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Tag Archives: Pepper

Fully Loaded Philly Cheesesteaks

I’m continuing my own great tradition of condoning the bastardisation of traditional recipes by bludgeoning the classic Philly Cheesesteak. (See also Carbonara and  Mac’n’Cheese). A ‘Great American Classic’ found on basically every menu in the US, it is of course best in its native Philadelphia. I’d personally go as far as to say its the only good thing about Philadelphia with the exception of the non-existent sales tax on clothes and the GAP outlet store. Its certainly a significantly improved cultural experience than going to view the Liberty Bell (it’s small, broken, made in the UK in any event and definitely not worth queuing up to see!).

The classic sandwich is comprised of a ‘Hoagie‘ roll, extremely thin sliced rib-eye steak and processed cheese. No veg, no actual cheese. Many places serve it with caramelised onion, mushrooms and peppers which is the route I’ve taken along with using a cheaper cut of steak (silverside) and cheese with actual cheese in it. You can use whatever steak your budget affords you – as I mentioned, the traditional cut is rib-eye.

I served two with this recipe – it was ridiculous and quite a lot went to waste (mostly bread and veg!). Realistically it serves 4 hungry people with a side such as roasted sweet potatoes.

Serves 4

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Ingredients: 

2 Onions
2 tbsp Butter
900g Steak
300g Mushrooms
2 Bell Peppers
4 Hoagie/Submarine Rolls
1 Avocado
1 tsp Lemon Juice
500g Grated Mozzerella/Cheddar
Sea Salt Flakes
Frylight


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Finely slice 2 Onions into half moons and start to gently fry them with 2 tbsp Butter and Sea Salt Flakes on a medium heat. Once the are starting sizzle, add a little water to the pan, turn the heat down and cover with a lid. This is low and slow onion caramelising.

Whilst the onion are gently cooking, slice 900g Steak as thinly as possible. Use something heavy to bash each slice a little thinner. This will held tenderise the meat as you will be quick cooking it.

Tip – A good trick to doing this is you have time to plan ahead is to lightly freeze the steak which will make it easier to slice thinly.

Tip – Make sure to slice against the grain. Here is a handy guide to what that means. 

Finely slice 300g Mushrooms and gently fry with a few sprays of Frylight and a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes. Add the cooked mushrooms to the now softened and lightly browned onions.

Repeat with 2 Bell Peppers.  Cover the cooked veg with a pan lid or foil and set aside.

To prepare the bread ready for the fillings, split 4 Hoagie/Submarine Rolls in half. Mash 1 Avocado with a fork and stir in 1 tsp Lemon Juice and a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes. Spread a quarter of the avocado mixture over one half of each of the bread rolls. Set aside.

Tip – For guidance on how to remove the flesh from an avocado easily, check out my step-by-step guide

Take the largest frying pan you have and put it on the largest hob you have on full heat. Let ig get smoky hot then add slices of the beef to the pan.

Tip – Do not overcrowd the pan – this process is going to take several batches. You want to very quickly fry each slice of beef, not stew them.

When the underside of the beef is golden brown, turn the slices and cook until the second side is also a good golden brown colour.

Tip – The whole process should take about 3 minutes depending on the effectiveness of your hob and pan.

Remove the beef to a chopping board and repeat with the rest of the slices.

Once all the beef is cooked, gather it together on the chopping board and using a large knife run through it a couple of time, chopping it into smaller pieces.

Tip – you can go as small as you like – the smaller the pieces, the easier they will be to eat. The bigger the pieces, the more texture they will have. 

Put the chopped beef back in the frying pan in one even layer, this time on a lower heat.  Sprinkle 500g Grated Mozzerella/Cheddar over the beef and cover with a lit. Leave for 3-4 minutes until the cheese has mostly melted.

Assemble the sandwiches by layering a quarter of the beef/cheese mix on top of the avocado layer on each roll then top with one quarter of the veg mixture.

Tip – The veg will still be warm but if you would prefer it to be piping hot, put it back on heat for a couple of minutes whilst the cheese is melting. 

Serve and marvel at the fact that I thought two of these constituted one portion!!

 

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15 Minute Meal – Pan-fried Haddock with Butter Beans, Kale and Chorizo

My Dad’s girlfriend’s daughter works for one of the fish processing plants in Grimsby. Processing has pretty much replaced actual fishing as the major industry in the area but whichever way you look at it, the fish is damn fresh and super tasty.  A perk of working in the processing plants is often getting sent home with some of the spare product and we recently benefited from this with three massive haddock fillets arriving for our Saturday tea. My father naturally went down the fried fish, mash and parsley sauce route but I went a little alternative with this light bean and chorizo stew and paprika coated fish.

Obviously I had a massive fillet of fish which would have bankrupted me to buy so I’ve written this recipe for smaller portions. You could also substitute haddock for any fish or even chicken or pork – whatever tickles your fancy.

Serves 2

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Ingredients:

1 Medium Onion
1 Bell Pepper
100g Chorizo
1 tbsp Garlic Paste
50ml Sherry
1 tsp Concentrated Liquid Chicken Stock
1 tbsp Cornflour/Cornstarch
1 Tin (240g) Butter Beans in Water
500g Haddock Fillet
2 tbsp Paprika
1 tbsp Garlic Salt
50g Kale
Sea Salt Flakes
Frylight


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Dice 1 Medium Onion and 1 Bell Pepper and fry these gently with a few sprays of Frylight in a large frying pan.

Once the onion and peppers have softened, dice 100g Chorizo and add to the pan.  It is already cooked so I just char the edges a little before adding 1 tbsp Garlic Paste and 25ml of Sherry.

Let the sherry and garlic cook out for a minute or so then add 250ml of water and 1 tbsp Concentrated Liquid Chicken Stock.  Bring the stock to a gentle boil.

Meanwhile make a slurry with 1 tbsp Cornflour/Cornstarch and a little cold water. Add a little of the slurry at a time to the pan until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Drain and add 1 Tin (240g) Butter Beans in Water and leave the dish to gently simmer while cooking the fish.

Put a medium frying pan onto a medium high heat,

Meanwhile, sprinkle 2 tbsp Paprika and 1 tbsp Garlic Salt over 500g Haddock Fillets and add, skin side down, into the frying pan.

Cook the fish on each side for 2-3 minutes.

As the fish is nearing finishing cooking, add 50g Kale to the veg pan and stir until the kale has wilted a little. Add the remaining 25ml Sherry and check the seasoning – add Sea Salt Flakes if needed.

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Serve the bean and chorizo stew with the haddock resting on top. Lovely.

Compiling My Perfect Cheeseboard

I both love cheese and am a bit funny with it at the same time. I like it cooked (hot and melted) but I’m not overly keen on it just on its own. Except with certain cheeses in certain circumstances. As with most things, I’m basically just picky! I didn’t grow up eating cheese (I wasn’t allowed it, don’t ask but yes, a children’s birthday party at Pizza Hut when I was little was just cruel when I wasn’t allowed to eat the pizza! Twice!)

I spent some time when I was 19 working on the deli counter in a Booths supermarket up in Lancaster. They’re family owned, all in the North West and often called “The Waitrose of the North”. I think they’re better than Waitrose but then I was fully indoctrinated! I spent large parts of my time asking anyone local who ordered Wensleydale to repeat themselves because it sounded like something off of Wallace and Gromit. Such fun. I spent the rest of my time tasting cheese, learning about it, sampling it and plotting cheeseboard meals to rival those we had at The Water Witch in Lancaster – they don’t appear to do them anymore sadly.

I’m not really a ‘little bit of cheese with a couple of crackers and a grape after dessert’ kind of girl, I’m more about an entire meal centered around cheese. There are no recipes here as such, just my musings and product recommendations on how I like to put together a cheese feast.

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The Cheese

It seems churlish not to start with the star ingredient. The cheese. As I said, I’m picky. In brief, I don’t eat any cheese that isn’t made with cows milk (especially goat’s cheese which I think tastes like licking a barnyard floor – bleugh! but also ewe milk so feta, manchego, etc.), I don’t eat blue cheese (have you ever tried to cut Dolcelatte on a hangover? Try it and you’ll never eat the stuff either) and I’m not crazy keen on very hard cheeses, especially very strong ones. Whilst I love rind ripened soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert, I don’t eat the rind so I have an elaborate ritual of cutting it off as I’m eating it. Maybe one day I’ll grow up and like it but maybe not!

Where to Purchase – Now you can of course go to a fancy cheese deli and purchase a multitude of fancy cheeses in one place but I’m not made of money so for the above pictured board I went to a few different places including M&S and Sainsbury’s to put it together. I’ve tried to make all of my links in this post supermarket orientated so they’re easy for everyone to find but smaller independents should have a lot of these too. The top supermarket trick is however to head to the cheese counter rather than the pre-packaged section. Firstly, you can get smaller chunks of more cheeses – variety is the spice of life after all. Secondly, the same cheese will usually be cheaper at the counter than on the shelf. Double check first tho.

Storage – Before I get down to the nitty gritty, some quick thoughts on storage. Cheese should be stored in the fridge. It shouldn’t however be stored in plastic as it’ll sweat. Ideally on getting home, you’ll unwrap the cheese and wrap it in wax paper or more likely, greaseproof paper then put it in the fridge. A lot of supermarkets, especially M&S do however now pre-wrap their cheese in breathable plastic – the wrapper tends to be baggy rather than clingy and has a matt, slightly waxy texture. Make sure to take the cheese out of the fridge at least 20/30 minutes before serving to come to room temperature – probably slightly longer for a soft cheese like Brie and Camembert.

Presentation – You can of course just stick the blocks of cheese on a board with a couple of knives and be done with it. I have however become a fan of pre-slicing some chunks of harder cheeses, especially if serving a crowd buffet style.  This cuts down on weird cutting practices and folks standing around waiting while one person goes to town. Don’t cut more than you think will be eaten on the first round, more can be cut on an ongoing basis as the board is revisited.  I don’t tend to pre-cut soft cheese but sometimes present it in two smaller halves. I have a friend who is convinced that it is super rude when attacking cheese to cut off the ‘nose’ or as I’d call it; ‘pointy’ bit of the cheese as that is the premium cut (the soft gooey bit in the very middle). This always seems to lead to some very elaborate side cutting and I’ve never fully cleared up at what point ‘the nose’ can in fact be consumed! I work on the basis of ‘you snooze, you lose’. Crack on.

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The Range – I’d recommend picking a cheese from each of the following categories for a very full and well rounded cheese board. A lot of cheeseboard compilers always seem to say…pick one or two great cheeses and keep it simple. Sod that! As far as I’m concerned – its all about the variety – trying something different whilst getting to indulge in some old favourites. And you know what, if you want to serve three different varieties of brie, then do that too.

Soft CheeseBrie, Camembert or even Stinking Bishop. Even better – Waterloo – the buttery god of soft cheeses. You can obviously go with a stinky french Brie De Meaux for authenticity (sometimes these taste a big ‘cabbagey’ to me) or try one of the many English made Bries such as Cornish Organic (the organic one is far superior to the regular one if you can get it). M&S used to do an amazing ‘Brie cheese’ (as its known in my house) but sadly they discontinued it and we shall forever mourn its loss.  Whichever you choose, make sure that there is no chalky core to the cheese and that is it oozy the whole way through. Leave it at room temp to ripen to ooey-gooey stage if needs be.

Medium Hard Cheese – These are your Cheddar, Double Gloucester, Cheshire and Lancashire type cheeses. My preference is a creamy Lancashire (there are a lot of varieties of Lancashire but very few are widely available). Cheshire is rather tangy and quite crumbly, nor my favourite. Folk tend to love a strong cheddar that bites back – look for something farmhouse made or for a strong Lancashire – the ever popular Grandma Singletons.  If you really can’t decide – go for some retro Stripy Jack/5 Counties for ultimate variety.

Smoked Cheese – Something a little different on the palette. The perennial favourite is Applewood but if you’re snobby about it (it is heavily processed and fake smoked) go for something like the Hickory Red Leicester from M&S (no online link). There are many Bavarian style smoked cheeses or Austrian ones in sausage shapes available from the supermarkets too.

Goat Cheese – God only knows why but folk do seem to enjoy a bit of chevre. You’ll see that some sneaked onto the above board to satisfy my housemate’s love of barnyard flavours. There is a whole world of goat’s cheese out there but I have little knowledge about it so I’m not best based to advise!

Blue Cheese – Again not really my cup of tea but I do know there is a massive variety of blue cheese out there. There are the creamy Dolcelatte and Gorgonzolas, brie style blues like Cambozola, harder blues like Shropshire Blue and of course the perennial favourite Stilton. I’d probably choose a style of blue in place of another style unless picking a stilton. Oh and by the way, you can now buy ‘Light Blue Cheese Triangles’. What has the world come too.

Flavoured Cheese – This is something that people can be a bit snobby about but these can sometimes be my favourite cheeses.  Wendsleydale with Cranberries, White Stilton with Apricot and Double Gloucester with Onion and Chive are probably the most ubiquitous. For the above board I tried some Wensleydale with Date and Orange and it was amazing. I’m also a fan of Red Leicester Whirl with Garlic and I’m not above a bit of roule. There is a whole world of flavoured cheeses to try…it’s hard to go to any kind of food market without finding at least one stall full of wax covered truckles with weird flavour cheese – Snowdonia is probably the most prevalent.  Some others that used to be super popular at Booths were Bowland, Sage Derby and White Stilton with Lemon.

The Rest – There are of course a million other options. I can’t make a cheese board without the semi-soft Port Salut – I do prefer the big chunk rather than the small whole cheese. If you can find the real thing on a cheese counter however – jump on it – its a world apart and delicious.  I also like to go for what I’d term a ‘rubbery cheese’ – something like Jarlsberg or Gouda. Or there are a multitude of creamy continental options like Doux de Montagne and a whole mass of harder options like Comte, Gruyere and Manchego (ewes milk). If you’re not sure – go to a cheese counter, ask for a recommendation and try some options before committing. Oh and last but not least, if I have any Graceburn Cheese in, that is definitely going on the board (in a ramekin!)

What to avoid – There are some cheeses that are just not overly suited to a cheese board but that’s not too say you can’t add them if you want to but I wouldn’t bother unless you feel strongly about it. I won’t put a Parmesan/Pecorino on a cheese board – its too strong and too dry  – best saved for grating over pasta in my book. Cream and cottage cheeses including Ricotta and Mascarpone  aren’t really practical. Similarly, Mozzarella, even the super expensive buffalo milk kind and the delicious Burrata isn’t a great cheeseboard option – best kept for savouring on its own or with a little (a lot) parma ham – it’ll be overpowered in this situation. Halloumi (which has a heady combination of goat, ewe and cow milks *boke*) is best grilled for a vegetarian and Feta would just be weird. Whilst I am often a fan of reduced fat cheese for things like Mac’n’Cheese, this is not the time or place. Its usually the texture that is compromised and its not good eating. If you’re having a cheeseboard, you’re not dieting so just don’t bother!


The Meat

Obviously my favourite part!

I like to try and go for a selection of cured meats and sausage. In the case of the below selection, I have included serrano ham, mortadella, milano salami and chunky chorizo. There is also a revelation of a product in Sainsburys called Sobrasada De Mallorca which is basically a soft chorizo which a super porky taste which we loved. Which type of ham and which type of sausage you choose is hugely down to personal preference. I would recommend at least one variety of each however. For a spicy kick and alternative to the Sobrasada, a good n’duja (nuh-jew-ah) would be a delight.

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Where and How to Purchase – In exactly the same way as cheese, cured meats are better procured from the deli counter – Morrisons is my preferred affordable option. The meat in Morrisons is generally the most superior supermarket meat (and all British).  Its best to specify with some serious emphasis that any parma ham/serrano ham/prosciutto is sliced extra thin – “oh but it will fall apart” the assistant will say – clearly having never gnawed on a piece of overly thick ham akin to boot leather.  Insist I tell you!  And also ensure that each slice is separated by a piece of film or you’ll find a giant lump of ham that tears into tiny shreds as you try to pull the slices apart. This isn’t such an issue with the salamis and you can slice them as you prefer – I do again prefer them on the thinner side, mostly to not entirely overpower the cheese. This time I went for a chorizo ring sliced into thick chunks to provide another texture. Obviously an independent neighbourhood deli would be an excellent outlet for this sort of thing but unless for a vary rare treat – my budget does not afford me this luxury.

Presentation – There is something to be said for cheeseboards with fruit and cured meats sexily draped around and about the cheese but the practical reality is that that is a pain to eat. And no good if you have any vegetarian’s coming. So I usually present the meats separately – in this case in a enamel tin with the soft chorizo as a focal point in a glass ramekin. I also like to try and give the flat items a bit of a ‘tszuj’ (this is apparently how you spell the word pronounced something like ‘juyz’ or ‘juj’) by folding the salamis into quarters, pinching the middle point together and then putting them on the plate – they should then fan out a bit. Clearly not necessary but it does increase the visual a bit – the same with draping slices of cured ham – much nicer looking than a flat pack of plastic separated slices!


The Bread

All bread is good. I’m especially a fan of the mass produced sliced white bread much hated by food snobs around the world. Bacon sandwiches any other way are basically a travesty. However, even I have to admit that a cheeseboard situation is a time for something a little more refined. I’m a big fan of a ‘cutty’ granary loaf or roll.

In this case, I decided to try a bit of bread baking. With the exception of my old faithful Sodabread and Garlick Tear’n’Share Loaf, bread is not my forte.

With the delightful help of Catie, my latest new housemate/sous-chef, I whipped up a Focaccia with Infused Oil from Perfect Plates, the latest gorgeous book by Bake off Winner John Whaite. Not my most successful bake ever – the dough is super sticky and is probably best made in a stand mixer as advised in the book! My new vintage Kenwood will be tried and tested with the recipe at some point in the near future.

I also made Dan Lepard‘s Alehouse Rolls from Short and Sweet which were very odd to make! The method starts with boiling oats in a whole bottle of ale then leaving this to macerate  for a while.  The rest of the method involved very little kneading but many stages of brief kneads followed by resting periods. Nothing difficult but I should have started baking them at least one, if not two hours earlier. The result was still pretty damn good and the went down a storm but I thought they needed a little more salt. Another one to definitely try again sometime.


The Condiments

You can get the best cheese, the best meat and the best bread but without some well selected condiments, you may as well not have bothered. Ok a bit harsh maybe, unaccompanied cheese is better than no cheese but still a good condiment can elevate the whole thing to another level.

My absolute mainstay is this Caramelized Red Onion Chutney from M&S. I’m not really a chutney girl – I find them too astringent and overpowering so red onion is the way to go for me. I’ve tried a multitude and settled on the M&S option as my preference. I will make a special trip to M&S for it – much easier now a Foodhall has opened in East Dulwich!

My other new favourite condiment is this Spicy Peach Chutney from Waitrose – delicious. Sadly a Waitrose has yet to open nearby (sort it out people) so I’d run out by this cheeseboard day. Now I have a car, I have frequented a number of Waitroses and I’m once again fully stocked!

Last but not least and a discovery on cheeseboard day itself is this Sticky Fig Chutney from Sainsburys.  No hint of cinnamon as it seems to state and no real hint of the apple that is also apparently in there either but figgy and delicious. And great with cheese.


The Rest

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Mushroom Pâté – Now its not often I choose the vegetarian version of something over the meaty version but pâté is one of them (along with haggis). Waitrose used to do an amazing Mushroom and Arborio Rice Pâté on their counters but they seem to have discontinued this a couple of years ago but I’ve recently discovered Castle MacLellan Oven Roasted Mushroom Pâté which is delicious as heck. I’ve tried a couple of supermarket own brand mushroom pâtés which were considerably cheaper of late and they’ve all gone in the bin. This one is available in a few supermarkets, not just Sainsbos.

Salad – As I mentioned in my intro, I prefer salad with my cheese rather than fruit. I tend to go for a fairly strong leaf such as Wild Rocket or Baby Spinach which will stand up to the other strong flavours.  Don’t go to town with this, a good handful will see through quite a crowd.

Bell Peppers – or ‘capsicums’ as my Aussie housemates insist on calling them despite that having all the equivalent precision of calling lilies, tulips and daisies ‘flowers’ or onions, leeks, garlic and ‘allium’. Anyway. Peppers provide a bit of crunch which is otherwise lacking. You could of course go with something like celery but as I’m convinced that no one actually likes celery, don’t. Also, no one like a bitter green pepper so try and stick with yellow, orange or red varieties.

Red Onions – By the time I’ve done with my red onions, they’re no longer providing any crunch and the biting acidity is toned down but I’d not have a cheeseboard without them. The treatment is the same as with my onion topping on my Carrot, Red Lentil and Satay Meal Soup – basically finely slice 1 small Red Onion and add to a bowl with 1 tsp White Sugar and 1 tsp Lime or Lemon Juice and a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes. Gently mix together to coat the onion and set aside for at least 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Figs – You know how I said no fruit? Well I make an exception for figs (as I am clearly obsessed by the prevalence of them on my blog! Nothing funky required here – just quarter and serve some good ripe figs (if you can get hold of any).  Saying that, a drizzle of honey would be rather delicious….


Final Thoughts

Let me know what you normally do – have I missed anything? Do you think something I do is weird? Any tips?

I’m off to buy some cheese…..

Chicken and Chorizo Mexican ‘Lasagne’

I usually host a London Christmas Dinner before I head home for the Christmas break. We do the full shebang – turkey, all the trimmings, trifle, sherry, after eights, the lot. But I’m going away extra early this year and it seemed a little silly. So I decided to host Thanksgiving. We’re not American, I’m rarely that thankful but it falls at the end of November and was supposed to give me an opportunity to cook something a little different and experiment with some classics usually only seen on sitcoms (marshmallow covered sweet potato & green bean casserole for example). I had the whole menu planned with help from various Americans in my life (thanks Gian and Shana) and the Sainsbury’s delivery booked. The week long preparation plan was loaded into my diary.

And then they went and elected Trump. What utter morons. And within seconds of hearing the news, my desire to celebrate Americana died. So by 10am I’d cancelled Thanksgiving and decided on a Mexican feast instead. Maybe next year I’ll reinstate Turkey Day, we’ll see.

The full menu involved Pork Pilbil, Green Rice, lashings of Guacamole (natch), Mole (mow-lay) Chicken Wings, Mushroom Quesadillas, Prawn Fajitas and this, a layered tortilla affair in the same vein as a lasagne. I’ve made variations of this a few times – you can vary the layers with what you have meat and veg wise – I’ve gone for a fairly classic chorizo and chicken version here.  Some sort of cheese or at least a white sauce is essential for moisture. I’ve not included coriander as there is some aversion in my group but it would be liberally included in every layer otherwise.

You can assemble the elements in any order that you please but it is best to start the actual assembly with everything ready to go. I’ve totally forgotten an element before and kicked myself later!

Apologies, I have no photo of the finished cooked dish – we ate it too fast!

Serves 4/6 as a Main Course or 8/10 as part of a larger feast.

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Ingredients:

For the Chicken:
6 Large Chicken Thighs (bone in and skin on)
Sea Salt Flakes
1tbsp Mole Sauce

For the Cheese Sauce:
30g Butter
2 tbsp Plain Flour
350ml Semi Skimmed Milk
190g Mexicana Cheese
Sea Salt Flakes

For the Garlic Mushrooms:
400g Mushrooms
1 tsp Garlic Paste
Sea Salt Flakes
Frylight Spray

For the Veg Layer:
2 Medium Onions
250g Frozen Sliced Mixed Peppers
Sea Salt Flakes
Frylight Spray

The Rest:

30 Slices Chorizo
100g Frozen Sweetcorn
6 Flour Tortillas


I started by roasting the chicken thighs the evening before I assembled the dish.

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Leaving the skin on and bone in, sprinkle on Sea Salt Flakes and roast 6 Large Chicken Thighs at 180c for around 45 minutes until cooked through and golden but still juicy.

Leave to cool thoroughly before removing the skins and tearing the flesh from the bones. Discard the bones and skin. (Who am I kidding, I ate the skin!)

Mix 1tbsp Mole Sauce through the shredded flesh.

Tip – If you can’t procure the mole sauce, mix through some fajita spice mix and a little vegetable oil to make it a thick paste or some sort of similar Mexican/south American spice mix/paste.

Set the chicken aside ready for assembly.

Next I made the Mexican cheese sauce.

Melt 30g Butter in a pan over a medium heat and add 2 tbsp Plain Flour. Stir over the heat and thoroughly combine. A thick paste will form.

Make sure there are no lumps before you start to add 350ml Semi Skimmed Milk a little at a time until a rich and creamy sauce has formed.

Crumble 140g Mexicana Cheese into the sauce and stir over the heat until its melted and totally combined.

Taste and season with Sea Salt Flakes if needed.

Set the cheese sauce aside ready for assembly.

To make the garlic mushrooms, chop 400g Mushrooms into thick slices and fry over a high heat with a few sprays of Frylight and a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes.

Once the mushrooms are browned and any moisture has evaporated off, stir in 1 tsp Garlic Paste and fry for 1 minute to cook it though and combine. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

Set the mushrooms aside ready for assembly.

Roughly slice 2 Medium Onions with a few sprays of Frylight and a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes and fry over a medium heat until softened.  Add 250g Frozen Sliced Mixed Peppers and fry until the peppers have defrosted and coloured a little.

Set the veg aside until ready for assembly.

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Time to assemble! I used my pie dish which is a little bigger than a regular tortilla at its base and I lined it with a disposable liner for easy clean-up.

Tip – Try to keep everything vaguely even and make sure to spread each layer of filling to the edges of the dish or you’ll end up with a mound in the middle of the dish.

Assemble in layers as follows:

Tortilla
15 Chorizo Slices

1/3 Cheese Sauce
Tortilla
Garlic Mushrooms
1/2 Shredded Chicken

Tortilla
1/3 Cheese Sauce
Veg (Peppers and Onions)
Tortilla

Tip – You have 6 Flour tortillas but only 5 layers of tortilla. As the pie dish gets higher, the surface area increases. The tortilla needed to cover the whole area increases. Look at my pictures carefully – Layers 4 and 5 are cut to space them out and I use the 6th tortilla to fill in the spaces.

1/2 Shredded Chicken
100g Frozen Sweetcorn
Tortilla
15 Chorizo Slices
1/3 Cheese Sauce
40g Mexicana Cheese – torn into small chunks (or freeze it and grate it)

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I wrapped this in cling film and froze it for a couple of days then took it out of the oven the night before serving and reheated in the oven for about 45 minutes. There is nothing to cook other than to brown the top and reheat everything so you can cook at about 180c or you could even microwave the whole thing for 7 or so minutes then just put it under the grill for a few minutes to brown the top.

 

Cauliflower Cous Cous, Chicken and Red Pepper Salad

I’m not really a food fad follower but I like cauliflower and when trying to reduce calories, an option for a filling alternative to rice or cous cous seemed like an idea that I’d quite like to try. I’ve not gone as far as trying cauliflower crust pizzas etc but I did enjoy this although I think its fairer to refer to it as a cous cous substitute rather than rice due to the texture.

You could equally have this hot or cold – it’d be great as a picnic dish.

Serves 2 – 344 Kcal

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Ingredients:

2 Small Chicken Breasts
1 head of Cauliflower
4 Spring Onions
1 Red Bell Pepper
30g Fresh Coriander (Or Parsley)
1 tsp Garlic Paste
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
3 tbsp Very Low Fat Natural Yoghurt
Sea Salt Flakes
Frylight Spray


Pop the kettle on to boil – ready to poach the chicken.

Blitz 1 head of Cauliflower using a food processor after having removed the leaves and roughly cut it up. You can include a fair amount of the stalk in this dish.  Blitz until the texture resembles cous cous.

Tip – If you have no processor, you can apparently grate the cauliflower although I haven’t tried this. Mind your fingers!

Fill a medium saucepan with the now boiled water and add 2 Small Chicken Breasts.

Tip – You can butterfly or cut the chicken breasts into chunks or strips for faster cooking.

Tip the cauliflower into a large frying pan on a medium heat along with 10 sprays of Frylight. Keep checking the rice isn’t catching by pushing it around the pan every couple of minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Tip – If you are concerned that the cauliflower is catching on the pan, add a couple of tbsp water but be careful to not make it too wet.

Meanwhile, cut 4 Spring Onions into small rounds, 1 Red Bell Pepper into strips and 30g of Fresh Coriander (Or Parsley) roughly.

Taste the cauliflower to see if it is cooked through yet and when ready, add 1 tsp Garlic Paste, 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika and 1tbsp Lemon Juice and stir fry for another minute or two until the garlic is cooked through.

Check that the chicken is cooked through. Leave to drain on a couple of pieces of kitchen towel and then cut into bite size pieces.

Combine all of the elements in a bowl with 3 tbsp Very Low Fat Natural Yoghurt and mix together.

Season with Sea Salt Flakes to taste and serve.