Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer

Eating low carb is becoming increasingly popular. While I’ve never met a carb I didn’t like, I tried this recipe for a friend who shuns my beloved carbs. I have to say this is really tasty and satisfying (it’s even nicer with a naan bread on the side).

If you haven’t tried paneer before, you can find it in most supermarkets. It’s a semi firm Indian cheese that takes on a nutty flavour when fried (fried cheese, what’s not to love).

Serves 2 as a main or 4 people as a side dish

Ingredients

500 Gram bag of frozen spinach

200 Grams Paneer

25 Grams Butter/Ghee

3 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated)

1 Green chilli pepper (finely chopped)

1 Tsp Dried tumeric

1 Tbsp Garam Masala (curry powder)

Method

  1. Defrost the spinach, and squeeze out as much excess water as you can
  2. In a large frying pan,over a medium heat, melt the butter
  3. Add the paneer to the pan and fry until it turns golden brown, stirring occasionally to make sure its brown on all sides
  4. Remove the paneer from the pan and add the ginger, garlic and chilli for a few minutes
  5. Add the Tumeric, garam masala and spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes
  6. Add the paneer to pan, stir well and cook for 2 more minutes before serving

Home Made Harissa Paste

Harisss Paste

I love harissa, it’s fantastically versatile and can be made for a fraction of the price of the pre made brands. Visit your local Asian supermarket to buy your spices, and this will be even cheaper.

Harissa is great smeared on chicken or lamb before cooking. It’s also delicious mixed with yoghurt and drizzled over roast vegetables, or mixed with mayonnaise to add some zing to toasted sandwiches or burgers. This traditional Moroccan paste makes any tagine come alive.

This recipe will make a large jar of harissa paste that will live quite happily in your fridge for several weeks, or you can share with a friend. It also makes a nice gift for anyone who’s a foodie. This is quite firey, so use with care at first.

Spice Mix

Ingredients

120 Grams Chilli flakes

1 Tsp Carraway seeds

1 Tsp Coriander Seeds

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

1 Tsp Salt

4 Cloves of garlic

3 Tbsp Olive oil

Method

  1. Cover the chilli flakes with boiling water, and soak for 30 minutes before draining through a sieve.
  2. In a dry frying pan toast the cumin, coriander, and carraway seeds until you smell the spices. You can grind these with a pestle and motar. I don’t have one, so I used the end of a rolling pin which worked well
  3. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and whizz until the paste start to look smooth
  4. Transfer to a clean jar and keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks

Feta Scrambled Eggs

Feta Scrambled Eggs

This makes a really tasty weekend breakfast dish, when you’re feeling a little hung over and needing something to get you feeling human again. It’s also great for a quick lunch, or if you get in from work and want to make something that will be ready in 5 minutes. This along with some hot buttered toast is my weekend happy place.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

4 x Eggs

100 grams Feta Cheese (most supermarkets sell “salad cheese” which is essentially the same thing but cheaper)

Salt and pepper

Egg and feta mixed together

You can add extras like chopped olives, or spring onions/scallions or chives, but it’s also delicious just as it is.

Serves 2

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  2. Cut the Feta in into 1cm chunks
  3. Crack 4 eggs into a bowl and whisk.
  4. Add eggs, and feta, and stir the mixture as the eggs scramble, season with salt and pepper
  5. When the eggs are cooked to your liking serve up with toast, (this is also delicious with crispy bacon if you’re a meat eater)

Ditch the Diet Chicken Pie

I know what you’re thinking, big woo chicken pie, but trust me this is delicious. Yes, there is a lot of wine and cream, but it also has a lot of vegetables (in my mind that sort of balances it out).

This is a pie to make when you have plenty of people to feed, and it is really satisfying. Serve it with salad in the Summer, or if you’re making it in colder weather it’s fantastic with buttery mashed potatoes and greens. I used shop bought pastry (there I’ve said it, and I’m not even sorry, sometimes life is just too short)

Rich and unctuous, you’re definitely going to want a big slice if this.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 Sheet ready made short crust pastry (you can also use puff pastry if you prefer_

500 Grams Butternut squash

2 Tbsps Vegetable oil

500 Grams Chicken thighs (bones and skins removed)

2 Red peppers

1 Green pepper

2 Sticks of celery

150 Grams Green beans

150 Grams Sweet Corn

Half bottle of white wine ( this was the amount of wine I had hanging around the kitchen, you can reduce this, or remove it and add 250 ml of chicken stock if you would rather not use wine)

2 Tsps Dijon mustard

1 Egg

2 Tbsp Sesame seeds (optional)

Salt and Pepper

The pie filling is so delicious, you’ll have to stop yourself eating it all before you top it with pastry.

Method

  1. Chop the butternut squash into 3-4cm chunks add to a baking tray and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil before baking for 20 mins in an oven preheated to 200 degree
  2. While the butternut squash is roasting, chop your chicken, peppers, celery, and onion into 3-4 cm pieces (I like the filing fairly chunky)
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan, and on a high heat cook your chicken until its sealed. Remove the chicken from the pan, reduce the heat and add the onions, peppers and celery and cook for 5 minutes
  4. Add the green beans, corn, butternut squash and chicken to the pan and add the white wine
  5. Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes until the alcohol has burned of the wine (you can tell this by having a could sniff of the pan, and if it doesn’t make your nose tingle the alcohol has burned off)
  6. Now add the cream and mustard and stir well, it will seem like there is a lot of liquid, but trust me if you continue to cook over a medium heat for another 15 minutes it will thicken into a really delicious sauce
  7. Once the sauce has thickened check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Transfer the contents of the pan into a large baking dish, and allow to cool
  8. When the pie filling is cool, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and drape your sheet of pastry over the filling. Brush with a beaten egg to get a nice glaze. I also sprinkled mine with sesame seeds because I love them, but don’t stress if you don’t have them, the pie will still be delicious. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is a deep golden brown

Ugandan Rolex

A friend randomly asked me one day if I had ever tried a Ugandan Rolex. I have to say I was a bit taken back. If I’m totally truthful I was afraid it was one of those weird sex things you read about in the urban dictionary. Turns out it was quite innocent, and I apparently have a filthy mind.

A Ugandan Rolex is a super quick and tasty vegetarian street food from Uganda, and Rolex bits comes from rolled eggs. Fresh vegetables cooked in a thin omelette and wrapped in chapati, it’s that simple. The ingredients are mixed up in a cup before frying (street vendors don’t have the time or work space for multiple bowls and utensils). This really is fuel for the whole day.

All the ingredients are mixed in a large mug.

So you now you know, if someone offers you a Ugandan Rolex you don’t need to looked shocked or possibly disappointed!

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 Chapati

1 Tbsp Cabbage (finely chopped)

1 Tbsp Grated carrot

1 Tbsp Tomato (finely chopped, I had cherry tomatoes in the fridge, but regular tomatoes work just as well)

1 Tbsp Onion (finely chopped, I used scallions/spring onions, but either works well as long as they’re finely sliced)

1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 Large eggs

Make a thin omlettein a large flat bottomed pan.

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan
  2. Add the vegetables to a large mug, and crack in 2 eggs and stir
  3. Pour the eggs and vegetables into the pan, and cook until set on one side
  4. Carefully turn the egg mixture and cook for a minute on the other side (if it breaks don’t worry, it’s getting wrapped up anyway)
  5. Top with a chapati, and turn out on to a plate before wrapping it up tightly and scoffing

Mediterranean Chicken Traybake

If you like quick easy mid week dinners then check this out. An easy delicious dish that’s is good enough to crack out for company.

This can be made in advance and reheated if you fancy some weekend cooking. I usually serve with rice or crusty bread to soak up all the yummy juices this cooks in. It’s colourful, tasty and smells fantastic,

Mediterranean Chicken Traybake

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 Large chicken thighs ( I used ones that still had the bone in, and left the skin on. But you can use the boneless skinless ones if you prefer)

100 Grams Green beans (I use frozen ones that I have defrosted)

100 Grams button mushrooms (halved)

1 Red pepper (Cut into chunks)

1 Yellow pepper (Cut into chunks)

1 Red onion (cut into quarters)

12 Black olives, (optional)

8 Cherry tomatoes

1 Tbsp Olive oil

1 Tsp Smoked paprika

1 Tbsp White wine vinegar

2 Cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a baking dish, mix the olive oil and smoked paprika and put into an oven that has been preheated to 200 degrees, for 5 minutes
  2. Add the vegetables and garlic to the dish and coat with the oil and paprika mix, and bake for 10 minutes
  3. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper
  4. Remove the vegetables from the oven add the white wine vinegar and stir, set the chicken thighs on top and bake for a further 25 minutes
  5. Remove from the oven and check that chicken is fully cooked, serve when ready.

Asian Slaw

I could eat this everyday, it’s a glorious mixture of crunchy fresh vegetables, chilli heat, and creamy peanut butter.

Perfect for vegetarians and vegans, it’s goes well with fried tempeh, or in wraps or sandwiches. For meat eaters it’s delicious as a side dish with chicken or steak or to add crunch to a burger.

Asian Slaw

Ingredients

Handful of finely sliced white cabbage

1/2 Red pepper

1 Small carrot (grated)

50 Grams Endame beans (I use frozen ones that I defrost first)

5 Radishes (finely sliced)

Small handful of finely sliced sugar snap peas

1 Tbsp Sesame seeds

1 Finely sliced red chilli pepper

2 Tbsps peanut butter

1 Tbsp White wine vinegar

Method

  1. In a dry pan, toast the sesame seeds until they start to brown, and set to one side
  2. Combine the sliced vegetables in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the peanut butter and vinegar, mix well
  4. Mix the peanut butter dressing in with the vegetables and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and mix well