A week of tasty grub.

(note my phone is being a pain at the moment so photos are delayed, for the moment!)

Well I have to say it has been a good week food wise. For my tea break today I have Twinnings salted caramel green tea and Abernethy biscuits. So a little bit good and a little bit naughty. Something I realised a long time ago is that I have a sweet tooth and trying to cut out all the naughty things I love always backfires. The Boyo sincerely hopes that any future children of ours do not inherit this, however it runs through the whole of my Mums family and I’m not nearly as bad as I used to be! When I was leaving school we had a yearbook made up and a wee blurb was written about all of, mine included ‘emergency dashes to the vending machine for chocolate’. Not much has changed!

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So this week as part of my attempts to become motivated and enthused again I decided to resume the challenge I set for myself in 2012. The challenge: I have to attempt one new recipe a week. It can be anything, cakes, treats, main meals etc. but I found it very enjoyable, it makes use of my large recipe book collection, I gain skills by experimenting and practicing and most of all I get to try new things. This included salmon and spinach as well as a lot of cake in 2012 so it isn’t all unwholesome.

So last week I tried out a recipe from BBC Good Food. It wasn’t the usual magazine; it was a Healthy Eating spin-off. I won’t copy the recipe here as that would be a breach of copyright (I am a librarian!). But it was a healthy chilli chicken recipe. If you do find the recipe then I found chipotle paste in tesco but I used a lot of the small jar they sell so I would look for a larger alternative so it would last longer. I made a slight alteration to the recipe; I used passata as both Boyo and I prefer that to chopped tomatoes and it worked out great. Follow BBC Good food on twitter @bbcgoodfood and find other tasty Mexican recipes on their website.

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I also cooked a semi healthy curry using the Hairy Bikers Eat For Life Book. I really like this book, it has so many tasty things in and I plan to use it a lot more. My curry was only semi healthy as I added a chicken pakora, an onion baji and a bit of naan bread. In our defence we have not had curry for ages (apart from one night when we were on holiday) I had a day I was working at home and really enjoyed preparing something properly. It was a Madras recipe, I used beef and I had two alterations, firstly I cooked it nice and slowly, over 7 hours in the slow cooker. I had discounted beef and I find that using the slow cooker gets the best result with the meat ending up lovely and tender. Not dry and chewy. The other alteration was that I added spinach towards the end of cooking time. Just trying to get some extra nutrients in. The only other suggestion I have is that if you cook it like me with a slow cooker you may want to use a little cornflour (mixed into a paste) at the end to thicken the curry if necessary.  The Hairy Bikers are also on twitter @hairybikers and their website has a nice selection of recipes (but not this one – get the book!)

On Friday we had a proper treat, I often make something a bit more naughty on a Friday, such as my smoked haddock pasta. This time it was enchiladas. Please note this is my version, I know it is in no-way authentic and it does contain cheats (oops!) BUT it is tasty and my sister demands I cook this every time she visits, in fact sometimes she visits not to see me but just to get fed, nice to know my food is loved.

M’s Chicken Enchiladas

For 4 People.

Ingredients

6 soft  flour or corn tortillas. (I get whichever is cheapest but for this it is often the corn tortillas)

1 500g tub of passata (very cheap in Lidl or Aldi)

3 Chicken breasts, cut into small chunks

Cheese grated up (however much you desire, but basically enough for a sprinkle in each tortilla and some for the top)

Mexican spices. (Buy when on special offer, I got a big tub of fajita spices in The Range)

1 packet of Uncle Bens Mexican style rice. (very often on special offer, this stuff is great!)

About 150ml of boiling water.

You will also need:

a large oven dish, one such as this. I have a big glass one I use. You basically want it big enough to fit the rolled tortillas in but small enough that they will be slightly squashed together as this stops them from unrolling.

A frying pan.

And 2 bowls.

Method

1. Put the oven on to warm up at around 200c.  Cut the chicken into smallish chunks. Warm a little oil in a frying pan over a medium flame. Cook the chicken and sprinkle over the spices. Remember the more you use the spicier the final result. I often add a few chilli flakes as well and if you wish look at the ingredients on the packet of spice and add more of the individual spices to add more flavour if you have them (eg. Garlic, chilli powder, cumin etc.) As you cook the chicken break it into even small chunks. It is a good way of checking to see how cooked it is and for the wraps later you want small pieces.

2. Pour the passata into a bowl and add some hot water. You don’t want it too thin so add the water slowly, stirring until the sauce is a nice consistency. Then add spices, the same rule as the chicken. The tomatoes neutralise the spices a bit so I’d add a fair bit. I’d say the whole sachet if using one of the sachets of spices (Old El Paso for example) or the equivalent. I know this isn’t very exact but for this you have to go with instinct and play around until you get it right according to your tastes. It is kind of fun, just be confident and go with it. Stir away until spices are mixed throughout.

3. Once the chicken is cooked get a ladleful of the sauce and a sprinkle of the grated cheese. Pour this over the chicken and leave to simmer on a low heat as you prepare the rest – think sticky sort of consistency for the sauce and chicken. Most of the sauce is for the top later.

4. Cook the rice according to instructions (usually 2 min), once it has cooked swap and put the tortillas on a plate and microwave for about 30 seconds. Meanwhile put the rice into a bowl.

5. Now we have all the components we are ready to construct. In a tortilla put a tablespoon of rice, then a spoonful of chicken, a sprinkle of cheese. Wrap then place into the dish, nice and firmly at the end. Repeat until the dish is full.

6. Pour over your sauce. Then as much cheese as you like over the top.

7. Place in the oven for 15-20 min, until the cheese has melted and you can’t wait to eat any longer! Everything has been cooked so it really is just about your patience at this point.

8. Serve. 2 tortillas each person. You will be stuffed at the end.

Other notes: This also makes super tasty leftovers. I always make one extra each for the Boyo and I and we have it next day for lunch. It feels like a real treat. You just microwave a portion for 2-3min.  For vegetables I usually quickly fry some onions, peppers and mushrooms in a bit of the fajita spice to have at the side. There is no room for them in the wraps. The Boyo really likes some jalapeno peppers with his.

 

Thinking about them makes me hungry! Enjoy.

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Foodie Friday – weekend roast

When the sun is shining I tend to crave lighter foods. Picnic teas with a variety of cold meats, cheeses, nuts (pistachio or cashew are my favourites), crusty bread and pesto are ideal but after nearly 2 weeks away the Boyo was craving some slightly more traditional food. We had such amazing food when we were away in Hong Kong, so full of flavour and the variety of food you can get over there is phenomenal. A week home and I definitely feel like we should pop (haha ‘pop’ doesn’t really apply to a 24 hour journey!) over this weekend and get some Thai food this weekend, well a girl can wish!

I wanted to make a roast because it usually results in at least a couple of meals worth. I didn’t feel like cooking beef or lamb and instead decided to make roast chicken.

To zing up my chicken and make it a little summery I made a paste to both stuff and baste it with. I used butter, a squirt of fresh lemon juice, juice of half a lime, fresh coriander, some chicken season all, and a few drops of Heinz Tangy Jalepono sauce. I whizzed all of this up in a blender until it was a nice thick paste then using a sharp knife to make a little opening I stuffed inbetween the skin and the flesh with the paste then smothered the chicken in the rest. Whilst cooking I scooped the liquid from bottom of the roasting dish to pour over the chicken. The result is a nice tasty juicy roast chicken. We had ours with some steamed veg and potatoes. I also made a gravy, enriching it with some of the juice from the roast and fresh coriander.

Now the great thing about roasting a chicken is that it can go quite far. So I shredded up the leftover chicken and this time marinaded in some spices and soy sauce to have with stir fry noodles the next evening. I also used the carcass to make tasty chicken stock. For this I had a root around to see what veg I already had, this time, 2 small carrots, 2 sticks of celery adn an onion. I roughly chopped the veg into large chucks and put this along with the carcass into my slow cooker. I covered with hot water, added some black pepper and a little bit of thyme and let this cook for 12 hours overnight. The next morning I awoke to very tasty smelling stock which is now in little pots in my freezer ready for more meals.

Other foodie finds this week have been the delicious Laimon Fresh juice. We found it when we were out wandering the Fife coast at the weekend. If you are in the area then the Elie Deli is definitely worth checking out. I even liked it more than the ice cream I was eating which is syaing something for me! I just have to find a stockist closer to home. It is a wonderful fresh drink, it tasted a bit like a mojito but tastier. Really perfect for the summer. I might even have to order online if I can’t find it nearby.

Tonights tea will be burgers with halloumi, spicy tomato rice and roasted pepper. I just pan fry the halloumi for a couple of minutes and find it goes perfectly with the meaty burgers and the rice. For the rice I cook the rice in stock, passata and add garlic, Nandos Piri Piri sauce and black pepper. The trick is to cook it at a low heat slowly so it doesn’t stick and it is very tasty. I usually add some chorizo to the leftover rice for another slightly lighter meal.

I am sorry I don’t have any photos this time, my phone really is a bit decrepit now and there is something wrong with my camera – I’ll try and get my technology sorted out asap!

The Hong Kong guide will likely be up on Monday and it will be photo heavy! You have been warned!

 

Have a good weekend everyone!

 

Merry

 

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