Prawn Jalfrezi

A quick burst of heat for dinner on a cold winter’s day comes in the form of this prawn jalfrezi, the recipe for which is available online at the BBC Good Food website.

There were a few panics whilst making this – particularly when I realised we had no tinned tomatoes in the cupboard and I had to run to the corner shop on a particularly cold and windy night. The recipe also calls for you to cook the onions and spices, then add the chopped tomatoes and water and blitz with a hand blender. I tried to do this in the pan (heat turned off, obviously!) but the depth wasn’t sufficient to do without spattering so I had to decant everything to a pyrex jar, blitz it, and then put it back in the pan.

Also, the recipe called for one 400g tin of chopped tomatoes plus half a tin of water – I suspect the water wasn’t needed because our sauce was quite wet even after reducing down for a long time. The recipe said cook uncovered, but we took the lid off in an attempt to try and make things a bit thicker.

Despite that, the end result was really nice. Not a 100% authentic jalfrezi, but a nice and spicy sauce with a fresh taste.

Honey mustard chicken with salsa and beans

This recipe is weirdly both a lot of hassle, and almost none whatsoever. There is a long list of ingredients, it takes a long time to make, and it’s technically three different dishes. But at the same time, each individual dish is pretty easy to make. This recipe comes from the ever fabulous Diana Henry’s A Bird in the Hand.

The first thing is the chicken, which has to sit in its marinade – ideally for a few hours. The marinade is olive oil, vinegar, chilli, dijon mustard and garlic, so it’s pretty easy to throw together. It’s also recommended to put some slits in the chicken flesh so that the flavours can penetrate.

Once its had its time, it goes in the oven in a casserole dish for about 45 minutes. Actually, I found this to be a little too long and the skin of the bird burnt – but maybe I should have just been more on the ball with my basting.

The second thing to make is the black bean mix. This is also really easy – basically just a few ingredients stir fried together and sat in some orange juice and chicken stock whilst it reduces down. The orange juice is the star here – don’t be tempted to skip it!

Finally, just before you’re ready to serve, the last bit to make is the avocado salsa which is also really easy – basically just some chopped avocado and tomatoes with a couple of extra ingredients. Easy peasy.

We also served it up with some toasted tortilla for a bit of extra carb. Mark was late home for this meal, so it worked quite well with all the dishes on the go – the chicken could sit in its marinade, and then go to the oven about an hour before he was due back; the black beans simmer for part of that cooking time, and then when he comes through the door I quickly throw together the salsa and tortillas.

Braised Cod with Seasoned Soy

We’re having another stab at a Korean meal here, with another one from Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo’s Our Korean Kitchen.

This is a really nice meal for putting together quickly. The first thing to do is create your sauce – a mixture of sake, soy, honey, gochugaru powder, chilli and garlic. The fish then sits in this whilst you get on and boil some new potatoes. Part way through cooking, add the mushrooms and fish to the potatoes (balanced on top) and add the sauce too. The fish cooks quickly, and then you’re ready to serve.

The recipe recommends serving this with some rice, but the potatoes were more than enough carbohydrate for one meal. Because the potatoes are well cooked, you can mash them up with your fork as you eat and thereby ensure you mop up all the rich sauce which is the heart of this meal.

Ojingeo Bokkeum (stir fried spicy squid)

We’ve been enjoying so many of the recipes from Our Korean Kitchen that we may need to book our next holiday in Seoul. This recipe required a bit of preparation, but the actual cooking process was incredibly quick. In fact, the thing which took longest was waiting for the rice to cook.

You make the marinade first and put it to one side, then cook the vegetables before adding the sauce and then the squid. The squid cooks in a matter of minutes – I was a bit paranoid about it being undercooked, but also worried about overcooking it and making it chewy. I think I did overcook it a little, but not enough to cause any upset!

Once again, the combination of gochugaru and gochujang make all the difference here. If you don’t have access to these, it would be pretty much impossible to replicate this dish (and several others from the book)… it’s really worth tracking down the real thing if you’re going to cook some recipes from this book.

Beef with Vegetables & Noodles

Another recipe from Our Korean Kitchen here, and another success story! I was quite apprehensive of this because there’s a significant amount of preparation required – from making an egg dish, boiling noodles, grating vegetables, marinating beef…

…but the whole thing comes together wonderfully! Lots of different flavours and textures which all work really well together. We were supposed to use sweet potato glass noodles but couldn’t track any down and just went with udon noodles instead because we had some in the cupboard. Accident or not, they worked really well!

Dak Doritang

Another recent purchase of ours is Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo. Our only real exposure to Korean food up until now have been a few of Nigella’s recipes which call for gochujang sauce. We’ve enjoyed those, so decided to branch out into some more east-Asian recipes after our journey to Japan.

There was on extra ingredient missing for this meal which was gochugaru – Korean red chilli powder. We managed to track down a bag at one of Manchester’s great east-Asian supermarkets, and it was well worth it. The flavours of this dish were just out of this world – possibly a new favourite? It’s a nice and easy one pot recipe too.

I suppose technically this is a winter recipe – it’s English name is “warming chicken and potato stew” – but it’s so delicious it can definitely be enjoyed at any time of year.

Honey Pie

Nigella has a neat little description of this dish in Simply Nigella – it’s technically a tart, but since it’s American you can use their name and call it a pie… but in reality, it’s just impossible to miss out on the opportunity to have a dish called “honey pie”.

Quite a lot of ingredients go into this but it’s surprisingly easy to make. The pastry comes first and it’s a ridiculously easy recipe – making it with olive oil makes it very easy to mix. You then put the pastry into the pie dish and leave it in the freezer for at least an hour.

The next bit is easy too – melt the butter and mix the other items into one after another. Then, when the pastry is frozen pour the contents of the pan into the pastry dish and pop in the oven for a little under an hour, turning half way through.

I was a bit concerned that it wasn’t cooking properly so I left it in the oven for a bit longer than recommended. The end result was a very dark top, but it hasn’t harmed the flavour. The pie has a very caramel like flavour, which may be a result of this dark top?

At any rate, this pie is amazing. Rich and sweet, plus the salty pastry and salt scattered over the top makes a really nice contrast to the sweetness. This, without a doubt, is my favourite dish from Simply Nigella so far!

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.

Go Get ‘Em Smoothie

Every now and then I deviate from my normal breakfast routine and go for this smoothie by Nigella (as featured in Nigella Express: Good Food Fast).

It’s easy to make as long as you remember to freeze the bananas the night before. The rest of the ingredients may not be things you tend to have in – specifically the Ovaltine and Camp Coffee – but they last for a while.

Good morning! It's the freakin' weekend! Time for a "Go Get 'Em" smoothie to start the day!

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There is a lot of sugar in this, but with the banana at least it counts towards your five a day!

The day's off to a good start with @nigellalawson's "Go Get 'Em" smoothie!

A photo posted by Two Hungry Boys (@twohungryboys) on