I think I’ve developed an obsession with soda bread. It’s hard not to, it’s quick and easy, and it’s amazingly versatile.
You can usually rustle up a version with stuff you have in the fridge or cupboard. This version has a Mediterranean slant and is great with cheese or prosciutto.
I like it with soup, and like any good soda bread its delicious with butter. This takes 5 minutes to prepare and if you’re having friends over they’ll be really impressed that you made your own bread (your place will also smell fantastic).
350 Grams Plain flour
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 Tsp Oregano
1/2 Tsp Black pepper
100 Grams Feta cheese (chopped)
75 Grams Sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
275 ml Buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, you can add lemon juice to ordinary milk and let it sit for a couple of minutes. It will do same job)
Measure out your flour, oregano, black pepper and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl
Add the Feta cheese and toss in the flour, then add sun dried tomatoes and toss on the flour as well (this will prevent them sticking together in clumps)
Add the buttermilk to the mix and stir well. Form into a ball
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and pre heat your oven to 180 degrees
Transfer your dough onto the baking paper and cut a cross into the ball of dough (about one third of the depth of the ball of dough)
Bake for 40 minutes or until the base sounds hollow when tapped
I love the flavours in a burrito bowl, and knocked this up one evening when I was craving some Tex Mex. You can adjust the chilli depending on how much heat you like.
This is full of great colours and flavours, and loads of protein. For vegetarians, this is also a super tasty meal without the chicken.
I topped this with some grated cheese, but it would also be fantastic topped with some avocado or sour cream (or all three if you’re straying into pure filth territory).
This is also a one pot dish, so less washing up is a win win.
Chicken thighs (8 small or 4 large)
1 Onion (sliced)
1 Red pepper (sliced)
400 Gram Tin of black beans
100 Gram Sweetcorn (I used frozen)
1 Tsp Smoked paprika
1 Tsp Chilli powder
1 Tsp Salt
2 Cloves of garlic (minced)
300 Grams Rice (I like basmati)
Handful of chopped coriander (optional)
Heat a large flat bottomed pan (you will need one with a lid or that you can cover)
Add the chicken thighs (skin side down first), cook until brown, turn and seal the other side
Add the onion and peppers and cook for another 5-10 minutes
Add the spices, garlic, corn and rice to the pan and stir well
Add the passata and a little water, cover with a lid and simmer for 5-10 minutes
Stir the mixture adding more water if it needs it (the rice should absorb all the liquid, so if the rice still isn’t cooked keep adding water (a little at a time, until its absorbed and the rice is cooked)
Stir in the coriander if you’re using it (I know some people detest it, so please yourself). Serve in bowls with your favourite topping or just as it is
I love soda bread, it’s super adaptable and works well with sweet or savoury ingredients.
Like everyone else, I was glued to the Great British Bake Off when the contestants were making various types of soda bread. I hadn’t made soda bread since I made my version with dulse (dried seaweed), and I thought I’d try a sweet version.
Usually I would use dried fruit in a soda bread, but I didn’t have any. I had a look at what I did have, and this was how I came up with blueberry and walnut soda bread.
As before, if you don’t have buttermilk you can add lemon juice to ordinary milk and let it sit for a few minutes to achieve the same result. I also tossed the blueberries in the flour before mixing them in. Apparently this stops them sinking to the bottom.
This loaf will live quite happily in an airtight box for 2-3 days. If you still have any left, can I suggest toasting it, it’s amazing. I also toasted some and topped it with cheese and this was so delicious the I forgot to take photos.
200 Grams Plain flour
200 Grams Wholemeal flour
25 Grams Butter
100 Grams Porridge oats
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of soda
100 Grams Fresh blueberries
50 Grams Walnuts
1 Tsp Salt
75 Grams Sugar
Rub butter into the porridge oats (you can use a food processor to do this, but really only takes a minute)
Add your dry ingredients to the porridge oats (remember to dust the blueberries in the flour before adding them)
Add the buttermilk to the bowl and mix lightly with a palette knife
Turn your mix onto a floured surface and gently form it into a ball. Try not to handle it too much, it should be a fairly soft dough
Transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Cut a cross onto your loaf. You should cut down about one third of the depth of the dough
Bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees for 45-50 minutes (or until it sounds hollow when you tap it).
The days are growing colder and darker, and it’s the time to break out some comfort food. It maybe wholesome, but it doesn’t need to be bland!
Curries are super versatile and go well with most types of carbs, but I decided to try potatoes, with toasted onion seeds.
I usually make this at the weekend, but you can make a double batch of the curry and freeze it if you want rustle this up for a quick mid week dinner. It’s also a great way to use left over boiled potatoes.
For the curry
500 Grams Chicken (I used breast meat because it’s what I had, but thighs also work), cut into bite sized pieces)
5-6cm Piece of ginger
4 Cloves of garlic
100 Grams Mushrooms (cut into thick slices)
150 Grams Green beans (I used frozen and they were fine)
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Tumeric
1 Tsp Ground coriander
250ml Chicken stock (it’s fine to use a stock cube)
1 Tbsp Oil
For the topping
1Kg Potatoes (a floury variety is best), cut into cubes
50 Grams Butter
2 Tsps Onion (Nigella) seeds
Heat a large dry frying pan, and toast the onion seeds. When you start to hear them crackle and pop remove from the pan and set to one side
Add the peeled and roughly chopped onion, garlic and ginger to a food processor as well as the chillies. Blitz the ingredients until broken down to a pulp
Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large pan. Add the onion mixture and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the rest of the ingredients for the curry to pan and simmer for 25-30 mins, or little longer if needed. This should be quite a thick curry
While your curry is cooking boil your potatoes until soft (I like to leave the skin on, but peel them if you prefer)
Once cooked, drain your potatoes, roughly crush with a fork or potato masher. You aren’t making mashed potatoes, you just need to break them up
Add the butter and toasted onion seeds and mix well
Top the curry with the potatoes and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees for 30 mins or until the topping is golden brown and crunchy
Like a lot of people I’m prone to getting stuck in food ruts. You buy the same thing every week, and you cook the same thing all the time, it’s easy but it is boring.
I started getting vegetable box deliveries and sometime I choose an option that’s a bit of a luck dip so that I’m forced to make something different, and you’re forced to work with new ingredients. (This week’s box came with a packet of sauerkraut!, but that’s a whole other recipe).
I had been over indulging in the “pure filth” recipes lately and wanted to feel I was eating something good for me for a change. So with a box full of lovely colourful ingredients I made this fresh crunchy salad with a dressing made with creamy tahini, tangy ginger and a little bit of chilli heat. I like to sprinkle it with nuts, for extra protein.
This is a great vegan dish ( I eat big bowls of this on its own), but is also a great side dish. I used the vegetables I had in a vegetable box, but the beautiful thing about this is that you can adapt the vegetables depending on availability and what’s in season.
Do yourself some good and enjoy a delicious crunchy multi-coloured big bowl of fibre and vitamins.
2 Carrots (grated)
1/2 Red pepper (finely sliced)
1 Large gold beetroot (grated)
2-3 Radishes (finely sliced)
4-5 Stalks of Rainbow chard (finely sliced)
1 Small Celeriac (grated)
For the dressing
1 Red chilli (finely sliced)
2 inch piece of ginger (grated)
3 Tbsp Tahini
Juice of one lemon
I was lazy and used a food processor to grate many of the ingredients. If you don’t have one a box grater does the same job, it will just take a little longer
If you’re using celeriac make sure to cover this with the lemon juice as soon as you grate it to prevent it from discolouring
Combine all your ingredients in a bowl (once you have grated or sliced your vegetables).
In a separate bowl add the dressing ingredients and mix well. You want to add a little water to loosen the dressing, depending on how thick your tahini is.
Add the dressing to the salad and mix thoroughly
Top with walnuts, or toasted cashews or pine nuts also work well.
I know this recipe might divide opinion and I’ll admit sauerkraut isn’t something I normally buy. I ended up with a monster sized pack of it from my vegetable box delivery as a substitution.
I asked round family and friends if there was anyone who was a sauerkraut lover, and couldn’t find a taker. One of them come back to me to explain that I should try to do something with it, as sauerkraut along with other fermented foods like kimchi are amazingly good for your gut health and we should all be eating more of these.
The only recipe I could think of was one I tasted about a million years when I lived in Germany. Kathy, the love lady I worked for made this dish for me once. It might sound a bit strange, and I know sauerkraut and pineapple aren’t two ingredients you would naturally think of together, but give it a chance. When they’re teamed up with pork chops, it works kind of like sweet and sour pork. The sauerkraut also helps make the pork really tender. This makes a great uncomplicated mid week dinner.
4 Pork chops
500 Grams Sauerkraut (drained)
350 Grams Can of pineapple rings
Place pork chops in an oven proof baking dish
Cover with the drained sauerkraut, and top with the pineapple rings
Cover with foil and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 20 minutes
I love Indonesian food and how brilliantly spiced, fresh and fragrant everything is. Rendang can be found across Indonesia, Malaysia and as far as Singapore. According to a CNN poll it was voted one of the most delicious foods of all time, and you’ll probably agree once you try it.
If you’ve been following this blog you’ll know about my love of Asian supermarkets. You can create a really good store cupboard at a fraction of the price you’d pay at a standard supermarket. So when you look at the list of ingredients and think when am I ever going to use things like tamarind paste, be brave and it will open up a whole realm of possibilities.
A good store cupboard means you can experiment with new flavours and will be able to whip new and interesting dishes without any drama.
Anyway, lecture over. This takes about 10 minutes effort at the start, and after that you leave it to cook long and slow for a couple of hours while you get on with something else (ideal weekend cooking). Because of the long slow cooking, this dish can transform cheap cuts of beef into something delicious. I had this made with duck when I was in Bali and it was delicious, but I definitely think beef works better. This is quite a dry curry so don’t worry if most of the liquid evaporates. If you think it’s getting to dry for you, just add a little water.
500 Grams Chuck Steak (chopped into bite sized chunks)
400 ml Coconut milk
1 Tbsp Tamarind paste
1 Tsp Salt
5-6 Kaffir lime leaves
2 Tbsps Vegetable or coconut oil
1 Tsp Brown sugar (palm sugar is used traditionally, but I didn’t have this)
1 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Cinnamon
For the curry paste base
3 Onions (peeled and quartered)
3 Chillies (roughly chopped, and seeds removed if you prefer less heat)
6 Cloves of garlic (peeled)
2 Stalks of lemon grass (outer woody stalk removed and roughly chopped)
Thumb sized piece of ginger (peeled and rough chopped)
Thumb sized piece of galangal (peeled and roughly chopped). If you can’t find this you can substitute this with extra ginger
Load the ingredients for the curry paste base into a food processor and blitz until you have a reasonably smooth paste (it will smell great but your eyes might water due to the onions and chillies)
In a large pan with a lid heat the oil and add your paste. Cook for 5-10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally
Add the meat to the paste (you don’t need to brown it), and the rest of the ingredients. Stir to make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined
Reduce the heat and cover the pan. Cook for two and a half hours, stirring occasionally. About 2 hours in, you may want to uncover the pan to help the liquid evaporate to help thicken and intensify the sauce
This is traditionally served with rice but it’s also great with flat breads. Like most curries I think this actually tastes better the next day.
I have vegetarian friends who scream at the thought of this, because it’s often the only vegetarian option available in restaurants.
I do sympathise, but done well there is a reason why some things are classics I understand that goats cheese is like kryptonite for some people, so I went with a really creamy soft cheese (that wasn’t too “goaty”), but this also works well cheeses like Gorgonzola.
Do you think you’re not keen on beetroot, I was an adult before I actually discovered that I liked it. I was put off by being made to try disgusting pickled beetroot as a child, and having horrible purple vinegar run into the other food on my plate. I’m probably over sharing my personal childhood trauma, but I know a lot of people have been put off for the same reason. When roasted, beetroot is sweet and earthy and goes really well with the soft cheese. I was lucky enough to get little beetroots in my farm box ranging in colour from gold, pink to deep purple, the range of colour is nice but they all taste the same, so give them a go.
150 Grams Soft goats cheese
200 Grams Roasted beetroot
200 Grams Salad leaves (I used rainbow chard, but use what you like)
25 Grams Walnut (Optional, I actually for forgot to add these, but they add some extra crunch to your salad)
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp White wine vinegar
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees, wrap your beetroot in tin foil and place on a baking try. Bake until you can stick with a knife into the beetroot and an its soft. Set to one side and allow to cool, remove the skin with a knife, and cut into bite size pieces
Spread your washed salad leaves across a platter, top with the beetroot
Scoop teaspoon sized dollops of the cheese across the platter and sprinkle with walnuts if you are using them
Mix the oil and vinegar together and drizzle over the salad and serve immediately
OK, the name of this dish is maybe a bit flouncy, but this is a really tasty and colourful dish, so I decided to go a bit whimsical.
One of the few upsides of the whole pandemic is that hopefully people’s behaviour is changing. More and more people are trying to support small local businesses, to help sustain them and avoid the lines in supermarkets.
I’ve starting going back to my local butcher, and found that they offer great value meat parcels. Part of the meat parcel I bought contained sausages, and I had to think about what I could do with them that was a bit more exciting than a sausage sandwich.
While I love food I don’t think you have spend hours slaving away to eat well. This recipe needs about 5-10 minute prep time at the start, and then the oven does most of the work while you get on with your life.
500 Grams Sausages (whatever flavour you like)
500 Grams Butternut Squash (cut into 2 cm cubes)
2 Red peppers (cut into 2 cm chunks)
1 Large or 2 small courgettes (cut into 1 cm think slices)
2 Large red onions (each cut into 8)
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tsp Dried Thyme
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees
Add the oil to an oven proof dish, and then add the butternut squash and time to the dish and bake for 20 minutes
After 20 minutes remove the dish form the oven and add the other vegetables. Mix the vegetables to makes sure they are coated with the oil
Lay the sausages on top of the vegetables and bake for 20 minutes, give the vegetables and sausage another mix and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the sausage are browned. I like this served with crusty bread, but it also tastes good with mashed potatoes or rice.