Friday, 31 July 2015

Chicken and Bok Choy in Oyster Sauce


Chicken and Bok Choy in Oyster Sauce
Time for a Friday night takeaway cheat. We love Chinese food, even Bubba has developed an early taste for it. That might be due to how many times we visited our favourite Asian restaurants whilst I was pregnant; it was also the first restaurant we ventured out too when Bubba was only a few weeks old. Back then he would often sleep through the meal but now he would much rather be involved in the eating, throwing and playing of dinner. The other reason I love cooking Chinese at home is that it is so quick and flavourful, once you have a few store cupboard essentials stocked up it’s one the fastest meals to put together. I served this chicken with just plain brown rice but egg fried or noodles would taste as equally lovely. Hope you enjoy cooking and eating this.

Serves 2 with leftovers which taste great the next day

Ingredients

3 Chicken Breasts
½ tsp ground White Pepper
Pinch of Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Cornflour
100ml Vegetable Stock ( I used a low salt vegetable stock cube to make this up)
1 tbsp. Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp. Low Salt soy
1 tbsp. Shaohsing rice wine Vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
1 tsp Cornflour
1 tbsp. Sesame Oil
1 tsp Rapeseed Oil
1 tsp finely sliced Ginger
1 tsp finely chopped Garlic
1 Orange Pepper chopped
3 Boy Choy – chopped into quarters and halved into white part and leafy top part
4 Spring Onions finely sliced

Equipment

Wok

Steps

1.Marinate chicken in white pepper, black pepper and cornflour and place to the side

2.Make up sauce by whisking together vegetable stock, oyster sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, Sriracha and Cornflour

3.Heat both sesame and rapeseed oil in a wok and once hot add in ginger, garlic and half of the spring onions





4.After 2 minutes add in chicken piece and brown off





5.After a further 3-4 minutes add in orange pepper and white part of bok choy


6.Cook chicken and vegetables for further minute before adding sauce

7.Once chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened it is ready




8.Top with remaining spring onions and enjoy, Mr S and Bubbas bowls




Thursday, 30 July 2015

Prawn and Pea Risotto with Chorizo Crisps




Prawn and Pea Risotto with Chorizo Crisps

Since Mr S is not a big carb fan (unlike me who loves them), up until now I had never made Risotto at home; only enjoyed it in restaurants. However both him and Bubba literally licked their plates clean after having this for dinner so it was a definite winner and I’m sure variations of these will continue to pop up on our dining table for a long time to come. I found this a very therapeutic dish to cook, maybe because with each ladle full of stock you can see the rice becoming more and more cooked and closer to your final goal. Its also a great store cupboard/freezer meal to quickly make on those days when there is no food in the fridge to inspire you. Im a big fan of frozen prawns and we always get ours from Costco, they are really large and remain juicy once cooked. I hope you all enjoy this meal as much as we did.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp. Olive oil
1 Onion finely diced
2 Garlic Cloves finely chopped
250g Risotto Rice
1 litre Chicken Stock
250g Prawns – raw
150g Frozen Peas
40g Parmesan
2 knobs of butter
Juice of 1 Lemon
10-12 Chorizo slices
Black Pepper

Equipment

Risotto/Paella Pan or a shallow frying pan.
Saucepan

Steps

1.Place olive oil and one knob of butter into the pan to heat up

2.Add onion and garlic and cook a medium heat for 5 minutes until light brown




3.Add rice to pan and coat well in oil mixture, cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the rice becomes translucent on the edges

4.In a separate pan heat up chicken stock – I used a low salt stock cube to make this up as Bubba was eating the same but you could also just use a ready-made good quality stock from the supermarket

5.Add one ladle at a time of stock to the rice and allow it to be absorbed each time before adding the next


6.Once half way through the stock, add prawns and continue to cook with stock for around 10 minutes until rice is cooked through


7.Add peas, parmesan, remaining butter, lemon juice and a few turns of the pepper mill ( You could also add salt at this stage however I did not feel the dish needed any additional seasoning)

8.Either cook chorizo in a separate frying pan for a few minutes or under a grill until crispy

 




9.Enjoy a bowl full of warm risotto with a few crisps on the side and a final sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top



Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Spag Bol plus Veggies



Spaghetti Bolognese plus VegSpag Bol is always a family favourite both with Mr S and Bubba – I serve mine with either fresh spaghetti or whole wheat spaghetti. It always tastes better the next day so a great one to make on the weekend and enjoy after a manic Monday. The recipe below I have slightly adapted to make it more baby friendly, ordinarily I would add salt and a chopped red chilli too for some heat, this time we just added it at the table to our own portions instead. The addition of veg in the sauce I think balances out the rich meatiness of the lamb and makes the sauce a lot lighter.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp. Olive Oil
500g Lamb Mince
2 Medium onions finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves finely chopped
1 Red Pepper finely chopped
10-12 Chestnut Mushrooms finely chopped
400g Passata
2 tsp Tomato Puree
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Mixed Italian Herbs
¼ Cup of Water
Black Pepper
(Salt and finely chopped Red Chilli)
Spaghetti

Equipment
Two large saucepans

Steps

1.Heat the oil in a large saucepan before adding the onions and garlic – cook until golden brown for 2-4 minutes



2.Add red peppers and mushrooms and cook for further 5 minutes until soft and water has evaporated from mushrooms



3.Add lamb mince and begin to brown off the meat



4.Add tomato puree, Worchester sauce, paprika, mixed herbs, black pepper,  passata and water

5.Cook on a low to medium heat for around 45-60 minutes until lamb is soft and sauce is thickened

6.Cook spaghetti as per packet instructions



7.Top cooked spaghetti with the Bolognese sauce and a grating of parmesan, this is Bubbas version which I then just whizzed with a hand blender to make it more similar to his favourite packet version. The adult version had dried red chilli flakes added on top to for extra heat. Hope you all enjoy this family favourite.

 









Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Panna Cotta


Panna Cotta


A delicious desert to make midweek as a treat!

Serves 2


Ingredients

100ml Whole Milk
20g Caster Sugar
100ml Double Cream
¼ tsp Vanilla extract
¾ tsp Gelatine powder or 1 sheet


Equipment

Saucepan
Ramekin/Glass


Steps

1.Place the milk, sugar, cream and vanilla together  in a saucepan until it reaches the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes
2.Either make up gelatine powder or dissolve 1 sheet in water and add to milk mixture until combined
3.Pour into glasses or ramekins and set in the fridge overnight or for a minimum for 6 hours

 4.Top with summer berries and enjoy


Sunday, 19 July 2015

Kung Pao Chicken with Egg Fried Rice


Kung Pao Chicken with Egg Fried Rice
This is a favourite of mine at Chinese restaurants and takeaways so I recreated my version which in my mind is slightly healthier and makes me feel less guilty than eating a takeaway. As this is a very spicy dish for Bubbas dinner I just added some chicken breast to the egg fried rice and vegetables instead which he loved, especially when he got fed with chopsticks instead of baby spoons. Need to get him some of his own baby chopsticks too. Hope you all enjoy this! 

Serves 2 plus leftovers for lunch the next day

Ingredients

Kung Pao Chicken

400g Chicken Breast
1 tbsp. Cornflour
1 tbsp. Dark Soy
1 tsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp Rapeseed Oil
½ tsp White Pepper
4 Spring Onions
2 Garlic Cloves
½ inch Ginger
1 tsp Dried Red Chilli Flakes
1 fresh Red Chilli
1 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
3 tbsp. Light Soy
2 tsp Brown Sugar
½ tsp Cornflour
2 tbsp. Peanuts
½ tsp white Sesame seeds

Egg Fried Rice
1 Medium Onion
1 Garlic Clove
1 tbsp. Rapeseed oil
2 eggs
1 stir fry Vegetable Packet
1 microwave Brown Rice Packet
2 tbsp. Reduced Salt Soy Sauce

Equipment

Wok

Steps

1. Cut chicken into chunks and marinate in sauce of cornflour, dark soy, sesame oil and white pepper

2.Finely chop spring onions, garlic, ginger and chilli and add to preheated rapeseed oil in wok


3.Stir fry for 3 minutes before adding chicken and sauce it has been marinating in, cook on high heat for further 5 minutes

4.In a bowl combine red chilli flakes, rice wine vinegar, light soy sauce, brown sugar and cornflour and add this sauce to wok, allow it to reduce for 3 minutes


5.Add peanuts and ensure chicken is cooked through before garnishing with sesame seeds



Bubbas Egg and Chicken Fried Veg rice

6.For my cheats version of egg fried rice – finely chop onions and garlic

7. Heat oil in wok, add onions, garlic and eggs untill cooked through

8.Mix in stir fry vegetable packet along with rice and soy sauce

9.Cook through for 2 minutes and enjoy with a bowl of Kung Pa






Sunday, 12 July 2015

Instant Cheesecake

So I made this in two version the first was with caramelised bananas which to be honest I found too rich, but the strawberries instead work really well. A great dinner party desert that you can create in minutes but still looks impressive and brilliant way to use up all those leftover strawberries now Wimbledon has ended.

Serves 4

Ingredients

125g full fat Cream Cheese
150ml Crème Fraiche
85ml Double Cream
125g Dulce de Leche
Pinch of Sea Salt
50g Caster Sugar
4 Chocolate digestive biscuits
10 Strawberries
Milk/Dark Chocolate bar

Equipment

Whisk
Rolling Pin
Grater
Ramekin/Serving Glass

Steps
1.Whisk together the cream cheese, crème fraiche, double cream, Dulce de Leche, sea salt and caster sugar



2.Place chocolate digestives into a plastic bag and smash to create a crumb using a rolling pin

3.Slice up strawberries


4.Layer a ramekin or glass with the chocolate digestive crumb, followed by the cream cheese mixture and topped with strawberries


5.Finish with grated chocolate to add a final touch



Saturday, 11 July 2015

Courgette Fritters with Mint Sauce

Courgette Fritters with Mint Sauce


I love homemade mint sauce, especially during the hotter months when mint is in season and so fragrant it makes all the food shopping smell minty. It goes perfectly with these courgette fritters and a piece of simply roasted salt and pepper salmon to turn this snack into a main meal. 
The fritters are very moreish and the best part is there is no carbs involved, also a great vegan snack and baby friendly if you omit the salt and chillies. Serves 2 as a main and 4 as a starter.


Courgette Fritters
Ingredients
2 cups of grated Courgettes
1 Spring Onion
½ Green Chilli
½ tsp ground Coriander
½ tsp dried Coriander
½ tsp Garlic Salt
½ tsp red chilli flakes
1 cup of Gram Flour
Salt and Pepper
Spray Oil              



Mint Sauce 
Ingredients
25g Mint Leaves (1 bunch of supermarket Mint)
½ Granny Smith Apple
1 green Chilli
2 Spring Onions
1 Garlic clove
3 tsp Water
Juice of ½ Lemon
½ tsp ground Coriander
½ tsp dry Mango Powder (Optional – just adds a touch of sourness)
Salt and Pepper



Equipment



Grater
Frying Pan
Food Processor



Steps



1.Grate courgette, finely slice spring onions and green chilli
2.Combine all ingredients together and mix well to form a batter, I did not add any additional water as I found the courgettes contained enough naturally




3.Heat a frying pan and lightly spray with oil before placing one tablespoon of the batter to form small pancakes, cook for 5 minutes on each side on a low/medium heat until batter is cooked through and golden brown


4.For the mint chutney combine all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth and taste for seasoning.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Lamb Kofta

Lamb Kofta

These are a great alternative to a takeaway kebab and take just as long to make as it takes to go pick up a takeaway so there is no excuse. Also great for baby led weaning; as easy to hold in little hands and soft enough to munch on with only a few teeth. I just omit the salt and chillies from them for Bubbas version but he has been introduced to strong flavours from early weaning stages so depending on how your baby handles spices and herbs may need to reduce the amounts.

Serves 2 plus a hungry baby

Ingredients

500g Lamb Mince
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Onion
1 Green Chilli
1 tsp dried Coriander
½ tsp Paprika
½ tsp ground Cumin
½ tsp ground Coriander
1 egg
Salt and Pepper

Steps

1.Combine all of above and mix thoroughly – at this stage you can leave the mixture to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight

2. Once you are ready to cook them preheat the grill to medium - these would also be great done on the BBQ but we have not got around to buying one yet

3. Shape the kofta into a sausage shape and place onto a foiled baking tray, I then press a fork down to squash them slightly and create a pattern on top

4.Cook under a medium grill for 15- 20 minutes until golden brown on top

5.Serve with pittas, salad, mint sauce and hummus for a tasty kebab




Monday, 6 July 2015

Cardamom and Orange Cake - Weekend Bakes!

Cardamom and Orange Cake

Over the weekend we visited Bubbas great – grandparents so we made them all this cake as a Sunday afternoon treat, who does not like homemade cake, it’s a great present to take over.
Light fluffy and delicate summery flavours describe this cake best.
I based this on an American recipe hence the use of cups, but now that I tend to bake in a hurry normally during nap times I find cups faster to use when measuring out.

Makes two 8 inch cakes

Ingredients
1 cup of baking Margarine (Stork)
¾ cup of Caster Sugar
¼ cup of Light Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 cup of Milk
Drop of Vanilla Extract
3 cups of Plain Flour
2 tbsp. of Baking Powder
1 tsp of freshly ground Cardamom
Zest of 1 Orange
2 cups of Icing Sugar
Juice of ½ Orange

Equipment

Measuring cups
Stand Mixed – hand held electric whisk
Sieve
Mortar and Pestle
Grater
Baking tins – 2 x 8inch
Greaseproof Paper

Steps

1.Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius for Fan/ 185 degrees Celsius/Gas Mark 5

2.Whisk together for 5 minutes until light and fluffy sugar and baking margarine




3.Add in eggs, milk and vanilla extract

4. Sieve in flour, baking powder and cardamom and finally add in orange zest before pouring into lined and greased baking tins




5.Cook in oven for 20 minutes, remove and allow to cool

6.Mix together orange juice and icing sugar to form a smooth paste to drizzle over the cake once cooled

7.Mr S creative input on the cake was to take the centre out of one like a Bundt cake, I have to admit it did look good – think I need to buy a Bundt cake tin now and try this recipe in there

8.Enjoy a slice with a cup of tea