Thai Coconut & Chicken Soup

Thai Coconut & Chicken SoupSummer months very often call for light meals. When temperatures are high we don’t really fancy a full blown three course meal for our dinner. This Thai soup is quick and easy to make and it will deliver a wonderful dining experience, I promise. The ingredients as stated below will feed 4 hungry adults or a 2+1 family for two days 🙂

Thai Coconut & Chicken Soup - IngredientsIngredients:

  • ~600ml chicken stock
  • 2 x tins of coconut milk
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • Fresh ginger; 5-7cm piece
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • Lemon grass; about 6 pieces
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 4tbsp fish sauce
  • 6tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 chilli peppers
  • Sea salt (if needed)
  • Fresh coriander for garnish

For chicken marinade:

  • Sea salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Lemon pepper (optional)
  • 2tbsp olive oil

Method:

Wash and cut your chicken into small cubes. Place in a bowl and add olive oil, sea salt, paprika and pepper(s) then mix well and put aside for a while (the longer you leave it, the better the taste will develop but you could cook it almost straight away if you choose to do so).

Chop the ginger and chilli pepper into smaller pieces. Squash the lemon grass to help release the oils and flavour but leave it in a large piece so it is easier to remove from the soup later. Wash and slice the mushrooms.

In a heavy bottom frying pan heat up 4tbsp of olive oil; once hot add ginger, lemon grass and chilli peppers and fry for 3 minutes to release the aroma. Add mushrooms and allow them to fry for a few minutes till softened.

Thai Coconut & Chicken Soup in the makingThai Coconut And Chicken Soup in the makingIn a second frying pan fry your chicken; it doesn’t have to be cooked through out as it will have time to cook inside the soup but I like to sear it to lock the juices in. Move the chicken into your mushroom pan and fry for addition 2-3 minutes.

In a large pot heat up the chicken stock, add coconut milk, fish sauce and lime juice; then add all remaining ingredients from your frying pan (being the chicken and mushroom with ginger, lemon grass and chilli peppers).

Cook on a low heat for at least 15 minutes.

Serve with fresh coriander and enjoy a wonderful flavour of the Far East 🙂

Thai Coconut And Chicken SoupTop tip: Be careful with your fish sauce. They are normally quite salty and the salt levels vary significantly from brand to brand, so if you are cooking it for the first time I would suggest adding only half of the amount stated in case it makes your soup too salty. I never found the need for additional salt but we all have different taste so who knows… maybe some of you will need it.

Do you like Thai food?

Yum

thai-coconut-chicken-soup

Honey & Mustard Chicken Couscous Salad

Yesterday I was indirectly challenged by Marks boss. Sounds a little weird, doesn’t it? Well he was summoned to work almost three hours earlier than expected, for yet another life and death meeting, which meant I had just 30 minutes in which to cook and pack some sort of dinner for him to take to work.

Now originally I wasn’t planning any sort of quick dinner but as it turned out I was left with no choice… I had to improvise. After a rummage through the fridge and pantry I came up with an idea, Honey & Mustard Chicken Couscous Salad. It ended up being extremely tasty so I have decided to share it with you.

Honey & Mustard Chicken Couscous SaladIngredients:

For the couscous salad:

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 1 small tin of pineapple
  • 1 small tin of garden peas
  • 1 small tin of sweetcorn
  • 150g cherry tomatoes
  • Handful of cashews nuts
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander

For the chicken:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 Knorr chicken stock cube
  • 1 Knorr 3 peppercorns flavour pot
  • 3tbsp of sesame oil
  • Pineapple juice
  • 2tsp honey
  • 2tsp Dijon mustard

You might feel the need to comment when you notice my total lack of spices. Well as I used a pre-spiced version of couscous there was no need for anything extra. If you only have plain couscous you might want to add a good pinch of salt, some fresh cracked pepper and maybe some sweet paprika.

Method:

In a small bowl mix 2tbsp of sesame oil, chicken stock cube and flavour pot until you achieve a smooth texture.

Wash and cube the chicken breasts.

Add the chicken into your earlier prepared flavour mixture and make sure each piece is fully coated properly.

Set it aside for 5 minutes or more to marinate and make a start on your couscous.

Prepare your couscous as per the packaging instructions. My one took only 10 minutes to “develop”.

Heat up a heavy bottomed pan, as you know I like to use cast iron, add the remaining 1tbsp of sesame oil and once hot pop your chicken in. Fry it for about 10 minutes, stirring or tossing from time to time to make sure all pieces are evenly cook.

Open and drain the peas and sweetcorn.

Open but do not drain the pineapple, save the juice as we will need it.

Chop the pineapple into smaller chunks if required or use them as they come if you have already bought them in chunks, roughly chop the nuts so they aren’t too big, quarter your cherry tomatoes and finely chop the coriander ready to go into your couscous.

Now for the sauce; in a small bowl mix the pineapple juice, honey and mustard; stir until all ingredients are combined.

Once your chicken is cooked (it should not take more than about 10 minutes) add the sauce and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

Use a fork to fluff your couscous, add all the earlier chopped ingredients plus the peas and sweetcorn and once you ready add chicken, sauce included.

Mix it well and serve immediately… or like in my case put some into a lunch box ready to be munched later.

Honey and Mustard Chicken Couscous SaladMy Honey & Mustard Chicken Couscous SaladDo you like couscous?

What’s your favourite way of serving it?

Yum

What’s Cooking – Something from Nothing Dinner

From time to time I take a look into the fridge or stock cupboard and there is nothing to eat… actually there is a lot of things to eat but they do not really go together in any order that would create some meal that would be suitable for a dinner like meal.

One day last week was just one of those days…

The fridge was kind of full of stuff but nothing really resembled a dinner without some missing ingredient I could think off. Inevitably my first thought was “a take away it is”, but as there isn’t really a nice take away around us, we decided to look harder and simply create something from nothing… in the end this is what we came up with…

What’s Cooking – Something from Nothing Dinner

Ingredients:

  • Couscous
  • 1 small tin of garden peas
  • 1 small tin of sweet corn
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 polish sausages (left from the night before)
  • spoonful of olive oil

Method:

Prepare couscous as per instruction on the pack but instead of water we added a nice chicken stock.

Chop sausage and onions and fry for a while, until onions are nicely coloured and the sausage is browned.

Drain the peas and sweetcorn and place in a serving bowl.

Add all other ingredients, mix well and serve.

What’s Cooking - Something from Nothing Dinner

It took us 10 minutes to do it. It was simple yet extremely tasty. Normally we would use a lot of “posh” ingredients to go with couscous like mozzarella cheese or sundried tomatoes but actually you can mix it with anything you like.

I am quite pleased we opted for such a “creative” option instead of a take away that evening, otherwise I would never have discovered that a few simple ingredients put together like this could create something so yummy.

I think from now on couscous will be joining my list of go to ingredients in cases of dinner emergencies.

Do you like couscous?

What is your favourite couscous combination?

What’s Cooking – Quick and Easy Chicken Tandoori

Quick and Easy Chicken Tandoori

Slow cooking is great and we all know it but sometimes we all have a need for a quick meal. Last week I received some lovely marinades from Ambu Tree. I was keeping them for a weekend BBQ but on Wednesday we found ourselves without any dinner. A quick rummage through the fridge and cupboards gave me an idea for a meal – we were about to have chicken tandoori.

Ingredients:

  • 750g chicken breast
  • 1 Ambu Tree Mild Tandoori Marinade
  • 1 pepper (optional)
  • 1 onion (optional)
  • 4-5 mushrooms (optional)
  • Olive oil for frying

What’s Cooking  Quick and Easy Chicken Tandoori

Method:

Cut the chicken into desired size of cubes. Mix well with a pot of Ambu Tree marinade. Fry on medium heat pan for about 10-15 minutes. Dinner served!

Optional if you have more time and feeling more adventurous chop the veggies– chop peppers, onions plus a few mushrooms in half and place them in a baking tray. Add a small drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Once they are cool to touch slice them into smaller pieces and add few minutes before your chicken is done. These roasted vegetables will add a totally different dimension to your meal.

Quick and Easy Chicken Tandoori from AmbuTree

This Chicken Tandoori is perfect for serving with rice as a part of a dinner or you can pair it with a nice toasted bagel just like we did for something lighter and more snack-like. It will also make a perfect sandwich or baked potato filler.

Normally we do not use readymade marinades. Mark likes to mix all the herbs and spices on his own but Ambu Tree are not just your standard marinades. They are natural and healthy; suitable for vegetarians and vegans, free from gluten and diary. Where else would you find a tandoori marinade which is diary free? Ambu Tree marinades come in the form of a thick paste and are made from freshly roasted and ground spices. They are packed with flavour. 100g pot will serve 4-6 people. When used on 750g of chicken breast it was thickly covered. I would say it would marinade a 1kg bag of meat without any problems. Priced at £3.85 per pot they will not break anyone’s bank and will enhance your dining experience. So, if you are not feeling like messing about with spices and don’t have a whole day for cooking, I would highly recommend giving Ambu Tree marinades a try. For this moment you can pick from: Mild Tandoori, Spicy Tandoori or Chinese Five Spices.

Happy Cooking!

my Quick and Easy Chicken Tandoori

Foods Of The World – Poland – Kotlety Mielone – Polish Meatballs

Kotlety Mielone - Polish Meatballs

This time I will share a Polish recipe as a part of my little series: Foods Of The World.

Kotlety Mielone a.k.a. Polish Meatballs are extremely popular in Poland and are really quick and easy to make. They are usually eaten as a part of the dinner and are served with boiled potatoes and some cold salad like sauerkraut or pickled/boiled beetroots. That said they are actually not limited to being a dinner meal only. They are perfect as sandwich filling or even as part of a salad.

These particular meatballs were made from pork meat but any type of minced meat would be perfect. If you use chicken or turkey they will have a much more gentle taste obviously.

Let’s start with the ingredients list:

  • 750g minced pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 onion
  • 2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
  • Salt, pepper, garlic, sweet paprika to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Fresh Spring onion (the green parts) – optional
  • 1tspb chilli flakes – optional

Method:

Peel and fine chop your onion. Fry it on a medium heat until just golden brown. Put aside to cool down.

In a large bowl place your minced meat, 1 egg, 1 handful of breadcrumbs, earlier fried onions and spice to taste.

Mix all the ingredients together until everything is well combined and you have an even looking mixture. Don’t be afraid to work it. This is nothing like the burgers where your meat shouldn’t be touched / poked / pressed too many times. Work it with your hands until the mixture becomes a bit sticky, when this happens you know you have mixed it well.

This recipe will make for 16 meatballs. I normally use half of the mixture to create 8 “standard” tasting meatballs and use the remaining half to make a spicier version by adding fresh chopped spring onions and chilli flakes for some additional heat.

Kotlety Mielone  Polish Meatballs Ready to be fried

Once your mixture is smooth (more or less) it is time to form our meatballs. Ideally you want them to be about the size of a small egg. But as they are going to be fried and not cooked in any sauce, it is best to flatten them with your palm to make a doughnut shape…. Once they are formed gently toss them around in the remaining breadcrumbs just to give them a final coating that will crisp up nicely when they are cooked.

Kotlety Mielone – Polish Meatballs Frying stage

Fry on a medium heat for about 15 minutes turning them over every few minutes. Make sure that your pan isn’t too hot and your meat balls do not brown too quickly. Time as always makes food taste divine.

Remove from the frying pan and serve.

Kotlety Mielone – Polish Meatballs Serving suggestion

They are great for freezing if you fancy making a bigger batch, but if you are planning on freezing them it is advisable to skip the onion part. They will last longer in the freezer without the onions.

Happy cooking and I hope you enjoyed this Polish recipe.

This is one extremely full dinner plate :-)
This is one extremely full dinner plate 🙂
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