On the days when I’m not in the mood for cooking I enjoy a good Chinese take away.
This can be expensive, and not especially healthy. One of the dishes I enjoy is orange chicken. Sometimes it can be overly sweet and the chicken is deep fried, making it high in calories.
My version is a bit healthier, but still delicious. It’s perfect for a week night dinner if you want something a bit different and is pretty quick to make. I don’t like this dish too sweet (I think there is enough sweetness from the orange), but if you prefer you can add a tablespoon of honey to the sauce if you have a sweet tooth.
500 Grams Chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 Oranges (finely grated zest and juice)
250 ml Chicken stock
1 Tbsp Rice wine or cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Garlic (finely chopped)
1 Tbsp Ginger (finely chopped, or 1 Tsp of ground ginger if you don’t have any fresh)
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Oil
1 – 2 Tbsps Cornflower (mixed with a small amount of water until its a smooth thick liquid)
Seseme seeds and finely sliced scallions/spring onions (optional) to garnish
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the chicken. Cook for 5-10 minutes until nearly cooked
Remove the chicken from the pan and add the garlic and ginger, cooking for 1-2 minutes
Add the stock, salt orange juice and zest and the chicken to the pan and simmer
When the liquid has reduced by about a third, add your cornflour mix to the pan stir well.
Simmer for a further 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened
Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced spring onion and serve with rice or noodles
I love baking at Christmas, something about the smell of delicious things coming out of the oven adds to my Christmas spirit. It’s also brilliant way to keep little hands busy if you have kids at home.
Shortbread can be fiddly to cut out, but these cookies just need slicing into rounds. What’s even better, you can make the shortbread dough up to 72 hours in advance and let it chill in the fridge and then take the log of dough out to slice and bake them just before you need them. They can be stored in airtight box for up 3 days (they won’t last that long).
I used a food processor to make these, which makes them super quick and easy. If you don’t have one, you can chop the cranberries and mix the butter and flour together using the rubbing in method.
You can also dip or drizzle with dark chocolate if you’re feeling particularly indulgent. However they are still delicious just as they are.
Makes around 30 cookies
70 Grams Dried cranberries
100 Grams Sugar
230 Grams Butter (chilled and cut into cubes)
340 Grams Plain flour
1 Orange (zest and juice)
100 Grams Dark chocolate (optional)
Add the cranberries and about a third of the sugar into a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds, until the cranberries have started to break up (the shouldn’t be too finely sliced)
Transfer the sugar and cranberry mix to a bowl. Add butter and flour to the food processor and pulse until they look like fine breadcrumbs.
Add the butter and flour mix to the cranberry mix with the rest of the sugar and the orange zest and mix well
Start adding the juice of the orange a little at a time (how much you will need will depend on your flour). Get your hands in the bowl and start pressing the mix together to form a dough
Turn out onto a large sheet of cling film and squeeze into a sausage shape about 4-5cm in diameter. Wrap tightly in the cling film, you can also give it a little roll to help it look a little neater
Chill for at least 30 minutes (but the dough can live in your fridge for 2-3 days if you want to make ahead of time
When you are ready to bake, pre heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a cookie sheet with baking parchment. Remove the cling film from the dough and cut into 1cm thick slices and put on the baking parchment (they will spread a little, so allow some space between them)
Bake for 12-15 minutes, and allow to cool
If you want to dip or drizzle the cookies in chocolate, make sure they are cool. Break the chocolate into small pieces into a microwave proof bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time until melted and then either dip the cookies or drizzle with a spoon