Favourite Recipes

Garlic Mushrooms

These mushrooms are piquant and absolutely delicious - but don't have them if you plan on getting close to someone after!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (500 g) Cremini or button mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 an onion chopped (optional)
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper

How to Clean Mushrooms

  • Wipe each mushroom over with a damp paper towel for soft pastry brush if needed to remove loose dirt and debris. Work one at a time.
  • Lightly rinse under cold water and thoroughly pat dry with paper towel.
  • Avoid soaking mushrooms as they will absorb water like a sponge and won’t brown during cooking.
Garlic Mushrooms
Garlic Mushrooms

Method

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté the onion until softened (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 4-5 minutes until golden and crispy on the edges.
  4. Pour in the wine and cook for 2 minutes, to reduce slightly.
  5. Stir through thyme, 1 tablespoon of parsley and garlic. Cook for a further 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  6. Season generously with salt and pepper (to your taste).
  7. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve warm.


Burritos

These Turkey Burritos are diabetes-friendly and incredibly flavourful.

Ingredients

  • A dash of sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1 heaped tsp oregano
  • 1 level tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of mixed beans, drained
  • 8 tortilla wraps
  • 200g mixed salad leaves
  • 50g reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, grated
Burritos
Burritos

Method

  1. Add the oil to a pan, then add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until browned.
  2. Add the mince and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly and breaking up any clumps.
  3. Now add the red and green peppers, cumin, oregano and chilli powder, and the tomatoes. Mix well, bring to a boil, then turn the heat right down and simmer gently for 7-8 minutes.
  4. Add the beans, mix well and bring back to a simmering boil.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the tortillas in a dry frying pan, making sure each side gets 30 seconds contact with the hot pan.
  6. Lay out the tortillas, add a handful of salad to each, then a spoonful of the turkey mixture. Add a little of the cheese and then fold into a tight, neat parcel, wrap in foil and serve.

Tips

  • You can add more chilli powder if you like your burritos hot.
  • Substitute the turkey mince for chicken or lamb.


Chicken Fajitas

Never use a packet recipe again! These fajitas are quick, easy and gorgeous.

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts, finely sliced
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced (optional)
  • 1 heaped tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4-5 drops Tabasco
  • 6 medium tortillas
Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Fajitas

To serve:

  • Grated cheese
  • Salsa
  • Sour Cream

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and wrap 6 medium tortillas in foil.
  2. Mix 1 heaped tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp ground coriander, a pinch of ground cumin, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 4 tbsp olive oil, the juice of 1 lime and 4-5 drops Tabasco together in a bowl with a big pinch each of salt and pepper.
  3. Stir 2 finely sliced chicken breasts, 1 finely sliced red onion, 1 sliced red pepper and 1 finely sliced red chilli, if using, into the marinade.
  4. Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot and add the chicken and marinade to the pan.
  5. Keep everything moving over a high heat for about 5 mins using tongs until you get a nice charred effect. If your griddle pan is small you may need to do this in two batches.
  6. Put the tortillas in the oven to heat up and serve with the cooked chicken mixture.


Greek-style Chicken Pittas

This is a lovely, quick and easy, light dinner that goes easy on the calories (381 per pitta) but is high on taste and fillingability (I may have made that word up).

Ingredients

  • 250g chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • A good grind of black pepper
  • 50g cucumber, finely diced
  • 60g 0% fat Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, sliced
  • 10 fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 80g salad leaves
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 wholemeal pittas
  • lemon wedges, to serve

A photo of Greek-style Chicken Pittas
Greek-style Chicken Pittas

Method

  1. Mix the chicken strips, oregano, lemon juice, garlic and black pepper together and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix together the cucumber and yogurt. Add tomatoes and mint together and mix with the salad leaves.
  3. Heat the oil in a small pan, add the chicken and mix well to ensure even cooking – it should take around 4 minutes.
  4. Warm the pitta bread in a dry frying pan or toaster and cut in half and open to create pockets.
  5. Fill with salad and chicken, squeeze with lemon juice from the wedges and drizzle with the yogurt and cucumber mix.

Tips

  • For a veggie version, use chargrilled slices of aubergine and courgette or falafels.
  • This also works well with strips of pork or turkey.


Mark's Spanish Chicken

This is a firm family favourite and my favourite dish to cook - the bang for your buck is amazing and the juices from the smoked bacon infusing in the chicken while it's cooking make this a very special, but easy to cook dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 pack Smoked Bacon, cut into strips
  • 1 pack diced Chorizo (can be omitted)
  • 4 Chicken Breast pieces, cut into cubes
  • 1 large Onion, sliced or chopped per your preference
  • 1 can/carton of chopped plum tomatoes and/or passata
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped/crushed (I use Lazy Garlic from a jar)
  • 1 pack of Chicken Stock
  • Water

A bit on the side

  • 1 pack of Fresh Tagliatelle
  • Garlic Bread

From the cupboard

Adjust the amounts of these to your particular taste - the guide below is a starter for you.
  • 2 tsp Italian Herbs
  • 2 tsp Oregano (Perhaps, one day we'll all agree on which syllable to stress)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • A dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Olive/Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar

Method

  1. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan
  2. Add the bacon and cook until soft
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes
  4. Add the Chorizo and cook for 2 minutes
  5. Add the chicken breast and cook until the cubes of chicken can be cut with a plastic cooking spoon (or just about to brown slightly)
  6. Add the Onion and cook until softened
  7. Add the tomatoes/passata
  8. Add the Chicken Stock
  9. Add the Italian Herbs
  10. Add the Sugar Fun Fact: The sugar neutralizes the tart acid from the tomatoes
  11. Add a dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  12. Add water to make it slightly more watery than you need (some will evaporate during cooking)
  13. Simmer for 35 minutes, putting in the Garlic Bread at the right time, per the cooking instructions
  14. Add the Oregano
  15. Start cooking the fresh tagliatelle
  16. Serve both with the garlic bread

A photo of Mark's Spanish Chicken



Chili con Carne

I simply love this chili recipe from Simply Recipes. This is my variation on their base recipe.

Ingredients

Chili Paste

  • 2 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 3-4 tbsp water

Main

  • 1 pack of smoked bacon
  • Lean beef steak chopped into cubes
  • Salt
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeño chili peppers, stems removed, seeded, ribs removed, minced

Sauce

  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp sugar

Later

  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp cornflour, dissolved in a couple tablespoons of water
  • Salt

Garnish

  • Grated cheddar cheese and chopped red onion for garnish

Method

1. Make the chili paste: In a small bowl mix the chili powder, chipotle chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, thyme, and ground coriander seeds. Mix in water so that chili forms a light paste. Set aside.

A paste made from chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme and crushed coriander seeds

2. Cook the bacon: Cook the bacon in a large frying pan on medium high heat until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel. Pour the bacon fat from the pan into a separate container, reserve. When the bacon cools, crumble it into smaller pieces and set aside.

Crispy Bacon strips on a paper towel to soak up fats

3. Brown beef chunks in bacon fat: Increase heat to medium-high, add back in 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Working in batches so that you don't crowd the beef (crowding will steam cook the meat instead of browning it), brown the beef cubes on all sides, lightly salting as you cook the beef. Remove beef from the pan, set aside.

Browned Cubed Steak

4. Cook onions: Add another Tablespoon of bacon fat to the pan. Add the chopped onions and sauté until soft ‑ about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño, cook until fragrant ‑ 1 minute more. Add the chili paste and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Sauteed Onions, Chili and Garlic

5. Put beef and onions in a big pot, add tomatoes, water, lime juice, sugar: Into a large thick-bottomed Dutch oven, put onion chili mixture, beef, bacon, tomatoes (break up the whole tomatoes with your fingers as you put them in the pot), water, lime juice and sugar. Heat the chili on medium high heat until it comes to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Then uncover and cook for another half hour, keeping the temperature at a place where you can maintain a simmer.

The chili con carne in the pot at the start of the cookingprocess

Tip: I added 5 squares of Kim's chocolate bar while it was cooking (don't tell Kim!)

6. Thicken with cornflour: Mix the cornflour powder into a little water to dissolve the corn starch (otherwise you'll have lumps to deal with) and add to the chili to thicken it.

7. Add kidney beans: Gently mix in the kidney beans. Add salt to taste. Adjust seasoning. Depending on the acidity of the tomatoes and lime juice you may need a little more sugar to bring the stew to balance. At this point you can also add a little more chili powder if you desire more heat.

Chili with kindney beans added. Before thickener has taken hold.

8. Add toppings to serve: Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and chopped red onion. Serve with garlic bread, tortilla chips, and or rice.

Finished Chili con Carne - no cheese/onion garnish


IKEA Swedish Meatballs

For the COVID-19 pandemic, IKEA have released their Swedish Meatballs recipes for you to make at home.

A graphic from IKEA showing how to make their famous meatballs
IKEA Meatballs


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