Cheshire Food Blog

Guest Post: Buffalo Blue Chicken Sandwich

Remember the guy who brought us that amazing bacon jam recipe? Well, he’s back. Back on the blog with a brand-new recipe from his super fresh sandwich truck in Liverpool. I’ve not tried it yet – but it’s pay day this weekend so I will be doing so. Let’s all do it together then compare results ūüôā

#StesBuffBlueChick is the hashtag… Let is know if you give it a go! @sophiesscran and @HUSSSSandwichCo¬†on Twitter. Take it away, Ste…

Cheshire Food Blog
Image source: saveur.com/article/Recipes/Buffalo-Wings

We love buffalo hot wings. Those crispy chunks of deep-fried chicken tossed in a mix of Frank’s hot sauce and butter, dipped in a bucket of blue cheese sauce. They’re an absolute classic, and the inspiration behind our Buffalo Blue Chicken Sarnie.

A few years ago I cooked an American-inspired feast for my cousin and his family who were visiting from Czechoslovakia. His son, Branag, had never had hot wings before. Turns out he liked them. So much so, that unbeknownst to us, he’d eaten ten wings, bones and all. Luckily he didn’t die. He wasn’t even ill. But it did make us try out boneless chicken thighs instead of the wings and soon after we thought of putting them in a sandwich. Thanks Branag!

Recipe Serves 4.

What you need:

For the chicken

  • 4 very large boneless (very important), skinless, chicken thighs
  • ¬Ĺ cup flour
  • ¬Ĺ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¬Ĺ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¬Ĺ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the blue cheese sauce

  • 100g grated blue cheese
  • 100g soured cream
  • 100g mayo
  • ¬Ĺ lemon, juice only
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

For the buffalo hot sauce

  • ¬Ĺ cup Frank‚Äôs hot sauce
  • ¬Ĺ cup unsalted butter
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

For the sandwich

  • 4 ciabatta rolls, split in half
  • ¬ľ iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
  • Baby leaf salad
  • 1 beef tomato, cut into 8 slices

What to do:

Slice the chicken thighs into even slices about ¬Ĺ inch thick. Season the chicken with 1 tsp of salt and ¬Ĺ tsp black pepper.

Combine the flour, spices and remaining seasoning in a bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine.

Dredge the chicken in the flour a few pieces at a time and shake off any excess flour.

Spread the chicken out on a rack on a baking tray until all of the pieces are done. Cover the baking tray with clingfilm and pop it in the fridge whilst you make the sauces.

For the blue cheese sauce, add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it is thoroughly combined. Alternatively, whisk thoroughly in a bowl.

For the buffalo hot sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the hot sauce to the smallest compartment of a food processor with the salt and pepper. Switch the processor on and then very slowly start pouring the butter into the hot sauce to form an emulsification. The slower the better. You should end up with a perfect bright orange hot sauce-butter concoction.

Alternatively, you could just use a bowl, a whisk and your wrists but I find food processors are much more consistent.

Keep the sauce warm in a bowl tightly covered with clingfilm.

Preheat the grill in your oven for the ciabatta.

Preheat a deep fat fryer to 180¬įC. If you don‚Äôt have a deep fat fryer use a heavy bottomed saucepan and a kitchen thermometer. If you don‚Äôt have a kitchen thermometer get one.

Take the chicken out of the fridge and fry for five minutes until crisp. You may have to fry in batches depending on the size of your fryer/pan.

Meanwhile, toast each side of the ciabattas. Spread a good dollop of blue cheese sauce on the bottom of each ciabatta, followed by two slices of beef tomato and the shredded iceberg lettuce.

Toss the crispy chicken pieces in the buffalo hot sauce then portion them out equally on top of the lettuce. Add a small handful of baby leaf salad then crown with the top piece of ciabatta.

Finally, cut each sandwich in half through the middle and enjoy.

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Yard & Coop, Manchester

If you live in Manchester, you’ve probably already heard – there’s a new kid in town in the uber cool Northern Quarter. You may already know from my own recipe,¬†I LOVE Buttermilk Fried Chicken, so when I heard about this place I was so clucking eggscited I just had to go see what all the wing flappin’ was about… SORRY, I’m bad at that, I will stop now I promise!

Yard & Coop is the brain-child of Carl and Laura Morris, the co-owners who are actually¬†not married, or even related for that matter! Carl has a background in¬†Sales & Marketing¬†having worked for Revolution for over 10 years, and Laura has formerly worked for Northern Quarter’s Terrace and Simon Rimmer’s Greens in Didsbury. The pair saw the trend of quality fried chicken taking off¬†in America, and wanted to bring the hype back to the wonderful city of Manchester. And boy are we thankful for it.

Carl has spent the past year perfecting the recipes – from the signature seasoned crumb, Buttermilk frying technique and all the homemade speciality sauces and sides that go with it. On the launch night I also met the lovely Clair, Carl’s wife and also front of house manager for the new fried-chicken shack. She’s also in charge of their social media, so chicken-puns-a-plenty: and yep, she’s really clucking good at it ūüėČ

The Food Menu

Let’s waste no time and get straight to it, the chicken. The menu itself is easy to navigate and¬†starts with their main offering – Buttermilk Fried Chicken with their secret crumb recipe. First you chose from Breast or Thigh (¬£6 and both boneless, yay!) or for veggies you can opt for ‘Not Chicken Nuggets’ – crumb coated nuggets of halloumi cheese which are absolutely delightful. I tried both the thigh and breast varieties and I must say both are super-succulent, although I think the thigh pips the post everso slightly. Next up you chose your ‘style,’ you can keep it simple with the Yard & Coop classic, or chose from their extra seasoned varieties; Chip Shop Curry, Cajun or Afrika Bombaataa which are all seriously good and distinctive in their own ways. Personal fave is the classic, followed by the curry-style for something a bit different. It just works really well (pictured below coating a fat, juicy thigh!)

For the finishing touch – you choose your speciality sauces. On offer is Bourbon BBQ (a surprise favourite for me), The Bee’s Knee’s (which is Cayenne pepper, lime and honey) or the classic Blue Cheese. All the sauces are light, packed full of flavour, shiny as you like but without being sticky. Absolutely nailed it.

Next you pick from ‘Small Plates, Sides, Bits and Things‘ which is a deliciously colourful mix of light and tasty side orders to accompany your chicken. A few noteworthy options we tried were ‘Peas and Love’ (¬£2.5); garden peas with fresh mint and chilli, ‘Thai Street Salad’ (¬£3.5); red cabbage, cauliflower, carrot and red chilli, ‘Heritage tomato salad’ (¬£3); chunky heritage tomatoes, red onion and fresh basil in their home dressing, Chips (¬£3) which come with a topping choice of Chip shop curry, Monterey Jack cheese or gravy. And finally ‘Battered Salty¬†Jalape√Īos’ –¬†salty, pickled peppers lighted coated in crispy batter.

I must say, the peas are delicious. My sister and I totally fell in love with them and found them very addictive. They are served cold, the mint is super fresh which is nice between the bites of chicken. The Heritage tomato salad is also deliciously fresh and sweet, and the slaw is crunchy, vibrant and healthy. Really nice to see such fresh sides with such a variety too.

Another stand-out section of the menu is the Wings and Balls section (personal fave) but don’t be alarmed, it’s not an entire section dedicated to deep fried chicken offal. The Wings come in 2 varieties (both ¬£4.50) Bourbon BBQ and Bee’s Knee’s. The ‘Monkey Balls‘ are in fact¬†one of their bestsellers and are their take on the American ‘monkey fingers’ dish (tender bits of chicken deep fried and apparently popular on Halloween!) Yard & Coop style they are balls of buttermilk fried chicken served with 2 of their speciality sauces for dipping (¬£6.5). Originally intended as a bar snack, these balls were merely meant to be nothing but a nibble between friends over a pint, but the chicken-lovers of Manchester have insisted they are a firm favourite as a sharing side to accompany main dishes! WHY NOT!

Monkey Balls with Bee's Knee's and Bourbon BBQ speciality homemade sauces
Monkey Balls with Bee’s Knee’s and Bourbon BBQ speciality homemade sauces

Other offerings are their Large Plates which includes a range of Burgers, Wraps and Salads (¬£8.5-9.0), all complete meals so no side orders required. But I BET you order the Monkey Balls anyway… it would be rude not to. In true chicken-restaurant style they also have a sharing bucket, complete with beers, which I think it a great option and awesome alternative to a KFC or a Maccies.

The Drinks & Cocktails

As well as a totally epic food offering, these guys have also properly thought out their entire drinks selection. I will soon be returning to sample more of their cocktails – but for now I can tell you that the following ones are awesome;

Jimi Hendrix; invented by Paul the barman and I must note what an absolute GENIUS he is. El Jimador Blanco tequilla, Hendricks Gin, Fevertree Elderflower tonic garnished with cucumber and watermelon. So refreshing and summery and LOVELY.

Mini Jimi Hendrix Cocktails
Mini Jimi Hendrix Cocktails

Rule the Roost; Lychee and rose liqueurs with Lychee Rubicon topped with Prosecco and garnished with rose petal. A very lady-like and pretty tipple. Sweet but not overly so and very pleasing on the eye!

IMG_2662
Rule the Roost ‚̧

Juice Springsteen; Vodka and Blue Curacao with lemon juice and cherry bitters topped with apple juice. Extreme refreshment and very thirst-quenching which was delicious.

They also have a range of Hard Shakes Рalcoholic milkshakes all served in their signature Yard & Coop paper cups with a straw. We tried the Pina Colada and and Salted Karamel, each feature lashings of silky smooth vanilla ice cream, spirits, juice and/or syrups. They are light and fluffy in texture but pack-a-punch in terms of alcohol content which is perfectly balanced to make them very slurpable indeed. Three words: Who needs pudding?!

I haven’t yet tried the wine, but fell in love with the simplicity of the menu and its options. Dependant on your budget, simply choose ‘Great, Better or Best’ and check the board for the most recent wines available. Simple, effective, helping indecisive wine-pickers since 2015. Nice work, guys!

Visit Yard & Coop’s website¬†and give them a¬†follow on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook¬†by chickin’ these links ūüėČ

37 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW
0161 710 2570


I was invited to review Yard & Coop on a complimentary basis, however, all opinions are my own and are completely honest.

Crazy Pedro’s Part Time Pizza Parlour, Manchester

I have now been to this place¬†a few times, and I love it. Their pizzas are so delicious and the vibe in there is just kind of cool. Very laid back, you eat off paper plates, drink outa plastic cups, no table service. It’s that sort of vibe. Everybody is just having a good time. The beers are decent and the cocktails are lush too. Happy days.

So this is going to be a quick and dirty review. Put simply – these guys make awesome pizzas & cocktails and there’s some images below to support this. They have an impressive mexican beverage selection too, including tequilas and mezcals – and have recently been declared “the finest mezcaleria outside of Mexico,” pretty impressive stuff.

Also, DON’T be fooled by the name – these guys are open¬†daily from Midday ‚Äėtil 4am serving up their delicious slices of quirky and adventurous Italian-American style pizzas. They are ¬£12.50 for a whole 16″, or just ¬£2.50 a slice. So an absolute bargain too if you ask me. Plus, if you live in Manchester you can order their pizzas via¬†Deliveroo, if you really cannot be arsed to leave the sofa. Winning!

My first visit was (sober) with my family. My Dad, Sister, Brother and I decided to hook-up there one Saturday afternoon for a bite to eat and an overdue catch up. We sat down on the stools and tall tables to the right of the front door and started perusing the menu (which is now new since my last visit and looks even more epic!) it didn’t take us long to decide on 2 large pizzas to share between the 4 of us. We went for a bit of a meat-frenzy: the classic¬†Pedro’s Pepperoni, and one that featured Salami, Ham, pulled chicken, red peppers and onions (the exact name escapes me).

As for drinks, I chose the ‘Freddy Fudpucker’s Revenge’ as recommended by Jo from Taste Today. In fact, she recommended the whole place to me. This cocktail is a mix of El Jimador Bianco, Aperol, Lemon, Vanilla, Blood Orange, Peach & Lemon Sorbet. It comes served in a tall terracotta-type vessel with a straw and a wooden spoon for the sorbet. Absolutely delicious. Hannah went for the Peach and Black Pepper Frozen Margarita. Like a slushy for big kids, she thoroughly enjoyed it and it was very prettily presented with pink peppercorns atop. Delish.

Crazy Pedro’s 16″ Pizza’s – all ¬£12.50
Salami, pulled chicken, ham, red peppers & onion <3
Salami, pulled chicken, ham, red peppers & onion ‚̧
Pedro’s Pepperoni ‚̧

As you can probably see from the photos, these pizzas are f***ing epic. They really are delicious. The bases are thin, a little crisp on the bottom and the ingredients are fresh as they come. The pizzas are also not overtopped (even for some of the big ones, like the Nacho Libre, for example). These guys take their time to ensure each pizza is cooked to perfection, oh and serve it with a smile too, which is a lot more than you can say for some other fast-food pizza establishments!

Here are a few more images for you to drool over from my other visits…

Summer B - a delightful mix of Wild Mushrooms, Blue Cheese and Truffle Oil. YES! <3
Summer B (V) – a delightful mix of Wild Mushrooms, Blue Cheese and Truffle Oil. YES! ‚̧
Nacho Libre (V), Chilli sauce, American Cheese, Jalape√Īo, Tortilla Chips, Guacamole, Sour Cream and fresh Pico de Gallo - HELL YES
Nacho Libre (V), Chilli sauce, American Cheese, Jalape√Īo, Tortilla Chips, Guacamole, Sour Cream and fresh Pico de Gallo – HELL YES ‚̧
Fried Chicken & Waffle - Fried Chicken, Smoked Bacon, Maple Syrup & Waffle. Seriously. A TASTE SENSATION!
Fried Chicken & Waffle – Fried Chicken, Smoked Bacon, Maple Syrup & Waffle. Seriously. A TASTE SENSATION! ‚̧
Service with a smile... told you.... :-)
Service with a smile… told you…. ūüôā
0161 359 3000 Crazy Pedro’s Part Time Pizza Parlour 55-57 Bridge Street Manchester, M3 3BQ
0161 359 3000
Crazy Pedro’s Part Time Pizza Parlour
55-57 Bridge Street
Manchester,
M3 3BQ

Follow these crazy cats on Facebook and Twitter.


Each time I have visited Crazy Pedro’s Part Time Pizza Parlour I have paid for my meal in full, and they did not know I was going to review their pizzas.
Food at Glastonbury 2015

Food at #Glasto15

So I just spent the last 6 days in a field, at Glastonbury, camping and watching some of the best live music acts I have ever seen. I made some amazing new friends, ate some unusual but tasty food and managed to survive the whole time without a hot shower (which was easier than I thought it would be!)

This isn’t going to be the longest blog post, as at times my phone was so low on battery I couldn’t even take a photograph of my food, let alone video some of the live acts I went to see (Florence and the Machine, The Libertines, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Groove Armada, Andy C, Jamie T and Mary J Blige – to name a few!) So here’s a little summary of what I got up to, including, of course, what I ate…

Food at Glastonbury 2015

Being ever-prepared for pretty much anything, me and my man Bradley took along a stove, kettle, frying pan and some essential ingredients. So, with a chilled cool-box in tow, we were able to make our own food for the first 2 days. This was a great way to save some money, although we generally didn’t find the food on offer at the festival too over-priced (average price for breakfast is a fiver, average price for a main meal is ¬£7-8). Meals during the first 2 days consisted of homemade bacon butties, egg butties and sausages… all served with BBQ sauce (as we forgot the Ketchup). All in all, pretty decent meals which gave us plenty of energy; much needed considering the sheer size of the festival, walking distance from place to place and of course, the all night rave parties…

Each morning, a guy would come round the campsite selling fresh milk. This was a total life saver, as it meant we could make a brew for ourselves and friends AND make use of the cute mini packs of cereal we brought along (Crunchy Nut, Cheerio’s and Shredded Wheat). Winning at life.

If you can pack light, I would certainly recommend taking a stove and some easy, quick and fuss-free meals with you like we did. It saves you having to shell-out for meals everyday, and will certainly increase popularity at the campsite if you can make a proper brew for a your fellow camp buddies.

As the third day approached, our supplies were either low or no longer edible, so, it was out to forage for food in the markets – and BOY were we spoilt for choice…

A breakfast favourite was Tea & Toast. Basically the coolest, cutest, brightest yellow¬†Citron HV van called Nelly. They served totally yummy vegan and vegetarian breakfasts and stunning teas at various sites across the festival (I spotted 2 in total, but the one we frequented was in The Park.) The best cup of tea I had all weekend was here. My friend bought a cup of tea for the same price from a different nearby vendor – and it was literally grey in comparison. I opted for a toastie (Somerset Cheddar Cheese with Sundried Tomato Tapenade). The bread they use is unbelievably fresh and super-thick and squishy. I only wish I had taken a photograph, but the phones were dead and we were desperate to eat, so as painful as it was I had to go without the usual ‘food porn’ shot… Shame, I KNOW!

Next and worth a mention for sure was Jumping Bean Burrito. My (new) friend Johnson was literally craving a burrito, and it didn’t take too long for us to stumble across this place. They had a pretty big queue too, which seemed like a good sign – so off Johnson went to order the Botanas Beef Burrito, which consisted of: a massive soft tortilla, coriander and lime rice,¬†lean beef Chilli Con Carne, saut√©ed onions, marinated sweet peppers and black beans, mature cheddar cheese, sour cream, spicy¬†homemade salsa and¬†guacamole. Now, as this wasn’t mine, and I was only allowed one bite, I can only vouch for how tasty that bite was. But, having eaten a lot of burritos in my time I can confirm, it was excellent. I later spotted Jumping Bean on a few locations across the site, so they are seemingly a very popular choice with festival-goers!

The next meal certainly worth a big mention is the Chicken Katsu Curry from Notso Sushi.¬†Katsu curry was pretty popular across the festival, and I tried a couple of versions – this one was by far the best. The rice was perfectly cooked, hot and sticky as it should be and the Katsu Curry sauce had a great little kick. The chicken again was hot a fresh – moist in the middle but the crispy coating still maintaining it’s crunch on the outside. To top it off, and what really set this aside from the other Katsu curries (apart from how good the rice was), was the pink pickled ginger and fresh crunchy edamame beans they served on top. Absolutely delicious.¬†The second-best thing I ate the whole festival.

One of the first meals I ate at the festival was a ‘Diner Deluxe’ Beef Burger from Deluxe Diner, served with American cheese and ‘Burger Sauce’. It also included a pickled Gherkin, sliced tomato and was served on a super-soft white bun. The burger itself was cooked well, slightly pink in the middle and I didn’t get ill… Certainly a good sign! I did think ¬£7.50 was a little too steep for just a burger.. However, the beef did seem of good quality, nothing like the cheap frozen burgers I have seen on sale for similar prices at other festivals. It also tasted great – so I was content!

The ultimate food highlight for me at #Glasto15 has to be these little beauties – Vegan Sushi Wraps from Happy Maki. Their sushi wraps are vegan, vegetarian and super-fresh. The van they serve them out of is also one of the cutest at the festival, it certainly gives Nelly’s the Tea & Toast van a run for his money! Happy Maki start off by reminding punters (on a handy sign,) that sushi is rice, not raw fish. A great marketing move, I thought. So the queue was about 30 people long but I didn’t care – I was eating Sushi on the last day of the festival! Boy oh boy was it worth the wait (about 25 mins). It took me the whole 25 mins to actually decide which one I wanted, but in the end I was not disappointed with the Hoisin ‘Duck’ Sushi Wrap. I asked for extra wasabi, and it comes served with crispy vegetarian duck, hoisin sauce, avocado, roasted sesame seeds, spring onion, cucumber and green pepper. So filling, so easy to eat. The best thing I ate the whole festival.

My boyfriend Brad was tempted by some of the Jerk Chicken on offer across the festival. We came across Fancy That Caribbean Food which was located right next to Happy Maki sushi. He ordered the Jerk Chicken and Rice, with a healthy dollop of sweet mango sauce. Although the jerk chicken was good and full of flavour, it was a little lacking in spice and freshness that some of the other jerk chicken stalls seemed to have. As there was no smoke bellowing from this stall, we assumed everything had been pre-prepared, whereas the other stalls were barbequing jerk fresh and serving on the bone. So in this instance, it was more of a jerk stew Рbut it was tasty all the same!

Whilst meandering from Glade to The Other Stage to watch Ella Eyre perform, we stumbled across this cute little Samosa place, aptly (although not very creatively) named ‘Samosa Indian Street Food’. ¬†We decided to go for their 4 samosa selection, which cost ¬£5 – overall pretty reasonable. The 4 samosas on offer are outlined above, however, upon tasting each of them I am pretty sure we ended up with 2 of the ‘Bangkok Parcel’s’ – which meant we missed out on one of the 4 flavours on offer (the Spicy Lamb one, I think!) This aside, the other 3 we did taste were delicious, hot and fresh. They also came served with a wedge of fresh lime, fresh coriander and one of 3 dipping sauces (Spicy harissa, mint raita or lime pickle). We went for the Harissa which was combined with yogurt, so not as spicy as I would have liked, but generally hit the spot!

I finally want to give a quick mention to the wonderful Soulful Food Co. who specialise in Stews, curries and hotpots. I did see their lovely stall at Glasto but had already eaten Рbut I already know how great their food is from my previous blog feature on them, which can be found here. Hoping they had as good a time at the festival as I did!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my round-up of the food I ate at Glastonbury festival 2015, and I hope it’s¬†shown you how diverse and varied the food is across the whole event. This really doesn’t do the sheer variety on offer justice! I also want to say a massive hats-off to the stalls who actually cook all their meals on site too, it’s brave and confident and must be so much fun. I sincerely can’t wait to go back next time and get my teeth around more. The independant foodies do so well to feed all of the drunk and hungry festival punters, well done to all of them for doing such a truly great job!


 

Soulful Food Co. ‘One Pots’ plus Discount Code!

I have recently been in touch with the lovely and super-cool people at Soulful Food Co. and have been sampling their #SoulfulOnePots, with the view that if I like them, I will share a discount-code with you all as a little thank you for reading and following my blog. You will be pleased to know, they have turned out to be an absolute delight!

As you know, I have recently been on a health-kick. I’ve decided to get my ass in gear and start exercising, as I was starting to feel a little ‘under the weather’ (as we all do from time to time). I attributed these feelings to my sheer lack of exercise, eating too many calories and not getting the right balance of nutrition in my diet. Over the past few weeks, I have cleaned up my diet, stopped eating for the sake of it and joined a really nice gym where I have been working my ass of to try and get into better shape and health.

So… The arrival of 6 healthy, hearty #SoulfulOnePots therefore, couldn’t have come at a better time. For the past week, I have been fitting them into my diet (mostly for lunch, which means snacking less in the day) and sometimes for dinner (perfect when you’re in a rush – you will see why later).

Here is a summary of what I thought of each pot – and at the end of the article, there is a discount code for you to enjoy a whopping 35% off your #SoufulOnePots online order! You are welcome!!

How they taste:

Official Name & Description: Mexican Bean & Sweet Potato with Quinoa. A rich & warming bean fiesta of a stew, with sweet red pepper, tomatoes & lentils.

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Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Low Fat, Low Salt, Gluten Free, Vegan, 262 Calories per tub.

My Verdict: Overall this tasted absolutely fantastic. Great textures from the variety of beans (black beans, pinto beans and red kidney beans) and also green lentils. The lentils have a slight bite to them which is lovely. The sweet potato is firm but squidgy and soft in the middle, nice bite-sized chunks. Loads of flavours from the added herbs and spices, particularly fennel seeds and cumin which gives an authentic Mexican flavour. LOVELY!

Official Name & Description: British Pulled Beef Chilli with Black Barley. West Country Beef, slow cooked till tender, in our fresh take on the classic chilli con carne.

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Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Low Fat, Dairy Free, Lean Protein, 2 of your 5-a-Day,  391 calories per tub.

My Verdict:¬†The beef in this one pot is tender, meaty and there is plenty of it. Absolutely no accompaniment needed if you’re having this for lunch like I was. It’s packed full of loads of fresh red peppers, onions, kidney beans and celery which all contribute to the wholesome flavour. A great level of spice and seasoning, from both the fresh red chilli used and the cayenne pepper, chilli powder and pepper. Delicious.

Official Name & Description: Free Range Thai Green Chicken Curry with Kelp Noodles. Our own fragrant take on the eastern classic with babycorn, sweet potato and red pepper.

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Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Lean Protein, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, 2 of your 5-a-Day, 441 calories per tub.

My Verdict: This was one of my favourites, simply because I love Thai curry and this one is done really well, whilst still maintaining balanced nutrition. I had never tried Kelp noodles before, but can honestly say they are light with a great texture (a little bit like glass noodles but without the starch). As the kelp is raw and very low in carbs, this allows rest of the food fill you up, which I found kept me fuller for much longer (so less/NO snacking, yay!) The chicken had a great ‘pulled chicken’ texture, and the veggies were crunchy as if they has just been stir-fried. Absolutely tonnes of fragrant, tasty Thai flavours coming through too: lemongrass, coconut, basil, coriander and chilli. So much nicer than the Innocent Veg Pot ‘Thai Green Curry,’ by a clear mile. DIVINE!

Official Name & Description: Free Range British Pulled Pork Stew with Chorizo, Beans and Spelt. Hearty & rustic, with smokey British chorizo & nutty grains of finest Somerset spelt.

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No picture! So here’s a pretty picture of the packaging!

Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Low Fat, Low G.I, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, 2 of your 5-a-Day, 315 calories per tub.

My Verdict: For just 315 calories per tub – this is seriously impressive. I forgot to take a photo of this one, as I was in a rush after work to get home, eat dinner, and get my ass to the gym. So, I just grabbed this one pot from the fridge, heated it in the microwave and ate it straight out of the tub. As I am used to brown rice, I must say the texture of spelt as an alternative is a little strange to get used to at first – but it is an overall more nutritious option with more fibre and less calories per portion. The sheer flavour from the pulled pork and smoky chorizo more than made up for the new texture. You can tell a lot of love has been put into slow cooking this very hearty and nutritious stew. I ate it about 45 minutes before my gym session and it gave me enough energy to absolutely smash it!

Official Name & Description: Free Range Moroccan Chicken Tagine with British Spelt. Chunks of chicken, veg, apricots & almond, slow cooked in delicious North African spices.

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Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Lean Protein, Dairy Free, Low G.I., 2 of your 5-a-Day, 395 calories per tub.

My Verdict: Lovely and warming spices (ginger, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper and cinnamon). There is less spelt in this one so the texture less noticeable. There was perhaps a little bit too much carrot for my liking, but for lunch this was a very satisfying dish, which would be lovely as a dinner with some homemade chapatis.

Official Name & Description: Butternut, Lentil & Spinach Hotpot. Gently cooked with coconut, lemongrass & a warming hint of Indian spices.

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Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Low G.I., Gluten Free, Vegan, 2 of your 5-a-Day, 388 calories per tub.

My Verdict: I must admit, I think (subconsciously) I saved this one until last, because I didn’t fancy it as much as the others. However, this one turned out to be my favourite overall. The chickpeas, cauliflower, spinach, split peas and green lentils all work together really well to give a light but hearty texture. The spices used are really warming (turmeric, mustard seeds, cardamon powder, ginger and red chilli), which give the hot pot a lovely little kick. The only drawback is that the potato-to-squash ratio favoured potato a little too much for my liking. On the ingredients it says 7% of both, but there was certainly a lot more potato than squash!

Overall, I would highly recommend these lovely pots of flavour-packed wholesome goodness. I think they would be a great purchase to supplement your own home-cooking as they are healthy, nutritious and overall taste fantastic! They are £3.49 per tub plus P&P to buy online, which is a little bit on the pricy side, but you get what you pay for, and these really do taste great and the ingredients are top notch. Use the discount code for 35% off your order, see below. 

All of their packaging is fully recyclable too, which is awesome.

As promised, please use code SCRAN35, for 35% off  your Soulful Food order, which is valid until the end of May 2015.

I was sent the Soulful Food One Pots on a free-of-charge basis, to taste and try and feature on my blog. All opinions above are my honest and actual thoughts on the products supplied.

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-

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¬įC/350¬įF/gas 4.

Now to stuff the the chicken. To do this, start by pulling back the loose fillet on the back of the breast ‚Äď 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-