Monday, 28 November 2016


If (like me), all you want to do when you finish work and it's this cold is get home, lock the door, put your PJ's on and refuse to go back out again till morning, then you will be cooking most nights instead of eating out (unless you are ordering take out every night & if you are I salute you). As I currently have little inclination to leave the house on a week night, I've been cooking up loads of recipes recently. So here's my favourites from the past two weeks.

Sea Trout with a Pea & Chorizo Fricassee 

I have made a different variation of this meal a few times but always using mackerel. However I had some trout fillets in the freezer so decided to use them instead. I got the chorizo from Celino's Deli in the east end and if you live in Glasgow I highly recommend you do the same. This is one of my favourite recipes & I'm 99% sure I have probably already blogged it at some point. But it's too good not to mention twice. So click right here if you want to make it

Pan Fried Mackerel with Panzanella Salad

This was so good that I knew I had to blog it yet I was gonna be so pissed off if I couldn't find a link for it online and was going to have to type the recipe out for you straight from the book. Thankfully this lovely website came to the rescue. If you're a bit like me and are a bit scared of Panzenalla salad because you can't stand the thought of soggy bread, then forget your doubts and make it anyway. I am now a Panzanella convert. The bread doesn't go soggy, instead it soaks up all the amazing juices of the tomatoes, garlic and herbs and it's basically amazing so just do it and see for yourself. 

Chicken Tikka Masoor Tarka Dhal

This is another amazing recipe that I have written down but cannot find online so I am actually gonna type it out for you. You had better appreciate that. This serves 2.

Chicken Tikka chunks (I marinate raw chicken breast in a mixture of natural yogurt & tikka paste then grill until cooked but you can be lazy and just buy the chicken tikka already cooked), 150gm red split lentils (washed), 1 tsp turmeric, 30gm butter, 60gm baby spinach, 1 lime (zest & juice of quarter plus wedges to serve), 1 diced shallot (I am lazy and buy the frozen ready diced bags), 2 sliced garlic cloves, 15 gm fresh ginger (again I buy the ready minced stuff in the jar), 1 sliced red chilli, 1 x 28gm pack of coriander (stalks finely chopped & leaves torn), 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp black mustard seeds

  1. Put lentils in a pan with 500ml water. Boil, skimming off any scummy bits that rise to the top. Add turmeric & 5 gm butter. Simmer, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach, lime zest & juice, Season & cover to keep warm
  2. Heat remaining butter till foaming. Add shallots, garlic, ginger & chilli. Fry for 5-8 minutes. Add coriander stalks & spices and cook for 1-2 minutes, until mustard seeds start to pop. Add to the lentils along with the coriander leaves & cover, leave for 5 minutes. Serve with the chicken tikka chunks, lime wedges & a drizzle of natural yogurt.

Chicken & Egg Donburi

This is so quick and so easy and so perfect if you like Japanese food but can't be bothered rolling sushi or attempting a Katsu curry. This serves 1.

1 chicken breast, 1/2 small onion, 1 spring onion, splash chicken stock, 1/2 tbsp sake, 1/2 dessert spoon sugar, 1/2 tbs mirin, 1/2 tbsp soy sauce

  1. Put onion, stock, sake, sugar & miring & soy in a small pan and boil. Add chicken and simmer until cooked through
  2. Pour beaten egg around and over chicken then cover. Simmer while gently shaking the pan. Cook till eggs are desired firmness 
  3. Serve over rice and sprinkled with the shredded spring onion

Spaghetti Puttanesca

Ok so anyone who likes to cook probably knows how to make a decent Puttanesca & in fairness it's not that difficult. However, I have spent YEARS perfecting my Puttanesca and have developed (much like Liam Neeson), an intricate set of skills that produce what is basically the nicest Puttanesca you will ever taste in your life. I don't even care if that sounds conceited. Cause it just is. So pay attention. This recipe serves one and is very vague on quantities so adapt to suit your own tastes.

 Cherry tomatoes (but the good quality, amazing smelling, on the vine ones), extra virgin olive oil (if you've got a bottle of really expensive stuff then use that), garlic, onion, capers, green olives (pitted), anchovies, dried chilli flakes, parsley

  1. Throw a handful of the tomatoes into a pan with a good glug of the extra virgin & some seasoning. Leave on the lowest heat possible (so the smallest burner turned right down) and leave for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE to break down on their own. I generally cook this when I have a pal over as once we get started on the wine we can talk for Scotland so this can be left to break down on a low heat for ages while I eat crisps and gossip. You can give the pan a wee shake every so often but try and leave to cook for about 45 minutes (minimum half an hour).
  2. Add sliced garlic, onions, some drained capers, chopped anchovies, sliced olives and a sprinkling of chilli flakes and leave to cook on the same VERY low heat while your pasta cooks.
  3. Once the pasta is ready stir this through the tomato mixture with a splash of the pasta cooking water. Throw in some chopped parsley and voilĂ . Puttanesca. So easy. So tasty.

Spicy Lamb & Herb stuffed Squash
Having recently discovered that as of next month I won't be allowed to give blood for 9 months, I finally hauled my ass to the donor centre last week and gave up a pint of the good stuff. However I felt positive queasy afterwards. But blood, veins, needles, etc have always kind of had that affect on me. When I got home I decided that I must replenish my iron levels immediately and so made this amazing spicy lamb and squash thing that I have been making for years and is so good that I once made it three times in one week. Anyone who knows me knows how unusual that is. Try it and you will see what I'm talking about.

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