Author Archives: lg3210

Spicy Chicken, Coconut & Split Green Pea Soup

Earlier this week the boy P was keen on cooking a soup recipe for dinner from the Sainsburys magazine (of all things!) – in the end as i was home first i made it and it was such a delicious surprise – easy, tasty, warmings and healthy. I wanted to share the recipe here so I have it as a quick go to as we will definitely be having it again.

The below makes 2 very generous portions or 3 starter size portions.

4 Chicken Thighs (i used boneless)

Salt & Pepper

Vegetable/Rapeseed/Coconut Oil

1 red onion – diced

2 Garlic Cloves – diced

1 Red Chilli – diced

1.5tsp Ginger (paste or fresh diced)

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

200g Green Split Peas

600ml Chicken Stock

100g Spinach

50g Creamed Coconut (dissolved in 100ml boiling water)

2 Spring Onions – sliced

Handful fresh coriander – chopped

70g Blanched Almonds – sliced

Start by frying the chicken in some oil in a large saucepan until sealed and browned. Remove and leave to one side. Add a little more oil to the pan and fry the onion until softened then mix the spices and stir through. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic for 2 more minutes before popping the green split lentils into the pan and covering with the stock.

Leave to simmer for 30minutes or until the green split peas have softened. Stir through the coconut cream and water and also the spinach until all combined. Leave to simmer for a further 15minutes. If you would like the soup thicker, leave it for longer, if you would like it thinner then add a little more water.

As you are serving, sprinkle with fresh spring onions, coriander and almonds!

Enjoy!

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Louisiana Style Pancakes

Me and the boy P went to New Orleans earlier this year and amongst the mountains of Cajun, Mexican, American food we consumed were a plethora of brunches consisting of pancakes, grits, biscuits, eggs, waffles and hash browns.

All of it was absolutely delicious so it was very important to me to re-create it at home.

Below is my pancake recipe – fit for sweet or savoury dishes, these are tasty, light and fluffy.

Makes 4 Pancakes

300g Plain Flour

1tbsp Sugar

1tsp Baking Powder

1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

300ml Buttermilk

1 egg

2 tbsp Butter – melted

Vegetable or Coconut Oil

Start by mixing together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the mix and whisk in the buttermilk and egg. Make sure everything is incorporated and smooth being mindful not to over-mix!

Leave the batter to stand for at least an hour.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and spoon a ladleful of the mixture into the pan creating a cd sized (if you can remember how big a cd is!) shape. Leave until the mixture starts to bubble on top and flip. Each pancake should take about 3minutes on each side. If you have a pan or a couple of pans big enough do them all together, if not keep them in a warm oven until you are ready to eat.

We ate ours with crispy bacon, fried eggs and Louisiana Crystal Hot Sauce (similar to tabasco). Feel free to top with anything! Smoked Salmon and Avocado, Berries and Cream, Bananas, Walnuts and Syrup.

Enjoy with a black coffee and the weekend paper!

Risotto for Autumn

Autumn is here in London, we have been super lucky with the weather this week, it has been sunny and crisp cold – perfect for me to find an Autumnal dinner for us. I chose a Jamie Oliver recipe from his Jamie’s Kitchen book which my Mum has. Roast Squash, Pancetta and Chestnut Risotto. It is a little faffy to cook but well worth it – I have simplified the recipe a little here to make it easier to write down and follow.

Serves 4

1 Squash – cut into chunks, save the seeds

2 dried chillies – diced (1tbsp dried chilli will also work)

1tbsp crushed coriander seeds

Salt & Pepper

12 slices pancetta

100g Chestnuts – diced

1 handful Sage leaves – sliced

1 Onion – diced

2 Cloves Garlic – diced

300g Risotto Rice

2 tbsp butter

1l Vegetable Stock –keep heated

60g Parmesan

Coat the squash chunks in the coriander seeds and chilli with some olive oil and pop into the oven at 200 degrees to roast for 30 minutes. You can keep the skin on as everything gets mushed up at the end. Meanwhile start to make the risotto by slowly frying the onion and garlic in some butter until softened (usually takes 10 minutes or so). Add the rice and stir, when the rice begins to turn translucent add in a little of the stock with some salt and pepper. Gradually top up the stock each time the liquid starts to be absorbed. 

Whilst multi-tasking and keeping an eye on the squash and the risotto, layer the pancetta on a baking tray and scatter over the chestnuts, sage, seeds and a little olive oil. Pop these in the oven until the pancetta is cooked through and crispy – this shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes.

After 30 minutes the rice should be cooked through at which point stir the parmesan through and reduce the heat.

Ok – so now to assemble everything. Take the squash out of the oven and chop up so its chunky and mushy – add this to the risotto and stir through – season to taste. Spoon this into a lovely bowl and then top with the crispy, fragrant pancetta, chestnut and sage mix.

Enjoy!

Pappardelle with Courgette, Squash & Ricotta topped with Basil Oil

Last night’s dinner was a summer pasta using leftovers – leftovers which happened to be packed with loads of good stuff – making this a super nutritious meal aswell as being very tasty too!

Butternut Squash contains tonnes of vitamin A which is great to keep the immune system on good form aswell as protecting cells with its antioxidant properties. The courgette is low in calories and a good source of potassium which is great for keeping blood pressure nice and regular. Basil is also great and is a wonderful source of Vitamin K which keeps our blood system working properly and keeps our bones healthy. Finally the ricotta is a great protein source also containing calcium and omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids helping prevent cancer and aiding body health.

Serves 2

2 servings Pappardelle

Olive Oil

1/4 Butternut Squash – diced

1 Courgette – sliced

3 Cloves Garlic – minced

Salt & Pepper

4 tbsp Ricotta

12 Basil leaves – roughly chopped

Zest of One Lemon

Pop the pasta into some boiling water and cook as per instructions- once ready, drain and leave to one side, reserving the pasta water.

Now make the basil oil. Mix together the torn or chopped basil leaves with two minced garlic clove, lemon zest, salt, pepper and olive oil – leave to one side to infuse.

For the main dish lightly fry the squash with the remaining garlic until softened. Add some black pepper for taste. Once the squash is cooked, add the fresh courgette for 2 minutes – its needs to soften slightly but not cook through. Finally add the pappardelle and mix together. If the mixture looks dry add some reserved pasta water to loosen. Take off the heat and stir in the ricotta – it doesn’t need to fully mix through, i find the little clumps of ricotta lovely and fresh with the pasta.

Drizzle over the basil oil at the table and serve alongside a fresh salad – i made lemon cavolo nero and tomatoes with fried garlic oil. Simply massage lemon juice and salt into chopped cavolo nero, add the tomatoes. Slice 3 cloves of garlic and fry in olive oil until crisp – drizzle this over the salad and mix together.

Summer Puttanesca

Wow! I haven’t blogged for ages! I have been cooking loads but doing so for myself without the pressure to blog at the same time – i used to use my commutes to write blog posts but am using my tube time to watch TED talks, listen to podcasts and read aswell as watching the occasional episode of This Is Us!

Anyway – Summer is here and i fancied a light, fresh pasta dish. Inspired by the NYT Cooking app I cooked Summer Puttanesca – chilli kick, fresh lemon and rich anchovies were lovely in the South London heat tonight!

Serves 2

  • 1 tsp Chilli flakes
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – sliced
  • 1 tin anchovies – chopped
  • 1/2 jar of capers
  • 1 bag rocket
  • 1 Tin tuna
  • 1 bunch parsley (chopped)
  • 2 servings wholewheat spaghetti

Put the spaghetti on to boil as per instructions. In a separate frying pan heat some olive oil and gently fry the garlic and chilli until sizzling and softened. Add the anchovies and capers and allow the anchovies to melt. At this stage, keep mixing all together and add a ladle of the pasta water and add the rocket . Mix together, adding extra water if needed to loosen. Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the mixture and stir in the tuna. Finally stir the chopped parsley through ensuring everything is mixed together and the pasta is smothered in the sauce.

I served my dinner with some toasted lemon zest breadcrumbs on top and a side salad of asparagus, parmesan and pinenuts.

Enjoy!

  • What to do when you have too much Spaghetti

    Since Elix moved to Singapore I have had to be more mindful of how much food I am buying/eating to ensure I am not being wasteful. After an unfortunate incident when some bicarbonate of soda fell out of my packed cupboard all over the beginnings of a noodle salad, I decided to start using up the food I already have in my fridge, cupboard and freezer to waste less, save more and create some much needed space.

    The cupboard contained nearly every type of pasta you can imagine aswell as four varieties of dried italian herbs and spices that I had picked up during trips to Florence, Sicily and Bologna. I also found two bags of frozen broad beans in the freezer and 3 portions of chorizo from when we didn’t get round to cooking paella over Christmas.

    Anyway – these recipes were made by using only food I already had in, were super easy and very tasty – even if I do say so myself.

    Both recipes served just me and were made with wholewheat Spaghetti- boiled for 8minutes until al dente.

    Spaghetti with Roasted Cauliflower, Chorizo & Broad Beans

    Roast 1/4 head of cauliflower in the oven for 30minutes until caramelised. Boil a large handful of broad beans for 5minutes – de-pod and leave to one side. In a shallow frying pan, fry the diced chorizo (i used 1/4 of a whole one) as it begins to crisp up add a clove of diced garlic. Mix for a couple of minutes and add the cauliflower and broad beans. Drain the pasta – add in a teaspoon of dried chilli and oregano and mix together with olive oil. Finally on a very gentle heat, add the chorizo, cauliflower and beans to the pasta. Mix and heat through and serve.

    Spaghetti with Garlic & Basil Courgettes & Tenderstem Broccoli

    This one is super quick and simple. Boil the tenderstem for 4minutes. Meanwhile slice the courgettes and place in a dry pan letting them char a little. Turn the heat off, add the broccoli and a handful of ripped basil and mix together with a drizzle of olive oil. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain and put back in the saucepan on a low heat. Add a generous glug of olive oil and some dried oregano, parsley and a little dried chilli. Mix together and add the greens. Serve with a sprinkling of grated parmigiana and enjoy!

    Trullo Pastas

    Peter bought me the Trullo cookbook as a pre-Christmas gift and we decided to celebrate the New Year with an Italian themed dinner.

    Trullo is a very popular Italian restaurant in Highbury – North London – its always busy, gets great reviews and serves delicious unfussy Italian food.

    Our starter was Burrata with anchovy paste and broad beans – this is the sort of dish i always order when im out for dinner and it was surprisingly easy to make – blitzing anchovies, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in the nutri-bullet, and simply topping with the burrata and scattering broad beans on top.

    Anyway – on to the main courses which i will write up here – both very simple and tasty and again, the sorts of dishes I would always order in an Italian restaurant.

    Firstly for the Orecchiette with Broccoli, Anchovy and Chilli

    Serves 2
    500g Tenderstem or Purple Sprouting Broccoli
    2 Garlic Cloves – finely diced
    Sprinkle of dried Chilli flakes
    1/2 tin Anchovies
    200g Orecchiette Pasta (Farfalle is recommended if you cant source the “little ears”)
    Olive Oil
    Salt & Pepper
    Parmesan – for seasoning at the end

    Boil the broccoli for 7 minutes and leave to one side.
    Boil the pasta according to instructions – ours took around 10minutes which is exactly how long the sauce took to cook!
    In a shallow frying pan gently fry the garlic and chilli in some olive oil until the garlic starts to colour. Add the anchovies to melt for 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and a dash of water and pop a lid on the pan for 8-10 minutes. Remove the lid, season and add more olive oil for a little extra richness. Mix together with the pasta and serve with parmesan shavings on top.

    The second dish was Linguine with Crab – this used both white and brown crab meat and was a completely new but easy and super tasty way of cooking a crab and pasta dish.

    Serves 2
    1 tin White crab meat
    80g Brown crab meat
    200g Linguine
    1/2 Red Chilli – diced
    20g Butter
    Olive Oil
    Lemon Juice
    Salt & Pepper
    1tbsp Parsley – chopped

    Cook the linguine in boiling water for 10 minutes – again this is roughly how long the crab takes to prepare.
    In a bowl, mix together the brown and white crab, chilli, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper and leave to one side.
    In a large shallow frying pan, gently fry the butter and add the crab mixture – mix well, adding a splash of pasta water to seperate if needed. Once the pasta is cooked and drained – add this to the crab and mix thoroughly – adding more pasta water if needed. The sauce will emulsify as it coats the linguine.
    Serve with a little extra black pepper to taste.