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.

Grilled Chicken With Saffron Spiced Freekeh and Zahtar Dressing

This dish received a lot of hype before I cooked it, it looks and sounds like it was going to be packed with flavour. However, it wasn’t the case. I really enjoyed it and would happily recommend it. My wife and brother on the other hand were left underwhelmed.

By the time I plated this up I was practically dribbling into the bowl (I gave that one to my brother). The dish looked amazing and smelt delicious. The flavour on the other hand was.. different to what we were expecting. Now I really liked it, it was very citrusy and spicy. There were some issues, I didn’t see the need for the saffron, I can’t say I really tasted it. Also the Freekeh wasn’t as flavourful as it has been before in other meals. I will try this one again one day. I am sure it was my cooking that let the end result down. It is hard to look at that ingredients list and not get a fantastic tasting meal. 

Firstly get your grill on medium high, prep the chicken by putting it on a tray with a bit of salt and pepper mix up some olive oil and lemon zest and massage this into the chicken. Put it to one side while you carry on prepping.

Shallot, c it into thin half moons

Garlic, peel it, grate it.

Red pepper, slice into strips.

Add your shallot to a pan with some oil and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Then add your pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Next add your garlic and saffron and cook for 1 minute. When ready add 750ml of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the Freekeh with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.

While the Freekeh is cooking, whack your chicken under the grill, probably for around 10 minutes each side depending on the size of your breasts.

Parsley, chop it

Mint, chop it

Red chilli, finely chop it. 

In a bowl mix up the Zahtar spice, a squeeze of lemon juice, a quarter of the parsley, all the mint, and some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and then add as much of the chilli as you fancy.

When the Freekeh is cooked drain any excess fluid. Mix in the rest of the parsely and some lemon juice.

Slice the chicken and lay it on a Freekeh bed. Top with the Zahtar dressing and sprinkle any leftover herbs and chilli.

 

 

Cheats Lamb Moussaka

Lamb, just using it instead of beef gives you such a rich flavour. Soft aubergines and a mouthwatering creme fresh and Parmesan topping will have you wishing you made enough for thirds.

When I think of Moussaka I think of Greece. It does however, like most dishes, have many variations. Across the Balkans for instance it is more likely to see potatoes instead of aubergine, and to use pork mince over lamb. In Turkey the dish is not layered instead the eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat are sauteed together and served with pilaf and tzatziki. Across the Eastern Mediterranean the dish varies so much it can become unrecognisable. The Greek version has three layers cooked separately then assembled and baked together.

Cook the onion in some oil for a few minutes before adding the carrot and grated garlic. Before the garlic browns add the lamb mince and cinnamon stick. Cook the Lamb until it has browned, then add your chopped tomatoes. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes adding a little seasoning and a little sugar if you are feeling a bit naughty. While it is cooking, drizzle some olive oil over your aubergine slices and season Grill them for around 10 minutes on either side. 

This is where we assemble the moussaka, Remove the cinnamon stick from the lamb mixture and pour into an oven proof dish. Spread your grilled aubergine slices over the top. Then spoon on the Creme fraiche and spread it evenly over the top. Grate over the parmasan and grill it until you get that amazing brown crispy top. Remove it from the grill and then cut the last garlic clove in half and rub it over your sliced ciabatta. Grill it till nice and crisp. While it is grilling toss the rocket in some Extra Virgin Olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve together and enjoy these amazingly simple flavours.

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

Pan-Fried Sea Bass, Butternut Squash Wedges and Garlicky Bacon Kalettes

Five ingredients, that’s it, five. Proof that if you want good food you just need good quality food.

Sea Bass, what I would call a fishy fish, flavour wise (i know I should be a food critic with descriptions like that). It is though a nice change from the over used cod. The skin was nice and crisp, i used a small sprinkling of pepper to give it a little kick. The flesh was flaky and soft as it should be. It has reconfirmed that I do like fish. I never eat it, I will always choose meat over fish but I think things may change.

Onto the squash, such an amazing flavour. Roasted squash has become one of my favourite flavours. I have always skinned them though no matter how I have cooked them. My mind was blown when I read that you can roast them with the skin still on. I thought they would be tough and chewy but like always I was wrong. They were soft and sweet and the best part of the dish.

Kallets? Never heard of them? Don’t worry I hadn’t either, they are a cross breed between kale and Brussels sprouts. I am going to do a post about them so I wont go into to much detail here. I will say they were lovely. I am not a fan of Brussels sprouts so I wasn’t to eager to try them. Thankfully they are sweeter and taste more of kale than of Brussels sprouts.


Slice your squash into some form of wedges, toss in some olive oil with salt and pepper and put into a pre heated oven for thirty minutes at 220C. Cut the tough bottoms off the kalettes, like you would to your sprouts. Grate your garlic and chop your bacon. Cook the bacon for a few minutes in a pan with a splash of oil, then add the kalettes and cook for another five minutes stir in the garlic and keep it on the heat for another thirty seconds. Remove the mixture from the pan and into a bowl, cover with tinfoil to let the kalettes steam till the rest is cooked. Wipe out your pan and when your squash is nearly done add some oil and cook the sea bass skin side down for three minutes, turn it over and cook for another three minutes. Once everything is cooked plate it up and enjoy the great flavour of simplicity.

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

Jamie’s Traybaked Chicken with Smoky Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes

Before making this I thought it was missing something, potatoes, couscous, anything. There didn’t seem to be enough food for a dinner. I’m wrong again. It was satisfying, fresh and super tasty.


Maybe I have conditioned myself that the bigger the plate of food the better, or the more satisfying. In my head your dinner should have meat, potato or some kind of carb and some token vegetables. I don’t feel I have finished my dinner until I have had all three. In the same way I don’t feel that I have had lunch unless I have had the holy trinity of lunchtime foods; sandwhich, crisps and chocolate (eaten in that order) I could eat my sandwhich and crisps and then be given a whole bucket of KFC and I will still need to eat the chocolate before my brain says “ok and now we’re done” However there is some light at the end tunnel.

Besides this dinner being basically chicken, peppers, onion and tomatoes I felt satisfied afterwards. The flavour was as much to do with the olive oil and balsamic as it was about the actual ingredients. 

This is so simple, simply cut your tomatoes and peeled onion into wedges, cut the pepper into chunks. Chuck them all into a roasting pan with the chicken thighs. Squash the unpeeled garlic cloves and throw them in as well. (Don’t worry you squeeze the garlic out of its skin afterwards) Throw in the thyme leaves and sprinkle over the paprika. Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil and one of balsamic. Season with salt and pepper and then without decorating your walls toss it all together so everything is coated. Roast it in your oven at 180C for around an hour. Dress some salad leaves once it has cooked in a little olive oil and balsamic and serve together.

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

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

Apricot and Pecan Stuffed Pork with Honey Glazed Carrots and Green Mash

I know there are no photography awards on its way to me for this one. I also know it isn’t much to look at on the plate, there are however some things worth mentioning, aside from the watery mash and the burnt carrots. This blog is my food journey after all and that means my failures as well as my successes.

I’ll keep this quick, there were two great parts to this meal. The first was the honey glazed carrots. I have never had chantenay carrots before and they were super sweet and super tasty. They honey caramelised and made them sticky and even sweeter. Unfortuanatley i cooked them a bit too long and they came out a little shrivelled and burnt around the edges. They kept their flavour though and if I had the choice I would always eat my carrots like this. The second part was the stuffing for the pork fillet. It was only sausage meat, apricots and pecan nuts but they complemented each other so well. The mash was just broccoli and potato mashed together with a little butter and seasoning. It was OK but when I started mashing it together the broccoli released water like a squeezed sponge. I was left with what i would call a potato puddle.

All in all this was ok, it had great potential and I’m sure on a better day it would be a really nice meal.