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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
Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta

You can serve with the pasta or - as I usually do - add the cooked pasta to the pan to re-heat as it'll be slightly cooled if cooked earlier, and stir to combine.

Season to taste and enjoy! 

 
Rachel Redlaw prawn tomato rocket pasta
 

There's something very elegant about the simplicity of this dish - as in fact with my other favourite summer pasta with prawns + lemon.

Hope you love them too.


 

 

Singapore noodles

One of my favourite dishes when I'm using things up ... when there's just a few prawns left in the freezer, or one rasher of bacon and some cooked chicken.

I often use bacon as an ingredient not as the main part of a meal, such as in this fish recipe where there's just one rasher for two people. So I'll keep single rashers in the freezer - they defrost really quickly.

So, Singapore noodles.

It's basically ALL in the prep as when you start cooking it only takes minutes, so getting everything ready is key.

PESCATARIANS! Just use more prawns.

VEGETARIANS! Up the vegetables and add some pre-fried tofu.

Read through the whole recipe first as there's quite a lot going on - it's all simple but there is a bit to prepare.

To serve two, you'll need:

around 100g vermicelli rice noodles

a handful of green beans, cut in half

Soak the noodles in freshly boiled water according to pack instructions. Mine said five minutes and I added the beans for the last minute to blanch them.

When they're done, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the noodles cooking further or becoming sticky.

Into one bowl add 1 egg, beaten with a little shake of white pepper and a tiny splosh of sesame oil

Into another bowl go the vegetables. I had half a red pepper, sliced ; a couple of mushrooms, sliced and if I'd had waterchestnuts I'd have added them too

Now into another bowl go 2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal; 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced; a small piece of ginger, approx 1 teaspoon, peeled and minced or grated; 1 green birds eye chilli, finely chopped and 1 teaspoon curry powder

1 rasher bacon, chopped

a few prawns in a bowl with a little fish sauce, maybe 1/2 teaspoon

some cooked chicken - I had approx half a breast in the fridge so cooked that on the griddle and then chopped

(What would be lovely to have had would have been char siu pork - next time I make it, I'll make sure there's a piece left over to make noodles).

Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles

Once all the other ingredients are ready the noodles should have dried out a bit so now separate out the green beans and put them aside.

I normally cut the noodles in half with kitchen scissors as it makes them easier to stir fry later, but forgot today!

Put the noodles in a bowl and add:

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

And mix it all around to combine thoroughly - I just use my (clean) hands!

 
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
 

Now, you just need some cooking oil and we're ready to cook ... 


Add a few sprays - or a couple of teaspoons - of cooking oil to a wok or good deep frying pan over a medium heat, add the bacon and cook until done.  Remove the bacon and set aside.

Add the prawns and a splash of water, cook for a few minutes until done and set aside too.

 
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
 

Add a little more oil to the pan, tip in the contents of the dish with the spring onions, garlic etc and cook quickly, stirring all the time - you don't want it to burn - for a few seconds until it starts smelling good.

Then add the bowl of vegetables plus the green beans and stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Add a splash of water if it looks like sticking but not too much as after a couple of minutes you then push the vegetables aside and tip in the beaten egg mixture.

Leave it for a few seconds - I usually count to 10 - to start setting and then quickly scramble in to the other ingredients.

Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles

Add the prawns, bacon and chicken and stir and then finally add the noodles and cook for another minute or so until everything is hot.

This is where it would have been much easier if I'd cut the soaked noodles in half! 

 
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
 

Remove from heat and tip out onto a serving dish.

If I'd had some coriander, I'd have added a small handful of the leaves to garnish.

But with or without the garnish, this is very good - and after you've made it once or twice, very easy. 

Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles


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Smoked salmon pinwheels

These little deliciousnesses are Jane Swift's contribution to #ShareFoodStories - and I'd love to hear yours too.

Email me at rachel@rachelwalder.com and send me a recipe that means something to you, and the story behind why you've chosen it.  It could be something special, something celebration, or a favourite family meal that just is full of meaning for you. 

I'd love to share as many as I can.

Food has so much behind it - it's not just fuel for our bodies. Recipes are handed down through families, are part of what create families and sharing our food stories is about creating our history too.

And Jane shared her food story - salmon pinwheels.  

The story is here.


The recipe right here: 

thin sliced soft brown bread

butter, soft and ready to spread

smoked salmon

fresh lemon juice

black pepper

 

Cut the crusts off the sliced bread, and spread with butter.

Carefully separate the layers of smoked salmon and lay a piece over each slice of bread.

Generously squeeze lemon juice on top,and a grind of black pepper.

Then roll the bread and salmon - to create a spiral of salmon within the bread - and tightly encase in foil so that it holds it's shape.

Best left in the fridge overnight, but an hour or so will do if you want to eat them sooner.

When you take the rolls from the fridge, unwrap them and cut into maybe four small sushi-sized spiral bites from each slice of bread. 

#ShareFoodStories Rachel Redlaw salmon pinwheels

Eat and enjoy (preferably accompanied by a glass of something fizzy!). 



Kerrie's tuna 'envelopes'

This is a lovely, simple and very tasty recipe shared by Kerrie Rycroft as part of my #ShareFoodStories project, where people are sharing a recipe that has meaning for them - and the reason they chose it.

This was chosen unanimously by Kerrie's children as a favourite of theirs. You can also use the idea of the puff pastry envelopes to hold any filling - ideal for using leftovers such as bolognaise sauce, chilli con carne, or chicken curry.

I made these tuna envelopes for brunch today - and really enjoyed them! 

Here's Kerrie's recipe.  

For four 'envelopes' you'll need (I made enough for two today):

2 tins of tuna (I used one)

1 tin of sweetcorn (I used a small one)

1/2 red onion finely chopped 

a big dollop of mayonnaise 

A sheet of puff pastry (I used half)

1 egg, beaten

 

Mix the tuna, sweetcorn, red onion and mayonnaise together in a bowl.

Unroll the sheet of puff pastry and cut into four squares (or 6-8 smaller squares - as I was using half the sheet mine were 'small squares').

Divide the tuna mix between the squares.

Rachel Redraw Kerrie's tuna envelopes
Rachel Redraw tuna envelopes

Fold the corners in so that they meet in the middle.  (I tried folding mine in two different ways).

Brush with beaten egg.

Cook for 20 minutes in an oven at around 200C (I used Gas 7).

Rachel Redlaw tuna envelopes
Rachel Redraw tuna envelopes

Kerrie says they usually serve them 'with mange tout and baby sweetcorn and a splodge of sweet chilli sauce to dip them in', but as mine were for brunch we had them with just a sliced tomato to add a little colour (plus realised I'd run out of sweet chilli sauce - so will be making more today).

 
Rachel Redlaw tuna envelopes
 

I really liked these - I think it's a great idea to add other fillings too. 

I made them again with a filling of feta cheese, fresh mint and parsley, black pepper, dried chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon - delicious!

Rachel Redlaw borek
Rachel Redlaw borek
Rachel Redlaw borek

And I can see a Tiniest Thai green chicken curry 'envelope' happening for dinner soon ...



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Simple sea bass supper

This is so good.  Sea bass is so soft and delicate, I like to cook it very simply but then add a delicious dressing.

I cooked the fish in my remoska for 20 minutes, with just a sliced spring onion, a crumble of a piece of stock cube, the juice of half a lime and a very little water, but you could cook it in foil parcels on a baking tray in the same way.

Rachel Redlaw sea bass and sauce
Rachel Redlaw sea bass in sauce

The sauce is the best!

It's this one, it's a Jamie recipe and I adapted it a bit with mango for my fish tacos but as the mango I had wasn't soft enough I used kiwi fruit as in the original version.

Cut a green chilli in half lengthways and peel and halve a kiwi fruit, then cook in a hot dry frying pan for a couple of minutes each side until charred. 

Blend with a handful of coriander leaves, the juice of a lime and a splash of water. 

Please do try this, it's SO good!

Rachel Redlaw sea bass in sauce
Rachel Redlaw sea bass in sauce

I had a quick stir fry of green vegetables (topped with a squeeze of lemon) to go with the fish and the dressing, and this is now my current favourite dinner.

 
Rachel Redlaw sea bass in sauce
 

You know when you make something new and then just keep making it all the time?

Yep, it's like that.



Easy-peasy kinda-kedgeree

The other morning I really, really fancied kedgeree. But not having any fish in the house, I made a vague approximation - just chilli and garlic, leftover rice, a couple of rashers of grilled bacon and a boiled egg. Added a few drops of soy sauce and done ...

And it was surprisingly good!

Kinda kedgeree

Kinda kedgeree

Cheat's kedgeree

Cheat's kedgeree

I've still got a hankering for kedgeree though, and today made this 'cheat's version' - it couldn't really be simpler, especially if you use tinned tuna, or already-cooked leftover fish like the sea bass I had.

This makes a really good + quick meal - perfect for brunch or a simple supper.

For two, you'll need:

4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal

0.5-1 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 tsp curry powder

Some hot cooked rice - you choose how much! 

Cooked white fish or a tin of tuna

2 eggs, boiled for 8 minutes, run under cold water to stop them cooking further and then shelled

Parsley and lemon wedges, to serve

Cook the spring onions in a frying pan with a little oil or butter (I'm using 20 sprays of my 1-cal spray oil plus a tiny splash of water) with the chilli flakes and curry powder.

Cook for a minute or or - don't let them stick or burn, add more oil or water if necessary.

Stir in the rice - and add the fish. Cook, stirring, until it's all hot through.

Turn out onto plates, adding an egg each and some chopped parsley (if you have some) and lemon.

It might be the 'cheat' version, but it's still really good! 



Moroccan salad (with griddled chicken)

I was in Marrakech recently (again - one of my very favourite places and yes I really am going to write a quick post about it soon).

It was the most beautiful weekend away with my co-conspirator-traveller-niece. We shopped in the souks, sunbathed on the roof terrace of our riad, and ate a LOT of tomato + cucumber Moroccan salad.

We had it in the riad, we had it for lunch at the Henna Art Cafe and we had it every time we ate in the main square too. 

We had it with bread, with grilled smoky aubergines, with a chilli dip, and with skewers of grilled meats (well, I did; Mia's vegetarian). 

It's so simple too, I don't know why I haven't made it before now ... but now I have, it's going to be a regular thing at Tiniest Thai HQ! 

What makes it special, what makes if Moroccan is the addition of ground cumin - I'd brought some back with me too (along with Ras Al Hanout, that spice blend for stews and for tagines - will be using it next and making a tagine).

You can have the salad with whatever you like, but I did some simple griddled chicken for a light lunch for me and a friend yesterday. (I made the salad, she brought the Prosecco). 

So, first the salad (serves two).

Dice some tomatoes (take the tough cores out if need be). I used a mixture of two large tomatoes and then quartered a few cherry tomatoes too. Peel and de-seed some cucumber and dice that too. 

Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato salad
Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato salad

Chop half an onion very finely, and add it all to a big bowl with a handful of chopped parsley and a pinch of salt - and stir to mix well.

Then make the dressing. I used one and half lemons squeezed into a bowl (just squeeze them over your open hand so you catch the pips easily), 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 tsp ground cumin and a shake of white pepper.

You could use a little olive oil too, but I prefer the taste of the lemon to really shine through.

Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar, then tip over the salad and mix.

 
Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad
 

And for the simplest griddled chicken, I just opened out a chicken breast (actually it was one and a half chicken breasts) so they are thin and quite flat and will cook quickly.

My grocery shopping delivery that morning had included lemon thyme in replacement for lime leaves which they hadn't had in stock (yep, strange replacement, can only assume someone just saw the words 'lime' and 'lemon' and thought, 'that'll do'!), so I thought I'd use it with the chicken.

The chicken was sprinkled with cumin, some lemon/thyme salt I found in the cupboard (or just use salt) and the leaves and some sprigs of lemon thyme. You could use another herb, or just leave this out if you don't have any. 

And I added 2 teaspoons of oil and rubbed it all together to coat the chicken pieces.

Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad / chicken
Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad / chicken

I heated the griddle until very hot (you could just use a frying pan or grill the chicken if you don't have a griddle) and added the pieces of chicken, which started sizzling (LOVE that sound!).

They took around three minutes each side ... but do slice into them to check they're properly cooked through.

Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad / chicken
Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad / chicken

Serve with the chicken on top of the salad and with another little pinch of ground cumin over the top of it all.

Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad
Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad

Simple, light and fresh tasting. So good! 


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Favourite tapas / chorizo in red wine

Coming home from a few days in Spain, using up my euros in Malaga airport (while we waited, and waited, for a delayed flight), I bought a bottle of Rioja and a whole chorizo sausage.

I'd already bought delicious pil pil spice mix from the market, so of course, the first dinner I cooked on my return was a gambas pil pil and chorizo in red wine, to go with a tomato + onion salad (and bread of course).

 
Rachel Redlaw tapas chorizo gambas
 

My gambas pil pil needs another go before I share the recipe (I over-cooked the prawns), but the chorizo in red wine was incredibly easy and very delicious.

You just need a whole chorizo (I used the smaller 'half' to cook it again today) - and put the sausage into a frying pan or small saucepan.

Pour over a nice big glass of a dry Rioja (and go on, have a glass too while it cooks), add a bay leaf or two, pop on a lid and cook over a low-ish heat.

Simmer for 15 minutes, turning the sausage once during the cooking time.

Rachel Redlaw tapas chorizo
Rachel Redlaw tapas chorizo
Rachel Redlaw tapas chorizo
Rachel Redlaw tapas chorizo

And this nice slow simmering lets all the beautiful spices and paprika into the wine to create a gorgeous sauce.

While it cooks, I made a quick tomato + onion salad, seasoned just with salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and sliced some bread.

Rachel Redlaw tapas chorizo salad
Rachel Redlaw tapas chorizo

After 15 minutes, take the chorizo out, slice and return to the pan to mix with the wine sauce, before moving it to a bowl to serve.

Rachel Redlaw tapas chorizo
Rachel Redlaw tapas chorizo

Have with your favourite tapas dishes or, like today, just with a salad and some good bread (and maybe another glass of wine).

Gambas pil pil recipe coming soon!



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Sunshine food / simplest souvlaki + Greek salad

A Bank Holiday in the UK often (like today) = a bit grey and cloudy.

So, nothing for it but to cook up THE most sunshine-y lunch I can think of right now - and that's an easy, delicious chicken souvlaki, with Greek salad.

And rose. Pink wine just says SUMMER!

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki + greek salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki + greek salad

For two, I used one big chicken breast, cut into small cubes and put in a bowl to marinate for 30 minutes or so with:

the juice of 2 lemons

and the zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

then I used a teaspoon of this lovely salt with lemon and thyme, but you could use 1/2 teaspoon each salt and thyme

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki + greek salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki + greek salad

While the chicken marinates, make an easy Greek salad. 

I used:

1/2 red onion, sliced as thinly as possible

2 tomatoes (on the vine - you want the sweetest tomato-est tomatoes you can find), cored and cut into chunks

a piece of cucumber (I took off most of the skin as it was quite tough), cut into chunks

a few very thin slices of green pepper 

some black olives 

1 teaspoon each of red wine vinegar and olive oil (no need to mix first)

a good squeeze of lemon juice

some salt and black pepper

.. and then I tossed it all together using my (clean) hands to make sure it was all combined

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki and Greek salad
 

As I'm making this lunch while on my Tiniest Thai weight-loss diet I didn't put a big slab of feta on the top (I'm a bit addicted to feta) and just crumbled a little to make it go further - and sprinkled it with a little more dried oregano. 

Again, if I weren't on a diet, we might have had some nice hot toasted pitta bread too but ... I can't be trusted not to eat the rest of it once it's got in the house! 

Once the chicken's marinated, thread it onto wooden or metal skewers and cook.  I cooked mine on the hot griddle, adding the rest of marinade over the chicken, but you could also cook it under the grill or fry in a pan.

I cooked mine for probably 4 minutes each side, turning now and then, and checking it was cooked thoroughly before serving. 

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki and Greek salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki and Greek salad

Serve with the salad, pitta bread if you're having it and some lemon on the side to squeeze over.

And if you, like me, like a glass of rose when you're pretending it's summer, have one (or two) of those too!

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki and Greek salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki and Greek salad


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5 fave breakfasts/brunches

Usually a weekday breakfast is something quick - a croissant, fruit and yogurt, a green smoothie or just toast and marmite.  My daily cup of tea first thing and then a coffee grabbed on the way to the office (flat white please!).

And several days a week I skip breakfast altogether as I'm interested in intermittent fasting and by having dinner a little earlier than usual the night before, say finishing at 8pm, and then not eating until 1pm the next day, that's created a nice 17 hour break for your digestive system (and I find it easy to do, with a couple of coffees in the morning though - I'm not that strict about it).

But when there's time to cook something more special, and time to enjoy and spend longer over breakfast, chatting or reading, these are my favourite brunches.  I'm not sure you can call them breakfast really when it's after 10am.

So after a cup of tea, after journaling, after a walk outdoors round the park, here's what I come back and make ...

 

1. Eggs in purgatory

A little garlic, a very little chilli, eggs poached in tomatoes and sprinkled with parmesan. Mine rarely make it out of the pan when I make this just for me as I dunk bits of baguette in and scoop spoonfuls straight from the pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Kai jeow - Thai omelette

Yes, another eggy breakfast. Eggs are good!

I love this Thai omelette - really savoury with minced pork, served with some chopped chillies in fish sauce.  You can serve it with rice or have it on its own.

I also do a super-quick version using ready cooked diced chicken or pork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Pad krapow gai - spicy stir fry with chicken and holy basil

I ate this all the time for breakfast when I lived in Thailand.  

I loved that there was all the usual variety of food for breakfast, rather than 'breakfast food' as we often categorise it.  

I'm not sure why that is, but it doesn't have to be that way and for me, a favourite first meal of the day is this very spicy, very good stir fry with rice - and sometimes with a fried egg on top too.

If you can't get holy basil, it's still worth making without it.

 

4.  Kao pad gai - chicken fried rice

Rachel Redlaw kao pad gai chicken fried rice

Especially good if there's been a rice dish the night before - I deliberately cook extra rice so there's some for breakfast as this is best made with cold cooked rice.

Just something so comforting about this dish (it's a good one for mopping up hangovers too).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. And number 5 ... is a total cheat!

I couldn't decide, so it's 'anything made from a combination of these ingredients'!

Avocado, smoked salmon, eggs and spinach.

Rachel Redlaw breakfast brunch
RAchel Redlaw avocado on toast

It could be avocado on toast with a squeeze of lime and a little salt and a few chilli flakes.

Or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on spinach. Poached eggs on sliced avocado with a little dill on top. Any combination of these things is going to be a winner!

 

So ... what are your favourite brunches? 


Rachel Redlaw

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Does feta make everything taste better?

I'm currently obsessed with feta cheese.  But less as a cheese and more as a seasoning. 

It's slightly sharp and sour and salty, and a little crumbled over many dishes just makes them that little bit more special.

Experiment with any dishes you like of course, and I'd love to know what you found works, but my top three (this week anyway) are ... 

1. Salads

Rachel Redlaw feta

Any salads really.  

I've had a little feta in my lunchtime salads this week.  

All of them had a variety of leaves, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and spring onions.  A couple of days I had avocado, and some black olives, another day I had some chicken that I'd stir-fried the night before with red and yellow peppers and some oregano.  

All with a little olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon. 

All with feta crumbled over at the end.

2. Omelettes 

Rachel Redlaw feta
Rachel Redlaw feta

Two eggs, beaten and a few pieces of diced butter.  One tomato or a mushroom, chopped finely.  

Heat the pan and add a little olive oil, tip in the airy beaten eggs and the chopped veg on top.  Season.  

Cook, tilting the pan, letting the uncooked egg run under where it starts to cook and right at the very, very end, crumble in some feta, fold the omelette and remove from heat.  

Eat ... 

3. Couscous and stir-fried things

Rachel Redlaw feta

I always though couscous was both incredibly bland and also a bit of a faff (with putting it into a bowl mainly so probably not that much of a faff really) until I saw this recipe in Jamie's 15 Minute Meals.

Ingenious, simple and tasty way of making couscous.

While the kettle's boiling, throw some spinach leaves in the food processor along with some mint leaves and a couple of spring onions.

Blitz up then remove the blade and throw in half a cup of couscous (for two people) and a whole cup (just double the water to couscous) of boiling water.  

Cover and leave while you cook the rest.

Rachel Redlaw feta
Rachel Redlaw feta
Rachel Redlaw feta
Rachel Redlaw feta

When done, just fluff up the couscous with a fork, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon (or to taste) and season with salt and black pepper.  Stir well.

For the topping, the original recipe was chorizo and squid, with red peppers stir fried with a drizzle of honey and some sherry vinegar.  I had chorizo but not the other things so did a stir fry with chorizo, garlic, chilli, red pepper then after about four minutes added some prawns and scallops that I'd found in the freezer.  A splash of water, a squeeze of lemon, a tiny pinch of sugar. 

I've made this couscous before with all sorts of toppings - chicken, chorizo, seafood, stir fried veg ... all good. 

Tip the couscous onto a plate or platter, top with the stir-fry and ... yep ... crumble over some feta cheese. 

Rachel Redlaw feta

These are just a few ideas, but I can't wait to hear what else you add feta to!



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Foodies Agenda's Citrus Yogurt Cake

This is the cake recipe that Kate from foodies agenda shared with me when we talked recently, and I'm glad for many reasons that she chose this.

I don't have a sweet tooth, to start, but I do have a citrus tooth! I absolutely love citrus flavours, to eat, to look at, to smell.  

Grapefruit and Wild Orange are two of my favourite essential oils (to put in the diffiuser or for my morning 'detox shower') and I always have a big bowl of limes as I use so many.  

And of course, they just look so pretty with their gorgeous colours.

 
 

I'm also glad she chose this because I very, very rarely bake ... so whilst I'm usually confident cooking and can trust my sense of taste, baking feels very different.  It always makes me nervous when I put the cake or pastry or whatever it is in the oven without feeling like I quite know what's going to come out! 

This recipe is delicious - the cake is made with coconut oil and is very moist.  It isn't too sweet and the flavours are fresh. I think it's a really elegant cake too.

There are only a couple of cakes I've ever made that I've then made again, and this has joined them.

I will definitely be making this one again! 

If you're  in Australia or the US, then I'd suggest you go straight to the original recipe as it's really simple and you'll be using measuring cups.  

Here's the recipe on foodies agenda.

 
 

But I managed to get myself confused over a few things ... because I don't ever bake.

I also never use measuring cups - I had thought it was only an American measure.

Turns out (I did a bit of googling) that American cups are 240ml and Australian cups are 250ml.  So not enough difference to affect the recipe and if you use either American or Australian measuring cups then just go ahead and make it.

I also found out that apparently we do have measuring cups in the UK and ours contain 220ml. The things I was reading then got way too technical for me and were advising how to convert volume to weight. Yes, exactly. 

So what I did was measure out 250ml water and thought I'd pour it in a mug and just use roughly where it came up to for each measure.  But then the water exactly filled a little teacup and so this little teacup is forever more going to be my Aus/US measuring cup.

My other concern was that - you guessed it - I've never used my coconut oil for baking and it's set completely solid and I imagine it needs to be liquid to measure it in a cup. 

Problem solved by just putting the jar in some hot water for about ten minutes - coconut oil has a pretty low melting temperature. 

Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake
Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake
Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake

All ready to go with my new-found knowledge of measuring cups and how to melt solid coconut oil!

Just sharing all this in case there's anyone else out there as unknowledgeable about baking as me.  

Most people will have skipped over all this and already have cooked and be eating their cake by now I expect ... 

On to the recipe itself, which is incredibly simple, especially as none of that off-putting creaming butter and sugar together - you just pour in coconut oil! 

What you'll need:

1 cup demerera sugar

2 medium free range eggs

2 lemons, the zest of both + 2 tablespoons of juice

1 orange, the zest of half (I put in a little more than half) + 1 tablespoon of juice

1 pinch of salt

2 cups of self raising flour, sifted

1 cup of natural or Greek yogurt

3/4 cup coconut oil

Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake
Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake

Preheat the oven to 180 / Gas 4

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and airy and the sugar has dissolved. I used my electric whisk and it was done in seconds ... 

Then you throw in the lemon and orange zest and juice (quantities in the ingredients list), followed by a pinch of salt and the sifted self-raising flour. 

Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake
Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake

Fold in the yogurt.  I'm never sure about folding but do know to be gentle with the mixture and only folding/combining the ingredients without over-mixing to try to keep the end result light.

Then gradually pour in the coconut oil little by little, again gently combining to keep the air in.

When it's all combined, Kate's instructions are to: 

'Grease a 22cm springform cake tin or line with baking paper'.

Oops! Another non-baker's problem.  I don't have a round or springform cake tin.  So my choice was from a loaf tin and a 22cm square tin.  I went with the square tin as think the loaf tin might have made the cake too dense and the middle might not have been cooked.  So I greased that with a little butter and poured in the cake batter.

Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake
Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake

When I first read through the recipe, I'd been a bit worried that my cake batter wouldn't look right, but batter is exactly what it looked like! Started feeling quite excited about this, especially as the batter on it's own was delicious (yep, I scraped the bowl out).

Put the cake on the middle shelf and then the recipe says to bake for 30-35 mins until cooked all the way through and golden brown. 

I don't know whether it's me or my oven (shouldn't be the oven which is a lovely steady-temperature-holding gas oven) but whenever I do bake a cake it always takes a LOT longer than the recipes say.

I tested it after 30 minutes by putting a sharp knife in, but it came out with batter still on the knife. And I kept testing it until 20 minutes later than the recommended time when I decided it was probably done. 

Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool a little before releasing from the tin - or tipping it out.  You can see all the stab marks where I kept testing to see if was done!

But I didn't burn it and it came out of the tin so well, all in one lovely piece. 

(Yes my 'cooling rack' is the grill pan)!

Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake
Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake

Next time I make it I'll cook it for even longer as mine was lovely on the outer sides but the middle was still a little doughy (although it still tasted really good).

Dust with icing sugar and grate over a little more zest before slicing and serving. 

I'm really pleased with this! Perfect with a mid-morning coffee I'd say.

Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake
Rachel Redlaw foodies agenda citrus yogurt cake


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ... 







Stilton & spinach pasta

The Christmas and festive period has finished and I've been back at work three days.  All the chocolates have been eaten and the Port has been drunk.  

But there's still a fairly good-sized piece of Stilton lurking in the fridge and I neither want to throw it away nor eat it on yet more biscuits (or on celery of course which is actually my favourite cheese carrier.  Is carrier the right word?).

So, stilton and spinach pasta it is and it's very good and super simple too. 

It's also quite rich - as it would be - so I made a quick and easy salad of just fresh little gem lettuce leaves and a mustardy dressing to go with it.  I have salad at most meals and this is my favourite dressing.  

I make it one day then pop it in the fridge and just add to it the next day - it keeps going for about a week before I tip the last bits away, wash out the glass and start again. In the summer this never-ending dressing goes beautifully with tomato and onion salad.

For the dressing just put a couple of sloshes of olive oil in a glass, jar or mug and a good slosh of white or wine or rice vinegar.  Peel and squash a garlic clove and throw that in and then stir in a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Taste and see if you need more oil or more vinegar to get the balance right for you. 

Put the lettuce leaves in a bowl, spoon on some dressing, add black pepper and a very little salt and that's the salad done.

Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta

Cook as much pasta as you like and while it's cooking, you can start the sauce. You will need the pasta cooked and drained to add to the sauce near the end of cooking.

For two, I had: 

light olive oil for frying

1/2 a white onion, sliced very finely 

creme fraiche (I used half fat), a couple of tablespoons

the piece of Stilton (it weighed about 80g)

2 big handfuls of spinach (about 100g)

black pepper to taste

 
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
 

I fried the onion in the olive oil for about five or six minutes until soft and golden - and I added a spoonful of boiling water from the pasta pan when it looked like it was about to stick and maybe burn.

When soft, add the creme fraiche and stir in then crumble in the Stilton and cook on a low heat until the cheese melts.

Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta

Add the cooked, drained pasta and the spinach and stir in for a few minutes until the spinach wilts.

Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta

Tip into a serving dish and add some black pepper to taste.

Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta

Let me know if you make this and please do share your own recipes and ideas for using up that Christmas cheeseboard ... 



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Jassy's bacon & egg pie

I recently got to talk with food writer Jassy Davis about blogging, food and life .... and she was kind enough to share a recipe with me.  

A comfort-food-sounding-winner of a Bacon and Egg Pie. 

But, it also made me a little bit nervous about making it because to me, baking and pastry, y'know, they're TECHNICAL cooking.  And I don't really 'do' technical cooking. My cooking is generally based on throwing things together, cooking stuff quickly, and all about taste, taste and taste it again and adjust (and learn to trust your own pallette). 

However, I also really loved the sound of her pie, and I really wanted to make it.  

And I want other people who might have the pastry fear to have a go to.  You'll see on the header photo on this post Jassy's pie on the left and mine on the right.  Honestly, I'm pretty proud of how it looks (and it tasted much better than it looks) and I'm now inspired to have a go at more pastry.  Well, maybe this pie again a few times more before I move on to anything else. 

I was also really pleased when she suggested this recipe because it reminds me so much of one of my grandmothers.  My gran Irene (known as Rene), was a cook - she'd gone into service at the 'Big House' as a teenager and learnt and worked her way up to being a cook.  When she died, my dad (her son) found some of the notebooks with her handwritten recipes that she'd noted down as she learnt more dishes. I really want to find those notebooks - I think they're somewhere in the attic at my dad's and it's a job now back on my list to find them!

When I was little and we went to visit and stay with my grandparents in Sussex, I was always excited about the food, and about watching and helping my grandmother cook.

She had a little kitchen with the open door straight to the back steps down to the garden and sometimes I'd just sit on the steps in the summer sunshine with the smell of the pots of geraniums all down the steps (geraniums are still a favourite scent of mine today), with a cup of tea (in a cup and saucer) and Gran pottering and cooking behind me.

She made the best full English breakfasts, with delicious little fat herby sausages from the butcher.  She made beautiful salads and roast dinners and new potatoes with butter and sprigs of fresh mint from the garden.  And she made a perfect bacon and egg quiche.  I loved Gran's quiche so much that during a very short period of being vegetarian as a teenager I was very tempted by it.  

Especially because my grandparents were of a generation that didn't really 'get' vegetarianism and I now think they just thought I'd given up red meat.  Once when we were staying I was offered quiche for lunch and on turning it down on the grounds of being veggie, my grandmother said in kind of horror:

Oh, but I didn’t think you meant BACON!
— Irene Walder

And to be completely honest, when I saw that quiche and also smelt the bacon frying in the morning, I changed my 'vegetarianism' to allow eating bacon too.

So do give Jassy's pie a try, even if you're scared of pastry, or even if you're a vegetarian!

Actually, I can see that this pie would be fab made with perhaps leeks instead of the bacon.  If you give a veggie version a try, please get in touch and let me know what you tried and how it worked out.

But back to our glorious bacon and egg pie and Jassy's recipe which says it serves eight (but I'll always leave this vague as it's just so dependent on hunger, greediness, etc!) ... 

You'll need:

 
Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie
 

FOR THE PASTRY
240g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
60g chilled salted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
60g chilled lard, cubed


FOR THE FILLING
480g good quality unsmoked streaky bacon (make sure it’s good quality – you don’t want your pie ruined by cheap bacon bleeding salty water all over it)
150g crème fraîche
142ml pot soured cream (the pot I bought was 150ml so I used nearly all of it)
3 medium eggs
1 tbsp milk

First fill a glass with water and add an ice cube.  Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the butter and lard.  Rub together with your fingertips to make it look like breadcrumbs.  This took me back literally DECADES to possibly the last time I made pastry ... 

Add a little iced water and bring the dough together with your hands (add more water if needed).  Wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie
Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie

Preheat the oven to Gas 7 / 220 C and place a baking tray in to heat.  

Butter a loose-bottomed 20 cm cake tin (I had to borrow one of these and I think it would be really useful to have one of those ones where the main tin has a hinge mechanism - I'm sure this sort of tin has a proper name but I don't know it! Anyway, one's going on my Christmas list).

 
Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie
 

Chop the bacon into small pieces around 1 cm wide.  I used one of my favourite big knives and chopped through the whole pile at once! 

Beat together the creme fraiche, sour cream and eggs and season with lots of freshly ground black pepper (no salt! It's pretty salty already with all that bacon). 

Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie
Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie
Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie
Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie

Here's where it go a little tricky for me.  You slice off 1/3 of the pastry and set that aside.

Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the 2/3 left to make a circle that's approx 25cm across. Now this I just couldn't do.  

Mine stuck and didn't roll too thin and the more I played with it the more I realised that that was not going to help.  So I just did my best and lined the cake tin as best I could and patched it up with other pieces of pastry. 

You then scatter the bacon all over the pastry case then pour over the egg mixture.

Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie
Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie
Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie

What should happen next is that you roll out the remaining pastry (that 1/3 you set aside) to make a 20cm round and lay that on top of the pie.  Fold down any pastry running up the sides and pinch them together.

Jassy does say, 'don't worry if a little of the filling oozes out of the top, it's a messy looking pie', which was at least a little reassuring because I was getting worried by my patchwork quilt effect pastry efforts! 

Brush the top of the pie with the milk - and if yours is anything like mine it'll now have wrong-looking pools of milk in the crevices of the pastry patchwork quilt.  But I carried on!

I even made pastry letters to write 'PIE' across the top.

Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie
Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie

Bake for 50 mins - 1 hour until golden (and even slightly brown).  It smells SO good as it's cooking!

Cool in the tin for 15 mins then run a knife around the edges to loosen, sliding the tin sides of the pie.  Ummm, this didn't exactly go according to plan for me, but I managed to get the pie out! 

 
Rachel Redlaw Jassy's bacon and egg pie
 

Leave to cool completely and chill until you want to eat it as it tastes best served cold.

Well, obviously THAT didn't go to plan either!

I was ravenous and wanted to try it straight away. I had a slice hot with some extra black pepper and my home-made brown sauce (recipe to follow soon) - and I had another slice the next day cold for lunch.

And yes, Jassy's right.  It tastes best served cold - but whether you have willpower enough to wait until then is another matter.

Definitely going to be making this again and would love to hear from you if you make it too! 



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Fish Tacos (tiniest-thai-style)

I don't think I'd even ever heard of fish tacos until this year ... and then some of my online friends in the States were mentioning them - and my only thought was a bit 'ewww ... weird ... not sure about that at all!'. 

But I was kind of intrigued too and started mulling over this fish taco concept.  And then last week I caught the fish taco recipe part of a Jamie Oliver programme ... and ok, having seen them, I actually couldn't wait to try them myself. 

So I found the Jamie recipe (and his Everyday Super Food book is now on my birthday list) and today, dear reader, I made it.  Kind of.  

I used it as inspiration but because I had slightly different ingredients and I wanted to make it a little bit 'Tiniest Thai' I did change it around a bit. Of course I did! That's how I cook (and live). 

And I have to say, it's a great recipe and a totally delicious dish.

What I love is that it's really easy and that I can see how I can make it a bit different every time, now I know what I'm doing.

There's a few stages in making it so it does take a little time, but each stage is super-easy and then you just combine it all at the end. 

So this is how I made my fish tacos.  

It makes four tacos so up to you if you think this is enough for four people, or two or just one (yes it's that good I can see how this could happen!).

Get the ingredients together.

Rachel Walder fish tacos ingredients

I found the easiest way of putting the dough together was to just put it all in a measuring jug - the 60ml water, 100g plain flour (Jamie used wholemeal; I only had white) and a pinch of salt. 

Knead the dough for a minute or two and then set aside. 

 
Rachel Walder fish tacos dough
 

Then you need the ingredients for the salad part - Jamie uses red cabbage, coriander leaves, red wine vinegar and orange juice.  

I just used what I had and made a Thai-style dressing instead:

half a white onion, sliced finely 

one courgette, julienned (is it a verb?)

one carrot (julienned)

half a handful coriander leaves, chopped 

All scrunched up with a very scant tablespoon of fish sauce and the juice of half a lime. 

 
Rachel Walder fish tacos salad
 

Next I prepared the fish filling of:

half a red pepper and half a yellow pepper, diced into 1cm pieces

2 spring onions, chopped

1-2 little red chilles (Jamie's version doesn't use chillies)

2 pieces of sea bass, sliced into 2cm (ish) pieces.  (Jamie's recipe says haddock with the skin on, but I had sea bass in the freezer - I also took half the skin off as it was kind of peeling off when I cut the fish into pieces).

1 tablespoon light olive oil.

Put it all in a bowl and mix.

 
Rachel Walder fish tacos fish mix
 

Now for the delicious salsa bit!

Jamie's recipe used a couple of kiwi fruits but my local shop didn't have any - it did have mango which I thought would work well (and I was right!). 

2 kiwi fruits or around half a mango

1 green chilli, cut in half (de-seed if you like - Jamie does, I don't) 

Put into a frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, turning once or twice until it's slightly charred. 

Then put in a blender with a handful of coriander leaves and the juice of a lime and blend until smooth. 

Rachel Walder fish tacos mango
Rachel Walder fish tacos salsa

NOTE: this is absolutely delicious.

Even if you never make the fish tacos, do please, please make this salsa sauce. It's really really good and would be great with grilled fish, or meats, or honestly, just about anything. 

OK, now let's make some fish tacos ... 

You've got the salad made, the fish mixture ready, the salsa sauce done and the dough there to make tacos ... so let's start with the tacos themselves.

Take the dough, halve it and halve again so you have four small balls of dough and then roll them out until thin.

Put a non-stick pan over a medium heat and when hot, add a taco to the pan and cook for a minute or so each side until it starts to bubble. Remove to a plate and put in a very low oven or cover with a hot clean tea towel. 

Rachel Walder fish tacos dough
Rachel Walder fish tacos

This was my first time making tacos and whilst I could use a little practice, they were still ok and tasted good! 

When the tacos are cooked and left to keep warm, return the same pan to the heat and add the fish mixture.

Stir fry for around four minutes until cooked through. 

 
Rachel Walder fish tacos
 

Now it's time to build the tacos. 

Add the fish mixture, some salad, the incredible salsa sauce and a drizzle of natural yogurt. 

And that's it!

I topped them with a little coriander and added some lime wedges.

Rachel Walder fish tacos Thai style

Serve immediately and then just start planning how you're going to change up the recipe for the next time you make these. 

I'm absolutely certain there will be a next time too! 

Do let me know if you make these - and if you made any changes to the recipe ... 



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE  ... 

Summer roast tomatoes / roast tomato pasta

Tomatoes to me just smell of summer

I love the smell of them growing, of the stalks, of the green and ripe tomatoes both (and I'm looking forward to next weekend and having tomatoes straight from my parents' garden). 

Add oregano - and they smell like a Mediterranean summer

And roasting tomatoes with oregano has got to be one of the most languid and evocative cooking smells ever. 

So easy to do - but as with nearly everything very simple to make that relies on flavour, using the best tomatoes you can find is going to make all the difference.  I admit to just getting mine at the supermarket but I did get the tomatoes on the vine that actually smell of the fruit. 

Halve the tomatoes, cutting out the stalk if it looks a bit tough, and place on a baking tray.  Drizzle over extra-virgin olive oil, some salt and black pepper, and some dried oregano.  

Then roast in a low oven (Gas 4 / 170 degrees) for an hour.  

Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano

About half an in to the cooking time, they started SINGING with the smell of tomatoes and oregano, making my whole flat smell amazing!  

And that's it.  

Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano
Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano

Once cooked, you can use them as part of an antipasta platter, or the base of a tomato sauce for pasta or pizza.  Put them in pastry.  Have them on toast.  Eat them in a salad. Or even put them in a jar and give them as a gift. 

What I did was make a really simple pasta dish for dinner

In a frying pan I softened some chopped onion and a clove of chopped garlic over a low heat in a little olive oil, then added the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon.  

No need to add extra seasoning as the tomatoes have so much flavour.  When they started to bubble I added some de-veined prawns, a few chilli flakes and some halved (and stoned) black olives.  

Right at the end, I threw in some fresh basil. 

When it was hot right through, I mixed it with pasta and served with a green salad and my favourite dressing of olive oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard. 

Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano

Tempted to make more today - they were so good!

Would love to hear what you make with roast tomatoes - do give them a try. 



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Valentina's Sicilian Orange Salad

This is a really good and easy salad, another family recipe from my friend Valentina, and a traditional Sicilian dish. 

I think this would probably make enough for 4-6 people depending what you served it with.  I halved the quantities for two and it was perfect with grilled tuna steaks and my favourite tomato and onion salad.

You'll need:

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Sicilian orange salad

For the dressing -

4 tablepspoons extra vergin olive oil

the juice of 1/2 lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

salt and pepper to season

For the salad -

4 oranges

2 fennel bulbs

approx 60g black olives

1/2 white onion

Make the dressing first by mixing all the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper) in a bowl.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Sicilian orange salad

Even though I halved the salad quantities and the olive oil, I still put in this much lemon juice as I like it really lemon-y so do taste and adjust as you like. 

Set aside while you prepare the salad. 

Peel and segment the oranges, removing all pith then slice or halve as you prefer, but do cut them gently to try to keep the juice within the orange pieces rather than all over the bowl.

Slice the onion and fennel bulbs in very thin slices and add the olives.

Add the orange pieces and combine gently, then add the dressing and toss with clean hands so that everything is coated and thoroughly mixed.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Sicilian orange salad

It will keep in the fridge for a day or so, but is best eaten fresh.  It was deliciously summery with grilled tuna steaks and I'll be having it with steak soon too.

If you make this I'd love to know what you eat it with so do let me know in the comments below.



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Valentina's mushroom risotto

This is the best, most delicious risotto I've ever made, all thanks to my friend Valentina sharing her family recipe.  

When she talked me through how to make this, we also chatted about family, food and memories - if you'd like to know more then head over here

But if you 'just' want this gorgeous recipe, then here's what you need to make the most beautiful mushroom risotto for two.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

half a 25g packet of dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes

extra virgin olive oil

1/4 onion, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

a selection of mushrooms -  I used about 8 white and chestnut mushrooms 

1/4 onion

2 garlic cloves

salt

1 vegetable stock cube (I used chicken as I didn't have a veggie one) made into stock with 1 litre of boiling water

about 3/4 cup risotto rice

2 tablesppons grated fresh parmigiano cheese

3 teaspoons mushroom concentrate (optional)

1 tablespoon double cream 

salt and black pepper, to season

chopped fresh parsley to serve

Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak for 20 minutes. 

Put a saucepan over a low heat, add some extra virgin olive oil and tip in the onion and garlic plus a pinch of salt.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

Cook over a low heat for around ten minutes until soft or, as Valentina says, until 'it makes gold' (but not brown, you don't want them browned). 

In the meantime, chop the fresh mushrooms into small pieces.

When the onions and garlic are soft, add the mushrooms to the pan and continue cooking on a low heat, stirring every now and then. 

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

After the mushrooms have been cooking for around 10-15 minutes, add one ladle of the stock and stir in.

Now add the risotto rice - the rice will absorb the little water that comes from the mushrooms so you need to stir constantly for the first 30 seconds. 

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

Then slowly add another ladle of the stock and keep stirring so the rice doesn't burn.

Now strain the dried mushrooms, add and again, stir in.

All you need to do now is add a ladle of stock at a time and stir until it is absorbed.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

Continue doing this until the rice is creamy and all the water absorbed.  You might not need the full litre of stock or you might need to add a little more water.  

It's going to take quite a while, perhaps 20 minutes, so you do just have to take it slowly, be patient and surrender to the whole long beautiful process of making a risotto. 

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

When the rice is creamy and just before you turn off the heat, add two tablespoons of grated Parmigiano cheese, three teaspoons of mushroom concentrate ( if you have it) and one tablespoon of double cream. 

Stir to combine, turn off the heat, season to taste and serve your risotto with a little chopped parsley. 

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder mushroom risotto
 

PS. I have a confession.  

I've made this twice now - both times I was home on my own and once I thought I'd leave a portion for the bf to have when he got home and the other time i thought I'd take the other half in to work for lunch the next day.  

On both occasions, full though I was, I ended up eating the (big) second portion that same night ... oops.

So beware! Only make this when you have all the people needed to finish it, or lots of willpower.

Because this is DELICIOUS.



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Friday night fakeaway: chicken jalfrezi

Cooking just for myself is such a treat.

I can have ANYTHING I want and no-one else to consider ... and what I want is a curry.

But I'm being more conscious about what I eat at the moment so I'm certainly not ordering a takeaway - besides, I like cooking too much to do that.  

So I'm returning to what is now a favourite recipe - a really easy, delicious and spicy chicken jalfrezi using the Hairy Bikers  'fakeaway' recipe from their excellent cookbook, The Hairy Dieters.

Note: I didn't scale down exactly pro rata so it's my spicy version ... 

This genuinely has all the taste - and more - of a standard recipe, but with far fewer calories.

I'm not calorie counting on my Tiniest Thai diet, but this recipe fits in with all the principles of TTT and I love it!

Here's how I made my spicy curry for one (and if you make it for more, no one would EVER know it was 'diet' food!).

You'll need:

3  long green chillies

1 skinless chicken breast

cooking oil 

I garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 scant/level tsp ground cumin 

2 scant/leveltsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric (I found I'd run out so just left it out)

1 tsp caster or white sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt 

a couple of sloshes of cold water (maybe 100-150 ml)

1 tbspn natural yogurt

1/4 onion, cut into a few wedges

about 1/3 green pepper, cut into chunks

1 tomato, cut into quarters or eighths

1 tsp cornflour

a little water, maybe 1/2-1 tbspn 

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

And here's how you make it.  

Finely chop 2 of the chillies, and then with the third, cut off the stalk and make a slit down the whole chilli from stalk to tip without opening or removing the seeds.

I then add the garlic, tomatoes and spices to the chopped chillies so it's all ready to throw in the pan.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi
 

 Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized chunks.

Heat about a tbspn of oil in a pan over a high heat.

Add the garlic, chopped chillies, chopped tomatoes, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, sugar and salt, then stir-fry for 3–4 minutes until the vegetables soften.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi
 

Don’t let the garlic or spices burn or they will add a bitter flavour to the sauce. Add a splash of water if you need to - it doesn't make any difference overall!

Next, add the chicken pieces and whole chilli and cook for 3 minutes, turning the chicken regularly.

Pour over the water, stir in the yoghurt and reduce the heat only slightly – you want the sauce to simmer.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi
 

Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the sauce has reduced by about a third. (The yoghurt may separate to begin with but will disappear into the sauce.)

While the chicken is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a clean pan and stir-fry the onion and pepper over a high heat for 3–4 minutes until lightly browned.

Add the tomato and fry for 2–3 minutes more, stirring until the vegetables are just tender.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi
 

Mix the cornflour with the tablespoon of water to form a smooth paste.

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi
 

When the chicken is cooked, stir in the cornflour mixture and simmer for a few seconds until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat, add the hot stir-fried vegetables and toss together - then serve with rice and maybe a carrot salad.

Rachel Redlaw chicken jalfrezi

And then the Hairy Bikers say: 'Just in case you were wondering – don’t eat the whole chillies!'.

I have to disagree.

Eat the whole chilli and be happy, that's what I say!



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