Friday, 21 January 2011

Foo' to the Gunwales...

I've just realised that in my post festive season/start of term frenzy I haven't talked about food for a while (unless you count slagging off Marco Pierre White that is). This is perhaps due to the food circuit being largely uninspiring during the post festive excess lull that usually happens in January. Boring, boring, boring recipes appear and everyone, everywhere talks of slimmer soups and fat free fun free food. Not me though...

Now the one thing I fail to feel guilty about is eating. It's just too damned good. The house being a mess, not washing my hair everyday, fobbing off A's requests for a packed lunch and giving him dinner money, hiding the ironing in the boxroom - these are all things I feel guilty about constantly. Stuffing my face with delicious treats, gourmet foods and eating out more times than we can afford -do not really register with me. I don't drink, I don't smoke and so bugger it, I eat!

 Szechuan pork 


  1. 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  2. 2 shallots
  3. 2.5cm piece fresh ginger
  4. 1 red chilli
  5. 500g pork mince
  6. 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  7. 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
  8. 2 tbsp soy sauce
  9. 1 tbsp honey
  10. 1 lime
  11. 350g basmati rice
  12. 165ml can coconut milk
  13. 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander


  1. Heat 1 tbsp groundnut oil in a pan or wok and fry 2 shallots, finely sliced, with 2.5cm piece fresh ginger, sliced, and 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped, for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add 500g pork mince and quickly brown, then stir in 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns (Sainsbury’s, Tesco or oriental grocers), crushed, and 1 tsp Chinese five-spice and cook for a couple of minutes. Add 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp honey and the juice of 1 lime and cook for 5 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, cook 350g basmati rice in a pan of boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and return to the pan over a low heat with a 165ml can coconut milk until it is absorbed.
  4. Stir 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander into the mince and serve on a bed of coconut rice. Garnish with some finely sliced spring onions, chilli and fresh ginger. 
Oriental Roast Chicken with Coconut Gravy


  1. 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 2 tsp Thai spice blend or Chinese five-spice powder
  3. ½ tsp coarse salt
  4. Grated zest and juice of 1 lime, plus extra 1 lime, halved
  5. 1.5kg whole free-range chicken
  6. 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
  7. 4 thick slices fresh ginger
  8. 2 lime leaves (look for Bart Spices dried lime leaves, from major supermarkets)
  9. 200g carton coconut cream
  10. 200ml chicken stock, hot
  11. 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste (we like Thai Taste, from most major supermarkets)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Mix together the oil, spice blend, salt and lime zest and juice to make a paste. Rub the mixture evenly onto the chicken skin.
  2. Pop the lime halves into the body cavity, along with the lemongrass, ginger and lime leaves. Sit in a roasting tin and roast for 1½ hours, until the chicken is cooked through. Tip any juices inside the body cavity into the tin, then lift the chicken onto a plate and rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pour off the fat, then stir the coconut cream, stock and curry paste into the juices left in the tin, and cook in the oven for a further 5 minutes, until hot. Carve the chicken and serve with the coconut gravy and some steamed greens, such as pak choi, and rice.

 Moroccan spiced soup with jewelled couscous 



  1. 2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 450g beef rump or sirloin, trimmed of excess fat and cut into bite-size pieces
  3. 2 small onions, chopped
  4. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  5. 1 carrot, cut into small dice
  6. 2 celery sticks, diced
  7. 1 heaped tbsp harissa paste (try Bart Spices Harissa Paste or Belazu Rose Harissa, from the spice and condiment section in supermarkets), plus extra to serve
  8. 2 tsp plain flour
  9. 1.2 litres vegetable stock, hot
  10. 400g can chopped tomatoes
  11. 75g ready-to-eat dried apricots
  12. 900g butternut squash, deseeded, peeled and cut into small cubes

For the jewelled couscous

  1. 175g couscous
  2. 300ml vegetable stock, hot
  3. 2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  4. 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint


  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the onions and garlic to the pan, reduce the heat slightly and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the carrot and celery, cover and cook for 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened slightly. Stir in the harissa paste and flour and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the hot vegetable stock.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and apricots, then bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the butternut squash and return the beef to the soup. Cover and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until both the squash and beef are tender.
  5. Meanwhile, make the jewelled couscous. Put the couscous into a large bowl. Pour over the hot stock, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes to absorb the liquid. Fluff up the grains with a fork, then stir in the tomatoes and mint. Season.
  6. To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Pile a spoonful of couscous in the centre and serve with extra harissa on the side. 


  1. Thanks Jen. Am a bit foo' now...

    Have a great weekend. xx

  2. 3 Studies SHOW How Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you literally burn fat by eating coconut fats (in addition to coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from big medicinal journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world upside down!


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