Category Archives: Make ahead

Toor Dal

There is something extremely comforting about dal. 

Leftovers keep well in the fridge and I happily eat this the following day for breakfast but then I do have more of a savoury tooth!

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Ingredients

200g toor dhal, rinsed and drained

800mls water

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Salt to taste

50g ghee

1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 dried chillies

1 shallot, finely sliced

Method

In a medium pan, bring the dal and water to the boil. Skim off the foam, add the turmeric, stir well and then leave to simmmer, partially covered, for 50-60minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the dal is cooked, heat a small frying pan over high heat.

Add the ghee and once hot add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and chilli. As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop, add the shallots and fry until golden.

Pour the fried seasoning and ghee into the dal with a little salt, stir well, check for seasoning and serve.

Harissa Chicken

I’ve recently started using more chilli into our food as I love it but it can be a challenge with the boys as one of them, in particular, isn’t keen! By adding tomato and garlic to the harissa, the paste goes further and it has a fabulous flavour.

Feel free to adjust the harrisa paste quantities to suit your taste buds. 

Serves 6.

Ingredients

1.8kg chicken, jointed into 10 pieces

2 tablespoons Harissa paste

90g semi sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained

2 Roma tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, peeled

30ml olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Using a food processor or stick blender, whizz the Harissa, tomatoes, garlic, oil and seasoning to make a lumpy paste.

Marinade the chicken in the marinade for 4 hours if you have time.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade.

Spread the chicken out in a roasting tin, spreading any excess marinade over the top, and slide into the preheated oven.

Bake for 20minutes and then baste with the pan juices.

Return to the oven and repeat a couple more times, every 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Marmalade Chicken  


Now, I don’t know about your house but in mine we seem to have a never ending drawer full of jars of jam and spreads with just dregs in them!

This is my way of using up the marmalade, simple, effective and rather tasty.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients 

1kg skinless chicken breasts or thighs, diced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons orange marmalade 

2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

250mls chicken stock

Method

Heat the oil in a large oven proof frying pan, once hot add the chicken and season well.

Once the chicken is sealed, add the marmalade, mustard and stock. Cover and bring to the boil, simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade while the chicken simmers.

Now uncover th chicken and slide the pan into the hot oven, bake for 10 minutes and then gently shake the pan to cover the chicken in the pan juices.

Repeat this another couple of times over twenty minutes. The pan juices will have reduced and the chicken darkened.

Serve while hot or warm, pouring the pan juices over the chicken.

Taco Coleslaw

I’ve found that the best way to get raw vegetables into the boys is make them an essential component of their tacos!

We have this coleslaw with most of our tacos, fajitas and burritos. Due to the creamy dressing I tend not to have sour cream as well, another incentive to get the boys to eat veg and not just meat and sour cream!

We love dill so there is a fair whack of it in this salad but cut it back if you aren’t a fan. I do deseeded the pickled chillis but if you love spicy food, leave them in.

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

1/4 large white cabbage, very finely sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and julienned

25g fresh chives, snipped

25g dill, fronds picked and roughly chopped

2 pickled jalapeños, deseeded and finely diced

DRESSING

130mls mayonnaise

100mls sour cream

1 lime, juiced

Salt and pepper

Method

Combine the dressing ingredients.

Pour over the slaw ingredients and mix well, I use my hands.

Allow to sit for 30 minutes if you have time and then serve.


Baked Beans With Chorizo


As the weather cools down in Western Australia I can’t help going back to comfort slow cooking.

I used to always make baked beans with pork belly or bacon but these days, with the boys happy eating spicier food and enormous quantities of it, I’ve started using chorizo.

It’s best to use a chorizo that you have already tasted, cooked, so you can fiddle with the recipe, you may need more garlic etc. The chorizo I get here if beautifully smoky so I don’t need to add much to make a delicious dinner, served on toasted gluten free bread with avocado and a fried egg on top, heaven!

Serves 6-8 depending on sides.

Ingredients

1 large onion, finely diced

A splash of oil

300g chorizo, skin removed and diced finely, 2mm

2 x 400g tins cannelini beans

1 x 400g tomato pulp or finely chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade.

Heat the oil in a large oven proof pan over a medium heat.

Add the onion and cook until soft.

Turn the heat up to high and add the chorizo, cook for 5-7 minutes until the chorizo has released all of its fat and is crispy get up.

Now add the remaining ingredients.

Bring up to the boil and place in the oven for 90 minutes.

Check and if too thick add a little water, season if needed and serve.

Coconut and Cranberry Balls


In the days before healthy bliss balls, I can remember my Mum making a version of these, raisins instead of cranberries and dipped in chocolate. 

This recipe makes 25 balls. They are small but trust me, you don’t want them too big, these are rich sweeties!

Ingredients

110g butter

150g icing sugar

80g desiccated coconut

130g cranberries

25g 70% coco solids chocolate

Method

In a food processor, cream the butter and sugar.

Add the cranberries and coconut and pulse until combined.

Form into balls and place, spaced out, on a piece of baking parchment.

Now melt the chocolate, I cheat and melt it carefully in the microwave.

Take teaspoons of the chocolate and drizzle over the balls.

Allow to cool and then store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Swedish Meatballs With Gravy

The challenge was set by my youngest son to come up with a gluten free meatball just like Ikea’s and apparently these are winners. To make them completely authentic I serve them with mashed potato, some green Veg and a dollop of Ikea’s finest lingonberry jam!

The quantity is big but I always think that when you are going to the effort to make meatballs you should always make extra for the freezer, your hands are dirty anyway!

This recipe makes 90 meatballs with sauce and that’s enough to feed 18!!!!!

Freeze the excess in foil trays or ziplock bags with the sauce on them for a quick defrost and bake dinner another night.

Ingredients

MEATBALLS

1kg minced beef

1kg minced pork

150mls milk

60g fresh gluten free breadcrumbs

2 onions, peeled and grated

2 teaspoon dried thyme, ground in a mortar and pestle

3 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons oil

GRAVY

100g butter

6 tablespoons gluten free plain flour

1 tablespoon tomato paste

500mls red wine

1.5 litres beef stock

50mls gluten free Worcestershire sauce

275mls cream

Salt and pepper

Method

Combine the beef, pork, milk, breadcrumbs, onion, thyme, salt and pepper. Use your hands to ensure that it is totally mixed.

Set aside in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Form the meat into small balls, set aside on a third baking tray.

Heat a large frying pan, I use a 32cm pan, this is a BIG quantity, over a high heat, add the oil and once hot start frying the meatballs in batches. Cook until coloured all over and then using a slotted spoon, remove and pop them onto the prepared baking trays lined with baking parchment.

Once all of the meatballs are sealed and on the trays slide into the oven and bake for 10 minutes until cooked through.

While the meatballs are cooking make the gravy.

Add the butter to the frying pan, once melted add the flour and tomato paste, cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, scraping all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.

Now add the wine and stock, whisk over a medium heat for 7 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and cream, heat through.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and either add them to the gravy or place in a serving dish and pour over the gravy. Serve hot.

 At this stage I use foil trays for the meatballs going in the freezer, pour over the gravy, chill and freeze.