Pizza

On 20th March 2016, This was Dinner

The weather is really getting on my nerves at the minute. I had planned to do some gardening yesterday but it was freezing and there was often a little drizzle in the air so that was out. Today was perfect whether for gardening when I got up but the urge to garden was not there. It turned cold really quickly so I’m glad I didn’t bother.

It was supposed to be pizza for Good Friday but the other option was chicken and chips and we had a version of that on Friday night.

I made my bases using a bread mix. Yep, lazy I know. My tomato base was passata mixed with Italian herbs and spices.

Prepare the bases then place them on preheated baking trays before ‘building’.

Pizza 1 – Spicy Salami, Chorizo & Cherry Tomato

Put the oven on high and halve some cherry tomatoes. Season with salt, sprinkle with chilli flakes and drizzle with olive oil. Pop in the oven then turn the heat off completely after two minutes. You can leave this for 2 – 24 hours.

Spread the passata over the base. Add the cherry tomatoes. sprinkle with grated mozzarella, add the meats (the prepacked sliced ones), scatter with a little cheddar and sprinkle with finely chopped green chilli. Sprinkle with some mixed herbs.

Takes about 10 minutes in the oven (190°c fan), depending on the thickness of your base.

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Pizza 2 – Seafood with Capers

Spread the passata over the base and sprinkle with grated mozzarella and cheddar. Add a few anchovies. Scatter over some tuna (from a tin), small prawns, and capers. Sprinkle with dried oregano.

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Serve with a beer or two.

Bean & Feta Stuffed Peppers

On 17th February 2016, This was Dinner

I made these when I got in from the gym. There was a large filling to pepper space ratio and these were decent sized peppers.

I don’t often comment on how I cook things differently from the recipe but this one really stood out. The original recipe (which I hardly ended up following at all) precooks the peppers and I think that would have spoiled them. My opinion of course.

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 170°c (fan)
  • Halve and deseed 2 peppers
  • Slice a small red onion
  • Cut an aubergine into cubes
  • Cut some feta cheese into cubes
  • Finely slice a red chilli
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Finely chop a garlic clove
  • Chop some parsley
  • Get ground cumin, ground coriander, can of chopped tomatoes, can of kidney beans, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic until starting to soften. Stir in the cumin and coriander. Cook for a few minutes then add the chilli and aubergine. Pour in the tomatoes and the beans (Still in their water is fine). Season.

Cook for about 15 minutes.

Pop the peppers in a baking tray then put some of the feta in the bottom. Add the bean mixture then add more feta.

Keep the remaining bean mixture warm.

Top with the cheddar and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Dish it up…

Put some of the bean mixture in a bowl and top with the peppers.

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I would normally stuff peppers with a rice based dish so this made a nice change.

Braised Coconut & Chilli Beef

On 9th January 2016, This was Dinner

Out with the old in January, I thought it was time to use up all the odds and ends in the freezer and pantry. This recipe stemmed from having a can of coconut milk, plenty of chillies and a piece of ginger. It was £3.05 f0r 2 glorious pieces of shin beef.

Preparing:

  • Finely chop an onion
  • Peel & bash 3 garlic cloves
  • Finely chop a ghost chilli (be careful!)
  • Peel & grate a piece of ginger
  • Cut some charlotte potatoes into pieces
  • Get ground mace, madras curry powder, sumac, shin beef, coconut milk, chopped tomatoes, dried thyme, oil & seasoning

Making:

Mix the curry powder with the sumac and mace. Season the beef and add to the spices, mixing well.

Heat some oil in a pan and brown the beef (in batches if needed).

Pop in a casserole dish then add a little more oil to the heated pan and cook the onion and chilli for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and any leftover spices, stir for a minute then add everything to the beef.

Pour in the tomatoes and the coconut milk along with a little of the thyme. Bring to a gentle simmer then partially cover and cook for a couple of hours. You might need to add some water from time to time.

After two hours, check the seasoning and add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender.

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I made mine with a couple of changes, a little spicier too. The original can be found here.

Hot & Sour Chicken Noodle Soup

This was a lovely fresh and light soup after a ‘dirty’ kebab last night.

Boil up a couple of chicken breasts in some stock then turn down and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes depending on the size of the breasts. Shred the chicken and set to one side.

Add thinly sliced spring onion, finely chopped garlic, a stalk of lemongrass, lightly bashed and cut into smallish pieces., thinly sliced red and green chillies and a few lime leaves. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

Cook some fine rice noodles and drain.

Add fish sauce, sugar and the chicken to the broth, add lime juice and a little seasoning.

Pour the chicken broth over the drained noodles.

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Using CHICKEN BREAST, VEGETABLE STOCK, SPRING ONIONS, GARLIC, LEMONGRASS, RED CHILLI, GREEN CHILLI, NOODLES, FISH SAUCE, LIME LEAVES, LIME and SUGAR…

This was dinner…27th July 2014.

On Monday we went back to our childhoods with Ham, Egg and Waffles.

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This was dinner…28th July 2014.

Piri-Piri Fish with Spicy Peas

Oh my goodness me!

I’m on a BBC Good Food frenzy this week as I bought the new issue. I’d been craving the idea of fish and chips for days so when I saw this recipe in there it had to be made.

Here’s how I did mine:

First up I made a piri piri sauce, for the life of me I can’t find it now, so I can’t attach the link. I remember that it said ‘as close to Nandos as possible’ but I can’t tell you if it is as it’s about 8 years since I last went.

Now I know piri piri comes from the birds eye chilli but I didn’t have any so please don’t split hairs. I love to watch cookery shows, getting tips to help me cook/prepare food over the years have been invaluable but Jamie Oliver advising to put chillis in the freezer and no defrosting needed has to be one of the best of recent times.

Stick this lot in a blender:

3 largish red chillis (just chop the tops off)

1 red pepper

2 tbs paprika

2 tsp salt

1tbs dried oregano

½tsp chilli powder

5 garlic cloves

1tsp black pepper

4 tbs balsamic vinegar

Juice of a lemon

Add olive oil (about 125ml), then whizz it up again. If you need to adjust the consistency just add water. Also, add a bit of orange food colouring if required.

As I said, I can’t testify to it’s Nando likeness but it is bloody lovely.

Meanwhile cut some potatoes to your desired chip size and toss in oil and seasoning.

Pop them in a 180ºC (fan) oven on a baking tray and cook according to their size. Mine took about 40 minutes so after 20 I gave them a turn and with 10 minutes remaining I moved them all to one side.

Add sea bass fillets (upside down) to the tray and smother with the piri piri, cook for the remaining 10 minutes.

To make your spicy peas, once you have cooked frozen peas add chopped garlic, chopped chilli (I used one of my red ones) and chopped mint. Add a bit of butter and mash gently.

Serve up and be prepared for utter heaven.

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This was dinner… 2nd October 2013.