Grilled Salmon with a Ginger Chilli Glaze, Sticky Rice and Stir Fried Vegetables

I wish I could post this recipe as my own however it is of a far more revered chef – Jason Atherton. It is from his cookbook, Gourmet Food for a Fiver, released a few years ago. I haven’t cooked many recipes from it but if this one is anything to go by then it’s a fantastic book. It was really easy to do, and the sauce was bursting with flavour. I loved how he made the marinade with orange juice, soy, chilli and ginger among other ingredients, used it to marinade the fish then reduced down to a thick sauce for the final plate. So, go and buy his book and you can cook this too!

Mexican Turkey Burgers with Guac, Salsa, Roasted Red Peppers and Corn

Just another Mexican inspired recipe! I’m a fan of the flavours. Any cuisine that involves avocado is a yes from me – might be the reason why I can’t afford a flat in London. (Reference to the article that came out that said millennials can’t buy a house because of their obsession with avo on toast). Worth it.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 280g pack turkey thigh mince
  • ½ egg, beaten
  • 25g breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • chilli flakes, to taste
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp coriander, chopped
  • ½ lime, quartered
  • 2 brioche buns
  • 1 red onion, ½ finely chopped, ½ sliced to strips
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1 large tomato or a few cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 small tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp olive oil, plus extra to cook with
  • corn on the cob
  • salad leaves/couple slices of cucumber

Method

  1. Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat.
  2. Combine the turkey mince, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and chilli flakes. Mix and form into two patties.
  3. Pop the corn in the oven on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season and grill for 18-20 minutes, turning throughout.
  4. After 3 minutes, put the peppers and onions on the same baking tray, drizzle with oil, season and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the turkey patties for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through until cooked through and browned on the outside.
  6. Whilst they are cooking, make the guac and salsa. Mix the avocado with the coriander and ¼ lime juice. To make the salsa, mix the tomatoes with the 2 tsp oil, garlic, ¼ lime juice and the finely chopped red onion.
  7. When everything is almost done, put the brioche buns under the grill for a couple minutes watching them carefully to ensure they don’t catch.
  8. To assemble, place the bottom of the brioche bun on the plate, top with the salad leaves and cucumber, then the turkey burger, then the guac and finally the salsa. Top with the other half of the brioche then place the corn and peppers on the plate too.

Sweet Potato Jacket with Avo Smash and Corn Salsa

Nothing too fancy here! Just a good ol’ jacket potato dinner. I’ve used sweet potato instead of regular white potato to add more flavor and to be healthier. To make it a balanced, tasty meal, I’ve added the bean chorizo mix, avocado and sweetcorn salsa. This kind of meal can be easily adapted depending on what you have or don’t have in the fridge. Swap the beans, sub in sour cream… just for a few ideas.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 large avocado
  • a few slices of a chorizo ring or ½ a pack of pre-sliced
  • ½ can kidney beans
  • 6 tenderstem broccoli stems, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 2 sweetcorn cobs
  • 1 large tomato, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ lime
  • 2 knobs butter

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan.
  2. Roast the corn cobs for 15-20 minutes, turning throughout, until slightly charred.
  3. Score a cross on the top and bottom of each potato going roughly 2cm down, then microwave for 8 minutes, turning over halfway through.
  4. Meanwhile, smash the avocado with a fork, squirt with ¼ lime, season with salt, pepper and chilli then mix in a few pieces of tomato, saving the rest for the sweetcorn.
  5. Once the corn is done, saw it off the husk, mix with the rest of the lime and tomatoes then season.
  6. For the bean mix, heat a little oil in a pan and fry the garlic cloves and onion for a couple minutes. Add the broccoli stems and kidney beans and fry for 3-4 minutes, then add the chorizo and cook through for another 2 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, once the potatoes are partially cooked in the microwave, place a knob of butter on each potato then wrap each one in foil, covering loosely and bake in the oven for a further 10 minutes until soft in the middle.
  8. To assemble pop the baked potato in the middle of the plate and push each 4 sides together to open it up. Spoon the bean mix over, with the avocado on one side and the corn salsa on the other.

Healthier English Breakfast

As much as a full english fry up is tasty it’s pretty fatty. This breakfast is a healthier twist on the classic and really easy to put together. This was really good however if your not trying to be healthy, stick with a classic fry up!

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2-4 turkey sausages
  • 1 tin baked beans
  • 2 slices wholemeal toast and butter
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 eggs
  • a couple handfuls of mushrooms
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes

Method

  1. Grill the sausages on a medium high heat according to pack instructions. After 5 mins add the mushrooms, and 2 mins later add the tomatoes.
  2. To poach the eggs, heat up a large pan of water and a tbsp white wine vinegar to a boil. Crack the eggs into their own ramekin and gently pour the egg into the water, white first. Depending on the size of the pan, cook 2 eggs at a time. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen roll.
  3. Heat the beans and toast the bread then assemble.

Pork Miso Ramen

As I’ve said before, I love Asian food but I do find it hard to replicate authentically and after a long day at work. I bought the Itsu 20 minutes meals cook book and it is fantastic. I haven’t cooked many recipes in it, but I love that it makes Asian cooking accessible and easy. The meals definitely take longer than 20 minutes though. So this meal below isn’t one of my own, as much as I would love to take the credit. However, I thought I would show it anyway as it looks good and I’d recommend the book. The ramen isn’t as good as in Bone Daddies or Gyoza Bar but it’s pretty good considering it isn’t a 20 hour broth. I added extra vegetables and changed the meat to pork but kept the ingredients the same for the broth.

Sea Bass with Chorizo Sweet Potato Mash and Greens

Sea bass is one of my favourite white fishes and now it’s on Ocado for £1.90 a fillet which I think is pretty good so I plan to cook with it more. This recipe is really healthy and balanced with a bit of a treat in the chorizo.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 sea bass fillets
  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 100g chorizo cubes
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 lemon, quartered (save 1/4, slice in half to garnish)
  • frozen peas, as many as you’d like
  • green beans, as many as you’d like
  • 2 handfuls spinach

Method

  1. To make the mash, boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes depending on how large the cubes are
  2. Meanwhile fry the chorizo cubes and garlic for a few minutes just to heat through, then set aside in a bowl. Keep the pan for the fish
  3. When the potatoes are soft, mix in a splash of milk (start small as you can always add more), and a large knob of butter (you can never have too much!). Season and mash together. Mix in the chorizo, saving a few cubes to garnis
  4. Using the chorizo pan heat to a medium heat adding a little extra oil if needed. Place the fish skin side down, season and squeeze 3/4 of the lemon on top. Fry for 8 minutes or until just cooked through
  5. Meanwhile also microwave the veg in a large glass dish. Put the beans on for 5 minutes, adding the peas after 2
  6. To serve add a handful of spinach to each plate, spoon the sweet potato on top. Lay the veg next to the potato and place the sea bass on top. Scatter the remaining chorizo cubes on and garnish with the lemon

Vietnam

Apologies for the lack of posting, I have just returned from a two week trip in Vietnam. It was incredible – the culture, the scenery, the things to do, the people and of course, the food! So instead of posting recipes today, I’ll will picture some of the meals I tried to show the different flavours from the other side of the world.

The following are all main meals; my breakfasts there consisted of a vietnamese iced coffee (made with condensed milk) and a chocolate and banana pancake, almost every day!

I cannot recommend visiting Vietnam more. In fact I would love to move to Hanoi and keep planning when I can next go back to visit. But, back to the food as this is a food blog after all.

Their local food consists heavily of meat and fish depending on the proximity to the sea. Usually, with either rice or noodles. Contrary to this, one of their most well-known dishes is called Bahn Mi, which is pork, pâté, carrots and daikon in a baguette – a sandwich. It came about as a result of the French colonisation of Vietnam and is a blend of both countries. This is not pictured below however I felt it deserved a mention and if you are out and see it, I would recommend trying a Bahn Mi. Although I would get it without the pâté.

Anyway, look further below for some Vietnamese food inspiration…

This was our first meal in Vietnam. It’s called Bun Cha and consists of cold vermicelli noodles, crispy vegetable spring rolls (which were divine, much nicer than the Chinese ones, and I had in or as a side to almost every meal), pork and various sliced vegetables.

 

Next up is pho. You’ve probably heard of this and the one in Hanoi was about £1!

 

Next, another feast, in Sapa. Consisting of a coconut curry and steamed rice for Toby, sweet and sour chicken for me and a side of morning glory which is a popular vegetable out there.

 

More pho and spring rolls. This was part of a set menu and it was around £5 for 4 courses. It’s really hard not to get really fat in Vietnam.

 

Now these aren’t something I’d recommend but maybe that’s because I was too scared to try them. We saw it a lot in the markets. I think it was dried shrimp. It did not smell good. The brown stuff at the end of the photo is shrimp paste. This also didn’t smell appetising.

 

I’m not sure what this was called but it was delicious and I’ll try to make at home. It was pork cooked on a lemongrass stick which you pulled off of the lemongrass and wrapped with salad in rice paper then dipped in this flavoursome chill sauce.

 

Just to mention some great seafood we had on an almost deserted beach. We had prawns and squid barbecued with a spicy coating with steamed rice to mop it all up. A simple meal made tasty with the fresh ingredients and uncomplicated seasoning.

 

Onto one of my favourite meals I had. This was in Hoi An at Morning Glory. It is crispy roast pork belly with a creamy red rice risotto and a beansprout pickle. I will have to try and replicate the red rice risotto!

 

This was one of the other dinners in Hoi An. It was at this indoor street food market in the centre of town. If you’ve ever been to any of the Street Feast Markets like Dinerama, it’s basically a Vietnamese version of that. “A safe way to try street food”, as the guide book puts it. So, in standard Toby and my style, we get everything on the menu and leave a stone heavier. Pictured here is just our two sides and my meal. We shared shrimp and prawn savoury pancakes and minced beef wrapped in betel leaves. I had a delicious prawn wonton soup with pork and as it’s not in this photo I cannot remember what Toby had! Although I do remember he wanted mine more.

 

The last meal to mention is the Cao Lau. This dish is native to Hoi An and make up of thick noodles, roasted pork, mixed greens, a delicious combination of fresh herbs and spices and some sort of fried crunchy thing. It was delectable like everything else!

So that rounds up a taste of the food I had in Vietnam. There were obviously far more meals however they must have looked so good that I devoured them straight away without taking a photo. One of the meals not pictured here was a BBQ your own meal. A miniature coal BBQ was brought to our table along with a plate of pork and chicken, spiced and seasoned which we barbecued ourself.

Last thing I want to show is just a mention of the food in Thailand. On the way to Vietnam we stopped off in Bangkok for the night. I’ve been the Thailand before, spent 1 month eating my way around the country and came back far heavier. The food in Vietnam is really good, the food in Thailand, might, be even better. On our one night in Bangkok, I went traditional with a Pad Thai which is my favourite Thai dish, closely following by a Massaman curry which Toby actually had with sticky rice. He couldn’t believe how good it was. 

 

 

Avocado Double Chocolate Cupcakes

I know what you’re thinking – “Avocado? In a cake? Is she crazy?!” But let me explain. they were delicious! And now I doubt I’ll ever cook a chocolate cake without avocado. The avocado makes the cake creamy and moist whilst adding healthy fats and omitting butter. The chocolate hides the avocado’s subtle flavour and the end result is a rich, chocolatey sponge topped with a creamy, flavoursome chocolate icing.

Makes 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large ripe avocado
  • 150g muscovado sugar
  • 175g self raising wholemeal flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200ml coconut milk or cows milk
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 75g white chocolate chips + a few extra to sprinkle on top

For the Icing

  • 1/2 large ripe avocado
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 50g dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • coconut milk or cows milk for consistency
  • couple drops vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 fan/180 degrees/gas mark 4
  2. Mix the avocado with an electric mixer until smoothish. Then add the sugar and mix together. Incorporate the oil and then the milk and vanilla essence.
  3. Fold in the self raising flour, bicarb, cocoa powder and chocolate chips then divide up between the 6 cake cases. Cook for 15-20 minutes until done – the cake should spring back when lightly pressed.
  4. Meanwhile to make the frosting, blend the avocado then mix first the dark chocolate in then the rest of the ingredients and chill until ready. When the cakes are done and cool spoon frosting onto each one and top with a few chocolate chips.

Paprika Chicken, Mixed Vegetables and Avocado

So this one was a bit of an odd meal but a fantastic way to use up chicken and vegetables before the shop came the next day. So the begetables I used below were just the ones I had in the fridge – you can use whatever you have.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breast or 6 mini fillets
  • 1 can sweetcorn
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • a few broccoli florets
  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • ½ courgette, chopped
  • 50g spinach
  • ½ red onion
  • chilli flakes
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp paprika + 2 tbsp
  • sprinkle cumin
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 avocado

Method

  1. Fry the red onion in a wok on a medium heat for a few minutes then add the broccoli, pepper, and courgette. Squeeze half the lime over the vegetables and add the paprika, sprinkle of cumin and chilli flakes to taste. Cook for 10-15 minutes until soft. Add the spinach and sweetcorn in the last few minutes
  2. Meanwhile spread the chicken on a baking tray, sprinkle with 2 tbsp paprika, honey, chilli flakes and drizzle with oil. Grill on a medium heat for 10—20 minutes (depending on if they’re mini flillets or whole breasts)
  3. Mash the avocao with some salt & pepper.
  4. To serve plate up the vegetables, place the chicken on top and spoon some avocado next to the veg

BBQ Salads – Mexican Rice & Avo, Sweet Potato Salad and Mediterranean Mixed Veg

We’ve had a spell of nice weather lately so that immediately calls for a BBQ. I love making BBQ sides whilst Toby cooks all the meat. I don’t have exact recipes and quantities for these salads but a rough guideline is below. If you don’t like any ingredients simply sub them with something you do like!

Mexican Rice & Avo Salad

Ingredients

  • rice
  • Sweetcorn
  • red kidney beans
  • avocado
  • sour cream
  • chipotle dressing
  • coriander
  • red onion, diced

Method

  1. Mix everything together, using the corainder and chipotale dressing to taste

Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • sweet potato, cooked in cubes
  • mayonnaise (equal part to the crème fraîche or sour cream)
  • crème fraîche or sour cream (equal part to the mayo)
  • spring onions
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Mix everything together and try not the eat before the rest is done!

Mediterranean Mixed Vegetable Salad

Ingredients

  • spinach
  • peppers, diced
  • red onion, diced
  • sundried tomatoes
  • bulgur wheat, cooked
  • black olives, diced
  • olive oil
  • basil, chopped

Method

  1. Slowly fry the peppers and red onion together, adding the spinach at the end to cook for a couple of minutes
  2. Mix with the rest of the ingredients, using the basil and olive oil to taste