Thursday, 22 November 2018

Levelled Up Toad In The Hole

We're going all in!! Why did I never think to do this before? Pigs in blankets in Yorkshire puddings? I mean OBVIOUSLY. And stuffing in there too? Revolutionary.

I always thought making a Yorkshire pudding batter was really difficult - probably due to my mum's numerous (amusing) attempts until she eventually got it just right (love u mum). However this might have been due to the fact she would rarely follow actual recipes, preferring to work it out on her own. I'm quite like that now. Somehow whenever I look through one of my (many) recipe books, I gather the ingredients and then go try to make it...without...actually reading the recipe. Usually it works, but when things actually require specific timings it goes to shit. For instance, when making a Yorkshire pudding, and please listen closely, the batter needs to be poured into hot oil for it to rise. I'm pretty sure this is how my mum finally cracked it too.

If I'm honest, I haven't got the timings with this one 100% down, so a skewer will be a big help here. But are we here for perfect food? Probably not. I'm just trying to provide meal ideas that Gordon Ramsey wouldn't necessarily touch, but you feel accomplished from making.

This is a combination of a few recipes I found on BBC Good Food - the one and only holy grail I subscribe to - and frankly, a national treasure. It turns out you can add a lot of fun stuff to a toad in the hole but the batter is all people care about when they leave their reviews. I've stuck to these measurements for a while, but the success rate basically depends on how long I cook it for and the size of the tin. It works best for me when the batter covers 2cm of the sausages and it's cooked for 20 minutes.

I know the main issue with making your own batter is that it takes AGES to cook and never stops being soggy. This one is very fast. It's got less milk in than lots of other recipes, so it's a thicker batter. Just watch you don't over do it!


Sunday, 11 November 2018

Chicken And Bacon Pie For The Family

Pies. We must not forget how good a pie can be. If your family are coming over for dinner, or you'd like to impress your partner with something home cooked (except the pastry, let's not get ahead of ourselves, we have lives to live...) this is absolutely going to hit the spot! Chicken pie is wholesome and timeless, and the flavours of bacon, leek, garlic and white wine NEVER FAIL. THEY SIMPLY WORK EVERY TIME.

This recipe is kind of based on how I make bacon & mushroom risottos, and then after making it for Jack's grandparents a few weeks ago, someone on IG insisted I add mustard next time. It works wonders!!

I'd recommend adding a pot of bayleaves (70p) because for hearty dishes like these, (plug the veggie shepherd's pie here) it just seems to do something good. If you buy fresh rosemary or thyme (also 70p), I'd recommend freezing them in the packet so you always have a sprig to hand. I never manage to use the whole packets at once and they go off so quickly!


Monday, 5 November 2018

Katsu Curry Burger

Oh. The delicious... the pure... the universally loved. Katsu curry. Guess what? It's delicious as a burger too, and you do not have to spend £21 on Deliveroo to achieve it on demand. (Yeah, that's based on £10ish per burger - I promise making your own is a lot more fulfilling and friendly to the old wallet!)

People ask me all the time if I have a Katsu curry recipe, and I thought I did (link) but it's really not very good. I forgot that I basically advised you to buy the curry paste, when actually it's really useful to know how to make your own. Curry powder, onions, soy sauce, flour and stock - these are all pretty standard kitchen cupboard items. I've reduced the ingredients down to the minimum, on my quest to keep cooking fun things ridiculously simple. Some recipes advise you to add grated ginger, rice wine vinegar or mirin, but I know they're the sort of things most of you won't have, and won't bother going to the shops for.

This sauce could be more tangy, so for that I'd add lime juice as an easy option. HOWEVER. In the burger it really isn't necessary. With the pickled cabbage/spring onions and mayo, you have all the flavours you need!

I'm also including a 5 minute (literally 5 minute) sweet potato katsu version. News to me, flour and warm water actually works way better than egg (I'm now a convert for life). I've presented it as a street food side, but pop them in a burger for a proper vegan carb feast!


Sunday, 28 October 2018

Lentil & Red Wine Shepherds Pie

I think a large part of English culture is cooking traditional family meals, like this, that are guaranteed to fill everybody up. And they're always meaty. Which poses an issue for those of us who have decided to cut out their intake completely, or (like me) think it's important to at least reduce our consumption, but really don't want to miss out on the hearty dishes we've always eaten.

Over the last two years I've stocked up on several vegetarian cook books to inspire this new venture, including The Hairy Bikers Go Veggie, which is a brilliant book because it's definitely written for meat eaters transitioning. (Well, it's marketed as a diet book so I just ignore the low fat commentary). My favourite chapter is the "we miss meat" bit, because they make a point to cook really hearty, traditional recipes, reinvented. And this shepherds pie is based on their Mushroom and Lentil Ragu, which means the leftover 'mince' would be lovely over spaghetti!

Maddeningly, I couldn't find the book anywhere. I don't know where the heck it could be, because it couldn't have left the house. Regardless, I know their ragu almost off by heart at this point, so the pie proceeded.

The marmite, coco powder and cinnamon are flavourings of my own which I think bring out a deeper flavour, and the parmesan (note that you'll need to source a vegetarian version) really makes the dish.

I used both Quorn and tinned brown lentils for this post, so thats half of each stated, however you can use one or the other if you like!


Sunday, 21 October 2018

Creamy Satay Chicken

Satay chicken!! A firm favourite in my life. My boyfriend claims I never make enough of it, which is a compliment on the taste but maybe a consideration for my portion sizing. 

Earlier this year I had an extreme craving for skewered chicken and satay sauce, so googled how to make it and was surprised at how easy the recipe was! As always I taste tested while cooking and almost couldn't control myself - IT'S SO TASTY. I realised a dipping sauce portion was not going to cut it, so chucked in the rest of the coconut milk, extra of everything else, covered my meal in it and haven't looked back.

I know there's a curry version, so this doesn't claim to be that (with its lack of spices and all) but my god it's tasty. Peanut buttery, very creamy, and the tanginess is what makes it so moreish.

This is a meal idea post which will walk you through plating the whole thing up, instead of just the sauce. Jasmine rice, toppings and cooking times. It serves two people, and if you're cooking for any more than that I advise doubling the recipe in full! Let's go!

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

An Impressive Omelette

Look. You've had a guest stay the night and you're in charge of showing them you are a competent host. You've checked the bread and it's mouldy. One banana on a plate will not do. That's okay. 

This omelette of dreams is also very filling  and can be super nutritious  depending what you decide to put in it!

My mum used to make these for breakfast all the time and they'd feed the three of us (as kids) before school. It's based on a Spanish omelette, with the chopped potato adding all that filling-ness, but with loads of toppings to personalise to your palette. 

It's a great brunch idea when you have more time to spare, but it's also great to portion out for lunches and you can easily keep it in the fridge for three days!

The reason you finish it off in the oven is because it's so thick the egg can take a while to cook, so covering it with a lid while frying will help speed up the process a lot!

Saturday, 13 October 2018

The Easiest Banana Bread Recipe

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