Baked Brie With Thyme and Garlic

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This isn’t really a recipe, it’s too simple for that but boy, it’s tasty!

Served with a few crunchy vegetables, fresh bread and gluten free crackers this is a treat and makes a lovely light lunch to share!

I don’t always use garlic as it can overpower a really good cheese but it’s up to your personal choice, the boys love it either way and it’s a great way to get them eating raw vegetables.

Ingredients

a small wheel of Brie, 200-250g

a few sprigs of thyme

1 clove of garlic, very finely sliced

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.

Make small incisions into the top of the Brie.

Gently push a few thyme leaves through and a slice of garlic.

Wrap in baking parchment with the pierced top uppermost.

Wrap in foil, again with the top uppermost.

Place directly on the oven shelf.

Bake for 15mins.

Very carefully, remove the foil. Open the baking parchment, trim any excess paper and place on your serving dish.

Serve with carrot sticks, capsicum strips, apple slices, cucumber sticks, figs, really anything you like eating with cheese.

Pumpkin, Coconut and Coriander Soup

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This is a very smooth soup with only a hint of spice and coconut but it really is delicious!

I use the stock made from the Chicken with Spices and Coconut recipe  bones and pan juices.

If you don’t have this use a tablespoon of rogan josh curry paste. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil, add the paste, cook till fragrant and add the onion, continue as below.

For a vegetarian option just omit the chicken stock and use a good quality vegetable stock and the rogan josh paste.

The fresh coriander does not get cooked, just pop it on top of the bowl of soup and stir it through as you eat, that allows for a real hit of flavour and some crunch.

Serves six and freezes well.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1kg pumpkin, I use butternut, peeled and diced into 3-4cm cubes

1.2litres stock from Chicken With Spices And Coconut bones

350-400mls coconut cream

bunch of fresh coriander, leaves and stalks, roughly chopped

Method

In a large stock pot, heat the oil.

Once hot, add the onion and allow to soften.

Add the pumpkin and stir well.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, allow to simmer until the pumpkin is soft, 20-30mins.

Remove from the heat and liquidize  with a stick blender.

Add the coconut cream.

Reheat genlty.

Serve in bowls and top with a handful of coriander, it’s not a garnish! Stir it through and enjoy!

Roast Chicken With Spices and Coconut

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This roast chicken dish cooks slowly in the oven to free up your day but the taste is akin to chicken that has been in the tandoor overnight.

Full of flavour and amazingly moist, I just serve this at room temperature with the whole  chickens at the table and the boys pull them apart with flat bread, mint raita and a tomato and onion salad.

This recipe is a giver, the bones, pan juices and then the soaked pan juices make an amazing stock base for my pumpkin and coconut soup. The recipe will follow this on the blog.

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

2 x 1.8-2kg whole chickens

6 large tomatoes

6cm piece of ginger, grated

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground all spice

1/2 teaspoon ground fennel

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons ghee

pinch of saffron

400mls coconut cream

salt and pepper

Method

In a processor or with a stick blender, process the tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spices except the saffron.

Heat a medium frying pan with the ghee over medium heat, once melted add the sauce and saffron, simmer until well reduced, draw the spoon through the sauce and the there should be no free liquid.

Set aside to cool.

Now prepare the chicken, using sharp scissors spatchcock the chicken, cut down either side if the spine and remove, turn over so skin side is up, flatten by pushing on the breast bone. Or, ask the butcher to do this for you!

In a large roasting tin pour in the tomato mix, add  coconut cream and mix well.

Add the chickens to the sauce and cover entirely , top and bottom,with the sauce, place back in the roasting tin, skin side up.

Preheat the oven to 160degrees Centigrade.

Take a piece of baking parchment, the size of the roasting tin, scrunch it up under  running cold water.

Spread the paper over the chicken, this will stop it sticking to the foil.

Now, cover with foil and seal very well.

Pop in the oven and roast for 3 hours.

After 3 hours remove foil, turn the oven up to 180degrees Centigrade and baste the chicken with the pan juices.

Baste every 15-20mins for an hour.

Remove from the oven and set aside, serve warm or at room temperature.

KEEP THE BONES AND ANY PAN JUICES! FILL THE PAN WITH WATER AND SCRAPE ALL THE STCKY BITS OFF THE BOTTOM OVER A LOW HEAT.

Add bones and juices to a pressure cooker or large pan, add enough water to make up to 2.3litres. Bring up to pressure and keep at pressure for 30mins or in a pan, bring to the boil, cover tightly and simmer for one hour.

Once cool, pour through a colander and refrigerate the stock.

Super Fast Chicken Noodle Soup

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This is amazingly fast to prepare and is so full of goodness, not that the boys care  they are just delighted with the concept of noodles in soup!

The stock has to have great flavour, the stock I used was just a couple of roast chicken carcasses in the pressure cooker for 30mins under pressure with 1.3l of water. The chicken is also leftovers from the roast, a great way to make a little chicken go a lot further!

This is the boys version of the soup so not gluten free, however, to make it gluten free I use rice noodles cooked in a separate pan for me and then continue with the rest of the recipe.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

220g instant noodles

1 litre chicken stock

250g roast chicken, thinly sliced

small bunch of coriander, chopped roughly

1 lime, cut into wedges

Method

Bring a pan of water up to the boil.

Add the noodles and cook until separated, around 1 minute.

Drain in a colander.

Add the stock to the drained pan.

Bring the stock to the boil.

Simmer, add noodles and chicken.

Warm through.

Add coriander and immediately serve with wedges of the lime to squeeze over.

Double Choc Chip Muffins with Zucchini or Courgette

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I have gone through a stage with each of my boys when they would refuse to eat vegetables. I still snuck the vegies in where ever I could, pizza sauce, pasta sauce and baking were all good hiding places!

Now, they will all have a go at pretty much anything and seem rather proud of these chocolate muffins with cunningly disguised zucchini or courgette as I was brought up calling them!

The choc chips aren’t essential, they work as more of a distraction to stop little people hunting for the veg! Feel free to omit them if you would rather not have them and maybe add 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Ingredients

280g plain flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

40g cocoa powder

1 egg

140g soft brown sugar

80mls milk

90g butter, melted

340g zucchini/courgette, grated

150g white choc chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade, line a 12 hole muffin tin.

Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa in a large bowl.

In a jug combine the egg, sugar, milk, butter, courgette and chic chips.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.

Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25mins.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Pasta with Creamy Smoked Salmon

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This takes the time of the pasta to cook for the entire dish to be ready, the secret is the caramelised onions, the recipe is  in my blog.

Hugely popular with the boys and their friends this goes really nicely with a rocket salad to cut through the richness.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

500g dry pasta

300g smoked salmon slices, cut into 5cm pieces

400g frozen peas

120g caramelised onions

200mls cream

300mls milk

10g parsley, chopped

10g dill, leaves picked

Method

Cook the pasta as per its instructions.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the onions and allow them to warm through.

Add the cream and milk to the onions, bring up to a simmer.

Add the peas and again bring up to a simmer.

Follow with the salmon, parsley and dill, mix well and turn off the heat.

Add the drained, cooked pasta to the sauce, stir well and serve.

Tempeh With Avocado Salsa

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After years in Indonesia we all have a weakness for tempeh.

It can be hard to find gluten free tempeh but it is out there, sometimes I find it in the local health food shops, otherwise, on line is easy too.

In Indonesia the tempeh was coated in flour, flavoured with spring onion, garlic and ginger.

As I have this for breakfast I just use garlic, it’s quicker and as the tempeh cooks I make a quick salsa, great for breakfast but a lovely light lunch too.

Serves 2-3.

Ingredients

20mls vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

300g tempeh, sliced thinly

2 avocados, diced

1 lime juiced

Small bunch of coriander, chopped roughly

1 green chilli, deseeded and diced finely

Method

Heat a medium frying pan over a medium heat.

Add the oil.

Once hot add the garlic and tempeh slices.

Heat until underside is browned, flip over and move all the garlic to the side of the pan to let it cook more slowly.

Dice the avocado, add juice, coriander and chilli.

Place the salsa on the serving plate and add the cooked tempeh, top with the cooked garlic.

 

Banana Muffins

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Quick and easy, using up leftover bananas and dairy free!

Loved by the boys and great for the school lunch boxes, these freeze well too so I often double the recipe and freeze half to ensure I always have baking for hungry boys!

Makes 18

Ingredients

6 large over ripe bananas

200g caster sugar

2 eggs

150mls vegetable oil

450g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

Topping

120g brown sugar

30g plain flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.

Line 2 muffin trays with 18 paper liners.

In a food processor, process bananas, sugar, eggs and oil.

Add the flour, baking powder and bicarb, process to mix.

Spoon mix into the muffin cases.

Top with the brown sugar topping.

Bake for 20mins.

Smokey Baked Beans with Bacon

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Not quite baked beans in the traditional sense but a quicker stove top version using chipotle chilli for a little heat and smokey ness and good old caramelised onions, check the recipe out on the blog, to save time and add some sweetness along with some maple syrup!

Served in a baked potato or on toast with a little grated Cheddar on top and some avocado on the side, a very filling meal.

For a vegetarian option,  omit the bacon and maybe use two kinds of bean and use a vegetable stock instead of water.

Leftovers are even better the next day, perfect with an egg for a gluten free breakfast.

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

400g bacon rashers, cut into 1cm pieces

1 clove garlic, chopped roughly

120g caramelised onions

2 chipotle chillies with adobe sauce

1tablespoon smoked paprika

2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes in tomato juice

2 x 400g tins borlotti beans, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons tomato paste

500mls water

150mls maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

Method

In a large pan, cook the chopped bacon, over a medium heat, until colouring and the fat is rendering.

Add the garlic and onions and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chilli and paprika followed but the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste and water.

Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 60. Stir occasionally to stop beans sticking to the base of the pan.

Add the maple syrup, stir well through.

Simmer for 15mins until thickened and deep red. Season with salt a pepper to taste.

 

 

Chocolate Pudding

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I seem to regularly have egg yolks left over and this is a great way to use them up.

Loved by the boys, this is a chocolate custard, served with a few strawberries in a fancy glass it can be quite sophisticated but it really is the ultimate nursery food!

Ingredients

150g caster sugar

40g cornflour

40g cocoa

625mls milk

4 egg yolks

50g butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

In a large pan, off the heat, whisk the sugar, cornflour and cocoa.

Slowly whisk in the milk, just a little at a time, followed by the yolks.

Over a medium heat, heat until near boiling, stirring all of the time.

Once it begins to thicken, lower the heat to low and cook for 1 minute.

Take off the heat, add the butter and vanilla, whisk until combined.

Pour into serving dishes and cover the top with plastic wrap, this will  stop a skin forming.

Allow to cool before serving, at least 3 hours.

Keeps in the fridge for 3 days.