Royal Feasts – Chicken & Watermelon salad

Image  

Hearty and moreish, pretty, popular with everyone and really easy!

Takes <10 mins to prepare and <20 minutes to cook, easily feeds a family of 4, or 3 super greedy buggers! Costs about £5 depending on brands, higher welfare meat etc. Replace your Saturday night takeaway with this and your bod will thank you for it the next day at practice! Plus, if you have kids- it’s got watermelon. Winner!

Essential ingredients are in bold

Equipment:

  • Wok (ideally non-stick) on high heat
  • Tongs (ideally two pairs, or one pair washed between meat and veg encounters!)
  • Kettle (boiled!)
  • Heatproof bowl or medium casserole dish with lid or a cover
  • Sharp paring knife
  • Sharp cook’s knife
  • Clean cooking scissors
  • Chopping board for raw meat or a sheet of cooking parchment or foil

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsp sesame oil into hot wok (Or olive or sunflower…)
  • 6 chicken thigh fillets (or 400g prawns or tofu etc)
  • 1 htsp grated fresh or chopped frozen garlic 
  • t htsp grated fresh or chopped frozen ginger
  • 2 big handfuls of frozen peas
  • 2 htps chopped frozen onions or 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 htbsp chinese five spice
  • 1 htbsp Bart’s Creole seasoning if you can get it coz it’s ace!
  • big pinch of roughly ground sea salt (unless you need to lower your salt!)
  • big pinch of roughly ground black or szechuan pepper
  • Big squirt of bottled lime juice, or a squeeze of fresh lime (bottled works fine for me!)
  • Dash of low salt soy sauce
  • glug of sweet chilli sauce
  • Half a watermelon, roughly chopped (pick the seeds out if you wish)
  • 1 large or 2 small Little Gem lettuces (pak choi if you prefer but I think little gem is easier to manage, is cheaper and tastes good!)
  • 3 nests of fine rice noodles (follow packet instructions, but usually it’s 3 mins in boiled water in a covered boil) An even quicker version of this recipe involves microwave brown rice sachets!
  • Chopped fresh or frozen coriander if you have it but not essential
  • Sesame seeds if you have them Image

OK go!

  1. Put your wok on a medium-high heat dry (add oil later so it doesn’t smoke and catch!) and dust a plastic meat chopping board or parchment paper with al your dry ingredients (add more if you think it won’t cover the chicken.
  2. Roll the chicken thighs in the spices so they’re coated and use the scissors to snip them into 1cm strips. They cook really well anyway, but if you cut across the grain they stay extra tender.
  3. Glug that oil into your hot pan and follow it up with the chicken, ginger and garlic
  4. Chuck your three noodle nests into a heatproof bowl, cover with boiled water from your kettle and stick a lid on. They usually take only a few minutes to soak, but if you’re super lazy, this recipe works fine with the ready to use rice noodles you can get in the salad chillers at the supermarket for about £1. When these are done, use your tongs to lift them out and stick them on a few layers of kitchen paper while you wait to use them.
  5. Keep turning the chicken until it’s browned all over and cooked through (it’s quite hard to overcook thighs, they usually stay quite wobbly, just like my thighs!), then add the peas and onions to cook off- the peas will soften but stay quite bright green, don’t want sad peas.
  6. While that stuff is simmering (turn the heat down if it gets scary) chop the whiter “hearts” of the lettuce(s) off as we only want the leaves really and then quarter them lengthwise with your big ole cook’s knife or cleaver if you’re having a Sweeney Todd moment. Oh that’d be a flick knife I suppose…
  7. Also, use your paring knife to cut one quarter, then another out of your watermelon (easier and less messy than trying to work with half at once) and score it, noughts-and-crosses-wise, and tip all of the chunks into a big dish/platter. Stop eating the watermelon chunks. No really, wait until later!
  8. Go back to your wok, chuck the sauces and juice in and toss it all around, adding the noodles and making sure they’re really coated. Keep it all moving, because those noodles will want to stick because of the starch. Worst case, add a tiny bit more oil to the bottom of the pan, let it heat up and get it all moving again for another 3 or 4 minutes.
  9. Toss the whole lot together in that platter with coriander and sesame seeds if you have them, but not worries if not, chuck in more of the sauces if you think it needs it, and otherwise, enjoy!
Advertisements

Royal Feasts- Coconut Chicken & Warm Crunchy Salad

Day one of paleo and I’m enjoying the challenge! I don’t actually like cooking, but I do like experimenting and this recipe came out great first time!

I will say, I used a dash of sesame oil as I forgot to order coconut oil, but obviously will write up with coconut oil to avoid confusion, if you are cooking this paleo as well.Image

Equipment

  • Baking sheet
  • Raw meat board
  • Veg board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Non-stick wok
  • Tongs

Ingredients to serve 4

  • 400g approx of chicken breast fillets, cut into goujons
  • large handful of dessicated coconut
  • 2tbsp Chinese 5 spice or Thai 7 spice
  • 2tsp freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
  • 2tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or 2 tsp frozen chopped garlic)
  • 1 inch chopped ginger (or 2 tsp frozen chopped ginger)
  • 1 leek, halved lengthways and sliced
  • 2 big handfuls of cubed carrots
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 little gem with the heart cut off, quartered lengthways
  • A squeeze of lime juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 1 handful of chopped coriander

Preheat your oven to 200°C (mine’s a fan assisted). On your raw meat board, mix up your coconut and 5 spice with the salt and pepper, then toss the chicken strips in about 1tsp of that coconut oil on the baking sheet. Roll and press the chicken into your coconut mixture and lay the strips out on your tray. Bung them in for 15 minutes. At the end of this time, check them- they should be ever so slightly golden and the meat should feel firm- you can always cut one open if you’re unsure if they’re cooked through- if not, another 5 minutes should do it.

Meanwhile, heat up the rest of the oil in the wok on a high heat, and add the ginger, garlic, peppers and carrots in to stir-fry for as long as it takes for them to caramelise a bit (just over 5 minutes), then stir in the leek with the lime juice and let it soften before adding the lettuce- wait until that sweats a little, then finally toss in the spinach leaves until they wilt, sprinkle in the coriander leaves, give it one last stir and you’re done!

They taste absolutely killer together, but I do think i could be tempted to make a honey and chilli dip…

Royal Feasts- Sweet Potato Falafels

sweet potato falafelOh man, so bloody yummy. Mr ‘Bird and I are both committed carnivores and not easily swayed into munching purely veggie dinners- for me it’s a texture thing. These gorgeous, nutritious falafels satisfy taste and texture buds in my opinion- proper bo, I tell thee. IF (and it’s a big if) you have extra, stick them in the fridge for a knockout packed lunch tomorrow.

There is a long way and a short way. The long way involves 30 minutes of baking and 60 minutes of chilling the mixture before you even make the balls, (and then bake them for another 30 minutes) so I’m just sticking with the fast version that only took about 45 minutes including prep time.

I served these straight from the pan on top of some brown rice drizzled with warmed sweet chilli jam (dipping sauce would work better probably), and a big dollop of houmous topped with harissa paste. Oh god, so good.

Equipment:

  • Silicone spatula (just to avoid mess and waste, and to avoid breaking your falafels, otherwise regular spoon)
  • Food processor
  • Vegetable chopping board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Microwave
  • microwaveable dish
  • a fork
  • Tin opener
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Pestle & mortar (if your cumin isn’t already ground)

Ingredients:

  • 400g tin of chickpeas in water, drained
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato (about 400g)
  • 3 chopped spring onions
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove (I give mine a bash with the pestle to loosen the skin and get it started for the processor)
  • A dash of lemon juice
  • 2tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1tbsp olive oil

Prick the sweet potato on all sides and pop in the microwave for 5 minutes, then a couple of minutes at a time until it’s softened all over and you can easily split the skin open. While that’s going, grind the cumin (if it’s not already!), and combine with your chickpeas, garlic, spring onions and lemon juice in  the food processor. Then scoop out the sweet potato and add that in, blitz again so it all becomes nice and uniform, though I liked having the odd bit of chickpea and spring onion as texture, so go with what you’re happy with. Don’t be tempted to wet the mixture, just keep pushing it round in between blitzing if it doesn ‘t move enough. I’ve kept this mixture as dry as I can because I didn’t want to add breadcrumbs (being wheatfree). If things get desperate, a tiny bit of olive oil might help.

Heat up your pan with the olive oil over a medium heat.

Then scoop out the mixture back onto your chopping board and mix in the parsley (this is where a spatula really helps). Split into 8 little balls and press firmly in your hands to flatten them slightly so they cook quicker and more evenly. Then pop them on the heat and let them sear for a good few minutes in the oil until you can gently flip them over and do the same again. Keep them going until they’re golden both sides and starting to slightly char. Then serve with some yummy couscous and fat free yoghurt & harissa! (I used rice because of the wheat free thing again.)

Pukka!

 

Royal Feasts- Ocean Crumble

Ocean CrumbleUber simple and filling!

Equipment:

  • Medium casserole dish with lid
  • Small saucepan or microwaveable dish
  • Soft wooden or silicone spoon (spatula is easiest)
  • Food processor with normal blade setting (if you are making your breadcrumbs)

Ingredients

  • 200g frozen or fresh prawns (adjust cooking time by about 10 minutes)
  • 400-500g mixed fish (cod, salmon & smoked haddock in the picture)
  • 1 level mug of breadcrumbs (mixed with dried stuffing mix if you like, as in the picture!)
  • 3 htbsp low fat cream cheese (or Boursin!)
  • A glug of white or rose wine
  • 2 htsp of frozen chopped garlic (or 2 fresh cloves, minced)
  • 1 htsp freshly ground black pepper (add salt if you like, but the smoked fish will be pretty salty!)
  • A handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 200°C (mine’s a fan assisted) and melt your cheese, pepper and garlic together in the microwave (30 secs at a time) or in a pan, then add the wine (it’ll reduce in the oven, don’t worry. Stir in your chopped parsley then mix it with your fish and prawns in your casserole dish. Use the backside of your soft spoon or spatula to press it all down evenly (and this is where a spatula will also clean up the sides of the dish nicely so none of your sauce burns).

Blitz a couple of slices of bread (or a wedge of ciabatta would be ace!) if you’re making your breadcrumbs with a dash of olive oil, otherwise just use store-bought crumbs and mix in a bit of dried stuffing mix if you fancy extra flavour in the crumble. Sprinkle it over the fish so it’s all covered and put the lid on. Put in the oven for 15 minutes, then take the lid off (the lid was to give the crumble a chance to soak up the liquid before it evaporated) and cook for a further 15 to 25 minutes, checking that the fish is stewing (liquid is bubbling gently) and the crumble looks slightly crunchy.

EASAY PEASAY!

Royal Feasts- Superfast Lamb & Apricot Curry with Cauliflower Rice & Raita

Lamb & Apricot CurryServes 4, takes approximately 30 minutes

After bashing about with this recipe for about a year I think I’ve cracked it. It tastes incredible and is really easy to make, as well as sneaking in some f&v in unexpected places so you can get the jump on your “7 a day”. You can really make it with any protein source but lamb and apricot go so well together! There are two ways of doing the lamb version cheaply. One is to buy cheap diced British lamb but it takes a little bit longer and can get fatty. The way I prefer is to use leftover lamb from a shoulder roast, so the whole shoulder (bone in) cost me £8 but we got two big dinners (for four) out of it and the lamb is already slow-roasted tender so takes no time at all.

Equipment:

  • Non-stick wok or deep frying pan (but keep an eye on things!)
  • Spoon (I use a silicone spatula, but I’m weird like that- stops my pan getting scratched)
  • Boiled kettle of water
  • Food processor with normal blade
  • Cooked meat board
  • Vegetable board
  • Paring knife
  • Chef’s knife
  • Microwavable covered container
  • Microwave or Steamer
  • Bowl
  • Metal spoon

Ingredients:

  • A handful of shredded cooked lamb per person (or 300/400g of uncooked diced lamb for 4 people)
  • 200g or a large handful of dried apricots
  • 2 htbsp madras powder
  • 1 htbsp coriander powder
  • A big glug of olive oil
  • 2 htsp frozen chopped garlic (or about 2 peeled and smashed cloves of fresh)
  • 1 htsp frozen chopped ginger (or about 1″ piece of fresh, peeled)
  • 1 htbsp frozen diced onion (or 1 small diced fresh)
  • 20g bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1tsp harissa paste (optional)
  • 1htsp Bart’s Ras El Hanout spice tin (optional)
  • 3 cauliflower heads quartered, leaves removed
  • A dash of lime juice (from a bottle is fine, and this is optional)
  • 1/3 cucumber, diced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into semi circles
  • 2-3 big dollops of fat free natural yoghurt (or as much as you like)

So! Get the pan on a medium-high heat and put all the dry ingredients, the ginger and garlic, the olive oil, the apricots, the raz el *-hanout if you’re using it, and the STALKS (just grab the bunch and twist the stalks off) into your processor and blitz until it’s a coarse paste- add a bit more oil if it doesn’t all stick together.

Whack the paste into the pan and move it around so it heats and softens for a minute then add the lamb and coat it all in the paste, letting the heat seal it if it’s raw meat (if you can’t hear a slight searing/sizzling, your heat needs to go up temporarily). When the meat is softened or sealed, add in enough boiled water to cover it and mix it all so you can see what sort of texture you’ve got- your choice but I like mine to be a thick gravy consistency- whatever you do, don’t let it dry out. This is where having a good non-stick pan helps! Turn your heat down to a simmer.

Anyway, meanwhile, wash out your food processor bowl and blade and whizz the caulifower into a texture like rice or couscous (mine’s like couscous but softer in the picture) and put into the microwave, covered but with a small vent, for 5 minutes (if it isn’t soft and edible pop it back in for another 1-2 minutes) or steam for a few minutes (check on it) if you prefer.

Bung your cucumber, most of your chopped coriander LEAVES, lime juice, onions and yoghurt in a bowl and mix together- de na! Raita!

If your lamb was already cooked the whole thing should have taken no more than 30 minutes max, or about 40-45 minutes with uncooked.

Chuck the remaining leaves on as a garnish and ENJOY!

Workouts for mummies (and daddies) by HeisenBird

Bubblegum "helping" TOSHIBALAPTOP - WIN_20140508_104402 Today after being sabotaged during press-ups for the millionth time by not only the toddler, but the cat as well, it occurred to me that I was being presented with an opportunity.

So below is a link to a completely impromptu workout I added on to what I was doing this morning. My 3 year old, Lola has joined me, and had lots of fun. I think she probably worked her little core too! Please excuse the shoddy techniques on some of these- my excuse for wonky squats and sad press-up efforts is that I’d already done my workout before starting this one (plus I have a mild quad tear) so I was already wiped out before starting- obviously it is imperative that you get your technique checked by a professional trainer and consult your doc if embarking on exercise you’re not used to. This is stuff I am used to but executed quite poorly in the name of having a laugh with my daughter 😉

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=Mk-fV1qvp_c&feature=vm