Thursday, 10 January 2008


Last night I made my version of fajitas. With the the salsa and salad and stuff, my wee sister always says its too much faff. You would be fine with plain chicken or shop bought salsa or just 'normal' salad, but I find the extra effort (and it isn't huge amounts) is always worth it.

I use creme fraiche, because the low fat version is quite good but soured cream is good too (they are basically the same thing). 0% fat greek yoghurt does the job but you really notice the taste difference here.


Serves 4

Lemon & coriander chicken

Large handful coriander leaves
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sugar
1lb chicken

Finely slice chicken. Chop the coriander, crush the garlic and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Mix with the chicken and leave to marinade for as long as you can (although its fine to use straight away if you are pushed for time).

Cook the lot in a hot griddle or heavy based frying pan for about 5 minutes.

Spicy tomato salsa

1 tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 birds eye chillis
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp rock salt (less if using free flowing stuff)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 lime

Chop the shallot, chilli and garlic and sweat until the shallot is translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and juice of half the lime. Boil until thickened. Taste for seasoning and add the other half of the lime juice.

Crunchy salad

2 sticks celery
1 carrot
1 red pepper
1 pack cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber

1 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Juice 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Salt & pepper

Chop celery. Cut carrot and cucumber into sticks. Slice red pepper. Half the tomatoes.

Combine coriander, parsley, lemon juice, oil, chilli sauce, salt & pepper.

Mix the salad dressing with the vegetables.

Serve the lot with heated wraps and creme fraiche.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Chinese pork and aubergine hotpot

This is loosely based on a dish I love ordering at a local chinese: quite spicy but with a real depth of flavour. It went down a treat tonight!

Chinese pork & aubergine hotpot

Serves 4

1 lemongrass stalk
3 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 inch piece of ginger
2 birds eye chillis
1 red chilli
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tep cumin seeds
1 tsp tumeric

Chop all the above finely and combine. You can do this with a knife, pestle and mortar or food processor. If using a food processor, grind the spices first. I use a pestle & mortar because, in my humble opinion, it gives the best flavour. Set to the side.

1lb pork
2 tsp 5 spice
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp white/palm sugar
Zest 1 lime
2 aubergines

Chop/mince the pork finely. Combine with soy, sugar, spice and lime in a bowl.
Chop aubergines.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan (I use groudnut). Fry your spice blend for a few minutes until fragrant. Add pork.
Use chinese cooking wine to scrape off the bits stuck to the pan. Cover with 150ml stock/water, and cook for 20 minutes.

Check for seasoning, add the juice of the lime zested earlier. Garnish with chopped spring onions and coriander leaves.

I served mine with plain rice and steamed brocolli.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Butternut squash risotto

I made a totally amazing Butternut Squash Risotto tonight, comforting whilst and the same time tasty really fresh and yummy:

Butternut Squash Risotto

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots
3 garlic cloves
Half a butternut squash
4 stalks rosemary (should be about 2 tablespoons when chopped)
Zest 1 lemon
Knob butter
3 large handfuls risotto rice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
Approx 1 litre hot chicken stock (fresh if poss.)
1 glass white wine

1. Heat the oil and cook the garl and onions until translucent
2. Add chopped rosemary, lemon zest and black pepper
3. Add chopped butternut squash and continue cooking for about 5 minutes
4. Add butter
5. Add rice and stir until rice well coated
6. Add wine and salt. When absorbed, add stock a ladle at a time, stirring well all the while
7. This dish take about 15-20 minutes to cook in total. You want your rice with a bit of bite yet creamy at the same time.

I served mine with bread and a green salad with the following dressing:

2 teaspoons sugar
Juice 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 garlic clove
Pinch salt

Yum yum yum!