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



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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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Thai vegetable stir-fry with ginger, chilli and lime


I did consider joining in Veganuary, but realised that it didn't feel right to me to do so.

Generally I feel best when I eat fish, seafood, meat with salad and vegetables.

And I'm fine with that - we're all different and I think it's good knowing what feels best to you.

The only exception for me is if someone was to say they feel best only eating packaged, processed food ... that would test my belief a bit!

I also didn't want to sign up to something that I would then feel I HAD to stick to even if I wasn't feeling good about it ... yep, an over-strong sense of responsibility sometimes here (like Tamagotchis - remember them? I couldn't have one as I'd have felt so much responsibility!).

But I was definitely curious and have decided to just kind of participate in my own way, which is to experiment more with vegan and vegetarian food and recipes.

Today I had a lot of vegetables that needed eating, including a few Brussels sprouts, half an onion and a few carrots - these were the ones that really needed eating ASAP!

So I thought I'd try a vegan vegetable stir-fry for brunch and it was really good ... I also feel good and light after eating it, even though it was a lot of vegetables :)

To make this, you’ll need:

rice (cook it first and it can keep warm while you cook the stir fry)

any vegetables of your choosing

plus onion, garlic, chilli, grated ginger (I much prefer grated ginger to sliced as I find it a bit over-powering).

For the sauce you'll also need:

1/3 vegetarian (vegan) stock cube

light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 lime

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil.

Rachel Redlaw Thai vegetable stir fry with ginger, chilli and lime
Rachel Redlaw Thai vegetable stir fry with ginger, chilli and lime

Heat a non-stick frying pan, add a little oil (I use a few sprays of my spray oil plus a little splash of water) and then add the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger and stir-fry over a medium heat for about a minute - add a little more water if it looks like it's going to stick or burn.

Rachel Redlaw Thai vegetable stir fry with ginger, chilli and lime

Crumble in the stock cube with some more water - I like to make it with quite a bit of sauce but how much is up to you.

When it's simmering, add the vegetables (I added all except the courgette as I'd julienned it and it will cook pretty much instantly) and stir fry again for about four minutes - half way through this add the soy sauce and the sugar.

Then add the julienned courgette (if using), squeeze in the lime juice and add the sesame oil. Stir to combine thoroughly and remove from heat.

And that's it! I added some chopped fresh coriander but this is optional - I know a lot of people don't care for coriander and that's fine too - it's your food and it should be exactly as you like it!



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Spicy sour salad with coconut chicken + coconut rice

I LOVE LOVE LOVE a spicy sour salad!

I make my ‘sort-of’ som tam several times a week, substituting courgette for green papaya when I can’t get it.

And today I just started playing around (playing around with food and trying out new ideas is one of my very favourite things to do).

NOTE: THIS RECIPE ISN’T ONE WITH LISTED OUT INGREDIENTS ETC AS IT’S JUST WRITTEN AS I DID IT. HOWEVER, I HAVE GONE BACK AND ITALICISED THE INGREDIENTS SO HOPEFULLY THAT’S A LITTLE BIT HELPFUL!

So instead of my usual chicken cooked on the griddle, I tried poaching it in coconut milk - well, actually the watery liquid from the tin of coconut milk plus additional water.

I simmered the quartered chicken breast in the coconut/water for I think ten minutes as wanted to make sure it was thoroughly cooked and then I drained it and when slightly cooled, shredded the chicken.

Being in a playing-with-food mood, I then cooked some rice (using my absolutely foolproof method of course) in water but also added the solid cream from the tin of coconut milk.

So now I have coconut rice and coconut chicken all ready - and that lovely rich soft coconut flavour to add to my favourite spicy sour salad flavours.

(Nope, neither poaching chicken nor coconut rice cooking look that great, but I thought I’d add the photos so that you can see that it doesn’t look appetising at this stage!).

Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam
Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam

And now for the salad.

Make a quick and easy sugar syrup for the dressing by putting one tablespoon of demerara sugar in a small pan with three or four tablespoons of water and bring to the boil. Stir to ensure all the sugar has dissolved and then removed from the heat to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

I’ve got a green papaya today but you can always use courgette in its place if you can’t find green papaya (or as I do when I’m too lazy to make a trip to the Thai supermarket).

Peel the papaya/courgette and slice with a julienne peeler.

I’ve also got a few green beans, spring onions and cherry tomatoes, so just slice these too so it’s all ready.

And I’ve a small garlic clove and one red birds eye chilli - but use more or less garlic and chilli to your own taste. Today I want the flavours softer than I sometimes do and for the one chilli to balance the soft coconut rather than overpowering it.

Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam
Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam

Using a pestle and mortar squash first the chilli and garlic into small pieces - not a total mush, but nice and small as we’re eating it raw.

Then add the green beans, spring onion and tomato and squash it all together again.

Finally add the green papaya plus a handful each of fresh coriander and mint leaves, and … yup … give it all another pounding!

Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam
Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam

Tip in the cooled sugar syrup, the juice of one juicy lime and a tablespoon of fish sauce.

Stir, mix, combine, scrunch with your (clean!) hands - whatever way you like to mix the flavours - and then taste and see if it needs any more lime or fish sauce.

Add the cooled coconut chicken and coconut rice and mix again.

This is sooooooo delicious!

I love combination of the rich soft coconut rice and chicken, with the sour spicy dressing and the fresh herbs.

In fact, I’m making this for dinner again today ….

Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam
Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam


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Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Comfort food extraordinaire!

Perfect, perfect perfect for a grey, rainy winter London day’s brunch.

Quantities are up to you really - I used one sheet of dried vermicelli noodles and one chicken breast for two, but hey - sometime’s I’m hungrier than others and would have eaten it all to myself.

So just choose how much looks and feels right to you. It’s all going to be good (and taste delicious).

For two today, I used:

1 sheet of dried rice vermicelli noodles, soaked in hot water (bring to the boil, add noodles, remove from heat) for 5 minutes

a few dried porcini mushroom, also soaked in hot water until needed - I used a ladleful of the water from the saucepan that the noodles were soaking in

pork mince, about 200 - 250g

a handful of fresh coriander leaves

white pepper

1 red birds eye chilli

1 clove of garlic

1 piece of ginger

cooking oil - I like to use a spray oil

water

about 1/3 of a Knorr chicken stock cube

fish sauce

light soy sauce

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Once the noodles have soaked for about five minutes, drain, rinse with cold water and keep to one side to add at the end.

Scrunch the pork mince with about half the coriander leaves, chopped finely, and about 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and then - using wet hands - shape into small meatballs and set aside.

Mince the chilli and garlic, peel the ginger and either cut into slices or grate finely (I had slices today but tried grating it the next time and preferred that as it’s a stronger ginger flavour).

Also remove the mushrooms from their liquid (keep the liquid!) and cut into small pieces.

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Put a non-stick over a medium heat with a little cooking oil (I used 20 sprays of my spray oil) and add the chilli and garlic. Add a splash of water too to stop it from sticking and then add the meatballs and cook, stirring, so they are sealed on all sides - add another splash of water if needed.

Pour in enough water to make whatever quantity of soup you want and bring to the boil.

Reduce to a simmer and throw in the ginger, crumble in the piece of stock cube and add a tablespoon of the reserved mushroom water (and now discard the rest). Also add a good slosh each of light soy sauce and of fish sauce.

Simmer until the pork is cooked - probably 6-8 minutes but do pull one of the meatballs apart to check.

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Throw in the noodles and cook for another minute, stirring, to combine and ensure it’s all heated through.

That’s it! Serve topped with the rest of the fresh chopped coriander, if liked.

This is my current favourite warming winter dish - I hope you like it too.

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork


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Chilli, ginger, lime, coconut sauce with salmon

This recipe just keeps evolving … I love it when this happens and one flavour inspires another or you think of a different way to cook it.

It started with a quick and easy beef rendang-style curry (so, so good).

And then one day that’s what I WANTED to eat but didn’t have beef (or lemongrass) so it became this chilli, lime and coconut chicken dish (also good!).

So next I thought I try making a version as a sauce and have it with a piece of fried salmon, and yep, this worked too.

I’d like to try it again but couldn’t resist sharing straight away although I often refine recipes a little bit on making them again (and again) so will come back and add to this if I have anything to update.

Also these pictures aren’t the best so I’ll change them for better ones when I next make it!

This is really simple too - it looks a lot of ingredients but

Make the sauce first …

Here’s what you’ll need to make enough for two (or one with leftover sauce, as I did:

a small piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1/2 a teaspoon turmeric powder (when I first made this, I didn't have any, so just leave it out if you don't either)

a couple of lime leaves, torn from the stalks and chopped into very small pieces (if you don't have lime leaves try the zest of a lime)

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1-2 red birds eye chillies (depending on your taste - I like it spicy!), finely sliced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 whole cloves, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

cooking oil

1/2 tin coconut milk (or like me, find a cute mini-tin!)

1 stick of cinnamon, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 - 1 juicy lime (to your taste - I like lots of lime)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

green vegetable as liked - I had green beans and some asparagus tips

salmon fillet/s

Thai basil or coriander (if liked) to garnish, and extra chilli slices if you want!

Put the ginger, turmeric, lime leaves, garlic, chillies, coriander, cumin and cloves into a mortar, add a splash of water and use a pestle or rolling pin to pound into a beautiful paste.

Add a little oil to a pan and when hot tip in the spice mixture so it sizzles. Stir and add a splash of water if needed to stop it sticking.

After a few seconds, when it’s smelling amazing, add the coconut milk then add the cinnamon, lime juice, sugar and salt.

Bring to the boil and then throw in the vegetables and cooked until done to your liking - I think I cooked them for three minutes.

Remove from heat while you cook the salmon. I had a pretty huge fillet and cooked it for four minutes on each side.

Rachel Redlaw Chilli, ginger, lime, coconut sauce with salmon
Rachel Redlaw - Chilli, ginger, lime, coconut sauce with salmon

Serve with rice or noodles if you want of course, or have it on its own …

Top the salmon with the sauce and garnish with Thai basil or coriander and extra slices of chilli if wanted.

Rachel Redlaw - Chilli, ginger, lime, coconut sauce with salmon
Rachel Redlaw - Chilli, ginger, lime, coconut sauce with salmon

Next time I think I’ll cook the green vegetables separately and make it all look a bit prettier - but it tasted good!



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Thai-style stuffed marrow

Well, I have to say I’m not sure they even grow marrows in Thailand …

Hold on: *goes off to google*

And yes, they do - I just had a quick search, saw a couple of headings and now I’m just hoping for another marrow from our communal kitchen garden so I can try a marrow curry.

And another yes, you can take this as meaning my stuffed marrow was delicious!

The marrow was almost creamy, it was so soft, and it all worked beautifully well together served with some plain rice.

I actually now can’t wait to try this in a curry, it’ll be so good.

But back to the stuffed marrow …

I washed it, cut the ends off and scooped out the seeds from the middle and then put, standing on end, into my remoska that I use for cooking so many things.

But just put them in a baking dish and cover it all with foil to cook it in the oven.

Rachel Redlaw Thai-style stuffed marrows
Rachel Redlaw Thai style pork stuffed marrow

I haven’t made a stuffed marrow for YEARS … and remember having them as a child from the garden and my mum making a kind of bolognaise mince to fill them with.

It was delicious and I don’t think you can really go wrong with any lovely savoury filling, but I thought I’d try something based on the flavours of one of my favourite stir fries with pork mince, chilli and garlic.

Well, except I only had beef mince, so that’s what I used.

I hope you’re getting the idea that this is very much a throw it all together kind of recipe rather than anything very specific!


Here’s what you’ll need:

about 1 tbspn cooking oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-4 red bird eye chillies, depending on your taste, finely chopped

chopped vegetables, whatever you like, I had carrot and green beans

1/3 knorr chicken stock cube

approx 200 - 250g pork or beef mince

1 tbspn light soy sauce

1 tbspn fish sauce

a pinch of sugar

2 spring onions sliced

a small handful coriander leaves chopped to garnish, if liked


Add a little oil to a non-stick frying pan and when hot, tip in the chilli and garlic and stir fry for a few seconds until it starts smelling good - and add a little splash of water if needed to stop it from sticking.

Then added the chopped vegetables (but not the spring onions) and stir-fried again for a couple of minutes adding another little splash of water if needed.

Rachel Redlaw Thai style pork stuffed marrow
Rachel Redlaw Thai style pork stuffed marrow
Rachel Redlaw Thai style pork stuffed marrow

To be honest, I’m not sure why I didn’t add the mince before the vegetables, but hey, it still worked, although I think it would be more usual to do the chilli and garlic, then add the mince and then when browned add the vegetables.

Anyway, I didn’t, so I stir fried the vegetables and then added the mince and stirred, cooking until it was browned, adding the piece of stock cube and another splash of water as needed.

Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, spring onions and squeeze in half a lime then cook, stirring, for another minute or two.

Rachel Redlaw Thai style pork stuffed marrow
Rachel Redlaw Thai style pork stuffed marrow

Spoon the mince mixture into the marrow halves, cover with foil if baking in the oven and then cook in a medium oven until done - I’d test after about 20 minutes by just putting a knife into the marrow and see if it’s soft …. it’s gorgeous when it’s really soft so keep cooking until it is.

I think I ended up cooking mine for nearer 40 minutes, but everyone’s oven’s different so best to test earlier rather than later.

If I’d had a larger marrow it would have been enough on it’s own, but this was quite small so I served it with rice.

IMG_1726.JPGRachel Redlaw Thai style pork stuffed marrow
Rachel Redlaw Thai style pork stuffed marrow
Rachel Redlaw Thai style pork stuffed marrow

I’m really hoping there’s going to be another marrow or two in the garden to cook it again before winter sets in …



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Steak + noodles w/ Thai green curry-ish sauce

This recipe is one of my frequent 'something from nothing' dinners - when it looks like there's nothing in the fridge, cupboards, house that will make a good dinner for two ... and then, always, there IS.

I was looking at one steak, some slightly-past-their-best vegetables and wondering what to make when I saw there was also just one layer left of the dried rice noodles - like they were signalling to me to use them as well.

So I did.

I wouldn't naturally put beef with Thai green curry flavours, which are much more usually combined with seafood or chicken .... so I was thinking what to do with red curry, but I wanted something with lime and I was just drawn to the green curry paste, so that's what I did.

And a quick word on using a paste ... IT'S FINE!

When I lived in Thailand everyone went to the market in the morning to get meat and fish and vegetables and also to stop at the curry paste stalls to buy curry paste - you add your own touches to it when you use it, but you don't have to make your own. 

I like the one in my photo of the ingredients which I buy from the local Thai supermarket but my nearest Sainsbury's now stocks it too, so it might be in your supermarket - if you don't already have a favourite curry paste - and if not, it'll be available online. They last for EVER (pretty much) in the fridge so well worth getting.

Usually I add the sauce-flavour-ingredients straight into the pan when I cook, but recently have been experimenting with combining them first - in dishes that this feels right to do of course - as with this sea bass recipe - so decided to play with that again for this.

It was quick and easy and really good .... do try!

For two people, you'll need:

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

1 steak - I like rump best but sirloin would work too

A few dashes of light soy sauce

1 heaped teaspoon of good Thai green curry paste *

1 generous tablespoon light soy sauce *

1 generous tablespoon fish sauce *

the juice of one good juicy lime *

1/2 teaspoon sugar *

(NOTE: if i'd had any toasted sesame oil I'd have added 1/2 a teaspoon of that too) *

some vegetables, sliced ready to stir fry - anything you like really - I had red and yellow peppers, broccoli and spring onions

Rachel Redlaw green curry steak noodles
Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles

Start with the noodles and prepare according to pack instructions - I usually throw them into a pan of boiling water, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes then drain and run under cold water to stop them cooking further and becoming gloopy and sticky.

And sprinkle a couple of dashes of light soy sauce over your steak so it's got a kind of marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

So the noodles are already done and the steak ready to cook.

Now just chop the vegetables and we want them in quite small pieces so they'll cook quickly, and also mix also the sauce ingredients (marked in the list above with an '*') in a bowl so it's ready to add.

Cook the steak to your liking - I use a very hot griddle and like mine medium rare which is usually 3-4 minutes on one side and another 2-3 on the other then rest for a minute.

Rachel Redlaw green curry steak noodles
Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles

While the steak rests, put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a tablespoon of cooking oil (not olive oil as it cooks at too low a temperature - vegetable or sunflower is good - my favourites are rapeseed or grapeseed).

When hot, add the vegetables and fry for around three minutes, stirring all the time, and adding a splash of water if it looks like it's sticking.

Then add the noodles and the sauce and mix it all together and stir fry for a minute or two more until it's all cooked and hot and the noodles and beautiful and not stuck together - and do add a splash more water if needed.

Remove from the heat, pour into a serving dish or individual bowls and top with slices of the steak.

Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles
Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles

You'll understand, this being a 'something from nothing' dinner that I didn't have a lot of fresh herbs to hand - but if I had I might have added some chopped fresh coriander and/or mint to garnish.

Oh, but I did garnish with some toasted flaked almonds - literally just seconds in a dry pan gets them toasty and delicious, well, I wanted SOME kind of garnish, final flourish!



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Crispy peppery seafood stir fry

What I was thinking of was lovely crunchy deep fried prawns in a light batter ... and then what I was thinking was that I wanted something similar but also not deep fried.

Oh and ALSO what I was thinking was that usually those deep fried prawns have the batter around the shell - and I just don't like eating the shell plus I have a bit of a horror of un-de-veined prawns.

So the combination of prawns with veins in, and the shell on AND deep fried .... just wasn't going to work.

(OK ... when I say a 'horror' of not having de-veined prawns, if I'm throwing them in the food processor to make something like my prawn balls, then OF COURSE I don't de-vein them first, I just throw them in and mix with the other ingredients. I just don't like to SEE the vein. Just to clarify :) )

I tried this a couple of times and I was a bit too heavy-handed with the white pepper at first, but yesterday I got it right ... right being just how I like it ... and so I want to share.

I always have frozen seafood in the freezer as it means there's always going to be something good to eat and for this I decided I wanted a variety of seafood, not just prawns after all.

I have prawns, defrosted and de-veined. And I have squid - I much prefer the tubes of squid I can then score and cut into smaller pieces that roll up - but my online grocery shop delivered rings, so I kept them.  I also usually have beautiful big scallops - but again the grocery shop this time delivered these tiny ones and actually I'm a bit smitten with them.

While defrosting all the frozen seafood in a bowl of cold water, I made a little Vietnamese-style dipping sauce and cooked my rice as the cooking of the seafood itself is really quick.

Rachel Redlaw crispy peppery seafood
Rachel Redlaw crispy peppery seafood

I made an easy little kind-of-batter with:

2 tablespoons cornflour

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1/5-1 tsp (to your taste) ground white pepper

1-2 birds eye chillies (to your taste), very finely sliced (I prefer red, but the grocery shopping .... you get it)

Just mix it all together and when the seafood is defrosted and rinsed, tip into the batter and mix with your hands to cover the prawns, squid and scallops (or whatever you're using).

Then put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add some sprays of oil or pour a little oil to coat and when good and hot add the seafood.

It should sizzle immediately - so maybe try one piece to see if it's hot enough before tipping it all in.

Space it out so that nothing is on top of anything else and if there's extra batter add that on top of the seafood - it goes lovely and crisp.

Cook for about three minutes, turning a few times, until cooked and browned.

Rachel Redlaw crispy peppery seafood

And that's it!

Serve with the cooked rice and I like to top this with some sliced spring onion and chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Drizzle over some of the dipping sauce, pour a glass of something cold and good ... and eat.

This is now a favourite 'storecupboard' meal for me - I really love making 'something from nothing - when it looks like there's nothing in the cupboards or fridge and then I can make something as quick and easy - and delicious as this!



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VIETNAMESE (STYLE) DIPPING SAUCE / NUOC CHAM

A kind of nuoc cham - the Vietnamese dipping sauce .... (aside - and I REALLY must visit Vietnam one day soon!).

I like to make just a little fresh but you could make more and keep it in an airtight jar in the fridge for a week or so.

For this amount - which is going to be perfect for lunch - I used:

1 juicy lime
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped (I’d wanted red but only had green so green it is)
1 small cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sri Racha sauce

Combine and stir to dissolve the sugar and then taste taste taste to see if it needs more lime or more fish sauce or a little more sugar.

Rachel Redlaw Nuoc Cham Vietnamese style dipping sauce
Rachel Redlaw Nuoc Cham Vietnamese style dipping sauce

Trust your own palate and what tastes good to you - this is lovely and tangy and hot and sour and a little sweet too.



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