I attempted the arduous task of devising this weeks menu and doing the food shopping with the biggest food hangover I have ever managed to suffer from. Usually I am unperturbed by my seasonal eating binges (I cooked a whopping eight individual Christmas dinners last year!) but this year has sent me over the edge.
So this week we will be eating light meals to make up for our festive overindulgence and he's some recipes I'd like to share that you can try if you're feeling the festive bloat too.
Starting with the laziest meal ever: Cheats Biryani (Indian's will weep at this recipe!)
- 150g basmati rice
- 410g can lentils
- fresh coriander
- 500g pack minced beef
- 425g jar balti curry sauce
- Mango chutney
- Cook 150g basmati rice in boiling, lightly salted water for 10-12 minutes, until al dente. Drain well and tip into a large bowl.
- Add 410g can lentils, drained, and a good handful chopped fresh coriander. Gently mix together and season to taste.
- Meanwhile, heat a large, deep frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add a 500g pack minced beef and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until browned. Stir in a 425g jar balti curry sauce, then quarter-fill the jar with water and rinse out into the pan. Simmer for 3-4 minutes – you want to keep the mince fairly juicy.
- Add the rice mixture and gently mix everything together. Divide between plates and serve with mango chutney and poppadoms, if you like.
- 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.
- 60g butter, softened, plus a knob for frying
- 1½ red chillies, 1 deseeded and diced, ½ thinly sliced
- Large handful of fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, 3 crushed, 1 thinly sliced
- 1 lemon
- Medium (1.8kg) free-range chicken
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 620g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into wedges
- 200ml white wine
- 750ml chicken stock, hot
- 100ml crème fraîche
- Handful of fresh tarragon leaves
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C/gas 6. In a bowl, mix the butter with the diced chilli, parsley, crushed garlic and grated zest of the lemon. Ease the skin away from the chicken breasts with your fingers, starting from the neck end. Spoon in the butter, smoothing the skin with your fingers to cover the breasts evenly.
- Season the chicken inside and out. Halve the lemon, squeeze the juice inside, then put the halves inside. Tie the legs with string.
- Put a flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat with the knob of butter and the oil. Add the shallot and fry, stirring, for 5 minutes until softened. Add the sliced chilli and garlic for the final 2 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin or squash and stir. Nestle the chicken in among the veg. Pour over the wine and bubble for 2 minutes or until reduced by half. Add stock to halfway up the side of the chicken (you may not need it all). Bring to the boil, cover, then cook in the oven for 1 hour.
- Uncover, then cook for a further 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and golden and the juices from the thigh run clear when pierced with a skewer.
- Remove the chicken to a serving dish to rest, loosely covered with foil. Return the pot to the hob, skim off any fat from the surface, then bubble for 5 minutes to reduce the juices a little. Stir in the crème fraîche, adjust the seasoning, then spoon around the chicken and scatter with tarragon.
- Carve into pieces at the table and serve with the juices and squash spooned over, with crusty bread for mopping up the juices
- 1 tbsp groundnut oil
- 2 free-range, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 pak choi
- A handful of roasted cashew nuts
- 120g pack lemon stir-fry sauce
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 250g pack ready-cooked basmati rice
- 1 large free-range egg, whisked
- A handful fresh coriander leaves
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Heat groundnut oil in a wok or large frying pan. Slice the chicken breasts into strips. Season and stir-fry until browned.
- Quarter the pak choi and stir-fry with the chicken until wilted. Add a handful roasted cashew nuts and pour over the lemon stir-fry sauce and runny honey and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked.
- Meanwhile, heat a separate frying pan, add the ready-cooked basmati rice and fry until warmed through. Make a well in the centre and pour in the whisked egg. Cook a little, then scramble through the rice. Stir in a handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Divide the rice between plates, top with the chicken and sprinkle with lemon zest.
- 300g potatoes
- 15g butter, plus extra for the mash
- 198g can sweetcorn, drained
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- Splash of white wine
- 142ml carton double cream
- Flatleaf parsley, to serve
- Cut the potatoes into even-size pieces and cook in boiling salted water for 12 minutes, until tender. Drain and mash with a knob of butter and the sweetcorn. Keep warm.
- Meanwhile, mix the flour and chilli powder. Toss the chicken in the chilli flour, shaking off any excess. Melt 15g butter in a frying pan and cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes each side until golden and tender (be careful not to let the butter burn).
- Push the chicken to 1 side. Add the wine to the pan and bubble for 1 minute, then add the cream, bring to the boil and cook briefly until just thickened. Season well. Spoon the sweetcorn mash onto plates, add the chicken and pour over the sauce. Scatter with parsley to serve.