Beef Meatball Goulash With Rice

Originating from medieval Hungary, Goulash is a deep, rich, belter of a dish. Back in the 9th century goulash was eaten by Hungarian shepherds. They would take cooked, seasoned meat and dry it in the sun to preserve it. Then they would store it in bags made from sheep stomachs. When they wanted to eat it all they would have to do was add water to the bag and they had a meal.

In terms of ingredients I can’t say how close this was to the traditional dish. For sure it would have used paprika (Hungarian paprika is renowned to be some of the best in the world). Not only does it give lots of flavour, it adds that deep red colour that makes it so appealing.

The use of fresh herbs really kick this one up a notch. Those rich flavours are contrasted with the freshness of the parsley. 

Red Onion, chop it into thin half moons

Green pepper, slice it as thin as you can

Garlic, grate it

Parsley, roughly chop it

Cook the onion and pepper till soft in a pan with some oil. Season with salt and pepper. Once soft add half of the garlic, dried thyme and ground coriander. Also add all of the paprika.

Cook this mix for a couple more minutes and add the tomato purée and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then add the stock pot and water. Mix it all up, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.

While that is simmering, put the basmati rice in a pot and add 500ml water. Bring to the boil and then pop a lid on the pan, lower the heat to medium and leave for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the pan from the heat and leave the lid on till you are ready to serve.

While the rice is cooking, put the mince into a bowl with some salt and pepper, then add the remaining garlic, dried thyme and coriander. Mix in the panko breadcrumbs. Make into enough balls for 3 each. (Don’t compact them too much, just enough to keep them together. Half submerge the meatballs into the sauce. Pop a lid on the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. 

Once the meatballs have cooked add the spinach to the pan and put the lid back on for a couple of minutes until it has wilted. Season if you need to and then remove from the heat and stir in two thirds of the sour cream.

Fluff up the rice and serve as a bed for your sauce and meatballs sprinkle over your parsleyand a dollop of sour cream.

Jamie’s South East Asian Chicken Curry with Fluffy Rice

Now I am slightly biased, I would eat anything Jamie Oliver put in front of me. I have nearly all his books, dvd’s, eaten in his restaurants and had a cooking classes at his recipease store. I can honestly say he is the reason I started cooking and growing. His Jamie at home book is my favourite recipe book (and I have a lot of recipe books) and the accompanying series I could watch again and again. But.. none of this has influenced my review of this dish. Honest.

I love it, i love it, i love it. I love Jamie, I love this curry. Seriously though I cannot find fault with this. As a quick midweek curry this was as good as it gets. Its a basic curry with good natural, fresh flavours. The fresh coriander and the lime juice are the winning elements. Its easy for a curry to get bogged down and taste heavy. This on the other hand tasted fresh and vibrant while still satisfying that curry need.

So, fry your onion and pepper till soft. Then add the garlic, ginger and the finely chopped stalks from the coriander. Once these have softened add the curry powder and turmeric and keep cooking for a couple of minutes. This will release all the lovely flavours and aromas from the spices. Put the chicken thighs into the pan and cook for a few minutes to seal and then pour in the coconut milk and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. For the last 5 minutes add the cherry tomatoes. While this thickens cook the rice in twice as much water for 7 minutes then remove from the heat and steam with the lid on for at least another 7 minutes. Once the curry has thickened add lime juice and if you have some, some mango chutney, season to taste. When serving scatter with the coriander leaves and give every one a slice of lime. Once they taste how well it goes they will want more.

P.S. I love Jamie

This meal is from our hello fresh box Www.hellofresh.co.uk

Tender Stir-Fried Pork with Black Bean Sauce and Cashew Nuts

As much a pleasure to make as it was to eat. My knife skills got a workout with this one. There is something very satisfying about chopping veg really fine. A perfect garlic, ginger and onion mix accompanies the black bean sauce. The rich, sticky, deeply savoury sauce grabs your taste buds and doesn’t let go.

Cornflour, who knew. If you want soft succulent pork with a nice crisp outside then toss it in cornflour first before adding it to your pan. It produces the same tender meat but with a slight crisp to the outside, adding a little texture to the mix. Before you cook the pork cook your cashews in a dry pan until they turn brown. Then leaves them to one side. Then in the same pan add some oil and cook your pork in batches. If you crowd the pan then there will be too much steam and that will basically stew your meat and loose that crisp your trying to achieve with the corn flour. Put the pork to the side and in the same pan again add some more oil and cook your pepper and carrot for a few minutes then add the garlic, ginger and the whites of your spring onion. Cook for a minute then add the pork back to the pan. Mix in your black bean sauce and mix for a minute before serving on a bed of rice. Like most things its the little extras that makes the difference between something nice and something great. Here it is the cashews, every now and then you get a crunch and that subtle nuttiness that works so well with all the other flavours.

I used a new macro lens filter for some of my shots. I cannot afford a proper macro lens so this filter lets me do closer shots. Obviously its not as good as an actual lens but for my purposes it seems to do just nicely.

This meal was from our HelloFresh box www.hellofresh.co.uk

Teriyaki Chicken with Coconut Rice and Bok Choy

Sweet succulent chicken marinated in a warm Teriyaki sauce made with soy sauce, ginger and honey.

Traditionally teriyaki is made with soy, sake or mirin and sugar. The shine that the sugar in the sauce gives is where the first part of the word “teri”derives “Yaki” refers to the cooking method of grilling or broiling. In this dish the sauce is made with ginger, honey and soy and a little sugar. The flavour is strong, sweet and sticky. Its a flavour that tastes more complex than the sum of its parts.

The rice is cooked in water which has had coconut powder added. This is not how i pictured making coconut rice, i’m not sure what i pictured. It worked really well the flavour was light and fragranced with coconut. The bok choi was a welcome natural flavour.

Malay Chicken and Red Lentil Curry


Spice.. in my mind a good (spicy) curry is one that is hot enough for you to question wether it was a good idea to start eating it but stops just short of actually melting your taste buds and stopping you actually tasting any of the dish. Heat is a part of the flavour, not a test of my mascualinity. Now you’re expecting me to say that this dish blew my socks off, well it is the opposite. The malay spice had a great flavour it just lacked that extra punch. Its true it was mild enough to taste the courgette and ginger, the garlic even the onion. It had warmth but to be honest I would rather have had none. It left me wanting more. 

I’m sure a lot of people know how to cook rice. I thought I did. Put the rice in a pan, fill said pan with water boil till rice is soft. Drain the water, BAM rice done. Wrong. It always stuck together and was more like rice pudding. Here we had 175g of basmati rice. We brought to the boil 350ml of water with a pinch of salt. When the water was boiling we added the rice, put a lid on and reduced the heat to medium. After letting it simmer for 10 minutes, remove it from the heat and leave it to steam for a further 10 minutes with the lid on. When its done just flake it up with a fork and you are left with a bowl of rice that is perfectly cooked and each individual grain is separate from the last.