Thai grapefruit salad

I love spicy full-of-flavour salads eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves, from my favourite laarb to a a recent recipe for Thai coconut peanut prawn lettuce wraps.

And this recipe has that same coconut and peanut combination but is really fresh and light and tangy …. it’s a beautiful summery dish.

I saw it on my instagram friend Gena’s feed back in June, made it pretty much instantly but then totally forgot to post it!

So I hope you see this and have a chance to make it before the end of the summer.

I think next time I’ll make it I’ll use little gem lettuce ‘cups’ with the grapefruit salad already spooned in, but for this one I used bigger lettuce leaves to tear off and wrap around the salad.

I chose this pink grapefruit as I like the sweetness of pink grapefruit and of course for how pretty it is! Plus red and pink grapefruit contain more antioxidents than yellow.

This is a great anti-aging dish as everything is fresh and nothing cooked, so you get all the hydrating benefits possible.


To make a lovely starter for perhaps four, or a light lunch for two, you’ll need:

1 large grapefruit, torn into small chunks

2-3 dessert spoons of dessiccated coconut

2 -3 dessert spoons of peanuts (I used salted ones as that was what was in the shop), crushed or chopped very small

1 small red onion, or half a larger one, sliced very finely

1 handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

1/2 tablespoon demerara sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce (or a light soy sauce to make this vegetarian)

the juice of 1/2 - 1 (depending on how juicy it is and how you like it!)

2 red bird eye chillies

lettuce leaves, to serve


I like to toast the coconut and peanuts, but you can add them just as they are too - that’s how it was in the original recipe.

To toast, put a non-stick pan over a medium heat, add the coconut and chopped peanuts and toast until a light brown. Stir constantly and watch it closely - it’ll be the one second you look away that it suddenly burns!

Remove from the heat and set aside.

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Make the dressing by pounding the chillies in the mortar with the pestle into small pieces, almost into a paste, then add the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice.

Mix together and taste to see if you need more sugar, fish sauce or lime juice so it’s perfect for you - and bear in mind the sweetness or tartness of your grapefruit too.

Tip the dressing into a larger bowl and add all the other ingredients, adding any juice that’s come out of the grapefruit too, and mix to combine.

Serve with the lettuce to make little bite-sized wraps of salad.

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Delhi-style green beans with ginger + green chilli (and noodles)

I’ve been getting so inspired this weekend reading Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Easy Vegetarian and really wanted to try these green beans.

It’s a side dish really but I couldn’t wait to make it as part of a bigger meal, so cooked it this morning and had with noodles for brunch … and loved it.

I think it works perfectly on it’s own like this with noodles or with rice and it’s really simple too.

I adapted slightly (eg I didn’t have any asofoetida and I was making a much smaller quantity) so if you’re just making a portion for you to have with noodles too, here’s how I made mine.

You’ll need

most of the beans from a packet (mine was 220g and I had all but a few that I want for a salad later

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1-2 green chilies, finely chopped

2 teaspoons or so of freshly peeled and grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

a tablespoon or two of water

Put a pan of water on to boil whilst you top and tail the beans and cut into smaller pieces. I actually didn’t top and tail mine but just topped because I like how the little curly tails look!

When the water’s boiling drop in the beans and boil rapidly for five minutes, then strain and set aside.

Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil, swirl to cover the pan.

When it’s hot, drop in the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds.

Take the pan off the heat and add the chillies and ginger - this will sizzle! Stir a few times then add the beans, salt, coriander and water.

Rachel Redlaw Delhi-style green beans with ginger + green chilli

Put back on the heat and turn it down low. Cook the beans very gently for another five minutes, stirring now and then.

While the beans were cooking gently I made my noodles and then just stirred them in when the beans were done.

So simple and so good.




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Peppery garlic asparagus stir fry

Yep, it’s asparagus season!

And after a visit to the local Farmers’ Market I had enough asparagus to just get creative with - which is really what I love to do with food: get great ingredients and then just have fun, playing around and trying out new ideas.

First I made a Thai soup with coconut milk, a tom kha - I’ve usually had this with chicken or seafood, but I made it with asparagus and really liked it.

Next up this peppery, garlic stir fry.

In my head I’d wanted fresh green peppercorns but I was definitely too lazy to go out and get the bus up to the Thai supermarket to buy some, so I tried a mix of black, and pink peppercorns (that I had whole and ground) and some white pepper (ready ground).

I’ve since made it again with just white pepper to see what it was like, and it was still good.

Quantities are kind of vague (as they often are!) but here’s what I used to make this super simple peppery asparagus stir fry.


A teaspoon of cooking oil - sunflower, rapeseed or grapeseed will be best

Just over a teaspoon of ground peppercorns - your choice as to what you use but on the first occasion I used a mix of black, pink and white and on the second just white pepper on its own

1 garlic clove, minced

1 red chilli, diced finely (the chilli is optional and when I made this a second time I didn’t put one in and probably preferred it without - instead I had the asparagus as a side dish with a spicy chicken stir fry and rice)

A handful of asparagus spears - I LOVE how when you bed the asparagus it just KNOWS where the right place is to snap off - woody stalk snapped off and sliced

2-3 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Fresh coriander leaves, chopped (if liked - if not just leave out)


Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil and swirl to cover the pan.

Add the pepper and garlic (and chilli if using) and cook for 20-30 seconds, stirring all the time, until it smells good. Add a splash of water if it looks like it’s going to stick or burn - it needs to keep moving.

Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus
Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus

Then tip in the sliced asparagus and stir to cover with the lovely oily peppery garlicky mixture and then add the water, fish sauce and sugar.

Do adjust the amount of water if you’d like more of a sauce or if at any point in the cooking time it looks like it’s run out of water and is going to stick.

Cover and simmer for about four minutes until the asparagus is cooked but still has a crunch - or to your liking of course. If you prefer it softer, cook it a little longer.

Add the coriander leaves if using and stir to mix it all together.

Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus
Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus

Serve on its own with rice for a delicious light lunch or supper, or have alongside other dishes in a multi-dish meal.

Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus
Rachel Redlaw peppery garlic asparagus


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Tom kha - Thai coconut soup with asparagus

It’s asparagus season so get ready for a GLUT (ok maybe two or three) asparagus recipes from me… starting with this lovely coconut soup.

This is enough for one, or for two if you’re making it as part of a multi-dish meal.

If you’re serving this with rice, make the rice first and leave it to keep warm and fluffy while you make the soup.

Take a good handful of asparagus spears and snap the woody ends off.

I love that you can’t really judge where the right point would be to cut them off but instead just bend them back and where they naturally want to snap is of course is the exact right place for them to snap (I feel there’s a life lesson in here somewhere too).

Slice the asparagus spears into smaller lengths and put into a bowl with about a quarter of a white onion and a few mushrooms, washed and chopped.

So far, our ingredients have been:

8 or so asparagus stalks

1/4 white onion

3-4 mushrooms

And we’ll also need:

1 red birds eye chilli, diced

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into slices

1 stalk of lemongrass, outer woody layers removed, the bottom and top inch or so cut off and then sliced into rounds

a few kaffir lime leaves, torn from the stalk and then torn again into smaller pieces

half a tin of coconut cream plus half a tin of water (or use coconut milk)

four cherry tomatoes, halved (or a couple of larger tomatoes, cut into chunks)

a pinch of sugar

a dash of fish sauce

a handful of coriander leaves, chopped

half a lime

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Get the chilli, ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves together so it’s ready to add to the soup and then put the coconut cream and water into a pan and gently bring to a simmer.

I think it’s good to be gentle with the coconut milk mixture so let it breathe and take its time.

When it’s just about simmering, add the aromatics (the chilli, ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves), stir and again just wait until it comes back to that almost-simmer.

Then tip in the vegetables, stir and bring to a proper gentle simmer - and cook for five minutes.

Add the tomatoes, sugar and fish sauce and stir and cook on a gentle simmer for another five minutes.

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Taste and check if you want to add any more sugar or fish sauce and if it tastes good add the fresh coriander and squeeze in the juice of half a lime, stir and simmer for another minute.

Ladle into a bowl and serve with some rice.

I’ll leave you with a question …

Do you add your soup to the rice or the rice to your soup?!

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Thai coconut peanut prawn lettuce wraps

Perfect to hand round with drinks, or as a light lunch or even as a starter, these little prawn lettuce wraps are really simple but delicious.

I like cooking my prawns to have them slightly warm in the wrap, but you can always buy ready cooked of course if you prefer.

Quantities are kind of up to you and a bit play-it-by-ear, but to make one plate of these I used:

1 little gem lettuce, stalk removed and a couple of outer leaves removed too that didn’t look very good

2-3 dessert spoons of dessiccated coconut

2 -3 dessert spoons of peanuts (I used salted ones as that was what was in the shop), chopped into small pieces

1 small clove of garlic, peeled and finely minced

a small-ish piece of ginger, enough to peel and grate a teaspoon or so

1/2 teaspoon (more or less of course to your own taste) of dried chilli flakes

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 spring onion, chopped finely

chopped fresh coriander leaves

some raw prawns, defrotsted if frozen - I think I used 12 or so

2 teaspoons fish sauce

the juice of 1/2-1 lime (and another lime to serve)


First get all the ingredients out and prepared so it’s all ready to go and put the lettuce leaves onto the serving plate.

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Put a non-stick pan over a medium heat, add the coconut and toast until a light brown. Stir constantly and watch it closely - it’ll be the one second you look away that it suddenly burns!

Remove from the heat and set aside.

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Into a bowl put about 2/3 of the chopped peanuts and set aside the remainder to add later.

Next into the bowl goes the garlic, ginger, dried chilli flakes, sugar, spring onion and most of the coriander leaves, again keeping some back to add later.

Stir and put the bowl aside for now while you cook the prawns.

Cook the prawns in a non-stick frying pan with just a few sprays of cooking oil and a little splash of water until they turn from grey to pink and are just cooked through (about 2-3 minutes).

Remove the prawns from the pan and allow to cool just a little, then chop into small pieces.

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Add the prawns to the bowl, plus the fish sauce and lime juice, and now add most of the toasted coconut too, but leave a little back to garnish.

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Stir it all together and check how it tastes - does it need anything else? A little more chilli, lime or fish sauce perhaps?

If not and you’re happy with it, spoon the prawn mixture into the lettuce leaves.

Garnish with the reserved coconut, peanuts and coriander, and add a few lime wedges to the plate in case anyone wants to squeeze more over.

I really hope you try and like this one - it’s going to be my summer party / suppers go-to I think!



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Savoury mince + oats

Oats are so , so good for us.

But I’d never liked them because of porridge being all gluey and / or sweet … so I didn’t eat them.

Until I experimented a few weeks’ ago with savoury oats and I’m now pretty addicted!

First I made a kind of Thai-inspired vegetable congee-type-thing - delicious - and then a South Indian-inspired kinda curried oats thing - also delicious, and now they’re my current favourite weekend brunch dish.

And today I had a piece of beef mince that needed using up, about 100g, so I thought I’d add it to a savoury mince - and it was ALSO delicious.

I mean it’s not going to win presentation awards but it’s a quick and easy, really somehow comforting dish for when you just want to curl up indoors and stay tucked away from EVERYTHING!


This is definitely not a strict recipe, more an idea to use as a starting point to experiment with. Leave out anything you don’t like, add anything you like and think will work.

I started with a non-stick pan, a few sprays of oil, some garlic and chilli and then after a few seconds added the mince and cooked, stirring, to brown - add a splash of water if needed to stop it sticking.

Add some chopped vegetables of your choice.

Crumble in a piece (perhaps 1/4 - 1/3) a stock cube (I use chicken Knorr) and add a little water and then stir and cook for a few minutes until softened - I put a lid on to keep all the nutrients in when it steams although I have a say a saucepan might have been a better option.

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Add some more water, a dash of light soy sauce, one of fish sauce, a tiny pinch of sugar and a couple of dessert-spoonfuls of oats and cook, stirring all the time, at a simmer until the oats are cooked and it’s all a lovely kind of savoury spicy porridge!

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Avocado salad

A couple of weekends ago, when I was last in Cornwall, we visited this beautiful National Trust house and gardens, Trerice. It was one of those ones that’s small enough and so completely gorgeous that always makes me think, ‘I could live here!’.

And within the outbuildings of the house there was not only a very good cafe but also a second-hand bookshop - where I bought this book for 50p.

I mean, South-east Asian salads?! I cannot have enough of them!

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And one of the recipes in the book was for this Malaysia avocado salad that I’m making today - with a few little changes, as always, to make it exactly as I’m going to love it.

It’s so so good!

I’ll definitely be making this again (and again).

For a delicious light lunch for one, or as a side for two (I’m going to be having this with steak or grilled chicken soon), you’ll need:

1 nice ripe avocado

half a lime

3 dessert spoons or so of cottage cheese

1 dessert spoon or so of natural yogurt

1 very small - or half - a garlic clove, minced

1 green chilli, diced finely

some chopped chives - of, if you don’t have any but do have coriander leaves, use those (as I did)

1 spring onion, diced finely

some smoked paprika, chopped fresh mint leaves, and chopped lettuce - to serve


Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone, and dice the flesh. Set aside and squeeze some lime juice into the halves.

Put all the remaining ingredients (except for the garnishes) into a bowl and mix thoroughly and add a little salt and pepper to taste, plus another squeeze of lime juice, and then fold in the avocado cubes.

Put this bowl into the fridge for 10-15 minutes to chill.

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When you’re ready to make the final dish, add some of the chopped lettuce into the avocado shells, then fill with the chilled mixture.

Add the rest of the lettuce to your serving dish, and top with the filled avocado shells.

Finish with a little salt and pepper if liked, and a powdering of smoked paprika plus a little chopped fresh mint … and eat!

This is just so fresh and easy and light and delicious, I’ll definitely be having it again soon.

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Rachel Redlaw avocado salad

I made it again the other day and instead of scooping it all into the shells, I just put the shredded lettuce on a plate and all the yummy avocado mixture on top!

It might not look that appetising, but it tasted amazing :)



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Spring rack of lamb traybake

The clocks have gone forward, the evenings are immediately lighter and it’s officially SUMMERTIME!

Well,ok, it’s still Spring really, being the last day of March and the streets are lined with blossom-heavy trees shedding pink and white snowflakes of petals in the breeze.

I bought a little rack of lamb from the butcher yesterday so it feels perfect time to cook it.

But … how? Now that is the question.

I unashamedly ADORE rack of lamb, and if I had to one day choose a last supper it’s always going to be on the list (yes there’s a list, and I don’t know how I’d ever choose). Rack of lamb, cooked pink in the middle, with dauphinoise potatoes and a green salad with a mustardy French dressing - definitely on my last supper list.

But I don’t really feel like potatoes, i want something light and Spring-like … so I was kind of thinking Moroccan flavours perhaps, or Middle Eastern, or just a good classic Mediterranean vibe.

Since I didn’t really have any of the ingredients to make it clearly one thing or the other, it just turned into a very lovely round-the-world-in-one-tray-bake rack of lamb.

And very good it was too.

So basically, this isn’t really a recipe as such, just hopefully a Spring-board (ha! pun!) for you to add vegetables to a dish, then a rack of lamb and cook it all together until it’s delicious.

Do not skimp on the garlic cloves though, whatever you do - squishing out that gorgeous soft roasted garlic and spreading it onto the lamb should not be missed.

For what it’s worth, here’s how I made mine for two people.

Preheat the oven to 180 ish / Gas 7 ish (I’m a little vague on temperatures as I have gas and it’s immediately at the right temperature - I just checked and gas 7 is apparently 200 but that sounds a bit high to me, so I’ve suggested 180).

I asked my butcher to cut me a little rack of lamb with four cutlets/chops and he also scored the fat - you’ll need to do that with a sharp knife if yours didn’t come with it already scored - and I seasoned the lamb with a little salt and pepper

I added a little oil to a non-stick frying pan and sealed the meat quickly on the back before turning over and cooking it skin-side down for two or three minutes and the fat was slightly browned.

Into a baking tray / dish I put:

1 courgette, washed and sliced

several cherry tomatoes

some sliced red and yellow peppers

four cloves of garlic (unpeeled, just pop them in whole)

half a red chilli, diced

a couple of spring onions, chopped

some chopped fresh mint leaves (I’d kind of wanted fresh basil initially but didn’t have any)

a twist each of salt and pepper, and a little dusting of some ground cumin

a few sprays of cooking oil

Toss it all together to mix, then arrange the lamb skin-side up on top and pop it all into the over.

Oh and a little grated lime zest on the lamb!

Check it after half an hour and see how it’s doing and if you want the lamb done more - I actually cut my lamb in half at this stage and decided to give it another ten minutes or so.

I also threw in some black olives and a handful of chopped coriander leaves (yup, told you the flavours were all over the place on this one!).

And … it was delicious …

I’m not sure you can really go wrong with roasted vegetables and rack of lamb, no matter what mixture of herbs you might throw in!

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YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE …

Fried egg spicy salad

Easiest little lunch, just a couple of eggs and salad made that bit more special with a hot and sour dressing.

For one person, you’ll need:

Some lettuce, shredded - I had Little Gem

A tomato, hard core removed then diced

Some thin slices of red onion

The juice of one juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1-2 birds eye chillies (depending on size of chillies and your preference)

cooking oil

2 eggs

Make the salad by combing the lettuce, tomato and red onion in a bowl.

Mix the dressing ingredients (lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chilli) together in another little bowl and set aside.

Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil and then crack in two eggs.

Fry the eggs, once to cook the yolks through (I didn’t quite manage this and my yolks are still a little runny - for this dish they’re better cooked through).

Take the eggs out of the pan when cooked and allow to cool.

Cut the eggs into squares or small pieces then add to the salad.

Top with the dressing and toss carefully to combine.

Rachel Redlaw fried egg spicy salad
Rachel Redlaw fried egg spicy salad

And that’s it!

Super simple,nutritious, easy, tasty little lunch for one …. done!



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Mango + pineapple red Thai curry

I’ve always had a bit of a thing about not liking fruit in my food … but over the last year or so I’ve been slowly changing my mind.

Last summer, I made - many times - what’s now one of my favourite salads, chicken with watermelon and sweet chilli sauce. It’s so good!

And then I’ve been just experimenting more and more - and now this red curry with chicken, mango and pineapple is another favourite.

It’s so easy to make too, and just feels really special, so a great one to make when you’ve friends round - as I did on Friday for six of us at our book club!

Anything that’s made in one pot is good with me, really.

So, for two, you’ll need:

cooked rice - cook and then leave with a lid on to keep warm so it’s ready to go

a little coconut oil or vegetable oil

a good red curry paste - I get mine from my local Thai supermarket

one chicken breast, cut into small pieces

a tin of coconut milk (I always use the full-fat one, I don’t think the ‘light’ versions work as well)

one big slice of pineapple, core removed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4-1/2 mango, depending on size peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

some vegetables - I had mushrooms, peppers, carrot and cherry tomatoes, all cut into small pieces

fish sauce

two spring onions, chopped, and a handful for baby spinach leaves if liked and you have it

Thai sweet basil or chopped fresh coriander leaves if you can’t get the basil

1/2 lime

Rachel Redlaw mango + pineapple red Thai curry
Rachel Redlaw mango + pineapple red Thai curry

Get everything prepared and ready to go, then put a saucepan on a medium heat and add the oil.

Add a tablespoon or walnut-sized amount of red curry paste and stir into the oil for a few seconds until you can just start to smell it release its fragrance.

Then add the chicken and a splash of water if needed and stir to seal the meat.

Tip in the coconut milk, stirring, and bring to the boil.

Add the fruit and vegetables (but not the spring onions, spinach or herbs) and cook on a medium boil for six minutes.

Next add a good dash of fish sauce and add the spring onions and spinach if using and cook for another minute or two.

Throw in the herbs, squeeze in the lime juice, remove from heat and stir to combine everything.

Rachel Redlaw mango + pineapple red Thai curry
Rachel Redlaw mango + pineapple red Thai curry

That’s it! Serve with the cooked rice and just enjoy this lovely nurturing, warming curry.

These below are just more photos fro when I made this again as I used broccoli this time and just wanted to show that it’s so easy to adapt to whatever you have.

I also like the photo of the ingredients as I really like that the meat is just another ingredient in this dish - there’s about the same amount of chicken as there is of some of the other additions.

I hope you like this one!

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Bacon + egg carbonara

I mean, the combination of bacon and egg can’t really go wrong, can it?

And combined with delicious, silky pasta …. ?

The secret to all good pasta dishes is not to have them all dried out - just reserve some of that pasta cooking water to add to give it all a little ease, a little slippery glossiness, to make it all just work so much better.

I’ve seen - and tried - my fair share of carbonara recipes …. and find so many so over-complicated.

Some mix the egg with parmesan cheese, seasoning and cream, or even tangy creme fraiche (wrong in this dish in my opinion).

Some use whole eggs, not just the yolk, some use butter.

This is my own favourite go-to quick, easy and delicious - and simple - carbonara recipe.

I made this huge pile of pasta just for me (I don’t eat pasta that often because when I do, I eat GINORMOUS portions of it!) but it would probably feed two - or definitely will do with a little tweaking.

Go with what feels good to you, this is a very instinctive sort of dish, and all the more beautiful for it I think.

You’ll need:

cooked pasta - as much as you want - spaghetti or tagliatelle is traditional, but have whatever you like

a couple of slices of bacon - streaky is good and I believe it’s more authentic to have non-smoked, but I like smoked bacon in this so I have smoked back bacon (and remove as much fat as possible)

a clove of garlic (I know I ‘should’ really squash it and add to the oil and then remove later, but I really love garlic so I crush and mince and leave it all in)

a good slosh of olive oil

a tablespoon or so of finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve

one egg yolk (and hurrah I now have an egg white to make lemon vodka sour cocktails later!)

a handful of spinach (if liked)

lots of freshly ground black pepper

Rachel Redlaw bacon + egg carbonara
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Get everything ready, cook the pasta, dice the bacon, mince the garlic.

And then just put a slosh of olive oil into a non-stick pan and add the bacon and garlic and cook for four minutes or so, stirring all the time, until done - add a splash of water (some of the pasta cooking water you’ve reserved is ideal) if it looks like it’s going to stick or burn.

Tip in the pasta and a good spoonful or two of the cooking water and most of the grated parmesan and stir to combine until everything’s mixed and hot through.

Add the egg yolk and stir thoroughly to mix it in and combine everything together and then had a handful of baby spinach leaves if liked.

Rachel Redlaw bacon + egg carbonara
Rachel Redlaw bacon + egg carbonara

Taste and season with salt and pepper - it probably won’t need salt as bacon is salty but I do love some added freshly ground black pepper.

So simple and so very, very (very) good.

Rachel Redlaw bacon + egg carbonara
Rachel Redlaw bacon + egg carbonara

Oh and if you love the bacon and eggs combo too, you might like my ‘island-style bacon and eggs’ or to try a beautiful bacon and egg pie



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ..

Chucky eggs

Rachel Redlaw chucky eggs

You don’t really need a recipe as such for this one, but I just wanted to share the most comforting sublime little supper for when you’re poorly.

Chucky eggs.

Just soft boiled, shelled and mashed hot with lots of butter, salt and pepper.

Someone made them for me years and years ago when I was sick - they were mashed in a cup and served with buttered toast and, oh, it just made me feel so looked after.

I make them now in a little bowl instead of a cup and - only because I didn’t feel well enough to go to the shop for bread - I had them with some oatcakes, which worked beautifully.

When you don’t feel well, or your loves don’t feel well … you really need chucky eggs!



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Kinda Thai congee savoury spicy oats

Having recently learned (as part of my studying with the Academy of Beauty Nutrition) what a superstar superfood and skin-beauty-food oats are, I had to give them another try and see how I could make them work for me.

I think I’ve never really liked porridge as it tends to be sweet and I prefer eating savoury foods.

So I’ve been playing with savoury oats - and two dishes are now actually my new favourite weekend breakfasts!

Good for you, filling, satisfying, simple and full of flavour.

I started with this Thai-influenced savoury oats - I had a sort of breakfast rice porridge congee in mind - and I also made a delicious South Indian-inspired savoury breakfast oat dish too.

For this kinda-congee and to make enough for one person you’ll need:

1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1/2-1 red birds eye chilli (to your taste) - chopped finely

Chopped vegetables - mushroom, peppers, carrot … whatever you have and like

200 ml stock made with 1/3 Knorr stock cube (chicken or vegetable, your choice)

Oats - I use two scoops of this coffee scoop that says 7g on it

Light soy sauce

Fish sauce (just omit if you’re making this vegetarian or vegan)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 or 2 spring onions, chopped

chopped fresh coriander, if liked

Juice of 1/2 lime

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First, prepare the vegetables.

Put the oil into a non-stick frying pan and when starting to warm, add the garlic and chilli and stir for about 30 seconds until it releases that beautiful smell!

Then add the vegetables and a good splash of water and cook for 3-4 minutes - I put a lid on top as I want to keep all the water/steam goodness in the vegetables.

Put to one side and in a saucepan add the oats and stock and simmer, stirring often, for four minutes.

Add the vegetables to the oats and stir to mix - if it’s too sticky add a splash of water.

Add the soy and fish sauces, the sugar, spring onions, coriander and lime juice and cook for another minute or two, stirring all the time.

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And that’s it! Super-fast, filling and tasty … I really hope you like this too.

I had been planning to top this with a poached egg but oats are so high in protein it’s definitely not ‘needed’ nutritionally.

I also found the oats so filling I think the egg might have been too much! But if you’re very hungry or just fancy it, then an egg on top would be very delicious.



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South Indian inspired breakfast savoury oats

I’ve been playing with making savoury oats recently.

I’ve never really been a big fan of oats/porridge - but I’m currently studying anti-ageing beauty nutrition and have learned what a real superfood oats are for beautiful skin.

When I learned how incredibly good they are, well, that was it, I had to see what I could experiment with and what I could do with them.

And so far, I’ve come up with two dishes that I think are delicious - a kind of Thai congee and this South Indian-inspired savoury breakfast. These are both really satisfying and filling as well as being so good for us.

What you’ll need to make enough for one person:

1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 small piece of ginger, peeled and grated - perhaps a teaspoon

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1/2-1 green chilli, chopped very finely (use enough for your own taste)

250 ml stock (boiling water and a small piece, perhaps 1/3, of a Knorr vegetable or chicken stock cube)

a mixture of vegetables, sliced or chopped into small pieces - carrot, peppers, mushroom, broccoli florets, spring onions … whatever you have and like

a tablespoon or two of cooked green lentils - entirely optional but I had some one day so decided to include them

oats (I use two scoops of this coffee scoop which says 7g on it) plus 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

chopped fresh coriander leaves to serve, if liked

Rachel Redlaw South Indian style breakfast savoury oats
Rachel Redlaw South Indian-inspired savoury oats

Prepare everything so it’s ready to go as this cooks beautifully fast.

Add the oil to a saucepan and when it’s warmed add the mustard and cumin seeds and stir, cooking for maybe 20-30 seconds until it all starts to sizzle. Then add the ginger, garlic and chilli, stir and add a splash of the stock to keep it all moving and make sure it doesn’t stick.

After another 30 seconds tip in the rest of the stock, the vegetables and the lentils if using and bring to the boil.

Simmer with a lid on - or mostly on - to retain the water and steam - for three-four minutes (I did four minutes because I had broccoli which takes longer to cook, but without broccoli I’d have given it three minutes).

Add the oats and turmeric and simmer on a low heat for four minutes, stirring regularly - and of course add another splash of water if it needs it.

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And that’s it!

Top with some chopped fresh coriander if liked.

I found this such a gentle yet satisfying dish, I really hope you like it too.

A spoonful of mango chutney on top would have been delicious - but I devoured it before I thought of it!

Next time …



Simplest one-pot chicken + potato supper

I have been making versions of this sort-of-stew for - I think - over 20 years now.

The first time I had it was in my early twenties when I started working on magazines and we had a team dinner at a colleague’s house.

When I say ‘dinner’, I mean obviously it pretty soon descended into drunken debauchery as was entirely normal at that point (at that time of life, in London, in our first media jobs, in the 90’s!).

Our colleague hosting was our fabulously fun and inspiring manager, Emily, just a little older than us but seemed so much more grown up.

She had just been promoted to Associate Publisher, which I thought the most glamorous job title ever and she lived in a flat in Clapham with her boyfriend. They even had a dining room!

I felt I was playing at being grown up. I think we all did, including Emily.

I helped her prepare the main course and it was something so simple and yet so delicious and elegant that I remembered it to cook again.

And over the years … again and again and again.

I still think this a lovely dish for a dinner party and stand by its easy elegance.

‘Stew’ can sound stodgy - although I am a huge fan of stew (see HERE) - but this is really light and good.

Served with a green salad and something gorgeous for pudding, this means any host gets to spend time with their guests rather than in the kitchen (especially perhaps if their guests have moved on from necking shots of tequila as a starter hehe).

I can’t remember the exact quantities but it doesn’t really matter - it’s just a really easy idea that you can play with and use as much or as little as you like.

You’ll need:

chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks

white potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

dry white wine (I’m sure we used a whole bottle that first time but I’ve since used a mixture of white wine and chicken stock, so up to you)

lots (and lots and lots - this is a key ingredient, not a seasoning) of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

I also added some mushrooms this time but again, up to you

1/2 chicken stock cube, crumbled

salt and pepper

fresh parsley, to garnish

This couldn’t be easier. I use my trusty remoska, but you can make it on the stove-top or put it all into a casserole in the oven.

Just put all the ingredients into your remoska/pan/casserole and cook with a medium heat for an hour or so until done.

Check and stir regularly and add a little water if needed.

You could add a handful of spinach right at the end which would be delicious too.

Rachel Redlaw simplest one-pot chicken + potato supper
Rachel Redlaw simplest one-pot chicken + potato supper
Rachel Redlaw simplest one-pot chicken + potato supper

Oh, and don’t forget to season with salt and pepper towards the end of cooking, so you can really taste what the ideal seasoning is.

It’s up to you really when it’s finished cooking and is perfectly done as it’s such a personal decision - I like my potatoes in this done until they are almost falling apart, for instance, and you might like yours less well cooked.

I really hope you love this as much as I do - and cook variants of it for as long.

I think me and this dish still have many delicious years together yet to come.



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Avocado + mango salad

Today, I just wasn’t really feeling making a salad for lunch out of whatever was in the salad drawer but I’m so so so glad I made it and didn’t get something else instead.

Because today’s salad is my new favourite and I’m going to be eating it a lot.

You can of course use whatever salad ingredients you like - plus avocado and mango - but what I had worked perfectly (I think) in a sort of salsa-like kind of way.

I had:

2 spring onions, topped and tailed and sliced

2 radishes, topped and tailed and sliced

4 cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 sticks celery, just the good middle part of the stalk, sliced

red, green and yellow pepper, cut into chunks or sliced

fresh mint leaves and fresh parsley leaves, chopped (coriander would be good too if you like it)

1 small red birds eye chilli, diced (only use as much chilli as you like of course)

half an avocado, cut into slices or chunks

half a mango, cut into slices or chunks

a grind of salt

the juice of one lime (or half a lime if it’s very juicy)

flaked almonds, toasted quickly in a dry pan

Rachel Redlaw avocado mango salad

I just chopped it all up, then added the salt and lime juice and mixed it all together with clean hands.

Tipped it onto a fresh plate and topped with the toasted almonds.

I’m going to have this for lunch tomorrow too - to use up the other mango and avocado halves!


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Green chilli paste

After eating a very delicious garlic chilli chicken curry out on Friday night, last night I made my own version for the first time.

Starting with making a green chilli paste ... I don’t have a small blender so thought I’d try using my spice/coffee grinder and it worked perfectly.

You’ll need:

20 or so thin green chillies

a good glug of olive oil

salt

the juice of half a lemon

Take the stalks off the chillies and blend/grind, then add olive oil, a good ground or two of salt and the juice of half a lemon and grind/blend again.

This will keep for a week or so in a jar in the fridge.

Rachel Redlaw green chilli paste
Rachel Redlaw green chilli paste

I’ll be adding recipes to use the green chilli paste in as I make them!

I did make a garlic chilli chicken curry last night but have a couple of ideas I want to try out with it before sharing the recipe.



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Chicken with ginger + onions

Well, I’d had this in my head for a while and had intended to make it with white fish - a couple of pieces of cod perhaps, fried in the pan, then removed while the sauce is made.

And I do still want to make this ….

But when there’s no white fish in the shop, what to do? Make it with chicken instead!

So I’ve made this twice now to test it out - once last night when I fried the chicken first in thin sort of escalopes - and then once today for lunch when I thought I’d try just cooking diced chicken in the pan and then adding the sauce ingredients to it (that’s why the uncooked chicken is in my ‘ingredients’ photo, but ignore that).

Both were good, but there’s something that just works that little bit better in cooking the chicken separately then slicing and adding to the sauce.

You could fry it, poach it, roast it, griddle it … anything really, but I think griddled looks prettiest.

Just have the chicken cooked and hot and ready to go … oh, and the rice too of course.

To make the sauce - enough for one or two people, you’ll need:

cooked hot chicken, ready to add

cooked hot rice, ready to add

cooking oil - I used light olive oil as this dish wasn’t cooked at a high temperature

2-3 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, peeled, squashed and minced

Rachel Redlaw chicken with ginger and onions

1 small red chilli, finely sliced (this is optional, I’m just a chilli fiend - but I think the dish would have more purity with fish instead of chicken and without the chilli - so when I do get some cod fillets I’ll be trying it like that)

2 teaspoons demerera sugar

the juice of half a juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

half a white onion, thinly sliced

a big handful of spinach leaves

fresh coriander leaves to serve, if liked

Get everything ready … the ginger, garlic and chilli (if using) in one dish, and combine the sugar, lime juice and fish sauce in another.

Put a good slosh of oil into a non-stick pan, probably about a tablespoon, into a non-stick frying pan and cook the aromatics over a gentle heat, stirring, for a couple of minutes - don’t let it stick, so do add a little splash of water if it needs it.

In another pan add more oil and put the onions on to fry - keep an eye on these, stirring regularly , and cook until golden - probably 5-6 minutes over a medium heat.

Add the lime juice mixture to the first pan and bring to a low simmer, and simmer for another couple of minutes - again add a little water if you prefer it to be a thinner sauce, or if it’s looking too thick or sticking at all. You want to keep it loose as it’s the sauce.

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Rachel Redlaw chicken with ginger and onions

Slice the hot cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan, then add the spinach leaves and cook for a minute to wilt.

Remove from heat and stir so it’s all completely combined and the spinach wilted.

Rachel Redlaw chicken with ginger and onions
Rachel Redlaw chicken with ginger and onions

Serve the chicken mixture with cooked rice and top with the fried onions and some chopped fresh coriander leaves, if liked.



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Thai-style avocado salad + peanut lime dressing

Well, I had intended to take more photos but …. it was just there. Nothing to take photos OF!

I chopped lots of lovely salad things:

avoacado

mango

red and yellow pepper

tiny tomatoes, halved

spring onions

a carrot

one courgette

a sliced red chilli

fresh coriander leaves

…. and put it all into a shallow dish

And then I made the delicious dressing!

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon demerera sugar

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons crunchy organic peanut butter

4 tablespoons light olive oil

Blend it all together with a grind each of salt and pepper … and taste, taste, taste to see if you think it needs more of anything before you serve it.

And that’s that!

You could always add prawns, chicken or chick peas perhaps if you wanted to make it more substantial, but I thought it was perfect the way it was - and the peanuts add richness.

Rachel Redlaw avocado salad



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Chow mein with cashews or with pork

It was one of those dinners, where I didn’t quite know what I felt like, but I wanted it to be soft, warming, easy and good.

And looking at what was in the cupboard and fridge - and the fact I seem to have three packets of these noodles … well, it was going to be noodle based.

Chow mein is, I believe, just ‘fried noodle’, so you can kind of add what you want.

I made it one evening with pork, and then for brunch a few days later with cashew nuts.

I also realised I had no idea where my Chinese 5 Spice was (just VANISHED from the cupboard) so I quickly pounded up some spices to make mine - but I’m intending to get another jar as soon as I can as that would make things just that little bit easier.

I’m going to be as vague as I ever have been about quantities here as it’s just all going to taste good really, so it’s entirely up to you and what you feel like and what you have.

My recipe is based on this one from the Hairy Bikers, but as I didn’t have lots of the ingredients, I made a lot of substitutions!


Start by getting it all together, so if you have those ready-to-cook noodles (as I do today) that’s all good, and if you have dried noodles then soak them first and drain so it’s all ready to go.

For two, you’ll need:

Cooking oil

Noodles, prepared as necessary and ready to go!

1 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice powder

Salt and pepper

A piece of pork loin or steak, around 250g, diced OR a good big handful of cashew nuts

Some sliced or diced vegetables - I have red and yellow peppers and carrot but spinach, broccoli florets, green beans, mushrooms … all good

A few spring onions, sliced (in my ingredients photo for the cashew version you’ll see I didn’t have any spring onions so used a sliced shallot instead)

A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1 small birds-eye chilli (I don’t think chillies are traditionally in a chow mein but I just could’t help myself, so omit if you prefer)

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon corn starch

1 teaspoon demerera sugar (or plain white granulated is fine)

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

3 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Rachel Redlaw chow mein
Rachel Redlaw chow mein

Put the pork or cashews into a bowl with the Chinese 5 Spice and a good grind each of salt and pepper.

Put the vegetables together in one bowl and the ‘flavour’ ingredients in another (the spring onions, the chilli, garlic and ginger).

And mix the cornflour, sugar, soy sauce, water and sesame oil together in a little cup.

Put a non-stick pan on over a medium heat, add some oil and then the pork or cashews - cook for approx 2 minutes, stirring all the time.

I’d keep the pork on a slightly higher heat and the cashews on a little lower. You want the pork to brown properly on all sides and you want the cashews lovely and golden.

Add a tiny splash of water at any time you think it might be sticking - you want it all to be able to MOVE!

Remove the pork or nuts from the pan and put into a bowl.

Rachel Redlaw chow mein
Rachel Redlaw chow mein

Return pan to heat, add a little more oil and then the sliced/chopped vegetables - stir fry for another minute or two and then add the ‘aromatics’ and stir fry for - yes - another minute of two! Add a splash of water as needed.

Remove and tip on top of the meat or cashews.

Return the pan again to the heat and add a little more oil … then add the noodles and a slosh of the cornflour/sugar/soy/water mixture - give it another stir first before you add it.

Cook, stirring all the time, over a medium heat for another 2 minutes.

Then add back in all the lovely pork/nuts/vegetables as well as the rest of the liquid mix.

Stir fry for another minute and then we’re done.

That’s it, really.

Rachel Redlaw chow mein
Rachel Redlaw chow mein

Add some sliced radish to serve - if you have some and you like it.

This is just a super easy, warm, gentle, quick little dinner and I hope you like it too.



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