Steph’s Savoury French Toast – The perfect weekend home-made brunch

20150517_113337You know that feeling when you wake up on a Saturday morning after a couple of drinks on a Friday evening and all you want is a good satisfying breakfast – something different from the everyday weekday breakfast – but nothing too massively unhealthy? Well this is the perfect recipe for those mornings.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 4 slices of whole wheat, multi seeded bread (I chose a linseed and soya loaf)
  • 3 medium sized free-range organic eggs
  • 100g baby leaf spinach
  • 4 slices of unsmoked back bacon
  • 1/4 cup of semi-skimmed organic milk
  • Butter as needed
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

How to:

  1. Crack all 3 eggs into a mixing bowl, pour in the milk, add a pinch of salt and pepper and beat until it has all blended in together
  2. Dip a slice of bread into the mix until it is covered and the bread has sponged in the liquid – do not let it get too soggy that it falls apart
  3. Heat up a large flying pan and melt enough butter to cover the surface area
  4. Then add the eggy bread
  5. Cook on each side until slightly crisp – and there you have your french toast!
  6. Cook all the slices of eggy bread this way
  7. Meanwhile – cook all slices of bacon in under the grill so that all the fat drips off
  8. While you are cooking the final slice of eggy bread, melt butter in another frying pan and put all the spinach into the pan
  9. Lightly cook the spinach – this should literally only take about 3 minutes
  10. Place two slices of french toast, two slices of bacon and some spinach and serve! (You can also just make one slice of french toast and one slice of bacon with spinach if you aren’t too hungry)
  11. And if you want to add a little sweetness to it – you can always add a drizzle of agave nectar (also called agave syrup) over it

Steph’s Pan Fried Sea Bass and Couscous

You know that moment after a long day at the office and then a post work gym session, and all you want is to have something cheap and healthy but also quick and filling – Well, look no further, this is the perfect recipe for this moment.

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Ingredients (serves two):

  • 2 fillets of sea bass
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bag of cherry tomatoes
  • couscous
  • Parsley
  • 1 red onion (optional)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

How to:

  1. Pour couscous into a bowl
  2. Pour boiling hot water into the bowl until it is 1 inch higher than the couscous
  3. Leave to stand with a cover over it
  4. Then cut up the cucumber into slices and then quarters
  5. Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters
  6. Dice the red onion (if you are like me and don’t like raw onions then just leave this part out)
  7. Chop the parsley
  8. Now the couscous should be cooked and slightly warm, so put all the cucumber, tomatoes, onions and parsley into the bowl and mix it all in
  9. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper (to taste) and mix
  10. Then leave on the side and start on the pan fried sea bass
  11. Pour olive oil (or rapeseed oil if you have some) into a pan and heat then pan fry the sea bass until the skin is slightly crisp and it is cooked through
  12. And serve!

Steph’s Spinach and Tomato Scramble with an avo side

I was up for treating myself and my housemate to a healthy but hearty brunch one Saturday morning recently and this is my own recipe for just that!
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To serve 2-3 people you will need:

  • 1 large white onion
  • 4 medium eggs
  • Skimmed milk (or soya milk)
  • Spinach to taste
  • Baby tomatoes to taste
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Chilli flakes

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How to:

  1. Firstly do the prep: Dice the onion, Slice the baby tomatoes into quarters, Mix the eggs and a dollop of skimmed (or soya) milk into a bowl together with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Then heat the pan and add olive oil.
  3. First put in the onions until they soften slightly, then add the tomatoes until they soften slightly as well.
  4. Once both slightly softened, add the egg mixture and keep stirring to create the scramble.
  5. When the egg is almost done (you never want it to be completely cooked and dry), add the spinach.
  6. Mix until the spinach has gone slightly limp and then serve!
  7. Half the avocado and peel off the skin and remove the stone.
  8. Slice and serve on the side with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and chilli flakes.

Simple, fast, delicious, hearty and healthy!

Dora Ma’s Family Recipe for Chinese Pork Dumplings

The girls and I decided to do a home cooked meal for our Chinese New Year dinner. We cooked Kung Pao Chicken, Beef in Oyster Sauce, a mixed vegetable dish, white rice and some pork dumplings. The pork dumplings are Dora’s family’s recipe and were absolutely delicious, so I thought I would share the recipe with you all.

Dumpling mixture:

  • pork mince (fatty is tastier!) – about 750g
  • 2 eggs spring onion ginger (finely chopped)
  • dry or fresh shrimp
  • some kind of vegetable: usually Chinese leaf OR Chinese chive OR green beans (Note when using Chinese leaf, you need chopped it finely, add about 2 teaspoon of salt for one whole plant of Chinese leaf, leave it for a bit and water will ooze out. Pour the water out and put the Chinese leaves into a tea towel or any thin piece of fabric and squeeze the rest of the water out! This makes the vegetable crunchy and so the water doesn’t come out when you mix it into the mixture)
  • dark soy sauce – 4 tablespoon
  • light soy sauce – 2 tablespoon
  • sesame oil

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    1. Mix the pork mince with dark and light soy sauce, stirring only in one direction
    2. Add eggs – if the mixture becomes to stiff you can add a little water just to make it easier to stir
    3. Add spring onions, ginger, shrimp, sesame oil
    4. And lastly the vegetable of choice

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Dumpling skins:

Literally just mix flour with water together and knead. Leave the dough covered (in a pan or something) for at least an hour before making the skins. Use warm water if you’re short of time.

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Cut the dough into small balls and roll out into a small circle the fill with the filling mixture then dip your finger in water and stick the sides together.

Pop the dumplings into boiling hot water and cook for 4 minutes and voila! They are ready to eat!

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The Great Roast Dinner #3: The Key to a Good Roast Chicken

Roast chicken can be very good if you do it right. It is so very easy to ruin a roast chicken by drying it out and making it tasteless. Roast chicken to me, is a very homely meal – coming from a Jewish family, its a usual main dish to have after a good chicken and matzo ball soup as a starter on a Friday night with all the family around for dinner.

Renata and I have found that the key to a good roast chicken is 3 things: basting, timing and spices.

We came up with this recipe one cold Saturday evening in with a bottle of white wine and our creative chef hats on.

We firstly halved a whole lemon, squeezed some of the juice inside the chicken and then stuffed the chicken with both halves. Then we sliced a whole red onion in half and also stuffed this into the chicken. Next comes the garlic cloves. I crush them so that the flavours come out and then make sure to rub the outside of the chicken with them before also stuffing these inside.

Next comes the salt, pepper, thyme, and olive oil, which you rub on the outside of the bird – then voila its done.

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You can also chop up some onion and garlic and put it in the baking tray with the bird – this is optional.

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As we sat and caught up on life with a bottle of chilled white wine and a naughty little slice of brie, we left the bird to slowly cook on 220 degrees (make sure the oven is pre-heated) for 90 to 120 minutes depending on size of the bird. Every 30 minutes we would make sure to use a baster to get the juices from the tray and pour it over and inside the chicken.

50 minutes before the chicken is ready, its time to get the potatoes into the pan to par-boil before roughing them up and then lightly coating with olive oil, salt, pepper and a tiny sprinkle of flour before putting them in the oven for 40 minutes. Obviously the best way to cook potatoes would be with goose fat, but olive oil is a lot healthier and it does the trick.

Then comes for the vegetables we boiled some broccoli and peas.

And 2 hours later, but still a lot more girly chatting to do, out came the bird.

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And the leftovers are great in salads or sandwiches for work the next day.

The Great Roast Dinner #2: Roast Pork Shoulder with Fennel

For our last house dinner as the four of us, Glenn, Nathan, Hannah and I decided for a roast dinner at home. We wanted to treat ourselves, so where else to go but The Ginger Pig to get a good piece of meat. So Hannah and I made our way to the Borough Market branch.

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The Ginger Pig have all free-range, fresh meats, that are all farmed in the UK. The butcher that we spoke to was great. We explained to him that we wanted to make roast pork for 4 people (£20) and he recommended the pork shoulder, recommended the size, explained how long to cook it for, and gave us some ideas for spices to add.

Next we went to Elsley and Bent, also in Borough Market, for some vegetables to go with the dish. They have beautiful fruit and vegetables and are a family run business that started in 1911. Once I figured out how I was going to cook the pork, I decided that we would use some garlic, onions, fennel, potatoes, carrots and green beans.

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I cut up a whole fennel, a red onion, and 3 cloves of garlic then placed it on the tray and laid the pork joint on top. The Ginger Pig had already scoured the skin, which was perfect because without the right knife, this can be difficult. This made it easier to rub the sea salt into the scours and all over the joint.

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I pre-heated the oven to 150 and put the pork on the bed of fennel, onions, garlic in to slow cook for 4 hours.

An hour before the pork was ready, I started on the potatoes. I par-boil my potatoes, then when I strain out the water, I fluff them up. These fluffed up bits will crisp up to perfection in the oven. Next, I use olive oil, a couple pinches of flour, salt and pepper to very lightly over the potatoes. I sprinkled the juices from the meat over the potatoes before I then stick them in the oven with the meat for 45 minutes.

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Next I put the carrots in the tray with the pork for 30 minutes.

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10 minutes before the pork is done I stir fry the green beans with finely chopped garlic, a sprinkle of chicken stock, salt and pepper.

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And the timer goes to take everything out the oven!

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Nathan did the carving up as I served it up, et voila!

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A great way to end the 2 years and 3 months of the four of us living together in the passage as one big family.

Glenn, you will be missed in the passage for sure. It will not be the same without your 17 sneezes in a row and singing in the shower. I wish you the best in your next step in life. I am sure you and Tess will make a beautiful home together.

http://www.thegingerpig.co.uk/
http://www.elseyandbent.co.uk/about-us/

Home Cooked Chicken, Olive and Preserved Lemon Tagine

We love a good dinner party. One sunny, summery, Sunday evening when Sandra was visiting, Nathan, my housemate, made a gorgeous tagine.

Candles, gorgeous white wine, and some nibbles (baby plum tomatoes with mint leaves, olives, feta stuffed spicy peppers) to start the evening off.

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Nathan used Jamie Oliver’s chicken, olive and preserved lemon tagine but used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken and he used fresh lemon instead of preserved lemon. This gave it a very fresh and tangy flavour – great for the summer weather.

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The couscous had some fresh coriander and toasted almond slices thrown in which gave it a nice flavour and a good crunch.

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On the side there was a greek yogurt mixed with harissa for a little spice and creaminess to have with the tagine.

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All in all a refreshing, tangy meal for a bright summers evening. Thank you Nathan!

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Chicken, Olive and Preserved Lemon Tagine – “Jamie Does Spain” – Jamie Oliver

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
1 whole chicken (approximately 1.5kg), preferably free range or organic, skin-on, jointed into 4 (get your butcher to do this for you)
olive oil
1–2 large bulbs of fennel
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
a small bunch of fresh coriander
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2–3 small preserved lemons, deseeded and chopped
80g black and green olives, stoned
a good pinch of saffron
500ml hot organic chicken stock

For the spice rub
1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds, bashed up
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put your chicken pieces into a large bowl, massage them with the spice rub then cover with clingfilm and put into the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours or, even better, overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole-type pan and fry the chicken pieces over a medium to high heat, skin side down first, for about 5 to 10 minutes until gorgeous and golden brown.

While your chicken fries, chop each fennel bulb into 8 wedges and add these to the pan along with the onions, coriander stalks and garlic. Stir well and fry for a couple more minutes, then mix in the preserved lemons, olives and saffron. Pour in the hot stock, give everything a good stir, then cover with a lid or foil and simmer on a low heat for 1½ hours, or until the meat starts to fall away from the bone. Halfway through, have a check and give it a good stir. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks dry.When the time’s up and your chicken looks perfect, stir gently. If it’s still a bit liquidy, leave it to blip away with the lid off until thickened slightly. Have a taste, season with a pinch of salt and pepper if you think it needs it, then sprinkle with the coriander leaves. There’s enough love and care in the tagine for it not to need anything fancy, so serve it simply, with a large bowl of lightly seasoned steaming couscous.