It must be the faintest whiff of spring in the air that has led to this week’s menu being light and healthy. Everything this week is super quick and easy (expect the time it takes for the slow roasted chicken to marinade) so give it a try!
Saturday: Moroccan style turkey salad
Sunday: Slow roasted chicken w/ herbs
Monday: Chana Masala (Chick peas)
Tuesday: Bacon and tomato pasta
Wednesday: Roasted veggie couscous
Thursday: Warm chicken and bacon salad
Friday: Pork bun cha
Moroccan style turkey salad
2 pitta breads
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large aubergine, diced
1 tbsp harissa
250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
500 g turkey breast, shredded
Small bag rocket leaves
1 pomegranate seeds only or tub of pomegranate seeds
mint leaves to garnish
Tear the pitta into pieces and fry in the olive oil until crisp.
Tip into a bowl, then fry the aubergine for 10 mins until soft. Add to the pitta with the harissa, tomatoes, turkey and rocket. Toss well. Scatter over pomegranate seeds and mint leaves and serve.
Slow roasted chicken w/ herbs
2 small garlic bulbs, cloves separated but not peeled
1 large bunch rosemary
1 large bunch lemon thyme
1 large bunch sage
1 large bunch bay leaves
2 small lemons, zest only
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium chicken
400 g carrots, halved
500 g baby new potatoes, halved
2 medium red onions, cut into wedges
100 g butter, softened
150 ml white wine
Roughly bash the garlic cloves and herbs using a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet, then put in a large dish with the lemon zest, oil and chicken. Rub everything into the chicken, inside and out. Cover with cling film (or a clean plastic bag) and leave to marinate overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Heat oven to 140C/gas 1. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 mins before you want to cook it. Put the vegetables in a large roasting tin and top with the chicken. Scatter the herbs and garlic from the marinade over, around and inside the bird. Push the 2 lemons inside the chicken too, halving if necessary. Rub the butter all over the skin and season generously.
Pour the wine into the tin with 150 ml water, cover tightly with a tent of foil and cook for 2 hrs. Remove the foil and continue cooking for 1 hr more, or until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear. Increase oven to 220C/gas 7 and cook for a further 25-30 mins more until the skin is really crisp. Lift the chicken from the tin to rest on a plate for 30 mins, covered again with the foil.
Whilst the chicken is resting, put the roasting tin on the hob and simmer to reduce the cooking juices a little, remove the veg and keep warm. Add any juices from the rested chicken and season to taste, then strain your gravy ready for serving – if too thin you can add a tsp of cornflour in cold water to the gravy and bubble away until it starts to thicken a little. Serve with the veg from the roasting tin and any other you fancy adding.
2 red onions, sliced
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
400 g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 x 400 g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
400 g can coconut milk
Handful of fresh coriander.
1/4 tsp garam masala
Juice of ½ lemon
Slice the onions and put into a deep frying pan with the oil. Place over a medium heat and leave them to soften. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Tip in the tomatoes, chilli flakes, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric and fennel seeds and garam masala. Stir well and simmer for 2-3 minutes, then add the chickpeas. Stir them in and then add the coconut milk. Stir well again and then over a medium heat, let it simmer until the liquid is reduce and the sauce is nice and thick. Stir every 5-10 minutes to avoid sticking.
Chop the coriander and add to the chickpeas. Squeeze over the juice from the lemon and adjust salt to taste. Serve immediately with pitta or naan bread or if you prefer some rice.
Bacon and tomato pasta
350 g pasta – any you like
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle before serving
150 g streaky bacon or pancetta, cut into small pieces – more if you like
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into very thin slices
2 tins whole plum tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar
Make the sauce first. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and sweat gently for a couple of minutes without letting it colour. Crush the tomatoes, then tip into the pan. Add the bay leaf and dried herbs, and bring to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring often and crushing down the tomatoes with a fork until you have a thick, pulpy sauce. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Leave it slightly chunky sauce.
Cook your pasta until al dente in plenty of boiling salted water. While the pasta is cooking heat the oil in a frying pan, add the bacon or pancetta and fry until crispy. Add to the tomato sauce and let it simmer with the bacon for about 5 minutes, stirring often, allow it to reduce and thicken a little further. Add black pepper to taste.
Drain the pasta and toss immediately with the sauce. Serve straight away, drizzled with extra-virgin oil on top.
Roasted veggie couscous
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 1½cm pieces
2 small courgettes, cut into 1½cm cubes
250 g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced into small cubes
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp thyme leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
For the couscous:
350 g couscous
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
450 ml hot vegetable stock
3 tbsp finely chopped mint
3 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp olive oil juice and zest of 1½ unwaxed lemons
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Place all the chopped vegetables on to an oven tray, sprinkle over the garlic, thyme and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix well, making sure all the ingredients are coated and cook for 20–25 minutes, or until slightly browned on the edges. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the vegetables to cool a little.
Place the couscous in a medium-sized bowl. Add the spices, season with salt and pepper and stir well. Pour over the hot vegetable stock, stir once more and cover the bowl with a tea towel for the couscous to steam and the water to be absorbed.
After 5 minutes or so, fluff up the couscous with a fork. Spread the couscous out on a clean oven tray and put into the oven for 5 minutes to dry out a little. Combine the couscous and the roasted vegetables together in a large bowl. Add the herbs, olive oil, lemon juice and zest and mix well. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.
Place on a large platter or bowl, and sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts before serving.
Warm chicken and bacon salad
3 lean bacon rashers
100 g peas
1 large avocado , cut into small chunks
100 g roasted chicken, cut into small slices
1 celery heart, stalks removed, thinly sliced
2 tsp chopped tarragon
5 spring onions , thinly sliced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white balsamic or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
pinch of sugar
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat until very hot. Add the bacon and cook until golden and crispy – how crispy is up to how you like it. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Put the chicken pieces into the same pan and heat them through in the bacon fat that’s left in the pan.
To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients with a pinch of sea salt in a bowl. Blanch the peas in boiling salted water for 45 secs. Drain, and set aside. Put the avocado, chicken, celery slices, tarragon, spring onions, peas, and bacon in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and gently toss to combine. Serve this as it is or you can also add some boiled new potatoes on the side of you like.
Pork bun cha
1 stalk lemongrass, peeled of its woody leaves, then very finely chopped
3 limes leaves, thinly sliced – or you can use dried ones
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp golden caster sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp groundnut oil
200 g pork fillet cut into medallions, then flatten out by bashing with a rolling pin
For the sauce:
2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
100 ml rice wine vinegar
100 ml fish sauce
For the salad
100 g thin rice noodles
8 romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced into matchsticks
6 spring onions, cut into matchsticks
12 mint leaves, finely chopped
A small bunch of coriander
Place the lemongrass, lime leaves, garlic, turmeric, sugar and fish sauce into a mixing bowl and mix together. Then pour over the pork and rub well into the meat. Leave to marinade for 30 minutes.
To make the sauce, combine the garlic, chilli and sugar in a food processor and blitz to a fine paste. Add the lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce and 50 ml of water, then blend using pulses until all the ingredients are well combined.
Put the noodles in a bowl with boiling water to cover. Let stand until al dente, which will take about 10 minutes. Divide the noodles between bowls. Mix the salad vegetables together then add on top of the noodles.
Heat the oil in a griddle pan or heavy frying pan over a high heat until it is almost smoking. Cook the pork until the meat has charred nicely and is just cooked through. Add the grilled pork to the bowls and finish by topping each bowl with the chopped herbs and serve with a few tablespoons of sauce drizzled over – more if you like.
(Credits: Jennifer Joyce, Good Food Magazine, James Martin, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Naomi Westlake, Cook Yourself Thin, Richard Corrigan, JJMoola’s Kitchen)