Pickled Shallots

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Who doesn’t love a pickled onion with some gutsy cheese?

Start this recipe a couple of days ahead.

Fills a 1 litre jar.

Ingredients

500g shallots, peeled and topped and tailed

600mls water

60g salt

150mls sherry vinegar

500mls white wine vinegar

4 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon peppercorns

2 dried chillies

Method

Pour the water into a large bowl, add the salt and swirl around until the salt has dissolved.

Add the shallots and pop a plate on top to keep the shallots under the brine.

Leave for 48 hours.

Sterilise the jar and lid.

Add the remaining ingredients to a pan and bring up to a simmer.

Turn the heat off and allow the vinegar mix to cool.

Drain the onions and pat dry.

Place the onions in the sterilised jar.

Pour over the vinegar, make sure all of the coriander, pepper and chillies go in too.

Seal the jar and keep for one week before eating.

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Herby Prawns

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These are ridiculously tasty! You HAVE to eat these with your fingers as part of the enjoyment is the finger licking at the end!

I use shell on prawns, I then remove the shell, leaving the tail on, remove the vein and then butterfly the prawns to maximise the surface area for the marinade to cover.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1kg prawns, shells removed, deveined and butterflied

120mls olive oil

3 garlic cloves

handful fresh parsley

handful fresh oregano

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 2 lemons

salt and pepper

Method

Process the oil, garlic, parsley, oregano, zest, juice, salt and pepper.

Combine the prawns and dressing in a large bowl and allow to marinade for 30 minutes.

Cook in a frying pan or on the barbecue flat plate over high heat until the prawn meat is cooked through.

Serve immediately.

Stove Top Chicken With Jalapeño, Garlic and Lime

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This might not look like much but this is one of those finger licking chicken dishes that becomes a favourite very quickly!

Serves 4.

Ingredients

150g butter

100mls olive oil

1.6kg chicken cut into 10 pieces

salt and pepper

1 jalapeño, deseeded and sliced

4 cloves garlic, just squashed in their skins

2 limes, juiced

350mls chicken stock

Method

Season the chicken pieces well with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan with a lid over a medium to high heat.

Once hot, add the chicken, skin side down and cook for 10-15 minutes until well coloured.

Turn the chicken pieces over and cook again for 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and drain out most of the butter and oil, leaving around 2 tablespoons in the pan.

Return the pan to a medium heat and add the jalapeño and garlic, swirl around the pan for 1 minute and then add the lime juice and chicken stock.

Return the chicken to the pan, turning it over a little in the sauce and cover.

Cook gently over a medium to low heat for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the lid and turn the heat to high, simmer down the sauce, turning the chicken regularly,  until it is thick and clinging to the chicken.

Rice With Spices and Barberries

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This lightly spiced rice goes so well with any Middle Eastern cooking.

There is a recipe for making your own jars of caramelised onions on the blog, sorry, I haven’t a clue how to include a link! These onions are so handy to have in the fridge for those days when you just don’t have time to cook onions low and slow.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

100g caramelised onions

200g basmati rice

1 teaspoon ground all spice

1 teaspoon ground coriander

a pinch of ground cinnamon

a pinch of saffron strands

375mls vegetable or chicken stock

10g barberries

Method

In a pan with  a tight fitting lid, warm the onions through over a medium heat.

Add the rice and stir through for 1 minute.

Add the allspice, coriander, cinnamon and saffron, stir well.

Pour in the stock and add the barberries. Stir again.

Cover with the lid and bring up to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 14 minutes.

Turn the heat off but keep the lid in place, let the rice sit for 5 minutes.

Fork through the rice and serve.

Peanut Bliss Balls

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Three ingredients to make these yummy treats, perfect for school lunches and sweet treats.

Makes 32 bliss balls.

Ingredients

560g dates, pitted

200g roasted unsalted peanuts

30mls coconut oil

Method

Check each and every date for a stone! I have been caught out before!

Pop the dates, nuts and oil into a food processor and whizz until the mix is all well chopped.

Using your hands, take small handfuls, around 20g, of the mix and squeeze into balls.

Pumpkin And Garam Masala Soup

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Comfort food in a bowl.

I was given some wonderful Mauritian garam masala by my lovely neighbours and this is a great way to let it shine.

As with most of my soups, I like to make a big batch and freeze half for another day.

Served with some naan or parathas this fills the boys up!

Serves 12.

Ingredients

30-45mls olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1kg pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped

400g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons garam masala

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 litres vegetable or chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon nigella seeds to finish or freshly ground pepper

Method

In a large soup pan or stock pot, heat the oil.

Add the onion, garlic and carrots and cook gently until the onion is soft.

Add the garam masala, cumin, coriander, chilli and turmeric and stir through, cook until fragrant.

Add the pumpkin and stock and bring up to a gentle simmer.

Simmer, covered for 30minutes until all of the vegetables are soft.

Remove from the heat and liquidise, I use a stick blender.

Check for seasoning.

Reheat gently to serve, spoon into bowls and sprinkle over some nigella seeds of freshly ground pepper.

Rhubarb Fool

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Simple, delicious and gluten free!

I don’t add a huge amount sugar as I love the zing of the rhubarb, taste as you go along and add more sugar if you need it.

Serves 8.

Ingredients

600g fresh rhubarb, cut into 1cm pieces

60g caster sugar

50mls water

275mls cream

Method

In a pan, with a tight fitting lid, combine the rhubarb, sugar and water.

Bring the pan up to the boil and reduce the heat to low, cook covered for 15 minutes until the rhubarb has fallen apart.

Set aside to cool.

Whip the cream until forming stiff peaks, fold in the rhubarb gently and spoon into serving dishes, ramekins or small glasses work well.

Pop into the fridge for 1 hour before serving.