Saturday, 3 December 2016

Baked Chickpeas and Chorizo

I've always thought Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and Chorizo are such a lovely partner for each other and I often make variations of this baked dish throughout the year.


In late summer, chopped up courgette (zucchini) is great, tomatoes make a saucier addition.  You can use "cooking" chorizo sausages as well.

This might not sound appetising but go with me.  As the chorizo or sausages cook, they naturally let out some oils into the dish which coat the vegetables with paprika scented gorgeousness.  Trust me, this is great as a tapas dish, side dish or even a main.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Broccoli and Anchovy Pasta

I realise this may not sound delicious to everyone but for the 5% of the population who are with me that both broccoli and anchovies are delicious, it's great!


If you're not keen on fish, don't discount anchovies because they tend to have a lovely savoury flavour rather than an overly fishy one like in this pasta dish.  They also work brilliantly with lamb.


Monday, 21 November 2016

Chicken in Sherry Sauce

Ah... sherry, beloved of Grandmas... boring eh?  NO!  Sherry rocks!  Forget your thoughts of cream sherries of your Grandma, it is a delicious fortified wine which can take you from deliciously dry and crisp Finos and Manzanillas, fantastic with tapas to Pedro Ximenez which is delicious as a dessert wine.  My favourite is those labelled as Solera taking some of the citrus fruitiness of Palomino with the sweetness of Pedro Ximenez.

So anyway... try it, I urge you.  A bit more about sherry at the end for those of you keen to learn more.

But in the meantime, sherry is often used in cooking in Spain but it's not normal to use the sweeter sherries in savoury dishes.  This was an invention of mine which might sound strange but it is delicious.  Imagine the stunning sweetness and depth of flavour of roasted onions and then you're getting the idea.



Sunday, 13 November 2016

Chorizo and Butterbean Soup

Soup season is definitely here.  When I get home at night in the dark a bowl of thick, hearty soup is definitely top of my list.  What's great about using pulses in soup is they naturally break down slightly as the soup cooks thickening it beautifully.


I've used butterbeans here but haricots would also be good.  All in all this takes about 20 minutes to cook, great when you need something quick after a hard day.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

What's in season in November?

I can't believe it's November already!  Where has the year gone?  At the start of November, you can just about convince yourself it's still autumn, by the end we could be into the first hard frosts or even snow and thoughts start to turn to Christmas preparations.



November is perfect for root vegetables and parsnips are first on my list.


Monday, 31 October 2016

Singapore Noodles

Woah!  Yellow!  Well there has to be turmeric in Singapore noodles, and how great is that for livening up a dark evening?

As far as I can tell, Singapore Noodles have nothing to do with Singapore.  They are probably a Hong Kong or even UK invention.  I suppose it makes sense in a way.  Having travelled in Singapore when I was younger, there is fantastic cuisine and a great melting pot of cultures and cuisines, particularly Malay, Chinese and Indian but Singapore Noodles?  Nope, didn't see it anywhere.


This dish though does make use of turmeric which is used commonly in Indian cookery.  If you believe the buzz on the internet, turmeric is the new health food as well.  Whether that's true or not, it gives the fantastic colour and a subtle earthy, almost slightly perfumed flavour.

There is some heat in this dish as I used hot chillis and extra for garnish, feel free to tone that down as this dish is more normally mild in flavour (but I just love chillis so I can't help it!)

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Roasted Parsnips

I'd always found roasting parsnips a bit hit and miss.  The problem is parsnips have a higher sugar content than potatoes so tend to burn a little more easily.  I've come up with a few ways to help reduce the risk of that happening and have lovely golden parsnips for your tea or Sunday Lunch.



Friday, 28 October 2016

Liven up your running in the winter

Winter is tough on the runner.  Waking up and getting ready for work is hard enough without trying to motivate yourself for a pre work pitch black run.  A warm bed is curiously tempting and it's easy to get into a running rut.

I'm no olympic athlete but here are a few ways I keep my exercise on track even when it's getting chilly outside.


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Leftover Chicken Curry

I don't always have a full roast for a Sunday Lunch and there are other great Sunday Lunch ideas out there for meals for singles or small families.  That said, when I do make the effort to have a roast, I always love the fact there are leftovers in the fridge.



After a day or so though you want something to mix it up a little and a curry is a great way.  Of course you can reach for a pre-made sauce or paste but this is easy, dirt cheap to make and absolutely delicious.  Even though the chicken has been cooked once before as you're fully cooking it again, I still had the leftovers the next day for lunch (cue jealous stares from colleagues!)


Friday, 14 October 2016

Lamb Koftas

Kofta are a great middle eastern and balkan dish normally made with lamb.  There are various versions across the region and I can't claim to any authenticity here, this is more from taste memory.  I've tried making Koftas around a skewer before and it is tricky to keep it on the stick if I'm honest.  I had an idea to make them into small patties and it worked.  The addition of bread as well made them lighter and softer.


This is a great starter or great in a wrap with salad, the yogurt dip and maybe a few chillis.


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Cod with Bagna Cauda Dressing

Bagna Cauda is a delicious if pretty unhealthy dressing / dip made with anchovies.  It also makes a delicious savoury sauce.



Saturday, 8 October 2016

Great ideas for Seafood Week 7-14th Oct

It's seafood week this week and it's a great opportunity to try something a bit different.


There are some special offers and events going on around the country, take a look at the Seafood Week website to find out more.

In the meantime, here are a few great recipes to get you going.

Beef and Mushroom Pie

Slow cooking is not the most obvious thing to do when cooking for one but actually the great thing about it is that it always freezes well and is adaptable.  You can serve as a stew or as an awesome pie like this.



Wednesday, 5 October 2016

What's in season in October?

October is here and it's one of my favourite months for produce in the UK.  There are still British soft fruits available from poly tunnels, the end of the blackberry season and crisp apples from the trees are still at their best.  While it's the end of one season it's also the start of the next and that wonderful golden period when so much local food is available is fantastic.


Kale

But this is when we start to get the cruciferous vegetables coming to the fore.  I am no trend follower, I've been eating kale for years.  Kale is just a more flavourful cabbage basically.  Rumours as to it's superfood status have been highly inflated in my opinion.

Great Cheap Eats (for students or just for saving cash!)

It's University time in the UK and millions of Freshers will be leaving home for the first time, armed with a saucepan, a frying pan and a magic marker to label up their food in the fridge.


A few lessons from my time at University (many) years ago...

  • There will always be someone who steals your food.  It's not worth getting too stressed about if you can.
  • Eat fresh stuff as much as you can.  If you live on tinned food, you will get run down.
  • Chinese supermarkets can be great places to stock up on pre made sauces.
  • Lentils are a great store cupboard stand by and mean however poor you are you can make soup or a curry.  
  • If you live in a shared house or flat, even if you don't cook together, suggest to your housemates you share staples like rice, pasta, washing up liquid etc, even big bags of potatoes.  Otherwise it gets a bit ridiculous and the economies of scale can make it all cheaper.
  • Nothing brings people together like food so batch cooking can be a way to make friends with new housemates if you offer them a bowl too.
  • A slow cooker might not be the most obvious bit of student kit but University was where I got into slow cooking because it makes the most of cheap cuts.

So here are a few recipes which will hopefully make your Mum smile that you've not completely fallen to bits and been unable to cope (even if you do go home to visit with bags of dirty washing.)