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.

Crispy Sea Bream with Braised Fennel, Parsley Mash and Zesty Crumbs

A simple dish that is made great by a fantastic crumb that lifts the flavours from the other ingredients.

The main component of this meal, the fish, was as you would expect fresh and tasty. The skin was nice and crisp and gave a nice texture to the dish. I loved the fennel. I have only ever had the soft leafy tops before so this was another first for me. Apparently it is related to celery and you can see that when you taste it. It is fresh and crisp in flavour. It is subtle and does not overpower the delicate flavour of the fish. The potatoes were nice and buttery, the skins being left on gave a slight resistance when eating them which was nice. What stood out on this dish was the zesty crumb. The panko breadcrumbs were proper crunchy, mixed with salt, pepper, parsley and the lemon zest. They seemed to give all the other ingredients that little lift.

So for this you need chop the potatoes into pieces, leave the skin on, it adds to the texture. Pop them into a pan of boiling water and boil for 15 – 20 minutes or until they are soft through. 

While they are cooking away, remove the nice leafy tops of the fennel and finely chop them put them to one side. Cut the fennel in half length ways and remove the core at the bottom. Then slice into 1cm pieces. 

Lemon, zest it;

Parsley, chop it

Garlic, grate it

Put a splash of oil in a pan and cook the fennel on a high heat for 5 minutes before adding the garlic. A minute later add 300ml water, turn down the heat to medium\low whack a lid on a gently simmer until the fennel is tender.

Add some oil to a pan on medium heat and add the breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt. Once the crumbs are nice and golden put them in a bowl to one side. Once they have cooled, add half of the parsley and a pinch of lemon zest. Wipe out the pan with some paper towel.

Drain your potatoes once they are cooked. Put them back in the pot and add in the butter, mash it all till its nice and smooth then mix in the rest of the parsley and some salt and pepper. Keep it warm with the lid on while you cook the fish.

Add some oil to the pan and cook the fish skin side down for 3 minutes and then turn it over for another couple of minutes. When the center is white you know its cooked. 

Mix the fennel tops into the fennel and serve it next to a dollop of mash and that’s lovely sea bream. Scatter over some of the zesty crumb mix and get stuck in. 

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

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

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

Lamb and Chickpea Curry

In previous posts when I said you only need a few ingredients to make a great meal you know, keep it simple.. scrap that, because this little beauty took my opinion, chewed it up and spat it back in my face.

I will go as far to say this is in my top three meals I’ve cooked since starting this journey. I had to check the recipe card and make sure it wasn’t called “Miracle Lamb and chickpea curry” as it kept my wife silent the whole time she was eating it (I’ve made a big batch to have for breakfast lunch and dinner for the next week). There’s a supermarkets worth of ingredients in it and there is a fair bit of prep to do, believe me when I say it’s worth it. You can taste every ingredient and every one you wouldn’t be without.

For the perfect rice cook it in double the amount of ml in water to the amount of rice in grams. So in this case 175g of rice to 350ml of water. Add the star anise to the water to infuse the rice with that fantastic aromatic flavour. Get it to boiling then turn it down to a simmer. Pop a lid on and cook for 10 minutes, then take it off the heat and leave it with the lid on for another 10 minutes. When your ready for it just use a fork to fluff it up a bit. Season it now to your liking.

So once your lamb mince has browned in the pan add your mustard seeds, onion and pepper and cook for five minutes to soften. Then add the Sri Lanken curry powder, ginger and garlic. Cook for another minute until your kitchen smells amazing then add the passata, cook for a minute and add the water and stock. Let this marvellous medley of flavours simmer for ten to fifteen minutes. When it has thickened add the chickpeas and baby spinach until the former are hot and the latter is wilted. Take off the heat and stir through the coriander. Serve with your rice and let the miracle begin.

Treat Day tomato, Chorizo and Mozzarella Orzo

Just looking at these ingredients you know what this is going to taste like, and this really does live up to the expectations. Great flavour combinations literally stuck together with soft stringy mozzarella. 

For a while now I’ve been banging on about big pasta, you know the Rigatoni’, tortellini they carry more flavour and feel more substantial well I am going to add to it. I like big pasta and really small pasta. I’m still not a fan of spirals and tubes. Orzo pasta is amazing and in a dish like this when everything is combined with a melted cheesy goodness, it feels just as satisfying. The combination of chorizo, tomato and mozzarella is practically unrivalled in the food world. The only thing that could make this better is basil. I’m not sure why it wasn’t in the recipe. That lovely fragrant taste of Basil would have been a welcome voice in this harmony of flavours. I’m nit picking, this meal is fantastic.

So to make this, half your cherry tomatoes and roast them in the oven with a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a little sugar for about 10 minutes at 200 degrees. Fry your chopped onion and garlic in a pan with a little oil until soft, then addyour thyme leaves, tomato purée and chorizo for another couple of minutes. Once the chorizo starts releasing it’s amazing oil add the orzo. Mix it all up so it gets coated in all those incredible flavours. Pour in the water, add the stock and let it simmer until the orzo has soaked up all the liquid. Add more water if you need to but make sure the pasta is just cooked and still retains a little bite in the middle. Once the orzo is cooked mix in your mozzarella some parmasan and the cherry tomatoes. Add the spinach on top and put a lid on for a few minutes until it has all wilted. Serve it with a sprinkle of parmasan

This tastes so good you wont even care that by the time you’re finished your chin will be covered in soft stringy mozzarella. I sat there for an hour after picking it out of my beard, before you ask yes I did eat it and i’m not even sorry. And neither will you be.