Ras el hanout. It sounds exotic and it is. If you’d like to read more about this warming spice blend use the ‘Search by ingredients’ area of this site (in side-bar to right of this post if you are on a pc).
You’ll also find it in Tesco or a spice store and possibly other supermarkets where I haven’t found it yet. You can also make it too, again if you’re interested search in the ingredients box of this blog ->
….but you’re probably just here for the recipe.
Simple Salmon Supper:
Ingredients : Salmon Darnes Drizzle oil Good scattering of Ras el Hanout Method: Into hot oven for approx. 15 minutes
Ingredients: Mayonnaise Philadelphia Cream Cheese Tomato & Chill Relish Honey Ras el Hanout Method: Use your own excellent judgement to combine the above until you make enough sauce to dollop on your salmon. Check your fridge, other things that you can swap in to make great emergency sauce = yoghurt, creme fraiche, vinegars, lemon juice, sweet chilli sauce, hot sauce, mustard, pesto, capers etc.
When it comes to cooking you really don’t need to be spoon-fed line by line instructions, exact quantities and cooking temperatures. Trust your instinct, swap things in and out and your cooking experience will become simpler and faster. All you need is a rough idea of what ingredients work well together and the gist of the method. Gist, now there’s an underused and underrated word for you.
More often than not when it comes to food and especially the main meal of the day I just want to eat something simple but super tasty. After a day of work it is very difficult to turn around and cook something at all and much easier to throw on a pizza or pick up some fast takeaway but you know and need to remind yourself that cooking can be as simple and fast as that too. You do need to have done the shopping at some stage though! An empty fridge will not yield a tempting meal. So do yourself a favour and get a food shop in : lots of veg, your preferred protein and stock up on those things that will bring flavour – garlic, lemon, chillies, spices, honey etc.
Think about the flavours you like and put those things together – I love a combination of bitter & sweet, hence the sugar and vinegar of the pickle served with the sweet chicken strips on leaves is my idea of a simple & tasty meal.
Red Onion Pickle
Slice Red onion, sprinkle with red wine vinegar & sugar Leave to marinade while you cook the chicken strips Tastes even better the next day
Is Instagram not for photos anymore?
So what’s that about then? I generally just pick up on mutterings and snippets of things as they filter through the ether and don’t have time to explore on detail however what I’m hearing is that the Insta moguls are leaning in preference more towards video content than still images. What does that actually mean? When you search for something you’re going to be returned with moving pictures rather than still images perhaps. I don’t see that it will really matter. If it’s only pictures you want to see that is the content you will seek out.
So here is one of my recent Insta dinners & Insta recipes. I think the visual along with limited text should be enough for the time pressed. Be inspired then make it your way.
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.
What do you want to eat? Maybe the question should be what do you want to cook? At this time of year with the seasons changing and a chill sometimes seeping in through any gap it can find, you may be looking for comfort in a bowl. This particular bowl of comfort also has the added benefits of being quick, simple and cheap. The latter of course depending on how in-season broccoli is for you, whether your pesto and parmesan are gourmet or own-brand and yes the humble rasher of bacon too could veer towards expensive if you are wont to artisanal produce. Well each to their own on that front, only a food snob would judge you by your choice of ingredients and boy do they exist. Regardless of provenance I guarantee that the end result will be delicious. (Perfect for any students of any age in your life.)
Spaghetti with Pesto, Bacon and Broccoli
You will need: (serves 4–5) 400g broccoli (1 small head)
2 garlic cloves
300g cherry tomatoes
400g dried spaghetti
10 rashers (approximately 300g)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp basil pesto (see next page for home-made recipe)
Grated Parmesan cheese to garnish Method: Fill up a large saucepan with boiling water and bring it back to the boil.
Prepare the broccoli by giving it a quick rinse and breaking it up into florets and set aside.
Peel and crush the garlic and set aside.
Rinse and slice the cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.
Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water for 6* minutes, while gently frying the rashers in a frying pan in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Occasionally stir the spaghetti so that it does not stick together.
After 6* minutes, add the broccoli florets to the spaghetti and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the rashers and add in the crushed garlic and halved cherry tomatoes.
After a total cooking time of 8* minutes drain the spaghetti and broccoli, retaining about a half a cup of the cooking water.
Roughly chop the rashers in the pan and then stir the rashers, garlic and cherry tomato mix into the spaghetti and broccoli.
Stir in the pesto and enough of the reserved cooking water to moisten.
Serve hot with some extra pesto and grated Parmesan.
*you may need to adjust the cooking time depending on cooking time of your spaghetti so check the pack