With three of my kids studying away from home this year I’m cooking with them in mind lately at home too. This means that what I’m sharing on my Instagram feed may give them some ideas that are simple, tasty and easy should they take the figary to chop an onion. Chilli Con Carne is one of those versatile dishes that can serve a party or a gaggle of students. Usually served on rice I really find a baked potato to be a more satisfying vessel on which to prop the chilli. And by the way if you don’t eat the skins of your baked potato you are really missing out on something special – load with some sour cream, some melting butter or better again melting cheese – delicious. This recipe is one of the mainstays from my first book ‘Gimme the Recipe.’
Ingredients – serves 6
You will need: 1 tbsp olive oil
500g round steak mince
2 medium onions
1 red pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp oregano
500ml beef stock
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g can kidney beans
Fresh parsley or chives to garnish
Baked potatoes or boiled rice to serve. Method: Heat the olive oil in a large deep frying pan or saucepan and brown the mince over a medium/high heat until the juices run clear.
While the mince is browning, finely chop the onions, dice the pepper into small pieces and crush the garlic.
Push the browned mince to the side of the pan, add the chopped onion and red pepper to the centre, and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Push the onion and pepper towards the sides, add the garlic, chilli powder, paprika and cumin, and cook for 1 minute.
Add the tomato puree, sugar, oregano, beef stock and canned tomatoes and mix well.
Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Strain, rinse and add the kidney beans and return to the boil.
Reduce heat again and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Great served with a baked potato and a dollop of sour cream with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley or chives.
Sweet & Sticky Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe number 2 of 12 before Christmas means we’re another week closer! BTs, M&S, Boots et al are all very upfront in their homage to the festive season. Walls are being cleared, the sun holiday aisle is being swept away and before you know it we’ll be out there buying a plethora of 3 for 2 gifts without the faintest idea of who any of it all is for.
I’ve already bought a couple of baubles. Being a fan of all things timeless and classic our main Christmas tree is always festooned in a combination of red & gold so each year I just buy a couple of more bits to add to the collection.
As I write this it is 6.15pm and I am where I do much of my writing, in the car at the side of the pitch while the kids are at a training session. It’s still bright. In a few more weeks I’ll be chasing the brightest streetlamp. It’s a strangely humid and moist day with a greyed sky that had been filled with a blazing autumn sunshine earlier this morning. Ah, here comes the rain, now we’ve had a bit of everything. I hope tomorrow starts off golden again and that we can enjoy a few more weeks of watching the trees try on hues of red, gold, yellow and burnished browns until stripping off completely. The leaf-blowers will be out in earnest then but for now there’s still the odd optimist patiently pushing a droning lawnmower accompanied by the neighbourhood canine chorus.
Sticking to the theme of autumnal hues this deliciously sweet and sticky chicken bright with orange juice, dark with soy will be brought quickly to your table. As mangetout are just going out of season you could substitute with sliced courgette which is delicious slightly undercooked and plentiful at the moment.
At time of publishing as opposed to writing I am back at home it’s 8pm dark & wet and I am not inclined towards prose having just brought in the drowned washing optimistically hung out to dry this warm autumnal morn!
Sweet & Sticky Chicken Stir-Fry Sweetened with orange juice, this is quick and easy to prepare and ready in 20 minutes. I love it with brown rice or noodles.
Serves 4 You will need: 4 skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp coconut or rapeseed oil
Half head of broccoli
3 spring onions
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
Juice of 2 oranges
2 tsp cornflour
Handful of cashew nuts
cooked brown rice or noodles, to serve Method: Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and cook the chicken for 4 minutes on a high heat.
While the chicken is cooking, break the broccoli into small florets, rinse the mangetout and rinse and chop the spring onions.
Add 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce to the chicken, then add the broccoli, mangetout and spring onions and cook for 3 minutes.
Juice the oranges and mix with the cornflour and the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce in a small bowl. Add this to the chicken and cook for 1 minute, stirring well. If you would prefer a saucier mix, add a little water. Finally, sprinkle in the cashew nuts and cook for 1 minute. Serve with rice or noodles.
Til next time, Sheila
Being an Irish woman I just love potatoes. What’s that got to do with Jerk Chicken you might ask? Well recently on twitter I started following this account called @TastyPotatoes and they are sharing the most delicious looking potato based dishes, dishes that scream ‘comfort’ and ‘eat me.’ One that I just had to try was their Jerk Potato & Black Bean Curry. I reproduced it as best as I could using a can of black eye beans and chickpeas instead of two tins of black beans as they are simply not stocked in Irish supermarkets. as at time of writing I had never found them in an Irish supermarket. Since writing the blogpost I’ve been told that black beans are available in SuperValu and indeed have verified this in my local branch. For the Jerk Potato & Black Bean Curry Recipe just click on this link to Tasty Potatoes.
Maybe I’m wrong on that score and If you know of any other Irish supermarkets that sells them please let me know as that’s where I do most of my food shopping.
Jerk seasoning was easily available in the supermarket and one that I hadn’t ever used before.
Not being of a vegetarian persuasion I chose to accompany the Jerk Potato & Black Bean Curry with Jerk Chicken Drumsticks. Chicken drumsticks are under-utilised in cooking and recipes and thus incredibly cheap.
Jerk Chicken Drumsticks You will need:
Sour cream & coriander to serve (optional) Method:
Heat the oven to 200C
Place the chicken drumsticks on a baking tray, drizzle with oil, dust generously with jerk seasoning and cook in the hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes until golden in colour and cooked through.
Serve with sour cream & coriander.
‘Til next time, Sheila
‘What’s for Dinner Mom?’ a refrain that at times has me muffling expletives under my breath. Crazy days of exams & sports & socks, of unwashed floors & grimey bathrooms, sodden towels and mounting ironing piles not to mention the pile of admin on my office desk.
Crazy, crazy days and at the end of it all the request for dinner. Left to my own devices on days like this I’d be quite happy with a toasted sandwich poshed up with cranberry sauce and accompanied by a mug of piping hot tea, that would just be heavenly. But for the kids alas that wouldn’t be awarded the ‘dinner’ badge and I would be reminded that even though they’re not actually being starved by their mother they didn’t get a dinner.
This chorizo pasta supper is perfect for the overwhelming days and can be whipped up in 10 minutes.
You will need:
Sundried Tomato Pesto Method:
Cook up a large pot of pasta.
While the pasta cooks cut the red pepper into small cubes and the chorizo into chunky slices.
Drain the pasta reserving a little pasta cooking water.
Mix though the pepper and chorizo and stir through some sundried tomato pesto with a little of the reserved cooking water to moisten,
Mix well and serve.
Voila – dinner in 10 minutes.
You could healthy it up by mixing through some rocket leaves.
‘Till next time, Sheila.