Fish Tacos

On 14th March 2016, This was Dinner

It’s been a busy few days, we have had a wedding anniversary and Mr S had a birthday so we it’s been takeaways and eating out, a couple of which get a mention below.

We saw Jamie Oliver and Fearne Cotton make these tacos on Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast and Mr S decided he wanted them for his birthday. Who was I to argue?

I took the day off so made these at a leisurely pace one I got back from walking Walter.

The fish I used was haddock and sea bream.

A little bit of pre-preparing…

Cook a full bulb of garlic in a 160°(fan) oven for an hour

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc (fan)
  • Trim & peel the pineapple & cut into wedges
  • Finely chop about 4 chillies
  • Finely chop some mint leaves
  • Finely chop a couple of red onions
  • Chop a couple of spring onions
  • Destone and chop an avocado
  • Finely chop some tomatoes
  • Season some fish fillets
  • Zest a lemon
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Get a few limes, sour cream, tortillas, extra virgin olive oil, seasoning

Throw it together…

Heat a pan and cook the pineapple until starting to char. Remove and finely chop. Pop it in a bowl along with any juices.

Add half of the onion, and half of the chillies, half the mint and the juice of one of the limes and season well.

Mix the remaining onion, mint leaves and chillies with the avocado, spring onions, tomatoes and the juice of the other lime. Season and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil and combine well.

Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and mix with the sour cream, seasoning and a squeeze of lime and drizzle of extra virgin oil.

Heat a little oil in a pan. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the fish and cook, skin side down for around 4 minutes. Turn over and cook until the fish is cooked through.

Warm some tortillas in the oven.

Dish it up…

Spread some of the sour cream over the torillas then pop a dollop of the salsa and a dollop of the guacamole on top. Top with some of the fish and a sprinkle of cheddar. Roll and stuff in your face!


There were some extra’s to this but there was more than enough with what we had so I didn’t bother with the slaw or the beans.

We were lucky enough to be given a Christmas gift of afternoon tea at Harvey Nichols and decided to use it as part of our anniversary celebrations. Here are the photo highlights.

Special mention to the fish and chips of Friday night, just because it’s fish and chips, and it was good!


Chicken Biryani

On 7th March 2016, This was Dinner

I’m not obsessed with the stats on the blog, I just love doing it, but what I always notice when I’m making sure I’ve replied to my comments is that a Jamie Oliver Lamb Biryani post is my most popular and still gets plenty of views weekly.

So every time I notice it I think ‘I must make that again’. I finally decided to make a chicken one instead after organising my old recipes last week when I came across this Delicious magazine recipe which claims to be ‘The Best Chicken Biryani’.

I must admit, the lamb one was better but this was still good. You won’t forgive me for all the washing up later either.

A bit of prep before – one to two days before…

Halve some chicken thighs.

Bash & finely chop 6 garlic cloves.

Roughly chop 2 green chillies.

Peel & Grate some fresh ginger.

Get Greek yoghurt, hot chilli powder, sweet paprika, ground coriander & ground turmeric ready.

Mix everything (apart from the chicken) together then stir in the chicken pieces. Cover and chill.

Get Set…

  • Halve some chicken thighs
  • Bruise 6 cardamom pods
  • Finely slice a couple of onions & coat in plain flour
  • Toast some cashew nuts
  • Chop some coriander
  • Get vegetable oil, basmati rice, saffron, ghee*, cloves, milk, bay leaves, cumin seeds, ground nutmeg, star anise, tomato purée & salt ready

Throw it together…

Soak the rice in cold water for an hour.

Heat about 1cm of the oil in a pan and cook the onions for 2-3 minutes until golden, do in batches. Remove to kitchen paper.

Heat more oil in a large pan. Add cloves, cinnamon, cardomom, bay leaves, cumin seeds, nutmeg & star anise and allow everything to release their aromas then add the chicken, along with the marinade.

Cook for 5 minutes then add tomato purée and salt. Simmer for about half an hour until the chicken is cooked. Keep warm over a low heat and add water if required but you don’t want the sauce runny.

Soak the saffron in a little milk.

Cook the rice in boiling, salted water for a few minutes then drain and stir in the ghee.

Heat more of the ghee with some water in a casserole pan with a lid.

Put a third of the rice in the bottom of the pan, drizzle with saffron milk then scatter some of the onions. Pop on half of the chicken then repeat finishing with rice and onions on top.

Pop the lid on and turn up the heat to start the steam then turn down low and cook for 20 minutes.

Scatter over the coriander and cashews.

Dish it up…

Just a big old couple of spoonfuls with a beer!


I loved the onions done like this so much that I’ve used the method again since.

** I couldn’t get my hands on any ghee so I just boiled some butter for around 3 minutes then reduced the heat. It produces a foam which disappears. After about 7 to 8 minutes a 2nd foam appears and the butter turns brown. Strain and use this liquid.

Spiced Shepherds Pie

On 27th February 2016, This was Dinner

Two days of pie. Who am I to complain?

I adore a shepherds pie and was going to make the Jamie Oliver one from his Comfort Food book. However, I hadn’t remembered that it used a shoulder of lamb. It wasn’t what I particularly fancied so I had a nosy around the web and lo and behold, there was Jamie again with this spiced one.

Get set…

  • Finely chop a couple of red onions
  • Peel & finely chop a piece of ginger
  • Finely chop a couple of garlic cloves
  • Deseed and slice a red pepper
  • Peel and chop some potatoes
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Pod 4 cardamom pods
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)
  • Get lamb mince, cinnamon stick, tinned chopped tomatoes, milk, frozen peas, garam masala, butter, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Heat the oil in a pan and add the mince. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the garam masala, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods and cook until brown. Stirring regularly.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for about five minutes. Add the red pepper and cook for a few more minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes and add about half a tins worth of water along with some seasoning. Bring to the boil and cook until thickened.

Whilst it cooks, cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water and cook until tender. Drain and leave to dry a little then pop back in the pan and mash with a little butter and milk. Season.

Stir the peas through the mince.

Transfer to a baking dish and spoon the mash over. Cook for 20 minutes then sprinkle the cheese over and cook for another 10 minutes.

Dish it up…

Just a nice serving with a drizzle of ketchup.


A nice twist on what is never a bad pie choice.

As a coincidence, my memories came up on Facebook and I actually made a shepherd’s pie on the 27th February last year too.

Smoked Mackerel Carbonara

On 18th January 2016, This was Dinner…

I love a simple carbonara and when I spied this Jamie Oliver dish I thought it would make a nice alternative to bacon.

I’d forgotten to pick up a courgette but to be honest, it didn’t miss it.

Get set…

  • Finely slice an onion
  • Chop a few rosemary leaves
  • Tear up the mackerel into bite sized pieces discarding the skin
  • Whisk up a couple of eggs
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Get pasta, single cream, olive oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to the instructions.

Heat some oil in a pan and add the onion, cook until starting to soften. Add the rosemary and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the mackerel. Stir well.

Whilst this cooks, mix the eggs with the cream, cheese and some seasoning.

Drain the pasta, keeping a little of the water back if required. Add to the mackerel and pour in the egg mixture. Stir well, the heat of everything will cook the egg through.

You can add some pasta water if required, I didn’t need it.

Dish it up…

Serve with an extra sprinkle of parmesan if you like your food extra cheesy.


Just a quick note: According to Wikipedia a carbonara is a dish consisting of eggs (check!), cheese (check!), black pepper (check!) and bacon (Hmm?) so not strictly a carbonara is it Jamie?

Ghanaian Groundnut Stew

On 6th December 2015, This was Dinner

This is a great meal to get back to blogging with. I suppose it had to be a Jamie Oliver one but technically it is actually an Idris Elba’s mum one.


Mix together ground coriander, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, sea salt & black pepper.

Drizzle some chicken pieces ( breast and thighs) with oil then get stuck in and mix well with the spices.

Leave to marinate over night.


  • Preheat the oven to 190°c (fan)
  • Roughly chop a couple of onions
  • Finely chop a scotch bonnet and finely slice another
  • Cut an aubergine into large chunks
  • Roughly chop some tomatoes
  • Prepare some chicken stock
  • Finely slice a red onion
  • Finely slice a scotch bonnet chilli
  • Get tomato purée, smooth peanut butter, bay leaves, golden caster sugar, red wine vinegar, oil & seasoning ready


Pop the chicken in a single layer in a roasting dish. Cook for about 45 minutes.

Pop a casserole pan on a medium heat and add a little oil. Pop the onion, finely chopped chilli and aubergine into the pan and cook for 30 minutes. Make sure you stir it regularly. Add some tomato purée then add the chicken.

Pop a splash of water into the dish you roasted the chicken in and scrape up all the juices and add to the pan.

Add the tomatoes and then pour in the stock and bring to the boil.

After 30 minutes, add the peanut butter and cook for another half hour.

Meanwhile, mix the red onion and finely sliced scotch bonnet with the caster sugar, red wine vinegar, bay leaves and a big pinch of salt to make a quick pickle.

Check the seasoning in the stew before serving.


There is a side note in the book that Idris prefers one tablespoon of peanut butter in his but his mum says to use to taste. I would have put more in but Mr S and Walter had left the bare minimum in the jar!

I didn’t manage to get to the deli to pick up some okra. As you can see we served it with rice.

There was plenty of sauce left so we heated it up on Monday, made a couple of basic omelettes, cut them into strips and smothered with the sauce, accomanied by some chips.

Quick Cajun Chicken

On 21st August 2015, This was Dinner

I’m sorry, I can’t help but ask! Has anyone made a Jamie’s 15 Minute Meal recipe in 15 minutes? I probably ask the same question every time I make one but still, I need to find someone that can and ask what the secret is. I didn’t even serve the additional salad that he serves.

Mr S says this is the best meal he’s had recently but as good as it was, I disagree. It was salty and it was chicken so I’m not surprised.


  • Thinly slice a couple of sweet potatoes
  • Chop some parsley
  • Butterfly a couple of chicken breasts
  • Get sweet chilli sauce, polenta, cajun seasoning*,smoked streaky bacon, oil & seasoning ready.


Pop the potatoes in boiling water and cook through.

Mix the polenta with the cajun seasoning and coat the chicken.

Cook the bacon slices then remove and cut into pieces.

Pop a little oil in a pan and heat. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes each side or until cooked through.

Mash the sweet potatoes and add a little seasoning and some sweet chilli sauce.

Slice the chicken and serve on a bed of the mash, scatter over the bacon pieces and garnish with the parsley.

TWD_2108_Cajun_Chicken* I made my own using smoked paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic salt and a little salt & pepper.

Tomato & Sausage Bake

On 27th July 2015, This was Dinner

It all seems to be potato, potato, potato so instead of serving this with a bit of mash we served it with polenta instead.

This is slightly adapted from a fantastic Jamie Oliver dish from his Jamie at Home book. Make sure you use good quality sausages for the ultimate taste.


  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc (fan)
  • Roughly chop some tomatoes
  • Halve some cherry tomatoes
  • Bash a few garlic cloves
  • Get a couple of rosemary sprigs, a bay leaf, Lincolnshire sausages, balsamic vinegar, pizza seasoning, oil & seasoning ready


Pop the tomatoes, rosemary, bay, garlic, pizza seasoning and sausages in a snug fitting roasting dish.

Drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar and season well. Toss everything together and leave the sausages on top.

Roast for half an hour then give it all a good stir and make sure the sausages are on top again, cook for another 15 minutes.

Serve on top of the polenta.