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.
King prawns, potatoes and carrots in a delicious spiced lentil and tomato curry sauce.
A easy to make curry dish guaranteed to impress your friends and family – they won’t believe you didn’t pick it up from your local Indian restaurant.
Serve with choice of rice or Indian bread.
Preparation and cooking time around 1 hour
200-250g raw king prawns – devein, butterfly
100g peeled new potatoes – cut into small pieces to cook quickly
5-6 round vine tomatoes – cut into quarters
75g red spilt lentils – rinse thoroughly until water runs clear
1 medium/large carrot – peel and thinly slice into discs
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 medium size white onions – peel and dice
2 medium size red onions – peel and dice
1 small bulb of garlic – peel, crush
15-20g ginger – peel, thinly slice
1 heaped dessert spoon sliced Almond
2 bay leaves
5 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground fenugreek
80g red split lentils – rinse thoroughly
1 tsp salt – plus extra to taste
water – see method
20-25g butter – cut into cubes
2-3 tbsp. chopped coriander leaf
Note: You require a stick blender (or glass blender) for this recipe
Method: Start by boiling the potatoes for 7-8 minutes , then drain them and set aside ready to add to the curry.
In a deep pan heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil over a medium high heat and add a teaspoon of mustard seeds. Let the oil heat until the mustard seeds start popping like popcorn. Add the onions and fry for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions start to colour. Add the garlic, ginger, bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, tomatoes and sliced almonds and stir through the fried onions. Next add half a teaspoon of cumin seeds, ground turmeric, ground coriander and a quarter of ground fenugreek. Stir well and fry the mixture for 4-5 minutes.
Next add the washed lentils and stir well, then add enough water to completely submerge the mixture (I added 2 and a half mugs of water) and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. After this remove the bay leaves, cardamom pods and cloves from the sauce and blend into a smooth sauce.
Add the cooked potatoes and the thinly sliced carrot (these are both cut into small pieces so they cook quickly) and gently simmer in the sauce for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently as lentils can stick to pans and burn. Taste test the sauce – you may want to add more salt or add more water, depending upon how thick you like your sauce. If your sauce is too runny simply continue to simmer until it reduces to your preference.
When the sauce add the cubes of butter and stir them into the sauce, this will add flavour and the classic gleam to the curry sauce. Complete the dish by adding 1 tbsp. of chopped coriander and the raw king prawns – let them gently poach in the sauce and serve as soon as they turn from grey to pink.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with the rest of the chopped coriander, enjoy!
King Prawns cooked in a delicious Thai red curry sauce.
This is a quick and easy recipe to make a delicious Thai prawn curry, although you can substitute the prawns for chicken, pork, white fish or tofu if you are a vegetarian. Serve with boiled fragrant jasmine rice.
The authentic flavours come form a wonderful homemade curry paste, like all good Thai curries. There are quite a few ingredients in the paste, however they are perfectly balance and can be used in many other dishes. All the ingredients I use are easily obtained in Scotland from your local Asian supermarket, and increasingly your regular supermarket.
For this recipe you only need half the paste, the other half can be stored in fridge for up to five days, or frozen for next time. You can also use the paste to marinade chicken before roasting, or as I did marinade tiger prawns then roast them in the curry paste – just amazing!
Serves Two people
Preparation 10 minutes, cooking time 10-12 minutes
4 large red chillies – remove stalk and seeds
6 bird eye chillies – remove stalk and seeds
3 red onions – peel, roughly dice
Thumb sized piece root ginger – peel, roughly chop
2 sticks lemongrass – bruise, remove outer husk and thinly slice
1 medium sized garlic bulb – peel each clove
2 tbsp. cashew nuts
Juice of 2 limes
2 lime leafs
2 tbps ketchup manis
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. coriander stalks
3 tbsp. desiccated coconut
3 tbsp. brown sugar
3 cardamom pods
Method: Use a mini blender or food processor to blitz all the ingredients into a smooth paste. Cutting the harder and more fibrous ingredients such as the ginger and lemongrass helps for a smoother paste. You can also do this the authentic Thai way by using a mortar and pestle – unfortunately due to my disabilities I can no longer do this.
You only need half the paste for this recipe, to store the other half either freeze it (does not effect the flavour like some claim) or store it in a refrigerated airtight container for up to 5 days.
Half the curry paste
150-200ml coconut milk
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
225g Raw king prawns – Shells removed, devein
1 large red chilli – remove stalk, thinly slice
6-8 large Mint leaves – bruise, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander leaf
Method: Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a wide deep frying pan or wok over a high heat. Add the curry paste, reduce heat to medium and stir fry for 6-8 minutes until the paste is very aromatic. If it begins to catch add a little of the water to loosen the sauce.
Add the water and 150ml coconut milk to the sauce along with the mint leaves, increase the heat until the sauce begins to boil then reduce to a simmer for 2-3 minutes. Taste test the sauce, add a little extra coconut milk if you wish but keep some to drizzle over the dish. Add the prawns and poach them in the sauce for 1-2 minutes, until they change from grey to pink and sauce starts to bubble again.
To complete the dish sprinkle the chopped coriander and sliced chillies on top, and drizzle a swirl of coconut milk on top (1-2 tbsp.). Serve straight away with some fragrant boiled jasmine rice.
A very easy recipe for fantastic tasting Scottish parsnip soup.
The inspiration for this soup comes from my Grandmother or Granny as we call them in Scotland. She made truly amazing soups and my aim is always to try to match hers. She is sadly no longer with us but I do think she would have liked this.
500g parsnips – peel and thinly slice
100g carrots – peel and slice
1 medium sized leek – wash and slice
2 sticks celery – slice
75g garden peas
4 medium sized white onions – peel and slice
2 bay leaves
1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
1.5 tbsp. rapeseed oil
Sea salt – for grinding
Black pepper – for grinding
Method: Add the rapeseed oil to a deep soup or stock pot and warm over a medium heat. Add the leeks, bay and onions and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrot, celery, peas and parsnips, stir well and fry for 5-7 minutes until the mixture softens.
Add the stock, stir well, increase heat to bring to the boil for 2 minutes then reduce to a simmer, cover and let it bubble away for 35-40 minutes.
Carefully remove the lid (watch for steam), fish out the bay leaves, then use a stick blender to blitz soup until smooth. Season with a little salt and black pepper to taste and stir well. Serve with rolls or crusty bread and enjoy!
The soup can be cooled then stored in a fridge overnight for the next day, when it tastes even better.