creamy paprika & tomato chicken thighs

For this dish i used skinless, boneless chicken thighs, which was perfect as it soaked up all the beautiful flavours while cooking .
Paprika adds such amazing flavour to food! Here it gave an amazing earthy flavour to the food that complimented the tartness of the tomato beautifully.
I served this with a side of fragrant Jasmin rice and buttered green beans.
If you are on a tight schedule then this recipe is perfect for you!

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
3T olive oil
1T butter
deboned, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped or sliced
2t paprika
5 thyme sprigs, leaves only
dried mixed herbs
dried oregano
2 medium carrots, grated
200ml chicken stock
100ml cream
1 can chopped tomato
fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/2t salt
black pepper

Heat olive oil & butter on a medium heat. Sauté the onion until glossy, about 4 minutes. Carefully drop the chicken thighs into the skillet and brown on all sides. Add the paprika, thyme, oregano, mixed herbs & grated carrots, stir through and cook for about three minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and reduce by about half.
Add the chopped tomato, stir through and cook for about two minutes.
Pour the cream into the skillet and leave to simmer on a low heat for about five minutes until thickened.

Season with salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x



lamb casserole with mustard dumplings

I love a slow cooked meat stew packed with vegetables, taste & earthiness and a lot of love. The secret to any good stew or casserole is time, patience and attention.
I had a fair amount of cooked leg of lamb in my freezer, which was perfect for this dish. The meat cooked slowly at a low heat in a thick beef & wine broth with a mixture of carrots, leeks & celery.
Good substitutes for the leg of lamb are lamb shoulder, stewing beef, lamb neck and even brisket.
The dumplings make the perfect accompaniment here, soaking up all that wonderful flavour and bringing that extra little something to an already perfect meal.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
900g cooked leg of lamb (or any other cut, raw)
3T olive oil
3T butter
350ml good red wine
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, sliced
3 carrots, sliced diagonally or 200g baby carrots
3 celery ribs, sliced diagonally
2 large leeks, halved and sliced
3T tomato puree
3T all purpose flour
3T worcester sauce
6 sprigs thyme
2T brown sugar
500ml chicken or lamb stock
1t salt
1t black pepper

dumplings
150g self raising flour
130g plain / Greek yogurt
1.5T english or dijon mustard (or a mixture)
handful parsley, finely chopped
handful chives, finely chopped
1/2t salt
1/2t black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Slice the cooked lamb to the desired size and set aside.
Alternatively, if using uncooked meat, cut it into the desired size. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the meat all over. Remove and set aside.
Heat the olive oil & butter in a large skillet. Fry the onion until glossy. Add the carrots, celery & leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato puree, stir and cook for two minutes.
Now add the flour and stir through. Deglaze the skillet with the red wine and cook the mixture for about two minutes, while stirring. Tip the meat back into the skillet and stir to mix.
Add the worcester sauce, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper & brown sugar. Stir.
Pour the stock into the pot and bring the mixture to the boil.
Turn the heat down, cover with a tight fitting lid and carefully place the skillet into the preheated oven for two hours.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings.
Mix all the ingredient together to make a wet dough. Roll the dough into equal sized balls and set aside.

Carefully remove the casserole from the oven. Place the dumplings on top of the meat mixture and cover with the lid. Place the skillet back into the oven and cook for a further 20 – 25 minutes.

Garnish the dish with fresh parsley or chives or thyme leaves and serve with a side or couscous or rice.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x




pork belly – soft and deliciously crispy

i will be lying if i said that this is an old recipe of mine and a dish that i regularly cook as this was my first taste of pork belly in a little over a decade…or two.
admitting that i have missed out on very delicious food for a very long time. i have so many new dishes to look forward to!!
a relatively cheap cut of meat, pork belly is best cooked low and slow. i love the meat juicy and tender with the perfect crackling dressing the meat like a protective hat.
use a good, drinkable wine for this dish.
serve the pork belly with creamy mash, buttery vegetables, roasted sweet potato or asian slaw.
leftovers are great in pasta or with baked potato or wrapped in asian rice paper with coriander and a spicy sauce.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
2kg pork belly
4tbs olive oil (not extra virgin)
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, quartered
1 garlic bulb, cut in half, skin on
4 celery ribs, roughly chopped
2 leeks, roughly chopped
few sprigs fresh thyme
500ml good white wine
2c chicken stock
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp fennel seeds
2tsp coarse salt
black pepper
chives or spring onion (optional)

how to do it
preheat the oven to 250 degrees C. place all of the vegetables into a large roasting tray with the thyme. set aside.
in a pestle & mortar, grind the salt, pepper, fennel & coriander seeds together until fragrant but not fine. using a sharp knife, score the skin of the belly in diamond shapes, taking care not to cut into the meat.
drizzle the olive oil over the belly and lightly rub it into the skin. now rub the salt & spices mixture into the skin and incisions. place the pork belly on top of the vegetables. place the roasting tray into the hot oven and roast for 20 minutes.
carefully remove the tray from the oven and turn the heat down to 170 degrees C. pour the white wine and chicken stock into the tray taking care not to wet the skin. the liquid should come up to the skin so that the meat is submerged but the skin untouched. if you need a little more liquid, add a little more water.
any leftover juices can be kept aside to use when making the gravy.
carefully place the tray back into the oven taking care not to wet the skin of the belly and roast for 2 hours.
after two hours, turn the heat back up to 230 degrees C and roast the belly until the skin is bubbling, browned and hard to the touch. about 20 – 30 minutes.
carefully lift the belly out of the roasting tray onto a cutting board and leave to rest while you get on with the gravy.
pour the vegetables and juices into a blender and blend until smooth. (or use a handheld blender.)
strain into a saucepan and bring to a boil. turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. check seasoning.
if desired, add more water for a thinner sauce or add a teaspoon of cornstarch and water to thicken although i doubt either will be necessary.
turn the pork belly onto its skin and cut as desired. (this makes it easier to cut through the crackling skin)
garnish with chopped chives or spring onion.

serve with the jus and your choice of starch, veggies or salad.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x



chocolate crepes

i don’t usually celebrate valentine’s day. i feel love is meant to be celebrated every day, not only once a year. but this year is different. perhaps because now i have a little girl who loves food just as much as i do. and what better way to start my day than getting up early and baking crepes with my 9 month old!
these decadent little treats are very moreish indeed. the sweet syrup compliments the almost sour taste of the banana and the nuts add a lovely crunch. only after taking my pictures did i spoon some whipped cream on top. that made it even tastier. even more edible. even more enjoyable. even more rich.
i used lindt dark chocolate but any dark chocolate will do. you can whisk the mixture by hand but i found that a hand held mixer or blender works a little better as it breaks the chocolate down a little more.

makes about 12 crepes |
200g flour
40g dark chocolate, grated
1 egg
40g muscovado sugar
1.5tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp vanilla essence
pinch salt
250ml milk
liberal amount of butter
large bananas, thinly sliced diagonally
1/3c slivered almonds
whipped cream of double cream, optional
mint leaves, garnish

for the syrup
125ml maple syrup
125ml cream
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

how to do it
combine all of the ingredients, except the butter, in a mixing bowl or jug of your blender. blend until combined taking care not to over mix the batter. (if you feel you want a runnier batter, add an additional 50ml milk.)
heat about a tablespoon of butter in a non stick pan. spoon about 1/3 cup of batter into the pan per crepe. cook until you notice bubbles on the surface. turn and cook for about 45 seconds more. set aside and repeat until you have used all of the batter.
in a small sauce pan, heat the cream and maple syrup together. once warm, pour the mixture over the chocolate. let stand for 3 minutes and then mix with a whisk until smooth.
pour a little of the sauce onto the plate. place one crepe on top of the sauce. top with 3 slices of banana and continue until you have three layers, ending with sliced banana.
pour a little more of the sauce over the side of the top crepe. sprinkle the crepes with nuts.
top with cream if using and garnish with mint leaves.
serve warm.

happy valentine’s day!
from my kitchen to yours, with love x


walnut & almond banana bread

another tasty childhood bake! the sweet aroma of banana baking away in the oven sits fresh in my memory bank. my paternal grandmother loved baking this delectable loaf and my mother was right on her heels. we savoured this treat cut into thick slices, warm with butter and cups of sweet tea. and i love it with double thick cream. full fat, of course. i am imagining a banana bread pudding with one of these loaves drizzled with caramel sauce or whipped cream.
nuts are optional here but i simply cannot imagine this loaf without a bit of toasted crunch.
i wonder how many times we walk past the overripe bananas in our fruit bowls and remind ourselves to bake a banana bread. but never do.
go on, use those sad bananas before they meet the bottom of your bin.

makes 1 loaf |
2c all purpose flour
1.5tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp fine salt
3/4c brown sugar
1/2c butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, beaten, at room temperature
4 small ripe bananas, smashed
1/3c slivered almonds
1/2c walnuts, roughly chopped

how to do it |
preheat the oven to 165 degrees C or 145 with a fan. grease a loaf tin with melted butter or nonstick spray.
sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt & baking powder into a large mixing bowl. using a hand held mixer, cream the butter & sugar together until light and fluffy. add the eggs and beat until just incorporated. fold the smashed banana into the butter and egg mixture. mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine well. fold through the toasted nuts. pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.
bake in the preheated oven for 55 – 65 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
remove from the oven and rest in the loaf tin for 5 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool before slicing.

serve warm with butter and spoonfuls of double thick cream.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x