A healthy make-your-own chinese takeaway

Both Lau and I are huge fans of Chinese food, but sadly we can’t seem to find a decent one that will deliver in London. We keep trying new delivery places in the hopes that we’ll find the one, but so far no luck. So when I stumbled across a healthy version of a sticky ginger chicken dish in my well-loved Fay’s Family Food cookbook I knew I’d need to give it a whirl. And the result? The most simple and delicious, relatively healthy (compared to a takeaway anyway) chicken dish I’ve ever made. I loved it so much that I think it’ll become a speciality for me. So if you fancy a scrumptious Chinese meal, follow this recipe!

3tbsp of diced ginger in syrup
3 tbsp of runny honey
3 tbsp of light soy sauce
8 skinless chicken thighs
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 limes – the zest of both and the juice of one
1 head of broccoli
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds (we used dried coriander as that’s all we had)

All you do is pop the chicken in an over proof shallow dish and marinade in the ginger, honey, soy sauce, garlic and lime and leave for a few hours in the fridge.

Then once you’re ready to eat just pop it in the oven on 210°C for 30-40 minutes until the chicken’s cooked.

It’s best served with rice and the best broccoli I’ve ever eaten:
Pop the florets of broccoli in an oven-proof dish, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with coriander, mix it up and pop in the oven for 20 minutes at 210oC. I honestly can’t tell you how scrumptious this brocolli was!

I guarantee you’ll love this meal and want to cook it all the time rather than ordering a takeaway! If you make it let us know what you think of it!

– Fi x

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The perfect flapjack

Greetings chums and how are you this fine day? Before I launch into the actual how to of this recipe I should probably let you in on a little secret…I’ve never made flapjacks before (despite the fact I adore it and think that it’s legitimately allowed as a breakfast food – it’s the oats). ‘Why?’ I hear you cry? Well I’m ridiculously worried I’ll suck at it. The consistency of a flapjack is so vitally important that I fear I’ll never be able to achieve the perfect chewy yet soft consistency that I favour. And I’d be devastated (and not to mention severely pissed off) if I spent all that time making them only to realise as I took that first bite that they actually tasted a bit shit really. So with that concern in mind I’ve always stayed clear of them. Recently I made flapjacks for the first time ever so I thought I’d share the brilliant recipe with you!

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They were piping hot but I still nibbled at them!

At the weekend I had a massive flapjack craving and thankfully the ingredients were in the cupboard so I thought I’d give it a whirl…and they were magnificent! Just the perfect consistency, thank goodness. They were chewy and soft and golden and just delicious. There’s a chance I might have eaten five in one go…they were that good it would have been rude not to! The recipe’s below in case you fancy giving them a whirl – you won’t regret it I promise! Flapjacks rule!

IMG_3174A half eaten flapjack

The all important ingredients:

  • 350g butter
  • 1tbsp/15ml golden syrup
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 450g jumbo oats

And the super-simple recipe:

  • Melt the butter
  • Add the sugar and golden syrup and bring the mixture to the boil
  • Remove from the heat and add the oats. Stir together well
  • Pour into a lined baking tray and spread out evenly
  • Bake for 25 minutes on 180oC (until the top turns golden)
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 minute before cutting into squares
  • Then leave the flapjacks in the pan for another 15 minutes before separating them and moving them to a wire rack to cool
  • Eat and eat and eat until they’re all gone – hooray!

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Ready and waiting to be eaten!

Have you ever made flapjacks and were you successful with the consistency?

– Fi x

This recipe was originally posted on The Adventures of Fi.

Franco Manca

By now I’m sure everyone knows that I love pizza – and if you don’t then where have you been? I swear I must have some italian blood in me from somewhere. Pizza is all kinds of awesome. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this, I can’t be can I? I mean there’s something so right about the perfectly soft yet crispy dough smothered in tomato sauce, sprinkled in cheese and piled with toppings, don’t you think?

So yes, I love pizza, which is why it surprised me when I discovered a pizza place nearby that I haven’t been to. I know it totally shocked me too. But it’s true. I was in Balham with Fi to meet a friend for lunch and said friend suggested we go to Franco Manca for pizza. When someone tells you it’s the best pizza they’ve ever had? Well obviously you jump at the chance to eat there. So it turns out that this friend of mine, she knows good pizza. Yippee for me as it was so so good.

The menu at Franco Manca is very small with six pizzas and two salads, plus daily specials. But you can customise your pizzas with extra toppings as you wish. I like this though as it meant I didn’t have too much to choose from, too much choice is always an issue for me. I ended up going for number 6, the tomato, cured organic chorizo (dry & semi-cured) and mozzarella. My two lunch companions chose number 4, a ham and  mushroom pizza. The service was super fast and our pizzas arriving within 10 minutes. Now I know pizza cooks quickly but this seemed amazing to me, especially as I was sitting next to the kitchen so I literally watched them make and then bake my pizza. So the pizzas arrived and they were so so good. Like mouth watering and delicious and so moorish. I didn’t want to stop eating! Plus they look pretty scrummy too.

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So if you are ever in London and happen to see any of these places then go in and start eating straight away.

Now if you after reading this you really want pizza, take a look at this homemade pizza post.

Lau xxx

Cook, Bake and Eat do Ready Steady Cook #6

So we’ve been a bit rubbish haven’t we? It’s been almost four months and we haven’t shared any Ready Steady Cook shenanigans with you – oops! Please forgive us. We can’t really say anything other than things have been busy and we’ve just been rescheduling challenge #6 again and again. We promise to do better from now on though – and do yell at us if we fail in that respect. You have our permission! Anyway we are now back with a bang and a truly scrumptious recipe, enjoy!
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The ingredients that Lau chose were: beef mince, parmesan, kidney beans in a chilli sauce (a mistake buy it has to be said), bread and sweet potatoes. Quite a good mix of ingredients if you ask me and I honestly couldn’t wait to get creating a delicious dish. After much deliberation I finally decided on a meatball bake which it turns out is delicious and easy to make. My two favourite things in a recipe!
So how do you make it I hear you ask, well here goes. First off you will need the following:
  • 450g beef mince
  • 2slices of bread
  • 2eggs
  • 1giant sweet potato
  • 1tin of kidney beans in chilli
  • half a jar of passatta (200g)
  • 20g grated parmesan cheese
  1. Pulverise two pieces of bread into breadcrumbs then combine them in a large bowl with 450g of mince and two eggs.
  2. Leave them in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours so the mixture is easy to work with, then form them into meatballs. In terms of size you should aim for about twenty small ones – think Ikea meatball sized!
  3. Pop the meatballs in the bottom of your casserole dish and bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 180 until they are almost cooked all the way through.
  4. Meanwhile peel and slice your sweet potato into slices about 2cm thick.
  5. Add them to a pan of boiling water and bring to the boil.
  6. Once the water’s boiling cook them for another ten minutes or so until a fork goes in easily.
  7. Drain the potatoes and slice each thick slice into two or three thinner slices.
  8. Next mix your tin of kidney beans with 200g of pasatta.
  9. Once your meatballs come out of the oven pour the tomato and bean mixture over the top of them so it’s spread evenly.
  10. Layer the sweet potatoes on top and then sprinkle with 20g of grated parmesan cheese
  11. Return the dish to the oven and cook for half an hour until the dish is piping hot.
  12. Eat and enjoy!

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I honestly was so pleased with how this turned out – it really was so scrumptious and it makes a change from using mince for spag bol, chilli or lasagna. Plus it’s perfect for rainy, dark and depressing days – so why not give it a try. We’d love to know how it goes down in your house!
– Fi xxx

Cheese Straws

I made cheese straws at the weekend. I think the last time I made these was during a food technology lesson at school. I think I was probably about 11 at the time. Anyway I had definitely forgotten how easy these are to make and also how good they tasted. Like seriously good. All crumbly pastry and strong cheddar. Nom nom nom!

As I’ve already mentioned these are super easy to make. You’ll need just 2 ingredients, ready made puff pastry and cheese – I used cheddar as it’s my favourite! Yes that’s it.

The first thing to do is to grab your pastry and cover it in half of the grated cheese. I used half a sheet of pastry and grated about a third of a block of cheese. Now fold the pastry in half and roll out the cheese pastry to the thickness of a pound coin.

The next thing to do is to cut the pastry into strips about 1cm wide. 

Now twist them and place them onto a baking tray and sprinkle them with the rest of the cheese.

Bake in the oven at 220C for 12 minutes.

Now that I’ve rediscovered the wonderfulness that is the humble cheese straw I think they will be making quite a regular appearance in my kitchen (and my tummy)! What about you all, any pastry favourites? Also if you fancy some other delicious pastry things then checkout our pastry pinwheels post.

Happy baking, Lau

A super-duper soup pie

So yes many of you might be thinking I’ve lost the plot judging by the title of this post, a soup pie, I hear you cry! But I promise you I haven’t and what I’m about to share with you will undoubtedly become one of your staple meals – just for the simple fact that it’s just so darn easy and tasty. I may have mentioned in the past that one of my all-time favourite meals is my Dad’s chicken and ham pie. It’s one of those meals where seconds are mandatory and where my sisters and I fight over who gets to carry the bowl over to the sink to be washed up as it gives us precious seconds to scoop left over sauce out the dish (or perhaps that’s just me…). However one thing stops me from making the pie often and that’s that I can never really be bothered with making a white sauce. Yeah I know lazy indeed!

Anyway this problem is solved by the genius that is a tin of Heinz condensed mushroom soup. You fling this into the pie dish with your other ingredients – pre-cooked chicken, ham, fried mushrooms and leeks and stir it up and gently place your pastry on top and you’re done. The world’s easiest pie – what’s not to love?

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I’d heard the waffling about soup being used as a sauce in the past but I’d never thought to give it a whirl, and now that I have it has revolutionised my life. Now I can’t stop thinking of what else I can use soups for – perhaps a tomato one for a cheats lasagna or a fajita sauce. And maybe I’ll even try a chicken soup as a pie filling in the future, that’s got to work too right?! What about you have you ever used a magic soup as your sauce and if so I need details please!

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Happy pie making! Fi xx

Granola

So confession time. I have a tendency to get into a bit of a rut when it comes to breakfasts and I become obsessed with one breakfast for weeks at a time. It usually revolves between Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, Sainsbury’s Oat and Raisin Granola or a Porridge pot with sultanas and banana. It gets so bad that sometimes I have to remind myself that other breakfast foods exist other than my current item of choice as otherwise I’ll be eating the same breakfast for two or three months at a time!

Recently I realised I was in a granola rut, yet I didn’t want to pull myself out of said rut completely, I just wanted to change the type of granola I was eating. Namely I wanted to make my own. Now I’ve made granola in the past (read about that here) and it’s really easy, so lord knows why I stopped making it but having decided to mix things up I stumbled across this recipe for peanut butter granola. My first thought on this? Oh my. I mean wow I love peanut butter but would never have considered it for a granola recipe. But as soon as I heard of it I was sold!

Having tried the recipe I have to say it’s the granola recipe to beat all the granola recipes ever. It’s so easy, so cheap and so delicious that I defy you not to love it! The combination of nuts and oats is just ingenious and it reminds me of oat and fruit cookies, you know those really brilliant ones that you used to get in Starbucks in the US. Simply amazing.

Do try it and may I suggest you add sultanas to the trays about half way through cooking as they really do add something amazing to the recipe. Then the only thing you have to work out is what to eat it with… My current favourite is simply with milk but natural yoghurt and raspberries is a close second! Enjoy.

– Fi xxx