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.

Caribbean Spicy Sausages

Just try and stop your mouth watering. Look at the colours, vibrant, fresh and what it all boils down to, damn tasty.

Take a good old English tradition and turn it on its head. This dish did it perfectly. Spicy sausages with roasted vegetables samothered in mango chutney and jerk seasoning revive this often dull and lifeless dinner into a fantastic assault on the taste buds. Don’t get me wrong I love bangers and mash, but so often you see cheap sausages, lumpy mash and gravy that may as well be water. Cooked properly and the traditional English staple will win hands down for me. Its what I grew up with. But this fusion of flavours is a welcome change.

The vegatables are sweet and sticky but also come with that irresistible jerk flavouring that provides that lovely heat. The sausages were just good quality sausages. I don’t know what the flavourings in them were but that had a nice spicy flavour. The mash was soft and buttery. Again I don’t know what they were but for mash you need a high starch potato like russets. This means they will mash better and soak up all that butter or milk. I always season my mash especially with pepper.

Slice your peppers into 1 to 2 cm wide slices. They don’t have to be all even, the smaller ones will roast more and get that amazing crispness on the skin. Peel and chop the onion into large 2cm peices. Peel and chop the carrot into batons as big as your little finger.

In a bowl mix olive oil, the jerk seasoning and the mango chutney mix this with the veggies in a tray so everything is covered. Season with salt and pepper and then lay the sausages on top. Prick the sausages a couple of times with a sharp knife. Put it all in a pre heated oven of around 200 degrees and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Peel and chop the potato into 2cm peices, pop the in a pot of boiling water until they are soft in the middle. Once they have cooked drain and put back in the pan with a knob of butter and a splash of milk. Season with salt and pepper and mash until smooth.

Serve it up on a plate and sprinkle with some roughly chopped parsley. Amazing.

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

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.

Chicken Fajitas with Pickled Chilli and Zesty Sour Cream

Tender chicken, soft red peppers and onion, zesty sour cream green chilli and cheddar cheeser. A wholemeal wrap Contains the goodness.

This had so much going for it, in the end though we both agreed the fajita packs you can get that has everything in are actually better. The only thing I can think of was the wrap, usually have a softwhite wrap. These however were wholemeal (and smaller but that’s just me being greedy) so they feel like your being healthier. We all know that wholewheat is made with all three nutrient rich parts of the wheat berry, the bran the germ and the endosperm. Where as white flour only uses the endosperm. Thus only giving you the starchy part between the inner germ and the outer bran. If we were talking bread and this was a sandwich i’d be all over the wholemeal, singing its praises and telling you that although being raised on Mighty White I have since converted to its wholemeal counterpart whole heartedly. Mainly for the taste, now i feel white bread bland and flavourless. The only time white bread will pass my lips is when it sandwiches five or six rashers of smokey bacon swimming in Daddies brown sauce. Wraps however are different, I cannot tell you why. All I know is that while I was eating this, my mind was on another wrap.


When you have nearly cooked the chicken add the mexican spice and cook till done. Simply cook the pepper and onion till soft and add the chicken to keep warm. Heat the tortillas in the oven while adding the lime zest and juice to the soured cream with a little salt and pepper. Fill your wrap with the chicken and veg mix, drizzle with the sour cream and top with the green chilli’s that have been pickling in the other half of the lime juice. Top with cheddar cheese and wrap.

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

Pan Seared Sea Bass with New Potatoes and Cucumber-Dill Relish

Soft creamy potatoes, succulent flaky fish with a crispy skin. Fresh crisp lettuce and a zingy relish to bring the dish to life.

You want a midweek, healthy, easy, quick dinner, then look no further. Chop and boil potatoes, done. Pan fry fish until skin is crispy and flesh is white, done. Toss lettuce leaves with some extra virgin, salt and pepper, done. Then all you need to do is make the relish. Chop your onion into the thinnest half moons you can. Skin your cucumber then with a potato peeler peel slices off leaving the seedy centre. Mix them together in a colander with a sprinkling of salt and leave for 10 minutes. The salt will extract the moisture from them. After 10 minutes squeeze the rest of the moisture out. Mix white wine vinegar with some sugar and pour onto the mixture. Just before serving mix in the chopped dill.

Dill works so well with fish, It is a strong flavour when fresh but cooking it mellows it and turns it into more of a subtle suggestion. In this dish it’s fresh and mixed into the relish so that strong slightly sour, slightly sweet flavour is eased by the cucumber. The white wine vinegar dressing and raw onion add a spark to a plate of soft flavours

In previous posts I have mentioned that the prep is one of my favourite parts of cooking. You get to handle all the individual ingredients and how you prepare them ultimately affects the outcome of the final creation. For the relish you need to chop the onion as thin as possible. Thick chunks of it would overpower everything else on the plate. I actually went through two onions for this. One I sliced slowly and carefully. The other I chopped fast like you see chefs do. I give most of the plaudits to my knife without which none of my chopping achievements would be possible, but I was happy to see that there wasn’t that much difference between the two.

This dish is from our HelloFresh box www.hellofresh.co.uk