Good morning, here are the recipes and methods from the last session with NHS property services Health and wellbeing group. I actually thought that I had already posted these but I guess my mind has been on other things recently..
I have a thing about takeaway food and I dont mean just the quality if it. My gripe is the plethora of fast food delivery companies who have grown at a huge rate since the pandemic started. The amount of dark kitchens that have opened and the fact that the delivery people do not get paid properly or have any workers rights such as sick pay or protection. That and the fact that kitchens are in a lot of cases, serving food that is not good for your health.
FAKEAWAYS, Some simple recipes to save money, and know exactly what you are eating. Keep the use of salt down and no hidden nasty sugars either. Plus you get the satisfaction of cooking and serving fantastic healthy food.
Todays recipes are:
Tom yum soup, Chicken/Tofu Satay, Buttered Chicken with Naan breads, Mushroom and Green pepper Baji, Thai fishcakes with a sweet chilli jam, Shredded veg salad with a sesame oil dressing, Finally a chocalate mousse. Just scroll down till you find the one you want.
Tom Yum soup or Tom Khaa (if you wish to add coconut milk).
This soup can be easily left vegetarian and if you wish to add protein just simply add tofu.
It’s a healthy and nutritious soup and although it does involve buying some ingredients that are a little different, you will find that you will use them in other recipes.
You can alternatively buy a Tom Yum paste which is ready made but I always think that if you can make it yourself its healthier and more satisfying.
I have also included an option to put noodles with the soup to give you the option of turning this into a healthy and nutritious dinner as well.
- 2 Lemongrass sticks, Bruise with the back of a knife
- Juice of two limes
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1.5 Litres chicken stock or Vegetable stock
- 3 cloves Finely chopped
- Knob of Ginger finely sliced
- 10gr Brown sugar
- ¼ tsp dried chilli
- 3 lime leaves
- 1 Onion thinly sliced
- 100gm mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 16 medium or large raw Prawns Allow 3/4 per person
- 1 green or red pepper, Thinly sliced
- 1 Medium Tomato deseed and thinly sliced
- ½ tin coconut milk to make it Tom Khaa
- 2 tablespoon Fish sauce
- 10gr Brown sugar
- ½ bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- ½ bunch Thai basil
- ¼ Chicken fillet per person
- 1/4 Chicken fillet per person thinly sliced
- 60gr Rice noodles per person if you want to make it into a main course.
To do this soup you need to do a few different steps.
Add the following to the chicken stock and boil gently for twenty minutes to infuse, lemon grass, ginger, garlic, lime leaves and the chilli and tomatoes.
Then add the sliced peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and sliced onions and cook for a further ten minutes.
Add the lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar and the sugar, now taste. You should have a sharp yet sweet and sour taste from the broth.
So at this stage you can now simply eat this soup as it is and perhaps just add some tofu in and have it vegan or you can add the sliced chicken and cook it out gently for say five minutes and then add prawns for a further two minutes. Remember always keep the soup just on the simmer and try not to boil.
I also like to add a premade (Shop bought Vegetable dumpling to the soup at this stage and poach it out.
To now turn this soup into a main course you need to just add the noodle and leave them soften and then serve with Thai Basil cut on the top.
TOP TIP AND SHORTCUT PLEASE READ
I do admit that the soup is a huge amount of preparation and because I always keep at least a litre of chicken stock in the freezer I don’t mind doing this as per the recipe. But there is a short cut and that is you can buy a tub of Tom Yum paste from most good food shops that specialise in Asian cuisine. All I will say is make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the quantity of paste to water.
Chicken satay or Tofu Satay
Simple Satay sauce recipe for either chicken or Tofu. These are a great starter or can be served with some coconut rice and shredded vegetable salad with some pan fried peanuts which adds some great flavours plus protein.
Satay Sauce ingredients
- 3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoons Honey
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 Lime
Simply mix all of the ingredients together and brush some on the chicken skewers and leave to marinate for about three hours in the fridge.
Then simply panfry for about six minutes on both sides then pour some extra sauce on top and squeeze a little lime on top sprinkle with a little coriander to taste. That’s it. Why pay £6 for a dish you can prepare simply at home for about £1.80 and its healthier and better for you.
To use Tofu it’s basically the same method but I tend to add some vegetables to the tofu skewers to enhance the flavour and also its helps if you want to make the tofu into a more substantial meal.
For anyone with a gluten intolerance you can buy a gluten free soy sauce or use a GF teriyaki sauce and substitute the tofu for some beefy chestnut mushrooms.
Butter Chicken with Naan Breads
500g Boneless Skin of chicken thigh or breast cut into four
150g Natural yoghurt
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
50g finely chopped ginger
2tsp Ground cumin
2tsp Ground coriander
Dash salt and pepper
Mix all of the above and leave to marinate for as long as possible covered in the fridge please.
2 Medium onions
5 cloves garlic
120g Ginger sliced lengthways and then into strips
1 Red Pepper sliced into strips
4 Fresh tomatoes roughly chopped
3tsp ground cumin
2tsp coriander seeds
1tsp fennel seeds
10 whole cloves Great aromatic and really good for your central nervous system
10 whole cardamoms crack with the back of a knife
2tsp brown sugar or palm sugar if available.
500mls tomato passata or better still use my recipe for the homemade nutrient and flavour full tomato sauce.
- Gently fry onions and then add ginger for about five minutes but don’t brown.
- Add sliced peppers and cook for a further five minutes
- Add roughly chopped tomatoes and continue to cook until they are nice and soft
- Add all spices and cook out until you can really smell the spices but do not allow to burn
- Add the sugar or palm sugar and tomato passata and water and cook the sauce slowly while you fry the chicken in a separate pan.
- Fry the chicken and brown well and then add the chicken to the sauce
- Put the chicken with the sauce in an oven proof dish and cook in an oven at 150C for about 55 minutes in the meantime cook your braised brown rice.
Finish this dish as you wish some people like to remove the chicken from the sauce and liquidise the sauce and then add the chicken back in and garnish with coriander but I prefer to leave the sauce whole and simply add a small amount 50g of butter and 100mls of cream to the sauce and gently stir in and then garnish with some toasted sliced almonds. It also helps to take out a small bowl of sauce and add the cream and butter to that and then add to the sauce again as it stops it from splitting and also helps you not to break up the chicken. Also I use cardamom and cloves in this recipe some people use fenugreek but I don’t as it’s hard for me to find good fenugreek.
You can of course also buy a paste that will cut out the work involved in making the sauce but I have to be honest, I have tried a few and not one of these shop sold pastes have actually worked so to do this properly you need to do the work, but in my opinion when you see the delight that this dish brings then its worth it.
Now for the naan bread. This is the simplest and I think the nicest recipe that I have used. I admit it’s not my recipe it’s from a lady called Reena who owns the red cup café in Harrow.
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.
Allow to rest for an hour then divide into five little rolls and use a rolling pin to roll out.
Pan Fry on a dry non-stick pan and brush with garlic butter.
Serve immediately and enjoy.
Mushroom and Green pepper Bhaji
This is a great dish that can be a standalone main course or works equally well as an accompaniment. Its packed full of vitamin D and C with lots of fresh ginger and garlic. Easy one pot dish.
400gr Chestnut mushrooms Sliced
1 Large green pepper sliced lengthways
2 medium onions sliced finely
3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1 large knob of ginger.
500 ml of homemade tomato sauce or 500mls of tomato passata
1 vegetable stock cube.
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp crushed chillies
1 tsp fennel seeds.
In a large pan put all of your vegetables and cook over a medium heat until it has all cooked down. If it gets a little colour don’t worry as it adds to the flavour.
Then add all of your spices and cook out until the smell really hits your nose and makes it tingle a little.
Add the stock cube and the tomato and the water.
Cook out on a low heat for thirty to forty minutes.
Taste and add a little salt and pepper if you wish.
Serve with some chopped coriander on top and perhaps a dash of natural yoghurt on top and enjoy.
Thai fishcakes with Sweet chilli and Ginger Jam.
I love to serve these with a crisp and nutritious salad with some toasted peanuts sprinkled on top and dressed with a simple squeeze of fresh lime and a touch of sesame oil. The chilli and ginger jam is a must with these little delights. While it has got a lot of sugar, at times you need to balance the need to keep sugar consumption down but by boosting all the other nutrients available it does balance out.
Fish cake ingredients:
250gr Salmon Fillet skin removed
250gr White fish either Cod or Haddock skin removed.
120gr Peeled prawns
40gr Thai red curry paste. For allergens always check the label
60gr panko breadcrumbs if you want to keep these GF you can use 40gr of rice flour or use GF breadcrumbs.
2tbsp Fish sauce. ( Yes I know it’s smelly but it does work).
Juice of half a lime keep the other half for your salad
Half bunch of coriander finely chopped.
One hint is not to rush this dish.
It is a good idea to leave some of the fish roughly chopped as this will add to the texture and the enjoyment of the dish.
So take small batches of the fish and chop them using a food processor.
Once all of this is done add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix everything thoroughly.
Then mould into small discs about 5cm in diameter and about 2cm in depth.
Panfry on both sides in a medium hot pan for about two minutes per side.
I allow three per person if using as a starter or five per person if using as a main course.
As a starter serve with the salad (recipe to follow) and the sweet chilli sauce (recipe to follow (and as a main course you can serve with a nice light coconut rice.
Shredded Veg salad with lime and sesame oil dressing and toasted peanuts.
1 Red onion finely sliced
Quarter head green cabbage finely sliced
1 Carrot either grated or finely shredded.
Half of Red pepper sliced finely lengthways.
Quarter of a cucumber deseeded and sliced lengthways.
Quarter bunch coriander well washed and chopped.
Half lime Remember the half you kept after making the fishcakes!!
100gm peanuts I just toast these in a frying pan and keep separate to just pop on the salad after you have dressed it
Ok so all you do is simply mix all the shredded/sliced vegetables but not the peanuts and the lime juice.
Once you have your fishcakes on the plate just put a nice small handful of salad beside the fishcakes then a squeeze of lime and a touch of sesame oil on the salad and then a sprinkle of peanuts on top.
Now you need to put the sweet chilli and ginger jam and for this please see the recipe below. You can buy this in a shop but to be frank shop bought is rubbish and is just pure sugar into whose life some chilli has fallen. So make your own and any you have spare will last covered for a month in the fridge.
One word of caution in the making of this you are about to boil vinegar which is an acid so it will affect people and can it effect people up to two metres away from the pot. When I make this it clears the kitchen which sometimes is bliss.
120ml white wine or apple vinegar.
120gr Castor sugar or light brown castor. You can use granulated but you need to make sure it’s dissolved completely before boiling.
15mls fish sauce. Yes the super smelly stuff so don’t drop it or allow it to spill in a cupboard or that will be bye bye cupboard.
30gr of really finely chopped fresh ginger.
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped.
1tsp dried chilli. Now you can add more chilli if you wish but stop for a second and wait until its cooked out and cold before you add more as in this cooking process you use vinegar which will release more heat from the chillies. Plus by the reduction in liquid as you cook it out the chilli will intensify and to top it off you are also using fresh ginger which will also add a kick…
Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot.
Heat gently to dissolve the sugar completely.
Allow it to boil for a few minutes and then cook it out so that it goes thick which will take about fifteen minutes.
Be careful if you are tempted to taste at this stage as it’s probably about 130 Celsius and it will burn. Allow to cool for about twenty minutes and check with the back of a spoon this should have the consistency of honey. You can at this stage add more dried chilli to the mix and just push them through the sauce. This is a good sauce and works equally well as a marinate for chicken just remember if you are roasting it to cover the chicken for half its cooking time as the sauce will burn quickly in an oven uncovered.
Now what most have been waiting for and that’s the chocolate mousse. There is no secret to Chocolate mousse. The reality is that what you put in is what you get out so use really good high cocoa solid chocolate which is low in sugar but really high in flavour. To do this you will need two pots and two mixing bowls plus a handheld electric whisk but you can use a normal whisk if that is what you have. I also grate the flesh of a nice big fresh orange into the mousse as I love the flavour of chocolate and orange plus the zest of the orange is packed full of vitamin C.
260gr Good quality dark chocolate broken into small pieces.
80gr light brown castor sugar
300ml single cream
20gr Butter Optional but it makes the taste richer.
Dash vanilla essence
In a heavy bottom pot put in 200mls of cream along with the vanilla extract and the butter.
Bring to a boil and then take off the heat. Add the chocolate and start to stir until fully dissolved which will take a few minutes. If it starts to set you can put it back on the heat for a minute or two but not long as it will burn easy.
Now separate your egg white and your egg yolk into separate bowls.
Add the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk until they have gone pale. Meanwhile take the remaining 100mls of cream and the 50mls of milk and bring it to the boil. Now be careful but you need to pour this boiling hot liquid on top of the egg yolk and sugar mix so be careful as you do this. By doing this you cook out the egg yolks and make a custard mix for the mousse.
Then you need to whisk you egg whites until they are dry and fluffy looking. This just aerates the mousse a little like an aero bar. Don’t be worried if you cannot get this light if you are using a hand whisk as it’s a nice to not a must do.
Ok so now its time to put it all together. So add the chocolate mix to the egg custard and keep stirring slowly then take a spoon of this and add to your egg whites and mix this spoon in well and now add this egg white mix to the main bowl of chocolate and egg custard.
At this stage I like to zest my orange in and then continue to mix it slowly until it’s nicely combined. Pour into your mould or bowl and refrigerate.
To serve it I like to put my bowl in a pot of warm water, this just softens the outside of the chocolate mousse and when you turn it out it looks like a chocolate sauce poured over it. Then I like to pour some single cream on top to make it look like a chocolate volcano.
Enjoy and remember as with everything eat in moderation and you won’t go too far wrong.