Sticky Chinese Chicken

thumbnail_20170615_183515With only 5 ingredients this really is Chinese food made easy, not to mention extremely cheap. I opted for thighs as this is the cheapest cut of chicken, plus meat cooked on the bone is often a lot more tender. Honey can be pretty pricey but if you opt for a supermarket own brand you’ll make a huge saving.
This sweet and sticky chicken is deliciously aromatic, serve with noodles or egg fried rice and you’ve got yourself the perfect fakeaway.

Ingredients:
Serves 2, Dairy Free.
– 4 Chicken thighs, skin removed.
– 4 Tablespoons of light soy sauce.
– 2 Tablespoons of honey, extra for drizzling.
– 1 Heaped teaspoon of Chinese five spice.
– 2 Garlic cloves, crushed.
– Sesame seeds for garnish, optional.
– Oil or low cal cooking spray.

Method:
1. Remove all skin from the chicken thighs, place in a bowl along with the soy sauce, honey, Chinese five spice and garlic. Mix well, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.
2. After 2 hours place the chicken and marinade on a baking tray that’s been lined with baking parchment, ensure the baking parchment has been lightly brushed with oil.
3. Place in a preheated oven at 200C for 30 minutes then remove and baste, drizzle over some extra honey and sesame seeds, place back in the oven for a further 15 minutes, after this your chicken is ready to serve.

 

Chicken & Leek Pie

chicken pie

I think we can all agree that pies are the ultimate comfort food however the process of making one has often seemed lengthy and complicated to me. Using a few short cuts (ready rolled puff pastry) I’ve come up with an easy yet delicious recipe. Ideal for a cheap, no fuss, one pan, satisfying weekday dinner the whole family can enjoy.

Ingredients:
Serves 2.
– Ready rolled puff pastry, roughly half a pack 180g.
– 3 Chicken Thighs.
– 2 Leeks, roughly chopped.
– 1 Cup of frozen peas (optional).
– 1 Chicken oxo cube.
– 2 Tablespoons of chicken gravy granules.
– 1 Teaspoons of oregano.
– Salt and pepper.
– oil.

Method:
1. Lightly coat an oven proof dish that has raised edges with oil.
2. Spread the bottom of the dish evenly with leeks and place chicken thighs on top of leeks, season well with salt and pepper.
3. Cook in a preheated oven at 190C for 30 minutes, after 30 minutes remove the skin plus bones and shred the chicken. Place shredded chicken back into the dish and mix in the leeks whilst seasoning.
4. Dissolve the oxo cube and gravy granules in a ¾ pint of boiling water, stir in oregano and pour over the chicken and leek mixture.
5. If you feel your chicken, leek and gravy mixture needs bulking, add a cup of frozen peas.
6. Cover the top of the dish with puff pastry, score a couple of times and place back in the oven to cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden.

 

Asian Prawn & Pork Balls

thumbnail_20170520_162158If you’re anything like me then you’ll also find it hard to stay healthy at the weekends. I don’t want to deprive myself, I wonna treat myself but without gaining an extra chin.
What with summer almost upon us I’ve been trying to come up with recipes that taste like a takeaway that aren’t as detrimental to my figure. Chinese food is one of my favourites but highly calorific so I decided to come up with my own healthier version of pork balls without compromising on flavour. Enjoy as a starter or part of a main, they’re also great for anyone that likes to meal prep as can be cooked in batch.

Ingredients:
Makes 15, Dairy Free.
– 300g Low fat pork mince.
– 180g Cooked king prawns, blended.
– 2 Chillies, finely chopped.
– 4 Garlic cloves, crushed.
– 2 Tablespoons of light soy sauce.
– 2 Teaspoons of lemongrass paste (got mine from Asda).
– Sesame seeds, enough to roll the balls in.
– 1 Slice of bread, blended to make breadcrumbs or use panko.
– Oil.

Method:
1. In a bowl mix together by hand the pork mince, blended prawns, breadcrumbs, chillies, garlic, soy and lemongrass.
2. Roll mixture into balls and then roll in sesame seeds.
3. Place balls on an oven tray that’s been lined with baking parchment and lightly brushed with oil.
4. Cook in a preheated oven at 220C for 20 minutes or until golden/cooked.
 

Thai Coconut Curry

20170507_112604[411]I really enjoy a Thai take away curry but often find them to be too rich, not to mention detrimental to my diet. I decided to make my own lighter version at home, stripping the ingredients right down so it’s accessible, fast food yet still delicious, creamy but not too heavy with hints of citrus.
This is a firm favourite with my friends and family.

Ingredients:
Serves 2, Gluten Free, Dairy Free.
– 2 packets of cooked king prawns, approx. 180g each.
– 1 Red bell pepper, sliced thinly.
– 1 Carrot, sliced thinly.
– 1 Chili, sliced thinly.
– 3 Large mushrooms, sliced thinly.
– 1 Large onion, sliced thinly.
– 2 Garlic cloves, crushed.
– Juice of half a lime, use other half as garnish.
– Oil.
– Salt and pepper to taste.
Sauce:
– 1 Can of light coconut milk.
– Juice of 1 lime.
– 2 Garlic cloves, crushed.
– 2 Tablespoons of fish sauce.
– Salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: I don’t like ginger or coriander but if you do then add ginger to the sauce and garnish the finished dish with coriander.

Method:
1. In a saucepan add all the ingredients for the sauce, simmer and stir continuously.
2. In a separate pan fry together the garlic, onion, chili, carrot and pepper until soft. Once soft add the prawns, mushrooms and lime juice, cook for 2 to 3 minutes then add the sauce and stir well.
3. That’s your dish complete, serve with rice or noodles.

Mushroom Katsu

20170426_172822[398]A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for chicken katsu curry which has been a big hit so I thought why not adapt this to make it vegetarian friendly, not only is this cheaper but also half the cooking time. I’ve chosen mushrooms as that’s what I had to hand but you could also use discs of courgette, aubergine or sweet potato. Katsu veg doesn’t necessarily have to be served with a curry sauce, it also makes a great starter or side dish and would also compliment my hummus recipe in a previous post, however readers that have made the sauce have said that not only is it versatile, it’s also great for batch cooking and meal prep. Once again I’ve baked rather than fried to make this healthier.

Ingredients:
Serves 2, Vegetarian.
Mushrooms:
– 8 Mushrooms, sliced thickly.
– 2 Slices of bread or you can buy Panko breadcrumbs.
– 2 Eggs, whisked.
– Salt and Pepper to season.

Sauce:
– Oil.
– 2 Large carrots, peeled and chopped.
– 1 Large onion, diced.
– 1 Chilli, chopped.
– 2 Garlic cloves, crushed.
– ½ A pint of vegetable stock.
– 2 Tablespoons of smooth peanut butter.
– 1 Tablespoon of curry powder.
– 1 Tablespoon of light soy sauce.
– Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:
1. In a blender blitz together the bread, salt and pepper.
2. Beat the eggs, coat the mushrooms in egg followed by the breadcrumb mix, place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment that has been lightly covered in oil, cook in a preheated oven at 200C for 10 minutes or until golden.
3. Meanwhile in a large saucepan fry together the carrots, onions, chilli and garlic until soft, once soft blend then add the peanut butter, stock, soy sauce and curry powder and blend again, that’s your sauce done, serve with the mushrooms once cooked and a side of rice.

Chocolate Mousse

20170415_141139[345]Deliciously decadent and only 4 ingredients! Ideal for vegans or anyone dairy or lactose intolerant.
A lighter way to satisfy your sweet tooth and so easy to prepare so why not give it a go?

Tip: With the remaining chickpeas sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, place on a baking tray that’s been lightly brushed with oil and roast for 30 minutes or until golden, enjoy as a sweet and crunchy snack. Alternatively, why not try making hummus or falafels, the recipe can be found in my previous blog post.

Ingredients:
Vegan, Vegetarian.
– The liquid from one can of chickpeas.
– 100g of dairy free chocolate (I used a mint flavoured one), melted.
– 2 Tablespoons of sugar.
– 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Method:
1. Whisk the chickpea liquid until light and fluffy.
2. Melt the chocolate, this can be done in the microwave, takes about 3 minutes but keep an eye on it.
3. Add the chocolate, sugar and vanilla extract to the fluffy mixture and stir well.
4. Pour mixture into a serving glass of your choice and leave to set in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours.

Mediterranean Mezze

IMG_20170427_183722_204[479]If you enjoy Mediterranean food like myself then you’re bound to adore hummus and the odd cheeky falafel.
If you own a blender then I urge you to have a go at making your own, flavourful, quick, cheap and a little goes a long way.
Enjoy as a snack or part of a main meal, ideal for sharing platters when entertaining friends.

Hummus.
Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Vegan.
– 1 Can of chickpeas, drained and cooked.
– 3 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped.
– 1 Tablespoon of tahini.
– 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.
– 1 Tablespoon of oil.
– Generous helping of salt.

Method:
Simply blend all the ingredients together until smooth, if too thick keep adding a dash of water until the desired consistency is achieved.

Falafel.
Makes 12, Vegetarian, Vegan.
– 1 Can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
– 2 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped.
– 1 Small onion, roughly chopped.
– 1 Teaspoon of dried parsley.
– 1 Teaspoon of ground cumin.
– 2 Teaspoons of chili powder.
– 1 Teaspoon of harissa paste (optional).
– 2 Tablespoons of plain flour.
– 2 Tablespoons of oil.
– Generous helping of salt.

Method:
1. Blend all the ingredients until smooth.
2. Roll mixture into small balls and place on a baking tray, lined with baking parchment that has been lightly brushed with oil or low cal cooking spray.
3. Cook in a preheated oven at 200C for 35 minutes or until golden, be sure to turn half way though.

Raspberry Bakewell

20170319_134036[320]As someone that cooks a lot I always get asked if I bake as well and the truth is no…I hate baking! I find the process too complex and time consuming but luckily I’ve found a recipe that’s quick, easy, minimal ingredients and tastes phenomenal. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients:
Serves 8, Vegetarian.
– 200g Ground Almonds.
– 150g Self raising flour.
– 140g Sugar.
– 3 Eggs.
– 150g Coconut oil, melted.
– 250g Frozen raspberries.
– 3 Tablespoons of flaked almonds.

Method:
1. Mix together the almonds, flour, sugar, eggs and oil.
2. Line an oven proof dish that has high edges with baking parchment, spread half the mixture to cover the entire bottom of the dish.
3. Spread the frozen raspberries over the first layer of mixture and then top with the remaining half of the mixture, sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 50 minutes.

Katsu Curry

IMG_20170311_143028_033[316]Anyone who’s into Japanese food will know that Katsu Curry is kind of a big deal, succulent breaded chicken served with a rich and flavourful sauce, what’s not to love?
I’ve managed to come up with a no fuss recipe using easy to get hold of ingredients without compromising on flavour, also the chicken is baked rather than deep fried which makes this a healthier version.

Ingredients:
Serves 2.
Chicken:
– 2 Chicken breasts.
– 2 Slices of white bread or you can buy Panko breadcrumbs.
– 1 Teaspoon of Chinese five spice, optional.
– 1 Egg, whisked.
– Salt and Pepper to season.

Sauce:
– Oil.
– 2 Large carrots, peeled and chopped.
– 1 Large onion, diced.
– 1 Chilli, chopped.
– 2 Garlic cloves, crushed.
– ½ A pint of chicken stock.
– 2 Tablespoons of smooth peanut butter.
– 1 Tablespoon of curry powder.
– 1 Tablespoon of light soy sauce.
– Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:
1. In a blender blitz together the bread, Chinese five spice, salt and pepper.
2. Beat an egg, coat the chicken in egg followed by the breadcrumb mix, place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and cook in a preheated oven at 200C for 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile in a large saucepan fry together the carrots, onions, chilli and garlic until soft, once soft blend then add the peanut butter, stock, soy sauce and curry powder and blend again and that’s your sauce done, serve with the chicken once cooked and a side of rice.

Dauphinoise Potatoes

IMG_20170306_182323[245]Dauphinoise potatoes make for a deliciously indulgent side dish, ideal if entertaining guests and wanting to impress, also the perfect accompaniment to steak or your Sunday roast.
Guaranteed you’ll already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen so why not give this easy yet extremely satisfying recipe a go?

Ingredients:
Serves 4, Gluten Free, Vegetarian.
– 300ml Double Cream.
– 300ml Milk.
– 3 Garlic Cloves, crushed.
– 2 or 3 Large Potatoes, thinly sliced.
– 2 Sprig of Rosemary, optional.
– 100g Cheddar Cheese, grated.

Method:
1. Tip the cream, milk, garlic and 1 rosemary sprig (optional) into a large saucepan, bring to simmer.
2. Slice potatoes as thinly as possible, add them to the pan and simmer until just cooked.
3. Remove rosemary and discard. Using a slotted spoon if you have one, separate the potatoes from the cream and lay out in a wide ovenproof dish, pour over the garlic and rosemary infused cream.
4. Scatter over the cheese and sprigs of rosemary for decoration (optional).
5. Place in a preheated oven at 190C for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft and cheese is golden.