Chilli Beef

If you enjoy a bit of weekend cooking this is ideal for you.  This recipe is best made with cheap cuts of beef, cooked long and slow until it falls apart. I like this fairly hot, but you adjust the heat to suit your own taste.

Chilli beef with rice and sour cream.

The rich tomato sauce is sweet with red peppers, and there’s heat and smokiness from chilli and smoked paprika.  Serve with rice and dollop of sour cream for all round satisfying deliciousness.

Serves 4

Ingredients

400gms Chuck beef

1 Large onion

2 Red peppers

250gms Mushrooms

500ml Passata

250ml Vegetable stock

4 Cloves garlic

1tsp Smoked paprika

1tsp Chilli powder

1tsp Salt

1tbsp Flour

2tbsp Olive oil

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large wide bottomed pan.  Slice the beef in 1.5 cm strips and sprinkle with the tablespoon of flour, making sure the meat is evenly coated
  2. Fry the beef over a high heat to seal the meat, and then remove the beef from the pan
  3. Slice the onion, peppers and mushrooms and add to the pan, cooking until the onions are translucent. 
  4. Mince the garlic and add to pan along with beef, chilli, smoke paprika, and salt.
  5. Add the stock and deglaze the plan, and add the passata, cover the mixture with a lid, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer
  6. Cook for 1 hour, and check the seasoning.  It’s also worth checking how the meat is doing (depending on the meat you use, it might be cooked but check in case it a little more cooking

Frozen Banana Pops

These were inspired by the great minds at Thug Kitchen,  these food writers like myself, try to stay healthy and are prone to saying f*ck quite a lot.  You can also use vegan dark chocolate if that’s your thing.

Gorgeous on a hot day, or my own guilty pleasure is to have them while sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee.  But f*ck it, eat them how you like.

Makes 6

Ingredients

6 Lollipop sticks

100 grams Dark chocolate (you can use vegan chocolate if that’s your thing)

3 Bananas

1 Tsp. Coconut Oil

50 grams chopped almonds (peanuts, or hazelnuts also work really well)

Method

  1. Line a baking sheet or plate with grease proof paper.
  2. Toast the nuts in a dry pan, and set to one side. (It’s worth taking the time to do this, as it really improves the flavour).
  3. Chop the chocolate and put in a bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, and allow it to melt.  You can also try melting this in the microwave, by give it blasts of 30 seconds at a time.  Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the teaspoon of coconut oil.
  4. While the chocolate is melting, peel the bananas and cut width ways. Stick the lollipop stick up the middle of the banana from the flat end.
  5. When the chocolate is melted dip the banana in it, using a spoon to cover any bits that aren’t covered.
  6. Sprinkle the chocolate covered bananas with the nuts, place on the grease proof paper and put in the freezer for 2 hours.
  7. When frozen if you aren’t going to eat these immediately, but them in freezer bag.

Sunshine in a Bowl

Don’t freak out if you see ingredients here. My advice is, find an Asian supermarket close to you.  They sell spices and some exotic fruit and veg at a fraction of the price of large super market chains. You’ll never look back.

This soup is a great way to clear out your fridge.  I rarely use the same vegetables twice.  Basically use what you have, it’s also fine to use frozen vegetables like green beans or spinach.

I call this soup sunshine in a bowl, not just because of the cheery yellow colour but it’s so tasty and wholesome it’ll make you feel good.  I’m not vegan but I really enjoy this, especially with some toasted cashews, and deep fried shallots (who has time to make these, I buy them ready made in the Asian supermarket, they’re also really good sprinkled over salad, you can also use the tubs of fried onions sold at a certain large Swedish furniture store)

Serves 4 -6

Ingredients

100 grams Green beans

1 Red pepper

1 Courgette

250 grams Bok Choi, or other green leafy vegetable (I’ve used broccoli before and it works well too)

400ml Can of coconut milk

4 Kaffir lime leaves

1 Stalk of lemon grass

3 Cloves garlic

1 Tsp. Turmeric

1 inch Piece of ginger (I keep ginger in the freezer, this stops it going off and makes it easier to grate)

1 Red chilli pepper

1 Handful of chopped coriander

Juice of 1 lime or ½  a lemon

2 Cups of vegetable stock

Salt to taste

1 Tbsp Vegetable/coconut oil

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pot, and chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces, bruise the stalk of lemon grass (I usually do this by bashing it with the base of a pot), and add to the vegetables along with the turmeric and kaffir lime leaves
  2. Gently fry the vegetables until they start to soften
  3. Grate the ginger, chop the garlic and chilli finely before adding the vegetables
  4. Add the can of coconut milk and vegetable stock (I use a vegetable stock cube, because who has time to make the real deal)
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes, and add half the lime juice and taste.  This is the time to adjust seasoning, so check if you want some more lime juice or salt.
  6. Stir in the shopped coriander and serve

Kitchen Sink Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower cheese has always been a favourite of mine.  Unlike most purists, I use it as vehicle to help use up what’s in my fridge.  In this recipe I’ve included what was in my fridge when I made it. 

In the past I’ve included ingredients such as sautéed mushrooms, bacon, red onion or sweetcorn.  As with most of my recipes, you can adapt them to suit your own taste.  I usually eat this on it’s because it’s pretty substantial, but can also use it as a side dish.

As everyone has got obsessed with low carb eating, cauliflowers have started to get expensive. (I don’t care what anyone says cauliflower rice is not as good as proper rice).  I’ve learned that you can also eat the outer leaves of cauliflowers and they’re pretty tasty (think a milder version of cabbage).

Ingredients

1 Large cauliflower

6 Spring onions/scallions

100 grams Chorizo

500 mil Milk

50 grams Flour

50 grams Butter

100 grams Grated Cheese (I use a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella, because it’s what was in the fridge, but use whatever you have

Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Wash the cauliflower and separate the head into florets, and chop the outer leaves and stalks.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the cauliflower until just tender.  Once cooked, drain well and transfer into a shallow oven proof dish
  3. Chop the chorizo and spring onion, in a deep sided frying pan fry the chorizo until the it starts to release it’s oil, and put to one side, 
  4. Gently fry the spring onion in same pan for one minute and put to side with the chorizo
  5. In the same pan again melt the butter and then gradually whisk in the flour and milk.  Cook for a further 4-5 minutes over a gentle heat until you have cooked out the flour (this means the sauce shouldn’t taste floury).  Season with salt and pepper 
  6. Add the chorizo and spring onion back to the sauce and combine with the cooked cauliflower in an oven proof dish.
  7. Sprinkle the combined ingredients with grated cheese and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown

Halloumi, Orange and Hazelnut Salad

Halloumi, orange and hazelnut salad

This is a quick and easy recipe, that makes a tasty lunch.  It’s also great as a simple starter, that can be done with little fuss if you are cooking for other people. 

The bright tangy orange balances the salty cheese and crunch of the nuts brings it all together.

Ingredients

1 Large orange

225 grams Halloumi

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

25 grams Hazelnuts

1 Packet of mixed salad

Olive oil and vinegar to dress the salad

Method

  • Cut the peel from the orange, making sure you take all the white pith off.  You should cut out segments (leaving the skin between the segments behind), or cut the peeled orange across thinly in rounds if you prefer.  (This can be done in advance, this is useful if you are making this as a starter).
  • In a dry pan toast the hazelnuts, until they smell nutty.  Don’t leave these unattended as they can burn. (This can also be done advance if you are making this salad as a starter).
  • Heat a frying pan with a tablespoon of oil, slice the halloumi in 1 cm thick slices and fry until golden brown on each side.
  • Divide the salad between the plates and dress with your preferred dressing (for this salad, I prefer olive oil and white wine vinegar)
  • Distribute the orange segments and hazelnuts between the plates and top with the fried halloumi.

%�

Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Dijon Mustard

These are a really quick and easy midweek, but are also impressive enough if you are cooking for friends

They are delicious with mashed potatoes and some greens, but also go well with rice or salad depending on how hungry you are feeling.

The recipe calls for stock, and a stock cube or bouillon powder mixed with hot water is fine.  While fresh stock is great, realistically how many of us have the time to make it. 

Pork chops with Dijon mustard and mushrooms
Pork chops with broccoli and potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 Broad pork chops

1 Onion

100gms Mushrooms

½ Cup of stock

100gms Low fat crème fraiche

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

Parsley to garnish (if you can be bothered)

Method

  1. In a large frying heat the olive oil on a high heat, and add the pork chops. 
  2. When the chops have coloured on side, turn them and add the onions and mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes until the chops have coloured.
  3. Add the stock, and cover with a lid.  If you’re frying pan does have a lid you can use tin foil to cover the pan
  4. After another 5 minutes remove the lid or tin foil and cook for another 2 minutes until the stock has reduced a little.
  5. Stir in the Dijon mustard and crème fraiche, and make sure it’s fully mixed through the mushrooms and onions.
  6. Sprinkle parsley (if you’re arsed), and serve.  This keeps well for a day or two in the fridge if you have leftovers.