Ginger beef with yellow peppers

I got back from seeing my family in Devon on Monday afternoon and I wanted something quick and tasty to cook and so I flicked through my Wok and Stir-Fry cookbook and found this recipe. I like a beef stir-fry and the gingery flavour appealed so I decided to go for it.

It’s quick, easy to do and tasty, with some lovely flavours. I swapped the baby corn for sugarsnap peas as a) I had some in the fridge and b) I’m not that keen on baby corn anyway. I also popped in some red pepper as well as the yellow as, again, I had some in the fridge that needed using up.

Serves 4

500g of beef fillet
2 teaspoons of groundnut oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
A pinch of chilli flakes
2 yellow peppers, de-seeded and thinly sliced
125g of baby corn
175g of mangetout

Noodles to serve

For the marinade:

2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of groundnut oil
1½ teaspoons of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of cornflour

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl, stir in the beef, then cover with clingfilm and set aside, to marinate, for 30 minutes.

Heat the wok over a medium-high heat, then add the oil. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes and cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in the yellow peppers and baby corn and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the mangetout and cook for a further minute.

Remove the vegetables from the wok and add the beef and marinade to the wok and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until cooked to taste. Return the vegetables to the wok, mix well and cook until all the ingredients are heated through.

Serve with the cooked noodles.



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Roasted pork fillet with chorizo and pepper sauce

I had the lovely Figgy over for dinner and zombies last night and so poked around on the BBC Food website until I found this tasty little recipe. Very nice. I coupled it with a mash containing sautéed kale and leek, and some steamed broccoli.

The recipe is tasty and quick and easy to do. I’ll certainly cook this one again.

Serves 2

For the pork:
400g pork fillet, fully trimmed (I used a piece of pork tenderloin)
1 tablespoon of pimenton (or smoked paprika)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ a brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
200g chorizo, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon of pimenton (or smoked paprika)
150g of white Spanish beans (I used cannellini beans and they seemed to work fine)
150g of roasted red peppers, chopped
150ml of double cream
A dash of red wine

For the pork, preheat the oven to 200

Season the pork fillet with the pimenton, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil until hot, add the pork fillet and sear until golden-brown on all sides (about 30-45 seconds on each side).

Transfer to a roasting dish and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes. (The recipe said 6-8 minutes but my piece of pork was quite thick so I increased the cooking time. And it was still a little pink in the middle even with the increased time.)

Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes in the pan before serving.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion, garlic, rosemary and chorizo. Cook over a medium heat until the chorizo is crisp and has released its oil.

Add a dash of red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan, stirring well.

Add the pimenton, beans and peppers and cook for a 2-3 minutes.

Then add the cream, stir in well and cook until the volume of the sauce has reduced by half.

To serve, divide the sauce between two plates. Cut the pork into slices and divide it between the two plates, laying it on top of the sauce.


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Avocado chips

I made these about a week ago but I then forgot to blog about them. Ooops. They’re an alternative to potato chips and whilst they are nice they are a little bland – I guess avocado doesn’t have a huge amount of flavour. Alberto suggested marinating the avocado slices in chilli and lime juice before coating them – that might work. I’ll try that next time!

They’re quite simple to make, although the dipping in flour, egg and breadcrumbs is, as you might expect, quite messy.

Serves 1 (makes about 10 chips)

1 avocado, cut into thick slices
1 plate of flour
1 egg, beaten
Panko breadcrumbs (It always takes more than you think it will!)
Salt and pepper
Spray oil for cooking

Pre-heat the oven to 200

Peel the avocado and cut it into thick slices.

Season the plate of flour well with salt and pepper.

Dip each slice first in flour, then in egg and then, finally in the Panko breadcrumbs, ensuring the each slices is well coated in the crumbs.

Spray a baking tray with cooking oil and then lay the crumbed slices on the tray. Spray the slices with oil, then place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until crispy and golden.

They are nice – crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside – they’re just not bursting with flavour. Still, next time I’ll marinate them!


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Baked eggs with lamb, feta, harissa, tomato sauce and coriander

I had the lovely Abigail over last night for episodes 2-5 of The Ice Warriors and a spot of dinner. I had a flick through some of my cookbooks and found this rather tasty recipe in the book Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour. The recipe as written is a breakfast dish but can be scaled up for a main dish, and is purely vegetarian. I soon sorted that by adding some lamb mince.🙂 I also upped the vegetable level by adding some diced aubergine.

I love the Spanish recipe Huevos a la Flamenca, which I cook quite often, and this is a nice, Middle Eastern variation. I shall certainly be cooking it again.

Serves 2
4 tablespoons of olive oil
500g of lamb mince
1 medium aubergine, diced
3 garlic cloves, bashed and thinly sliced
2 large red onions, cut in half and sliced into 1cm thick half moons
2 teaspoons of turmeric
1 teaspoons of ground coriander
1 teaspoons of ground cumin
½ a teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons of harissa
2 beef tomatoes, roughly chopped
440ml tin of chopped tomatoes#
Sea Salt
A bunch of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
200g of feta cheese
2 large eggs

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until they start to soften. Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin and cinnamon and stir well.

Add the lamb mince, breaking up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon and cook until well browned all over, stirring well to ensure that the lamb is well coated with the spices. Add the aubergine and lightly brown.

Add the harissa paste and stir well to combine.

Add the chopped fresh tomatoes and tinned tomatoes and stir well to combine. (I chucked in a dash of white wine at this point too.) Season well, bring to a simmer. Then simmer for 20 minutes or so, until the sauce has thickened a little and everything is well cooked through.

Pre-heat the over to 180.

Transfer the tomato and meat sauce to a large baking dish.

Scatter the chopped coriander over the top. Then crumble over the feta, poking some of the pieces down under the surface of the sauce.

Make two indentations in the surface of the sauce with the back of a tablespoon and then crack an egg into each indentation.

Bake in the oven for 10-14 minutes until the eggs are set.

Serve immediately.


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Greek Chicken Stew With Cauliflower and Olives

Last night I had the lovely Fig over for our regular Tuesday evening shenanigans. Instead of our usual Doctor Who or zombies we spent most of the evening watching episodes and clips from kitsch 1970s and ’80s television programmes mostly featuring the superlative Hinge and Bracket and the wonderful Beryl Reid. We did finish off with an episode of The Walking Dead though.

Anyway, I saw this recipe being talked about by friends on Facebook so I decided to follow the link and give it a go. It’s a tasty little recipe with some interesting flavours. I’m not a big fan of olives but the flavour works rather well with the other flavours in the stew. I always associate cinnamon more with Moroccan cooking rather than Greek but it works well and the feta crumbled on top certainly gives it a Greek feel.

In a couple of small changes to the recipe I added a couple of dashes of white wine (partly to deglaze the pan after frying the chicken and onions.) I also roasted the cauliflower for 10 minutes or so before adding to the stew.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves crushed
6 to 8 chicken thighs, skinned (I used thigh fillets rather than thighs on the bone. That worked well.)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-2 440ml cans of chopped tomatoes (I also added a little of the passata I had left over from Monday’s dinner, just to thicken the sauce a little.)
½ a teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 small or ½ a large cauliflower, broken into florets, and sliced about ½ inch thick
12 kalamata olives, rinsed, pitted and cut in half
1-2 tablespoons of chopped flat-leaf parsley
60g of feta cheese, crumbled

Heat the oven to 200.

Place the sliced cauliflower on a baking tray, drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast in the oven for 10 minutes or so, until just starting to colour and become tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan and brown the chicken, for about 5 minutes on each side. (if using chopped chicken thigh fillets, then just brown them nicely all over.) Remove the pieces to a plate or bowl as they’re browned. Pour off the fat from the pan.

Add the vinegar to the pan and scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan, and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan, until it begins to soften. (I also added a couple of dashes of white wine to help deglaze the pan.)

Turn the heat to low, cover and let the onion cook for for 5-10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until it is lightly browned and very soft.

Add the garlic and stir together for a minute or two more, until the garlic is fragrant, then add the tomatoes, the cinnamon, thyme, passata if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and simmer 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is reduced slightly.

Return the chicken pieces to the pot, along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. If necessary, add enough water to barely cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Add the roasted cauliflower and kalamata olives and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and the chicken is just about falling off the bone.

Stir in the parsley, and seasoning if required. Serve with the feta sprinkled on top.



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Lamb-stuffed aubergines with Moorish spices and Manchego cheese

On Monday evening, as I was just cooking for myself, I decided to opt for some stuffed aubergines. I’ve done similar recipes before but this one was slightly different so I thought I’d give it a go. I got this recipe from the bbc website but amended it slightly by adding some leek as well. (I do like a bit of leek!)

Serves 4

4 aubergines
6 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1½ teaspoons of freshly ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
½ a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon of pimentón dulce (smoked sweet Spanish paprika)
A large pinch of crushed dried chillies
500g of lamb mince
6 tablespoons tomato sauce (I just used passata – that seemed to work)
100g of Manchego cheese, coarsely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Cut each aubergine in half, lengthways and score the flesh in a tight criss-cross pattern, taking the knife through the flesh down to the skin, but taking care not to cut through the skin.

Place them on a baking tray and drizzle each half with half a tablespoon of the oil, season with salt and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the flesh is soft and tender but not browned. (The recipe says 30-40 minutes, but I found that mine were cooked through after about 25 minutes.)

Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the onion, leek, garlic, red pepper and spices and fry gently for 10 minutes. Add the lamb mince, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, and fry for 5-6 minutes, until all the meat is lightly browned.

Stir in the tomato sauce and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes.

Remove the aubergines from the oven.

Carefully scoop most of the flesh out of the baked aubergine halves, leaving the skins with a layer of flesh about ½cm thick.

Stir the scooped-out flesh into the lamb mixture with half a teaspoon of salt and some pepper to taste.

Spoon the mixture into each aubergine shell and sprinkle with the grated cheese. (I happened to have half a mozzarella ball in the fridge waiting to be used so I covered one half-aubergine with grated mozzarella and the other half with grated Manchego.)

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden-brown.

I served this with kale and corn on the cob.


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Hong Kong-Style Baked Pork Chop Rice

Oh, this is an odd one. Tasty mind you, but odd. A strange combination of elements  – the main components of the dish are Chinese, but the tomato sauce and melted cheese, including mozzarella, give it an Italian flavour, but they actually work rather well together. The recipe comes from the book China Town Kitchen by Lizzie Mabbott. It serves two, but I, obviously, scaled it down a bit for just me. I thought it was a bit ‘veg light’, so I added a few more vegetables to the egg fried rice – only some diced red pepper, some sliced mangetout and a handful of sugar snap peas but they helped to marginally up the vitamin content!

Sainsbury’s failed me on the pork chop front so I used boneless loin steaks instead, but they worked just as well.

Serves 2

For the marinade:

1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce

2 pork chops
2 tablespoons of groundnut oil
Cornflour, for dusting

For the egg fried rice:

50g of frozen peas
2 tablespoons of groundnut oil
250g of cooked jasmine rice
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of light soy sauce
1 spring onion, sliced on the diagonal
I also added some diced red pepper, some mangetout and some sugarsnap peas.

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon of groundnut oil
½ a white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped (I used on big beef tomato and that seemed sufficient.)
6 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon of Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
A pinch of salt
100ml of water
1 teaspoon of cornflour

A handful of grated cheddar
A handful of grated mozzarella

Mix together the Shaoxing wine, light soy and dark soy in a bowl. Pour over the pork chops and turn to ensure that they are well coated. Cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.

For the egg fried rice, first defrost the peas. Then heat the oil in a wok, making sure that you coat the sides of the wok, not just the bottom. Add the cooked rice, breaking up any clumps as you go.

Cook over a highish heat, stirring so that the rice cooks evenly, until the grains of rice start to jump.

Add the peas (and other veg, if using.) and fry for a minute or so, stirring to mix well with the rice. Move to one side of the wok and crack in both of the eggs and add the soy sauce. Stir-fry briskly for 30 seconds or so, to ensure that the egg is suitably broken up and well mixed in.

Remove from the heat and stir in the sliced spring onion.

Transfer to an ovenproof dish.

Preheat the oven to 220.

To make the sauce – heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan and add the onion, garlic and tomato.

Cook over a medium heat until the onion is softened and the tomato starts to break down. Add the ketchup, Worcester sauce, salt, sugar and water, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Mix the cornflour with a little cold water until smooth. Stir into the cooked sauce and cook for a few more minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat.

Whilst the sauce is simmering, heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Shake the marinade from the chops, dust them with cornflour and then fry in the hot oil for about 5 minutes each side, until cooked through.

Leave to rest for a couple of minutes and then slice into 5mm slices.

Place the slices of pork over the rice, then pour the thickened sauce over the top, ensuring that the rice and pork are covered evenly.

Top with the grated cheddar and mozzarella.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the cheese and bubbling and golden.




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Gulai Kambing – Indonesian Lamb Curry with turmeric rice

On Saturday evening I had the lovely Douglas over for dinner and some more Mr Rose and Spyder’s Web and I fancied doing a little curry. This was, I freely admit, because Alberto had made one on Friday evening and the smell of it cooking was so tasty that it made me want one too. I fancied something with lamb and so I flicked around on the internet until I found this tasty little Indonesian recipe. I decided to pair it with the same turmeric rice that Alberto had cooked the night before, which he’d got from the Woman’s Weekly Super Foods cookbook. The rice recipe is easy to do and complements the curry well.. I also added a couple of onion bhajis and some mini-naan breads, with appropriate dips.

Serves 4

750g of lamb, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons of groundnut oil
2 kaffir lime leaves
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised and knotted
1 cardamom pod
1 cinnamon stick
880ml of coconut milk

For the spice paste:

7 shallots
5 cloves of garlic
5 red chilies, deseeded
4 candlenuts (I found a website that suggested using Macadamia nuts as a suitable substitute)
1 inch pieces of fresh ginger
1 inch piece of fresh turmeric (I used a a teaspoon of ground turmeric powder instead.
1 cm piece of fresh galangal
½ a tablespoon of coriander seeds
¼ of a teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of palm sugar (In completely forgot this and the resulting curry still tasted fine.)
2 teaspoons of salt
½ a teaspoon of ground white pepper

For the turmeric rice:

Basmati rice for four
½ a teaspoon of ground turmeric
2 teaspoons of yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
500ml of chicken stock

Using a blender, blend all of the ingredients for the spice paste, until you have a thick paste that is a smooth as you can get it. I found that a hand blender worked fine for this, although I was, obviously, only using half the amount of all of the ingredients, as I was making a curry for two, not four. It’s possible that the hand blender wouldn’t have coped as well with the full amount.

Heat the groundnut oil in a large saucepan and sauté spice paste, kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves, cloves, lemongrass, cardamom pod, and cinnamon stick for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant
Add the lamb and stir well to ensure that the pieces are well coated with the spice paste and then cook until the pieces are browned all over.

Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lamb is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 1½ to 2 hours. I covered the saucepan with a lid as I didn’t want the sauce to reduce too much. Stir regularly.

To make the turmeric rice: in a medium sized saucepan heat the coconut oil and add the mustard seeds, turmeric and rice, stirring well to ensure that the rice is well coated with the oil and turmeric.

Add the stock, then bring to the boil. Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, turn down the heat and simmer the rice for 10-12 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

Turn off heat under the curry and serve immediately with the turmeric rice.



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Chicken with tomatoes and peppers

Last night I had Figgy over for our usual Tuesday evening bout of zombie-action. (3 episodes of series 4 of The Walking Dead.) After a quick g&t enjoying the sunshine in Preston Park we came came back to the flat and I ran up this tasty but simple little recipe. Like Monday night’s dinner it comes from the Nigella Lawson cookbook Nigellissima. It’s simple, with few ingredients, but surprisingly flavoursome. I served it, as Nigella suggests, with spinach, wilted in a little butter, some crusty French bread and some more of the steamed, fried potatoes that I cooked on Monday. (steamed and then fried until golden and crispy, in olive oil with some dried chilli flakes and a pinch of celery salt.)

Serves 3-4

1 tablespoon of garlic oil
1 banana shallot, peeled and finely sliced
500g of chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
2 tablespoons of marsala (I didn’t want to buy a whole bottle of marsala just for two tablespoons so I looked online and found an option of replacing marsala with a mixture of dry white wine and brandy, and that seemed to work.)
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, plus half a tin of water
1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes
1 x 290g jar of flame-roasted red peppers
Put the oil in a large pan and cook the chopped shallot for about 3 minutes, until softened.

Add the chicken pieces and quickly brown them. Then add the oregano and marsala. Once the marsala has bubbled up, add the chopped tomatoes and salt. Add half a can full of water and stir well to combine.

Drain the roasted peppers and then cut then into pieces and pop them into the pan. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and leave to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.

Serve immediately.



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Lamb cutlets with mint, chilli and and golden potatoes (also rocket, halloumi and a bean, pea and feta salad.)

I had the lovely David over on Monday night for dinner and the final two episodes of Season 9 of Doctor Who and so I had a flick through my cookbooks. I found this lovely little recipe in the Nigella Lawson book Nigellissima. (a cookbook I’d actually forgotten that I owned)

The recipe is tasty, quick and easy to do. I substituted lamb chops for lamb cutlets and augmented the meal with a pea, green bean and feta salad, as well as some fried slices of halloumi. Tasty, full of interesting flavours (the heat of the chilli and the coolness of the mint work surprisingly well together. And, given that I don’t like celery, the celery salt was a pleasant but not overpowering addition.) but also light and suitably summery, this recipe was a definite hit.

Serves 4

500g of baby new potatoes, halved but not peeled
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of dried mint
½ a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
½ a teaspoon of celery salt
8 lamb cutlets
150g of rocket
1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint

Steam the potatoes for about 15 minutes, until tender. Once cooked let the potatoes steam dry.

In a large dish, add the olive oil, chilli flakes, dried mint and celery salt. Smoosh the cutlets into the oil and herb mix, ensuring that the spices are well mixed and the cutlets are evenly coated on both sides. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat a large frying pan and place the lamb cutlets in with a little of the oil marinade and fry them, over a medium heat, for 5 minutes on both sides. (When cooking chops I always also put them on their ‘backs’ for a minute or so to crispen up the fat.)

Place a layer of rocket on each of the serving plates. Once the cutlets are cooked place them on the rocket base.

Pop the steamed potatoes in the fat that you cooked the cutlets in and fry for 5 or 6 minutes until crispy and golden.

Once cooked serve with the cutlets and sprinkle everything with the sea salt, chopped parsley and chopped mint.


I also made a salad out of steamed green beans, fresh peas, crumbled feta and thinly sliced red onion.


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