chicken Noodle Broth

Here is the recipe for my classic Thai Chicken Noodle Broth, which serves 2 and takes about 30 mins from wok to bowl.

What you need:

  • 2 skinless free-range chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 3cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 fresh limes
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, outer layer removed
  • a teaspoon of fish sauce
  • handful of fresh coriander (leaves removed and stalks finely chopped)
  • 1 400ml can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons Thai Red curry paste (I use Taste Thai which you can get in most supermarkets and some delis)
  • 2 nests of rice noodles (I use Sainsbury’s)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • prawn crackers, to serve

What to do:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large wok over a high heat. Once melted, add the chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes until slightly brown on the outside
  2. Add the sliced garlic, half of the sliced chilli and all of the chopped coriander stalks and continue to stir fry for another minute
  3. Once the ingredients start to release their fragrance, add the curry paste and continue to stir, coating all of the chicken
  4. Add the fish sauce and stir-fry for another minute whilst you bash the lemongrass stalk with the handle end of a knife to help release its fragrance
  5. Add the tin of coconut milk and the bashed lemongrass to the wok, and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer
  6. Simmer the broth for about 8-10 mins until the chicken is cooked through
  7. Whilst your curry broth is simmering, prepare the rice noodles as per the packet instructions (I use Sainsbury’s nests of rice noodles which cook in 3 mins)
  8. Drain the noodles and divide them into 2 warm bowls
  9. Take the broth off the heat and remove the lemongrass stalk. Squeeze in the juice of one whole lime and stir well
  10. Use a ladle to divide the broth into the two bowls of noodles
  11. Top the bowls with the rest of the sliced red chilli and finely chopped coriander leaves
  12. Serve with prawn crackers, and a wedge of lime!
Thai Chicken Noodle Broth
Thai Chicken Noodle Broth

Hope you enjoy this one! Sophie -x-

Matti P’s Ultimate Veggie Burgers

Here’s one for meat free Monday. You can even make these bad boys ahead on a Sunday, ready to bake to perfection come Monday evening. These aren’t just any veggie burgers, no. They are Matti P’s ultimate veggie burgers. Healthy, easy and hella satisfying. This recipe makes 6 burgers, and takes about 50 mins to prep and cook. Once cooked, they will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days – and they make a great addition to a salad if you wanted to save one for work in the week. You can add more or less fresh chilli, depending on how spicy you like it…

What you need:

  • 2 and a half cups of Quinoa (cooked and cooled)
  • 3 spring onions
  • 3 sticks of asparagus
  • half a red chilli
  • one third of a courgette
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 jar of Aldi’s Tomato and Mascarpone stir-in sauce
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder (Matti notes, NOT garlic salt)
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 50 g cheddar cheese, whichever variety you prefer, grated
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

What to do:

  • Cook the quinoa and leave to fully cool
  • Cut the spinach as fine as possible and add to a large mixing bowl
  • Slice the other veg as fine as possible, mix together whilst chopping, then add to the mixing bowlveggie burg
  • Add in the garlic powder and paprika
  • Add the jar of tomato and mascarpone sauce. Grind in some salt and pepper to taste – Matti notes ‘don’t go overboard on the seasoning!’
  • Add the grated cheddar cheese to the bowl, as well as the tomato purée
  • Prepare a baking tray by lightly brushing it with oil, then add the quinoa to the mixing bowl
  • Combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl together thoroughly using your handsveggie burg 3
  • Once thoroughly mixed, split and compact the mixture into burger shaped patties – how many or how big is up to you. Matti likes his big, so he got 5 out of this mixture – but it makes up to 6!veggie burg 4
  • Place the patties onto the baking tray, and cook at 180 degrees for 35mins in the centre of the oven
  • Cook until golden brown
  • Enjoy on a flatbread with fresh salad and grilled halloumi!

Hope you enjoy this one, Sophie -x-

Mushroom & ‘Smokehouse’ Smoked Streaky Bacon Risotto

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

As some of you may know, I wrote my first article for Taste Today last week, and it was based on the wonderful Cheshire Smokehouse, their history, their food and their amazing shop based just on the outskirts of Wilmslow, Cheshire.

As part of the article, I chose a product off their shelves and with the help of the Smokehouse’s owner Darren Ward, told the readers all about the full life cycle of their wonderful smoked streaky bacon. I then put it in this wonderfully indulgent, satisfying and creamy risotto.

You can read the full article on Taste Today’s website by clicking here, but for now, please enjoy the recipe from it! This scrumptious dish serves 4 people, and takes about 35 minutes.

What you need:

  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 6-8 rashers of The Cheshire Smokehouse Smoked Streaky Bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1L good quality chicken stock
  • 300g risotto rice
  • Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 100ml dry white wine (plus extra, for sipping whilst stirring, if desired!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated to serve

What to do:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or ceramic casserole dish and cook the onion and Cheshire Smokehouse Smoked Streaky Bacon for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic and bay leaf, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes – until the mushrooms really start to release their juices.
  3. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the wine, and continue to cook (and stir) until all the liquid and juices from the mushrooms have been absorbed.
  5. Next, add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring well and waiting for most of the stock to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful. This process with take about 20 minutes – so I recommend you grab yourself a glass of wine as a reward for all this laborious activity!
  6. Continue until all the stock is added and the rice is cooked.
  7. Once the rice is cooked, removed the risotto from the heat and add the lemon zest, fresh parsley and season to taste with the black pepper.
  8. Serve with a little extra parsley and some grated Parmesan.

Hope you enjoy this one, love Sophie -x-

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Homemade Chicken Kievs with Broccoli Mash

I was pondering, as you do, on Friday lunchtime in the office – ‘what delights am I going to cook up this weekend?’ Chicken Kiev’s have been on my list for a while, and I knew I had some decent sized chicken breasts, a bakery loaf which had seen better days and some eggs in the pantry. So I decided to give homemade chicken kiev’s a go. I think it’s safe to say I won’t be going back to the shop-bought kind, as these are surprising quick and really easy to put together. They also taste so much fresher (as they are), and you can really go to town on the garlicky, buttery filling – adding whatever herbs you fancy.

So I set about finding a good recipe for the basis of this dish. I received Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food for Christmas – and it just so happens to have a great Chicken Kiev recipe. In an attempt to make it slightly healthier for January – I swapped out the smoked bacon in the filling, and added steamed green beans to the baby spinach garnish. Below is my interpretation of Jamie’s recipe, which serves 2 and takes about 40 minutes from start to finish! Perfect for a Saturday night, low-fuss treat!

What you need:

  • 2 decent sized skinless chicken breasts (150g)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 75g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 large free range egg
  • sunflower oil
  • a handful of baby spinach
  • a handful of green beans (enough to serve 2, with the ends chopped off)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley (10g), finely chopped
  • 3 knobs of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 400 g Maris Piper potatoes
  • half a head of broccoli

What to do:

First of all, prep your breadcrumbs. If you’re using shop bought, obviously you can skip this stage. For fresh breadcrumbs, it’s best to use a bakery bought loaf rather than the shop-bought pre sliced. Bakery loaves contain less additives, and therefore give you a crunchier crumb. I left 2 slices of a thick, white bloomer loaf out overnight, then in the morning, removed the crusts and blitzed vigorously in my mini food processor until evenly crumbled. Keep them in an air-tight container until ready to use.

Next, make the garlic butter and prep your production line – mix 2 knobs of the butter with finely chopped garlic, parsley and a pinch of cayenne pepper and set aside in the fridge to firm. Line up 3 containers which will comfortably fit one chicken breast in at at time. In the first container add the flour. In the second container, add the egg and lightly beat. The third container should contain your breadcrumbs and a little seasoning (I used Nando’s Peri Peri Sprinkle and some freshly ground black pepper).

Chicken Kiev Production line! Flour, Egg then Breadcrumbs.
Chicken Kiev Production line! Flour, Egg then Breadcrumbs.

Prep your potatoes and broccoli for the mash – scrub, peel and chop your pots into 3 cm chunks.  For the broccoli, half the florets down the middle of each stalk so they don’t require much cooking time. Put on a large pan of water with a pinch of salt to boil. If you have a steamer attachment – get this out now ready. If not, also get another pan ready to steam your green beans.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Now to stuff the the chicken. To do this, start by pulling back the loose fillet on the back of the breast – put your knife in the opposite direction and slice to create a long pocket. Jamie Oliver has a handy how-to video on this, so if you’re unsure, take a look here and skip to 0:45 seconds. Next, fill the pocket with your garlicky herb butter (see image below).

Chicken breasts stuffed with the garlic herb butter.
Chicken breasts stuffed with the garlic herb butter.

Once your chicken is stuffed, it’s ready for the breadcrumbs. First, dip the breast into the flour and make sure it’s coated evenly. Repeat in the egg and then finally, the breadcrumbs. If you need to use cocktail sticks to help hold things together, that’s fine – they can be removed at the end. Repeat with the other chicken breast.

Now you’re ready to crisp up your chicken, put 2 cm sunflower oil in a large frying pan on a medium to hot heat. Once the oil is hot, add the kiev’s and shallow fry  for 2 minutes on each side, until they start to go golden and crispy.

Chicken Kiev's shallow frying in sunflower oil
Chicken Kiev’s shallow frying in sunflower oil

Keeping an eye on the chicken, start boiling your potatoes for the mash. Add the potatoes to the large pan of boiling water and boil for 10-12 minutes, adding the broccoli (to the same pan) for the final 8 minutes. When you add the broccoli, get your green beans in the steamer pan.

Broccoli Mash - add the broccoli to the boiling potatoes for the last 8 minutes of cooking time.
Broccoli Mash – add the broccoli to the boiling potatoes for the last 8 minutes of cooking time.

Once your kievs are nicely golden and crisp, transfer them to a baking tray in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. They don’t take long, so use this time wisely to get everything else sorted.

Once the potatoes and broccoli are done, drain and let steam dry for a few seconds, then transfer back to the pan and mash with a knob of unsalted butter, and season to taste. I added a bit of leftover stilton cheese for an added creaminess!

Now you’re ready to bring it all together – split the mash between two plates and place your chicken kiev on top. Remove your green beans from the steamer and run under a little cold water to cool them slightly, drain them and add to a bowl with the baby spinach leaves, some lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Once evenly coated, add to your serving plates alongside the chicken and mash.

Tuck in & enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Kiev's with garlic and parsley butter, served with broccoli mash, steamed green beans and baby spinach.
Homemade Chicken Kiev’s with garlic and parsley butter, served with broccoli mash, steamed green beans and baby spinach.

Have you made homemade chicken kievs before? If so, did you add anything special to the buttery filling? I’d love to hear your ideas, so please feel free to comment below.

With love, Sophie -x-