28 Feb 2018

MAKE AHEAD GRAB AND GO DINNERS

THE POWER HOUR
A mums success to raising a busy family, running a small holding farm and making sure we all have quality time as a family.  In just one hour I prepped the whole weeks dinners and more ready to go from the fridge and freezer at a moments notice.  This organised set up allows me and my family to have total freedom there is no stress involved around dinner time what ever time we decided, dinner will be on the table within 25 minutes with not even 5 minutes prep time involved, this means we get to spend more time catching up what we've all been up to and spending more time on our hobbies.

Organising your own fresh fast food ready to go means you can have utter chaos because dinner is sorted!  This is just my family's food choices this week and we change these go to dinners to what ever food mood my guys fancy, set up your own go to meals list, the principal is the same, prep ahead.



FREEZER FRIDGE GRAB AND GO DINNERS 
Chicken or Lamb Madras Curry in a Hurry
Olive Oil Garlic Salt and Pepper Chicken
Chicken or Steak Fajitas
BBQ Spiced Chicken/Pork
Cumin Chilli Garlic Steak Tacos
Piri Piri Spiced Chicken
Asian Panang Shrimp or Chicken
Roast chicken tacos
Sesame Soy Ginger Chicken Stir Fry
Chilli Beef
Meatballs Marinara Tray Bake
Buffalo Chicken Blue Cheese Tray Bake



INGREDIENTS FOR STOCK DINNERS POWER HOUR
Food Bags
1 bulb garlic chopped
4 red chillies diced
6 spring onions sliced
1 bunch chopped coriander
1 bulb ginger grated
4 kafir lime leaves
Himalayan sea salt 
Fresh ground white pepper
Cumin
Piri Piri spice rub and sauce
Fajitas spice rub
BBQ spice rub
Madras curry powder
Tins tomatoes
Olive oil
Lime juice
Sesame oil and seeds 
Soy sauce
Cold water shrimp
Chicken breasts
Steak
Ground pork/beef

The principle is simple first make a list of dinners that are sheet pan, tray bake or skillet cooked, add to the list what your serving with each meal, i.e.; broccoli, potatoes, pasta, rice, fixings for tacos etc, and stock your fridge with all these fixings (fridge stock list below), next place your food bags all lined up and open, season the chicken, steak, shrimp with salt and pepper and place your portion of protiens for your family's dinner in each bag top up each bag with spice rub seasonings, garlic, ginger onion etc to your recipes.  My recipes for the list above are below.

GARLIC CHICKEN
Olive oil, chicken, salt, pepper, 3 cloves sliced garlic.  To cook toss the chicken with peppers and onions on a sheet pan, add some broccoli and diced potatoes and bake for 20-25 minutes.
FAJITAS
Slice steak or chicken strips, olive oil, fajitas spice rub.  To cook heat a skillet medium hot add the peppers and onions, sear for a couple of minutes, add the steak or chicken and sear for a few minutes until cooked, serve with all the usual fixings, fresh coriander and soft corn tacos.
BBQ PORK TENDERLOIN 
Pork tenderloin or Chicken, olive oil, BBQ spice rub.  To cook place peppers, onions, diced potatoes, broccoli on a sheet pan place the tenderloin or Chicken on top and cover with BBQ sauce, bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
HANAGER STEAK TACOS
Ground cumin, chilli, salt, pepper, olive oil, steak.  To cook heat your skillet medium hot seat some peppers and onions, add the steak and sear for a couple of minutes on each side, take off the heat, rest, slice, squeeze over some lime juice, fresh coriander, serve with soft tacos and all the fixings.
PIRI PIRI CHICKEN
Chicken, olive oil, piri piri spice rub.  To cook place peppers, onions on a sheet pan add the piri piri chicken, maybe some broccoli, diced potato, bake for 20-25 minutes, I like to serve these in buns with crisp salad, piri piri hot sauce mayonnaise.
BUFFALO CHICKEN
Chicken, olive oil, hot sauce.  To cook place peppers, onions, potatoes on a sheet pan place the chicken on top, bake in the oven for 15 minutes, at this point crumble over soft blue cheese all over the chicken and more hot sauce, finish baking for another 5-7 minutes.
MEATBALLS MARINARA
Ground beef and pork, salt, pepper, chipotle, oregano, Parmesan, flaxseed, mix and make meatballs, place in the bag along with tins of tomato, purée, sugar, olive oil, peppers, onions, garlic, dash red and white wine.  To cook just place the ingredients in a tray and bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, serve on subs or with spaghetti.
SESAME GINGER CHICKEN
Chicken, sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, grated ginger, garlic.  To cook place some peppers, onions, broccoli, asparagus on a sheet pan place the chicken on top bake for 20-25 minutes, drizzle over some sweet chilli or siracha to serve with stir fry mangetout, bean sprouts, spring onions on noodles with fresh coriander to finish.
ROAST CHICKEN TACOS
Season your chicken, roast for around 45 minutes, leave to rest for at least 30 minutes, pull all the meat off the bone, shredding as you go, serve with all the usual taco fixings.
PANANG SHRIMP
Shrimp, olive oil, salt, pepper, blitzed lemon grass, ginger, corinader, lime juice, lime leaves, onion, garlic, chilli.  To cook heat a wok or skillet medium hot, have rice or noodles ready to serve, sauté the shrimp for a couple of minutes and serve on top of the accompaniment.
CHIILI BEEF TRAY BAKE
Ground beef, salt, pepper, mexine chilli powder, ancho chilli, chipotle powder, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, fresh jalapeños, fresh onion diced, fresh garlic diced, sugar,  tomato purée, tins tomato.  To cook place everything in a skillet or roasting tray and cook for around 1-2 hrs on slow, just leave to do its thing.
CURRY IN A HURRY
Madras curry in a hurry, see blog, chicken, madras curry powder spice, chicken curry base stock, mixed powder, tomatoes, ginger, onion, cumin, fennel seeds, cardamom pods, ghee.  To cook place all the ingredients in a large skillet and leave to gently cook for a hour or so, serve with rice.

FRIDGE SET UP
Salsa
Pico de Gallo
Guacamole 
Sour Cream 
Soft corn tacos
Soft tortilla wraps
Salad
Spinach
Chopped onions
Chopped peppers
Broccoli florets
Cauliflower florets 
Asparagus
Potatoes (optional)
Squash (optional)
Red & White Cabbage grated for Slaws
Spaghetti 
Olive Oil Mayonnaise 
Limes
Hot sauce
MAKE AHEAD SALAD DRESSINGS
Blitzed avocado, lime, sour cream, corinader 
Chimmichurri 
Olive oil mayo, Dijon, lemon juice, anchovies, Parmesan 

It really is as simple as this, copying the ready to go meal sections of your super market that you are tempted to buy to make some meal times easier  just make your own with fresh ingredients and go to staples, why buy pre made mashed potatoes or cooked pasta ready to go when with a little time you can stock your fridge and freezer with these short cuts yourself knowing that everything in your food is good for you and your family, preservative and chemical free.

25 Feb 2018

BUTTER MAYONNAISE

This was one of those I wonder moments, it recently dawned on me that when I make hollandaise for that ultimate eggs benedict breakfast it is exactly the same as making mayonnaise except the fat in hollandaise is warm butter not olive oil and I cook out the egg yolks over a water bath, so can I make a buttery mayonnaise after all I don't cook out the egg yolk when I make mayonnaise?  I suppose this recipe is a play on words and is really a cold butter hollandaise masquerading as mayonnaise! 


Ingredients
300g hot melted clarified butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 juice lemon
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch white pepper

Brilliant results, this butter mayonnaise works so well with a chopped egg and warm bacon salad, Chicken Cesar salad and makes a really flavoursome twist on a bacon butty! Works great as a decedent dip for veggies too.  Serve hot and freshly made over steak and eggs.

In a large glass jug place the egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard, whisk together then slowly start to drizzle the hot clarified butter in whisking all the time, once your egg yolks start to thicken and stabilise you can add the butter a little more quickly, once all the butter is incorporated season with the salt and pepper, use your spreadable dipping butter mayo with in a few days, store in the fridge.

PIRI PIRI SAUCE HOMEMADE

A brilliant hot sauce loaded with flavour that will make your roast chicken sing or your week night sheet pan dinners dance like a fiesta, make this sauce as hot or as mild as you like and ramp up the garlic and lemon quantities if you want a more zingy sauce.

Making time 45 minutes



Homemade Piri Piri Sauce
2 red peppers roasted 
1 red onion charred
4 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 lemon zested
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
1 habanero or scotch bonnet chilli (more for hotter)
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
11/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
Finishing ingredients 
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 lemon zested 
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
1/2 cup olive oil

Roast the peppers and onions on a plancher flat top or skillet, charring all over, deseed the peppers, in a blender purée the charred peppers and onion, add the garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, apple cider vinegar, habanero, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper, purée to a smooth sauce.  Pour the puréed sauce in to a saucepan add the bay leaf and gently simmer for half an hour, remove from the heat and leave to cool, transfer the sauce back to the blender, add the remaining finishing ingredients the lemon juice, lemon zest, apple cider vinegar, purée and finally drizzle in the olive oil while the blender is still running.  That's it, adjust the seasoning if needed and keep any left over in the fridge.

Piri Piri Dry Spice Mix
Blitz everything in a processor or grinder
6 fresh chillies 
2tbsp dried chillies
4 cloves of garlic grated
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika

A great spice rub for fish, chicken and steak just toss in olive oil dust over the spice mix and skillet cook or sheet pan tray bake.

24 Feb 2018

CHIPOTLE SAUCE CANNED

A new Winning Dinner Done...brilliantly versatile chunky sauce that you can enjoy freshly made and also preserved from the glut in the garden for the rest of the year without any compromise to the flavour or your free time, super flavoursome dinner done in an instant!  I am rather chuffed at this recipe, so simple and bursting full of flavour this chunky sauce is going to be great over pan seared chipotle chicken, grilled fish, stuffed in to a burrito or topped over scrambled eggs, a winner winner dinner sauce...

Prep time 15 minutes / Cooking time 30 minutes / Canning time 20 minutes


Ingredients
(makes 5 x 240ml jars)

1/2 aubergine sliced
14 large fresh tomatoes halved
3 bulbs garlic
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 onions sliced
4 dried chipotle peppers
1 dried Arbol pepper
1 guiallio pepper
4 limes juiced (1 zested)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp white pepper 
1 tbsp chipotle powder
1 cup chopped fresh coriander

If you are planning on canning any left over sauce, which I whole heartedly recommend if it even lasts that long, you will need to have your clean sterilised jars ready to hand, a pan of boiling water ready and a pre heated oven at 380 F / 180 C.

Take the dried chipotle peppers and pour over enough boiled water to just cover the chillies  to rehydrate, leave to one side until needed.

Pre heat your oven 380 F /180 C, place your skillet on a medium high heat, add the coconut oil and place the aubergine slices in the skillet to char up a little on both sides, meanwhile while the aubergines are charring cut the tomatoes in half and place in a roasting tin along with the garlic, drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for 25 minutes to cook.

Remove the aubergines and place in a food processor and leave to one side, next in the skillet throw in the onions and char up a little too, not to much, remove and place in the blender with the aubergine and leave to one side.

Take the tomatoes and garlic from the oven and add to the food processor now add the rehydrated chipotle peppers, sea salt, chipotle powder, coriander and lime juice.  Using the pulse button only, unless you want a purée, hit the button 4 times, just to whiz up the mix.  I like to leave my tomato skins in the mix as they have extra goodness.  Taste your gorgeous sauce and adjust the seasoning if required to our presonal taste with a hint more salt or pepper, lime or chipotle etc...

Take what sauce your are using now and reserve to one side, if you are canning the remainder of the sauce, (if not this sauce willl last for a week or so in an air tight ball mason jar in the fridge).  Place the remainder of the sauce in a saucepan and bring up to a simmer, meanwhile place the jars and lids in the pre heated oven for 5 minutes to sterlize, you will also have your pan of water boiling on the stove at this point too.

Take the jars from the oven, fill with the hot chipotle sauce, pop the lids on and then drop into the pan of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes, remove and leave on the side to cool, next is one of my most favourite sounds the ping ping ping of lids sealing as the jars cool, a very happy sound in my home reminding me of all the organic grown food from the garden for the pantry.

Enjoy this brilliant chunky chipotle sauce as a dip, seasoning and topping for lots of your meals.

CREAMY WHITE WINE CHICKEN SPINACH AND MUSHROOMS

Gorgeous rich creamy mushroom and white wine sauce served over skillet seared chicken spinach and peppers a lovely one pan cook on the table within 15 minutes full of sumptuous flavours, this also goes great tossed through pasta.  Two extra little tweaks and this dish becomes a stroganoff!  

Prep time 5 minutes / Cooking time 10 minutes 



Ingredients 
(serves 2)

2 chicken breasts bashed even
1 glug olive oil
1 tbsp butter
400g assorted mushrooms
2 rashers sweetcure bacon diced
1 small onion finely diced
1 clove garlic grated
1 red pepper sliced
1/2 glass white wine
200g fresh spinach
500ml double cream
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch fresh ground black pepper 

Heat your skillet to a medium heat, add the olive oil and butter then the onions, garlic, bacon and mushrooms, cook for a couple of minutes then remove from the pan and keep to one side, season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear in the skillet for around three minutes on each side turning only once, add the peppers and cook for a further couple of minutes, next add back the mushrooms and any resting juices along with the white wine, reduce the wine by two thirds than add cream, bring the cream to a simmer for a minute or so until it has thickened slightly then add the spinach stir through and take off the heat, leave the skillet to rest for a couple of minutes before serving. This dish can also be lightened with a generous squeeze of lemon to cut through the richeness of the creamy mushroom sauce, go one step further and add some smoked paprika and turmeric and it's a slight twist on stroganoff! 

23 Feb 2018

BUFFALO CHICKEN BLUE CHEESE SHEET PAN DINNER

ONE PAN DINNERS
This is just an outstandingly brilliant one pan speedy succulent dinner ready in 25 minutes with hardly any preparation time, 5 minutes max!  I am on a winning streak with my family with this new to me found way of cooking, I usually spend a fair amount of time prepping food during the day so that dinner times are a easily navigated giving me more time to spend with my guys catching up on what they have to say.

Prep time 5 minutes / Cooking time 23-25 minutes


Ingredients 
(serves 4)

4 large chicken breast
1 red pepper sliced
1 green pepper sliced
1 onion sliced
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch black pepper
1 bottle West Indian Hot Sauce
100ml olive oil
200g soft blue cheese Gorgonzola 
2 tbsp fresh chopped corinader
1 lime for squeezing juice over finished dish

Pre heat your oven to 200 C / 390 F take your tray or sheet pan and pour the olive oil and west India hot sauce on to the tray and roughly mix together, add the chicken breast and massage the sauce all over, next sprinkle over the sliced peppers and onions, sea salt and pepper, mix through place the tray in the oven for 18 minutes to bake, when time is up remove the tray from the oven and crumble the Gorgonzola over the chicken and place the tray back in the oven for a further 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven squeeze the lime juice all over the buffalo chicken and sprinkle with fresh coriander and that's it serve family style.

16 Feb 2018

TACOS NO TACO ASIAN SPICED CHICKEN WITH MANGO SALSA

PALEO PERFECT ISH! 
Tacos have to be one of my most favourite go too's since going paleo, not always paleo perfect (sour cream or yogurt !) but almost, I try not to but have been known on a rare craving occasion to trade out my lettuce leaf taco for a soft corn or cheese taco shell going against my paleo leaf tacos but sometimes I just need that bite of naughtyness! Don't we all? I love it but it's almost but not guilt free with a hint of belly ache and chest wheeze I get to remind me I can eat what I want but my body works much more perfect when I don't! 

Prep/ Cooking time 30 minutes 



Ingredients 
(Serves 2-4)

500g minced chicken thigh meat
1 glug olive oil
3 spring onions diced
1 tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic grated
1 red chilli diced
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1 lrg pinch black pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 raw beetroot grated
1 carrot grated
24 large salad and beetroot leaves
1 small bunch watercress garnish

Mango Salsa
1 mango diced
1 fresh jalapeño sliced
1/2 lime juiced
1 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
1 spring onion chopped

To make the salsa combine all the ingredients together.

Heat your skillet medium hot add a glug of olive oil, brown the chicken mince when half way cooked add the spring onions, ginger, garlic, chilli, sesame oil salt and pepper, if using the sweet chilli sauce add this too, stir to combine and finish cooking the chicken mince approx a couple of minutes.

Assemble your leaves on your serving plates or family style platter, placing one leave of salad on top of another leave of salad making 12 leaf tacos, then spoon on the aromatic chicken mince and top with the grated beetroot, carrot and mango salsa garnish with sprigs of watercress and that's it super fast and wonderfully scrumptious.

10 Feb 2018

MAC n CHEESE HUSH PUPPIES

THIS IS TWISTED!
Gorgeous crispy light little balls of gooey Mac n cheese twisted with hush puppies corn buttermilk batter, these are just divine, once you pop one of these in your mouth make sure you've made plenty as you'll keep going back for more!  A great way to use any left over Mac n cheese, but how you can ever have left over Mac n cheese is beyond me!  

Prep time 30 minutes / Cooking time 4 minutes per frying batch 


Ingredients 

50g butter
50g plain flour
400ml full fat milk 
300g mature cheddar grated
50g gruyere grated
50g emmental grated
30g Parmesan grated
100ml double cream
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch ground white pepper
1 corn on cob corn off the cob
500 g macaroni pasta
1 1/2 cup self raising corn meal
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg beaten
2 ltr oil for frying

Bring a small pan of water to a simmer, season with salt and add the corn simmer for around 5 minutes until tender, remove the corn, place in a large bowl but keep the pan of simmering water now place the macaroni pasta to the simmering water and cook for 8 minutes, drain and place the large bowl with the corn.

The Roux 
Melt the butter, add the flour and on a low heat cook the roux for a couple of minutes, start adding the milk 100ml at a time whisking in until smooth, you want a thicker than usual Mac n cheese roux sauce so stop adding milk while thick, add the cream and cheese and stir in to melt, judge the thickness of your sauce, a dollop would not fall off the spoon easily, add more milk if you think it needs it.  Season with salt and pepper and pour over the reserved macaroni and corn and stir to combine evenly.

The Hush Puppies Batter
In a large jug add the corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt and stir to combine, mix the beaten egg with the buttermilk and then mix the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients to make your hush puppies batter.

The Twisted Mix
Combine the macaroni cheese with the hush puppies batter, heat your oil to 180 C / 350 F using a spoon gently place dollops of the batter in to the hot oil and fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown all over, drain the cooked hush puppies on kitchen towel, repeat with the remaining batter and serve immediately while still hot so that the cheese is still gooey, warm and delicious.

I sometimes add some panko breadcrumbs to the mix for a extra texture of crunch, this just depends on what we fancy on the day.  Being a house hold of cooks can get quite competitive at times!

BREAKFAST SKILLET BEEF CASSEROLE

Well this is a first for me, being a Brit casserole means a slow cooked braised meat with chunky vegetables in a loose medium stock sauce often with suet dumplings I suppose almost a thick chunky soup but not, a British casserole is a comforting warm winter dinner with hug.  So learning about my families American take on a casserole is quite different, I know I will eat over easy eggs with bacon and sausages but browning off some beef adding some cheese and then beaten eggs before baking in the oven feels bizarre.  Turns out to be brilliantly marvellous!  This is just the first casserole I have tried and look forward to working my way through lots of new recipes from my family across the pond! 

Prep time 5 minutes / Cooking time 25 minutes


Ingredients 
(serves 4-6)

1 glug olive oil
1 kg ground chuck steak
1 small onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic grated
1 tbsp tomatoe purée 
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch fresh ground black pepper
200g mature cheddar cheese grated
2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
10 eggs beaten
 
Pre heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F, heat your skillet to medium hot, add the olive oil, onions and garlic and gently soften for a couple of minutes, add the ground beef and brown off add the tomatoe purée and season with sea salt and pepper, take off the heat and add the cheese, stir to combine.  Stir in the parsley and beaten eggs and place the skillet in the oven to bake for ten minutes, that's it a gorgeous beef skillet breakfast casserole.  This is great for grabbing out the fridge on the go too.

HOW TO SPROUT ALFALFA

Really easy to grow and super good for you in small portions, to sprout your seeds in a safe growing way you will need to water the seeds, leave the water to soak the seeds for about a minute, then drain all the water off the seeds after watering, next turn the sprouting glass jar up side down and at an angle so that any remaining water will drain away, this is because leaving any water behind may cause the water to stagnate which can grow bad bacteria and you do not want to eat that.  Your sprouted alfalfa should smell fresh at all time.  

Sprouting time 6 days / Fridge keeping time 3-4 days



I use a piece of muslin cloth to cover the opening of the ball mason jar and secure this in place with the lid band or a elastic band, this makes draining the excess water off really easy.  10 g of Alfalfa seeds will once fully sprouted fill a wide mouth ball mason jar.  It takes six days to sprout your alfalfa seeds to gorgeous green salad, once sprouted to this stage I keep my alfalfa in the fridge, for a couple of days.  

CREAMY CHICKEN PARMA HAM AND CHORIZO SKILLET

Gorgeous heavenly spoonfuls of succulent chicken layered with crispy Parma ham and chorizo infused cream sauce, this is great on its own in a large bowl, best eaten with a spoon and possibly in private, but works even better tossed through spaghetti pasta, finished off with fresh Serrano chillies and parsley, this is a easy one skillet cook and from fridge to table in under fifteen minutes, making this a great weeknight treat.

Prep & Cooking time 15 minutes



Ingredients 
(serves 4)

4 chicken breasts diced 
100g chorizo sliced
100g Parma ham or bacon
1 small onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic grated
200ml double cream
2 tbsp fresh parsley 
1 Serrano chilli diced (optional) 
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt 
1 pinch fresh ground black pepper 

Heat your skillet medium hot, add the chorizo and Parma ham or bacon, you don't need to add any olive oil as the gorgeous fats in the paprika infused chorizo will render down and do this for you, cook until crispy, remove from the skillet and reserve to one side, add the chicken to the skillet and when almost cooked add back the chorizo and Parma ham, add the cream and bring to a gently simmer, that's it finish off with a sprinkling of sea salt and pepper to taste, Serrano chilli and fresh parsley.  Serve on its own, with a side order of vegetables or tossed through a big bowl of spaghetti pasta.

7 Feb 2018

MEATBALLS MARINARA MAKE AHEAD DINNERS

Top Family Dinner Ready To Go From The Freezer
An all time family favourite sumptuous beef meatballs baked then finished off in my five family's Italian marinara sauce that will leave your spoon going back for more even when you belly says enough!  To be even more decedent we love to finish this off with a generous helping of gooey melted cheese pull mozeralla or salty Parmesan cheese.

Prep time 10 minutes / Cooking time 30 minutes (3hrs sauce simmering time if you can)


Ingredients 
(serves 4)

Beef Balls
1 kg chuck steak beef
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp crushed red chillies
1/2 tsp mexin chilli powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan 
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (optional) breadcrumbs instead
1 drizzle olive oil 

Five Familes Marinara
1 onion finely sliced
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 glug olive oil
1 glass red wine
1 glass white wine
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh parsley (optional)

Five Families Sauce
If you can make the sauce earlier in the day and simmer really gently for up to three hours or even the day before it will be even more gorgeous as it marinates.  Heat the olive oil medium hot, add the onions and garlic and soften for around ten minutes, add the wine and reduce by a third, add the tomatoes, oregano and leave to gently simmer for 20 minutes if in a hurry or up to three hours ticking away developing a deeper rich flavour, and even better the day before.

Meatballs
Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees C / 370 degrees F.  Mix all the ingredients in to the chuck steak mince evenly I use ground flaxseed over breadcrumbs as a binder, because it's loaded with omega 3 & 6 and paleo, divide in to golf ball size balls, place in a roasting tray, drizzle olive oil over the balls and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Finish The Dish 
Once the meatballs are cooked, transfer the meatballs and cooking juices in to the marinara sauce, leave to gently simmer, you can serve immediately now but this is where more time can make all the difference for deeper flavour, I make the marinara ahead of time, add the cooked meatballs and cooking juices and then leave to gently simmer away for around an hour then take off the heat and leave to rest for an hour or more, then re heat for my family's dinner when required, finish with the parsley and a generous helping of cheese sprinkled over the top.  This is such a flexible recipe, super fast or slow with added depth of flavour, but in all a honest dinner on the table, full bellies and family time is the most important task on a busy family night! 

TRAY BAKED CHICKEN PARMESAN AND CHORIZO

Tray Baked Dinners
Where have I been, I kinda know I do cook like this but I did not realise how much more I should cook like this, I am loving this new found freedom of one pan cooking, as a old fashioned cook I am all about layering of flavours and tray baking still gives all those layers of flavours with out the manual workout at the stove.  Dinner done in 10 minutes! 

Prep time 5-10 minutes / Cooking time 25 minutes



Ingredients 
(serves 4)

4 chicken breasts bashed even all over
100g chorizo sliced
1 head broccoli florets
1 courgette sliced
1 red pepper sliced
200g Brussels sprouts cut in to 3 pieces
200g spinach
1 bulb of garlic peeled
200g cherry tomatoes on the vine
50 ml olive oil
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1/2 fresh ground black pepper
50-100g grated Parmesan 

Pre heat the oven 200 C / 390 F, toss the chicken in a tbsp of olive oil, season with some of the salt and pepper, in the tray back add the rest of the ingredients and toss through the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper, place the chicken breasts on top and arrange some of the garlic cloves and chorizo sliced on top of the chicken.  This will not only add a nutty baked flavour to the chicken, but the chorizos gorgeous paprika oils will baste the rest of the dish while it cooks.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the chicken is just cooked all the way through, sprinkle over the grated Parmesan and serve the tray bake straight to the table family style.

4 Feb 2018

STEAK TACOS BRASILIAN BARBECUE

CHILLI CUMIN & GARLIC MARINATED SKIRT STEAK
Hanger marinated skirt (Fraldinha) steak seared and stuffed in to tacos with all the usual suspect fixings!  This cheap cut of steak is very often over looked but cooked over high heat really fast and served no more than rare, blue even better it's a super juicy succulent tasty cut of beef.  To add even more flavour I've marinated this with a spice mix inspired from Cowboy cooking, Brasilian barbecue and Mexican cumin flavours.

Marinating time minimum 4 hrs-24hrs / Cooking time 10 minutes 


Ingredients 
(Serves 2-4)

Marinade 
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
60g red chillies
1 tbsp fresh oregano 1/2 tsp if using dried
3 tbsp mirin 
2 tbsp red wine vinegar 
60ml olive oil
The Steak
500g approx skirt steak
1 glug olive oil
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt 
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 lime
1 bunch fresh coriander torn

Place all the marinade ingredients in a blender and blitz to a smooth paste, reserve a couple of tbsp of the marinade, in a glass dish or food bag cover the steak with the remaining marinade place in the fridge to marinate infusing all the gorgeous flavour in to your steak.

Remove the steak from the fridge around half an hour before your ready to cook so that the steak is at room temperature, this ensures a juicy tender steak as the steak has relaxed.  Heat your skillet very hot, if you can cook over wood fire even better, roughly scrape off some of the marinade, now the Brazilian bit is to sprinkle the steak with the Himalayan salt and pepper this would be knocked off just before serving which is why if you've ever been to Fogo de chao now you know why you don't need salt!  We're not knocking the salt of as I have lowered the amount cooked with.  

Drizzle the olive oil over the steaks, never add oil to the pan as this over heats the oil and it smokes, place the steaks in the hot hot skillet, leave do not touch for one and a half minutes, turn the steaks over and cook for a further one minute, remove the steaks from the skillet immediately and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes, bush the reserved marinade over the steaks and slice on the bias, pour over the resting juices a beautiful self made sauce, a squeeze of lime and finish off with a sprinkling of fresh coriander enjoy.

Serving Suggestions 
Soft corn tacos
Guacamole 
Salsa
Sour cream
Salad
Coriander 
Chillies  

Stuff wrap and enjoy this lip smacking juicy flavoursome steak.

ROASTED GARLIC PURÉE

This beautiful little parcel packs great nutty sweet mild garlicky flavour to any dish, sauce and gravy it's great to spread on toast, add to stuffings and great with cheese and crackers.  One of my favourite ways to eat this is pasted over a roasted herby sausage meat stuffed chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham with creamy rich garlicky country gravy!  When I'm going to roast garlic I do several whole bulbs at a time so that I have extra squidgy garlic purée in the fridge ready to go adding that extra layer of flavour to a dish at a moments notice.

Cooking time 30-40 minutes


Ingredients 

4 whole bulbs of garlic
50ml olive oil
1 pinch Himalayan sea salt (optional)

Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees and quite simply place the bulbs in a dish toss through the olive oil and season with the salt, cover the dish with baking paper or foil, bake in the oven for 30 minutes for soft whole squidgy spreadable cloves great for spreading or 40 minutes for a purée spread that melts into sauces.