31st January & I hope you’re keeping well. Time is nigh to celebrate with Recipe No. 1 of 2020. Welcome to the real beginning of the New Year because January was complete and utter drudge now wasn’t it? I’ve been expanding my repertoire of Slow Cooker recipes and have worked on perfecting this Chinese one, it was good before, and now it’s better. Next I have to work on the Chicken Curry one as it’s been constructively critiqued as a little bland and a little watery!
First up are the photos and then if you’d like to try it out the ingredients and method are below.
Chinese Chicken, Peppers & Black Bean Sauce.
You will need:
1kg chicken breast – cut into chunks
3 red chillies
2 peppers (i used 1 red, 1 green)
2 tins black beans
1 tsp cornflour
4 tbsp grated ginger or ginger puree
2 tbsp garlic puree or 3 crushed garlic cloves
12 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp golden syrup
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar or red/white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chilli flakes
peanuts & spring onion to garnish
suggest boiled rice to serve Method:
Place chicken chunks in the base of the Slow Cooker
Next add in chopped onion chunks, 3 finely chopped red chillies, 2 sliced peppers
Drain the black beans and add these next
In a jug mix together the 1 tsp cornflour and 100ml cold water
Into the jug add the remaining ingredients : ginger, garlic, soy sauce, golden syrup, vinegar, chilli flakes
Cook on high in the slow cooker for 4 hours
Chop up spring onion and scatter on top along with peanuts before serving with some boiled rice.
This is one of my recipes of the summer but so robust and hearty it will fare well at any time of the year. It was enjoyed a deux with my husband in beautiful West Cork in mid-August. The photos below the ingredients and method will show you how this came together. A side of paprika baby roast potatoes would be excellent with this or keep it light with a side of dressed mixed leaves. Here I’ve simply served with some pan-fried courgette and a side of garlic bread.
Ingredients: (to serve 2) 2 chicken breasts & a little oil to pan-fry 3 garlic cloves 2 tbsp chopped parsley (reserve 1 to garnish) 1 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes 2 slices brie Method: Pre-heat the oven to 200 Heat some oil in a frying pan Slice each chicken breast lenghtways along one side but leave closed Pan-fry the chicken breasts until golden on each side Meanwhile chop the garlic, parsley & sundried tomatoes and mix together (keep back 1 tbsp of the parsley for garnish) Open out the chicken breast (see pics below) and top with the tomato mix Oven cook for 5 minutes Place a slice of brie on each chicken breast and sandwich it closed Return to the oven to cook for a further 5 minutes Ready to serve with whatever you fancy
A new favourite for me, so simple & tasty. xx Sheila
Really the spelling doesn’t matter now does it? The thing I want to share with you is the fact that you can bake it. Yes you can bake bulgur wheat!!! Baking it in a dish like this alongside chicken, onions and garlic means the flavour enhancement is huge.
This dish is for a day that you don’t really feel like cooking but are in need of something decent and comforting. There is only a tiny bit of prep to this and it then more or less looks after itself over the course of an hour which will give you time to do a few bits – like put the bins out and unload the dishwasher because the last few people who encountered the FULL to overflowing bins and dishwasher chose to ignore them, didn’t they?
I’ll show you a few pictures here first of how the dish came together and you’ll find the written ingredients list and method below them….
You will need / Ingredients: Chicken pieces – skin on – I used thighs A little oil 2 onions 6 garlic cloves 1 tin chickpeas Hot paprika Tomato passata – 500g Bulgar Wheat – 250g Frozen Veg – 450g Chicken Stock – 500ml – from cube is fine 1 lemon 1 tbsp chopped parsley 4 tbsp greek yoghurt Half cucumber Method: Pre-heat the oven to 200C Open the frozen veg onto a plate and leave to semi-defrost Peel and chop the two onions into wedges, peel and slice each garlic clove in two Arrange the chicken pieces in the base of large oven proof casserole dish Place the onion, garlic and drained chickpeas in between the chicken pieces Pour a little oil onto the chicken and pour the tomato passata in between the chicken pieces Sprinkle hot paprika on top Bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes Prepare a raita (sauce/dressing) by combining the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 4 tbsp greek yoghurt and half a cucumber cut into small cubes After the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes remove from the oven and scatter the bulgur on top – in between the chicken pieces, then scatter the semi-defrosted vegetables on top and press down with a fork so everything is touching some tomato Lastly pour over the hot chicken stock and continue to bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve dressed with some raita.
Sunday morning, he took two of the lads to football training and I jumped out of bed knowing that food had to be got for their return and a decent dinner made as the twin girls had a football match later in the afternoon. No ordinary football match – a Senior County Final and a replay at that – so woe betide me if there were no food. (October 2018). Off I went, fitting in a yoga class and then a flit through the supermarket. On my return however they were back and my hero of a husband was already cleaning the kitchen with Niall having cooked for them all. They had polished off scrambled eggs and black pudding and there was no panic for me to cook. I didn’t mention that I had stopped off for a scone and a cappuccino in between the yoga and the shopping did I? It’s an official habit of mine now, a scone with Irish butter and a cappuccino. It’s usually accompanied by a catch up on my Instagram Feed and those stories can be very distracting!
This lack of time pressure made my foray into the kitchen so much more enjoyable. It is so much nicer to cook when you yourself are not starving and the masses are not persistently inquiring as to the nature of the dish and ‘when will it be ready?’
I had intended on a quick cook dish though and proceeded with my plan. Oven was preheated, vegetables quickly chopped and then tipped in a large baking dish with some berbere dusted chicken mini fillets.
Is Berbere new to you? It is to me. A recently discovered (by me!) Ethiopian origin spice blend similar to Ras El Hanout but with a really gentle warmth. I found it on the shelves of my local Dunnes Stores and have been using it for the past week or so and it’s going down well with everyone.
The Berbere baked chicken was accompanied by harissa spiced couscous with a little coriander mixed through and a good dollop of natural yoghurt spiked with lemon juice and topped with a sprinkling of Berbere for colour.
Baked Berbere Chicken: You will need:
A few baby potatoes
1 red pepper
1 red onion
Olive oil or rapeseed oil
Mini chicken fillets 400-700g (judge by how many you want to feed!)
Berbere spice blend
Serve with couscous made with tsp harissa paste and some coriander
Natural yoghurt spiked with lemon juice and dusted with berbere. Method:
Preheat the fan oven to 200C
Microwave the baby potatoes for 5 to 10 mins until easy to cut through
Cube the aubergine and courgette
Deseed and slice the red pepper
Peel and slice the red onion
Scatter the vegetables in the base of a large baking dish
Slice the par-cooked baby potatoes and scatter on top
Drizzle some oil over the vegetables and then mix them around
Place the chicken mini fillets on top of the chopped vegetables, drizzle with some oil and dust with berbere.
Cook in the hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through – turning the chicken over midway through cooking and dusting with a little more berbere.
So why would I call this meatball dish Moroccan then? When I cook with lamb and spices like cumin and cinnamon I think of Middle Eastern or North African cooking so there you have it, the simple explanation is that it just makes me think of Morocco or Moroccan cooking. Though I’ve never been to Morocco and neither have I eaten in a specifically Moroccan restaurant so I have absorbed this probably mostly from cooking programmes. There definitely was a Jamie Oliver one where he was in Morocco and oh let me tell you the spice markets are amAAAAAAAzing there. And how would I know – because I saw it on the telly of course.
The secret is the cinnamon I think. It’s something that Westerners traditionally associate with sweet dishes, particularly with apple dishes likes pies and crumbles. It sets these meatballs on a more exotic path than the Italian one’s that we’re more used to.
This recipe is from my first cookbook ‘Gimme the Recipe’ – I haven’t cooked it in ages and it will be gracing my table this week. Perfect warming Autumnal fare. I hope you get a chance to try it sometime too.
You will need 1 large red onion
3cm thumb-width piece of ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 red chilli
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
800g minced lamb
1 tbsp olive oil
2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes
250ml chicken stock
Handful of fresh coriander to garnish Method: Peel and roughly chop the red onion, ginger and garlic, and blitz together with the deseeded chopped chilli, cumin and cinnamon in a mini chopper or food processor to create a spicy paste.
Use a fork or your hands to mix the lamb with half of the spicy paste in a bowl and then shape them into meatballs the size of golf-balls.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and brown the meatballs.
Push the meatballs to the sides of the pan and cook the rest of the spicy paste in the centre of the pan for 1 minute
Add the plum tomatoes to the centre of the pan and roughly chop them with a knife. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine with the tomatoes, paste and meatballs.
Bring to the boil then reduce to simmer for 25–30 minutes. (Test the centre of a meatball to check that it is cooked through.)
Serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander and Moroccan couscous or rice.