Pudding. There’s something about that word that conjures up comfort. Something you’ll be hankering as Autumn envelops you bringing darker evenings, cooler air and while you sleep a sprinkling of frost may even be dusting your doorstep. I can’t get enough of apple in desserts at this time of year; crumbles, tarts and yes oh yes please, pudding. This would be epic after a long Sunday lunch or an evening of entertainment and something sure to send the recipients over that edge into blissful food coma.
There are some blackberry stragglers still clung to the hedgerows if you get a chance to look or you’ll find them with fruit in the supermarket and those cooking apples are still abundant and inexpensive. The battery mixture of this almost forms a cake but with all the moistness of the fruit it will never dry into sponginess but will remain sumptuously soft and yielding. As moist as it already is I do recommend that you take it to the next level and serve with some softly whipped fresh cream.
Apple and Blackberry Pudding : (Serves 9)
You will need:
175g unsalted butter
250ml carton whipping cream
225g caster sugar
400g cooking apples (2 large or 3 medium)
300g plain flour
Butter to grease the dish Method: Preheat the oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 6 and grease a baking/pudding dish 25x25cm with butter.
Heat the butter and cream together in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Leave to cool a little.
Whisk the caster sugar and the eggs together for a few minutes until thick and set aside.
Prepare the fruit by coring, peeling and slicing the apples into rings, and washing the blackberries.
Add the butter and cream mixture to the eggs and sugar mixture, and whisk together.
Gently fold in the sifted flour to make a thick batter.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and push in the apple rings.
Scatter the blackberries over the top and push some of them down into the batter.
Bake for 45–50 minutes and test the mixture with a skewer – if it comes away clean the cake is cooked.
Great served hot, straight from the oven, with some cream.
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. 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 topped 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.
I have to share today’s triumph with you and YOU have to make it. I’m not commanding you, I’m simply imploring, I’m pleading because it is so simple and so tasty that I don’t want to be the only person in the world who has made this. Share this with me. Please.
You will know how many people you are cooking for so use your judgement in the amount of the following ingredients you will need. I’m giving quantities that cook for 5.
You will need:
10 baby potatoes
5 pieces of fish (I used hake)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato pesto
1 tbsp mixed herbs
3 large spring onion
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
3 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes
Lemon to serve – optional
Heat a fan oven to 200C and follow the method in the following words and pictures. You will need a large baking dish and tin foil.
Note : test your fish is cooked through to the centre before serving. Smaller / thinner fish pieces will take less cooking time.
Note 2 : my previous microwave would have cooked baby potatoes in 5 mins, my current one takes 8 mins so that time will vary. (You could boil if you prefer)
Lots of pluses for this dish. Simple, tasty, healthy & minimal washing up. I do hope you get to give it a try.
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
I love food. That’s a given. This is one of the best things that I have ever cooked. What that means is that this is a really good dish. REALLY GOOD! Okay, you get it, I like this Chicken Biryani. Let me count the ways though : It is easy. It is relatively quick. It is a crowd pleaser. It will feed a crowd (yes, these are two different points). It cooks in one pot. It is delicious. I like it. 7. There are 7 reasons why this is a really good dish! And you don’t care, you just want the recipe so move along there Sheila and share…
Couple of notes, if you are finding your way with cooking and exploring new things you may yet have come to use cardamom. Don’t be put off by ingredients that may be unknown to you. You will find cardamom pods easily in the super market and you will bash the outer husks using a pestle and mortar or a rolling pin to release the inner seeds. Another note I like to share is about fresh ginger. Keep it in the freezer and grate what you need straight from frozen using a microplane grater, there is no need to peel ginger.
Chicken Biryani Recipe Feeds 6 easily. You will need : 250g frozen peas
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion chopped finely
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp Garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
8 cardomon pods seeded
Half teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tsp cumin
Chicken breast 500g
2 tbsp tomatoes purée
2 cups quick cook rice = approx. 350g
Tin coconut milk
2 cup veg stock = approx. 250ml
Flaked almonds to toast
Fresh Coriander to serve Method:
Place 250g frozen peas in jug of boiling hot water and set aside
Finely chop the onion, grate the ginger, crack open the cardamom pods to release the seeds
Melt 1 tbsp coconut oil in large pan over medium heat
Gently fry the onion for 5 mins.
Stir in the following spices :
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp Garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
8 cardomon pods seeded
Half teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tsp cumin
Cook spices couple minutes stirring through the onion.
Add chopped chicken 500g and 2 tbsp tomatoes purée, mix to coat chicken with spice
Add the drained peas stir through
Add 2 cups rice stir through
Pour in Can of coconut milk and the 2 cups veg stock
Raise the heat until just begging to bubble, stir well reduce the heat to medium and cover with lid for 10 mins
(Check every so often with wooden spoon that nothing is sticking to bottom of pan if it is give it a stir and turn down the heat a little.)
Toast the flaked almonds in a frying pan
Chop the fresh coriander
Once the Chicken Biryani has simmered for 10 minutes remove the lid and test to see if rice cooked, if not simmer a little longer covered and add more liquid if any danger of sticking.Turn the heat up for a few minutes more until just bubbling again.
Serve with the toasted almonds and fresh coriander.}
Lemon & Parmesan Chicken
Here’s a really easy way to get some vegetables into you and perhaps coax them into a cranky child. I’ve taken to blitzing greens lately, in particular kale and broccoli and I just blanch them with hot water for speedy cooking.
You might notice that I’m using a glass baking dish in the pictures here and that’s a change that I’ve made lately too. I was fed up of going at my rusting baking trays with ‘steel wool’ in efforts to scrape the burned on bits off and they just never felt really clean after the first use, whereas the glass ones clean beautifully in the dishwasher.
I’ve also pulled out my spaghetti measure in an effort to not end up with a mountain of left-over pasta.
There’s a video that accompanies this recipe over on my instagram and facebook pages if you’d like to see as well as read. Lemon & Parmesan Chicken
You will need:
4 chicken breasts
3 fat garlic cloves
250g cherry tomatoes
300ml chicken stock
tub creme fraiche – 200ml or 250g approx
1 lemon (using zest & juice)
150g washed and roughly chopped/shredded kale
Small handful pinenuts
Small handful grated parmesan
(Note: Boil the kettle and have the food processor out for blitzing kale. You also need a colander set over a large saucepan)
Heat the fan oven to 200
Peel and slice the fat garlic cloves in half
Slice the chicken breasts in half
Place the cut garlic, chicken and the whole cherry tomatoes into a baking dish / tray and drizzle with some oil, mix well to coat everything and place in oven to partially cook for 10 mins.
Meanwhile get on with some of the prep. : blitz the kale using a food processor and add in the zest of a lemon and set aside.
Juice the lemon and set aside.
Grate the parmesan and set aside.
Once the chicken has had 10 minutes of cooking time add in the chicken stock and return to cook in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Finish off the rest of the prep while the chicken finishes cooking :
Dry fry the pine-nuts until golden brown and set aside.
Cook the spaghetti.
Place the blitzed kale and zested lemon in a colander placed over a large saucepan and pour over a kettle full of boiling water pressing the water through the colander with a spatula so that the kale is blanched but not soggy.
Remove the chicken from the oven, take out the chicken pieces and set aside. Add the creme fraiche and lemon zest into the chicken stock and mix with a whisk to form a sauce. Add in the cooked spaghetti and the blanched kale and mix well.
Place the chicken back on top. Grate parmesan all over and top with toasted pine-nuts.
‘Til next time, Sheila
We’ve gotten over the holidays but still have a bit to go to see the other side of Winter which is hard. Unless of course you live in Australia or other sunny climes. Comfort food is a natural requirement in the cold but when you’ve had wall to wall chocolate for 2 weeks most of us are contemplating getting our jaws wired.
This recipe is a healthier version of spaghetti meatballs that will still satisfy even without the grease or the heavy sauce. The sauce is ultra-lightweight and the meatballs leave much of their meat fat behind in the baking tray rendering them more healthy than usual. I’ve used black eye beans for added non-meat protein. The tins of beans I buy are pre-cooked and called black eye beans, on the tin it says they’re also known as black eye peas but I’m no expert!
The spaghetti gets ‘loaded’ up with extra nutrients in the form of blitzed and blanched kale and broccoli. I’m loving my food processor lately and using it to speed up the cooking process of whatever I can. Cooking the veggies in this way means minimal loss of nutrients as they are quickly blanched and ready to serve . Black Eye Bean Meatballs & Loaded Spaghetti
(leftovers reheat well in the microwave.) You will need:
2 x 400g packs round steak beef mince (800g total)
2 x 400g tin black eye beans
1 red chilli (or use some dried chilli flakes)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 red onion
200ml creme fraiche
zest & juice 1 lemon
Handful Flaked Almond
Grated parmesan and lemon slices to serve Method:
Pre-heat a fan oven to 200C
Use a food processor to blitz the red onion and red chilli then blitz in the eggs.
Place the minced meat and drained black eye beans in a large bowl.
Add the blitzed onion mix to the meat and beans along with the spices (cumin & coriander) and mix well, season with salt and pepper.
Shape into golf-ball sized meatballs placing them onto a baking tray (bit bigger than golfball!). You should get around 24.
Put these in the oven at 200C for 15 mins and then reduce heat to 180C for 10 mins.
Meanwhile roughly chop the broccoli and blitz in food processor. Place in large colander.
Blitz the kale and add into the broccoli and mix well, add in the zest of the lemon and mix through.
Boil a kettle of water and with the colander positioned over a large saucepan pour boiling water over the broccoli and kale to blanch it. Press it with a spatula to squeeze out excess water and set aside.
Toast / dry-fry the flaked almonds and set aside.
Whisk together the juice of the lemon and the tub of creme fraiche in a jug and set aside.
Keep an eye on the meatball cooking time and at around 20 mins go ahead and cook the spaghetti.
When everything is ready, strain the spaghetti and reserve a cupful of the cooking water.
Put the spaghetti into a large platter, mix through the blanched kale and broccoli and the creme fraiche sauce with enough cooking water to coat everything well.
Place the meatballs on top, scattering over the flaked almonds.
Serve with grated parmesan and sliced lemons.
Til next time, Sheila
p.s. I’ll be posting a video on my instagram and facebook pages over the coming days so check that out if you like!
Ta Dah! Recipe 12 of 12. So I set myself the task of sharing 12 recipes from ‘Enjoy!’ over 12 weeks until Christmas and here we are!!!! It really does just sneak up in the end. I love it. I love the lights. I love the buzz. I love the frenzy in town and even the panicky feeling that you’ve forgotten something. I did tweet during the week about something that bugs me though, the idea of the ‘PERFECT’ Christmas, that’s absurd. We’re being sold perfection as something achievable and desirable and if it does exist then it would imply that there is just one version, the ‘perfect’ version of Christmas. But Christmas is a unique experience to us all, the things that make us buzz, the movies that we want to watch, the rituals of gift-opening etc.. they vary in every household. I’m wishing you all a unique and real Christmas.
In light of uniqueness here’s a recipe for a Biscuit Cake instead of traditional fruit Christmas Cake. There’s still plenty of time and if you’ve kids they’ll love getting involved in the decoration. Note:
A ‘springform tin’ is one used for cheesecakes that has a spring release on the side so that you can remove it easily.
White Christmas Biscuit Cake You will need: For the biscuit cake: 110g unsalted butter, softened
110g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
110g caster sugar
225g McVitie’s Rich Tea biscuits
Assortment of finger biscuits and sweets, to decorate For the topping: 5 x 58g Mars bars
3 x 100g bars of white chocolate Method: Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper . Place the ring of a springform tin on the paper – you aren’t using a cake tin, just the ring with the base removed to shape the cake.
Beat the butter until it’s smooth, then beat in the caster sugar.
In a separate bowl, break the biscuits into almond-sized pieces.
Melt the dark chocolate (I use the microwave) and gradually beat it into the butter mixture until smooth. Add the broken biscuits and stir well to cover with the cake mix.
Spoon the chocolate biscuit mix into the cake ring. Press it down and out to the sides with the back of the spoon until it’s even. Place the cake in the fridge to set overnight.
The next day, remove the cake ring from the set cake. Turn the biscuit cake upside down and place it on a wire rack – the bottom will be smoother, and it will now be the top. Put some parchment paper underneath the wire rack to catch the drips from the melted chocolate.
Cut the Mars bars into small pieces and melt them in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water, mixing well to form a smooth topping. Pour the melted Mars bar topping onto the biscuit cake and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour. You can keep the piece of parchment paper to use it again for the next layer of melted chocolate.
Break the white chocolate bars into small pieces and melt them in a bowl in the microwave. Remove the cake from the fridge and set the rack back over the piece of parchment paper. Pour the melted white chocolate over the chilled biscuit cake, then carefully transfer the cake from the wire rack onto a cake stand or serving plate.
Have fun decorating with Christmas-themed sweets on top and white chocolate finger biscuits around the side.
& Have a wonderfully unique Christmas!! Sheila.
Treat yourself over Christmas to a delicious crunchy start to your day with this scrumptious golden baked granola. Thankfully most of my kids don’t eat it & I’ll have a jar of it to sprinkle over yoghurt etc. during the holidays. Makes for a beautiful gift if you get hold of a nice jar.
You will need:
150g porridge oats
150g combination of mixed dried fruit, nuts and seeds (you choose)
50g desiccated coconut (leave it out if you’re not a fan)
4 tbsp golden syrup or runny honey
3 tbsp rapeseed oil Method:
Preheat a fan oven to 160°C.
Mix the oats, mixed fruit, nuts and seeds and the desiccated coconut on a baking tray.
Drizzle the golden syrup or honey and the oil over them and mix thoroughly with a fork so that nothing is left completely dry.
Toast the granola mixture in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, tossing it with a fork at 5- or 10-minute intervals as it cooks to ensure even toasting. Leave to cool on the baking tray, then store in an airtight container.
To serve for breakfast, layer up the granola with some natural yoghurt and fruit.
Enjoy! ’til next time, Sheila.
Cranberry Croque Monsieur
Look at this for a beautiful image, I can’t believe that it was photographed in my home. It really shows how something very simple can be spectacular. There is a misconception that because I am a food blogger with 2 published recipe books that the food in my house is always amazing. It’s not! There are days when I am so busy with work that I don’t have time to shop or cook and there is always a frozen pizza or two in my freezer. I am not a purist food saint. Food made from fresh ingredients will always taste better than frozen food though and on one of the busy days I would definitely opt for this glorious croque monsieur over a pizza. This will be an excellent use of any left-over baked ham and cranberry sauce after Christmas and that cheese, there will definitely be left-over cheese.
Cranberry Croque Monsieur
Serves 1 You will need: 2 slices of granary or multi-seed whole-wheat bread
Cooked ham slices
Cheddar cheese slices
Red onion, thinly sliced Method: Heat the sandwich toaster. Butter both sides of the bread, then smear one side with a generous layer of cranberry sauce. Cover with slices of ham and cheese and a scattering of rocket leaves and sliced onion. Close the sandwich, toast until golden brown and enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila.
Cheat’s Wellington with Jameson Jus.
Want something really impressive that doesn’t require a whole lot of skill and even less time? This is it! I have seen Beef Wellington made numerous times but I have never made it. I’m not willing to risk cooking a large fillet of beef to serve to a number of people whose tastes for rareness will differ and how can you please them all? You could say I’m afraid. I made one portion of this earlier on today to catch the best light for photography and this evening I cooked it again for 5 of us. We’re in a very straggly phase of dining here with teens coming and going and the tardy boys will just have to cook their own later.
With ingredients that truly sing, this is a 5 Star dining experience at home that can be on the table in under 30 minutes leaving you plenty of time to pick an indulgent red wine to accompany.
The Jameson Jus came about, like many things do, because necessity is the mother of invention –Jameson was the only thing to hand to deglaze the pan, but it works wonderfully with the steak.
Cheat’s Wellington with Jameson Jus Serves 2 You will need: 2 Irish beef fillet steaks
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
50g salted butter
1 tsp dried thyme
White wine (optional)
2 large puff pastry vol-au-vent cases, frozen
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 Irish beef fillet steaks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp Jameson whiskey
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, to garnish Method: Preheat a fan oven to 200°C.
Take the steaks out of the fridge and set aside.
Finely chop the mushrooms and the onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften, then add the crushed garlic. Raise the heat to medium and stir to combine for 1 minute, then add the butter. Once it has melted, add the mushrooms and dried thyme with a good splash of white wine if you like. Mix well and leave to cook for 20 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
While the mushrooms are cooking, place a baking tray in the hot oven for 1 minute. Take it out and place the frozen pastry cases on the hot tray. Brush the outer edges of the pastry with the beaten egg yolk. Cook the pastry cases according to the packet instructions, turn the tray halfway through the cooking time.
Meanwhile, heat a non-stick griddle pan or frying pan without any oil over a high heat. Place the steaks on a plate, drizzle them with the remaining tablespoon of oil and season with ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. As my steaks are generally quite thick, I like to cook them for 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare and then turn them onto the edges to sear the sides, holding them steady with a cooking tongs as I turn them all the way around. Once the steaks are cooked, transfer them to a wooden board to rest. For at least 5 minutes before slicing so they stay juicy.
Deglaze the steak pan by turning the heat to high and splashing in the Jameson and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Turn the heat off but leave pan on the hob until you’re ready to serve.
Once the pastry cases are golden and well risen, remove them from the oven and fill with the mushroom mixture. Serve with sliced fillet steak, a drizzle of Jameson jus and a scattering of finely chopped fresh parsley.
‘Til next time, Sheila. p.s. 7 more recipes until Christmas!!!
Red Massaman Chicken
I made this for dinner the other night and it went down a bomb. Now you might think that something going ‘down a bomb’ was a bad thing but no, here in Ireland it’s the opposite. There are so many expressions that we use that, to be properly understood, require an insight into the Irish psyche. We do sarcasm and ridicule very, very well. For example if I was to say to you ‘I will yeah’ and you are an American you will probably think that I am in agreement about something but if you were to listen intently you will notice the lengthy stressing of the ‘yeaaaah’ and you will understand that in fact what is meant is that ‘I absolutely will not.’ Likewise if I were to say ‘I will in my hole’, that does not mean that I am retreating to some hidden cave to do something but in fact means ‘I have no intention whatsoever…’ We’re also great at the slagging (teasing) which can be harmless but if something is prefaced with ‘no offence but….’ you’re just about to be insulted. We don’t do compliments well, either in the giving or the taking and insults are hoarded like gold coins to be churned out ad infinitum and never forgotten.
Feeding people though, we’re good at that. On a visit to Canada in the summer as a young student I was well looked after by friends of my parents and friends of their friends in turn. Barbeques by a lakeshore with incredible steaks, foil baked roast potatoes and sweetcorn. Wherever you go Irish people will feed you. I’ll always remember when we called unannounced to a particular family who were just about to have dinner when the matriarch swiftly produced extra plates and effortlessly dished out plenty for everyone. ‘My mother always told me to put on extra potatoes,’ she said, ‘just in case.’ Which brings me to this massaman curry, the link being the potatoes and I can guarantee that you if you decide to throw on a few extra potatoes they won’t go astray but will soak up the delicious sauce and can be savoured reheated for lunch the next day.
As this is recipe No. 4 of 12 from Enjoy! before Christmas I’d like to suggest that this would be an excellent way of using up chunks of left-over turkey meat come the holiday season just substitute in your cooked turkey for the chicken and you’re set for some spicy comfort.
Note on equipment: As this makes a large quantity, you need to have:
1 large, wide frying pan to cook the chicken with the massaman paste
1 large frying pan or griddle pan to cook the vegetables separately
1 large saucepan to combine the chicken and vegetables
Mini-chopper and/or food processor for the massaman paste ( You could use with a fine julienne attachment or a julienne peeler for the carrots or simply make your own by cutting to matchstick size with knife)
Serves 8 You will need: 350g baby potatoes (approx. 8–10 baby potatoes)
1 medium onion
2 tbsp rapeseed or coconut oil
4 chicken breasts
Half a red pepper (second half will be used in paste below– no waste!)
4 spring onions
150g fine green beans
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
250g cherry tomatoes
750ml vegetable stock
1 x 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk
Handful of salted peanuts, roughly crushed, to serve For the massaman paste: (You will Need:) 5 cardamom pods
Half a red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Thumb-size chunk of fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp lemongrass paste (or 2 lemongrass stalks, finely chopped)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp hot chill powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric Method: Microwave the baby potatoes, skin on, with a splash of water for about 4 minutes, until firm but just turning tender. Cut in half and set aside.
Finely chop the onion. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, wide frying pan over a low heat. Add the chopped onion and leave to soften for 5 minutes. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, then add to the onion and turn the heat up to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the massaman paste, bash the cardamom pods – a pestle and mortar is good for this job – to release the seeds and discard the husks. Use a mini-chopper or food processor to blitz all the massaman ingredients, including the cardamom seeds, into a paste. Add the massaman paste to the chicken, turn the heat up to high and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Cut the red pepper into thin slices, slice the spring onions and halve the green beans. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a second frying pan over a high heat and toss in the sliced red pepper, spring onions, green beans, rinsed mangetout, julienned carrots and whole cherry tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Put the semi-cooked chicken into a large saucepan and add the vegetable stock and coconut milk, mixing well. Turn the heat up to high, then add the cooked vegetables and the cooked halved baby potatoes. If necessary, add some additional vegetable stock to cover all the chicken and vegetables.
Once the massaman begins to just about bubble, reduce the heat to a low simmer and leave it to finish cooking with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with fluffy boiled rice with a scattering of crushed salted peanuts over the top.
‘Til next time, Sheila.