Sausage and Red Lentil Stew

This Sausage and Red Lentil Stew started as a riff on Cassoulet… but it just isn’t Cassoulet.  It’s lazy girl’s cassoulet!  It’s still deliciously comforting and a filling but not too stodgy recipe to bring some tomatoey brightness to these dull February days!

Sausage and Red Lentil Stew

It can work well with any sausages but I will say that my preferred ones are either Turkey (which are getting harder to find!) or sweet chilli sausages, which are just delicious in anything you put them in!  I would steer clear of chicken sausages though, I just don’t think they have the depth of flavour you want here and they get lost with the vibrancy of the tomato.

Sausage and Red Lentil Stew

Serves 4

8 sausages of your choice
2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 clove chopped garlic
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, chopped
5 tbsp red lentils
1/4 tsp salt
~200ml water

  • Brown the sausages in a large, lidded pan first.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, give it a stir, pop a lid on it and leave it to simmer for 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on the water level, make sure you keep stirring occasionally to stop the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pan.  If you need to add a splash more water do so.
  • Leave to sit for 10 minutes before serving as this will be HOT!

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

These Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons are a lovely thing to make as a gift, or just to keep on hand for those chocolate cravings that spring up from time to time!

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

They’re quick and easy to whip up, you just need to allow time for them to set.

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

I’ve tried mine with Almond milk, which is my go to dairy alternative, and also with regular cow’s milk, which obviously negates their Vegan heritage!  But they’re delicious either way!  What you always need to make sure of when you’re working with chocolate is that you enjoy the chocolate you’re starting with!  If you start with a delicious chocolate then you will end up with a delicious finished product.

Vegan Hot Chocolate Spoons

Makes ~14 spoons

200g dark chocolate (make sure it’s vegan!)
50g coconut oil
2 tbsp cocoa powder

– Melt the chocolate either slowly in a microwave or over a pan of boiling water, whichever method you prefer.  Heat it until 90% melted then take off the heat and allow the last lumps to melt with the residual heat.
– Stir in the coconut oil and the cocoa powder and mix until  smooth.
– Pour carefully into an ice cube tray so that each hole is just filled, clean up any spillages so you have a clean edge.
– Place in the fridge for 10 minutes until starting to solidify then poke the spoons so that they stand upright.  You can leave them to set at room temperature too but this will take a lot longer.
– Put them back in the fridge until fully set, an hour will do it, them unmould and place in plastic bags to keep them.
– To use, simply pop into a mug of hot milk (alternative) of your choice and stir!

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Filed under Drinks, Easy

Red Onion Refrigerator Pickles

This is one of the simplest things I’ve made in ages and yet it packs a big flavour punch! My recipe for Red Onion Refrigerator Pickles pack a heck of a punch visually too, who can resist bright pink food?  They are perfect paired with pulled pork as here, or even just in sandwiches (put them in a cheese toastie and be amazed!)

Red Onion Refrigerator Pickles

Darcy was poised and ready for any spillages!

Red Onion Refrigerator Pickles

3 red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
~1 cup/250ml red wine vinegar

  • Put your onions in a sealable tub, jar or bowl.
  • Sprinkle with salt.
  • Cover with the vinegar.
  • Leave in the fridge for 2 hours – 2 weeks.  Then enjoy!

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Filed under Easy, Sides

Chicken Katsu Kare (Curry)

Chicken Katsu Kare (Japanese Curry)

One of my favourite Japanese meals is Chicken Katsu Kare.  A breaded chicken (or sometimes eve pork) cutlet with a lovely thick, mild curry sauce and sticky rice, topped with lightly pickled red pepper.

Chicken Katsu Kare (Japanese Curry)

Its absolute rainy day comfort food for me.  I had a real craving for it the other week but didn’t have any of my usual short cuts in stock.  (In Japan I’d always make the curry with shop bought roux cubes as would everyone else!) So I set to and made it all from scratch.  I didn’t even have any curry powder!

Chicken Katsu Kare (Japanese Curry)

Its actually not hard at all, it just takes a bit of organisation in a small kitchen like mine as there are a lot of little stages you need to pull together.  I’m very happy I took the time and did a big batch though, this recipe will serve 4 so for singletons like myself I suggest you freeze ready prepped portions for the next rainy day craving!

Chicken Katsu Kare (Japanese Curry)

Serves 4:

For the curry roux:
50g butter
4 tbsp flour
1 tbsp curry powder
1tbsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp five spice
1/4 tap cayenne pepper

(Curry Powder:
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli powder)

For the curry:
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
1 carrot, diced
1 medium floury potato,diced
500ml chicken stock

For the cutlets:
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp flour + salt and pepper
1 beaten egg
4 tbsp bread crumbs
3 tbsp rapeseed oil

Sticky Japanese rice and chopped pickled pepper* to serve (*I love Lidl’s jars of roasted peppers!)

  • First things first, make up your curry powder if you’re making that from scratch, just give it all a good mix.  There will be some spare so pop it in a small jar for later use.
  • Then prep your roux.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan and once it is all bubbly add the flour and spices.  Give it a good stir for 30 seconds or so and it will turn a golden brown. Set aside off the heat.
  • In a larger saucepan heat a splash of oil and sautee the onion and garlic until soft.
  • Add the carrot, potato and chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the curry roux to the saucepan gradually, stirring well to avoid lumps.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally as it thickens to avoid sticking.
  • Take your chicken breasts and lay them on a large chopping board, with plenty of room between them. Cover them with cling wrap.
  • Take a rolling pin and whack the chicken breasts to flatten them.  You will find you can slightly direct how the meat spreads, you want to get it all to a thickness of ~1cm.
  • Remove the cling wrap.  Cut each chicken breast in half to make approximately equal portions.
  • Place the flour on one plate, the egg in a shallow dish and the breadcrumbs on a final plate.
  • Coat the chicken in the flour, then dip it in the egg and finally cover with breadcrumbs.  Then set aside and continue with the remaining pieces.
  • Heat 3 tbsp rapeseed oil in a large frying pan (you may have to do this in 2 batches, or with 2 pans depending on size).
  • Place the cutlets in the oil and cook for 3-5 minutes, until you can see them cooked halfway up, then flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes until cooked through.
  • Serve the cutlet sliced into strips, with a heap of sticky rice, curry sauce and pickled red pepper on top.

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Filed under Easy, Japanese, Mains

Merry Christmas!

 Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous new year!    

Love

Anna & Darcy xxx

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Filed under Christmas

Apple Pie Slices

These Apple Pie Slices are a quick and easy way to bake up some lovely pastries for guests, snacks, afternoon tea or even a naughty breakfast!  (What?  Apples are a fruit ergo it’s healthy!)

Apple Slices

They are deliciously flakey and actually not too sweet.  They are also super quick and easy to throw together!

Apple Slices

They use my Apple Pie Jam as the filling but you could substitute with a bought apple jelly if you preferred. I would add a pinch of cinnamon to it though for maximum tastiness!

Apple Slices

I also use bought puff pastry because nobody outside of the Great British Bake Off tent has time for that nonsense!

Apple Slices

Makes 8

1 sheet pre-rolled puff pastry
1/2 jar Apple Pie Jam
3
 tbsp milk
3 tbsp demarera sugar

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and line 2 baking trays.
  • Cut your pastry into 16 equal pieces.
  • Put a spoonful of jam in the centre of half of them.
  • Prick the remaining slices with a fork to make little holes in the top.
  • Put these pieces on top of the jam ones and press down all around with a fork to crimp the edges closed.
  • Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown.  You will probably have to switch the trays over halfway through if they are on different shelves.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before you eat them.  They are equally good cold!

 

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Filed under Easy, Teatime Treats

Mini Breakfast Bites

These mini breakfast bites were one of the first things I invented for myself in 3rd year food tech!  They are now a staple tradition in our household and I couldn’t imagine Christmas without them!

Mini Breakfast Canapes

Makes 24

24 slices of white bread (2 meduim sliced loaves)
1/2 cup sunflower oil
24 quails eggs
12 rashers streaky bacon or pancetta
24 tiny button mushrooms (or 6 small mushrooms cut into quarters)

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 7.
  • Get out 2x 12 hole bun tins, I prefer the rounded ones but the straighter ones work just fine.
  • Use a large round cookie cutter, checking that it is slightly bigger than the bun tins you are using,   to cut out a large round from the centre of each slice of bread.  (leftover crusts can be used to make bread sauce, or breadcrumbs to freeze for later use)
  • Brush both sides of each round of bread and gently press into the bun tins.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until just turning crisp and golden.
  • Take out the tins (being careful coz it’s hot!) and crack a quails egg carefully into each one.  (I use a sharp knife to pierce the shells)
  • Return to the oven for ~5 minutes until the eggs are just setting.
  • Prepare your bacon/pancetta rolls by slicing each rasher in half then rolling up.
  • Take the tins out of the oven again and add your bacon rolls and mushrooms.
  • Cook for another 5-7 minutes until the bacon is cooked through.
  • Serve immediately while hot and make sure you get some too because these will disappear fast!
  • Mini Breakfast Canapes

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Filed under Canapés, Christmas, Moderately easy