Simple Pho Bo!

So as it turns out, whilst i was travelling in Asia I was craving western food..

But now I’m living in Auckland, all I want is Asian food. Typical.

There is lots of Asian eateries in Auckland but they can be pricey for simple curries, soups and sushi. I popped over to my local Asian supermarket and picked up a few store cupboard ingredients that will keep my Asian cravings satisfied.

Here is a really easy and fast recipe for Pho Bo, using ingredients that are easy to access in the western world.

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Ingredients

  • 300g of lean fresh Steak (I used flank)
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Half a large Carrot cut into thin stick
  • 1/3 of an onion thinly sliced or 2 spring onions chopped
  • Large handful of leafy greens i.e. Spinach, Bok Choy, I used Choy Sum
  • Pinch of chilli powder or chopped chilli
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 TBSP of Fish Sauce
  • 1 TBSP of Soy Sauce
  • 2 portions of noodles of choice

For a heavy filling noodle soup go for wheat noodles and for a lighter option go for rice noodles.

Firstly, boil a large pan of water. It must be large so that the noodles have space to swim and don’t stick together. Pop the noodles in and cook for 5 mins. Stir to separate the noodles. Whilst the noodles are cooking remove and trim any fat from the steak. Then cut into thin strips, and leave to one side. Once the noodles have cooked through, drain the starchy water and top the pan of noodles back up with 2 pints of boiling water. Add the stock cube, fish and soy sauce then stir until it has dissolved. Add the onion and carrots, leave to simmer for 1 min. Then add all of your leafy greens and allow to wilt. Cook for a further 2 mins then transfer the hot soup to 2 deep bowls. Top with the raw steak. Allow the beef to cook in the hot soup for 30 seconds to 1 min. Finish with any remaining seasoning, chillies or herbs. Then enjoy!

Avocado & Tuna Pasta

A nice healthy alternative to the bog standard tuna and mayonnaise.

Avocado & Tuna

Ingredients

  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 tin of Tuna flakes
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic (flavours the pasta)
  • Seasoning
  • 200g Penne Pasta
  • A drizzle of Olive Oil

Tip all of the dried pasta into a large pan of boiling salted water. Crush the garlic and roughly chop, then add to the pasta. Whilst the pasta is cooking peel and stone your avocado. Leave a few slices to decorate your dish, then mash the rest. Add the drained tuna flakes and a good drizzle of olive oil to the mashed avocado, then combine together. Season to taste (I added lots of crack black peppercorns. Mmmm..). Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Once the pasta is completely cool, mix in the avocado and tuna. Pop on to a plate and decorate with your beautifully sliced avocado!

Sticky shredded chicken stir-fry

 

This healthy cook at home alternative is a very simple recipe that uses ingredients that you’ll already have at home. Get the kids involved. One that all the family will love including students on a budget. So put that takeaway menu down!

At home chinese

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 1 Broccoli
  • 1 Large Onion
  • Chicken (enough for 4 mouths)
  • 4 TBSP Oyster Sauce
  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • Black Pepper
  • Pinch of chilli powder / flakes

- Serve with rice or noodles

Finely cut the carrots into strips. Chop the broccoli into bitesize pieces and the onion into half moon slices. In a large frying pan (or wok if you have one) heat a good glug of oil in the pan evenly coating it. You want the pan smoking hot like Gerard Butler. Chuck in the onions and break then up into strips using your utensil of choice. Once the onions have started to soften add the carrots and broccoli. Stir fry for a couple of mins making sure they are getting a nice colour. Its okay if they start to brown, it adds flavour. Pop the chicken into the pan. I used left over chicken from a roast and shredded it. If you are using raw chicken repeat the same process but add the chicken after the onions. Wait until it is cooked before you add the rest of the veg. Chicken thighs are tender and cheap and would be delicious in this recipe. Add the honey, black pepper and chilli. Stir. Add the oyster sauce. Stir. You should have a nice and shiny, thick and gloopey sauce. Lower the heat. If the sauce gets too thick add some water to loosen it. I didn’t add any salt as the oyster sauce is already quite salty. If you want to add salt, taste first, because you can’t take it out once you have put it in! Serve on top of rice or mix in with noodles. You can add and takeaway any veg dependant on what you have in the fridge. Enjoy :)

Banana Flapjacks

So easy, so delicious & so moreish!

Banana Flapjacks

Ingredients

  • 250g Porridge Oats
  • 125g Butter
  • 125g Brown / Caster Sugar
  • 4 TBSP Golden Syrup
  • 1 Ripe Banana (mashed)
  • Large handful of Dried Banana Chips

Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. In a pan on a medium heat, add the sugar, syrup, butter and mashed banana. Stir and simmer until it has dissolved into one. Take off the heat and tip in all of the porridge oats. Stir until the oats are completely covered. Tip into the lined tray and flatten with the back of a spoon. Pop the flapjack into the oven for roughly 15 mins until is golden brown and smells absolutely delicious! Take out of the oven and leave to rest until completely cooled. Once cooled, cut into even squares and top with a blob of sticky golden syrup then a banana chip on top. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.. if they last that long!

Bitter Chocolate Orange Peels

This recipe is so easy and so simple.

Wrap up and give as edible presents or for an unconventional chocolate snack!

Chocolate Orange

Ingredients

  • 2 Large thick orange peels (I used Jaffa)
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Dark Chocolate

You can cut your peel however you like. I would suggest that it is no bigger than your thumb. Remove any remaining pith on the peel with a sharp knife or peeler. Pop the peel into a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the peel soak for 5 mins. Drain then repeat once more. In a pan add 250ml of water and the caster sugar. Allow the sugar to dissolve and then add the orange peel. Leave to simmer for 10 mins. Remove the peel from the pan and leave to dry over night. Once dried completely, in a bowl melt the chocolate. Dip the orange into the melted chocolate and then rest on greaseproof paper until the chocolate has hardened. There you have it.. Delicious chocolate orange.

Keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Cranberry & Chocolate Oat Cookies

C IS FOR COOKIE!

A very tempting, sweet and comforting cookie.

COOOOOOKIE

Ingredients

  • 175 g Flour
  • 100g Rolled Oats
  • 200g Butter
  • 100ml Golden syrup
  • Large handful of Dried Cranberries
  • 100g Chocolate of choice (i used milk)

Pre-heat the oven to 200C fan/ Gas mark 6. Add the flour, rolled oats and cranberries to a bowl and mix. In a pan heat the golden syrup and butter. Stir until combined, do not boil. Allow to cool. Pour the syrup mixture into they dry ingredients. When mixing you might need to use your hands so it holds together. Once the mixture is complete and is a dough like consistency, roll into balls then flatten. Pop them onto a baking tray and leave in the fridge for 5 to 10 mins. Once the time is up, remove from the fridge and straight to the oven. Cook for around 15 mins until golden brown. Allow to cool. Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies. When the chocolate has set.. dig in!

Lavender Meringues

Perfect as a summer dessert or for afternoon tea with loved ones.

Lavender Meringues

Ingredients

  • 115g Caster Sugar
  • 115g Icing Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs, yolks removed
  • 1 TSP of Purple food colouring
  • Half a handful of Lavender buds/flowers
  • Double cream (for the filling)

Pre-heat the oven to – fan 100C, conventional 110C and gas mark 1⁄4. Tip all of the egg whites into a clean cool bowl. Whisk the eggs on a medium setting until they are soft and fluffy. They should form a soft peak. Continue to whisk at a faster setting, whilst slowly adding the caster sugar a tbsp at a time and all of the food dye. Be careful to not over whisk as it can lose volume. Once all of the sugar and food dye has been added the eggs should look soft, thick and sticky like marshmallow..yum! Sift in the icing sugar a 1/3 at a time and tip in half of the lavender. Stir gently with a large metal/rubber spoon. Once all of the icing sugar as been mixed in it should look like shiny velvety goodness! Either pipe or dollop onto a lined baking tray. For desserts make the meringues bigger. For afternoon tea bite size meringues make them as large as a £2 coin. Don’t forget that they expand in the oven!! To finish, sprinkle a few lavender buds onto the meringues. Bake in the oven for around an hour and a half until crisp. Leave to cool then sandwich together with softly whipped double cream.

Of course with any recipe, if you are using any fresh produce from your garden avoid consuming if you have used any chemicals i.e. insect repellent.

Lavender Meringues

 

Leftover Vegetables – Roasted

Almost everyone buys too much fresh veg..

Which means at the end of the week when they’re starting to look old and wrinkly.. into the bin they go.

Lets face it, we all throw out too much food, especially fresh fruit and vegetables. In the UK alone we throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes. More than half of that we could have eaten and drank.

Soooooo.. here is a quick easy recipe that is super healthy and uses up the rest of your old veggies, even if they are looking tired.

Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients

This is easy, Any vegetables that you have left over.

I used..

Serves 2

  • 1 Whole Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1/4 of Pumpkin (butternut squash is good)
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • A good glug of Olive Oil
  • Mixed Herbs (You can use any spices/herbs you have lying around)
  • Seasoning

Pre-heat your oven to Fan 180°C / Gas mark 6. Chop and slice vegetables into similar sized chunks. Coat in the olive oil and season. Chuck in the chopped/crushed garlic. Add any Herbs or Spices you like. Pop onto a baking tray and spread out evenly (line with grease proof paper if you can’t be bothered to wash up!). Put into the oven and roast for 40 mins – 1 hour. Turn the vegetables every 15 mins. Once roasted to perfection, serve with meat or fish. Delicious in couscous for a healthy lunch.

Tips:

  • Sprinkle cumin seeds over carrots
  • Easy substitute for your sunday roast
  • Roasted butternut squash on a green salad with crumbled feta (to die for!)