Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Blast from The Past ...... {Thai Grilled Chicken}

When I was young Sainsbury's did a load of adverts that I guess were the first kind of supermarket celebrity endorsed adverts ever made. A celebrity would basically talk you through a recipe usually one that was slightly exotic (apparently it's thanks to these adverts that mozarella became mainstream on supermarket shelves) and then you could pick up the recipe card in store and get all the ingredients. Apparently when an advert came out Sainsbury's shelves would be empty of the ingredients on the card. Any how my Mum had a folder of these recipes and when she had people for dinner she would often make the Thai chicken that Shirley Bassey (I think) endorsed and I loved it, so after finding the video on YouTube (the recipe folder has long gone) I decided to make my version of this last night, and it was every bit as good as I remembered. Strange how tastes can evoke such strong memories.... anyone else remember the adverts? Guess its a UK thing......

Thai Grilled Chicken 

200g block of creamed coconut
300ml hot water
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 fresh green chillies, de-seeded and chopped - I had to use 1 red as I ran out of green 
1-2 TBSP fresh ginger, chopped
3 TBSP rich soy sauce
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
2 level TBSP caster sugar
1/2 pack of fresh coriander
boneless chicken breasts (this makes enough for 4 chicken breasts though)
Wild rice

cut the coconut cream into large chunks and place in a bowl. Pour the hot water over the coconut and stir to dissolve. place this in a blender with all the other ingredients except the chicken. Blend for a few seconds until well mixed and allow to cool slightly. make diagonal cuts across the chicken breasts, arrange in a dish and pour over half the coconut mixture. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 mins - overnight is best though. arrange the chicken skin side down in a grill pan and spread over the marinade grill for 15 – 20 mins, turning and basting occasionally. heat the remaining coconut mixture in a saucepan stirring occasionally and simmer gently for 2 or 3 minutes but do not boil. Serve the chicken with the sauce wild rice and some steamed mangetout. 

Linking up for the first time with Honest Mum - Thanks for inviting me to join in Tasty Tuesdays! 

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

And with Delcious Dish Tuesday with Eat Drink and Be Mary and Full Time Mama 

Eat Drink & Be Mary

Monday, 29 September 2014

Jumping on a bandwagon..... {Juicing}

Juicing seems to have been kicking around a lot in the last year or so.  The amount of articles and blog posts and tweets that I've seen raving about juicing and then I've seen how much juicers cost and I've rolled my eyes more then a couple of times and moved on with my life. Need fruit? Eat an apple I say. So now I have to back track a lot because we were very kindly given a Magi mix juicer by H's step dad and last week I decided to skeptically give it a go. And boy has it changed our lives - hair is glossier,  skin is clearer, diets are healthier and energy levels are higher. I won't go on and on becasue it's annoying but I would say both H and I have been thrilled with what a difference starting the day with a juice can make. Do you juice? What juices do you recommend?

Fresh Juices 

Some combinations we've enjoyed:

carrot, ginger, red apple, lime

spinach, celery, kiwi, green apple, lemon, cucumber 

carrot, orange, apple, pear, ginger 

beetroot, apple, spinach, cucumber, ginger  

Sunday, 28 September 2014

A broken birthday cake of sorts ..... {Fruit Pavlovas}

Today we celebrated my brother's birthday. I love having a big brother and I'm lucky to have such a wonderful one; lucky to have such a shining example of what a good man is and how they should behave, lucky that I have always had his unfailing support and his infinite knowledge of films. Pavlova is his favourite and pavlova is what I made him. in fact I made him two as the first one was a bit flat. I could have made three as the 2nd one broke a bit. But the joy of pavlova is once you've dolloped cream and fruit on it will always look good, so just relax and go with it and realise that two pavlovas will always be preferable to one and there is beauty in all imperfections.....Happy birthday dear brother of mine, the best of all the brothers. 

Fruit Pavlovas 

3 egg whites 
175g caster sugar
1 TSP cornflour
330ml double cream
2 TBSP icing sugar
fresh fruit - I used raspberries for one and strawberries and kiwis for the other

Heat oven to 150C. Using a pencil, mark out a circle on baking parchment - I use a dinner plate to draw round. Whisk the egg whites in a clean metal bowl until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until the meringue looks glossy. Whisk in the cornflour. spread the mixture into the circle to make a nest. Cook for around 1 1/2 hours and once it's finished leave to dry out in the cooling down oven.Whisk the cream and icing sugar until whipped and then pile onto the meringue tumble the fruit on top. Looks amazing but is oh so simple.

Linking this recipe up with #CookBlogShare hosted by Super Golden Bakes 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A Sniffle.........{and a cure}

I hate getting colds and feeling run down, and I rarely do, but this is the time of year when it tends to
happen. Work has been so busy and full on and I feel like there has been no time just to be still and breathe. Just breathe. I hate taking any sort of medicine so I just go with rest, and vitamins from fresh fruit and veg and my honey, ginger and lemon drink that works better than any sort of lemsip. You can take this by just taking a teaspoon straight, adding a teaspoon to hot water or to some tea or even better use in a hot toddy - works every time.

Honey, Lemon and Ginger Syrup 

take a lemon and cut in to thin halves, pat down with kitchen paper to remove excess juice. Slice up some fresh ginger. layer half the ginger and lemon in a jar and pour over some honey, stir it up a bit. add the rest of the lemon and ginger and add some more honey. seal and put in fridge. stir it up before each time you use it as the juice from the lemon can thin it out a bit. I use local Kentish honey for this and so I swear it also helps improve my hayfever when the dark days of winter are over and spring arrives 

Monday, 22 September 2014

A Monday Roast........{Roast Chicken with Baked Ricotta and Roasted Vegetables}

I went away with work last week. It was at a conference centre where their idea of catering is quantity over quality. I can't really blame them but I have come home three pounds heavier and with a horrible cold that I trying hard to fight it off with flavoursome, healthy and vibrant food and lots of veg (5 members of staff are off sick with it today so I feel kind of hard core going into work today).

Roast chicken soothes my soul and also gives me bones to make chicken broth, which in turn becomes chicken noodle soup which H says is the best medicine in the world. Today I share with you the roast chicken side of things. Nigella Lawson says that every family has their own way of doing chicken, she's right and this is mine. The baked ricotta makes a lovely change from stuffing and its lemony creaminess compliments the chook to perfection as well as going delightfully with the charred vegetables. If I was making a Sunday Roast then I would be doing roast potatoes and all the trimmings but somehow just bunging some veg in the pan makes this a lot less labour intensive and more suited to an weekday evening meal. 

And a Monday roast is never a bad idea. ever. 

Roast Chicken with Baked Ricotta and Roasted Vegetables

For the Roasted Chicken and Vegetables:
1 whole chicken 
1 lemon
sea salt
olive oil
butter (French, as always is best)
1/4 butternut squash, cut into large chunks
1 sweet potato, cut into large chunks
1 parsnip, cut into large chunks
1 carrot cut into large chunks
2 small red onion, halved and then cut into large chunks
1/2 courgette cut into large chunks 
cloves of garlic, around six unpeeled but slightly crushed with side of knife

For the Baked Ricotta:
250g Ricotta
Zest of lemon 
1 egg
parmesan cheese 

put all the vegetables and garlic in the baking tray and splash with olive oil and some S&P. Take the chicken, rub the skin with butter, put half a lemon in the cavity, a quarter on each wing and splash over a bit of olive oil, season. Place on the tray and move the vegetables so they are all around the chicken. Add a couple of sprigs of rosemary. Bake in oven for around 1 1/2 hrs (this will vary on the size of the bird) at around 200oC until the juices run clear and it is nicely browned. Whilst its cooking take a bowl and add the ricotta, egg, and lemon zest, whisk together and add about a TBSP of parmesan cheese, the oil and some seasoning. Place in a small oven proof dish and sprinkle with a bit more parmesan and more black pepper. Bake on the bottom shelf for about 30 minutes until it's golden. Serve the vegetables with the chicken on top and a couple of small slices of the cheese. 

Linking up for the first time with Honest Mum - Thanks for inviting me to join in Tasty Tuesdays! 

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

And with Delcious Dish Tuesday with Eat Drink and Be Mary and Full Time Mama 

Eat Drink & Be Mary

Sunday, 21 September 2014

To New Beginnings

Back in my uni day!

New beginnings, what wonderful things they are. Today we took H's eldest daughter to university - yes my boyfriend's daughter is starting uni, just 6 years after I finished but that's a whole other story. We helped her unpack and settle in, watched her start to make new friends with her housemates and take the first steps of independence and the rest of her life. I've taught her all I know about surviving living in halls and a little on simple meals she should be able to cook, its all I've got. Oh how we will miss her but how excited we are for her adventure. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

"Vegetables are all the colours of the Rainbow, don't you know".......{Peanut, chicken and veg stir fry}

"what do you want for dinner"? says She
"whats the choice"? asks He
"something made with Chicken and or chorizo or tuna" She says "oh and lots of veg"
"chicken noodles, lots of green stuff...... you know veg" He replies excitedly
"sure thing, but vegetables are all colours of the rainbow, don't you know" She laughs

Noodles, veg and protein - staple diet for our small and humble household.

Rainbow Stir Fry 

Serves 4

for the sauce:

2 TBSP oyster sauce 
4 TBSP soy sauce 
splash white wine
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
thumb sized piece ginger, finely sliced
spring onion, finely sliced
1/2 green chili, finely sliced
1/2 red chili, finely sliced - if you don't want it to spicy half amount of use 1TSP dried chilli 
juice of 1 fresh lime 
1 DSP honey
1 DSP smooth peanut butter 

3 breasts skinless chicken, finely sliced 
handful of tenderstem broccoli
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1 carrot, sliced into thin batons 
1/4 butternut squash, roughly grated
1 leek, cut into thick batons 
groundnut oil
around 200g noodles, cooked according to instructions 

Take all the ingredients for the sauce and whisk together in a bowl. Add more soy sauce, lime juice etc to taste. Add in chicken and make sure all coated, leave to marinade whilst prepping your veg. Prep veg. Warm oil in wok and add in marinated chicken, cook out for 5 minutes or so until chicken is pretty much cooked. Add in veg and any remaining sauce, Stir fry for a further 4-5 minutes. Mix in noodles coating them with meat, veg and sauce. Serve. 


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A soothing dinner of sorts..... {Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese and Pancetta Risotto}

Risotto is one of those dishes that works on all occasions: I wouldn't hesitate serving it at a dinner party and yet it's perfect as a weekday after work meal. I remember the first time I learn to make it was in Italy - I stood fascinated as Leilo stirred and chopped and added bits and bobs as he went along. Me scribbling notes in my pad so I could replicate it as home. Risotto is nothing to be scared of it just needs your full attention and once you've got the hang of it the amount of ingredient combinations is endless - this is H's favourite so thus it's what we went with last night. 

Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese and Pancetta Risotto

Serves 4
1/2 butternut squash, cut into large cubes 
100g Pancetta, diced 
2 shallots, finely chopped 
1 clove garlic, finely chopped 
2 leaves of fresh sage (OPTIONAL), finely chopped 
250g arborio rice
300ml white wine 
approx 1.5 pints - 2 pints good quality chicken stock 
75g blue cheese - I used St Agur, cut into large chunks 

Take the cubes of butter nut squash and roast in a little olive oil for approx 40 - 45 mins. in a dry pan cook of the pancetta, you don't need oil as it will release its own fat as it cooks, when it is nice and crisp, approx 10 mins take out of pan with slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper. Cook of the onions and garlic in the remaining pancetta fat. Take a few of the big chunks of the roasted  butternut squash and finely dice them before adding to the pan along with the rice. stir together for a few minutes until the rice is translucent. Add the wine and continue to stir until it has absorbed. Start to add the stock a couple of ladelfuls at a time stirring gently as you go - this is not to be rushed. Once each ladelful has absorbed add another and keep doing this until your rice is cooked and you have a creamy consistency - you may need all the stock, you may not. Once you feel it is ready stir in the pancetta. Take the blue cheese and fold it in gently you want to keep nice oozing chunks of cheese throughout the risotto so don't mix it in vigorously. Serve with the remainder of the roasted butternut squash. 

I'm linking up this post with Alesha and Mary for Delicious Dish Tuesday

 DDT button 175

And  Supergolden bakes!  


Friday, 5 September 2014

5...... {Oh Hey Friday)



Different Petticoat Colours 
(on the way to the wedding in a VW Campervan)


Best Friends aka Sisters 


Recipes for you to try 


One very much in love, newly cohabiting couple - so far, so sweet 

Linking up today with The Farmers Wife and September Farm.

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Thursday, 4 September 2014

End of Summer Pasta..... {Lemon, garlic and chili Pasta with Halloumi}

The summer days are coming to an end and the time spent in the garden is becoming less and less. There's still some produces growing away but mainly they are getting ready to hibernate as the days get colder. I have a glut of home grown chillies and garlic that seem to glare at me when I wander in to my little kitchen “you put so much effort into growing me, cook with me, eat me". And so I did. 

End of Summer Pasta

1 green chilli, finely diced 
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 small red onion, diced
1DSP lemon zest, finely grated 
6TBSP Olive oil
couple of squeezes fresh lemon juice
slice of halloumi
Spaghetti / Linguine 

Cook pasta according to instructions. place the oil, chilli, onion and garlic into  pan and then warm through gently until softened (10 - 15mins). Add pasta and stir through with lemon zest,. Lemon juice and S&P. Grill halloumi and serve on top of the pasta. Eat outside and lament the end of al fresco dinners for 2014.      

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Wednesday Winners: Single Living

As I've mentioned at least, oh I don't know, six million times I've just moved in with my love and I'm now adjusting to cohabiting for the first time. Even though my house shares before have been with friends there is a BIG difference between living with your friends as opposed to the man who gives you butterflies in your tummy (yup, he still does). So I guess this post is a bit nostalgic, it's my favourite things about living sans partner! 

Pampering in front of the TV 

My ex housemate Paul and I used to have a ritual where we would have "Facemask Thursdays". We would sit and cleanse, tone, moisturise and do face masks - all with a glass of wine in hand and Masterchef on the TV. I would also quite happily sit and pluck my eyebrows, clip my fingernails / toenails etc all in the living room. Now these rituals will have to be kept behind bathroom doors and without my Paul to keep me company. H just isn't a face mask kind of guy!

Watching Trashy TV


Oh man I love trashy TV, especially imported trashy TV. I can happily sit and watch back to back Teen Mom 2, Sixteen and Pregnant, Catfish, Don't Tell the Bride, Four Weddings etc FOR HOURS!  H really doesn't watch much TV at all and if he does he tends to like films or more "high brow" stuff. And its great because my evenings are spent more productively, planning blog posts, reading, talking, listening to music etc. I do love that every other Saturday H goes to work so I can just catch up on all the rubbish I've added to his TiVo


H and I love a glass of wine and in no way am I saying that he would ever say I shouldn't have a glass myself. But he doesn't drink during the week and so I tend to follow his lead as drinking wine n your own just isn't that fun. My pals who I've lived with before had no such qualms and we would happily sit and quaff some (lots) of wine on a couple of occasions in the week. Still, my waistline and liver are both very happy

The Whole Bed to Myself 

Oh man, for the last ten years for the majority of the week I have had my own double bed ALL. TO. MYSELF. Oh I am so going to miss being able to spread out, to move over to the cooler part when i get hot, curl up under the covers when its cold. Luckily for H I love him just a little bit more than the amount I love having the bed to myself.... just. 

Talking and Singing to Myself 

Yes I do this all the time, and yes I now try and stop myself because I'm trying not to let H cotton on to the fact that I'm a bit of a crazy one.... 

Any of you out there cohabiting? What behaviour did you have to change a bit, what do you miss? 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A Surprising Taste Sensation {Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates}

Well it's been an eventful weekend of moving house, and finally I feel like we're pretty much there. Moving in with H is a big step for both of us and despite last minute panics, now that I am in I am very excited for our future together as a "cohabiting" couple (eeek, who'd have thought the day would come)!

In honour of this I am blogging one of H's favourite things I make, although to be fair he seems to love everything I put down in front of him, but this is the one he will often talk about! When I first stumbled upon this recipe I was very dubious I'm no lover of goats cheese or dates and yet this starter is both wonderfully unusual as well as tasting fantastic. I have yet to serve this to anyone who has not loved it so I urge you to give it a go – you won’t regret it! These dates also make a fantastic canapĂ© and with just a few ingredients you know you are on to a winner, I often make these with some Gorgonzola and some goats cheese - variety is the spice of life. 

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates  

Dates – I used a large pack (yielded around 25-30 dates), pitted and cut down the middle. 
Approx. 150g of your favourite Goats Cheese (Gorgonzola works just as well)
15 pieces of streaky bacon, cut in half (smoked is best)

This really couldn’t be simpler – just take a small amount of the cheese and stuff it in to the middle of the date. Wrap the bacon around quite tightly and secure with a cocktail stick. Lay on a tray which I recommend you have covered with tin foil (will save on the washing up later). Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes at 180°C, turning once. Allow to cool for approx 5 minutes before serving as they get very hot. I served three stuffed dates on a slice of toasted ciabatta with a dressed salad on the side and it went down a treat - there were plenty leftover for seconds! You can prep these the night / morning before and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to pop them in the oven, making them even easier.  

I'm linking up this post with Alesha for Delicious Dish Tuesday

 DDT button 175

And  Supergolden bakes!