Saturday, 25 May 2019

Easy Fajita Spice Mix (Gluten Free) and Chicken / Beef Fajitas Recipe

Delicious with Chicken or Beef and Peppers!

***Blog in progress***

Want to knock up your own tasty fajita spice mix in seconds, and know what's in it?

This is my delicious mix, which you simply sprinkle over your chicken (or beef) strips and stir in just before you cook it - no need to marinate, and you just stir together the spices. It couldn't be more simple, and you know what's in it!

If you don't have onion powder or garlic powder, no problem, you just grate fresh garlic and onion into the chicken before you add the spice mix, and it tastes just as great either way!

This makes enough to make a generous serving for four peope (using 640g chicken cut into 1/4 inch strips, 3 red/orange/yellow peppers, and two small-medium onions - see below for instructions how to use). Easy to double (or more) and store. This quantity makes about 5 x 15ml tbsp, so if you make a big batch, just measure this out for a 4 person serving.

Ingredients for Fajita Spice Mix
1/2 of a 15ml tbsp cornflour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp plain chilli powder (not the stuff with added cumin and salt etc. use mild if you don't want it too spicy)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (mild)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder - or 2 cloves garlic*
1/2 tsp onion powder - or 1 small red onion*

*If cooking gluten free ensure the garlic and onion powders are gluten free (as are all the other spices). Check allergy information on the packets for 'may contain' warnings.

Mix together all of the dry ingredient thoroughly. Store any spare in an airtight jar or container. If using fresh garlic and onion, grate finely and add to the chicken or beef and mix, before adding the spice mix, and combining thoroughly. See below for full ingredients and instructions to make fajitas for four.

To Make Fajita Filling
640g chicken breasts (or beef steak of choice), cut into 1/4 inch thick strips
3 bell peppers (mixed colours), cut into strips
2 small red (or white) onions, cut into slices
1 quantity Fajita spice mix

To Serve
  • Soft tortillas (approx 2 large, or 4 small per person - Sainsbury's currently sell Old El Paso Mexicana Street Market White Corn Tortillas which are gluten free)
and your choice of
  • Tomato salsa - you can make your own simple fresh salsa for 17 calories a portion from my recipe here
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream (or use 0% Greek yoghurt if you want to cut calories)
  • Grated cheese
  • Shredded crispy lettuce


Sunday, 3 February 2019

Delicious Homemade Doner Kebab Meat / Lamb Gyro Meat - Gluten Free and Dairy Free (includes Thermomix instructions)

A delicious doner kebab that you don't have to feel guilty about!

If you love a doner kebab, but you feel kind of uncomfortable about not knowing exactly what you're eating, then here is the perfect recipe to recreate what you get from your local takeaway at home, without any fancy equipment, and know that only good, wholesome ingredients have gone into it!

If you also happen love a good fresh tomato chilli sauce on top, and some garlic yoghurt sauce, I have blogged my very easy recipes for those too, which require no cooking, just mixing ingredients together! The chilli sauce recipe is here, and the garlic yoghurt sauce recipe is here.

If you're not into sauces, this is also delicious without any sauces and just served with fresh salad and a tiny squeeze of lemon, as there is so much flavour in the meat - even though I might be biased, I do not think that you could come closer to the flavour and texture of the doner meat from a typical kebab house in this country if you tried! Close your eyes and eat it, and you're there - except, dare I say it, it's even tastier!

Anyway, enough eulogising, and onto the recipe. If you're familiar with my recipes, you'll know that I always prefer to use fresh ingredients. Using onions and garlic granules / powder is not something I usually do, and it's not a shortcut here - it's for the flavour, and to keep the texture of the meat firm and close enough to thinly slice when it's chilled: as opposed to using fresh onion which would add a lot of unwanted liquid to the mixture, as well as the flavour of raw onion (and garlic) in this context, which is less authentic-tasting.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, please bear in mind this is a homemade replication of the doner meat found in English takeaways, rather than one of my more gourmet affairs - if you give it a try, please leave me a comment to let me know what you think! If you'd like to make more authentic Turkish kebabs, please have a look at my recipes for chicken shish kebabs, and lamb (adana) kebabs and the various accompaniments - great for BBQs!

Also, did I mention, once your meat is cooked and sliced, and your salad is prepped - it takes about 10-15 seconds to heat the meat through, and less than 5 minutes to throw together a home made doner kebab - how amazing is that!!!

Serves: 800g of 20% fat organic lamb mince (plus herbs and spices) yielded approximately 770g of cooked meat after draining and cooling. 100g of sliced meat makes for a very generously stuffed large doner kebab, so in total this would serve around 8 to 12 people (depending on serving sizes). Freezes well.

Very Easy Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

Perfect for drizzling over kebabs!

This is so easy, it's barely even a recipe - however I feel it's an important component of a home made doner kebab, alongside a good chilli sauce (see here for my easy fresh chilli and tomato sauce recipe), so it needs to be here!

Only 4 ingredients, and 12 calories per 15ml tbsp (depending on which yoghurt you use).

Easy, No-Cook Fresh Chilli and Tomato Sauce (includes Thermomix instructions)

This is such a simple, tasty, no-cook chilli sauce it's well worth making - and quicker than nipping to the shop to buy some!

I make this for drizzling over home made doner kebabs (see here for my recipe to make your own delicious doner kebab meat), but if you're a fan of spicy sauces then you could use it in lots of other ways!

As it's made from fresh ingredients it will only keep in the fridge for a few days, but it's easily halved, and you can freeze what you don't need for another time.

If you want to reduce the heat, you can either reduce the number of chillies you use, or omit the seeds.

Calories: approximately 7 calories per tbsp, 273 calories for the whole batch.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Orange Cake (Gluten Free)

A deliciously dark and decadent, spiced ginger cake with fragrant orange notes, with a lovely moistness and lightness from the grated squash.

When you end up with four butternut squashes (primarily from your veg box delivery), you need to be a bit creative to use them all up!

Having already made a tasty squash and tomato soup, curry, and some buttery squash and swede mash for the freezer, it seemed like I could turn towards the dark side (cake!), and come up with something new.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Masala Chai Cake with Vanilla Cinnamon Frosting (Gluten Free)

A deliciously spiced, moist and light cake that no-one will guess the secret ingredient to!

I am always trying to think up new and exciting flavours for cakes to make that everyone can enjoy, and I thought my idea for a masala chai cake was inspired!

As it is autumn, I thought something with warming spices would be delicious, which made me think of masala chai - an Indian take on tea, simmered with whole spices - namely cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and black peppercorns - with a cinnamon and vanilla cream cheese frosting to complement the flavours.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Easy Battered Fish in a Tasty Lemon and Parsley Batter - Gluten Free (or normal)

Delicious, crispy, battered fish, in a gluten free batter that packs a flavour punch!

Once you've tasted this, you won't want to go back to 'normal' batter - the lemon zest and parsley give it a delicious lift, and the cornflour and sparkling water make the batter lovely and crispy and light.

When you like the crispy bits and drizzle over a bit more batter after the first turn...

What's more, you can have battered fish without the mess and inconvenience of having to fill up a deep fat fryer with litres of oil - this has been simply shallow fried with only 1/2cm of oil in a non-stick frying pan - so it's quick and easy to do too (and you can filter and re-use the oil afterwards if you like).

Well, what more do you need to have a go - just get a couple of fillets of your favourite white fish, and if you like curry sauce on the side, have a go at my delicious and easy (gluten free) curry sauce - it's better that the chip shop's too - not that we're biased!!

The quick version with dried parsley and oven chips to keep everyone happy!

Serves two, easily doubled. Let's not talk about calories, because a small minority of my recipes are just never going to have them, OK? This is for a day when you just don't care!!

Better-Than Chip Shop Curry Sauce - naturally Gluten Free

Craving a really, REALLY good curry sauce to have with your chips?

Then, as the cliche goes - look no further! This is based on the flavours of one of the tastiest curry sauces I've had in recent years with fish and chips, at The Fish and The Chip in Leicester which does a fairly priced and very tasty plate of gluten free fish and chips at lunchtimes, should you be looking for anywhere coeliac-friendly!

Curry sauce is by nature, not the most photogenic of condiments, however what it lacks in aesthetic appeal, it certainly makes up for in flavour, and it's not at all complicated to make, and you've probably already got most of the ingredients to hand - so do give this a go! Plus, you can freeze it in portions for the next time you need some with your (fish and) chips! And of course, I've got a delicious and easy recipe for gluten free battered fish, that you can make in a frying pan!

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Crisp and Spicy Onion Bhajis (naturally gluten free)

These are hand-on-heart the best onion bhajis I've ever tasted!

Crispy, with a moist fluffy middle and absolutely packed full of flavour, they are absolutely unbeatable when home-made!

We're fortunate to live not too far from a very multicultural city where there are some excellent Indian restaurants, and delis that you can buy wonderful treats from, so trying to nail a tasty, crispy onion bhaji was actually quite fun after many years of eating all kinds!

I rarely cook deep fried foods - in fact, I seem to buy a deep fat fryer maybe once a decade for a special occasion, and then it languishes unused for many years in a cupboard. However, since my daughter was diagnosed with coeliac disease, I have a new reason to develop recipes for things which
are difficult to acquire gluten free and/or free from cross contamination (so for example, onion bhajis are naturally gluten free, being made from gram flour, however they sometimes contain wheat flour, or even trickier to spot, if you buy them, they're often a 'may contain', or more often than not may have been fried in oil that has had other things fried in it containing wheat - so a bit of a no-no when you can't risk even a crumb of something containing gluten!).

Makes 16 to 20 - easily doubled. Warning - VERY more-ish! And no, we're not mentioning calories for this recipe...!

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Zigni - Spicy Eritrean Beef Stew with Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and Slow Cooker method

Love spicy food? Fancy trying something new? Then why not have a go at this delicious Eritrean beef stew.

In our house at the moment, shin of beef is currently enjoying a period of popularity, as it is one of the most delicious, tasty and tender cuts of beef to cook slowly and also relatively economical.

Aside from a handful of staples, I've always enjoyed cooking new dishes on a regular basis, and re-creating food that I've enjoyed out and about. Finding new ways to slow-cook beef is always good fun, as there are so many different ways from so many different countries.
This is not a difficult dish to cook, it's extremely tasty and it's well worth making your own berbere spice mix to make it with, as that is also a simple thing to do once you've assembled the ingredients. 
Serves 8 to 10, or more as part of a selection of dishes. You can easily half this quantity if you wish to, and it freezes really well.

394 to 492 calories per serving (depending on whether a tenth or an eighth of the whole quantity - if you want to knock off around 30 calories a portion you can use pure oil spray for browning the beef and cooking the peppers, but you will need the keep the oil as stated for browning the onions).

Berbere - Ethiopian / Eritrean Spice Mix

A spicy mix predominately made of chilli, used to flavour many Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes.

One of the fundamental cornerstones of Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking is berbere - families have their own recipes for it, passed down from generation to generation - a bit like Italian families might pass down the recipes for a basic tomato sauce.

You can buy it ready made, but I think you might be disappointed with what is offered by generic spice manufacturers - much better to have a go at blending your own for a bit more authenticity.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Easy Sri Lankan Cauliflower Curry

This curry is so easy and quick to make, and it tastes that good you can eat it all by itself, or with the simplest of accompaniments!

I've been going a bit mad for Sri Lankan food at the moment (yes, it probably shows in my blog posts!), and I love to share the things that I love the most!

*** Post in progress, awaiting photos! ***

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Korean Beef Kimchi Jjigae (stew) in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker

A deliciously spicy and comforting stew that's quite simple to make.

Bored of your traditional beef stew or beef curries? Fancy trying something a bit different for a change, that's easy to make and really tasty? Oh, and pretty healthy too, especially if you serve it with fresh kimchi which is full of probiotics and low in calories (my recipe is 48 calories per 100g, so no need to be shy!)

You can either cook this in the pressure cooker to save time, or leave it to languish in a slow cooker overnight or during the day. If you're not into gadgets, you could just simmer it on the stove top for a couple of hours instead, before the final hour's simmer.

Whichever way you cook it, it's incredibly tasty, and although it is a spicy dish, despite the different forms of chilli, I really don't think it's too spicy - I'd call it medium. Delicious served with kimchi (especially if fresh), and steamed or boiled rice on the side. Fast day? Serve yours with cauliflower 'rice' at only 38 calories per 100g.

Makes 12 servings, easily halved, or perfect for freezing in portions for future easy meals in minutes.

364 calories per serving.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

This has to be one of THE tastiest ways to serve steak!

This deliciously punchy sauce which originates from Argentina and Uruguay is the perfect condiment for barbecued, griddled or grilled meats - especially steaks.

We've recently got into the thin-cut sirloin steaks (more economical for a family of four, and a modest portion of red meat), which need only seconds on each side on a really hot pre-heated griddle for a nice char on the outside, and a pink and juicy inside, and are perfect then sliced into thick strips and drizzled with the chimichurri sauce.

This amount of sauce generously serves 8 when having a moderate amount of steak (such as the afore-mentioned thin-cut sirloin steak - which is around 160g / 6 oz), however I appreciate that some people like a big hunk o' meat, so the quantity of sauce reflects this, as if you're having 4 large steaks, then this would be enough to go between 4 to 6 people. You can easily halve the quantity of sauce if needs be. It also keeps well in the fridge for a few days, and you can make it the night before if you want the flavours to develop - otherwise just make it an hour or two in advance (or more if you have time).

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