Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Butter chicken plus spelt naan bread- new version

This makes a lot, I would say at least 8 serves which would be 150g chicken per person, you might get 9 or 10 portions if you want less meat.

This is such a nice sauce and can be used as vegetarian. I would use chickpeas, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans

1.2 kg chicken breast, cut chunky- I prefer to use thighs as they have more flavor. If you need to stretch it out you could use 2kg chicken, but you would have a little less sauce on each plate

1 brown onion
3 cm piece of ginger
1 red chilli, deseeded

100g butter

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cardamom
3 tsp garam masala
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick- or ½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 x 400g tin tomatoes
250g tomato paste
300ml cream- check consistency add a little water if it needs thinning.
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt

Blitz in a food processor or finely chop by hand your ginger, onion and chilli.

Melt butter in a large pot and add your ginger, onion and chilli, cook stirring for 30 seconds. Add your spices and cook a further 1 minute until you can smell all the lovely aromas!

Then add your tomato paste,canned tomatoes, star anise, cinnamon stick, lemon juice, salt and cream (and some water if needed) Let this simmer for 10 minutes so the flavors can cook together.

If you don’t want any chunks and you want to have a smooth sauce you can strain the sauce and press out the sauce into another pot, this is what I did.
If staining add the star anise and cinnamon stick back to your pot so they cook with the chicken.

Add your chicken** to the sauce and simmer a further 20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside. 

I had this with basmati rice, spelt naan bread (recipe below) roasted cauliflower and steamed green beans.

***You can brown your chicken in a pan with a  little oil first and then add to your sauce if you wanted. If using thigh I would do this to render some of the fat off so you don't eat up chewing on bits of soft fat!

Spelt naan bread

Makes 6
300g spelt flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp honey
7g, 1 sachet or 2 tsp yeast
Warm water

Mix the flour, salt and honey together, add enough water until the dough comes together, knead for 5-10 minutes, or use a dough hook on a machine. You want it to be a little sticky, smooth and elastic. Don’t have it too dry. You should be able to stretch it without it breaking straight away. Leave in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to double in size. Depending on weather about an hour. 

Take out and divide into 6 balls. Using your hands, not a rolling pin-using a rolling pin takes all the air out- form circles or triangle shape, whatever shape you like really. Use a little flour if you need to. 
Leave to rise again on a floured surface (so they don’t stick) and cover with cling film or baking paper and a tea towel on top for 30-60 minutes. Both rises you can leave more than an hour if you wanted.

When ready heat a pan or griddle pan until very hot. Place your bread down and cook about 2 minutes each side until it has brown spots and has puffed up. Try not to overcook it or will go crunchy!  When done brush over some garlic butter and a sprinkle of nigella seeds or black sesame seeds if you like. Eat as soon as possible!

Sunday, 20 December 2015


Mango, lime and chilli dressing

I think this one goes well with seafood, like a prawn salad, but you use for anything!

Serves 4-6

½ cup diced mango
¼ cup of olive oil
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lime
1 red chilli, or to taste- take the seeds out if you don’t want it too hot!

I wanted it a little more acidic so I also added 2-3 tsp apple cider vinegar


Blend up in a food processor or similar, I used a ninja blender.

Mint and lemon dressing

I think this goes well with lamb, but you can use for anything!

Serves 4-6

¼ bunch of mint leaves
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup of olive oil

Blitz up, if you need more acid I like to add a little apple cider vinegar.

Oregano and lemon vinaigrette
Great with a greek salad!

Serves 4-6

3 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove of crushed garlic
2 tbsp oregano leaves
1 tsp honey
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Blitz everything in a food processor for a few seconds. Store any leftovers in the fridge. It does harden a little in the fridge so you just need to leave out on the bench before use.

Caesar Dressing

1 cup of mayonnaise
1 small garlic clove
1-2 anchovy fillets
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Blend up in a food processor, or finely chop everything by hand and mix together.

Smoked salmon caesar salad

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Paprika and cumin pulled lamb with tomato and butter beans

I dont know about you guys but I use my slow cooker all through summer. I cooked this the other night and it made a lot so Im having it again tonight, but using it to mix through some pasta :)
If you want to make a dryer lamb leave out the stock.
I had it with coleslaw with a swirl of my new favorite sauce chipotle mayonnaise! I love the taste of the smoky chillis :)
Leftover ideas you can use as a baked potato topping, as a pie filling, pasties, a base for shepards pie, on a pizza, mixed through some pasta, so many things!!

Serves 6-8

1.2kg half leg of lamb or similar, you can use 1-2kg
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup of chicken or beef stock, you could use a little red wine here also
1 tbsp paprika
3 tsp cumin
1 tsp celery salt- you can leave out if you don’t have it
1 brown onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1x 400g can of rinsed and drained butter beans

Chuck everything in the slow cooker and put on low for the day. When done take out the lamb and pull apart using 2 forks. Then add back into the slow cooker and mix through the sauce.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Pea, parmesan and saffron risotto with thyme mushrooms

I have said 4 serves but is it very filling if you have lots of veg with it so you could serve 6 with this. You can also use white wine as the first bit of liquid you cook with your rice, but i have left it out.
Have you made risotto before? how did it turn out?

Now if you watch masterchef this is apparently the dish that everyone seems to fail, I have never understood why! lol
You need a lot of liquid, the consistency of risotto should be sloppy like a thick soup, you will need a ladle. The rice shouldn't be crunchy if it is add more liquid. If you overcook it the rice will be mushy it needs to have a little texture still!
Rice is generally quite bland so loves flavors like onion, garlic, cheese, salt, pepper, saffron, things like that.

Serves 4
1 ½ cup of Arborio rice
Approx. 1- 1.2 litre of chicken stock or vegetable stock if vegetarian
300g peas, defrosted (2 cups)
1 cup of parmesan cheese, or to taste
1 brown onion, fine dice
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A pinch of saffron threads. If you don’t have it you can just leave it out
500g mixed mushrooms, I used button and swiss brown, sliced, but you can use whatever mix you like
½ a 10g pack of thyme, chopped

Heat your stock, this needs to be hot when you use it.
In a large pot heat about 2 tsp olive oil and 2 tsp butter. Put in your onion and garlic and cook for one minute, you don’t want it browning so turn the heat down if you need to. Then add your rice and stir for one minute to coat the rice in the oil.

Add a couple ladles of hot stock and stir. Add in your saffron if using.
You basically keep adding ladlefuls of stock stirring with each addition. When you have a couple of ladles of stock left check your rice to see how cooked it is, it shouldn’t be crunchy, should be nearly there at this stage, if it’s still really crunchy you need to keep adding liquid, if you run out of stock you can use a little water. When you get down to your last bit of stock add in your defrosted peas. Add your last bit of stock and heat through the peas. Again check your rice. The consistency should be a really thick soup, you should need a ladle to serve your risotto. The longer it stands through the more the liquid is absorbed.

Add in a knob of butter and your cheese. Check your seasonings and add salt and pepper if needed.
While your rice is cooking cook your mushrooms with a little olive oil and butter, add your thyme in and cook until the mushrooms have wilted and start releasing juices and start to get some caramelisation. Season well with salt and pepper.

You can also cook extra veg at this stage to serve, I had with steamed asparagus and broccoli.
To serve place your mushrooms at the bottom, then your risotto and whatever vegetables you are using to serve with. You can garnish with some extra shaved parmesan cheese if you like.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Christmas Cooking

So with xmas coming up there is plenty of food to be eaten, so here are a few ideas for you!

Had a bbq the other night but instead of thinking what meat to have I decided on all the veg I wanted and then the chicken ended up being an afterthought!
I love all these gorgeous colors that are really just begging to be eaten!

BBQ zucchini, capsicum, asparagus, mushrooms, all smothered in this amazing garlic sauce, a lebanese garlic sauce otherwise known as "toum" This is blitzing loads of garlic (like 2-3 heads) lemon juice, salt and olive oil, its almost like a mayonnaise, it's so delish and you can use it for everything! Use where you would use butter, garlic, mayonnaise.

Garlic sauce- so good!

Plus there is grilled halloumi and chicken thighs marinated in red wine and garlic.

Grilled Halloumi
Marinated chicken thighs

I also did a mixed tomato and avocado salsa type thing, this was mixed colored tomatoes, with diced avocado, cucumber, basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil

Prawn Cocktail

Hello it's the 80's calling, they want their prawn cocktail back!
Did it ever really go out of style??
An idea for a xmas side dish, this is basically your old prawn cocktail!
You can use whatever amount of each you like, and feel free to add your own things!

Lots of shredded cos and iceberg lettuce
Thinly sliced celery
Cherry tomatoes
Snow pea shoots
Diced cucumber
Peeled prawns
plus cocktail dressing- this is just mayo, tomato sauce and worcestershire sauce

Some Lebanese stuff!

Green bean stew (loubyeh b’zeit)
Serves 4-6
1 tbsp butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500 g green beans, topped and tailed, sliced in half
1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the spices and beans and cook another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir through.
Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until the beans are cooked through but still have a gentle bite and the sauce is thickened. Remove the lid and cook until the excess liquid has evaporated and the sauce is thickened, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

Lebanese mixed bean salad
Serves 4-6
1 x 400g can mixed beans, rinsed and drained
½ bunch each of parsley and mint, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
¼ red onion, finely sliced
Juice of half a big lemon
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together and keep in the fridge until needed.

Kofta rissoles
Serve 4-6 (makes 12 rissoles)
500-600g lamb mince
½ bunch each of parsley and mint
1 red onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp each of ground coriander and cumin- if you like these spices you can double this amount
½ tsp all spice- you can leave out if you don’t have it
½ tsp salt

You can either do this by hand or in a food processor, I have used a food processor.
In a food processor put in your onion and garlic and pulse until chopped. Then add mince, spices, salt, roughly chopped herbs, pulse until combined, it should be quite sticky, this helps bind your mince without using egg.
If by hand just finely chop your onion, garlic and herbs, add in your spices, salt and mince and knead it together until it’s sticky. Roll into 12 balls and then flatten into rissole shapes. Keep in the fridge until needed. Cook in a pan or on the bbq for 5-7 minutes each side or until cooked through.

Serve these with some tzatziki- This is a yoghurt sauce using thick greek yoghurt, grated cucumber (squeeze the juice out) some garlic, salt and pepper

Fatteh (Pita with Chickpeas and Yogurt)
3 pita breads, cut into wedges
1 x 400g can of chickpeas (1 ½ cups of cooked chickpeas) drained and rinsed
1 cup (225 g) plain yogurt
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini paste
⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted
Chopped parsley or coriander (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 c
Put the pita wedges on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside. (or you can fry the pita on the stovetop.)
Put the chickpeas in a small pot along with 100 ml (½ cup) water and simmer over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until the water has mostly absorbed and the chickpeas are heated through. Season with salt and remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, put the yogurt, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, tahini paste, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in a little water at a time if the mixture is too thick, until a desired consistency is reached.
Break up the toasted pita wedges a bit and arrange them in an even layer on the bottom of a deep serving platter, bowl, or casserole dish. Top with the warm chickpeas, then the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley or cilantro and serve with additional pita or pita chips.

Marinated mushroom salad
Serves 4-6

300g button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp honey
2-3 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together and let it hang out to let the flavors mingle. When you leave it more juices will be released from the mushrooms. With the vinegar add 1-2 tbsp to start with, there should be a little excess liquid, but not much.

Cucumber salad

Serve 4-6
4 lebanese cucumbers, grated, excess liquid squeezed out
1 cup full fat sour cream- or you can use thick greek yoghurt
1-2 tsp paprika
really good grind of salt, quite a bit actually

Mix altogether and put in the fridge. You can add fresh dill and garlic if you wanted.