25 Jul 2017

FIVE SPICED CRISPY PORK BELLY WITH PAN SEARED GARLIC COURGETTES AND WILD RICE

Self Sufficient Living
This fills my heart with joy, another organic grown, raised and loved meal from our garden and small holding the only ingredient not from ourselves is the wild rice, this is our first ever harvest of purple peas and for the first time EVER we are succeeding at growing yellow courgettes!  I know I know everyone can grow them, well not me but of course I can grow cabbages and purple broccoli till there coming out of my ears! Who figures?  I also fail at tomatoes I know there is some eerie vegetable jinx On me 😆 I must have broken a unspoken law somewhere...How?...I even re-home my slugs and snails down the farm rather than dispatch them, use natural animal predators to combat the sap sucking aphids and ants when they get to many and I don't mind sharing our veg with the bugs, slugs and snails, eating salad and spinach with holes in, bugs just don't eat it all! 

Marinating time min 1hour / Cooking time 55 minutes + 5 mins resting time
Cooking Time Line Pork in / 30 mins later Rice on / 20 mins after Rice on put Veggies on


Ingredients 
(Serves 4)

1 1kg high welfare pork belly skin scored 
3 tbsp five spice make your own recipe below
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1 onion chopped
6 cloves garlic chopped
1 courgette rough chopped
200g spinach
100g mangetout sliced
100g kale torn
1 mug brown basmati rice

Pork Belly
Take your pork belly and place skin side down on a paper towel, generously rub the five spice all over the meat and sides, but not on the skin.  Place in a glass dish or zip lock bag and place in the fridge for at least one hour or up to 24-48 hrs not a problem.

Pre heat your oven to 220 C / 420 F and place your belly pork skin side up on a baking tray in the oven for 35 minutes at this heat, this is to ensure crispy crackling skin, then turn the oven heat down to 180 C / 350 F for a further 20 minutes to finish cooking the pork.  When cooked cover and leave to rest on the side for 5 minutes before carving, this allows the juices to evenly distribute through your juicy pork belly.

Perfect Brown Rice
Place your rice in a pan with a lid and add two and a quarter mugs of water bring up to a simmer, pop on the lid and turn down to a slow simmer, leave in touched for 25 minutes then take off the heat leaving the lid on for a further five minutes then you rice is ready to be served and cooked perfectly.

Pan Seared Vegetables for the Rice
Heat the coconut or olive oil medium hot, add the onion, garlic, mangetout and courgettes and cook for approx 5 minutes then add the torn kale and cook for a further 3 minutes and finally add the spinach and take off the heat and stir in to the brown rice, pop the lid back on while you carve the pork then your ready to serve your gorgeous food.

17 Jul 2017

BEST EVER CRAB PAKORAS GREAT BALLS OF FIRE

                                         GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
The inspiration for these most brillant Crab Pakoras came from my budding 15 year old son Chef Oscar!!!  He has a wicked sense of humour with chillies, we had a glut of habaneros and around 30 were stored in the fridge, I also had a whole crab in the fridge that really needed using, but I was not in the mood for a carb meal which crab sort of lends it's self to apart from on its own or with a salad and I was not in the mood for crab salad.  Oscar came up with a pakora recipe after watching Man v's Food and Salvador Molly's Great Balls Of Fire Challange, hence he married the habaneros and crab in to the pakora mix and has successfully blown My head off, much to his delight...These are so gorgeous I loved them!

Prep time 10 minutes / Cooking time 4 minutes each batch

Ingredients 
(Makes 20)

1 whole crab meat only
1 habanero per ball (10-20) blitzed 
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
250g gram flour (chic pea)
50g self raising
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric 
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
250-300ml water
Oil for frying

Great Balls of Fire
Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine, add the water and stir in, you want a consistency of double cream, that's your batter ready to fry.  Heat your oil to 180 degrees and spoon in dollops of your batter, do this in batches.  Cook the balls for around 3 minutes and flip over half way through.  When cooked remove from the oil and place on paper to drain, serve immediately while hot.

WOOD FIRED COOKING PIT BEEF SIRLOIN

FLAME COOKED SIRLOIN

This is one of the best ways to eat steak.!  The slow wood fired pit charred crust also known as the burnt end is loaded with gorgeous smokey oak pit fire flavour, it is out of this world, left to rest this is one of the best steak dinners ever!

Cooking time 50-60 minutes / Resting time 10 minutes


Ingredients
(serves 8-12)

2-3kg thick end cut whole sirloin
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper

Chimmichurri Salsa
1 clove garlic grated
1 bunch parsley chopped
4 tbsp oregano chopped
150ml olive oil
50ml balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt

Mix all the ingredients together, this is a brilliant sharp salsa that is perfect with meat and fish.

Serving Ideas
1 kg crushed new potatoes tossed in parsley butter
Large mixed green salad with apple balsamic vinegar dressing
French beans & asparagus in lemon olive oil dressing
Colcanon buttery mashed potato and cabbage

Set Your Meat On Fire
The first time I cooked this I spent a lot of the cooking time thinking OMG I am so just burning the steak, the black crust of the steak looked very burnt, but I stuck to the instructions I had read and really did not think the family was getting any dinner that night!  The surprise to all the family when after the important resting time was up was a gorgeous steak with a burnt end crust full of flavour.  This is now a family favourite.

Cooking Your Pit Beef Sirloin
One and half hours before you want to cook, fire up your pit or BBQ with wood, I like to have two heat sources on the fire pit so once the pit is established and I have white heat I stack up one half of the fire pit more than the other, this is so that I have two cooking heats, flaming hot and heat hot, this is what allows you to keep the burnt end crust just that and not a burnt burnt sirloin.  

Just season your sirloin with the salt and pepper and place on the grill over the pit on the heat hot side first, leave alone for around 5 minutes to seal the steak before turning, once the steak is sealed you can turn as often as the flames make you!...Flames... now as the meats starts to render the fat out this starts to drip down and will cause flame flares, this is ok, if too much flame I will just move the sirloin out of that zone for a bit and then put back, the key to keeping a burnt end perfect is to keep turning the steak every 5 minutes or so, keeping the burnt end crust even.  That's it, I work to a core temperature of 55-60 degrees C for rare towards medium and this takes about 50-60 minutes.  Slice as thin or thick as you like and serve on its own with some chimmichurri salsa or some sides, for me my plate is all about the pit beef and some sea salt!


I have served this up to many friends over the years and I love their reaction to the cooking and serving when experiencing this the very first time, they are quietly watching the sirloin on fire on the pit and I'm not really paying much attention to it, you can see the burnt crust, I secretly snigger to myself how polite and supportive they are as they think dinner is burnt and I know they would eat it without complaint!

The delight on their faces when then tuck in to juicy succulent steak with that fabulous burnt end oak smoked flavour, the table erupts in honest relief and laughter as they all say what they were thinking while the pit beef was burning/cooking!  



BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF HABANERO SALSA

                                       BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF SALSA

This is so Awesome, slightly sweet and sour with a volcanic kickin blow your head off lip curling habanero punch, the sweetness from the carrots and honey remind me of a South Carolina's vinegary BBQ sauce style.  Next time I think I will make this with the bhut Jolokia ghost chilli !

Prep time 5 mins / Cooking time 40 minutes 


Blow Your Head Off Habanero Salsa
(Makes 250ml)

1tbsp coconut or olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
4 carrots peeled, chopped
6 habaneros whole, stems removed, pierced 
1tsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp light brown sugar or honey
1 tsp sea salt
500ml water
200ml apple cider vinegar (with mother) .

Blow Your Head Off Salsa
Heat the oil and gently soften the onion and carrots for around 10 minutes then add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes, add the whole habaneros and water and gently simmer for a further 30 minutes until the carrots are super soft, blitz to a smooth purée reduce down to the consistency of thick double cream, add the vinegar, salt, oregano and sugar, taste and if the salsa is sweet, hot and sharp it's done, pour into a jar and keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

11 Jul 2017

BIG GIRLS DIET SWEET STICKY ORANGE LEMON AND LIME CHICKEN

Zesty vibrant naturally sweet sticky citrus chicken topped with a gorgeous fresh chunky salsa and a drizzle of fruity coconut dressing.  Served in a ice berg lettuce leaf as a wrap, great on the go paleo and so much more fun than processed flour wraps.


My geeky good for you bit...
This meal is full of strong antioxidants that protect your heart, immune system, organ and blood cleansing, vitamin C, B, B6, B12, A, E, K, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, riboflavin, niacin, folate, choline, phosphorous, sodium, zinc, selenium, lactones a mild sedative with calming and restorative properties, stimulates cleansing, reduces liver inflammation, stimulates the liver,

Ingredients
(Makes 2)

1 large chicken breast
1 orange zest and juice
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 lime juiced
1 tsp honey ( optional)
1 tsp coconut oil
50ml coconut milk
2 ice berg leaves whole
Salt and pepper

SALSA
4 baby plum tomatoes chopped
1 small pepper chopped
2 spring onions sliced
1 red chilli chopped
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1tsp lime juice

First make the salsa and leave to one side, then set up your serving plates with the iceberg lettuce wraps ready to go.

Cut the chicken breast in half, cover with cling film and using a rolling pin gently bash the chicken so that it is roughly the same thickness all over, heat a non stick frying pan, add the coconut oil and when melted place your chicken in the pan, on a moderate high heat slightly sear the chicken then finish cooking on a medium heat, once the chicken is almost cooked add the orange, lemon and lime juice and the honey and bring to a rapid bubbling simmer until the sauce thickens to a glaze, this will only take a minute or so, place the chicken in the lettuce wraps spooning over the glaze, return the pan to the heat and add the coconut milk using a spatula scrap the coconut milk around the pan so that it picks up the left over cooking juices, take of the heat immediately, top your sticky sweet glazed chicken with the salsa and finish off with a drizzle of the coconut dressing.


6 Jul 2017

BIG GIRLS DIET SUMPTUOUS GARDEN SALAD

This is one robust full on salad, one might say a Man's salad a salad that satisfy's my husband and does not leaving him asking for meat or something a few hours later!  The key with this salad is the amount of ingredients that keep your tastebuds dancing all over the place, almost every mouthful is a unique combination and the dressing is a wonderful final flavour burst.  You can vary the ingredients from meat, eggs and cheese to your fancy when you make this.

Prep time 15 minutes


Ingredients
(Serves 2)

1 handful of kale, beetroot leaves, Swiss chard, spinach etc
1 avocado sliced
10 cherry or baby plum tomatoes halved
1 carrot julienned 
1 spring onion sliced
1/2 green pepper sliced
1 cooked beetroot grated
1 raw beetroot peeled and finely sliced
100g goats or sheep cheese crumbled
1 handful chopped walnuts
1/2 hand full mixed seeds, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, chia etc

The Dressing
1 bunch fresh parsley chopped
4 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
100ml olive oil
50ml apple cider vinegar 
1/2 orange juice
1 pinch sea salt
1 clove garlic finely grated

Roughly chop or tear the salad leaves and place in a large bowl, prepare all the other ingredients ready to use, make the dressing and then pour the dressing over the salad leaves and mix well.  Divide the salad leaves between two plates and then top with the rest of the ingredients and finish off with the nuts and seeds, that's it enjoy.

This salad is very flexible, why not have some jerk spiced chicken, curried coronation eggs, zesty lime and coconut chicken, poached salmon or seared sesame tuna instead for some ideas.

4 Jul 2017

GLORIOUS PEA AND MINT RISOTTO

This is a beautiful rich creamy risotto that will have your spoon going back for more than you would want to eat just so you can keep the flavour alive on your tastebuds!  Cooked slowly in a light chicken stock, with white wine and a generous dollop of double cream (or coconut milk) and layered with fresh picked garden peas, seasoned with fresh mint and a hint of Parmesan, this is a very comforting dish.

Our Self Sufficient Bit
Onions, garlic, mint and peas all from the garden and our homemade chicken stock from chicken Caracas's from the local farm and if we used coconut milk instead of the cream we make our own from organic coconuts, not local I might add!

Prep time 5 minutes / Cooking time 25 minutes
A one pot cook...


Ingredients
(Serves 2-4)

1 large onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
300g arborio risotto rice, washed
200ml dry white wine
2 litre chicken or veg stock
300ml double cream or coconut milk
4 large handfuls cooked peas
Pinch sea salt
Pinch white pepper 
120g grated Parmesan 
9 mint leaves finely sliced

Cold stock v Hot stock
This really depends on how much of a hurry you are in, hot stock is better absorbed by the rice and creates a creamier finished risotto, but cold stock can be used it just slows the rice absorption down a little and that makes a less creamy risotto.  I do the hot stock method, but every now and then when I am juggling family life I just use the cold stock straight from the fridge.

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet, add the onion and garlic and gently soften for around 5 minutes, add the arborio rice and stir in until evenly coated, crank up the heat to medium high and add the white wine, simmer off the white wine until syrupy then start to add the stock a label at a time, stiring in until all the stock is absorbed, then add another label of stock, keep repeating this until the rice has absorbed all the stock it can but still has a al denote bite to the rice.

Stir in the double cream, peas, mint and Parmesan, taste and season with sea salt and pepper if you feel it needs more seasoning, I do but my husband does not!  You want the risotto to have a slow movement like a thick sauce that can almost hold its shape just not quite.  

That's it, eat with a spoon and enjoy, this will serve four or a wonderfully greedy two!!!

2 Jul 2017

BIG GIRLS DIET CORONATION CHICKEN WRAPS

Finally a Gluten Free natural healthy wrap that delivers in holding my over stuffing of filling's and does not taste of egg whites!  This is really simple to make, only takes a few minutes has endless variations of flavour and has held up to my heavy handed stuffing use!

I love coronation chicken, for me this is one of those magical heart warming childhood memories food, it takes me back to 1977 the Queens Silver Juiblee I remember the whole street brought out all their dinner tables and chairs, lined the street, decorated the street with Union Jack bunting, we had Union Jack hats and napkins along with a glorious spread of typically English tea sandwiches, coronation chicken, egg and cress, cuecumber, all crusts off and served in finger slices, Very British ! We all waved Union and Jack Flags and cheered, love my memories with food.

Prep time 10 minutes / Cooking time 7 minutes


Ingredients
(Serves 4)

The Wraps
8 eggs beaten
Sea salt
Black pepper
4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 cup finely chopped spinach
1 tsp coconut oil

Coronation Chicken
2 chicken breasts finely sliced
1 small onion finely diced
1 clove garlic finely diced
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp mayo (recipe below if you want to try)
2 tbsp finely ground curry powder
1 tbsp mango chutney
(I used our homemade plum and cardamom chutney recipe below)
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 bunch fresh coriander chopped for serving

One Minute Mayo
Yes you can make your own olive oil mayonnaise in One Minute !!!
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard
200ml+ olive oil
Sea salt

The Mayo
To make this speedy mayo, place the egg yolk and white wine vinegar in a jug, take your hand whisk and start to drizzle in the olive oil 1 tsp at a time whisking in super fast to make sure the oil is infused in the yolk, Do Not Stop Whisking as this is what causes a mayo to split in the first part, once a portion of oil is incorporated in the egg yolk it becomes stable and you can then add the rest of the oil in much larger glugs, hence One Minute Mayo!  Once you have a thick mayo consistency add the mustard and season with sea salt to taste, that's it done!  This will keep in the fridge in a mason jar for up to a week if it last's that long!

Coronation Mayo
Meanwhile in a bowl place the mayo, curry powder, mango chutney, or a homemade chutney, Kashmiri chilli and turmeric powder and mix well.

To Make The Coronation Chicken 
Heat the coconut oil in a skillet on a medium heat and gently soften the onion and garlic to translucent, add the chicken and cook for around six minutes stiring occasionally to turn the chicken so that is cooks evenly, take off the heat and pop a lid on and leave the chicken to rest for five minutes, this will ensure you have really juicy succulent chicken.  Once rested add the chicken to the coronation mayo and mix well, add the chopped fresh coriander.

While the Chicken is Resting Make the Wraps
Beat the eggs then add the salt and pepper along with the chopped spinach and parsley, heat a skillet medium and add some of the coconut oil, pour one ladel of the egg mixture in to the pan and swirl around to cover the whole pan, turn the heat down a little and leave to cook for around three minutes, slide out of the pan on to a plate and make the remaining three.

The Stuffing of the Wraps
Now your ready to stuff and serve, turn the wraps over so that the pan cooked side will take the filling, load with the mayo coriander coronation chicken filling in the centre of the wrap, then fold the left side over the centre and then the right side over the centre and that's it a gorgeous wrap stuffed with brilliant flavours and ready for you to just dive in and not even know your not having a wrap wrap!

These are great for kids lunches and family picnics and have endless possibilities for fillings.

1 Jul 2017

CHOCOLATE MINT CUSTARD WITH GARDEN BERRIES

Having a glut of glorious eggs from our chickens is a lovely challenge to try new recipe ideas, having our tea in the garden just sitting amoung the fruit trees gazing down the vegetable and herb garden, listening to our chickens this morning gave rise to what needed to be eaten, this is a lovey feeling of what has the garden got for us today!  

Creme Anglaise custard infused with chocolate mint just set poured over what berries are ready, this morning it was gooseberries, blackcurrents, raspberries and blueberries.  A simple but yielding pudding with only a couple of larder items required.

Prep time 5 minutes / Cooking time 5 minutes / Chilling time 2 hrs


Ingredients
(Serves 4)

300g mixed berries
500ml full fat milk
120g caster sugar
6 egg yolks 
30 mint leaves (chocolate mint optional)

This is really simple, the key to success in this is not to rush the cooking of the custard, trust yourself and your spatula it will thicken, it is one of those moments when 3 minutes feels like 10!

Place the milk, half the sugar and all the mint leaves in a saucepan, mix together so that the sugar has dissolved then bring to a hot temperature but without simmering, just when you see steam arising take off the heat.

In a large bowl or jug place the egg yolks and remaining sugar, whisk until light and fluffy with ribbons, you will see a slight lighter colour change, next pour over the hot milk and whisk all the time so as not to cook the eggs.

Pour the mixture back in to the saucepan and place on a low medium heat, keep stirring all the time, it is important not to leave the custard at this point.  To much heat too quickly will leave you with scrambled egg custard no a pleasant thing indeed!

Over the next 3 minutes or so you will feel the custard start to thicken, when you can coat the back of the spatula and draw a line through the custard and it stays separated your custard is cooked, take off the heat and pass through a sieve.

Place your fruit in your serving bowls and pour over the creme anglaise, pop in the fridge to chill and set, this custard will remain a little wobbly which is how my hubby likes it.