Winter warming apple crumble :)

I’m not sure about you but I am definitely feeling the cold! Dark mornings and frosty streets tells me that winter is upon us. I don’t mind the winter, as long as I am wrapped up at home with a blanket and a good book šŸ˜‰

Something else I like during this cold seasonĀ is a warm comforting dessert on a Sunday evening. Dessert after Sunday dinner is good for the soul, that’s what I think anyway.

Why not try a really simple dessert of apple crumble? Its something that can be whipped up in no time, or something that is good to get the kids involved with. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really use a recipe for this apple crumble because I only wanted to make enough for 3 people.

So all I did was chop up 3 small apples (with the skin left on) and put them in a pan with a knob of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon and ginger powder. Put the pan on a low heat and stew the apples for a few minutes, not too long though or you will have apple mush. You can add any flavour you want to your fruit, so be creative! I added raisins to mine (doesn’t sound very creative but it tasted lovely). Place the apples in a oven proof dish and place aside.

Then all you need to do is make the crumble mix. You can find lots of recipes online or use equal quantities of flour, sugar and oats, and half the amount of butter. For example, I used 40g of flour, sugar and oats and 20g of butter. Rub all the ingredients together until you have a breadcrumb like consistency and scatter over the fruit mixture. And there you have it! Place the crumble in the oven for about 30 minutes at 180 degrees C.

Serve with either custard or vanilla ice cream. Ooh its yummy! What other combinations do you like?

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Bored of the same lunch? Try something new…

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my boring sandwich or same old salad for lunch and thought, surely I can eat something else? Especially in the winter, I long for something warm that won’t make me feel sleepy all afternoon.

So today I decided to make leek and potato soup, and it was very satisfying. I didn’t add any cream (even though I really wanted to!)Ā because as a weekday lunch I didn’t want it to be full of calories . All I did was fry a medium sized chopped onion, two garlic cloves, 2 sliced leeks and one small sliced potato in some olive oil. I let them sweat down a little bit and then added some chicken stock. I boiled it until the potato was cooked through and then added a splash of semi-skimmed milk, seasoned with salt and pepper and blitz until smooth. I also added some fresh parsley to give the soup a bit of a lift.

I think soup is a great idea for lunch, you can make a batch on the weekend and then freeze into individual portions for the week and off you go. I’m not a fan of those packet soups because who knows what is in them and they taste a bit watery to me. I like to know that I am getting some real veg in me. And there are so many different combinations you could try, such as sweet potato and carrot soup or tomato and red pepper soup. What flavours do you like?

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Leek and potato soup w

Friday Night Curry…Butter Chicken

With all this hype about how butter is now good for us, I couldn’t not cook butter chicken and share it with all you lovely people. Now I don’t know if butter is good for us, bad for us, or simply tormenting us but what I do know is that it’s delicious and seems to make everything taste better. But yes, everything in moderation I can hear you say.

I based this dish from Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube video on butter chicken by MaunikaĀ but gave it my own spin. It’s such a delicious dish and if you are not a fan of very spicy curries, then you have to give this one a try.

I basically followed this recipe but used PataksĀ Kashmiri spice pasteĀ rather than a powder. You can get this in most of the supermarkets and it gives the curry a great flavour.

I marinated the chicken (for the whole day) in yoghurt, ginger, garlic and chilli paste, tomato puree, Kashmiri paste, lemon, salt, chilli powder turmeric, ground cumin and coriander powder. I then placed the chicken on skewers and cooked it in the oven to get nice and charred.

To make the sauce I fried a chopped onion in some butter, and once browned I then added a chopped tomato, ginger, garlic and chilli paste, tomato puree and the Kashimiri paste. I added different spices such as turmeric, chilli powder, cumin, coriander powder and let this cook into a thick paste. Next I added about 100ml of single cream to give the sauce a creamy taste. I let the sauce down with some boiling water and let it simmer. I preferred to do this than use lots of double cream so I would feel less guilty!

Once the chicken is charred I added it to the sauce alongside all its juices and its done! Add some fresh coriander and serve with naan bread or chapatis and basmati rice. Delicious!

If you are vegetarian you can always make this sauce and use hearty veg such as cauliflower and sweet potato. I like my curries a bit spicy but if you don’t then you don’t have to add any chilli, but go on…spice up your life! (Gosh that was cheesy)

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Butter chicken 1 wButter chicken 2 w

 

Why is baking so addictive?

I don’t know what it is but I will find any excuse to bake. I will happily admit that I am not the best baker in town but I like to give it a good go. I am guilty of changing recipes based on what I have in the house, which doesn’t always go my way. But I am a firm believer in having a well stocked cupboard and not running to the shops everyday. And I think my purse thanks me for it.

What is it about baking that is so much fun? Is it seeing a bunch of ingredients transform into something warm and delicious? Or is it the feeling of eating something afterwards that you know is slightly naughty? Yes that is probably it. We all have a dark side.

One of my (and my husbands) favourite biscuits are oatmeal and raisin cookies. I’m not sure if this is because the oats and raisins make us both feel like we are being slightly ‘healthy’, but then we are reminded by the butter and sugar in it and slowly come back to reality.

This is a very easy recipe that I got from one of Mary Berry‘s Bake Off books and it was delicious. A perfect combination of ingredients made the biscuit slightly soft and chewy rather than too crunchy.

The recipe is as follows: 125g softened butter, 150g muscovado sugar, 1 large free-range egg, 1 tablespoon of milk, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 100g self-raising flour, 75g raisins, 150g porridge oats.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the egg, and then place the rest of the ingredients in and fold through. It’s as easy as that! I added a pinch of cinnamon too because I love it, but you don’t have to. Place small dollops (technical term there) on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins or until golden. Bake at 180 degrees C/gas mark 4. Let them cool properly on a rack if you can resist eating them straight away. Enjoy!

Baking is good the for soul…go on give it a try.

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Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry

How many of you love to eat at Wagamama’s? I know I do. Their food has become so popular but one dish that seems to stand out is their Chicken Katsu Curry. It’s crispy breaded chicken served with sticky white rice and an aromatic curry sauce poured over it. Apparently it’s one of their most ordered dishes. So I thought lets try it at home!

Now I know what you are thinking…why bother? Well, it’s actually really easy to make and if you don’t eat chicken you can always substitute it for fish or vegetables such as aubergine or courgettes. Plus it’s fun and satisfying to make your own! If you can get panko breadcrumbs from your local supermarket, I would really recommend it. It makes the coating really crispy in a way that normal breadcrumbs can’t. If you can’t get them, then try and toast your breadcrumbs slightly so they are crunchy.

Also the curry sauce is so easy to make and yet it is the star of the show. I like spicy food so I added chilli flakes to mine to just give it some heat. Go on give it a try! Recipe is below…

Chicken Katsu Curry 4 w

I adapted a few recipes from online and recipe books. This recipe feeds 2-3 people.Ā Here’s how I did it…

Ingredients:

Breast chicken (one per person)

Plain flour

1 egg

Panko breadcrumbs

For the curry sauce:

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 thumb size piece of ginger

1 carrot

1 tbsp medium curry powder

Splash of soy sauce

A pinch of garam masala

1 tsp Brown sugar

Chilli flakes to taste (optional)

Chicken stock or stock cube

Basmati rice or sticky rice

Method:

  1. To prepare the chicken, place it between some greaseproof paper and bash the thick side with something heavy to tenderise the chicken and flatten it out. Then prepareĀ the chicken by coating it in seasoned flour, then egg and then the panko breadcrumbs. Make sure its evenly coated and place in the fridge until ready to cook.
  2. For the curry sauce: Roughly chop and saute the onion, carrot, garlic and ginger in olive oil until soft and slightly caramelised. Add the curry powder and a tablespoon of plain flour to make a thick paste and cook out the flour. Then slowly add the chicken stock to make a sauce to the consistency you like. Add a splash of soy sauce, a tsp of brown sugar and a pinch of garam masala and season to taste. Add chilli flakes if you want a spicy hit. I recommend it! Then blend the sauce using a hand blender (optional). Let it simmer and thicken slowly.
  3. Take the chicken out of the fridge 10 minutes before you are ready to cook it. Shallow fry the chicken breasts in olive oil until cooked through and golden. Slice into strips.
  4. Serve with sticky or basmati rice and salad or vegetables of your choice and pour the curry sauce over the top. Enjoy!

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