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Posted in Sweet Treats

Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s all about the crunchy edge and soft chewy centre for me with a cookie. Growing up, I used to go to Bluewater shopping centre on the National Express with friends and the highlight would always be that my mum wasn’t there to stop me buying the biggest box of Millies Cookies. I LOVED them. And however many recipes I tried, nothing compared. Until now.

Trust me. These are everything you want in a cookie.

For these I’ve used a mix of white & milk chocolate chunks and all butter fudge chunks from M&S – they’re to die for, and make a great addition to these cookies! You can add in your favourite sweet treats, or even some dried fruits (although I’ll judge anyone who skips on the chocolate)! If you want to make triple chocolate cookies – try substituting 40g of flour for cocoa powder!

These cookies taste better and better the longer the dough has to set – ideally they need overnight in the fridge, but come on, who wants to wait that long for cookies?! I tend to put enough dough for a few cookies in the freezer for half an hour and the rest in the fridge. That way we can have some the day you make the dough, and the rest the next! It also freezes really well so you can roll the dough into the balls and freeze and have cookies whenever you want them!

Ingredients:

280g plain flour

1 heaped tsp cornflour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

250g sugar (100g granulated sugar + 150g soft brown sugar)

1 egg + 1 yolk

180g butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g chocolate chunks (or whatever you prefer!)

Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Start by melting the butter in a bowl and leaving to cool slightly before beating in the sugar and vanilla extract
  2. Then mix in the egg & extra yolk and ensure it’s well combined
  3. Fold in all the dry ingredients along with the chocolate chunks
  4. Then – the hard bit. Leave your cookie dough in the fridge for as long as possible.
  5. When ready to bake – preheat your oven to 175C and line a flat tray with parchment paper. I always do it one batch at a time (6 cookies) just so I can watch them carefully to make sure they don’t overcook.
  6. Roll your dough into balls – I use an ice cream scoop and position them on the tray – DO NOT FLATTEN THEM DOWN and pop them in the oven!
  7. They’ll need anywhere from 8-11 minutes depending on how cold the dough is – I go more on the colour. Take them out when they’ve gone slightly golden on the edges – you want them to to look undercooked in the middle. Then leave them to cool on the tray before taking them off.
Posted in Chicken, Comfort Food, Fakeaways

Chicken Satay

Looking for a weekend treat without reaching for the takeout menus? This will hit the spot! Whenever we get a Thai or Chinese takeaway, Mike ALWAYS insists on getting the sharing platter as a starter – just for the satay. And being truthful, I’ve never been big fan – don’t kill me for admitting this, but I actually HATE peanut butter. I’m pretty strange, right?

So it’s strange that this has become on of my favourite dishes! If that’s not proof that it’s bloody tasty, then I don’t know what is!

The best bit? It’s super easy! The marinade takes 5 minutes and then it’s in the fridge overnight to suck up all those flavours, then when you’re ready, it’s under the grill for 20mins whilst you whip up the sauce and that’s it! So why not give it a go instead of reaching for that takeaway menu?

Serves 2 (3 if you’re not greedy like us!)

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

1/2 tin of coconut milk

2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp ginger paste

1 1.2 tsp garlic

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

500g mini chicken fillets / sliced chicken breasts

For the dipping sauce:

3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

1 clove of garlic

1 inch chunk of ginger (peeled)

2 tbsp light soy sauce

Juice of a lime

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp ground coriander

1 small red chilli

1 tsp honey

1 tsp sesame oil

1/3 – 1/2 tin coconut milk depending on preference

To serve:

Sliced red chilli, cucumber, crushed peanuts, fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Start by making the marinade – mix together all the ingredients in one bowl before adding the chicken and covering well. Clingfilm and pop in the fridge to marinade. (Ideally overnight for maximum flavour, but for as long as you can spare!)
  2. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, get your skewers at the ready (if you’re using wooden skewers you’ll need to soak them in water for 20ish minutes to stop them burning!), pre-heat the grill to 200C and get your grill try at the ready; I’m a sucker for anything that minimises the clearing up time so always cover mine in tin foil. Then, pop the chicken on the skewers. I go for two on each and thread them through, trying to keep the skewer centred in the middle of the fillet to help them cook evenly.
  3. Then, pop them under the grill for 20-25mins – turning occasionally. Make sure they’re fully cooked through, and juices run clear! (My favourite cooking utensil is my meat thermometer!)
  4. Whilst they’re cooking you can put together the sauce – start by making a paste with the chilli, garlic & ginger – I use a pestle and mortar but you can use a blender or chop finely!
  5. Then mix in the remaining ingredients & you’re done! I usually start with 1/3 tin of coconut milk and then add more depending on flavour – it really depends how strong you like the peanut flavour!
  6. Pop the sauce in a bowl, take the chicken off the grill and top with fresh coriander, chilli and crushed peanuts and a side of cucumber!

This is great as a side or starter – but also great with stir fried noodles or egg fried rice!

We always have lots of sauce left over and tend to use it for Crispy Chicken Satay Burgers – YUM!! Recipe coming soon!!

ENJOY!! xoxox

Posted in Chicken, Comfort Food, Fakeaways

Sweet and Sour Chicken

So Mike’s favourite takeaway is Chinese, but mine’s Indian so obviously we usually compromise and get an Indian…..

So I thought I’d be nice and make him one of his favs at home – and even though I’m not usually a fan of it from the takeaway, this was YUM….and super speedy! 45 minutes (less if you want to be healthier and skip the fried chicken) so even quicker than ordering a takeaway! 

What do you need? 

(For 2 greedy pigs) 

2 large chicken breasts chopped 

1 red pepper chopped into large chunks 

1 large onion chopped into large chunks 

3 cloves of garlic, minced 

1 inch fresh ginger, chopped 

1 red chilli diced 

100g plain flour 

100g cornflour 

2 tsp paprika 

1/2 tsp garlic powder 

1/2 tsp onion salt 

1/2 tsk celery salt 

150-200g ketchup*

2 tbsp malt vinegar*

2 tbsp brown sugar*

1 small tin of pineapple chunks plus juice 

2 eggs 

*ratio depending on your preference of sweet to sour! 

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and in a separate bowl whisk the eggs together 
  2. Coat each piece of chicken in the flour mix, then in the egg and then back into the flour mix – shallow fry in batches for around 6 minutes until cooked through 
  3. Whilst the chicken is cooking fry your onions, chilli, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes before adding in the peppers. Leave for a couple of minutes before adding in the ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and pineapple (and juice!) and leave to reduce 
  4. Once the chicken is all cooked, place on a piece of kitchen roll to absorb the oil and then stir through your sauce to ensure it’s fully coated 
  5. Serve with rice, fresh spring onions and sesame seeds! 

YUM YUM YUM

What’s your favourite fakeaway? Comment below!

Posted in Comfort Food, Fakeaways, Pork

Slow-Cooked Pork Belly Tacos

I LOVE pork belly and in my opinion, it is SO underrated. Give it a little love and you can turn a cheap, fatty piece of meat into a flavourful treat meal – whether it’s roasted with a perfect layer of crackling, or cooked in beer and then shredded, it’ll be 10/10 delicious.

This recipe uses the latter option, and layered with a generous dollop of guacamole, shredded lettuce and a red cabbage slaw – it makes a wonderful mid-week taco treat, perfect for #TacoTuesday.

The silver lining of working from home this year is being able to throw recipes like this together – I spend about 10 minutes prepping the pork mid-afternoon and then its into the oven for 3ish hours. You’ll spend your afternoon sat at your laptop with the smell of pork tacos doing their magic in the kitchen. YAS.

Go on, give it a go.

Serves 2 greedy pigs

Ingredients

500g pork belly strips

1 taco seasoning sachet (little cheat, you could make your own spice mix but I’m all for cutting corners for mid-week meals)

10 tacos / tortillas

1/2 pint of beer

1/2 red onion

1 avocado

1/4 red cabbage shredded

100g soured cream

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Iceberg shredded

Method:

  1. In a hot pan, sear the pork belly slices, turning frequently to stop from burning. You want to begin to render some of the fat down and caramelise the slices. When browned all over, remove from pan and place in a baking dish
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C and mix the taco seasoning with 250ml of water before pouring across the beef, along with the beer. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Check occasionally to ensure it hasn’t dried out (if needed, add a splash more water)
  3. When the time is up, remove from the oven and shred the pork, add a splash more water and return to the oven without the foil for a further 30mins / however long you need to whip up the sides!
  4. Cut your avocado, removing the stone and mash in a bowl with finely sliced red onion, half the lime juice, half the garlic powder and s&p and set aside! EASY AS THAT! (You can also add some fresh chilli, but most of the time I cba to slice anything else!)
  5. Mix the soured cream with the lime juice, garlic powder, s&p and paprika before adding to the shredded cabbage until the cabbage is full coated
  6. and ENJOY! Pile those tacos high with guac, slaw, lettuce and pork belly and won’t be disappointed! Happy #TacoTuesday!!
Posted in Beef, Comfort Food, Sunday roasts

Slow-Cooked Beef Brisket

Having cooked this for the first time recently, I was completely and utterly won over. It is one of the best things I’ve cooked for a long time and love the fact that it can then be used for so many mid-week meals throughout the week!

I paid £10.50 for a 1.5kg joint in Sainsburys, which fed 2 for a Sunday roast, burgers, tacos and Mac & cheese; with leftovers from all of them. The best bit – the hard work was all done on Sunday, making the weekday dinners super easy. There is so much more you could do with it too, next on my list is beef ragu and chilli con carne.

Ingredients:

1.5kg brisket joint

3 onions, sliced

5 celery sticks / carrots

3 sprigs rosemary

Large glass of red wine

300ml beef stock

4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped

Large knob of butter

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and heat a little butter and a dash of oil in a pan before seasoning and searing the brisket. Once seared all over remove from the pan and place in an oven-proof dish (with a lid) on top of roughly chopped carrots & celery & rosemary. Ensure the beef is placed fat side up – this way, the fat will render and keep the beef moist.
  2. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and allow to soften for a few minutes before adding in the red wine and seasoning generously. Leave to reduce down slightly and then add to the beef along with the stock. Add just enough to come 3/4 of the way up the brisket joint.
  3. Cover & roast in the oven for 40 minutes before then reducing the heat to 140°C and continue to cook for 5 hours. Throughout the cooking time remove the brisket from the oven to baste regularly.
  4. When cooked, you should be able to pierce the beef with a knife with very little pressure. If you’d like slices of brisket for your roast you may want to take it out slightly earlier – it can become too tender to slice without it falling apart (but personally, I think that’s the best way!)
  5. Now for the gravy! Remove the brisket from the pan and reduce down your gravy on a high heat. I usually transfer it into a saucepan at this stage for ease. When ready to eat, drain your gravy and add a knob of butter to make a silky rich gravy!

Easy mid-week tacos!

  • Slice a few slices of brisket and place in an oven-proof dish. In a bowl combine one bottle of beer with a taco seasoning sachet and place in the oven at 180°C for 30 minutes, covered with foil. Whilst cooking, whip up some guac and cabbage slaw and lightly toast flour tortillas. When the beef is cooked through, shred with a fork and serve!

Easy brisket burgers!

  • Again, slice a few slices of brisket and place in an oven-proof dish – add a large glug of beer and leftover gravy from your roast. Cook at 180°C for 30 minutes, covered with foil and then shred. Serve in a soft bap with your favourite sauce!
Posted in Chicken, Comfort Food, Sunday roasts

Chicken, Leek & Bacon Pie

I LOVE summer, but I’m also always very excited when Autumn comes around the corner and we can get back to cooking big warming plates of food! Nothing beats a plate of food including mash and gravy / sauce, for me that’s a bowl of comfort right there.

Chicken pie was one of the first things I ever learnt to cook at university and was actually the first thing I ever cooked for Mike – this is still my go-to recipe and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve cooked it. Honestly, nothing beats it. Well, maybe chicken, leek, bacon AND mushroom pie, but Mike hates mushrooms so they don’t get to make an appearance very often!

This is a great dish to use up any left-over roast chicken on a Monday, or equally – it makes a great Sunday lunch when you just can’t be bothered for a full roast!

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 chicken breasts

1 pack of bacon lardons

300ml double cream

Half a glass of white wine

1 cup of chicken stock

Knob of butter

1 tbsp flour

2 tbsp of milk

few springs of thyme and rosemary

2 tsp mixed herbs

3 leeks

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp whole grain mustard

1 sheet of puff pastry

Method:

1. Start by roasting your chicken breasts in some oil, s&p and a little sprinkle of mixed herbs – roast until cooked through and then shred (you might want to cook it covered in tin foil to keep in juicy!)
2. Whilst the chicken is roasting finely dice your onion and garlic and sweat for a few minutes. Add in the rosemary, thyme and mixed herbs and then the bacon.
3. In a separate pan, make a rue by melting the butter and the flour, take off the heat and add the milk, cream and chicken stock and set aside
4. Add the leeks to the onion and bacon mix and fry for a few minutes before adding in the white wine
5. Once the wine has reduced, add in the shredded chicken along with the sauce and leave to reduce. Season well and add the mustard
6. Transfer into a pie dish and cover with pastry (you can give it a quick egg wash too to help the colour the pastry!) and bake until pastry is golden brown! (25-30mins) Serve with creamy mash & veg!

Posted in Comfort Food, Fakeaways, Fish

Beer-Battered Prawn Tacos

Anyone that has followed my instagram for a while will know that we religiously celebrate #TacoTuesday in this house. Before lockdown it was great easy dinner after work and I’m not ashamed to admit it was with the help of Old El Paso & Santa Maria seasoning packets and taco shells….

It was a great dinner to have on the table in less than 30 mins, with some salad and homemade guac. But since lockdown we’ve had a lot more time to experiment – we’ve had pork belly, slow cooked beef, fish, sweet potato, chicken…the list goes on. I’ve loved trying out lots of new recipes to jazz up our Tuesday’s but these beer-battered prawn tacos are a firm favourite. Super tasty & surprisingly still pretty quick!

We served them with a cabbage slaw (red cabbage shredded, soured cream, s&p, garlic powder and onion powder), shredded lettuce and homemade guac and served on a flour tortilla!

Ingredients:

Packet of uncooked prawns

Half a bottle of beer

1 cup of flour

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp onion powder

S&P

Method:

  1. Start by drying your prawns slightly with a piece of kitchen towel and season with s&p
  2. In a bowl add your dry ingredients, combine & season followed by the beer. Whisk together until smooth
  3. Heat up your oil – I used about 3cm of vegetable oil in a deep wok. Test the temperature of the oil but dropping in a little of the batter mix. You want it to fizz when it hits the oil but if it browns too quickly, reduce the heat slightly
  4. Add the prawns to the batter and coat well
  5. Using tongs, carefully add prawns one by one to the oil (I usually do 4/5 at a time). They should take 3/4 minutes to cook – they’ll be a nice golden brown and should float to the top when cooked through
  6. Transfer them to a wire rack whilst you cook the others & then enjoy in a tortilla with cabbage slaw!
Posted in Comfort Food, Quick Eats

Sausage, Red wine, Basil & Tomato Pasta

Once you master the perfect homemade tomato pasta sauce, I promise you, you’ll never go back to the jar. Full of flavour, no hidden nasties and super easy to make! I make a big batch and freeze it in portions ready for a lazy lunch!

This is also a perfect store cupboard dinner – if you’re like me you always have a packet of sausages in the freezer and everything else can be substituted for things I’m sure you’ll have at the back of your cupboards!

Serves 2 / Ready in 20 minutes

Ingredients:

3 sausages

Pasta of your choice (I use linguine or tagliatelle)

1 onion

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp garlic granules / 2 cloves of fresh garlic

1 tsp dried Italian herbs

Generous glug of red wine

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Handful of fresh basil / dried basil

1/2 sugar

Parmesan to serve

Pinch of chilli flakes

Method:

  1. Finely chop onion & garlic and fry in a little oil until softened. Add in the dried herbs with the balsamic vinegar & wine and cook until reduced
  2. Add in the chopped tomatoes, sugar, chilli flakes & season well – leave on a low heat to reduce further
  3. Squeeze the sausages from their skins creating meatball like chunks. Heat oil in a pan and add the sausages
  4. Bring salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to packet
  5. Once the sausages are browned, add half of the fresh basil followed by the tomato sauce with a ladle of pasta water
  6. Add the pasta directly into the pan and coat with sauce – you may want to add more pasta water at this stage to make sure the sauce coats the pasta well
  7. Serve with fresh basil & a sprinkling of parmesan!
Posted in Chicken, Comfort Food, Fakeaways, Quick Eats

Egg Fried Rice

There’s something about a big bowl of egg fried rice – it’s like a bowl of pure comfort. Something so simple, but so tasty. I’d happily order it from the Chinese and nothing else!

It might sound strange (especially considering how faithful I am to the weekly Sunday roast), but I LOVE this as a quick Sunday treat and it’s great to clear out the veg drawer before the weekly shop. I’ve popped below the recipe I use, but in all honesty it really depends what we have left that needs using up – pretty much any veg is great it in and I love chucking in some prawns if we have some (they’re a freezer staple for us). Take the ingredients with a pinch of salt and feel free to substitute where needed!

The secret to the best egg fried rice is pre-cooking the rice first and leaving it to cool & dry (none of this pre-cooked microwave rice nonsense). Using cold rice will allow it crisp up more when stir fried! That being said – you need to be careful reheating rice and I love having this as leftovers the next day so if that’s the plan I’ll cook the rice and use it straight away instead of letting it cool, that way I can reheat it. And don’t forget to always make sure the rice is steaming hot!

Serves 3 ( generous portions!)

Ingredients:

1/2 shallot / onion diced

Greens of your preference sliced (I love a big handful of spring greens / kale and some sliced broccoli )

3 eggs whisked + 3 extra if you want a fried egg on top (I’ll judge anyone who doesn’t!)

1/2 cup of peas

250g basmati rice (cooked and left to cool – unless planning to reheat leftovers don’t leave to cool, read above!)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1/2 tsp five spice

1/2 tsp fish sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp ginger paste (you can use fresh garlic and ginger but this is always a quick meal for us!)

Protein of your choice – I love adding in a diced chicken breast & handful of prawns!

To serve:

Cucumber, spring onion, chilli, coriander, sliced ginger, sesame seeds and generous serving of sriracha!

Method:

  1. Heat 1tbsp of vegetable oil a LARGE wok and add the garlic, ginger and shallot and cook through for one minute before adding the protein – keep stirring to stop burning
  2. Once the meat / fish has cooked through, remove from the wok and set aside and add the veg
  3. Whilst the veg is cooking through, mix the sesame oil, fish sauce, five spice, oyster sauce and soy sauce in a separate bowl until combined
  4. Once the veg is almost cooked, add back in the protein and stir through the rice. Give this a few minutes without stirring too much to allow the bottom layer of rice to crisp slightly!
  5. Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in a frying pan and crack in the eggs
  6. Whilst the eggs are cooking take you bowl of sauce and mix into the rice before adding in the whisked egg – keep stirring the eggs to make sure its fully mixed in and cooks through
  7. Serve the fried rice with the the fried egg on top with a generous handful of garnishes and enjoy!!

On the table in less than 15 minutes and absolutely DELISH!!!

Don’t forget to tag me! @foodmakeskatiehappy

Posted in Quick Eats

Herby Chicken and Peach Salad

A salad. For dinner?!?! This is something that really doesn’t happen very often. Because, who really wants a salad for dinner? Someone who has spent 16+ weeks in lockdown with nothing to do other than bake & eat.

And has far salads go this is pretty good. Maybe that’s because it actually grilled chicken breast with roasted sweet potato and and sweet peaches served on a bed of lettuce…. but that counts as a salad, right?

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

2 peaches – peeled, cored and sliced

Lettuce leaves of your choice

1/2 shallot, finely diced

1/2 red pepper, finely diced

Handful of rosemary, thyme – your choice of fresh herbs

Good quality olive oil

1 Large tomatoes quartered

1 Large sweet potato, peeled and diced

1/4 cucumber, diced

Squeeze of honey

Handful of nuts / seeds – I use pine nuts, walnuts & sunflower seeds

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and in a tray add the sweet potato, a generous dash of olive oil, sprinkling of fresh herbs and season. Bake for 35 minutes – turning occasionally
  2. Whilst the sweet potato is roasting pop the chicken in a bowl, with olive oil, herbs, season and set aside. Before this stage, you might want to use a meat tenderiser to flatten the chicken breast to enable them to cook evenly.
  3. Heat up a griddle pan and coat the peach slices in herbs, olive oil, s&p and a squeeze of honey. Place on the griddle pan for a couple of minutes before turning. Once cooked remove from the pan and add the chicken
  4. Lets start with the salad – start layering up with with the salad leaves, cucumber, pepper, shallots and tomatoes before adding the peaches.
  5. In a dry pan add the nuts / seeds and toast for a few minutes and watch to stop them burning
  6. Remove the sweet potato from the oven, leave to cool slightly and add to the salad before slicing the chicken and placing on top.
  7. Finish with a sprinkling of toasted nuts, season and a drizzle of olive oil! Enjoy!
Posted in Comfort Food, Sunday roasts

The Perfect Yorkshire Pudding

For anyone that believes Yorkshire puddings are only for roast beef. You’re wrong. No argument about it. Personally, I believe they belong on any plate where gravy is; the two are a match made in heaven. Bangers & mash and roast dinners – should ALWAYS be topped with a Yorkshire pud. Hawksmoor even have a whole dish dedicated to Yorkshire puddings and gravy – and I’d happily skip the steak for it.

But, there’s so many recipes out there – which is the best? How do you guarantee it’ll rise and have a perfect hole in the middle to catch the gravy? How can you compete with Aunt Bessie?

Easily. In my opinion, even if the shape doesn’t end up quite right, it’ll always be tastier than an Aunt Bessie’s. But here’s a recipe that’s fail proof for me, for getting that dreamy rise!

I actually fell upon this by mistake one Sunday – I cracked 2 eggs into a bowl and went to grab the milk, forgetting that I’d finished it the night before having a cuppa… but being too lazy to pop to the shops, I thought I’d compromise.

I hear you – Yorkshire puddings with no milk?! You’ll have to trust me.

With any Yorkshire pudding recipe – the trick is to always leave the mixture to rest for a few hours in the fridge before cooking it & to preheat your oil. A lot of the shape of the pudding comes from the cold mixture hitting the sizzling hot oil! (If the you don’t hear the sizzle – it’s not hot enough!)

Makes 6 large Yorkshire puddings

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

50ml double cream

100ml water

4 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp of vegetable oil

Method:

  1. Start off by cracking and whisking the eggs in a jug (I use a large jug so it’s easier to pour the mixture, but a bowl is fine too!)
  2. Then, add the cream & water and whisk together – you might want to add a pinch of salt here as it’ll help break the eggs down
  3. Add the flour a tbsp at a time and whisk through (until you have a batter slightly thicker than pancake mixture)* – try and get as many of the lumps out as possible, but don’t worry too much as they’ll be broken down as it rests. Whisk for a couple of minutes to get plenty of air into the batter & season
  4. Pop in the fridge for a minimum of 1hr – I usually leave mine for 4-5hrs
  5. When ready to cook – preheat the oven to 220C and heat some oil in a Yorkshire pudding tin / muffin tin – when ready pour in the mix equally (REMEMBER: the oil needs to sizzle when you pour in the batter!)
  6. Cook for 15-20 minutes – if they need longer, reduce the temp to 200C to stop the tops burning! You want them to be golden brown with a slight crunch on the top so you know they’re strong enough to hold their structure. Take them out too early and they’ll lose some of their height!

Enjoy with lashings and lashings of gravy!!

Top Tip: You need to work quickly when you take the preheated tin out of the oven to make sure the oil doesn’t cool – have the mixture ready and then pop them straight back in the oven. Don’t open the oven, ideally until they’re cooked completely, but for at least the first 15 minutes!

*I’ve never used a recipe / measured ingredients out for Yorkshire puddings before – for me I always go on what the batter looks like so add the flour slowly until you have your desired consistency! You want it thick enough so they hold they’re shape, but not too thick that they’re too heavy and dense to rise!

Posted in Vegetarian

Lemon and Pea Risotto

When the warm nights hit, I’m always on a desperate hunt for dinner options that are satisfying, yet light and refreshing – I don’t go much on a salad for dinner…

This lemon & pea recipe, with a touch on mint is perfect for a summers evening with a glass of white wine! And I always manage to cook risotto for the 5000 so you can guarantee leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

300g risotto rice

50g frozen peas

400ml chicken stock (substitute for veg stock if making vegetarian)

Half a leek (finely sliced)

1 shallot (finely sliced)

2 garlic cloves (finely sliced)

Zest and juice of half / one lemon – dependent on your preference (I like mine lemony so go for a whole lemon!)

Dash of white wine

Knob of butter

50g parmesan (grated)

Few mint leaves

Method:

  1. Start by bringing some stock to the boil and leaving to simmer. In a separate pan, gently heat some olive oil with a little butter and fry the garlic, shallot & leek for a few minutes until softened
  2. Then add in the risotto rice and fry for 2 minutes before adding the wine. Once the wine has reduced, add in the lemon zest, a couple of sliced mint leaves and a ladle of stock
  3. For the next 20 minutes or so, every time the rice absorbs the stock, stir and add in another ladle – until the rice has almost cooked through
  4. When the rice is almost cooked, stir in the frozen peas and leave for a few minute
  5. Remove from the heat and stir through the lemon juice, butter, parmesan and season
  6. Serve with another sprinkling of parmesan, drizzle of olive oil & mint leaves and enjoy!

ps. This recipe is great to add in any veggies that need using up – as you can see from the photo I also chucked in a few mushrooms with the peas but you could add peppers, asparagus, spinach etc. whatever you’ve got in your fridge that needs using up!

Posted in Comfort Food, Fakeaways

Chicken Satay Burgers

For anyone that knows me, you’ll know that I love a burger. Usually, it’s a bacon cheeseburger and I don’t venture any wilder than that – if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But whenever we have chicken satay, we’re always left with a bowl full of sauce SO Mike suggested Satay Burgers – and they didn’t disappoint. There are lots of recipes out there for grilled chicken burgers with satay sauce but if there’s one thing we both agree on, it’s that you don’t skimp when it comes to burgers. So, these are crispy chicken burgers, with lashings of satay sauce, pickled cucumber and coriander (well, not for me. I taste soap).

Makes 4 burgers

Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts

Satay sauce (see chicken satay recipe here)

Half a cucumber

1 tbsp of white wine vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

Handful of fresh coriander

100g Panko Bread Crumbs

4 Brioche Buns

1/2 tsp curry powder

s&p

Half an Iceberg lettuce shredded

1 egg

Vegetable Oil for frying

Method:

Before lockdown I’d never deep fried anything – I was always brought up being told that deep fat fryers were too unhealthy and using a pan of oil was far too dangerous. I guess both are true.

During lockdown I’ve experimented a few times and use a wok 1/3 full of vegetable oil. I always use the back ring of the hob so it’s slightly further away so I can avoid the hot splatters, always use tongs to place things AWAY from you & LEAVE THE OIL TO COOL COMPLETELY before transferring into a jar / bottle to dispose / save until next time.

If you don’t have a deep fat fryer / feel comfortable frying at home, I’m sure these would turn out brill in the oven too!

  1. Let’s start with the pickled cucumber – using a peeler remove the skin and then continue peeling the flesh to make ribbons. Pop in a bowl and mix in the vinegar and caster sugar with a pinch of salt. Set aside for 15 minutes and then pat dry with a kitchen towel (you don’t want a puddle of vinegar in your burger!)
  2. Crack an egg into a shallow bowl and whisk – add a pinch of salt to help break the egg up
  3. In a separate bowl mix the panko breadcrumbs with the curry powder and season
  4. At this stage I would add the vegetable oil to the wok and start heating it up
  5. Take your two chicken breasts on a chopping board and cover with a sheet of parchment paper – either using a meat tenderiser or rolling pin flatten the breasts until they’re half a cm thick. Then slice in half to create 4 chicken burgers. (I use any offcuts to make nuggets with the leftover Panko!)
  6. Once your oil is at temperature – (160cish – you could test the temperature of the oil with a nugget to start with*) place a piece of chicken in the egg bowl and coat well before dipping into the breadcrumbs. Make sure the chicken is well coated before using tongs to place (gently!!) into the oil.
  7. Complete the process with all 4 pieces of chicken – I usually fry two pieces at a time. They should take about 6 minutes to fry & turn once during cooking. I keep the first batch warm in the oven whilst the second is cooking (I’m a worrier when it comes to chicken and always use a meat thermometer to make sure they’re at 65c and if not I pop them in the oven to cook through!)
  8. Now to build your burger! I always griddle my burger buns just to toast them slightly (you can do this whilst the chicken is resting) and then spread a thin layer of satay sauce on each side of the bun, layer up with iceberg, chicken, another dollop of sauce and then pickled cucumber and coriander!
  9. Enjoy!!

*you’re testing to see how quickly it cooks – if it goes golden brown within seconds it probably means the oil is too hot and your chicken will burn before cooking through. Equally, too low and the Panko will stay pale and soggy.

Posted in Comfort Food, Quick Eats, Vegetarian

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Another dish on the table in less than 15 minutes – packed full of flavour and with only a handful of ingredients! Perfect for a stress-free dinner or a speedy lunchtime snack!

If you’re looking for something slightly lighter for lunchtime, (or even breakfast!) try the mushroom mixture on toasted sourdough!

Serves 2

Ingredients

Half a pack chestnut mushrooms (sliced)

200ml double cream

Handful of fresh parsley

1 garlic clove (sliced)

Pasta of your choice – I used fusilli

Knob of butter

Parmesan & Parsley to serve

Method

  1. Add pasta to boiling water as per instructions on the packet
  2. Add a dash of oil to a pan and gently fry the garlic for a couple of minutes before adding the mushrooms
  3. Once the mushrooms have softened add in the parsley and knob of butter followed by the cream & a dash of pasta water and season, and leave to reduce for a couple of minutes
  4. Once cooked, drain your pasta (set aside a cup of pasta water) and add to the mushrooms – coat in the sauce adding extra pasta water if needed.
  5. Serve with fresh parsley and sprinkling of parmesan