Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry with Coconut

The next few recipes we cooked came from the Sainsbury’s Homemade by You website. Sainsbury’s have been running a campaign called “Little Twists”, encouraging people to be a little bit more adventurous with their cooking, and this recipe is part of that.

It’s a pretty simple dish and quick to make – it’s a chicken and vegetable stir fry like any other, but the different comes at the end when you toss some toasted desiccated coconut into the dish. It’s a simple thing, but it does add a nice bit of flavour and an interesting texture too. I liked it, and so did Mark.

Pan Fried Pork with Ginger

We’re keeping it Japanese tonight with yet another recipe from Kimiko Barber’s Cook Japanese at Home. This time it’s a pork dish with lots of cruciferous vegetables.

I got things a bit mixed up though when it came to timing. I decided to cook the with a side of rice, and I’d forgotten how long it can take to make rice “properly” – first washing it, then leaving it to stand for 10 minutes, then putting it on the hob in cold water and brining it to the boil for 10 minutes, and then leaving to stand (lid clamped on!) for 20 to 30 minutes.

This threw out the rest of my timings… I started the vegetables too soon. They were supposed to be steamed, a key fact I missed from the recipe, so I boiled them instead. But they were cooked too soon, so I had to keep them warm in the oven. I also probably left the pork in the sauce (equal parts mirin, soy and sake plus some grated ginger) for too long…

…but none of that really matters because it all came together in the end and tasted great! I was a bit worried that there was too much veg, but that wasn’t the case at all. The rice worked really well with it, and the sauce was really delicious. My only hesitation is that this isn’t what I would call a “japanese” meal… but that’s probably just my own narrow stereotypes coming into play. Either way, we had a great meal for dinner!

Pork and Lemon Polpettina

Another Nigel Slater recipe for this meal, this time coming from Real Fast Food. The meatballs themselves are pretty easy to put together. We used panko instead of regular breadcrumbs and mixed these with pork mince, lemon juice, grated parmesan and some chopped anchovies. Thyme and parsley are added for some extra flavour.

As recommended, we served this up with some pasta (tagliatelle) and some broccoli for vegetables. Nigel’s recipe uses 500g of pork mince but says that it’s sufficient for 4 people. I made the same amount (just because the supermarket didn’t have smaller packs of mince) for the two of us and it was certainly a big plate of food… the recipe is probably enough for 3 hungry adults.

Trout and Pea Spaghetti

Tonight’s dinner is a very quick and easy recipe from the Sainsbury’s Homemade By You website. However there was a substitution in our online shop and we ended up making it with smoked trout instead of smoked salmon.

It’s very easy to make. Cook the spaghetti, broccoli and peas all in the same pan. Whilst they’re cooking, fry some garlic and onion. Then drain the spaghetti pan, mix the contents with the onion and garlic mix and throw in some lemon juice, creme fraiche and chopped dill. A splash of the pasta water will also help spread the sauce around.

Chicken with Hoisin Sauce

Another trip into the pages of Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food for tonight’s dinner. We weren’t particularly faithful to the quantities, but the general method is the same. Nigel uses vegetable stock but there was none in the cupboard so we went for chicken instead.

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • About 120g of button mushrooms
  • A head of broccoli
  • A healthy glug of dry sherry
  • A healthy slosh of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • A few hundred millilitres of chicken stock
  • A couple of teaspoons of cornflour mixed in water

Begin by frying the chopped garlic in oil for a few seconds before adding the chicken which has been cut into chunks.Once the chicken is browned, add the chopped mushrooms and the broccoli florets and fry some more. Then add the chicken stock, sherry, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Finally add your cornflour and water paste and simmer some more until it thickens. We had to add a little extra cornflour to get the consistency right.

The final dish was served up with some plain white rice which was great for mopping up the sticky sauce. I probably overcooked things but it didn’t seem to suffer for it, and we managed to kid ourselves that it was healthy because of all the mushrooms and broccoli!

Roast Chicken

Nothing fancy here – a whole chicken, smothered in olive oil and sprinkled with a little oregano and sea salt flakes.

Served up with some mashed potatoes and some broccoli fried in soy sauce, this makes for a surprisingly simple and easy dinner. There was chicken left over… looks like another recipe in the pipeline…

Mackerel in Breadcrumbs

Sticking to the Nigel Slater theme, this is another recipe from The Kitchen Diaries. Whilst I love smoked mackerel, I tend to avoid it fresh because I’ve had bad experiences in the past where my meal has been mouthful after mouthful of bones. Fortunately these fillets we purchased had been thoroughly de-boned! We were supposed to use fresh breadcrumbs but with no fresh bread in the house I ended up using an opened bag of panic breadcrumbs which was sat in the cupboard.

Like many Nigel Slater recipes, I couldn’t get inspired from reading it. The list of ingredients seemed too scant to offer anything tasty. And, like most Nigel Slater recipes, I was completely wrong and this was an amazing meal! The fish was tender, the onion and paprika breadcrumb mix complementing it beautifully. We had new potatoes to accompany it, plus another favourite recipe from Nigel – broccoli fried in oyster sauce. If you’ve not tried broccoli done like this, you must give it a go – it transforms a fairly dull and oft-hated vegetable into an absolute treat you could eat by the bowlful. If you haven’t got oyster sauce, a mix of soy sauce and rice wine works as well.

Thai Turkey Meatballs

Another recipe from Simply Nigella today. I felt like this one deviated from her traditional style, seeming to take quite a bit more effort than others I’m used to.

I had to make a few substitutions along the way. The biggest of these was that instead of sugar snap peas I used a mix of broccoli, asparagus and sugar snaps. Why? Because we had a substitution in the online shopping! I also forgot to add the salt to the meatballs. And I also screwed up following instructions which meant that this had ribbons of courgette in rather than chopped up pieces.

One final mix up – I halved the ingredients for the two of us, but because a 400g tin of coconut milk doesn’t halve nicely I made the full amount of liquid, making this a bit wetter than it should have been.

This one seems a lot of hassle though with lots of grating and mixing – but maybe that was just me being a bit clumsy. The end result was really good though – it got a thumbs up from official food taster Mark. Nice and spicy for a cold winter’s evening.

Spiced and Fried Haddock with Broccoli Purée

Continuing this week’s Simply Nigella theme, tonight it’s another recipe. Given all the bad press which processed red meat has been getting, it’s probably a good thing that we’re having fish for dinner too.

I had to double check the ingredients for this a few times – although the recipe is for two people, it calls for 500g of frozen broccoli (that’s nearly 18oz) which seemed a huge amount. However, when you cook it and blitz it into puree, the volume reduces dramatically. The end result is that you eat a hell of a lot of vegetables without really realising it.

We made a couple of substitutions – no coconut oil for the puree, so we used butter instead. And in the absence of gluten free flour we just used the plain stuff. I must admit, I didn’t think that the ginger and paprika in the seasoning were all that noticeable, but the end result was a nice bit of fish and an interesting variation on mushy peas / cooked broccoli.

Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry with a Honey Twist

Yet another recipe from the Sainsburys / Huffington Post “Homemade by You” website – this one is for pork and broccoli stir fry with some added honey for sweetness.

This one wasn’t as easy to make as the other recipes we’ve tried from the website this week – but I always panic a bit with stir fries because of the short cooking time and number of ingredients to juggle; I’m more comfortable with a one pot meal simmering away!

End result was nice and tasty – and with the broccoli and peppers, felt fairly healthy. Sparky really liked it but I thought it was just OK – I’d happily eat it again, but wouldn’t go out of my way to cook it again.