Freezer Fajitas

I absolutely love Mexican food. Fajitas have been for some time an emergency stand-by of mine – easily rustled up, including prep, in about 20 mins. I’ve started cheating a bit, though, by keeping some of the ingredients in the freezer – which make it even quicker! It’s easy to find chopped red onions, mixed peppers and garlic in the freezer cabinet of your local supermarket. That saves on all the chopping; I also think it saves on waste as you don’t end up with a sprouting onion in the back of your fridge. Freezer ingredients is a theme I’ll come back to, as it’s as good as fresh and it saves a lot of time and hassle!

Serves 2, but easy to double!

Two chicken breasts (or your choice of protein; steak, quorn, prawns, whatever), in bite sized pieces (don’t bite it yet, it’s not cooked at this stage!)

Two serving spoons of frozen red onion

Two serving spoons of frozen mixed peppers

Two teaspoons frozen garlic

One tablespoon of olive oil (or your choice of oil)

Two teaspoons of ground cumin

One teaspoon of oregano

One teaspoon of chilli powder (or to taste!!!)

Quickly fry the chicken in the oil, flipping regularly to make sure it’s cooked on each side. As it starts to go brown, add the garlic, chilli and cumin. Stir throughly, then add the onions and peppers. Keep stirring every minute or so. Once it’s close to cooked, add the oregano. That’s about it, really!

If you want to level up, a squeeze of lime juice (you can keep Jif lime or equivalent in the fridge), a splash of Worcestershire sauce or a splash of soy sauce (or all three) can be added when the veg goes in.

Serve with tortillas (make sure you warm them, it makes a huge difference) or rice, grated cheese, hot sauce etc. Oh, and a cold Corona with a tequila chaser!

Roquey Gnocchi

I make no apologies for combining Italian and French delicacies here as it’s blooming tasty. So Jo has started eating sheep’s milk (mainly cheese but when we were in France we found sheep’s yoghurt). Probably the most full-flavoured of these is roquefort, one of my favourites – so I concocted a quick dinner with some tinned beans, some veg and some gnocchi we had in the fridge. Here goes (serves 2 with leftovers or would stretch to 4):

One bag of gnocchi
Various ‘Mediterranean’ vegetables – courgettes, peppers, red onions etc
Tin tomatoes or passata
Tin cannelini beans (or chickpeas etc)
Garlic cloves x 2
A dessert spoon of sundried tomato paste
Mixed herbs or dried oregano and basil
Some olives
A bit of roquefort to taste

Roast the veggies in the oven at about 180 (fan oven) for about 20 mins (Quick tip: the Co-op does a great prepared bag of courgette, red onion and pepper which is perfect here).
Meanwhile, chuck a bit of olive oil in a pan and add the garlic. Cook for a min or two, careful not to brown the garlic of course! Add the tomatoes, herbs, paste etc (and a splash of red wine if you have some open), and cook down for about 15 minutes. Add the olives, throw in the roasted veg and stir. You don’t need to cook any longer once the veg is in. I love this ratatouille style of cooking this – if you cook the veg in the sauce you lose some crispness and a bit of caramelisation. Leave it to sit while you cook the gnocchi according to the packet – probably two minutes in boiling water.

Pile the sauce, which should be thick and chunky, over the gnocchi, and crumble as much or as little roquefort over the top. It’s very strong in flavour so I suggest you start small and work uo from there.

This is what it looks like – hope yours is as tasty as mine was!
IMG_2127

How do you make a vegan crumble?

Offer her a bacon sarnie! Just joking, of course – but I did manage to bash together a crumble type affair that was enjoyed by all of us. The topping (I guess as it uses marge rather than butter, or maybe because I did it in a food processor) is a bit more biscuit than crumble, but it works really well. Here goes – makes about six portions:

crumblepie

Three desert apples (Pink Lady works well – or coxes, but use four as they are smaller)

A selection of berry fruits – strawbs, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries – you don’t need a load but it improves the flavour and dyes the apple a beautiful colour.

One heaped tablespoon of Demerara sugar

175g plain flour

175g ‘free from’ spread (I used Sainsbury’s as they have a decent free-from selection)

100g caster sugar

Peel and slice the apple and place it in an oiled dish. Throw the berry fruits on and squash down a little. Sprinkle with the Demerara sugar.

Blitz the flour and the spread in a food processor, then add the sugar and mix well. Spread the resulting mixture over the top of the fruit and bake for about 30 mins at 180 degrees.

That’s it! Really easy. Works well cold the next day also.

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.

Welcome carnivores, omnivores, veggies, pescatarians and vegans alike!

Hi and welcome to my new blog! I’m Sam, a keen amateur cook. Whilst I will eat more or less anything – and there’s nothing better in my mind than a great steak (we’ll get to that at some point!), I do most of the cooking for my family.

That’s where it gets complicated! My wife, mainly for health reasons, is basically vegan plus fish and eggs (yes, I know, there will be those of you who want to debate whether that’s really vegan or not – I describe it that way as that’s the easiest way to explain it to restaurants). And, just to complicate things more, my four-year-old daughter has just decided she loves animals too much to eat meat. I don’t know whether she will stick with it, but she seems pretty determined.

So the point of this blog is to talk about the complexities of catering for such a variety of culinary predilections. I’ve got reasonably handy at concocting flexible dishes that can involve meat, or not – and some interesting, tasty, vegan options suitable for carnivores too.  Expect recipes, ideas, suggestions and tasty things I have come across. Oh, and when it comes to recipes – don’t expect precision. I’m a bit of a ‘just chuck a bit in’ kind of cook…

Enjoy!