Ruth's Homemade Chunky Guacamole

Whenever I talk to someone about food and life for this blog, I always ask them to share a recipe too ... and I honestly couldn't wait to try this one shared with me by Ruth Ridgeway.

For some unknown reason, I've never had a good guacamole recipe and now when I think about it, that seems really strange - I love all the flavours in this and I adore avocado.

But sometimes, maybe, perhaps  .... the reason I've never had a good one before because one day I would have this one.

And this one is my idea of perfection when it comes to guacamole.

Also, pretty much perfection in other ways.

In it's beautiful simplicity ... every ingredient is exactly what is needed and results in a big flavour, easily.

I also love those baby avocados now available - and just as well as now this seems to be a staple part of my diet - I don't want to be using half an avocado and having the other half go brown (no matter what I do, or tips I follow, it seems to still happen).

I've already made this twice in the last 24 hours!

Once to go with a griddled steak and some stir fried vegetables, which was amazing.

And then to top a piece of toasted ciabatta - with an egg on top of that, which was pretty much SUBLIME - and one of the best breakfast/brunches I've had for a long time.

I love this recipe ... I know you will too.


Ruth Ridgeway homemade chunky guacamole
I just love things on a good slice of wholemeal toast - and this homemade guacamole is one of them ... preferably with a crispy fried egg too
— Ruth Ridgeway

To serve 2, you'll need:

Ruth Ridgeway homemade chunky guacamole

1 avocado

1 tomato (flesh only) chopped into small cubes

A little red onion (or spring onions, either work) diced into small cubes

1/2 finely chopped red chilli

A little salt, a little pepper

Squeeze of lime (I used a good half a lime as I like it very lime-y!)


Put everything in a bowl and mash with a fork until mixed but chunky.

Serve, eat, enjoy.

Ruth Ridgeway homemade chunky guacamole
Ruth Ridgeway homemade chunky guacamole

But those avocado skins!  What to do with them?

I hate food waste and I love natural beauty ingredients, so the avocado skins went straight into my bath - yep, just as they are.

OK, it IS messy, there's no hiding from that, but I turn them kind of inside out and rub all that leftover flesh, full of gorgeous avocado oil, onto my knees, elbows, all over my skin, then soak in the bath with the pieces of avocado.

You'll need to pick the pieces out and clean the bath straight away but it does give you very soft skin - it's so good for you! 

There's something about using natural ingredients that just makes me feel really good too - as well as getting that deliciously soft skin of course.

Oh and I added a couple of drops of my favourite lime essential oil too - just to kinda recreate the guacamole essence in my bath :) 

Rachel Redlaw natural beauty avocado
Rachel Redlaw natural beauty avocado lime
Rachel Redlaw natural beauty avocado


You might also like ... 

Green soup

Yep, like a green smoothie but for winter!

Possibly the most healthful, nourishing, restorative thing you can make - and delicious too. 

I found this recipe on Adriene Mishler's site - she of Yoga with Adriene that I love so much and can't stop going on about - I love my almost-daily yoga practice and how it makes me feel.

Her 31-day yoga challenge is a great place to start if you want to try making yoga a part of your life too.

But enough yoga, and back to the soup.

I simplified the recipe slightly and added a spoon of creamy Greek yogurt - but you could just leave this out of course.

This is a seriously good soup - it sounded just what I needed when I woke up with swollen glands and a sore throat - and it was ... but I wasn't expecting it to be so utterly delicious too. 

Definitely a new favourite for me!

As you'll need a food processor (or blender) to blend the soup at the end, you might as well use it to chop everything and make this super-fast to prepare too.

No need to wash it in between chopping the onion and the vegetables, and then I just gave it a quick rinse in cold water before using to blend the finished soup.

Here's the ingredients for a good big pan of soup ... 

1 onion

a teaspoon of light olive oil or other cooking oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 large courgette

3 stalks of celery

Water, freshly boiled from the kettle

1 vegetable stock cube

1-1.5 teaspoons white pepper (I love white pepper!)

a good handful of broccoli - and another of asparagus

2 big handfuls of spinach leaves or kale, something dark green and leafy anyway

Salt, to taste


Put the kettle on to boil and get all the ingredients ready.

Whizz the onion in the food processor then put straight into a large saucepan with the cooking oil and garlic and cook over a low heat until it's softened - add a splash of water too and make sure it doesn't stick.

This will take probably between 5-10 minutes, so while it's cooking, chop the courgette and celery together in the food processor and then add to the softened onion and garlic mixture, and stir together.

Rachel Redlaw green soup
onion.JPG
Rachel Redlaw green soup

Add a ladleful of water and crumble in the stock cube and the white pepper and mix it all in.

Then whizz up the broccoli and asparagus and add this too and cook for a minute.

Rachel Redlaw green soup
Rachel Redlaw green soup
Rachel Redlaw green soup

Throw in the spinach leaves and stir until wilted, then add as much water as you want to make your soup plus a tablespoon of natural or Greek yogurt (if using).

Simmer for ten minutes then remove from heat and cool slightly before blending very smooth.

Rachel Redlaw green soup
Rachel Redlaw green soup
Rachel Redlaw green soup

Return to the pan to re-heat gently and add salt to taste (I also added a little more yogurt, since the pot was open!).

Serve with another dollop of yogurt if liked, and with a chunk of good crusty bread, or with a salad - as you choose.

Rachel Redlaw green soup
Rachel Redlaw green soup
Rachel Redlaw green soup


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Yum talay (Thai seafood salad)

Sometimes I don't think what I do is really 'cooking'. Not 'proper cooking'!

I don't really weigh things out, it's never very precise, and you HAVE to taste and taste and see what tastes good to you. 

I see it as less 'cooking' and more 'faffing about playing with food'.

It's ALL about having fun and really ENJOYING making something good to eat - that's usually simple and quick too.

This recipe is a perfect example ... lots of playing and very little actual cooking. 

And it tastes really good.

I love seafood and I love hot and sour flavours - and the lemongrass and lime leaf makes this just really delicious - so full of flavour.

Thai seafood salad - let's get started.

I made a big bowl just for me - so adjust the quantities of course depending on how much you're making.


Here's a list of the ingredients I used, but read through the whole recipe and see where you might adapt or change according to what you've got and what you like.

frozen prawns and squid, defrosted

1 tablespoon demerera sugar plus 3 tablespoons cold water

1-2 birds eye chillies

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1-2 limes

1 carrot, peeled and julienned

a few slices of white onion

2 spring onions, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1 stick of celery, chopped

1 stalk of lemongrass

1 lime leaf, torn to remove the stalk

extra wedges of lime, to serve


You can use any fish or seafood you like (or happen to have).  I always like to have prawns and squid in the freezer as it's just so easy then to make something to eat - and generally I have scallops too but not today. Defrost before using - seafood defrosts quickly in a bowl of cold water - then rinse with fresh cold water and pat dry on kitchen paper.

You need to cook the fish first before adding it to the salad - do this any way you like.

The quickest way for my prawns and squid to cook would be to drop them quickly into a pan of boiling water and cook for only about a minute or less ... I did do the prawns like this - they're ready when they've gone from raw grey to completely pink!

Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay

But I wanted my squid to have a bit more texture too it and I just like cooking it on the griddle and watching it roll up! (Yep, 'faffing about playing with food').

So I scored my squid tubes, opened them out and cooked them on a very hot griddle and squeezed lime juice over them as they cooked.

Once the fish and seafood is cooked, just leave to one side to add at the end.

The next part of playing with food is to make the dressing - I added one tablespoon of demerera sugar to three tablespoons of water in a little saucepan and brought it slowly to the boil, stirred to dissolve the sugar and removed from the heat to cool. You could stand the saucepan in some cold water in the sink if you want to cool it more quickly.

I pounded up two birds eye chillies (use 1-2 depending on your taste) then added a tablespoon of fish sauce and the juice of a really juicy lime, then the sugar/water mixture.

Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay

Stir it all together and taste - see if you need to add anything else. It might need a little more lime juice depending on how juicy your lime was! 

Do make this dressing to YOUR taste. I like it very spicy and very sour so use lots of chilli and lime, but you might prefer a sweeter dressing, so just taste and play and experiment.

Next - the salad.

Use what you like really!

I had carrot, some white onion, a couple of spring onions, a tomato and some celery - but you could use anything you like.

Very finely slice just the bottom third of a lemongrass stalk (having removed the tough outer layers) and also finely slice a lime leaf and add to the salad. 

If you can't get these then do make it anyway, but the lemongrass and lime leaf are SO GOOD do get them if you can! I'm lucky that my local supermarket sells them so hopefully yours does too.

Add the dressing to the salad, mix well, and tip out onto a plate or bowl and add the seafood

Serve with extra lime wedges to squeeze over.

Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay

And that's it!

One delicious, authentic, Thai seafood salad - easy and fun to make and very little actual cooking!



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Happiness soup

Looking through her old recipe book last weekend for my mum's original lentil soup recipe (couldn't find it!), I found a recipe for Savoury Slice, something forgotten from my childhood and from my packed lunches, which I couldn't resist making again.

I also found a recipe for this 'Happiness Soup' written into the book in one of my sister's handwriting - none of us, including my mum, have ever made this as far as I know!

But how can I resist a recipe for 'Happiness Soup'? 

So I made it yesterday for lunch for my dad, my step-mum and me - and it was really good.

(There was also leftover pumpkin soup that my dad had made the day before - which I tried and, having claimed to hate pumpkin soup - well, I was wrong! I'll be sharing his pumpkin soup recipe soon too!).

Happiness soup is simple and tasty and perfect for lunch - it has rice in it so you won't need to fill up on bread either.

Here's what you mean to make enough for four people, but of course adapt according to the size of the courgettes, etc that you have! It doesn't need specific measures so don't be worried to change the measurements a bit.

3 medium - large courgettes

zest and juice of 1.5 lemons

3 tablespoons light olive oil (or other cooking oil)

1.5 teaspoon turmeric

1.2 teaspoon chilli powder

1.5 litre chicken (or vegetable) stock

120g basmati (or long grain) rice

salt and pepper to season

sliced chilli or fresh herbs to garnish (if liked)

Rachel Redlaw happiness soup
Rachel Redlaw happiness soup

Peel and finely dice the courgettes and put into a big saucepan with the lemon zest and oil.

Fry gently until softened, stirring often, which will take probably around eight minutes or so.

Rachel Redlaw happiness soup
Rachel Redlaw happiness soup

Add the lemon juice, stock, turmeric, chilli powder and rice and simmer for 15 minutes, partially covered.

Rachel Redlaw happiness soup
Rachel Redlaw happiness soup

Remove the lid, season and simmer again for another five minutes.

Check that it's all cooked through - cook a little longer if you want the rice softer etc of course.

Serve warm with slices of chilli or perhaps some fresh herbs to garnish.

Rachel Redlaw happiness soup
Rachel Redlaw happiness soup

Such a lovely autumnal colour and so healthy and nourishing too. 

A really good, happy soup indeed.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Savoury slice

At the time, at school ... I just wanted to be 'normal'. 

What I really wanted was 'normal' packed lunches.  Like the other kids. 

White sliced bread sandwiches with cheese or ham perhaps. A packet of crisps. 'Normal' food.

In my house, sliced bread was a bit of a no-no. Sliced white bread? Never.

My sandwiches were made with AGA-baked wholemeal bread - and mmm, ok, let's say the quality could be 'mixed'!

I remember home-made celery soup that smelled so strongly vegetable-y that it resulted in a whole table of nose-holding (and very dramatic, not to say a little cruel) children screaming and running off to another table leaving me alone.

Of course NOW .. now, I'm glad I wasn't 'normal'.

And glad we had good, healthy, wholesome food and glad I was brought up to cook from scratch.

And I do actually remember many things I did like - and that I think looking back, some of those 'normal' children with their dull sandwiches and nothing fresh to eat were probably envious of.

One of my favourites was 'Savoury Slice'. 

I came across the recipe the other day in my mum's old recipe book (full of loose pages, Sellotaped in recipes cut from newspapers and now falling free, handwritten ideas, and leaflets from products and supermarkets over decades).

Rachel Redlaw savoury slice

I was looking for her lentil soup recipe - I didn't find it and we think there wasn't a recipe as such, it was just something she made often.

But I did just come across this long-forgotten 'Savoury Slice' and decided to make it. 

Really easy and actually very tasty!

In my opinion, still a very good - although probably still not 'normal' haha - idea for a packed lunch, picnic, snack or a great accompaniment to soup (especially for those who don't eat bread).

 

 

 


Here's what you need:

Rachel Redlaw savoury slice

50-60g butter

Approx 200g carrots, grated

Approx 200g Cheddar cheese, grated

1 small-medium onion, peeled and diced

Just over 100g - maybe 120g - oats

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Salt and pepper to season

 

Prepare the ingredients so everything's ready to go.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and then mix in all the other ingredient.

When completely mixed, tip out into a tin and bake for about 20-30 minutes (check it and see when you think it's done, it's not really that precise!) at Gas 7 / 220 C.

Rachel Redlaw savoury slice
Rachel Redlaw savoury slice

Leave to cool, cut into slices or squares and keep in an airtight container - it'll keep for a few days.

I would have taken a picture of them nicely cut in squares - I was planning to have a couple on the side of the plate along with a bowl of soup. 

But then I ate the best looking ones!

I'll just have to make some more - will add another photo next time.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Lovely lentil soup

My mum used to make the most delicious lentil soup.

It came into my mind recently - thinking about this soup she used to make maybe 27 years ago ... it was garlicky and yummy and bubbling away on the AGA with French bread warming in the oven to have with it.

I forgot to look for the recipe in her great big falling-apart book of written recipes and tucked in hand-written ones from others and yet more torn from magazines and newspapers too.

Next time I'm there and I remember, I'll look for it, but I wanted to make something like it today, and so made this.

My version will definitely be quicker as I'm using a tin of green lentils and I know my mum would have used red lentils from the jar, dried red lentils that would have needed soaking overnight before cooking for a long time.

So, here's my super-simple version - and I find this so nurturing, nourishing, comforting and all round GOOD at this time of year, when the leaves are falling and the nights drawing in.

And here's what you'll need to make two bowlfuls (either two bowls for one, or one each for two people - cook's choice!).

1 smallish brown onion

1 medium carrot

1 stick of celery 

2-3 cloves of garlic (mine were small so I had three)

cooking oil (I use a spray oil like THIS one)

tin (265g) of green lentils, drained and rinsed in cold water

500ml vegetable stock

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

ideas to garnish to to serve: crispy bacon pieces, Greek yogurt, slices of red chilli, fresh chopped parsley leaves, more black pepper

Rachel Redlaw lovely lentil soup
Rachel Redlaw lovely lentil soup

You want to chop the onion, carrot and celery very finely - the easiest way is to use a food processor.

Then finely chop the garlic and add to the other vegetables.

Rachel Redlaw lovely lentil soup
Rachel Redlaw lovely lentil soup
Rachel Redlaw lovely lentil soup

Put a little oil (I use 20 sprays of my spray cooking oil) into a saucepan, add the vegetables and cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time so it doesn't stick or burn - add a tiny splash of water if it does look like it will.

Then add the lentils, vegetable stock and herbs, stir and bring to the boil.

Rachel Redlaw lovely lentil soup
Rachel Redlaw lovely lentil soup

Add a lid (slightly ajar), reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir and check to see if it needs a little more water, and then cover and simmer again for another 15 minutes.

At the end of this time, remove the lid, stir again, add a little more water if it needs it - or you like a thinner soup - and simmer again on the lowest heat for a final 15 minutes. 

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

You can then serve it as it is or blend it first. I prefer it blended and I also like to add a spoonful of yogurt at this stage.

Garnish with whatever you choose! I had another dollop of Greek yogurt, a couple of slices of red chilli and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.

Rachel Redlaw lovely lentil soup
Rachel Redlaw lovely lentil soup

Serve as it is or make more of a meal with it by having with some warm crusty baguette and a green salad too.


OK! I need to make this again as my mum said her savoury secret was adding 1/4 - 1/5 teaspoon Marmite to the soup! 



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Spicy mango chutney

What better way to feel at one with this season than by using all the abundance of fruit and vegetables and pickling, preserving, making jam, my favourite brown (plum) sauce, or chutneys.

OK, so these mangoes weren't exactly grown locally, but I use and love mango chutney more than any other - so that's what I'm making.

And the apples at least were straight from my parents' orchard, so I'm not entirely missing the point of seasonal eating!

This recipe is very much based on that of one of my very favourite food writers, Diana Henry, and taken from her wonderful book, Salt Sugar Smoke .... I just simplified (to me) the quantities as I don't like weighing things and changed the spices a bit - just due to personal preference!

So, to make approximately 3 jars of delicious and easy spicy mango chutney, I used:

2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped

400ml white malt vinegar

2 red birds eye chillies, very finely chopped - I keep the seeds in (you can use more or less chillies of course to suit your taste)

1 green chilli, very finely chopped

2 tsp black mustard seeds

3 mangoes (around 1lb each), peeled and the flesh diced (I can't stone mangoes so just slice around the stone and then cut the pieces of mango into smaller pieces)

2 smallish (or 1 large) apple, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces (a tart cooking apple would be good, but I used eating apples)

1 lb granulated sugar

Fresh ginger, grated, approx 2 teaspoons

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

grated zest and juice of 1 juicy lime (or 2 less juicy of course)

Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney

Into a large pan go the onions, vinegar and chillies - bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes, when the onions will have started to soften.

Toast the mustard seeds - just put them into a dry frying pan and as soon as they start to pop remove them from the heat.

Add the mangoes, apples and mustard seeds to the pan and simmer for another 10 minutes when the fruit will have started to soften.

Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney

Tip in the ginger, coriander, cumim and lime zest and then slowly bring it all to the boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve.

Reduce the heat if need be to a simmer and cook until it's yummy and thick and jammy.  

It'll take 30-45 minutes and do keep stirring regularly as it'll stick to the bottom if not!

Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney

When it's done, squeeze in the lime juice, stir and remove from heat.

While it's still hot put the chutney into warm, dry, sterilised jars, cover with waxed paper discs (confession - I don't have any so I don't do this - also it never hangs around long enough in this house!) and seal with a lid.

It'll keep for AGES too - up to a year - but, as I  said - not in this house it doesn't! 

We tried it immediately for dinner the same night as it was made - with chicken jalfrezi and some carrot salad in place of rice (shredded carrot with a big squeeze of fresh lemon and topped with toasted flaked almonds).

And you can also use it in this recipe for sardine or mushroom mango chutney curry.

Rachel Redlaw mango chutney
Rachel Redlaw mango chutney


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

 

 

Totally yummy (despite the not very appealing name) egg + bean curry

This is so simple and so good, it's already (and I've only made it once hehe) a new lunch go-to.

My friend Pam shared the recipe and I just knew I was going to love it.

I love eggs and I love curry, so I love dishes like eggs in coconut masala or these great Thai classic 'son-in-law' eggs.

But this is easier than easy and just perfect for a quick lunch.

Here's what you need to make 'egg + bean curry' for one:

Cooking oil

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 - 1 chilli (depending on taste), chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tomato, diced

2 eggs, beaten

1 small tin baked beans, rinsed of all sauce (or the same quantity of cooked haricot beans)

salt and pepper to season

chopped fresh coriander leaves to serve (if liked)

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

Heat a frying pan or wok and add some cooking oil (I use a spray oil then a splash of water if it looks like sticking) then the onion, chilli, garlic and cumin and cook over a very low heat for two or three minutes, adding a little water if it's sticking. You don't want it to burn!

Then add the tomatoes and cook until it's all softened, probably another five or six minutes.

Add the eggs and beans and cook, stirring all the time, for a few minutes to scramble the beans and get everything hot and yummy.

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

Season to taste, check you're happy with the consistency and turn out on to a plate or a bowl and garnish with fresh coriander leaves, if liked.

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

I started eating straightaway and forgot to take a photo until I was two thirds of the way in!

So when I make this again (which I definitely will be, and soon) I'll take a photo of the finished dish.

This is really good and simple and tasty - just the sort of lunch I love! 


Coconut cauliflower chicken/mushroom soup

Simple, quick and delicious - my favourite sort of recipe!

And especially on a rainy grey day, I love the sort of soothing-ness that comes from creamy coconut matched with a little spice, and the cauliflower is the perfect texture - soft but with a little bite.

I used chicken stock and some cooked chicken, but it's a lovely vegetarian/vegan recipe made with vegetable stock and mushrooms instead.


For two bowls, you'll need

1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into florets

a big handful of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced and/or some cooked chicken, cut into small pieces

300ml stock - I used half a Knorr chicken stock cube, but vegetable is good too 

200ml (half a tin) coconut milk

1 garlic clove, squashed and finely chopped (you can leave this out though, I think I might try it without next time I make it)

1 couple of lime leaves, crumpled and torn to release the scent would be perfect - but I didn't have any so used the zest of one lime

a piece of ginger, probably an inch or so, peeled and grated

If you have a stalk of lemongrass (I didn't), add it! Just remove the outer tough layers, give it a bash with a rolling pin and throw it in 

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1-2 red bird eye chillies, quantity to your own taste, sliced

the juice of half a lime

coriander leaves to serve (if liked)


Prepare the vegetables and chicken (if using) so they're ready to add later.

Then put the stock, coconut milk, garlic (if using), lime leaves or lime zest, ginger, lemongrass (if using), soy sauce and sugar plus the cauliflower, mushrooms and/or chicken into a saucepan and gently heat to bring to the boil.

Rachel Redlaw coconut cauliflower soup
Rachel Redlaw coconut cauliflower soup

Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the cauliflower is soft but a little al dente (definitely not mush!) and remove from heat.

Stir in the chillies and lime juice and serve with coriander, if liked - I wish I'd had some as think it would have looked prettier with some greenery on there!

Rachel Redlaw coconut cauliflower soup

Oh, you could remove any lime leaves and lemongrass before serving if you want - or just take them out when you come to them in the bowl ...

So simple and so good.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Strawberry + dark chocolate 'ice cream'

Easiest, yummiest 'ice cream' ever. 

It's actually frozen yogurt I suppose, and so simple and so good.

There's a few ways to make this, so do read the full post before deciding how you're gonna make your's!

You can make it as I did, with fresh berries and then freeze. If you do this, it'll need maybe 20-30 mins to unfreeze enough to serve and it IS quite crunchy icy.

You could use frozen strawberries - make sure they're frozen all the way through - and then serve immediately for a lovely soft almost mousse-like frozen yogurt sensation.

If you want something really creamy and luxurious, add 1/2-1 tin of condensed milk when you blend it all up - for a super-dreamy yummy ice cream.

But back to basics  ... here's what I used: 

approx 300g fresh strawberries (I had a 400g pack but had eaten quite a lot of them already plus saved a couple to have with the ice cream), hulled and halved

approx 400g Greek yogurt (it was a 500g tub but I saved some to make a chicken jalfrezi for dinner)

around 50g dark chocolate, bashed on the side to splinter it (half the packet)

a good tablespoon yummy runny good honey (I forgot to photograph this)

the zest and juice of a lime

And then I just whizzed it all up in the food processor - a blender would work too - and poured into a tub to freeze.

Serve with fresh strawberries and some shavings or pieces of dark chocolate.

Rachel Redlaw strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream
Rachel Redlaw strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream
Rachel Redlaw strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream
Rachel Redlaw strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream
Rachel Redlaw strawberry and dark chocolate ice cream

This is such an easy way to make a delicious dessert and works divinely with frozen mango too - and I like quickly toasting some flaked almonds to add for crunch.

Delicious.

Hope you like this - let me know how you go with it.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ... 

Simplest Thai green chicken curry noodles

I had this today for a quick brunch ... needed something super-soothing (and spicy) after a very un-relaxing start to the weekend with eyebrow threading, followed by a bikini wax. Ouch!

Plus I had just over half a tin of coconut milk in the fridge from the night before when I'd made my new favourite Thai-inspired salmon and new potato tray bake.

(OK I KNOW you're not supposed to keep opened tins in the fridge, but it was just overnight, k?)

Anyway, on to brunch.

SO GOOD.

SO SIMPLE.

Not terribly authentic as I didn't have any Thai basil or pea aubergines, but hey ho, it's close enough and it tastes great!

Here's what you need for one big bowl of yummy green curry noodles:

1 layer of dried rice noodles, prepared according to packet instructions

cooking oil (I use a spray oil plus a splash of water)

a good Thai green curry paste - THIS is the one I use

1/2 - 1 chicken breast (depending on size and hunger), cut into bite-sized pieces

about 200ml (around half a tin) coconut milk

some vegetables - I had a few bits of broccoli, a few green beans, a couple of mange tout and some yellow pepper

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Thai basil to serve would be best; coriander would be nice; I had a few slices of spring onion and a few slices of red chilli just to make it look nice really

First, get the noodles ready, according to the instructions on the packet, so they're ready to add, and prepare all the ingredients.

Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles

Put a saucepan, big frying pan or wok over a medium heat, add a slosh of cooking oil or around 20 sprays of your cooking oil and add a walnut sized amount (a couple of teaspoons) of green curry paste and the chicken to the pan.

Stir fry until the chicken is sealed and white, adding a splash of water if needed to prevent it sticking.

Then add the coconut milk, bring to the boil and boil on a low-ish boil for 5 minutes.

Throw in the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes or so.

Add in the fish sauce and sugar, stir, then add the noodles and cook for another minute.

Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles

If you have Thai basil, add it now, remove from heat and stir to wilt in.

Otherwise, just tip it into a big bowl, add any garnishes you like and enjoy!



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Thai-inspired salmon tray-bake

So tray bakes ...

Well, first ... I was at my sister's in Cornwall the last few days, walking on this beach ... 

Spending time with my family, laughing and playing, and also lots of time creating, writing and cooking.

It's very different cooking for a family than for one or two adults (usually) and it made a really lovely change.

I especially liked the simple and delicious tray bake we made last night - just putting chicken thighs into a dish with cherry tomatoes on the vine, a couple of chopped rashers of bacon,, a garlic clove, minced, and new potatoes - served with steamed tenderstem broccoli.


And all the way home, five hours on the train, I was half thinking, half brewing, what I could do for a Thai-inspired version of an easy one-pot tray-bake.

I had a friend coming for dinner tonight, so she was going to be my guinea pig!

I wasn't sure to be honest that it would work.

BUT we LOVED it!

And I'm SO utterly thrilled it was so good, and so simple too!

Current favourite easy dinner!


OK, what you need for two people:

Some new potatoes, however many you want to eat! (I think I allowed 5-6 each)

Approx 150 ml coconut milk (I had this cute 165ml tin so used that)

150 ml stock made with chicken or veg stock cube

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, minced (put half aside)

a small (maybe a thumb sized) piece of ginger, minced (put half aside)

zest and juice of one lime

I red birds eye chilli, finely chopped

2 fillets of salmon, boneless and remove the skin if you can

some green veg - I had broccoli, asparagus and a couple of sliced spring onions

coriander leaves, chopped, to serve - if liked


I used my trusty remoska to make this, but you can just use a glass/pyrex dish or roasting dish - and pre-heat the oven first to a medium heat.

Slice the potatoes quite thickly and arrange in a layer over the bottom of the remoska or dish.

Mix the coconut milk, stock, sesame oil,  1/2  the garlic and 1/2 the ginger and pour over the potatoes.

Then add the zest and juice of a lime, and the chopped red chilli.

Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake

Stir and cook for around 20 minutes. 

You will need to make a decision here as to the right time to add the fish and vegetables based on how cooked your potatoes are.

Mine needed 30 minutes cooking plus another ten for the fish and veg, but I think if you're using a pre-heated oven you'll only need 15-20 for the first part, so do check and use your own intuition (and knowledge of your own oven).

When the potatoes are 5-10 mins away from being done, add the salmon, the vegetables and then the remaining garlic and ginger.

Cook for another ten minutes of so until done.

Remove from heat and add a handful of chopped coriander leaves, if liked.

Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake
Rachel Redlaw Thai tray bake

Serve either in the dish it's been cooked in, or if you're using a (kind ugly but the BEST) remoska like me, then serve in a bowl, maybe with extra lime wedges on the side.

We really loved this!

I hope you do too.



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Green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

This is a really lovely dish from Rachel Roddy writing in the Weekend Guardian recently - an Italian warm vegetable sort of salad/stew with soft flavours of braised runner beans, tomatoes, olive oil, salt - all warm and beautiful on a summer's day served with some good bread.

I couldn't resist trying it immediately (nope, patience has never been a strong point of mine!) so I ended up making it slightly differently with the ingredients I had.

I still loved it and I'll be making it again, both the way I made it, and going back to try the original.

It's pretty much perfect in its simplicity just as it is, although would make a great accompaniment to any grilled / barbecued meats of fish too.

You'll find the original recipe HERE.

And because my local shop didn't have any fresh basil the day that I made it, and because I had fine beans rather than runner beans, I made some tiny changes to the flavours - without the basil it would need something so I also used a few slices of chilli pepper and some ground cumin.

If you have fresh basil, then omit the chilli and the cumin.

Note that you leave the dish to sit for an hour or two after cooking to be served warm, so factor that into your timings!

Or just eat it hot of course.

Or make it the day before you want it and reheat very gently to serve - I imagine the flavours will only get better when left overnight.

Here's how I made a big pot, enough for two.

You'll need: 

1 medium white onion, very finely sliced

salt

1/2-1 small red chilli, very finely diced

a couple of tablespoons olive oil (I used 20 sprays of my spray cooking oil and a splash of water when it needed it) 

equal quantities of green beans or runner beans, and ripe tomatoes - I think I used 200-300g of each (and use the very best tomatoes you can get hold of - ones with lots of flavour)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

a good chunk of Feta cheese to serve

Get the ingredients together

Get the ingredients together

Top and tail the beans and cut into small pieces

Top and tail the beans and cut into small pieces

Remove tough cores from the tomatoes and dice

Remove tough cores from the tomatoes and dice

Put the oil in a pan and when warmed, add the finely sliced onion and a small pinch of salt, and the chilli (if using) and cook gently over a low-medium heat until the onion is soft - if you use a spray oil like me, you'll need to add a splash of water or two as it cooks to prevent the onion burning. Cooking onions until soft always takes longer than I think it will - probably around 10 minutes.

Add the beans to the pan, stir well to combine with the onion, then cook - still stirring - for a 3-4 minutes.

Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

Add the tomatoes, another small pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (if using) then cover the pan and leave for a couple of minutes. Uncover the pan and stir, then cover for another 4-5 minutes (have a look and stir if you like - and if you need a little splash of water add it - although the juice from the tomatoes should be coming out now as it has time to cook with the lid on).

Once the tomatoes are releasing their juice, uncover the pan and cook uncovered on a low heat, simmering gently, for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

The beans will be really tender and the sauce lovely and thick.

If you have fresh basil add a handful of torn basil leaves now for a couple of minutes. 

Taste and see if it needs any seasoning, then remove from heat and allow to sit for an hour or two before serving warm with the piece of feta crumbled over and served with bread, if liked. 

 
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
 


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Scallops + chorizo

Pork and seafood just go together ... here in a hot and sour salad, here in Singapore noodles, and tonight in a super-simple - but also luxurious - scallop and chorizo dish.

I always have seafood in the freezer - prawns, squid and scallops - as it defrosts really quickly in cold water and then cook quickly too, so there's always something good for dinner.

So I just put some scallops in a bowl of cold water to defrost and prepared the other ingredients: 

cooking oil

one garlic clove, crushed and minced

a red chilli, diced

a few slices of chorizo

a couple of spring onions, sliced

some sliced red pepper

one shredded little gem lettuce

and/or cooked rice to serve

Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo
Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo

Put a pan on a medium heat, add a little cooking oil (I use a spray oil) and add the garlic, chilli and chorizo.

Cook for a few minutes letting the chorizo release that lovely colour - and  do add a splash of water if you need to so nothing sticks and the garlic doesn't burn.

Then add the scallops ... I once read that scallops are 'helpful' when they cook in that when one side is done it will naturally come away from the pan and you're able to turn them, but I think you'd need to be using more oil than I am for this to work!

I just cook them for a couple of minutes each side and add a little splash of water as I like to have a little sauce in this dish.

Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo
Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo
Rachel Redlaw scallops + chorizo

When the scallops have had a couple of minutes on each side, throw in the spring onions and red pepper and cook for a two or three more minutes.

Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo
Rachel Redlaw scallops and chorizo

And that's it! 

You could serve with some plain rice, or you could try what I like - which is to add shredded lettuce (mine was little gem but any would do) to the pan and stir in to wilt.

And that's it!   You could serve with some plain rice, or you could try what I like - which is to add shredded lettuce (mine was little gem but any would do) to the pan and stir in to wilt.
Rachel Redlaw scallops + chorizo

I really like this.

I love cooked lettuce, that lovely braised lettuce done the French way with petit pois and mint, and one day decided to just add lettuce into a pasta ragu, or an Indian-style curry - and I liked it hence trying it today in this dish too!



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Prawn, tomato, rocket // easy summery pasta

Simplest summer pasta.

I used to make this all the time, then somehow forgot about it and my sister recently reminded me of it as she'd made it (it was a recipe of hers originally I think).

Quantities are vague really, it doesn't really matter (except what tastes good to you) but for two people, I used:

cooking oil (I use a spray oil)

1 small white onion (finely diced)

1 clove garlic (squashed and minced)

1 red chilli, diced

1/3 chicken stock cube (I always use Knorr)

Water

A glass of white wine

2 ripe tomates, core removed and diced

King prawns - I had these lovely head-and-tail-on jumbo prawns and used four for each person - but any large prawns will be good

A couple of handfuls of rocket

Cooked pasta, to serve (I make this first and add at the end but you might prefer to time it so it all comes together! I also use gluten-free but of course just use your own favourite)

 
Prawn tomato rocket pasta Rachel Redlaw
 

Put a frying pan over a medium/low heat and add a tablespoon of cooking oil, or a few sprays of oil, if you're using a spray oil (if you are, you may well need a little splash of water too to stop the ingredients sticking so just add a little as needed).

Cook the onion, garlic and chilli slowing until softened - this always takes longer than I think (anywhere up to ten minutes).  Keep stirring to stop it sticking and add a little water if it looks like it will.

Crumble in the piece of stock cube, a slosh of water, and the wine and bring to a simmer.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes - it should be good and juicy so add another slosh of water if it needs loosening at all.

Add the prawns to the simmering mixture and cook for a few minutes until either hot through (if the prawns are already cooked) or until the grey raw prawns are completely pink and cooked.

Add the rocket and immediately turn off the heat but keep stirring to wilt the rocket.

Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta
Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta