Sichuan Pork and Green Beans

I have to give a shout out to my friend Nuala for turning me into this, and I love.

If you haven’t used Sichuan pepper before you can by it ready ground in most big supermarkets. You can also buy packets of the whole peppercorns, and are reddish black in colour. While there is some heat, they are also really aromatic and work nicely in lots of other recipes.

This makes a great mid week dinner and is ideal for anyone following a low carb diet. If you’re not then enjoy this with rice or noodles. I used frozen greens to save time.

Ingredients

250 Grams Minced pork

500 Grams Green beans blanched on boiling water

Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated)

2 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

2 Scallions/spring onions (finely chopped)

1 Red chilli pepper (finely chopped)

2 Tbsp Soy sauce

1 Tbsp Sesame oil

1 Tsp Ground Sichuan pepper

Method

  1. Blanch the green beans in boiling water and drain
  2. Fry the minced pork in a large frying pan or wok until no longer pink
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for a further 5 minutes. If the mix starts to catch in the pan you can add a little water to stop this

Coconut and Jam Sponge

This is a real reminder of school dinners for me.

If you aren’t confident with desserts this is really easy. All the ingredients for the sponge are dumped in a bowl and whisked together before being baked. The topping is simply ready made jam and coconut.

The sponge also freezes really well, so if you’re super organised make a double batch of the mix. Bake two sponges, and when completely cool, wrap one one of the sponges in cling film and freeze, top with jam and coconut once thawed.

I’ve used margarine in this (Mary Berry claims it’s better for sponge cakes, and who am I to argue), it’s also cheaper. Feel free to use butter if you prefer

Serve custard with for the perfect comforting dessert.

Ingredients

For the sponge

225 Grams Self raising flour

225 Grams Sugar

225 Grams Margarine

4 Eggs

For the topping

200 Grams Jam

25 Grams Dessicated coconut

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients for the sponge in a bowl. Mix with an electric whisk for 5 minutes until light and fluffy
  2. Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees
  3. Line a 30cm x 18cm square cake tin with baking parchment. Transfer the sponge mix into the tin and spread evenly with a spatula
  4. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, and allow to cool
  5. Stir the jam and if it’s too thick to spread add a table spoon of hot water and mix well
  6. Spread the jam evenly across the sponge and sprinkle with coconut

Easy, Two Ingredient Bread Rolls

I hate food waste, but like everyone else I’m not perfect.

One of the things I always ended up throwing out was Greek yogurt.  The small pots weren’t enough, and the larger containers meant I always had some left over.

A friend told me about this recipe and I love it.  Most people are put off making bread bread because it can take time to prove, knead etc.  This couldn’t be quicker or easier. 

Equal amounts of flour and yoghurt, and like making scones these rolls benefit from not handling to much.  This recipe makes 4 rolls, but you can double the recipe if you want more. You can brush the uncooked rolls with egg or melted butter if you want a glazed top, but I just sprinkled with flour.

Soft and fluffy rolls

I haven’t given exact weights. I literally just used a mug to ensure I was measuring equal amounts.

These also freeze really well.

Ingredients

1 Cup self raising flour
1 Cup of Greek yogurt (I used full fat yoghurt as this is what I had, it also gives a softer texture, but use what you have)

Method

  1. Measure out the flour and yoghurt and add to a bowl.
  2. Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees
  3. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is combined and turn onto a lightly floured surface
  4. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll into balls
  5. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until the bottoms sound hollow when tapped

Lockdown Chilli

Yep, we’re in bloody lockdown again and we’re all trying to limit how much we go out.

With this in mind, like last time I decided to have a look and use up food I already had at home. I first made this type of chilli years ago when I was a flat broke student. My Mum would sometimes send me home with a bag of tinned food. I came up with this version of chilli and it’s surprisingly flavoursome.

I know most people wouldn’t use corned beef in a chilli, but it works well. If you don’t want to use baked beans you can use whichever beans you like, just maybe add some vegetable stock to loosen up the mix. This is also a good dish to use up any vegetables that have been hanging around your fridge or freezer for a while.

It’s cold and miserable outside and while I’ll admit it’s not fine dining it’s quick, cheap and proper comfort food. This goes well with rice, or pasta, in a baked potato or with garlic bread.

Ingredients

340 Gram Tin of corned beef (cut into cubes)

500 Gram Carton of passata (or a tin of chopped tomatoes)

410 Gram Tin of baked beans

1 Tbsp Oil

1 Tbsp Tomato purée

1 Onion (chopped fairly finely)

1 Carrot (grated)

1 Red pepper (cut into 1 cm chunks)

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp Ground cumin

1 Tsp Chilli powder

1 Tsp Ground coriander

3 cloves of garlic

Method

  1. Heat your oil in a large flat bottom pan. Fry the carrot, pepper, and onion over a medium heat until the the onion becomes translucent
  2. Add the garlic, spices, tomato puree and corned beef, and stir through the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes until the corned beef starts to break down.
  3. Stir in the passata, and baked beans, mixing well. Cook over a medium heat for a further 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking
  4. Serve with your favourite carbs. This keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days

Caramelised Onion Sausage Rolls

Savoury and satisfying

I love a sausage roll, add some sweet dark caramelised onions and these are hard to resist.

I use shop bought pastry because its quick. The only thing that takes any effort (and it’s not much) is browning the onions.

Caramelised Onion, the best smell in the world

Makes 6 large sausages, 18 cocktail sausage rolls.

Ingredients

1 Sheet of ready rolled short crust pastry

6 Tennis ball sized onions

1 Tsp Balsamic vinegar

1Tbs Olive oil

6 Sausages (I used pork and leek, but use what you prefer)

1 Egg (to brush the pastry with)

1 Tbsp Sesame seeds (optional)

Method

  • In a frying pan, add the olive oil and heat
  • Peel and slice the onions before adding to the pan (it looks like a lot of onions, but this cooks down quite a lot)
Don’t worry if it seems like a mountain of onions, it cooks down
  • Stir onions occasionally and cook over a medium heat for around 30 minutes over a medium heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  • Devide the pastry into 6, and place a sausage (I leave the skin on the sausage, some people prefer to remove it), and 1/6 of the onion mixture onto the square of pastry
  • Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg
  • Fold the pastry over until the edges meet and crimp with a fork
Sprinkle with sesame seeds for some extra texture.
  • When you have made all 6 sausage rolls, brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • Transfer to a baking sheet, and bake 20 minutes in an oven heated to 200 degrees until golden brown