Garlic Chilli Prawns

We’re still trying to ‘eat right’ as our wedding fast approaches, but there are only so many days a week I can eat chicken breast! In the search for something different, I invested in some jumbo, raw prawns, which I turned into a tasty garlic, chilli prawn dish.

I started by adding some oil to a frying pan and allowing that to warm up, before adding 5 small cloves of garlic, crushed – if you really like garlic, add some more! To the garlic, I added two finely chopped chillis – not too fiery for me, but again, cook to your taste – the seeds were left in and some paprika sprinkled over the top.

20180606_160525

Allow these to come together for a couple of minutes and then add some small pieces of chorizo if you have it, don’t panic if you don’t. Cook until it starts to release some of its juices and then throw in some freshly chopped tomatoes.

20180606_161250

Now it’s time to throw in your lovely prawns, along with the juice of one lemon. When the prawns start to turn pink, add some chopped mushrooms.

20180606_161934

To serve, we had pasta, but you could have crusty bread or a salad.

20180606_162353

Advertisements

Super Simple Lunch

I’m still trying – and failing! – to slim down for our wedding in October, so I’m doing my best to be mindful with my food choices.

As a quick lunch recently, I knocked up a super easy asparagus and poached egg. I spotted an olive loaf in the supermarket, which I absolutely love, so I started with two slices of that, each topped with a poached egg – I do the drop into a whirlpool of boiling water method to do mine, with a splash of white wine vinegar.

In a frying pan, I heated some coconut oil and lightly cooked some British asparagus spears and wilted some spinach. Once the veggies were nicely done, I added them to the plate, along with a small piece of my favourite blue cheese and just added a grind of fresh black pepper.

Easy, quick and good for you. It would also make a fabulous brunch.20180508_123959

Busy, Busy, Busy

I wanted to do a little update to say sorry for not posting for a while.

I have been very busy trying to start planning for our wedding since New Year and have also with work, which has been coming in thick and fast.  To help me out, my fiancé has been taking care of most of the cooking and I’ve not really had time to get crafty.

I’m on course for finding and ordering my wedding dress though and we’re off looking at possible venues in the coming weeks. It still seems to be sinking in a bit, but I am starting to get very excited about it all. I have lots of ideas that I would like to do for the Big Day, but finer details will have to wait until all the big jobs are ticked off the list.

I treated myself this evening to looking at what Loom Bands I may like to order this year, as I shall be going to a big event in town with a stall, at the request of the organiser, which is very exciting. It will certainly keep me busy getting everything ready for that on top of the wedding. 2018 is certainly looking to be full of fun for me.

Tomorrow, I plan on making soup, so hopefully, I shall post again then with my exploits in the kitchen.

Turkey & Ham Pie

So, the turkey is drawing to a close and last night, part of the leftover meat was transformed into a tasty turkey and ham pie. It really couldn’t be easier and my fiancé loves it.

As you should know by now, I find life too short to make pastry, so I just bought a pack of ready rolled shortcrust and a pack of ready rolled puff pastry. Grease a pie dish and gently place the shortcrust in, making sure it’s nicely tucked down, with all the sides covered.

Then add in chunks of turkey – I use leg and breast – ham, stuffing and I sweat off a leak in some butter to pop on the top. For an extra treat, I sprinkled over some grated cheddar cheese.

In a saucepan, start by making a rue with melted butter and plain flour.

20180101_165535

Allow the flour a little time to cook out, before adding in a splash of milk and whisking together. Keep adding milk slowly, whisking all the time, until you have a thick sauce. I also added some of the jelly from the turkey juices for added flavour and a grind of black pepper.

20180101_170044

Pour the sauce over the meat

20180101_170443

and pop the puff pastry on the top. Give it a milk wash – I use milk rather than egg as it’s cheaper – and cut a little cross in the top of the lid to give the steam somewhere to escape.

20180101_171137

Place the pie on a baking tray – just in case it boils over – and place in the middle of a 180C oven for around 30-40mins. Again, I’m a horror when it comes to timing things, I just watch and go by gut, but as long as your pastry is nice and golden brown and the filling piping hot, you should be fine.

20180101_180717

We had ours with mashed potatoes, sprouts – leftover from the Christmas shop! – and in my other half’s case, gravy.

20180101_180901

 

Christmas Ham

My parents-in-law always say they don’t want anything for Christmas, so I tend to make them edible treats and this year is no different.

Along with a batch of sausage rolls – without any spice – I whipped up a Christmas ham for them.

I always get my gammon from the butcher, that way I know it has a good rind on it. Do not remove any ‘netting’ around the meat, as this will hold the shape for you. Start by allowing it to soak in moving water for at least 2-3 hours, then pop the meat in a saucepan to slowly boil. You can use water, but I like to use apple juice or cider to give the meat a nice flavour. Cover the ham completely with your chosen liquid and add a few cloves and a cinnamon stick, put the lid on the pot and leave it on the lowest heat for 2-3 hours. Keep checking to make sure you still have enough liquid in there.

20171208_124254

Test the meat with a serving fork and when it’s cooked, transfer the meat to a board and carefully cut off the rind, leaving a good amount of fat. Remember it will be hot, so take extra care.

Now, score the fat to make diamond shapes across the top of the joint and pop in a roasting dish – I line mine with foil for less washing up!

20171208_160718

Pour over some runny honey and stud the diamonds with cloves for a pretty finish. You can do a mix of honey and mustard, a fruit jelly, such as quince or even apricot jam for the glaze – play and have fun.

20171208_161023

Now pop in the oven at 180C for around 20-30 minutes to allow the glaze to get a nice colour on it. I take it out every 10 minutes, just to baste again with any glaze that has melted off and to make sure it doesn’t burn.

You can serve his hot or cold.

20171208_170323

Cheeseburger Wraps

I remember seeing this idea online a few years ago, sorry I cannot remember where, and I have been making my own stance on it ever since – Cheeseburger Wraps!

This is basically all of the elements of a cheeseburger, in non-burger form, served in a wrap.

I start with softening off a chopped onion, before adding minced beef and browning.

20171202_155948

Then, I drain most of the liquid from a tin of tomatoes, before adding in the nice chunks. I guess you could use fresh tomatoes chopped up for this. Allow to bubble together for a bit. Now for the fun! Pour in American-style mustard and ketchup – or any other condiments you like on your burger – and I add a little bit of dried basil too, along with some garlic powder and a good grind of black pepper.

20171202_161049

Now, add a couple of chopped gherkins – or dill pickles as some people call them – and finally, it’s time for the cheese. Personally, if it’s a cheeseburger, it has to be plastic cheese in my view, otherwise known as cheese squares.

20171202_161410

Allow it the cheese to melt and then serve in wraps – you may need a fork or a spoon, as they can get quite messy.

Of course, you could serve this with pasta or rice for an equally yummy dinner.

20171202_161734

Lamb & Apricot Stew With Dumplings

It’s certainly the weather for winter warmers. I’ve seen friends posting that snow has arrived in parts of the UK and where I am, it is freezing today.

With that, I wanted to share a lovely lamb stew, that I cooked up the other day. I must apologise that we were so hungry, I completely forgot to take a photo of it on the plate all served up, but if you make it, you’ll see for yourself!! This is best made the day before you want to eat it.

I found some really lovely looking lamb neck in the butcher, so I started by just browning the meat in the bottom of a deep saucepan, before removing it to a plate and adding some oil to the pan, followed by a couple of small chopped red onions, three cloves of minced garlic and a chopped leek.

In a frying pan, dry roast a cinnamon stick and three cloves for round a minute or so, just to help release the flavour, then add them into the pan with the softening veggies. Stir in a good splodge of tomato puree, before returning the meat and any juices to the pan, along with two bay leaves.

Pour in enough chicken, vegetable or lamb stock to cover the meat and bring the pan to a low simmer, before putting the lid on. Give it a good hour or so, stirring occasionally, before throwing in some chopped mushrooms and covering again. I let mine have a slow cook for around 3-4 hours, stirring every now and then and checking to make sure there was still enough stock in there. To help thicken the sauce, I added a few teaspoons of cornflour and mixing it in well.

20171117_121902

Once the meat is nice and tender and trying to fall off the bone, turn off the heat and leave the stew to cool overnight. The next day, you’ll notice a layer of fat on the top of the stew, which you can skim off quite easily with a spoon.

Add in a tin – yes, a tin! – of apricot halves and the juices and re-heat the stew to a low simmer again and give it another hour or so to heat through properly. At this point, I like to remove the bones, spices and bay leaves. Mum always added the tinned fruit, so I’m sticking with it!

When you have 20minutes left, mix up 250g self raising flour with 140g cold butter, cut into cues and a good handful of mixed dried herbs. You want the mix to resemble breadcrumbs, before adding a splash of water and mixing together with a table knife. Keep adding splashes of water, until you form a sticky dough. Take small pinches and roll them into balls, before popping them in the top of the stew for your dumplings.

You can either serve just with the dumplings, or boil up some rice and have the stew with that – or even some mashed potatoes.