And now for something sweet! Sweet… and a little salty, because, you know, grown ups need treats too 😉
This is an adaptation of something a work friend, @emmypelle, rustles up that makes any store bought sweet treats taste like runners up!
My plan was to make it exactly as @emmypelle does but I got Hubby involved, and when Hubby gets inovlved nothing is safe from his tampering and tweaking (honestly, he’s a menace!). This time in the form of marshmallows, a very American ingredient when making rice krispie cakes apparently, which just made the bars EVEN gooier still! This is not a bad thing…
He also decided to get his artistic hat on with some white chocolate marbling which I have to say is really quite pretty! The salt was my single contribution in this whole thing, an attempt to give these delicious treats a bit of a grown up spin. Also, who doesn’t love a little salt with their chocolate or caramel these days!
These are so easy to make that I think they’d be great for getting small kiddies into the kitchen to help. I have plans to make these with my 3 year old nephew at Christmas, he’s already dubbed them ‘Oncle Heath’s chochocs’, which I fully expect to be as messy as it’s going to be fun 🙂
Gooey Grown Up Salted Mars Bar Rice Krispie Cakes
A classic kid's sweet treat, given a bit of a grown up spin.
Chop up all of the chocolates. Butter a deep baking tray (we used a 24x24 one) and then line it with parchment to make it super easy to get your chocolate treats out of the tray!
Set a saucepan half-full of water over a high heat. When the water is boiling pop a mixing bowl on top and add the butter and golden syrup and leave to melt.
When the butter syrup mixture has melted, add the marshmallows and chopped mars bar and melt that too, making sure all the nougat in the mars bars has melted.
Take the bowl off the pan, add the rice krispies and mix well. You're looking to incorporate all of the melted mixture. Top tip from @emmypelle, the more krispies you add the less gooey the bars are, so you might want to experiment with different amounts of krispies to get your optimum level of gooey!
Tip the krispies mixture into a buttered baking tray and spread it all out, aiming for a flat surface.
Pop another heatproof bowl over your pan of boiling water, break up the milk chocolate into the bowl and get that all melted down. When it's ready, pour it over the rice krispies in the baking tray and spread it all out so that it's good and even and you're covering the entire surface.
You can stop here and just pop it straight into the fridge, the white chocolate and sea salt are entirely optional (but very very delicious!).
Do the same again with white chocolate, only when you pour it over the milk chocolate do it in as haphazard a fashion as possible so that there's patches of white chocolate rather than an even spread. Take a toothpick and just drag the tip of it all through the milk chocolate to create a marbling pattern.
When you're happy with your marbling, add a couple of pinches of rough sea salt over the top and then pop it into the fridge overnight to cool.
It all gets quite solid, so take the tray out of the fridge about half an hour before you're going to eat it and you'll find it much easier to cut the krispie treats up.
Keeps for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge, if you manage not to eat them all before that!
I have distinctly Northern Chinese food tastes, despite being Hong Kong born and bred, and always make a beeline for the fried noodles and fried dumplings first. That said, I won’t say no to a soupy bowl of wonton noodles if there’s a bottle of Chinese vinegar nearby to douse it in… But at home there are only a few noodle recipes that I dare to cook myself, and I’m always on the look out for new ones to try. When I saw this on the frankly quite awesome The Woks of Life blog, the noodles looked too tasty to be true… (where true = easy!)
So so wrong that this is already become my favourite home-cooked noodle dish, hands down 🙂 It really does taste as good as it looks – slick, chewy udon noodles, loaded with satisfyingly savoury mushrooms that go perfectly with sweet bites of pork, and bak choy to round everything out. Seriously, what’s not to love? A quick marinade and quick cook time means you can be tucking into a bowl of these in about 20 minutes!
This recipe didn’t need any tinkering, it really was perfect as it was and the only changes I made were to ‘Britishify’ some of the ingredients. The real trick to this dish, for me, is slicing the pork nice and thin so that it doesn’t need much cooking and avoids getting all tough and chewy. The noodles, however, I just can’t resist leaving in the wok to get a little bit of char on them, because who doesn’t love that ‘breath of the wok’ flavour 🙂
The recipe uses a few store cupboard staples rather than needing a spoonful of something you have to buy especially, and then will forget to use again before it rots in the back of the fridge, which just makes it even better still. And the marinade is so simple but so flavoursome that I’ve even started using it with some old mum-taught Chinese recipes… shhhh! Don’t tell her!
Shanghai Fried Noodles
These delicious wok fried noodles are satisfyingly savoury and, with just a handful of ingredients, ridiculously easy to rustle up.
As the weather finally hots up (and not before time!), mealtimes start to be less about comfort and more about avoiding spending much if any time near a hot flame, but without skimping on taste. This old favourite ticks ALL of those boxes and is relatively well behaved to boot! It’s also a one pan cooking dish which always makes me happy 🙂
To be honest, there isn’t much that’s Mexican about this recipe… The only thing it has in common with actual fajitas is that they are both wrap based and hand held… There’s not even any guacamole or salsa in sight! But don’t let that dissuade you from trying this because what it lacks in Mexican authenticity it more than makes up for in tastiness.
The trick to this dish is to get that chargrill thing going. It might look like it’s never going to happen, but have faith and persevere (and drain off excess liquid if you have to!). The rewards are a sticky charred deliciousness of big big flavours thanks to the lime and chilli flakes, which marries perfectly with the sweetness from the peppers.
Chicken & Lime Fajitas
Wok charred chicken and peppers with zingy lime, all wrapped up in warm tortillas, that taste far more sinful than they actually are.
2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced into 1cm strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into 1cm lenthways strips
1 red pepper, cut into 1cm lengthways strips
1 red onion, cut into thick strips
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp crushed chillis
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 limes, 1 zested and juiced, 1 quartered for serving
4 flour tortillas
150ml 0% fat Greek yoghurt
salt and pepper
Coriander for garnish
Start with a large mixing bowl, into which place the chicken strips, peppers and onions, oregano, chilli, vegetable oil, and the lime zest and juice. Season well before giving everything a good toss-about until the chicken and veg is well coated with the herbs and lime.
Place a wok (or large non-stick frying pan, the deeper sided the better!) over a high heat until its just starting to smoke. When it's good and (fiercely!) hot, tip everything out of the bowl into the wok and cook for about 6-8 minutes, turning only occasionally until its looking cooked through - this is to ensure that everything gets good and brown with a lightly charred effect.
If there's too much lime juice or liquid, you might need to drain some of this off otherwise the chicken and veg will broil rather than char.
Turn the heat off and let the chicken rest in the work while you warm your tortillas in the microwave, or in a dry frying pan.
Pile the chicken and veg in the middle of your tortilla, top with some coriander (if desired), a dollop of yoghurt and a squeeze more lime juice if you like it properly zingy, and scoff!
Spaghetti Bolognese is my go to comfort food. It never fails to cheer me up or warm me up when needed, and even the act of making it is oddly comforting, go figure! But sometimes you just can’t be bothered… Sometimes you just want the comfort without the effort. Which is where this awesome new recipe find from Delicious Magazine comes in to play! Normally I’ll tinker with a recipe, but this is one instance where the recipe was perfect straight out of the box (so to speak!).
The veal makes this feel like a really indulgent supper, and I love how the sauce is rich but light thanks to missing out the ubiquitous can of tomatoes that goes into most ragu sauces. The splash of red wine vinegar at the end helps cut through some of that richness, and adds a wonderful counter flavour to the otherwise sweet ragu.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love recipes that taste like they were hard work but are actually anything but. This recipe is a perfect example of that, super easy to throw together but tastes like something that required an awful lot more time in the kitchen then it actually did. And the long slow cooking makes it the perfect Sunday night supper 🙂
ps – if you don’t like veal then mince beef would work just as well, and appreciate the slow cooking just as much.
Veal Mince Ragu with Tagliatelle
A poshed up version of that old British favourite, spag bol!
Start with a large saucepan or wok over a medium heat and melt your butter before adding all of the chopped veg. Gently fry until the onions are going transluscent, then remove to a plate.
In the same pan, add the veal mince and give it a good season. Turn the heat up until the meat is browned off.
Add the tomato puree and stir through the meat, and then cook for a couple of minutes before adding the veg back into the pan and giving everything a good stir.
Next, add the white wine and, still on a high heat, bubble for 2 minutes before adding the beef stock and milk.
Once it’s all bubbling again, turn the heat down until your ragu is simmering and then cover. Leave it to simmer away 1½-2 hours, giving it a stir every now and then and tasting to check the seasoning.
Take the lid off for the last half hour of cooking. If it's too dry add more stock.
Just before you’re serve, stir through a splash of red wine vinegar, then toss through the tagliatelle and plate up with generous shavings of parmesan.
It’s soup season, and what is soup without croutons!
I’ve always been a sucker for these, whether they’re still crunchy or have been left in the soup just long enough to start getting all soggy. Store bought is fine but honestly, you can rustle up your own in the time it takes you to heat up soup (honestly!) and they taste SOOOOOOOO much better. Also, it’s a great reason to use up any half eaten loaves of bread (food waste bad!), just wrap the loaf up and sling it into the freezer until you’re ready to make these, and then take the bread out to defrost the morning you have soup in mind.
Any crusty loaf will do, you could even use good old sliced white if you were in a pinch, but Sourdough is my favourite bread to use for this. There’s just something about the flavour of Sourdough that goes so damn well with soup – if you’re looking for soup inspiration, we’ve tried the croutons with Hubby’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and my Cauliflower and Cider Soup and they were delicious in both!
The croutons will last for around two weeks in an airtight container, if you can actually exercise any kind of self control and not eat the entire batch 🙂
Herby Garlicky Croutons
So easy-to-make-yourself croutons that you can rustle up while your soup is heating.
Start by cutting your bread into bite-sized pieces and popping into a mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil over the bread and then add the garlic powder, parsley and salt to season. Use a big spatula to give everything a good stir, until the bread is well coated.
Tip onto a baking tray and spread out. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, giving them a good shoogle about half way through. If the croutons are still looking a little pale then pop them under the grill for a few minutes to brown up.