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!
- 1 tbsp groundnut oil
- 2 shallots
- 2.5cm piece fresh ginger
- 1 red chilli
- 500g pork mince
- 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 lime
- 350g basmati rice
- 165ml can coconut milk
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp Thai spice blend or Chinese five-spice powder
- ½ tsp coarse salt
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lime, plus extra 1 lime, halved
- 1.5kg whole free-range chicken
- 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
- 4 thick slices fresh ginger
- 2 lime leaves (look for Bart Spices dried lime leaves, from major supermarkets)
- 200g carton coconut cream
- 200ml chicken stock, hot
- 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste (we like Thai Taste, from most major supermarkets)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 450g beef rump or sirloin, trimmed of excess fat and cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 carrot, cut into small dice
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 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
- 2 tsp plain flour
- 1.2 litres vegetable stock, hot
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 75g ready-to-eat dried apricots
- 900g butternut squash, deseeded, peeled and cut into small cubes
For the jewelled couscous
- 175g couscous
- 300ml vegetable stock, hot
- 2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 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.
- 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.
- Stir in the tomatoes and apricots, then bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
- 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.
- 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.
- To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Pile a spoonful of couscous in the centre and serve with extra harissa on the side.