I’m not always super organised when it comes to planning meals (how many of us actually are).
There are dishes I love that need mashed potatoes, and I don’t always remember to make some the day before, or don’t want the fuss of making it.
The lovely people at Mash Direct were kind enough to send me some of their products to try. I was reminded that I hadn’t made these little flavour bombs in ages. Having ready made mashed potatoes was really handy.
I served these fritters with a fresh tomato salad and they were delicious. I can also highly recommend them for breakfast along with eggs.
400 Grams Mashed potatoes (I used a pack of Mashed Direct mash, it also works really well with their champ)
150 Grams Sweet Corn (frozen or canned is fine)
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 Jalapeno pepper (finely chopped, with the seeds removed, if you like these super spicy you can add more)
100 Grams Mature cheddar cheese (grated)
1 Tbsp Plain flour
3 Tbsp Oil
Fry the onion with 1 tablespoon of oil to a frying pan over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes allowing the onion to brown and caramelise, add the jalapeno pepper and cook for 5 mins
Add the potatoes, corn, onion, peppers, egg, flour and cheese into a large bowl and mix well
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil on a large frying. Add a tablespoon of the fritter mix to the pan at a time, and press flat with a spatula. Don’t try to cook more than 2 or 3 at a time
Cook for 5 minutes or until brown before turning (you need to let a brown crust form first or else they’ll be difficult to turn). Drain on kitchen towels before serving
My brother made this soup for me and I loved it. He only gave me the recipe on condition of a name check, so thanks Michael.
This is proper comfort food, and while the recipe is Vegan friendly it’s a really hearty stick to your ribs meal in a bowl.
400 Gram Tin of cannelini beans
2 Stalks of celery (fine chopped)
2 Carrots (grated)
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 Vegetable stock cube (or tablespoon of buillion powder)
2 Cloves of garlic (crushed or very finely chopped)
1 Tbsp Oil
500 ml Boiling water
Add the oil to a deep sauce pan and heat over a medium heat
Add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until the onion softens but doesn’t colour
Then add the carrot and celery and cook gently for an other 10 minutes
Stir in the garlic and beans (including half the water they came in), crumble in the stock cube, add the boiling water and stir well. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you feel it needs it
Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the the vegetables are soft and then serve with crusty bread
There are countless versions of Jollof Rice and Chicken across Africa and the Caribbean. The are many reasons why it’s so popular, it’s quick and easy to make, it’s a one pot dish that can feed a family cheaply, and most importantly it’s really delicious.
I mean, tender chicken and really well flavoured rice with vegetables, where could you go wrong. This is also a great dish for using up odd bits of vegetables you have in the fridge
4 Large chicken thighs or 8 small ones (I use the ones with the bone in, as I think it keeps the chicken tender)
1 Tbsp Oil
2 Red peppers (cut into 1-2cm pieces)
1 Onion (cut into 1-2cm pieces)
1Tbsp Tomato puree
400 Gram Tin of chopped tomatoes
1 Red chilli pepper (finely chopped) or 1 tsp chilli powder
1 Tsp Smoked paprika
3 x Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated, I always keep ginger in the freezer. It stops it going to waste and it’s easier to grate)
250 ml Vegetable/chicken stock (I used a stock cube to make it)
325 Gram Long grain rice, dry weight (I use basmati, but other types are fine)
2 Tbsp Chopped coriander (optional)
Heat the oil in a large flat bottom pan. When hot, add the chicken thighs and seal on both sides
Add the vegetables and tomato puree to the pan and cook for 5 minutes
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding more water if the rice dries out before it’s cooked
Check the chicken is cooked through and the rice is soft
The cracking recipe comes from the national treasure that is Nigella Lawson.
I have tweaked it a little, leaving out the fish sauce (only because I didn’t have any). I’ve used chicken thighs, she used a spatchcocked chicken (whole chicken with the backbone removed and pressed flat), but again this was because this what I had.
The chicken is best if you can let it marinade overnight. So if you can be organised, you’ll have an amazingly tasty weeknight dinner. This is also delicious enough to impress friends if you’re cooking for them. If you’re feeding vegetarians/vegans this marinade is also fantastic spread on slices of aubergine before roasting them.
4 Large chicken thighs or 8 small ones
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 Tbsp Soy sauce
2 Tsp Sesame oil (use one day in the marinade and reserve one for later)
4 Tsp White Miso paste
1 Tbsp Grated ginger
1 Clove of minced garlic
1 Tbsp Sesame seeds (reserve for during roasting)
Add the marinade ingredients to a bowl and stir until well combined
Put the chicken thighs in a large freezer bag, pour in the marinade and seal the bag. Rub the marinade onto the chicken to make sure it’s well coated and then refrigerate over night
The next day if you have time, take the chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you intend to cook it and allow the meat to come to room temperature
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, empty the chicken thighs into an oven proof dish (skin side up) and empty any remaining marinade from the freezer bag over the chicken
Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 25-30 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken thighs)
Remove the tin foil and baste the chicken with any juices in the dish, drizzle over a teaspoon of sesame oil (a little goes a long way), and then sprinkle with sesame seeds before returning to the oven for another 10 minutes (check they are cooked by sticking in a fork and making sure the juices run clear)
Remove and serve with your favourite side Asian slaw or spicy cucumber salad or just plain potato salad goes brilliantly with this
Fish is something most of us don’t eat enough of, mainly because we think it’s complicated.
I was lucky enough to attend a fish masterclass at Belfast Cookery School a couple of years ago (I would definitely recommend it for anyone who is a little intimidated by fish) and this is one of my favourite dishes I learned how to make and I love it.
This is super easy and quick enough for a mid week family dinner, but is tasty enough to impress guests if you’re cooking for friends.
I used hake, but any firm white fish will do. One of my kitchen hacks I bore people with is to make and keep a big bag of breadcrumbs in the freezer, as breadcrumbs can be used in so many dishes.
If you want to switch up the flavours you can try different herbs, or try adding a little lemon zest or finely chopped chillies if you enjoy a little bit of heat. This is also a great dish to get kids cooking.
250 Grams Hake (I used steaks, but fillets work too)
50 Grams Breadcrumbs (thaw them first if you are using frozen ones)
25 Grams Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
2 Tbsp Herbs (I used parsley and coriander, but use the herbs you like)
2-3 Tbsp Oil (a neutral oil like rapeseed is good)
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius), take your fish out of the fridge (like meat, fish is best when it is not introduced to heat while its still “fridge cold”), try to let it come up to room temperature. Run your finger along the fish and remove any bones you find (if you’re using a fish monger, you can ask them to do this)
In a bowl, add your breadcrumbs, herbs and parmesan, gradually add the oil and combine until the breadcrumbs are lightly coated but not greasy (different types of bread will absorb different amounts of oil). Taste a small amount and add salt and pepper if you feel it needs it.
Place your fish on baking parchment in a baking try and pat the breadcrumbs on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the breadcrumbs are brown and toasted. If you’re cooking a particularly thick piece of fish you make need to give it a little longer but be careful not to over cook
Potato salad is lovely summer dish, but not everyone is a fan of mayonnaise.
This version is a little bit lighter and can be enjoyed by vegans too.
Waxy potatoes are probably best, but either is fine. This is such a great side dish, it goes with virtually everything.
750 Grams Potatoes (cut into 4-5cm chunks, I like to leave the skins on but peel them if you prefer)
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 Red onion (finely sliced)
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp White wine/cider vinegar
1 Tsp Mustard (I like to use grain mustard but Dijon mustard is fine too)
4 Tbsp Chopped herbs (I used coriander and parsley because it was what I had, but dill or mint or a mixture will also work)
Salt and pepper
Add the potatoes and salt to a pot and add enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are soft, and drain the cooking water (Hold back 2 Tbsp of the cooking water)
In a large bowl add the onion and sprinkle with the vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes (this will help stop that harsh raw onion flavour). Add the oil, mustard, herbs, and cooking water you held back from the potatoes and stir
Add the potatoes while they are still slightly warm to the bowl and mix well to ensure they are coated with the dressing, this will allow them to help soak up the flavour