Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Tuna Steaks with Pesto Pasta Salad

This is a lovely fresh fish dish for the warmer weather; and what's more it's super easy too. 

I've used my Walnut & Basil Pesto which I tend to always have on standby in my fridge, but jarred pesto would be absolutely fine too. 

I also cook the tuna so it's seared on both sides, and then rare and blushing pink throughout the middle as that's how we prefer it; but cook for a little longer if you'd prefer to cook it all the way through (I find this can dry it out a little though).

The below serves 4-5 people. 

Tuna Steaks with Pesto Pasta Salad

Here's how:

  • x4 tuna steaks
  • 250g pasta shapes (I used conchiglie)
  • 2 tbsp Walnut & Basil Pesto or any pesto you have to hand
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large, or 2 smaller courgettes
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fry Light Olive Oil (or a generous drizzle of olive oil if you're not cutting calories)

Firstly cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, as a rule of thumb, for most dried pasta, it is 9-10 minutes in just boiled, salted water for al dente, firm-to-the-bite pasta. 

In the meantime, add a few sprays of the Fry Light to a griddle pan and place on a medium heat.

Season the tuna steaks on both sides with a pinch of black pepper and sea salt and then add to the pan once hot. Cook each tuna steak for 1.5 minutes, and then turn over and cook for a further 1.5 minutes, then remove from the pan and place onto a plate or a board to rest. 

In the meantime, get the 'salad' ingredients ready, by simply halving the cherry tomatoes, and using a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of the courgette. Also cut the lemon into wedges and set aside for the moment.

Once the pasta is cooked, use a ladle or a small cup to take out a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water and then drain and give a good shake. Return to the pan, away from the heat, and add the Walnut & Basil Pesto or the other pesto you may be using, and give a good stir. Add one tablespoon of the pasta water and stir to loosen the sauce a little, add more if it still seems a little claggy. 

Now add the cherry tomatoes and the courgette ribbons to the pan and stir through and then simply pour or spoon into a serving dish.

Now take the tuna steaks, and use a sharp knife to carve into thick chunks of a couple of the tuna steaks and scatter all over the top of the dish, leaving a couple of whole tuna steaks, then take one wedge of the lemon and squeeze all over the tuna, and then give one final seasoning of sea salt and black pepper all over the dish.

Drizzle over a few drops more of the pesto directly onto the tuna steaks.

Add the lemon wedges and serve. Enjoy! 

If you love fish like us, here are a few other dishes you may love:

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Chilli Crab Noodles

These Chilli Crab Noodles are utterly delicious, really quick and easy to make and pack a fiery chilli punch.

I have recently started Slimming World, and in case anyone else follows that diet, the entire dish is only 2.5 syns for the sesame oil and Sriracha making it less than 1.5 syns per serving. 

I really like the heat of x2 red chillies, but if heat isn't your thing reduce to one, or take out entirely. I also add fresh coriander which I adore, right at the end, but if you're not keen on the flavour of coriander you could try mint or basil instead.

The below serves two. 

Chilli Crab Noodles

Here's how:
  • 200g white crab meat (fresh or tinned is fine)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 red chillies
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Tenderstem broccoli 
  • Handful coriander
  • 90g cooked vermicelli rice noodles

Firstly add the tsp of sesame oil to a wok and pop on a low heat.

Slice the spring onions, red chillies, garlic and ginger and add to the wok to slowly soften and flavour the oil.

Once the base is all cooked down, add the rice noodles, the soy sauce, fish sauce and sriracha and use a spatula or wooden spoon to move it all around and ensure the noodles take on all of that flavour. 

While the noodles are heating through (they just need a minute), roughly chop the coriander leaves and set aside. 

Now add the crab meat to the wok and again, move it all around and mix it into the noodle and vegetable mixture until it's heated through; 1-2 minutes is plenty. 

Remove from the heat, squeeze over the lime juice, which will add a lovely freshness and add most of the coriander and mix again before dividing between two plates. 

Now return the wok to the heat, and add the tenderstem broccoli; this will cook in just a couple of minutes on a high heat. 

Serve with the Chilli Crab Noodles and scatter over any remaining coriander leaves as a garnish.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Lemon & Raspberry Yoghurt Loaf Cake

This is a lovely cake to make at the moment, when raspberries are in abundance; and the yoghurt and lemon juice help to keep this a really moist cake.

The quantities here make x2 loaf cakes, and they keep for up a week. You could also freeze once baked, but it's best to do so without the icing. We tend to deliver one as a gift when I bake this.

Lemon & Raspberry Yoghurt Loaf Cake

Here's how:

  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g salted butter
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 75g natural yoghurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 300g raspberries

For the icing:

  • 400g icing sugar
  • Juice & zest of x1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp milk (may need more)
  • 2 drops of pink food colouring (optional)
  • 100g raspberries

Firstly pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, and grease and line x2 loaf tins. 

In a large bowl, cream together the salted butter and caster sugar until combined. 

Now crack in each of the eggs one at a time, and combine. 

Now sift in the self raising flour and baking powder and mix until all combined. Add the zest and juice of the lemons and the yoghurt until you have a fairly liquid batter. Now add the raspberries, and stir through carefully so you don't break them all up. 

Divide the batter between the two loaf tins or one large tin and place both into the middle shelf of the oven and cook for exactly 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and cooked through. Check with a skewer in the centre of the cake, and if it comes out clean with no wet crumbs, it's cooked through. If it is a little wet and crumby return to the oven for five more minutes. 

Remove from the oven and allow to stand in the tins, somewhere cool for 10-15 minutes, then gently remove from the tin and place on a wire rack or board to cool further. 

Now make up the icing by combining the icing sugar in a large bowl, with the lemon juice and the 2 tbsp milk. You want the icing the be fairly thick and glossy liquid that can be spooned on top of the cake. If you need to, add a drop more milk at a time to get the right consistency. When satisfied, add the drops of food colouring, if using, to get a nice pretty pink colour and stir thoroughly so the colour is distributed throughout the icing. 

Spoon over the top of the cake, mostly on the middle allowing it to gently drip over the sides of the cake. 

Scatter over the raspberries on the top of the cake, any way you like, and then finally add the zest from the lemon over the top for a final pretty flourish. Enjoy!

Lemon & Raspberry Yoghurt Loaf Cake

If you love baking here are ten other cake recipes you might enjoy:

Mary Berry's Marbled Chocolate Ring Cake
Rhubarb and Custard Cake
Guilt Free Apple Cake
St Clement's Drizzle Cake
Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Carrot Cake
Peach Upside Down Cake
Lemon Drizzle Cake
Coffee & Walnut Cake with Vanilla Latte Icing
Simple Double Chocolate Traybake

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Slow Cooker Chinese Pork with Noodles

This is a really easy slow cooker dish which I did in my Crockpot last week and devised as a Slimming World friendly meal as we have recently joined in a bid to shed some weight. It works out at half a syn for the whole dish, so win, win.

I used pork loins but shoulder steaks or even pork cheeks would be great for this dish; you do need to cook the pork loins for longer as they are a tougher cut, and you ideally want the meat to fall apart at the slightest touch.

Slow Cooker Chinese Pork with Noodles

The below serves four.

Here's how:

  • 400g pork loins (fat removed) or pork shoulder steaks
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3cm piece of ginger
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • Vermicelli rice noodles
  • Handful coriander leaves to serve

Firstly place the pork loins or shoulder steaks into the slow cooker. Pour over the soy sauce, sriracha, fish sauce and chicken stock and add the Chinese Five Spice.

Now peel and slice the onion and add to the slow cooker. Peel and mince or finely slice the garlic and add to the slow cooker. 

Peel and either grate or finely slice the ginger and add to the slow cooker. 

Now finely slice the red chilli and add to the slow cooker. Give the combination a gentle mix so the pork is all immersed and then pop the lid on and put on the medium temperature for at least 4 hours. 

You don't have to, but every hour or so, I like to carefully open the lid and give everything a stir. 

When you are close to being ready to dish up and the pork is tender and falling apart at the touch of a fork, cook the rice noodles separately. 

To thicken the sauce or gravy a little, take a small bowl and ladle some of the sauce from the pot into it. Add the cornflour and give a quick stir to combine, you'll get a milky or chalky looking consistency. Now add this back into the slow cooker and give a good mix. 

Once the noodles are cooked, add them to the slow cooker, and mix to combine and ensure every noodle is immersed in the delicious sauce. 

Dish them up into a serving plate or bowl or into individual bowls and scatter over a few coriander leaves. I served with some quick stir-fried vegetables in oyster sauce. Enjoy!

If you like Chinese-style dishes you may love some of these:

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Simple Fish Stew

This is a really great Mediterranean inspired family meal, that's delicious, healthy and easily adaptable according to the fish you have available; perfect for lock-down. You can also make the base ahead of time, and freeze or chill until you're ready to cook making it super convenient. 

For anyone following Slimming World, this is a completely syn-free meal. (Glen and I have just joined, so expect to see a few more Slimming World friendly recipes soon.)

Here I served this over pasta, but you could also add cooked rice, orzo or serve with a hunk of crusty bread. I use cherry tomatoes as they have a gorgeous sweetness to them; but you could also use any other tomatoes, even tinned if that's all you have available.

Simple Fish Stew

The below serves four-five.

Here's how:
For the base:
  • 6 sprays of Fry Light Olive Oil Spray
  • 600g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 300ml fish stock
The fish:
  • 2 fillets of cod (or any white, flaky fish)
  • 2 fillets of smoked haddock (any smoked fish would work)
  • 200g raw prawns
To garnish:
  • Fresh parsley
To make the base of the stew, spray the Fry Light into a heavy bottomed saucepan and place on a low heat.

Now peel the onion and finely dice, peel and mince the garlic, and finely slice the celery and place all into the saucepan to gently sweat down.

Once the onions etc. are softened, add the cherry tomatoes, capers and tomato puree. Chop the roasted red pepper and add to the saucepan; season generously, add the paprika and allow to cook down for fifteen minutes or so, gently mixing with a wooden spoon every few minutes. You want most of the tomatoes to be smushed down a bit, but now completely mashed. 

Now add the fish stock and the pinch of saffron and cook for a further five minutes. 

Remove from the heat, and allow to cool a little, before taking out half of the stew, and blending until smooth. I use a Nutribullet for this, but a hand blender or food processor would be great too. Don't be tempted to blend all of the sauce, unless you have fussy eaters, it's nice to have a mixed texture throughout the stew.

When you're ready to cook the fish, bring the stew back up to heat on the hob, it should come almost up to boiling, before being put on a gentle simmer. 

Now cut the cod and haddock into large, bite sized pieces and place directly into the stew, and gently move around with the wooden spoon so each piece is completely immersed in the liquid. 

Cook for a few minutes, until the fish is almost cooked through, then add the raw prawns, and again push them right into the stew and allow to cook for about 3 minutes until they're cooked through (this is easy to tell, they will have turned pink). 

Ladle the fish stew into a serving bowl, and scatter over chopped parsley. Serve with some lemon wedges over your choice of pasta, orzo or rice. 

Here are 15 other fish recipes you may enjoy:

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Adana Kebabs

These can be made with beef or lamb mince, and are utterly delicious on the barbecue or under the grill; there is no need to add a load of olive oil either, as with many other kebab recipes, so they are pretty healthy too. 

They are really tasty and what's more, they are one of the easiest kebabs to make, don't take hours of marinating either so can be made just ahead of cooking which might appeal if you're a spontaneous cook. These should have a chilli kick, I use dried chilli flakes, but you could use fresh red chilli instead. 

I made these with my Chicken Shish Kebabs, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Cacik, some Turkish couscous and a big salad; a fantastic feast in the sunshine. 

The below makes x4 'main meal' kebabs, or you could make smaller ones to feed a crowd as part of a feast.

Adana Kebab
Adana Kebabs and Healthy Shish Kebabs

Here's how:

  • 500g minced beef or lamb (try not to use the really reduced fat versions or the kebab will dry out a little during cooking)
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Big handful parsley (leaves and stalks)
  • Handful dill fronds
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp dried chilli flakes 
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree or Harissa paste
  • 1 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 lemon

Firstly if you are using wooden skewers, immerse into water as soon as possible before cooking, to prevent them from catching alight on the barbecue or under the grill. You can pick up the metal kind for just a couple of quid during the summer months, and ours get plenty of use so they are a good investment if you like a lot of barbecues. 

Into a big mixing bowl throw the minced beef or lamb. Now finely dice the onion as small as you can, and peel and mince the garlic and add all of this to the mixing bowl. 

Now roughly chop the parsley and dill and add to the mixing bowl. Add the 1 tbsp of icy cold water at this point too.

Add the cumin, sumac, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and tomato puree and roughly begin to mix with a spoon or a fork. 

Now you need to work the meat a little with your hands, to also combine it, but also to tenderise it. So get your hands stuck in and work it a little, as if you would with a dough, pushing together, and ensuring all of the meat has a good array of the seasoning. Now wash your hands, cover the bowl with cling film and pop into the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking. 

When you are ready to cook the kebabs, separate into mounds of however many kebabs you are making. Then take each mound individually and work it again, and roll it into a kind of sausage shape. Really squeeze it into a tight sausage and then thread it onto one of your skewers. Once on the skewer again squeeze it tight to the skewer and set on a plate or board until ready to cook. Repeat the process until each Adana Kebab is ready. 

Now place onto a hot barbecue or under a hot grill and cook for 6-8 minutes on one side, before turning and repeating on the other side. Check the meat is cooked through, by cutting into one of them in the centre. Try not to overcook as this will dry out the meat. Once cooked and dished up onto a serving platter, finish off the kebabs with a quick squeeze of lemon juice. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Speedy Chorizo Nachos

Nachos are always glorious, whichever toppings you throw on top so long as there is melted cheese; but if you're looking for a quick thrown together, fun lunch that is super simple, these nachos with a chorizo and tomato base will really hit the spot. 

If you want to add a delicious guacamole topping, you can get the recipe here

Speedy Chorizo Nachos

Here's how:

  • 1 pack tortilla chips
  • 100g cooking chorizo
  • 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste
  • 1 red jalapeno chilli
  • 50g Cheddar

To top once baked:
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1/2 jar of jalapenos 
  • 2 tbsp jarred salsa
Firstly pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. 

Roughly chop the cooking chorizo and add to a non-stick pan on a medium heat. 

Finely slice the red chilli and add to the pan. 

Once the chorizo is cooked on both sides, add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and chipotle paste, stir and cook for a few minutes.

In the meantime, grate the cheese and spread the tortilla chips out on a baking sheet.

Now spoon over the tomatoey chorizo sauce all over the tortillas and then scatter over the grated cheese. Place into the oven and bake for ten minutes or until the cheese is all melted.

Remove from the oven, and carefully move onto a plate, board or platter. 

Spoon over the salsa all over the nachos, then layer up with the sour cream, and finally scatter over the jalapenos and serve. Enjoy!

For some other Tex-Mex inspired recipes see below: