Green Chicken Curry

With its delicious mix of flavours – mint, spinach, coriander, it is a great curry, which will keep you wanting more. Not only is it packed with all of the wonderful herbs and spices, but it has a punch of fibre, iron and vitamins from the dose of spinach.

Green Chicken curry

GREEN CHICKEN CURRY

(Adapted from Simon Rimmer’s recipe)

Ingredients:

3 skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

about 200g potatoes, cut into cubes, blanched in boiling water for 5 minutes, drained

3 tablespoons frozen peas

lime wedges, to garnish

rice or naan bread, to serve

curry paste:

1 onion

3 green bird’s eye chillies

3 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons tamarind paste

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

green sauce:

400g spinach leaves

1 bunch of fresh coriander

good handful of mint

400ml coconut milk

Method:

  1. To make a curry paste, in a food processor, blend the onion, chillies, garlic, sugar, tamarind paste and ground coriander to a fine paste.
  2. In a large saucepan heat the oil, add the curry paste and gently fry for about 5 minutes.
  3. To make the sauce, in a food processor, mix the spinach, fresh coriander, mint and coconut milk. Add this sauce to saucepan with the paste and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes – you may need to add a little water or stock to thin it down – then season with salt.
  4. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes or until cooked through, adding the blanched potatoes about 10 minutes in and cooking them until tender and cooked. Add the frozen peas for the last 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with rice or naan bread, garnished with limes and more fresh coriander, if you wish.

Baked Lamb Meatballs in Tahini Sauce

Baked Lamb Meatballs in Tahini Sauce

Although we don’t eat lamb (or meat in general) very often, if I had to choose, lamb definitely would be one of my favourites. I like slow roasting the shoulder or leg of lamb, but I’ve never cooked a rack of lamb before, somehow I worry that I’ll mess the timing up and it’ll be dry and chewy. Luckily there are plenty of other ways to enjoy lamb, like these baked lamb meatballs. I’ve been experimenting with these meatballs lately, adding different spices, and so far I like this way the best. Especially the addition of cinnamon and ginger makes such a big difference. Another advantage of this dish is that it takes no time to cook, but you’ll have dish full of flavours.

BAKED LAMB MEATBALLS IN TAHINI SAUCE

Ingredients:

500g lamb mince

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped

For the sauce:

1/2 cup tahini

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

salt & pepper to taste

chopped fresh mint/ pistachios to serve (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the lamb, onion, garlic, spices, olive oil and coriander, using metal spoon or just using your hands. Shape the mixture into the meatballs and arrange them in a single layer in a baking dish.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile the meatballs in the oven, combine the tahini, lemon juice, cumin and slowly add 3/4 cup of water to create a smooth sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the sauce over the partially baked meatballs and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until meatballs are thoroughly cooked. The sauce will look like a thick glaze.  Garnish with chopped nuts or mint. Serve with boiled rice/spinach pilau rice or lentil.

Baked Lamb Meatballs in Tahini Sauce

Mixed Beans and Aubergine Chilli

Aubergine is not the vegetable you usually find in a chilli, but their meaty, spongy texture perfectly absorbs all the flavours and together with the beans makes a delicious combo.

Mixed bean and aubergine chilli

MIXED BEANS AND AUBERGINE CHILLI

(recipe adapted from S. Rimmer’s ‘The Accidental Vegetarian’ book)

Ingredients: 

about 80ml vegetable oil

1-2 aubergines, depends on the size, cut into chunky cubes

1 red onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2-3 red chillies, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cumin

pinch of ground cinnamon

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g tin mixed beans

1 cup of water

1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

grated cheese/soured cream to serve (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the aubergine pieces for about 7 minutes or until they get some colour and soften. Remove and drain on the kitchen towel.
  2. Fry the onions until soft and translucent, add chopped green peppers, continue to fry for another 4 minutes. Add the garlic, chillies, all spices, stir well and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Then add the beans, tomatoes, aubergines, sugar and cocoa powder (if you use it) and a cup of water. Season well, cover with the lead and cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes.
  4. Check again for seasoning and serve with rice/baked potatoes, with dollop of soured cream and some grated cheese.

Roasted Aubergine and Lentil Soup

It was one of those situations, where I didn’t have a lot in the fridge and had to ‘jazz it up’ as I went along. I had one aubergine and just few cupboard basics. I never thought of adding aubergine to any of my soups before. “What a mistake-a to make-a”!  It works perfectly in a soup. I actually prefer it to potato. This soup is rich, earthy, with a subtle hint of spice, a good helping of garlic and gentle Mediterranean aromas. You can adjust the spice level by adding less/more chilli of course. The soup goes very well with these stout & honey buns.
Roasted Aubergine and Lentil soup
ROATED AUBERGINE AND LENTIL SOUP
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 aubergine, cubed

1 onion, finely chopped

1-2 carrots, depends on size, chopped

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of herbs of your choice (I had oregano)

1 teaspoon of paprika

pinch of sugar

1 cup of puy lentil

2 cans chopped tomatoes in its own juice or about 500gr fresh tomatoes, chopped

approx 3-4 cups of water/stock, depends how thick you like your soup to be.

2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar (optional)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced

1 chilli, finely chopped (optional)

salt and pepper to taste
parsley/seeds to garnish (optional)
Method:
1. Heat oven to 200C. Arrange the cubed aubergine in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil, mix well and roast for about 20 minutes or until tender and nicely brown.
2. Preheat the rest of the oil in a cooking pot, add onion and carrots and cook them for 5-7 minutes.
3. Then add the spices, herbs, sugar, lentil, tomatoes, water/stock. Bring it to boil, then reduce the heat, cover with the lead and cook it until the lentil is cooked.
4. When the lentil is cooked and tender, add the roasted aubergine to the soup, along with red wine vinegar, garlic and chilli. Season well with salt and pepper.

Thai Turkey Meatballs

Thai Green Curry is another successful recipe from Simply Nigella, a book which includes this recipe. Since the book came out, it’s placed itself comfortably into a spot in my regular rotation. Although, this recipe cannot pretend to be totally authentic (I don’t think turkey is much used in Thai cuisine), I love how flavoursome this curry is and the turkey meatballs just melt in your mouth. I love the spiciness and the coconut flavour in the curry, plus the smell of it is intoxicating.

Thai Turkey Meatballs

 THAI TURKEY MEATBALLS CURRY

Ingredients:

4 courgettes

500g turkey mince

3 spring onions – finely chopped

2 cloves garlic – grated

2cm piece of fresh ginger – grated

fresh coriander – finely chopped

1 tsp dried chili flakes

1 lime – zest and juice

1 tsp sea salt

3 tbsp Thai green curry paste

1 can (400ml) coconut milk

3 tbsp fish sauce

500ml chicken stock

350g sugar snaps

To serve:
small handful Thai basil leaves/fresh coriander (optional)
2 to 3 limes, cut into wedges

Method:

  1. To prepare the turkey meatballs, peel one of the courgettes and coarsely grate. Squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible then put in a large bowl with the turkey mince, the whites of the spring onion (reserve the green parts for later), grated ginger, garlic, chilli flakes and zest of the lime. Add seasoning and mix together by hand until combined. 
  2. Roll into equally sized meatballs, using a teaspoon of mixture as guidance and set aside. 
  3. Next, add the remaining green parts of the spring onion to a large pan with a couple of glugs of a flavourless oil and fry briefly.
  4. Add the Thai green curry paste, the cream from the top of the coconut milk and whisk together in the pan, before adding the rest of the coconut milk, fish sauce and chicken stock.
  5. Whilst you’re letting the mixture come to a gentle boil, peel the remaining courgettes, quarter each lengthways and then chop into 1cm pieces.
  6. Add the courgette pieces of the bubbling broth and then carefully place the turkey meatballs in the pan as well, being careful not to break them up. Once the pan has just started bubbling again, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
  7. Check the meatballs are cooked through, then add the juice from the zested lime and sugar snaps. Check the flavour and add seasoning, adjust as you wish.
  8. Cook for a couple more minutes then take off the heat. Serve with a bit more chopped coriander/Thai basil leaves and lime wedges for extra spritzing.

 

Leftovers Cheesy Gratin

It’s not the most sophisticated dish, to be honest, but it works on so many levels. It helps to tidy up the loose ends from your fridge and takes minutes to assemble the dish, and goes so well on a midweek cold evening.

Leftovers Gratin

Leftovers cheesy gratin

LEFTOVERS CHEESY GRATIN

Ingredients:

50g butter

1 onion, finely chopped

50g flour

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

500ml milk

200g mature cheddar, grated

3 cooked potatoes, sliced

200g frozen peas

200g any cooked meat/ham (optional)

salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 200C.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion, cook until it’s soft and translucent. Then stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the milk until smooth with no lumps, (I prefer to use a whisk for that) keep stirring until the mixture begins to bubble and thickens to a creamy sauce. At this stage add the mustard and cheese, leaving a handful of grated cheese aside for the topping. Check for seasoning and remove from the heat.
  3. Place potatoes, peas and cooked meat or any other cooked vegetables you’d like to use up, in a deep oven proof dish. Pour over the cheese sauce, then sprinkle with remaining cheddar.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden and crisp.

 

Brussel Sprouts, Ham Hog and Pineapple stir-fry

I mentioned before how much I liked the recent Nigella transformation, her new TV show and updated recipes. I even bought the book and already cooked 1/3 of its content and wasn’t disappointed with any  of the recipes. No fuss, lovely ingredients, full of new ideas and new takes on classics.

One such recipe is a Stir-fry with double sprouts (Brussel sprouts and bean sprouts), chilli & pineapple. It’s good enough on its own, but even better with some pulled ham hog. I also didn’t have beansprouts this time, which makes my version ‘single sprout’ one.

Hog Ham & Pineapple stir-fry

BRUSSEL SPROUTS, CHILLI, PINEAPPLE AND HAM STIR-FRY

Ingredients:

250g Brussel sprouts, trimmed, thinly sliced

3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped

3cm fresh ginger, grated

1 fresh chilli, finely chopped

2 tablespoons groundnut oil

150g fresh pineapple, chopped into cubes

250g cooked and cooled brown rice (or any other rice of your choice)

250g cooked pull ham hog (optional)

2-3 tablespoons soy sauce

2-3 tablespoons lime juice

chopped fresh coriander to serve (optional)

Method:

  1. Prep and chop all ingredients beforehand.
  2. Heat up a wok, add groundnut oil. Add the Brussels sprouts, chilli, ginger  and spring onion and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
  3. Then add the rice and pineapple chunks, stir-fry for 3 minutes or so, before adding the ham hog pieces, season with soy sauce and lime juice. Stir-fry for another minutes or until everything is hot, sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve immediately.