These are not mojitos in the true sense (I’m not really a fan of rum). But they are incrediblely refreshing, and a great Summer drink.
I make individual ones in a cocktail shaker (a great addition to your Amazon wish list if you don’t already have one). You can also increase the ingredients and make a big jug of these if you have friends round.
I have included the recipe for a simple syrup, but if you’re short on time you can buy this pre made. Make sure to have plenty of ice.
250 Grams Sugar
250 ml water
For the cocktail
1 Shot Simple syrup
1 Shot Gin
Soda or tonic water
To make the simple syrup, add the sugar and water to a pot and heat until the sugar was dissolved, set to one side and allow to cool
With a potato peeler shave ribbons of cucumber and add to a tall glass and top up with crushed ice.
Roughly chop a tablespoon of cucumber and add to a cocktail shaker along with 5 mint leaves and a wedge of lime. Muddle these in the shaker (this a fancy term for giving them a bit of a bash to release their flavour, I do this with butt of a wooden spoon, but use what you have)
Add a shot of gin and a shot of simple syrup to the shaker, along with a couple of ice cubes and shake for all you’re worth. If you are making a jug of these, then make sure to stir thoroughly
Pour into your prepared glass and top off with some tonic or soda water and a sprig of mint and wedge of lime if you’re feeling especially fancy
Vegetarian main courses can be a bit Meh. This yummy mix of vegetables, lentils and creamy feta cheese wrapped up in delicious flaky pastry makes great quick weeknight dinner and packed with protein.
You can change up the vegetables you use depending on what you have (it’s a good way to use up left over veggies). You can also used canned lentils, and I always use shop bought flaky pastry (because who really ever makes it from scratch). You can also make the filling the day before, so all you have to do is assemble and bake if you’re short on time.
I made one large pastry parcel that can sliced up, but you could also make 4 individual ones if you prefer.
1 Sheet of shop bought puff pastry (pre-rolled)
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Leeks (sliced)
2 Peppers (sliced)
150 Grams Cooked green lentils
150 Grams Mushrooms (sliced)
200 Grams Feta cheese
1 Tsp Dried Thyme
2-3 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper
1 Beaten Egg (for brushing)
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the vegetables over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and continue to cook until the vegetables are soft
Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, stir in the cooked lentils and feta cheese
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
Place your pastry on a sheet of baking parchment. Leaving a border of 2cm, place the vegetable mix on on half of the pastry sheet. I use a slotted spoon to drain off any excess liquid from the vegetable mix
Lightly brush the edges of pastry with beaten egg and fold the pastry over to cover the filling. Press the edges of the pastry together with a fork (or you can crimp it if you’re feeling fancy)
Brush the pastry with some beaten egg, if you want to make things look pretty you can lightly run a knife across the pastry in a criss Cross pattern (be careful not to go too deep and pierce the pastry)
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown
There are countless versions of Jollof Rice and Chicken across Africa and the Caribbean. The are many reasons why it’s so popular, it’s quick and easy to make, it’s a one pot dish that can feed a family cheaply, and most importantly it’s really delicious.
I mean, tender chicken and really well flavoured rice with vegetables, where could you go wrong. This is also a great dish for using up odd bits of vegetables you have in the fridge
4 Large chicken thighs or 8 small ones (I use the ones with the bone in, as I think it keeps the chicken tender)
1 Tbsp Oil
2 Red peppers (cut into 1-2cm pieces)
1 Onion (cut into 1-2cm pieces)
1Tbsp Tomato puree
400 Gram Tin of chopped tomatoes
1 Red chilli pepper (finely chopped) or 1 tsp chilli powder
1 Tsp Smoked paprika
3 x Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated, I always keep ginger in the freezer. It stops it going to waste and it’s easier to grate)
250 ml Vegetable/chicken stock (I used a stock cube to make it)
325 Gram Long grain rice, dry weight (I use basmati, but other types are fine)
2 Tbsp Chopped coriander (optional)
Heat the oil in a large flat bottom pan. When hot, add the chicken thighs and seal on both sides
Add the vegetables and tomato puree to the pan and cook for 5 minutes
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding more water if the rice dries out before it’s cooked
Check the chicken is cooked through and the rice is soft
I have to give a shout out to my friend Nuala for turning me into this, and I love it.
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.
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
Blanch the green beans in boiling water and drain
Fry the minced pork in a large frying pan or wok until no longer pink
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
Some ingredients are just made to go together and pears and almonds are two of the them.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with pears. When they are perfect they’re hard to beat. The only issue is that they are like granite and inedible, and then turn to mush within about 20 minutes. They are the ultimate passive aggressive fruit!
This recipe is great for using pears that are too hard to eat if you can’t be bothered with the game of chicken involved in waiting for pears to ripen.
This is a pretty rich recipe, but isn’t meant to be eaten every day and looks really impressive if you’re cooking for friends.
You can make the pastry case and the frangipane filling in advance, which means you can have more time with your guests. You could even use shop bought pastry if you don’t have time (home made is better though). This is really good on it’s own but a little fresh cream or ice cream also doesn’t hurt if you want to be properly indulgent.
For the pastry case
200 Grams Plain flour
100 Grams Butter (chilled and cut into small cubes)
1 Tbsp Caster sugar
1 Egg yolk
For the frangipane filling
115 Grams Butter (at room temperature)
115 Grams Caster sugar
115 Grams Ground almonds
1 Tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
2 Large pears
In a food processor add the flour, sugar, and butter. Whizz until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs (you can run the butter and flour in together by hand if you prefer)
Add the egg yolk and a small amount of cold water and whizz again until the mix starts to come together. Start to press the mix together to form a dough, adding a small amount of cold water if necessary. Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes
Grease a 9in x 9 in loose bottemed flan tin. When the pastry has chilled, place on a floured surface, and roll out in a circle approximately 1/2 cm thick.
Lay into you prepare flan tin making sure that it’s pressed into the edges. Place a sheet of baking paper on top and baking beans (I use old dried rice) to weigh down the pastry and blind bake in an oven pre heated to 180 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes before taking the case out if the oven, carefully lift the the baking paper by the 4 corners taking care not to spill any of the baking beans/rice onto the pastry case.
Return the pastry case to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes before removing from the oven and allowing to cool
To make the filling, add the butter and sugar to a bowl and mix with an electric whisk until light and creamy. Add the vanilla, almonds and eggs and beat in until combined
Peel, core and quarter the pears, before cutting into slices about 1cm thick
Spread the almond mixture into the pastry case. Arrange quarter of the pear so the narrow part is towards the centre of the tin and wider part is towards the outside work as quickly as you can to prevent the pear discolouring
Once you have arranged the pears, return the flan tin to 180 degree oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the centre is just starting to set (it will continue to cook as it cools). Allow to cool in the tin for another 15 minutes before attempting to cut.
If you’re wondering what remoulade is, the best way to describe it is a fresher, less gloopy, fancier version of coleslaw.
I’m trying to support local businesses and keep my food miles down (so I don’t feel guilty about my travel miles). So I ordered a vegetable box from a local farm. The vegetables were great, but in the middle of the box was celeriac. I had eaten it before but had never cooked with it.
I decided to make remoulade, because it’s a fantastic Summer dish. This is perfect with barbecued meats, but also goes really well with fish. For vegetarians it’s a great addition to salad bowls to add some tang and texture, I also like to use it sandwiches as alternative to coleslaw. This is quick and easy to make, and will in the fridge for 3-4 days.
200 Grams Celeriac (roughly grated)
1 Large apple (roughly grated with skin left on)
Juice of half a lemon
1 Tbsp Grain mustard
3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
Remove the course outer skin of the celariac, and grate along with apple before adding to a bowl
Cover the celeriac and apple with the lemon juice.
Stir in the mustard and mayonnaise until thoroughly combined, refrigerate if not eating immediately