Tag Archives: quick

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

 

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

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!

King Prawn Stir-Fry with Tamarind and Oyster Sauce

We make stir-fries all the time – remember our steak with stir-fried veg? They’re really easy to throw together, quick (this one takes less than 20 minutes altogether!) and healthy too. If you’ve got a few store-cupboard essentials you don’t even need to buy any sauce, and it’s a great recipe for using up any left-over veg. Our tamarind and oyster sauce is really tasty, and would be a great one to show off to guests who like their stir-fries.

To make the sauce for 2 people:

  • Chunk of tamarind (see pic for size! About 3cm by 5cm), soaked in hot water and strained
  • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Groundnut oil
  • 1/2 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
  • Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar

And to make the rest of the stir-fry, throw together whatever veg you have lying around with some noodles! Here’s what we used:

  • 1 Courgette
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Pak Choi
  • Handful of Cabbage
  • 50g Mange Tout/Sugar Snap Peas
  • 10 King Size Prawns
  • 2 portions straight-to-wok noodles
This what raw tamarind looks like! You need a medium-sized chunk, it packs in loads of flavour.
This what raw tamarind looks like! You need a medium-sized chunk, it packs in loads of flavour.

Start by making the sauce. You’ll need to soak the tamarind for about half an hour in a bowl with boiling water, and then strain it through a sieve – make sure you manage to squeeze all of the flavour out of it. Mix together all the ingredients and give it a good stir. Depending on how you like your stir-fries, you could use more or less chilli – these proportions make a sauce that has a medium heat when using relatively firey chillies. A bit of a tip for ginger too – we keep loads frozen in the freezer in small chunks – it grates really well from frozen, and the flavour really comes through.

Raid the store cupboard for this sauce!
Raid the store cupboard for this sauce!

Once the sauce is made, slice up all the vegetables. How you slice depends on what veg you’re using, but as a general rule make sure that everything is sliced really thinly – especially hard vegetables like carrots – so that it cooks quickly and retains its crunch. No-one wants a soggy stir-fry! Add you veg to a wok with a splash of vegetable oil (or any other flavourless oil) and cook over a high heat, stirring regularly. Once the veg is close to cooked (this shouldn’t take longer than about 5 minutes) add the sauce, stir in and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the noodles, stir in again, then finally add the King Prawns and cook for another couple of minutes until they’re just pink – that’s it, you’re done!

Veg being Stir-Fried

You could try this sauce with different meats – it would be pretty good with chicken or turkey – and it would work with loads of different veg too. It’s a perfect go-to meal if you’ve had a long day at work, and is guaranteed to perk you up.

Stir-Fry in a Bowl

Spontaneous Pear Crumble 2 Ways

We recently came into possession of a couple of pears (by way of a charity walk-to-work day organised by Bird!) and we thought that rather than just eat them we’d make them into crumbles – much more interesting to blog! We’ve done these mini crumbles before, with apple, but we thought we would give you a couple of more interesting flavour ideas. We’ve gone with a couple of contrasting flavours – a sweet, spicy sugar syrup with cardamom, cinnamon and star anise and a tart, fruity alternative made with raspberries.

Ingredients – for the topping, you’ll need (makes 2 mini crumbles):

  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

To make the topping, simply rub together the butter and flour in your fingertips until you get breadcrumbs, then add the sugar and mix together. Easy or what?!

To make the sweet and spicy crumbles, you’ll need (makes 2 mini crumbles):

  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 pear

To make the sugar syrup, add all of the ingredients to a pan and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Leave it bubbling away to let the flavours infuse for about 5 minutes. If you see the sugar syrup start to darken, stop – it’s done! Chop your pear up into small (~1 cm) cubes and put it into 2 ramekins (or other small dishes), pour over the sugar syrup (taking out the whole spices) and cover with a couple of centimetres (just over half an inch) of topping.

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas...?
Is it too early to start talking about Christmas…?

For the fruity berry crumbles, you’ll need (again, makes 2 mini crumbles):

  • 2 tbsp raspberries
  • 1 pear

Almost no preparation required here, just chop up your pear up into small cubes and put it into 2 small ramekins, and cover with topping. We keep some frozen raspberries in the freezer, which are useful for all sorts of things in the winter.

Raspberry and Pear

Once the crumbles are assembled, place in an oven at 180 C for 20-25 minutes – you should see the top go a lovely golden colour. Sit back and enjoy your tasty, warming winter treat!

Crumble and Coffee
Spicy Pear Crumble and Coffee
Pear and Raspberry Crumble
Pear and Raspberry Crumble

Thai Noodle Soup with Crispy Tofu

This was only our second ever time cooking with tofu. Bird is a big fan and often chooses it over meat options when eating Thai food out but our first attempt about two years ago fell a little flat (well, more accurately, it fell a little slimy). However we got a real craving for it and decided to try again. The tofu we bought helpfully had some cooking instructions on and told us to press the tofu for a better and firmer texture, we figured it knew best so went along with it. What a huge difference! Much firmer, much less fragile, and when cooked MUCH crispier! The extremely-helpful-packaging suggested a minimum of 10 minutes but we left ours for 30 minutes. To press tofu simply drain it of the fluid it’s packaged in and then wrap it in about 2-3 layers of kitchen paper. Place it on a chopping board with another chopping board on top and place a weight on it. This doesn’t have to be really heavy, we used 2 cookery books but a large saucepan would be perfect too. Then make yourself a cuppa and go and chill out for a while. When you come back to it simply unwrap it, use a fresh piece of kitchen paper to give it a wipe down and then get cooking!

Tofu marinading

Ingredients

  • 1 block of pressed tofu
  • 1 litre of stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • A thumb sized piece of ginger, chopped into matchsticks
  • 1 red chilli, sliced thinly
  • 2-3 spring onions, white parts sliced thinly, green parts sliced thicker on the diagonal
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • Zest of 1 lime (you will use the lime juice to season later)
  • noodles, either straight-to-wok or dried ones cooked and drained
  • vegetables, we used baby corn, mange tout and pak choi but use whatever you fancy making sure you have a mix of crunchy and leafy
  • dark soy sauce
  • fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (or other flavourless oil)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • coriander leaves

Chop your tofu into 1-2 inch cubes and place in a bowl. Drizzle over around 1-2 tsp of dark soy sauce and let the flavour soak in. Pour the stock into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, then add in the sugar, the white part of the spring onions, the garlic, the lime zest and most of the ginger and chilli – the rest will be cooked with the tofu. Let this simmer away for about 10 minutes to let the flavours mingle.

Onions, chilli, ginger

After this time grab a wok and heat the vegetable oil in it over a medium-high heat. Once hot throw in the tofu and the remaining ginger and chilli. Our tofu took about 7 minutes to become golden and crispy all over. Keep an eye on the tofu turning it over every 30 seconds or so to make sure it colours evenly. Put the noodles in with the soup and let it come back to the boil. This is the time to season it with dark soy sauce, fish sauce and lime – the amounts are completely up to you, try with 1 tsp of soy sauce and fish sauce and the juice of half a lime and then keep tasting and adding until it’s perfect for you.

Tofu fall

When the tofu is almost ready chuck the vegetables in with the soup, we reserved the leaves of the pak choi as they just need to wilt in. Let the vegetables cook for around 1 minute – you want them to retain some bite! At this stage pour the toasted sesame oil over the tofu, let it cook for a last few seconds and then tip into some kitchen paper to drain slightly. Season it with about 1 tsp of fish sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. Put any leafy vegetables in the soup to wilt and then serve immediately.

Crispy tofu

Dish yourself up a bowl of the noodle soup, top with the crispy tofu and garnish with the green parts of the spring onions and the coriander leaves – this would also be lovely with some crushed peanuts. We had ours with a wedge of lime to add extra zing at the table and a simple infusion of lemon and ginger to drink.

Tofu with noodle soup

This has filled us with confidence to try tofu again soon, maybe with a stir fry, a curry or a salad… any suggestions?

Quick Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya

Believe it or not the origins for this recipe lie in an Asda magazine from about 1998. We mean really it’s origins lie in a Caribbean interpretation of some French and Spanish food but this one right here is a vintage Asda classic. Updated by the Bird clan with some chorizo and chilli (and what a bland dish it would be without them!), it’s now a firm favourite for when you want a comforting, warming, one pan dinner in around 30 minutes. Oh one tip though? Leave time for the pan to soak before you wash it up – that delicious crusty rice at the bottom makes it a hell of a job to clean!

Ingredients (serves two hungry people or three less greedy people)

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into strips
  • Chunk of chorizo, chopped
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 green chilli, de-seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 340g can chopped tomatoes
  • 330ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 135g long grain rice

Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet and then add the onion and chorizo. Allow the oil to come out of the chorizo and the onion to soften for a minute or two. Add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes or until there are no visible pink bits left. Add the garlic and cook briefly – you don’t want it to burn! Add the peppers, chilli and chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Onion and Chorizo

Dissolve the tomato purée into the hot chicken stock – we might have mentioned this tip before but it makes it so much easier to distribute it evenly throughout the dish! Stir in the chicken stock/tomato purée mixture, the dried thyme and the rice. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. This last step is a bit open for interpretation, we tend to stir ours every five minutes or so to prevent it from becoming a total nightmare, and we have a well fitting lid so the stock to rice ratio usually works for us but if you need to add more stock then go ahead! Also it might be worth adding a layer of aluminium foil if your pan lid doesn’t fit too tightly.

And that’s it! Serve with salad if you want to be good but if you’re anything like us then serve yourself a mountain of the stuff and eat your way into a spicy, paprika-y, chicken-y carb coma.

Jambalaya