Buttered Dab with Prawns and Capers.

I have mixed feelings on this dish.

What a way to start a recipe post, eh?

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Mum bought some fresh fish from the fishmongers; dab. Have you ever had dab? I hadn’t until this dish. And it’s a delicate yet tasty white fish. I enjoyed it…

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BUT my goodness it’s boney! I can’t stand having to fish out the bones out of my meal, it’s so much effort. I just want to eat, not work!

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So this is where the mixed feelings come from. The taste of this dish is spectacular, but if you, like me, have an aversion to bones, maybe swap for a boneless haddock or other white fish!

Ingredients:

1 fresh white fish

huge knob of butter

100g cooked prawns

2 Tbsp. capers

baby spinach (optional)

Heat the butter over medium heat until it’s bubbly. Add the fish skin side down (if it’s got skin) then cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip it over and add the prawns and capers. Check the fish is cooked – add more butter if you fancy it. Serve over a bed of baby spinach.

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Greek Prawns.

It’s been a while! I’d like to say I’ve been super busy doing exciting things or jetting off to exotic places but that would be a flat out lie. Basically I’ve just been a combination of ill and working too much, so I’ve barely done any cooking. It’s so sad!

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But I’m back, at least for this post – busy weekend ahead so I don’t know how much I’ll get to cook. Waaah. This makes me grumpy.

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But here’s a quick and filling dish inspired by the wonderful white sand beaches of Greece. This is light and delicious – pair it with a fabulous champagne and your best friend!

Ingredients for two:

300g fresh raw prawns

1 red onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

2 Tsp. oregano

salt and pepper

coconut oil

feta

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and sauté the red onion for a minute or two. Add the prawns and cook until slightly pink – not fully cooked as otherwise they’ll be rubbery by the end of cooking! Add the garlic and chopped tomatoes and turn the heat down to medium. Season with salt, pepper and oregano and cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until the prawns are cooked. Serve in two bowls and sprinkle with more salt and feta.

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Chicken Stir Fry.

Now I know a stir fry is hardly the thing of Michelin starred chefs, but when you’re in a hurry there’s nothing better – it’s healthy, hearty and nutritious. Add in some meat or fish for protein and you’re golden.

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My go-to sauce for stir fry is one my mum always cooks and is composed of just two ingredients. Mum uses soy sauce, but since I found out I’m wheat intolerant I swap that for tamari which I actually prefer (don’t tell mum!). The other key ingredient is raw honey.

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Ingredients:

1 bag of stir fry veg

200-300g cooked chicken, shredded

honey

tamari

rapeseed oil

Heat the oil up and add the chicken, to brown. Throw in the veg and stir to heat up. In a bowl, mix the honey and tamari at a ratio of 2 Tbsp. of honey to 1 Tbsp. tamari. How much of this quantity you make depends how saucy (ooh la la) you want your stir fry. Add it and stir to coat, then serve.

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Cauliflower Risotto.

Who doesn’t love a risotto? It’s creamy, filling and oh so moreish! However it’s also super calorific. Why is it all the good tasting things are either super bad for you or just plain calorific? So unfair.

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UNTIL the cauliflower risotto was born! When you pulse up the cauliflower it becomes rice like, then you can just cook this like a normal risotto, adding in the stock bit at a time. Enjoy this when you want a filling meal, but don’t want the guilt afterwards: have this low-cal, low-carb option instead!

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Ingredients for one:

1/2 cauliflower

1 Tsp. coconut oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp. tahini

1 Tsp. miso paste

2-3 spring onions, chopped

1/2 yellow pepper

salt and pepper

lemon juice

about 1 mugful of made up stock

2 slices salami, sliced

parmesan for sprinkling

Pulse the cauliflower until it resembles rice.

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Heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, pepper, miso paste and spring onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

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Stir in the cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes. Add in a bit of the stock, and stir until it’s evaporated. Add in a bit more once the first bit has been soaked up.

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This time add in the tahini and a squeeze of lemon. Taste the cauliflower – add in more stock if you feel it needs it.

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Throw in the salami and stir until it’s hot. Season generously. Once plated, grate over some parmesan.

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Minced Beef and Rice Stuffed Courgettes.

Right now I have a cracking hangover. Quel surprise, right?

I just want carbs and chocolate and awful things, but mind over matter! Now I know most of you will disagree with me that courgette is hardly an amazing substitute but when you turn it into little boats (you don’t realise how much it excites me to make them into boats!) and stuff it with meat and carbs – am I selling it yet?

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The rice dish itself is yummy enough to have on its own, but added to juicy courgette and with a grating of cheese – hangover cured! (I’m going to bed immediately after finishing this post).

It’s quite a fussy dish as all the components need doing at the same time, so make sure your prep is done before starting.

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Ingredients for one hungry person:

1 courgette

150g mince

1/4 cup of rice

1 large, juicy tomato

dried mint

powdered onion

1 Tsp. herbes de provence

1/2 onion, diced

2 Tbsp. sun dried tomato purée

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

scattering of pine nuts, optional

rapeseed oil

Heat the oven to 190C. Cut your courgette in half lengthways and using a teaspoon scoop out the pulpy centre – you can get rid of this. Put the courgette boats (eee!) in a roasting tray, cover with foil and bake for 16-18 minutes.

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Meanwhile, get the rice cooking according to the packet instructions in salted water. In a separate pan, heat some rapeseed oil and brown the beef. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, tomato, tomato purée and the dried herbs and stir to mix thoroughly.

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Drain the rice and add this as well and mix again. Keep warm until the courgette is cooked.

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To check if the courgette is cooked prod it with a fork – it should pierce easily. Scoop the rice/beef mix into the boats and shave some parmesan over the top. Polish it off!

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Caramelised Pork Medallions with an Apricots and Pecan Sauce.

I can honestly say I think this is the longest recipe title on this site!

Yesterday I had the journey from hell. I’d been visiting my bestie in Manchester for Pride weekend, and left yesterday, but every single one of my trains was delayed. EXCEPT the last one. So I had to get another train miles away and basically I was sitting on a train for about 5 hours. It was not enjoyable, especially not with a cracking hangover.

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On the journey back mum said we were having pork tenderloin for dinner and asked to make a sauce. Not being able to have gravy, I decided to make a (super healthy… not) cream sauce. This might not be great for your figure, but trust me your mouth will thank you for it!

Ingredients:

500g pork loin

butter

light brown sugar

150ml double cream

handful of dried apricots, halved

handful of pecans

Cook your pork loin in the oven at 180C for about 40 minutes, or until cooked. Take it out and slice it up. Rub light brown sugar over these slices and heat the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Place the pork in the pan and cook on one side for 3-4 minutes, until it starts to caramelise.

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Turn it over and add in the apricots and pecans.

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At the last moment throw in the cream and stir.

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This will caramelise very quickly so be careful for it not to burn. Serve up – I like it with roasted veggies and cauliflower mash.

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Ginger Steamed Cod with Mushroom Fried Rice.

I was on yet another split shift at work. There’s a part of me which is like, “yay money” but the more human part which is like “need food and sleep”. It is the latter part which thought up this meal in-between my shifts at about 4pm. What is a lunch dinner hybrid? We all know breakfast for dinner is brinner, but lunch/dinner? Linner? Dunch? Who knows. This is what this is.

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Carbs for slow release energy, eggs and fish for protein and mushrooms, well, I just love mushrooms. These are nameko mushrooms, but you can easily sub button mushrooms. This meal is quick and quite simply delicious.

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Ingredients for one:

1 cod fillet

Knob of ginger, finely sliced/grated

coriander

1 bowlful of cooked rice (this will have lots of leftovers)

1 onion, sliced

250g nameko mushrooms

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tsp. Chinese five spice

couple of dashes tamari

rapeseed oil

Get your fish steaming by placing a colander over a saucepan of boiling water. Put the fish in the colander or steamer with the ginger and coriander and cover. Turn the heat to low.

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Heat the oil in a pan, and gently sauté the onions. Add the cooked rice and break up any clumps with a wooden spoon. Add in the five spice, tamari and mushrooms, and stir until the rice is hot.

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The fish should be cooked by now (it doesn’t take long!), so throw in the eggs, stir and plate it all up.

Lemon and Garlic Chicken.

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather recently. Kind of like a man flu thing; I’m exhausted and just want to sleep. On top of that, I’ve got a nasty chesty cough which is keeping me up all night (probably why I’m exhausted) and I keep going hot to cold (although the weather can’t make up it’s mind either so I don’t know if it’s just me!). Maybe a little more than man flu perhaps..

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Anyway, duty called and I had to make dinner. I love cooking, but when you just want to slump it can feel like a burden. This recipe however is so simple you could do it in your sleep! And then at the end of it you get a fabulously juicy, tasty chicken dish – perfect with a simple side salad for summer.

I go on the basis of 2 chicken thighs per person, and 1 lemon per person, so it’s easy to double up if needs be.

Ingredients for 4:

8 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in

4 lemons, quartered

2 bulbs of garlic

salt and pepper

rapeseed oil

oregano

Preheat your oven to 180C and tear up the garlic bulb. Don’t bother peeling them – they’ll caramelise and you can squeeze out the lovely garlic over the chicken when it’s cooked. Grease your roasting tin with oil and place your thighs (not YOUR thighs, silly) in the middle. Surround with the lemon and throw the garlic willy nilly around the dish. Add a good glug of oil.

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Season the dish with salt and pepper and cover the chicken with oregano. Place the dish in the oven for about 30 minutes, then serve up. Remember to squeeze the lemon and garlic all over the chicken!

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Meatloaf.

When I was younger, I could never get my head around the idea of meatloaf – a loaf of meat? That seems bizarre (and not overly appealing!). And I had one once in England – it was dry and bland and boring. So when my step mum offered to cook it for me I wasn’t massively overjoyed – but by heck it was amazing! Moist and tasty, it was the complete opposite of the one I’d had in England – and I’ve been wanting to replicate it ever since! I’ve been pestering her for the recipe and I got it! When I go back to visit, this will definitely be top of the “To Eat” list – it’s just a shame she’s such a good cook, I’ll never be able to eat everything in her repertoire!

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This is moreish and oh-so-American. If you, like me, thought American meatloaf was boring, this will blow your mind. I apologise now for the photos – I’ve made this twice now and both lots of photos are just awful. Just trust me – with this you don’t have to eat with your eyes!

Ingredients (to serve 6):

1kg beef mince (or use 500g veal mince if you’re feeling fancy)

1 celery stalk, sliced

1 tin of tomatoes

1 onion, diced

1 pepper, diced

2 eggs, hard boiled

1 egg, beaten

1 mugful of breadcrumbs

1-2 Tsp. each of garlic powder, oregano and thyme

1 Tbsp. worcester sauce

1 Tbsp. ketchup

5-6 slices bacon or pancetta (enough to cover your loaf)

olive oil

To start with, sauté the onion, celery and pepper on a medium heat with the olive oil.

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Once the onion is translucent, transfer mix into a bowl and add in the beef mince, breadcrumbs, herbs, tin of tomatoes, ketchup, worcester sauce and beaten egg. Shape into meatloaf shape, add the 2 hardboiled eggs to the centre of it and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

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Preheat the oven to 180C. Get your meatloaf out of the fridge, squirt over some more ketchup on the top and add the rashers of bacon. Cook for 30-40 minutes, then enjoy!

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Be warned – it goes quickly!

 

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Sauce.

Normally if I see “blackened”, I immediately think fish – blackened salmon, blackened catfish… But as I had neither of those in my fridge, I went for blackened chicken. Blackened basically just means cajun; the mix of spices screams deep south to me! (Wow, I’ve said blackened A LOT in these last few sentences…).

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I made this once before when living in France, but my spice cupboard was measly (i.e. non-existent) so a pre-bought Mexican spice thing had to suffice. This one is a bit tastier, and you mix your own spices so it’s more to your taste.

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And the avocado? Mixed with some plain yoghurt you create a creamy spread to slather over your chicken and quinoa, and it makes enough so you can spread it on your toast in the morning. Maybe with a slice or two of deli ham? I don’t see why not.

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Ingredients:

1 chicken breast

1/2 mugful quinoa

1 mug boiling water mixed with 1/2 a stock cube

2 spring onions, chopped

1 Tsp. paprika

1 Tsp. cumin

1/2 Tsp. cayenne pepper

sprinkle of sea salt

1 avocado

250ml plain yoghurt (Greek would work too!)

1 Tsp. garlic powder

1 Tsp. coconut oil

Firstly, put the spices in a bowl and add in the chicken. Rub the spices all over until it’s covered. Heat a pan on medium heat with the coconut oil and add the chicken. It should take about 8 minutes either side, so keep an eye on it!

Once you’ve got the chicken cooking, start on the quinoa. Add the quinoa and the stock to a pan and keep on a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. It’s cooked when there’s no water left, about 15 minutes.

Now the main time consuming parts are cooking, make the avocado sauce. Add the avocado, yoghurt and garlic powder to a food processor and blitz. It might look a touch lumpy, but because avocado is smooth and creamy anyway it won’t taste it! Remember to turn your chicken!

Once the chicken is fully cooked and there is no water in the quinoa, throw in the spring onions to the quinoa and serve it up.

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