Monthly Archives: February 2014

Hungarian Goulash

When the weather is cold and wet there is nothing better than a dish you can bung in a casserole and simmer.  Not only do you get whatever deliciousness you’re conjuring but you also get the delicious aromas drifting about as it simmers, allowing you to anticipate and relax!  Hungarian Goulash is one of those recipes that has been a staple in my family forever.  In fact, prior to acquiring my mother my father had but one cook book and Hungarian Goulash was one of the only recipes he cooked.  (Chilli Con Carne and Spaghetti Bolognese also featured in his repetoir I belive!)

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Serves 4

250g diced pork
2 x 40g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp paprika
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped*
100g mushrooms, quartered
salt and pepper to taste

– Heat a splash of oil in a large, heavy casserole.
– Add the pork and cook til browned.
– Add the tomatoes, puree, paprika, peppers and mushrooms.  Give it a good stir and season to taste.
– Swill out the tomato cans with a little water (about 1/4 of a can for each) add to the casserole.
– Bring it to a boil, put the lid on and turn down to low.
– Allow to simmer for 45 minutes until the sauce is reduced, glossy and thick.
– Serve with tagliatelle, rice or mashed potatoes, whatever you fancy.  A dollop of creme fraiche also goes very nicely!

*Optional, we all have Opinions about green peppers.

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains

Fast Day Stir Fry

I think that I’m rather beginning to get into the swing of Fast Day recipes now!  The temptation at the beginning was to just keep it simple and stick to basics.  You can’t really mess up a grilled chicken breast and a plate of steamed veg, can you? But that got boring, fast.  I like to look forward to my dinner, especially when I have to look forward to it all day without even the blip of lunch to see me through.  So I’ve been playing around with some fancier options recently.

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This dish is still simple, and it does essentially comprise a plate full of chicken and vegetables.  But presentation is everything!  You eat with your eyes first, after all.  By stir frying you get a different texture and the cauliflower ‘rice’ adds a visual appeal and a satisfaction that I just don’t feel you would get if you just added cauliflower into the stir fry.  The crunchiness of the baby corn and sugar snap peas is incredibly welcome after a day’s abstinence and the punch that you can pack into what boils down to the simplest of sauces gives you a lot of flavour for very little!  The other nice bonus is that this is a proper plate full of food.  You certainly can’t feel deprived looking at that!

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Serves 1 (~300cal)

100g cauliflower, coarsely grated
1/2 tsp five spice
~125g chicken breast, sliced
100g courgette, sliced
100g baby corn, halved
50g sugar snap peas, halved
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
a dash of boiling water

– Place the grated cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and add a pinch of five spice and a pinch of salt.
– Stir well and add 1 tbsp water.
– Microwave for 2 minutes on full power.
– Heat your non stick frying pan or wok.  (Now, as with any dry frying, non stick is your friend.  Do not try it with anything else or you will weld that chicken to the pan!)
– Add the chicken and cook until just browned.
– Add the remaning five spice and the courgette, corn and peas.
– Stir fry until the courgette is just starting to soften and is catching a little colour.
– Add the soy sace, oyster sauce and just a dash of boiling water.  Just enough to cover the base of the pan.  If you add too much, simply boil until the sauce is reduced.
– Make sure everything is coated in sauce by stiring well then serve with your cauliflower “rice”.

NB. If you want to make this gluten free make sure you have the right soy and oyster sauces!

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Mains

Oyakodon

When the weather is dull and wet as it has been recently, I get serious cravings for Japanese food.  We English may think we know rain, and to an extent we do.  We certainly have a lot of different rains.  Japan simply has RAIN.  As in, buckets and buckets, step outside without an umbrella and be drenched to the skin within 5 meters RAIN.  And when the heavens open, and keep opening, there is absolutely nothing better than finding some tiny little out of the way eatery, thick with a fug of steam and soy sauce and mirin, and hunkering down until the warmth seeps back in and you are ready to face the day once more.

Now, by all rights, what follows should be a recipe for Ramen… but I can never make ramen that is anything other than a poor, pale immitation of proper ramen.  And I know why this is.  It’s all about the stock.  One day I will spend an entire weekend carefully crafting the perfect bowl of ramen but until then I content myself with being able to whip up a number of easy, quick, filling, and delightfully warming Japanese dishes, such as this one.

Oyakodon translates as Parent and Child Bowl, which tickles me rather.  The combination of chicken and egg is a brilliantly satisfying one.  This dish really hits every single one of my savoury cravings and is always a winner in my kitchen.

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Serves 2

150ml dashi stock
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 chicken breasts, in chunks (or you could use 2 large chicken thighs, skinned and boned)
1 onion, sliced /1 leed, sliced diagonally*
1 egg, beaten
sticky rice to serve

– In a deep frying pan combine the dashi, sugar, mirin and soy sauce and bring to the boil.
– Add the chicken and onion / leek and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the chichen is cooked through.
– Pour the beaten egg over the top of the sauce.  Do not stir!
– When the egg has set serve over a bowl of sticky rice.

*Sometimes I use an onion, sometimes I use a leek.  I think the onion is more traditional but I was given it with leek in too.  I like squeaky leek but if you don’t then just go with onion!

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Filed under Easy, Japanese, Mains