Oyaki Donburi

We’ve made chicken and egg donburi before, using a recipe from the Yo Sushi cookbook but this version comes from Kimiko Barber’s Cook Japanese at Home. OK, so technically she wrote them both but we’re counting this as a different meal…

Technique is pretty similar though! Cook some rice, then get on with the meal. Dashi stock, soy sauce, mirin and sugar get mixed together and brought to the boil, then chicken is added and cooked, followed by spring onions and finally some beaten egg gets whirled through.

The final meal isn’t the prettiest thing to look at, and we both found this to be a little lacking in flavour. However, I’m wondering if the instant dashi which I’m using is past its best and this may be the cause? Either way, it made for an interesting change from what we’ve been eating recently. Also, it’s pretty low fat but high in protein!

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!

Spiced Vegetarian Paella

We’ve done quite a few recipes from the Thrive on Five book, but recently discovered that there are some more recipes listed on their website, including this one for spiced paella.

The premise is the same – one meal containing your five portions of vegetables for the day. I was particularly intrigued to see how paella could work without chorizo though!

Things didn’t get off to a great start though when I realised there were no cherry tomatoes in the fridge and we’d used the last chilli. By way of compromise, I threw in an onion for extra vegetables, and found a dried and smoked chipotle chilli which was brought into service.

There was another mistake too, when I decided it wasn’t spicy enough and added some chilli flakes, but the lid came off the jar and I added far too many!

The resulting meal though worked surprisingly well. There were definitely some strong paella-style flavours here – helped, no doubt, by the saffron – and the spiciness didn’t overwhelm. I’d still prefer a meaty paella, but with all the health in this one I can’t really complain.

Kachin Chicken Curry

What I was thinking choosing to make a curry on one of the hottest days of the year so far, I’ll never know. It’s apparently a Burmese recipe – that’s a cuisine I’m not familiar with, but it comes from Diana Henry’s A Bird in the Hand and she’s never let us down so far.

Diana says this is a mild curry, but I didn’t have access to the dried chillies suggested so I used chilli flakes instead. Because it was the end of a jar, there was a lot of chilli “dust” and this ended up being significantly hotter than expected!

Considering the relatively short list of ingredients, the most exciting thing about this meal was the fact it smelled and tasted so authentic – normally I’d associate curry with a long list of ingredients but that’s not the case here and the meal doesn’t suffer at all.

Chicken Jambalaya

I’ve loved the food of the deep south for many, many years and every now and then I get a hankering for some good old jambalaya. Over the years I progressed from jars of sauce bought in supermarkets through to actually making things myself, but I never really found a recipe I was happy with. Tonight though, the hankering was back so I decided to give a new recipe a try and I found this one on Delia Smith’s website.

That said, I wasn’t overly impressed with the presentation of the recipe on the website. It broke the cardinal rule by listing ingredients in a different order to the one in which you need them, and there was also a mistake in that the Tabasco sauce was listed as part of the garnish when it’s actually an ingredient.

I also thought the amount of liquid added was wrong – it took much longer to reduce than the recipe said (and the recipe said leave the lid on; we ended up leaving it uncovered).

But the end result was well worth it – I’m not saying it was 100% authentic, especially given we were using chorizo instead of andouille sausage… but it was a damn good approximation.

Lemon and Asparagus Risotto

If you like asparagus, this is the recipe for you – it involves lots of the green stuff. This recipe is quite seasonal, coming from the May chapter of Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries. I was a bit wary – lemon and asparagus isn’t a combination I’ve ever tried before – but Nigel Slater has a proven track record in our house for choosing flavour combinations which work well together.

It’s pretty standard risotto making here – fry the onion in butter, add the rice followed by a glass of white wine or dry vermouth (we used the latter). Then slowly add the chicken stock a ladle at a time, adding the asparagus part way through. Now, I was lazy here and just poured it all in – didn’t seem to affect things negatively! You also need the zest and juice of two lemons at this stage.

Before serving, stir through some freshly ground black pepper and some parmesan and you’re done. The asparagus and lemon work really well together, producing a light and bright meal which is also comforting and satisfying. Thumbs up for Mr Slater!

Spiced Chicken Rice

We’re rounding out the working week with another recipe from the Sainsbury’s Homemade By You website. It’s another quick and easy recipe and takes next to no time to prepare.

Cut the chicken and fry in some oil, then add some chopped garlic and fry for a few more minutes before adding a teaspoon of turmeric and two teaspoons of garam masala. Next add some chopped leek and lettuce, plus some sultanas and chicken stock.

The recipe calls for it to be simmered with some frozen rice and frozen peas. We had the latter, but no frozen rice – we just boiled up some run-of-the-mill white rice and added that and it worked just fine.

End result was nice, but no particularly exciting. The spices added some flavour, but it wasn’t as satisfying as a true curry. It was a great mountain of food though and very filling.

30 Minute Paella

After the messy, complicated and ultimately disappointing tofu ramen the other night, I was regretting having chosen another recipe from Homemade By You, but they’ve redeemed themselves. We’ve always been huge fans of paella, so their promise of a 30 minute version was very appealing.

This recipe is super easy to make. Fry the chorizo, then put in a bowl. Fry the onion, then the pepper (keeping the lid on the pan so that they ‘sweat’) before adding paella rice, chicken stock and saffron. Simmer for a bit with the lid off, then a bit more with the lid on. Add the seafood and chorizo and cook a bit more, then add some frozen peas and cook for a bit longer. Squeeze over some lemon and you’re done.

OK, so it’s not a truly authentic version but it definitely has all the right flavours and made for a very satisfying dinner. The Homemade By You website is back in our good books.

Chicken and Wild Rice

Mark is late home tonight, so I needed a dinner I could make and keep warm in the oven. This one from Simply Nigella seemed to fit the bill.

This recipe is for six people, but there are only two of us… but we do have big appetites. So things got scaled back a bit, but not enormously… I’d say I probably ended up making enough for four and then eating half of it myself. And I even had a slice of honey pie for dessert.

I couldn’t find wild rice in the store, so I had to make do with a mix of wild and basmati. Nigella says the wild doesn’t soak up as much liquid so I think the end result here was a bit drier than it should have been. Also the crunch of the coriander seeds came as a bit of a surprise when eating but, long story short, it’s delicious. Highly recommended. Let’s just hope Mark likes it when he finally gets home.

Slow Cooked Korean Beef and Rice Pot

After meeting Nigella last week and getting our copy of Simply Nigella signed, this is the first week in which we’ll be trying out some of the recipes from it. Since it’s Sunday and we’ve nowhere to be, one of the slow cook recipes from the book seemed like a good place to start.

This recipe scores extra points for using gochujang, the magical Korean chilli paste which we’ve used in other recipes from Nigella in the past. In fact, the very first post on our blog was for her Korean Keema which uses gochujang.

It’s incredibly easy this one. We don’t have a slow cooker, so we used a cast iron lidded pot in the oven. Everything goes in the pot, you mix it up and then leave it for about 2.5 hours. Just before the end you quickly cook some beansprouts and throw them into the pot for the last 10 minutes. Dinner is served!

We also had some thick buttered bread on the side for some extra carbs and calories; very useful for mopping up the juices!