Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Chicken jalfrezi

Chicken Jalfrezi
Serves 2
This is another great leftovers kind of a dish. You can add extra veggies in such as courgette, beans, spring onions etc or use turkey, pork or lamb. It is a fairly dry, stir fried curry that can be made in 10 mins! Serve with either rice or naan. I once ate some leftover jalfrezi in a wrap at work the next day and stunk out the whole office – whoops!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
¼ green pepper, sliced
¼ red pepper, sliced
1 chicken breast (or cooked leftovers), diced
1 green chilli, chopped (deseed if you don’t like too much heat)
½ tsp garlic paste or 1 chopped clove
1 tsp ginger paste (or 1 knob finely grated root ginger)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsp curry powder
1 squeeze tomato puree
Half a can of chopped plum tomatoes (save rest for a pasta sauce)
To finish:
A shake of garam masala (optional)
Fresh coriander, chopped (optional)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wok and fry the onion and red peppers until softened but not brown. Add the chicken and continue to stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Next add the chilli, garlic, ginger and spices and mix well so everything is coated for 1 minute. Then squeeze in about a teaspoon of tomato puree and half a can of chopped tomatoes. Keep cooking for a few more minutes until the sauce is thick and reduced. You may need to slacken with some water to get the consistency you like, but it is meant to be quite dry.  Sprinkle with garam masala and coriander and eat asap!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Chorizo and Broccoli Storecupboard pasta

Chorizo and Broccoli Storecupboard pasta
Serves 1

This came about as another leftovers dish, hence the name. You maybe able to tell I hate waste. It sounds really basic but actually it is both fresh and rich, with fully pronounced flavours. And it’s good for you! You could of course add anything you have such as courgette or use bacon instead of chorizo. I didn’t add garlic because I had lots at lunchtime!

50g Rigatoni, or other pasta shapes
Splash olive oil
¼ onion, diced
Few slices of chorizo, cut into strips
Small pinch chilli flakes
 Small pinch mixed dried herbs
½ can chopped tomatoes
3-4 black olives, sliced
Few broccoli florets, quartered
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Get the pasta on to boil and cook as per instructions.

In a small saucepan heat the oil and add the onions and some salt. Fry for a couple of mins until starting to soften. Add the chorizo and stir until it starts to crisp. Add the chilli, herbs, tomatoes, olives and seasoning to taste. Cook for about 5-6 mins, adding extra pasta water to stop it drying out.

When the pasta has 3 mins to go, add the broccoli to the water and cook until the pasta is done. Drain and tip into the tomato sauce. Stir to coat then pile into a bowl sprinkled with parmesan.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Serves 1

Haven’t made this lightly spiced rice dish in such a long time, but had some haddock in the freezer which needed eating up. If I had flaked almonds or pumpkin seeds I would have sprinkled in a few for added crunch.

50g basmati rice
2 cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 smoked haddock fillet, about 100g
¼ pint milk
Bay leaf
Few peppercorns
1 egg
½ onion, finely chopped
1 tsp oil
1 tsp curry powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp sultanas
1 tbsp petit pois
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cherry tomato, cut into wedges
½ lemon

Boil the rice in boiling salted water with cloves and cardamom for 10 mins until just tender. Refresh under cold water and leave to drain well in a colander.

Place the fish in a frying pan with the milk, bay and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and gently cook fish for about 6-8 mins until cooked. Transfer to a bowl and flake, tip the milk over the top, but discard the bay and peppercorns.

Boil the egg for about 7 mins and then cool under cold running water. Peel and roughly chop half, then slice the remaining half into wedges.

Fry the onion in the oil under softened. Add the curry powder and cayenne and fry for 30 secs more to cook out the rawness of the spices. Add the cold rice, flake fish and moisten with some of the milk. Add the sultanas, peas and chopped egg and cook until the peas are warmed through. Turn off heat and stir in parsley.

Garnish with tomato, remaining egg and lemon wedges for squeezing over

Monday, 20 May 2013

Spicy roast field mushroom

Spicy roast field mushroom
Serves 1
A fridge inspection revealed a large mushroom and little else today. Was just going to roast it plain and eat with a slice of toast but I started looking at what else I had in my cupboard to rev up the flavour a bit and this is what I did… I swear this umami-packed shroom tasted just like meaty fillet steak!

1 large field mushroom
Dab of garlic paste
1 tsp Wholegrain mustard (or Dijon would be nice too)
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Drizzle olive oil
Pinch paprika and chilli powder
Salt and pepper
Toast and salad to serve

Preheat oven to 200C. Place the mushroom in a tin and spread the garlic and mustard over the black gills. Drizzle over the Worcestershire sauce and oil and sprinkle with the spices. Set aside until ready to cook then roast for 20 mins until juicy and cooked through. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Updated tips

I have updated the Tips and Bits menu category... Perhaps nothing there that is out of the ordinary or that you didn't already know, but this page is basically things that I find helpful e.g advice on cooking for 1, healthy and general cooking tips and my personal store-cupboard essentials. I will add to this page any new pearls of wisdom I come across along the way!! If you have any tips of your own please share with me :) xx

Super-fast Sweet Chilli Turkey Wraps

Super-fast Sweet Chilli Turkey Wraps
Serves 1-2

Ok, so this is a recreation really of a lunchtime dish I had in a wine bar! It came with curly fries, but at home I served it with a plain green salad, only to then ruin my virtue by tipping the leftover turkey stir fry on top of the salad instead of saving it for lunch tomorrow – see 2nd pic! Well, I hadn’t eaten any lunch and it tasted bloomin lovely…

1 turkey steak or chicken breast, flattened if it is thick and sliced into thin strips
1 tsp olive oil
1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
¼ red pepper, sliced into matchsticks
1 spring onion, shredded
Half a jar of sweet chilli stir fry sauce, such as Sharwoods
1-2 tortilla wraps
Salad leaves

Season the meat and stir fry in the oil on a high heat. After a couple of minutes add the carrot and peppers and continue to cook for another minute or so until starting to soften. Add the spring onion and then add the sauce, stirring continually – it will only need 30 secs to heat through otherwise it will go too thick and burn.

Meanwhile heat the tortilla(s) for 30 secs in the microwave and pile in the stir fry mix. Roll up and serve with salad on the side. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Sea bass with spring veg in under 10 mins

Sea bass and spring veg in under 10 mins!
Serves 1

I love crispy fish but don’t cook it all that much. Not sure why, but this sea bass fillet was half price in a pack of 2 so I snapped it up. It’s a very virtuous dish – probably less than 400 cals I would imagine. I have frozen the other fillet for another time.

1 sea bass fillet, skin on
1 tsp olive oil
5 asparagus spears, tips separated
4 runner beans
1 tsp frozen peas
Half a bag of spinach
¼ lemon

First boil the kettle for the veg.  Season the fish on both sides and heat the oil in a sauté pan. Lay skin side down for about 3 minutes to crisp. Meanwhile boil the runner bean and thick ends of asparagus in salted boiling water for 5 mins.

Turn the fish and continue to fry for about 3 mins. I turned the heat off after a minute as it got quite hot.

Throw in the peas and asparagus tips with the runner beans and cook for 3 mins.

Tip the spinach into a large pan and wilt in a splash of water from the kettle over a low heat. Season.

When the veg is tender and spinach wilted, drain and plate. Add a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil to the fish and place on top of the veg. And that’s it! Clean and fresh and carb free!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Turkey, Asparagus and Baby Vegetable Risotto

Turkey, asparagus and baby vegetable risotto

Serves 1

So, having some of Sunday night’s leftover cooked turkey breast and lovely fresh asparagus to hand, I thought a risotto would be nice. Be careful with the seasoning – I found it didn’t need any salt.

5 stalks young asparagus, thick end trimmed off and set aside
1 tbsp frozen baby broad beans
1 tbsp frozen petit pois
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tsp olive oil
Half a garlic clove
50g carnaroli risotto rice
Splash of white wine
1 pint boiling chicken stock – I used fresh from a tub
Two thick slices cooked turkey breast, diced
Half a lemon
1 tsp fresh chopped mint, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese for grating over

Slice the thick ends of asparagus into 0.5 cm rounds. Bring a small pan of water to the boil with a little salt and blanch the sliced asparagus and broad beans for 3 minutes. Then add the peas and asparagus tip and cook for 1 minute more. Drain and refresh under cold tap. Leave to drain. I decided to peel the broad beans as their vibrant green colour inside are more visually appealing, but must admit I didn’t bother doing every single one. It’s up to you.

Gently fry the spring onions in the oil in a wok and add the garlic clove to help flavour the oil with a mere hint of garlic. Once the onions are soft, pick out and discard the garlic and add the risotto rice. Stir to coat in the oil and then add a splash of wine. Bubble away until it is all absorbed.

Then add a little of the stock at a time, stirring continually until it is all absorbed and the rice is almost tender. I think it depends on what brand you use, but mine took about 20-25 mins and it still had a bit of bite. Use some hot water from the kettle if you run out of stock.

Add the turkey and a squeeze of lemon and stir in the mint. Stir to heat through, and add the vegetables. You may need a little bit of water to stock it being too dry at this stage. Taste for seasoning, a bit of pepper is probably all it will need, and then pile into a bowl and scatter over as much parmesan as you like. 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Yup, a regular roast... for 1!

Turkey roast dinner

Ok, I wouldn’t usually post something quite as simple as a roast, but this is a demonstration as to how my meal planning works. So on a Sunday, I decided to cook a roast turkey breast joint that I have had in the freezer as a standby for far too long. But I thought, I am going to have leftover meat and it got me thinking of all the dishes I could make over the next few days. So I will probably try a risotto tomorrow with unused British asparagus left from the roast, possibly risotto and maybe make some wraps for lunch too.

I don’t often cook a roast just for me, but seeing as I haven’t been eating my veggies this weekend I told myself it would be good for me! This makes rather a lot as you can see from the picture, but I was going for a lot of vegetable consumption!!

Roast turkey for 1

1 475g ready to roast turkey breast in a foil tray
2-3 baby new potatoes, halved
1 small carrot, cut into chunky batons
1 small parsnip, cut the same thickness as the carrots
½ tsp dried mixed herbs
¼ small pack Paxo stuffing mix
3 runner beans, trimmed and sliced
About 5 thin asparagus spears, fat ends sliced
2 tsp Bisto gravy granules, mixed with 2 tsp of water to a paste in a jug

Preheat oven to 180C and cook turkey according to instructions (Mine actually took about 40 mins instead of an hour)

Half an hour toward end of cooking, place the potatoes, carrot and parsnip in a baking tray. Spray with low cal cooking oil and season. Sprinkle with mixed herbs and toss about to coat. Put on the top shelf of the oven and cook for 20-25 mins, turning the veg halfway through.

Put ¼ small pack of Paxo into a ramekin and add a couple of splashes of boiling water, until rehydrated but not sloppy. Put in the oven for 10-15 mins until a bit crunchy on top.

Rest the turkey on a board.

Meanwhile bring a small pan of water to the boil, Add salt and throw in the runner beans and fat stalks of asparagus. Turn down to a simmer. After 5 mins are up add the asparagus tips and continue to simmer for 3 mins.

Pour some of the hot water into a jug of bisto, stirring until you have the consistency you like.

Friday, 3 May 2013


Serves 2
This is a real leftovers kind of a dish! You can practically use whatever you have in the fridge – in the past I have used chopped sundried tomatoes, leftover pork, quartered artichokes, broad beans, butter beans – most things work well, but maybe don’t add too many things in one dish!
There are no rules to the recipe given either e.g it will taste fine without the green beans and onion, but the absolute must is the chorizo and saffron. It is the key flavouring and won’t be paella-ey without it. Needs no accompaniment except a glass of Rioja.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ onion, chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary needles, chopped or a pinch of dried
½ red pepper, diced
1 chicken breast, diced (or use leftovers from a roast)
10cm long piece of chorizo, thinly sliced
1 tomato, diced
100g bomba paella rice or arborio rice
½ tsp paprika – sweet or picante
Pinch turmeric
Pinch chilli flakes or cayenne pepper (optional)
Few green beans, halved
Pinch of saffron threads, softened in a tablespoon of hot water
1 litre chicken stock, hot
3 tbsp frozen peas
Small handful of peeled prawns, defrosted in frozen

Heat the oil in a large saute pan and gently fry the garlic, onion and rosemary until pale golden. Tip in the peppers and chicken and fry for about 2-3 minutes until the chicken is opaque and firm. Add the chorizo and fry, stirring, until it starts releasing its paprika-red oil and slightly crisp. Next goes in the tomato, rice, spices and season with salt and pepper.  Stir for about 30 seconds until the rice is coated in the spicy oils. Throw in the green beans, saffron and its soaking water and pour in enough hot stock to cover the rice mixture by about 1 cm. Bring to boil then turn heat to a slow simmer and cook uncovered for about 10-15 mins, stirring once or twice to stop the mixture sticking to the pan.

Add the peas and prawns and top up with a couple more splashes of stock to cover. Continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the rice is cooked and the most of the liquid has absorbed.

I like my paella to have a slight glossy sheen of sauce on it, but you may prefer yours a bit drier.

Welcome to my online kitchen diary!


Here goes, the first post. Firstly thanks for reading. I am going to post recipes as often as I can that I like to cook at home.  I mostly cook for myself and hopefully my recipes show you can eat pretty well without being on a massive salary. You'll notice I am really anti-waste, so over a week the same ingredients are likely to crop up as I use what's in the fridge. But occasionally I  like to do themed dinners for friends when I will go a bit further to make it special. You could say the food controls my life!

Of course I have tested all these recipes so they have worked for me, but I cannot claim everything will be 100% detailed, as a lot of how I cook is done my eye, not by measuring. Handful of this, bit of that. You will have to judge and feel free to swap your fave things in or use what you have.

Most of the dishes are adaptations from recipes, or dishes I have tried in a restaurant and attempted to recreate, or just a experimental creation depending on what’s in the fridge. I like Nigel Slater’s style of cooking – he knows what flavours will taste nice together and keeps things simple, often just making something delicious out of nothing. He cooks food you want to eat, and that is also my approach. Rules are for teachers!!