Chicken with Tomatoes and Peppers

An old favourite from Nigellissima here; very easy to make since the only fresh ingredients required are chicken and an onion which isn’t too demanding. You may not have Marsala in the cupboard, but if you plan on cooking a few Nigella recipes then you’ll definitely make use of it!

To accompany this we did some orzo pasta on the side – another common ingredient from Nigellissima.

Rib Sticking Stir Fry

Admittedly this caught my eye because I thought it was a recipe for ‘sticky ribs’, but on closer reading this turned out to be a quick and easy meal that would pack in about three portions of our five-a-day. The quick and easy was to be expected, given that the recipe is from Nigella Express: Good Food Fast – while the large vegetable count was an unexpected bonus for a Nigella Lawson recipe.

So easy to make, 300g of turkey breast is bronzed in a frying pan (or wok) before the same quantity of pre-packed stir-fry is added to the pan. The whole thing is doused in 60ml each of rice wine and soy sauce (we used light soy to keep the sodium down) and, close to the end, a 400g tin of canellini beans is drained and added to the pan.

So easy, so tasty – proof that just a few basic store cupboard flavourings, in this case soy sauce and rice wine, can make a delicious meal.

Key Lime Pie

With our chocolate olive oil cake nearly gone, another dessert was called for. A lazy, simple to make dessert if possible. And so we stumbled across this recipe for Key Lime Pie at the BBC Good Food website.

Deviating from the recipe somewhat, we used all unbranded items (slashing the cost considerably). 300g of oat-based biscuits were smashed in the food processor, and instead of taking the effort to melt the 150g of butter first, we just cubed it and added it the biscuits, letting the food processor break it down and create the damp sand that creates the biscuit base.

The biscuit mixture is smeared around a flan tin and baked for 10 minutes at 160C, whilst three egg yolks are beaten into the condensed milk and the juice and zest of four limes. After allowing the baked base to cool and set slightly, add the lime filling and bake for a further 15 minutes. The pie then rests in the fridge before being served with a healthy dollop of whipped cream.

Chicken Biryani

We got very excited today because – briefly – our Instagram account hit 100 followers for the first time. Perhaps not a big milestone in the grand scheme of things, but we were very pleased! It’s fallen back down to 98 at the time of writing… but we’re not too upset because we’ve just eaten some lovely Chicken Biryani! This recipe comes from Nigel Slater’s ever reliable The 30-Minute Cook.

He’d be the first to tell you that this isn’t an authentic recipe, but it’s really easy to make and produces a hearty and satisfying meal. You need to make sure your store-cupboard is well stocked with all the required spices (ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, chilli and nutmeg) but the end result is worth it.

http://instagram.com/p/3PJHSFyXKw/

Pulled Pork

With all our recipe books which are the basis of pretty much each of the posts on this blog, the source for today’s meal is something of a surprise: a leaflet that came through our door from the British pork board (or more specifically, an organisation called Red Tractor).

Requiring pork shoulder, it was very hard to find anything in small enough for just the two of us, so the quantity here has made enough for two evenings.

What occurred was a modern day miracle – the ingredients were cheap as chips (Sainsbury’s basic pork shoulder, dark sugar, salt, and supermarket own brand paprika and mustard) but the end result was both delicious and enough to feed a street party. The only investment is in time: after rubbing in a mixture of the salt, sugar, mustard and paprika the joint is roasted for 30 minutes at 200 C, before being covered and left at 13 C for six hours. A finally 10 minute blast at 200 C precedes a 30 minute rest, after which you pull the pork to rags with two forks.

To serve, I prepared a coleslaw of white cabbage, carrot and red onion in a mayonnaise of Julia Child’s recipe, and made a focaccia.

A high salt, high fat, high guilt, but highly satisfying meal.

Vietnamese Pork and Noodle Soup

Another Nigella recipe for tonight – possibly inspired because of her starring role in this weekend’s Eurovision song contest final. This one comes from Kitchen

A couple of tweaks to the recipe – we needed pork fillet but a supermarket substitution left us with pork loin instead (still seemed to work OK though). I also left out the nam pla because Mark isn’t a big fan of the taste.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

It’s hard to believe we’ve been posting pictures of what we’ve cooked for so long and this cake hasn’t appeared already. It was this cake which made me go and purchase a copy of Nigellissima which in turn finally made me start cooking “real” food instead of just buying quiches to reheat.

This cake is gluten and dairy free, but don’t assume that means it’s going to be bland or tasteless. It’s incredibly decadent, and I actually once won a work baking contest against fair more “beautiful” cakes. Nigella recommends you can make it with ground almonds to be gluten free and super decadent, or plain flour to make more of a traditional cake. I got 90% almond, 10% flour – it keeps the dessert like texture but makes it hold together a little bit better.

Duck with Orange Salsa

Much as I like duck, it’s very rare that we cook with it. I had an abortive attempt a couple of years back which did not go well, and I’ve never really tried it since. This recipe comes from Nigella’s How To Eat which hasn’t let me down so far so if I was going to find a good duck recipe anywhere, this was the place.

It’s a very simple recipe – deceptively so. I think the toughest part was peeling the oranges. The combination of duck and orange is classic, but the mint and chilli here work really well.

Moussaka

Chocolate puddings are all well and good, but we still need to try and get our five portions of fruit and veg each day! Thankfully, Thrive on Five makes this remarkably easy with this tasty recipe for Moussaka.

The recipe was for four, and halving it down to two was a little tricky due to the size of my aubergine and sizes of the various tins which things came in… so the end result was a bit runnier than I would have liked, but it was very tasty. I suspect that the extra lashings of cheese on top may have counteracted some of the health benefits, but let’s not worry about that for now…

Self Saucing Chocolate Mud Pud

In case you didn’t know, it’s Eurovision week which is always a cause for celebration in our household (well, it is for me… even if Mark doesn’t entirely agree!). To add to the festivities, we needed something sweet – enter John Whaite Bakes: Recipes for Every Day and Every Mood, a book full of delicious and decadent treats.

This one has been on the list to make for some time, but I’d never made a self saucing pudding before and wasn’t really sure what to expect. It was very odd to make this batter, then chill it for two hours and then top it with sugar and a water/Nutella mix. As the water sloshed around the top, I was convinced I’d done something wrong and it wasn’t going to turn out right.

It all went perfectly though, and the end result was a sponge with hot chocolate sauce oozing out of it… the sort of food porn you’d expect to see on an M&S TV commercial!