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

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Fries & Slaw

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Slaw & Fries… YUM
After sharing the photo of this dish last night on Facebook and Instagram, it’s had a really positive reaction so I thought I’d better get the recipe up ASAP!

So last night, my friend Charlotte (Cee for short) came round and I hadn’t seen her in a long while. She’s been living in Austraila on a working holiday, then travelling the world for the last 6 months and this was the first time I’d seen her in almost 3 years. In Austrailia, she worked as a deckhand/cook on various fishing boats. Some were shrimp boats, some pearling boats. As well as getting stuck into the hard graft of the fishing, she also did a lot of cooking. A cake a day on most occasions!

We were therefore surprised (but very happy) to discover on Cee’s return that we both have found a love and comfort in food that we can now share together.

Cee is joining me this weekend at my place in Mobberley, for a good old catch up but also to get our bake on. Last night we rustled up this amazing Buttermilk Fried Chicken (based on Gizzi Erskine’s recipe from Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts).

Here is the recipe if you want to try it at home. All in all it takes about 15 mins to prep, then 15-18 minutes to cook each batch of chicken (depending on how much you use). This recipe serves 4 hungry people.

What you need:

  • 2 free range eggs
  • 100ml buttermilk
  • 50ml ice cold water
  • 30-50ml hot sauce (I used 50ml of Encona Original Hot Pepper Sauce)
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • Oil for frying, I used approx. 1.5L vegetable oil

What to do:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or in a wok over a medium-high heat, to 180°C. If you don’t have a Thermometer and are using the wok method (like me) then don’t let the oil smoke – if it does it is too hot. Use a small piece of bread to test it first, if the bread browns nicely after a few seconds – it’s ready.
  2. Beat the eggs and buttermilk together with the water in a bowl, then stir in the hot sauce.
  3. In another bowl, combine the flour, black pepper, white pepper, salts and garlic powder.
  4. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then coat well in the seasoned flour.
  5. Fry the chicken in the oil in batches, starting with the thighs as they take the longest (17-18 minutes). Then the drumsticks, which take about 15 minutes.
  6. Tip: to check if the chicken is cooked, take a piece out of the fryer using a slotted spoon and cut open to check the meat is no longer pink.
  7. When ready, drain on kitchen paper and serve (they will keep warm in the oven whilst you cook the next batch).

This recipe really was delicious and so perfect for a weekend treat! I served this with homemade coleslaw (recipe to follow) and regular oven fries seasoned with plenty of salt & pepper.


If you try this recipe I would love to hear how you get on! Use the hashtag #sophiesscran in your photos.

Enjoy!
Sophie -x-

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

 

Recipe: (Slightly) Healthy Beef Burgers with spicy wedges & slaw

Burgers still seem to be all the rage out and about in the foodie word at the moment, and being a true burger fan, I must admit, I don’t think I will ever bore of them. However, what does make the burger a slightly less sustainable option for me is the potential greasiness and overall fat content – not so good if you’re trying to ‘be good’ ahead of your summer holidays! As my mum is currently doing really well on Slimming World, she advised me to give one of their recipes a go. The whole idea of Slimming World is based around eating the foods you like, – but reducing the fat content where possible and using lots of seasoning and fresh herbs to make sure you still maximise on flavour.

I say ‘slightly’ healthy burger here, as I have made a fair few adaptations to the original recipe. Afterall, I was cooking for my boyfriend and 2 of his friends, so didn’t want to make it too healthy! These ones are fried in light cooking oil spray – but would also be perfect on the BBQ.

The recipe serves 4 people and takes about 1 hour to come together.

What you need:

For the wedges

  • 4 medium sized baking potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp Rapeseed oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the burgers

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • ½ tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp fresh Thyme leaves (or you could used dried)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Low calorie cooking spray (olive oil version) for cooking

For the coleslaw

  • 200g red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • finely shredded 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated (using a food processor is easiest, if you have one!)
  • 3 tbsp fat-free natural yogurt
  • 1 level tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 spring onions, roughly chopped

To serve

  • 4 brioche buns
  • 4 slices of smoked back bacon (see point 5 below, as you may want to grill your bacon beforehand)
  • 8 slithers of cheddar cheese (2 for each burger)
  • Green salad leaves of your choice
  • Tomato ketchup & Light mayonnaise

What to do:

1. Using clean hands, mix together the beef mince, egg yolks, chilli flakes, paprika and thyme leaves. Don’t be scared to get your hands dirty – make sure the mixture is fully combined, and don’t skimp on the seasoning – add plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper.2. Divide the combined mixture into 4 portions, and using your hands, shape each portion into a burger. Cover with cling film and set aside in the fridge for 30 mins until ready to cook.3. Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas 7. Parboil the wedges for 6-8 minutes until just tender. Drain well and leave to cool in a colander for a few minutes, until some of the moisture has evaporated.

4. Coat the wedges in the Rapeseed oil and chilli flakes, season very well with salt and pepper and transfer them to the baking tray in a single layer. Sprinkle over the paprika, and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes and adding more paprika if needed.

5. As your wedges are cooking, make your coleslaw and cook your bacon. I have a George Foreman grill – so used that to grill my bacon losing any excess fat. Alternatively, you could lightly fry it in some low calorie cooking spray or grill it beforehand.

6. For the coleslaw, put the fresh red cabbage, grated carrot and spring onion in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt and mayonnaise, then stir into the cabbage mixture. Season to taste and set aside in the fridge until serving.

7. Place a frying pan sprayed with low calorie oil spray over a medium-high heat and cook the burgers for 5 minutes on each side until just cooked through. For the second 5 minutes of cooking time, add the cheddar and bacon on top of the burgers.

[Tip:] if your frying pan has a lid, pop it on top for the last 2 minutes of cooking time, which will help melt the cheese and warm the pre-cooked bacon on the burgers. At this point, also pop your brioche buns on the bottom shelf of the oven to warm through slightly before serving.

8. To serve: remove buns from the oven and lightly coat each side with some light mayo. Add the lettuce leaves to the bottom bun, then place the burger with cheese and bacon on top. Divide the wedges up into 4 and serve alongside the burgers, with a big dollop of the homemade coleslaw from the fridge!

Slightly Healthy Burgers with spicy wedges & slaw

Hope you enjoy this (slightly) healthy burger recipe! If you try it, let me know how you get on and tweet a picture to @sophiesscran 🙂


 

Mushroom & ‘Smokehouse’ Smoked Streaky Bacon Risotto

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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-

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Comfort Food: Cheesy Jackets with Smoked Bacon, Goats Cheese, & BBQ Beans

Baked Pots

So, Christmas is over. Part of me is kind of thankful. It was wonderful, full of friends, family & food. The three best things in life, pretty much ;-). Now January is well and truly upon us, and in my world, a little bit of indulgence is still acceptable. I know most posts this time of year are health and detox orientated, ‘New Year, new me’ and all that codswallop – but I reckon January should be a mild extension of the festive season.  Ease yourselves in gently, that’s what I say!

You might also notice these bad boys are served up on my ‘Sophie’s Scran’ solid wood chopping board. Best Christmas present ever, thanks Sis 😀

So here it goes – a simple, easy, super scrummy Saturday night treat. Cheesy Jacket Pots. This serves two hungry, hungover mongrels and takes about 1.5 hours from pot to plate.

Baked Pots

What you need:

  • 3 decent sized floury white potatoes
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese (or any leftover cheese from the Christmas cheese board)
  • 20g goats cheese (just a small amount for topping, no need to measure)
  • 3 rashers of streaky smoked bacon
  • Olive oil (plain, or you can use an infused olive oil such as garlic)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Baked beans
  • BBQ sauce (I used The Market Wraps Louisiana BBQ Sauce from Market Wraps, via Flavour Full Stop.)

What to do:

  1. Heat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6
  2. Clean your spuds and dry off with a tea towel, then use your hands to rub a layer of oil over them
  3. Season your spuds with some sea salt which should stick to the oil nicely
  4. No need for a baking tray – once the oven is hot, place them directly on the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes. If you’re using really big spuds, they may need a little longer, so add 15 minutes to the cooking time if you think it’s needed.
  5. Whilst they are cooking, griddle your bacon on a hot skillet until it’s crispy, they transfer to some kitchen paper to absorb any excess grease (or don’t, depending on how healthy you’re feeling!)
  6. Grate the cheese and set aside.
  7. To check your spuds are baked, take them out of the oven and examine them to make sure they are a golden brown colour and the skins are nice and crisp. If you insert a knife into the biggest spud and it’s piping hot when you take it out – they should be done.
  8. Turn off the oven, and preheat your grill to a high heat.
  9. Cut each baked spud in half and scoop out the fluffy potato filling into a bowl, then add 2 thirds of the the grated cheese and crispy bacon and mix to combine.
  10. Using a spoon, scoop the mixture back into each jacket potato skin until each skin is full again and all the mixture is used up.
  11. Transfer your loaded skins onto a baking tray and top with a thin layer of of the remaining grated cheese, and top again with a small crumbling of the goats cheese.
  12. Transfer the cheese-topped spuds to the grill and keep an eye on them for about 10 mins – just until the cheese is melted, bubbling and golden.
  13. Serve with BBQ baked beans (I added a few lashings of Market Wraps Louisiana BBQ Sauce to some Heinz Baked beans, but you could use a sauce of your choice) and a little rocket salad.

Baked Pots (1)

Enjoy, Scranners! -x-