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Life On A Plate https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk Eat Drink & Live Well Mon, 11 Apr 2016 19:57:41 +0000 en hourly 1 WILD GARLIC PESTO https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/wild-garlic-pesto/ https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/wild-garlic-pesto/#comments Mon, 11 Apr 2016 19:55:35 +0000 https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/?p=2283 If you know where to look, wild garlic is ready for picking. Find out how to forage wild garlic for a quick and tasty pesto.

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[W]hen people think of Cornish culinary delicacies, apart from pasties of course, they daydream about our abundant seafood and the odd pot of clotted cream. We are blessed with an embarrassment of fresh Cornish crab, river-grown mussels and locally-caught lobster. I’m not complaining – I eat more than my fair share. But one of the first things you notice about Cornwall, as a newbie incomer, is the strangely lush semi-tropical plantlife. Ferns creep, tiny daisies and wild herbs take root in every Cornish stone wall, all flourishing under the constant gentle drizzle or the damp sea mist. 

And one of the first things we spotted as a family, when we moved to the Cornish coast four years ago, was the swathes of wild garlic which blanket the river banks and footpaths close to the sea from early March until the end of April. The season is short, but as soon as we smell the aromatic ransoms or spot the delicate star-shaped white flowers, there you will find us, bags in hand, gathering our favourite free wild food with abandon. Did I mention it’s free? (Sidenote: we were like this when we lived in Sussex too. Our blackberry addiction was totally out of control). I have also had to stop my girls from eating it on the way to school, to ensure that they still have friends who will play with them. People, it lingers as long on the breath as regular garlic.

Wild garlic (or allium ursinum to give it its fancy name) isn’t always easy to find, but it is easy to smell and to spot and there are a couple of simple rules to remember when you are trying to locate a good source. It tends to grow in woodland and along hedgerows, nearby to riverbeds and streams as long as it’s not too damp underfoot. If you find a likely looking river or stream that’s a bit boggy, look just a little further afield to slightly drier ground and you might get lucky. Another reliable sign is the presence of bluebells. Where you find one, you tend to find the other as long as it hasn’t been too dry. Wild garlic has delicate white star-shaped flowers (which are edible – or rather we eat them) and it’s the leaves rather than the bulbs that are prized. But don’t be tempted to throw away the white stalks. They are bloomin’ lovely and have a slightly stronger flavour than the more delicately flavoured leaves.

So, what to make? For two months, wild garlic replaces rocket and salad leaves in our house, it makes brilliant bright green garlic soups and our very favourite home-produced garlic product is Wild Garlic Pesto. It’s super easy to make (takes about 15 minutes) and stores well fresh or frozen – just what you need when you’ve got a glut of seasonal produce.

WILD GARLIC PESTO
Print
Ingredients
  1. wild garlic (or rocket or fresh basil if you can’t discover a wild garlic stash)
  2. 200g of pine nuts
  3. parmesan cheese to taste
  4. crunchy sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  5. the finest extra virgin olive oil you can afford
  6. a small blender or a pestle & mortar (& lots of elbow grease)
Instructions
  1. If you are the kind of person who likes to follow an exact recipe, look away now. Making pesto is all about tasting, testing and adjusting the main ingredients to get it just how you like. Here’s how I do it.
  2. I fill my mini-blender to the top with my herb/plant of choice. I add a decent slug of olive oil to lubricate and get things moving and a good pinch (small handful) of crunchy sea salt to provide grindage (not a technical culinary term).
  3. Blitz until roughly chopped and then add the pine nuts and parmesan and blitz a bit more until everything is combined but not too finely textured. You may need a little extra olive oil at this stage to loosen things. Season to taste and you are done.
Notes
  1. Any kind of pesto freezes well (ice-cube trays are brilliant for this as you can simply pop out a few cubes as and when you need them) or to keep a fresh batch going for longer, store in a little kilner jar with a layer of olive oil over. Dig in, embrace the garlic breath and enjoy a walk on the wild side.
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SPICY LAKSA WITH COURGETTE NOODLES https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/spicy-laksa-with-courgette-noodles/ https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/spicy-laksa-with-courgette-noodles/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2016 11:41:05 +0000 http://79.170.40.43/temp-lifeonaplate.co.uk/?p=2097 This spicy, flavour-packed, healthy Laksa will keep you warm without breaking any resolutions.

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[I] have been craving this, my favourite spicy, flavour-packed, healthy Laksa recipe at least since Christmas and possibly even before, since I was fully anticipating eating all the things over the festive period. Which I did. So now, it’s Laksa time. Laska is spicy noodle curry, with coconut milk as a base, often containing chicken, prawn or fish and different variations can be found throughout Asia. I love it because it’s full of vegetables and lean protein, but feels comforting at the same time. Bonus: you can use up almost any crunchy or green veg you have in the fridge.

The best thing about this dish is that you can make it super healthy, by using courgette noodles instead of rice noodles and you can swap the meat for extra veggies. Your choice. I have to admit that I own three spiralizers (I’m getting rid of two now that I’ve found my dream spiralizer), which are handy gadgets which you can use to make vegetable spirals in seconds. If you’re sticking with noodles, and I often do, then I like to use the flat rice noodles, which I order from the Asian Cookshop.

If I’m going super healthy, I swap the chicken for cauliflower, and roast it first in the same spice mix in this recipe. It tastes just as good and cauliflower gives you that a little extra crunch in your bowl of Laksa goodness. Sidenote: I’ve listed some authentic ingredients, like the lemongrass, which can be hard to get hold of. I actually can’t get it down here in Cornwall but I can tell you that a squeeze of lime does just the trick.

SPICY LAKSA WITH COURGETTE NOODLES
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
FOR THE SPICE MIX
  1. 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
  2. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
  3. 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice
  4. splash of sesame oil
  5. olive or coconut oil for frying
FOR THE LAKSA
  1. 2 skinless chicken breasts or half a head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
  2. rice noodles or courgette noodles
  3. 5 spring onions, sliced
  4. 1 green, red or yellow pepper, finely sliced
  5. 1 large carrot, sliced into thin strips
  6. 1 large handful of leaf spinach
  7. any green veg, eg. sugarsnap peas, broccoli, kale
  8. 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  9. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  10. 1 thumb of ginger, finely chopped
  11. 1 stick of lemongrass (or a squeeze of lime)
  12. 1 teaspoon turmeric
  13. 1 large teaspoon of smooth peanut butter or almond butter or tahini
  14. 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  15. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  16. 400ml coconut milk
  17. 500ml chicken or veg stock
  18. fresh coriander, mint and lime to garnish
  19. 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. If you are using whole spices, start by crushing the cumin and coriander in a mortar and pestle with a little sea salt and some whole peppercorns. Add the five spice the sesame oil. Coat your chicken or your cauliflower. If you are using cauliflower, roast the florets in a moderate oven for about 10 mins and then set aside.
  2. If you are using chicken, add the chicken to a very hot large pan and brown all over. Once the chicken is nearly brown, add the chopped ginger, lemongrass, garlic, half of the spring onions and one of the chopped chillies. Turn the heat down and fry gently for a minute. Add your stock, the peanut butter or tahini, the turmerice, fish sauce, soy sauce and coconut milk. Simmer for 5 mins until reduced and thickened a little. Adjust the seasoning. You might want a little more soy sauce or fish sauce, or an extra chilli.
  3. Now start adding the veg and noodles. Some will take longer to cook than others, so start with the rice noodles, carrots and peppers and add anything delicate like spinach and courgette noodles at the very end. If you are using cauliflower, add your roasted cauliflower back in to warm through.
  4. Serve with the remaining spring onions and sliced chilli scattered over. Garnish with fresh coriander, mint if you have it, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime.
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MOROCCAN CHICKEN TAGINE https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/moroccan-chicken-tagine/ https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/moroccan-chicken-tagine/#comments Tue, 05 Jan 2016 07:34:43 +0000 http://79.170.40.43/temp-lifeonaplate.co.uk/?p=2075 Healthy yet filling and perfect for the whole family. This is based on Delia's Chicken Tagine recipe but adapted by me to sneak in a few more vegetables for the kids.

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Of all the various fragrances and aromas that emanate from my kitchen, a North African-inspired blend of cumin and coriander would be one of my favourites.  Even though these spices have been a staple part of the family repertoire for many years, they still retain a sense of the exotic…and I also know that the girls love the flavours and dishes they inspire.
 
To feed the family, I’m usually a big fan of using cumin and coriander as a base for a well loved stove-top Moroccan lamb recipe with apricots – however, as I was hosting a small New Year get-together, I thought this would be the ideal opportunity to borrow my family’s tagine dish (or tajine if you’re wanting to get in touch with your Berber roots!) and try something a little different.  Moroccan Chicken Tagine combines gentle citrus and saffron flavours with green and black olives offering a welcome savoury note.  And the smell when you remove the lid of the tagine to serve is fantastic!

Moroccan Chicken Tagine
Serves 4
Print
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 x 3½-4 lb (1.5-2 kg) chicken, jointed into 8 pieces (or you could use a pack of 8 drumsticks and thighs)
  2. 4 oz (110 g) dried chickpeas
  3. 6 oz (175 g) brown basmati rice
  4. 1 level teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. 1 level tablespoon coriander seeds
  6. ½ level teaspoon saffron stamens
  7. 2 small thin-skinned lemons
  8. 2 large yellow peppers
  9. 2 large onions
  10. 2 carrots
  11. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  12. 1 oz (15 g) fresh coriander
  13. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  14. 2 fresh chillies, halved, de-seeded and finely chopped
  15. 10 fl oz (275 ml) carton good chicken stock
  16. 5 fl oz (150 ml) dry white wine
  17. 2 oz (50 g) pitted black olives
  18. 2 oz (50 g) pitted green olives
  19. salt and freshly milled black pepper
  20. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).
Instructions
  1. Place a small frying pan over direct medium heat, add the cumin and coriander seeds and toss them around in a hot pan for about 2-3 minutes or until they start to dance and change colour.
  2. Then remove the seeds to a pestle and mortar and crush them coarsely and transfer them to a plate.
  3. Next, crush the saffron stamens to a powder with the pestle and mortar, then squeeze out the juice of one of the lemons and add it to the saffron, stirring well.
  4. Then prepare the chicken by seasoning the joints with salt and pepper. Slice the peppers in half, remove the seeds and pith and cut each half into 4 large pieces.
  5. The onions should be sliced roughly the same size as the peppers.
  6. Now heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the flameproof casserole and, when it's really hot, brown the chicken pieces on all sides – don't overcrowd the pan; it's best to do it in 2 batches, 4 pieces at a time.
  7. After that, remove the chicken pieces to a plate, then add the second tablespoon of oil and turn the heat to its highest setting.
  8. When the oil is really hot, add the peppers, sliced carrots and onions and cook them in the hot oil, moving them around until their edges are slightly blackened – this should take about 5 minutes – then turn the heat down.
  9. Strip the coriander leaves from the stalks, wrap them in a piece of cling film and keep them in the fridge.
  10. Then chop the coriander stalks finely and add these to the peppers and onions, along with the garlic, chillies, crushed spices, and the chickpeas then give everything a good stir to distribute all the ingredients.
  11. Season well with salt and pepper, then combine the lemon and saffron mixture with the stock and wine, pour it all in to the casserole and stir well.
  12. Cut the remaining lemon into thin slices and push these well into the liquid.
  13. Now scatter the olives in and, finally, place the pieces of chicken on top of everything.
  14. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the pre-heated oven for 1 hour.
  15. Then, just before serving, scatter the coriander leaves on top and serve straight away on warmed serving plates.
Notes
  1. You will also need a wide, shallow flameproof casserole with a domed lid, about 9 inches (23 cm) across the base. Failing that, use any flameproof casserole of 5 pint (3 litre) capacity.
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BEETROOT HUMMUS https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/beetroot-hummus/ https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/beetroot-hummus/#respond Thu, 31 Dec 2015 12:45:10 +0000 http://79.170.40.43/temp-lifeonaplate.co.uk/?p=2051 Turn a healthy staple into a showstopping treat. A perfect match for any drink.

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[H]ummus is such a healthy staple and in our house, we eat so much of it that we kind of take it for granted. At the weekends, though, we trick out our hummus with pesto, dukkah and all sorts of fancy toppings to make it into a real treat. But if you want showstopping hummus, look no further than beetroot. It produces a stunning jewel-coloured pink hummus with a subtly sweet flavour that is a perfect match for any drink.

I got this recipe from my old friend, Nikki at Chalet Savoie Faire, a beautiful cookery school tucked away in the French Alps, which you can read about here. Since then I’ve made it many times. It’s the kind of easy recipe that just makes you happy. PS. Kids LOVE pink hummus!

BEETROOT HUMMUS
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 500g beetroot, scrubbed & cooked (boil or roast and slip off the skin)
  2. 1/3 cup olive oil
  3. 1 large onion, chopped
  4. 1 tbsp tahini
  5. 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
  6. 1 tbsp ground cumin
  7. 1 can chickpeas
  8. 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  9. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  10. 1/3 cup vegetable stock
Instructions
  1. 1. Cook the onions in a tbsp olive oil for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the cumin and cook for
  2. a further minute.
  3. 2. Chop the beetroot and place into the food processor, add the onion, chickpeas, yoghurt,
  4. tahini, lemon juice, stock and process until smooth. With the motor running slowly add
  5. the rest of the olive oil.
  6. 3. Season to taste and serve with whatever you fancy dipping in.
Notes
  1. This recipe is also great using pumpkin or carrots instead of the beetroot.
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BOXING DAY BUBBLE & SQUEAK https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/bubble-squeak/ Thu, 24 Dec 2015 09:25:30 +0000 http://79.170.40.43/temp-lifeonaplate.co.uk/?p=2000 Bubble & Squeak is a Boxing Day must-have in our house and it has been as traditional each Christmas for us as the actual Christmas dinner.

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Bubble & Squeak is a Boxing Day must-have in our house and it has been as traditional each Christmas for us as the actual Christmas dinner.  I almost look forward to it more.  I think it’s the caramelised edges and the fried egg accompaniment that do it for me.  It’s the perfect way of using up leftover mash, sprouts, cabbage, carrots.. well anything goes really.  For this year’s recipe I’ve added a new dimension and added red cabbage (cooked with raisins for sweetness) and some mature Cheddar which adds a whole new dimension.

Traditional Bubble and Squeak is the quirky name for fried left-over vegetables, usually from a Sunday lunch.  The origins of the name derive from its bubbling and squeaking whilst over the fire.  Traditionally the Bubble and Squeak will be eaten on a Monday for lunch or dinner, sometimes with a fried egg on top, bacon/ham/turkey on the side, or meat leftover from lunch the day before.  Equally you could just keep it vegetarian.

One important factor is mashed potatoes. The potato is the “glue” holding all the other vegetables together.  You could equally mash the roast potatoes or cook up some mashed potatoes, it really is that simple.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

Bubble & Squeak
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp butter
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped.
  3. Leftover mashed potato (or mashed roast potatoes). The potato needs to be 50% of the quantity.
  4. Any leftover vegetables, cabbage, swede, carrots, peas, Brussels Sprouts, finely chopped
  5. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  6. Sausages / ham / turkey / diced (optional)
Instructions
  1. 1. In a large frying pan melt the butter, make sure it doesn't brown. Add the finely chopped onion and fry gently for about 3 mins or until soft and translucent.
  2. 2.Turn the heat up ever so slightly and add the mashed potato and all of the chopped up leftover vegetables. Fry for at last 10 minutes turning them over continuously in the melted butter ensuring the potato and vegetables are thoroughly reheated. Plus you are also aiming to brown the outside edges of the vegetables but not to burning the bubble and squeak, so occasionally press the mixture onto the pan to brown a little then continue stirring.
  3. 3. Press the potato mixture on to the base of the pan with a spatula and leave to cook for 1 min.
  4. 4. Flip over and repeat.
  5. 5. Serve as mentioned above with either a fried or poached egg on top, or slices of leftover meat.
Notes
  1. An alternative is to mix the potato and vegetables and form into small patties then fry as above. I just lightly sprinkled them with flour before frying.
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LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR FOODIES https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/christmas-gift-ideas-for-foodies/ https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/christmas-gift-ideas-for-foodies/#respond Sat, 19 Dec 2015 10:58:27 +0000 http://79.170.40.43/temp-lifeonaplate.co.uk/?p=1929 Some people are just tricky to buy for at Christmas time. I'm all for surprising people with a memorable experience, so here's my list of top recommendations for last minute gifts for your food-obsessed family and friends.

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[S]ome people are just tricky to buy for at Christmas time. I’m all for surprising people with a memorable experience, so here’s my list of top recommendations for last minute gifts for your food-obsessed family and friends. From my favourite cookery schools, restaurant experiences and short breaks at home or further afield, you can guarantee that the following gifts will hit the spot.

 

Click on the links below to find out more info and simply order from the comfort of your sofa with your iPad and a glass mulled wine in hand.

Ashburton Cookery School:  Who wouldn’t like to receive vouchers for a course at one of the UK’s leading cookery schools offering inspirational courses led by professional chefs?

Riverford Field Kitchen: Vouchers available for this award-winning restaurant in Devon. Expect a feast of organic food and drink. My favourite restaurant of 2015.

Fowey Hall Hotel:  Vouchers are perfect for one of my favourite luxurious hotels in Cornwall, serving the best of Cornish food and topped off with sea views and relaxing spa.

The Magdalen Chapter: Vouchers for this special hotel in the heart of Exeter.  The food and cocktails are sublime and the spa was one of the best finds of 2015 for me.

What Katie Ate At The Weekend: My favourite cookbook of 2015 with beautiful photography and food and drink ideas for weekend get togethers.

Chalet Savoie Faire: I can’t think of a better gift than a trip to this luxurious B&B and cookery school in the Alps.  Friendly, close to the pistes and also perfect in summer.

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STICKY CHICKEN https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/sticky-chicken/ https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/sticky-chicken/#comments Fri, 18 Dec 2015 08:00:36 +0000 http://79.170.40.43/temp-lifeonaplate.co.uk/?p=1913 The ultimate sticky chicken recipe. Full of flavour and quick to make.

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[I] have to confess, I have a (not-so-secret) passion for anything coated with a lusciously savoury sticky concentrated sauce that needs at least ten napkins. I’m talking about the two major food groups of sticky – ribs and chicken wings. The other dish I’ve always wondered about is that super tasty shredded deep-fried beef you can get from any Chinese takeaway. It’s crunchy and often mysteriously missing anything remotely meaty but it still has that lovely sticky coating, but I’m not keen on the deep-fried part. This recipe for Sticky Chicken gives you the best of both worlds.

The ingredients in this recipe are nothing unusual but I have to confess, last week I was sent a box full of meals by the lovely people at Gousto. We’re not talking ready meals here. We’re talking the makings of a complete meal, every ingredient, measured out with an easy-to-follow recipe card for every meal. This answers the problem I have most often when contemplating a new recipe – I don’t have that one special ingredient so I end up not making it. Gousto takes care of that by supplying you with every single ingredient you’ll need, all measured out.

So, the Sticky Chicken – it definitely had the thick sweet-savoury coating I was after, but I had to let it cook down longer than the recommended time. My advice is to keep your chicken on a high enough heat to create a lovely savoury burnt crust. We served ours with lots of sliced spring onions.

STICKY CHICKEN
Serves 2
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 chicken thighs or breast fillets
  2. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  4. 1 tablespoon honey
  5. 1 teaspoon of 5 spice
  6. 150g brown rice (or 75g per person)
  7. 2 cloves garlic
  8. thumb of ginger
  9. 1 red chilli
  10. teaspoon sesame seeds
  11. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  12. 2 spring onions
  13. 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
  14. 2 large handfuls spinach
Instructions
  1. Place the rice in a saucepan, cover with water with a third to spare, add salt and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 mins.
  2. Meanwhile slice the chicken into thin strips and place in a bowl with the 5 Spice and the olive and sesame oil and stir well. Add the chicken to a wide frying pan and cook for 2-3 mins until the chicken starts to brown slightly. Cover and cook for a further 5 mins on low.
  3. Meanwhile peel the ginger and chop finely and finely dice the chilli. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, ketchup, honey, ginger, garlic and chilli. This is your sticky sauce.
  4. Remove the lid from the chicken and add the sticky sauce. Raise the heat and cook until any liquids have boiled away and the chicken is being to caramelise.
  5. Drain the rice and return to the heat. Add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted.
  6. Serve the chicken over the rice and garnish with thinly sliced spring onions and fresh chillies.
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ANYTHING GOES NOODLE BOWL https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/anything-goes-noodle-bowl/ https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/anything-goes-noodle-bowl/#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2015 09:03:54 +0000 http://79.170.40.43/temp-lifeonaplate.co.uk/?p=1861 This quick, easy and healthy noodle bowl will use up every kind of leftove. Anything goes!

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[I] am a noodle bowl addict. One of my greatest achievements is making a bowl of noodles so fiery that it made my husband cry. I have at least five kinds of noodle in my cupboard at all times, currently three types of chilli sauce, one pot of kimchee and two kinds of dried seaweed. But do you know what? If you haven’t got any of that, it doesn’t matter at all. A noodle bowl is the perfect quick fix for using up almost any kind of leftover.

Firstly the noodles can be whatever you prefer. At the moment, because I’m really trying to clean up my act in terms of processed wheat, I’ve been going for silky Laksa-style rice noodles, which resemble a translucent tagliatelle, but believe me, I’ve made many a tasty noodle bowl with a humble packet of super noodles. So, vermicelli, udon, soba or egg noodles – they all work a treat.

Next up, you need veg that give punch and crunch – finely sliced red onion or lots of spring onions with some peppers or finely sliced carrots or beansprouts, if you have them (no one has these lying around!). And something green and nutritious – spinach, broccoli, kale, for example. Don’t forget your aromatics – chill peppers, garlic, ginger and coriander.

If you really want to push the boat out, add some protein. Try finely sliced leftover roast beef, shredded leftover turkey or how about a lightly fried egg to lift things?

Now, for the basic broth. You will need a couple of storecupboard basics. Sesame oil, light soya sauce and fish sauce are must-haves. Everything else you can wing. I make my broth with some powdered miso soup base that I ordered from The Asian Cookshop, but I’ve also had great results with plain old chicken or vegetable boullion that you can buy in any supermarket. If I have leftover chicken stock hanging about, I throw a bit of that in too. I like to also add a splash of sweet chilli sauce and a squeeze of lime, to give the classic balance of Asian flavours – sweet, salty, hot and savoury (umami).

My favourite part of a noodle bowl is the garnishing. Lots of fresh coriander, a splash of fiery chilli sauce, a scattering of seaweed flakes and a dollop of fermented kimchee. Don’t forget the extra sliced chillies!

ANYTHING GOES NOODLE BOWL
Serves 2
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
FOR THE BASE
  1. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  2. a fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  3. a chunk of fresh ginger
  4. 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  5. 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  6. 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  7. 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce (optional)
  8. juice of a lime (optional)
  9. fresh chicken/veg stock, miso or bouillon
  10. noodles of choice
  11. FOR THE BOWL
  12. 3-4 spring onions
  13. a handful of sliced crunchy veg like peppers, carrots or beansprouts
  14. a large handful of green veg like spinach, kale or broccoli
  15. a handful of soya beans (optional)
  16. your protein of choice, sliced beef, shredded chicken
  17. lightly fried egg (optional)
  18. FOR THE TOPPING
  19. fresh coriander
  20. extra sliced chillies and spring onions
  21. seaweed flakes or crumbled wakame (optional)
  22. 1 tablespoon kimchee (optional)
  23. extra hot sauce (optional)
Instructions
  1. Before you begin, make sure you have all of the vegetable you are planning to use, finely chopped and ready to go. Most noodles cook quickly and things move fast once you get going.
  2. Add all of the broth ingredients to a saucepan, bring to the boil and add your noodles. The broth should be enough to serve two people and cook your noodles through. Taste the broth and adjust the balance of flavours if you need to.
  3. With 3-4 min to go before your noodles are cooked, add any veg that needs a little cooking like broccoli or carrots. Leave soft greens like spinach to the very end.
  4. If you are adding a fried egg, fry it now and take it off the heat when just set.
  5. To serve, pour your noodles and vegetables into your serving bowls.
  6. Arrange your meat and submerge it in the broth to warm it through. Carefully add your egg. Add fresh coriander, extra chopped spring onions and chillies and scatter over your optional garnish ingredients. Finish with kimchee and an extra dash of chilli sauce if you fancy it.
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DANISH VANILLEKRANSE COOKIES (VANILLA WREATHS) https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/festive-danish-vanille-kranse-biscuits-vanilla-wreaths/ https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/festive-danish-vanille-kranse-biscuits-vanilla-wreaths/#respond Sun, 13 Dec 2015 10:53:49 +0000 http://79.170.40.43/temp-lifeonaplate.co.uk/?p=1833 Add a Danish twist to you festive baking over the festive season. These 'vanilla wreaths' are fun to make with the kids who will love piping them and making the shapes.

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This week brought another trip all the way next door to spend a couple of hours with my lovely neighbour Michelle who is teaching me some Danish recipes.  Although it’s only a few steps away, Michelle’s house is very different to ours with fewer toys to trip over on the way through the door and it’s an instant fix of calm coupled with good company and an inspiring place to cook with her beautiful Danish touches.   Did you catch the recent cinnamon rolls recipe post that we baked a couple of weeks ago?  This feels like the perfect time of year to be learning some Danish recipes too – just in time for Christmas.  I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but I promise that January might bring a few more posts involving vegetables and less sugar.

This is one of those simple, delicate cookies that isn’t too sweet or buttery and goes wonderfully with a hot cup of coffee. They’re so easy to make and apparently no Danish Christmas is complete without a batch of Vanillekranse. You’ll find them in tins of Danish butter cookies but these are so much better (and fun to make with the family).

Festive Danish Vanille Kranse Biscuits (vailla wreaths)
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 min
Ingredients
  1. 250g plain flour
  2. ¼ tsp. baking powder
  3. Seeds from ½ a vanilla pod
  4. 50g ground almonds
  5. 200g slightly salted butter (cubed)
  6. 125g caster sugar
  7. ½ an egg (whisked briefly)
Instructions
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, vanilla and ground almonds together.
  2. Add the butter by hand, rubbing it into the flour mixture.
  3. Add the egg and mix it all together, forming it into a ball.
  4. Cover in a bowl and chill for at least half an hour.
  5. Using a piping bag and a star shaped nozzle (medium size) make several long strips, cut them into 7cm smaller strips and press the ends together to form a ring.
  6. Bake at 190° (fan) / 200°C for 8 minutes until slightly golden.
  7. Store in a glass jar or very airtight container.
  8. 'God Jul!' or 'Merry Christmas!'
Notes
  1. Top tip: the dough can be frozen as a ball or a long sausage shape. Take out and defrost before making the rings.
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ROASTED CAULIFLOWER CURRY https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/cauliflower-curry/ https://www.lifeonaplate.co.uk/cauliflower-curry/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2015 10:25:30 +0000 http://79.170.40.43/temp-lifeonaplate.co.uk/?p=1781 Roasted Cauliflower Curry with Lentils is light, delicious and comforting.

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[C]auliflower is having a moment. I know this because my social media feeds are full of people making cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower ‘chips’. I’m sure we’ll get to those in time but for now let’s concentrate on the magical combination of cauliflower and curry spices. This has been my low carb treat for a while. Don’t shout at whatever screen you’re reading this on if you think cauliflower isn’t a treat. Believe me, I’d eat cheese-loaded potato skins all day if I could, but that doesn’t help anyone. So, for the last 12 months, whenever I’ve had a big carby urge, I’ve chopped up a cauliflower, rubbed the lovely florets with olive oil and curry powder and thrown them in a hot oven. Instant carb fix. Not the same as actualy chips with curry sauce, but OMG, pretty close (see also kale chips.)

So now onto the magic that is Cauliflower Curry. Last week I was sent a box full of meals by the lovely people at Gousto. We’re not talking ready meals here. We’re talking the makings of a complete meal, every ingredient, measured out with an easy-to-follow recipe card for every meal. This answers the problem I have most often when contemplating a new recipe – I don’t have that one special ingredient so I end up not making it. Gousto takes care of that by supplying you with every single ingredient you’ll need, all measured out. And it has to be said, cooking without having to measure anything is supremely relaxing. Also, the ingredients are top notch. My chef husband, who has particular ideas about where we buy from, gave the ingredients the thumbs up.

The Cauliflower Curry recipe was spot on, but even so I freestlyed it a bit – extra onion and garlic, a dash of turmeric – but what’s interesting is that, for the sake of doing it properly, I toasted and added the cashews and I also added the raisins, which I am philosophically opposed to in savoury dishes. Basically, it made me try new things. It was perfect. In fact, more that perfect. Lucky the portions are generous. There was nothing left over.

If you’d like to order a Gousto box of fabulous, measured-out ingredients, you can get £25 off your first box by entering the code RELISH at the checkout. Check out Gousto here.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & LENTIL CURRY
Serves 2
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cauliflower
  2. 2 carrots
  3. 1 onion
  4. 2 cloves of garlic
  5. handful of fresh coriander
  6. 2 tablespoons of mild curry powder
  7. 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  8. 30g sultanas
  9. 30g cashew nuts
  10. 150g puy lentils
  11. 1 vegetable stock cube
  12. 150g Greek yoghurt
Instructions
  1. Prehear the oven to 220C and boil a kettle. Rinse the lentils in cold water. Add them to a pot of water and boil until tender with a slight bite.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the cauliflower into small florets. Drizzle with vegetable oil and season with a little salt and pepper. I also sprinkled over a little of the curry powder.
  3. Roast in a hot oven for 15mins until it's starting to turn golden and crisp. During the last 5 mins of roasting, add the cashew nuts.
  4. Peel and slice the onion. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel and cut the carrots into thin 2cm pieces. In a large frying pan with a lid, heat some olive oil and when hot, add the onion, curry powder and ground coriander. Cook for 2 mins before adding the carrot and garlic.
  5. Continue to cook for a further 4 mins until starting to brown.
  6. Dissolve the stock cube in 600ml of boiled water and then add the sultanas. Add the stock and sultanas to the carrots and onions.
  7. Chop the coriander finely and roughly chop the roasted cashews. Once tender, drain the lentils.
  8. Remove the onion and carrots from the heat, stir in the drained lentils, yoghurt, coriander and the roast cauliflower.
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