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
Whenever possible I like to eat seasonally, it’s usually cheaper, and usually better for you, and better for the planet. Autumn has some great fruit and vegetables. One of my favourites are plums. Usually inexpensive and really versatile. I love this plum cake, no only because its relatively straight forward to make, but the cinnamon and cardamon add a whole other level of flavour. The addition of sour cream adds a tenderness to the sponge. This will also live quite happily in a cake tin for 3-4 days. I love it with whipped cream, but it’s also perfect comfort food served with custard.
300 Grams Plain flour
1, 1/2 Tsps Baking powder
1 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground cardamon
1 Tsp Salt
100 Grams Butter
200 Grams Sugar
60 Grams Sour Cream
Mix the flour, salt, spices and baking powder together
In a separate bowl cream the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk (hold back 2 tablespoons of sugar to top the plums with)
Add the eggs and sour cream to the butter and sugar and whisk until light and fluffy
Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until you have thick cake batter
Grease a 9 inch spring firm cake tin, and pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees
Transfer your cake batter to the cake tin and spread evenly.
Cut the plums in half, remove the stone and cut each half into quarters
Starting in the centre of the cake, arrange the slices of plum in a circle (or any type of pattern you like) and sprinkle with remaining sugar
Bake for 35 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean when stuck in the cake
I’m challenging myself to try and make better versions of stuff I haven’t been 100% happy with before, and use what’s in the house, (yes, I’m going stir crazy already).
I tried to make spicy carrot soups before and always thought the consistency was a bit weird. I think I have now cracked it. Adding a potato to the soup helps make it a much nicer creamier consistency. It’s still really healthy, and delicious served with big slabs of buttered soda bread (not as healthy given how much I enjoy butter).
1 Potato (cut into cubes)
4 Carrots (sliced)
1 Stalk of celery (chopped)
1 Onion (chopped)
1 Stock cube
1 Clove of garlic
1 Tsp Ground cumin
4-5 cm Piece of fresh ginger (grated), or 1 Tsp of ground ginger
1/2 Tsp Chilli powder (optional)
750 ml water
Salt & pepper
Heat the oil in a pot, and add the vegetables and dried spices, cook over a medium heat until the onion begin to turn clear
Crumble in the stock cube and add the water. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, add the garlic and fresh ginger if you are using it
Simmer for another 5 minutes, and check the seasoning
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a blender, or do what I did and use a hand blender to blitz the soup until you have a smooth soup
This takes a bit longer than my normal recipes, but since we’re all stuck at home, time is the one thing we all have plenty of.
In my bid to use up what’s been hanging around my cupboards I found some pearl barley. I was craving carbs and since selfish wingnuts have cleared the super market shelves of rice and pasta this made a nice change. It takes a bit longer to cook, but is worth the time.
I used chicken thighs with the bones left in, and removed the skin to make “chicken crackling” . I know this is probably not especially healthy but sometimes a little indulgence does no harm, it’s not like you’re going to eat it everyday. If you want to give it s miss, this still makes a really delicious and satisfying meal.
150 Grams Pearl barley
4 Large chicken thighs
10 Grams Dried mushrooms
100 Grams Fresh mushrooms
250 Grams Spring greens (you can use broccoli, spinach or any other green vegetables you like)
250 ml White wine
250 ml Chicken stock
Large sprig of rosemary (finely chopped)
2 Cloves of garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp Oil
Large knob of butter
Salt and pepper
Soak the dried mushrooms in a small amount of warm water
Heat the oil and butter in a pan
Roughly chop the onions and mushrooms. Add to the pan and fry until soft. Remove from the pan and set to one side
Remove the skin from the chicken, and set to one side
Add the chicken thighs to the pan and seal on both sides
Add the barley, dried mushrooms and the water they soaked in, wine and stock to the pan. Cover with a lid, bring to boil and simmer over s low heat for 30-40 minutes (check the cooking instructions on the packet of barley, and cook for the recommended time
Trim the chicken skin and flatten on a baking sheet before sprinkle with salt. Place another baking tin on top of the chicken skin to keep it flat and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees for 20-30minutes, or until golden brown
if using Spring greens, remove the stalks and roll up the leaves, cut these into 2cm strips
After 30 minutes of cooking, check on the barley, adding more water if necessary
Add the garlic, rosemary, and spring greens to the pan, cover again and cook for a further 10 minutes until the barley is tender and has a creamy consistency, and check the seasoning (a bit like a risotto)
Serve chicken and barley with shards of the chicken crackling, you can also crumble it across the dish
Like everyone else I’m trying to limit how much I go out at the minute. Also because some people are being eejits and stripping supermarket shelves, I’m trying to work with ingredients I already have at home.
While having a look around the cupboard I found some polenta. I bought it to try a recipe for the Italian supper club and was not really a fan of how the Italian’s use it. However, it works well in the Soul Food staple of corn bread. The American version is too sweet for my taste, so I reduced the amount of sugar.
The recipe also calls for butter milk, which I didn’t have. No problem, just add a good squeeze of lemon juice to ordinary milk for the same effect (the acid in the butter milk/lemon juice helps the chemical reaction that makes the bread rise)
I serve this with chilli, but it’s also good served alongside soups. An American friend of mine also uses left over corn bread, crumbled up over casseroles to make a crunchy topping when baked in the oven. This also freezes really well.
115 Grams Cornmeal/fine polenta
150 Grams Plain flour
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1.5 Tsp Baking powder
0.5 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
350 ml Butter milk (or semi skimmed milk, with a good squeeze of lemon)
50 Grams Butter
1 Onion (finely sliced)
Extra butter to grease the baking tin
Preheat the oven to 210 degrees, grease a round 23cm cake tin
Melt the butter in a frying pan, and fry the onion until translucent, and allow to cool
Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl
In a separate bowl combine the the eggs, butter milk, and fried onions (including the butter the cooked in)
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well until any large lumps are gone. It’s quite a wet mixture so don’t panic
Pour the mix into your greased baking tin, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Check with a skewer or toothpick and when it comes out clean, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes
In my quest to stop food hoarding I’m trying to work through stuff hiding in my freezer. I found a pack of sausage meat that had been been hanging about the freezer since Christmas.
I don’t usually buy sausage meat but the addition of caramelised onions and sweet apples make a scrumptious combination. I’ve included details of home made pastry, but you can use ready made short crust pastry if you prefer.
255 Grams Plain flour
100 Grams Butter (cut into small cubes)
1 Egg (beaten)
For the filling
450 Grams Sausage meat
2 Apples (cores removed, and cut into small chunks)
2 Onions (finely sliced)
1Tsp Dried thyme
1 Tbsp Oil
Salt and pepper
Add the flour and butter to a food processor and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs (you can use the po”rubbing in method”, but a food processor is quicker
Gradually add cold water to the mix until it comes together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
Add oil to a frying pan, add the onions and fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes until browned. Allow to cool
Add the fried onions, thyme, chopped apples, salt, pepper and sausage meat to a bowl. Combine the mix with you hands until all the ingredients are evenly distributed
Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut approximately a third off and set to one side. On a floured surface, roll out the remaining two thirds.
Grease a loose base pie tin, and then line the tin with the rolled out pastry
Add the filling, and then roll out the remain third of the pastry to form a lid
Brush the edges of the pastry lining the dish with the beaten egg. Lay the pastry lid on top and trim any pastry hanging over the edge of the tin with knife. Crimp the edges of the pie with a fork
Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg, and cut some slices in the lid to allow steam to escape
Pre heat your oven to 190 degrees, and add a baking sheet to heat as well. Put the pie dish into the baking sheet and bake the pie for 50 minutes.
Allow to cool on the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing from the tin
It was the week before payday, and I was scanning round the kitchen for what I could make for dinner. I was lucky enough to find some minced lamb and frozen peas in the freezer.
This is may not be 100% authentic, but tasted great. It was even better the next day. A good spice cupboard can transform anything into a brilliant meal.
500 Grams Lamb mince
400ml Tin of tomatoes
250 Grams Frozen peas
1 Onion (Finely sliced)
2 Cloves of garlic (Minced)
4cm Piece of ginger (Grated)
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Cumin
1Tsp Chilli powder (optional)
1 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Gram Masala
1 Tsp Nigella (onion) seeds
1 Tbsp Oil (flavourless, like sunflower)
Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced onion, cook for about 15 minutes, stir as needed until caramelised (this adds loads of flavour)
Take onions out of the pan and set to one side. Add the Nigella seeds to the pan cook for a for 2 minutes or until you hear them popping. Take care not to let them burn. Remove from the pan and a side with the cooked onions
Add the lamb to the pan along with the other spices, and continue cooking and stirring until the lamb is browned
Add the peas, tomatoes and onion and Nigella seeds to the pan
Simmer for 15 minutes, adding some water if it’s getting too dry.