A comforting soup flavoured with four different types of chillies, served with grilled cheese Quesadillas.
This is essentially soup and sandwiches – comfort food, Mexican style.
The soup is flavoured with four different chillies – Ancho, Guajillo, Chipotle and red chillies. The soup is rich, Smokey and very delicious with its flavour coming from a wonderful paste made from pan roasting the chillies along with tomatoes bell peppers, garlic, onions and spices. Charring these in a pan before blending makes such a difference and really brings the flavours to life. Diced carrot and celery are fried, stock is added, then the paste followed by a good simmer. Before serving diced bell peppers, more sliced red chillies, diced onion and some fresh coriander leaf are added to give the soup texture and freshness.
The Quesadillas are the perfect accompaniment and very easy to make – just don’t tell anyone how easy! They can be made in minutes, and eaten even quicker.
Soup gives 4 portions
Quesadillas recipe for 2 persons
Cooking time 40 minutes
1 stick celery – dice
1 medium size carrot – peel, dice
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
3 small white onions – leave whole with skin on
1 ancho chilli
1 guajillo chilli
2 red chillies – thinly slice one chilli, Set aside in a bowl
4 cloves garlic – leave skin on the cloves
1 orange bell pepper – dice half the pepper, set aside in a bowl
1 red bell pepper – dice half the pepper, set aside in a bowl
1 red onion – dice, set aside in a bowl
Generous handful of fresh coriander – keep a few stalks aside and roughly chop the rest
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp chipotle paste
1/2 tsp oregano
4 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1.5 litres chicken stock
Method: Start by warming a large flat pan or griddle over a medium heat. Place the tomatoes, garlic, the chillies, half the bell peppers and onions on and dry fry until they become slightly charred, for approx. 7-8 minutes, turning halfway through. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and dry fry until the spices become aromatic.
Remove the contents from the pan, add the spices to a food processor and leave the rest on a chopping board to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled remove the skins from the garlic and onions, but leave the skins on the peppers and tomatoes. Add everything to the food processor along with a few coriander stalks, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp chipotle paste, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp oregano and 4 tsp brown sugar. Blitz until a smooth paste is formed, make sure you blend it well as the smoother the paste the smoother the final soup.
Add 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil to a deep soup pan over a medium heat, once hot add the diced carrot and celery and fry for 4-5 minutes until softened. Next add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Now add the paste and stir well, bring back to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Complete the soup by adding the diced bell peppers, onion and sliced chilli then simmer for a further 5 minutes – enough to heat these through but not so long that they loose their texture. As a final step add the chopped coriander and stir through. The soup is now ready to serve.
4 corn tortillas (2 per person)
Canola oil – in a spray or ramekin with pastry brush
2 handfuls of sweetcorn
2 medium tomatoes – diced
1 small red onion – diced
Handful of coriander – roughly chopped
150g strong cheddar cheese – grated
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of sea salt
Garlic mayonnaise – optional, to serve
Barbeque sauce – optional, to serve
Method: Begin by pre heating your oven to 170°c, and warm a flat frying pan over a medium heat.
In a large glass bowl, mix the tomatoes, sweetcorn, coriander leaf, ground coriander, ground cumin, smoked paprika, salt and cheddar cheese.
Spray one side of the corn tortillas with canola oil then heat the tortilla on that side until golden, remove and repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
Assemble the quesadillas by spooning the mixture on the non cooked side of the tortillas then like a sandwich place another tortilla on top. Place the assembled quesadillas on a baking tray and heat them through in the oven for approx. 15 minutes, until the cheese in the mixture melts – this could be slightly quicker or slower depending upon how big the tortillas are and how much filling you have added.
Remove them from the oven, let them cool slightly then cut into quarters. As an optional garnish drizzle some garlic mayonnaise and some barbeque sauce over them.
I would just like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas, and thank everyone who has visited my recipe blog over the last year.
I hope everyone has a happy Christmas, but also spare some thought for those less fortunate, please consider making a small donation to a charity.
I have some recipes included below that will help you make some delicious meals from your left over turkey, from curries to soups – lots of ideas to make your Christmas as delicious as possible.
I always have a Prawn cocktail as a Christmas starter, as it is easy to prepare and quick to assemble before serving. The cocktail sauce is based upon a recipe created by my dad and just says “Christmas” to me.
In terms of cooking your turkey, I have my own method and have a few tips for you. Preparation is everything, I always do my preparation on Christmas eve as Christmas day is always quite busy.
I make a mixture of butter, parsley, garlic and a seasoning, then carefully lift the skin off the bird at both ends by sliding my fingers between the meat and skin – taking care not to rip the skin. I then put as much of the butter mixture as I can under the skin to flavour and moisten the meat as it cooks.
My stuffing is a mixture of sausage meat, finely diced onion, parsley, sage, egg, breadcrumbs and seasoning – all well mixed together. I stuff the neck end of the bird and then use cocktail sticks or string to tie the neck closed.
In the main cavity I stuff the turkey with half a lemon, a bulb of garlic, a onion, a carrot, a bay leaf and a stick of celery. Once the Turkey is placed on the roasting tin I add some more onion, garlic, carrot, lemon, celery, a glass of white wine and some Christmas herbs (sage, parsley, rosemary and thyme) round the bird to help flavour it and its juices.
I then rub some more of the butter mixture on the outside of the turkey, then drizzle the turkey with generous seasoning, honey, then layer streaky bacon over the top. The turkey is then covered in a foil tent, which is kept on during most of the cooking time – remove it for the last 20-25 minutes, during which baste the turkey frequently.
In terms of cooking time, these are a guide – always check juices run clear (or use thermometer) before resting the turkey.
2.7kg – 3.6kg (6-8lbs) 2 ½ – 3 ¾ hrs
3.6kg – 4.5kg (8-10lbs) 3 ¼ – 3 ¾ hrs
4.5kg – 5.4kg (10-12lbs) 3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hrs
I find this method to be full proof, and guaranteed to give you flavoursome moist turkey meat.
For gravy, I collect the roasting juices and cook with a splash of white wine, a little red current jelly and a little cornflour to thicken it.
For sides, I par boil potatoes then roast them at a high temperature in duck fat with some rosemary. I also love honey glazed carrots and parsnips roasted in duck fat with a little thyme. Along with the mandatory pigs in blankets.
The recipes below are all suitable for making great tasting meals from leftover turkey, simply add the cooked turkey meat towards the end of cooking and heat it through thoroughly before serving. Personally I find strong Asian flavours to be a great accompaniment to leftover turkey.
Please email me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Boil the turkey bones in a deep pan of water along with some carrots, onions, leeks, celery, bay leaf, peas, salt and some black peppercorns – boil for 20 minutes then cover and reduce to a simmer for at least 3-4 hours.
Make sure you use plenty of water relative to the turkey as the stock can be very strongly flavoured. For example I will be using just over 2L for a medium sized turkey.
Please check out my soups menu for recipe ideas, personally I think turkey stock is best used in tomato or vegetable based soups.
Once again have a very merry Christmas!
Skinless an boneless chicken thigh meat, marinated in a delicious sauce then stir fried with mixed vegetables and cashew nuts.
A really quick and easy recipe which rivals your local Chinese take-away. I use thigh meat as it works far better in stir fry dishes than breast meat. The wonderful flavours in this dish come from the marinade and are locked in by cooking quickly over a very high heat. This is so easy that really anyone should be able to make this dish.
Serve with your choice of boiled rice, fried rice or egg noodles.
Cooking time – less than 10 minutes
6-8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs – cut in half
25g cashew nuts – soak in water for 30 minutes before cooking
2 tbsp. wok oil
150g sliced water chestnuts
1 carrot – peel, thinly slice into discs
1 stick celery – dice
1 red pepper – dice
1 medium size white onion – slice or cut into small chunks
3 dessert spoons soy sauce
3 dessert spoons vinegar
3 dessert spoons honey
3 dessert spoons oyster sauce
1 dessert spoon sesame oil
1/2 tsp five spice
Thumb sized piece of peeled root ginger – cut into fine matchsticks
1 red chilli – deseed and finely slice
5 cloves garlic – peel, crush, finely chop
Method: Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl until combined, add the chicken, cover and marinade at room temperature for 45-60 minutes. You can marinade for longer in a fridge, just remember to take it out 30 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature for even cooking.
Heat 2tbsp of wok oil in a wok or large frying pan until smoking hot. Use tongs to remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the hot pan, take care as it will spit as the chicken meets the oil. Stir fry the chicken on a high heat for 3-4 minutes until the chicken browns and starts to caramelise.
Change your stirring spoon for hygiene then add the cashew nuts (discard the soaking water), carrots, water chestnuts, celery, onion and red pepper. Stir fry for 2 minutes on your cookers highest heat setting to cook the vegetables but retain some crunch.
Pour in the marinade and stir through the dish, then use the stirring spoon t push the chicken and vegetables to the sides of the pan so the marinade heats through. Let the marinade bubble away and reduce slightly for 1 minute.
Give the dish a good stir, remove from the heat and serve immediately, enjoy!
Pasta shells cooked in a delicious tomato sauce, topped with béchamel sauce and cheddar cheese then finished under a hot grill.
Serves two people
Preparation and cooking time 30 minutes
200g dried Conchiglie – cooked to al dente as per packet instructions
150g mature cheddar cheese – grated
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 heaped dessert spoon plain flour
Approx. 500ml semi skimmed milk
Dried oregano – 1 tsp for tomato sauce, 1/3 tsp for béchamel
1 tsp dried parsley
4 round tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 stick celery
1 red bell pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp tomato puree
Black pepper for grinding
Sea salt – to taste
You need a food processor or mini chopper for the tomato sauce
In a large flat non stick frying pan dry fry over a medium heat, 4 tomatoes, 4 cloves garlic, 1 stick celery and 1 red bell pepper, turning occasionally until charred.
Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a chopping board. Then remove the garlic skins and the stalks/seeds from the bell pepper.
Transfer into a mini chopper along with 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried parsley, 1 tsp brown sugar, 2 tsp tomato puree, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Blitz until a smooth sauce is formed, set aside ready to cook.
Melt approx. 75g butter in a sauce pan then add 1 heaped dessert spoon of flour and stir into a paste.
Add a small volume of milk, 1/3 tsp dried oregano, 1 bay leaf, 4-5 turns of a pepper grinder and stir well until a smooth sauce is formed.
Increase heat slightly and add approx. 250ml of milk, stirring well to keep a smooth sauce (Tip: you can use a whisk or silicone spatula to help keep sauce smooth).
Keep stirring as the milk heats and the sauce thickens, once it becomes thick add another 150ml milk and keep stirring as sauce heats again. Bring the sauce to the boil, if the sauce is too thick add a little more milk, stir well and bring back to the boil then fish out the bay leaf and remove the pan from the heat – set aside ready to add to the dish.
With a béchamel you want to keep adding milk whilst heating the sauce until it no longer thickens as it reaches boiling point. I have listed the milk as 500ml, however you may need slightly less or more – cooking a béchamel is one of those things that it is difficult to list an exact quantity for.
Start by cooking the pasta to al dente as per packet instructions, then drain and set aside ready to add to the pan.
In a deep wide frying pan add the blended tomato sauce and gently heat through until it bubbles and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Add the pasta to the tomato sauce, stir well and simmer the pasta in the sauce for 2-3 minutes.
Pre heat your grill on a medium to hot setting (3/4 setting).
Give the pasta and tomato sauce another good stir then drizzle the béchamel sauce over the pasta, making sure the béchamel is distributed over the whole dish. Top with the grated mature cheddar.
Place under the hot grill and cook until the cheese melts and starts to colour, this should take 6-8 minutes depending on your grill. Once the cheese melts and colours like a pizza topping the dish is ready, remove from the grill and serve.
We had this dish with a leafy green side salad and some green beans, although it works just fine by itself – I hope you enjoy.
Sweet potato fish cakes with a delicious garlic and chilli sauce.
A very easy to make recipe for restaurant standard fish cakes. Using tinned salmon and crab along with a few kitchen essentials, this recipe is a real winner. The sauce made from butter, garlic, chilli, lemon, white wine, fish stock, parsley, tarragon and diced tomato completes the dish.
The two most important things are to make sure the sweet potato mash is as dry as possible and also to avoid the temptation to turn them too early in the pan – otherwise they will not hold together as you cook. Please don’t mistake the colouration for burning, it’s this crust that holds the cakes together.
This recipe makes 6-8 fishcakes
For the Fish Cakes:
750g Sweet potatoes – peel and thinly slice
250g shredded crab meat – 2 small tins drained of brine
200-225g red salmon – 1 small tin drained of brine
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
25-50g breadcrumbs – see notes below
2- 4 tbsp. oil to pan fry – I used Scottish rapeseed oil.
You require a food processor for this recipe
For the Sauce:
2 round tomatoes – diced
1/3 glass of dry white wine
3 cloves garlic – crush or finely chop
1 red chilli – deseed and finely chop
200ml fish stock
1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Freshly ground black pepper – to taste
Method: Start by par boiling the sliced sweet potatoes – put them in a pan of cold water, heat through to the boil then simmer for 7-8 minutes. Drain them then put them back in the dry pan over a low heat for a few minutes (shaking the pan occasionally), then turn off hob and let the residual heat dry the potatoes. If they still seem wet leave them on the heat for a few more minutes. It is vital to dry the potatoes out as much as possible.
Once dried and cooled transfer the potatoes into a food processor. Add 25g breadcrumbs, 1/2 tsp black pepper, the crab and salmon and blitz until combined into a smooth paste. Check the consistency of the paste – you want it to be thick enough that patties can be formed in your hands without them immediately falling apart. If when you test the mixture it seems too wet add the rest of the breadcrumbs as they will absorb the excess moisture.
Start forming the fish cakes – you want them to be about 3cm thick and slightly wider than a standard coffee mug. Don’t make them much bigger or thicker than this as they may not hold together when cooked if they are too big or cook in the middle if they are too thick. See the picture at the top for an example of size. AS you form each one set aside on a plate ready to pan fry.
Before pan frying the fish cakes start to make the sauce as you want the sauce to reduce and intensify in flavour. Start by melting the butter in a small frying pan (a wide pan will reduce far quicker than a saucepan) then add the garlic and chilli then fry for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently. Next add the white wine and cook it off for a few minutes, then add the fish stock along with the dried herbs. Stir well and leave sauce simmering on a medium low heat for 10-15 minutes or until it has reduced by half. Turn off the heat as the sauce will be reheated when the fish cakes are ready – the tomatoes, pepper and lemon juice are added as the sauce
To pan fry the fish cakes – use a wide plat non stick frying pan, take care not to overload the pan as you need enough room to flip the fish cakes, cook in batches of max 4 if using a 30cm frying pan like me. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in the frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the fish cakes one at a time, giving them a final squeeze into shape just as you add them into the pan. They will need approx. 4 minutes on first side – the clue that they are ready is you should be able to see the crust forming on the edges and the cakes should easily slide on the pan. It is vital not to turn them too early as the cakes will either fall apart or loose shape. Once turned they should cook slightly quicker on the other side – approx. 3 minutes . Again the fish cakes will slide easily on the pan when the crust is formed and they are ready. Transfer to the plate ready to serve, or place on a baking tray and keep in a warm oven if you are making two batches.
To finish the sauce – heat the sauce through over a medium heat, once hot add 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice and the diced tomatoes, stir through the sauce and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. You want to warm the tomatoes through but not cook them, they bring a freshness and balance to the rich slightly acidic sauce. Add a little freshly ground black pepper to taste, then get ready to serve.
Place the cooked fish cakes on a serving plate and spoon some of the sauce over the fish cakes and onto the plate as shown in the pictures. Enjoy!