I LOVE Yakitori! But I often forget about how easy it is to prepare and how delicious it is to eat! It’s a mainstay of Japanese food found on street stalls and izakaya menus across the country. I have some absolutely perfect memories of eating Yakitori across Japan on my travels.
It’s usually served as a snack, side dish or a dish amongst many but you can make it as a main in its own right. I had it with a bowl of rice and some gyoza here. It’s a brilliant option for BBQs as something a little different and makes a great canape option too.
One of the great things about Yakitori is that you don’t need to marinate the meat. You just make the sauce and brush it on as you cook it. You could even make the sauce in advance (and soak your skewers) then it’s simply a matter of 10 minutes on the grill!
Makes 6 skewers (serves 2 as a main)
2 chicken breasts, sliced lengthways into strips (or chunks, whatever you prefer!)
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup granulated sugar
– Place your mirin, soy sauce and sugar in a small pan and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes on a low head but don’t let it get too hot or you will end up with salty toffee!
– Once the sauce is reduced and thickened (about the consistency of double cream) remove it from the heat.
– Reserve a little of your sauce for dipping once cooked
– Thread your chicken onto presoaked bamboo skewers.
– I like to give the chicken a quick coating of sauce before placing on the grill.
– Then put them on the grill and brush every minute or two with sauce.
– Give one final coating just before you serve for a glossy, sticky finish.
– Serve however you wish!
This dish came about because I had defrosted a bunch of prawns for a salad… and then the weather changed. It was horrible! So I wanted a nice, warming, filling dish to warm me up and bring some sunshine back into my life! This prawn and red lentil dish hit the spot nicely!
It was nice and simple to throw together and just half an hour of simmering works wonders on the depth of flavour you get from a dish like this. The ingredient list might seem a bit long but I promise you, it doesn’t take that long to throw it all in a pan and the combination of flavours really works! I also managed to get my workout in while it was simmering so that was a nice bonus!
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp dried coriander leaves
1 sweet red pepper, sliced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
+ 1 tin boiling water
3 tbsp coconut milk powder ( or 1 sachet coconut cream)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp garlic puree ( 1-2 cloves, crushed)
1 vegetable stock cube
8 tbsp red lentils
~ 150g prawns, defrosted (I used a mix of king prawns and coldwater prawns)
– Heat a splash of oil in a large heavy frying pan (I adore my enamel cast iron pan for this kind of dish!)
– Add the onion and spices and gently cook for a few minutes until the onion in soft and the spices are fragrant.
– Add the pepper and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Add the tinned tomato, rinsing out the tin with the hot water, to coconut milk powder, the tomato puree, garlic puree and the stock cube. Give it a good stir to mix.
– Add the lentils and stir in.
– Leave to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and the liquid reduced by half.
– Add the prawns and heat through until piping hot.
– Serve with rice, or without as a nice Fast Day option. You can sprinkle a little fresh chopped coriander on top for a little more panache!
A simple dish to throw together these salmon and veggies in foil packets are an easy, tasty and very low mess way of prepping a nice fillet of salmon and some beautiful fresh veggies. Use whatever veggies float your boat. Here I’ve used baby courgettes, sweet red peppers and asparagus but you could use bok choi, tomatoes, aubergine. Lemon slices are a really nice addition too but sadly I didn’t have any in! You can prep them in advance and then store them in the fridge so they’re great for a weeknight supper.
2 salmon fillets
1 baby courgette, split lengthways
1 sweet red pepper, split lengthways and deseeded
a handful of asparagus spears
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5.
– Lay all of your veggies out on a large sheet of foil.
– Place the salmon on top.
– Fold in the edges of your foil to make a sealed parcel.
– Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes until the veggies are tender and the salmon cooked through.
This recipe is easy peasy lemon squeasy and DELCIOUS! I have an unholy love for cauliflower and it all started because of this recipe!
So quick, so simple, so delicious! It makes an excellent side dish for any curry, or even just with a roast (with cumin or without,it’s up to you!) I confess, if I’m making this and there are leftovers I often just snack on this coldas I’m passing it in the kitchen, it’s so good!!!
Serves 4 (or 1 Anna)
1 large head cauliflower
1 tbsp cumin seeds
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Chop the cauliflower into florets.
– Put it in an oven proof baking dish.
– Drizzle with oil.
– Scatter with cumin seeds and a pinch of sea salt.
– Roast for 30 minutes until browned.
November’s Clandestine Cake Club challenge for the York group was enough to tempt me back into the fold. The challenge was to produce a vegan AND gluten free cake. Well, I couldn’t pass up on that kind of fun, could I?
I chose to go for a chocolate cherry cake… because YUM! But you could really take this cake in any number for directions for a scrumptious, vegan, gluten free, packed full of flavour, moist and delicious cake!
It is equally at home being a loaf or a layer cake. Whether you are after something for a celebration or just a little something to serve with tea.
So often I find the texture of gluten free cakes to be lacking. There’s something just not right about them. However, this cake proves that not only does it not have to be that way but that you can make a quick, easy, fuss free gluten free AND vegan cake without making any sacrifices at all! What’s not to like about that?!?!
Makes 1 cake (Large loaf or 2×7″ victoria sponge tins)
1 cup gluten free flour mix (I like Asda’s own brand one. It’s mainly rice, potato starch and tapioca flour and works well in a variety of recipes.)
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (Make sure no milk has been snuck in, you are after cocoa powder, never ever drinking chocolate!)
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder (Most are but always best to check!)
1 cup soya or almond milk
1 tbsp Trex solid vegetable fat
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g plain chocolate (Check for milk!)
100ml soya or almond milk
glace cherries to decorate
plain chocolate sprinkles
– Heat the oven to gas mark 3/170C and prepare your chosen tins by greasing and lining them. (If you use silicone tins then no need to line, this recipe won’t stick.)
– In a large mixing bowl combine the flour mix, the almonds, the sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder.
– In a small saucepan heat together the milk, fat and syrup until all melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine into a smooth batter.
– Pour the batter into your prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes. (Loaf tin may well take a little longer to cook in the centre.)
– Test with a skewer to check if it is done in the middle. If the skewer comes out clean then place it on a wore rack to cool, otherwise pop it back in for another 5-10 minutes.
– To make the icing melt the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl. 30 seconds, stir it, then another 20 seconds work for my microwave but they are all different so go slowly in short bursts, checking and stirring regularly. Alternatively you can place the bowl over a pan of boiling water until the chocolate melts.
– Pour in the milk and mix vigorously to combine into a smooth ganache.
– When your cakes are cool spread jam in the centre if using, then ice the top with the ganache and decorate with cherries and sprinkles!
Autumn is here! And with it come a wealth of free hedgerow foods and abundant old wives’ tales to guide you on your foraging! Having been indulging in Blackberry and Apple Pie and Brown Betty for weeks now the first frost has come and so blackberries are out (the devil’s claw has been upon them!) but it’s open season on the sloes!
Sloes have had some ups and downs over the past few years but it seems like a good year for them around here so get out and see what you can pick! This sloe gin is well worth the wait, I’ve just cracked open last year’s stash and, just like every year, I am reminded of just how good this stuff is and questioning why I don’t drink it year round!
Makes 1 bottle*
175g granulated sugar*
8 blanched almonds
1 pint gin*
– First step, freeze your sloes. Or spend 3 hours pricking each and every one of them with a small knife. Your choice.
– In a large jar or bottle with a wide neck (make sure it seals properly!) layer your frozen sloes and sugar so its nicely combined.
– Add the blanched almonds.
– Add the gin at room temperature. The shock of the gin on the frozen sloes will cause the skins to split, you may even hear them cracking like ice cubes!
– Put in a safe, cool place and then shake once a week for 6 months-the end of time. (Mum has a bottle she’s been working on for at least 5 years, its brilliant!)
– Strain the sloes and almonds from the gin leaving just the liquid. **
– Enjoy with ice and tonic, or as a bonfire night tipple straight from a hip flask! Warms you up a treat!
* As with all foraging expeditions your harvest varies. If you have come home with say 2kg of sloes (well done you!) then simply use half the amount of sugar to the weight of sloes (so 1kg) and when adding gin you want the sloe/sugar mix to come about halfway up the bottle leaving the rest of the room for gin.
As for gin, DO NOT go using Bombay Sapphire or the like in this recipe. It’s a waste! Lidl, Aldi and the like do perfectly acceptable gin at a good price especially when you are going to be adding so much fruit and sugar to it. There’s no need to break the bank!
** If you don’t want to waste the sloes you can go on to use them in Sloe and Apple Jelly by simply adding them to this recipe.