It’s January and we are all trying to eat a bit lighter after an indulgent December. No more mince pies, cheese boards and pork pies! However there is nothing to say that food has to be boring in January. It’s not all lettuce and boiled eggs.
I made Thai salmon fishcakes for dinner and served it with a big salad and I can safely say it went down a treat. Yes I added a few naughty prawn crackers but life is too short to be so strict. I don’t believe in regimented diets, mostly because I don’t think I have the discipline! I just like to eat fresh and healthy food and not deny myself the odd biscuit with my tea or dessert with my friends on the weekend.
These fishcakes were super easy to make. I happened to have lots of Thai ingredients in my kitchen that I used in this recipe but don’t panic. If you don’t have all of these ingredients or don’t want to buy them, all you need is a red Thai curry paste from a jar. These pastes have all the ingredients you need and has done all the hard work for you but won’t compromise on flavour. Just add a heaped teaspoon of this paste to your mix instead of all the Thai ingredients listed below.
Normally fishcakes are full of mash potato and can be a bit stodgy. They also tend to be covered in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and lightly fried, which can be a bit of a faff when you want something quick. To make these fishcakes lighter and easier to make, I skipped all of this! I simply made a mix in one big bowl and shaped them into fishcakes, and lightly pan fried them until crispy.
Another easy tip was to use pre-cooked salmon fillets that have been smoked. You can find these in the supermarkets next to the fresh fillets. They have a great smokey flavour and saves you time cooking the fillets yourself. Of course you can used unsmoked salmon too, just cook the salmon in the oven and leave to cool before making your mix.
So here’s what I did. Serves two.
2 cooked salmon fillets (smoked)
1 handful chopped spring onions
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 handful sweetcorn
1 pinch sesame seeds (to garnish)
Sweet chilli sauce (to serve)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 thumb size galangal (or ginger), peeled
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 stick lemongrass
1 whole shallot, peeled
1/2 juice of a lime
1 red chilli
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
To make the curry paste, place all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.
Remove the skin from your salmon fillets and using two forks, flake up the salmon.
In a large bowl, add your flaked salmon, curry paste, and all of the remaining ingredients. Mix together and place in the fridge to firm up.
Once firm, divide your mix into four and shape into fishcakes. Squeeze out any excess liquid as you do this.
In a frying pan, add a tablespoon of oil and lightly fry the fishcakes. Cook until golden brown on all sides.
Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve with a big salad, sweet chilli sauce, prawn crackers and enjoy!
Yes that’s right. I have the secret! Although it’s not quite a secret, as it’s all over the internet but I recently discovered a small but vital tip to smooth hummus.
I often eat really smooth hummus in Turkish or Lebanese restaurants and cannot get enough of it. I love this creamy dip that goes well with almost anything, from vegetables, crackers or pitta breads. It’s a great dip to make when you have friends coming over but I never could master a super smooth hummus, until now!
I read an article that said the trick to super smooth hummus is to peel your chickpeas! The chickpeas have this slimy skin over it, and this is what stops your hummus being smooth. When blending the chickpeas, the skin never breaks down as much as you want it to. Yes it takes longer but is so worth it.
Now there’s a long standing debate about whether to use dried chickpeas or canned. Personally I haven’t tried using dried chickpeas, simply because it takes too long as you have to soak them overnight and boil them. One day I will give it a go, but for now I have found that tinned chickpeas work perfectly well.
This is my basic recipe to hummus, that can be flavoured however you please. You can add paprika, jalapeños or cumin. Or roasted peppers and garlic. You can add whatever you like! In this instance I added sumac, mixed seeds and pomegranate seeds for a burst of sweetness. It’s so delicious and so healthy! Follow this basic recipe and you can’t go wrong.
1 tin of chickpeas
2 heaped tsp tahini
1/2 clove garlic
pinch of salt
splash of juice from the chickpea can
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (to serve)
Drain and peel all the chickpeas, whilst reserving some of the liquid from the can.
Place in the blender and add all of the other ingredients, apart from the olive oil.
Blend until extra smooth and season to taste.
If the mixture is too soft, place in a the fridge for 30 mins.
Spread over a plate using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle over any spices if you wish.
It’s Christmas! I love this time of year because for me it means lots of yummy food, seeing friends and family and ending the year on a high. I love to bake at this time of year (or any time of year to be fair) and this weekend was gingerbread time.
After making a huge mess in my kitchen, I wrapped some gingerbread up in cellophane, added a festive ribbon and gave them to my friends and they loved it. It’s a small gesture but tends to put a smile on peoples faces. This way I have an excuse to turn my kitchen into a baking station, whilst blasting ‘Bad and Boujee’ on my stereo.
Sometimes I think we need to pull it all back and just remember that it’s nice to spend time with your nearest and dearest without all the expensive presents. Why not make homemade edible gifts this year? It shows people how much you care and gives a personal touch to your gift.
I followed a recipe from BBC good food for my gingerbread and it worked a treat. Although I used dark soft brown sugar for that extra caramel flavour and added a pinch of nutmeg to the mix for extra spice. I also like to slightly under bake the biscuits so that they still have a soft texture to it.
So rather then spending hours in the shops tackling through the crowds, why not give home baking a go. It’s great fun!
Have you ever tasted the most succulent, tender, fall off the bone ribs in a restaurant and wanted to make it at home? Well now you can. I made these today and I can safely say that I had a very happy husband next to me. These ribs were effortless to make and so worth it. They were so tender that I struggled to slice the ribs off to take the picture! The meat was literally falling off the bone. Yes…
It’s a great dish to make when friends are coming over, as you can leave them in the oven to slow cook whilst enjoying a glass of wine with your guests and not be stuck in the kitchen the whole time.
Now this is my recipe, inspired by lots of other recipes and adapted to whatever I had in the house. So you can adapt it too. Put whatever you want on them, there is no right or wrong way of making them. I’m sure they will be delicious no matter what!
Here’s what I did:
2 rack of pork ribs
Dry Spice Rub:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce:
100ml Jack Daniels (you can use less or more depending on how much you like it!)
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp brown sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Tobasco
1 tsp english mustard
1 tsp honey
50ml apple juice
1 tsp smoked paprika
Put all the dry spice ingredients in a pestle and mortar and beat to a fine rub. Use this rub to coat all over the ribs.
Place ribs in an oven tray and cover with foil. Cook in the oven at 160 degrees for 2.5 hours or until soft and tender and cooked through.
Meanwhile make the BBQ sauce. In a saucepan, add all of the sauce ingredients and mix together. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
Once the ribs are cooked, remove the foil and coat the ribs in the bbq sauce. Place back in the oven (uncovered) for a further 25 minutes until the sauce has cooked and thickened.
Serve with coleslaw or any sides you wish!
Now I’ll admit, my measurements are estimations simply because they are not as important as other recipes. It doesn’t matter if you add a little more tabasco or a little less apple juice. As long as you stick to the rough quantities then you will end up with a great sauce.
Get the napkins ready, this is a messy dish! Enjoy 🙂
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!) 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?
Thanks for reading 🙂 Please follow and subscribe 🙂
I don’t know about you but I can’t seem to resist fresh bread. If you bring a fresh loaf of crusty bread to my house it will not last long. Warmed through in the oven to crisp up the crust and steam the soft centre and then slathered with butter. And hearing that crunch when I bite into it against that soft airy centre. And I like to blame the ‘newlywed happy weight’ for my extra pounds, but I think I know where I am going wrong. But what can I do, I need it for my ‘work’.
Yet it seems sad that all we eat are these convenient loaves from the supermarket that have little flavour and can be squashed back into dough. Don’t get me wrong I buy slice bread all the time, but I do wonder what’s in it. I see the difference in quality when I buy a fresh loaf and it makes me question what I am buying.
Do we really know what’s in our food? After watching so many programs on food and health, I don’t know what to believe anymore. Back in the day people had no choice but to buy bread from their local bakery, knowing that it was made by hand. But now we buy bread that is massed produced in a factory and seems to be full of preservatives. What do you think?
Follow my blog and join me on my food culture journey and check out my website at www.jbimagery.co.uk to see my food photography. Thanks!