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.

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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.

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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.

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.

Tagliata for Two

We’re revisiting a classic tonight, Nigella’s Italian themed Nigellissima – it’s the book which first got me into cooking properly and not just buying quiche and frozen pizza from the supermarket every week! This dinner is actually composed of two recipes from that book, but tagliata for two is the “main event”.

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The meal is pretty straightforward to make. You oil some steak and then fry it, then transfer to a marinade of olive oil, red wine vinegar, chilli flakes and oregano. Then you remove the steak and thinly slice it, and put some chopped cherry tomatoes (I accidentally used plum) in the marinade and serve it up.

For a bit of something extra on the side, I also used Nigella’s recipe for mushrooms in garlic – nice and easy and a bit of extra vegetable on the side.

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The resulting meal was nice but nothing to write home about. Trying to combine all the various elements, time got a little bit away from me and I ended up serving a fairly cold dish. Mostly my fault, but it didn’t help the end result. Nothing wrong here, just nothing all that exciting.

Vietnamese Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry

When we have a roast chicken, we tend not to post the photos on Instagram or on here because it’s a pretty routine exercise. However, it is also an opportunity to cook something the next day from Diana Henry’s fabulous A Bird in The Hand which has a whole chapter on uses for leftover chicken. That is, of course, if the chicken survives long enough with Mark and me both pinching bits every time we open the fridge!

The recipe is pretty simple and easy. Fry the chopped onion, then add the chopped chilli and spices (ground coriander and turmeric, the latter of which I forgot to photograph) and fry for a minute. Then add the coconut cream, chicken stock and cubed sweet potato and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked through. Then throw in your chicken and warm it through, along with a squeeze of lime juice, and serve with some rice.

Diana also adds fish sauce, but I left this out because Mark isn’t a fan. This would probably normally be a sweet and sour flavour as a result, but ours was more on the sweet side. Still delicious though!

Arnold Bennett Frittata

This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals“, a book which we’ve had a long time but don’t often use. Although the book’s title is accurate, and you can crank these recipes out very quickly, they also tend to generate a lot of washing up. They’re also usually aimed at four people, and the quantities involved don’t always halve nicely. This recipe jumped out, however, as one which looked fairly “washing-up-lite” and easy to do for two people.

Method wise, there’s hardly anything to it. Poach the fish with some bay leaves and pop the focaccia in the oven to warm/toast. Beat the eggs and add some peas and chopped spring onions along with some seasoning.

The fish should be cooked by now so remove it from the water and break it up a bit using a fork (and removing the skin if there is any). Pour the egg mixture into a pan and after a minute or so until it starts to set, then add the fish. Sprinkle with parmesan and put under the grill to finish.

That just leaves the salad, which is basically some grated apple (sprinkled with lemon juice to stop it going brown) and watercress. Some chopped chives and walnuts with a glug of olive oil finish it off. Jamie also adds emmental, but Mark isn’t a fan of cold cheese so we skipped that bit.

Surprisingly quick and easy, and looks really impressive because there are so many parts to it. Full marks to Mr Oliver. The only problem we had is that this really is a meal for four, so with half the ingredients our frittata looked a bit thing (should have used a smaller pan really).

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chunk Cookies

A chance trip into Waitrose to pick up some milk saw me grabbing a copy of their free weekend magazine, and in amongst various articles and recipes I spotted this one for Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chunk cookies. Since we had some peanut butter left over from the recent chicken and peanut stew we made, this looked like a good opportunity to use up some left overs.

The ingredient list is actually really simple, and the only thing we needed to buy in was a bag of chocolate chips. The method is incredibly simple too – I won’t repeat it here, just follow the link above. The only thing that’s a little tricky is shaping the balls of mixture since it’s a little on the sticky side but it’s not too bad and certainly doesn’t make much mess. They also take no time at all to prepare and cook, so are perfect if you need to produce something at short notice.

I’ve never really had much luck with making cookies and biscuits (except for that shortbread!) but these worked out incredibly well. The resulting cookies have that perfect combination of firmness and softness, and the peanut butter and chocolate flavouring is wonderful. It required all our willpower not to eat these in one sitting!

Mushroom Pappardelle

This was a quick, throw together easy supper found in the September chapter of Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries. It’s really easy to make. You just fry the mushrooms in some butter and olive oil and once they’ve browned add some chopped garlic and parsley. Finally you add some cooked pappardelle and sprinkle the parmesan in, warm it all through and serve.

End result was… meh. I wasn’t overly impressed. I thought that there was too much pasta and not enough of everything else. Mark seemed to like it, but afterwards it just felt like I’d eaten a massive pile of carbs (well, I suppose I had!).

Casa Lucio’s Chicken with Garlic

Diana Henry describes this recipe as “more than the sum of its parts” and she’s right. We made it with skinless thighs rather than the bone on version she suggests, but it didn’t seem to suffer from that or the fact that we reduced the quantity substantially to feed just the two of us.

The chicken is fried in some oil first, then drained and set aside. Chopped garlic is then fried, and some sherry vinegar and sherry is added and brought to the boil. A pinch of saffron is optional, but we added it because we love the stuff.

The chicken then gets added back to the liquid and tossed around a bit until glossy. We then served it up with some new potatoes and peas.

The amazing thing for us with this recipe was how a small amount of garlic produced an amazing amount of flavour – Mark didn’t believe me when I told him there were only two cloves involved! If you’re interested in checking this one out, it’s in Diana’s book, A Bird in the Hand.

Lamb with Lemon and Mint

This Nigel Slater recipe comes from the Kitchen Diaries and is remarkably quick and simple. Mix a bit of olive oil with some lemon zest and chopped mint, then pan fry some lamb steaks in it. Then put the lamb to one side on a warm plate and deglaze the pan with some lemon juice.

This is accompanied with some boiled potatoes – the idea is that you cook them until they’re soft, and then when eating you can squash them with your fork to mop up the meat and lemon juices. We also threw some peas on the side because you can never get enough vegetables in your diet!

Simple and speedy, a tasty way to round out a long weekend.

Asparagus, Lemon and Parmesan Pasta

A super quick and easy recipe here from our old reliable Nigel Slater’s The 30 Minute Cook.

Super easy recipe – boil some water and add the asparagus which has been chopped into short pieces. COok for a couple of minutes and then remove from the water. Add the pasta to the water (we used conchigle). Next fry up some sliced garlic in butter, and then add the asparagus and cook for a few minutes. Add some lemon juice.

Once everything’s cooked, assemble – strain the pasta and mix with the asparagus and garlic, plus plenty of parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and you’re done. Simple and tasty -not the most exciting meal in the world, but a great result for very little effort.