Thursday, 8 April 2021

SWEET POTATO & LENTIL CURRY WITH CRISPY SESAME CHICKPEAS


This sweet potato curry is literally comfort in a bowl and pretty healthy and nutrient packed at the same time!

I love the fragrant broth in which the sweet potatoes and lentils cook, made from a mix of coconut milk, peanut butter and red Thai curry paste. 

Then there are the crispy chickpeas, pan fried with soy sauce and sesame seeds, which offer the most amazing finishing touch to a dish that is rustled up in less than 30 minutes but taste better than any takeaway curry, plus you know what goes in it! 

And to make it even more of a crowd please if you leave out the fish sauce and this is also totally vegan friendly.

The perfect supper dish now that we are back to winter temperatures for the time being!

Serves 2 generously 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce (or extra soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 rounded tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander, chopped plus more for serving
  • cooked rice for serving
  • pomegranate seeds for serving 

CHICKPEAS
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


METHOD

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. 
  • When the oil shimmers, add the shallots and cook 3 minutes until soft. 
  • Add the ginger and sweet potatoes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 
  • Stir in the curry paste and cook another minute. 
  • Add the 3 cups broth, lentils, fish sauce, soy sauce, and peanut butter. 
  • Bring the mix to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. 
  • Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the sweet potatoes tender. 
  • Meanwhile, make the chickpeas. 
  • Heat a large, high frying pan over medium heat. 
  • Add the 2 tablespoons oil and the chickpeas. 
  • Cook, stirring occasionally until the chickpeas are crisped all over, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the soy sauce and sesame seeds, tossing to combine. 
  • Cook 1 minute, remove from the heat.
  • When the lentils are cooked, stir in the coconut milk, spinach, and lime juice, cook 5 minutes. 
  • Remove from the heat and add the coriander. 
  • To serve, divide the rice among bowls and ladle the curry overtop. 
  • Top with chickpeas, coriander, and pomegranate seeds. 
  • Enjoy!

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

PAN FRIED HOMEMADE VEGGIE BAO BUNS

 

These little vegan, veggie packed bao buns are super fun to make and look rather impressive. Even better they taste like the real deal, packed full of fresh flavours and with buns that have a lovely pillow like texture!

Don't be intimidated by the cooking steps and dough assembly involved, they don't have to end up looking perfect to taste insanely good and I loved learning how to achieve a proper Chinese bun like texture by both pan frying and steaming the buns!

A perfect weekend project while we await for the outdoor hospitality to reopen next week in the UK!


INGREDIENTS

Dough
  • ⅔ cup warm water approx. 95°F (35°C)
  • 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar optional
  • 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour + more for dusting

Veggie Filling
  • 1-2 tbsp sesame oil ⁣ for frying
  • 1 stick leek finely chopped
  • 7 oz white cabbage shredded
  • 1 large carrot shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 7 oz smoked tofu finely chopped (or sub mushrooms, *see notes)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp sriracha

For frying & steaming
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ¼ cup water

To serve
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

Dipping Sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp  honey
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp sriracha or sambal oelekoptional

METHOD

Making the dough
  • Mix the yeast with the water and sugar in a small bowl and set aside for around 5 minutes.
  • Whisk together the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. 
  • Pour in the water with yeast slowly and stir with a chopstick (or wooden spoon) until it clumps together. Transfer to a work surface and knead with your hands (or use a mixer with dough hooks) until a smooth and soft dough forms, about 5 minutes.
  • Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest for about 45 minutes, or until the ball has doubled in size.

Preparing the filling
  • Heat the oil in a pan and finely chopped mushrooms. 
  • Add the leek, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the veggies are slightly tender.
  • Then add the soy sauce, salt and sriracha to taste. 
  • Mix well and set aside to cool.

Assembling the buns
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, and knead it briefly to remove all air bubbles.
  • Then roll it into a long log and cut into 10 pieces (or more for smaller buns). 
  • Work with one piece at a time and cover the rest with a clean kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out.
  • Flatten one piece of dough with your palm and roll it into a round wrapper with thinner edges, about 4.7-inch (12 cm) in diameter.
  • Add about 2-3 tablespoons of filling to the center, then fold the bun up and around the filling, making sure to seal the top. 
  • Repeat until all the buns are assembled.

Cooking the buns
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. 
  • Place the buns in the pan with the pinched-side up (make sure to not overcrowd the pan!), 
  • and cook for about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Once the bottoms are golden-brown and crispy, flip them over and carefully, pour in ¼ cup of water to create steam. 
  • Immediately cover the pan, reduce to low heat and allow buns to steam for about 10 minutes, or until the water has evaporated.
  • Remove from pan, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the dipping sauce as desired. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

THE BEST HOMEMADE FISH & CHIPS


I have reached the stage of lockdown cooking boredom where I will forgo a takeaway and instead try to re-create an even better version at home. 

Case in point are the outstandingly crispy fish and chips with my take on peas on the side I made at the weekend. I spent considerable time researching how to make the most perfect batter and it turns out the secret is rice flour and ice cold ale! 

Trust me, the fish was good and crispy as you are going to get (only improvement would of course have been having it by the sea). I don't actually have a cooking thermometer so heating up the oil was a little bit improvised, basically I waited until it looked hot enough, then dropped a little potato into the oil to see if it fizzed up, but definitely manageable.

One tip though: make sure to use a relatively large pot for your oil to prevent any hot oil overspill once you add what you want deep fried. Let's just say I didn't and had rather oily kitchen to clean up after...

I hate minted peas so instead roasted peas with a good nob of butter in the oven alongside some smashed garlic and OH MY DAYS why have I never eaten peas like this before, really elevating the taste of the humble pea here. 

And of course no proper fish and chips offering is completed without a good tartare sauce, more of an assembly than cooking job, packed full of herbs, cornichons and capers, and a wonderful tangy and creamy final element that to dunk your chips and fish in. 

Quite possibly the best fish and chips I have ever had were it not for the fact I had them at my dining room table, not a pebbly, windy British beach, but for the time being it as quite the fine dinner with a side of day dreaming of future seaside adventures.

Serves 2

TARTARE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup / 220g mayonnaise (Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp gherkin/cornichon, very finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp capers, drained and finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
METHOD
  • Place ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
  • Adjust salt to taste

ROAST PEAS WITH BUTTER & GARLIC

INGREDIENTS

  • Small bag of frozen peas, slightly thawed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
METHOD
  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  • Put the peas on a baking tray
  • Add the garlic cloves and dot the butter around 
  • Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once between cooking. Remove from the oven, toss once more and then serve immediately.

CHIPS

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 potatoes peeled and sliced into chips 
  • 750ml sunflower oil for deep frying 
  • Salt to taste

METHOD
  • Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes or until they just start to soften. 
  • Drain and allow to dry on a wire rack for 10-30 minutes. 
  • Heat a large pot of vegetable/canola oil until hot. 
  • Carefully add the potatoes in batches and fry until golden brown and crisp. 
  • Drain with a slotted spoon and place back onto the wire rack. 
  • Keep the chips in a warm oven while you fry the fish.


BEER BATTERED HADDOCK

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large haddock fillets

DUSTING:
  • ¼ cup rice flour 

CRISPY FISH BATTER:
  • ¾ cup plain/all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup rice flour (makes it super crispy, Note 2)
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup very cold ale

COOKING:
  • Use the same sunflower oil as for your chis

METHOD

  • Dry fillets well, especially if using thawed frozen fish because it will leech water while defrosting. This is key to crispy fish, so don’t shortcut this! 
  • Start heating oil – Heat oil to 190°C/375° or there abouts. 
  • Hot oil is key to ensure the fish doesn’t end up soggy and greasy. 
  • Use a large, heavy-based pot for safety purposes, for even heating of oil and better heat retention. 
  • Dust fish with rice flour, shaking off excess. 
  • This is an additional crispiness insurance policy, which will soak up any residual moisture on the flesh of the fish. 
  •  Just before cooking, whisk together the flour, rice flour, baking powder and salt. 
  • Add very cold beer into the batter and whisk just until incorporated evenly into the flour. 
  • Do not over-mix, do not worry about flour lumps.
  • It should be a fairly thin batter but fully coat the back of a spoon.
  • If too thick, add beer 1 tsp at a time.
  • Dunk a piece of fish in the batter, the let the excess drip off very briefly. 
  • Carefully lower into oil, dropping it in away from you, one piece at a time. 
  • Don't crowd the pot; fry in batches. 
  • Fry for 3 minutes, flipping after about 2 minutes, until deep golden.
  • Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining fish. 
  • Serve hot! 

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

GLUTEN FREE & VEGAN FRIENDLY FUDGY CHICKPEA BLONDIES


O M G these blondies, made from a chickpea, ground almond, maple syrup and peanut butter dough, are the most fudgy amazing little things that are completely gluten and dairy free! 

Who knew blended chickpeas would indeed form such a good base to a sweet baked treat and though I am not a vegan I was totally won over and surprised by this alternative to your standard blondie. 

A revelation to those with dietary restrictions and requirements but also bloody delicious for those without!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can canned chickpea of 400 g (14 oz), drained, towel dried
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon Vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1/3 cup ground almond
  • 1/3 cup chopped up vegan friendly chocolate (I always use Dr Oetker's cooking chocolate)

METHOD
  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Line a 9-inch x 9-inch baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Open the can of chickpea, rinse, drain and dry/rub the chickpeas in a clean towel to remove ALL the water or moisture. This is VERY important, or the blondies will be fragile and too moist
  • Place the chickpea in the bowl of a food processor, add peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Blend on high speed until smooth, and no big lumps are left.
  • Add in ground almonds and process again at high speed for 15-30 seconds to blend evenly.
  • Remove the food processor blade, stir in chocolate chunks. 
  • I recommend you keep 3 tablespoons on the side and sprinkle later on top of the blondie. 
  • This also prevents adding too much chocolate chips in the batter that will melt and turn your blondie into a brownie.
  • Spread the blondie batter evenly onto the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the chocolate chips you set aside on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and crusty on top. 
  • CAREFUL, if your pan is wider, it will cook way faster. On the other hand, if your pan is smaller the blondies are thicker, and it may take more than 30 minutes to set. 
  • Always insert a pick in the center of the blondie to check baking. 
  • If it comes out clean with little crumbs, it is ready.
  • Cool 10 minutes in the tray to firm up the blondies. 
  • Don't skip this or they will break. 
  • Then gently loosen the sides with a knife and lift the pieces of parchment paper to easily release the blondie from the pan and transfer it onto a cooling rack. Careful the blondie will still be soft and fragile. 
  • If you feel it is too soft or moist wait 10 more minutes before transferring it onto the cooling rack. 
  • This prevents the blondie from breaking.
  • Cool for at least an hour before slicing or they can be fragile.
  •  After 1 hour, you can pop the blondie in the fridge, this will add an extra fudgy texture and make it easier to slice.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

CREAMY CURRIED PRAWN & GREEN BEAN PIE


Another dish where fusion really works a treat! Here the classic English fish pie gets an Indian twist with a curry infused cream sauce and THE most amazing turmeric and nigella seed spiced mash. 

A seriously delightful comfort food dish that will feed a crowd!

Serves 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion , finely sliced
  • 40g plain flour
  • 3 tbsp medium curry paste (I used this Korma paste from Waitrose)
  • 600ml milk
  • 150g green beans , cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1.2kg Maris Piper potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 heaped tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 300g cooked king prawns
  • ½ small bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche


METHOD

  • Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a medium saucepan. 
  • Add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry over a medium heat for 8 mins, or until the onions turn golden and sticky. 
  • Stir the flour and curry paste into the onions and cook for 2 mins. 
  • Remove from the heat and quickly whisk through the milk in several additions to make a thick sauce.
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the beans and cook for 1 min, then scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside. 
  • Add the potatoes to the water and cook for 5-6 mins or until you can easily insert a cutlery knife into them. 
  • Drain and mash. 
  • Stir through the remaining oil, turmeric and nigella seeds, then season to taste.
  • Add the prawns and green beans to the sauce. 
  • Bring to a simmer and quickly remove from the heat. 
  • Stir through the coriander and crème fraîche and season to taste.
  • Heat the grill to its highest setting. 
  • Spoon the mixture into a medium heatproof dish. 
  • Spread over the mashed potato and grill for 4-5 mins or until golden and bubbling AND ENJOY!

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

CONFIT SALMON PAPPARDELLE WITH CARDAMON & LIME


365 days of lockdown. Who would have thought ey? I have cooked, pickled and fried, I have made my own noodles, pasta, several kinds of gnocchi and have just about covered every popular cuisine out there.

Keeping it creative in the kitchen has played a fundamental role in keeping me sane during this year -researching recipes, planning shopping trips to my much beloved Barbican Waitrose and picking nice wines to go with dinners that became the highlights of my weekends. 

Well, it looks like we are not quite of the woods yet and a return to normality may still be some time off which is why I will endeavour to keep the fun, tasty and unusual recipes coming, for me AND for you guys.

In that vain it was about time for me to take my first stab at confit cooking via this wonderful confit salmon pasta dish by the great Yotam Ottolenghi. 

It was actually surprisingly easy to do and the end result was the most wonderful juicy, fragrant salmon that worked an absolute treat with a herby and surprisingly light dressing. 

A dish that screams spring and a dish that will be a much needed dinner treat to celebrate an anniversary we all really did not need nor want.

Serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS
  • 35g coriander leaves (from about 1 small bunch)
  • 35g basil leaves
  • 1 large salmon fillet, about 450g, skinned
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 200g sweet red cherry tomatoes, such as datterini
  • 2 red chillies, chopped widthways into 2½cm-thick rounds
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed with the flat of a knife
  • 3 banana shallots, peeled and cut into 2½cm-thick rounds
  • 10 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 300ml olive oil
  • 75ml lime juice
  • 500g dried pappardelle

METHOD

  • Combine the herb leaves in a medium bowl. 
  • Dry the salmon well with kitchen towel, then season all over with two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt.
  • Heat a large saute pan for which you have a lid on a high heat.
  • Once very hot, add the tomatoes, chilli, garlic and shallots, keeping them all spaced apart, and cook for eight minutes, turning everything once halfway, until it’s all nicely charred. 
  • Add the cardamom and two tablespoons (or 10g) of the fresh herb mix and char for another two minutes.
  • Turn the heat as low as it will go, add the oil, two tablespoons of lime juice, two teaspoons of salt and a very generous grind of pepper, then gently lay the salmon in the pan. 
  • Spoon the oil and aromatics over the fish, leave it on the heat for two minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pan and leave the salmon to confit in the residual heat for 30 minutes, carefully turning the fillet once halfway. 
  • Transfer the fish to a plate and use two forks gently to flake it apart into large chunks.
  • Strain the remaining oil into a large bowl, pick out and discard the cardamom and herbs, and keep the remaining aromatics and oil separately. 
  • Don’t wash out the pan, because you’ll use it again later.
  • For the salsa, put 40g of the fresh herb mix in the small bowl of a food processor with 75ml reserved confit oil and two tablespoons of lime juice, and blitz to a smooth paste.
  • Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain, and reserve two tablespoons of the cooking water. 
  • Return the sauté pan to a medium-high heat, add the drained pasta, reserved cooking water, strained aromatics and a tablespoon each of the confit oil and lime juice.
  • Toss, gently heat for two to three minutes, then stir through the remaining herbs.
  • Transfer the pasta to a large platter, top with the flaked salmon and spoon over the salsa. 
  • Finish with plenty of black pepper and serve.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

CRISPY PAPRIKA SPICED CAULIFLOWER WITH COCONUT PESTO PASTA


Turns out a fresh herb pesto with a touch of coconut milk is a TOTAL game changer. 

Once you've made this light pasta dish, bursting with fresh flavours, you won't be going back to your boring old pesto, trust me!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked Paprika 
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 500g pasta (whatever shape you fancy)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 1 cups rocket
  • 1 jalapeño (I used this jared version from El Paso)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 200C. 
  • On a baking sheet, combine the cauliflower, 1/4 cup olive oil, paprika, chili flakes, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. 
  • Toss well to evenly coat. 
  • Transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until tender. 
  • Add the 2 cloves garlic and the lemon zest. Roast another 10 minutes, until charred.
  • Meanwhile, make the pesto. 
  • In a blender or food processor, combine the basil, arugula/spinach, the jalapeño, 1-2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, nuts, parmesan, and 1/4 cup olive oil. 
  • Season with salt. 
  • Pulse until a sauce forms, adding 1-2 tablespoons water if needed to thin.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 
  • Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. 
  • Just before draining, remove 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. 
  • Drain and add the pasta right back into the hot pot.
  • To the pasta, add the pesto and coconut milk, tossing to combine. 
  • Divide the pasta among bowls, then serve each bowl with a side of cauliflower and enjoy!

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

KING PRAWN MASALA CURRY WITH HOMEMADE NAAN


I had a severe Indian food trauma until this gorgeous king prawn masala curry with the most incredible fluffy, homemade naan bread repaired my faith in this cuisine! 

Why? Well, let's just say the last time I had Indian food it ended up with a pretty nasty case of food poisoning, projectile vomiting up salmon tikka masala and feeling like utter, utter death, which of course meant that even the thought of any kind of Indian food resulted in a cold shower down my back, let alone me actively seeking out a recipe and making it at home. 

However time and lockdown boredom heels all wounds and traumas and I began to think it was silly for me to disregard all Indian food for life because of ONE nasty experience. 

Also I couldn't help but think that this tomato based masala prawn curry looked all kinds of amazing and not too dissimilar to many Thai curries I absolutely adore which is why it was time to work (or rather eat) my way towards enjoying Indian food once again! 

I was also very intrigued by the idea of making my own naan bread, I am no big rice fan and the fluffy bread served with Indian curries looked right up my street, plus I had managed making a super tricky roti at home, a naan would be a walk in the park! 

And luckily it pretty much was -  super easy to make, SO delicious fresh out of the pan and perfect for dipping into the curry. Light and fluffy, all kinds of wow and something I'd definitely make again! 

I think I am ready to explore Indian food more once again - trauma dealt with, in quite the delicious manner!

KING PRAWN MASALA CURRY

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced,
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large thumb of ginger, finely minced
  • 10 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml water
  • salt to taste
  • 100ml coconut cream
  • 150-200g raw king prawns
  • 150g frozen green peas 

METHOD
  • Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions until they are brown.
  • Add in the garlic, ginger and cardamom pods and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Mix in the spices, allowing them to cook for a few minutes before stirring in the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, salt and water.
  • Bring to the boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to stir the sauce occasionally to prevent any burning at the bottom.
  • Pour in the coconut cream, king prawns, peas and sugar. Mix thoroughly and cook for a further 5 minutes until the prawns cook through. Add more salt to taste if necessary.


HOMEMADE NAAN BREAD

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup hot water (but not boiling just hot tap water)
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
1 cup plain greek yogurt
4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Melted butter, for brushing may use olive oil

METHOD
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved. 
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to froth and rise.
  • When the yeast is foamy and smells like bread, add the milk, yogurt, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix the with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. 
  • As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. 
  • It should be sticky, but should form a ball and be soft. 
  • Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place 1 hour or if not using right away overnight in the fridge.
  • When ready to cook divide the dough into 8 equal balls and using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into an oval shape. 
  • Warm a non stick frying pan over medium-high heat (you want a hot pan). 
  • Brush both sides of the naan with melted butter and if desired sprinkle on any spices you like such as cumin and garlic. 
  • Place the naan on the hot frying pan, cover with a lid and bake for 1 minute, until you see bubbles starting to form. 
  • Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. 
  • Repeat with the rest of the naans and serve. 

Monday, 15 March 2021

AHI TUNA TACOS + CRAB & PRAWN ENCHILADAS!

Two easy peasy yet impressive recipes for a Mexican seafood feast. 

Best served with some frozen mango or strawberry margaritas to make you feel a world away from your boring living room on a Friday night!

AHI TUNA TACOS WITH SRIRACHA MAYO

Makes 4 small tacos, perfect as a starter for 2

INGREDIENTS

  • Tuna Steak
  • 1/2 tbsp taco seasoning (I used Old El Paso's)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 flour small flour tortillas (if you can't find small ones do as I did and use a small plate or bowl and cut out a smaller circle)
  • 1 cup white shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 cup radishes about 2-3, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander

Sriracha Mayo

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha or more to taste depending on how spicy you like it
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice


METHOD
  • Heat oil in a frying pan. 
  • Meanwhile pat the tuna dry with paper towels. 
  • Sprinkle the seasoning on all sides of the tuna.
  • Once the pan is hot add tuna and sear on all sides until golden brown. 
  • Remove from the pan and allow the tuna to rest before slicing into thin slices.
  • To assemble tacos place a sprinkle of cabbage onto each taco and place some radishes on top.
  • Top with pieces of tuna and a sprinkle of coriander on top, if desired.
  • Serve immediately with a drizzle of sriracha mayo.

Sriracha Mayo
  • Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. 
  • Set aside until you are ready to eat your tacos.


PRAWN & CRAB ENCHILADAS WITH GREEN SALSA CHEESE SAUCE

Serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Can of black beans, rinsed
  2. 2 tins white crab meat (I got mine from Waitrose)
  3. 200g cooked king prawns
  4. 1/2 cup green salsa (get a green salsa like this one from Waitrose, it makes a HUGE difference to your standard red tomato one and is made with Tomatillo green tomatoes)
  5. 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  6. 1/2 cup sour cream
  7. 2 tbsp butter
  8. 2 tbsp flour
  9. 1/2 tsp chilli powder 
  10. 1/4 tsp cumin
  11. pinch salt
  12. 1 cup vegetable broth
  13. 1/4 cup single cream
  14. 4 tortillas
METHOD
  • Preheat oven to 220C.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together beans, crab, shrimp, ¼ c. salsa, ½ c. cheese, and sour cream. 
  • Spoon about ⅓ c. of this filling down the center of each tortilla, fold sides to the middle to cover filling, and place rolled enchiladas seam side down in oven proof baking dish. 
  • Enchiladas should fit tightly together in the pan.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. 
  • Whisk in flour until combined. 
  • Slowly add vegetable broth about ¼ c. at a time, whisking constantly to keep mixture smooth. 
  • When all broth is added, bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in chilli powder, cumin, salt, ½ c. cheese, ¼ c. salsa, and cream.
  • When cheese is melted, turn off heat and pour sauce evenly over prepared enchiladas.
  • Cover dish with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. 
  • Remove foil, and sprinkle remaining ½ c. cheese over the top. 
  • Bake an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. 

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

GLUTEN, DAIRY & EGG FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES


I would have NEVER thought a decent chocolate chip cookie was possible without gluten, dairy AND eggs but I like a challenge and when I was baking for a friend of mine that deserved a treat and who can no longer eat dairy or gluten I knew it was time to prove myself wrong!

After a lot of research uI stumbled across a recipe that didn't rely on super expensive or niche ingredients and looked like it wouldn't taste like an utter fail so thought why not give it a go even if they end up tasting slightly odd! 

This is why I was the more surprised when these cookies turned out a total dream!! In fact they were some of the best home made cookies I have ever made, with great texture and taste and in no way revealing the fact they were lacking the ingredients that usually make a cookie so good! 

Fresh out of the oven, properly set, or even straight out of the bowl in the form of cookie dough, these cookies were a total game changer especially for people that miss a good chocolate chip cookie but do have special dietary requirements or allergies and even those that don't will ADORE these cookies! 

Trust me on this one.

INGREDIENTS 


METHOD
  • Preheat the oven to 200C. 
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  • Cream the buttery spread and sugars in a large bowl. 
  • Add the mashed banana, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until combined.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  • Mix until combined.
  • Stir in the dairy free chocolate chunks.
  • Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough on the cookie sheet. 
  • Bake at 200C degrees for 10 minutes. 
  • They will look a little bit underdone, but will cook a little bit more as they cool on the cookie sheet.
  • Repeat with the rest of the dough and enjoy!

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

THE BEST MEAT FREE MEATBALL SPAGHETTI WITH TOMATO SAUCE!


I think the last time I ate red meat I was around 12 years old and I have really not missed it much ever since. 

I really can't get my head around the idea of eating another beings flesh and the texture of things like steak and bacon makes me feel squeezy just thinking about it.

Which means I am one of those non-meat eaters (though I am big seafood lover and with that long term pescatarian who would struggle to be a full veggie ) that really has not craved or missed meat products.

 Indeed I have always been a little dubious about "fake" meat products like quorn or foturkey. I mean, of course I can see the appeal, especially for vegetarians that have chosen to give up meat out of mainly ethical reasons and miss having a bacon sarnie, but I always wonder why emulate something that is a bit wrong to start with when you can do so many amazing and tasty things with veg and pulses and grains. 

I for one cook about 85% of the time vegetarian, without substitute products, and was more than intrigued to see what kind of meat free balls I could create in a veggie adaptation of those iconic Italian meat ball spaghetti with tomato sauce and after a bit of research I stumbled across a rather outstanding little recipe that makes for some delicious and surprisingly "meaty" balls! 

The secret to their deliciousness? A super fragrant mix of blended black beans and oats which are then mixed with miso paste, sautéed onions, breadcrumbs and, the real start of the show here, finely chopped dried porcini mushroom, hydrated back to full goodness. 

It may sound like a little bit of an odd mix of flavours but once they are formed into balls, fried in the pan to gain a crispy shell and then tossed with a super fresh homemade tomato sauce and spaghetti, they taste pretty damn amazing! 

Like the sort of amazing that would even impress a committed meat eater and made me all kinds of happy, converting a former childhood favourite dish of mine into something that works in my meatless diet! Plus if you leave the parmesan out as final topping the dish is also fully vegan! 

This is one to add to the recipe repertoire, easy to make and a real joy to eat! 

SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms (I got mine at Waitrose)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 x 400g can black beans , drained and rinsed
  • 50g rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp brown miso
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 500g spaghetti

METHOD
  • Tip the dried porcini into a bowl and cover with boiling water. 
  • Leave to soak for 20 mins. 
  • Meanwhile heat 1 tbsp of olive oil a frying pan. 
  • Add the onion and fry over a low heat for 10 mins or until softened and translucent. 
  • Add the garlic and paprika and cook for 1 min.
  • Tip the black beans and oats into a food processor and blitz until you have a chunky, textured mixture. 
  • Tip the beans into a mixing bowl and using your hands mix through the miso, breadcrumbs and cooked onion mix. 
  • Strain and finely chop the porcini mushrooms and add those.
  • Season and roll into balls and chill in the fridge while you make the sauce.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan
  • Add the onion and fry over a low heat for 10 mins or until softened and translucent. 
  • Add the garlic and chilli and cook for 1 min. 
  • Stir through the tomatoes and sugar and season to taste. 
  • Simmer uncovered for 20 mins. 
  • Heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil for the meatballs in a large frying pan over a medium heat. 
  • Add the balls and fry until evenly brown. 
  • Add the cooked meatballs and spaghetti to the pan of sauce and toss everything to coat, then scatter with the basil. 

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

MUSHROOM, LENTIL & POMEGRANATE FILO PIE


Who knew pomegranates and mushrooms go SO well together? Well this super easy to rustle up pie proves just that and combines lots of slow roast mushrooms with pomegranate molasses (a favourite ingredient of mine lately), fresh pomegranate seeds and lentils, all topped with crispy filo pastry sheets.

A mushroom lovers dream dinner, meat eater or not, and full of flavour without the heaviness you can get from creamy pies! 

I served mine with a fresh salad and a big dollop of creme fraiche on the side! 

A veggie main that wows with punchy flavours.

Serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS
  • 500g chestnut mushrooms, halved if small, quartered if large
  • 4 portobello mushrooms, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 large banana shallots, peeled and fairly finely chopped
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt, plus extra to scatter over the pastry
  • 100ml pomegranate molasses
  • 5 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 250g cooked vacuum-packed puy lentils
  • 7 sheets filo pastry (suitable for vegans)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • To serve creme fraiche 

METHOD
  • Heat the oven to 150C. 
  • Tip the mushrooms, shallots, oil, garlic and sea salt into a large, lidded casserole dish or roasting tin, and gently stir to mix (you may need to use your hands.) 
  • Cover with the lid (or tightly with foil) and put in the oven to cook for one hour.
  • Take the dish out of the oven, remove the lid or foil, and increase the heat to 200C.
  • Stir the pomegranate molasses, the pomegranate seeds and the lentils through the mushrooms.
  • Lay one of the seven sheets of filo over the mushrooms, then scrunch up the remaining six pieces and arrange them evenly over the top. 
  • Use a pastry brush to brush the oil all over the filo peaks and troughs, scatter generously with sea salt flakes, then return to the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. 
  • Serve hot.