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.
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.
Prawns marinated then roasted in a very hot oven, served with a delicious Makhani style curry sauce. Delicious!
King Prawns are butterflied then marinated in yogurt, garlic, cumin seeds, chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala, salt and lemon juice. They are put on skewers then roasted in a very hot oven to try to replicate the traditional clay ovens used in Indian cuisine – which I’m guessing you don’t have either. The result is juicy prawns with a really delicious coating.
The sauce is made from tomatoes, onion, chilli, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, almonds, desiccated coconut, bay leaf, cardamom, cloves, tomato pure, sugar, salt, and a little butter at the end to give it that classic gleam.
It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but really its quite easy. You can serve the dish with choice of rice or Indian bread, I opted for a good shop bought roti.
Preparation and cooking 35-40 minutes (plus 1hr marinating time)
225-250g raw king prawns – devein and butterfly
150-175g Greek yogurt
4 cloves garlic – thinly slice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
Juice of half a lemon
4 long wooden skewers – soak in water before use
Method: Mix all the marinade ingredients (minus prawns) in a large mixing bowl until the spices and yogurt combine. Devein and butterfly the prawns and add them to the marinade. Mix gently until all the prawns are fully coated, then cover and place in a fridge for at least 1hr, or preferably overnight.
After this remove from the fridge and leave for 20 minutes to get to room temperature. Skewer the prawns, skewering at both ends so the prawns are skewered twice (head and tail). Have the prawns close together but not squashed – see picture below.
See the method for the sauce for cooking instructions, as these cook quickly and should be done when the sauce is ready.
3 medium size white onions – dice
2 large green chillies – remove stalk, slice
2 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 tbsp. vegetable oil
6 large round tomatoes – quarter
3 tbsp. desiccated coconut
2 tbsp. sliced almonds
1 bay leaf
6 cardamom pods
6 cloves garlic – crush or roughly chop
Thumb sized piece of root ginger – roughly chop
1 tsp salt
3-4 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp tomato pure
2 mugs of water
1/4 tsp ground fenugreek
25-35g butter – cut into cubes
1/2 tsp garam masala
2-3 tbsp. chopped coriander as garnish
You need a blender and deep non stick pan with a lid
Method: Start by heating the oil in the pan, once hot add the onions and stir fry for 6-8 minutes until the onions colour. Next add the chillies, bay, cloves and cardamom and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger, tomatoes, tomato pure, almonds and desiccated coconut and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 mugs of water and stir well, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and leave to bubble away for 20-25 minutes.
After this carefully remove the lid, then fish out the bay, cardamom and cloves. Add 1 tsp salt and 3-4 tsp of brown sugar, stir well until combined with the sauce.
Leave sauce to cool (to prevent burns) and use the stick blender to form a smooth sauce. As the sauce cools pre heat your oven to its maximum setting.
Place the sauce back on a medium heat, stir and gently heat the sauce through. Add the garam masala and fenugreek – use your fingers and sprinkle them in otherwise they will form clumps that will be difficult to dissolve. Add the butter and stir it into the sauce as it melts.
Once your oven is preheated to its hottest setting, lay the skewered prawns on a baking tray – use a swiss roll style one as water will come out the marinade as it cooks. Add the prawns to the preheated oven and as they go in reduce heat to 220°C and cook them for 5 minutes. Remove tray from oven, drain off the liquid and return to oven for a further minute. Remove from oven and get ready to serve.
Before serving heat the sauce through until it bubbles. Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle some coriander on top. Place on a serving plate and add the skewers alongside, as pictured below.
Linguine pasta with king prawns, in a delicious sauce made from red pepper, tomato, garlic, basil, oregano, onion, flavoured with a stock made from the prawn heads and shells.
In this dish I use a simple stock made from prawn shells and heads to get every bit of flavour from the prawns. This is added to a flavour base (red pepper, garlic, tomato, basil, oregano, tomato pure, olive oil and onion) and cooked down to intensify the flavour. The sauce is completed with seasoning and a little sugar for sweetness. The raw prawns are gently cooked in the sauce, then the pasta is added to the sauce for the final few minutes of cooking, then finished with a little lemon juice.
I am really proud of this recipe and hope you like it as much as I do. Its very easy to make and certain to impress friends and family.
Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 12-15 minutes
150g good quality dried linguine – cook as per packet instructions to al dente
250-300g Raw whole King Prawns – see method
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 red bell pepper – remove stalk and seeds
1 large beef tomato – remove core
12 basil leaves – plus a few extra for a garnish
1 medium size red onion – peel
4 large garlic cloves – peel, crush
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp. tomato pure
1 tsp brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper – see method
Salt to taste – season at end once stock has reduced
Juice of half a lemon – cut other half into wedges to serve
You require a mini chopper of food processor for this recipe
Method: Begin by removing the shells and heads from the raw prawns, devein the prawns and set aside.
Pour 250-300ml of water into a sauce pan and bring to the boil, add the prawn shells and heads and simmer for 10-15 minutes until stock has reduced to 200ml. Unlike stocks from vegetables or animal bones stocks made from shellfish absorb all the flavour very quickly. Once reduced set aside ready to add to the dish.
Make the flavour base by adding the red pepper, basil, oregano, garlic, tomato, tomato pure, onion and olive oil to the mini chopper, blend until a smooth sauce is formed. Set aside ready to add to the pan.
Cook the pasta as per packet instructions (around 10-12 minutes), as soon as this starts begin to cook the pasta sauce. Heat a non stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the blended sauce, stir frequently and cook for 5 minutes to bring out all the flavours in the sauce. Take care not to burn the sauce and if it begins to catch on the pan add a little of the prawn stock to loosen it.
Next add the prawn stock to the pan, stir well, increase heat to bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add a tsp of brown sugar and a generous amount of black pepper, do not add any salt until the dish is reduced. Keep simmering and stirring occasionally until sauce has reduced in half (should take 4-5 minutes), then taste test and add salt to taste.
Once the pasta is cooked drain it and set it aside ready to add to the pan.
Add the raw prawns to the simmering sauce and gently stir until they change from grey to pink (60-90 seconds), take care not to overcook them. I would recommend deliberately undercooking them here as they will finish cooking as you add the pasta.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and gently stir the sauce through the pasta and cook for 1 minute. Finish the dish by adding juice of half a lemon and stir through to lift the sauce.
Serve immediately and garnish with a few torn basil leaves.
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.