Sesame and ginger meatballs with pak choi, chilli and red rice

On Tuesday I had the lovely Alberto over for dinner and a couple of episodes of Miranda and I decided to cook this, which is yet another from The Roasting Tin, as we do both love a meatball.

The recipe is tasty and easy to do, however I was slightly hamstrung by the fact that Sainsbury’s didn’t have any red rice, so I had to go for black rice instead. They were also out of pak choi – I had some in the fridge left over from the other day, but not much, so I popped in some cavolo nero as well. The end result was still tasty and the meatballs were good.

Serves 4

200g of red rice, rinsed
500g of beef mince
3 spring onions, very finely sliced
½ a red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
5cm ginger, grated
1 clove of garlic, grated
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
1 teaspoons of sea salt
4 pak choi, cut into eighths

For the dressing:

2cm of ginger, grated
1 clove of garlic, whole
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 spring onions, sliced
½ a red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 teaspoon of salt

Preheat the oven to 180.

Mix together the mince, spring onions, chilli, ginger, grated garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and salt, until completely mixed. Shape into walnut sized balls.

Place them in a roasting tin and roast in the oven until golden brown and cooked though.

Whilst the meatballs are cooking cook the rice in boiling salted for as long as the instructions on the packet advise. (usually around 25-30 minutes) Once cooked drain.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing togther and set aside.

Once the meatballs have been in for 25 minutes, add the pak choi to the roasting tin, tucking it in around the meatballs, and roast for a further 5-6 minutes, until wilted.

Remove the roasting tin from the oven and, tip in the rice. Pour over the dressing, mix well and serve.


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Steam Roasted Salmon and Broccoli, with lime, ginger, garlic and chilli

I cooked this for myself on Monday evening, and yes, it’s another one from The Roasting Tin, which Vanessa gave me. Delicious. The lime, ginger and chilli mean that it’s full of lovely flavours.

Serves 4

400g of broccoli, cut into small florets (I favour tenderstem broccoli)
2 cloves of garlic, grated
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
4 salmon fillets
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
½ a red onion, cut into thin strips
A handful of asparagus, woody ends removed and cut onto 2” chunks
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2cm of ginger, peeled and grated
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Zest and juice of 2 limes
30g of fresh corinader, finely chopped
55g of peanuts, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180.

Place the broccoli florets, red pepper, asparagus and red onion in a large roasting tin, scatter over the grated garlic, sprinkle with oil and mix well.

Place the salmon fillets on top of the broccoli. Then cover the tin tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through.

Meanwhile make the dressing by mixing together the spring onions, ginger, chilli, fish sauce, vegetable oil, lime zest, lime juice, coriander and peanuts, Set aside.

Remove the salmon, red onion, red pepper, asparagus and broccoli from the tin, drizzle most of the dressing over the salmon and use the rest on the broccoli and other vegetables.


I accompanied this with black cabbage.

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Roast chicken, squash and red onion, with lemon and rosemary

Yet another new one from The Roasting Tin. (It’s great little book – thanks Vanessa!) I cooked this one on Sunday evening for Neil and I. I popped on some quartered preserved lemons as well as the wedges of ordinary lemon. The lemon and rosemary provide a lovely sharpness and freshness, which is offset by the sweetness of the honey. Full of flavour. I served it with black cabbage and steamed broccoli.

Serves 2

2 chicken thighs per person
300g of butternut squash, cut into wedges
1 red onion, cut into eighths
1 lemon, cut into eighths
2 preserved lemons, quartered
6 cloves of garlic, bashed but unpeeled
4-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Olive oil
2-3 tablespoons of honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180.

Place the chicken thighs, squash, red onion, lemon, garlic and rosemary in a large roasting tin.

Splash over a generous amount of olive oil, and then drizzle over the honey. Then season well with salt and pepper.

Mix the ingredients together well so that everything is coated with the oil and honey.

Place in the oven and roast for 50 minutes to an hour until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy.


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Five-spice pork chops with roasted sweet potato, ginger and garlic

I cooked this for myself on Saturday evening – it’s another new one from the cookbook that Vanessa gave me – The Roasting Tin. It’s quick and easy to do and really tasty – full of nice flavours. Definitely one to do again.

Serves 2

600g of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5cm of ginger minced or finely grated
1 star anise
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1-2 pork chops or loin steaks per person (depends how hungry you are!)
2 teaspoons of Chinese 5-Spice
Sea salt
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
Soy sauce to taste
Some stalks of pak choi, quartered

Preheat the oven to 200.

Mix the sweet potato chunks in a roasting tin, with the garlic, ginger, star anise, sesame oil and one teaspoon of sea salt.

Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes

Rub the pork steaks all over with the five-spice, a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of sesame oil.

Once the sweet potato has been in the oven for 20 minutes pop the coated steaks on top and the return to the oven and roast for a further 25 minutes.

Toss the pak choi in sesame oil and add it to the tin 7 minutes before the end of the end of the cooking time.

Scatter over the finely chopped spring onion and season the dish with soy sauce to taste.



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Chicken with chorizo, chickpeas and tomatoes

On Sunday I was in London for the day and met up with the lovely Vanessa and she gave me a new cookbook that she’d found for me – The Roasting Tin – Simple One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer. It’s a lovely little book full of tasty, easy to cook recipes that can be done in one roasting dish. So, on Tuesday I had Phil over for dinner and Doctor Who (The Monster of Peladon Episode 1-3) and it seemed a good opportunity to test drive one of the recipes…

Serves 4

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
100g of chorizo, roughly chopped
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
300ml of water
2 skin-on chicken thighs per person
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 160.

Place the onion, garlic, rosemary, chorizo, chickpeas and tomatoes in a roasting tin. Use the water to rinse out the tomato tin and then add the water to the roasting dish as well.

Season well with salt and black pepper.

Arrange the chicken thighs over the tomato mixture and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and then place in the oven and roast for 40 minutes.

After 40 minues, turn the heat up to 180 and roast for a further 40-50 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown.

Serve immediately with the sauce.

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Lamb and Leek stir-fry

Last Tuesday (it has taken me over a week to write this one up! Sorry about that!) I had the lovely Fig over for our usual Tuesday dinner and Doctor Who session, although this time we watched 80s classic Gremlins instead, and I found this recipe in my Big Book of Wok and Stir-Fry cookbook. It’s a tasty one but it does have a couple of minor issues. For example the ingredients list mentions ‘Basic Chinese Stock’, but the instructions refer to Spicy Beef Stock. Also the suggested cooking time means that the leeks are pretty much raw. I gave them a few minutes longer and that softened them up a bit but they were still very chewy.

Serves 2

350g of lamb neck fillet
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of Chinese rice wine
½ a teaspoon of sugar
¼ of a teaspoon of salt
½ a teaspoon of cornflour
2 tablespoons of basic Chinese stock
2 tablespoons of groundnut oil
3 leeks, sliced into 4cm pieces
1 tablespoon of chicken stock (I used 3-4 tablespoons as 1 just didn’t seem sufficient.)
A pinch of white pepper

Slice the lamb, diagonally into bite-sized pieces. Flatten with the back of a knife and place in a bowl along with the garlic, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and salt, stir well to combine and leave to stand for an hour at room temperature.

Mix the cornflour and Chinese stock into a paste.

Heat a wok over a high heat and add a tablespoons of the oil. Add the lamb pieces and stir-fry for 1 minute, then season to taste with the pepper.

Add the cornflour paste and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the wok, set aside and keepo warm.

Wipe the wok clean with kitchen paper. Return the wok to a high heat and add the remaining oil. Add the leeks and chicken stock and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until just cooked, and still bright green and crisp. (I found that the leeks were still too tough after just 2 minutes, so I cooked them for nearer 5. Just use your judgement.)

Return the lamb to the wok and fry for a further minute.

Serve immediately with boiled rice.

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Caramelised pork belly with spring onion mash

I made this on Saturday evening as I had some ‘special offer’ pork belly slices that needed using up. I flicked through several cookbooks looking for pork belly recipes, but although I found a couple of interesting ones, this recipe eventually came from the BBC website. It was ok, but I’m not sure I’ll be rushing to cook it again, as there were a couple of issues, which I shall elaborate on as we go. The accompanying spring onion mash was delicious though as I’ll definitely do that again!

Serves 4

For the pork belly:

75ml of vegetable oil
800g of pork belly, cut into 2” x 1” squares
3” piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
125ml of rice wine
6 tablesoons of light soy sauce
250g of palm sugar this seemed like an awful lot. I used considerably less so the end result probably wasn’t as caramelised as it should’ve been
4 star anise
150ml of hot chicken stock

For the spring onion mash:

600g of baking potatoes suitable for mashing, peeled and cut into chunks
150g of butter
8 saffron strands, soaked in 1 teaspoon of milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 spring onions, trimmed, finely chopped

Cook the squares of pork belly in a pan of boiling water for five minutes, then drain, pat dry with kitchen paper and set aside to cool.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the squares of boiled pork belly, skin-side down, (in batches if necessary.) and fry for 6-8 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. (Issue 1: This was a bit of a nightmare – the pork chunks made the hot fat spit so much that it went everywhere, and as a result it was painful to stand too near.)

Turn the pork belly squares over and fry for a further 3-4 minutes, until crisp. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. (Repeat the process with the remaining batches of pork belly.)

Bring all of the remaining ingredients to the boil in a large wok. When the mixture is boiling, add the fried pork belly and reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering.

Continue to simmer the mixture for 45-50 minutes, (Issue 2: I found that this was far too long and the sauce was suitably thick and glossy after only 20 or so minutes. Just use your judgement.) Adding a little of extra chicken stock to the pan, as necessary, if the mixture starts to dry out.

To make the mash:

Boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.

Drain well, then mash until smooth.

Stir the butter and saffron-infused milk into the mashed potatoes until well combined. Then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and the stir in the spring onions.

To serve, spoon a portion of the spring onion mash into the centre of each serving plate. Place a few squares of pork belly on top of each serving, then spoon over the sauce.

I served this with lemon and chilli char-grilled broccoli.

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Poulet vallée d’auge

I had Abigail over for some dinner and Doctor Who on Wednesday evening and I fancied something French, so I flicked through my cookbook The Food of France and came across this recipe. Like a lot of French food it contains both cream and booze, which is definitely a winner!

I accompanied it with cheesy mash and sautéed spring greens.

Serves 4

1 medium chicken, jointed (I used bone-in chicken thighs for just the two of us, not least because it’s easier than jointing a chicken!)
2 dessert apples
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
60g of butter
½ an onion, finely chopped
½ a celery stalk, finely chopped (as ever I opted for leek)
1 tablespoon of plain flour
80ml of brandy or Calvados
375ml of chicken stock
80ml of crème fraîche

Joint the chicken into eight pieces.

Peel and core the apples, Finely chop half of one apple and cut the rest into twelve wedges. Toss the apple in the lemon juice.

Heat half the butter in a large saucepan, the add the chicken pieces, skin-side down, and cook until golden.

Turn the pieces over and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan, set aside and pour away the fat.

Heat another tablespoon of butter in the same pan and add the onion, celery (leek) and chopped apple, and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes or so, without browning.

Remove from the heat, sprinkle over the flour and stir it in. Add the brandy and then return the pan to the heat. Gradually stir in the chicken stock.

Bring to the boil, return the chicken to the pan, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile heat the remaining butter in a frying pan and fry the apple wedges over a medium heat until golden. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm. Skim the excess fat from the cooking liquid. Add the crème fraîche, bring to the boil and boil for 3-4 minutes, until the sauce is thick enough to lightly cover the back of a spoon.

Season well. Serve the chicken with the apple wedges and with the sauce poured over.


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Poussin Georgian style

I had the lovely David over last night for a spot of dinner and Doctor Who (We watched Knock Knock and Oxygen.) and I fancied cooking some poussin, so I flicked around until I found this recipe. I’ve adapted it a bit – Sainsbury’s didn’t have sour cherries, so I used dried cranberries instead, and rather than walnuts, I used toasted pine nuts.

The recipe says to use 200g of pearl barley for the stuffing, but that was waaaay too much to stuff two poussin. I’d’ve said about 100g would be enough! I also rubbed the skin of the bird with half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper mixed with butter, which is an idea from another recipe – it works well though.

I served this with lemon potatoes and sautéed kale and spinach.

2 poussin
80g of butter
½ a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffing:

200g of pearl barley
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 banana shallot, finely chopped
100g of dried, plump sour cherries
100g of toasted walnuts, chopped (or pine nuts)
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
Juice and finely grated zest of ½ a lemon
150ml of dry white wine
100ml of pomegranate juice

Cook the pearl barley in a pan of boiling water for about 20 minutes, until soft. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180.

Rinse the poussin under cold running water and pat dry thoroughly.

To prepare the stuffing, heat the olive oil in a heavy frying pan and cook the shallot and sour cherries for a few minutes until the cherries are plump and juicy.

Add the cooked pearl barley and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.

Add the toasted walnuts, parsley, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice and zest. Stir well and leave to cool.

Once the stuffing has cooled, use it to stuff the cavities of the two poussin, dividing it evenly between the two.

Mix the cayenne pepper with the butter and smear it liberally over the skin of both birds, then grind some sea salt and black pepper over the skin.

Place the birds in a large roasting tray and add the wine and pomegranate juice. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until cooked through, basting at regular intervals.

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Pork with sweet and sour onion sauce

Last night Neil and I were off to the pub so I fancied something quick and easy to cook beforehand. I found this recipe when I was looking for Thursday evening’s meatballs recipe and thought it looked tasty so I gave it a go. It worked well and was easy to do, although the end result was a little watery as I didn’t reduce the cider vinegar quite enough, Other than that it was good. I upped the vegetable content a bit by adding some sliced red pepper and some sugar-snap peas.

Serves 4

600g pork fillet, cut into 4cm-thick slices
2 tablespoons of freshly ground coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large red onion, halved and sliced
150ml of cider vinegar
75ml of maple syrup
A small bunchof parsley, chopped


Sprinkle the sliced meat on all sides with the black pepper and some salt.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large wok. Sear the meat on both sides until nicely browned.

Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add the remaining oil and the onion to the wok. (along with any other vegetables you might be using.)

Cook for 5 mins, then pour in the vinegar and bubble to reduce for 1 minute or so.

Stir in the maple syrup, then return the pork to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or so, until the pork is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

Serve the pork and sauce on a bed of rice and garnished with chopped parsley. (I forgot the parsley, which is why there’s none in the picture!)

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