Tag Archives: easy

Pork and Chorizo Kebabs with Broad Bean Salad

Sorry for the slight hiatus in blogging, Bird started a new job and it’s been pretty busy in the Fats and Bird world! But we have still, of course, been cooking loads and have so many recipes to share with you. This one was a find on the BBC Food website as we were looking for inspiration on how to use up half a tenderloin of pork. While this dinner was gorgeous we can only imagine how much better it would be if cooked on a barbecue… bring on summer!

Ingredients

  • About 150-200g pork tenderloin cut into 8 pieces
  • 8 baby new potatoes, boiled in their skins until tender
  • 8 thick slices of chorizo
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • About 200-300g broad beans (fresh or frozen, we always keep frozen broad beans in the house!)
  • 3-5 mint leaves, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • About 75g feta cheese

To start with whack the grill on. This is a super quick recipe, it will be ready in less than 20 minutes excluding cooking the potatoes. Thread some skewers with the pork, chorizo and potato – we used four skewers for more even cooking.

Pork, Chorizo and Potato

 

Cutting up Pork Loin

Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary and some seasoning and brush it all over the kebabs and then pop them under the grill.

Pork Chorizo and Potato Skewers Before

They will take about 7-8 minutes per side  which leaves plenty of time to make the broad bean salad.  Turn the kebabs over once halfway through, if yours are anything like ours they will refuse to stay the way you want them to so you may have to get creative with a knife to hold them in place. Let’s just say Fats’ engineering degree certainly wasn’t wasted!

Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the broad beans. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then drain and rinse under the cold tap to cool them down. Once cooled and drained toss the broad beans with the extra virgin olive oil, chopped mint and seasoning then divide between two plates and crumble the feta over the top. Delicately plonk the kebabs on top and tuck in!

Pork Chorizo and Potato Skewers After

Pork Chorizo and Potato Skewers Done

 

 

Prawn, Lime and Coriander Jambalaya

Super, super quick and easy recipe tonight (it’s Monday – we’re tired, you’re tired and will probably be wanting quick mid-week meals!). Remember this jambalaya recipe that we posted a while back? With a few simple adaptations you can make this lighter and fresher, perfect for if this weather ever warms up properly!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 green/red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  • 340g can chopped tomatoes
  • 330ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 135g long grain rice
  • 1 lime
  • Raw king prawns, about 4-6 each depending on size
  • A generous handful of chopped fresh coriander

Start by cooking the onion in the oil in a wide pan for a few minutes before adding the garlic, red pepper and chilli and cooking for a further minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, rice and tomato purée along with the juice of half the lime. Stir, cover and cook for around 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. You might need to add a little more stock, and remember to stir every few minutes or you’ll end up with everything stuck and it’ll be a nightmare! Once the rice is cooked take the pan off the heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in half the coriander. Place the prawns on top and then pop the lid back on just for a minute or two until the prawns are pink. Serve with the rest of the coriander scattered on top and a quarter of lime each – we both love lime so probably use the lot!

Prawn Lime Chilli Jambalaya

 

Rhubarb Mini Crumbles

You know we love our mini crumbles right? Quick, easy, delicious and perfect for a little naughtyness after dinner! This one is a very seasonal version with some beautiful pink rhubarb bought at the same time as the celeriac from this post.

Lovely Rhubarb

To make two little ramekins of spring you’ll need:

  • 1 long stick/2 sticks of rhubarb, chopped into roughly 2 inch pieces
  • Sugar, to taste
  • 20g  unsalted butter, cubed
  • 30g plain flour
  • (optional: small handful of oats)

Pop the rhubarb in a small saucepan with a splash of water and add 1 tbsp of sugar to start with. Once it’s bubbling give it a taste and add as much sugar as you want, we think ours had about 2 tbsp of sugar in. Preheat the oven to 180°C while the rhubarb bubbles away for about 10 minutes.

Rhubarb In Pan

Rhubarb Stewing

To make the crumble topping rub the butter into the flour with about 1 tsp of sugar and add in the oats if using until you have a lumpy-sand texture. All that’s left to do is divide the rhubarb compote between two ramekins, top with the crumble and bake for about 15-20 minutes. We served ours with a little scoop of vanilla icecream on top for extra indulgence!

Rhubarb Crumble with Ice Cream

Go on… treat yourself this weekend!

Tuscan-style Sausage & Bean Soup

We’ve become a bit of a laughing stock among our friends for our soup obsession – they’re just so comforting, easy and good for you! They are also one of the most flexible meals out there, they can be light or hearty, winter-y or summer-y and can incorporate nearly any ingredients you have lying around. This one was partly inspired by the flavours in one of our favourite pasta dishes and partly by the fact that we bought 10 sausages when they were on offer and then divided them up and froze them, it’s been a sausage fest here lately *snigger*.

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 2 sausages
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • (optional: a pinch of dried chilli flakes)
  • 1 tin of butter beans
  • 1 tin/carton of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 beef stock cube made up with about 200ml hot water

Start by taking the skins off the sausages, squidging all of the meat up and then rolling into small balls. Pop them in the fridge for later.

Tuscan Sausage Meatballs
Fats tries once more to make raw meat look appealing… getting closer?

Tuscan Stew - Chopped Celery and Onion

Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and celery together for about 5 minutes. Add in the fennel seeds (and chilli flakes if you’re using) and cook for a further minute until they smell beautifully aromatic.

Tuscan Sausage Stew In Progress

Tip in the butter beans, the tomatoes and the beef stock, topping up with a little more water if necessary. Bring to the boil and cook for around 10 minutes, then drop in the sausage meat balls. Don’t stir for the first 5 minutes while the meat cooks or you’ll break them up. Cook for about 15 minutes then season to taste and serve. It’s extra good with some crusty homemade sourdough!

Tuscan Sausage Stew Finished

Smoked Salmon Fishcakes

When we were planning our weekly meals we decided to have some smoked haddock fishcakes just like these ones we made a while ago – they make a perfect light meal that feels a little bit special. But Sainsburys didn’t have any undyed smoked haddock for offer online so we had to change plans, and we’re so glad we did because it gave us the chance to come up with these little beauties!  These don’t come with a sauce unlike the smoked haddock ones so are even lighter and would make a great spring or summer dish – give them a try as the weather warms up.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 heaped tsp of wholegrain mustard
  • 2 spring onions, finely diced
  • A small bundle of chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 60g/1 small pack of smoked salmon, chopped/torn into bitesize pieces

Start by boiling the potato until tender and then drain. Mash this with the butter and mustard – give it a really good mashing so it’s nice and smooth. Then just mix in the rest of the ingredients and season! We only used a tiny bit of salt as the salmon is salty but put plenty of black pepper.

Mashed potato

Chopped chives

Salmon fishcake mixture

Shape the mixture into little patties (we did 2 per person) and pop into the fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes.

Salmon fishcakes uncooked

As everything in the cakes is cooked they just need to get a nice golden colour so coat lightly in flour and shallow fry for a couple of minutes per side – try not to turn them too much as they are quite delicate. Serve as we did, we wilted spinach and a wedge of lemon or with a simple green salad.

Salmon fishcake dinner

Simple Grilled Sardines

Please, please would someone open a great fishmongers in central/south Bristol?? The two high streets near us have 5 butchers between them and zero fishmongers. And we’re really not that far from the sea! Anyway, these lovely sardines were picked up at the supermarket which is convenient, but we would love to be able to shop local and get an expert’s advice every now and then. This would have come in really handy when we got home and discovered that we had to gut the fish at which point Bird walked away and made herself very busy chopping tomatoes. Fats did a fab job though and they were soon cleaned up with minimal swearing.

Oily fish like sardines are great with really strong flavours like in our recipe with harissa and orange, but they also shine when cooked simply and served with some classic flavours. We grilled ours with just salt and pepper and served with thyme-roasted tomatoes, steamed broccoli and some freshly baked sourdough.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 sardines per person
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • Several sprigs of thyme
  • Salt & pepper
  • Green vegetables and bread to serve

To start with get the tomatoes roasting, these will cook on low for about 45 minutes until slightly dried out and the flavours have really intensified. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a roasting dish with 1 tbsp of olive oil, a good pinch of salt and pepper and then lay the thyme over the top. Place in the oven and leave for 45 minutes. Our grill is combined with our oven so when the time came to cook the fish we took the tomatoes out and left on the side – they kept really warm. Obviously if yours is separate then you can time it slightly differently so that they finish cooking while the fish grills.

Thyme roasted tomatoes

Make three deep slashes in each side of the fish and then rub all over with olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Place them on a baking tray covered with foil for an easier clean up. Pop under a preheated grill – they should take about 5-8 minutes per side, when they have been bubbling and spitting away for a while they should be ready to flip over.

Sardines raw

Serve with bread and green veg (or salad) and a wedge of lemon to squeeze over – so simple and delicious!

Sardines, tomatoes and bread

Prawn and Pea Spaghetti with Lemon and Fennel

Another one-pan quickie here, definitely with a spring influence – we went out and saw crocuses (crocuses? Croci? Apparently both are correct) and snowdrops in the sunshine today… blame that! Technically you do use two pans as you use one to toast the fennel seeds but this isn’t essential and they don’t exactly make much of a mess. So if, like us, you are ready for a little spring on your plate then give this one a try.

Fennel seeds toasting

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
  • Pasta of your choice
  • Raw king prawns, about 6-8
  • 1 large handful of frozen peas
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • A handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche
  • Salt & pepper

Lemon zest and parsley

Pop some water on to boil and when it’s boiling salt the water and drop the pasta in (pretty sure you don’t need telling how to cook pasta). When the pasta is a couple of minutes away from cooked add the peas to the pan. Once the pasta is cooked reserve about 1/2 a mug of the pasta water and then drain. Put the pan back over a low heat, add the fennel seeds, lemon zest, parsley, prawns and creme fraiche to the pan and stir over the low heat until the prawns are cooked. While doing this add in a little of the pasta water you saved as you need it until it looks like a perfect, creamy consistency. Season to taste and serve!

Pasta with raw prawns

Finished pea and prawn pasta

Sea Bass with Caper Butter

This is sort of, nearly a recipe from Rachel Khoo’s “Little Paris Kitchen”. But typically, we changed it a bit to suit us! It’s a really simple fish dish, just pan-fried, crispy-skin sea bass fillets with a brown butter, lemon, parsley and caper sauce – classic and beautiful. You are supposed to dredge the fish in flour and then fry it but we decided to just whack it in the pan. While we do absolutely love spices and exotic ingredients (as we’re sure you’ll know if you’ve looked at our blog for more than 30 seconds!) sometimes the classics are the way to go and this was definitely a winner with us. We served ours with roasted baby potatoes and salad to keep it light and simple.

Sea bass cooking

Ingredients

  • Two fish fillets, skin on. Pretty much any would work, we used sea bass but plaice would be lovely too.
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained

Slash the skin of the fish to stop it curling up and help it cook evenly. Sprinkle the skin side with sea salt and the top with black pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and then add the fish, skin side down. Leave to cook until you can see the flesh of the fish is cooked about two thirds of the way through and the edges are starting to turn golden. Flip the fillets over, turn off the heat and let the residual heat of the pan finish cooking them for a perfectly juicy fillet. If you have thicker fillets such as salmon cook on a lower heat for longer, flip over, keep the heat on for around 30 seconds and then turn off. Bird’s mum taught her to cook fish this way and it’s certainly always worked for us!

Check out that perfect crispy skin!
Check out that perfect crispy skin!

Take the fish out of the pan and put on a warm plate. Now it’s time to make a super speedy sauce in less than a minute! Give the pan a wipe with some kitchen roll and put back on a medium heat. Tip in the butter and cook, swirling occasionally until brown and smelling beautifully nutty. At this point squeeze in the lemon juice, it will spit like mad so watch out! Once it’s calmed down tip in the parsley and capers, swirl to combine and that’s it. You don’t want to cook the parsley, you want it to retain it’s beautiful green colour so make sure you don’t keep it on the heat once you’ve added the parsley. Put the fish on your serving plates with your chosen accompaniments and pour the sauce over the fish.

Sea bass with capers

This is such an easy mid-week meal to whip up and it’s healthy yet a little indulgent with the butter, plus it can be adapted to suit almost any fish. Give it a try this week!

Pimped Baked Potatoes 2 Ways

Hands up who remembers those soggy baked potatoes with beans and plastic cheese in a polystyrene box that you got at school? We certainly do. This is a world away from that and one of the easiest meals ever to knock up, just whack a couple of potatoes in the oven, go and relax with a cup of tea and an episode of something, come back, spend about 15 minutes actually cooking and you’re done! There are two different ways to have them here, one is twice baked with bacon, onion and cheese and the other has the most delicious smoky, spicy baked beans and is topped with a bit of sour cream. These beans would be even more amazing with some avocado on top, we did have one but sadly it wasn’t ripe enough to use. This might not be one to impress your friends with but on a cold, miserable evening you really can’t beat this sort of comfort food.

Ingredients for two people

  • 2 large or 4 small potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 1-2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • Cheddar, grated (as much as you like!)
  • 1 heaped tsp of chipotle pasta
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tin of baked beans
  • Sour cream and salad to serve

We’re sure you don’t need telling how to bake potatoes but prick them with a fork a few times, rub with olive oil and salt and bang them in a preheated oven at about 190ºC. Ours were fairly dinky and took just under an hour but if yours are bigger then have the oven slightly cooler and cook them for about an hour and a half. You could be cheaty and cook them in the microwave but if you do then please put them in the oven for 10 minutes at the end to let them get a little crisper, they’re too sad otherwise!

When the potatoes are not far off cooked whack the finely diced onion and bacon in a small pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the onions are really soft and slightly caramelised. Then tip half of this mixture into a bowl, leave the rest in the pan but take it off the heat for a moment. Take half of the potatoes out of the oven, cut in half and scoop out most of the flesh leaving just a little around the edge so the skins hold their shape. Put this in with the bacon and onion mixture in the bowl and add the cheddar, you can use as much or as little as you like, we only put a small handful as ours was very strong. Mix all of this together and then pile it back into the skins and grate a little extra cheese on top. Put these back into the oven on a baking tray just for ten minutes for the cheese to melt.

Empty potatoes

Cheesy potatoes full

Put the remaining bacon and onion mixture back on the heat and add in the chipotle paste. Using 1 heaped tsp made this fairly spicy so adjust to your taste. Cook this in for a few seconds then add the smoked paprika and the tin of beans. Let all of this heat together for around ten minutes while your cheesy twice-baked potatoes in the oven finish getting gorgeously gooey and then serve up! Pop a dollop of sour cream on top of the spicy beans to cool things down a bit and we had a salad dressed with a balsamic dressing.

Bacon, onion and chipotle

One of the easiest midweek meals, not the quickest, but minimal effort and so delicious!

Baked potatoes

Moroccan-style Spiced Vegetable Stew with Maneesh

We had originally planned to make this Moroccan-style roasted vegetable traybake and serve it with cous cous but Bird found herself with a bit of time on her hands. After a flick through Paul Hollywood’s “Bread” she decided to give Maneesh a go. Maneesh is a Middle Eastern flatbread topped with sesame seeds and herbs – basically a za’atar mixture which we’ve used previously with steak. Paul’s recipe can be found here.

The dough was really stretchy and sticky – very fun to work with!  We made half the amount in Paul’s book, he said his made 3 large maneesh but we managed to get 2 pretty huge breads out of half of the mixture. The vegetables were ridiculously simple – a mixture of bite-sized pieces of Mediterranean vegetables, roasted until slightly charred then smothered in chopped tomatoes, mixed with chickpeas and roasted for a further few minutes – often the simplest things are the best. This made a beautifully hearty dinner with enough vegetables left over for 2 lunches. It was lovely on it’s own but would be great with some meat, fish or cheese or could form one of many mezze courses to be enjoyed with friends!

Ingredients for 2 large maneesh

  • 250 g strong white flour
  • 5 g salt
  • 12 g caster sugar
  • 5 g instant yeast
  • 10 ml olive oil, plus extra for kneading and another 1bsp to make the za’atar paste
  • 180 ml tepid water
  • 2 heaped tbsp za’atar

You make this like a fairly standard bread dough. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (adding the salt and yeast to opposite sides of the bowl at first), then add in 10 ml of olive oil and most of the water – you don’t need to bother rubbing in the olive oil like a regular loaf. Mix all of this together until you have a soft, smooth dough, adding the rest of the water slowly as needed. We used pretty much all of the water but you may not need to. Once it has come together tip onto an oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until really soft and elastic. Place it in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film to rise, it needs to at least double in size – ours took just over an hour near a warm radiator.

Maneesh with za'atar

Once it’s risen tip it out onto an oiled surface again and knock back, fold it on itself and make sure all of the air is out. Once done split the dough into two. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll out with a rolling pin to form a large roughly circular shape. Put onto a baking sheet lined with oiled greaseproof paper. Now mix together the za’atar with enough oil to form a thick paste and smear onto the maneesh, leaving a small border around the edge. Pre-heat the oven to 210°C (Paul says 230 but we found this a bit hot) and leave the maneesh to rest for 20-30 minutes while the oven comes to temperature. When the oven is ready pop the bread in, we did ours one at a time as they cook best on the middle shelf. They take about 10-15 minutes to cook, when they’re golden-brown they’re ready! Leave to cool, turn the oven down to 180°C and start chopping your vegetables…

Cooked Maneesh

Ingredients for vegetable stew

  • A selection of chopped vegetables, we used 1 aubergine, 2 peppers, 2 courgettes, 1 large carrot, 1 red onion, all cut into bite-sized pieces with the carrots chopped slightly smaller as they take longer to cook
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes – optional
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1-2 tsp pomegranate molasses – optional

Place all of the chopped vegetables in a large roasting dish and coat with the ras el hanout, sea salt, oil and chilli flakes (if using). Place in a preheated oven at 180°C. The whole dish will take about 1 hour to make, check on the vegetables every 15-20 minutes to move them around. After around 50 minutes they should be getting slightly charred and very soft so tip in the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and the pomegranate molasses. Cook for a further 10 minutes and it’s ready!

Moroccan Vegetable Stew

We cut our maneesh in half, served the spicy vegetable stew on half and placed the other half on top for dipping. This was a real success and the maneesh made it feel a lot fancier than it was – give it a try!

Maneesh and vegetable stew