Tag Archives: cooking

Spicy Chicken and Pepper Soft Shell Tacos

I came across a box of soft shell tacos in the supermarket and couldn’t resist whipping up these simple chicken and pepper tacos for dinner the same night.  I don’t often find soft shell tacos in stock, often making do with the small own brand tortillas as an alternative, and I struggle with crunchy tacos (and baguettes for that matter) so when I do find them I seize the chance!

Spicy Chicken and Pepper Soft Shell Tacos

This is a great recipe to have at hand as by cooking the herbs and spices a little first then adding the chicken on top you get the effect of a marinade or spice rub but without any of the associated time or effort.  Winner!

Spicy Chicken and Pepper Soft Shell Tacos

Serves 4

1 tsp puréed garlic
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander leaves
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chipotle chilli powder (or to taste)
2 tbsp lime juice
2 large chicken breasts, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
Soft shell tacos
Lettuce
Guacamole/salsa/sour cream to serve as you prefer

– Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan then add the garlic, tomato and all of the spices in a little pile in the middle and let it sizzle a little.
– Dump the chicken on top of the spices and quickly stir it around so it’s coated.
– Add the pepper and lime juice and stir occasionally while cooking for about 5 minutes.
– Heat up your soft shell tacos and prepare them as you like. I’ve suggested lettuce with guacamole, salsa and sour cream but mix it up! Mayo works well too. I also like to serve mine with corn on the cob as a side.

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Lemon and Raspberry Mini Loaf French Yogurt Cakes

I can’t remember where I first came across the recipe for French Yogurt Cake.  It’s always just been there. But I never once felt the need to try it.  There were always more exciting, more challenging cakes to try.  Why go back to basics with a cake intended to be made with the help of toddlers?

French Yogurt Cake

This is why, my friends!
Beautiful, light, fluffy cakes that are the perfect teatime pick me up… or breakfast, coz it’s got fruit and yogurt in and that’s a breakfast food, right?

French Yogurt Cake

And, even though I possess no toddlers of my own (Darcy isn’t too good at baking, even though he loves the tasting part!) I can say with my limited knowledge of the species that this would be an absolutely brilliant recipe to bake with kids.  No faffy weighing, just measure everything out using a yogurt tub and mix it up.  Simple!

French Yogurt Cake

And so quick.  The thing that takes the most time about this recipe is waiting for the oven to heat up!  (Or sometimes it’s the pressing need to pop to the Co-op as you realise you’ve run out of eggs half way through!) We all know there are some days when you just want to get something in the oven without any hassle, these can be whipped together and out of the oven in less than half an hour (although I assume if you do choose to involve kids it will take longer…)
Don’t delay, give them a go today!

French Yogurt Cake
Makes 6

1 x 125g tub natural yogurt
2 tubs self raising flour
1 tub golden caster sugar
1/2 tub rapeseed oil
3 eggs
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon, grated*
~ 1 tub frozen raspberries

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C.
– Prepare a tray with 6 mini loaf cases. Alternatively you can make this as a large loaf and just increase the cooking time.
–  Put all of the ingredients except the raspberries in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Use the yogurt tub to measure out each of the ingredients.
– Divide equally between the mini loaf tins. (Space them well as this mixture rises!)
– Scatter the top of each cake with frozen raspberries.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. (If cooking as a large loaf 45 minutes to an hour)
– Allow to cool until just warm them devour! Also excellent when you allow them to fully cool before consuming!

*
RECIPE VARIATION:
Instead of Lemon and Raspberry these can be adapted to any flavour you like.  I have also had great success with Chocolate Orange, just replace the lemon zest with orange zest and add 2 tbsp cocoa powder and a tub of chocolate chips instead of raspberries.

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Filed under Cakes, Easy, Teatime Treats

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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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

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

Chicken, Leek and Rosemary Tagliatelli

A quick and simple supper recipe today!  This Chicken, Leek and Rosemary Tagliatelli recipe uses a white wine reduction to make a super simple sauce that is super luxurious!  Sometimes you need to give yourself a little indulgent treat but this is a little bit lighter than my usual cream based sauces.

Chicken, Leek and Rosemary Tagliatelli

The freshness of the leeks and the depth of the rosemary pair beautifully with the bacon and chicken to make a perfect Friday supper for two!

Chicken, Leek and Rosemary Tagliatelli

Serves 2

1 large chicken breast, sliced
125g bacon lardons
1 medium leek, rinsed and sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
200ml white wine
tagliatelle to serve

  • Prep your water for pasta, mine usually takes 4-5mins but check the packet for cooking instructions and proceed accordingly.
  • Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan and add the bacon lardons cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the sliced chicken breast and cook until just turning all white.
  • Add the leek and cook until just softening.
  • Add the rosemary and the wine and simmer on a medium heat until the wine is reduced to a thick sauce coating the bottom of the pan and the leek is completely soft and the chicken cooked through.
  • Serve over tagliatelle!

Chicken, Leek and Rosemary Tagliatelli

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