Dan Dan Noodles – Amie Style!

Ok so I need to start this post by informing my lovely followers that I have never actually had this dish (I don’t think!!…) I say this because the first thing James said when tucking in was “I think this is what we had at Nosh in Beeston a few years ago” so maybe I have maybe I haven’t?!?
All I know is I was craving oriental food and wanted something light and spicy. This soup hit the spot and if I can make this from scratch in between bath time, milk and bedtime with a toddler attempting to empty my kitchen cupboards (daddy put the cupboard locks on today so she’s very cross!) then anyone can!
Who says being a mummy means you can’t have an awesome Saturday night dinner!!
Ps apologies for the fact I haven’t blogged in about a year…a lot has changed! We adopted little A 8 weeks go and life has been a crazy whirlwind but worth every moment. She is truly the most amazing human being I have ever come across and I feel so privileged to be her mummy:-)

Ingredients
for the crispy pork
200g Pork Mince
4 Spring onions diced
2 garlic cloves sliced
1 got red chilli diced
3 Tsp light soy sauce
1/2 Tsp Chinese 5 spice
2 Tbsp sesame oil

for the broth
500ml chicken stock (I used a flavour pot)
2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
Good pinch of black pepper
2 Tsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp peanut butter
2 got red chilies

2 portions straight to wok noodles

Lime, fresh coriander and more chillies to serve.

method
Combined all of the pork ingredients together and set aside for at least half an hour to allow the meat the marinade.
(I used this time to prepare the broth)

Set a large pan on the hob and bring the chicken stock to boil
Add the rest of the stock ingredients barring the noodles and simmer for 20 minutes – this gives the fresh chillies time to cook and heat the broth up!
Add the noodles and mushrooms and summer for a further 3 minutes.

Whilst simmering, heat a little sesame oil in a wok and fry the marinated pork until cooked and crispy – don’t worry if it starts to stick…they are the tasty bits!

Use tongs to portion the noodles into two large bowls.

Add a spoonful of the pork on top of the noodles.

Ladle the broth and mushrooms around the noodles.

Garnish with a chunk of lime, fresh coriander and more chillies!

I’m not professing this to be an authentic dan dan recipe, more an amalgamation of about 10 recipes I found online from all over the world but it’s hot, tangy and so damn tasty!

Enjoy:)

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Pepperoni and Pea Passoto

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Ok so I made the word “Passoto” up because it’s the closest thing I could think of for this dish.
Derived from Nigella Lawson’s Nigellisima show where she cooks pasta using a risotto method as I have to say after the apprehension of “how does the pasta cook with so little water?” I was pleasantly surprised.
This worked great as a Sunday afternoon bowl of yumminess but would also be a great family midweek meal.

Ingredients
10 slices of pepperoni
2 Cup of Frozen Peas
2 Garlic Cloved
1/2 Red Chilli
5 Mushrooms
1 cup of any small pasta
3 cups of water
Knob of butter
30g Parmesan

Method
Heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic, chilli, mushrooms and chopped pepperoni until the pepperoni starts to curl.
Add the pasta and coat in all the lovely oils.
Pour in the water and cover for 15 minutes.
Once the pasta is tender and the water is absorbed, season to taste and add the butter and Parmesan.
Stir through and serve in pasta bowls with more Parmesan and black pepper just like a risotto.
This is a completely new way of cooking pasta for me and I am going to keep experimenting so get ready to be bombarded with recipes:-)

Thai Red Curry Paste

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Making your own curry paste is quick, easy and a lot cheaper than spending £3 on a jar of the stuff. To be precise it cost me £2.13! This recipe makes enough for about 3 condiment jars. Just make sure you sterilise them first and your paste will keep in the fridge for over a month.
I have also shown you how to make a Thai Red curry using this paste with beautiful king prawns and fresh green beans and spinach but you can use almost anything to compliment the sauce. My favourite is fried tofu but I forgot to pick some up so prawns it is!

Ingredients
For the paste
3 Lemongrass Stalks
4 Small Banana Shallots
6 Garlic Cloves
4 Red Chillies
Large Handful of Fresh Coriander
3 Tbsp Light Soy
2 Tsp Fish Sauce
2 Inch Piece of ginger or galangal
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
10 Peppercorns
1 Tbsp Sweet Paprika

Method
To make the paste
Are you ready for it???………
Blitz everything in the food processor until smooth and transfer to your sterilised jars.
DONE!

Now for the a little bit more effort.
Take a teaspoon of the paste and mix into the prawns.
Leave to marinade for at least an hour before cooking.
Heat a pan with a little oil and add 3 Tbsp of the paste, stirring often to cook through.
Add the beans and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the low fat coconut milk to the pan and mix thoroughly to incorporate the paste into the sauce.
Once bubbling, add the prawns and keep mixing.
Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minutes to cook the prawns through- they will turn pink when cooked.
Stir in the spinach and allow to wilt for about 2 minutes.
Check the seasoning and if preferred add fresh coriander and sliced fresh chilli to oomph up the flavour.
Serve in bowls with a timbal of Jasmine rice.

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Mexicana/Deep South Feast! – Slow Cooked Pork Ribs, Sweet Potato Fries, Stuffed Mushrooms and Spicy Corn

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Wow that was a long title! The problem with meals like this is they can’t just be generalised for example minced beef with tomatoes, wine, onions and herbs served with pasta is just “spaghetti bolognaise” but this dish is lots of little components served on one page to create a Saturday night feast!
I’m not going to give you the recipes
For the ribs or fries (just search my blog for the recipes which are amazing…if I do say so myself!) so here are two very simple recipes for 2 sides that work well with almost any Saturday night sofa dinner…pizza, chicken wings etc.
X Factor and wine I think are an essential ingredient to this dish:-)

Ingredients
For the Mushrooms
2 Portobello Mushrooms
1/2 Bag Spinach
1/2 Tub Ricotta Cheese
2 Garlic Cloves
Salt and Pepper to Season
Handful of Fresh Breadcrumbs

For the Corn
2 Ears of Fresh Corn
2 Garlic Cloves
50g Salted Butter
1 Red Chilli
A few stalks of Coriander
Salt and Pepper to Season

Method
For the Mushrooms
Remove the stalk of the mushroom (to give you more filling room!) with a pairing knife
Tip the Ricotta, Garlic and Spinach into your food processor and blitz until smooth.
Use a spoon to fill each mushroom to the brim but not any higher or they will spill over during cooking.
Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the fresh breadcrumbs on. I used the end of a sourdough loaf that I pulsed in the food processor a few times..far better than shop brought breadcrumbs.
Place on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 180.c for 13 minutes.

For the Corn
In a small mixing bowl add the butter, salt and pepper.
Finely dice the garlic, chilli and coriander and mix into the butter.
Now two messy part…smoother the corn with the butter and wrap in tin foil.
Bake in the oven alongside the corn for the same amount of time.
The perfect thing about this meal is that the ribs go in, which gives you 15 minutes to prepare the sides before they go in and they are then all finished together.
Perfect X factor food!

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Butternut Squash and Ricotta Gnocchi

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I love Gnocchi but not quite as much as James does. When in Italy he will order it for maybe half of the evenings we are there and usually smothered in 4 cheese sauce.
I’m not a big cheese lover so for me Gnocchi needs to be lighter.
This is a great alternative to traditional potato Gnocchi and the ricotta running through it is gives a bite to the sweetness of the butternut squash.
Serve with a little melted butter with sage or a light mushroom and garlic sauce (both with shavings of pecorino not Parmesan as you need the sweetness)
This gnocchi freezes really well so with a couple of hours effort, you could have a freezer full of gnocchi as a go to on busy evenings. Just ensure you cook for 8 minutes to ensure the centre is warm.
Enjoy!!
Ingredients
1 Butternut Squash
2 Shallots
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
1 Egg
1 tub Ricotta
100g Parmesan
200g Flour, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons Butter
8 Chestnut Mushrooms

Method
Heat your oven to 190 degrees. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then slice the shallots. Place the sliced shallots in the cavity of the squash where the seeds were alongside 2 of the garlic cloves. Then drizzle olive oil over the squash and the shallots. Generously coat in salt and pepper.
Bake for 50 minutes at 190.c
Let the squash cool. Then scoop out the shallots and meat of the squash. Place in a blender and blend until the shallots are totally mixed into the squash. This should have about 2 large cupfuls (not American measurements I mean teacups!).
Combine the squash, egg, ricotta, Pecorino, and flour in a large bowl. Stir until evenly mixed. Then place the mixture in the fridge for 15 minutes. This will make the dough easier to roll out.
Remove the gnocchi dough from the fridge. The dough should be slightly sticky, similar to the consistency of gum. If it is too sticky, add more flour. Flour a surface and roll out the dough. You want to cut the dough into small pieces that are about the amount of a teaspoon as they will expand unlike shop bought gnocchi.
Use a fork to shape the gnocchi. Use your thumb to roll the small pieces of dough and line with a fork.
Once all of the gnocchi has been shaped, place it in boiling water until it rises to the top of the water. This will take about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the remaining garlic and mushrooms.
Drain the gnocchi and add them to the melted butter. Toss the gnocchi in the butter until they are evenly coated in butter. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan.
Enjoy:)

Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Soup

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There is something about chicken soup that makes me want to curl up in bed in my pjs and hide from the world.
Unlike tradition dictates, I wasn’t given chicken soup when poorly. My mum always made creamy tomorrow soup with a side of cheese on toast so I have no idea what my love affair with chicken soup is.
This recipe is great for those blustery winter days when only something got and creamy will do…note I haven’t made it with cream so cannot call it “Cream of Chicken Soup” but if you must, replace the milk with cream for a thicker, richer soup.
The asparagus was a tasty addition as I had a fresh pack of beautiful M&S asparagus in the fridge that I forgot about and had seen slightly better days so rather than throw it, I added it to the soup with a sprig of fresh thyme the freshen up this beautiful rich soup.
I think I can safely say this is one f the tastiest soups I have ever eaten!
Ingredients
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
400ml chicken stock
2 medium potatoes
2 diced cooked chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pack of asparagus spears
2 tablespoons plain flour
400ml milk
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Method
In a large saucepan, saute the onion in butter until soft but not brown.
Stir in the chicken stock, asparagus and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender (like you would of you were going to mash them).
Stir in the chicken, salt and pepper.
Combine flour and milk until smooth; stir into saucepan.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
I like to blend mine for smooth consistency but I think this would work well without the blending also, just make sure your chicken and asparagus are in bite size chunks.
Serve with crusty bread for dunking and enjoy every spoonful.
Ps …. If you’re eating this because you’re poorly…Get better soon! X

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Amie’s Coriander, Garlic and Ginger Chicken Curry

P1050841I was going to make a Jalfrezi tonight for our weekly curry night but as i started pulling ingredients out of the fridge and cupboard, this dish gradually turned into an Amie concoction instead of an actual distinct type of curry.

I don’t like my curries creamy as find them too sickly so once the chicken had marinated in the yogurt i scraped most of it off but i’m sure it would be good for those who like a milder curry with the marinade included. The Balsamic Vinegar cuts through the richness of the sauce to provide a beautiful tang that Tamarind would also provide but i didnt have any to hand.

I served mine with leftover Onion Bhaji’s that i found in the freezer with popadoms for scooping the lovely sauce up and the customary glass (or 4) of Sauvignon that is required for a Friday evening.

Yummy!!!!

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts

For the Marinade

200ml Yogurt

2 tsp Ground Ginger

2 Tsp Cumin Seeds

2 Tsp Coriander Seeds

1 Tsp Hot Curry Powder

For the curry sauce

3 Medium Onions

4 Garlic Cloves

1 Inch Piece of Grated Ginger

1 Tsp Fenugreek

2 Tsp Cumin

1 Tsp Ground Coriander

1/2 Tsp Sweet Paprika

2 Tbsp Fresh Coriander  – Finely Chopped

1 Tin Good Quality Chopped Tomatoes (not the watery ones)

100ml Boiling Water

Pinch Caster Sugar

1 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Method

Mix the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and add the chicken breasts  (the more snug the chicken, the more marinade touches the meat so don’t be afraid for the chicken to be tightly packed as long as the sauce can touch all sides)

Set aside for at least an hour to marinade.

For the curry sauce, roughly chop the onions and garlic  and add the grated ginger to the pan and saute on a very low heat for 30 minutes with the lid on.

Once everything is very soft but not at all brown, transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth.

Transfer back into the pan and add the remaining spices and cook through for 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, water and sugar and cook with the lid on for 30 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down (the sugar will do this for you).

Remove the chicken from the marinade and if like me you dont want a rich curry, scrape the yogurt off and add to the pan with the balsamic vinegar.

Leave to cook through for 40 minutes and then 5 minutes before serving, add the fresh coriander.

It may sound similar to other curry recipes i have done but trust me, the amount of ginger and coriander in this dish take it to another level.

Enjoy:-)

The perfect sides for a Friday night curry:)

The perfect sides for a Friday night curry:)