Tag Archives: main course

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

 

 

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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

 

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

Pork Chops with Celeriac Gratin

This dinner was stumbled upon by chance, completely inspired  by the lovely ingredients we picked up on our local high street. We’d gone for a walk on one of the first sunny Saturdays of spring with the intention of dropping by the greengrocers and the butchers to pick up a couple of bits for the coming week. In the greengrocers we nabbed a celeriac and some rhubarb (bang in season, and more to come on that later!) and in the butchers we picked up some beautiful Gloucester Old Spot boneless pork chops. Back at home we started to plan our meals for the week and realised we had a beautiful dinner sat right in front of us! Neither of us fancied a creamy gratin so we went with a boulangère potatoes-inspired dish, finely sliced celeriac layered with softened onions and apple slices to complement the pork.

This was really easy to prepare but felt pretty fancy, you could definitely wow a few people coming round for an alternative roast. It would be delicious with our roast pork belly recipe too!

Ingredients

  • Boneless pork chops, 2 per person
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 celeriac, sliced into 2-3mm slices
  • 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 dessert/eating apple, peeled, halved, cored and sliced thinly
  • About 10 sage leaves, half finely sliced and half left whole
  • About 1/4 pint of chicken stock
  • 2 tsp butter
  • Greens to serve – we had sautéed leeks with cabbage

The slicing is by far the most tedious bit about this dish, once you’ve got all that done it’s just layering!

Gnarly Celeriac

Celeriac Posing

Thinly Sliced Celeriac

Start by frying the onions in half the butter and oil with the chopped sage. Cook for around 10-15 minutes until they’re nice and soft. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Onions Cooking for Pork & Celeriac

Start layering up your gratin in an oven-proof dish, we did celeriac-onions-apple finishing with a final layer of celeriac. Make sure you season well with salt and pepper on each layer too.

Celeriac Gratin Layering

Celeriac Gratin Layering 2

Pour over the stock – it should come about 3/4 of the way up your dish. On the top layer of celeriac take a couple of minutes to make it look pretty-ish (not really our strong point!) and then dot with the remaining butter and the remaining sage. Pop in the preheated oven – it should take about 45 minutes to cook perfectly!

Celeriac Gratin, Before Cooking

Our pork chops took about 20 minutes in total to cook, so roughly halfway through the gratin cooking time start these off. Coat with the remaining olive oil and heat a griddle pan over a medium heat. Render the fat off the chops by standing them upright in the pan for about 5 minutes until the fat has turned golden on the outside.

Rendering Fat From Pork Steaks

We then poured a lot of fat out of the pan as they were in danger of deep frying! Cook them on each side for a couple of minutes and then pop into the oven either in the pan if it’s oven-proof or transfer to a dish and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Pork Steaks Griddling

Celeriac Gratin Done

Beautiful Celeriac Gratin

Serve with some greens and enjoy. We love shopping local, there are some brilliant places and you end up inspired to cook dishes you might never have thought of otherwise!

Pork Steaks with Celeriac Gratin

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

Ching-He Huang’s Roast Duck Noodle Soup

We’re avid fans of the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen Live (isn’t James Martin such a pro?) and have been loving the re-runs of Ken Hom and Ching-He Huang’s Exploring China recently – we missed it the first time around. They’re such an enthusiastic pair, and so passionate about Chinese cuisine – its impossible for their excitement not to rub off on you. So we were delighted when we stumbled across Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Food Made Easy book in a North Street charity shop for £3 (plus another book free!). We snapped it up and this was the first recipe we made from it.

We love duck, though don’t cook with it very often as it can be quite expensive. Fats’ parents are lucky enough, living out in the country, to have neighbours occasionally drop by with a freshly killed duck or too – though his mum doesn’t always see it that way when the garage is full of them… This recipe makes a little go a long way, as the breast is sliced really thinly – in fact we adapted the recipe so it only uses one breast. We’ve also replaced a few of the harder-to-find ingredients with stuff that you can pick up in a supermarket (you should be able to find the rest in a Chinese food store, if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby). The result is still pretty authentic!

So for 2 people, you’ll need:

For the duck and marinade:

  • 1 duck breast fillet, skin on
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

For the soup:

  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 80 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 100 g cabbage, sliced
  • 200 g cooked noodles (we used udon, our favourite!)
  • 1 spring onion, chopped diagonally
  • 40 g bean sprouts
  • 1 handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, and place in a plastic food bag with the duck breast and seal. Wiggle it around so that it all gets covered, and put it in the fridge for anything between 20 minutes and overnight – as always with marinades, the longer the better.

Duck breast - after marinade. Lovely colour!
Duck breast – after marinade. Lovely colour!

When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C. Remove the duck from its bag and pat it dry with some kitchen roll. Heat a pan over a high heat, and when it is scorching hot place the duck breast in the pan, skin side down, and cook for 1 minute. Turn it over and cook on the other side for a little longer – the breast should turn a nice golden brown – and then transfer to a baking tray, skin side up, and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

The duck crisps up a bit after frying
The duck crisps up a bit after frying

To make the soup, heat the chicken stock, soy sauce and rice vinegar in a pan. Add the mushroom and cabbage and cook for about 5 minutes, before adding the noodles to cook for a minute, and finally the spring onion, bean sprouts and chopped coriander. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Duck Soup Ingredients

Meanwhile, your duck should have finished in the oven – remove it and rest for a minute, to let it suck up all its juices. Carve into slices as thin you can – you should be able to get plenty of slices to feed 2 out of a decent-sized duck breast.

Duck Post Oven

Duck Sliced Thinly

Place the duck on top of the soup and sprinkle over a few coriander sprigs before serving.

Duck Soup

We thought this meal was pretty awesome – we’ve dabbled in Chinese food before but generally have stuck more with Thai flavours. Needless to say we can’t wait to get stuck in with the rest of Ching-He’s book!

Ching-He Huang

Brazilian Seafood Stew

We’ve been crazy for seafood recently! We can’t stop cooking up great fish recipes. We’re also really into South American flavours – lime, coriander and tomatoes are some of our favourites – and this dish brings them all together. This recipe for Brazilian seafood stew – or Moqueca – is taken from Allegra McEvedy’s Around The World In 120 Recipes – we can really recommend it, it’s got tons of amazing and varied recipes – we cook from it all the time! The recipe has a lot going on, but it’s pretty relaxed – the first part of it can be prepared well in advance, and there’s no need to rush at all. We’re cooking it with haddock fillets instead of halibut steaks, they’re a bit easier to come by in Bristol…

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 2 haddock fillets
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed with a good pinch of salt
  • 2 limes
  • A handful of coriander
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 tin (200ml) coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 6 raw peeled king prawns
  • White rice, to serve
  • Salt and pepper

_MG_4570

The first thing to do is to marinate the fish – put your fillets into a bowl or other container with the garlic, the juice of the lime, most of the coriander and some salt and pepper, and leave for an hour (or longer) in the fridge.

_MG_4572

Put half of both types of oil into a pan and fry two-thirds of the onion slices – you want them to slightly caramelize but not burn, so don’t have the heat higher than medium. This should take around 10 minutes, after which point you can add half of the tomatoes and half the peppers and leave these to soften up for a few more minutes.

_MG_4582

Stir in the tomato purée so that everything is coated, and follow up with half the coconut milk. Simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes or so, then blitz to form a nice creamy sauce – we used a stick blender, but you could use a food processor (we have one but don’t agree with washing up).

Now put the rice on to cook, and heat up the rest of the oils in a wide saucepan on a high heat. Cover the fish fillets in the seasoned flour (we find it easiest to sift the flour with some salt and pepper onto a plate) and fry for 2-3 minutes each side – fillets will take a little less time to cook than thick steaks. Put these aside, and add the rest of the onions, peppers and tomatoes. Cook this lot for 5 minutes or so, before adding the pre-prepared blitzed mixture and the rest of the coconut milk.

_MG_4597

Add the fish fillets back to the pan, cover and cook for another couple of minutes before adding the prawns and a load of chopped coriander and cooking for another minute or so (we don’t think prawns need very much time at all to cook!).

Serve on a hearty bed of rice, topped with chopped coriander and served alongside a good wedge of lime – a perfect, comforting yet fresh meal.

_MG_4601

You can find a video of Allegra herself cooking this meal on lovefood.com – check it out!

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

Butternut Squash Macaroni

We picked up a copy of Gennaro’s Italian Home Cooking recently to expand our repertoire of Italian classics. This book is all about BIG cooking – most of the recipes feed 8-12 people so we’ve had to scale things down a lot! This recipe jumped out at us as, even though we’re inching towards spring, we’re not quite ready to give up our beloved butternut squash yet. You can use any pumpkin or squash for this dish. His recipe made 8 servings so we decided to make half and freeze half of what we made, and we are so glad we did. We made a pretty special mac and cheese with the other half – unfortunately this was so exciting that we forgot to take photos!

Ingredients – serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1-2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1/2 butternut squash (about 500g clean weight), cut into small cubes. We cubed all of our squash and froze half so we have that to look forward to sometime too!
  • Salt & pepper
  • A small handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 250g macaroni
  • (optional: a few drops of white truffle oil)
The truffle oil is sort of (but not really) optional
The truffle oil is sort of (but not really) optional

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and when hot add the chilli, garlic and rosemary. As soon as the garlic starts cooking add the squash/pumpkin cubes and stir well to coat in the lovely flavoured oil. Season well with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped parsley. Turn the heat right down and cook gently for around 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the squash is almost cooked.

Chopped Squash

Add the stock in, turn the heat back up and bring to the boil, then tip in the macaroni and turn down to a simmer. Cook this until the pasta is al dente, stirring frequently. You may have to top up the water a little, we didn’t need to. This is where Gennaro’s recipe ends but we decided to make this dish just a little more luxurious! Serve onto warmed plates or bowls and if you wish, add a couple of drops of white truffle oil to each plate – pure decadence! The truffle made this dish for us, we tasted some of the reserved pasta in the pan which we froze and we definitely preferred the truffled up version. Serve with a side salad, we had ours with a lemon vinaigrette to cut through the richness of the truffle.

Squash macaroni cooking

This is such a lovely dish, we can totally imagine it being brandished with pride for a huge Italian family! It’s a nice trans-seasonal dinner too, it’s still quite wintery but not too heavy, perfect for these chilly spring days.

Squash Macaroni Done

Sweet Chilli Salmon Skewers

We’ve blogged loads about our love for south-east asian flavours – especially chilli and lime (we have recipes for Thai-style Sea Bass, Thai Noodle Soup with Crispy Tofu, Thai Green Curry… you get the idea!). This recipe for sweet chilli salmon skewers couldn’t be easier, but it’s impressive and the flavours really pack a punch! We’re getting a bit of help from Mr. Vikki’s Chilli Jam here, which we got for Christmas from Fats’ parents. You can use any sweet chilli sauce though, or even make your own!

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 1 tbsp Chilli Jam/Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 100g tenderstem broccoli
  • 1 pak choi, thickly sliced
  • 100g sugarsnap peas
  • 500ml jasmine tea
  • 180g white rice

Chilli Jam and Jasmine Tea

Start with the marinade by mixing together the chilli jam, lime and 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a bowl. Cut the salmon into chunks and coat it well with the marinade. Leave for at least 20 minutes or so. When they’ve finished marinading, skewer your salmon cubes and prepare them for a grilling – we did this by resting the skewers over a roasting dish lined with kitchen foil – the foil should ensure that the salmon gets cooked from both sides.

This was taken pre-foiling of the roasting dish... Don't forget! Looks good though, right?
This was taken pre-foiling of the roasting dish… Don’t forget! Looks good though, right?

Make your jasmine tea (brew for about 5 minutes in a jug), and add to a pan (being sure to sift out any leaves!), topping up with water as necessary. Bring to the boil and add the rice, cooking for about 12 minutes. Put your salmon skewers under a hot grill at the same time – they should take about 12 minutes too.

Mix together the oyster sauce and the soy sauce in a bowl, and heat the rest of the oil in a wok. Add your veg to the wok, keeping aside the green parts of the pak choi, and cover in your sauce. Toss to coat the veg and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.

Stir-frying veg

If you’ve timed it right, everything should come together at the same time. Plate it up with an extra wedge of lime to squeeze over and enjoy!

Salmon Skewers Done