Chicken with cashew nuts

Last night I fancied a bit of something Thai for Alberto and I and so I flicked through my cookbook A Little Taste of Thailand and found this recipe – tasty and easy so I thought I’d give it a go. I used fresh chillies rather than dried ones as they didn’t have any in Sainsbury’s and that seemed to work ok.

Serves 4

1-2 dried long red chillies
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
3 tablespoons of chicken stock
½-1 teaspoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g of chicken thighs, finely sliced
½ a red pepper, cut into strips
½ a carrot, sliced diagonally
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
3 spring onions, cut into 1″ lengths
Ground white pepper, to taste

Mix the fish sauce, oyster sauce, chicken stock and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Take the stems off the dried chillies, cut them into 1cm pieces and discard the seeds.

Heat the oil in a wok over a medium heat and stir-fry the cashews for 2-3 minutes until light brown. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Stir-fry the chillies in the same oil over a medium heat for 1 minute and then remove and set aside.

Heat the same oil again and stir fry the garlic until light brown. Add the chicken pieces and cook over a high heat for 4-5 minutes until golden and cooked through. (If you’re cooking for 4 you may need to cook the garlic and chicken in two batches, as I was only cooking for 2 I was able to do it all at once.)

Add the pepper, carrot and onion to the wok along with the sauce mixture. Still well to combine and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.

Add the cashews, chillies and spring onions. Toss well, sprinkle with ground white pepper and cook for a further minute.

Serve with boiled rice.

Very tasty and you can make the flavour stronger by using more chillies and white pepper if you wish.


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Sausage whirls with apples, shallots and wasabi mash

Fig was over for dinner and Sarah-jane Adventures on Tuesday evening and the weather was a bit grotty and wet so I decided to cook this recipe that I got from a Sainsbury’s recipe card – it’s basically bangers and mash but that seemed entirely appropriate for such an autumnal evening. It makes a rather tasty dish and I made a couple of little alterations to the recipe which seemed to work nicely. I added a large sliced leek and used an equal amount of vegetable stock and dry cider, which made a larger amount of ‘gravy’ than the original recipe would’ve but extra gravy is no bad thing!

I served it with wasabi mash, roasted asparagus and steamed broccoli and black cabbage.

Serves 3

454g pack of Cumberland (or your preferred pork) sausages
200g of shallots, peeled and halved
1 large leek, sliced
3 Cox apples, cored and cut into wedges
200ml of vegetable stock
200ml of dry cider
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of soft dark brown sugar

For the Mash:

3 large baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 generous glug of olive oil
A good squeeze of wasabi paste

Pre-heat the oven to 200.

Untwist the links between the sausages to make one long sausage and squeeze the meat evenly along the entire casing until there are no gaps.

Twist the long sausage in two places to create three even sausages and then cut into three. Curl each sausage into a spiral and fix into place with a cocktail stick.

Put teh sausages, shallots, apples and leek into a large roasting dish. Pour over the stock and cider, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the sugar.

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or so until everything has cooked, the sausages are golden and the sugar has caramelised.

Meanwhile make the mash and steam/roast the over vegetables.

Serve the sausage whirls on a bed of apples, leeks and shallots with the juices from the pan poured over the top.

Very tasty.

It’s a good job that it’s a tasty recipe as I went to my friend Phil’s last night for dinner and by coincidence he cooked exactly the same recipe!!


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Caribbean pork stew

I’ve had this recipe, from a Sainsbury’s recipe card, hanging around for ages, meaning to get ’round to cooking it. It uses leftover roast pork and, last night, I did Alberto and I a lovely tasty pork roast and so I had plenty of meat leftover. (The pork roast was delicious by the way – a nice roast pork leg joint, with plenty of crackling, and a tasty rub made of crushed sage, crushed garlic, sea salt and olive oil, which I spread over the meat. I accompanied it with roast potatoes, honey-glazed carrots and parsnips, steamed tenderstem broccoli, cheesy Brussels sprouts and steamed black cabbage. It’s possible that the remains of the rub that I used on the roast pork might’ve affected the taste of this stew slightly but it was still tasty so I don’t care!)

Serves 4 but I scaled it down for just me.

1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 red onions, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons of spicy jerk paste (I used two and a half teaspoons instead – the jerk paste I have is very spicy so I toned it down slightly.)
2 red peppers, de-seeded and sliced.
1 carrot, cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
200-300ml of coconut milk
390g carton of chopped tomatoes (the only carton I had in the cupboard was tomatoes with basil and garlic, but I don’t think that it made much difference to the end flavour.)
300g of leftover roast pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
100g of baby leaf spinach
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a wok, add the onion wedges and cook for 5 minutes or so, until softened.

Stir in the jerk paste, peppers and carrots and cook for 10 minutes or so.

Add the coconut milk, chopped tomatoes and roast pork pieces and stir well to combine.

Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the liquid reduces a little and thickens. Adjust the jerk paste to taste.

Stir in the spinach and chopped parsley and cook for a minute or so until wilted.

Serve with boiled rice.

Delicious with lovely flavours.



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Creamy chicken, proscuttio and cheese pasta bake

I made this for Alberto and I on Friday evening – it had been a cold, wet day and so something warming, cheesy and creamy was just the right thing.

I cobbled this together out of various ‘pasta bake’ ideas and just sort of made it up as I went along. As it’s been three days since I made it let’s see how accurately I can remember what went into it! :D

Serves 3 (well, it gave us two generous portions for dinner and enough left over for Alberto to take to work for lunch the following day)

5 chicken thigh fillets, sliced
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large leek, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
3 slices of proscuttio, roughly torn
½-1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
300g of fusili pasta
1 ball of mozzarella, drained and thickly sliced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
A knob of butter
2 tablespoons of Parmiggiano Reggiano
300ml of double cream
1 egg yolk
1 small glass of white wine
A handful of basil leaves, torn
2 handfuls of baby leaf spinach
Grated strong cheddar, to taste
Some knobs of Saint Agur, to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 200

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion and garlic until softened.

Add the chicken pieces and cook for five minutes or so until golden and cooked though.Stir in the proscuttio and fry until lightly crispy.

Add the leek and slices of pepper and fry for a further 4 minutes or so.

Sprinkle with dried chilli flakes and cook for a further minute, then add the wine, increase the heat and cook for another couple of minutes until the liquid reduced slightly.

Whilst this is cooking mix the egg yolk with the cream.

Pour the cream into the frying pan, stir well to combine with the meat and vegetables and increase the heat and cook until the cream thickens. Add the basil leaves and stir in.

Whilst the cream is thickening, cook the pasta in boiling water until nicely al dente. Drain.

Stir the drained pasta into the creamy sauce, stir well to combine.

Toss in the spinach leaves and stir in until lightly wilted.

Transfer the pasta and cream sauce to a large oven-proof dish.

Place the mozzarella slices on top, dot the knobs of Saint Agur over the dish, sprinkle the Parmiggiano over the top, then the grated cheddar – I like a lot of cheese so I used a fair bit!

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or so until bubbling and golden.

Serve immediately with garlic bread!



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Pork, apple and cider pie

On Wednesday evening I fancied cooking a pie for Alberto and I and I wanted to do new one. I searched around and found a tasty looking recipe which I adapted for dinner and served with wasabi mash, steamed spring greens and roasted asparagus. It’s a really tasty little recipe and the cider and chicken stock combine well to form a thick, rich sauce, flavoured with the chopped sage.

1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium leeks, sliced
500g of pork shoulder, cut into 3-4cm pieces
2 tablespoons of plain flour
175ml of dry cider
175ml of chicken stock
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced
6 large sage leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
375g of ready-made puff pastry

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the onion and leek and cook gently for 8-10 minutes, or until soft but not coloured.

Remove from the pan.

Add a little more oil, increase the heat to medium-high and add the pork.

Brown it well on all sides.

Turn the heat down a little. Return the onion and leek to the pan an sprinkle everything with the flour, stir and cook for one minute.

Gradually add the cider and stock, stirring them in so that the flour is absorbed.

Add the apples and sage.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the pork is tender.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 3mm thickness adn line a 20cm circular pastry dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 200.

Place the cooked filling in the lined pie dish and then roll out more pastry to form a lid.

Place the lid over the pie and press down the edges to seal. Crimp the edges and trim off any excess pastry.

Brush the pastry with a little milk and make a steam hole in the centre.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden-brown.



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Red roasted pork with peppered noodles

I had Phil over for dinner and Doctor Who on Monday evening (we watched the first five episodes of The Reign of Terror – episode 6 and the extras next week!) and decided to cook this lovely recipe from The Spice of Life cook book. It’s a nice, tasty little recipe but it does require a bit of pre-preparation.

1 tablespoon of Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
350g of pork fillet
2 nests of medium egg noodles
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 orange pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
½ a courgette, sliced into thin ribbons
½ a teaspoon of ground white pepper
1 small bunch of fresh chives, snipped
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Mix the red curry paste with the soy sauce in a small bowl and spread over the pork fillet. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200.

Roast the pork in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven, cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente. Drain , refresh with cold water and set aside.

Heat the oil in a hot wok over a medium heat and add the garlic, ginger and onion and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add the sliced peppers and the ground white pepper and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until tender.

Add the courgette ribbons and fry for a further minute. Stir in the chives and chopped coriander.

Add the cooked noodles and mix well.

Divide between the serving dishes.

Slice the cooked pork into 5mm slices and arrange on top of the noodles.


Nice – tasty and spicy!


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On Friday night I fancied pizza for dinner in the evening. Alberto was going out (and, in the end I influenced his decision and he ended up going out for dinner to a pizza place!) so I was only cooking for myself. There’s not really much of a recipe to detail here as you can top the base with whatever you like. I opted for 3 generous teaspoons of green pesto as a base topping instead of tomato, and topped that with a handful of rocket, some thin slices of red pepper, some slender asparagus stems, snapped in half, half a sliced red onion rings, some sliced chorizo, some torn up strips of Serrano ham, some halved cherry tomatoes, a generous helping of mozzarella chunks and finally a sprinkling of finely grated Parmiggiano Reggiano.

The dough can be made as little as 10 minutes before the start of cooking, although I prefer to let it rest for about half an hour before cooking. This also allows time for my pizza stone to warm up. If you’ve not got one I’d thoroughly recommend them, they really help to make the base of the pizza lovely and crispy.

125g of strong white bread flour
½ a teaspoon of salt
½ a teaspoon of dried yeast
1 tablespoon of olive oil
100-125ml of warm water (basically use enough to mix the dough together – add it a bit at a time and judge it as it goes.)

Pre-heat the oven to 200 and pop the pizza stone in to warm through for about half an hour.

Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl, add the oil and then stir in the warm water to made a soft dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes or so until the ingredients come together and form a soft dough.

Leave to one side, cover the bowl with a tea towel and rest the dough until the pizza stone is is warmed through.

When the stone is ready, roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a roughly oval shape.

Place on the pizza stone and top as you like.

Cook in the oven for 12 minutes or so until the toppings are cooked and the base is crispy.



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Chicken saltimbocca with new potatoes, roasted asparagua and a munchkin

Yesterday, because Alberto had been at work since 5am, I offered to cook dinner and this Gino D’Acampo recipe caught my eye. It’s really tasty and quite quick and easy to do. I accompanied it with roasted asparagus and a munchkin. Don’t worry – we weren’t eating one of the inhabitants of The Land of Oz – a munchkin is a cute, tiny pumpkin which I boiled for just over 20 minutes, cut in half, de-seeded and popped a knob of butter on. Very tasty.

Serves 2

1 chicken breast per person, flattened
1 slice of Parma ham, per chicken breast
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 slices mozzarella per chicken breast
15g of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
160g of new potatoes, sliced, boiled until tender and drained
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200.

Before starting the chicken, boil the sliced potatoes until tender, drain and set aside.

Place the chicken breast between two sheets of cling film, then flatten with a rolling pin until half as thick. (This is astonishingly therapeutic if you’ve had a frustrating day!)

Remove the cling film and lay the Parma ham on top of the chicken.

Heat the oil in an large frying pan and fry the chicken, chicken-side down, for 3-4 minutes.

Remove frmo the pan, place in a foil-lined roasting dish and lay the mozzarella slices on top of the ham.

Place in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes until the chicken is cooked though and the cheese has melted

Meanwhile heat the butter in a frying pan until foaming, add the potato slices and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Fry, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden-brown and crisp.

To serve, spoon the new potatoes onto a plate and top with the chicken.

Delicious!! Good old Gino!


P1050044 - warm




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Teriyaki steak with asparagus and spring onions

I realised today that I hadn’t updated this blog for a week. I’ve been doing lots of cooking, but it has all been recipes I’ve already blogged about. So today I texted Alberto and told him that I was cooking him dinner. It turned out that he’s got to be up at 5am tomorrow morning so he was quite glad for me to cook. I flicked through several cook books and eventually decided upon this one from the Giraffe cook book. It’s a tasty one. The recipe recommends marinating the steaks for several hours – I could only manage about an hour and a half but the meat was still wonderfully flavoured so I can only imagine how good it would’ve tasted if I’d managed the full time.

I served this with wasabi mash and steamed bok choi.

2 sirloin steaks
3 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce
3cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced and lightly mashed with a little salt
12 asparagus spears – chop of the last, woody inch or two
8 spring onions, trimmed but left whole, with the green parts attached

Combine the teriyaki sauce with the ginger and garlic. Toss the steaks in the marinade so that they are well coated and refrigerate for as long as possible.

Drain the steaks, lightly oil a ridged frying pan and heat over a medium heat. Cook the steaks for 2-3 minutes each side, until done to your taste.

Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Blanch the asparagus and spring onions in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, drain and refresh with cold water.

Lightly oil the ridged pan, heat over a medium heat and sear the onions and asparagus for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked.

Slice the steaks thinly on the diagonal.

Serve with the onions and asparagus and with a small bowl of soy sauce for dipping.


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Chicken chasseur

Last night I had the lovely Fig over for dinner and Sarah-Jane Adventures (Mark of The Berserker and The Temptation of Sarah-Jane Smith. And, sneaked in, because it had The Brigadier in, episode one of Enemy of the Bane.) and I was in the mood for a bit of chicken so I decided to cook chicken chasseur. I’ve only ever cooked it before from a packet mix so this was the first time I’ve cooked it from scratch – the recipe comes from the The Food of France cook book that Alberto bought me the other year.

Serves 3

1 medium chicken, jointed. (I just used 2 chicken thighs each, 6 in total, for the three of us.)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
60g of butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 red pepper, de-seeded and diced (the original recipe uses mushrooms, but, as neither Alberto and I like them, I substituted some red pepper instead.)
½ a leek, thickly sliced
1 tablespoon of plain flour
125ml of white wine
250ml of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of brandy
2 teaspoons of tomato purée
2 teaspoons of chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon of chopped parsley


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add half of the butter. When the butter is foaming, add the chicken pieces, skin side down and cook for five minutes, until the skin is crispy.

Turn the chicken pieces over and cook for a further 5-8 minutes, until nicely browned.

Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and keep warm.

Pour off the excess fat from the pan and return to the heat. Melt the remaining butter, add the chopped shallots and gently fry until soft and starting to brown. Add the diced red pepper and leek and cook, covered, for 3 minutes.

Add the flour and cook for one minute, stirring continuously.

Stir in the white wine, brandy, tomato purée and stock. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat and stir in the tarragon.

Return the chicken to the pan, cover and simmer over a gentle heat for 30 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

Sprinkle with the cooked parsley and serve.

I served it with new potatoes, roasted asparagus and steamed spring greens.

Lovely and the sauce is rich and tasty.



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