Oops – a bit late this week, sorry guys!. Some cheeky comfort food in this weeks menu, packed full of flavour. Again super easy as going for very minimal time in the kitchen at the moment, but you still have a healthy, home cooked meal every night – can’t be bad!
Saturday: Duck Tikka
Sunday: Beef and macaroni pie
Monday: Broccoli and tofu stirfry
Tuesday: Sea bass with a puttanesca sauce
Wednesday: Smokey red pepper soup
Thursday: Steak with a shallot sauce
Friday: Prawn and chorizo quick jambalaya
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 whole cloves
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp flaked sea salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
20 g piece fresh root ginger, finely grated
4 tbsp plain yoghurt
4 duck breasts, skin removed
small salad of sliced red onion, fresh coriander and lime wedges, to serve
Put the cumin and coriander seeds, cloves and black peppercorns in a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring regularly until lightly toasted, when they become aromatic then they are ready. Tip the toasted spices into a pestle and mortar or an electric spice grinder. Add the fenugreek, turmeric, paprika, chilli powder, cinnamon and salt to the warm, whole spices and grind them all into a fine powder. Tip into a mixing bowl and stir in the garlic, ginger and yogurt. Mix thoroughly and leave to stand while the duck is prepared.
Cut each of the duck breasts into 7-8 bite-sized pieces. Stir into the spiced yogurt, cover with cling film and put in the fridge to marinate for at least four hours, or ideally overnight.
Take the duck pieces from the fridge and skewer several chunks onto long metal skewers, keeping 1-2cm between each piece approx five chunks of duck to each skewer. Preheat the grill to its hottest setting and place the skewers on a rack over a grill pan lined with foil. Slide onto a shelf as close as possible to the heat and cook for three minutes. Turn each skewer, holding with an oven cloth, and cook on the other side for a further 2-3 minutes, or until the duck is lightly charred on the outside but hot and juicy in the centre.
Hold the hot skewers with an oven cloth and use a fork to slide the duck tikka chunks off the skewers and divide among six plates. Add a salad garnish of fresh red onion rings and coriander. Serve with lime wedges and some chapatti or roti.
Beef and macaroni pie
For the meat sauce:
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 kg lean minced beef
200 ml red wine
400 g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
10 cm cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp dried oregano, Greek if possible
2 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
3 fresh bay leaves
For the pasta:
500 g tubular pasta, such as rigatoni
2 eggs, lightly beaten
50 g parmesan, finely grated
2 tbsp butter, melted, for greasing
10 g fresh white breadcrumbs
For the white sauce:
115 g butter
115 g plain flour
1.2 ltr milk, plus a little extra
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
For the meat sauce: heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan. Add the onion, garlic and celery and fry until just beginning to brown. Add the minced beef and fry over a high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up any lumps with the wooden spoon. Add the red wine, tomatoes, tomato purée, cinnamon stick, ground cloves, dried and fresh oregano, bay leaves, 100 ml water, good pinch of salt and some black pepper. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring every do often, until the sauce has thickened but still has moisture. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves.
For the pasta: bring 4.5 litres of well salted water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, Drain well, transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool slightly.
For the white sauce: melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan. Add the flour and cook out, stirring, over a medium heat for about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, then bring to the boil, continue whisking. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Stir 250 ml (about one-fifth) of the white sauce into the warm pasta with the beaten eggs and half the grated cheese. Keep the remaining sauce warm over a low heat, stirring now and then and adding more milk if it begins to get a little thick. Use the melted butter to grease a large, shallow ovenproof dish (about 23cm x 33cm x 7cm). Spread one-third of the pasta over the base of the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Add another third of the pasta, then the rest of the meat sauce, then a final layer of pasta.
Spoon over the remaining white sauce. Mix the last of the grated cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 40 minutes, or until bubbling hot and golden brown.
Broccoli and tofu stirfry
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
5 cm fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
The juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp soy sauce
250 g of firm tofu, cut into 2cm
1 tbsp sunflower oil
200 g Tenderstem broccoli, cut into 2cm diagnonal slices
100 g cashew nuts
Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
Mix the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, lime juice and soy sauce in a medium-sized container. Add the tofu and gently stir to cover with the marinade; don’t be too vigorous or you’ll break it up – marinade for at least 30 mins if you have time. Take the tofu out of the marinade. Drain off the liquid and reserve.
Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, and ginger from the marinade to the pan and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add the broccoli and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Tip in the nuts and fry until they are starting to brown. Next add the tofu and stir it in very gently. Pour in the liquid from the marinade and 200 ml water. Reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 2 minutes, or until everything is heated through. Serve with plain rice.
Sea bass with a puttanesca sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion , finely chopped
3 garlic cloves , finely chopped
pinch dried chilli flakes
400 g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp small capers or 1 tbsp large capers, chopped
6 pitted green olives , roughly sliced
250 g celeriac , peeled and cut into thin batons
200 g kale , roughly chopped
knob of butter
squeeze lemon juice
2 sea bass fillets, skin lightly scored
small handful parsley , chopped
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan. Tip in the onion, garlic and chilli flakes and cook over a low heat for 10 mins until soft. Add the tomatoes and ¼ can of water and cook for 8 mins until thick, then stir through the capers and olives. Can be done earlier in the day and chilled.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 220C/gas 7. Put the celeriac on a non-stick baking sheet. Add another 1 tbsp oil, season and mix with your hands. Spread into a thin layer and roast for 25 mins, stirring once, until golden and tender.
Put the kale in a steamer and cook for about 5 mins until tender. When done, pop a knob of butter on top, squeeze over a little lemon juice and season.
Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan. Season the fish fillets, then put in the pan, skin-side down. Cook for 3-4 mins until the skin is golden and the fish is almost cooked through. Turn and cook for 1-2 mins more, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Heat the sauce through, season and add the parsley. Spoon the sauce onto 2 plates, top with the fish and serve with the new potatoes and kale.
Smokey red pepper soup
2 red peppers, quartered and deseeded
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, halved and cut into thin slices
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1/2 lemon, zested
400 g canned plum tomatoes
For the almonds:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
small handful of almonds
10 black olives, halved
small handful parsley
For the soup: Preheat oven to 200C/gas 6. Place the peppers onto a baking tray, lightly drizzle with oil and roast for 30 minutes or until soft and blackened in parts. Remove from the tray and wrap in foil. Once cool enough to touch, peel off the skins and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Stir to evenly coat the slices, turn down the heat. Fry for 30 minutes or until the onions are sweet and sticky, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, rosemary and lemon zest to the pan. Fry for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes. Gently break down the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, bring to the boil then allow it all to simmer to create a rich, thick sauce. Stir occasionally, adding more water if it starts to dry out. Add the roasted peppers, along with 400 ml water and a pinch of black pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. With a handheld blender, puree to a smooth and thick consistency.
For the almonds: Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and add the smoked paprika. Let the oil infuse for a few seconds before adding the almonds. Make sure the nuts are well coated and fry on a low heat for a few minutes, until golden. Transfer to a piece of kitchen bowl to absorb the excess oil.
Serve the soup topped with a scattering of olives and almonds, a sprinkling of parsley and crusty bread rolls.
Steak with a shallot sauce
4 shallots, finely sliced
4 tbsp Cognac
200 ml red wine
200 ml beef stock from 1/2 rich beef stock cube, hot
Oil, for frying
2 tbsp crushed black peppercorns
4 rump or sirloin steaks
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, to soften. Pour in the Cognac, boil for 1 minute, then add the wine. Increase the heat and boil for a few minutes to reduce by half.
Meanwhile, make up the stock and pour in. Boil until reduced by half again. Stir in the butter, season to taste, and leave over a low heat.
Brush a griddle or frying pan with a little oil and place over a high heat. Press the peppercorns all over the steaks. Place in the hot pan and cook for 2-5 minutes each side, depending how you like them cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside for 2 minutes to rest.
Divide between plates. Pour over the sauce and serve with french fries and grilled vine tomatoes.
Prawn and chorizo quick jambalaya
150 g piece chorizo, diced
1 each small red and small yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 onion, finely sliced
2 celery sticks, finely sliced diagonally
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Leaves from a few fresh thyme sprigs
200 g long-grain rice
227 g can chopped tomatoes
700 ml vegetable or chicken stock, hot
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce, plus extra to serve
200 g raw tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
Lime wedges, to serve
Cook the chorizo in a wide, deep frying pan over a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
Add the peppers, onion, celery, garlic and chilli to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened slightly. Stir in the thyme and rice, cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, stock and Tabasco and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste.
Stir in the chorizo, prawns and spring onions and cook for 1 minute. Serve or cool completely to freeze. Serve with Tabasco and lime wedges.
(Credits: Rick Stein, Hairy Bikers, GoodFood Channel, Sarah Cotterell, Good Food Magazine, )