Miso Salmon with egg fried rice

I fancied experimenting tonight, and came up with this. Nice and easy, some lovely flavours!

First, the salmon. Marinate four fillets in teriyaki and garlic for 15 minutes, or longer if you have it. Sear them on the non-skin side of a hot pan for a couple of minutes, then flip and do the same. Turn the pan right down and pour over the remaining teriyaki and a cup of miso soup (boiling water plus some of this stuff). Leave to simmer very gently for about ten minutes.

For the rice – cook some rice normally (Tip for rice that I learnt from my mum – use a 1:1.75 ratio of rice to water by volume, and all the water will be absorbed and the rice will be perfectly fluffy, and not too wet). Meanwhile, gently cook an onion and a clove of garlic in a frying pan (a wok is good!). Chuck in a good dose of frozen peas, then stir in the cooked rice. Add a glug of soy sauce and worcestershire sauce, then beat an egg and stir that in too. Turn the heat off and leave it to continue to cook on the residual heat for a minute or two.

Serve the salmon with a bit of the miso soup on top, rice on the side and maybe some steamed veg. I felt a bit of chilli sauce livened it up so feel free! Next time I do this, I will probably chuck some ginger in somewhere (probably in the salmon) so feel free to try that if you fancy it!

Give it a go and let me know how you get on!


Jubilee coleslaw

In Greek and Roman times, the colour purple was associated with royalty, and only worn by emperors or senior members of the Senate, as it was so expensive to produce. It was made from milking sea-snails for a particular secretion which produced a purple dye – 12000 snails for one garment!

We had a few people round for a BBQ for the jubilee, so I decided our coleslaw should be purple in the Queen’s honour. You’ll be pleased to know I didn’t use sea snails to get the colour! It was really popular, so I promised to blog it – for those who came to the BBQ and demanded the recipe, here you go!

A kilo of carrots (you’re going for sweetness here, so fresh and preferably organic is good)
One red cabbage
Two onions. The onions are really important – you need to track down sweet onions. Tesco do some good ‘Finest’ ones which I used here. I can’t emphasise how much of a difference using sweet onions makes – this is really the secret ingredient!
An 800g jar of Hellmans mayonnaise – interestingly, the real version is diary-free (although does contain eggs) while the light version includes cream! Go figure…

Peel and grate the carrots, shred the cabbage, discarding the woodier sections near the base. A food processor is useful – Iris very much enjoyed watching the carrots get chopped! Then pulverise the onions. Yes, I do mean pulverise – even though they are sweet, you don’t want to get a surprise large chunk of onion. The finer you can get it, the more uniformly in is distributed. The grater attachment rather than the slicer on your food processor is ideal.

Chuck all the veg in a huge bowl (it will be mixing-bowl size), and stir in the mayo. You probably won’t use all of it, but just keep going until you are happy. I prefer mine reasonably dry. You’ll see that the purple colour of the cabbage leaches out and stains the mayo, making the whole thing purple. Fun, hey?

One of the kids, who, earlier, had been telling me she would rather never eat again than be vegetarian, just ate a whole bowl of it on its own. Must have been good, I guess! Serves about a million, so you might want to save this one for party time.

Happy Jubilee!


Quick and tasty prawns

I should think of a better name for this one, to be honest! I’ve cooked probably a million variations on this theme, but this one is my current favourite. It’s a really good, quick and fairly healthy meal – and you can use frozen prawns and spinach if you don’t have fresh so it makes a good emergency dinner!

Serves one really hungry person (me after a game of basketball) or two less hungry people:

Chuck a tablespoon of olive oil into a pan (a wok works well), and add a chopped clove of garlic. Throw in a packet of fresh, raw, prawns and stir fry gently until just about cooked. Stir in a spoonful of sun-dried tomato puree until it coats the prawns. Throw in a good handful or two of fresh spinach (go BIG on the spinach, as it disappears to almost nothing), wilt it down, and add a tin of Green Giant Salad Crisp Sweetcorn (really important to get the right corn – this stuff is amazing!) and at the last minute, turn the heat off and stir in a tablespoon of chilli jam.

That should have taken you about 10 minutes – just long enough to cook some pasta (your choice – I prefer spaghetti, but I’ll give you some artistic license here). Drain it and plonk the prawn mixture on top… Beautiful!

You’ll notice this is dairy-free so far – but if you happen to have some parmesan in the back of the fridge, a smidgen on top works wonders. Don’t smother it in cheese – you want just enough that the sharpness cuts the sweetness of the tomato, chilli jam and sweetcorn.

I’d have taken a photo, but hey, I was hungry!

My new favourite thing…

We went to visit my little brother in London last weekend. He and his gf, the lovely Vic, live close to Borough Market, so after some lunch and a half of ‘Ale Fresco‘ (punderful!) at The George, we went for a wander round. Iris must have eaten her own body weight in free cheese samples… She loved a cheese from a stall called De Calabria – don’t know what it was called but it was a nice mild sheep’s cheese. I bought some smellier stuff with some impressive crust on the outside….

Anyway, the point of this rambling is to tell you about some wonderful stuff the De Calabria chap had on his stall. It’s a mix of extra virgin olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, wild oregano, wild fennel seeds and chilli. It’s just fabulous! The sweetness/saltiness of the tomatoes, the slight aniseed of the fennel and a hit of chilli is a winner! I served it stirred into some spaghetti with some pan-fried trout, steamed tender stem broccoli and carrots. Oh, and a smidgen of that strong cheese, of course! I reckon it would be amazing stirred into some chopped tomatoes and simmered with some red onion and a drop of wine…


If you are passing Borough Market, I thoroughly recommend it… Ian, you know what to get me for my birthday…

Back of the fridge 1: Chorizo and Roquefort Spaghetti

(Back of the fridge will be an occasional post on recipe concoctions from random ingredients – often the best way to invent new dishes).

Came up with this one tonight – a right mishmash of cultures with Italian, Spanish and French ingredients. Pretty tasty though and mainly constructed from ingredients which last a long time – so a great ‘Back of the fridge’:

Chop an onion (I used a red one, which probably will work best for something like this) and sauté it in a small amount of olive oil with some garlic. Chop up half a Chorizo sausage – worth taking the skin off of course – I find it easiest to cut down the length of the Chorizo just a little bit with the point of the knife and then peel it. Chuck the chopped Chorizo in, along with some chopped peppers (I always keep a bag of frozen chopped peppers in) and sauté it all together until nicely cooked. Cook some spaghetti and when it is done, drain it, chuck it in to the sauté mixture and stir it round to mix it. Scoop some out, chuck it on a plate and crumble just a little bit of roquefort (or similar – but the saltiness of roquefort really sets it off) over the top. A dash of my favourite ingredient chilli jam sets it off nicely.

Very tasty, and probably ten minutes including prep time – nice!

Blueberry Muffins (dairy free)

My darling daughter made me a cake at school the other day. I got home, late-ish, from work to see a note saying ‘I love you’ and a little cake sitting on the kitchen table. Very sweet! I thanked her the next morning, only for her to say ‘It would have been for Mummy, but it has some butter in it so she couldn’t eat it’! Ah, the fickleness of kids!

Anyway, on with the recipes. For those who are kind enough to follow me on Twitter, I posted a photo and promised the recipe, so here goes. Before we start, I must make a full disclaimer – the base of the recipe is shamelessly plagiarised from Vegan Family. Here’s my version of it which delivers awesome blueberry muffins. I swear you would seriously never know these were dairy-free. Reckon it counts as one of your five a day?

Dairy free blueberry muffins

Dairy free blueberry muffins


Oven: 180C

Makes 12 decent sized muffins, so you probably want a muffin tray with 12 holes for this! Iris loves putting the little paper cases in, although we do sometimes end up with more than one per hole.

300g self-raising flour

100g sugar

1 teaspoon of bicarb

Mix that lot together in a big bowl, make a volcano shape out of it and then chuck in the wet stuff:

200ml sunflower oil

200ml milk substitute – I use rice milk which works perfectly. Almond milk gives a bit of a denser texture for some reason. I guess you could use real milk, but then it wouldn’t be vegan!

A good glug of vanilla essence (technically probably most of a tablespoon but I love vanilla so be generous)

Once that’s all mixed up and a lovely texture, chuck some blueberries in (rinse them first and make sure there aren’t any stalks attached). Your call on how many you put in – Iris decided when we made them that about 3/4 of a punnet was right, and that worked out pretty well. Give it a stir to mix and use a couple of spoons to get it into the muffin cases. Bake in the middle of your oven for about 12 minutes…

Try it, and let me know what you think….

Paprika wedges

One of my all-time favourites, this. Another really easy one!

Oven: About 200C

Take about four baking size potatoes, or a larger number of smaller ones (obviously!). Cut them into wedges and chuck them in a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of paprika, half that of oregano, and a smattering of sea or rock salt. Mix it all up and bung it in the oven until crispy. Takes about 40 minutes – and you probably want to flip/ stir the wedges (use a flat metal spatula) a couple of times during the cooking. Much tastier, and way healthier than chips!

This should serve four – make more than you need though as they are great cold and dipped into houmous the next day.

Salmon or Chicken Pepperonata

So I invented something new on Sunday night – and really, really simple! This works equally well with chicken or salmon, so if you have a meat eater and a fish eater at the same table, no problem. I guess it would work with Quorn fillets, but I haven’t tried it. So, here we go:

Take four chicken breasts (or salmon fillets – or mix and match), and a jar of marinated roasted peppers in oil. Drop a bit of the oil into an oven-proof dish, pop the chicken in and drizzle a small amount of the oil over the top, with a squiz of black pepper. Roast in the oven – about 35 minutes for chicken, 15-20 for salmon. It’s worth basting the chicken halfway through – not so important for salmon. When it’s done, take it out and spoon some of the peppers from the jar over, and pop it back in the oven for five minutes (no more!).

How easy is that? If you feel like it, a small amount of grated cheese on top is nice if you aren’t dairy-free. Awesome served with potato wedges – the recipe for which will follow shortly….

Fruit sponge pudding

This is a great recipe, which my wife loves as it doesn’t ‘feel’ vegan. It’s actually pretty healthy – I have a spoonful of Total’s 2% greek yoghurt with it, and Jo has vanilla Swedish Glace – which is awesome and pretty indistinguishable from ice cream. The recipe is based loosely on one that used to be on Jamie Oliver’s website, but messed around with (as I tend to do!).

So, here we go. This is another 180C/ Gas Mark 4 one – and again it works really well on the bottom of the oven. I use a small casserole dish for this, but you could cook the apples in a saucepan and transfer to a baking dish if you rather.

60 grammes of self-raising flour

50 grammes of caster sugar

Two eggs

Zest of one lemon (or two teaspoons of vanilla extract if you prefer)

Six dessert apples (you can use Bramleys, but you will need to add extra sugar – nice to use dessert apples so you don’t have to)

(Optional) Punnet of blueberries

(Optional) Two tablespoons of raspberry jam (I use St Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit as it doesn’t have any added sugar but is still really tasty)

Peel and chop the apples, and pop them on the hob on a low heat until they are a bit mushy – about 15 mins. Add the blueberries and jam if you are using, and mix in well. The blueberries give it a great purple colour – well worth it!

Meanwhile, whizz the eggs and the sugar together – a hand-held electric whisk is ideal (don’t get it all over the kitchen!). When it’s fluffy, fold in the flour (a spatula is ideal as you can then use it to scrape out the mixture – saves washing up a spoon as well), and the lemon zest (or vanilla extract).

Spread the mixture over the top of the fruit – try and get it all covered, but don’t worry too much if there are any holes as it looks cool if some of the fruit bubbles up and caramelises.

Bake in the bottom of the oven for about 3o mins, and serve with ice cream, yoghurt or naked (the pudding, not you!).

Roasted roots with chilli jam

This is something I discovered today – pretty simple and the recipe is pretty much the title. This winter, I’ve been doing carrots and parsnips, slow roasted in the oven with olive oil, garlic and a bit of thyme – and adding a spoonful of honey for the last five or ten minutes, which makes them lovely and sweet and sticky.

Today, though, I decided to try something different – I left out the thyme, and at the end I added a bit of some chilli jam I was given for Christmas. It was AWESOME! So, here goes with the recipe:

Three parsnips

Four carrots

A tablespoon of olive oil

Two cloves of garlic

Two tablespoons of chilli jam (or to taste!)

Peel and chop the carrots and parsnips into chunks. Chuck them in a roasting dish (I like the LeCreuset dishes as you can serve straight to the table) with the olive oil and chopped garlic. Roast, slowly (180C or slightly less if you have time). I tend to leave them on the bottom of the oven for an hour while roasting something, seems to be the right sort of temperature. Worth checking and stirring occasionally of course! Towards the end, about ten minutes before you want to take them out, stir in a spoonful or two of chilli jam.