Friday, 29 February 2008

Garlic and Ginger Carrots

This is a favourite of mine and my lady friends. We often have this with a Chinese meal as a side dish of vegetables. It takes about 15 - 20 minutes to cook, and comes from Ken Homs "Top 100 Stir Fry Recipes" book. The original Ken Hom version uses spring onions, but I am not a fan of them so usually leave them out.

Ingredients

  • 450 g carrots
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped or grated fresh root ginger
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Start off by peeling the carrots, then slice them at a slight diagonal, thinly. I think this makes for a more professional look than straight slicing.


Heat up your wok to a high heat, add the oil. Heat the oil again until it is very hot. Add the garlic and ginger and very quickly stir fry for about 20 seconds, until browned lightly.

Now add the carrots and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Add the water. Stir-fry for a further 2 minutes until the carrots are just a bit tender, and the may start to go brown a little.

Stir through the chopped coriander, and if you are feeling fancy, then add a few sprigs on top to garnish.

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Thursday, 28 February 2008

Stir Fried Peas With Fresh Coriander

This is a great recipe from Ken Hom. The peas are great as a little snack or served with something like grilled ginger salmon to make a full meal. The peas can be cooked up in about quarter of an hour, so very quick to make.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 450 g frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the peas and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir-fry for a further 3 minutes, keeping the peas moving around all the time.

Remove from the heat and add the sesame oil, for flavour. If this is added during the cooking it loses some of its delicious flavour.

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Breakfast Berry Buzz Power Smoothie

This is a brilliant smoothie for before going to the gym, balanced with lots of protein, fruit, and carbohydrates. Ideal for putting on a bit of muscle, and the guarana gives you the extra morning buzz thats needed.

Ingredients

2 weetabix
4 strawberries
1 handful frozen summer fruits
1 scoop yogurt
1 scoop whey protein powder (I used banana, any fruit flavour will do)
1 teaspoon guarana
1 teaspoon honey (add more if you like it sweeter)
Milk


Put all the ingredients into your blender, using just enough milk to cover all the fruit and stuff. Whizz it all up for about a minute, or until smooth and enjoy.

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Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Broccoli and Blue Cheese Pasta

This is a recipe that my lovely girlfriend cooked for me today, and very tasty it was too. She had never made a cheese sauce before so I had to explain over the phone how to make a quick and easy cheese sauce. The two simple rules to making a perfect cheese sauce are ...

  1. Keep mixing.
  2. Add all the ingredients VERY slowly.
This cheese sauce can be made with many different types of cheese and used to make a variety of dishes, I use a cheddar version when making lasagne.

The fresh pasta used in this recipe was tomato and smoked ham stuffed cappalletti, but any stuffed fresh pasta can be used. I think a cheesy pasta would go well with this recipe as well.

This recipe makes enough for 4 portions.

Ingredients
  • 600 g fresh pasta
  • 75 g blue cheese
  • 3 tbsps butter
  • 3 tbsps flour
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 head broccoli
  • Salt and pepper
To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter over a low heat, add the flour and stir well to make a paste. This is known as a roux.

Heat the milk in a pan, but do not boil.

Add the milk very slowly, a bit at a time, to the roux, mixing well and ensuring the sauce is nice and smooth. (If you get any lumps in it, which can happen if the milk is added too quickly, then whisk hard to knock out the lumps - this is not ideal but it saves chucking it all).

When all the milk is added, warm to just below boiling. Add the cheese in small lumps or grated, and then when the cheese is melted season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions, then drain.

Chop the broccoli into small pieces, put into a microwaveable dish, cover, and cook in the microwave until soft but not soggy.

Now, mix the cooked pasta, broccoli, and cheese sauce all together in a pan and serve.

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Very Berry-Licious Smoothie


Another tasty smoothie which I whizzed up today. This one is a delicious red colour, and I have made use of the Tesco frozen fruits, so you can get tasty fruits out of their normal season. The berries are quite sharp, so the apple juice and banana just add a bit of sweetness to the mix.

This recipe makes enough for 2 large glasses of smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1 handful strawberries
  • 1 handful frozen blueberries
  • 1 small handful of Goji berries
  • 1 handful frozen summer fruits mixture
  • 1 banana
  • Apple juice
As usual, chuck everything into your blender or smoothie maker, cover with apple juice. Blend for about a minute, until smooth, and enjoy.

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Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Braised Red Cabbage With Apple

We were lucky enough to be given a red cabbage from my girlfriends parents allotment at the weekend, so I thought I would do some braised red cabbage with apple. I remember having this one Christmas when my grandparents came over, and for years afterwards my nan was going on about that "Exotic cabbage" we had at Christmas time.

I have also made this before without all the spices, just leave them out if they are not to your taste. It is a variation of a recipe from Delia Smith, so pretty much always works well.

Ingredients

  • 1 red cabbage
  • 1/2 cooking apple
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peel off the outside cabbage leaves, and then finely shred the cabbage, leaving out the thicker middle parts. Chop up the garlic and onions.

Season and then mix up all of the apple, spices, onion, garlic and sugar in a pan with a tightly fitting lid. Add the vinegar and dot the butter on the top.

Cook with the lid on tightly on a very low hob heat for about 45 minutes and then serve.

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Zingy Pineapple and Super Berry Smoothie

I just made a really good smoothie for my lady who is a bit poorly so needed a vitamin boost. This one is packed with vitamin C from the lime and pineapple, and the superfoods of goji berries and blueberries and a bit of extra zing!

Ingredients

  • 1 slice frozen pineapple
  • 1 handful frozen blueberries
  • 1 handful dried Tibetan Goji berries
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 6 ice cubes
  • Enough orange juice to cover it all in a blender

Chuck all the above into a blender or smoothie maker and whizz it up for about a minute, or until smooth. If its too thick for you, add a bit more orange juice.

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Monday, 25 February 2008

Green Banana Curry

I was a bit dubious about this recipe when I heard of it, but it does work. I think the next time I try it out I will use some less green bananas, as the really green ones which I used were a little bit tough and dry. It was still edible though and the sauce was delicious.

Ingredients

  • 5 green bananas
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp curry paste (or a big dollop, depending on taste). I used Tikka.
  • 400 mL coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lime
  • Fresh coriander
Slice the bananas to about 2.5 cm thickness. Fry in a little vegetable oil until lightly golden brown. Set aside on some kitchen paper to soak off some of the oil.

In the same pan, fry up the onion, finely sliced, and the garlic fr about 10 minutes or until soft and golden.

Chuck the bananas back in the pan and stir in the curry paste, and half the coconut milk. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, add the rest of the coconut milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Serve garnished with fresh coriander and wedges of lime.

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Oriental Rice

This goes really well with any Chinese or South East Asian dishes, I think I got it from a recipe featured in the Metro a few weeks back.

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 100 g raisins
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cloves
  • 300 g basmai rice
Finely chop the onions and garlic, and fry in a little bit of oil until golden. Stir in the raisins, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves and rice. Make sure its mixed well and all the rice gets coated with all the oil and spices.

Add the water and boil for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

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Grilled Ginger Salmon

This is a pretty quick and easy way to spice up some salmon.

Just get one salmon steak (per person), brush over with olive oil, and then sprinkle with about half a teaspoon of dried ground ginger.

Grill for about 5 minutes on each side under a medium-high grill, or until done how you like it.

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Banana and Strawberry Smoothie

I love making smoothies, as there is loads of fruit in every glass and they are really tasty. Any combination of fruit will do, and you don't have to use any specific amount, just whack it all in a blender. I make smoothies most days with whatever fruit is seasonal, or more often, on special offer from the supermarket, and I will just give you a quick run-down of what fruit combinations I have made.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • Handful of strawberries
  • Handful of Ice cubes
  • Fruit juice
Chuck everything into a blender, using just enough fruit juice to cover over the fruit and ice cubes. Blend for probably about a minute, until it all looks smooth.

This should make enough for about 2 decent sized glasses of smoothie.

A handy tip is to put the fruit in the freezer for about 20 minutes before you make the smoothie (if you can be organised enough to think to do this, which I normally forget) and then you get a really nice, cold, slushy smoothie.

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